Daniella Bellaire is the Head of Sales at Shopify Retail and in this episode we talk about the future of work, remote work for sales specifically, and why Shopify was the first major company to announce the end of what their CEO, called “office-centric work.” Plus, we talk about changing the culture in B2B sales, Daniella shares her story about how she was reluctant to consider a career in sales because she didn’t anyone that looked like her, and we’ll get into the culture she’s building on her team.
Andy Paul: Daniella. Welcome to the show.
Daniela Bellaire: Thanks so much for having me, Andy.
Andy Paul: Pleasure to have you. So you’ve been sheltering in place North of the border alone, North of our border. So where have you been hiding out?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. So I’ve been hiding out I’m based in Toronto, Canada, and I’ve been hiding out in a small community called The Beaches here in Toronto, which is where I live. And, it’s been great to be able to tuck away in this community in the summertime over here.
Andy Paul: Yeah. All right. So I’m in San Diego and you think San Diego think beaches? So, Toronto I tend not to think of beaches. So are you actually like on lake?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. So I’m about a block away, very fortunate, about a block away from the water on the Lake. And I get to go out there in the morning with the dog or go for a swim. They have a beautiful off-leash dog park. And the beach here is called, Woodpine Beach. And that’s the one that I’m close to and yeah, it’s quite wonderful.
Yeah. And I know you don’t think beach when you think Toronto. You think cold, snowy, Canada weather. And we only get this weather for about two months a year. So I’m out there every morning. Those two months a year.
Andy Paul: I can imagine. Yeah, I remember my Brother once had worked in North Dakota, which is basically Canada. And, and yeah, the locals described the weather as 10 months of winter and two months of bad skating.
Daniela Bellaire: Exactly. Yeah. It’s brutal weather up here, you climatize, I was speaking to somebody else on the West coast today and I was like, yeah, he’s going to use it all. I spent some time in Toronto and I couldn’t handle it. And I said, cause you can climatize, you didn’t stay here long enough. you gotta parka on and you can handle the cold weather. You can take public transit for a couple of years.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I grew up in Wisconsin, so I’m familiar with all that. So not a big deal, but, so when you talk about swimming now, both you and your dog go swimming or just the dog or just you?
Daniela Bellaire: We both do. Not every morning. we don’t go every morning depending on what meetings I have at that day, but he goes in for sure and I’ll sometimes go in with them and we’ll take a swim in the morning or we’ll do a bit of paddle boarding together. We just started doing that. He’s very anxious as am I.
Andy Paul: So he sits on the front of the board.
Daniela Bellaire: Yes, it’s on the front of the board and prays that I don’t topple us both over, but it’s been really nice. And we just, we renovated our home, we moved in here a few months ago, so we got really lucky in COVID world, we were able to get our renovations done and move in. Cause I think it could have been a much grimmer outlook.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. So I was doing research for this interview. I come across something on your profile. It says you are a certified sales leader. Not just a sales leader, but a certified sales leader certified by the Canadian professional sales association. So what is that certification?
Daniela Bellaire: Oh, it’s so funny. there’s definitely been some investigation on my LinkedIn. Some of that stuff has been there for quite some time, but really there’s an organization CSP, and they essentially have coursework. And, they look for a certain level of experience in like really sales as a craft.
And I was able to articulate, what I’ve done over the course of my career. I actually took a course with them at one of my other companies and, they certify you as the sort of sales leader professional or sales professional. So you can do it as an individual contributor or a leadership and the leadership role.
And this was quite some time ago that I’d done it so funny that you brought it up, but yeah, it was great. It was one like gave us a bit of a network and community for me to engage with other people within that network to allower me to flex some of my muscles and share some of the success I’ve had in my career and why I should be certified as a sales leader.
Andy Paul: Well, which opens the door to the question is should everybody be certified in sales?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. So it’s funny, you asked that the topic of sales as a craft and like being an expert as a salesperson has come up a lot with my team and within my org. And I think, you know what, I don’t know if it necessarily needs to be a broader, a company, an external company that’s certifying you. But I do believe that there should be some sort of foundational certification and being a salesperson and honing your craft and being great at your craft. And not just as an individual contributor, but as a leader.
You should have some of the fundamentals under your belt because we, I may be biased here, but my opinion is we see a lot of salespeople today, have a lot of really cool things on LinkedIn and, they toot that they’ve done all these great things and like first sales person at a startup or et cetera, but it’s like, what did you really do? Like how much of an impact did you really have? And I want to know those are the
Andy Paul: You sound like me.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah.
Andy Paul: Sound like me. That’s my question. Exactly. And this issue of certification comes up from time to time and I guess I was seeing again recently in a couple of fronts, one is, just being in LinkedIn, there’s been some conversation about yeah, there are people posting stuff on here who don’t know anything about sales, or what these people believe that don’t know anything about sales.
And then combined with that is this whole discussion about, Hey sales, we don’t get no respect. And so you think great, certification doesn’t solve those issues in terms of, building the reputation of the profession, but wouldn’t hurt. And also, especially since, and this is a topic, you’ve talked about on other podcasts, I’ve heard you on is, you’ve continually invested in your own development. And you know I’ve written about this as Hey, lawyers in the United States got to spend, I think in California is 40 hours a week. 40 or 20 or 40 hours a year in continuing education. You know, it has to be certified that they take it otherwise they lose their license to practice. Why not sales?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. It’s a fantastic question, and I know locally here, there’s a, so Uvaro is a company a friend of mine had started and they do sales training, sales certification. There’ s a bunch of these sort of, how to be a good sales person courses or finishing how to learn about sales.
But yeah, it would be interesting of a certification. Again, I call it sales as a craft cause I think there’s fundamental tollgates in like being a great salesperson that you should be able to exercise and maybe it’s, it could be banded as here I go. Just creating them. Yeah. But it could be, years experience in the role or the impact that you had, or, how many, close won deals you had and the type of revenue that you brought in, or the markets or verticals you were in, who knows what that could be, but, yeah, I’m not against it. We think about these tollgates, even just internally at my company, we’re thinking about, creating career pathing. And so it begs the same question, when do you earn the right as a salesperson to progress into the new roll, next opportunity, take on more responsibility. And, I’m in the process of defining those things. So very similarly, whether it’s an internal move or an external move, or you’re tooting your horn on LinkedIn, it’s what makes you an expert in what you’re doing now and gives you the right to go do the next thing.
Andy Paul: Yeah. My thought would be, and this is another thing that struck me recently on LinkedIn is that, I had this feeling, that of the hundreds of millions of people that are on LinkedIn that roughly over half of them are sales consultant. And it’s okay. Maybe we start certification here is that people that are selling their expertise in sales, which as a sales person, you are too to your employer, but a little different context is may we need certification there? Could that be the most analogous to lawyers and doctors and hell, in the US, I don’t know about Canada, but people cut your hair, have to be certified.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, it’s true. They need a college or some sort of certification or diploma to do it. That is interesting. That is an interesting concept. It’s funny cause there’s two ends of the pendulum and it’s the people who, have done it maybe for a finite amount of time, consider themselves experts will just go on and start their own sort of consulting gig. And some of them are great and others not so great. And that’s okay. And then there’s folks that have been doing this for eons, but maybe don’t have as big of a brand cause they’ve been around for a really long time, but have deep seated expertise and now they’re consulting. And so I think you can argue either way, but I’m definitely intrigued by just the topic of, certifying, whether it be, sales consultants or sales professionals.
Andy Paul: All right. your name is now on my list. You’re part of the revolution. We’ll let you know the next step. Okay. So let’s talk about Shopify. And I know there may be a few people out there who don’t know what Shopify does. So why don’t you fill us in on that.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, for sure, Shopify is an amazing multi-commerce company and platform. We help merchants successfully build their businesses from e-commerce, physical commerce, which is my line of business in retail. We sell point of sale system. We also have other product lines across banking, fulfillment, capital. And ultimately we really focus on arming the entrepreneurial SMB merchant to be hyper successful and have access to technology that big companies do to be successful. And we also work with some of the big guys in the world, Staples, Gym Shark is one of our awesome brands. And so really we’re an all commerce platform and loving every minute of some of the cool stuff that we get to go do here at Shopify.
Andy Paul: So you serve both ends of the spectrum. It could be a retailer that’s has their online component books and mortar plus their eCommerce or, I imagine you’ll spend sport companies that originally an eCommerce.
Daniela Bellaire: Absolutely. in my space, so focused predominantly on our audience as we call it is a physical brick and mortar retail. So my focus is how do I help physical brick and mortar retailers adopt the point of sale system, but not just that the full omnichannel experience. So bring them into our eCommerce suite, bring them into point of sale for physical selling.
And then how they come to us is totally different. You might have some people who are, e-commerce only, like the Allbirds of the world looking to get into physical retail and they’re hyper successful in doing that. Or folks that have been traditional brick and mortar looking to get into eCommerce and we can help with both.
Andy Paul: Got it. I’m wearing my Allbirds right now .okay. All right. So you’re head of sales, North America for Shopify retail. So how big is your team?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, that’s a great question. today the team is about 35 across four teams. So we’ve got a BDR team. We’ve got an outbound team that we recently launched in the last six months. That’s been hyper successful. And most of our business is inbound marketing generated, and that makes up the other two teams.
Andy Paul: And so the outbound team focusing on, I imagine sort of an account based program.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, so we’re not doing the traditional sort of ABM strategy. We’re trying a bunch of things, seeing what sticks cause we’re in our infancy. We know who our target persona is, but now we’re testing hyperlocal approach versus just taking this broad list of verticals. We know we do well in and doing engagement. So we found a lot of success in reaching out to local merchants here in Toronto, who aren’t with the Shopify platform, but there’s folks in their area that are, and that’s been hyper successful in saying, Hey, Andy down the road at Bed Bath and Beyond is using Shopify. Here’s the success story. We’d love to have a conversation with you and see what you’re using for commerce. That’s opened a lot of doors. We’re doing that with New York and other key markets.
Andy Paul: But focused on major accounts or mid market and above.
Daniela Bellaire: So we classify it as SMB externally. So anyone that’s a emerging brand, and who’s been around, but we’re not going after the Allbirds of the world on the outbound strategy right now.
Andy Paul: Interesting. So you’re still doing your more major accounts using your inside team.
Daniela Bellaire: Exactly. Yes.
Andy Paul: Very interesting. Okay. So you’ve gone through this big transition and we’ll start getting into this because back in, was it March or so your CEO, Toby Lukey said, okay, this pandemic signals the end of office-centricity. So what did he mean by that?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. I think we’ve for as long as anyone could remember, getting work done and doing work was directly correlated to going into your office for the most part and, starting your nine to five day. And, we’ve, especially as a company and personally my experience in any organization I’ve worked with, we’ve really tried to optimize the office experience.
And, we’ve added in SaaS, we’ve added snacks and we’ve added gyms, and, we wanted people to feel good about putting in the time and maybe even staying later. And so we brought, catered lunches and for Shopify, we had culinary team, who was making beautiful breakfast and lunches for us as a group. There was a kitchen on every floor. We really, as I like to say, judged it up and from an office perspective, there was no expense spared. And it was beautiful experience. And the offices were world class and I was downtown at the newest office. And so that was a lot of fun. And even how we attracted talent was, Hey, join us. If you see a lot of the startups still do this, Hey, join us. We’ve got snacks, we’ve got catered breakfast ,we’ve got ping pong. And we have all those things. We’ve got Donkey Kong. And so that became a big piece of culture for not just our company, but a lot of companies.
And so we decided as a company to just shake the mold and think about, office centricity being not just like this physical place, where we show up and we go to work every day, but creating a bigger, broader culture around work and changing to what we call a digital by default or digital by design model.
And so a portion of Shopify has always been remote and it would be our guru lands or support land has always been predominantly remote. So we knew that this worked, we knew that a portion of our business did this really well. Just the commercial teams didn’t do it. A lot of the technical teams didn’t do it. So I’d say more than 80% of our company was still going into an office, 12 beautiful world-class offices around the world. And so we, as a company, just, and I’ll be transparent, the public knew shortly after internally, we knew that this was happening. We’re a company that likes to move quickly, which I love. We’re a company that loves to take challenges, problems, head on. And we knew that this pandemic presented an interesting scenario where we either kind of tip tap around when we go back, what that’s gonna look like. Or we just say, our results have shown that we’re doing better than we ever have before. The teams have adapted, which they did.
And we’re going to be one of the first to just recreate what it is to go to work every day. And we’re going to do it in this fully digital way. And that’s ultimately where we are. And we figured more out since the public announcement, which I’m happy to share,
Andy Paul: Yeah, please do. Cause first question obviously is in the public announcements. It didn’t say that this was permanent, but has it become permanent?
Daniela Bellaire: It has. And so I think publicly we’ve announced since then that yes, Shopify is officially moving to a digital by design permanently. So this, this means if you go to our website right now and you click on careers, you’re going to see careers within the Americas. Or within EMEA, you’re no longer going to career listed for Toronto or Ottawa or New York or San Francisco.
And so our pool of talent has opened up tremendously where people have access to be part of Shopify from across North America and beyond. And so that’s really cool. We’re now looking for the best people, all over the world, not just in our core markets are not just where we have physical space.
And we’ve also, I had to rethink, geographies. So that’s the piece about the Americas and EMEA, et cetera. We’ve also had to rethink time zones, something so simple. How do we get together when now people are on different time zones? Because we’re hiring EST, PST, we’re hiring central folks. Whereas traditionally my team would have just been on the East coast. So now we’ve implemented core working hours. And our business unit has implemented core working hours from 12 to 4:00 PM Eastern. And Hey, you own your business. You work your hours per week to get your work done as long as you’re on between 12 and four, for core working hours, you can log on later at night, you can work later in the day. You can work early in the morning. We’re really giving flexibility to how people work, where they work, the times they work and, physical geography.
Historically sellers, you go into the office. It’s really great. You hire locally. Now we’re telling our teams or I’m telling my teams, listen, rethink where you work from. if you got a condo that’s 500 square feet downtown Toronto, and it’s not working for you for work from home, like it’s okay to think about moving outside the city.
A lot of folks now are looking to purchase homes outside of the city. And so it’s creating a different lifestyle for work for these people. And it’s also creating opportunity to travel. There’s a lot of individuals who are going to be going overseas or going down to the States or coming up to Canada and working in a completely different country or province or state and get an incredible new experience while still working for Shopify and working fully remote. Those are things that they weren’t able to do with us prior to this new digital by design.
Andy Paul: So back to the core hours. So the core hours are, this is when we’re gonna do our meetings. This is when we’re gonna do the, our corporate, I need to talk to you. I’m gonna do my coaching and the sour, all of these, all these things happen in those core hours and you will be available.
Daniela Bellaire: Exactly.
Andy Paul: Okay. So this whole work from home thing, which is, I think from your standpoint is great in terms of the exact thing you talked about is now we can sort of, recruit talent without regard to, somebody need to move to Toronto to be part of the team. So as the company think about, take the person with the example of the 500 square foot studio. What if they don’t want to move? But. Yeah, I think it might be better to rent a spot at a WeWork.
Daniela Bellaire: Yea h and they can do that. So two things we’re doing one is, if they don’t want to work in that space, great. If they do we’re providing a subsidy to we’re providing a certain amount of dollars where they can just go and totally jeus up their office. So we’ve given them a sizeable nominal amount and they can go purchase, great microphone, sit/stand desks, whatever they need.
I got an, I got a desk treadmill. I’ll make that Amazon plug right there. That was wonderful purchase. You can, whatever you need to make your space work friendly and then yes, to your point, there’s absolutely opportunity for you to once re restrictions, unlock, due to COVID, like locally, they can go and work from wherever they like.
That’s totally their choice. They can get together with peers. If they’d like to, we just won’t be mandating that we go back to the office to have our meetings. We won’t be mandating that we go back to the way that we were before, where you have an assigned desk, right? So there’ll be some hotel-ing options that you can go in.
and our offices are being retrofitted to be repurposed in more of a community hub space. Great spaces to meet with merchants, great spaces, to meet with partners, great spaces to meet with your peers. But again, not forced scheduled, opportunities to meet. More as you see fit more at your leisure.
Andy Paul: But if somebody, again the 500 square foot studio, wanted that they could come to the office.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. They can go and they can hotel from, one of the open spaces or they can work one of the social spaces or do your call out, they can do a WeWork or any of those. Yeah.
Andy Paul: So how has this for you? I know you’re still early stages, but obviously some pretty massive changes relative to recruiting, hiring, onboarding, just managing. What have been the big challenges you’ve run into? I know you said you transitioned pretty well, but, what were some of the unique things maybe you found that you hadn’t expected?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. I think, it’s a fundamental change even for me. And I don’t fully think I’ve wrapped my head or all the way around it. We got lucky with spring then summer, I have the opportunity to work outside, I don’t know how we’re going to react as a group, transparently as a group from a mental health standpoint, and that’s on my mind, sales is a-
Andy Paul: 10 feet of snow outside.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. Sales is a tough gig and, yeah. you’re always working towards a quota and you’re always on for the most part. And, yeah, we want to make sure that the teams are healthy and they take time to unplug and they’re not always have their laptop glued to them.
So those are things we’re thinking through. And I know I’m personally thinking through them and encouraging the team. And then obviously this isn’t going to be for everyone, Andy, this isn’t going to be that’s just the nature of the reality we’re in, not everybody is going to want to work from home.
And so I think, it hasn’t, I haven’t yet. And if my team’s listening, I hope they come talk to me. But I would say I don’t expect that we’re going to be a fit for everyone longterm. And that might mean talent that just doesn’t want to be part of this type of environment, or existing personnel that worked for us and say, Hey, you know what? I really need to be in an office to be productive. And even this sort of hybrid model isn’t for me. And I’d say that’s okay.
I think we’re going to attract the people we’ve tracked based on how we look at digital by design moving forward. And it’s going to work really well for us, but it’s not going to work for everybody.
So we’ll see how it unfolds.
Andy Paul: yeah, it’s like an additional layer of screening you need to do during interviewing about,
Daniela Bellaire: Totally.
Andy Paul: Do you feel comfortable with working on your own and remotely and it’s yeah, it is not for everybody. And it’s interesting I think also when you talk about sales and you get a lot of people that are younger and earliest parts of their career, maybe haven’t developed the work habits.
Cause they haven’t been in the workforce like this. It might be easy to say, Oh yeah, I can handle remote. But then it’s yeah, I hadn’t learned some of the, I don’t think I’m not sure I would have handled it. when I was 22-23 years old, I think I needed some of that discipline of going into the office and so on. But know, now, later I’ve worked on my own for 20 years, so it’s fine. But yeah, people already at different points of their life, I think.
Daniela Bellaire: Exactly and that’s exactly it. And you think to the type of profile, like traditionally our roles have been, folks with their they’re a little bit less sales experience than average. Probably coming in with one to one to four years of previous sales experience, some with minimal and that type of demographic, and maybe you are coming to the office because you want to make friends and you want to be social and you want to interact.
And I know for a fact, we have this running joke amongst the team, we send this amazing vitamin water in the office and it sounds so trivial, but we all looked forward to coming in and having this amazing vitamin water every day. And so now, we have a little emoji in Slack and we make this joke. It’s should we make a new trophy out of this vitamin water? And it’s just a little things that if it’s personal and what people care about and if it’s that social engagement and making connections and the remote environment, doesn’t do it for you then, yeah, I think, people need to do a really hard look at how they’re going to be the most productive.
I think for the most part, our team is adopted extremely well. We’ve thrown a lot of curve balls with them this year and yeah, I hope to continue with that positivity and have that momentum, but I’m also a realist. So we’ll see.
Andy Paul: Yeah. So takinng a step back and looking a little bit at your career, so you started as a recruiter?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. It’s funny because I always share like my story. I feel like growing up with an entrepreneurial mom and in an entrepreneurial family, I was always there with her as early as I could to help sell and be part of the business. And so I feel like I’ve been selling for very long time.
And then all of a sudden. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that early on in my career, that sales was a thing for me. It took me a couple of stumbles to get me into the right path, but I’m glad it did. And so to your point, I started off in recruitment, technical recruitment, and then found my way into sales over time.
Andy Paul: You said again on this interview as one of us listening to us that when you first started looking at sales, though, is it was this, Whoa, maybe not because you said you didn’t see a lot of people like yourself there and what do you mean? is it just because it was just a bro culture or what?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, I think, early on- one, there’s two, two frames of that. One, I was finishing up university and everyone around me who was in my immediate friend group or network, and the women around me were like, HR seems like a really safe thing. A lot of them were going into recruitment, right?
Like at that age, you’re like, am I going to have a family? I am in my early twenties making these decisions. I was totally oblivious looking back, you think, okay, yeah, most of my classes doing this, I’m going to, I’m going to just do this. And it was a peer of mine who was in my program. We both ended up thinking, yeah, we’re going to go do, where do you go to recruitment? That’s a great idea. So we went and did recruitment and then over time as I met more people in the ecosystem here, and, my wife was actually doing recruitment as well, and she was recruiting for sales roles. She said to me like, you’d be great at sales. And then I started to look around who’s in sales. What does the culture look like? And I thought, to your point yeah, there’s definitely a bit of a bro culture early on, especially the companies I was looking at. I don’t want to shame any companies, so I won’t name them, but some of the bigger, let’s say bigger trailblazing SaaS companies. And I thought, wow, they’re selling in person. That was very intimidating. They’re on the road a lot, at the time that was the thing. And inside sales wasn’t really a big thing as it is now in SaaS. So i thought, Oh, I have to travel. I have to go down to the US and that’s going to be a, it’s going to be a whole thing. I’m going to be gone six months or so the year. And so I thought, okay, I don’t really see anyone that either looks like me or acts like me or has my background. And so maybe it’s not for me and quickly over time, whether it conversations with people I had met and companies I’d been introduced to my mind was very much changed. And I’m very glad that it was because I’ve had a really amazing career so far.
Andy Paul: Seems like though this is still an issue for many women, even considering coming into sales, as you talked about early, when you’re deciding about recruiting or being a recruiter and so on, is it that it seems like the hardest part is, we talk about, we don’t have enough women leaders in sales, but we’re not going to get enough women in leadership roles. If we don’t have enough women in management roles and we’re not going to get enough women management roles, if we don’t just get enough women into sales period. So we still have these, I’m interested in how you handled this at Shopify is how do we get more women just to come into sales and to make that leap that you made?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. And I think, and Andy, I’ll frame it is, I don’t even think of this, especially with what’s happening in, they don’t think of it only as women in sales. I think about it as people of diverse backgrounds, people of color. I think you can probably, not to umbrella everyone in one group because everyone has differences. Everyone’s very different but I think there’s just a lack of representation across all of those things. And personally, I can speak to that and then I can speak to Shopify personally. It’s something that I’m quite passionate about. I’m involved in, a women led venture backed, SHEO is a company that, is fully funded by women and then they support women led ventures. So that’s one way I do a lot of mentorship. I do it through Bravado. I do it one off. I encourage anyone that reaches out to me. Here we go. My LinkedIn is going to get a blow up, but I do encourage when individuals reach out to me, whether they’re male or female, over LinkedIn, Hey, I don’t have an opportunity for you or you’re not the right fit. I’m happy to give you some guidance if I can or mentorship. So I do try to do a lot of that. I do think it’s really important as somebody being female, identifying as lesbian, which I do, to bring up other women me and help them and so I’m really proud of that. So I think, I don’t even have the full stats on my direct team, but it is fairly, it is fairly diverse in a sense of women to male, percentages. And we would like to diversify that even more and bringing in folks of color and from other demographic backgrounds. And then within Shopify, we’re doing a ton of stuff, or we’re trying to do a ton of stuff, even within my leadership team, we are taking a- And this is a bit of a cliche because I feel like it’s been around for a while, this is nothing new, but we’re doing an anti bias training as a leadership group. So we have a facilitator coming in. We want to make sure we people meet with people all the way through, promote and coach people through the organization that we’re taking this very unbiased lens. And so we’ll be doing that as a group very shortly and that’s offered at the company level. So that’s fantastic. And then we’re also looking at hiring in a different way, which is a bit of a controversial topic in the sense of, do you hire for experience, do you hire the best candidate or do you hire for potential and give people opportunities that they may have never been given before?
Because, because of different reasons. And so for every candidate and I can speak for my group, every role that we post, we’re looking at candidates, a woman candidate, a male candidate, and a candidate of a diverse background of color. And that is now a mandate that we are rolling out. We want to make sure that we practice what we preach and that we’re giving everybody a fair opportunity. And, we’re trying to diversify our team as much as we can.
Andy Paul: So this mandate, how do you enforce that? that, I understand that you could force it, but you have to get people into the pool.
Daniela Bellaire: Exactly.
Andy Paul: This is sort of, yeah, I’ve used this reference before and talking to people about this is the National Football League has the Rooney Rule where if you have a head coaching opportunity open, they have to interview people of color for the role, but they don’t actually have to hire anybody. And as a result, they have a number of black head coaches, and then I felt the same today as it was 17 years ago. so they can say we’ve made progress but they really haven’t. So how do we get people into the pool to consider?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, absolutely. And this is something I talked about as well. We don’t want to inflate and put false positives in who we interviewed just to get the click that box. So two things we’re doing, we’re committed to delaying a hire, to make sure that we’ve captured strong candidates amongst, every demographic. So that’s one thing like we’re genuinely going out. If people don’t organically apply and looking for strong candidates who we think would be an amazing fit, I think that’s so important. The second piece to that, I can’t share the data publicly, but we do look at on a quarterly basis, representation across. So it’s anonymous. We do surveys internally and within our group, we do surveys to see, what people’s demographics are and their background. And so we’re looking to move the needles on those metrics. And so that’s, individuals of color. Individuals of different genders and we want to drive those things in the right direction. So I would say, we’ll know if we’re not successful in a quarter or two quarters, if we haven’t moved those percentages per bucket. And I’m really fixated on those numbers as a leader within sales. And I want to drive those things. But to my point earlier, I also don’t just want to click a box. I want to make sure I’m going out.
And so I’ve one of the things I’ve done is I’ve helped some of the go to market, individuals and myself learn how to actually prospect great talent on LinkedIn. Because that’s not really a skill every leader has. And so for me, it’s really about go in, find the best talent to make sure we’re getting a vast representation across what the world really looks like.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And I think this is interesting. You have your three criteria, is, was it experience, potential, but I think that the oftentimes hiring managers hide behind this experience thing, and-
Daniela Bellaire: Oh, for sure.
Andy Paul: And this is what one of my big pet peeves is, you know, it’s always been in sales back when I got started years and years ago, it was, Oh, we’re hiring a Rolodex. It’s useless.
I never saw a person come in and be able to make good use of their Rolodex if they were that’s what they were selling. It was like always overblown. Because especially if they’re changing industries,
Daniela Bellaire: Oh, a hundred percent.
Andy Paul: And so as it became that they are able to say, to justify to their management, as well, as this person had the right experience and understand why they didn’t work out as opposed to another more interesting candidate maybe had great potential, but they didn’t, they felt they were taking too big of a risk. And this is a theme that I keep coming back to. and time again, talking to guests is it seems like so much of the way we manage is based on fear. And so no one wants to take even reasonable risks. So it seems because it’s easier to say, I followed the guidelines or I hire the person with the right experience or whatever.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah, it’s so fascinating because historically the lens I’ve taken a prob prior to, I would say the last three years was, yeah, we’re gonna, we’re going to hire for experience. We’re gonna hire the most experienced person, not exactly to what you called out, Andy, but similar. They’re going to come in here with a bunch of con context, a good network, lots of contacts. They’re going to come in here, they’re going to crush it. And in the last three years, being in the startup world, and in the last year, being with Shopify, my mind is fundamentally changed in the fact of hiring for potential. And that’s not to say that’s all I do or all we do at Shopify, but we’re looking at that and we’re weighng that in. And so I would say, there’s everyone within my org, wasn’t just hired because they had the most experience of all the applicants. A lot of them were hired because there’s a tremendous amount of potential within them. We’re in a high growth environment. We talk a lot about growth mindset at Shopify. We’re iterating and trying things and not everything works, and my team can attest to that. We try things that don’t always work and we’re transparent about it, and we learn from it. And so we need these type of individuals who are highly engaged in learning and self development.
And I talk a lot about that on other podcasts who will invest in themselves to get better, not just somebody who’s going to come in and go I’ve been amazing at this job for years. I’m going to come in and do what I’ve done for the last five years, because it doesn’t work in our model and it just doesn’t work for us.
Andy Paul: Yeah. When you ask them, what was the last sales book you read?
Daniela Bellaire: What sales book?
Andy Paul: Yeah, Exactly. I know what I’m doing. you take a little bit different tack on that. you talk about, you still invest in your personal development. yeah, I heard you say you’re taking a course on data analytics or how to be a better writer. Yeah, it’s interesting as is so what’s reasonable to expect of individual contributors or managers that work for you, what’s a reasonable expectation in terms of how they should be investing in their own development?
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah. It’s, it’s really interesting because I think there’s this culture of, especially, amongst some of the more individual contributor reps now it’s, you know what, I’m speaking from my own experience, but it’s okay, what’s the career path? How do I get there? What do I do? And it’s really asking for me to hand them the map? And of course, we’re going to give you some guidelines. We’re going to give you how we measure you. We’re going to look at skills, habits, metrics. We look at all those things. But ultimately development for both individuals and leadership is really in your own control. And that’s like a magic thing I’ve unlocked in the last couple of years in an executive roles where it’s I can go out and be as good as I want to be.
I don’t need to wait for somebody to tell me, do these three things and we’ll promote you. no. Go out, find great problems to solve, learn how to solve those problems, whether it’s through your network. And so this is always what I encourage, be in the network and try to learn from other people that have done it, plagiarize, redo it. I don’t need you to come to me with some unique idea. I just need you to tell me how we’re going to get it done and do it the best way possible. And so I do try to push for that. I also do try to push something and I had a conversation today with one of my managers and he’ll know who he is and I said, Hey, we’re at midyear. We want to roll in some intended outcomes. We want to think about what your goals are for development for the back half, and then the question to me was, what do you think I should work on? And I said, I will give you, I will absolutely give you my feedback, but first I want you to put some actual thought in it, take some quiet time, go think about it. Before I start recommending courses and programs and things to do in the job at Shopify. I want you to think about where you genuinely think you want to develop where your gaps are. And then we’ll start prescribing things to help you get there. And I’ll give you my 2 cents as well. So for sure, I’d like to see them at the leadership level, own a little bit more of their own development, instead of you’re asking me to prescribe it.
And so I feel a lot of that at the individual contributor level, they always want the prescription. And so we’re having a ton of conversations within my group now on go out and learn new things and try new things. And we have a monthly theme with enablement on sales skills they’re developing, we have opportunities for them to get involved in projects, to shape and cross functional skills. There’s so much cool stuff, But I can’t prescribe everything. I want them to take a driver’s seat and I do that in my own learning. There’s nobody that’s telling me to go and take this course. There’s a course I’m going to be taking about emotional intelligence in a couple of weeks.
And maybe another one I’m thinking of taking it with a peer of mine on running business experiments. Great business experiments through strategizer. And it’s nobody tells me to go do those things, but I’m trying to solve big problems in the business. I want to be great at my role and I want to level up, so I’m going to go find things. I’m going to bring them to my team and tell them about it. And so that’s the same approach. I like to see my leadership team take.
Andy Paul: Yeah, and I maybe would have a different response to your manager. You’re much nicer than I probably would have been. which is my response has been well. Okay. Here’s the problem with this approach and this thought process here, you’re not devoting to this is that it’s your responsibility to have this conversation with the people that work for you. It goes all the way down as a manager, you have to work with your individual contributors and say, okay, what are your goals? What are your dreams? What do you want to accomplish? How can I help? How can I help you achieve that? Alright, we’re just about to get to the end.
I’ve got a new thing I’m doing on the show. Some standard question, actually, it’s not new. I use to do these for the first 400 episodes of this podcast, and then we stopped, but now we’re coming back and doing these. Some rapid fire questions and answers. So the first one is, I’m going to give you eight word pairs and you’re going to choose one of the words that first comes to mind when I say it. And we’ll go through these real quickly. All right.
Daniela Bellaire: Yeah.
Andy Paul: Here we go. Buying or selling?
Daniela Bellaire: Selling.
Andy Paul: Skills or mindset?
Daniela Bellaire: Mindset.
Andy Paul: Training or coaching?
Daniela Bellaire: Coaching.
Andy Paul: Outbound or inbound?
Daniela Bellaire: Outbound.
Andy Paul: Persuasion or influence?
Daniela Bellaire: Influence.
Andy Paul: Pipeline or win rate?
Daniela Bellaire: Win rate.
Andy Paul: Face to face or zoom to zoom?
Daniela Bellaire: Zoom to Zoom.
Andy Paul: All right. Those are great. So two last questions. What’s the last sales book you read?
Daniela Bellaire: Oh, God, I’m actually just a friend of mine wrote, Sell the Way you Buy.
Andy Paul: Oh, David Primer.
Daniela Bellaire: Shout out to David
Andy Paul: David. He was on the show just a couple months ago. Yeah.
Daniela Bellaire: Oh was he? Yeah, so I’m just, I ordered it awhile ago. Oops. And just getting through it now, but some really good stuff. Just getting started with it.
Andy Paul: Yeah. That’s smart. Smart book. Good guy. Alright. Last question. Favorite podcast of the non-sales variety?
Daniela Bellaire: Oh boy, there’s a really great podcast. Let me grab it. Cause I’m in it’s about deep work and remote work and, we it’s called Distributed with Matt Mullenweg, co founder of WordPress. sSo that’s been really cool talking about distributed teams and he’s got 25 episodes. Just really cool stuff.
Andy Paul: Very good. Alright. I wrote that one down. Daniella, thank you very much for spending the time with me today.
Daniela Bellaire: Thank you. This was amazing, Andy. I really appreciate it. And Andy, you aged yourself, you said for episode 400 out of 700, it sounds like you’ve been at this for quite some time. Oh God. That’s amazing. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited about it.
Andy Paul: Yeah, we’ve been doing it for five years. We meaning my son and I, and he’s been with me almost every step of the way. And, yeah, original is called Accelerate with Andy Paul now Sales Enablement with Andy Paul and, yeah. Onward and upward.
Daniela Bellaire: Awesome. Thanks, Andy