Manny Medina of Outreach

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Manny Medina (founder and CEO) of Outreach, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Outreach – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Outreach was a pivot from an old startup. In 2013, my co-founders and I were operating our startup called GroupTalent, a service that matched corporate recruiters with job candidates. Despite our efforts, investment meetings weren’t as successful as we wanted and we were facing only a few months of runway left. Determined to make it, our tenacious team knew we had the right solution, but had to look for different ways of serving our customers. One small part of GroupTalent helped craft personalized-pitch emails and generated high open rates, getting an influx of positive feedback. We realized that the software of GroupTalent helped our team of three close deals like a team of 20, and close them efficiently. By 2014, we pivoted to a sales execution platform that was helping reps close deals with the same efficiency, and the Outreach we know today was born. We had everything we needed to increase our own productivity, and drive insightful engagement with customers and candidates, and it was a simple sell to companies who wanted to do the same.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

A smart, impactful pivot is a tough action for a CEO to take, because it requires a leader to admit that something isn’t working. Beyond the challenge of getting investors and funding, our technology has had its fair share of hurdles. We worked on one product feature a long time ago, and it was a nightmare to maintain. It caused more tickets than value added, and we loved what it did, but we had to make the tough choice. Back in our early stage startup days, this mistake lost time and money. But as a leader, you need to be there for your team. They worked hard on it, and lessons were learned. So, we celebrated. At Outreach, we believe it is important to celebrate the failures in a visible way. Failure is the only good teacher. We built a culture that embraces failure, and this spirit helped us grow.

What does the future hold for Outreach?

We are extremely optimistic about the future of Outreach and our ability to help our customers solve for the sales execution gap. What I mean by that is that there is a delta between the potential revenue an organization can achieve and the actual revenue it achieves. With the AI-driven actionable insights provided by Outreach, sales professionals are able to foster and grow their client base faster than ever historically possible. This is a revolutionary solution to an age-old problem, and our future is bright as we continue to expand our global customer base, accelerate innovation, and add products to our sales execution platform.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Seattle?

Seattle has always been a hotbed for technology. Even with the presence of tech giants like Microsoft, startups have always been welcome. Being headquartered in Seattle is a real advantage to businesses. What brought me to Seattle was my family – the city is a great place to live and raise my kids. It also is a great place to raise a business. The tech startup scene is thriving, even during the pandemic, and the talent pool is vast and smart. There was a recent report that showed Seattle as the top city new grads are thinking of moving to. We love being in the middle of this city filled with businesses with humble roots.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Technology can help with nearly every facet of your business, including closing the sales execution gap, but nothing will ever fully replace human connection. My best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to make emotional connections with people. Figure out what they care about, and align with those who have a shared central premise. From there, use your technology stack wisely to create opportunities for you to have more human connection, creativity, and broad thinking when it comes to your business.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series
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