Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
August 14, 2017

#540. The Importance of Principles vs. Methods in Sales. With John Rossman.

John Rossman, author of The Amazon Way on IoT: 10 Principles for Every Leader from the World’s Leading Internet of Things Strategies, and The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:32] John says the single biggest challenge that sales professionals face today relates to increased buyer sophistication and awareness. The challenge is to understand how to set the case for implementing your product or tool.

[5:58] The Amazon Way books come from John’s experience at Amazon. John coached with stories from Amazon, and a friend urged him to write them. The first book was Amazon’s 14 principles. The second was on IoT strategies used by Amazon.

[8:34] The books are about principles. “The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” — Harrington Emerson. Principles have durability.

[10:14] Sales is too obsessed with methodologies. Principles have vision, clarity, and adaptability. They are tactical. When people buy into the principles there is less debate on tactics.

[12:46] Amazon is obsessed with the customer. “We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help the customer make a purchase decision.” — Jeff Bezos. ‘Search Inside the Book’ is an example of this obsession.

[15:58] “Leaders start with the customer and work backwards.”  — Jeff Bezos. Build true customer empathy and understand all about the customer, broader than just their need for your product. Design new products with this understanding.

[16:57] Danny Meyer, restaurateur, is completely obsessed with customers, and he won Andy’s return business. John recommends using detailed metrics to measure the customer experience, and driving to improve them.

[20:31] John shares an example of how metrics were built and applied in a B2B company over specific details on complex products. He explains the process they built to find issues, including the pre-sale experience, to prevent change orders.

[22:02] In the B2B example, they also work to define what the pre-sale experience should be, and how to improve it, including how to prevent the need for change orders.

[24:09] Jeff Bezos said he can’t imagine a world where customers want fewer selections, higher prices, and slower delivery. John discusses durable strategies for a business. Know your brand promise. John explains Amazon’s brand.

[27:23] Amazon has a cascade of metric reviews of the customer experience, where they shoot for perfection at each level. Observe the actual customer experience — not through surveys. Happy stories do not lead to improvements.

[29:38] Talking to a customer in the field shows you what is happening in their business, to build true customer empathy. Understand personal motivations and pressures involved. Thei means, build relationships, face-to-face.

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 3, 2017

How to Sell More in Less Time. With Jill Konrath. (Repeat)

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my friend Jill Konrath. Jill is a speaker, sales expert, and author of multiple bestselling books, including Selling to Big Companies, Snap Selling, Agile Selling, and her latest book, More Sales, Less Time. Among the many topics that Jill and I discuss are how she came to focus on selling more in less time, what she learned from her research about concentration, focus and how to eliminate distraction that waste selling time, how to make the most of the limited hours available each, and how you can take the More Sales, Less Time Challenge.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:19] After Jill wrote SNAP Selling, about selling to frazzled customers, readers asked her how to simplify their own lives. She had no idea how to help them, so she researched it.

[6:37] Research shows multitasking is an illusion. Learn what happens when you try to jump between two tasks and refocus your attention.

[8:20] How often the average sales person checks their cell phone each day. And how each interruption reduces productivity.

[8:40] To write More Sales, Less Time, Jill used herself as a test subject for the before and after metrics for each new strategy she tried. 

[10:44] Jill shares how using your willpower impacts your ability to make decisions. 

[14:20] Jill’s Time Master Manifesto sets rules to manage time, starting with getting seven-and-a-half hours of sleep nightly. 

[17:28] How you should start each business day before turning on your computer and checking your email.

[20:12] Two books to assist salespeople in learning how to prioritize are Essentialism, and The One Thing.

[24:03] Challenge the status quo at all times, looking for a better way to achieve the end result.

[25:00] Jill shares the value of scheduling your activities into blocks of time. You are most productive while focusing on one activity.

June 5, 2017

#476. How to Automate Sales Coaching. With Cory Bray.

Cory Bray, CEO of ClozeLoop, formerly known as CareerSofia, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:37] Cory distinguishes training from coaching. Coaching is a component of management. It enables employees to use the available tools to their best potential.

[3:32] Cory cites Bill Belichick as a great coach who established a system that works, and staffed it with raw talent he could help to become great. The system sets them up for success, and coaches help them continuously to improve.

[5:04] Cory went through Sandler sales coaching, and got a vision of what coaching can be. He went into business with a Sandler associate, to form CareerSofia. Sofia is from Sophia, wisdom, in Greek. Their focus is on sales.

[7:51] Cory discusses the vision of CareerSofia. They set out to make a software product inside Salesforce to deliver the minimum effective dose of coaching for the deal at hand.

[9:08] CareerSofia helps strategize against the competition, with the tactics a coach would suggest for moving a sale forward. Top sales reps and management curate content.

[10:13] CareerSofia supplies salespeople with tools they need to do the job from ‘Day 2.’ No long onboarding is required.

[13:09] The underlying principle is a knowledge base, structured so that relevant sales information surfaces as it is needed.

[15:46] Cory explains why testing is not a part of the CareerSofia platform. They started to include testing, and users didn’t want it. They just wanted coaching on time.

[16:48] Managers retain coaching authority. They coach one-on-one, and they supply CareerSofia with what works best in certain situations. Outside coaching is also encouraged. CareerSofia sells through sales consultant channel partners.

[21:38] The ideal end user has a a growing inside sales team of 5-100 reps, using Salesforce.com to sell one or two products. The ideal channel partner is a seller-doer sales consultant who wants to scale, without adding an associate.

[24:52] Cory sees three buckets in coaching: teaching the tools; teaching how to use them well; and teaching how to use them well under duress. CareerSofia helps the coach. Their future is in adding items to make the product more robust.

[26:53] CareerSofia has some secret sauce coaching tools coming up that Cory will announce at a future date.

January 27, 2017

How to Accelerate Your Success by Studying Great Books. With Bridget Gleason. #366

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss the eight great sales books most frequently recommended by my guests, how your team or organization can participate in Andy’s 12-month reading program, and what books Andy and Bridget are reading right now.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:21] The topic is books — the top five recommendations from the world’s leading sales and marketing experts who have been guests on Accelerate!

[2:51] Number One, by far, is How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936, in the heart of the Great Depression. Carnegie had worked selling for Armour, and taught public speaking. It is as relevant today, as ever.

[5:56] Number Two is SPIN Selling, by Neil Rackham, a good basic book about B2B Sales, and the Spin model: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff. Bridget has taught SPIN selling. It is still very relevant to put in practice, company-wide.

[10:31] Number Three is The Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. It is embraced by large enterprise, selling complex products.

[13:53] Number Four is Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. This timeless classic for motivation and inspiration offers a 13-step formula for reaching goals.

[16:54] Number Five is actually a tie between four books: First, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel Pink. Everybody is an influencer, even if not in sales. Most white-collar employees influence others in their jobs.

[18:15] Andy refers to Robert Cialdini’s term, ‘Influence Professional.’

[19:04] Also tied for Number Five, is New Sales. Simplified. The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development, by Mike Weinberg. It is a modern classic, blunt and direct on what you can do better.

[20:25] Also tied for Number Five, is The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino. It is a short parable that teaches behaviors for a lifetime of success and fulfillment.

[22:15] Finally, also tied for Number Five, is Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps To Accelerate Every Company’s Sales, by your host, Andy Paul! It is a favorite of Bridget’s; she hopes it stays on the modern classics list — a quick read, widely applicable.

[23:38] Andy has prepared a 12-month reading list for clients. Contact Andy, to read along. Not homework! If you do it, as a manager you provide notebooks, and 15–20 minutes of the business day, for your people to read, and to journal.

January 17, 2017

How to Accelerate Your Sales With Lean Communications. With Jack Malcolm. #357

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Jack Malcolm, President of the Falcon Performance Group, and author of two books, Bottom-Line Selling, and Strategic Sales Presentations. Among the topics that Jack and I discuss are how a reluctant salesperson became a sales trainer, how Lean thinking clarifies sales communications, how the right questions lead to optimum outcomes, and why your product features, in isolation, are of no interest to the buyer.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:55] Jack was a banker in the early ‘80s, because he wanted nothing to do with sales. Until he was sent out to bring in new customers.

[2:06] Summary of ‘Lean’: create more value for customers, and take waste out of the process. Lean communications are: A, B, C, and D. Add value, Brevity, Clarity, and Dialog with customers to co-create value.

[4:10] Adding tangible value is effective communication. It is clear, improves outcomes, and sustains the relationship.

[5:24] Improving outcomes takes precedence over sustaining relationships when an unfavorable message must be given. Be candid at all times, or you subtract value.

[8:41] Asking questions may help buyers to arrive at conclusions that will help improve outcomes for them.

[10:14] Clarity — the customer’s understanding of what the salesperson is trying to get across.

[10:52] Brevity — answer the two questions on the prospect’s mind: “What do you want from me,” and, “Why should I do it?” Start your meeting with the what and why.

[14:45] Make it impossible for you to be misunderstood. Don’t assume they know your jargon, acronyms or connotations.

[18:18] Dialog begins with listening. You’re never going to get it all exactly right on your own. To create value, create it together. Use ‘Just In Time’ communications. Listen with focus.

[21:14] Four factors for improving outcomes: solve problems, show opportunities, help adapt to changes, and remove risks.

[27:04] Instead of starting with features and benefits, ask what the customer wants to achieve, and work back to the features.

November 18, 2016

The Habits and Skills that Accelerate Your Success. With Bridget Gleason. #309

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my remarkable guest, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss, among other topics, the priority of habits before skills; time management habits and skills; and the superiority of sales conversations over scripted presentations. Join Bridget and me for this episode of Accelerate! to learn some foundational sales habits upon which productive sales skills can be built.

October 7, 2016

How Sales Leadership Begins with YOU! With Bridget Gleason. #273

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest, Bridget Gleason. This week’s topic of discussion is on a specific aspect of sales leadership. When we hear terms such as ‘sales leader’, ‘sales leadership’ or ‘leadership’ in general, we tend to associate them with people having some type of a management role. However, I believe that sales leadership really begins at the individual level. And, in this episode, Bridget and I explore what it means to be an individual sales leader. Our conversation eventually morphs into a mini book club so make sure to join us now!

July 9, 2016

Sales and Marketing Alignment in the Digital Age. With Tony Delmercado. #196

Tony Delmercado is COO of Hawke Media and the founder of 1099.me, a tax management service for entrepreneurs. Tony believes in people over processes and has helped generate millions of dollars in revenue for numerous companies through leadership roles in business development, marketing and operations. In this episode, Tony and I have a discussion about what companies can do to dramatically grow their revenues by  perfecting the alignment of their marketing and sales efforts. Listen now!
April 14, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 134 with Mohit Garg. How to Accelerate and Improve On-Boarding for Sales Reps

Mohit Garg is the co-founder and Chief Customer Officer of MindTickle. In today’s episode, Mohit and I talk about the challenges most companies face with hiring, on-boarding and training sales reps. It takes too long, is often ineffective and doesn’t produce the desired results in predictable fashion. Listen in as we talk about how companies must change their hiring and on-boarding processes to keep pace in today’s dynamic business environment. Among the many topics we discuss are:

  • Why rapidly shrinking business cycles are making conventional on-boarding and sales training obsolete.
  • What is sales readiness and how can you measure it?
  • How you can accurately determine when new reps are ready to be working with buyers.
  • Why it currently requires an average of 7 months for new sales reps to become fully productive and how that can be changed.
  •  How new technologies like MindTickle can accelerate and improve the process of hiring and on-boarding sales reps.