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PODCAST 26: The IPO Process From a Former Big Company and Startup to an IPO w/ Andrea Gellert

Sam Jacobs

September 25th, 2018

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This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we interview Andrea Gellert, one of the most respected marketing and sales executives on the East Coast.  Andrea is currently CMO and CRO of OnDeck and has built an incredible career as a marketer over the past 20 years.

Andrea started her career at American Express and worked extensively on the OPEN program there before making the leap to start-ups.  She walks through the key challenges and opportunities she faced navigating American Express and how she applied those lessons to a successful IPO at OnDeck and beyond.  

If you missed episode 25, check it out here: PODCAST 25: From SDR to VP of Sales at One of the Best Companies Outside the Valley w/Dan Cook

What You’ll Learn

  • The power of influence management and the key to a successful executive career
  • The personality differences across Marketing and Sales and how to align them
  • The impact of new marketing channels on customer acquisition
  • Using effective management frameworks to build and scale large teams
  • The differences between tactics and strategy and how to think about goals
  • The key drivers of success for women in the workforce
  • How to advocate for yourself to secure your next promotion

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [0:09]
  2. About Andrea Gellert: An Introduction [2:43]
  3. How Communications Skills and Relationships Helped Launch Andrea’s Career
  4. Asking Questions Is Key To Thinking Strategically
  5. Andrea’s Key Management Principles
  6. The Impact of Marketing New Channels on Customer Acquisition

Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Aircall and Outreach

Sam Jacobs: Hi folks, it’s Sam Jacobs, host of the Sales Hacker Podcast and we’ve got a fairly exceptional executive in our midst for this interview–

Andrea Gellert, the chief marketing officer and chief revenue officer of OnDeck Capital.

Andrea shares about the skills that you need to develop moving from an individual contributor to a manager, what she attributes her success to, and also the power of influence management.

First, we want to thank our sponsors. The first is Aircall. It’s a phone system designed for the modern sales team–they seamlessly integrate into your CRM, they eliminate data entry for your reps and they provide you with greater visibility of your teams performance through advanced reporting.

Our second sponsor is Outreach.io, the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth by prioritizing the right activities and scaling customer engagements with intelligent automation.

Now, our interview with Andrea Gellert.

About Andrea Gellert: An Introduction

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs, your friendly neighborhood host of the Sales Hacker Podcast. We are here today to interview Andrea Gellert, one of the most noteworthy leaders in the New York City tech community. She’s currently chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer of OnDeck, the largest online small business lender in the US.

Welcome Andrea, thanks so much for joining us.

Andrea Gellert: Thanks so much for having me Sam, it’s great to be here.

Sam Jacobs: You are CRO and CMO of OnDeck, tell us just briefly about OnDeck.

Andrea Gellert: Sure, OnDeck, was built to respond to a major need, which is giving small businesses access to the financing that they need to grow and maintain their businesses. We provide small business loans through a combination of an automated online system and a very high touch offline system as well.

Sam Jacobs: You manage marketing, sales, and partnerships?

Andrea Gellert: Right, I’m responsible for about 130 people, a majority of the team is inside sales, followed by a marketing team, and then a business partnerships team.

How Communications Skills and Relationships Helped Launch Andrea’s Career

Sam Jacobs: When you think about what you learned personally, what do you attribute your success to?

Andrea Gellert: There are definitely a few things that come to mind.

First is developing really strong peer relationships and cross functional relationships. Your job is always going to involve a matrix and the way you’re going to get things done is through other people, often people who don’t work in your direct group or work for you.

Secondly, ask what kind of communication skills do you have–how effective are you at articulating what you’re trying to accomplish? How strategic are you?

From a sales career progression perspective, I think I was able to demonstrate that I really understood how to get things done. When you’re talking about what should get done, that’s where you’re talking about strategy.

Asking Questions Is Key To Thinking Strategically

Sam Jacobs: When you’re thinking about strategy, is it a learnable skill or are there things that you can do as an individual to get better?

Andrea Gellert: I think some people naturally gravitate to strategy and some people naturally gravitate to tactics. That said, I think anybody can be a more focused and critical thinker, if you just are willing to ask the constant questions.

I often say to people what’s your “from-to”? Where are you moving from and where are you trying to get to? If you have an idea of where you want to go, figuring out how to get there, which is the strategy is a lot easier.

Often people get stuck because they’re not focused on where they want to go–they are so grounded in what they are doing today and where they are.

Andrea’s Key Management Principles

Sam Jacobs: What are the key management principles you adhere to?

Andrea Gellert: I really believe that people are the most productive and motivated when they understand where the company is trying to go, what success looks like, and how their role links to that.

I think organization structure and role definition drives a ton in terms of setting up the right management framework.

The second thing is having concrete goals. Here’s what we expect you to accomplish in this time period as measured by that. That’s super important.

Then, having a really robust professional development plan. Here are the two things I’m working on to grow my skills, and here’s the one thing that I’m really good at, that I’m working on to take to the next level.

The Impact of Marketing New Channels on Customer Acquisition

Sam Jacobs: You’d done marketing to small businesses at American Express. Are the same channels still as productive? What’s also declined in productivity over the past couple of years?

Andrea Gellert: A lot of the tools are similar. Reaching small businesses is tough given the scale and scope and diversity of them, so there are certain tools that allow you to be effective at filtering.

Certainly the world has evolved in terms of how everybody shops, how everybody is trying to find out information, so we leverage a lot of content.

We know that even if somebody sees a direct mail piece of ours, or hears a radio ad of ours, the very next thing that they’re going to do is come to our website.

Making sure that we connect the dots on all of our marketing, and connect that to a positive website experience, is the one thing that’s changed a lot versus doing direct response work 10 years ago.

Sam Jacobs: By connect the dots, do you mean positioning messaging, which is consistent across all the different channels that you’re marketing against?

Andrea Gellert: Right.

How do you make sure that when people hear your message, that they associate it with you and not somebody else?

The Key Drivers To Success As A Female Executive

Sam Jacobs: I wanted to talk about something you’ve dealt with, by definition, your whole life, but specifically in the context of leadership, which is gender. Tell us your thoughts on female leadership.

Andrea Gellert: I was fortunate because I had role models who showed how they use their voice. When I work with, and mentor younger women, I say a couple things that are universally true.

  1. Make sure that you’re merchandising and selling what you’re doing.

I think that often women assume, more than men, that if I do good work, it will be noticed, appreciated, and recognized.
If people don’t know what you’re doing, they can’t appreciate you. You have to be able to communicate to people what you’re doing and why that matters–explain the impact of what you’re doing and why it’s important for the business versus “this is a great initiative I did.”

  1. Make sure that you’re networking.

How do you make sure that you have an extensive network of people that you can reach out to? And it’s okay for that to be a transactional relationship. It doesn’t have to be a deep friendship. It can be a transactional relationship.

  1. Advocate for yourself.

I am always amazed at who comes into my office to ask for promotions versus who doesn’t. And it just makes me sad every time I think about it, that the ratio of men to women doing that is like five to one.

Women need to be willing to advocate for themselves and get what you think you deserve out of your job and your career. And if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Sam Jacobs: That’s great advice. Andrea, thank you so much for participating. We know you’re very busy running revenue and marketing and partnerships for a major public company, so it’s been a real pleasure to have you on the show and thank you again.

Andrea Gellert: Sam, thanks so much for having me.

Sam’s Corner

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody. This is Sam’s Corner. We he had a great conversation with Andrea Geller, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Revenue Officer from OnDeck.

In terms of notable takeaways from the conversation, when we talk about managers and executives and how they got there, they talk about how they advocate for themselves.

It’s important to quantitatively describe the impacts of your performance when you’re managing upwards. When you talk about an initiative you accomplished or you talk about a sale, always articulate that into numbers.

Know your business when you’re presenting and advocating on your own behalf.

Don’t Miss Episode 27

Sam Jacobs: If you’re wanting to check out the show notes, see upcoming guests, and play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, go over to www.saleshacker.com/podcast-subscribe.

We’ve got an incredible lineup of guests over the past month featuring everybody from Mark Cranney to Tomas Tunguz to Chris Voss, and we’ve got more great people to come.

You can also find the Sales Hacking podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your peers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

And then, finally, a huge shout out to our sponsors, Outreach and Aircall. If you want to get in touch with me, find my social handles in my bio below.

Thank you for listening. I will see you next time!


Also published on Medium.

This is a sponsored guest post from a Sales Hacker partner.

About the author

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.

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