Can you define what neurodiverse means in general?
Cognitive differences from the norm, such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD, are referred to as neurodiversity.
What is TrainYo and what does it accomplish?
In response, TrainYo is an SDR bootcamp that collaborates with industry titans to train people from various backgrounds in entry-level SDR positions for Saas, with an emphasis on people who are hoping to better their lives and raise their earning potential.
What is the main reason for Sunil Kumar's business, and how did it start?
The answer is that Sunil Kumar's company was created out of a personal understanding of challenges and is entirely purpose-driven. He and his friend Omar started it in recruitment, but when they saw the potential for huge margins, they switched to recruiting SaaS professionals. They had to overcome prejudices in the hiring process for SDR positions before being hired after making cold calls to hiring managers and showcasing their skills. Their SaaS experiences made them aware of the inconsistent nature of onboarding and motivated them to make improvements.
Despite the fact that sales is a meritocracy, why is it that organizations employ for diversity but don't always keep or promote those hires in favor of hiring people who fit in and have extrinsic motivation?
The discussion suggests that the propensity for businesses to hire for diversity but not always to keep or promote those hires is probably caused by inherent biases and a failure to comprehend the changing market conditions and the need for a long-term, sustainable approach to hiring.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Inquisitor Podcast. Today, my guest is Sunil Kumar. You may have been listening to some of, uh, our ramblings in the green room. And what we're gonna talk about is different approach to how you develop people. Sunil and his partner have set up a company called TrainYo and what they do is they train people at their own expense, no cost to the, the people there themselves, and they, they get trained up and then they find jobs for them.
And it's a model that has worked many times in the past, but what I really like is the difference in the way, uh, Sunil is thinking about his role as a manager and as a leader. So, Sunil, welcome.
Sunil Kumar: Thank you very much. Really appreciate you, Marcus.
Can you tell everyone a little bit about your journey so far?
Marcus Cauchi: Can you tell everyone a little bit about your journey so far?
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, absolutely. So I have ADHD and dyslexia, so I went to school and I [00:01:00] had an impression of myself, which I was stupid child, not as smart as the other children around me. And, um, always aspired to be a smart person. And wasn't really sure of the how. And I think that was very environmental. I didn't know that I was neurodiverse at the time.
So it is kind of a long period of figuring things out, figuring out how my brain works.
Can you just explain what neurodiverse means for those old people who don't know?
Marcus Cauchi: Can you just explain what neurodiverse means for those old people who don't know?
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, absolutely. So a neurodiverse person is someone that would think differently to the average by the normal people, by the average,
right? So autism is a form of neurodiversity, dyslexia is, ADHD is. Many different forms that I'm not too aware of. Um, ADHD and dyslexia, I'm pretty read up on because those are the ones that affect me.
Marcus Cauchi: Understood. Okay. Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to make sure people actually understand, because I think for certainly a lot of the older people in my audience, me included things have moved on very quickly and I'm, uh, [00:02:00] just trying to,
Sunil Kumar: There's a lot of new words, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Again, one of the really interesting things here is we seem to spend so much time looking for reasons to be offended or upset and looking for reasons, uh, looking for difference. And in my do I started to realize how important its, to look for similarities, look for what we have in common and to build bridges.
And my life has become infinitely easiest since I have. And I realized just how much energy I must have exerted in the past getting in my own way.
Sunil Kumar: So you talking about empathy right, the action of it or
Marcus Cauchi: Empathy is part of it, but I think a realization that you can be satisfied, there can be enough and my, my contribution gives me greater satisfaction than what I take out
interestingly enough, and the older and more experienced I get the more important that becomes to me.
Sunil Kumar: Oh, it's like when you give a great gift, [00:03:00] sometimes you get more joy than receiving one. Got
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Any day.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
Sunil Kumar: Absolutely.
Explain a little bit about what TrainYo does
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this, explain a little bit about what TrainYo does first of all,
cause I love the concept.
Sunil Kumar: So TrainYo is an SDR bootcamp. Um, we take people from all backgrounds. So from an 18 year old, who decided that university wasn't for them, or just wasn't an option in the first place to, um, a 45 year old professor with two, uh, two PhDs, um, and decided they wanted to move out of academia.
Those are two real candidates that we've placed. 85% of the people we help are typically, um, close to or minimum wage. And so they are looking and hungry for an opportunity to improve their lives, the lives of those around them, the dependent, their family. And, um, I'm just not sure of how, or maybe haven't been given the right environment in the past.
So that's what we do at TrainYo. We partner with industry leaders, many of which, you know, I know nada featured on this [00:04:00] podcast recently, and she's also one of our guest speakers now and advisors. So we have people who are considered experts in what they know, come in and teach. What's working for them in today's world, from their perspective.
And after eight weeks you take someone who was probably unconfident, maybe was unsure of how to articulate themselves in a professional environment to a polished candidate. Who's been trained in the entry level role of SDR for Saas and it's really remarkable the results we've been seeing.
What's the purpose behind this?
Marcus Cauchi: So what, what's the purpose behind this?
Because it does sound like there is some form of mission and purpose behind, uh, the, the business itself.
Sunil Kumar: So you're quite right. It's completely purpose driven. This business has been born out of something you said when we were rambling, understanding the problems, um, understanding the problems firsthand.
So myself and Omar mentioned, I didn't go to university. Omar dropped out it wasn't for him. And we met in recruitment. We fell into recruitment. Like a lot of people [00:05:00] do and Omar took me on his wing. I was like 19 years old at the time. I didn't really know a lot. So I didn't also didn't have much of a work ethic.
And he said, Hey, this is how to pick up a phone. This is how to work hard. We became good friends. We were recruiting automotive professionals during Brexit, and we had a really tough humbling year. So any money whatsoever, just, just my bank and I was also lost to the company. I'm sure. So, Omar started a sector called SaaS.
And he said, well, so no, it's grown 400% this year, despite Brexit and people would be recruiting as sales people. They're kind of similar to us and it could be a lot of fun, so said fine. And we went and we started recruiting SaaS professionals and we're recruiting predominantly AEs and sales directors.
Cause that's where the highest margins could be achieved. But we knew that we could probably do the SDR. If we were given the opportunity and then one day maybe become AEs or so on. And so on. So six months in, after having success in recruiting SaaS both of us tried to transition over [00:06:00] to that side and we applied to recruitment companies in the space and the free, most popular and biggest SDR recruiters at the time.
And we received rejection. Well, we didn't even receive any emails, no emails at all. Just radio silence. And then we applied to companies directly on the website through LinkedIn, easy apply. And again, very little response, sometimes automated rejection HR. And what we noticed were significant biases in one, looking for people from nontypical backgrounds and two on degrees.
So most of the jobs, 90% of the jobs at the time required bachelor degrees. The way we got around that was by doing research around what an SDR hiring manager would be interested in seeing from their candidate. So we started picking up the phones and we cold called SDR hiring managers. The person I called called was Alice Henderson, who I think you met or may have met recently.
And, uh, he said, Hey, yeah, like the sound of how you go about it? Do you want a job? [00:07:00] (unintelligible) And I landed at a great SaaS company, um, that was series D at the time and their market leader and all the achieved product market fit. Um, and Omar landed at a similar company, I think series B series C and we both became globally top performing SDRs.
So at that point we felt like we deserved to be in a room and we've proven something to ourselves. If I fast forward to sort of my two years in Saas, I was an SDR hiring manager. Before that I failed as an AE. Then I also started consulting with small startups and building teams. What I noticed throughout that process is that onboarding is wildly inconsistent.
Some companies have it great. Some companies not so great. And I'm sure you're nodding and, and smirking. So you can obviously relate
Marcus Cauchi: Well, it's a pain smirk.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Because that first 120 days are when the new hire is putting the job, the manager, the company and the customers on probation. And they're deciding, have I made a terrible decision?
Is my boss a total [00:08:00] ass? Do I like the people I'm working with? Can I sell this stuff? Do I want to sell this stuff? Do I like the customers? Do I like the people I'm working with? Was I better off somewhere else? Will I be better off somewhere else? Which is why something like 42% of people leave within 30 days of hire?
Or maybe it's 30% within 42 days, but still a bloody terrifying statistic. What a waste.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah. Yeah. So it is just a huge amount of time, right? Huge amount of time.
Marcus Cauchi: It's insane.
Sunil Kumar: Obviously you can relate to that. And I, I saw onboarding them really well when I was consulting and, and part of that, um, delivery mechanism, we, we had a really good process and I learned from a really credible CRO, but when I landed in my first SDR role, there was no onboarding and I'd never been in SaaS before.
So I had really painful three months figuring things out, but we got there, right. And, and I thought maybe it could have been done better. So during the pandemic, before I ventured into SDR leadership, um, I failed as an AE. I was an SDR for 10 months and I [00:09:00] took a role as an enterprise AE. I took the role for the most money I could find.
Um, and I ignored some really credible advice and I was 23 years old and I was on a 60 K basic and a 60 K OTE, which was quite achievable if I. Put the work in a, been in the right environment. So I'd achieved my dream, so to speak, right. That's what I thought I had done. And I didn't pass probation and it ended March, 2020.
So , that was like a really tough time, right. Um, pandemic hiring freeze. Biggest ever recession, supposedly around the corner. And I saw this rhetoric on LinkedIn saying it's gonna be really tough to get a job now. So I went into panic mode and I kind of cried for two months and just kept thought about what I wanted to do next.
If I wasn't gonna be an AE, I got myself up and I thought, well, I want to be an SDR leader. I was really good at that. And I was kind of the silent leader within my op team. A lot of people would rely on me for advice and I could see myself doing that full time. So started cold calling hiring managers [00:10:00] within one week of prospecting,
I had 10 interviews and one company moved really quickly that I got to know and really enjoyed the idea of working for, um, and led in myself a role. So at that point, I thought, well, maybe I can help a bunch of people on LinkedIn. Because it's not too clear, uh, how to get a job right now, but it is quite simple if you have, you know,
Marcus Cauchi: Right.
Teaching them how to prospect for a job.
Marcus Cauchi: So you're not only training them how to be a SaaS SDR, but you're take teaching them how to prospect for a job.
Sunil Kumar: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: Love it. So they're actually doing the job that they're demonstrating. So they're demonstrating their capability. I've been teaching this to my clients for about 15 years. It's so beautiful to see it in action. I'm delighted.
This is fantastic.
Sunil Kumar: I love to hear that it is something that you don't see enough of even today. And it's so simple.
Marcus Cauchi: But think about it. The advertised market is full of competition and you have to go through recruiters and HR [00:11:00] and all of the bureaucracy. And if you don't tick the box, there's nothing. Well, why not apply your trade and do the job and prove to them that you are a better investment than the 20% that they're gonna fire,
anyway, they've got the budget. It's just a matter of replacing the people that they're going to, you know, if you're gonna be entirely callous about it, do that.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: But demonstrate real value as an SDR, to a manager who needs an SDR because he needs pipeline or she needs pipeline.
Sunil Kumar: No, I, I couldn't agree more.
It seems so logical and obvious, but some reason it isn't right. so, so I, I, I started doing that joined 2020. Um, and I wasn't employed to do it. Wasn't my job. I didn't have a business at the time, but I just wanted to help people who weren't employed. And by the end of that year, placed 16 people in SDR roles for free.
And four of those people were from US boot camps. And I had been planning to build a boot camp since 2019. Since I got into this space, I'd just saw the opportunity then [00:12:00] popping up in San Francisco. And I thought, well, there's a huge population of SDRs there. We could really do with something like this in (unintelligible) at the time there weren't an (unintelligible)
so I had a Google doc just sitting around and this was my first kind of time to test out some ideas that, that, that I had some theories that I had in. And when I got to meet the US candidates, I actually featured on a US boot camps podcast. Um, I got a lot of 'em come and approach me and they said, Hey, we've paid $10,000 for this course.
And we haven't got a job. I placed them, right. I placed all of them. Um, all of the ones that approached me, um, so four out of four. That was really telling, because I looked on these websites and they preached diverse inclusion. I once admired these companies and I realized, hey, they're just wrapping diversity inclusion for profit.
And the inclusion they have is rich people who are diverse. They are not helping people who can't afford it. So, I thought we could do this in a much better way. I have a recruitment background. I know if you can find good candidates, you can charge a significant fee [00:13:00] and be a profitable company. You don't have to tie people into a $30,000, which most of the companies are $30,000 income share agreement delivered by a loan shark type company.
Marcus Cauchi: Those organizations are really very dire. They, they, they do smack of real exploitation.
Sunil Kumar: Oh yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: People who are in dire need.
Sunil Kumar: And do you know, those are the ones that have the most funding because it's a reoccurring revenue model. So
Marcus Cauchi: I, I, I understand if you are making a, a real contribution but my experience of people who have gone through those programs, when they've tried to sell to me has been deeply disappointing as a buyer.
I've never felt safe. It always felt like I was being sold at. So I don't think they were gonna be set up. I, I think that's a, a lot of money given away for very bad direction.
Sunil Kumar: It, it really was. So the candidates I spoke with had not received live training, they [00:14:00] received pre-recorded training. It wasn't delivered by experts actually.
Got into the platform myself and checked it out. It was really, really poor. I've checked out multiple platforms and ours is free and 10 times better. I mean, I wouldn't even say it's 10 times better because there's just, it's just not at a standard where I would compare it. Ours is at a standard where it is really credible and delivered by people who not only our customers trust, but the whole industry source.
For organizations to take advantage of the fact that there are many people who are probably in their forties, early fifties and have sat on the buyer's side of the desk.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Right. Okay. So help me understand this then. There is a huge opportunity in my mind. For organizations to take advantage of the fact that there are many people who are probably in their forties, early fifties and have sat on the buyer's side of the desk. There have been operators. Now, I fundamentally believe it's easier to train those people, how to sell than it is to train a 22 year old, to have a peer-to-peer conversation [00:15:00] with veterans CFO, and to be able, not only to hold their own, but to be relevant because they don't have the context.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah. You're 100%, right. It's also just the experience of life, right. That's, that's what it is. And what I find in that is we've had a number of candidates that. Over the age of 40 and even, uh, further on in their careers. And they have been our most successful candidates consistently by the averages. We don't have as many.
Marcus Cauchi: In, in terms of results.
Sunil Kumar: Yes. Yeah. In terms of graduating top of the bootcamp, being credible in interviews and not nervous and able to speak as a peer, the interview, exactly what you said, right. That's how they present. And, and, and they're also a lot of the times willing to work harder, more driven. And yeah, just their expectations are a lot closer to reality in a lot of cases.
So, uh, the disappointing thing with that though is we are a company that preaches diverse [00:16:00] and inclusion, and a lot of SaaS companies work with us, a lot of major brands and, and they work with us because they wanna hire young, diverse candidates, right.
Marcus Cauchi: Diversity and inclusion includes old people.
Sunil Kumar: It does. It completely does.
And I, and I, I, I, that's a big part of what we need to educate, right? Because when we put a candidate in front of him, who's graduated the bootcamp top of his class. So Ben, Sam shout out to Ben. It took three months for us to get him a, a job. And he consistently got to final stage and then culture fit would come up.
Why is it that we spend so much time with these intrinsic biases, blocking people who have a massive intrinsic motivation and instead we hire people who have extrinsic motivation, which is largely to be seen to look good and not really produce?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, the, one of the most interesting observations, cuz I've done, uh, quite a few podcasts around, uh, D and I, um, and, um, the, the common theme is you're invited to the table, but you're not allowed to order from the menu. And when you do get to order, uh, you don't necessarily get quite-
people hire for [00:17:00] diversity and they fire for not fitting in or people leave because they just don't feel welcome. And I I'm really curious because sales should be a meritocracy and, you know, we, we, we are measured on our results. So why is it that we spend so much time with these intrinsic biases, blocking people who have a massive intrinsic motivation and instead we hire people who have extrinsic motivation, which is largely to be seen to look good and not really produce? I I'm I'm flabbergasted.
Sunil Kumar: It is absolutely crazy. Makes me think of something that slightly related, right. So I was listening to a podcast, Steven Bartlet's podcast, which I really enjoy had this CEO of Monzo on it.
And when they were found in Monzo, they had a team of, um, people who weren't from the space, but were really credible and purpose driven and had a mission to get a banking license, they had to hire [00:18:00] big weeks from the banks. And as soon as that process started, poisons started to seek into the business and they started to change their culture and how they did things and why they were doing things.
And that seems like society as a whole reinforced that, right. It wasn't something they were desire to do. It's something they had to do.
Marcus Cauchi: Again, this raises some very, very interesting questions in terms of the future of selling I'm really pondering these questions very deeply now, because I can see at a meta level, there are some very big global trends, which we're not gonna be able to do anything to fight against.
So we've got to try and work out how we can capitalize on the changing circumstance and not end up, you know, with our fingers burned or worse. And the more I dig into this, the more I realize that people's perspective is limited by their ability to see [00:19:00] into the future and, uh, look beyond themselves because very often what we find, especially now we're gonna see more and more people moving into survival mode and we are gonna see more and more people looking for very prescriptive help.
They're not gonna want theoretical stuff. They're not gonna want to look for the stuff in the future, which is the stuff that will save them. Interesting.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, it's sustainable, right? Um, they're looking for the short term fix. We all know that's not really reasonable.
Marcus Cauchi: And so what, what we're seeing is, um, that what I'm starting to see is, uh, organizations are starting to realize that it wasn't, that they grew their market share what happened during the pandemic that, you know, gave them the boost, was their market expanded to accept their message.
Now what's happening is that message is no longer relevant. Because people are now starting to hunker down, you know, I've had three or four conversations in the last two days where people are saying [00:20:00] that, uh, the close ratios are, um, starting to worsen there's uh, longer sales cycles. Yeah. These are enterprise.
Sunil Kumar: Businesses.
Marcus Cauchi: They're all enterprise.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah. Okay. That's interesting.
Marcus Cauchi: So, yeah, and they were SA they were SaaS as well, which was.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, no, it is because, I mean, we service the ecosystem as SaaS and we're seeing continuous growth. I think, I believe our message is right and will stay right. But I do sort of ask the question,
when is this bubble on that SDR hiring market gonna pop? Because it will at some
Marcus Cauchi: At the moment I, I, maybe you can correct me cuz I heard a terrible statistic about a week ago, which is that there were eight vacancies for every applicant for sales on LinkedIn at the moment.
Sunil Kumar: I would say that's very true.
Yeah, sure. Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Really?
Sunil Kumar: It's well, I dunno if there's eight, but it's definitely a candidate driven market.
Marcus Cauchi: No, absolutely.
Is it gonna be affordable for many small organizations to even keep top of the funnel in house?
Marcus Cauchi: And so what's [00:21:00] interests me is as the escalation of the arms race within sales and marketing tech starts to drive. Uh, I mean there, there, and Jay McBain released a, a, a graphic. There are 9,932 MarTech vendors as of Q1 2022.
There's another 1500 to 2000 sales enablement platforms. There's CRM, there's PRM, there's marketing, there's all this stuff going on. And then you've got all the trainers, coaches, consultants, and advisors, and everything else in a feeding frenzy in this marketplace. But what I'm really intrigued by is with that escalation in terms of the technology and the salary inflation, that's going on,
is it gonna be affordable for many small organizations to even keep top of the funnel in house?
Sunil Kumar: Well, that's why you're seeing [00:22:00] outsourced sales development blow up right now, right? It's big in America. It's big in EMEA. Yeah. I think that's gonna become more and more prominent because SDRs are fast becoming an affordable.
When we speak to clients who are new to hiring SDRs in London, these generally aren't the ones we work. Okay, well, we are prepared to pay 22,000 pound basic 25,000 pound basic. And their expectations are not for an entry level.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Sunil Kumar: It's it's it's yeah. and even for an entry level SDR, you should be paying in London between 28 and 32 base.
And that's the minimum we worked to, but they're, a lot of them are looking for someone we've experienced. It's like, well, you just can't afford it. There's no way . So yeah, I, I, I do question what's gonna happen.
If that is the case and it starts becoming unaffordable, how do you see that panning out then?
Marcus Cauchi: So, if that is the case and it starts becoming unaffordable, how do you see that panning out then? Just, you know, as a thought exercise, I'm curious, [00:23:00] how, how do you see that panning out?
And, uh, do you see people moving into ecosystems? That certainly the way I think it's gonna go, but I'm just really curious to get a sense of where you sit.
Sunil Kumar: I think there's gonna be a lot of outsource sales development. I also think a lot of it is expanding offshore at the moment. So I'm based in South America and I know a free, successful outsource to sales development agencies that have hundreds of SDRs in Medillin or Bogata or
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Sunil Kumar: Buenos Aires
and, um, they're doing really well in America at the moment. So I think you'll start to see, you know, what happened with manufacturing years ago. And quite honestly, I'm not sure. Um, I'm, I'm excited to find out.
Marcus Cauchi: So let let's look in, uh, into the crystal ball a bit more though. Cause I, I liked doing this sort of thing.
How much of that business is driven by is hot prospects as opposed to cold
Marcus Cauchi: So in terms of how you are going to market, I'm really curious how much of that, uh, business is driven by, uh, is, is hot [00:24:00] prospects as opposed to cold first of all.
Sunil Kumar: So by definition of hot, you would say they know us before
Marcus Cauchi: they know you you're being introduced by someone who is known by both sides and trusted by both sides.
Sunil Kumar: 18%, top business.
Marcus Cauchi: How much?
Sunil Kumar: 18.
Marcus Cauchi: One eight.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Right. Okay.
Sunil Kumar: I mean we outbound warm business, right? So we'll outbound 'em and then we'll get in a room him and I'll go, oh, I've seen Leon's content. I've seen Annika's content. I've seen your content. Love what you do. That's typically the reaction we get in most of our meetings.
Now we've managed to create this effect where we are doing over 200,000 views on LinkedIn across the team a week. And it's a very small space. It's a very small space. So it doesn't take long for everyone to know who you are.
How you choreograph the communication and your content internally
Marcus Cauchi: So again, I'm really interested how you choreograph the communication and your content internally,
first of all.
Sunil Kumar: So I have been someone who is what I thought had [00:25:00] procrastinate I would classic as procrastination on LinkedIn, probably two hours a day. Since I've started working, I've always been fascinated with however people build businesses. However, people lead teams, marketing itself is passion of mine. Huge one.
And I've followed leaders like, um, Chris Walker, Refined Labs, Dooley, Mark Pidgeon, all, all these people who have created really powerful word of mouth brands. And I've always aspired to do something similar. I've always thought that doesn't actually look that hard with the people I know and the skill sets they have and the age we live in, maybe it would be possible.
And TrainYo was my first attempt to making it reality. So I started to lead as, I mean, to go on, right. In order for the whole team to post, I had to start and show why we were posting. So I first started posting content on LinkedIn, literally the day we launched. I've consistently got over above 10,000 views on every post.
And it's always been about why we are doing what we're doing. And it's [00:26:00] always been, like you said, looking for similarities, the people who like my content, like it, because they can relate and empathize with it. Um, it's not alien to them. It's probably something they've been thinking and frustrated by. Um, and they see it like, yes, that,
right. Um, and that's the way we write all of our content. So we have a phrase inside of tri called. I. Because the whole idea is everyone lives a very similar life. And if you are able to share aspects of it, that a lot of people don't, a lot of other people relate to it. So I see me is ITC. Is that content?
So the idea is in the probation review, when someone calls up sick, that's all relatable, depending on who you're trying to appeal to. If you put it out there, You can build per very powerful personal brands. So everyone has free content pillars. One of them is TrainYo because we give you a day, a week to build content.
So you gotta talk about TrainYo a little bit, unfortunately, the other two are completely personal to you.
Marcus Cauchi: So 20% of their working time is spent [00:27:00] developing content.
Sunil Kumar: They work four days a week and they don't spend a whole day producing content probably half a day, a week, realistically. Yeah.
All our staff are four days a week, fully remote, and we've had amazing results.
You can work-
So they talk about TrainYo. What are the other two pillars?
Marcus Cauchi: so they talk about TrainYo. What are the other two pillars?
Sunil Kumar: So I'll give you an example. Um, my pillars are marketing and building in the open and TrainYo. Leon's pillars are SDR because he's very passionate about sales and TrainYo and just his life. What goes on in his life, Matthew, on our team, um, who is partially paralyzed.
One of his key pillars is disability awareness. And remote working and how disabled people can be the perfect SDRs. That's exactly what he wants to do at TrainYo. That's his miniature mission. So all the pillars are, are very personal, like Paula who's, Colombian and language Spanish is her first language is writing content about, she just wrote her first post.
I saw it last night and I was really, really [00:28:00] impressed. And here you go, talking about an ecosystem. That's will it video. Who's part of our ecosystem posting about us. We're posting about his technology. We win together. So where is it? Paula, this is what Paula wrote. She said, uh, recently I began building my personal brand.
As you know, as you all know, this starts with posting engagement on LinkedIn being from Colombia, Spanish is my first language. All of my thought and ideas need to be translated to English and this adds an extra hurdle for my content writing and engagement and throughout this, if you're not, you can't see the video, she's got emojis making it more engaging, right.
And more relatable to the market she's appealing to. And she's got a meme here of a popular sitcom with a, with a woman saying, do you know how frustrating it is to translate everything in my head before I say it? Do you even know how smart I am in Spanish? It's actually quite funny.
Marcus Cauchi: That's Gloria from what's it Modern Family.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Yeah. I don't, I don't. I know it's popular. So [00:29:00] yeah, I thought it was a great post .
Marcus Cauchi: It was, it was fabulous, especially if you know her.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: But okay. Really very interesting. So in terms then of your recruitment process, I'd love to talk about that as well. One of the things I like to do is establish a career path
in the interview process and learn what they really do well, cuz the, again, the experience has taught me that my best development areas and everyone elses are their strengths, not their weaknesses doubling down on my weaknesses just makes me irritated more frequently and more often. So I'm very curious about that whole career path in conversation that you have with candidates as they come through the process.
Sunil Kumar: First off our mentality is to draw people in and not draw people out. Um, if I look at myself before I was in a room, such as Optimizly, I was a dummy in comparison to who I am now. And that was because I [00:30:00] was never exposed to the right learnings, the right people. Um, I just wasn't given the opportunity. So we look for two key things which are coachability.
They have to be self-aware enough to know they're not perfect. And they're probably shit at a lot of things. Cause we all. And being that self-aware is a superpower. So, um, and,
Marcus Cauchi: And being vulnerable enough to admit it.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, who are you trying it for at the end of the day? Only probably yourself,
right? So that's typically what I'll say to candidates. When I see that they're not so coachable, they need a reality check and that, and that's important. And a lot of 'em do a complete 180 throughout the program and it's, it's very cool to see. And then secondly, it's strive. What, what's their reason, what's their why?
Why are they doing this? You need to have a good reason. It can be money, but money isn't the reason money is for your family. It's to buy the house it's to buy the car. What, what's the reason, that's what we like to understand.
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. And the career path.
Sunil Kumar: Um, what do you mean? Sorry,
Marcus Cauchi: Wh when I'm recruiting, I [00:31:00] always like to say, okay.
The One Thing You Need To Know by Marcus Buckingham
Marcus Cauchi: So in terms of how you see yourself developing, do you see yourself moving into a more senior SDR role? Uh, moving into the field, uh, into management, maybe into a really difficult role, like channel. How do you see yourself evolving and what is it you do especially well? What do you love to do? Tell me about your best day at work in the last couple of years, what were you doing?
Who were you doing it with your worst?
Sunil Kumar: That's a great question that I'm gonna steal. I've never asked that, so appreciate it. But
Marcus Cauchi: Marcus Buckingham
Sunil Kumar: Who's that?
Marcus Cauchi: He wrote a fantastic book called The One Thing You Need To Know. Um, he was an, uh, former researcher from Gallup and he's done some really interesting stuff around management.
Sunil Kumar: That's cool. Marcus Buckingham.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. So you might have heard of Gallup's 12 questions.
Sunil Kumar: I'll be honest, I haven't, but
Marcus Cauchi: Right, definitely look those up because, um, the 12 questions determined [00:32:00] great managers versus not great managers. And each of the three cluster, sorry. Clusters of three. So four clusters of three is about a different evolutionary stage in terms of the manager's own evolution.
But, uh, what's really interesting is the number one question, check out Project Oxygen also from Google. The number one quality of great managers was their people recommended joining the team to people. They cared about.
Sunil Kumar: What was
the second one? I'm just typing in the chat
Marcus Cauchi: Project Oxygen Project Oxygen by Google, uh, from Google again, really interesting.
Sunil Kumar: Oh, I I'm, I'm definitely gonna check it out. I'm always looking for recommendations as to what to learn. Sorry. I completely lost where we were.
Career pathing and interested in whether you set that up in the interview process, or it happens in onboarding or it happens later
Marcus Cauchi: Um, so career pathing and interested in whether you set that up in the interview process, or it happens in onboarding or it happens later.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah. So it depends on the candidate [00:33:00] somehow very defined in why they want to be an SDR, what their career path wants to look like.
And those are usually strong candidates typically. And, and they come through referrals from existing people in the space. A lot of the time we have candidates that don't know what they want to do yet. And it's not to say they can't be an amazing candidate in four weeks. That that's the beauty of it. A lot of 'em are, as soon as they are inspired
they're a different person, but they've just never been inspired before, right. So I think what really helps is for those candidates specifically is getting people from all backgrounds, um, and different levels within SaaS. Onto the course to share their perspective, because suddenly you hear about partnerships, suddenly you hear about SDR, the AE and it builds a picture of what's possible.
What we don't want is people who aren't looking to get into sales, right. It doesn't work out. That's not what we want. We wanna re- weed that out as soon as possible. And sometimes I'll be that know. If it's fair, but I think it's important to, [00:34:00] to, to, to look at a business in that way. And sometimes I've asked questions like, okay, when they say, I just wanna get into tech, I'll go.
Okay, great. There's so many options in tech. So do you wanna be a developer? Do you wanna be marketing? Do you wanna be this, that, and someone will say, oh, I wanna be a developer. I want to be a marketer. I wanna do this. I'll go. Okay. Well, fortunately it's not for you. Should good qualify. Yeah.
How do you make sure that they land in a place where the manager is capable of taking them on and helping them to continue that journey?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. This then raises a really interesting question because you put these people through what sounds like a phenomenally good experience and you equip them well.
How do you make sure that they land in a place where the manager is capable of taking them on and helping them to continue that journey?
Sunil Kumar: Well, that's a great question, cause that is the other 50%, right. Someone would say it's more than 50%.
Marcus Cauchi: It's more than 50%. That's the person who determines set livelihood.
Sunil Kumar: So we don't work with companies who are just building their SDR team. If they haven't invested a significant amount in building the SDR team. So AE management, enablement tech stack, [00:35:00] we will work with you if you're hiring your first SDR team, but I wanna meet with you or Omar has to meet with you and we have to really go through your numbers, check your understandings, both Omar and I, credible SDR managers.
So we're able to do the due diligence necessary. We have had two managers who are really credible leave organizations and that's out of our control. And I'm currently thinking about how we get better at kind of assessing that, to be honest. Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Well, one thing that you can do, which I found a really good indicator is the motivational maps tool, because if the motivations are not being met sufficiently, they become a flight risk and it's a very useful, uh, development tool because it enables you to focus your coaching around reminding them and, uh, enabling those top motivators.
because people are motivated for their, by their own their, and they're not motivated by yours. Um,
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: So if you know that and you understand their values, so that's another [00:36:00] profile that's worth exploring. It's a values profile for complete coherence.
Sunil Kumar: I hadn't heard of it. I think it's something we do naturally
if we can processize it and document it and share it, then we should actually,
Marcus Cauchi: And if you can use it with your people, then it tells you if there is a problem that you need to get ahead of.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's it's foresight, right?
Views around competition, compensation, measurement
Marcus Cauchi: We like foresight. I used to like surprises, but I'm not so keen on them now.
I want nice and predictable. And I, I, my objective is to make my client's lives boring. There's an exciting and tumultuous time to begin with as we go through that process of transformation, but then it should be systematized and you know, it's predictable. It's clockwork. Okay. One final question then before we wrap up, I'm very interested in your views around competition compensation, uh, measurement, because I, I see an awful lot [00:37:00] of
harmful unintended consequence because of how people are managed, how they're paid, how they're measured. And I'd be very curious to get your take on it and what, um, you've done to drive desirable behavior both through the measurement and compensation, but also through culture through values.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, so,
first off, I, I, this is maybe a bit of a do what I say and not as I've done, not I'm gonna say done. Um, instead of do I believe that if you can find a scalable way to map compensation to what people's motivations are and have them design their own comp and make it realistic in their minds and motivating for them, then you should certainly do that.
Have we done that internally? Not yet. We are in a position where we have an extremely motivated. People are very happy with what they have. We pay very well, to be honest, the way we've kind of done it internally is [00:38:00] I've brought everyone in. Everyone has equity and training, not share options, equity, and 10% of the company goes to future employees, but current employees are not in that pool.
They're, I've given em equity at my pool, not huge amounts, but, and it's not guaranteed. They've got to do certain things to accrue it, but I want to give them more ownership mentality. Everyone who works for us, works for us because they're massively bought into our mission. So Matt, our head of training has always wanted to work as a head of training at a bootcamp and was trying to become a head of training at a competitor's bootcamp.
And the moment I met him, I knew he was perfect and it's just worked out phenomenally. Paula is very much motivated in the same way. She wants to help as many people as possible. She gets joy out of speaking to candidates and giving them offers. And that's the same fry head of recruitment, Jordan. So I could go on and on, but it'd be boring, right?
The point is everyone is bought into why they're doing what they're doing. They all have their own mission within our mission, and it's very close to what we are doing. That's uh,
Marcus Cauchi: And how many people have you lost over the last [00:39:00] two years?
Sunil Kumar: So we've been operating for seven months and a week
Marcus Cauchi: And you haven't lost?
Sunil Kumar: No, we, we, we started in September.
What bit of advice would you give him?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Very interesting. So Sunil, tell me this, you you've got a golden ticket. You can whisper in the ear of the idiot, Sunil age 23, or thereabouts. What, one choice, bit of advice would you give him?
Sunil Kumar: I'm 25 now. So I I'm probably still learning a lot. I almost certainly am learning a lot.
Marcus Cauchi: Right. But maybe 21 then
Sunil Kumar: Yeah, I would say have a lot more confidence in your own abilities. And if I look at myself now, And who I was in my first SDR role when I was like 21. Um, I was yeah, 21 in my first SDR role. I used to view one person, particularly won't mind me saying this Henry the top SDR on my team at the time as a genius.
And I was like, how do I be smart like Henry? How do I become as intelligent as Henry? And now I walk into any room and I feel that I am the best at what I know. [00:40:00] Um, I don't think I'm the smartest person in the room. I think I'm the smartest person at what I know. And that confidence has allowed me to do everything and more.
So what surprised you most about this journey that you've gone through over the last seven months?
Marcus Cauchi: So what surprised you most about this journey that you've gone through over the last seven months?
Sunil Kumar: I'll be honest. We did kind of write out what we would achieve myself and Omar cause that's future content. That could be very, very cool to see. And we did predict a lot of it, um, because we've seen it in other companies and how they've done it.
And it is quite predictable when you dial it in. I think what surprised me the most is the fact that people are so bought into it. The fact that people genuinely want to help us like Benjamin, then here you introduced me to, right. I spoke to him yesterday. I spent an hour on the phone with. And he said, oh, can I post about your company?
And I said, I'd love that, how much he said, no, I just want to do it. That kind of reaction has surprised me. And it's very heartwarming to be honest.
How can people get a hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: That's fantastic. So, um, Sunil, how can people get a hold of you?
Sunil Kumar: So best way is LinkedIn, but I do get swamped on LinkedIn. So it might take me a few days to [00:41:00] respond, but I always will reach out to me on
my email is email@example.com, but I don't respond to many emails that often, unless it's a client. And even then sometimes I miss it, which is absolutely terrible. I need to get better at that. So,
Marcus Cauchi: well, I get 500 a day. So I'm with you. It's I hate email at the moment.
Sunil Kumar: Yeah.
Are you hiring?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So are you hiring?
Sunil Kumar: We are hiring continuously for our bootcamp.
We have nine full-time staff after starting seven months ago, a very high wages. So, um, we have a cost base that we need to make sure we're, um, protecting and we'll probably be hiring again, Q4.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So who are you looking for at the moment?
Sunil Kumar: We're not looking to hire anyone at the moment, but what we're, what we, what we'd ideally look for are people who are looking to transition into SaaS sales as an SDR.
You have to have no previous experience, background or education. And we're also looking to work with companies that are hiring SDRs at the moment and would like a source that is vetted, that they could rely [00:42:00] on. So they actually know the SDRs have already been trained, are going to work out and are diverse.
We can provide that service and it costs five and a half thousand pounds. Um, and when you consider that our competitors who are recruiters are charging eight or 9,000 pound for an untrained graduate, who I once hired as an SDR manager, a bunch of times and half the time they work half the time they don't, we've placed 50 people since September.
Um, only one of them has not worked out. Um, and that is an never on our half. And the comp the company didn't say that they said we both should have spotted. But we have very high success rates. Our SDRs are outperforming the people in their current teams consistently.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Fantastic. Sunil, thank you.
Sunil Kumar: Thank you.
Marcus Cauchi: This is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from the Inquisitor podcast. If you found this insightful and useful, then please do like comment share and tag someone who would benefit. And if you know someone who's looking to transition do get in touch with Sunil and check out, TrainYo in the meantime, if you wanna get hold of me,
my email is [00:43:00] firstname.lastname@example.org. I am hiring at the moment. So if you know of anyone who is a good, solid enterprise salesperson selling into large organizations with 30,000 plus headcount, those are the sorts of folk. I would love to have a chat with don't necessarily need that experience, but they do need to have a track record of selling a 100k plus deals in the meantime, stay safe and happy selling.