The GTM podcast
The GTM Podcast

Suresh Khanna

December 13, 2022
55 min

Episode Description

“80% of the battle in building a great sales team is won or lost by hiring the right people.” — Suresh Khanna

Joining us on the podcast is Suresh Khanna, the co-founder and COO at Pieces and co-founder of Kasa Indian Eatery.

He is the former CRO and president of AdRoll Group, where he led the go-to-market strategy, scaled sales, success, and support teams from 10 to 400 people, and increased revenue from about $3 million to over $150 million when he left. 

Suresh also established award-winning training and development programs that helped the company win Best Place to Work multiple times

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How to build a performance culture that works
  • How AI advancement could impact go-to-market and agencies.
  • How to maintain raw energy while scaling


  • (5:12) – Suresh’s background and story
  • (10:00) – Why Suresh turned down a once-in-a-lifetime McKinsey job at 26
  • (12:22) – Suresh’s experience at Google
  • (13:22) – Why Suresh left Google for AdRoll
  • (14:39) – Suresh’s success at AdRoll
  • (14:39) – Suresh founding Pieces
  • (17:00) – AI advancement and its potential impact on go-to-market and agencies
  • (25:21) – How to build a winning performance culture
  • (28:54) – How to find and hire people wired for greatness
  • (34:01) – How to train managers to make better hiring decisions and scale the hiring process
  • (38:29) – How to reduce new hire ramp-up time
  • (44:20) – How ADRoll created a winning self-policing culture
  • (46:20) – What Suresh would do differently
  • (49:15) – How to keep the raw energy when rapidly scaling
  • (53:32) – The number one reason startups fail
  • (57:30) – Summary of Suresh’s career learnings


“…marketing functions, sales functions, support functions, product, really every function, even engineering—everything I think will be reimagined with AI at the center.”

“I think it (performance culture) is more about finding people who are wired for greatness, who yearn for that, understanding them and their motivations, and supporting them to put them in a position to thrive. If you find people that are wired like this, they want to be somebody, and they feel cared for and supported, boy, that creates like a magical culture where there's like urgency and rawness.”

“As leaders you can demand excellence from people. And you can hold people accountable to performance because they hold themselves accountable; they want to be something.”

“80% of the battle in building a great sales team is won or lost by hiring the right people.”

“You can build all the pipes and automation and A/B testing frameworks you want and look at all the data you want. At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do, the biggest lever is finding people that have that primal drive to be awesome and be somebody.”

“What an amazing signal that sends to new hires when you get in and everyone around you is sharing knowledge.”

“I see startups failing because they're not solving a problem that is a burning fire for their target audience.”


The GTM Podcast

Don’t miss The GTM Podcast dropping every Tuesday, discussing true stories and experiences, including trials and tribulations in the Go-To-Market world.

And…monthly bonus podcast episodes dropping the first Thursday of every month.

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