15Five: SaaS Co. Raises $30M & Triples in Size in One Year [Video]

Article by | October 8, 2019 Marketing Strategy

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[Transcript below]

You’re growing. That’s good.

You land Series B funding of $30 million.

Now, you’ve got to put that money to use, and show your investors what’s possible.

You hire staff. You triple the size of your staff.

How do you keep the wheels on the bus?

That’s the challenge Brad McGinity, Chief Revenue Officer of 15five, tackled this year. 15Five is a SaaS performance management suite that facilitates higher employee engagement and retention so your team can become the best version of themselves.

The product they deliver as a company is also the solution they implement for their own employee engagement and retention.

I caught up with Brad recently and discussed in our video interview:

  1. While you’re scaling your company, what do you look for when hiring new team members?
  2. How do you use company culture as a marketing tool to attract potential team members? Potential acquirers?
  3. How do you get marketing and sales teams to work together as a single unit?
  4. What tactics help your customers understand the problem(s) you solve?

He also quotes Brené Brown and highlights an idea from The Challenger Customer.


Would you like your company featured on “Series A, B, C?” Drop me a line and tell me about your B2B tech company.


Transcript of Video


Angus Nelson:     Welcome to “Series A, B, C,” where technology companies share their insights to strategy and growth. I’m your host Angus Nelson, Director of Development here at Golden Spiral, and today I’m talking with Brad McGinity, Chief Revenue Officer at 15Five, a cloud-based performance management software, a company designed to help employees grow and develop their best selves. Welcome to the show, Brad.

Brad McGinity:      Thanks Angus, it’s fantastic to be with you.

Angus Nelson:      And it is morning sun where you’re at. Where are you dialing in from today?

Brad McGinity:      I’m in Raleigh, North Carolina, after dropping off my girls at the bus stop.

Angus Nelson:      I love it. So we’re going to dive in deep into 15Five. We will often hear a lot of the buzz words around employee engagement, company values, employee wellness, mindfulness, et cetera. Can you please take a moment and share how 15Five approaches and understands these important topics?

Brad McGinity:     Yeah, absolutely. We place a really high emphasis on them, and we talk about them a lot. A lot of it stems from the inner work of our CEO, David Hassell, and Chief Culture Officer, Shane Metcalf. And both of them believe very strongly that you bring your whole self to work every single day whether you want to or not. So the more that we can create a culture that allows people to feel safe, with a lot of psychological safety, a lot of trust with their coworkers, and the courage to be vulnerable inside of our company, the more that we are going to thrive as a business, and the higher the people are going to perform. Because at the end of the day, when things are going really well for you at home, you probably perform better at work. And so with a symbiotic relationship, because work is just one part of overall life. Recognize that and then create a place where people can thrive in their entire life, both at home and their work. Our culture is going to do better, our people are going to perform better, our employee retention will be higher, and it just becomes a much nicer place to show up on a daily basis.

Angus Nelson:     You know, these are soft skills that a lot of people don’t recognize that are becoming hard skills. And Emotional Intelligence and having self-awareness, et cetera. It’s super powerful leadership stuff. I’ve heard that company culture is considered a marketing tool, and that by companies connecting with their internals on a much higher level, like you described the external potential clients, potential customers take note. It becomes a great marketing tool. How have you seen that help you in terms of growing your team as well as growing the company?

Brad McGinity:     Yeah, and potential acquirers. I know that one of the top four criteria that Salesforce looks at before they do an acquisition is the company Glassdoor rating and the CEO review score on Glassdoor. You know, as you said, we’ve been growing very quickly at 15Five. We have tripled the size of our team here just in 2019 alone.

Angus Nelson:     Just in your tenure there, the last two years you’ve raised you almost $39 million. You’ve added, like you said, triple to the team just in 2019. When you go to hire, how are you really bringing the conviction and the messaging, making it contagious to your team?

Brad McGinity:     We have a powerful message in our product. Our company vision is to unlock the potential of every member of the global workforce. I guess is pretty cool. That’s a message and a vision that a lot of people can get behind when they go to work every day. We have an authentic and genuine passion and we want to hire people who will also have that authentic and genuine passion. And, so some of the things that we look for to identify that culture fit are confident but not arrogant, very low tolerance for egos. We want people who are always trying to learn and grow. So we’ll ask lots of questions around what areas are you trying to improve in? What areas are you’re growing in? What kind of hobbies do you have? Or just looking for people who have a degree of passion in their lives. And just a general kind of way about them that shows a willingness to be vulnerable. Think about Brené Brown talks about vulnerabilities – that vulnerability takes courage. And so when we can acknowledge our faults in an interview, because nobody’s perfect, that signals to us that we probably have somebody who’s a really good fit for 15Five.

Angus Nelson:     Love Brené Brown too. So as a Chief Revenue Officer, you cover sales, service, support, customer success, et cetera. And over the last couple of years a lot of the market has changed the way people are buying, especially in the B2B space. The integration of marketing and sales is becoming critically important. How are you seeing the relationship on your team with marketing and sales coming together and being successful?

Brad McGinity:     These are really the big questions, and we have a fantastic VP of Marketing in Keshila Vellot Shannon. We talk a lot about the dynamics between our two groups, so that we can consistently try to improve them. I think the number one thing is that we kind of have a banner over both organizations, as we are one team, but we are in this thing together. And there is one funnel and one customer journey and what is always going to be best for the customer, the very one customer. So of course we try to get alignment there. And then the way that we run the revenue organization is kind of these different revenue functions and Marketing, kind of operating as one team, as we’re setting up our strategic planning.

Brad McGinity:     And we’re thinking about our overarching conversion rates and funnel metrics. Our marketing team does a fantastic job of constantly coming to the frontline customer success and customer support and sales people and asking them, what are you hearing? What are you seeing out there in the field? And they recognize that in some ways they are a service provider to our frontline customer-facing people who are there interacting with customers. And those frontline reps understand that they are kind of the conduit of great content and great information from Marketing to get that into the hands of our customers at the right time and in ways that are appropriate. So we, we tend to think about some of those principles there and they tend to be pretty helpful and effective for us.

Angus Nelson:     Last question here, kind of some nuts and bolts as well as how you guys are in a space where there are companies now that are rising up to kind of get into the same space that you guys were at. Lots and lots of funding going in there, so now you’ve got competition. Now you’ve got to differentiate. How are you guys approaching positioning 15Five as different, as unique, as a greater value proposition?

Brad McGinity:     There’s a fantastic book from the Corporate Executive Board called The Challenger Customer. The Challenger Customer describes three things that a group of people have to agree on in order to make a purchase. They have to agree on the problem, common definition of what is the problem, a common definition of the solution, and then they have to select the vendor to actually solve the problem that is defining the solution. The hardest part of those three steps is coming to a common definition of the solution. The easiest is selecting the vendor. The middle one is obviously the common definition of the problem.

Brad McGinity:      And so a lot of what we’re trying to do as we try to differentiate in this competitive ecosystem, is to help our customers understand the problem that they are actually trying to solve and therefore to actually come to a common definition amongst themselves as a set of buyers of the solution.

Brad McGinity:      We hope that we become then, the vendor to solve that problem for them. But we see a lot of our role is not to, and this is features versus solution selling, right? It’s not just tell them the features of 15Five, it’s to help them understand exactly the problems that we can solve for their business, so they can better define that set of problems and then better define the set of solutions that go with it. I think the too often companies try to differentiate on the margins with we offer Feature X and we offer Feature X+2, and that doesn’t really matter. What matters is businesses ultimately solving solutions – or solving problems for their customers. But customers too often don’t actually understand what the problem is that they’re trying to solve. So if we can meet customers there and help them to better understand their own businesses, they will be more successful and hopefully we will be more successful as a result.

Angus Nelson:     Oh, you are singing to the choir. I love it. 15Five, you guys have served 2,000 businesses worldwide. So if you, the listener here, you want to allow your employees to share their triumphs and challenges, to stay focused on key objectives, if you want them to get regular feedback from managers to support them and reach their potential, or if you’re a company that wants higher engagement and retention, I want to invite you to go check out 15Five.

Angus Nelson:     So this show has been brought to you by Golden Spiral, a full-service B2B technology marketing agency, built to help companies generate demand and realize their market potential. For more information, you can go to goldenspiralmarketing.com. Brad, it has been a pleasure. Thanks so much for joining us.

Brad McGinity:     Thanks for having me, Angus.

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