Interview with Qatalog's Ryan Burke
Ryan Burke is the CRO for Qatalog, and was a proven veteran of remote sales departments long before COVID - as SVP for highly successful digital transformation startup Invision.
Ryan spent five and a half years at a company called envision, which was a design collaboration platform. When he joined, the company was about 30 people, we scaled that up over the five years to over 850 to over 100 billion. But envision was fully remote from day one.
As part of our whitepaper case study on how SaaS companies have adapted to remote work, we interviewed a number of experts, below are Ryan's insights:
How Qatalog Adapted Remote Work Processes
Ryan sees processes changing to boost communication measures. In a remote world to some extent, people feel like they lose their voice. Having as many vehicles as you can have to allow people to share how they're feeling or communicating things back internally to the company, is key. Communication is key to allow people to feel they do have an impact and a voice in terms of providing product feedback, or feedback on the culture of the company or processes internally or any of those things.
In the modern post-COVID world, we must be overly sensitive to other people's time zones and ensure we accommodate other people. People are on different schedules, so making sure people feel connected when they're in a more remote environment is crucial.
How Sales Leaders Are Improving Remote Culture
The focus should be on helping people write their career story. It’s more important when building a remote culture to build a culture of genuine care for employees paths - so making sure that they know that you're an advocate for helping them create their story.
Ryan is a big believer in core values or principles, that give people behavioural guardrails that aid decision making. This helps people do the right thing even when they may not have access to in-person assistance. Making sure you have strong core values crystallised is key to a positive remote culture.
Qatalog talk about above the line and below the line. As you’re not seeing people in the office it helps to have a communication system, and they use above the line or below the line. For example, you might come into a meeting and you don't know what has happened within your team. And so, the above the line / below the line concept is basically just a measure of your frame of mind at that given point.
You could say, “hey, Matt, you know, what, I'm a little below the line today”. Finding your own language like that creates a little safe space for people to share their frame of mind at that point.
How Qatalog Has Tackled Remote Onboarding
There's a book Ryan mentioned called "The Power of Moments", and in the book they talk about one of those moments that people have is their first day. In a remote environment, especially that first day can be pretty intimidating when you're sitting there by yourself. Making sure you're very intentional around that first day is really important.
In terms of how we evolved our onboarding we made everything very intentional. This means breaking things down to the day, and having that outline for maybe the first month or first three months. It’s important that there are human touch points there and those check ins are really laid out.
The final thing that is key in a distributed environment is benchmarks. A lot of people pop their head up after a month of onboarding and they'll say “how am I doing and am I ahead of where I'm supposed to be? Am I behind where I'm supposed to be?”. Making sure you set those benchmarks is crucial to helping those who have been onboarded succeed long term.
This interview was conducted as part of our whitepaper study on remote work in the SaaS world. Get your free copy here.