Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
August 5, 2017

#531. How to Build Trust to Win New Customer Business. With Karl Sakas.

Karl Sakas, Founder and CEO of Sakas & Company, and author of a couple of books, including his latest, Made to Lead, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:46] Karl says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is competition, and how to stand out from the noise to get their services or products in front of the right people. Karl suggests specialization, as much as possible.

[2:50] Andy wrote a blog post years ago, asking, “When you have pain, do you want to go to a generalist, or a specialist?” If you sell managed IT to large manufacturing firms, you don’t also need to be selling managed IT to law firms.

[4:36] Specialization frees you up to think about your customer. You don’t worry about what you don’t know. Karl talked once at a professional services client experience conference. He knew he was a little out of his field.

[6:46] Karl talks about trust. Do your clients trust that you are the right firm to solve their problem? The book The Human Brand talks about warmth and competence. Can you make your clients feel special while getting the job done?

[8:57] The book Presence talks about trust and competence, which are important when starting a business relationship. Trust precedes competence.

[9:48] Trust starts by specializing. In conversation, drop in references to previous successful work, or anecdotes about similar situations.

[12:31] Share a summary of your onboarding process and your client service approach up front. “Start with the end in mind.” The client needs to know what the experience will be working with you over the years. What is the process to get there?

[15:14] References of clients is good social proof that lends trust. You can keep them anonymous. There are image issues your clients may not want discussed. Speak in generalities.

[17:42] Another issue is meeting deadlines and expectations during the sales process. If you miss commitments during sales, they will assume that was your best effort. There are no unimportant prospect interactions.

[19:21] Karl brings up fast failure. If someone is not a fit, say no. Clients you turn away will respect you for not wasting time. They may return in the future as a better fit. Agreements not to work together are good times to get referrals.

[24:01] Too many times, the lure of the order is stronger than common sense. Karl relates a mistake he made a few years back. Some clients are irrational. Sometimes you are dealing with their unresolved childhood issues.

[25:59] When you get the order, within one business day call back and review the order, going through the whole process. They may be confused what they actually bought, after having talked to several vendors. Make sure you are starting right.

July 31, 2017

#526. Rethinking Sales for the 21st Century. With Chris Ortolano.

Chris Ortolano, Sales Productivity Partner at Outbound Edge, and Chapter President of the AA-ISP in Portland, Oregon, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:52] Chris thinks the biggest challenge facing sales reps is being overwhelmed with information, with no opportunity to classify it into knowledge. Chris suggests contexts for learning and memorizing.

[2:51] Chris describes a sales rep today: one part politician, one part tango dancer, and one part air traffic controller.

[4:23] Chris started Sales Stack, a free forum for practitioners and leaders to create a learning community. Topics are sales technology, metrics, and outcomes.

[6:51] Many threads in sales forums are on technology and technique more than the buyer. Chris has interviewed customers to collect stories about the digital buyer journey.

[9:25] Chris discusses trends of building relationships and discovery skills in SaaS, with examples of companies creating academy models of training.

[11:14] Sales requires a person talking to another person. Technology should make that moment as effective as possible. Chris introduces a five-part framework for thinking about how to talk to buyers. Sales is a craft to practice.

[16:24] Middle performers have potential to improve, and it would help for management to invest in their development. Chris calls the current ‘hire-to-fire’ model archaic.

[17:33] Many VPs moved up the ranks that way, and they make the decisions. A few companies realize that knowledge is a powerful fulcrum, and they can ‘train to retain.’

[19:13] Chris details his beliefs about sales productivity. There is still no scientific metric for it. Balance sheets ignore talent. Salespeople are knowledge workers.

[26:24] Data always has a story. If we allow cognitive bias to interpret it, we miss the point. Silos limit the modern organization. Knowledge needs to be shared in companies.

[27:28] Chris explores how sales could be reimagined within the company. Onboarding needs to include business knowledge from all departments, on top of domain expertise.

[31:08] Chris’ five-part framework for rethinking sales is: Curiosity, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication skills, and Change.

 

July 29, 2017

#524. How to be resilient when life sucks. With Allison Graham.

Allison Graham, consultant, and author of Married My Mom Birthed A Dog: How to be Resilient When Life Sucks, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:07] Allison thinks the biggest challenge facing sales reps is the noise in the marketplace. Allison started writing a column in 2003. It took her five months to get the job. Today, anybody can publish anything, with little or no merit.

[5:10] Allison suggests a remedy. Salespeople need to flip their script. Talking about their company and product is of no interest to the prospect. Talk about the specific problem you are going to solve for the client, and how you will solve it.

[6:39] Then, get eye-to-eye with the right buyers, make an impression, and talk their language about problems they are having. Let them know you’re the solution provider, and make it irresistible. Tie your product to their problem.

[9:34] Allison has written about resilience. She based a book on her work/life experiences of the first ten years of her sales career. Her sales were good, but her health was miserable. [11:36] You can become a victim, or you can become the Resiliency Ninja. Step into your full potential, your full success, no matter what challenges come. If you can’t bounce back from a low quota, that will influence your ability to sell.

[13:31] A 50% close ratio means 50% “No.” SDRs hear “No,” maybe 90% of the time. Not hitting your numbers twice, makes it tough to bounce back. Getting a “No,” is better than a “Maybe.” Buyers need to decline, until you earn their “Yes.”

[16:30] Resiliency is a skill that applies to both big and little issues. Too many little hurts can become a big hurt, if you are not prepared with resilience. Process issues as they come.

[18:47] Big issues like loss, disease, and divorce, impact performance. Allison created the Resiliency Ninja Formula for the book. It combines self-awareness, strength of heart, body and mind. She developed tools to build strength.

[21:21] These tools fight our internal messenger of BS that always says the worst. Allison describes a writing exercise to enable seeing self-judgments objectively. Flipping the internal script is key to becoming resilient.

[24:00] Allison claims positive thinking will make you miserable. She explains how. Positive thinking without basis leads to despair when there is a problem. Optimism is hopeful, and seeing the best. This is good.

[27:41] Acknowledge problems, and share them thoughtfully with trusted people. Share by giving hope and tools, not sorrow. Share successes with prospects. Allison describes the Continuum of Challenges: stress, obstacles, and adversity.

[36:19] We tend to minimize big things, and overstress day-to-day stresses. We are taught this from youth. We need to acknowledge big hurts, and give less power to little pains. We must learn to process adversity.

July 6, 2017

#501. The Value of Software Review Sites. With Bertrand Hazard.

Bertrand Hazard, VP of Marketing at TrustRadius, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:18] Bertrand says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is to personalize every single conversation they are having with their prospect.

[2:54] Buyers want to hear that the solution fits their specific use case, especially in complex SaaS products. They also want to know that the company behind the technology will support them. Sales and Marketing need to build trusted relationships.

[5:16] Bertrand believes the number one required skill is asking the right questions and listening to understand. Bertrand enlists existing and prospective customers to talk with his sales and marketing teams during training.

[7:16] Andy suggests listening must be without bias or judgment. Bertrand agrees that listening is not easy. It must be objective. Use a consultant for a win/loss analysis. Reps need to probe deeper with their questions, to get to truth.

[10:17] Bertrand tells young reps that marriage teaches listening, and fast understanding of meaning, even when all the words are not used. What you hear spoken is not necessarily the meaning. Companies should teach listening.

[10:58] After a response, ask questions that clarify meaning. Ask multiple questions to get to the core ‘why.’ Bertrand says all areas of a company need to listen, which will eventually help sales. Also, replay what was said. It shows actual interest.

[15:13] TrustRadius is known as a review platform for technology products, offering authentic, in-depth, peer user insight. For tech vendors, it provides them customers on the record, so they can use that content to engage with buyers.

[18:31] Any vendor can come to TrustRadius, have their product listed, and ask their customers to write reviews on TrustRadius in a standard template. This is completely free. There are also additional paid vendor services.

[20:09] The TrustRadius paid service is to run programs on the vendors’ behalf to get many more of their customers on the record. Once content is on the site, vendors can use it in promotions. TrustRadius can push reviews to the vendor site.

[21:08] Bertrand gives examples of large and small organizations that use TrustRadius. The ICP is a company who wants to use customers as their voice. The personas are the CMO and VP of Marketing, and sometimes, the VP of Sales.

[22:21] Customers more than ever have the ability to know beforehand what the derived value of a product is going to be. Bertrand says it’s scary to vendors not to be in control of product messaging. Bertrand discusses trust and reviews.

[28:06] Social trust is eroding. Bertrand says to review on TrustRadius you need a LinkedIn profile. A human will check if you worked for a competitor to the reviewed vendor. TrustRadius does not convert visitors into leads.

May 1, 2017

#446. Perfect Your Screen-to- Screen Selling. With Doug Devitre.

Doug Devitre, Founder of Doug Devitre International, and author of Screen to Screen Selling, and wannabe sushi chef, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:48] Screen to screen selling involves the latest technologies to communicate your message or sell your product.

[3:44] Advances in technology have removed the fear of whether or not the connection will work. New avenues of creativity are opening. Video shows visual cues.

[4:48] More companies are mainstreaming video conferencing into their strategy. There are numerous screen sharing technologies today. Doug explains some advantages of Zoom.

[6:17] The best tool is the one the customer uses. Don’t make it unfamiliar to them. Doug says, if you can’t get your camera to work, you have a mindset problem!

[8:27] The major solutions are easy to operate. Engagement goes up when you can see somebody. Prepare 30 minutes before the meeting, with your links and content.

[9:37] Know the desired result of the call and have an agenda, then close down your instant messengers, so they don’t open in your sales presentation. Close windows except ones you will use. Don’t say, “Let me find that,” and waste time searching.

[12:09] Hide your phone and distractions. Be ready. Maintain eye contact. Save visuals until the customer says, “Tell me more.” That gives you permission to show what you have.

[14:52] Camera position is critical. You want to focus on the camera, so people see your eyes. Don’t have the camera in an awkward place. In a busy office, go to a conference room, or use a backdrop like Webaround. Use light, such as ChatLight.

[21:02] Doug demonstrates screen sharing. Doug and Andy roleplay a sales call, with drawing on the fly, using Doceri.

[26:02] Drawing on a sales call can reach multiple influencers at once in different locations.

[27:28] Doceri can overlay your slideshow to make annotations based on customer responses. Doug suggests marketing and sales can collaborate closely to prepare the presentation, and save prospect time. Doug discusses tech.

[34:27] Zoom can share your presentation as a PDF summary, including all the visuals diagrammed. Or use Gong.io for a recording and/or a transcription of the call.

February 22, 2017

How to Reach the Right Contacts with the Right Messages. With Victoria Godfrey. #388

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Victoria Godfrey, CMO of Avention, now part of Dun and Bradstreet. Among the many topics that Victoria and I discuss are the various ways Avention is helping drive revenue and growth for companies by harnessing target account and contact information. We also discuss account based everything, and how aligning marketing with sales, following the data, helps improve the number of closed deals.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:52] Avention works with company and contact business data. Victoria joined Avention a couple of years ago, after a career in marketing. Avention tools offer B2B data, relative to target accounts and contacts, that help drive revenue and growth.

[2:08] Avention offers iSell, an easy and effective subscription desktop app that gathers all the information a salesperson needs to go after new accounts and customers, with SWOT analysis, and company and contact information.

[4:15] Another Avention tool is The Art of the Start, pairing marketing and sales, to pick the best sales qualified accounts. Messaging is tailored to the target account and their contact, focused on getting the right message to the right person.

[6:53] Victoria’s team uses Avention tools to reach targets by looking at triggers, news alerts, company information, reports, and more, to discover the important drivers and initiatives of the account. Account contacts receive tailored messages.

[8:55] It is critical for marketing and sales to be aligned, to send a unified message to the account. Reps are responsible for engaging contacts with the aligned message.

[12:18] When marketing and sales are aligned, they own the funnel together. Marketing owns the top, sales owns the bottom; each influences the other. The revenue is attributed to both. If the CEO is not supportive, alignment is unrealized.

[15:53] At Avention, Victoria, and the head of sales spend a lot of time in each other’s offices, discussing mutual needs, budgets, efficiencies, and results. Data and Martech tools empower transparency and alignment.

[17:23] Marketing and sales use data tools and experienced judgment to pick accounts together, to assign resources, and create the unified messaging point. Frequency depends on the sales cycle and strategy. Avention does this, ongoing.

[21:54] Because of the intensive use of resources, you will use parallel paths for sales: some are account based, and some use conventional sales efforts.

[25:30] Victoria discusses data-driven sales. Data has made great changes in marketing, and martech has boomed over the last decade or so. The same is true in sales. Data drives revenue growth. To neglect data is to lose opportunity.

[29:52] CRM data is being used by some companies mainly for reporting results. More emphasis should be paid to using data to engage enterprises and drive more sales.

[30:44] Avention also offers DataVision, that combines your data with Avention data, to segment clearly the key and top-priority accounts.

January 19, 2017

How to Influence and “Pre-Suade” Buyers. With Robert Cialdini. #359

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Dr. Robert Cialdini, New York Times bestselling author, with three million copies of his books sold. Dr. Cialdini is known for his international best-selling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, as well as his latest book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Dr. Cialdini is the Regent’s Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, as well as the President and CEO of Influence at Work. Among the topics Dr. Cialdini and I discuss are how his own experience of being “a pushover” led him to research how people are influenced to make decisions; the six (now seven) central precepts of influence and how to use “pre-suasion” to prime prospects to receive the value of your messaging.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:36] Robert says he’s always been a pushover to buy things he didn’t want, and to make contributions to causes he didn’t know, while people walked away with his money. This is why he started studying the psychology of influence.

[3:56] He wrote Influence to inform people how to recognize and resist unwelcome influences upon themselves. All of his clients, though, want to harness influence, not to deflect it.

[6:34] If we tap into those fundamental motivations that are universal to humanity, then we have a set of influence tools that will be most successful over the widest set of situations and populations.

[7:07] The 6 key precepts of influence.

[15:11] A tactic used on American POWs during the Korean War, was to ask for a neutral agreement before asking for a big one. The agreement mentally turned them from prisoners to assistants. This also works, to turn prospects to customers.

[18:34] Dr. Cialdini once found he was influenced to make a contribution to a man at his door, who had presented no credentials, and no evidence of validity. Dr. Cialdini made a donation, and felt good about it,  until he realized how he had been influenced.

[21:28] Savvy communicators Pre-Suade, before they deliver their message. It is not changing a person’s mind, but changing their state of mind, so that they willingly receive your message.

[23:39] If you want to sell by quality, rather than price, show an environment of quality in your marketing materials. Dr. Cialdini tells of a study of clouds vs. pennies for landing page backgrounds, for a furniture store. Listen, for what happened!

[28:37] What has been most recently elevated to top-of-mind, when you’re about to make your pitch? That is what will determine how receptive people will be to it.

[29:20] Dr. Cialdini discovered a seventh principle of influence: Unity (being one of us). People say, “yes” in the boundaries of, “we.” Point to existing memberships you share before you ask. Ask advice (as of a partner), not opinion (as of a customer).

[36:37] These principles work effectively in person. But even in an email, if we start it with a personalizing, connecting message, then that re-establishes the human basis for exchange.

[38:37] Andy recommends to all his listeners to read both books: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.

November 9, 2016

How to Entice, Disarm, and Discover Your Clients. With Ian Altman. #301

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is Ian Altman, Founder and CEO of Grow My Revenue, best-selling author of two books, Same Side Selling: A Radical Approach to Break Through Sales Barriers, and Upside-Down Selling: An integrity-based Sales Approach to Avoid Being Predictable. Ian is also a sought-after keynote speaker, an expert in sales leadership and business growth, and author of articles featured regularly in Inc. and Forbes. In this episode, Ian and I discuss understanding the problems your product solves for the customer, how to qualify your customer by enticing them, disarming them and discovering their needs, and how to preserve the integrity of your sales process.

October 14, 2016

Is Sales a Marathon or a Sprint? With Bridget Gleason. #279

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest, Bridget Gleason. This week’s episode veers off-track in a hurry as I Bridget and I share stories about marathon running (and how that helped Bridget land a job) and bouncing back from getting laid off. It all comes together as we discuss the critical role curiosity plays in success, and the importance of having a competitive spirit, grit, discipline, and passion to persevere and win in sales.          

September 28, 2016

How to Bring A Personal Touch Back Into Sales. With Michael Sacca. #265

My guest on this episode is Michael Sacca, host of the business podcast, Rocketship.fm, and Head of Partnerships at Crew. Among the many topics Michael and I discuss are how sales professionals can succeed and thrive in a world where sales teams are at risk of being engineered out of the selling process; and, how the personal touch in sales can influence the emotional element of decision-making and become the differentiator that helps you close the deal.