Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
August 4, 2017

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

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


[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] 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

[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. 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. 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!

[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 and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.


[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, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[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!


[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!


[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 and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.


[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!


[: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.


March 16, 2017

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

Manny Medina, is CEO of


[: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 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 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.


[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.