Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
November 10, 2017

#595. Sure-Fire Ways to Grab the Attention of Buyers. With Bridget Gleason. And special guest, Braydan Young.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. We’re joined on this episode by Braydan Young, Co-Founder of Sendoso.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Sendoso is in the attention-grabbing business. Businesses buy credits from Sendoso, which their SDRs send as gifts to their prospects. The gifts are tracked by Sendoso on opening and use. Sendoso reports the use to their clients.
  • Sendoso adds gender-matched hand-written notes to the items that are sent from their warehouses inventorying catalog items around the globe.
  • Braydan gives some examples of good uses he has seen work really well: a pre-conference bottle of wine that is locked, with a key code available at your booth, a conference survival kit with items branded with your logo.
  • Braydan explains the hand-written note accompanying the gift. Sendos also sends an email and e-gift card to the admin gatekeeper, to thank them in advance for passing your gift on to your prospect, such as the CTO or CEO.
  • Braydan describes the on-demand gifts, including baked treats with your logo, to use as door-openers, using Postmates in the U.S., the UK, and Ireland. Cookies can be shaped as the person’s LinkedIn profile picture.
  • Braydan talks about their brainstorming meetings where they come up with the gift ideas. Braydan suggests revolving around timing. In football season, send a Jersey with the prospect’s favorite quarterback number.
  • Braydan shares their wine and bakery vendors in the U.S., Canada, the Europe, and Asia Pacific, to minimize customs fees.
  • Braydan talks budgets: about $25.00 per gift, for a list of about 100 gifts.
  • Braydan assures that the items have been taste-tested. Andy wants to be on the tasting committee.
  • Listener Contest! Within two weeks of the podcast, please send your story of what you have sent as a prospect gift or incentive — if you have used Sendoso — or done it yourself, and the best use case will win a Sendoso prize.
  • The Sendoso prize will be to set up the winner with a free Sendoso account for six months, with $1,000 account credit to send your special gifts to your prospects.
  • Send your stories by email to Andy@AndyPaul.com or as an audio message at the microphone on AndyPaul.com, about what you’ve done, and what the outcomes were. Bridget and friends are ineligible to win!

 

October 13, 2017

#583. Should You Be Certified to Sell B2B? With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[4:01] Andy starts the 101st episode of Front Line Fridays with the topic of professional certification for salespeople and sales managers. It’s time to embrace it as an industry.

[4:47] It can help in hiring and has value to buyers looking for knowledgeable reps as trusted advisors. Bridget has started a certification program at Logz.io. SMEI has been offering sales and marketing executive certifications for 80 years.

[6:39] Will employers start to ask for certifications as a prerequisite for employment? Bridget always looks for people who have had professional sales training.

[8:53] SMEI is starting to work with universities to certify coursework they are starting to offer for sales, to start graduates toward their own certification. Would one certification cover all current methodologies?

[10:01] SMEI focuses on certifying people on the fundamental enduring principles of sales, rather than certifying on the methodologies. There is an on-the-job experience component required, as well.

[10:53] Bridget agrees such certifications would be useful. Andy would like to see a standardized certification,  that employers could specify in their job postings, rather than seeing individual companies create their own certificates.

[14:07] Bridget says yes. Now, who will do it? Is there a movement? Andy hears more talk about it, including colleges starting to offer degrees in sales. Bridget used to hire interns from a college in Ohio for BDRs to work for SumoLogic.

[17:23] The issue in sales today is that it is very risky to hire new people. Anything that can reduce the risk is a welcome step towards the ultimate answer. An MBA does not qualify a salesperson to sell.

[19:50] Andy has talked to the CEO of SMEI, who told him sales managers are hesitant to approach their CEOs to take a certification course. They are unwilling to bring up what might be considered their lack of qualification or their need of help.

October 6, 2017

#580. Our 100th Show. What’s changed in sales since #1? With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[5:00] This is 100th episode of Front Line Fridays — almost two years to the day. There have been changes. Bridget is at her second job in the same industry. AI, machine learning, and sales stacks have grown along with Account-Based Everything.

[9:21] Andy would like a better understanding of the ROI of these tools. Are we closing more deals than without them? We can’t go back to the time before the tools because the environment and the tools have changed for everyone.

[11:15] The tools continue to evolve. We haven’t brought the customer into the process yet, with tools to help them make the decision. Bridget wonders what those tools would look like, besides the internet they already access.

[12:51] Sales Enablement tools provide content to the salesperson to send to the customer, but is all focused on the sales process, not the buying process. Some of the tools help the prospect by helping the rep identify good candidates.

[14:49]  Andy suggests that content management and asset management are managing a greater quantity of content that is differentiated less and less by piece because there is so much of it. Bridget asks what has not changed in two years.

[16:06] Andy was in a conversation online recently about all the me-too content. The other party wants to see something new. Person-to-person interaction will not change much, but all people will still be impacted by changing technologies.

[17:11] We need more conversations about the changes technology will bring, instead of another conversation about giving a good demonstration, writing an effective subject line, or making sure you don’t pitch before asking questions.

[17:33] Andy feels we haven’t changed the conversation about sales enough to prepare people for the changes to come. The basics are worth reading about, but who are the new tech experts sales reps should hear — besides Front Line Fridays?

[18:47] Andy recalls that Front Line Fridays had episodes early on with subject matter expert recommendations. Maybe it’s time to do more of that regularly. Curating the information that’s out there is a service.

[20:20] Bridget talks about hiring. Great salespeople are always hard to recruit because they’re already at a great company. Bridget has a VC who helps her to recruit. The hiring process seems time-compressed but Bridget won’t be rushed.

[23:58] Andy compares Bridget hiring to a buyer. If a buyer doesn’t get the information they need on time, they don’t buy. Sometimes the hiring agent doesn’t know just what they need.

[25:11] Andy again compares that to the buyer’s journey. It’s impossible to map because it changes as they go along it. Even when you address the right contact, they may not be educated enough about their need to know what they need.

October 2, 2017

#578 Optimize the Customer Sales Experience to Win More. With Jay Baer.

Jay Baer, digital marketing expert, online customer service expert, and author of several NYT bestselling books, including Youtility and Hug Your Haters, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[6:01] Jay says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is a lack of trust in organizations. Research from Nielsen says we trust people twice as much as organizations, so good salespeople are very important now.

[6:45] As AI becomes more involved in sales, salespeople will see a renaissance. People want genuine conversations with humans. Andy cites Geoff Colvin’s Humans Are Underrated.

[9:13] KLM is remarkably good with digital social services, especially social media in 14 languages. Their messaging is handled by bots, until a key term or question is used, and the conversation is handed off to a human.

[14:50] Jay gives lectures on sales and marketing alignment, which he considers incredibly important. Marketing plays deep in the funnel, and sales acts more like marketing. Jay suggests sales and marketing should attend each other’s’ meetings.

[19:03] Sales and marketing both need to get out of the office and meet customers. Have user conferences and customer conferences, if you can’t get on their turf.

[22:33] Marketing and sales are not credited for renewals, so they spend their budget on the things that get them compensation. It’s important to keep customers, but nobody organizes their companies to do so. It’s all about acquisition.

[24:29] Sales requires lots of leads. We have a great understanding on what generates leads but less expertise on what generates renewals. We need a renewals playbook.

[25:31] 80% of marketing digital budgets are on customer acquisition, and they are getting a close rate of 25%. How do we change this poor rate? Poorly qualified leads yield poor results.

[27:21] The salesperson sets the overall customer expectation. The customer doesn’t care what is written on the website or said in the webinar. If the salesman over-promises, the customer will be unhappy with customer success.

[30:22] Jay suggests triggers that add humanity to the inhuman process of marketing. Putting a connection to the people behind the product helps.

[33:06] Humanization adds human characteristics to the organization. Personalization adds relevancy to the customer journey by tailoring the customer experience to the customer.

[34:39] The uniquely human sales skills and behaviors become more important, not less, as AI comes more into play.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Today is the 2nd Anniversary of Accelerate! Accelerate! Has been downloaded well over one million times and recognized twice by Inc.! Andy would like to hear from you about your favorite episode, guest, or topic. See the complete list of episodes at AndyPaul.com. Leave Andy a message about your favorite episode to receive a free signed copy of Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions, by Andy Paul. You will need to provide your physical mailing address to receive the book.

The new Accelerate! schedule starts today, October 2, with episodes released on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 

September 8, 2017

#562. How to Generate Product Qualified Leads. With Bridget Gleason and Mitch Morando.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:05] Bridget is joined on this episode by special return guest

Mitch Morando, CEO, and Founder of Whalr, the exclusive sponsor of Front Line Fridays. Whalr focuses on Product Qualified Leads and watches product usage for sales cues.

[4:43] A SaaS company with a freemium product can use Whalr to analyze the SaaS usage, and the firmographic data to determine PQLs to engage in a sales outreach.

[5:09] Bridget shares her experience with product use data. Mitch learned the PQL technique from game developers using player telemetry to build immersive games. He started applying the principles to his sales teams years ago.

[5:23] The ICP is a developer of freemium products for engineers and their sales team aimed at the enterprise.

[7:32] Mitch recommends best practices for sales engineers approaching engineers, and sales reps approaching management. These conversations happen by email, GitHub posts, and SMS chat.

[11:66] Bridget says Logz.io uses use text and private Slack channels. Some sales reps use the title customer success engineer for engineers and learn the technical jargon. It’s a different conversation than with the VP of Engineering.

[14:02] What music is on Mitch’s playlist? Only one thing: Pearl Jam. Mitch speaks of how well they treat their fan club members at concerts.

[16:51] Mitch’s favorite sales book is Influence, by Robert Cialdini. Mitch has every new salesperson read this book. His favorite non-sales book is Boyd, by Robert Coram, about the fighter pilot, theoretician, and strategist who introduced OODA loops.

[22:04] Mitch asks for Andy’s and Bridgets favorite books. Andy’s is anything by Shakespeare and Harold Bloom’s book about Shakespeare. Bridget loves Les Miserables, and StartUp Nation, about Israel.

[23:21] Andy’s recommended business book is Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith on behavior change. Bridget recommends Winner’s Dream, by Bill McDermott a memoir of his success journey in business.

[26:17] Mitch’s words to live by: “We come from a time where you were expected to make your own way. We didn’t wait around for people to do something for us.” — Unknown. Mitch is focused on improving his skills in qualifying and closing.

[29:00] Mitch asks about “the July lull.” Bridget says to have a plan for a lull. Andy spent years selling to Europe. You have to pierce the veil. He did a lot of business in August in Europe — maybe not in France! Mitch always had good sales in the lull.

August 4, 2017

#530. Do Buyers Benefit from Sales Automation? With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:07] Bridget, a.k.a., Captain Fantastic (for her fantastic attitude), is waiting for her staff to bring up her new name after last week’s episode airs. Andy has his own ‘superpower,’ which helps him in the NY summers.

[5:33] The topic is the future of selling. Salespeople are not going away. Our species has a poor record of forecasting, but we know AI tech, machine learning, and bots are inevitably moving into sales. They are improving. There will be impact.

[7:04] The tech is currently about the sellers. The customer derives no direct value. The tech tools should help the customer accomplish their goal to make a good decision ASAP.

[8:12] Presently, the process is missing opportunities to assist the customer. The interaction with the customer is still strictly up to the salesperson. The future of selling is about becoming more human, with more free time for the customer.

[11:01] Information is given to the salesperson. What they do with it determines their success. The customer expects an engagement, not a process. A well-run sales process should be in service to the salesperson/customer interaction.

[12:38] Logz.io just won a major enterprise customer, who actually makes a competing product. They cited a reason: the relationship. They needed a vendor who was extremely customer-focused, to act as a partner. They trust Logz.io.

[15:18] Andy shares a similar story of when he sold a product to a competing huge enterprise customer. They trusted Andy and his company, because they delivered excellence.

[18:10] Given Bridget’s example, would AI enhance the experience three years down the road? It is hoped that better information will deliver better qualification, and guidance to respond to customer signals.

[20:52] All will have access to AI tech. So all will have the same edge. The quality of the human interaction will make the difference. Logz.io trains with a leaning toward the personal. The large deal was won with a ‘Proof of Relationship.’

[22:47] The relationship is more important than the concept. The buyer can go to review sites to get the concept. They can only see the relationship in the rep. A sales relationship is about trust and positive neutrality, not about friendship.

[25:34] The trust is based on performing within that relationship. There is no deal without trust. Logz.io was very glad to get this deal, and they worked hard to get it.

[27:45] If, one day, you are not there for the customer, they will look for someone else.

June 28, 2017

#496. You Don’t Close Buyers. They Persuade Themselves. With Harry Mills.

Harry Mills, author of a new book called Zero Resistance: The Science and Secrets of Supercharging Your Sales by Eliminating Buyer Skepticism and Mistrust, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS
[1:10] Harry is in Queenstown, NZ, “one of the most beautiful areas in the world.” Harry discusses the natural features, tourist activity, and wine production.
[3:44] Harry sees resistance as the single business challenge that sales professionals face. He noticed in 2010 that shoppers had gone in one year from five web searches to 10 web searches for one purchase. This gave new power to the buyer.
[6:58] Sellers in all environments are finding it much harder to get early engagement. The average B2B seller is getting in 62% or later into the buying process. Harry says direct persuasion needs to be replaced by insight-led selling.
[10:03] Exaggerations by salespeople have created skeptical buyers, resistant to direct persuasion. Direct persuasion is using your reasons to influence the buyer. Self-persuasion is helping the buyer find their own reasons to buy.
[12:33] Harry explains why self-persuasion has not been implemented in sales processes. He set out to establish a methodology with tools for building an empathy bridge, giving customers a choice. This is how he wrote Zero Resistance.
[14:34] Harry compares old ways to build rapport with his way to generate trust. The empathy bridge was inspired by Nelson Mandela. First, eliminate friction to lower resistance.
[19:56] Harry discusses applying his model to selling SaaS. Research the client to understand their deepest fears and concerns, and find deep connections and commonalities with the buyer. This leads to an empathy bridge.
[21:37] After building the empathy bridge (after research), establishing fused identity, use stories to build connections.
[23:25] The inside sales model uses one meeting to establish rapport. Consider whether the buyer sees you as a friend or a foe. Does the buyer see you have their long-term interest in mind, or your own? Do they see you can deliver?
[28:43] The customer needs to help in crafting their solution, working with the salesperson on a sketchpad or whiteboard. Explore possibilities that would help the buyer; ask them to imagine the solution that will work for their needs.
[33:15] Insight is about what the customer wants; the vision of what they want to be. Harry asks the buyer about their imagined future. He cites Steve Jobs, Andy Groves, and
Jeff Bezos on looking forward and reasoning backward.
[37:18] A complex sale involves all the solutions tied into the strategic vision. Harry uses illustrations to capture one or two key points and leaves the rest to the imagination. Know more about the customer than the customer does.

June 2, 2017

#474. Don’t Be a Lazy and Lousy Interviewer. With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:11] Hiring — Bridget interviews a lot of reps who list great successes on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Success at one company does not mean success at another. Bridget is befuddled by how badly they test on discovery calls!

[4:40] Bridget is not listening to their audition as a customer. Maybe the rep builds a rapport that leads to connections, even without having a great approach.

[6:14] The New York Times ran an article recently on the utter uselessness of job interviews as predictors of future success. Andy had a client who hired only by GPA, and he hired very smart and talented people. Bridget wishes Andy had told her!

[9:20] Always give a professional assessment, and come up with a way to test for knowledge relevant to the job. Be skeptical of your own ability to judge by an interview. Facts on resumes must be validated. Factor in past record, such as GPA.

[12:30] “Trust, but verify!” Interviews are not places for trust. Bridget puts herself in the place of a candidate. How should she prepare for an interview, if the interview doesn’t matter?

[13:28] Treat an interview as a discovery call. Ask as many questions as you need. (Let the interviewer ask all their questions.) The NYT article says if managers asked each candidate the same questions, it would improve reliability.

[15:07] In cases where several people interview one candidate, should they each ask the same 5-10 questions? The manager should not treat the interview as an opportunity to sell their own company. That defeats the intent of the interview.

[17:51] Separate your own emotions as an interviewer, from the interview process. Bridget wants to explore this topic more deeply. Her mindset and practices have been challenged!

[19:43] Hiring is difficult. The GPA method isn’t as far out as Andy once thought. It worked as well as any other method. Andy discusses variance and risk. Bridget may try it.

[21:55] Bridget is on her way to an interview, and will let Andy know how it goes!

June 1, 2017

#473. Maximize the Selling Time of Field Sales Reps. With Steven Benson.

Steven Benson, CEO of BadgerMapping.com, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:28] Steven notes that many companies go to market with outside sales, regardless of the trend to inside sales. The most competitive way to sell some products is in the field.

[3:57] Some business models, such as SaaS, do not support the expense of field sales. Badger has customers who have competitors using inside sales and the internet, and the Badger customers do very well against their competition.

[5:09] Field salespeople have always managed customer routes — either on paper or digitally. Badger combines maps, calendars, and customer lists, in one app, working together. Steven got the idea after working with add-ons to Google Maps.

[8:11] Steven clarifies how field sales routing differs from truck routing. Badger factors appointment times into the route.

[9:41] Is outside selling simpler than inside selling? The inside sales tech stack adds complexity. Steven reveals the name that he almost called BadgerMapping.

[12:15] With the Badger app the rep can see all the customers on a map, and filter them. Customers can be sorted by campaign criteria, selected by lasso, set up by time to see, and then routed quickly. Badger cuts the busywork of routing.

[15:32] Badger can be planned a week in advance. You can change the routes as needed, when new things come up. The more in the future you save a route, the more efficient it is.

[17:22] Badger enhances your CRM system, or it will work with a spreadsheet of your customer data. Badger pulls your appointments from your CRM and maps them by priority.

[18:40] Badger can send individual emails, or you can use your CRM mail merge. Badger has dropdowns to collect and capture activity data quickly, and send it back to your CRM.

[23:05] The measurable benefits include lower mileage, less drive time, and more meetings, with meetings more focused on the planned objectives.

[24:25] BadgerMaps is an interesting case, as an inside sales SaaS company whose product is for field salespeople. Do VCs see the long-term value of supporting field sales? A lot of field sales jobs will still be around in 25 years.

[28:26] Steven says there is no current trend away from field sales among their customers.

May 16, 2017

#459. How to Use Data Thoughtfully to Increase Your Sales. With John H. Johnson.

John H. Johnson, President and CEO at Edgeworth Economics, keynote speaker, and co-author of Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Everyday, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:42] John is a PhD economist with particular expertise in econometrics. Edgeworth Economics is data-driven and works by processing and explaining very large data sets. One large sector they serve is corporate litigation. John gives some detail.

[3:39] Much of John’s time is spent teaching these issues in courtrooms. His book is designed to bring this knowledge about real-world events to a larger audience, so people can make better decisions with data.

[4:25] The starting point is recognition. 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years. People fear math. These two factors combine into the perfect storm for people to be misled and to misunderstand data.

[9:12] John suggests you should ask intelligent questions. To understand statistics, think about what went into producing the number.

[13:27] Even disciplined statisticians are prone to correlation confirmation bias. Consider, what questions you are trying to answer. Does the data give you enough complete information to answer the questions? What can it tell you?

[16:38] Large volumes of data may tell you something meaningful about your business and sales drivers. The application of this data doesn’t replace the interpersonal skills that are needed to connect and engage with clients.

[18:38] Making decisions on inapplicable correlations will not lead to the results you were expecting. Make sure you understand if the correlation is part of the causation.

[20:21] John comments on common sales stats, such as the Pareto distribution of sales to salespeople. Look behind the patterns. What could be causing them?

[23:10] Forecasting is only as good as the inputs and our ability to use past performance to predict the future. Hone in on the assumptions that underly the forecasting model. Forecasting is always probabilistic.

[28:45] Aggregate statistics about sales may be true, but drawing specifics from generalities is not trustworthy for any specific product and industry.

[30:34] John says managers should frame the question they want to answer and look for data that belongs to the question. Be aware where the data originates, and of assumptions under any analysis of it. Look at how it may, or may not apply.

[32:55] John emphasizes that data is a tool. It is a complement to decision-making. Use all the tools at your disposal. There is no substitute for thinking hard about these types of problems.