Andrew Ettinger took Pivotal from $0-$500M+ and now is the CRO at BigID

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In this episode, Elias Rubel is joined by Andrew Ettinger, an entrepreneurial and truly elite level sales executive helping best of breed technology companies scale, grow and succeed in the marketplace.

Andrew is a true, born and bred modern executive sales leader who leverages an astute business mind to deliver systems to organizations such that significant business outcomes are realized by the customer. He implements and firmly believes in the modern approach of measuring the Key Moments. They are pain, conversations (not pitch!), diagnose, trade, orchestrate, impact, and grow. A 10% improvement in this simple process over these 7 moments can deliver a 2x increase in ARR and a 10x increase in realized impact for the customer.

Episode Outline

[02:39] Andrew’s background

[04:16] Flexibility in mindset and not getting stuck in your ways

[08:13] Understanding that there's no problem with making mistakes. Learn and apply the lessons learned as you go forward.

[10:22] List of regulations from California

[11:18] On developing self awareness, self reflection, and deep introspection

[12:04] Technical evangelism and doing deep workshops that benefit the organization

[14:34] Privacy as a first class citizen and why that matters

[16:35] What works to instrument the workflows into production processes

[17:04] Navigating the turbulent waters of the enterprise

Andrew's Inspirations

Scott Yara

Jo Otto

Jill Rowley

Mark Roberge

Connect with Andrew



Andrew Ettinger: (00:31)
Today. Super excited to have Andrew Edinger on the actually. Whoa, do I, is that, did I pronounce your name, right? Yeah. Yep. All good, Andrew. Okay. We'll start over. All right. Today, I'm really excited to have Andrew Edinger on the call. Um, he grew revenue at pivotal from basically zero to an access to 500 million and is now the chief revenue officer at big ID in addition to being an advisor and a board member LP across a variety of companies and funds. So Andrew, great to have you here. Thanks for having me. I'm really looking forward to it. Appreciate it. Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, let's dive right in. You've had a ton of amazing experience. I'm sure we could pick a ton of different like stories to dive into, but I'm curious, you know, one of the things that you really tout a lot is is this flexibility in mindset and not getting stuck in your ways.

Andrew Ettinger: (01:24)
And it's kind of interesting because this show is all about what are the patterns and playbooks that revenue leaders and I have observed over the course of their career and they roll out, but it's almost at odds with that, with that idea, um, which isn't to say that playbooks are wrong, but I love that you are out there saying, Hey, these things go stale and you need to always have an open mind. So like, let's talk about kind of how you even developed that way of thinking during the beginnings of your career. Yeah, sure. Playbooks are a lot like rules. I think they're meant to be broken, right? They've got a time, they've got a place and they're appropriate, but sometimes I got a break. Uh, and you know, look, I think, you know, as you start to progress in your career and I'm, you know, by no means, you know, uh, an expert or at the end of my career, or you start to realize that there are some mistakes that you make that are very classical and prototypical that people tell you and warn you about, and you sort of said to yourself, I would never happen to me.

Andrew Ettinger: (02:24)
Like no way would I be that over controlling high performing sales professional that would then go to manage and scale a team and do it all my way or the highway and run it and control it, uh, and be overbearing and over powerful, that would never happen. But it invariably happens to, you know, more percent than people want to admit and, you know, look, it happened to me early on in my career. And I like to say, look, there's no problem with making mistakes. It's the mistakes that you can't self identify and correct, and learn and apply the lessons learned as you go forward. So it's been a real opportunity for me, uh, to ensure, you know, when that happened early, it kinda came down to one fundamental thing and it's having a, you know, a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. And I think that fixed mindset, which is what you were alluding to in some of the discussions I've had is oftentimes what really derail people from scaling to the next evolution of growth, whether it's zero to 10, 10 to 20, to 20, to 100 and so on.

Elias Rubel: (03:27)
So, I mean, it may sound super obvious and it, it could be, but if you're one of those people out there and you're in a fixed mindset, it's probably a lot harder to identify, like to raise your hand even to yourself and say, Oh shit, I'm in a fixed mindset. How would you like if, if there are listeners out there who might be in that spot, how could they self identify? Like, are there any, are there any signals they should be looking for to, to evaluate? Yeah, that's a really good question. I think there's no easy way to answer it. And so I'll provide a little bit of color. I think the first thing, which is just hard, cause it's in DNA is self awareness, self reflection, and deep introspection of where you're at today and where you ultimately want to go with the organization that you're running and trying to be out ahead of that and realizing that regardless of where you're at and regardless of where you want to go, things have to change, right.

Andrew Ettinger: (04:24)
Just by definition. And you know, uh, that's hard for a lot of people though, right? Cause that's sort of in the DNA, that's in your bones. So, you know, let's say that that's not possible because you don't have that. Uh, to me, you know, go to market and it's not even selling, like go to market is a team sport and you need to surround yourself with other likeminded individuals that counter balance you that are not necessarily just like you. And I, you know, kind of tried to do that below me where you try to hire people for diversity of thought. Uh, obviously diversity in general is, is, is an amazing thing to adhere to, but at least diversity in thought, uh, below you, which, uh, you then provide that safe environment to collaborate and share ideas and be vulnerable. And then above you and around you, you have to also surround yourself with marketing and sales enablement, uh, and founders and board members and you know, the subject matter experts and really develop, uh, a cadence together where you're always sharing thoughts, ideas, and measuring what you're learning in the marketplace together.

Andrew Ettinger: (05:34)
So that you're constantly iterating, measure it, test out really small slivers of that along the way. And then you're always on this agile approach towards scaling with science and also tight feedback loops with a trusted peer group around you. And to the extent that you can be successful against executing it, that will then enable you to your point earlier to not fall into those because there will be way too many alarms that will sound along the way. And more importantly, you'll already be setting up yourself in the defacto standard that you're always going to be iterating and changing. Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense. So you mentioned something a second ago is scaling with science. Can you walk us through what that means to you? Yeah, sure. So I think, uh, you know, when you start to look at, uh, you know, scaling again, regardless of, you know, where you're at, and let's just assume for purposes of this answer and discussion that there is go to market fit, right?

Andrew Ettinger: (06:33)
Customers have shown a propensity to want to engage. There is demand, uh, and they voted with their wallets. Now you're starting to say, Hey, look, how do I take that product market fit? Right? Uh, take the signals from some, go to market fit and apply that so that it could be repeatable, consistent, measurable, and scalable. And what that means is you reverse engineer, right? The sales process to understand the outcomes of the customers would get the minimum time to their first value once they've deployed your product, which hopefully is within 30 days. But let's just even say like in the enterprise side, it's 90 days and then reverse engineer back to your first contact with them. And what would you do every step along the way to ensure that you are taking them down that path, which they'd achieved those outcomes. And if you're doing that and measuring that, and you could course correct and be, you know, that you're on the right course for them to enjoy the benefits that you are promising them, that they will realize.

Andrew Ettinger: (07:34)
And therefore you're able to be very prescriptive to your go to market engine on where you might be stuck, where you might need to advance and where you're doing well.

Elias Rubel: (07:44)
Got it. Okay. So now I wanna back is up to pivotal. I mean, zero to 500 is a, is a crazy amount of growth. And obviously there are categories kind of sprints revenue sprints within that, that are distinct, uh, with their own set of challenges. So if you could take us through maybe the first five major revenue sprints, like a, what are those, you know, as far as like, is it one to 10, 10 to 20? What is, what do those look like? And then maybe share one of the biggest learnings from each of those sprints. And it could either be like a learning or something that went wrong that you grew from, what would those be?

Andrew Ettinger: (08:24)
Yeah, really good question. Uh, I think the first one is obviously when you were at zero, it was just proving that someone would actually pay for your product. And, uh, you know, oftentimes when you're at that stage, there are some rough edges that you never know, uh, how rough they might be, depending on the use case that your first set of customers want to apply, at least in the platform business that we were in. And so for us, it was really just about demonstrating that there was this in the enterprise for companies that realize they could have an inherent advantage in being able to accelerate through the software development life cycle at a speed that would rival Google Facebook and the other consumer internet giants. And, you know, back in 2013 and 14, that wasn't that crazy of a thought. But when you sit here today in 2020, it's kind of like air and water.

Andrew Ettinger: (09:20)
And so it really first was just trying to prove out that people thought software was a core competency that you should own as a fortune 500 or global 2000. And so it was like, give us any workload that we could prove this out. And, you know, you found four or five different workloads, which were not the four or five workloads that we originally intended to set out to prove so positive. We proved it negative. It wasn't what we expected. So then right, the pivot was like, okay, to now go to the next set of customers that would take us from 10 to 25 or 50, what would that look like? And where there swim lanes in those workloads that we could use to go prove. And at that point, the market started to mature the clouds like, you know, Amazon and Azure started to become increasingly more relevant.

Andrew Ettinger: (10:09)
There were more options out there and we really had to now take a much more architecture. First approach, get much more hands on with technical selling technical evangelism and doing deep workshops that enabled companies on our dime to see the power of what the outcomes could achieve to them before we even started. And so that was a radical shift that we didn't really anticipate cause we figured everyone would want to adopt to that modern software development paradigm. But it turns out that we had to actually go and instrument the front part of that sales process and engagement model to get very deep and actually show them with hands on keyboard. So I would say those are two of the, the early ones, uh, you know, and then, and then, and then it started to kind of scale from there. Got it. Okay. So, you know, you have all this experience, you have all these great frameworks for staying nimble with your mindset and constantly looking for the next opportunity.

Elias Rubel: (11:09)
So now you're a chief, the chief revenue officer at, um, at big ID, like what, what sparks the inspiration to go to big, big ID and what are the challenges you're trying to solve there today? Yeah. Thanks. Good question. Big ID was just perfectly situated in the middle of three very significant secular trends that had massive momentum, privacy, security, and data. And as I was looking in the marketplace, it became apparent that the, uh, data, obviously it was going to drive and fuel. A lot of the innovation going forward in all sorts of companies was already table stakes, but doing it in a way in which, uh, people, consumers, customers, uh, felt like their privacy was not being violated. And in fact, uh, the processes were engineered to be privacy, where to start with, which rode the coattails of some of the regulations from California and, uh, the EU and GDPR and CCPA, uh, really was at the forefront and organizations.

Andrew Ettinger: (12:22)
Now we're really starting to think about privacy as a first class citizen and hiring chief privacy officers. And so it became one distinct pillar that was really significant. And then it dovetailed into security, which oftentimes are the folks that had to operationalize the things that the privacy professionals would put in place to make sure that the policies were adhered to. But then all of a sudden the security professionals were like, well, once we understand all of this data, we need to make sure that we know where it is and that when it changes, why it changed and who has access to that data and how do we find that data that's in motion, that's in rest, that's in file systems. That's in structured databases and unstructured ways and bring all that all together in a very meaningful way so that we could make sure that the security around all of that data is in place in general, let alone ensuring that personal information or PII are handled in very distinct ways.

Andrew Ettinger: (13:23)
And then lastly, it's like, once you understand all of that, about your data, there's new and interesting ways to derive economic value from that in ways that wasn't possible before. And as you start to look at the machine learning engineers out there and how the enterprises are trying to apply that into AI production systems, the long pole in the tent is finding the data and getting access to it. And because what I just described inherently was surfacing all of that and correlating it together and driving insights. It served as this ramp in this accelerant for people to now take that relevant information and do far more meaningful things with it because they could get access to it. So when you bring all that together and a platform that allowed people to surface all of those three personas and then develop applications on top of that to instrument the workflows into production processes, it was an opportunity he couldn't pass down.

Elias Rubel: (14:16)
Totally love it. So I'm curious like you, you, you continue to have an amazing career. It continues to ramp what keeps you fired up personally, the love of the game, right? I have any passion for taking leading edge and cutting technology and delivering business outcomes to customers. There is no, the, the, the, the sale isn't actually what gets me excited. It is actually having customers that are so happy about the outcomes you're delivering, that they want to talk about the value and the benefit that they're getting, and just seeing people progress through that life cycle just brings me great passion. And, you know, there are obviously are, you know, a myriad of horror stories of legacy software implementations inside of the enterprise. And I just never wanted to be that. And I went the real opposite way, which comes with more risks because you're on the cutting edge.

Andrew Ettinger: (15:16)
And by definition, that's a startup, but helping to then grow those companies and see the value and have the customers really feel that connective tissue back to the thesis that the company was created on really is just exciting. And it's, it's what my passion is about. So speaking of this passion, I know that you, you bring this to a lot of companies that you advise. I'm curious, are there, are there any companies maybe in the last year or two who you've worked with that broke through, had like a major breakthrough in their go to market? Um, if you wanted to shout out to a couple of those examples and, and share kind of what that big breakthrough moment was for each of those companies. Yeah. It's a, it's, it's a, it's a, it's a really good question. I think, you know, oftentimes it depends on the stage, but oftentimes you do have absolutely brilliant technical founders that sometimes just need help navigating the turbulent waters of the enterprise.

Andrew Ettinger: (16:15)
Right. And it can be a, you know, very demanding, very intimidating and a tough thing to get through if you don't have the experience there. And so for me, it really was just about instilling the level of confidence and a sounding board to a lot of those founders to understand how to approach those engagements, what the expectations of those enterprises are and were and how you could best align your value proposition against those such that they want to engage with you. And the breakthrough moments really happen when, uh, you know, they start to see those things, bear fruit, they start to see the engagements pickup. And on the flip side, it was then really, how do you start to build a demand engine, leveraging some of the modern techniques around account based marketing and some of the intent data and signals that are out there and building those two things together so that your go to market engine is instrumented from the early days to be able to take the signal in the market and apply it towards your process and start to scale so that when you're hiring reps, you're already be able to show them where there is intent in the marketplace that they can go and execute against.

Andrew Ettinger: (17:30)
And so for me, applying all those learnings, which again were learnings for me, I didn't have that day one to some of the founders that don't necessarily have that in their DNA. They've got obviously amazing other, uh, you know, attributes has just been really rewarding.

Elias Rubel: (17:46)
So who are some of the people in your own that have either been mentors or folks who, even peers that you look up to or admire their work?

Andrew Ettinger: (17:59)
Yeah, it's a really good question. I think on the mentorship side, uh, you know, bill cook and Scott Yara have been, uh, just sort of at the forefront. Scott was the co founder of Greenplum, which is where I started in 2010. And that started the pivotal journey and, uh, just an amazing entrepreneur and product vision. Uh, bill cook was CEO there and was, uh, president and COO of pivotal who I reported to for 10 years.

Andrew Ettinger: (18:25)
Uh, it was just absolutely amazing. Uh, and then, uh, you know, Joe auto, uh, was running sales there early on for me as well as now, CEO of astronomer, uh, has just been an amazing, uh, influence in my life on, uh, how to approach the enterprise world. And then in the, you know, industry, you know, Marco bears and, uh, you know, his book, uh, and I've gotten the opportunity to know Mark really well since that book, but I just blindly found the book and just became a fan on that science of scaling. Uh, every time I talked to Mark, it's like three pages of notes. And then I think the last one is you heard me mentioned demand gen a little bit, and kind of the modern approach to sales is, uh, emphatically been Jill Raleigh. Uh, who's been a dear friend for, you know, seven or eight years and, uh, who I admire greatly and, uh, pushes me to be better, uh, every single day that, that entire collection. And I'm just fortunate to, uh, you know, have acquaintances with all of them.

Elias Rubel: (19:22)
Well, Andrew, I absolutely love the energy that you bring to just every conversation we've had. And certainly this one, I think the audience is going to really take a lot away from this. So thanks so much for taking the time. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it was a lot of fun.