Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
October 16, 2017

#584 How Leaders Engage and Inspire Others. With Kevin Kruse.

Kevin Kruse, Founder and CEO of Leadx.org, host of the Leadx podcast, and author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate! Listen to Episode 82 to hear Kevin’s first visit.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:44] Andy starts with a Vince Lombardi quote in which he connects winning, thoughts, beliefs, words, actions, habits, and character. Character is a word we don’t often consider in sales. The foundation for trust is your character.

[6:41] Kevin says the single biggest challenge facing sales organizations today is getting through the noise onto people’s schedules. Kevin contrasts cold calls of the past to getting a prospect’s attention today if they have no urgent need.

[8:20] There is a current pushback against accepting good enough or mediocrity. The buyers and organizations are not making time for innovation. This makes sales harder than before. Provide tremendous value to break through.

[9:40] Andy says sales is still hard, not harder than before, but different. People didn’t pick up the phone then any more than now. There is too much focus on activities and not enough on serving the customer. Scripting and stacks block authenticity.

[13:35] AI and machine learning will take over simple interactions. Reps who can connect with people will have greater value to their customers and their own companies. Others will be let go. Be a lifelong learner and invest in skills.

[16:01] It’s hard to predict the future, but it’s clear that a rep who can connect with a prospect and inspire them to take action will continue to be a valued team member.

[17:25] Kevin thinks many leaders today manage well but forget to lead. Having fewer employees will require fewer leaders. Managers should be coaches of people, not managers of activities. Kevin talks about Leadx AI research for managers.

[21:10] Should we be recording every sales conversation for AI to analyze for coaching? The technology exists.

[23:44] There is an AI app that will listen, transcribe, and provide call coaching in real time, but coaching is not about call tactics. It is about skills, strategies, and improving behaviors. The best reps have high EQ, which is hard to coach.

[25:48] Andy recommends reading The Coaching Habit and learning its framework of seven questions. Kevin discusses employee engagement, and how a manager can foster it.

[27:36] 80% of knowledge worker jobs are under threat from automation. 80% to 90% of people will have jobs, but many jobs will be minimum wage. Universal Basic Income may be coming as a social safety net, but public funds are insufficient.

[32:22] Kevin published “51 Tips to Win at Life (Reflections On My 50th Birthday).” Kevin covers two of the tips: purpose and impact. Kevin finds that life is more than money, but the more value (impact) you provide, the more income you will receive.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

For Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth SaaS companies and software service companies — Andy is teaming up with his friend Jacco van der Kooij, founder of Winning by Design and author of Blueprints of a SaaS Sales Organization, to launch the Sales Leadership Accelerator Mastermind, an intensive 12-month learning, coaching, and mastermind program for the Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth SaaS companies. If the responsibility sits on your shoulders to scale your revenue team, to hit the $100 million mark and beyond, then the Sales Leadership Accelerator Mastermind will help you transform how you sell, scale, and develop the capability of your team to crash their goals. Enrollment is limited to a very small group, so, first come first served. Go to SaaSSLAM.com now, to learn more and enroll today.

September 15, 2017

#567. Overcoming Resistance to Being Coached. With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:54] This is episode 97 of Front Line Fridays. Watch for Episode 100! The topic of this episode is coaching and helping people who have been promoted.

[3:40] Bridget asks about coaching reps who are resistant to coaching. One rep is aware of his distaste for it and admits it, which actually makes him quite coachable. Others resist it altogether. The feedback from your manager is important.

[5:32] Coaching is meant to be collaborative, not directive. It is encouraging. Ask questions, so people see for themselves what the problem is and have a framework to let them develop a solution for it, without feeling defensive.

[8:47] You cannot force someone to be coached. It is a joint activity. Wait until they are in a teachable condition. Let them stumble, and ask for help. If they don’t learn and don’t ask, they should be managed to another career. Don’t do their job.

[11:27] Another approach is to learn more about the account that the rep knows, and discuss the account with the rep. This was used on Andy in such a way that he knew he had some more work to do on that account.

[13:37] Andy comes up with another avenue: Find one thing on which to coach someone. Keep it small. If there is still resistance, that leads to a question: Is this rep in the right job? Bridget suggests hiring for coachability.

[15:54] Mark Roberge of Hubspot would have a candidate give a presentation, provide the candidate with feedback, ask them to leave the room, and then have them come back and repeat the presentation. Mark watched if they used the feedback.

[17:51] A person who doesn’t use the feedback is not aware of their situation. Observation and awareness is a very important aspect of sales. Listen intently and integrate what you observe.

[20:49] A person who visualizes the outcome of the coaching they receive, and then desires to go try it, is most coachable. They are curious. A person with poor performance is fearful to move out of their comfort zone, even to improve themselves.

[24:11] The lesser performers are those who complain about management and make excuses. The higher performers are always seeking new insight to improve themselves. You can only coach people who want to be coached.

[25:52] Where do you go for training at a company that has no experience in the job you’ve just gotten? Take a class, find a mentor that can teach you. Go and visit customers. Talk to product end users. Immerse yourself with customers.

[29:40] Being promoted from an SMB rep to an enterprise rep is opening many layers of complexity in one motion. You want a lot of support to complete the transition easily. Andy talks about doing it with no support. Build client trust. Be a pioneer.

September 5, 2017

#559. How to ‘Ingage’ Your Sales Team and Customers. With Evan Hackel.

Evan Hackel, CEO of Ingage Consulting, CEO of Tortal Training, and author of the book, Ingaging Leadership: 21 Steps to Elevate Your Business, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

Key Takeaways 

[2:49] Evan says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is focus. Salespeople have too much to say about product. They spend way too much time talking, and too little, listening for what the customer wants.

[3:42] So much content is given to reps that is uninteresting. Products are becoming more complicated. You can spend hours explaining a feature-rich product, when only a fraction of the features interest the customer.

[4:56] Reps end up distracting the buyer by giving them too much to talk about. Listen to what the customer wants to talk about.

[5:20] Spelling and grammar errors, and bad copy, are very awkward. Have a communication expert review what you plan to send to customers, before you send it.

[7:09] The ‘I’ in ‘Ingaging’ stands for Involvement, so your staff, customers, and vendors can become involved in your success. Senior staff who want to ‘ingage’ the company in strategic planning, solicit ideas from the ones doing the actual work.

[11:50] Leaders and managers fear being exposed as frauds. They don’t want their superiors wondering why a staffer came up with better ideas than a manager. But the staff are very pleased to be involved. Evan gives a successful case study.

[17:14] ‘Ingagement’ is coaching, more than direction. When the team builds the plan through coaching, they believe and execute it. Evan has three questions for ‘ingaging’ his team.

[19:35] Evan also has a process for ‘ingaging’ customers. He sets up advisory councils of B2B customers. For consumers, you would do focus groups for a similar result. The goal is to get the customers’ perspectives on the company.

[21:22] Get people together. Evan holds one live council a year, plus web meetings that are updates. Evan asks customers to serve three-year terms. Customers do 80% of the talking.

[25:54] Virtual selling, with no customer contact, leads to increased churn. Relationship-building keeps sales human. Evan likes to have multiple contacts in an organization, so the customer is not lost after a personnel change.

[27:32] Someone from Ingage Consulting visits clients once a year, and usually sees them twice more at trade shows. Other meetings are by Zoom, if possible. Evan describes what Tortal Training is and how it helps client training and e-learning.

[29:29] Andy suggests that top leadership needs to stay involved in a customer’s ‘ingagement,’ if they start, or it is seen as a withdrawal. Evan mentions the difficulty of visiting clients around the country or world. Evan likes trade shows.

 

August 28, 2017

#554. A New Approach to Ongoing Sales Training. With Conner Burt.

Conner Burt, COO at Lessonly, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:48] Conner says the single biggest challenge facing SaaS sales reps today is that buyers are inundated with requests to review software, which leads to a wide variety of tools within organizations. Sellers fight for priority for their category.

[4:02] Conner says sales training for larger organizations is broken, in part from all the departments with different needs demanding attention from sales. The challenge is to combine the needs into a way to help a sales rep be more productive.

[5:26] Organizations tend to overestimate their onboarding and training effectiveness. Training gets put on a back burner behind many other sales management functions.

[7:36] Sales rep productivity is stagnant. The annual expenditure on sales in the U.S. is $92 billion. Conner talks about Hubspot and The Sales Acceleration Formula. The idea was to make individual reps better, not to hire more reps.

[9:45] The disincentive to invest in sales training is the suspicion they are training reps for the next company. Sales development reps have a job tenure of 12 to 18 months. If they were trained, they might stay. Develop talent in-house.

[11:42] Hire with the intent of building a bench, to promote. Turnover may go down when the reps feel like they have a path, and you’re investing in them for the future.

[13:32] Conner discusses the history and mission of Lessonly. Conner describes what sparked its development. Lessonly focuses on helping teams drive better performance through learning topics that matter most to customer-facing sellers.

[17:11] Trainers have access to the authoring component, and reps have access to the lessons in an easy to use form, either through Salesforce, or a stand-alone app, and through a Chrome extension.

[18:14] Conner gives an example of a company using Lessonly. They invest in the content, pulling it from executives, sales enablement, and top reps. They organize it, make it relevant, and the reps engage. Managers give ongoing assignments.

[20:20] The primary model gives a lesson, a practice scenario to record, and then later, correlates the specific training with future performance. The first goal is to decrease ramp time.

[22:42] Conner suggests his clients note how long it takes a rep to get to 80% of a fully productive revenue quota or number of closed opportunities. For an SDR, it is number of demos.

[24:19] The key to moving the needle on quota is getting an organization to prioritize seller development. From there, get insights from the better reps and managers, and SDRs, and synthesize them into a training program.

July 27, 2017

#522. How to Accelerate Sales with AI and Machine Learning. With Roy Raanani.

Roy Raanani, CEO and Co-Founder of Chorus.ai, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:43] Roy says the biggest challenge facing sales teams is how often things are changing, so, how fast they can learn, adapt and get that learning into the process.

[3:02] Many of the ideas for process change come from individuals up through management to the C-suite, and if there is buy-in, back down throughout the organization. This needs to happen quickly, to match changing circumstances.

[3:40] Chorus.ai came to be through the combination of the right technology and Roy’s experience in sales. Chorus focuses on reps’ conversations with prospects. The gap to fill was in knowing and documenting the content of conversations.

[6:31] Hearing the call gives clarity on what happens. This opens the way for analysis and next steps. Something to ask about competitors: “What other solutions are you looking at?” Most reps don’t ask this.

[8:24] Chorus.ai uses of machine learning. It gets smarter with more data. It gets better at identifying patterns and prediction. It identifies patterns in conversations to close deals effectively.

[12:47] Chorus.ai looks for the signal among the noise, to point out points of interest where a human follow-up would be needed. This supports managers who cannot listen to every call. The learning algorithms are evolving. The data is there.

[15:40] Roy shares key findings of research on discovery calls, from analysis of over 500K calls, measuring talk-to-listen ratio, number of questions, engaging questions, and so forth. There were some surprising insights about win rates.

[20:41] Asking too many questions, too quickly, tends to shut down the prospect. Open-ended questions work best early on. Factual questions that do not engage can be saved for another time, or the demo.

[22:32] Roy and Andy discuss the proper time for the demo, and why some reps rush it too early. They are just “checking the box,” in the playbook. Discovery is continual.

[29:12] Trish Bertuzzi writes about rep’s concern about sunk costs that prevents a rep from admitting a deal will not close. [30:33] There was something missed early on that indicates whether this customer is on track to make a decision. Roy notes that the data in the Chorus dashboards shows how effective the discovery stage has been.

[31:59] Discovery still focuses on pain points. This is not engaging to the customer. The customer is engaged by discussion on their goals, and plans. Focus discovery on aspirations.

July 17, 2017

#512. 10X Your Effectiveness with Engaged Leadership. With Stephen Moulton.

Stephen Moulton, President of Action Insight, and author of The CEO’s Advantage: 7 Keys for Hiring Extraordinary Leaders, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:25] Stephen says constant pressure from managers puts sales reps in a panic, which makes them ineffective.

Pressure has always been there, but a slump can put them under extreme pressure. Then they enter fight-or-flight mode.

[4:00] When people have a positive outlook at work, they are 31% more productive. If they interact positively with their team, they are 10X more effective than people who are neutral or disengaged. Leaders affect engagement.

[5:58] Individuals need a supportive environment to be more productive. Managers needs to know their people, build trust, and develop a team ethos to build up each member.

[8:50] Senior management focuses on numbers. Direct managers need to be leaders and put coaching, training, and leadership development of their staff first, before numbers.

[10:41] Managers manage things, leaders lead people. In reality, managers fill both roles. They need to spend more time inspiring and helping their people than working the numbers.

[11:25] Focusing on numbers and the mechanics does not produce the kinds of sales experiences that customers want, that will grow business. Managers need to coach their people.

[12:25] Onboarding should include leadership training. Many companies don’t want to invest the time. Stephen tells of a past manager who discouraged his successful behavior.

[15:02] Managers may get uncomfortable when their people perform in ways outside the process. Instead, they could support the individual skills and strengths people have, and leverage these strengths for achievement.

[16:29] Effective selling inspires customers to go on a buying journey with the rep. People want to be motivated. Reps want to be motivated to be leaders.

[17:19] Emotional intelligence can be learned, if the person has motivation. It is a set of competencies. Stephen gives an example of how he would teach a behavior within an area of EQ competency.

[22:11] Leaders need to lead by example, not by control, but by modeling the standard of expectations. Stephen asks his team to call him out if he falls below his standard. Leaders need to be open to feedback.

[26:49] Hiring is challenging. 95% of biases are unconscious. Have a structured process to measure specific required competencies and behaviors. Test to get information, then evaluate afterward. Stephen’s system has over 90% reliability.

 

July 15, 2017

#510. Coaching Digital Natives to Make Human Connections. With Dan Negroni.

Dan Negroni, Founder and CEO of Launchbox, and author of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace, joins me on this episode of #Acceler

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:28] Dan sees the single biggest challenge facing millennials, including millennial salespeople as being bombarded with too much opportunity. They need to find the path that works best at that moment for who they are.

[3:08] Dan suggests the process is to figure out who they are, and then to articulate it. The best behavior for them is to ask themselves questions to become more self-aware about their strengths and values.

[4:14] Andy cites Dan’s article on coaching Millennials. Challenge Millennials with great questions to help them think deeply about showing up, and being present, real, and authentic. How am I going to serve?

[5:33] Dan describes authenticity as Millennials see it —  Something real, with no other intended consequences other than helping them, connecting them, or delivering to them. Someone genuine, with real integrity — a mensch.

[7:14] Andy cites The Complacent Class, that says society and our economy are becoming less dynamic, blaming it on technology that keeps us in comfort zones, and not exploring. Dan sees more positives in future tech, connecting humanity.

[10:48] Human-to-human connections are the most important. Dan agrees tech is numbing Millennials to human connections, but when they are taught to focus on others, they are eager to connect. Schools are not teaching them to connect.

[12:29] The Launchbox Inside-out technique connects the dots, starting with the dot inside, using Strengthsfinder assessment; then teaches them about their skills, values, and passions, all focused on others, their brand, and connecting by stories.

[14:02] Employers of Millennials need to provide four things: the ability to learn and grow, authenticity, feedback and communication, and a purposeful, transparent workplace environment. Millennials need to articulate, this, and create it.

[16:54] Data is part of the comfort zone. It is not personal. Feedback involves goals, ambitions, and how to achieve them. Some VPs are removing one-on-ones from the equation. Dan notes statistics on employee disengagement, based on that.

[19:09] Andy cites The Boomerang Principle, about people coming back to the company, and referring customers. Millennials want to work for companies from which they would be customers.

[20:44] Many Millennials think they have the right skills to be a leader. The gap between their ideals and skills is where to coach. They need to be responsible to grow. They need self-awareness. Mixing generations is where magic occurs.

[24:47] Sales Technology enforces conformity. People need freedom to find their way. Sales managers need to coach to individuals’ strengths. Dan cites a Harvard 75-year study.

May 26, 2017

#468 Using Questions to Mentor Sales Reps. With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:21] The President was on the way to NYC the day of this recording, so streets were closed, and cars were relocated.

[7:42] The topic is sales questions. Bridget asks how should sales reps go about getting more out of their managers — assuming the manager has something to offer? Reps can look for skills the manager has, that they want to learn.

[10:59] Top-performing reps may be self-sufficient, and not need much input from their managers. Their managers might ask how they can help top-performers achieve their goals. It’s important to have those conversations.

[11:31] Bridget talks about a potential manager interview, and how she ponders what her reps would learn from the manager. A person who has no apparent skills to teach will be eliminated.

[13:18] The biggest challenge of new sales managers is to determine how to add value to their reps. Andy tells of his first promotion to a manager. He studied sales books to improve!

[14:33] Bridget looks for inquisitiveness and self-directed learning in every person she hires. Her last manager hire was an aggressive, curious, and motivated learner.

[16:11] Andy looks for creative problem-solving. He recalls the pressure of his first management role. When he got past his initial tension, he looked outside the box to try new things. Bridget points out that creativity requires autonomy to design.

[19:54] Andy’s daughter sought advice from Andy on how to negotiate a better job offer. Then she did it her way instead, and the negotiation went as she wished.

[20:42] Bridget looks for people who will consider suggestions, but also use their own instinct, brains, and skills, to come up with better solutions, if they can. They may need to get  approval, but they shouldn’t ignore their own better ideas.

[22:31] Salespeople need to take risks. Andy’s career was built on risks he took with the sales system — because he was succeeding. Too much prescription may hold back success.

[23:38] Managers and repeatable processes sometimes make it difficult to experiment. Can reps color outside the lines, and still meet mutual objectives?

[25:16] Bridget talks about the one-on-ones she holds with her reps. Each one is different. She makes suggestions, and listens to their input, to come up with good expectations and meet the required numbers they all have.

May 18, 2017

#461. Improve Call Coaching with Intelligent Call Summaries. With Amit Bendov.

Amit Bendov, CEO and Co-Founder of Gong.io, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS
[2:30] Amit has a computer science degree, but concentrates on Sales, marketing, and leadership. Gong.io is the fourth company he has led with great success. He reveals what led to the beginning of Gong.io — looking for the key facts of a call.
[7:23] Gong.io works with phone calls. They plan to apply the same concepts to field sales calls in the future.
[8:01] Amit sees the amount of activities preventing managers from having the time to coach field salespeople, as the biggest problem in sales. Reps learn by trial and error. If they are lucky, they are successful. There is no information exchange.
[9:16] Gong.io makes it easy to provide coaching advice. All calls are automatically recorded, transcribed, and indexed, with the interesting parts highlighted, and then are shared with the right people.
[10:24] Any platform communication, phone, GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc, is recorded.
[12:32] Transcribing the call gives the AI better access for identification of parties and topics. The distilled information from the call is what is distributed to managers. Amit tells the factors that are counted in the distilled summary version.
[15:19] Amit discusses linguistic cues picked up by Gong.io. That is the “secret sauce” in it, from the science of linguistics.
[17:28] Within 5-10 minutes of the end of the call, the summary is sent to the rep and to the manager. If you use email, you can use Gong.io. The calls are indexed and can be searched for keywords, topics, specific questions, etc.
[20:53] Gong.io requires no process change, but it is a great trigger for playbook changes. A/B testing of topics is easy.
[24:09] Gong.io can provide clips of dialogs that had great success, and the manager can share these snippets with reps.
[25:05] Gong.io captures examples of how to ask the question, not just the gist of it. Also, the rep can review their own calls, and see where they could improve, and what they did well. Gong.io tracks filler words, as well, to help you eliminate them.
[29:46] Gong.io’s ideal client profile is tech companies with at least 10 salespeople in the U.S. VPs of sales are the buyer. Gong.io will expand to other industries.

May 17, 2017

#460. How to use Systems to Accelerate Sales. With Mike Kunkle

Mike Kunkle, widely recognized sales transformation strategist, practitioner, speaker, and writer, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:28] Mike defines the systems approach to sales, a logical way to set up an organizational environment that supports the sales function. Mike cites Kurt Lewen and Geary A. Rummler on behavior, environment, and process.

[5:24] Mike discusses the difficulty and complexity of sales, and focusing on the buyer journey and the problems to solve. Mike quotes Tony Robbins about the path to success. It helps to analyze the top achievers, and learn their behaviors.

[11:45] Mike talks about global studies made by Learning International (now Achieve Global) about behaviors of top sales performers, that Learning International then used to build their programs around those sales competencies.

[13:56] Mike says compensation is not what makes the most difference in sales. He lists his Fantastic Four systems that have the most effect on sales success. He also notes that the top 4% of sales reps are so good, they are above systems.

[16:41] The bell curve of sales still has not shifted in general, but the companies at the top end are not always the same companies. Mike tells how the top companies get to the top.

[18:00] Psychometric tests may not be widely used for hiring, or be used effectively. Mike suggests researching the tools and their application. Mike shares successes from when testing tools were used well, and thoughtfully.

[22:13] Management by anecdote does not match intelligent management backed by the scientific application of data. Tools and processes work to boost management success.

[23:14] Aligning the buying and selling processes assumes the buyer knows their best practices for buying. The seller may need to guide the buyer in learning their own process. The vendor must be flexible and agile to align to the buyer need.

[25:57] Individualized buyers, and company environments, make every buying process different. Mike refers to Aristotle as the first sales trainer. The key is to understand the individual and their goals.

[28:41] Mike is a trainer by being a subject matter expert, a seller, and a manager, not by the training profession. To be sure of his system, he verified it and measured results. He researches and plans in his work to drive up performance.

[32:30] Mike’s system includes a learning system, and a managing system, as two of the four system pillars, so the human element is counted into the methodology.