Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
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.

May 4, 2017

#449. Coaching for Positive Behavior Change. With Michael Bungay Stanier.

Michael Bungay Stanier, Senior Partner at Box of Crayons — a consulting company that helps organizations do less good work, and more great work — and author of several books, including the bestselling Do More Great Work, and his latest, The Coaching Habit, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:49] Michael states the specific focus of Box of Crayons: to provide practical tools so that busy managers can coach in 10 minutes or less. Michael breaks coaching and being curious into seven questions, to teach habit change.

[5:12] Michael notes that 77% of people being coached report it has little or no impact, and 10% of those report it had a negative impact. Michael gives answers why.

[7:53] Michael shares a disastrous experience from his law studies days when a witness went ‘off-script,’ and applies it to sales representatives who don’t listen to learn.

[11:48] Michael talks about the ‘feedback sandwich’ formula of saying something nice, followed by something terrible, topped with something nice. Don’t use formulas. Have principles and core behaviors to apply when appropriate.

[14:05] Like NBA coach Steve Kerr, coaching at Box of Crayons is principled: provoke impact, be generous, pursue elegance, have fun, and nurture adult-to-adult relationships.

[15:48] Coaching behavior is staying curious longer, and ‘rushing’ to action and advice slower. Good coaching gives new insight, which leads to behavior change, which leads to impact. Michael cites John Whitmore on unlocking potential.

[18:00] Make training engaging, practical, useful, and use the wisdom in the room. On-the-job training works if people know how to learn. Ask: What was most useful and most valuable about this for you? (This question also helps after sales calls.)

[22:44] For survival, the brain tries to save energy, and goes with the most efficient method, which is usually a habit.

[24:06] Duhigg and Kahneman have both discussed habits that are so powerful, that adopting one, such as rising at 5:00 a.m., can change your behaviors completely. Being responsive is a keystone habit. People want to decide quickly.

[26:09] Tim Ferriss talks about the lead domino, that, when mastered, other dominoes fall in behind. To become better at your job, change your behavior.

[30:51] Sales is preparation, not improvisation. Have a slate of questions prepared. Ask more questions than you give answers, and before you give answers.

[33:27] Michael’s job when he is a keynote speaker is to engage the audience. The normal introduction is off-putting. Provide your own simple, but intriguing, and humorous introduction, that will raise audience status, and engage.

April 19, 2017

#436. How to Improve Sales Productivity Through Coaching. With Keith Rosen.

Keith Rosen, CEO, executive sales coach, transformational expert, advisor to top sales leaders, and author of the number one sales coaching book, Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives, and his most recent book, Own Your Day: How Sales Leaders Master TIme Management, Minimize Distractions, and Create Their Ideal Lives, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:01] Keith has created his ideal life. He has coached sales leaders for the last 30 years around the globe in over 60 countries, for all aspects of the sales process.

[2:27] Keith started sales in college, door-to-door, selling mortgages, remodeling, and home security systems. Keith focused on making salespeople into great coaches, and started his business to address that objective.

[5:31] Keith compares trusted advisors to coaches. In selling, the same questions apply as in coaching.

[6:39] Keith discusses best practices in three areas: questions we ask; critical questions we fail to ask; and changing what we do and how we think. Then he offers a simple way to change our behaviors. One key desired behavior is to ask questions.

[11:43] If you have to close someone, you’re not doing your job.

[12:48] Coaching wasn’t always common. When Keith started coaching, people wanted to know the team. Keith says the coaching gap today is with sales managers.

[16:53] Keith insists that technology and data do not replace individual coaching. Coaching isn’t to gather data, but to help improve behaviors. Data doesn’t reveal why a seller excels. Why is observation necessary?

[23:54] Hiding behind technology makes it easier to avoid personal connections. LinkedIn is for connecting, and building relationships, not for spamming.

[26:01] Consumer retail isn’t dependent on relationships, but  complex B2B certainly is. In B2B, you want to like the person from whom you are buying.

[26:59] A to-do list is ineffective, and usually you put things off, because there is no accountability. Anything that cycles consistently, needs to go on a calendar, not a list. Only one-time items belong on a to-do list.

April 14, 2017

Build the Right Relationships with Your Buyers. With Bridget Gleason. #432

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:43] The topic is relationships with buyers. The definition of relationship is key. Unless they buy online, and don’t interact with a person, there is a relationship, but is it a friendship?

[3:37] A relationship is a connection. There are fundamental parameters for a buyer-seller relationship that buyers want.

[6:24] The relationship is based on the seller’s performance in support of the buyer’s needs. Expectations of both parties must be met to maintain the relationship.

[9:39] Positive neutrality is the minimum relationship. A buyer who actively dislikes you will soon go to someone else. Should the buyer’s relationship be with the salesperson, or with the salesperson’s company?

[12:06] Doug Sandler’s Nice Guys Finish First, asserts that being nice is the key to attracting buyers. People buy from people — in particular, from people they enjoy.

[14:19] Gallup published a statement several years ago about a huge mismatch between buyers’ and sellers’ perceptions of the value of the relationship. Who values the emotional factor?

[14:55] Where do salespeople get the belief that they should be friends with the buyers? What do buyers want from the relationship? Techniques are easier to teach than likability.

[15:46] A bright person can learn the features of any product well enough to sell it, but can’t always learn to approach buyers on the right personal level. Interpersonal skills are not easy for everyone.

[17:14] Bridget does not hire “jerks.” In most instances, being nice carries you further.

[18:07] You need resilience in the relationship, if and when things go wrong during the purchase.

[19:41] Bridget recalls a sale with manufacturer production delays that were damaging to a buyer. Their past positive experiences helped them to see the purchase through.

[21:09] Difficult situations call for increased communications, not for hiding from the customer. Overcommunicate. Do not let the relationship fall apart from neglect.

March 23, 2017

Using Data to Drive Effective Coaching. With Duncan Lennox. #413

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Duncan Lennox, CEO of Qstream.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:37] Duncan is Co-Founder and CEO of Qstream, an enterprise SaaS company. Qstream helps companies drive capabilities of their sales force. Accelerate Episode 106 explains more on Qstream.

[1:29] On average, how much time does a sales manager spend, coaching each rep?

[4:28] Managers would benefit from data on the most effective coaching they can give. Why don’t managers coach better?

[7:36] Inertia keeps organizations back. Two curves are crossing: the pain of the problem, and the ability to leverage data. There is a need to act, and data capture is one way.

[12:19] Sales managers don’t have the data to know how to increases sales, and help reps succeed.

[14:18] Qstream started with the goal of changing behaviors for good. From data they gathered, they saw a second use: data-driven coaching. This became The Coaching Hub.

[16:45] The data is gathered from 3-minute tests the reps take. Scenarios are given, and the reps reply how they would act. What sorts of data do the results generate?

[19:19] An average of 94% reps participate the day they receive a scenario. What else can participation reveal about a rep?

[21:10] How does the dashboard inform the sales manager on the individual needs of the sales reps?

[22:03] How did Qstream rule out the sales problem one company had assumed? How did they uncover the actual problem?

[26:43] How does The Coaching Hub integrate with Salesforce? What kinds of triggers are available?

[29:34] Duncan gives an example of Qstream and Salesforce integration to prompt an appropriate coaching response.

 

March 19, 2017

How to Be an Ultra High Performer. With Jeb Blount. #Special

Jeb Blount is the CEO of Sales Gravy, a keynote speaker, sales acceleration strategist, and author of a great new book, Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:48] In addition to being CEO of Sales Gravy, Jeb has written eight books. In 2016, he spent 270 days traveling to speak. He trains and coaches salespeople to accelerate their results.

[2:05] Jeb explains how he wrote a book while traveling. He uses time blocking. He flies first class, to make the airplane his office. He passionately enjoys what he does.
[4:57] Sales EQ comes from Jeb’s 20-year search for what makes the top 1% into ultra high performers. He found they work only on high-probability sales, and they have a great EQ.

[8:51] How do both introverts and extroverts excel at sales? Jeb explains how each can use ‘dual process’ to stand in the stakeholders’ shoes, while keeping in mind their own outcome for the deal. Ultra high performers use dual process.

[12:03] Jeb discusses the psychology of the sales process. A sales process is a linear system designed around the way a buyer’s irrational brain makes decisions, and it must sync with the prospect’s existing buying and decision-making processes.

[18:10] Jeb tells of his experiences working with salespeople in various sectors, who worked either with, or without, using big data. Salespeople need to get out of their own way.

[21:03] Jeb gives a case study of a $4 Billion company with an average inside sale of $50K. Most reps relied highly on email, but the ultra high performers mainly called people.

[24:14] The ultra high performers who spent 80% of their time calling people had empowered themselves by managing their disruptive emotions. They overcame call reluctance. Salespeople are empowered to talk to people. They must do it.

[27:21] Jeb lays out some steps to becoming an ultra high performer. Begin with managing your disruptive emotions. Overcome your fear of engaging people. Jeb describes the factors of sales EQ and the sales process.

[31:11] Jeb talks about self-awareness. He recommends a peer review, and a coach. Ask for specific feedback from leaders. Sales EQ informs about cognitive biases, and ‘goal sheeting.’

[34:46] How do you encourage your thirst for learning? Jeb talks about four intelligences in sales. Acquired Intelligence depends only on you. There is always something to learn!

 

February 11, 2017

How To Hire and Coach the Best Sales Professionals. With Ken Thoreson. #379

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group, and author of several books on sales, sales management, hiring, and personal development. Ken’s latest book is, SLAMMED!!! For the First Time Sales Manager.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:01] Acumen Management was started 19 years ago, focused on strengthening sales management, through workshops, blogs, and books, around leading an organization, sales compensation planning, and hiring a high-performance team.

[2:16] Sales managers are often promoted from sales, with no management training. They have a list of management responsibilities, but continue to stick to sales activities, don’t set priorities, and fail to create business and sales plans.

[4:20] The biggest challenge facing sales managers today is their inability to build a process, so they can focus on the execution. Most organizations have poor sales execution.

[5:45] Ken quotes Butch Jones, Football Coach, U of Tennessee, “Every player does not give 110% every day; it’s the coach’s job to increase their intensity and the effort they give.” Coach to align the soul of the individual with the goal of the company.

[6:44] Salespeople need to believe in the company, in the product or service, and in how they can impact their clients. The sales manager needs stories, with real examples of people being helped. Salespeople leave if they don’t believe.

[11:09] “Don’t swing at the first pitch.” If you mis-hire, it costs four times what you paid in salary.

[16:09] Build the right candidate profile, and involve other managers, people in the sales team, and maybe customers, in the choice.

[19:21] Look at your product or service, the client you need to influence, who you want to have approaching them, and what kind of training they will need. You may hire a non-salesperson with product expertise.

[21:50] Assessments are a tool, and they should be more of an indicator, than a screen. Testing is essential. An interview is no place for trust. Let the candidate give a presentation, write a pitch on your product, or be tested in a social situation.

[26:36] Hire slow; fire fast. Take everyone through the hiring process. Do not skip a step. Just like the sales process, it’s there to qualify the candidate.

[27:58] Ken gives sample interview questions, and the reasons for them.

[30:34] Ken recommends clients start a book club, and discuss the book for 15 minutes in every weekly sales meeting. Andy mentions his 15-minute daily reading program for clients.

February 10, 2017

How to Be Resilient in Sales. With Bridget Gleason. #378

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest and honorary co-host, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss resilience, why you need it in sales, tips that help you develop it; ideas to lift your sights, such as tracking small victories; and the suggestion to help others reach their own objectives.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:39] Have you had setbacks yet in 2017? Andy and Bridget discuss resilience. It is best developed through experience. The Japanese have a saying, “Fall seven times, get up eight.”

[3:05] Keep doing it. There is positive reinforcement from doing something hard. Make that next phone call, and the next, until you get some positive reinforcement.

[4:53] People who are resilient are not unemotional; they just find a way to put one foot in front of the other and keep at it, and they are persistent against that goal.

[5:52] Focus on small victories. Andy remembers teaching swimming lessons, where he learned the most important thing is to give people immediate success, and build on the success.

[6:46] Decide what the smallest unit of success for your daily tasks would be. Focus on that. A great phone conversation, or any goal you can set and meet. It starts a cycle of success.

[7:26] Bridget deliberately set achievable goals she would meet. Not easy, but ones she knew she could do. She wanted to reinforce, “I am a person who achieves the goals I set.”

[9:00] Andy’s boss used to ask him, “When’s the best time to go get an order? When you’ve just closed one!” Success encourages success. Teams will score twice in succession, in the rhythm.

[10:18] When you feel down, read something inspirational by anyone who inspires you. Bridget quoted from Devotion: Love and the Power of Small Steps, by Kim Nicol. Bridget looks until she finds what speaks to her. Keep words of wisdom in mind.

[14:41] Do something physical. Bridget accomplishes a run in the morning before she starts he workday. Take a walk in the middle of the day. It gives you energy. Get enough sleep.

[17:55] One way to lift yourself is to go help someone else, either someone who needs mentoring, or someone outside of work, where you can volunteer. You will get a boost.

[21:25] Being resilient means paying attention to yourself. If you are having a hard time, don’t ignore it; acknowledge it, and take corrective steps, as needed. Celebrate small wins. Go help someone else.