Navigating Unicorn Success


In a recent episode of Tech Salescraft, James is joined by Joe Espinosa, CRO at Promowise. Having steered demand science to unicorn status and now serving as CRO at Promowise, Joe’s journey offers invaluable insights for aspiring sales leaders and CEOs. Here, we delve into his experiences, highlighting key takeaways on achieving and sustaining growth.

Embracing Growth: From Sales Rep to Sales Leader

Joe’s career trajectory is a testament to the power of internal growth and the belief in nurturing talent from within. Starting as an individual contributor at demand science, Joe rapidly advanced through the ranks, ultimately overseeing a sales team of over 100. His journey underscores the importance of fostering internal growth and investing in employees who show potential.

“It’s about seeing how that worked and seeing what good leadership looked like,”

Unicorn Milestones: Scaling with Strategic Focus

Achieving unicorn status is no small feat, and Joe’s tenure at demand science reveals the critical role of strategic focus and adaptability. Starting with less than $5 million in ARR, Joe’s team targeted larger accounts and enterprises, demonstrating the importance of prioritising growth while balancing short-term wins with long-term goals.

Joe’s advice to startups is clear:

“Be laser-focused on what are the key things that you are judging success by and it’s finding inputs as opposed to outputs.”

This approach helps set realistic expectations and aligns the team towards common goals.

The Balancing Act: Enterprise vs. Mid-Market Sales

One of the unique challenges Joe faced was navigating both enterprise and mid-market sales simultaneously. His ability to adapt and thrive in both areas was instrumental in the rapid growth of demand science. Joe believes that while enterprise sales can be more complex and lengthy, the skills developed in these roles can seamlessly translate to mid-market success.

“It’s definitely a lot easier to go when you have that enterprise side to the mid-market,”

Key Indicators: Metrics that Matter

For Joe, success is rooted in identifying and tracking key performance indicators. At Promowise, he emphasises the importance of focusing on opportunity sourcing and win rates. By consistently monitoring these metrics, Joe’s team has managed to set record quarters, even in a challenging economic environment.

Leadership Insights: Building and Hiring the Right Team

Joe’s approach to leadership and hiring is methodical and strategic. He stresses the importance of understanding the specific needs of a role and vetting candidates accordingly. “Figuring out what sport do you play,” Joe advises, using an analogy to emphasise the need for role-specific skills.

Hiring the right talent is crucial, and Joe believes in rigorous vetting processes, including practical exercises and clear benchmarks for success. This ensures that the team is not only skilled but also aligned with the company’s strategic goals.

Strategic Growth in Challenging Times

Joe’s journey from demand science to Promowise offers a blueprint for success in the startup world. His emphasis on internal growth, strategic focus, and meticulous hiring practices provides valuable lessons for sales leaders and CEOs aiming for unicorn status. By focusing on key metrics, adapting to market needs, and investing in the right talent, startups can navigate the challenges of growth and achieve remarkable success.

For those seeking to replicate Joe’s success, the key lies in strategic planning, continuous learning, and a relentless focus on metrics that drive growth. As Joe succinctly puts it, “Prioritise and execute.” This mantra not only defines his leadership style but also serves as a guiding principle for startups aspiring to scale new heights.

Ready to embark on your growth journey? Learn from Joe Espinoso’s experiences and steer your startup towards unicorn status. Watch the full episode of Tech Salescraft on YouTube, or across all major podcast streaming platforms.