That's why we're thrilled to introduce Jay McGrath, our newest Venture Partner. Jay specializes in sales and brings a wealth of experience from multiple startups, including roles as VP of Sales and CRO, most notably at UiPath.
Jay will support our portfolio companies as they build their sales strategies and their teams from the first ICP definition to $100M in ARR and beyond.
We had an exciting conversation about him and and his experience:
You joined UiPath with ~100 employees and less than $10M in ARR — now UiPath has over 4,000 employees and a reported ARR greater than $1.2B. What were the key moments in changing - or bringing to life - your G2M/Sales approach?
In 2017, I was hired as the first sales leader in the US market. In truth, there were only two UiPathers in the US at the time, and the other person was my boss. There was no one in sales to lead but myself. This turned out to be a major advantage. By taking the sales calls personally, by working events personally, and by working to build the pipeline, I learned first-hand what it took to sell the new technology known as RPA. This helped me identify the hiring profile of an ideal seller for our company, which we used as we built out the team. At the time, there wasn’t a stable of people with experience selling RPA, so we had to figure out who could sell this technology to operations and finance teams AND work with IT on implementation and security.
Over time our strategy evolved away from selling the technology and its capabilities into a firm value-selling methodology. We moved up the organization into the SVP and C-suite ranks in our deal-making by focusing on the business outcomes - reducing risk, increasing revenue, decreasing expense - making our deals much bigger and longer term.
You often hear that getting to $10M requires one approach, to $100M a different approach, and to $1B another approach and at a scale that can be difficult to manage. My experience at UiPath bore this out. Without the strong team culture we had built, we may not have made it as far as we did.
What is your top-level sales advice for companies?
Get product market fit first, and don’t let that be a subjective determination or one based on revenue. Devise metrics that show customers are using your platform in a way that, if it disappeared, they wouldn’t be able to do their work. Be overly diligent in the beginning about getting the product right and understanding how customers use it. Then, as you build demand, you can hire a sales team. There is an adage that says hiring salespeople grows your pipeline and grows revenue. In practice, it doesn’t work this way. You have to have product-market fit and understand who HAS to have your product and HOW they are using it to build demand. Then your sales team can turn that demand into revenue.
How do you find the right people to hire for sales?
My profession is littered with sales leaders and sales reps who have been trained by people who don’t know what they’re doing. Harsh words, I know, but it is sadly true. So it is essential to deeply understand your customers and what they need, then build a profile and then create a scorecard to interview and test candidates to ensure they are a good fit. Hiring on past performance at a prior company is like rolling the dice. That sales leader or sales rep - including those of us who helped to make UiPath successful - may work out, or they may not.