The Secrets to Sourcing More Than $60M in Pipeline

After raising their first institutional round of financing from OpenView in 2014, SmashFly, the leading recruitment marketing platform provider, was eager to put that capital to good use. But, almost paradoxically, they lacked the resources to do so.

“Not unlike any other startup, we raised funding, but actually had a shortage of internal resources to deploy that capital. That’s where OpenView’s Expansion team came in,” says Scott Fowle, SmashFly’s Chief Sales Officer.

From the outset, SmashFly planned to deploy the $9 million in Series A funding to build out the company’s fledgling sales team. And that build out would start by aggressively hiring and training business development representatives – or, opportunity consultants, as they’re known at SmashFly.

Having made the decision to put a portion of the newly raised capital into funding a BDR build out, Fowle and the SmashFly leadership team evaluated the best way to proceed. “We couldn’t spend all of our waking hours on hiring OCs. We had bookings continuing to roll in and we were trying to hire and train salespeople,” Fowle notes.

So the team looked to OpenView’s Expansion platform. After closely evaluating the resources provided by OpenView’s team of operators, the value equation crystallized for Fowle and Michael Hennessy, SmashFly’s founder and CEO.

The first real breakthrough came early on when SmashFly discovered their definition of a BDR diverged sharply from the model OpenView had come to rely on for guaranteed success.

“Their version turned out to be right,” says Fowle. Specifically, OpenView encouraged SmashFly to hire ‘fresh outs’ or recent college grads who would come into the role with open minds and raw skills like intelligence and curiosity. OpenView’s training program is so in depth, it’s able to turn new grads into productive and well-trained BDRs in a matter of weeks.

While Fowle, who has worked in the HR software space at companies like HireVue, Taleo and SuccessFactors for nearly two decades, typically hired BDRs with five to eight years of experience, OpenView encouraged SmashFly to look for entry level employees. “These employees,” notes Fowle, “Didn’t possess the preconceived notions I’d often seen career salespeople come in with.”

Had Fowle proceeded with business as usual, SmashFly’s overall opportunity consultant compensation structure would have been 2 times what the program currently costs. As a result, cost savings have enabled the team to hire nearly double the headcount.

Building and Training the Team for Maximum Impact

“OpenView was not only able to show us a framework of the type of person we should hire, they made those early strategic hires for us,” Fowle adds. “All of our original hires were initially screened and vetted through OpenView.”

With that workflow clearly established, SmashFly led second and final round interviews before new BDRs were hired and enrolled in the initial training program, also established and run by OpenView.

“OpenView laid out a clear plan for how to train all those new hires and helped us put each and every OC into a position that would allow them to win."

Scott Fowle

Chief Sales Officer

OpenView’s training program, which even included working with the newly hired BDRs onsite at OpenView, established operational metrics and activities and built a framework around SmashFly’s domain expertise to get each new hire up to speed.

After the initial training at OpenView, in partnership with Fowle and other SmashFly team members, BDRs began calling prospects and sending emails per predefined guidelines.

“By teaching, training and monitoring newly hired BDRs in the OpenView environment, the OpenView team was better able to coach and provide ongoing support,” says Fowle. This hands on approach was and is instrumental to the success of SmashFly’s BDR program.

More than Just a VC

With SmashFly’s BDR team up and running, the company began to see opportunities roll in. And because the initial program was such a success, the SmashFly team continues to reengage with the Expansion platform on a host of topics including target market and competitive research, messaging, win / loss reviews and more.

“OpenView is so much more than a VC,” says Fowle. “The Expansion platform has an unbeatable wealth of intellectual property around business process and go-to-market strategy that is invaluable to our business.”

“At the end of the day,” adds Fowle, “VCs offer a commodity – money. A lot of them say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a great rolodex. We’ll help get business started. We’ve got great connections,’ but I’ve yet to see very many people actually come through on those promises.”

“In the years I’ve spent around VCs, I’ve seen many make claims that they just don’t honor. It’s a lot of marketing up front and then the support just isn’t there,” says Fowle. “The biggest differentiators for OpenView are the chemistry and culture we have with the team and their in-house expertise across recruiting, training and research. There’s no shortage of brainpower.”

And that knowledge and support extends from the Expansion team all the way on up to OpenView’s Partners. “Ricky Pelletier,” who sits on SmashFly’s Board, “has been instrumental in closing some of the biggest deals for us,” adds Fowle. “OpenView not only knows our market well enough to make wise investment decisions, they know our product well enough to sell it. That, more than anything, is what makes OpenView unique.”

The Results

As a result of the partnership between OpenView and SmashFly, SmashFly’s BDR team has generated $61,773,893 in pipeline (inbound and outbound) across 8 BDRs (3 part time, 5 full time). SmashFly now names some of the world’s foremost brands as customers including Intel, Nestle Purina, Great Clips and Sutherland Global Services thanks in part to the work they’ve done with OpenView.