Case Study

Building a Winning Culture with a Data-Driven Approach: A fireside chat with Patrick Buckley, Twilio’s Global Director of SDRs

Patrick Buckley, Twilio's Global Director of SDRs, shares his top tips for building a winning culture with a data-driven approach.

Last updated on: 
August 11, 2023
Alexander Kvamme
Alexander Kvamme
November 20, 2021
4 min read
Building a Winning Culture with a Data-Driven Approach: A fireside chat with Patrick Buckley, Twilio’s Global Director of SDRs
Building a Winning Culture with a Data-Driven Approach: A fireside chat with Patrick Buckley, Twilio’s Global Director of SDRs

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Patrick Buckley of Twilio at the TenBound Sales Development Conference to get his thoughts on how employees, managers, and leadership use data to create winning cultures and scale teams quickly.

Patrick is a distinguished SDR leader known for delivering results in high-growth SaaS organizations. He joined Salesforce in 2004 and was there for ten years while they grew from $96M to $4B in revenue. In his five years at Twilio, he has built a worldwide SDR organization with over 150 employees that continues to scale. In our talk, Patrick reveals his top tips for SDR managers, taking care of your team, and ensuring people succeed in their goals.

In this session, Patrick shares these essential insights:

The difference between Hustle Metrics and Productivity Metrics, and how to use both (2:31)

Data is a critical part of management and understanding how well the team is tracking. However, managers need to be careful, because while traditional hustle metrics will certainly drive activity, they may not necessarily drive pipeline.

“I can really push activities and I will get those activities. We had 50 activities a day and at the end of the day, every single rep was at 50. . . .  They're not actually trying to max out their day, they're just trying to hit 50. . . . you start realizing they're not actually the right activities. They're not quality activities. They're just trying to hit that number. So that metric in and of itself just doesn't make sense.”

Patrick dives into how focusing on productivity metrics maximizes reps’ efforts and drives opportunities through the funnel to conversion.  

“At Twilio, we've really started to focus more on productivity metrics. Are those opportunities going all the way down the funnel? And frankly, that's a much better guide to how well or how healthy your organization is.”

Why setting goals and communicating expectations is critical to culture (8:47)

For everyone in sales, hitting your numbers is extremely important. Consequently, how managers come up with these goals can really impact a team’s attitude and motivation. Modifying targets to match seasonality or market shifts in different countries shows your team that these targets are not arbitrary but thoughtful and achievable. The result is a motivated team that will surpass their targets.

“It has been better for us to lower their targets and create a gap between our targets and our deployed quota. . . to ensure that the momentum is there and the belief that they can find success. I'm going to get more out of a rep or a team. . . . But on top of that, it shows that you actually understand the challenges that they're going through.”

The real purpose of 1:1s (10:31)

On the Twilio SDR team, the purpose of 1:1s is to coach reps to make them successful and discuss career progression. Patrick’s ideal 1:1 starts in Pathlight with the rep digging into their performance themselves and coming prepared for a collaborative conversation on how their metrics impact their short and long-term goals. Managers can then coach, applaud, and unblock challenges to move the rep closer to their career goals.

“I think the ultimate 1:1 . . .is I don't have to do anything, but respond to what the rep is bringing to me. . . . They're outlining what their target is or what their goal is and are asking, how can I get there? How can I improve? And that's a great conversation. That's a conversation that builds trust. That's a conversation that builds great relationships. And that's how you get these amazing employees that want to be there for a long period of time. They feel invested, right? That's so important."

Ramping quickly and how hiring and managing Gen Z is different (21:29)

Like many companies, Twilio has aggressive hiring goals and targets a new generation of employees in high demand. Patrick observes that this new generation wants to make an impact and be proud of what they do. They want the company's values to align with their own. Twilio focuses on a great interviewing process to win over these hires and make it a place where people want to work.

“When we think about scaling the organization and getting the organization to grow (with Pathlight), we feel a lot more confident in that we have as much greater communication capability to be able to build these reps up and ensure that they're successful. One of the things that's been fantastic is that we can ramp reps really well. Through our onboarding process, our reps become really successful. That's a key metric to how the organization is doing in bringing on these young salespeople.”
“I want reps to leave my team, or leave Twilio, feeling that they are better prepared for that next job, whether it's in sales or something else.”

Building a positive team culture in a remote environment (26:26)

Creating a culture with a remote team is challenging. Patrick says that while virtual events like happy hours, escape rooms, and cooking classes are all good, it’s critical for managers to proactively look for small signals of when someone on the team is stressed:

“You have to make sure that you take the time to ask questions around their own health . . . people handle challenges or stress or whatever else you want to call it very differently. . . .  just picking up the phone and giving somebody a call, not on Zoom and have nothing to talk about that's work-related just like, how are you?”

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference.

This was a great session with many actionable insights. Many thanks to Patrick for sharing his experiences and thoughts on building a great culture!

Want to see a custom demo of Pathlight or get help finding the right plan? We'd love to chat.

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