Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
January 29, 2018


#627: Boost Sales Effectiveness with Visual Technologies w/ Evan Nisselson


Evan Nisselson, General Partner at LDV Capital, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!



  • Evan says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is finding the right customers that need the services that reps are selling. You need the right ROI on the time you spend to find the customer.
  • Long emails are not valuable. Put the ‘ask’ up front. Then, maybe, “if you’re interested, there’s more below.” Put the first word of each topic in bold, to make it easier to skim.
  • LDV Capital is a venture capital fund that invests in people building visual technology businesses — any technology that captures, analyzes, monetizes, displays, or distributes visual data. Evan lists some examples.
  • In August 2017, LDV Capital Insights predicted there will be 45 billion cameras by 2022. The report defines a ‘camera’ as a lens and a sensor. Smartphones have multiple cameras and will have more.
  • ‘The Internet of Eyes’ will be larger than the IOT. Inanimate objects will have cameras. An autonomous vehicle will have 25-30 cameras, outside and inside, not including RADAR/LIDAR. Where will the data be captured?
  • About 90% of the data the human brain analyzes is visual. For AI to mimic humans, at least 90% of the data AI analyzes will be visual. LDV looks at where the cameras will be to determine the investment opportunities.
  • Historically, pictures were for keeping memories. Going forward, the majority of visual data captured will never be seen by the human eye.
  • Will we be surveilled constantly? The value proposition is to balance privacy issues against benefits to society. Cameras may help you with a healthy food or fitness goal.
  • All types of robots, in a factory, or an autonomous boat, a drone, and others, will use visual data for operations, never displayed. ‘Display’ will be a minor visual data use. Evan discusses use cases of cameras in the home.
  • What are the sales and marketing use cases? Will some cameras be customer-facing, to help them on the buying journey? In airports, can billboards be personalized to the people walking by? Directed marketing helps customers.
  • Evan said he took a photo of shoes and a pop-up asked if he wanted to buy those shoes. Computer vision allows you to translate an image into a purchase. Customers’ micro-expressions can also be analyzed.
  • The B2B value proposition of image analysis is to get customers sooner to validate whether there is a problem to solve.
January 26, 2018


#626: Six Lessons from 600 Episodes of Accelerate! w/ Bridget Gleason.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.



  • Andy introduces the topic: what Andy has learned from recording over 600 episodes of #Accelerate.
  • B2B selling hasn’t changed that much. It’s still about those person-to-person moments when the seller has to communicate and deliver value to the buyer. Those moments cannot be outsourced to technology.
  • Technology is going to have a massive impact on sales and sales outcomes but it’s not having that impact, yet, as far as contributing to levels of sales or productivity.
  • “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” — Amara’s Law. Andy expects this to happen in sales.
  • Bridget thinks that without the new technologies, sales performance would be further behind buyer behavior than it is. Technology has not raised the level of sales performance, but Andy expects that it will, in time.
  • The vast majority of sales tools released in the last five years are sales-centric. Andy is looking for tools that make the buyer’s experience easier. Such tools would improve sales performance hugely. A few exist.
  • Human sales skills need to improve. There are more barriers to connection. Bridget never answers a phone call or an email from someone she doesn’t know. Yet phone and email are still the primary outreach tools.
  • The science of selling has two dimensions: data, which we don’t yet really know how to analyze and use, and social psychology, which has been revolutionized in the last 50 years. Andy discusses these two dimensions.
  • In sales, where your business is to build relationships with people in order to inspire and influence their decisions, it is very important to know how people arrive at decisions. Reps influence buyers to buy solutions they need.
  • The number one challenge mentioned on #Accelerate is that reps are overwhelmed. Andy reviews the aspects of being overwhelmed.
  • Bridget suggests that improved prioritization and time management skills would help reps to face their challenges. Multitasking is a myth. Focus is necessary.
  • Sales leaders and salespeople are not investing enough in their own development, on their own time, regardless of any training the company offers. Bridget says this is not universal. A few reps are self-directed. All should read!
January 24, 2018


#625: How Coaching Drives Sales Success w/ Bill Eckstrom


Bill Eckstrom, President of EcSell Institute, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!



  • Bill says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is poor coaching from leaders. Research says 30% of sales managers unknowingly block team performance.
  • Bill defines coaching as creating processes, relationships, and growth experiences. Coaching includes management, leadership, and individual development.
  • The economic value of a manager is how much more their team sells with the manager in the role. The coach’s role is to drive the differential — or discretionary effort — from the people on their team.
  • The discretionary effort is measured by the quantity and quality of coaching. By measuring a coach’s activities through the responses of the team, you can correlate coaching activities and behaviors to team performance.
  • Bill lists five primary and key coaching activities.
  • There are a quantity component and a quality component for each of the high-payoff coaching activities. Bill gives a case study of a company where half of the managers increased their coaching quality and half of them did not.
  • Organizations track their reps’ activities but very rarely do they track their coaches’ activities. Most companies do not invest in training for sales managers. Most sales managers don’t ask for training.
  • Every level of leadership needs a coach. At what moment do you become a finished product? Coach Vince Lombardi’s quotes are on development, not tactics.
  • Employees and reps model how they treat their customers on how management treats the employees. Organizations need to measure and quantify their managerial coaching behaviors to avoid bad outcomes.
  • It is fruitless to try to become customer-centric if your company treats employees badly. Bill and Andy point out two specific companies as examples of poor customer experience, presumably because of poor coaching.
  • Sports teams win or lose by their coaching. This also holds true in business. We should invest in managers and senior managers so they can coach their teams. Lacking that, seek development through reading and programs.
  • Great coaches see within individuals things they haven’t yet seen about themselves and they ignite those things. Author Peter Jensen calls this developmental bias.
January 22, 2018


#624: Design the Customer Experience to Win the Sale w/ Carlos Hidalgo


Carlos Hidalgo, Founder & CEO of VisumCx and author of Driving Demand: Transforming B2B Marketing to Meet the Needs of the Modern Buyer, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!



  • Carlos says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today, especially seasoned reps, is understanding that the way they used to sell no longer applies. The buyer will only contact those on their short list.
  • Customers, according to CEB, are already 57% along the way to a solution. Carlos says to talk to customers in depth about what they are solving. The customer may need a broader view. There is usually another decider.
  • Carlos discusses the customer experience within the buying process — before a purchase is made. It is the arc from brand engagement to customer advocacy after the sale. A great buying experience is essential.
  • Carlos asks organizations how they enable, equip, and empower their staff in every area to deliver the type of experience that the customers are demanding. Doing what’s best for the customer benefits the organization.
  • In the buying process, customers want to gather the information they need to make a good decision with the least investment of time and effort possible. The customer does not intentionally stretch out the process.
  • Is the selling process aligned with the customer buying process? Ask the customer ahead of time what their buying objective is. What are they trying to achieve? There might not even be a fit for your solution.
  • The deal resolves more quickly and closes faster when the rep takes a buyer-centric approach. The price may not even be a factor. Build trust first.
  • Carlos says SDRs should be asked to validate the lead by asking a few questions before handing the lead to sales. Carlos describes a warm hand-off with an introduction, not just setting an appointment.
  • The SDR has an important role, and it should not be a throw-away position. It is not training for field sales. It may take years to get good at it and improve the customer experience.
  • Carlos explains designing the customer experience, based on what they expect. Know the experience your customer wants and make sure you deliver on that expectation. You may even find you’re targeting the wrong customers.
  • You have to go into the field and talk to your customers about what they expect from you at every touch point. You may hear that “your baby is ugly” and you can’t be defensive about it. You have to learn how to improve.
  • Carlos praises the customer experience quality of two companies — Apple and Subaru. They have each earned his loyalty and advocacy through their attention to him and to his expectations.


January 19, 2018


#623: The Importance of Your Character in Sales w/ Bridget Gleason


Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.



  • Andy introduces the topic: character. How does character relate to knowing, liking, and trusting? Bridget says we are more likely to trust people who are of high character. How do you feel buying from someone of low character?
  • Andy defines character as the emotional and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, such as empathy, integrity, honesty, and loyalty. Good character is a binary distinction. You have it or you don’t.
  • Business coach Jim Rohn laid out six traits of good character: integrity, honesty, loyalty, self-sacrifice, accountability, and self-control. Do you need all six? Bridget thinks it is a spectrum, not a binary choice.
  • Leaders hire people to represent the company. What responsibility do the leaders have to hire people of high character? Should we emphasize it more when we build our teams to fit into our culture? Andy thinks it is ignored.
  • Andy quotes Vince Lombardi about the progression of thoughts, beliefs, words, actions, habits, and character. Thoughts eventually become your character.
  • If reps don’t have high character, they won’t be customer-centric. Jim Rohn said integrity is an undivided life. You act the same in all environments. It’s a congruence of behavior, regardless of your audience.
  • Recognize your choices. Treat your customer as you treat your boss and your family members. Habit changes are choices. We can acknowledge the impulse and replace a bad choice with a good one, making the habit serve us.
  • Jim Rohn defines honesty as the only policy. This removes the decision from the situation. Even the small things make a difference.
  • Jim Rohn defines loyalty as sticking with people when they need us most. Don’t always jump to the next job for a few more dollars. If it’s only about the dollar, it’s a red flag for Bridget. Andy agrees.
  • Self-sacrifice is putting up with a tough circumstance to see something through to the other side. Having patience will tend to accrue to your benefit, in the end. Andy learned this early on, in what turned into an acquisition.


January 17, 2018


#622: Is Your Sales Process Backwards? w/ Derek Wyszynski


Derek Wyszynski, Mentor at GrowthX Academy, Founding Member of Sales Enablement Society, and until recently, Chief Sales Hacker at ZynBit, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!



  • Derek says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is selling to the informed customer. When Derek started in sales, the salesperson was the primary engine of information between the customer and the solution.
  • Today’s customer knows your competitors’ and your solutions. When they talk to you, they don’t want persuasion, they want proof. The internet has been in play for 20 years. Why are we just noticing this issue?
  • Sales enablement is irrelevant to the end user. Sales enablement serves the salesperson only. The technology is not customer-facing.
  • Derek asks why prospecting (the most important part of the sales process) is given to the least experienced and least knowledgeable representative (the SDR). The outreach reps should be the most experienced.
  • The ZynBit sale starts with content to create demand. When people connect to the content, a sales conversation begins. When the prospect shows serious interest, they are transferred to customer experience (CX) ‘concierges.’
  • The ‘concierge’ walks the customer through the proof process — whether a demo or a trial — and makes it very easy to buy. ZynBit is a SaaS solution charged per user.
  • ZynBit customers work with the team for the ‘knobs and dials’ of the proof process. When the process is tuned for large enterprise customers, the close rates rise, contracts are written for longer terms, and clients give referrals.
  • Derek says cold outreach is dead to reps. Getting the right person on the phone and reading the email is where the sales process begins. The ZynBit platform is Salesforce. ZynBit contacts people already in Salesforce user groups.
  • Derek recommends using the same model for other products, as well. Go into industry user groups and meetings to provide expert advice and content.
  • How should compensation plans change? ZynBit employees are paid an aggressive base salary and a quarterly bonus on the entire organization’s revenue. Everyone has skin in the game for overall success.
  • The point of qualification is to qualify people ‘out’ and keep them in some nurturing marketing situation until they are ready. Spend more time with qualified leads.
  • ZynBit has the right people. The metrics to evaluate salespeople at ZynBit: SQL to a sale is the most important number here. CX team (closers) are judged on conversion from SQL, upsells, and referrals.
January 15, 2018


#621: Is Goodness the Key to Success? w/ Tony Tjan


Tony Tjan, CEO and Managing Partner of and author of Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!



  • Tony says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is the recent radical change in organizational structure. Understanding who your real customer is becomes increasingly challenging.
  • Tony gives an example of trying to find the right department or officer to connect with in regard to employee wellness and engagement.
  • A rigid sales playbook dictates selling to personas instead of selling to people. This is less effective for selling to a decentralized organization. Andy gives an example of a decisionmaker unexpectedly being the admin to the CEO.
  • Tony says to separate the hat from the head. After you draw the hat, find which head and heart wear that hat. Tony shares another example of looking in the wrong area for the influencers.
  • Tony’s book urges leaders to be good people. Only about one-third of employees are happy at work and would recommend their company to a friend. 68% wish to leave. Meanwhile, there is a sharp decline in institutional trust.
  • Trust in business is under 48%. Leaders are taught competency but not character. “Goodness” is separate from, and more than, competency. True leadership comes from authenticity, values, and character.
  • Driving toward a common set of values and standards would be a pretty good business strategy. We need the human element in our organizations in spite of AI and automation.
  • A different way to interview is necessary. We are biased to interview for competency. We need to interview for character-based elements of goodness. Tony suggests activities like cooking a meal together with a candidate.
  • Frame the type of leader you want to find. Real leaders build other leaders, not followers. Long-term value comes from team building and leaders who bring out the best in others. It’s a virtuous circle.
  • Cool cultures form when people genuinely care about each other and help each other. Spend time mentoring and developing people. Have openness and transparency.
  • A better team is more important to success than better ideas. To be ‘people first’ consider how a decision impacts other people. Having an ‘A’ team is more critical to success than having ‘A’ ideas.
January 12, 2018


#620: What do Buyers want from Sellers? w/ Bridget Gleason and Deb Calvert


Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. Special guest on this episode is Deb Calvert, President of People First Productivity Solutions and co-author of the new book, Stop Selling and Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen.



  • Andy introduces Deb Calvert. Deb has been working on her book for three years, starting with the hypothesis, then research with buyers, and then with sellers. Deb worked with co-authors James Kouzes and‎ Barry Posner.
  • This book is a behavioral blueprint for sellers of sales behaviors that produce a response in buyers. These are actually the behaviors of exemplary leaders. Kouzes and Posner have been studying leadership for 30 years.
  • Buyers have been asking for these behaviors from sellers. Buyers want us to guide them to new places and they truly lead them and inspire them.
  • Deb explains a desired behavior from the study. It involves a needs assessment. Buyers don’t want a diagnostic assessment; they want a ‘dialogic’ needs assessment that becomes a catalyst for them to act.
  • Your intention is the start. Are you trying to prompt the right answers from the buyer to let you come back with a proposal, or are you listening in to find out what the buyer wants, and asking natural follow-up questions?
  • Watch for emotional cues, not just content-based answers. Probe to discover the drivers behind what’s being said. Dialog creates a bond that gets the buyer to buy in before you ever ask them to buy.
  • Empathy is trending downward among college students since 1970. How do we break this trend? Sales managers should look for empathy and curiosity as competencies in the people they hire.
  • Some people have natural empathy but behaving empathetically is a choice and can be learned. Curiosity and focus can be learned. Nobody will learn them if they don’t first see the importance of them.
  • Sales job ads should ask for curious, empathetic problem-solvers. Deb coaches organizations to look for that. Deb sets an ideal of the behaviors, skills, and characteristics that top sellers exhibit and hires for them.
  • Deb recommends using a customized assessment tool as a factor — not the deciding factor — to end the interview. In the interview, ask about past behaviors and consider them as indicative of future behaviors.
  • B2B sellers should emulate B2C sellers. Create an experience with the buyer. Make it special and unique. Trigger an awesome, euphoric connecting experience.
  • Deb says buyers want us to do 30 simple things more frequently than we do them now. In every contact, make sure your role is leading and not selling.
January 10, 2018


#619: How to Measure Customer Intent to Generate Qualified Sales Leads w/ Steve de Mamiel


Steve Mamiel, author of The Mongrel Method: Sales and Marketing for the New Breed of Buyers, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!



  • Steve says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is determining who is responsible for the purchasing decision. Today, it is a group of people who make the decision. What matters to them?
  • The Mongrel Method was written to suggest a blend of sales and marketing. Processes have changed. Today’s procurement group is more educated on solutions.
  • In the last 10 years, the buyer has turned from using the salesperson to using the internet for their information.
  • Outbound calling yields single-digit results in leads and sales. It is demoralizing to the rep. Their efforts are better spent attracting customers with inbound marketing.
  • Steve replaces personas with a customer intent model — those who have shown signs of having researched and invested time to show they are ready to take action. Focus on those who have started the buying journey.
  • Steve measures intent by looking at resources and time, to see that the customer is invested in getting to a solution. He cites Google’s Beacons and Eddystone to track offline behavior.
  • If the customer is not investing resources and time, that’s a red flag that they’re not on the buyer journey. Hand it back to marketing to nurture the customer through the process until they’re ready to buy.
  • It’s important that the salesperson understand what role each particular influencer plays in the buying decision and what benefits them in the purchase.
  • Ask follow-up questions to each question. The first answer is rarely the whole truth. Other stakeholders may have different factors to consider in the purchase.
  • Don’t confuse the buyer(s) with the persona(s). There are always individual concerns that motivate a buyer. Sales reps should not go on autopilot. Always listen to the customer. Don’t try to herd them into following the script.
  • What value can you bring to the customer at each meeting? What insight and experience can you deliver? What information of value do you hold for the customer?
  • Start with the end in mind and work backward. Help the customer visualize what success looks like. Be clear with the customer what decision you are looking for them to make, and what the benefit is to them.
January 8, 2018


#618: How to Align Sales and Marketing w/ Jeff Davis

Jeff Davis, sales and marketing alignment expert, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


  • Jeff says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is engagement — how to get through the noise to have a compelling and informative conversation with prospects that gets them to want to talk with you.
  • The subject line of an unopened email can still drive business through awareness. Reps need to prioritize sales activities between calling and emailing to ensure the most effective use of their time.
  • One outreach method doesn’t work for each situation. Jeff discusses understanding the buyer. Each person responds uniquely and should be approached differently.
  • How do you scale from talking to individuals to accelerating growth?
  • Aligning sales and marketing involves implementing business intelligence you have captured. Sales and marketing need to share their information over the fence, iterate, and change to improve performance.
  • Jeff started the Sales + Marketing Alignment Summit to bridge gaps between the sales and marketing leaders. He wanted to create a space where sales and marketing leaders could share challenges as a unified group.
  • There are no two more interdependent groups within an organization than sales and marketing. The work they do independently can be leveraged meaningfully for the other group. Some reps do not understand marketing.
  • The CEO has to be on board for sales and marketing to align. It is not a tech problem but a people issue. In order to close the rift between sales and marketing, the CEO has to lead the way forward with a clear vision message.
  • To get the CEO on board, the VP of Sales and the CMO need to work together to drive revenue and produce the business case to inform the CEO of the merits of alignment and the lost revenue from misalignment.
  • The CEO must consider costs to achieve alignment against lost revenue from misalignment. There may be costs to update platforms between groups.
  • For a major long-term initiative in an organization, you need the CEO to be the sponsor of sales and marketing alignment as it involves the full organization. In the absence of CEO sponsorship use short-term efforts.
  • Keeping sales and marketing as separate silos is a barrier to empathy and understanding. Rethink the organization in terms of acquisition, retention, and branding. Look at the individual roles and how they overlap.