208: In this episode of Sales Bluebird, Andrew explores the world of B2B vendor onboarding, discussing an innovative platform called SafeBase. SafeBase has revolutionized the cumbersome questionnaire process by providing upfront information that can reduce the resources required by up to 90%. More than 400 customers already use SafeBase as their security review facilitator.
The episode also delves into SafeBase's marketing strategies, including their K Factor approach, which measures how many new customers a current customer brings in. Additionally, the episode explores how Safe Base built a mini-project to hire the right salespeople and focuses on team and culture fit.
The guest on this episode is Macy Mody, the VP of Revenue and Operations at Safe Base, who explains how the company values getting to know employees on both personal and professional levels to build trust.
Finally, the episode touches on Safe Base's approach to automation, driving adoption, and the company's commitment to employee success.
[00:05:58] "Proactive Trust Communication for Sales Success"
[00:08:26] "Revolutionary Solution to Streamline Vendor Onboarding"
[00:15:59] "SafeBase's Wow Moment: Automation"
[00:19:44] "Innovative Virality and Seamless Automation in Tech"
[00:24:35] "Lean go-to-market strategy drives success for startup"
[00:26:08] "Balancing Outbound Messaging for Successful Marketing Mix"
[00:27:23] "Finding Balance: Success Without Overwhelming Customers"
[00:31:43] "New hires and inbound leads: Top concerns"
[00:33:29] "Testing Sales Candidates' Understanding Through Outbound Exercise"
[00:36:35] Building Trust in Remote Work Environments
Macy Mody on LinkedIn
Andrew Monaghan [00:00:00]:
It's rare that a security vendor hits all three of the top level value drivers of reducing cost, mitigating risk and increasing revenues. And it's even rarer that their prime source of leads is due to the virality of their product. But that's exactly what SafeBase is doing right now. Find out how they're doing it in its interview with their head of revenue, Macy Mody. Don't go away. Welcome to the Sales Bluebird podcast, where we help cybersecurity startups grow sales faster. I am your host, Andrew Monahan. Our guest today is Macy Mody, VP of Revenue and Operations at SafeBase. Macy. Welcome to Sales Bluebird.
Macy Mody [00:00:51]:
Thanks so much, Andrew. Excited to be here.
Andrew Monaghan [00:00:53]:
I am looking forward to our conversation. SafeBase was just selected as a finalist in the RSA Innovation Sandbox. That, by definition, Macy, means that you're doing something innovative, so I'm always keen to learn what that is and how you're going to market with that innovation. So it's going to be an interesting conversation for myself and for the audience to learn more about what SafeBase is doing. A quick break to say that this episode is sponsored by It Harvest. With over 3200 vendors in cybersecurity, it is hard to keep track of all the latest developments, as well as research and analyze categories and subcategories within cybersecurity, which is where the It Harvest cybersecurity platform comes in. Want to know which subcategories in cloud security are growing the fastest? You'll get it in a few clicks. Want to know and track everything about your main competitors and keep up with their hiring and news? Simple search to be done. Want to know the top 20 fastest growing companies based out of Israel? Easy. Just a couple of clicks to get that. It. Harvest is the first and only research platform dedicated to cybersecurity and it's run by Richard Steenan, who has done it all in cybersecurity from the VP of Research at Gartner, a CMO at a cybersecurity vendor, a Lecturer on Cybersecurity, advisor to startups, advisory board member at Startups and a main board member as well. The whole lot. Find out more by going to Salesbluebird.com Research. That's salesbluebird.com research. Now, back to the episode. Well, let's talk about your history here. We got your LinkedIn resume pulled up, and if I was to quickly summarize some key aspects of it, you spent quite a bit of time at American Express, and then in the middle of that, you did an MBA at Harvard and then came out of Harvard. I think you came out and went to HQO, which is a workplace experience company. And then in August 2021, you started off at SafeBase, and it looks like you started off as Director of Strategy and Operations, and then you took over revenue as well. Pretty recently. But I got that reasonably right.
Macy Mody [00:03:16]:
You got that reasonably right? Yeah, I've been doing revenue here at SafeBase since I joined, but titles don't always reflect exactly what the job is.
Andrew Monaghan [00:03:25]:
At a startup, basically know your experiences doing an MBA and then being in revenue. Where do you see the connections right there?
Macy Mody [00:03:36]:
Yeah, I think for me one of the best parts is just being customer-facing. So going from an MBA where it was constant learning from others and just really trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible. I like to do the same with my customers and prospects. Right. So I oversee sales and CS on the revenue side. So really getting to partner closely with anyone that is a customer or is thinking of buying our product and hearing out what their needs are, I think that's where the connection comes into play most.
Andrew Monaghan [00:04:10]:
So it's just the mindset of approaching the MBA versus the role, right. You're there to learn and ask the right questions, it sounds like.
Macy Mody [00:04:20]:
Andrew Monaghan [00:04:21]:
Well, let's talk about SafeBase. So coming up in a couple of weeks time, we're recording this in early April 2023, you're going to be at RSA and the innovation sandbox your team is going to have people walk up to them and say, what does SafeBase do? How do you hope they're going to answer that question?
Macy Mody [00:04:40]:
Yeah, Safeface is a trust communication platform. So in its simplest form, we have a trust center where folks can actually share all of the information related to their trust posture. And any b, two B company looking to onboard a new vendor is going to ask these security related questions. And the goal is you just share Safe space instead of completing a custom questionnaire. So that's kind of the initial and as you build that relationship with your customer over time, we want to help maintain it as well. So we also help with ongoing communications related to incident security, incident vulnerability response. If you add a new subprocessor and per your DPA, you need to notify your customers. All of these things are through SafeBase. So at our core, we're trust communication and really we just want to streamline security reviews and help companies get deals done faster.
Andrew Monaghan [00:05:35]:
So if I'm a vendor, let's say I'm a tech vendor, 500 employees, maybe in the fintech space, I would create my trust center with all the usual things, the artifacts that people would probably want to ask me for, I guess. Right, and I just share, I include them, I share the link to the trust center with them so they can get what they want. Is that how it works?
Macy Mody [00:05:58]:
Yeah, exactly. So the goal is to always be proactive with trust communications. The more you're proactive, the more you're going to help your sales or renewal cycle. So before you actually ever get asked a security question, so maybe after a first demo, you would share the links to your trust center. So if you wanted Safebase's trust posture, you go to Trust SafeBase IO, you could go to get LinkedIn. LinkedIn SafeBase us. Everyone has their own custom URL, so there's tons of different options. You share that, though, and say, hey, go here to get all the information you need. And then through all of our automation, access is granted instantaneously so that your customers and prospects can actually get your sock two, for example, with the click of a button, they request access, they get approved, they sign an NDA if they need to, and then they can hit download. So the goal is just to make it super simple across the board. And that first step is just sharing the link to the trust center, which is ideally very easy for everyone to remember. I think sneak is securitytrust. Sneak IO, for example.
Andrew Monaghan [00:07:07]:
And in there, is it just the assessments or the certifications you've got? Or do SafeBase, do any additional checks and balances on top of that?
Macy Mody [00:07:17]:
So we do have integrations. So we're building out lots of integrations with security tools. Today, for example, you could see someone's status from status page. I O pulled in so that's live someone could integrate directly with security scorecard and more tools coming. But our goal is really to allow someone to share their narrative and the posture of their organization. So we're not doing the Attestation. There's plenty of companies that will help you with your audits, help you help you with that stuff, and we're really in the business of helping you communicate that out. So that's our core and our primary motivation.
Andrew Monaghan [00:07:57]:
I noticed in the last sentence of your description of what you do, you mentioned the word security assessment, the dreaded two words that security teams dread getting asked about all the time. So that's what people are doing right now, right? They're being asked to fill in complete assessments and send them back. How willing are you seeing people to drop the whole assessment and go do something completely different?
Macy Mody [00:08:26]:
Yeah, it's a huge problem, right. You're onboarding a new B, two B vendor, and now all of a sudden you have this 400 question questionnaire that has to be completed, and it takes eight days. And then there's back and forth communications and more questions. And what we're really starting to see is by getting proactive and getting ahead, we're getting up to 90% reduction in those questionnaires. It's pretty miraculous how many people are willing to just take the information they're given when they're asking for it, right? So typically someone is asking for information, waiting seven to ten days to get it, and then they have to restart the process, go through everything again. Now it's at your fingertips, right? So you want to conduct that evaluation, right? Then you can go read through my SIG, you can go read through my cake and all that's available. Yeah, it's definitely catching on. We have over about 400 customers now with a trust center, so folks are also starting to get really familiar with the format of conducting a security review via a safe based trust center. And I think that helps. Right. Our customers get excited when they have to conduct a security review of one of their vendors and they can simply go to their Safe based Trust Center and they already know where to find everything.
Andrew Monaghan [00:09:49]:
I'm going to tell you a little bit surprised by the 90%. I mean, the security folks are a very paranoid bunch in general, right. They have their own unique questions, their own unique ways of doing things. It seems like a high number. That's pretty impressive.
Macy Mody [00:10:04]:
Yeah, it's up to 90%. I would say we typically see somewhere between 60% to 90% reduction and it's a little bit industry dependent too. Right. You're going to have big banks that might not be willing to change as much right away, but for the most part, people want the information when they're trying to access it and if they have enough to get that review done, it saves everyone time, it saves the vendor, the buyer, and both security teams time. So we're definitely seeing people be really open to it. Again, though, it's really about being proactive and intercepting before someone has a chance to send that questionnaire. So we want the Trust Center out there in front of them before they ever think about, hey, I'm going to send you my questionnaire as the next step because once that happens, it's a total mind shift. Right. You got to get ahead of it.
Andrew Monaghan [00:11:00]:
And inside the organization that's creating the Trust Center, who's the buyer of SafeBase?
Macy Mody [00:11:06]:
Yeah, we have a couple of different buyer personas. Typically security teams are a big one and it's CISOs and their teams, but also sales. At the end of the day, we're really helping sales teams move deals along quicker, right. And close deals faster, speed up the NDA process and get all the security documentation in front of those stakeholders as soon as possible. So both sales and security are our buyers for our product.
Andrew Monaghan [00:11:35]:
I didn't look in depth into your website to see if you got a case study where you can show deals velocity speeding up because they have Trust Center. Is that one of the things you can measure?
Macy Mody [00:11:45]:
Yes, we have two case studies you could look at and they give two different, slightly different viewpoints, I would say. So one is a cross beam case study that talks about how they were able to actually shave seven days off of their sales cycle once they implemented SafeBase. And then another is Jamf, and Jamf is a big MDM tool. Crossbeam, I should have said, is a tool, a partnerships tool. But Jamf actually they added 10,000 customers but didn't grow the security team much. And they were still able to do that at the same, if not a quicker pace because they had Safe base to share all the information out. So we have lots of companies that either talk about in our case studies shaving time off their sales cycle or also saving headcount. So both time and cost savings across the board for sales and security.
Andrew Monaghan [00:12:42]:
And does your team prefer to target the security people or the salespeople?
Macy Mody [00:12:46]:
Prefer? There's no prefer. We love all our customers. It's different, right? It's fun. The security team is usually the ones that are setting up the trust center, but the sales teams are the day to day users, oftentimes the ones sharing it out and the ones really getting customers to interact with it. So I don't think there's a favorite per se. I think we like working with the different personas at different stages of implementation and of sales because at the end of the day, we need buy in from both parties in order to make it a successful rollout.
Andrew Monaghan [00:13:21]:
And examples we've used so far, and your two case studies are both tech companies. What are the most forward thinking verticals that you work with that are already just naturally adopting this?
Macy Mody [00:13:34]:
Yeah, we see a really wide range. So really any B two B company has a need. Most B two B companies these days are going to ask for a security review to complete a security review before they buy a product. So we have folks across the board instacart, not your typical B two B SaaS player. We have the workflow tools like ClickUp and Asana, the palantiers of the world. Lots of different use cases. LinkedIn is another, so industry is pretty broad. We're starting to see more adoption from fintech and from healthcare that's come in a lot more lately. So really interesting to see kind of how that starts to expand, but we're pretty industry agnostic.
Andrew Monaghan [00:14:23]:
Yeah, I'd imagine fintech and healthcare are assessment heavy, right? They're highly regulated, they could be concerned about the sort of stuff and they've been doing it for a long time and maybe a little bit died in their ways.
Macy Mody [00:14:37]:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think the greatest pushback we might see is from those finance institutions and those banks who have very set ways of doing things. That said, we're seeing a lot more fintech companies come to us. Ramp, Plaid, So, Fi, tons of different companies using our trust centers now. So I think hopefully the more eyeballs we get on it in the finance world, the more open people are going to be to really getting rid of those questionnaires and having a more standardized review process.
Andrew Monaghan [00:15:11]:
Do you find people who still love their questionnaires out of interest?
Macy Mody [00:15:16]:
Sorry if I offend anyone, but I don't think anyone loves completing a security questionnaire. I mean, it's time consuming. Often the questions are similar, but worded slightly different. They can be anywhere from ten questions to 1000 questions. They can take days. So I haven't come across anyone yet. That's really sad. We're eliminating questionnaires. So if anyone on this podcast is listening and is, please do reach out to me and I'd love to talk to you.
Andrew Monaghan [00:15:47]:
Imagine I was a prospect and we were in our first meeting, when in that meeting do I see the wow? I go, oh, I get it. This is going to be really good for us.
Macy Mody [00:15:59]:
So the cool thing about how SafeBase has grown is that we haven't done a ton of outbound sales or anything like that. The way people come to SafeBase is by seeing another trust center on the market, right? So they're looking to buy datadog or Asana or whoever it might be as a tool. They see the trust center and then they come to us. So I would argue that wow moment happens even before they might get in front of our team a lot of the time. So that's really actually quite cool because you get on a sales call and your prospect is already really familiar and sees the value. I think where the wow moment then happens is when we start to show and talk through all the automation that's possible and people realize that like, oh, wow, I used to have a I have a person today dedicated to doing this, right? Dedicated to looking through Jira tickets to see if a new request was submitted, approving going to salesforce to check, hey, is this a customer of ours? Is it a real prospect of ours? Et cetera. And now all that can be automated, right. So the second they realize a whole headcount could come back and be dedicated to actually securing the company, which is what security teams usually like to do, I think that's really one of those AHA moments for them.
Andrew Monaghan [00:17:24]:
Yeah, I can imagine the right people who aren't a little bit stressed out about their role in the company. They could see the capability and see the impact it could have just by seeing that alone. I love that network effect that you have. Right? Look what they have. Isn't that cool? How do I get that? Or at least figure out if we could get it and where the boundaries are.
Macy Mody [00:17:45]:
Yeah, it's a virality thing, and since our earliest days, we've been measuring K Factor, which is essentially how many other trust centers does each trust center get us? So it's been really fun to see that virality motion just grow over time and continue to bring new folks in every single day, week, month. We get lots of new mount clients that way.
Andrew Monaghan [00:18:12]:
Have you built something into the product that makes it easier for them to get that variety?
Macy Mody [00:18:18]:
Great question. We've released a couple of things lately for referring your friends and things of that nature, but really most of it's just driven by someone being on the trust center and then seeing kind of at the bottom, hey, it's powered by Safe space. Let me go take a look there and sign up on my own. So we have a free plan, and because of that, it's really easy for folks to go in and just start playing around and exploring. And I think that's what's driven a lot of that easy adoption.
Andrew Monaghan [00:18:46]:
I get it. If I'm a salesperson, then I kind of like the fact that people are getting in touch with me already wanting to buy, and my job is to make sure I don't screw it up and be shepherd along in the process.
Macy Mody [00:19:00]:
Oh, yeah, 100%. It's a nice spot to be in, to be in a place where folks are eager to get the product. And I think our sales team is certainly first class and great to work with. So I think that only helps in the buying process as well.
Andrew Monaghan [00:19:21]:
Now, you are selected as the finalist in the innovation sandbox. So I'm curious, as you look at what you do, what is it about what you do you think caught the eye of the judges? Say, yes, this is actually different because there's other companies that are doing, I don't know, tangentially similar things. You're trying to solve the assessment problem. What was it about how you're doing it specifically? Do you think we caught their eye?
Macy Mody [00:19:44]:
I think there's a couple of things. I think one underlying our tech is really great, right. The automation we've built in to make this as seamless of a process as possible makes it super easy to adopt, to get going, and to just automate the entire process. So I think that's one part of it, and then I think the other we've already hit on it is this virality motion of we're able to get lots of different folks having eyes on our product and then eventually adopting it. And I think that in itself is a form of innovation where we're just continuing to get more traction because people are excited, right? Because people see it and get excited about what could be and what they could do to improve the process in their organization. So I think it's twofold, right? It's a bit of the tech side where we do have really amazing engineers and product team and designers building out world class product. But at the same time, given the fact that all our adoption really has been organic, viral, referral based, I think that is also in itself shows we're really onto something.
Andrew Monaghan [00:20:58]:
Yeah, it sounds like it. But let's first of all learn a little bit more about you. I've got a list here of 35 questions, believe it or not. But I'm not going to ask you 35. I'm going to ask you to pick three numbers. Team one and 35.
Macy Mody [00:21:14]:
Oh, boy. Okay, how about seven?
Andrew Monaghan [00:21:19]:
Seven. What is your favorite summer pastime?
Macy Mody [00:21:24]:
My favorite summer pastime probably hiking with my dog. Nice to get outside, get some fresh air, get some good scenery, and always nice to be out there with my dog. Give her some exercise too. Otherwise just travel, but I think the hiking is the more day to day.
Andrew Monaghan [00:21:46]:
What sort of dog do you have?
Macy Mody [00:21:48]:
She is a Bernie Doodle. So half Bernie's mountain dog, half poodle. I am at home right now. So if you hear her in the background now you know her, she's musty.
Andrew Monaghan [00:21:57]:
Big and fluffy then. Is that about right?
Macy Mody [00:21:59]:
She is. She's about £70 and a big fluff.
Andrew Monaghan [00:22:03]:
Good for her. All right, next number to you. One on 35.
Macy Mody [00:22:07]:
How about 1616?
Andrew Monaghan [00:22:10]:
Is one event in the world you haven't been to but would love to attend.
Macy Mody [00:22:16]:
Wow, that's a hard one. I think I'd like to go to the Olympics. I've always kind of wanted to just go see live in person, be a spectator. I'm lucky I'm in Los Angeles, and they're coming to Los Angeles in a couple of years, so I might actually get to make that happen.
Andrew Monaghan [00:22:33]:
No kidding. Wouldn't that be experience? Just to be there and experience?
Macy Mody [00:22:36]:
That be awesome.
Andrew Monaghan [00:22:37]:
In London in 2012. My sister lives in London, and she went along to a few of the events, and so it was just amazing. There's a lot of fun. And the feel good aspect of being there and seeing these people compete was pretty special, she said.
Macy Mody [00:22:51]:
Oh, yeah? Which events?
Andrew Monaghan [00:22:53]:
Yeah, I can't remember what she went to, but okay. I know it was inside the it must be a slatticks of some description because she was inside the main stadium, I think, for most of the time.
Macy Mody [00:23:02]:
Okay, cool. I want to see gymnastics and swimming.
Andrew Monaghan [00:23:05]:
Macy Mody [00:23:06]:
Maybe. I'll let you know in a few years if I make it.
Andrew Monaghan [00:23:09]:
I hope you do. All right, last number, team one and 35.
Macy Mody [00:23:12]:
How about 22?
Andrew Monaghan [00:23:13]:
22. Tricked out Jeep or German car with all the gadgets?
Macy Mody [00:23:19]:
Wow. Interesting question. German car with all the gadgets?
Andrew Monaghan [00:23:24]:
Why that one?
Macy Mody [00:23:27]:
I just don't see myself driving a tricked out Jeep. Honestly. No other real reason. No good rhyme or reason for it. But I don't see myself driving a tricked out Jeep.
Andrew Monaghan [00:23:38]:
There's something good about sitting in a solid car, solid German car where you feel like everything is just being thought of before you even thought about it yourself, and it's just all right there for you.
Macy Mody [00:23:48]:
So true. So true. And all the Gadgets are nice. They get seat warmers. Some of those cars even have, like, massagers built in the seats now. Some crazy stuff.
Andrew Monaghan [00:23:58]:
That's good stuff right there. You're sitting at la. Traffic. It'd be nice to have a massage at the same time. Right?
Macy Mody [00:24:04]:
Right. That would be amazing.
Andrew Monaghan [00:24:09]:
So a year ago, March 2022, according to the public information, SafeBase took an $18 million Series A. What was interesting was I looked at the according to LinkedIn, I looked at the growth in sales headcount over the last year, and you 400% increase after you got the Series A. So it sounded like you're using some of the money to invest in the go to market side. Tell us about your sales team.
Macy Mody [00:24:35]:
Right now, we are definitely investing in the go to market side. We didn't start hiring our sales team, though. Until much after our Series A. I think our first Ae started in July after that. And we have two AES right now. So just to myself on the sales side working with them and we've just brought on more sales manager type roles because as we continue to build that team, we're going to need to hire, grow and build out the function more. But really, we stayed super lean. It's been two AES this whole time since that raise happened about a year ago. So I would say we have a larger customer success team. We have three CSMS and that I would also consider go to market because one of the most, if not the most important thing to us is making sure our customers are enjoying their experience with the product and love working with us. That's how we get folks to continue to use the platform, to continue adoption, to refer it to their friends. So we've also invested in that side of the house on the go to market side.
Andrew Monaghan [00:25:51]:
And you said that right now you're getting a lot of inbound through the virality of the product itself. How do you think about balancing the need for growth and maybe getting people who do go outbound and relying on the existing cadence that you have?
Macy Mody [00:26:08]:
I think there's a healthy mix, right? So we're starting to do more like strategic messaging outbound. We'll be starting similar time to RSA, but it's really about a healthy mix of I never want to be that person calling. This might be controversial, but I have a hard and fast rule at SafeBase, like we don't call anyone's cell phone unless they've explicitly told us to, right. As part of we've already spoken to them. So I think it's about finding a balance of a way to get in front of the right people, but get in front of them at the right time and figure out how we can really understand that these people might want to buy our product or have come into contact with us at RSA, for example. Right. And therefore maybe this is a prime time to do a little outbound to them. But for me, it's about keeping that balance. And what we don't want to do is just only rely on a heavy outbound motion because then we'll have to build out full BDR team and all of that stuff, which is not in the plans for this year.
Andrew Monaghan [00:27:15]:
Why is that? It seems like a lot of companies are doomed. BDRs, I'm just curious if there's some reason why you just don't think it's going to work for you guys.
Macy Mody [00:27:23]:
I don't think it's about not working. I think there's certainly been great success for lots of companies with that. For us, it's just, again, more about keeping that healthy balance of we really want customers who are excited and want to use the product and are going to be great advocates of the product and we're getting a ton of folks coming in inbound, and I'm guessing you've heard this on your podcast before. It didn't come up in the episodes I listened to, but I often see lots of security folks and sales folks on LinkedIn talking about how they got an outbound and they're getting too much outbound, they're not reading their inboxes. And that's a lot of effort and a lot of time spent. So for sure it works, right? Like, no question, lots of companies have grown that way, but we're still growing so much the way we started that it's just not where we're ready to go at this point in time.
Andrew Monaghan [00:28:23]:
Yeah, I feel like it's an option, but if I was to put it on my hierarchy of things to be doing, I wouldn't be too high. I'd be looking for things apart from that to be doing, such as looking at the product and the vitality of the product and figuring that bit out first because it is what people default to. And I think what many right now are experiencing a lot of struggle in trying to make that model work. So I love the fact that you guys have got something that just seems to drive some inbound for the team and you're doing quite nicely on the back of it right now with two AES, which is an awesome situation to be in.
Macy Mody [00:28:58]:
Yeah, I think for us, we're really creating a new category, right? Like a year ago, the term trust center wasn't necessarily a common phrase, and now you're hearing it more and more. Lots of companies have some form of a basic trust center on their website, whether it be automated and interactive or not. And with that new category, creation is also we also need to find budget. People need to create this new budget. And most of the time going outbound and getting folks to create this budget can be challenging. But if they're coming to you, they're likely already seeing the need and wanting to make this happen, right? So, of course, inbound is always going to be an easier sell, I should say, than outbound. But it's especially true, I think, when it comes to really creating a new category for a tool.
Andrew Monaghan [00:29:55]:
Well, I think it's a great sign that your message is getting through when people do come through to you and it's a new category, right? It's not just some slightly better alternative to the 15 other ones I know about. That's a great position to be in as a company. I bet it took a bit of work and thought forethought to get to this point on that we have an.
Macy Mody [00:30:14]:
Incredible team of talented, talented individuals working to solve this problem. And, yeah, it certainly took a lot of hard work, but we're all so excited to be on this journey together. It's quite amazing when one of my AES or CSMS will post In Slack to say, customer or prospect has this question and. Five engineers reply, right? Like, you don't get that everywhere. So it's certainly a lot of hard work. But that's all just we have an incredible team that's really dedicated and on the same mission.
Andrew Monaghan [00:30:52]:
You said that you started hiring the AES in July, I think you said, of last year. How did you know that was the right time to bring them in?
Macy Mody [00:31:00]:
It was simply about capacity and needing people to really be focused on getting deals to the finish line and taking those demos. It got to a point where it was just myself and my CEO, Al, doing demos and closing deals and we didn't have the capacity anymore to keep doing it all. So for us, the hiring was a natural thing that happened and it was really just where we were at as an organization. We had to start growing up the team.
Andrew Monaghan [00:31:29]:
Anytime you bring on new people, but also when you start a new function, there's going to be things you're thinking about or maybe even concerned about. I'm wondering what your biggest worry point was as you embarked on the road of bringing in AES.
Macy Mody [00:31:43]:
Great question, lots of worries. Let's be candid here. I think that you're spot on. There's always going to be tons of concerns when you're starting a new function or bringing anyone new into an organization, you want to set them up for success. So one worry there is, hey, do we have enough inbound leads to fill quotas for our AES? Right? Since we weren't doing any sort of outbound at that point. So that was one concern. Another was we really want to bring in people that believe in our product, our mission, our philosophy, and are selling in a way that our buyers are attracted to and really like working with them. So making sure we got the right folks in the door that could work with the people in our pipeline and those to come was super important and scary to make sure we brought in the right people. And I can definitely say now we have. So that was a success and we spent a lot of time on the hiring process there. But yeah, I think are you going to get the right folks in? And then there's also the am I setting them up for success? Right? When you make a hire, my first thing is I'm hiring someone and I need them to be successful. So what am I doing to make sure they have the right workload? On the sales side of it, they have enough leads coming in that they're really going to thrive. So that was my biggest concern.
Andrew Monaghan [00:33:19]:
You mentioned the hiring process. It sounds like you did give us some thought. I'm keen, if there's any learnings from that, that things that you did that especially worked well and things that you ended up dropping.
Macy Mody [00:33:29]:
Yeah, good question. So we did an exercise which it's kind of funny, because we were only doing inbound, but we did an exercise where we asked our candidates to design an outbound motion for CISOs. And the goal there really was to say? Do they have an understanding or are they really willing to do some research and learn how to best sell to those people in that persona? Right. Maybe they don't like ten phone calls in a sequence. Maybe it's more about emails or LinkedIn messages or something like that. So that was something we did that I think was super helpful for our first two Ae hires. But now as we grow the team, it's not something we're necessarily keeping. We're more focused now on making sure there's team fit, there's culture fit, and we have more people across the board at this point in our lifecycle that they can actually meet, and that can kind of be that gauge. At the time, it was just myself and my CEO, right. So we wanted to have also some piece of material that we could say, we made sure to compare everyone fairly equally across the board. Now we get more folks in the room, so the exercise might not be as in depth, though we might still ask some of those questions, but we also get a stronger sense of culture fit and just fit as a salesperson in general.
Andrew Monaghan [00:35:01]:
And sometimes that move from essentially you and I, founder Led selling into a sales team can be wrought with difficulties just because they have a different perspective and things like that. I'm wondering what steps you took to try and get the continuity as you move forward down that path.
Macy Mody [00:35:19]:
Totally. I think it's hard to let go right when you're starting that more founder Led motion and then having to switch off. It's hard to say, no, I'm not going to go to a demo. Right. For us, it was really about being there to support the team and shadowing on calls, to be there to give feedback and say, look, this might have been how we would tweak something. And then at the end of the day, it didn't take long for us to start trusting. Right. It was you've proven that you know how to demo this product. You can answer these questions, and if there's any issues, you'll loop us in. So it's not a concern anymore. So for us, it was really about framing the narratives, making sure people understood people. Our wonderful AES understood the story to tell, and from there then, it was shadowing and building trust. And once we got that trust, it was easier to start stepping away.
Andrew Monaghan [00:36:17]:
And I think SafeBase is a remote organization, is that right?
Macy Mody [00:36:21]:
We are fully remote, yes.
Andrew Monaghan [00:36:24]:
How did you work that in? Because, as you say, a lot of trust. You got to build trust with people that you don't interact with face to face very much at all. How did you go about doing that?
Macy Mody [00:36:35]:
Yeah, so we do have off sites and at the time when our sales folks joined, it was also kind of conference season, so we did get to meet actually during the interview process. We met one of our AES at RSA last year, kind of while he was interviewing because he happened to be there. And then we had our company off site shortly after, as well as we were at Black Hat. So in the first couple of months, there was a lot of really good in person time. But I think it's also, as a leader, just about making sure you're getting to know someone from that work level that you trust their work, and also that personal level. Right. And you really build trust by getting both sides of people asking how someone's doing, asking what's going on in life, and you can start to tell when both sides start to gain trust. And I think it's certainly harder in a remote environment, but it's very possible. It takes a little time and nurturing, I think, especially in what we're talking about with getting comfortable with them demoing. It takes shadowing, it takes a comfort level, but at some point you also just have to let it fly, right. For lack of a better word, it's just going to happen.
Andrew Monaghan [00:37:51]:
Yeah. Letting go of the reins can be tough though, right?
Macy Mody [00:37:54]:
Oh, yeah, totally. Yes. I'm sure if you asked our sales team I asked to be on way too many demos with them just to see how it was all going, but I think it all worked out now.
Andrew Monaghan [00:38:09]:
That's great. Now, if you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing for your sales team right now, overnight, without any concern for cost or whatever, what would you fix for them?
Macy Mody [00:38:21]:
Wow, that's a great question. I could wave a magic wand. I know we're talking about the inbound lead flow and it's wonderful and it's really great, but even more leads. I want their calendars to be so booked and so full with new folks coming in because we're launching so many new trust centers and we're getting so many more eyeballs every single day. So really just getting them even more leads to work with and people's lives to make better. I think at the end of the day, the reason we've been successful as a sales team is because we all truly believe that we're eliminating work for people and we're making people's lives easier and better, and we hear that time and time again from our customers and prospects. So the more people we can do that for, I think the happier everyone on our team would be.
Andrew Monaghan [00:39:14]:
I don't think you'll find a salesperson ever complaining that you give me too many leads. Right. They might say I'm overrun, but at some point they'll say I've got too much, but most will try and stretch that as long as possible.
Macy Mody [00:39:28]:
Oh, yeah, definitely. If you have any magic wand to wave so that my salespeople can be super duper happy with the crazy amount of leads, let me know.
Andrew Monaghan [00:39:38]:
I wish it was that many companies wish it was that easy right now. I'm sure.
Macy Mody [00:39:42]:
Oh, my gosh. Yeah.
Andrew Monaghan [00:39:44]:
Macy, let's put this around. I'm wondering if you have a question for me that you want to see if I've got a half decent answer to for you.
Macy Mody [00:39:51]:
Yeah. I think my question would be at the beginning, you were surprised when I said almost people see up to 90% reduction in security questionnaires. And we do see up to that. It's somewhere between 60 and 90 usually. Do you see a world in the future where security questionnaires go away and what does that look like to you?
Andrew Monaghan [00:40:15]:
I'm never a fan of the black and white. Do we always have them or never have them? I think there's obviously a path people go down to do less of something that they naturally realize is not that great and not the best way to work. I think you'll find over time, there will be a new way will come in, obviously. Right. The question is, what is that new way and what do people get comfortable with? One of the reasons I was asking the questions about the vertical is it seemed to me that you've got in some verticals, very entrenched ways of doing things. Even they know it's not the best way. It's just how they've always done it. And as you go to those big banks and big manufacturing companies, they're just slower. That's just the nature of it. Not all of them, right. There some that are more forward thinking and some that are way behind, but they're going to be resisting because of whatever reason they think it's not going to work, shouldn't work, will never work, all the rest of it. And at that point, it seems like you probably have to write with that a little bit because they'll come around. They'll just be somewhere on the adoption curve. And it won't be early adopters or early adapters. It'll be further down from there. But it seems like that when you really get into conversations with people, especially the more senior they get, the less people are sitting there going, yes, assessments is the way that we need to keep doing this. It's really a question of asking the right questions and taking those, depending where they are, the adoption curve to realize that there is a better way. And it's there now. And for some people, 99% of what an assessment is is going to be good enough, and that can be harder to switch over. And it'll be those that say, my goodness, if you can get to 50% as good as assessment, I'm in, because this sucks. So you got to have different people. And then over time, the industry will kind of move around. And suddenly, I think, as you're finding right, is the trust centers become more reasonably adopted. It's just like a natural thing people do. And then I think your biggest challenge from there will be competitors trying to do the same sort of thing. Whilst everyone might have a trust center, it might not be a safe based trust center eventually because competitors will come in and try and disrupt that. So yeah, to answer your question, as good as at some point everyone will be doing something different. And the question is what is that thing that's different? If the trust center is a thing, well that's awesome. I think what's interesting, what you were saying about the verticals is a lot of the countries you mentioned are still tech companies. To me the thing to take from that is they're naturally more, I don't know, innovative, forward thinking. It's just in their DNA who they are as a company and it would natural to try and target them. So as you say fintech before you go to we go to Bammel for example, who probably got set ways and they got teams and teams of people who do this sort of stuff and for them to start moving off that is going to be a much longer sales cycle to do it. So I think there's a natural kind of way to look at Pinpointing, where to go in the market and always thinking about who the most forward leaning people that we can easily get to. But as you say, most of your stuff is coming in bound then thinking where you target is probably more a marketing thing right now than it is a sales thing.
Macy Mody [00:43:22]:
Yeah, and we're certainly still building out our marketing efforts. No, that's all very interesting and fair points, I think keep your eyes on it because we definitely have some of those more non techy companies hopefully coming soon. But it's true, right? The early adopters usually are tech companies for new technology as well. So natural that a company as young as ours kind of has seen that and that's where we've gone so far but hopefully lots more to come from us.
Andrew Monaghan [00:43:53]:
Yeah, I think if you think about the DNA of who you are as people at your company, your networks and what you know is probably more in tech. So that's a natural place where people start learning about you more. And then I guess the question will be can you hire people who are more evangelists in these other markets who aren't salespeople, probably more under marketing. But when you have to go speak at a conference on the East Coast in Manhattan, you send the person you hired, who used to be a siso at a financial company in Manhattan to do the speech or whatever, and therefore they're one of them and can relate to that audience a lot better and start changing minds like that. That's probably the better way to keep the inbound going as opposed to feel like you got people on the phone personally without knowing your business at all. I'd rather invest in people like that than invest in BDRs. I think you'll extend your vitality as opposed to relying on brute forcing a market at that point.
Macy Mody [00:44:49]:
Yeah, no, I mean, that makes a lot of sense. We've done a lot with our advocates and our customer advisory board and things of that nature to just get people who are really proud to be using Safe space. And I think, sure, you can start to hire for that, too, but even better when you have a CSO at one of those companies just wanting to naturally help out.
Andrew Monaghan [00:45:10]:
Yeah. Well, listen, Macy, I've really enjoyed our conversation today. If someone wants to get back in touch with you and continue the conversation or talk about future employment opportunities, what's the best way to do that?
Macy Mody [00:45:22]:
Yeah, always can get in touch with me via LinkedIn. I am pretty responsive there, so feel free to shoot me a message.
Andrew Monaghan [00:45:29]:
Well, that's what you should do. I'll put the LinkedIn link in the show notes, but imagine if you do a search for Macy, Modi and LinkedIn, you'll find that Macy's at the top of the list right there. And with that, Macy, I wish you and the team every success for the finalist final selection for the innovation sandbox. I hope that goes well for you and whether whatever happens to RSA, every success for 2023 and 2024.
Macy Mody [00:45:55]:
Thanks, Andrew. I really appreciate it. It's been a great time for this hour here. And, yeah, I'm super excited for RSA in a couple of weeks, so hopefully we'll see you there.
Andrew Monaghan [00:46:06]:
Well, that was an interesting interview for me to learn how SafeBase is doing things. I'm somewhat familiar with the whole world of assessments and how people view them and things like that, but seeing a different approach and seeing what the impact is of how they're approaching it, I think, for me, was especially interesting. So three takeaways, and the first one is related to that and the idea that Macy said one of the KPIs internally is The K Factor. So they're tracking for every customer they bring on. How many new customers does that one customer drive? What a fascinating way to look at doing your marketing and be able to track that, to see what The K Factor is. It's not a number they share publicly. I know that, but it would be fascinating to know what it is to get a sense of that. But that built in. Virality in the product is a really interesting one. And I know in many situations in cybersecurity, we probably don't have access to that virality, but I wonder if there's perhaps more situations where it might come into play than perhaps we might think. That was one takeaway. The second one was when I asked Macy about hiring. That big step from having no salespeople into actually having salespeople is one that it's a big step for a company to take. Right. You do it with trepidation a little bit. Sometimes you got founders who have a view about salespeople and they know it's something they have to do, but I don't know, they're just not all that keen on the whole thing. Not saying that's what was happening in SafeBase, but I know it's a step to take. So I'm glad that she was pretty candid about the trepidation they had, but also how they went about bridging that gap in terms of their views on how to go about doing it. So that was the takeaway number two. And the third one very much related, though, was the idea that they constructed a mini project for their potential new hires, the two Ae roles they're looking to fill about building an outbound cadence. I love the fact that it did that. I wish we did more of that sort of thing in sales. I think too often we default to, well, just give me your 30 60, 90 plan. Right? I think that's revealing in some ways, but I don't know, feel like it's pretty standard, and you can dream that up pretty quickly. But I wonder if we thought about other things except for a 36 90 plan like Macy did at SafeBase, that will reveal how someone thinks about selling or how they do selling right now, whatever it might be. Whatever that project is, though, it can't be onerous on the sales rep. You're asking them to go off and do a day's work or two days work to try and win the job. I don't think that's necessarily the right way to go. I'd much rather give them a project that's relatively simple for them to do, but it's highly revealing in how they go about doing things. Just one aside quickly on that, one thing I've heard people do is say, imagine I was a prospect of the company you're at right now. Let's go through how you would approach me and things like that, and maybe even do a mock role play. You're not asking to learn anything new. You're just asking them to be what they are right now, which is a salesperson at their current company or a salesperson at the last company, let's say. So they know it all anyway, and you'll see how they go about doing their job at that point, whether it's the right style and culture that will fit with your style and culture of the company. But anyway, the idea of doing something like that, a mini project, to reveal quite how they think about things, I think is a super interesting thing to do, especially early on where you're going from zero to two, right? So you want to make sure you're hiring the right people. Especially make sure you're hiring the right people. It's not like you're going from 22 to 24, and therefore the stakes aren't quite as high. When you went from zero to two, the stakes are high. So having little things like that might help out. Founders believe they had the right people and go through the steps of increasing the chances they got the right people as well. Anyway, those are my three takeaways. Really fascinating company. Really fascinating how they're going about doing things. I think there's a lot to be inspired from, if not learn from as well. So I wish everyone in Macy's team and the whole team at Safeface every success for 2023 and beyond.