Vena CEO Hunter Madeley joins Robbie to share best practices learned working at multiple B2B SaaS success stories. They discuss when it does and doesn’t make sense to pull out another company’s playbook, how to onboard for engagement and loyalty in a complex B2B environment, and his concept of “methodology before technology”.
  • 2:12 – Vena’s Forever Promise and business model
  • 5:00 – The role community plays at Vena
  • 8:29 – – Vena’s hub for community engagement
  • 10:09 – Using a “methodology before technology” mindset to improve the customer’s journey
  • 16:27 – Making sure the software follows through on its Forever Promise to the customer, the buyer, and the user
  • 19:23 – How Vena’s onboarding process begins before the customer makes the purchase
  • 21:50 – Vena’s “time to value” metric
  • 24:00 – Balancing the needs of the salesperson and the customer
  • 25:13 – When focusing on revenue can be counterproductive to creating a Forever Transaction
  • 28:19 – How to analyze data in a productive and unbiased way
  • 31:14 – Robbie’s Speed Round
Robbie Baxter [00:00:04] We all want a business like Netflix or Amazon Prime. Businesses where once a customer engages with them, it becomes automatic and a part of their lifestyle from then on. But how do you build that Forever Transaction? I’m Robbie Kellman Baxter. And I have been studying subscription and membership models for nearly 20 years. In this podcast, my guests and I share the secrets and strategies of the Membership Economy. Join us for Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches.

Robbie Baxter [00:00:40] Welcome to the show. It’s your host, Robbie Kellman Baxter sharing subscription stories with you. And today’s guest is Hunter Madeley, CEO of Vena. Hunter is a serial SaaS entrepreneur having been part of the leadership teams of some of the most successful business to business software stories of the past few years, including ADP, Salesforce and HubSpot. I met Hunter when we were both speaking at an LP meeting for a group of SaaS CEOs and investors. Hunter was talking about the importance of not just blindly following another company’s playbook in building a forever promise with their business customers. While the same principles can apply, execution can be wildly different in all ways in terms of how you package and price, how you build relationships with prospects and subscribers, and how to support and expand your most important relationships. Today, we’re gonna be talking about when to apply your prior playbook and when it doesn’t make sense, as well as how to use the concept of “free” to build community, when to prioritize market share versus mindshare, and how to onboard for engagement and loyalty in a complex business to business environment. Welcome to the show, Hunter.

Hunter Madeley [00:02:06] Thanks, Robbie. Happy to be here.

Robbie Baxter [00:02:08] You were recruited as the CEO of Vena, in part because of your expertize in software as a service B2B subscription model. Can you tell us a little about Vena’s Forever Promise and business model?

Hunter Madeley [00:02:20] Yeah, sure. So Vena effectively is an FP&A financial planning and analysis platform. I’d frame our forever promise as this commitment to help our customers plan to grow. And so if you think about every business’s operations, they have to marry strategic, operational and financial plans and then execute at the highest levels and continue to report against that. And what we try to do is provide both methodology and technology to help companies at the front end of their planning, budgeting, forecasting process and also to help at the back end with close management consolidation and things of that nature. So we’re really a front and back end of your planning execution phase. And we’re primarily focused on helping companies that sit kind of in the mid-market where we think we have real value and we think we can have meaningful impact in the market.

Robbie Baxter [00:03:13] Having joined from HubSpot and Salesforce and ADP before that, what were the challenges and opportunities that you first saw in your early days of being part of Vena?

Hunter Madeley [00:03:26] I’ve been pretty fortunate in my career and I stumbled into the world of recurring revenue model or effectively a subscription economy, a Membership Economy with ADP and early days people probably wouldn’t have talked about it in those terms. But ADP effectively was a very early entrant into a model that was both financial but also operational, where you basically offered access to computing power through this recurring revenue or subscription service. And so I’ve lived that from my very early days and saw that at Salesforce and HubSpot. And so there’s a lot of really interesting lessons that you learn over time about creating customer value engagement in a world where your customers have a relatively easy path to change. So I luckily had seen a bunch of really great success and learned from a lot of folks at ADP, then went on to see, again, a really interesting success story in Salesforce. And then I had a really interesting run helping HubSpot go public and building a really great, what I feel is a really great SaaS, not just economy, but culture and community. And like that’s where I think HubSpot really stood out is we built community and culture around the value we were creating. So I think what happened is the folks at JMI and Santtana having invested in Vena and looking for a new leader, you know, were tapping into someone who could help Vena realize that same potential. And that’s the challenge that I saw when I joined is that there’s really this interesting opportunity to try to create value through community culture and the ways in which we build that forever promise for our customers.

Robbie Baxter [00:06:14] So at Vena, how do you think about the role that community plays?

Hunter Madeley [00:06:37] I think Vena had historically done a really great job of creating community between customer and culture, customer and company. And then you create opportunity then for customers to connect with each other. You create, whether it be, you know, small group sessions where you try to connect, you know, a CFO from one customer with four or five other CFOs and you try to create connectivity and we end up being kind of the facilitator of that engagement. So you create these small group connectivity opportunities and then you start to think about, you know, should we build a great event where we bring all of our customers together. And so then I went through that path and got to a point of creating real community between customer to customer and also customer to company. And as we’re thinking about the future and thinking about how we can impart our perspective on the methodologies to be employed to really, you know, plan, build and run a great company, we think that that dynamic of methodology before technology, right, engaging with our community, our content, our brand, before you’ve even spent any money, creates this really, really interesting new additional point of leverage, not just for us, but for our customers and then by extension, for the prospects folks that have never bought from us but are engaging with our community and our content. And so that idea of actually connecting now customers to non customers, to community members who aren’t paying to company culture and eventually to, you know, third party experts, partners, folks that have perspective around the ecosystem that you’re trying to build. That’s where I think you create real magic and leverage. And I think in a lot of the readings I’ve done of the work you’ve done, this idea of creating a real pull so that folks aren’t out there perennially assessing their spend and deciding whether or not they want to go somewhere else to solve a problem. They’re making decisions on feeling a part of a community that is changing and growing and always looking to solve, you know, the next month’s problems and next quarter’s problems. And they feel like they’re in it and learning together. And I think that’s where you create, you know, real stickiness as a brand and real value as a company.

Robbie Baxter [00:08:49] You brought up so many really interesting points that I kind of want to tap into. And I recently interviewed Gina Bianchini, who’s the CEO of Mighty Networks, a community platform. And so I really have, you know, community on the brain. To summarize what you what you said, I think you said that the first step to building community is building a one to one relationship, basically between the customer and culture and the culture being the company, you, where they trust Vena, they trust the organization. They feel like they know people there. They feel like you have their best interests at heart. They feel like you’re continually improving the experience for them so that they can achieve that forever promise around growth and profitability. And then from there, you moved to come for the company, stay for the fellow customer. So that relationship with your fellow customers. And then I think you were saying that you have a vision over time of expanding that to prospects, so non customers and even other related experts, product suppliers, partners. Where are you in that process right now? How does your community manifest today?

Hunter Madeley [00:09:59] Yes. So the exciting thing is we did run a pretty exciting virtual event in May where we launched a So Plan to Grow for us is going to be the hub for customer, non customer partner, expert engagement. So we hope to one day have this asset where we’re building real value, real community. It becomes more than just Vena contributing to the engagement in the thought leadership in the content we’re producing. It actually starts to become more community driven about how folks engage and how people think about, you know, planning and running their businesses and how they think about assessing performance and and managing financial statements and closed management process and all that. Hopefully that asset becomes more than a company asset. It starts to become a place where folks go to learn and share, and that may evolve over time. And it may not quite be that technology in that spot. That kind of Web site may not actually be the final technology that creates the real connectedness. But that’s our first step towards that journey of creating value both for customers, but also for those that are just exploring and thinking about being a better FP&A professional, a better operations professional, better finance leader, a better business leader over time. So that’s our first step anyways, and I think we’re starting off on the right foot. And I think making good progress, but we’ve got a long way to go.

Robbie Baxter [00:11:26] And is it free to join so anybody listening could join if they fit that profile and they’re a finance or planning professional whether or not they’re a customer? So that’s that’s really interesting that you’ve invested in that. I wanted to circle back to something that you said. I think it was methodology before product. Can you dig into what that means? What is the methodology that you’re talking about?

Hunter Madeley [00:11:51] I kind of frame it as methodology before or methodology plus technology is, I think, the best brands in my field so in software, they start off essentially building a product to solve a particular problem and that problem is usually fairly narrow, I would say a decade ago, people built software to solve a big wide problem. You go back 10 or 15 years ago and then and beyond. The software that was being built was so heavy and clunky in time and so intensive to build that you’ve built to solve a really big problem. Then you tried to force fit it in. And once someone bought it, they were stuck with it. We’re moving to this kind of lighter, faster, more agile development world where people are out there building really neat, small bits of technology. You solve very specific problems and they’re trying to expand beyond that. But over time, if you’re really going to create a forever promise, it isn’t about solving that particular problem. It’s about helping customers achieve a set of outcomes where you feel that you have a unique advantage and a unique point of view to help them be better. You have a point of view on how to best do the work of that market of the target market you’re going after and some of it you probably solve with your technology. But great brands also acknowledge that that work is really difficult and big. If you’re trying to solve the role of a chief operating officer, that role is broad and no single product will solve all their needs. So how do you start thinking about the methodology, right? The ways in which a COO should really operate and where your product or your technology fits in. But there’s all sorts of other products and offerings and services within the ecosystem that you have to be thoughtful about, honest about, and understand that they’re going to need to lean on more than just your technology to really execute against this, you know, more fulsome methodology. And so for us and I think for, you know, HubSpot Salesforce and ADP and others having the courage to share that methodology, to share that point of view about how to do things better and then partner it and support it with really awesome technology. I think when you can get that together, you have a better chance of building quality of a brand, you have a better chance of building a healthy business. Almost most importantly, have a better chance of building community, because now you’re not out there simply talking about your product. You’re actually out there in the world of the operations it’s after, the CFO or the marketer trying to help their world, trying to learn from them as you continue to develop and evolve your point of view.

Robbie Baxter [00:14:43] I love what you’re saying here for a bunch of reasons. I mean, I think what you’re really doing is you’re putting your customers’ journey first. And a lot of people talk about customer journey and they’re talking about the customer journey through my product. Right. They click here and then they click there and then they use this feature and that feature. And really the customer’s journey is I’m trying to run a business. I’m trying to plan for growth. I’m trying to be the best CFO that I can be or the best accountant I can be or the best doctor I can be. And one of the tools that I believe might help me achieve that is your tool, your product. It is not the center of my life, but it is one useful element of a broader ecosystem, as you said. And so it becomes really important for the organizations that want to work with that person to recognize the world through that customer’s lens, which is I’m trying to achieve this goal and I have a bunch of different challenges. And this company is going to solve some of those challenges. And once you start thinking like that, as you said, first of all, you can put a frame in front of that customer and say this is where the world is going or this is where other people, this is the path other people like you have taken, are taking. This is where the ones in front of you are. So we’re pretty sure that you’re going to need to get there. So we’re going to anticipate that for you. And so that becomes really valuable. And it also allows you to continue to layer in more value because you’re helping them on their journey instead of helping them with just the point that brought you in the front door and in subscriptions it’s more important than almost anywhere else because it’s not enough to just have the transaction. That transaction has to keep happening, as you pointed out. Otherwise, they’re going to leave. So you have to keep layering in more value and being a little in front of that customer. So this methodology before technology is a concept that I hope people really take to heart.

Hunter Madeley [00:16:37] So I love the framing of the customer journey because I agree with you that when people do their customer journey mapping, it is always about, OK, when do they first engage with our brand and our product? How do they buy? How do they use it? And it’s not recognizing, to your point, the journey the customers actually own, which is not just how they’re using your products, but all the outcomes they’re trying to achieve and how do you fit in and help them with that? And I think that customer journey also it’s almost used interchangeably. But for me, it should be separate as there’s a customer through the lens of the company. The company you’re servicing is trying to get something done and B2B we’re serving companies primarily. And so there’s work they’re trying to get done and the functions trying to get done. That’s a unique set of considerations for the company’s journey. But then there’s the person like the person who is primarily working with you and the people who are primarily working with your software. They’re on their own journey. Right? They’re creating value for the company, but they’re also on their own career journey. Their trying to learn and grow and get better. And that’s beyond just how they use your product and how you think about helping that professional as an individual, as well as helping that company as a customer, I think matters. And if you can do both those that’s when you start to really, I think, get loyalty and get people kind of leaning into your brand and your community and the value you create.

Robbie Baxter [00:17:58] It’s really important. I think one of the big differences, you know, a lot of the guests on this show have been consumer brands. And people often say, is it the same principles for a B2B brand or for a SaaS brand as it is for, you know, Netflix? And the answer is, of course, it’s different, as you pointed out, and kind of the core of this particular episode. You can’t just take the playbook from Netflix and plop it down at a B2B company. There’s definitely a lot of differences. One of the big important things about a B2B organization is remember that you have multiple, multiple members. The company is a member. The buyer is a member. The person who makes that decision to work with you and then the users, the people that are actually expected to use that technology to get their job done. And you have to think through what’s your forever promise to each of them. And how did those three align in a way that serves them all, which is complicated?

Hunter Madeley [00:18:52] Yeah, absolutely. The interesting thing about even today where, you know, the cliched consumerization of kind of B2B software is happening, where people are just expecting it to be easy to use and intuitive and easy to buy. Surprisingly, it still tends to be a small group of decision makers picking a technology. And the buying group is often assessing the technology through the lens of company value. And then they buy and they force downstream and find out that the actual experience of a user in the product is nowhere near intuitive and useful in the way users expect. So this idea that as a builder of software, you have to be thinking about all of the levels that, of course, make sure that there are the tool sets to let the business understand and see and have insight into how the business is doing and create necessary controls and reporting and all the things that you would need through the lens of a management layer. But then how do you make that user layer super intuitive and super useful and flexible enough to meet the needs of those consumers who now know what software should look like when we were selling software again, 15, 20 years ago, the end user had no expectation of what software should do or should look like because they didn’t use it in their personal lives. It was when you went to the office that you had this big green dot screen and you finally had. And so if you were told you had two key and ninety five characters just to access your screen, you would do it. And we’re just getting so used now as a society to using fast, intuitive, really helpful software that that’s got to show up in B2B. And so I do think that companies like the big B2C companies are forcing the hand of B2B software companies to think differently about the end user experience. You don’t just have to sell to the financial decision maker to make it stick. It has to be great for the user as well.

Robbie Baxter [00:20:59] Yeah. And that’s why I think onboarding is such an important element of a good strategy for a sassed business. So once it’s been bought, that’s like the starting line. It used to be the moment of transactions, the finish line and the sales guy goes home and has a martini and is really happy that, you know, he’s all done. But it’s no longer that way. Right? You have to take that next step and figure out how to onboard be subscribers that the users and I know, you know, Salesforce is kind of famous for having made a product that the salespeople actually wanted to use, that the users wanted to use, and eventually their companies started buying it for them. How do you think about how onboarding has evolved with the companies that you’ve worked with? And what is unique to the way that Vena on boards that might be different from some of the other places where you’ve worked, either because it’s more current or because then it is it’s, you know, its own entity.

Hunter Madeley [00:21:54] Yeah. You know, the experience of implementation and onboarding, what are recommended best steps to get joy early and how do you start to build that trust and credibility really quickly? So I think about our journey now at Vena or as I think about onboarding in any SaaS company, I think the onboarding starts before the purchase. If you’re doing this well, a customer’s already been in, has already seen what their world is going to look like through some part of your product. If you’ve got a big wide product, you might not be able to give them full access through free right away. But they’ve got to be able to see and feel and experience themselves in your products. So that by the time they’ve made the decision and they start onboarding, they’re probably partway onboard. So you’ve created that moment of joy before they’ve even purchased. And for me, that’s that’s kind of the Holy Grail is how do you get to the point where if your products are not set up to allow customers to truly self implement like most B to C, if you’re B2B and you still need help getting it set up, well, how do you carve out bits and pieces of the experience that can be setup and felt by your customers in the evaluation stage so that you’re building trust and credibility and they’re building comfort with your technology before they move to the full implementation phase. And so that idea of creating purposeful moments of joy quickly to accelerate overall time to value is kind of a lever that we’re continuing to lean in. But I think every SAS company needs to leanin today.

Robbie Baxter [00:23:46] Do you have a metric for time to enjoy? And is it for your sales team or your customer success team or both?

Hunter Madeley [00:23:54] We still consider, instead of the moments of joy that the overall concept is still time to value for us is like the pure value equation for us is the customer has signed off and said, this is the promise you made to me. I feel like you’ve met it. Now I’m running on my own. So that’s a time to value metric. So we measure that and it it’s difficult to measure because the projects can range from simple to complex. The customers can say, hey, I’m not ready to do it now. Give me another three weeks, so come back to you. So you don’t totally control all elements of time to value, but it’s still important to measure it. And we do time to value both through the lens of how quickly we get to the customer and the implementation post signature. And although the measure feels like it sits most appropriately with customer success, it is not only a customer success measure, it’s a company measure, because the way you build and design your product affects how easily can be implemented. The way you set the promise and manage the sales process and set the expectations aligns to how quickly and effectively you can meet those expectations. The ways in which you market your value pulls the right customers in so that you’re not now selling to customers that aren’t really a fit. So it’s really a full funnel exercise, you know, product and marketing and sales and customer service all working together to reduce time to value and in our world. And you get there through these, I can say, purposeful insertions of moments of joy.

Robbie Baxter [00:26:05] I love the idea of moments of joy, and I love the idea of shared metrics across functional areas. One of the things that I’ve I’ve experienced with sales organizations and B2B environments is they want to get to close. They want to get to close as quickly as possible and the more people you bring in, the slower the sales cycle goes. And so bringing in your colleagues from, let’s say, customer support or professional services or customer success is going to slow things down. Bringing in the eventual users of the product alongside the buyers is going to slow things down. So I’m really curious about best practices and things that you’ve learned about how to balance the need of the salesperson to close the deal and the understanding that closing the deal is meaningless if you don’t set that deal up for success, for expansion, for or for retention, for engagement.

Hunter Madeley [00:26:58] Totally. That’s a very big topic. Big concept. If I kind of carve it into a few key considerations for me, the first one is actually culture, right. Is how prevalent does customer value customer trust? Does living up to the promise? Does kind of ethical behavior show up in your values and in your culture and how you talk about it and how you reward and recognize folks? And how quickly do you take action when those values are being broken or challenged or dismissed? So I think that’s the number one thing. And as you’re growing a business, you can over index on revenue and the need to find it. And I absolutely acknowledge that building, whether it’s a B2C startup or a B2B startup, is really hard work. And you have to take the revenue and you can find it. There is a point in time, though, where taking any revenue is truly counterproductive to meeting your forever promise or building a business that lasts. And so at that point, you know, my suggestion is always lean into making the right call and getting the right customer. But early on in a business, you sometimes don’t even know what the right customer is yet and what you really can do. So you tend to overindulge index on taking revenue. But as you’re scaling that idea of building a culture that embraces and cherishes and protects customer trust and customer value. To me is step one. Step two, then is to your point is how do you set up shared objectives and make sure that your compensation systems and your targets and your goal orientation doesn’t over index too much one way or the other, and through the lens of over indexing on customer value where you are never going to sell a customer who doesn’t absolutely 100 percent fit within a very prescribed box of what we deliver and how we deliver it. And we’re never going to allow a customer to sign unless they’ve signed off on the 17 commitments they’re making that they understand. Here’s all the limitations. If you go that far, you index so much to never disappointing customer. You’re obviously going to have real difficulty in the market because you’re competing against companies who say, of course, we can do that and come join our family. And so you can’t over index too much there. And obviously you can over index on revenue is the ultimate decision maker that just getting revenue in the door can’t be the end all and be all so getting this like balanced, shared set of targets and goals and objectives into your operating system, I think matters a ton. And so I really encourage sales teams to make sure that they do have customer retention metrics and that you are measuring you do know that as a salesperson, what’s being measured is the health of your customer base as you’re selling you’ve been at the company for a year or two, knowing that your leadership team is actually measuring the health of your customer base against the average health of the customer base of the company is important because we want to make sure that we don’t have outliers. We don’t have sales reps that are selling really bad fit deals consistently because that’ll show up in customer retention and customer satisfaction metrics of that of that sales reps install base. And so you want to make sure you’re you’re being purposeful about those measures and metrics would be number two. And the number three and the final is true customer orientation around satisfaction, value and feedback. And so if you lean into getting feedback from your customers post sale about their experience post-implementation, about their experience during use, and you’re trying to always match. Are we delivering against the promise, though? Did we meet the expectations of the brand promise that we made and staying really close to that as long as that stays healthy? You’ve probably built the right measures and metrics that are shared and you’ve probably got the right overarching culture helping people make good decisions about who’s gonna be a customer and how we’re going to support them.

Robbie Baxter [00:30:55] It’s really interesting. You talk a lot about about data and I’m imagining the dashboard that you use and that your various functional and team leads are using. And I think I’ve heard you say leaders need a data rich diet. And then you’ve said but data lies. How do you balance those two?

Hunter Madeley [00:31:18] The challenge with not using data is obviously you end up with a whole bunch of unsubstantiated decision making and effort being applied, and there, of course, the stories where, you know, the decision maker who flies by the seat of their pants and has a good, strong gut, has made some good decisions in the past and have built good businesses. But over time, understanding the data and the dynamics of the ecosystem you’re trying to build. I think matters a ton. And so obviously we lean into that. And actually, one of the things that I care about a lot is looking at data through the right right lenses. And for Vena, the way we looked at it, we have a health dashboard effectively, and it has three primary components. The first is customer health. And we have a bunch of metrics that tell us whether or not our customer base is healthy, whether or not they’re doing the things they should be doing with the product. And their satisfaction levels are high. Their renewal rates are high. So we have a customer health view. And that’s that’s our number one view, trying to put customer first. Then we actually have an employee health dashboard which talks to things like the state of our employee, we call the Vena Life Survey, the state of the employee sentiment, a social position we have based on our employer brand, the ways in which we’re hiring the sources, the diversity of the hiring that we’re doing. So how are we living up to all these measures around employee health? And so that’s an important lens. And then the final one is business health. And that’s all those real core financial metrics about, in SaaS you measure lifetime value against the cost of acquisition. That’s a really important metric. So that’s where the core metrics of how you run a SAS business show up. I think that’s important to understand that the you know, you need to look at data through a number of lenses. And my belief has always been its customer, employee and business health. And you have to look at those. And then I’d say, be careful then when you do have a rich set of data that on first pass data can very often lie and people don’t necessarily purposely lie. But people always lean into the lens on data that best supports their point of view. So I push on my leadership team and our whole company to make sure that we’re having a strong, healthy debate. That once we see a chart that looks really good, don’t just assume it’s telling the whole story that we know the story that’s going on. People often confuse correlation for causation. And you know, the double click or triple click on data is always important. Never take data at face value and make big decisions. You just have to spend the time as a leadership team digging in and double clicking.

Robbie Baxter [00:39:13] Great. So I want to finish up with a speed round. So I want you to just answer really quick with what pops into your mind first. First, advice for executives who are about to take a leadership role at their second or third subscription business?

Hunter Madeley [00:39:27] Listen and learn before you before you act. I think it’s the worst possible leadership move is to go in and think you know, and you’re going to apply what you know, listen and learn and be truly humble to understand what’s created the success in the culture to this point, to then try to build from that.

Robbie Baxter [00:39:42] And what about executives who have a long term vision and really want to take care of their customer, but are feeling pressure to hit short term revenue targets?

Hunter Madeley [00:39:52] Balance it, don’t over index one way or the other. And I know there are pressures if you have specific pressures one way or the other. I think your job is to push back. You can not get too short sighted, nor can you absolve yourself of the responsibility to find the revenue needed to keep the business, to keep the lights on while you’re pursuing your mission. So it’s about balance and and managing to push back at the right levels if it’s feeling too one sided.

Robbie Baxter [00:40:20] First subscription you ever had?

Hunter Madeley [00:40:22] Whew, newspaper.

Robbie Baxter [00:40:24] Favorite subscription you have now?

Hunter Madeley [00:40:27] I almost feel crazy saying this because it’s not that new or interesting, but I was never really a Netflix person until the lockdown. We’ve been you know, we’ve been shut down for six months. And I’ve found tremendous value in a bunch of documentaries and business and a bunch of entertainment, too. So I’m actually really liking my Netflix subscription.

Robbie Baxter [00:40:49] That’s awesome. What is your superpower?

Hunter Madeley [00:40:54] Oh, it’s funny, I just did a, you’ve probably heard of the behavioral assessment tool DiSC. I don’t know if you have, anyways, I did it eight years ago. I did it again. And I think it’s that I’m willing to step up to the responsibility of flexing my style. So I think I’ve really been purposeful about realizing that I have certain natural tendencies that can be counterproductive to building a great team and a great culture. And so those natural tendencies, which tend to be high goal orientation and kind of just get the job done, I need to flex and balance with collaboration and teamwork and and creating, as you know, a steady and calm influence while trying to accomplish great things. So I think right now I am I’m relatively happy with my ability to flex kind of styles as needed.

Robbie Baxter [00:41:38] Flex Style Man. Thank you so much, Hunter. This was fantastic and chock full of really applicable tips and strategies for anybody trying to build a subscription business. Thank you so much for making time for us.

Hunter Madeley [00:41:52] That was great, Robbie Thanks and nice to chat with you again.

Robbie Baxter [00:41:58] Thanks for listening, everyone. I’m Robbie Kellman Baxter, and this has been Subscription Stories. Today I was talking with Hunter Madeley, CEO of Vena. You’ll find out more about Hunter, as well as a transcript of our conversation at To hear other success stories of entrepreneurs and executives creating their Forever Transaction in this new and exciting Membership Economy subscribe to my podcast wherever you listen most. Also, if you like what you heard, please take a moment to give me a star rating and to write a review that takes less than a minute and it helps other people like you find our show. Thanks for listening and thanks for your support.

Hunter’s Bio:

Since 2019, Hunter Madeley, a serial SaaS entrepreneur, has served as the CEO of Vena. There, he continues his track record of leading transformational growth at some of the cloud’s most important companies. Prior to Vena, he was at HubSpot, where as chief sales officer he led annual revenue growth from $80 million to $600 million in just five years. His 20-year career also includes sales and growth leadership roles at ADP and


“If you’re really going to create a Forever Promise, it isn’t about solving that particular problem. It’s about helping customers achieve a set of outcomes where you feel that you have a unique advantage and a unique point of view to help them be better.


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