DigitalOcean’s Emmanuelle Skala On The Convergence Of Sales And Customer Success


“The most successful salespeople are the ones who aren’t viewed as salespeople, but who actually have expertise and can add value with every conversation.”

That’s how InVision SVP of Sales Ryan Burke put it.

Helping is the new selling — and that’s a topic we talk about frequently here at Drift.

But how do you actually incentivize a sales team to truly be helpful and only close deals that are a good fit?

Well that’s where Emmanuelle Skala comes in. She’s the VP of Sales at DigitalOcean, and there’s something different about her job in sales: she’s also the VP of Customer Success.

“If you’re in SaaS company and have a VP of Sales that’s only really focused on customer acquisition, there’s just too much of a tendency for them to do bad deals.” – Emmanuelle Skala

So as VP of Sales and Customer Success, Emmanuelle is responsible for the entire lifecycle of a DigitalOcean customer, and she joined David and I on our podcast to talk about that and more including:

  • Operating a model that’s focused on Product Qualified Leads instead of Marketing Qualified Leads
  • Why she made the decision to combine BDRs and Account Execs into one role
  • Sales compensation and building a model that incentivizes sales to close good customers
  • The exact hiring process she uses and what the final step during an interview is
  • Her weekly workout routine and why she does a quarterly juice cleanse (we had to mix in some personal stories too in true Seeking Wisdom fashion)

“We’re in this cycle of too much specialization: VP of Sales, VP of Customer Success, VP of Support, VP of this and that. Those are all internal optimizations. The customer doesn’t care. They don’t want to bounce around through four different departments.” – David Cancel

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