Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 242: Q & A with Dalton Van Hatcher & Madison Mobley @madisonlmobley
By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
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This week’s show is called “How to Diversify Your Revenue Teams” and our guests are Dalton Van Hatcher who is the EVP of Growth & Partnerships at Felux and Madison Mobley, Head of Belonging, Inclusion, & Culture at Fairmarkit
Listen in on this important conversation about diversity. We cover a lot. We talk about the work involved in creating more belonging and inclusion and culture, both in the market as well as in companies. We discuss the difference between allyship and advocacy and how that translates to companies overall, and especially in a sales and sales environment.
If you want more diverse marketing, you need to have more diverse teams creating that marketing. You need to have more diverse teams inside your organization, you need to make sure there’s diversity in the agencies and contractors that you’re hiring, to create and execute some of that marketing as well.
This and a lot lot more. Listen in and/or read the transcript below.
Matt: Welcome to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, thank you very much for joining us. My name is Matt Heinz. This is episode something like 280, we are on a roll. We are here every week, live on Thursdays at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern, and I’ve changed the format. As some of you have seen and gotten used to hearing, we will continue to record these, and offer them on the podcast at salespipelineradio.com. This is also now a LinkedIn live session, so thank you to those of you who are joining us live on LinkedIn, in the middle of your work day. This is not an April fool’s joke, this is a live, real, legitimate presentation. So excited that you’re all here with us. If you’re watching this on demand, thanks so much for catching up with this episode. If you like what you hear today and want to catch up on our past episodes, you can find all episodes on demand of Sales Pipeline Radio at, salespipelineradio.com.
We are featuring some of the best and brightest minds in, B2B sales and marketing on a regular basis and today is absolutely no different. I am really excited about this episode and the content we’re going to cover today. I am excited to have Madison Mobley and Dalton Van Hatcher with us today, two amazing people doing some amazing work. I want to just quickly introduce them, Dalton, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a sales leader, you’re heavily involved in a company called Us In Tech, so I want to have you talk about that. And Madison, you have moved from a sales role, into a role called Head of Belonging, Inclusion and Culture at your company . So I want to have you talk about that as well, ladies first. Madison, will you please just introduce yourself from your background and tell us a little more about your role at Fairmarkit today?
Madison: Happy to, and thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m Madison. I am currently as you said, the Head of Belonging, Inclusion and Culture at Fairmarkit. At this time two weeks ago, I was an enterprise sales director. So I spent my entire career up to this point in sales, across the enterprise SMB, mid-market, and held just about all the roles. But even thinking about how I first started my career, I wanted to be a journalist. I was a sociology major, so definitely a non-traditional background, but I love selling, and that’s why I decided to spend a career in and around this space. But in any case, I’m at Fairmarkit right now, we’re a procurement tech platform as a service provider, an expert in the art of sourcing. So leveraging things like artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation to start changing the way organizations buy the stuff they need while keeping their corporate social responsibility commitments in mind. So other than that, we’re on the heels of our series B in hyper-growth mode and incredibly excited about where we’re headed.
Matt: I love that. I want to talk a little bit about your transition from sales to a people role, what inspired that and what that role includes. Dalton quick introduction for you, your background as well as what’s going on with Us In Tech.
Dalton Van Hatcher: Yeah. So I’m currently the CRO at a company called Felux, an early stage startup that’s building a B2B SAS marketplace for the steel industry, but I also have built and I’m blessed to be the co-founder of a company called Us In Technology that helps our partners attract, retain, and develop diverse talent. I’m sure we’ll get into a little bit about how we’re doing that here in a moment, but it’s super important. There’s just in general a lack of awareness around this tech sales industry. So when people think of tech, they typically think of needing an engineering degree, which we all know is not necessarily true. There’s this whole world of revenue, and all sorts of jobs and places on the team for lots of people. We’re really helping our partners, build that diverse talent pipeline and helping bridge that gap.
Matt: I appreciate that and I love the roles both of you have, both in the organizations you’re involved with,and the roles you’re involved with. It’s been quite the year related to COVID social change, trying to advocate for justice, some equity amongst a lot of groups and I think, in our CMO group a couple of weeks ago, we did inclusive marketing. I had mentioned to the people that were leading us through that conversation, that I was actually quite nervous going into that. I’m a white dude. I think I am becoming more aware of my privilege and bias, but in no means am I at the end of that road. And I think I’m trying to be as vulnerable and open to new ideas and perspectives as I can. So these kinds of conversations really help. I think what I wanted to do today is not just talk about the ideas, but talk about the work. I imagined that, Madison, part of your new role is not just about signaling, this is not just a performative title, this is the beginning of some real work at the company. So talk about that shift, kudos to Fairmarkit for investing in that role for one, but also, what is the work involved in creating more belonging, inclusion and culture, both at our market as well as any company.
Madison: You’ve asked a great question, because one of the first things I wanted to be sure of, of course is, this isn’t a performative play and that we are ready to roll our sleeves up and get into it and we are. When I first accepted the role, I remember thinking to myself, you could not have paid me, this time a year ago to believe that I’d be making a transition like this, but at the same time I also felt very much at ease. I think back on the work I had naturally engaged in since exiting the womb, and of course I’ve always been about the people always. Specific to Fairmarkit though, whether we talk about supplier diversity and inclusion, or a sustainable procurement, I think folks are digging into what companies are actually doing, and that’s just the bottom line.
What excited me is, and to your point, I couldn’t think of one company at our stage, that has made this kind of statement. And to me it says in the same way, we can innovate from a product and thought leadership perspective in the industry, we can also uniquely position ourselves to be pioneers in this industry, where social impact meets business impact. Top of mind for me right now is, just establishing our baseline. Where are we today, and aligning where we are today with our corporate strategy, our growth initiatives, and then establishing a framework that empowers everyone to do good. I think historically it’s been associated with very heavy work, work that can oftentimes sacrifice the speed of doing business, and I think there’s a very harmonious balance we can strike as we think about our approach to that work. So that’s the type of mindset for me and something I’m hyper aware of.
Matt: I want to get back to you and talk about the difference between allyship and advocacy. I think there’s a difference too, between saying, I am behind you, I agree with you and I’m going to fight for you, so I want to get back to that. But I also want to talk about the mission behind Us In Tech and why it’s so important. One of the big themes that came out of the inclusive marketing conversation we had with CMOs a couple of weeks ago was the idea, if you want more diverse marketing, you need to have more diverse teams creating that marketing. You need to have more diverse teams inside your organization, you need to make sure there’s diversity in the agencies and contractors that you’re hiring, to create and execute some of that marketing as well. Talk about how that translates to companies overall, and especially in a sales and sales environment.
Dalton Van Hatcher: Yeah, absolutely. So I think the beauty of sales and revenue is that, to be a good sales rep in general, or to be a great marketing leader, really the core competency is coachability drive, integrity and intelligence. So it’s really about soft skills. It’s people skills that help accelerate a lot of those rules, not every single one, but the majority of those rules. One of the things that we’re doing at Us In Tech is, we’re helping companies bridge the gap on getting more diverse talent into the market. So right now the market is, our tech in general is 1.3% African-American, and it’s 3.3% Latin X for example. And so one of the challenges with that is there’s not a lot of diverse talent entering the market.
One of the common misconceptions here is, once they get into a company, they’re going to be fine, or the journey stops there. And so one of the things we’re doing at Us In Tech is, we’re really helping drive awareness around conversations, around what happens after they get hired. There is a lack of awareness and just in general about the tech space and tech sales, and marketing and revenue, and we’re tackling that problem, but there’s a secondary problem. Once they get into those roles, how do we set them up for success? Us In Tech is, think of us as kind of, our companies attract and get, we bring the diverse talent to them, but then we partner with our clients, to ensure that this diverse talent is going to be developed, and they’re going to be successful, not only internally, but externally.
So it’s almost like an external ERG group, our support system. We have this amazing platform, we’ve rolled out where we pair up mentees. We refer to people in our program as mentees, with mentors and coaches that are relatable, that have similar backgrounds, or they look like them, that are just relatable in general. One of the challenges is, if you think about the low numbers, a lot of times, it’s very difficult to go explore something new if you can’t see a successful outcome. One of the challenges in driving awareness is, we need to get more diverse leadership, and once we have more diverse leadership, we need to connect that diverse leadership with people who are thinking of the idea of a role in tech. And that’s something that we’re proud to be doing here at Us In Tech.
Matt: I love that. I mean, I think it’s good to say we have a goal of diversity, but I think you also need to understand what goes into making that happen. I’m part of an entrepreneur group here in Seattle, that’s part of a global organization, and we’ve had a goal for a long time of just, simply increasing the number of women entrepreneurs that are in the group. And it’s a valid goal, but if you look at the distribution of entrepreneurs, it’s heavily male. And if you then say, okay, well, let’s look at entrepreneurs of color, let’s look at Latin X, let’s look at LGBTQ, it becomes even a smaller pool.
So we have to do more at the root level to increase the confidence, the encouragement, the resources that are helping more people see that as an opportunity. I’m curious, at Fairmarkit, how do you change Madison, the culture and inclusiveness of the organization? How do you also make it so that it’s creating people with more of an advocate, more of a proactive mindset around creating future more diverse workplaces?
Madison: For me it’s like a spicy cocktail of, where checking your bias meets, checking your privilege meets, what does it mean to go from apathetic, right? I always start with How to Be an Inclusive Leader, a book by Jennifer Brown, I recommend folks get into it. But she talks about this allyship continuum let’s say, where one could be apathetic, blissfully ignorant to all of the stuff that’s going on present day, and I refuse to believe that anyone listening in today is in that camp. But then you get too aware and active and advocate. It starts with checking your biases, we all have it, right. We all have it. Because it’s informed by our experiences, our backgrounds, values, etc. What I would love to see is more conversation around the magellan ways that a bias might show up in us as people, that meet the surface of implicit versus explicit, conscious versus unconscious, everything from name bias.
I mean, statistically speaking folks with ethnic sounding names are discriminated against at a rate higher than those with goodness ethnicity neutral, let’s say names or Caucasian sounding names. Affinity bias for example, they liked the stuff I liked therefore they’re qualified to do this job. Attractiveness at our height bias is absolutely a thing, right? Someone tall, dark, and handsome, walks into the room, surely they’re fit for leadership.
And so there are so many different permutations of how bias shows up. None of it is inhuman, so to speak, but how can we sit down and have dialogue that bubbles that up to the forefront? Then we can neutralize how that might show up in how we hire, my favorite is the halo effect. So you might say, well, Madison graduated from an Ivy league institution, which I did, and therefore she’s awesome in all other aspects of life. I mean, probably not, but that shows up often, right? Where we take this one thing that makes a person you need and therefore, they’re next to God. And so there are so many things that we do that are checkable and should be checked, to then drive diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Matt: Those are good examples. I’ve always considered myself to not be a racist, and then a year ago, reading the book, How to Be an Antiracist helped me understand the real difference, between being passive and proactive, between being an ally versus being an advocate and doing something about it. Burning up the idea of both bias and privilege, I didn’t choose to be born the way that I was, I didn’t choose to be born into the family that I was, I’ll be candid like there’s plenty of racist bones in my family’s closet. You grow up in some of those conditions, and in your formative years you hear things that you are ashamed of, or you say like, how is that informing who I am today?
So that is in the past, there are conditions. How do people, I mean, how do I manage and then be proactive and productive, as someone who knows I’m coming from a place of privilege and bias, and knows that it’s not going to be an immediate fix. But how do I become part of the solution not part of the problem?
Dalton Van Hatcher: I think from my perspective, Matt, you hit the nail on the head. Awareness is really key and really once you start becoming more aware of your own bias, that’s when the action starts to take place. And I think I’ve shared this with you because we’ve known each other for a little bit now but, I grew up in a mixed race family, my grandfather’s African-American and my uncles African-American. And for me, even with my family being, having a black grandfather, I still have to check my biases and Madison is absolutely right. In terms of the media and how we consume information and what’s going on in today’s world in general, it’s even a struggle for me as someone who grew up in a family that way, who didn’t necessarily see color, I just saw my family. I think that beginning to understand that, just the comment of like, I don’t see color in general, those types of conversations, it’s just like anything else.
You have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and asking questions and being open about it is the right approach. It’s definitely interesting going into these different revenue teams, and learning about their culture and how they’re tackling these challenges of how to make a better culture of inclusion and belonging. But the companies that we find best to work with and partner with Us In Tech, because we screen companies to make sure they have good DEI culture so our mentees have a chance to be successful, but the companies that are doing all the right things, are asking all the questions.I think the companies that don’t have that conversation and aren’t talking through that, are the ones that I’m deeply concerned about.
Matt: I think that this is not just the next time something happens to an African-American person, like in the news, we put a bunch of statements out and spend a couple of weeks on it and then move back on. It’s been interesting to watch organizations, brands, individuals and leaders, over the course of the last, like nine, 10 months, what they’ve done on an ongoing basis. I want to get back to the question I teased you with earlier, Madison, around some of the allyship, the difference between allyship and advocacy. For instance, if you’re going to change your logo to be rainbow color to support pride month in a few weeks, what actions have you done? What actions are you taking to back up that signal of allyship? What is the difference and what are some recommendations you have for leaders, to become more proactive and consistent advocates and to become active in that process?
Madison: So the first piece which we touched on is that awareness piece, of recognizing and confronting the fact that there are certain groups of people who are systematically disadvantaged for X, Y, Z reasons, and confronting that, accepting that. Then it comes down to saying, I’m going to show up for all the flavors of humanity, because to your point, the rainbow and pride month, we’re still having conversations around, how do we also be more inclusive of our transgender community? For example, you’re not an advocate or an ally to those representatives of the LGBTQIA plus community, if you’re not standing up and shouting out for everyone. I made a similar comment, I guess it’s April now. So last month, March for women’s history month. I love to see the investment in the volunteerism around, what it means to champion women.
But if you are also not talking about black women and Asian women, and the Bipap community, who’s also identifying as women and the LGBTQIA plus women, then you’re not an advocate for women. And so it’s always broadening that conversation to make space for everyone, and going back to Dalton’s point about asking questions, getting proximate with people, we are not defined by where we went to school, the sports that we like to play, identity is so much deeper than that, but you can only get to the crux of that through conversation, and being chronically curious about people. Because people will tell you what they need oftentimes when it comes to allyship and advocacy, if that safe space is created.
Matt: Yeah, no doubt. I guess I want to talk about some specific next steps and action items for people. And first of all, why don’t we start with what you related to, just improving the diversity of your organization, bringing on and encouraging greater diverse hiring practices. What are some specific things that companies leaders can do that are listening in, or watching this literally just starting today, what can they start doing?
Dalton Van Hatcher: Yeah, I think investing in partnerships, being vulnerable and open to the fact that you’re not necessarily an expert at this, I think is the first step. But there are great programs out there like Black Girls Code, there’s programs like Us In Tech, there’s SV Academy, there are companies like Blockchain that are helping bring in a diverse pipeline to your companies. But I think really at the end of the day, if you go and hire a bunch of diverse talent and you don’t change your culture on how it is today, they’ll leave just as quickly as you hired them. So I think really having a culture audit and trying to understand what that looks like first. I know that Madison, in her role that that’s a lot of what the DEI teams are doing, are talking not just at a high level on numbers, but also around the culture.
Partnering with organizations, investing time and resources into your culture, beginning to understand what your culture looks like today, and the challenges with that is key. And then think again, just the last piece is just from a resource standpoint, a lot of companies to your point, Matt, are sending out messaging and changing their logo and all of these things. But when it comes to resources and putting the dollar behind this, there’s not as many companies doing that. They’ll talk about it from a marketing perspective, and from a perception perspective, but then there’s no fall through in terms of time and resources.
I would say to the leaders out there, you really have to invest in, if you want the change, like diverse talent looks at your website, they look to see what your leadership team looks like, they try to understand, they read Glassdoor, they go talk to people that really look in a glass lens into how your culture is built. And so if you’re not investing in that, I think just like anything else in tech, the companies that get it right and take the time and the resource to invest, will get it right, and the ones who can’t adapt and put time and resources to it, will struggle with this and continue to struggle with this.
Matt: I think I love that point. And I want Madison, have you double click a little deeper on that, and then we talk about increasing diversity of hires. I know there’s a lot of companies that are starting to do some of the inclusivity audits of their marketing, to say like, how inclusive does our external brand and image, look, that can be a shell though, if when you hire those people they don’t feel included. They don’t feel like they belong. You can have policies, but that has to be backed up by behaviors. What are some things that companies can start to do? Like on the regular, not just during a particular day or month, but specific policies, practices and disciplines, to increase the inclusiveness and belonging inside their cultures.
Madison: I’ll get to that. I want to add onto one of Dalton’s comments around partnership. I think every single organization he made Us In Tech absolutely included, is doing the work to identify the diverse talent that a lot of leaders are saying they can’t find, which is another conversation for another day. But also too, when you think about culture audits, belonging audits, all of the above, don’t be afraid to engage an external consultant as well, because a lot of our biases are nestled in some blind spots. And when you’ve been at an organization for even a matter of months, it’s easy to get lost in the sauce, of whatever is happening during the course of that day or quarter, and needing to take a step back and get an additional set of fresh eyes, I think is always worth considering. The best place to start for me, and I say this often particularly at a time such as this, we’re still knee deep in a pandemic, in most places.
Simply asking how people are doing, is low-hanging fruit for developing a culture of belonging and inclusivity. We underestimate the power of a, how are you or an, I see you, all of the media around Asian-American Pacific Islander communities being under siege right now, amongst other things. The Black Lives Matter movement of course, but folks are battling a lot of personal trauma around the stuff that we’re continually inundated with, socially and still showing up to work every day. And that consciousness and that awareness to say, yes, folks are still showing up, we’re putting on the face, but how are you doing? And giving space for those conversations, whether or not they’re super specific to start, that establishes a good foundation and framework for growth.
Matt: Love it. Well, I know we just scratched the surface on a few different issues here, but a great start to the conversation. Hopefully we gave some people listening and watching a few ideas. Dalton and Madison thank you so much. And you guys are super busy. Thank you for taking time to do this.
Madison: Absolutely. It’s been a pleasure.
Dalton Van Hatcher: Thanks. Yes. Super grateful to be here. Thanks so much for shedding light on this.
Matt: Absolutely. Well, we’ll continue this conversation for sure. And thank you everyone for joining us on a really meaty packed episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. We’ll be here next week, every week, 11:30 Eastern, 2:30 Pacific on Thursdays, until then I’m Matt Heinz. Thanks very much for watching. We’ll see you next time.