Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
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!


[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.

April 20, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 138 with Anita Campbell. The Unique Sales Challenges Small Businesses Face in Today’s Economy

Anita Campbell is the founder and CEO of Small Business Trends, an award-winning online community for small business owners and entrepreneurs. A former corporate attorney, Anita is a business speaker, analyst, publisher and writer. In today’s episode, Anita and I talk about the unique sales challenges small businesses are faced with and how they optimally can respond to these. Among the topics we discuss in this episode are:

  • The biggest challenges in growing a small business.
  • The most effective way to sell to small business CEOs and entrepreneurs.
  • What must small businesses do to differentiate themselves from competitors?
  • How small business can attract and retain top sales talent.
March 3, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 104 with Charles H Green. The 4 Essential Principles of Building Trust with Customers.

In this episode, Charles Green, co-author of The Trusted Advisor and author of Trust-based Selling, shares the secrets to developing a trust-based relationship with your buyers that can accelerate your sales. Listen in as we talk about:

  • Why trust is not the same as trustworthiness. And what that means for you.
  • Why you can’t fully build trust with a prospect if you don’t them.
  • Why trust is personal. Buyers are building trust with you, not your company.
  • Why trust is not a number that you can measure.

This episode is a must listen for everyone. Any CEO, entrepreneur, sales leader and sales rep should invest the time to listen.

February 17, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 93 with Nancy Bleeke. Conversations That Sell: A Collaborative Approach to Sales That Wins

In this episode, Nancy Bleeke, President of Sales Pro Insider, and author of Conversations That Sell, discusses why it’s essential for sales reps to embrace a collaborative approach to selling. In this episode we discuss how to make that happen and other topics including:

  • Why all sales calls are not conversations; but should be.
  • How collaborative selling is different from, and more effective than, consultative selling
  • The expertise you require to become a collaborative seller
  • How to use collaboration to create proposals that win
  • How to use sales conversations to uncover the true buying motivations that influence your customer’s decisions.

If you’re a sales leader, sales manager, or sales rep, this episode is definitely worth the investment of your time to listen.

January 21, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 74 with Patricia Fripp. The Essential Ingredients of Effective Sales Presentations That Win Deals

In this episode, Patricia Fripp, President of Fripp & Associates, past President of the National Speakers Association, and one of the leading presentation coaches, talks how to build effective sales presentations that win more deals. Patricia describes how to avoid sounding just like everyone else when presenting to clients. And she shares why “prospects would rather have a good listening to than a good talking to” and how that will shape exactly how you should present to prospects.  Include among the topics we discuss are:

  • The secrets of teaching young sales professionals how to be effective presenters to seasoned, experienced prospects
  • A process to build effective sales presentations
  • An effective opening line that will surprise you
  • When and how to use visual aids (hint: stop using so many PowerPoint slides!)
  • How to personalize virtual presentations

This episode is a must listen for anyone that makes sales presentations to prospects. Or manages those who do!

January 13, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 68 with Jon Ferrara. The More Digital We Get, The More Human We Need To Be. How To Pay Forward Relationships To Become A Trusted Advisor To Your Customers.

In this information-packed, rapid-fire episode, Jon Ferrara, founder and CEO of Nimble, and one of the early pioneers of the entire sales force automation industry, lays out what he believes are the dangers of the sales stack becoming too complex and too costly; putting too much emphasis on the technology and not enough on prospects and customers. He describes a simpler approach to maintaining a focus on building relationships with buyers that includes a more encompassing view of their requirements and the community that influences them. Jon shares his “5 E’s of Social Business.” You’ll have to listen if you want learn these essential keys to becoming a trusted advisor to your customers, to creating lasting value-based relationships and to building a community that produces a steady stream of referrals. If you’re in sales, service, management or leadership, then you will definitely want to invest some time to listen to this episode!


October 8, 2015
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On Accelerate! Now: Episode 13 with Doyle Slayton. How to Avoid Being the Best Company No One Has Ever Heard Of

Doyle Slayton is CEO of, a sales acceleration firm, and the founder of the Sales and Marketing Leaders Group, one of the largest sales communities on LinkedIn, shares his journey from would-be sports broadcaster to a leading marketing and sales expert who has helped many companies transform their sales results. In this episode Doyle shares strategies that show you how to avoid being the best company no one has ever heard of. And, the steps you should take to position yourself in the marketplace to serve as a thought leader, an expert and, most importantly, a trusted advisor to your buyers. Anyone can do it. Listen in today and learn!

October 5, 2015
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On Accelerate! Now: Episode 07 with Leanne Hoagland-Smith. Creating sales differentiation to stand out in competitive markets

Noted sales blogger and business coach Leanne Hoagland-Smith, author of “How to be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits,” dishes out the straight talk advice on how to deliberately plan for sales success. She also shares her strategies that sales reps and small business can use to create meaningful sales differentiation. If you’re selling in a crowded and competitive market, what steps can you take to stand out in the crowd and attract the attention of your dream customers? Listen today to learn how!

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