PODCAST 63: Translating Big Companies Principles to Small Companies w/ Ben Wright

Big companies principle to small companies podcast image
Sales Management

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Ben Wright, Chief Revenue Officer at EAT Club. He’s been around the block.

He’s on the podcast chatting about moving from a big company like Yahoo! to a small company like EAT Club. How did he transition from a large to small company?

If you missed episode 62, check it out here: PODCAST 62: Managing People and Incentivizing Sales Team w/ Kathleen Roberge

What You’ll Learn

  • What EAT Club is
  • What success looks like for a customer
  • The value of working at a big company
  • The difference between a CRO and VP of Sales
  • Indicators of success in the B2C food space

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. About EAT Club: An Introduction [02:13]
  3. Success for Your Customer is Success for You [11:30]
  4. Can Big Company Principles Actually Apply to Small Companies? [18:35]
  5. The Difference Between VP of Sales and CRO [29:38]
  6. Sam’s Corner [46:38]

Show Introduction

Sam Jacobs: Hey folks, it’s Sam Jacobs, your friendly neighborhood Sales Hacker Podcast host. Today on the show, we’ve got Ben Wright, the Chief Revenue Officer of EAT Club. EAT Club is a meal delivery platform, or maybe an eating platform, I’m not sure exactly the category that they would use. But it’s a really incredible company serving millions and millions of people and meals, food, every single year.

Ben’s going to talk to us about the lessons that he’s learned moving from a big company, Yahoo and IAC, to a small company, and how he translates big company lessons to small companies, so it’s a great conversation.

We’d like to thank our sponsors. We’ve got two sponsors on the show for you today. Conga is the leading end-to-end digital document transformation suite. With Conga, you can simplify documents, automate contracts, and execute e-signatures so you can focus on accelerating sales cycles and closing business faster.

Our second sponsor is Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform that enables sales reps to humanize their communications at scale, from automating the soul-sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providing action-oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back.

About EAT Club: An Introduction

Sam Jacobs: EAT Club is one of the fastest growing, high-growth companies out there. They are past the 100 million dollar run rate mark, or will be at the end of the year, so they’re growing very, very quickly. Ben has over 20 years of experience leading sales teams, strategy teams and operations, at both big companies and small companies. He spent 10 years at Yahoo, but he has also spent time building companies from very, very early stage. He’s an incredible sales leader. Ben, welcome to the show.

Ben Wright: Sam, great to be here. I appreciate you having me, thank you.

Sam Jacobs: What does EAT Club do? Tell us about EAT Club.

Ben Wright: EAT Club’s a food tech platform focused on the B2B space. We’re focused on bringing amazing food experiences into the office, into the corporate experience, at scale. What that really means for us is, great companies know that providing lunch is a benefit and is one of the best ways to increase collaboration, improve culture, and boost productivity with the employee base.

We’re a virtual cafeteria, letting employees order individual meal choices, from a mobile app. They’ll see about 30 dishes a day, over a hundred unique dishes a week, and everybody gets to order their own meal and choose what they want to eat. Because of that we satisfy all tastes, we satisfy all dietary restrictions, the employee can order lunch up to a week in advance or as late as 10:00 a.m. the same day. Employees get a notification to their phone letting them know exactly where their food is, and that it has just arrived. That’s what EAT Club is.

Success for Your Customer is Success for You

Sam Jacobs: Tell us a little bit about your background, tell us about the evolution of your time to get here.

Ben Wright: I’m originally from the UK, London specifically. I came to America in ’99, spent the first 13, 14 years or so, in Southern California. I was at Yahoo!, joined there in 2000. I started as an individual contributor, sales guy. It was sort of the hybrid sales account management role at that time.

So I did well in that role. I was inquisitive, and I asked lots of questions. Really complex ones like, “Hey, what does success look like for you as a customer?”

Sam Jacobs: Genius question Ben, genius question.

Ben Wright: Right. You’re welcome, everybody write that down. One of the first relationships I got was a company that used to sell books and now sells everything. That business and hadn’t grown very much, it was a small account. I just remember asking them, “What would it take in order for you guys to spend lots of money? What would that success look like? How does your business work?”

From that conversation, we sort of got to the concept of the cost per acquisition, which back then was kind of a new concept in digital media. Shortly that became one of our largest accounts because we figured out what was important to them and optimized campaigns to do that.

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Can Big Company Principles Actually Apply to Small Companies?

Sam Jacobs: So you’ve been at big companies, and you’ve been in small companies, EAT Club is probably in the middle. What is the value of working at a big company? What are the lessons that you can apply from a big company to a small company?

Ben Wright: There’s a lot of value, and a lot of discipline, and a lot of smarts that exists at big companies. And a smaller company, necessarily, is going to have to be different. The principle, or the thing you were trying to do, absolutely could have application, and probably does have application, at a small company.

If you’ve been at a big company, and you’ve seen the standard of big company, understand it’s not going to work the same way. So what you’re trying to distill is the principle of the thing, and then think about as you’re a leader of a team or a function, or even an individual contributor. Think about the application, the lightweight application of that thing, so your particular environment.

Begin with the end in mind. ‘What am I actually trying to accomplish here? What are the parameters around which I’m trying to accomplish this thing?’ If I’ve got a team of six or seven people, you’re just not going to get the value out of a really complex operation.

The Difference Between VP of Sales and CRO

Sam Jacobs: There’s a lot of debate and a lot of conversation about what is the difference between a VP of Sales and a CRO?

Ben Wright: Begin with the end in mind, “Do I have clarity of what success looks like in this scenario? Is everybody aligned around that?” As we start to sort of tease apart the differences between, perhaps the CRO role, and more of a classic VP of Sales role, part of it is the breadth of responsibility areas, but it’s also really thinking about the broader architecture of what it is that we’re starting out here to do as a company? Can I make sure that the more tactical things that I’m responsible for, really, are working in alignment with that? Clarity of mission, is really fundamentally important.

Not just, are we hitting numbers, but what are the things that move in my world that ultimately lead to success? In order to truly know if you have a machine, you have to instrument it. You have to know and understand how it moves through the system, what a rep needs to have in terms of pipeline coverage, in order for us to hit the number at the end of the month, or at the end of the quarter. Really building that instrumentation, for me, has been a key component to success.

Sam’s Corner

Sam Jacobs: Hey folks, Sam Jacobs. Welcome to Sam’s Corner. Fantastic interview with Ben Wright, Chief Revenue Officer of EAT Club, which is scaling incredibly quickly. Serving millions of meals to employees all over the world, so it’s exciting to see that growth.

What We Learned

  • What EAT Club is
  • What success looks like for a customer
  • The value of working at a big company
  • The difference between a CRO and VP of Sales
  • Indicators of success in the B2C food space

Don’t miss episode 64

We, of course, want to thank our sponsors. Conga is the leading end-to-end digital document transformation suite. With Conga you can simplify documents, automate contracts, and execute esignatures. Our second sponsor is Outreach. Outreach is the leading sales engagement platform.

If you want to reach out to me with feedback, you can reach me on LinkedIn.

This has been the Sales Hacker Podcast. Thanks for listening.

Sam Jacobs

Sam Jacobs is the Founder of Aqueduct Revenue Advisors and the New York Revenue Collective and regarded as one of the top start-up CROs in the tech community.

He has has over 15 years of experience scaling companies from post-revenue to ~$300M, has helped raise over $400M in institutional capital, and has helped companies of all sizes achieve an average annualized revenue growth rate of 48% over the last 15 years.