Michael Osborne - Former CRO, Bazaarvoice

Managing Pipelines

Michael is the CEO and President of SmarterHQ, a customer-centric behavioral marketing platform. He is the Co-Founder and former CRO of myDocket (Handshakez). Michael was formerly the Chief Revenue Officer at Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and led the company from under $1 million in revenue to its IPO in February of 2012. During his time at Bazaarvoice, Michael held a number of other positions including Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Chief Customer Advocate. Prior to Bazaarvoice, Michael was the Director of Client Services at Coremetrics, a provider of web analytics and marketing optimization solutions. He is currently on the Board of Advisors at ShopSocially and Nomi.

Summary Notes on Managing Pipelines

  • How did you weight and flush pipelines?
    • Had a lot of eyes on every deal
    • Became successful because he paid attention to every deal he could
  • What are key metrics to manage and monitor a pipeline quarterly?
    • Ended up with a view in CRM that was very simple
    • Matrix consisted of best case and commit and stages of a deal (4 stages)
      • An early stage deal early in the quarter had a decent chance of closing
      • A later stage deal later in the quarter was almost a lock
  • Managed metrics based on deviance – if numbers said one thing and budgeting said something different, would figure out why
  • How did forecast versus plan at the start of a quarter?
    • Doesn’t look for 4x pipeline etc., look at a rep’s pipeline and realistic ability to hit target
    • Looks at the dollar value of each deal
    • Would ask a rep to pick which names he or she would expect close and why – if that list was covered he was OK with it
      • Not a concrete ratio
  • When do deals typically get done throughout a quarter
    • The more transactional the business, the more you can engineer to a continual model
    • For business with deals that get done in 5 days, easy to have a monthly target
    • For business with deals that take 90-150 days, it’s really difficult to engineer to a monthly number
    • As many as 40-60% of deals occur in the last month of a quarter
      • This was sometimes weighted by large deals coming in later in the quarter
  • What are some tips for land and expand strategy?
    • Have to build the first relationship well – this trains an organization how you’re going to work with them
      • If it goes poorly it becomes very difficult to upsell that organization
      • Sacrificing on terms the first time around, and delivering on service, is an effective way of building a relationship for the long term
  • How hands-on did you get during onboarding of new customers?
    • Early days you hand-hold everyone, very high touch – was expensive
      • Given that they were going for a 10-year relationship and an upsell path, this approach was key to customer growth