Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
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.

May 15, 2017

#458. Thinking Right Side Up About Sales. With David A. Fields.

David A. Fields, speaker, consultant, and author of The Irresistible Consultants’ Guide to Winning Clients, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:20] An irresistible consultant is one whose clients say, “I need to have you. I want you to help me solve my problem.”

David discusses how the heart of becoming irresistible is discovery.

[4:13] We hear about listening all the time, but we are not particularly good at it. David shares a case study about thinking right side up in a meeting.

[5:23] To succeed in sales, focus on the customer’s needs. This is a skill that can become a habit.

[7:32] Right-side-up thinking means putting the customer first. David suggests developing one or two habits at a time. He gives an example of a right-side-up behavior.

[9:30] David warns not to deflect customer invitations to talk about your company or product. Leave your agenda behind. Respond simply and appropriately. Say something like, “Here’s the problem I solve. These are the people I help.”

[11:16] David speaks of responsiveness, relationships, and agendas. The value of relationships can be monetized.

[14:39] The prospect has anxiety not only about their problems, but also about the risks and potential mistakes of the buying journey. You can address these anxieties.

[17:17] It helps to be interested in other people. Cultivate this if it is not natural for you. As you become more interested, you will find it easier to pay attention to them.

[19:06] David lists the six pillars of consulting success. The emotional pillars are built by paying attention to the prospect. Paying attention builds connection.

[21:45] David uses 2X3 charts rather than quadrants, to map where the need is, or ‘where the fish are.’ Don’t try to create demand. Find the demand you can solve.

[25:40] It’s easier to sell what people want to buy than to find people who want to buy what you’re selling. David shares a case study.

[27:37] Most consultant skills and expertise are transferable between industries. You can pick up skillsets; you cannot create client problems. If you are trying to reach the wrong industry, find one more in need of your services.

May 12, 2017

#456 How to Outrun the Competition. With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:30] Discussion on running and races, because…

[5:37] …the topic is competition in sales. Bridget says there is always competition, and she offers two approaches. In either case, focus on the customer’s problem, and how you differentiate yourself to solve it.

[8:48] Price is not the competition. Solving the problem, with the greatest value to the prospect, wins the deal. Bridget tells how she was sold a pair of running shoes by a trusted vendor who solved her problem with value, and did it frictionlessly.

[12:13] No one wants blisters — on their heels, or in the buying process! Bridget went with the reputation of Marathon Sports, not the price, and found a salesperson who worked very easily with her.

[13:14] Andy also bought running shoes! His preferred vendor, Road Runner Sports, has excellent service and makes sure of the right fit and shoe. Unless you just have to buy the cheapest shoes, you will not walk out of there without new shoes.

[14:13] Andy likes being a member of the Road Runner Sports V.I.P. Club! He admits, he could wear shoes a little bit longer, but he loves having new shoes.

[15:17] Reps assume there will be a buying decision. Qualify the prospect’s problem, and make sure they understand the value proposition, to make sure it is so. The first discovery call sets the tone for the entire engagement.

[18:05] The buying decision has two parts: whether the prospect will make a change at this time, and, if yes, who the vendor to facilitate the change will be. Be there with the value proposition that fits the prospect’s desired change.

[19:26] ‘Selling past’ the initial buying decision, means that if the customer does decide to go ahead, they probably do it based on the competition’s value proposition, not on yours! If they buy from you, will they be happy? Bridget elaborates.

[21:39] The buyer may be confused between propositions they heard, so after each sale, call the customer to review the deal, from their requirements, to your proposal, to what they bought, and how and when you will deliver it. Communicate.

[24:38] If you don’t clarify with the buyer what they bought, at renewal time they may believe you surprised them, and they will look for an alternative vendor they can trust better. Andy calls the refresher call, the most important sales call you make.

April 15, 2017

#433. Follow Your Own Path to Happiness and Success. With Paul Kortman.

Paul Kortman, Founder of Connex Digital Marketing, and digital nomad, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:58] Paul’s understanding of success has shifted. He notes that the American lifestyle does not coincide with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The pull of consumerism is strong in the U.S. The family now lives in Cancun.

[5:04] Paul feels guilty if he’s not working at 9:00 a.m., but there are billions of people who don’t work that way. He wants to do better for his children. He spends more time with them.

[7:52] Paul sold their Michigan house over two years ago, and the family of six flew around the world for a first adventure. They came back at Christmas, reconfigured the business, and bought an RV, and within months, they were living in Mexico.

[9:30] It’s a big RV. The children range from ages four to ten. They still obey! They are also homeschooled. Paul’s wife loves taking their home wherever they go. Living in 330 SF is a challenge. In an RV, you go outdoors more.

[13:33] Paul still manages a digital marketing agency. In Mexico they have unlimited 4G WiFi and data on their phones. They consume 200GB in a month, in streaming. Paul reconfigured his business model, after extreme losses.

[15:43] Most of Paul’s customers come because they know somebody who knows Paul. His network connections were not his clients, but they introduced clients to him. By Paul’s leaving town, his competitor’s business “blew up,” from referrals.

[17:23] Normal churn drained away most of Paul’s agency, and he lost 90% of his revenue. Paul explains what happened.

[18:17] In Paul’s trip back to Michigan, he rewarmed his network, but he was also able to develop a productized service, the “Holy Grail” in the service industry. He offered a simplified service at a flat fee, with no variations. It works.

[20:51] Paul is the only salesperson. Paul still networks. He found the sweet spot of pricing, need, and offer. Paul also says the key of search ranking is to offer quality content, with backlinks. He cites Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique.

[22:30] Skyscraper technique takes a topic that has proven successful, although with inferior content, and improves on the content. Paul explains how he productized that process for customers to double their site traffic in six months.

[26:30] Connex Digital Marketing offers the product at a fixed price per post; you set the number of posts per year. You describe your audience, website, and desired keywords. Paul explains how Connex moves forward from that point.

[30:44] Paul will not work with existing or supplied content. To guarantee the quality, and proven results, Paul has house researchers and writers to control the productized service.

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March 16, 2017

How to Optimize Your Sales Effectiveness. With Manny Medina. #407

Manny Medina, is CEO of Outreach.io.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:47] Manny was a telco software developer. He moved to Amazon, then to Microsoft’s Windows Phone, and then, sales.

[1:40] Manny founded GroupTalent, as the main salesperson. They developed internal outreach software, but customers wanted the software, not their service. So he began Outreach.

[2:42] The declining number of hours reps spend selling is the biggest problem Manny sees in sales. Why has it declined?

[4:50] Could CRM syncing take less sales time? Manny also has ideas for getting real-time client information to salespeople. What can be automated in communication?

[7:30] As sales is a process, Manny asks, for each action, what is the value of that action relative to the expected outcome. How do you optimize your time to be most effective?

[9:02] Marketing Automation provides customers with a lot of information before they buy. Salespeople should have a lot of information about the customer’s persona, and the individual contact, and engage them to fit their needs.

[12:55] In B2B sales, you need to know the structure of the prospect firm. Who are the influencers, who makes the decision, and what value proposition engages each contact?

[15:30] How can you set up your system so that when your automated message is sent to the contact, it lands at the right place and time to work? When should you use testing?

[17:55] The sales process has two issues: how well does the process fits the prospects, and are people well-trained to have the right conversations to engage with the prospect? What message resonates with each persona?

[22:16] Sales process training is largely ineffective, and, when effective, it fades in the absence of continued follow-up. When Outreach.io works with a client, they check for a process; if it’s being followed; and lastly, if the results are being measured.

[26:36] Manny cites Bill Walsh’s The Score Takes Care of Itself, about a standard of performance, that when followed, produce repeatable results. SaaS needs a repeatable process.

[29:01] What relationship does Manny see between quota attainment, and CRM roll-out? Are shops actually using their CRM? How can Outreach.io fit into the process?

March 6, 2017

How to Accelerate Your Growth with Marketing and Sales Alignment. With Tracy Eiler. #398

Tracy Eiler, is Chief Marketing Officer at InsideView, and the co-author of a new book, with Andrea Austin, called Aligned to Achieve: How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams into a Single Force for Growth.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:58] Tracy and her co-author, Andrea Austin, found that their clients’ sales and marketing departments had no understanding of, or trust for, each other.

[6:56] Sirius Research claims a 19% faster revenue growth when sales and marketing are aligned. Tracy talked to Sirius about their benchmark testing, which they did through surveys of behaviors, processes, and revenue figures.

[8:09] Alignment reduces process friction by coordinating lead data with CRM data, so leads go to the right group. There is also coordination of lead scoring. People friction is reduced by removing intimidation, and by adding communication.

[10:46] Tracy chairs a bi-weekly Smarketing meeting covers a six-week window, following up on past events, current activities, and upcoming plans. It holds teams accountable. It is a venue for ideas. Sales and leadership meetings also include marketing.

[14:24] Tracy found that in 25% of their six-figure deals of the last year, there were engaged in the sale, an average of 34 individuals per client account, representing sales, marketing, ops, IT, and so on, through webinars, website visits, trials, etc.

[16:37] The book has a test for marketers to measure whether their sellers trust them, with questions like, “Has your seller shared their account plans with you,” “Have they taken you on a call,” and, “Have they followed up your leads with feedback?”

[18:32] The alignment problem is getting worse. Tracy cites the messy MarTech stack. Examine if your tech is adding value to your marketing and sales alignment.

[24:45] Sales thinks of top-of-funnel, but marketing can help mid-funnel as well, with engagement. Have the conversation, and apply all the tools available.

[27:01] Aligned to Achieve uses a sideways figure eight from Forrester Research to replace the sales funnel, cycling through the Find, Engage, Close, and Grow stages of the account relationship.

February 25, 2017

How to Differentiate Yourself by Building Your Authority. With Mike Saunders. #391

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Mike Saunders, an authority marketing strategist, talk show host on The Business Innovators’ Radio Network, and author of Authority Selling: Opening More Doors to Closing More Business. The main topic we discuss is authority selling, and how small business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals can increase their influence by building their authority.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:53] Mike teaches marketing strategy at three universities. He also has a digital agency, Marketing Huddle, with a focus on marketing and sales with a strategy of authority positioning, or gaining attention from your audience for your product.

[2:16] Grand Canyon U., Colorado Christian U., and Cardinal Stritch U. are the three universities where Mike teaches marketing strategy, brand management, and “Marketing 101.” Mike just surpassed 140 episodes of his radio show.

[3:44] Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals are the audience for Mike’s book. Every business person has something to sell. The book focuses on authority in your niche. Trust and credibility build up to authority.

[6:12] Mike doesn’t imply having an international reputation, like Grant Cardone, as the basis for authority. In your network, be the (fill in the blank) expert, to build authority. Support your tribe, as Seth Godin teaches.

[8:33] Chet Holmes’ Ultimate Sales Machine says that 3% of the market is ready to buy, but many more will buy in the near future. In either case, you have a buyer, and you want to stand out in their minds, with authority positioning assets.

[10:32] The expertise gap can be the space between the customer’s product knowledge and the facts. It also means a sales person’s lack of confidence in their own authoritative expertise for the product, even when they legitimately have it.

[12:15] Sellers need to acknowledge the buyer’s distractions. When buyers are compelled to action, they still need to choose between purchase choices. Make your website landing page professional and expert. That makes sales easier.

[14:25] An authority positioning portfolio is a collection of assets establishing your expertise. It could be a thumb drive with you logo on it, and your website, a proposal, and recent projects in it for a client’s review. It can be on your website.

[15:40] Include media mentions, podcast, radio, or TV interviews — anywhere you are visible in your industry; maybe a book you wrote. When people peruse it, it is convincing. Your competitor probably has nothing similar.

[18:57] Instead of starting with a big media outlet, get on a relevant podcast, connect with a local business reporter, write a business development book. Get social proof, such as testimonials and reviews. Have a structure to seek these.

[28:03] Mike’s approach to tie together content marketing and SEO: compile 10 FAQs and answers, and 10 Should Be Asked Questions and answers, and discuss three of them on one podcast. It drives traffic both to your site and the podcast.

 

February 14, 2017

How to Market and Sell for Scaling Up. With Verne Harnish. #381

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Verne Harnish, Founder of The Gazelles, a leading business coach, bestselling author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, and most recently, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, as well as Founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Among the many topics that Verne and I discuss are the challenges blocking startups from scaling up and his advice for accelerating your growth.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[4:27] Verne cites research by Bill Gross at IdeaLab, on five factors that contribute to successful scaling: People, Strategy, Execution, Cash, and Timing, with Timing, the most critical.

[8:14] Competition grew by magnitudes with the global Internet. The best defense is offense, so go global in a narrow product line.

[10:58] Jim Collins, in Good to Great, addresses sales automation. (1) Have disciplined people, (2) engaged in disciplined thought, (3) with disciplined action. Once you have your strategy, then (4) add automation. Too early is messy.

[15:16] Marketing is critical. Lean startups need to say yes to everything. But, “What got you here won’t get you there.” Agile scale-ups need a different approach — a well-functioning marketing department, separate from sales.

[19:47] 76% of companies remain home-based, because they haven’t crossed the barrier to finding the first hire, a great salesperson. 3% of companies scale. How do you know you should? Scalers are voracious learners, who don’t know it all.

[21:11] Mark Cuban said his biggest failures came when he thought “he was the smartest person in the room.” Have conviction, but be humble enough to go seek help.

[23:10] Companies may have a book club. Andy has clients do this. To 10X a company, don’t 10X just your own knowledge, but every employee’s knowledge. Don’t outgrow your team.

[24:22] Verne put in his “Trends” column for 2016, “This is the year we get rid of the word, ‘manager.’” Nobody needs a sales manager, they need a sales coach.

[26:45] Sales should call in each day and report “what they’ve heard,” for Quick Market Intelligence. Verne says, “There are two kinds of salespeople — winners and whiners.” Winners report what works and what doesn’t, to remove barriers.