Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
May 5, 2017

#450 Are Sales Roles Too Specialized? With Bridget Gleason and Anthony Iannarino.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. This episode also features guest Anthony Iannarino, of and author of the best-selling book The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.


[2:12] Anthony has written an article about sales roles being broken down into too many pieces, as in an assembly line. He claims the division is disruptive to the client. Anthony explains his views about qualification.

[6:21] SaaS seems to assume that specialization is the right model. Bridget says that assumption should be challenged. Her Israeli company doesn’t rely on this American concept.

[8:25] Anthony compares and contrasts BDR, SDRs, AEs, and AMs, and Subject Matter Experts (SME). He lays out the case that none of this division appeals to, or adds value for, the client, and the client is not interested in it.

[11:26] The closing success in the SaaS industry is very low compared to traditional B2B sales. Anthony talks about how he targeted multiple stakeholders in 1979. “Bellbottoms are back.” Sales is a cyclical business driven by repeating trends.

[12:51] Bridget has not seen sales specialized to the degree Anthony describes. When she has employed SDRs, they have also closed some business. The way for people to grow is not to be confined into narrowly defined roles.

[17:17] SDRs serve their employer, rather than providing value to a client, and burn out in a year. Bridget says truly is committed to the customer, and to the customer experience.

[19:56] You can’t qualify before discovery. You need to understand where the buyer is in their cycle, and how to help them. Not every future customer is ready to buy at this moment. “A lead is like a lottery ticket.” — Andy Paul.

[21:34] Anthony contrasts selling and the pipeline, and looking to a future sale. Help get them ready to buy, or your competitor will do that for them. Show them how to fix their root cause problem. Then they will be qualified.

[24:11] Bridget says BANT is a narrow way to qualify. A broader definition of qualifying involves understanding if the prospect has a pain or aspiration that you can partner with them to resolve, even down the line. Sales is problem-solving.

[27:10] Anthony has no regard for BANT, and current sales roles. Qualifying by BANT gives the prospect no value to listen, so you disqualify people who might have bought.

[28:24] Bridget would define BDRs and SDRs into roles that do more than BANT, because prospects will continue to shut them out. Anthony brings up AI taking over sales roles. Bridget has heard it before.

[33:03] Anthony calls out poor performers. The process itself cannot sell. Selling is a human role. The individual makes the difference. Anthony hails the new Account-Based Andy.


February 6, 2017

How to Accelerate Your Growth by Aligning Sales and Marketing. With Andrea Austin. #374

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Andrea Austin, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at InsideView, and the co-author of a brand new book called Aligned to Achieve: How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams into a Single Force for Growth.


[2:12]  Andrea started at IBM as a marketing sales associate. Their ‘Selling Fridays’ taught her how to handle objections. [5:08] Andrea joined InsideView three years ago, where she met her co-author, Tracy Eiler.

[6:33] Andrea talks about handoff points between marketing and sales; MQL, SQL, and SAL; and conversion rates. In enterprise selling, some of the best leads in sales come from their own work. Andrea leverages Marketing for branding.

[7:25] In SaaS, the buyer is now in charge. They do their due diligence before they engage with sales. Sales and Marketing need to align, to participate effectively in the customer experience.

[10:37] Andrea says research pigeonholes the buyer’s thinking, as they seek the solution to one business pain point. Her goal is to influence the buyer’s perception of their whole problem.

[12:51] Andrea explains how alignment can increase revenue by 10%, profitability by 15%, and growth rate by 19%, through clarity between areas; each doing that at which they excel.

[16:16] InsideView researched where 1,000 respondents felt they were aligned, and not aligned: communication, processes, metrics, and data on target accounts. Aligned to Achieve attacks these in three ways: people, processes, and technology.

[19:25] The book was written because misalignment between marketing and sales is too great.

[23:38] Alignment requires a cultural change that needs the CEO to publicly support it. When sales and marketing push together, more happens.

[27:25] To align sales & marketing efforts, Andrea organized a bi-weekly Smarketing meeting, which looks at results two weeks back, near events two weeks ahead, and plans two weeks beyond, making a six-week rolling window to align plans and feedback.

[35:30] Aligned to Achieve uses a looped symbol to represent the sales funnel on its head, continually cycling through the Find, Engage, Close, and Grow stages of the customer relationship.


February 2, 2017

How to Get Your Sales Team to Adopt Your CRM Tool. With Timo Rein. #371

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Timo Rein, Co-Founder of Pipedrive, which is one of the leading CRM systems for SMB (Small and Midsized Business).


[2:19] After about a decade in sales consultancy, Timo Rein co-founded Pipedrive in 2010, to help salespeople around the world to manage complex sales processes.
[2:52] Timo grew up in the Soviet Union, which collapsed when he was a teen. The fall was hard on his grandparents and parents, whose pensions were lost. Timo was excited to be part of the nation of Estonia, independent again in 1991.

[6:21] Timo looked at the sales management tools available in 2000, and after a costly implementation for a business, found his sales people were still using sticky notes, instead of the CRM.

[7:34] Customers asked him about putting analog-style tracking tools into software, and that started them on the path to creating Pipedrive, as a tool to benefit salespeople.

[11:59] Pipedrive’s model is self-serve SaaS, so anyone in a company can use it. In some cases, management sees this usage, and makes it an enterprise purchase.

[13:12] The look and feel of Pipedrive is unique. It attempts to strike the balance between functionality and simplicity. It is a daily sales productivity tool, not just a reporting tool.

[15:23] What management wants, at the end of the day, is to sell in such a way that the focus is in the right place, most of the time. Pipedrive helps salespeople focus on the right opportunities — more on sales, than on engagements.

[18:15] The intent of Pipedrive is to close deals by the process of moving a contact from prospect to customer, helping you control your activities, to become more successful in sales.

[21:02] You can look at sales productivity mathematically. Performance is measured against results for a given period. Tools are productive if they move you towards results.

[26:10] Instead of focusing on the average sales cycle length (a result), if management saw the sales hours going into the cycle, they could focus on sales hours and actions, (controlled factors), to reduce the sales cycle length.

[27:43] Simplicity of use of the tool is important to getting the salespeople to use it. If it is not being used, it is not helping. If used, it helps performance, but the next step is helping real sales productivity.

[29:20] Business software was once considered difficult and clunky, but is now becoming consumerized. Categories of tools are blending. The more functions one interface can address simply, the better chances it has for adoption.


October 25, 2016

How to Accelerate the Growth of your SaaS Company. With Nic Poulos. #288

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is Nic Poulos, Founder of Bowery Capital, a thesis-driven early-stage investor backing exceptional founders. Among the topics Nic and I discuss in this episode are: why enterprise customers are becoming more willing to buy mission critical systems from start-ups, what strategies help a start-up to get through the growth stage, and how to structure an effective proof-of-concept trial that works for your buyer and you.

June 9, 2016

Aligning Solutions and Services to Elevate Customer Success. With Dave Blake.

Dave Blake is the founder and CEO of ClientSuccess, a platform that helps Customer Success team proactively manage, retain and grow their existing customer base. In this episode, Dave talks about the role CS teams play in retaining customers, opening doors to up-selling, and minimizing the churn among subscribers. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • The important differences between Client Success and Customer Support
  • The best practices of CS Teams.
  • The role of the Customer Success Manager (CSM) in customer retention and minimizing churn.
  • How to identify and hire strong CSMs.
  • Managing the hand-off between Account Execs and Customer Success Managers.
April 21, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 139 with Micheline Nijmeh. Improving Sales Team Productivity.

Micheline Nijmeh is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at LiveHive, a unified Sales Acceleration Platform that delivers enhanced sales team productivity, email effectiveness, and follow-up through automation and engagement analytics. Among the sales productivity topics Micheline and I discuss are:

  • What forces are shifting the balance between inside sales and field sales positions?
  • What necessary sales disciplines have slipped in recent times as sales increasingly shifts towards inside sales?
  • Why sales on-boarding processes need to change and how to decrease the amount of time required to train new sales reps.
  • What inside sales reps must do to create positive first impressions on prospects.
  • How to prioritize your investments in new sales technologies.
  • What are buyer-side analytics? And why are they important drivers of sales productivity?
February 9, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 87 with Aaron Ross. From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

In this episode, Aaron Ross, discusses the lessons that sales leaders have learned about building a predictable revenue machine since the publication of his best-selling book, Predictable Revenue.  He has captured many these lessons in case studies contained in his new book (written with co-author Jason Lemkin), From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue. In this information-packed episode we discuss his new book and other topics including:

  • The steps required to plan for sales success.
  • How to increase you chances for success by Nailing a Niche
  • Why you can’t prove your sales model by selling to friends of friends.
  • How to avoid being trapped in the Trust Gap
  • The vital role that Customer Success plays in driving revenue growth
  • And much, much more!

Want to learn how to accelerate predictable revenue growth for your company? Don’t miss out on this episode!


October 9, 2015
Powered by the Simple Podcast Press Player

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 14 Front Line Friday with Bridget Gleason. Finding Sales Advice Online That Works For You

My regular guest commentator on Frontline Friday is Bridget Gleason. Bridget is VP of Corporate Sales at SumoLogic. With twenty years of sales and sales management experience in the technology sector, Bridget going SumoLogic’s executive team to lead and grow the inside sales organization. Her recent experience includes being VP of Sales for Yesware and SVP of Worldwide Sales for Engine Yard. Prior to Engine Yard, Bridget was the founder and principal of the BLG Consulting Group, a strategic sales consulting organization. She is an advisor to several early stage start-up companies.

Over the coming weeks we’ll tackle a range of topics associated with the challenges of rapidly growing sales and scaling a high performance sales team in a competitive market. In this episode we talk about how hard it can be to find sales advice that you can trust. Bridget and I examine some of the advice and wisdom that is found on sales blogs. It’s a free world and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But, is doesn’t mean that they’re right. We’ll help sort that out in this episode.

Over the coming weeks we’ll tackle a range of topics associated with the challenges of rapidly growing sales and scaling a high performance sales team in a competitive market.  In this episode we talk about how hard it can be to find sales advice that you can trust. Bridget and I examine some of the advice and wisdom that is found on sales blogs. It’s a free world and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But, is doesn’t mean that they’re right. We’ll help sort that out today.