Sales Turnover At Anyvision

By John Honovich, Published Feb 13, 2019, 11:11am EST

Anyvision raised a $43 million Series A and according to their newest investor:

what you need to do is push the gas pedal and build an organization which can monetize and take on this opportunity to grow massively

Anyvision is hiring 'massively', at least for security / video surveillance industry standards. However, the company is also already experiencing significant sales turnover.

turnover at anyvision 2

In this note, based on an interview with Anyvision's CEO and discussions with various Anyvision sales team members, we examine the turnover and the potential problems for the company.

Anyvision ********

********* **** **** *** **** than ** ****** ** 2018 ** **** **** $20 ******* *******, **** the ******** ** ***** revenue ****** **** ***** '****** ********' '******** ************ ******'.

*** ******* ******* ***+ employees, **** ******** ******* the ******* ********** ********* by ***%+ ** *** last * *****:

****: *** ********** ******* LinkedIn's ****** *** ********* could ** ********* ******* LinkedIn ********. ** *****, directionally, *** ***** ** correct.

Sales *****

********* ***, ** *** ******* accounts, **** ****** *********** base ******** *** ********* a ***'* *** ** seasoned ******** ***** ************* from ***** ************* **** as ******** *** *******. The ***** ****** ** salespeople ***** *** *** level ** ***** ****** are ****** ******** *** startups. *** *******, ** terms ** * ******** *****, is *******, ****** ******* has ***** ****** ****** salespeople ******* ******** **********, a ***** **** ******** which ** *** ******** of *** ******* ***** salespeople ***** ** *********.

Turnover ** *********

**** *** **** *** months, ********** ******* ******* industry ****** ***** *********** leaving ********* *** *****. Those ****** **** ******* include (****** **************):

  • **** ******* [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Aimetis)
  • *** ***** [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Seagate)
  • ***** ******** [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Avigilon)
  • **** ******* [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Genetec)
  • ****** ******* [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Avigilon)
  • **** ****** [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** ********)
  • ***** **** [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Genetec)
  • **** ****** [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Princeton ********)
  • ******* ****** [**** ** longer *********] (********** ** Avigilon)
  • ****, *********'* ** ***** *********** ******** Tyler ********** [**** ** longer *********] **** **** month ***** **** * months

*** ****** *******, *** had **** ** *** company **** **** * year, ** ****** ********.

Still ****** *************

** *** **** ****, Anyvision ** ***** ****** significantly, ******** ** *** last *** ****** *******:

  • **** *****é [**** ** longer *********] - ** of **************, ********** ****** at ***** **** *** Nike
  • **** ****** [**** ** longer *********] - ********** at ****** *** *******
  • ****** ******* [**** ** longer *********] - ********** at ********
  • ****** ********** [**** ** longer *********] - ********** at *******, *** **** of **** ******** **** for *********
  • **** ***** [**** ** longer *********] - ********** at ************, *** **** of **** ******** **** for *********

Contention **** ***** ******

*** ***** **** **** sides ***** ** ** there *** ********** *******(********** ** **********) ********. ********* **** for ****, **** **** MBOs *** *********** *******, e.g., ******** ************* ** the ********. *******, ********* **** for **** **** **** be ****** ***** ** quotas ** **** *** now **** ****** *** further ***** ** ******** sales.

* *** ******* ********* *********** ** **** *********:

***’** *** ** ******* none ** **. *** plans *** ********** ** a *** ***** *** don’t *******. **** ** not **** ** *** you. *******, *** ********** vague ******** **** ************ has **** ***** ** will ** **** ******* your ********* **** ** comes **** ** ***. If **’* *** ***% black *** ***** ** your ***** ****** **** don’t ****** ** *** paid ** **.

*******, ** *** ****** that ********* *** **** quotas ***** ** ****** revenue ****** **** **********, this ******* ****** ** reduced, ** *** **********. Also, ******** ******** **** they ** **** ** pay *********** *** ******** to ***** *******, **** they **** ** **** of, **** ** *** an *****.

** ** ********** *** us ** ** **** who ** ***** ** wrong ***** *** *** payments (** **** *******). However, ****** *** ****** of ****** *** **** indicates * ****** *********** disagreement ******* *** *****.

Hiring ** **** ** *******

*** ***** ** ****** the ********* ** ****** so **** *********** ** quickly. *** ******** ******** sales ***** ** * bit **** ****** * baby. **** **** '* ***** ***'* **** a **** ** * month', ******* ** *********** so ******* ** ***** surveillance ** ***** *** productive. ** ***** **** to **** **, ********** with ********* **** ****** recognition **** *** **** a ********* ******* *** demands, ** **** ******, for ****** *** ******* evaluation.

High ******* *******

** ***** **** ******* pricing ($*,*** **** *** channel *** ***** ********) is * ************ ******. By ********, *********'* *** told **** **** ** "has *** ***** ******** that ****** *** *** high." *** ** ** is ******* *** ** touch. ********* ** ********* enterprise ********* *** *** far **** ****** ** object **** *** *** but **** *** ****, that ***** ** ** high *** *** ** scale *** ************ ***** surveillance, ****** **** ********** customers **** **** ** to ** * *******, keeping ** **** *** has ** *** *********'* software **** *** ******** in ******** ** ***'* existing *******, ***, *******, etc.

** **********, **** **** high * ***** *****, we ***** ** **** be **** *** ** many *********** ** ** productive ** ******* ***** there ** ****** *** narrow ** * ****** that *** ******* ****** those ******** **** *** long ***** ***** ** test *** ***** *** technology ** **** ********'* facilities.

Challenges ***** *******

**** ********* ******* ** expand ** ******* *** 'grow *********' ***** ***** of ******** *** *****. It *** ****** ** the ******* ***** ** an ********* ******* ******* things ***. ** ** could ** **** *****. If ********* *** *******, change *** ***** ************ plans, **** *** ****** be * ****. *** if *********** **** *******, it **** ****** ********* negativity *** **** ******* challenges ****** *** **** round ** ************.

Comments (36)

Good report, I have heard much of the same basic information. One thing I have heard, which is not covered here, is that AnyVision was proposing a 2019 sales compensation plan where no commissions would be paid until sales people hit 50% of quota.

[IPVM Note: Anyvision says this is not true, "We pay on dollar 1, reconciled monthly - there’s no hurdle."]

While this strategy is not unheard of in sales compensation structures, it is atypical for the security industry. If that is true, I would not blame people for bailing out, it is tough enough as it is with a startup.

Also, from what I have heard, the individual sales quotas were not necessarily out of line broadly speaking, but the combination of their total, at least for North America, represents a number that is impractical for any given analytics company. Put another way, fewer sales people with larger territories could likely hit their individual targets, but a large group of field sales people, all with 7 figure quotas, is unrealistic at this stage.

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Put another way, fewer sales people with larger territories could likely hit their individual targets, but a large group of field sales people, all with 7 figure quotas, is unrealistic at this stage.

That's an interesting point. I genuinely wonder if Anyvision would do better by having fewer salespeople to start and then splitting territories later as they gain traction. That's a lot of pressure / low margin of error when there are that many salespeople trying to get a limited number of 'whale' accounts.

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I genuinely wonder if Anyvision would do better by having fewer salespeople to start and then splitting territories later as they gain traction

Well, that is basically a proven strategy in sales team growth management :)

It is hard to just "skip ahead" to the end where you immediately have a dozen people (+/-) in the field all running around scrambling for leads.

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Every territory has to be fed leads, and there are only so many to go around that you are better off dividing them to less sales people than more. At least I would think so.

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A thought / question. I have never understood the hyper sales ramp up strategy in video surveillance (Anyvision, Hikvision, Firetide, etc.)

I totally get it in markets with network effects, e.g., Uber, where it is critical to get established before competitors and the law catches up with you, and when subsequently where it will be much harder for new entrants to then break in. In those markets, burn money fast, sell at a loss and hope you get to lock in.

But why do this in video surveillance? You simply lose money and will not prevent competitors 3 years down the line which can still replace you without much ado. Agree / disagree?

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IMO, it is a strategy for when you lack strategy. Hire a bunch of people, throw a bunch of money at the problem, hope that somehow a repeatable process emerges from 1 or 2 of those people stumbling on a lucky approach.

You need a good field presence to win in security sales, but before that you need a well defined repeatable approach to build off of. Note, this is more oriented towards the enterprise end of the spectrum. If you're slanging cheap stuff via ADI it might be different.

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I think that leadership at many of these companies is overly optimistic, almost to the point of being delusional, about how quickly the market will embrace their product. They often don't understand that concepts have to be sold before products, and that even if product is well received, the long sales cycles typical in this industry mean it may be years until significant orders start rolling in.  

Large numbers of salespeople are quickly hired and put on the street, and if results are not immediately apparent, leadership freaks out and fires them or radially changes their marketing strategy. (such as going from on-staff sales people to reps or vice versa, pursuing strategic alliances with other manufacturers, etc.)

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 I wonder if management sometimes suffers from the "CSI Effect", too. Especially if they are not "native" to the security industry. Or, if they are banking on the CSI effect to make sales.

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Good point.  There is definitely an expressed urgency to get established before other facial recognition competitors gain traction. I have heard some Anyvision employees state that they are in fact in “a race”, which must mean they believe their competitors are coming up quickly or they are looking to make a big enough splash to get bought quickly and get out.

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A hyper sales strategy makes sense when you are in a hyper sales market.  Video analytics are not that type of market. I have seen many start-ups (after taking VC cash)  burn it rapidly to prove to the VCs that their wild revenue/growth projections (the reason the VC invested in them in the first place) were justified.  "If we higher 10 sales people each with a $1M quota we will be a $10M company in a year"...

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Is there any video surveillance success stories that came from the VC funding model?  It seems bootstrapped manufacturers have had the most success.  One theory is VC funded manufactures are required to set prices high to show a quick (VC tolerant) ROI which the market won't support.

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Not many, look at the 3VR fire sale and how much the VC's lost on that and the Round A folks were big hitters.

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Avigilon

VideoIQ was VC-backed, not sure I'd call it a "success", but it wasn't a flame-out either.

Milestone raised ~$27M of VC money

Briefcam raised about $25-$30M, IIRC

There are probably some others, just can't think of them right now.

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If you are the Anyvision management team, no way do you want to model yourself off of Briefcam. They struggled for years before getting on a run and then being acquired.

And Milestone did raise that VC money but they spent it slowly over many years.

And Avigilon did not raise much VC money.

So while there are examples of raising VC and exiting, I can't think of any which was of the Anyvision "let's burn through tens of millions quick" variety that did not suffer problems. Anyvision could break the trend, it's just that how enterprise video surveillance is purchased is not conducive to VC blitzscaling tactics.

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John's point about the nature of the marketplace and the patience a company needs to have (both financially and practically) is well documented. At the rate things are going, the latest spate of copycat FR/analytic companies with their large piles of show-biz cash will manage to sell through to a small collection of customers who will ultimately be left to sort out what to do next (hello 3VR and FST).

Of course, since I have a dog in this fight some might argue I have an agenda behind my comments but 20 years of running a company that sells into this market gives you a certain perspective. Just sayin'.

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One comment / question about quotas: For new sales hires that are whale hunting (which is what Anyvision effectively is, i.e., land a handful of enterprise accounts with hundreds or thousands of channels each), evaluating sales performance is going to be hard.

These deals are inherently lumpy. A salesperson may get nothing besides small pilots for many months and be at only a fraction of their quota. You might not even know if the salesperson is being honest or realistic but the 10th or the 15th month or whatever, they might close a multi-million dollar deal. As a startup, how do you manage that? How do you determine if the salesperson is just making excuses or is just weeks away from pulling in a whale?

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You have a VP of Sales that understands the market, and the product, that is in the field with the sales guys. That person is also talking to customers, asking questions about budget, need, competitors, decision criteria, etc. A bit of a checks and balances kind of system.

This is, IMO, an area where AnyVision failed badly, the person who was in that role (I understand he has left, or switched his role in the company) simply had no clue about the market or customer base.

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LOL at the disagree vote. Would love to hear the perspective of the person that disagreed.

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Good report. I also agree that prices are too high for mass use.

Comment: Enrico Montagnino joind from Qognify not Verint 

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Assaf, thanks! Fixed.

Interestingly, Qognify has had its own serious turnover problem, which we covered when they acquired OnSSI - Qognify Acquires OnSSI, CEO Pitches Exciting Future

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True but can be expected when there is change in management and more when there is merger 

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The Qognify executive turnover happened before the acquisition of OnSSI.

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AnyVision had sent Tyler up to do the set up for our pilot of AnyVision. Sad to hear he's left, seemed like he knew his stuff.

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Hi John,

You missed me on the list of notable hires at AnyVision, considering you trained me at 3VR, I like to think I am one of the best Sales Engineers in the security field. I believe that the delivery of any product is as important as the initial sale. It is the SE's responsibility to keep the features and benefits inside the acceptable scope. AnyVision has a great sales support group of Sales Engineers and Field Engineers. The beauty of AnyVision is the product works great and it is the best face capture software I have ever seen.     

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Stevie Wonder said that about the movie AI if I recall.   Best movie he ever saw. 

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Anyvision clarified to IPVM:

10 people were listed who have left AnyVision over the last few months. It's worth noting that four of these 10 were actually terminated.

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Worth noting why? Because they failed to meet unrealistic sales targets?

What a strange statement.

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Lol, I don't want to be that guy that complains about being downvoted :)

But you are literally shooting the messenger in this case. Also, I think that this is a strange thing to call out and, e.g., I would not make such a distinction about IPVM employment matters. But that was their statement and they asked for it to be added.

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Hey John,

I might be able to offer some clarification on the downvotes and can can speak to one ‘disagree’ specifically. The issue I’m seeing isn’t with the message but lies in the validity of the data they asked you to share. While it reads like splitting hairs, I have it on good authority that 7 of the 10 listed resigned. Someone is either loose with math or the truth, but I guess everything is subject to negotiation with some.

As noted in a comment yesterday, there’s coincidentally a bulk of new glowing reviews on Glassdoor immediately following this post and yet they all failed to mention the 5-star cultural perk of sharing hotel rooms during business travel. 

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Apparently this guy thinks he works for the Sixers of the Security industry...

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The Glassdoor reviews are pure gold.  Might be worth noting that there are three super-amazing-positive reviews all on the same day, just a few days after this article was published.  Looks like someone is trying to pump up those numbers! 

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Update: Anyvision CEO Threatened To Sue NBC News And Said That Anyvision Was The “Most Ethical Company Known To Man"

There has been a number of major sales / business employee exits this year:

  • Andy Fouche exited as Senior VP Corporate Communications, the NBC reporter says he 'quit', it's really bad timing for such a senior executive lasting just 9 months
  • Alessandro Paolini exited as U.S. Director of Field Engineering lasting just a year
  • Israel Alejandra Garcia exited as Sales Manager Mexico lasting just 5 months after working 6 years at Genetec
  • Amir Yagen exited as Director of Strategic Partnerships after 15 months going to WeWork of all places this summer.
  • Brian Meeks exited as Projects Solutions Director after 14 months. The Avigilon veteran went to startup Vaion.
  • Brian Bennett exited as Managing Director, Talent Acquisition after just 7 months.
  • John Doody exited as Senior Sales Director, North Central after 14 months.

However, Anyvision's overall headcount has grown significantly in the past year, per LinkedIn:

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Add Andy Farmer to the list that has left. Farmer was previously Senior Sales Director At Anyvision.

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Makes sense. They are in hyper growth mode. They need Hunters, not Farmers.

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They would kill it if not for pricing.

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Mary Haim, Director of Global Operations left in August 2019. Recent update on LinkedIn.

Jacob Welch, RSM, left in October 2019.

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