Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
November 24, 2017

#601. How to Relieve the Seller’s Burden. With Bridget Gleason. And special guest, David Kerr.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. We’re joined on this episode by David Kerr, CEO of Octiv.


  • Bridget and Andy welcome special guest, David Kerr. They discuss liberal arts schools. Andy studied History. Bridget studied English, Business, and Math. David studied Politics. David says critical thinking is now a missing skill.
  • There is more pressure these days to get the best grades and go to the best schools and choose your degree before you start.
  • Octiv focuses on the sales enablement and productivity space. They look at solving the problem of seller’s burden through automated document generation for all sales documents to drive the efficiency across sales teams.
  • Seller’s burden includes internal complexity (approvals, pricing), product complexity (SKUs, configurations), and external complexity (a number of decision makers and influencers in the client space). Sales was always complex.
  • Part of today’s complexity is the volume of investigation and discovery to be managed. Back to the school dialog, people used to apply to three schools; now they apply to 15-20 because of the automation and common apps.
  • Customers do the same, getting multiple free demos. There are greater volume and demand for detail. Bridget sees the number of SaaS deals a team manages increasing with increased onboarding from rep turnover.
  • Octiv used to be called TinderBox, but Tinder became a popular product and it was distracting, so they renamed to Octiv. Andy says distraction is a fourth burden on the seller. David talks about Millennials distracted by Slack.
  • With the large stacks, it is difficult to untangle the knot of what is effective. David suggests that automation can streamline the distractions. Technology, applied correctly, gives the reps more time to focus on selling.
  • Unattended automation does not bring the rep closer to the customer. Personalized social selling, augmented by AI can make connections — until it looks automated. We need humanization at scale (not mail-merge).
  • Person-to-person communications are most relevant. Prospects don’t want phone calls all the time. Bridget encourages reps to look for connections in common, a person, place, or thing, and include it in a contact.
  • It doesn’t take an archeological dig to find a connection. Five minutes of searching can often find something of interest to the contact that connects the rep to them. In a high-value deal, it may be worth doing more research.
  • David gravitates toward enterprise sales because of the human connection. People buy from people they know like and trust. David talks about a very relevant and pleasant gift he received from a vendor.
September 28, 2017

#576 Sales Enablement for Sales Teams. With Robert Wahbe.

Robert Wahbe, Co-Founder and CEO at Highspot, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[6:02] Robert says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is cutting through noise, differentiating their product, and highlighting what is important to the customer. Sales leaders must enable teams with knowledge and assets. [8:25] Buyer research shows they trust the salesperson more than the vendor. Robert says the rep should be on a texting basis with the customer. It takes three levels of winning make a deal: Brand, hearts and minds, and economic value.

[10:43] It is challenging to know the value of sales data. Robert trusts conversion and win rates contrasted with similar competitors. If you are behind, learn best practices. Deliver customer value connected to the product. Be flexible.

[13:20] Robert tells the Highspot origins. He noticed marketers had no idea what was driving deals. He saw content was published but not findable. Robert and his partners connected the cloud, user interface, mobile, and AI to content resources.

[15:29] Highspot was a Sales Enablement Platform before there was a category for it. They help across the lifecycle of content assets, making recommendations, customization, combinations of assets to send, and analytics after the fact.

[20:42] Robert comments on sales research about quota attainment and conversion rates. Companies with sales enablement and competent training are more effective. He lists questions you should be asking before buying technology.

[25:57] Hire a sales enablement person before buying the system. Robert points to Salesforce of an example of a tool that does not solve your problems, but supports you in solving your problems — and it only helps if Reps adopt it.

[27:17] Andy is looking for tools that help the customer make a decision quicker. Robert talks about references, demos, points of contact, and content to helps the customer make decisions better. Reps need access to pertinent, valuable content.

[29:43] Andy cites Peter Ostrow at Aberdeen that sales teams that properly enabled sellers were 52% better at understanding what content to use, when, and with whom. The technology supports finding this content to save time.

[32:04] Top performers without a sales enablement have to spend hours finding this data, and middle performers without sales enablement don’t bother to spend the time, so the prospect is underserved. The top tier struggle to find content.

[33:31] Robert projects that in 10 years the $50K sale in a complex environment will still require human reps. Customers are buying a relationship with the company and the vision of where they are going. That takes a human connection.

[35:42] Salespeople need to become ‘more human,’ in connecting with the prospect. There are 5,000 apps for sales stacks. Robert sees some app consolidation in the future. Customers want one integrated solution as much as possible.


The new Accelerate! schedule starts on Monday, October 2, with episodes released on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Monday is the 2nd Anniversary of Accelerate! Accelerate! Has been downloaded over one million times! Andy would like to hear from you about your favorite episode, guest, or topic. See the complete list of episodes at Leave Andy a message about your favorite episode to receive a free signed copy of Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions, by Andy Paul. You will need to provide your physical mailing address to receive the book.

September 27, 2017

#575 Sales Enablement Improves Sales Productivity. With Brian Lambert.

Brian Lambert, Senior Director, Sales & Service Enablement Solutions at Charter Communications, and Co-Founder of the Sales Enablement Society, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[4:35] Brian says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is getting the right inputs (i.e. discovery and research) they need to be successful. Reps need to be students of their customer, market, product, and their craft, which is evolving.

[6:54] Customers prefer dealing with friendly and mildly-knowledgeable salespeople, rather than unfriendly product experts. The relationship is key. Preferences are formed at the first interaction. Be more likeable than expert.

[9:19] B2B complex sales will change. The Sales Enablement Society has workgroups on the future of sales, reps, and enablement. The future is selling outcomes, which is less tangible than selling solutions, and so, is more consultative.

[11:43] Selling for outcomes also involves teaching prospects how they should work together in their teams using the new solutions to optimize the outcome they seek. Until there is clarity on the business problem, there is no good outcome.

[14:17] The customer usually doesn’t have a set buying process. Buying is customer problem-centric. Brian talks through the steps of the process.

[17:51] Scripting discovery along a linear path may not get to the needed information. The customer doesn’t know the right answer, if the question is the wrong question. You’re dealing with complex humans in complex situations. Forget the silos.

[22:22] Sales Enablement Society was founded in 2008 after Forrester published a definition of it. The conversation about its definition is ongoing. It is the system required to enable sales conversations at scale. Brian gives the details of it.

[24:47] Sales Enablement is an organizing function, not a replacement for any system. It provides visibility around all functions related to marketing and sales.

[25:56] Sales productivity includes effectiveness and efficiency. Most sales processes are ineffective and inefficient. Reps have to connect the dots. Sales Enablement helps them hold the conversation.

[28:38] Sales productivity defaults to revenue, but involves the cost to achieve outcome and allocating your resources toward sales. It needs more visibility. Sales Enablement is overhead but could end up defining budgets.

[33:24] Sales Enablement should reduce complexity. Executives have no idea if they are getting ROI from all the sales systems in place. Who is addressing what the customers need? What do buyers think about sales?

[39:31] There needs to be a conversation about white space, and eliminating micromanagement of sales. Just teach them how to sell.


The new Accelerate! schedule starts on Monday, October 2, with episodes released on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Monday is the 2nd Anniversary of Accelerate! Over one million people have listened to Accelerate! Andy would like to hear from you about your favorite episode, guest, or topic. See the complete list of episodes at Leave Andy a message about your favorite episode to receive a free signed copy of Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions, by Andy Paul. You will need to provide your physical mailing address to receive the book.

September 21, 2017

#571 Driving Sales Enablement with Knowledge Management. With Rick Nucci.

Rick Nucci, Co-founder and CEO of Guru, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[5:07] Rick says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is getting the attention of the buyer, given the number of vendors attempting to engage your prospect through their inbox. Our own technologies are creating this problem.

[7:46] Sales automation is not as well-targeted as it should be. Rick believes the answer is not found in technology, but in human engagement with the specific buyer and their needs. Rick gives some indication of targeting done by the Guru team.

[9:29] It’s a cultural shift to go back to personalized targeting. Rick tells of three practices to follow. 1. Use the right metric for SDRs — quality. 2. Don’t use a template for the first email.

[14:16] The follow-up to the first email is an email from a template with a value for that prospect. 3. Invest in product marketing early. This allowed Guru to learn and execute on personas and the corresponding messaging.

[18:02] Guru is a knowledge management app that “lives where you work.” Guru replaces sales portals, Wikis, and intranet sites with a verified solution that’s built into the technology you use, with a browser extension and a Slackbot.

[20:26] Guru is a sales enablement tool. It is an answer to the complexity we have already created. It also helps the rep to be more educated. Rick gives a case study of a customer using Guru to help reps with the knowledge around new products.

[24:16] Reps need to have product knowledge at their fingertips, and tools to understand the customer. Guru talks about reasonably complex products. Pulling up the card often enough helps reps to learn the products.

[26:40] Guru deals with changes in assets. As assets change continually, it is not effective to try to keep all the information memorized. It’s more than just getting the right datasheet.

[29:13] Tools need to be effective for the middle 60% of the sales force. Analytics is a big part of it. Who is using your wiki? WIth Guru, you get reports how it is being used.

[31:31] Guru shows “time to pipeline contribution,” or how long it takes reps to contribute to the pipeline. This is helpful in high turnover cases.

[33:59] Besides onboarding time, Guru can measure how long a rep stays with the company. Rick talks about the technology monitoring signals of rep activities without the rep needing to log them in.

[36:32] Data on the aggregate amount of time it takes to close the deal can answer productivity questions.

April 13, 2017

#431. Improving Productivity with Sales Enablement. With Giles House.

Giles House, CMO of CallidusCloud, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[:49] Giles has been in sales and software for 12-13 years, with CallidusCloud since 2010. CallidusCloud’s mission is to become a top five cloud company, with ‘Lead to Money’ sales enablement.

[4:15] CallidusCloud offers a suite of connected sales and marketing applications, for a consistent, shared sales and marketing stack.

[6:43] Sales and marketing alignment involves shared information and consistent follow up. Giles explains the process.

[10:19] Giles gives his opinion on ABM. Aligned sales and marketing teams should be using it, but not exclusively.

[12:59] Lead to Money is a platform for generating more leads and prospect interest, helping marketing ROI, and providing rich information to sales for better buyer connection. It also involves sales training and coaching.

[15:14] Giles shares his understanding of sales productivity, concerning the organization and individual reps, with onboarding and goal attainment tracking.

[17:38] Productivity of a salesperson includes time they use for sales activities and tasks, and how effective they are. Giles considers CSO Insights’ report on quota attainment, and why it has been flat over the years.

[19:52] It’s difficult to correlate records between multiple systems in a typical sales stack, so history and other critical facts are not often available where they are needed.

[21:45] Giles discusses the concepts of productivity and quotas. He offers suggestions for setting quotas and commissions. Forecasting is critical.

[25:05] Giles would like to see quota attainment much higher than 50%, and he suggests how that could be done.

[26:55] Salespeople today carry great burdens of expectations, offset by great opportunities, if they can take advantage of them. The right technology stack is essential. The quality of the customer experience is critical to landing a deal.

[30:15] Giles says AI should refer to assisted or augmented intelligence. In Giles’ opinion, robots will never complete the complex sale, but machine learning is a great boost to sales.

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.


[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.


September 29, 2016

Understanding The ‘Math Of Sales.’ With Bill Johnson. #266

Joining me on Accelerate! is Bill Johnson, Founder and CEO of Salesvue, a sales enablement platform that accelerates those critical activities that create and support revenue. Among the many topics Bill and I discuss in this episode Bill are: ‘The Math of Sales,’ optimum cadence timing, the dangers of “vanity metrics” and much much more.

August 4, 2016

How to Align Your Selling with Your Prospect’s Decision Making Process. With Matt Behrend. #218

Matt Behrend is Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Consensus, formerly known as DemoChimp, a sales enablement tool that enables sales teams to drive agreement across B2B buying groups, with personalized video demos. On this episode, Matt and I talk about the customer decision making process, and how new sales enablement tools, such as Consensus, are helping B2B sales teams align their selling efforts with the buying processes of their prospects

February 24, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 98 with John Golden. CRM Systems Should Work For Sales Reps; Not The Other Way Around.

In this episode, John Golden, Chief Strategy Officer at Pipeliner CRM, discusses how next gen CRM systems are evolving away from management platforms into tools that help sales reps close business. Among the many topics we discuss in this episode are:

  • Why every sales organization needs a CRM system
  • How the increased velocity of business in general demands more process and structure in sales
  • How CRM systems need to evolve from being “command and control” systems into tools that help sales reps close more deals.
  • Are CRM systems, in the form we work with today, in danger of becoming obsolete? And what could replace them?
  • The essential criteria business leaders should use to evaluate and purchase a CRM system

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

February 11, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 89 with Bubba Page. Crowd-Sourcing Warm introductions to Accelerate Your Pipeline Development

In this episode, Bubba Page, founder and CEO of Outro (formerly QuotaDeck), shares how he plans to make the traditional cold call obsolete by crowd-sourcing warm introductions for sales reps to prospects that fit their ideal customer profile. Some providers may talk about crowd-sourcing leads but Outro is aiming higher by providing warm introductions to decision makers that want to hear about your product or service. Listen in as we talk about:

  • How to use social-based selling to overcome the fixed resource constraints of traditional cold calling
  • The value of an introduction to double opted-in leads (meaning people that want to talk with you.)
  • How warm introductions lead to great quantities of more effective sales conversations
  • How to build social capital in your network with value-based introductions that ultimately lead to more sales (for you!)

Looking for a fresh perspective on building your pipeline? Then this episode is a must listen for any sales leader and sales rep.