Spotlight Interview with Torc CRO, Pat Griffin

By Angelos Katrantzis

Pat Griffin
min read time
The third in our series of spotlight interviews with members of the Torc team, I spoke with CRO Pat Griffin about his time before joining the talent network, scaling Torc’s revenue, his approach to customer retention, and more.
Q: Can you please tell me about your background pre-Torc.

A: After business school, I worked in consulting at Bain and Company, in their private equity group, where we helped investors do commercial diligence. That was when I first started getting interested in software companies, since most of the companies that I was working on were tech.

Many software companies were growing and securing all kinds of investment. It was a dynamic industry, so I decided to get more involved with software. There were a couple of folks who had previously worked at Bain that I knew from business school who were starting a tech-enabled talent network in Boston.

That was my introduction to these types of talent software. It was back in 2015, when I joined what was called Hourly Nerd, now called Catalant. They needed somebody to be customer-facing in the enterprise segment, so that was also my start in sales. I worked there for six years. Then I took on a CRO role where I was working at a video education company in New Hampshire.

I got introduced to Mike Morris, Torc’s CEO, in 2022. Mike was building a next-generation talent network from the ground up. It was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up, and that's how I ended up at Torc.

Q: Why sales and revenue?

A: I knew I couldn't build a product, because I wasn’t an engineer and didn't have a background in technology. So I thought, “What's the second most useful thing I could do? Get some customers.” Customers help you build the product and are the lifeblood of an organization. I wanted to do something that would propel a company forward. So sales was the next natural thing to do.

I always prided myself on being a decent communicator. And then I learned quickly that you need way more than that to be good at sales. It requires discipline, and there’s a lot more to it than being able to explain things–there's a strategy to it. When I first started sales, I truly didn't know what I was getting myself into, but the reason why I've stayed in sales and go-to-market is because I love that it's measurable. I love that it's objective. I deal well with cause-and-effect situations, and the thing I've always liked about go-to-market is that your performance reviews are right there in terms of what you aim to do, what you said you thought you could do, and then what you were able to deliver. 

I also enjoy getting to know customers; working with the customer and helping them find what they're looking for. My philosophy on sales is always that I'm not out here to persuade people. I'm out here to find the truth of their problem. And then I'll offer them the truth of my solution, If those two come together, we should have a match. I don't think I would have been able to succeed in sales and stay in sales if it were really about twisting people's arms. That's not my strong suit. 

Q: What's been your strategy for scaling Torc revenue? 

A: I find that some of the tactics that were effective in 2016 are less effective now. It's all about the top of the funnel, getting meetings. SEO and SEM are more and more competitive, so getting eyeballs and getting into a lead when you're a strong and still-hungry brand like Torc. In some ways, it's probably related to Slack and Teams, but back in 2016-2017, cold outbound email was a decent channel for getting in touch with people. If you sent them a customized message, you’d get a pretty decent response rate. 

However, I find that in 2024, email as a channel is pretty saturated and people aren’t as responsive to it. I experience it myself. I get flooded with emails every day. It's a channel that was viable early on, but isn't as much anymore. So that's probably the biggest challenge. When you are building a brand, you have to work twice as hard to develop good top-of-the-funnel activity that will materialize. We have some strategies that work for us that I can’t share since things do get saturated so quickly once people realize what works. So that's the other thing, always trying to figure out what our right method of filling up the top of the funnel is. It's always a moving target, which is what keeps me excited. 

Q: How does your leadership philosophy influence your approach to Torc?

A: So my leadership philosophy is one where I want everyone to feel like they understand why we're doing what we're doing. I also always want people to understand exactly how we're doing at any given time. I think that people thrive when they feel like they understand the destination, and they understand exactly what their role is in getting there. So, I focus a lot on data and dashboards. I start the week with what I call a win meeting. I want everyone on the team to have defined objectives that they think they can hit that week. I want everyone to understand where there are little things we can do to get us closer to where we want to be this week. You get the sense of a team and a share of responsibility for the objective.

And then on Thursday, we have a metrics meeting. We discuss the most important numbers that we’re seeing this week. How we're doing, tracking to where we all agreed we wanted to go on Monday. I think when you create a data-rich environment like that, a lot of the stuff you think about in terms of leadership takes care of itself. I just don't think in 2024 that teams should spend a lot of time talking about how they're doing. With Salesforce, for example, everyone should already know exactly how they’re doing. So then the question is if we all know how we're doing, and we all know how we want to be doing, how do we do it? 

If the team is together, if they're talking to me, that's what I want us to be talking about. I don't want us to be just treating factual updates, because factual updates should all be in real time, either on Slack or on Salesforce so that everyone knows the score. And then when we're together, we're talking about how we influence the score. That's served me well. And I try to hold myself accountable to the team too. And so far, so good. I think that the team has been able to scale the revenue excellently. And we've been able to create a culture where people rally around the goals.

Q: And how do you approach customer retention?

A:  I think that the first step of customer retention is making sure that we're qualifying customers well on the way in, and that we don't stretch too far to win a customer so that we know that we can deliver for these customers. And then, we've got two constituencies that we care about. We've got the customer and we've got the developer community. Then it's just about communication, making sure that the customer is feeling good about the way the project's going, and making sure the developer is feeling good. If there's ever a mismatch, if they're ever not seeing the same thing, we try to understand the root causes. We try to make sure that there's a good flow of communication, and that's also similar to the way we run internally. We always strive to make sure everyone’s on the same page regarding how things are going and where they're going.

I think customers appreciate that. They appreciate that they don't just sign a contract with Torc and then never hear from us again. We want people to have a great experience. We want that developer to have a great experience too, especially if they're from, say, Latin America, and this is their first job with a US company. We want that to be a great line on their resume. They can then go on and say, “I worked with this awesome company, and I did a great job, and they were willing to be a reference for me.”  Now that opens the developer up to work globally because they were able to do it successfully with us. That's our philosophy. So we think about both customer retention and developer retention. Both groups tend to have a great experience working with us.

Q: What are some of the plans that you have for the company in the future? 

A: We think that the IT services market is really large. We know that Latin America is a great region for people to be developing out of. Our plans for the company are really to scale this model that has so far been successful, and we want to be the gold standard provider for US companies to go to Latin America. Right now, there are 1,400 small firms scattered across Latin America providing IT services. We think that there should be a lot of consolidation. And that's our plan. To be one of those providers that when somebody in the US thinks about expanding their team to Latin America, we’ll help them do it.

Q: How does AI change the landscape of your field of sales?

A: It's more around the automation of tasks that reps find tedious. I don't think that AI is at a point yet where it's replacing the kind of creativity that is required to write somebody a note. I wouldn't use it to write email copy and things like that. I do find it to be wildly helpful in terms of doing research. With proper fact-checking, what used to take half an hour you can now do it in three minutes. The other really helpful thing is using AI transcription tools. It'll take an entire half-hour call and produce a summary. It is insane. The fact that it is all automated. I think that’s the type of thing that we're going to continue seeing. The AI is going to be able to take these tasks that are automatable, or that are tedious and time-consuming, but they're not super high-value for a salesperson, and get them done for you quickly. I'm excited to see where it goes from here. 

Q: What advice would you give someone in the tech field in sales?

A: Two things. There are some sales fundamentals that you need to learn. I'm not religious about any one method, but you should find some good sales training, whether it's Sandler or whether it's spin selling, spend some time with the fundamentals of asking follow-up questions, looking for pain points with a customer, framing your solution, etc.

And then number two is, to get to know your field well. You're not just your company. If you're selling Toyota's for example, you’ve got to know a lot about Nissan's and Mazda's and all your competitors. You need to be able to sit in your customer's position and be aware that they’ve got a lot of other options. Customers can learn about your product on your website. And they probably would prefer to learn about your product on your website, or by watching a video or reading a customer review. So you have to think about what the value of talking to you is. They need to be talking to somebody who's an expert in whatever your field is.

That's the thing that I think is underappreciated. As a seller, you’ve got to be consultative. Customers have to feel like they're talking to somebody who knows their stuff. Not just their product, but the whole space. That way, you can be a trusted advisor to them. The reason that customers choose Torc is because we fit right in this perfect spot for them. That's what I want to hear when I'm buying a solution. I don't just want to hear somebody who can tell me how good they are. Tell me how good you are in the context of all the other possible things. There's more nuance. So that's the advice, learn the basics and then don't just focus on your product, focus on your market. Understand all the options. Know your place in the market and why you're the best in that position.


It was clear to me that Pat is a highly motivated and focused salesperson who dictates his business based on integrity and honesty. His team-oriented operation highlights what a skilled collaborator he is. I hope Pat’s advice for potential salespeople looking to get into the tech industry will be helpful to those interested in following the path he took. His willingness to share his expertise will surely inspire someone out there who reads this.


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