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  • Writer's pictureJames Purvis

10 Sales Leadership Weapons from Rubrik CRO, Brian McCarthy

Brian McCarthy serves as our Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) here at Rubrik where he has led our global go-to-market sales strategy for over two and a half years. Brian has over 20 years experience in the tech industry and recently served as the CRO at ThoughtSpot.


Yesterday, Brian joined the Revenue Builders Podcast and was interviewed by 5x CRO, John McMahon where Brian shared his story as well as some brilliant sales leadership tips and thought leadership from his expansive arsenal.


I break it all down for you below.



10 Sales Leadership Weapons from a CRO Legend:


1. Be on the Same Frequency as Your Team

  • If you think about a radio or a walkie-talkie, one component sends out a signal and another receives it. If the devices are not on the same channel or frequency, all you hear is white noise. A lot of sales managers say the right things (i.e. PG, activity, qualification, etc) but often reps feel managers are just yelling at the scoreboard or are being highly critical. When that's the case, all that a rep hears is"white noise."

  • Instead, managers should "will the good of the other" and care about their people by helping them achieve their goals. Don't ever let them drown and demonstrate you care about them and care about their best interest. In turn, you as a sales manager and your company will achieve their goals. This all stems from being on the same "frequency."

2. Listening With More Than Your Ears

  • Sales leaders should be more observant by listening with their eyes and not just their ears. Read the room and adjust accordingly. Also pay attention to tone of voice and also pay attention to what they don't say. Watch their mannerisms and try not to always be the first to speak - be genuinely curious. At the end of the day, you have to care enough about what the other is saying.

3. Be Secure With Your Decisions

  • It's easy to become insecure when you make decisions that don't work out. To overcome this, realize that no decision you make - can't be unmade. Be secure with your decisions and be comfortable with the fact that you won't always make the right decision. When you fail, course correct quickly and own it. Always leverage data in your decisions but don't forget about your gut. You need to leverage both.

4. Avoid Superman Complex

  • Sales managers often think that their job is to help "close the deal" and so they make the mistake of just coming into a deal only at the end. Even worse, they only focus on the biggest deals in the territory and often neglect all the others. You need to do the dirty work and be in the deal throughout the stages of the deal (more on this later).

5. 1:1's Should Be About Winning the Stages, Not the Forecast

  • Forecast calls are inevitable but sales leaders should avoid falling in the trap of this being what your chats with reps are all about. As said early, all this will do is translate into "white noise." Instead, ensure you have a 1:1 with your reps to discuss Stage 1's, review PG activity (what are you going after, why are you going after it, how are you converting to meaningful pipeline), and prepare for upcoming meetings so that you can ensure you're converting from Stage 1 to Stage 2. It's all about "winning the stages."


“[At Rubrik] Our sales process is not about winning deals; it's about winning the stages. It's about helping the customer get through each of these stages successfully. And each stage is rooted in value for the customer.”


6. Hire People Who Can Eventually Take Your Job

  • Don't be insecure about this. As a coach, your job is to get the best players on the team. Hire people that make you better and the people around you better. When you leave an organization, it should be in a better place than before and not skip a beat once you're gone. That's how you know your leadership style and activities were a success.

7. Capacity and Productivity: The Two Elements for Building

  • You can grow a company simply by doing two things, either adding capacity (i.e. headcount) or by increasing productivity. Productivity is the #1 element to focus on when you scale. It's a never-ending bar you have to raise consistently. It's a constant "getting better" game.

You can improve productivity only 3 ways:

  1. Increase your win rate

  2. Having more deals per person to close

  3. Demanding more premium for your goods & services


"Hire faster, lower attrition, shrink ramp time, and increase productivity and you will beat plan consistently."


8. Champions Sell Software. We Enable Them.

  • What impacts a deal the most is success of influencing the customer's required capabilities. It allows you to demand a premium and improve your win rate. If you do this properly, you are aligning the sales cycle to where you differentiate and giving your Champion a clear path to be able to sell internally for you. They can execute the sales cycle for you more quickly.


"Our job isn't to sell software. Our job is to build champions who sell software."

9. You Don't Lose Deals at the End. You Lose Them in the Beginning.

  • In deals that are lost, a lot of sales leaders make the mistake of thinking that they lost control of the deal at the end of the deal. In reality, most of these deals were actually lost in the beginning. If you had access to the economic buyer, validated and tested the Champion, properly communicated the 3 why's (with quantifiable value), and influenced the success criteria - the majority of these deals are won (Fast Fact: Rubrik wins 83% of deals that leave Stage 2). Keep the focus on winning the stage.


"PG gives you confidence. It helps you run a great sales cycle and gives you courage."


10. Forecasting Should be Deal-based, Not Number-based

  • Brian calls this, "In the number." Your committed number has to have the deals that match that number. This is a deal-based forecast vs. number-based. In a number-based forecast, the accuracy is low and involves a lot more guessing and inaccuracies.

Brian is a very charismatic leader here at Rubrik and has really up-leveled the entire company since his entrance. The entire Rubrik sales organization learns career-enhancing nuggets from him during every interaction. Hopefully the 10 tips above help you become better. Take a listen his podcast interview, I know you will enjoy it. I sure did.



Conclusion: Some Fun Facts About Brian:

  • Brian completed college in just 3 years and the motivation behind finishing a year early was to ensure his future wife who was set to graduate 12 months sooner didn't leave him :)

  • McCarthy comes from a family of 12 kids!

  • I once saw Brian take down a 32 ounce (not including the bone) tomahawk steak in Austin, TX because a waiter told him local celebrity Joe Rogan didn't finish it.

  • McCarthy closes out every All-hands call with, "Love you all. I mean it." - this stems from his will the good of the other philosophy.


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