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Drew believes that building a culture of self-awareness, trust, healthy conflict, and accountability is the secret to solving most business problems and achieving amazing growth.

Drew has over 15 years of general management, marketing, and sales experience. He’s currently Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Predictive Index (PI). PI has helped thousands of businesses understand how their people think and work for over 60 years. Drew joined PI shortly after the company changed owners in 2015 to lead all marketing efforts. Since then, the company has experienced growth in all ways - 2X revenue, 24X leads, 3X workforce. Drew adopted a team of 2 and now leads a Sales & Marketing team that is twenty-two strong and growing.

Prior roles have allowed Drew to build a versatile skill set including business strategy, customer acquisition/retention, customer experience, management, operations, product management, and team leadership. He’s worked primarily in B2B across e-commerce (Staples.com), HR technology (PI), marketing technology/SaaS (HubSpot, Compete), and media & advertising (PennySaver USA Publishing). 

Drew’s passion for managing and leading others aligns perfectly with PI’s science-based approach to hiring the best and keeping them inspired & engaged. Read some of Drew’s own management and leadership advice on LinkedIn.

Connect with Drew on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    12 months ago #

    Hi Drew, thanks for doing this AMA. I'm curious about scaling your team from 2 to 22 and have a few questions about it.
    1) Where did you find the hires that are your most valuable teammates?
    2) How do you organize and manage the team to ensure results grow proportionally as the team grows?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Happy to be doing this, Sean!

      1) Most people crushing it in their current jobs are not actively looking for new opportunities. I am actively expanding my networking, making new connections, booking networking calls, and always asking who else in that person's network I should talk to. That has resulted in bringing some great passive candidates to PI. Employee referrals have also been invaluable. And, we have a couple who were crushing it in their roles, but heard about the rocket ship we are building at PI and wanted to come over.

      3 Share
      • DF

        Drew Fortin

        12 months ago #

        2) I think when it comes to team org and managing to ensure results and scale, the failure doesn't lie in the tactics, but in the actual plan/strategy - there often isn't one.

        A few things:
        - I have a detailed org chart that has future roles mapped out on it so people are aware of where things are headed and how the team structure is going to evolve - even if we are not actively hiring a role right now.

        - The entire department is involved in our annual planning cycle. We map out key initiatives we are going to tackle in October-ish for the following year. We iterate on it. I take the input and craft the master annual Sales & Marketing plan. This plan has detailed descriptions of the 10 or so key initiatives we are going to tackle. We also have the entire Sales & Marketing funnel mapped out with goals at each point (think traffic, leads, MQLs, SALs, SQLs, SQOs,) and goal conversion rates.

        - We then follow a meeting and metric cadence that looks like this:

        Quarterly - entire department meets to review the plan and see how we are tracking towards our goals. Progress of each initiative is reviewed.

        Monthly - The marketing team, direct sales team leaders, myself, our CEO, and CFO meet to review metrics in depth. We look at actuals, forecasts/trends, against goals for each stage in the funnel. Members of the team provide color commentary and we get alignment on the key stories unfolding.

        Weekly - Both teams (marketing and direct sales) have a separate weekly meeting. Both meetings kick off the same way - reviewing the 10 metrics or so that are key indicators of monthly performance (mostly metrics that we can have immediate impact on changing - we review the numbers by week going back 12 weeks). These meetings are super important in getting the team familiar with the numbers, what normal looks like, what story is unfolding. The story rarely changes all that much week over week, so it really ensures everyone across the department has insight and understands what is happening, and more importantly, how their individual role is connected to the numbers and the greater plan. That's the first half of the meeting. The second half is tackling issues and brainstorming growth hack ideas spawned from the numbers review.

        - Daily - There are daily stand-ups to ensure that the team members review what they are working on and shift course as needed.

        The goal is to be in lock-step at all times. Adjust plans accordingly, in real-time if needed. Using this cadence has accelerated the team's understanding of the impact we are having. It encourages questions, conversation, and debate. If we are not seeing expected performance, it's there for all to see. And, if it's a resource problem, we're able to address and adapt quickly. I hope that answers it for you, Sean!

        2 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    12 months ago #

    Hi Drew,

    Super excited to have you on! A few questions for you...

    1. If a company wanted to start assessing their team's personalities and how they affect their interactions with team members and the work they do, how would you recommend they start?
    2. Since getting team members to work better together is hard to measure, how do you justify the ROI of your product, The Predictive Index (PI)?
    3. What does a "win" look like for a team using PI?
    4. Do you have personalized work recommendations for different personality types? If so, how were those developed?

    Looking forward to learning from you!

    Cheers!
    Dani

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Thanks, Dani!

      1 - We have a formula at PI of You + Others + Fit = Better Work, Better World (BWBW). Ultimately, it all starts with understanding yourself and being real with your self about what you can improve. Once you understand yourself, you will likely think differently about the impact you have on others. Chances are you will be more purposeful in your interactions with others. Once you've practiced that for a while is when you'll likely have a "light-bulb" moment and realize what "fit" truly means. BWBW is our vision at PI. If we can help people leaving a crazy day at work feeling energized and challenged vs thinking "I don't get paid enough for this $#@%!", then it's all good.

      It's amazing how much time we waste trying to figure each other out at work - it's probably one of the biggest productivity sucks. Assessing a team's personality is easy. I recommend using a solution like PI and giving everyone on the team a 1-to-1 session on their personality, what it means, strengths, caution areas, etc. Have them sit with it a bit. It's important that they first identify with it personally before sharing in a team setting. I would then recommend holding a team session. Actually show what the varying personalities are on the team. Discuss how this materializes in team meetings, communication, and more importantly under times of stress and pressure. Have people talk about their strengths and caution areas, and have them commit to things they are going to work on. Products like PI simplify a lot of this by providing dashboards, reports, and training. That said, it's really as simple as committing and doing it!

      1 Share
      • DF

        Drew Fortin

        12 months ago #

        2 - Excellent question! It's more than just team dynamics. I think as business people, we all agree that the holy grail is maximizing employee productivity. You do this by increasing discretionary effort employee by employee - much easier said than done! The key is realizing that it's multi-dimensional. There are essentially 4 forces at play

        1) Job Fit - is the employee's behavior aligned with the role? Have you actually taken the time to map out what's needed in the role? If you have misalignment here, then all bets are off.

        2) Manager - It's important that managers realize that it's a tall order to ask people to work out of behavioral preference (envision asking a right-handed person to write with their left hand all day...doable, but draining and not efficient for anyone). Managers need to spend more time playing into the natural personalities and super-powers of their people. If the manager's personality differs from their team member, it's the manager's job to bend, not the other way around.

        3) Team Dynamics - more than ever, we are assembling teams for specific project, disbanding, and assembling again for the next one. This means that there is less time available to get to know each other. Great teams can be assembled if you know people's personality (makes it easier to identify leads, project managers, etc.). Also, one bad apple spoils the bunch, so if the entire team has insight into personalities of others, they can act together to mitigate abnormal behavior.

        4) Culture - too often culture is dictated by management and their own personalities. Although this can work in some cases, the native behavioral make-up of the management team is often not the make-up needed to get a company or team moving in the right direction.

        ROI is usually measured in decreased turn-over (are great people staying?), accelerated results (we've done scientific studies showing direct correlations in behavioral drives to business results), engagement scores (employees feel more valued and are able to address interpersonal issues better).

        2 Share
      • DF

        Drew Fortin

        12 months ago #

        4 - Tons of ways to do this. Our behavioral assessment specifically (we have a Job Targeting Assessment as well as a Cognitive Assessment) has over 60 years of validity - hundreds of studies, over 30 million assessed, and a normed population of 10K plus for use on anyone, in any job, anywhere in the world. Your highest behavioral drive will dictate your behavior...

        Highest Dominance - You typically like to lead and have an impact. If you can't you feel stifled. Take on entrepreneurial tasks where you can have the biggest impact (and pat yourself on the back)

        Highest Extraversion - You get your charge from interacting with others. You like to talk while thinking, or talk before you think (like I often do!). You like to brainstorm more and share perspectives face-to-face.

        Highest Patience - You freaking love process. You like following it and when it's not there you likely have a yearning to build it and then keep it up and running. You love understanding "why" something is the way it is.

        Highest Formality - You love details. You love structure. You like formalized environments and get a kick out of following the rules to a T.

        Happy to geek out more to this another time, Dani.

        2 Share
      • DF

        Drew Fortin

        12 months ago #

        3 - A "win" could be as small as two team members self-managing a conflict to resolution, a manager positively landing constructive/critical feedback, having more confidence than you ever thought that a new-hire is going to come in and crush it on day one, improved communication and increase in moral, etc.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    12 months ago #

    Hi Drew, what is your monthly marketing experimentation velocity at PI? B2B is often much lower velocity than B2C due to higher ACV and lower volume. Have you found ways to overcome this constraint?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Spot on in your assessment that B2B has lower velocity than B2C. I personally don't think we are running enough experiments on the sales and marketing team at PI (my team may tell you otherwise!). That said, it will never be an exact science because we don't want to wait months for results to materialize. I think it's important to focus on a key indicator (that you are confident in).

      For instance, we recently tested a new offer for people to take a behavioral assessment on our website and get results in real time with a video overview of their results. After some filtering, some leads are marked MQL and sent to our BDR team. We used BDR connect rates and their general sentiment on quality to determine the success/failure of the offer. Yes, it's possible that the leads that do make it through convert at a higher rate into sales than other leads, but we aren't going to wait around for that to happen (on to the next!).

      Another test we're doing now is new packaging and pricing. Opportunities usually take 4 months to close on average. That said, we are measuring quote generation volume and sales rep feedback on push-back/objections on demo calls as an indicator on future results. We are confident it will work, so that also helps.

      In short - Although B2B can take longer to prove out, I take that more as a challenge for us marketers to be more knowledgeable of our business and our prospects/customers than ever so we can use the indicators and make educated decisions with the data we have. At PI I think of it as we generally need about 70%+ confidence to make a call. Otherwise, we are not going to move the needle. And, you can always admit failure and change course. I hope that answers your question, Glen. Let me know if not and I'm happy to try again.

      2 Share
  • ML

    Michele Linn

    12 months ago #

    Hi Drew. My business partner and I talk about the value of "creative abrasion," which I imagine is the same thing as "healthy conflict." We both agree this is very positive and necessary, but at the same time we're trying to be scrappy and move quickly. How do you balance healthy conflict with speed?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Great questions, Michele! I actually think they go together. Healthy conflict begets speed. It all comes down to building trust. Being conscious and deliberate about doing it. And, always working at it. With enough trust you can be as abrasive as you want because everyone will trust good intentions. That said, putting all that aside just to get speed is more likely to hurt you in the long run as it can erode the trust, slow things down, and even burn people out.

      1 Share
  • TS

    Tonya Sims

    12 months ago #

    Hi Drew,

    Thank you so much for your time today! My questions are about revenue growth for a startup that's just getting off the ground, like literally no customers yet and software still in progress.

    1) What are some of the key aspects of growth that a startup in this phase should be focused on?
    2) What are some of the growth milestones to aim for? Getting your first 10 customers, then 50 customers, then 100 customers, etc? Or does it depend on the price of my product and if I'm in a B2B or B2C market?

    Thank You!

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Hi Tonya!

      Although I don't personally have experience launching with a start-up, I'm happy to provide my perspective.

      1 - If you are pre-revenue, then your goal is prove there is a use-case and that some people see value in your product enough to use it. The success of most start-ups often is not due to the original idea, but a learning they had from an early customer, or group of customers, that allowed them to optimize, enhance, or change their product. If you can prove that your product provides value (i.e. is sticky) for a handful of clients, then you can use that data to profile buyer personas and start to scale.

      2) I am not sure I will be much help here, but my gut says that it depends on a ton of variable. I more think it's about accomplishing what you set out, and communicated, you would accomplish. Although celebrating customer milestones is obvious, I'm not privy to milestone benchmarks.

      Hope that is more helpful than a lame attempt to answer your question (I'm feeling the latter :) ).

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    12 months ago #

    Hey Drew - very cool to finally have you on.
    Couple of unrelated Qs for you.

    1. One thing that gets written about and and said a lot (and not without good reason) is that as organizations get bigger, they get slower and less agile.
    How do you preserve (and maybe even enhance ) how fast an organization can move as it grows?
    Can you provide any advice for those in the community that belong to such fast growing organizations (much like PI) can put into practice quickly?

    2. When is a customer considered churned for a company like PI?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Sure Anuj - I'll answer in two separate posts.

      RE organizations slowing down and getting less agile. I responded to one of Sean Ellis' questions above with the planning/reporting/meeting cadence to keep teams in-the-know, on top of growth, and scaling correctly. I think a cadence like that can help maintain agility while the team scales in size. Growing teams will all eventually reach a point in critical mass where doing stand-ups and running on some sort of project sprint schedule just doesn't work - the projects each person is working on will become less relevant to others, etc.

      That said, smaller groups will need to function somewhat autonomously while following a standard process and feeding up to the mothership (i.e. the head of the unit, another layer of management). The question then becomes how can smaller groups maintain their autonomy while staying aligned and in-concert with other teams. This is why in larger organizations we see more emphasis on process and standardized communication (meetings, emails, dedicated slack channels.

      I think Sales & Marketing at PI is a good example of this. In 2015, we were a team of 3 and now we are 22 and growing. (The direct sales team didn't fire up until mid 2017, so it was pure marketing.) Staying aligned and abreast of everyone else's work is simple with 3, even 5. Once the team approached 7-10 it became evident that more standardized communication was needed. When the unit became Sales & Marketing, I made the decision to build SMops - a team that supports both sales and marketing functions (maintain the tech stack, implement/maintain process and workflows, do analytics and reporting, etc.). I knew that the creation of this separate team was going to cause some pain in the short term as it forced all requests and inquiries for support through what was essentially a separate resource.

      SMops implemented a ticketing system for support request and took over all analytics and reporting. This new process caused a lot of heartache at the onset. Things everyone was once responsible for and had the freedom to do on their own were now controlled by someone else. I think that teams can get mired down in this...almost depressed by it. The quicker people realize that they are free to do other, more productive, enterprising things, the more agile the team can become as it scales.

      There's an old saying that "you have to go slow to go fast." To your point, I think some companies may get stuck in the going slow part.

      There's a great article this reminds me of here that I found helpful. It resonated with a lot of people on my team - http://firstround.com/review/give-away-your-legos-and-other-commandments-for-scaling-startups/

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      At PI, our clients purchase an annual software subscription bundled with applicable management training to help them manage, lead, communicate, hire better through the lens of human behavior and understanding. We considered a customer churned when they do not renew their annual subscription agreement. We convert any client contacts back to marketing prospects 90 days after their account attrits. FYI - Average client lifetime is about 4.5 years.

  • MG

    Mark Goloboy

    12 months ago #

    Hey Drew,

    What do you believe are the most important things that help get a team aligned and focused on growth?

    Thanks!
    Mark Goloboy

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Aside from the meeting and planning cadence stated in my earlier response to Sean Ellis, I believe alignment and focus is made possible by one thing, Mark...trust. I'm a relentless with my team about Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team framework. Leaders and managers that say they focus on results have it all wrong. Leads, deals, revenue - all of these are the result of great work.

      Trust - In order to do great work, teams need to trust each other. I mean truly trust in one another and believe in one another (you can't have others thinking they are better than anyone else or questioning someone else's competence). A great book here is The Speed of Trust by Steven Covey, Jr.

      Conflict - Once trust is established they can be vulnerable and share their thoughts and engage in conflict. Without healthy conflict, great ideas and decisions can't be made. Steve Jobs has a fantastic analogy to a rock tumbler from The Lost Interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-Yv-UdsmSo

      Commitment - Now that conflict has occurred and everyone has put it all out on the table, it makes it much easier to commit. In fact, if you have trust in your team, you are willing to "disagree and commit." This is a concept/phrase coined by Jeff Bezos that we've adopted a PI. It's not uncommon for people at PI to publicly say that they'll disagree and commit - a great reflections of the respect team members have for the opinions and competence of others.

      Accountability - If every one on the team is committed and agrees to the direction being taken, it is now much easier for teammates to hold themselves and each other accountable. It also much much easier for the manager or leader to hold their team accountable if everyone is publicly committed. Note - it's often difficult for managers to hold their team members truly accountable. This is usually because of a failure to set super clear expectations, provide feedback, and consistently hold people accountable to meeting them. I think setting clear expectations and providing constructive feedback in a healthy way are more important than focusing on results.

      Results - As a manager or leader, if you focus on everything else, results will follow.

      Someone is randomly called on at the beginning of each and every Sales & Marketing meeting to draw the "triangle of trust" on the whiteboard. In a way, it's become our religion. It can never be overstated and explained enough. It's always top of mind for us.

  • SM

    Stephen Messina

    12 months ago #

    How might people experience The Predictive Index or any similar transformative tool throughout their lives? If someone goes from individual contributor to business leader throughout their career, how does it stick with them throughout and how do you position the B2B product in a way that people don't move on and leave the product behind?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Great question and something we've recently done a lot of work on at PI, Steve. PI is a 60+ year old company. Mike Zani, my boss and CEO, and Daniel Muzquiz, his business partner and President & Chairman of the Board, led the acquisition of the company in late 2014 - a rather sleepy company with amazing behavioral science as compared to the hyper-growth company today.

      When I first started at PI in May 2015, I spoke to many clients and heard again and again that now that they've used PI, they couldn't imagine life without it. What an amazing thing for people to say about your product! Words like "magic trick" were used to refer to the deep insight provided by our assessments. Years later, we've been able to maintain the magic while allowing our software to dispel the trick and have users getting quickly to business application (hiring, managing others, communicating better, etc.).

      In short, once people are exposed to PI and realize the power it gives them to be better at interacting with and understanding people, they don't want to give it up. We have countless instances where users took PI with them to new jobs as they've moved up their career. In fact, Mike and Daniel used the product for 12 years as they purchased and turned-around companies before they had the amazing opportunity to purchase PI - they jumped at it!

      Regarding positioning. There are a few books that I give a lot of credit to as the market positioning of PI has evolved and gotten stronger of the years...

      The Marketing Imagination by Theodor Levitt - Levitt was one of the first academics to develop marketing theories in the 50's and 60's. The book was published in the early 80's and summarizes his brilliance. Also, you'll quickly realize where Clay Christensen's inspiration came from for his Jobs to be Done and Innovators Dilemma Theories. This book includes the famous line "people aren't looking to buy a quarter-inch drill, their buying a quarter-inch hole." Although some industries referenced are no longer around, the concepts are timeless.

      Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout - Ries and Trout have a few books on marketing. Positioning is so simple and drives the point home that positioning a product is all about claiming a spot in the mind of the customer - a spot not yet taken by another competitor. This a fundamental book and the concepts seem obvious once you're exposed to them.

      The Hero & The Outlaw by Margaret Mark - Mark is an advertising agency vet who uses the work of Carl Jung's personality archetypes to outline the different archetypes used by brands. The book helped me realize that at one-point the PI brand was trying to be too many things at once. We've since landed on an archetype - PI is a magician brand - and it's helped us ensure consistency in brand, style, and voice across all marketing and product messaging.

      Last but certainly not least, The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. The work of Campbell has really become like a religion to me. He is a brilliant philosopher who speaks of the power of myth and it's ability to connect individuals spiritual and physical worlds. Ultimately, Campbell talks of how regardless of the time, place, age, gender, ethnicity, etc. we all seek to find meaning and the essence of life. Campbell introduced the concept of the mono-myth or hero's journey.

      It's this work that has been most pivotal in the branding and positioning work we've done at PI. It's the Hero's Journey that has given the marketing and product teams at PI a framework in which to create product user stories, to talk about clients real-life stories, and has reminds us of our place in the lives of our clients. Our clients are the hero's. We are hero makers. PI is the helper, the mentor, the challenger. PI isn't the solution, is what empowers our clients to find the solution. PI is to our clients as the Force is to a jedi knight.

      Geeking out here, but if you're into Joseph Campbell, Netflix just posted an entire interview series with him from the 80's. I believe he passed just a few years later.

  • DF

    Drew Fortin

    12 months ago #

    Hello everyone! I need to sign off for now but PROMISE that I will back to answer all of your questions by midnight tonight and any more in the days to come. Keep the questions coming!

    • MK

      Mariana Klober

      12 months ago #

      Thank you so much for taking the time for answering so many questions! It's been great - and I'm particularly happy you'll keep the answers coming :)

  • MK

    Mariana Klober

    12 months ago #

    Hi Drew, thanks for taking the time for doing this AMA! I'm curious about your own professional life choices and learnings:

    1) When did you realize it was time to leave the company you were working at and open your own business?
    2) What were the main learnings you got from each company you had previously worked at?
    3) What were the main challenges you faced in the first couple of months of having your own business and what helped you get through them?
    4) What is "a day in the life of Drew Fortin" like?

    Thank you!

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Happy to share an average "a day in the life" of me, Mariana.

      - I get up around 5:30AM to exercise (I usually go on a long run for an hour)
      - I cook breakfast every morning and eat with my kids (I have two boys)
      - I'm in the office by 8AM - I usually block the first 90 minutes of the day to dive deep into a project and get stuff done (update plans, do analysis, write content, etc.)
      - 9:30AM every morning is team stand-up time, so I'll hop into one of the 2-3 stand-ups happening at that time.
      - I'll spend the 15 minutes leading up to 10AM reading and participating on social media
      - 10AM - I read and respond to emails for an hour
      - 11AM - Usually in a project meeting or on sitting in on a demo call for a potential client
      - 12PM - Go to lunch w/ someone different from across the company
      - 1PM - Get more stuff done
      - 2PM - usually have weekly 1:1 meetings with a direct report or peer
      - 3-5PM - get more stuff done, meetings depending
      - 5PM - Read and respond to emails from the day
      - 6:30PM - 7PM - Leave office
      - 7:30PM - Bath time and reading with the kiddos
      - 8PM - Eat dinner and spend time with my wife
      - 9PM - Watch a show or sign back on to prepare for tomorrow
      - 10AM - Bed

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Regarding point 3 - To be clear, I did not found PI nor am I responsible for running the entire company. I am part of the management team and am responsible for Sales & Marketing. That said, I started at PI just a few months after it was acquired by my boss and his business partner. I came on board with a charter to fire up a marketing competency as there really wasn't one. For the past 60 years, the company had essentially outsourced all sales and marketing activities through its distribution network of PI Certified Partner companies. The challenges early on were figuring out how to refresh the brand, develop brand/design standards, and stand up a marketing website that better reflected PI's value prop and product set. All while continuing to scale lead flow, rotate to a network of 40 companies (we now have 110+ partner companies in addition to our Direct Sales Team), track conversions, etc. I often refer to it as rebuilding the plane engine of a 747 mid-flight. I wouldn't have it any other way!

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      I will cover 1 & 2 together here. Learnings from each company I've worked at. Starting from the beginning.

      Staples - I actually started part-time in the stores as a side-hustle for health insurance while I was a temp choir teacher at a high school and played in a band. I quickly became a store manager and then moved to the home office. That's where I worked on the Staples.com marketing team and absolutely fell in love with digital marketing. At Staples, I learned early on the power of marketing analytics. I managed affiliate marketing while I was there. I was in my young 20's and managing budgets of millions and millions of dollars, agency relationships, and running programs that were generating $60 million revenue. We measured everything and testing everything. It was a perfect first marketing job.

      Compete - I was recruited away from Staples to work for their Compete.com online subscription product. This was my first time working on a small start-up-like team. I made some great friends there. I got to run marketing, manage the budget, run the PPC and ad campaigns. Gregg Poulin, my boss who ran the Compete.com team at that time was a great mentor to me. I remember him telling me "I'll be your first reference wherever you want to go." That always stuck with me. Greg wanted people to be at Compete because they truly were passionate about it. At the same time he wanted his people to be happy in their life and career. I had an absolute blast while at Compete. We had a freemium model and running campaigns to get 350K+ freemium users over to a paid monthly subscription for competitive analytics data was a ton of fun. I also managed my first direct report.

      HubSpot - While at Compete, I started getting involved in some local Boston tech meet-up groups and presenting the marketing work we were doing. A lot of it was blogging and content marketing. I caught the eye of Mike Volpe, then HubSpot CMO. I was recruited to HubSpot. It was the most trying time of my career actually. I was not a good fit with the marketing team culture. Long story short, things didn't work out for me. I was let go. I was there less than a year. It was humiliating, frustrating, depressing, and liberating all at the same time. In hindsight, I was not a good behavioral fit for the marketing team's culture. I desired more responsibility than they could give me (I think I was a bit arrogant then as well). On the flip side, I also now realize that the team management at HubSpot at that time could have been much better. Although many people thrived there, it was toxic in a lot of ways. That said, I exited on good terms - Mike and I stayed in touch (he was actually a reference for me to PI!), I wrote some great content, learned a ton more about B2B SaaS, and managed a bunch of paid media campaigns.

      PennySaver USA - I moved out to the west coast and lived in Orange County California for just about 4 years while I worked at PennySaver USA, a hyper-local media and advertising company. It was a dinosaur of a company - founded in the 1950's. It's flagship product was a printed classified magazine that was delivered to 80%, or about 8 million, California households each week. We had 14K weekly paying customers. I managed all marketing and also managed their digital products business (classified listings site, website and online advertising for local businesses). In my first few months at the company my boss, the EVP of Digital and her boss, the President, were both let go. I managed a team of over 30 people across customer service, product, sales, and marketing. I sat on the executive team. Everyone else had been at the company 20+ years and were at 20 years older than me. It was a good lesson for me in adapting my behavior. Mike Paulsin, CEO, was a fantastic mentor to me. We complemented each other's personality well and I enjoyed many strategy conversations on how to turn the business around. We were eventually divested from our public parent company, Harte Hanks, and sold to a Private Equity company. It was my first experience with bad business. The PE folks were awful people. No ethics or morals. Literally the definition of greed and evil. They got a lot of what they deserved in court. Although very gut-wrenching (several restructures, downsizing, starting up new units, on the road selling, etc.), it's easily the best learning experience of my career. I left for PI just 4 months before they shut the doors at PennySaver (the print unit was shuttered and digital units sold off). I cried like a baby when I left...I felt like I was deserting my family at a very hard time.

      The Predictive Index - It's been a wild ride so far. I report to an amazing boss, Mike Zani CEO. We've invested over tens of millions back into the business since the acquisition. We've grown revenue over 100% (the company was growing at an 8% CAGR for 8 years pre-acquisition) and are just about at 7,000 clients globally. We had 30 employees when I started, we now just surpassed 100. We had 40 PI Certified Partner companies when I started, we have over 115 and growing. We built and moved into new offices in Westwood, MA. It's been a dream to help craft the strategy, brand, and product (our BEHAG is to be a billion dollar company within the next 5 years).

      Lessons learned across my career have made me realize that true power to succeed comes from within. I'm a voracious reader, I'm always asking for feedback from others. I take great pride and care in managing others to do great work and develop their careers. I'm always on - open mindset. Always thinking about the business. Always trying new things and testing new ideas. I'm always challenging others to do the same.

      • MK

        Mariana Klober

        12 months ago #

        Wow! This is amazing! Such a great journey and so inspiring! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it, I really appreciate it!

  • DW

    Danielle Wildfong

    12 months ago #

    Hey Drew, what are your thoughts on low and high E sales people?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Thanks for the PI question Danielle. For those who don't know E. The E factor is a dimension measured by the PI Behavioral assessment. It is essentially how objective vs subjective someone is. High E = objective in decision making. Low E = subjective in decision making. Full disclosure I have a low E. I respect data immensely and think it's critical. At the same time, I trust my gut. It's usually my subjective nature that tells me that I should look at data and validate to make an educated decision. High E folks would simply be the other way around.

      Regarding sales people and E, I think it depends Danielle. For highly transactional sales, a higher E probably makes sense because it's more a transfer/collection of data to get the sale done. For B2B SaaS sales with higher ACVs, complex products, and longer sales cycles, I think lower E can be a helpful as you have to be in tune with the tone an nuance of the process, know when to reach out, know what to say, etc. That said, I think it all depends on the what stage of the sales processes you are in - you could easily make the case for high E or low E in each instance.

      Now, if you want to talk about straight-up behavioral patterns and reference profiles, that is a whole other ball game. You can review reference profiles here: https://www.predictiveindex.com/reference-profiles/

      Feel free to message me directly here on GH or on LinkedIn if you want to chat about it!

  • SK

    Song Kê

    12 months ago #

    Wow, I got here with the hope I'm going to learn something from this abundance of comments and I must say I'm not disappointed. Thank you for all this useful information.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    12 months ago #

    I noticed that you run both sales and marketing. It seems that B2C increasingly is combining product and marketing leadership. Do you think combining sales and marketing leadership will become a trend in B2B? If so, why?

    • DF

      Drew Fortin

      12 months ago #

      Great question, Danielle. Having one person overseeing both sales and marketing has its pros - aligned teams, full visibility/control over the entire marketing/sales funnel, unified goals, and more accountability (no throwing grenades over the wall). I also think that technology has made it so that we are relying more and more on the quality and skill of people as the differentiator. Although it doesn't directly translate in all cases, I once heard someone say something like "all great marketers should make great sales people as all great sales people should make great marketers." I think the siloing that often happens between sales and marketing - at some companies it's past healthy conflict to just fighting. (I was at a marketing event a couple months ago where a head of marketing said that they and their head of sales aren't really on speaking terms.)

      At the end of the day sales and marketing are driving toward the same goal. Business should do everything in its power to ensure that the funnel is working and strategies are unified. That said, yes I do think there is a strong case to have sales and marketing unified under one leader. Let me know if that's enough "why" for you!

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