Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
August 15, 2017

#541. How the Sales Process is Evolving. With David J.P. “DFish” Fisher.

David JP “DFish” Fisher, keynote speaker, and author of Hyper-Connected Selling: Winning More Business by Leveraging Digital Influence and Creating Human Connection, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!


[3:03] David says the single biggest challenge that sales professionals face today is that sales is fundamentally changing from what it was the last 30 years. Buyers are changing how they buy.

[4:37] David talks about the sales sherpa. Salespeople will find success in becoming a guide for the buyer (who is already on their own journey), to help them make better decisions.

[6:12] David discusses whether today’s buyer is overwhelmed by all the information available, or is enabled by it. It depends on the complexity of the product or service for sale.

[8:51] Buying an airplane ticket is easier for buyers to do, compared to pre-internet days. But having access to more data doesn’t always mean making better decisions. Reps can help the customer understand what the data means for them.

[11:02] In heavily transactional products there will be a greater role for machine learning and AI. In certain market segments, a person still has to talk to a person. There is a very human need to connect, trust, and empathize.

[12:16] Sales professionals cannot force buyers into a linear sales process. In some SaaS markets, the process is in service to the seller, and it attempts to limit the buyer. Technology should be a tool to help the seller engage with the buyer.

[15:43] Technology can help salespeople develop more, better, and stronger relationships with buyers. Social media helps develop a network of light connections. CRM can organize sales meeting notes for a better relationship.

[18:47] Technology increases the perception of complexity, but Andy cites the simplicity of online ordering, compared to the agrarian society. We created the complexity. It’s relative. Don’t make it harder.

[23:22] Life is hard, deciding what to stream at night! It’s no harder today to connect with buyers. It was always hard; it’s just different. We are in a time of evolution. Solutions from 20 years ago are not working as well, today.

[25:48] People were better at building relationships when Andy started. The ‘old-timers’ knew everything about the prospect and about the prospect’s business. It’s easy to be an industry expert, but it’s hard work to engage the buyer.

[27:43] David addresses the hybridization of sales. Linear sales will go to technology. Long-scale sales will continue to be in the realm of highly-skilled salespeople. In between there will be hybrid sales, such as selling a home. Sales reps will consult.

[31:22] More than ever, people in sales need to look at what’s coming, and keep developing themselves in all the fundamental sales habits. The future is coming. David cites a recent article he wrote on engaging and building trust.

June 16, 2017

#486. Balancing summer vacations, travel, family and work. With Bridget Gleason.

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


[2:08] About the seasonality of sales: Does the summer have to be flat, due to vacations? Bridget ideally would sell more in 2Q to cover in advance for 3Q.

[3:32] Preparing for summer is a purposeful strategy. Different nations and cultures have different known holidays and preferred vacation months.

[4:34] For, specifically, the sales cycle can be 30 days or 60-90 days in some cases, and months, for enterprise sales. Bridget refers to a quote: “Pipeline creates confidence.” If you have enough pipeline, you won’t have much of a dip in 3Q.

[5:32] Andy considers the quote in light of research showing that 80% of pipeline ends up in no decision. But Bridget has more confidence in having pipeline than in no pipeline at all.

[6:19] Andy remembers summer sales traveling. “The amateurs are out traveling in the summer.” Bridget suggests the time to travel is when the clients are available to meet. Just keep moving along the plan. She presents an instance of that.

[9:01] Bridget explains her policy for vacations, and time off for life events, where the date is set. She does not have a policy of taking vacations in ‘slow periods.’ Slow periods have their purposes as well, such as planning.

[11:27] Germany passed legislation that employees are not required to answer emails after hours. Bridget wants people to separate from work on their breaks, and delegate to others to follow up, or at least, set a time ahead planned for check in.

[14:07] Andy would like managers and reps to discuss this ahead of time, so expectations are set. Bridget tells reps to be fully present with their family, and not worry about checking in daily. Or, they can block out work time purposefully.

[16:56] Global businesses have their own concerns. Bridget, when going to Hawaii, has to think about East Coast time and
Tel Aviv time concurrently. Bridget does not fully unplug.

[17:47] It’s a good time to figure out how you will share you mind between family, vacation, and work. Entrepreneurs often stay in touch. So, schedule time, if you can. Bridget wants to be fully present in family time, and also in blocked work time.

[18:59] Bridget has no vacation planned at the moment, except some weekends. Andy gives her an assignment to plan a vacation, and report back next week on the location and date. Andy likes TripIt for travel plans.

January 30, 2017

How to Accelerate Sales with Better Behaviors. With Frank Cespedes. #368

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Frank Cespedes, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School, and author of the book Aligning Strategy and Sales: The Choices, Systems, and Behaviors that Drive Effective Selling, as well as numerous articles on the Harvard Business Review about sales.


[:53] Frank was a business school professor, researching marketing and sales. Then he ran a tech firm for 12 years, sold it, and returned to Harvard to teach strategy.

[4:57] Frank mentions a McKinsey study on the effects of the 2008 recession. Companies cut the costs of goods sold, but selling & general administrative (SG&A) expenses, as a percentage of sales, have risen.

[6:30] Companies have done a good job of cutting operations costs, but have done less well with efficiencies in going to market. Productivity studies are now focusing on those costs.

[7:20] The availability of more accessible data shows clearly what it means to be a sales leader in the 21st Century. The CFO and C-suite can see easily what is happening for the enormous amount of money spent on sales.

[8:34] There is a misplaced focus on the number of activities, which means thinking about quantity, rather than quality. Activity is not outcome. Sales is about outcomes. Closed sales count.

[10:58] Andy refers to Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information, by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen, who say buyers are adept at capturing and understanding the information they need.

[14:31] In the business value chain, from sourcing to service, sales is the most specialized factor. In any industry, what works in sales at Company A, may not work selling at Company B, but sales is the factor most seen as generalized.

[17:28] The SaaS sales model took off in 2008, when it was mandatory to cut back on go-to-market costs. Any successful model is about the entire process. New models constantly disrupt mature models.

[22:28] Every generation relearns basic truisms. Putting new names on old processes can work, if it moves the meter in the right direction.

[24:58] Frank says studies support that 80% or more of sales come from 20% of salespeople. Performance variance in sales is greater than in many other areas of business.

[28:29] Frank’s tips to improve sales outcomes: improve hiring practices, including behavioral assessments; hold regular real performance reviews; use training and development, tracked.

December 23, 2016

Tips for Better Sales Planning for 2017. With Bridget Gleason. #338

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my special guest, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss, among other topics: how to approach developing your sales plan for 2017 (for individuals and managers);  the ideal timeframe for sales planning; sales manager planning and how to convert your plan into action.

May 29, 2016

The Best of Accelerate! Planning, Preparing, and Engaging are the Keys to a Winning Sales Process.

This has been an extremely popular episode since it’s release. Tim Wackel, is a top sales trainer and an expert on sales process. In his no-nonsense way Tim discusses how the proper preparation at each stage of your sales process is the key to winning the sale. Included among the topics we discuss are:
  • Why it’s important to ask the right questions before you develop your sales presentation
  • Who should you focus more of your efforts on in sales training: the top performers or the middle class performers?
  • How you can ensure that your company has a compelling message and value proposition.
  • What is the 30/20/10 Rule and why is it important to the professional development of every sales rep?
  • How to train sales reps to become better at asking questions.
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.
February 25, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 99 with Kelly McCormick. How To Tackle The Marketing & Sales Challenges to Growing Your Small Business

In this episode, Kelly McCormick, founder of Outsell Yourself, Inc., the author of Outsell Yourself: Go From Hello To Sold With Ethical Business and Sales Techniques, and a Top 10 Small Business Influencer (as recognized by Small Business Trends.) In this episode, Kelly and I discuss the specific challenges small companies face in growing their business. Listen in as we talk about:

  • The biggest obstacles entrepreneurs and CEOs face in growing their businesses
  • The Aunt Sally Test and why business owners and entrepreneurs need to regularly apply it to their business plans
  • Why it’s essential to continually clarify and refine your goals as your business grows
  • The key to clarifying your messaging in order to break through the noise get noticed by your ideal customer
  • The two triggers to help you decide how balance your investment in sales versus marketing.

This episode is a must listen for any CEO, entrepreneur and sales leader.

January 29, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 80 Front Line Friday with Bridget Gleason. How Detailed Sales Planning Can Help You Hit Your Sales Goals

My regular guest on Front Line Friday is Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales for SumoLogic. In this episode, Bridget discusses how she, as a sales leader at a high growth tech company, uses the sales planning process to help her team achieves its goals and objectives. Included among the topics we discuss in this conversation are:

  • Does every member of your sales team need a sales plan?
  • How managers should work with their team to create individual sales plans
  • What works best: top down or bottoms up planning?
  • How to use the planning process to develop unambiguous expectations for sales.
  • Using dashboards to track performance against plans

If you’re a sales leader or sales manager, then be sure to join us for this episode!

January 8, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 65 with Anthony Iannarino. What’s the Most Important Sales Resolution You Can Make For 2016?

Anthony Iannarino is one of the most influential sales bloggers, an international speaker and business coach, and a successful entrepreneur. He understands in detail what it takes to grow a business. And, in this episode, Anthony quickly drills in on the one area where every sales rep should focus their time to in order to grow their book of business in 2016. Don’t miss this. He also describes why business acumen is not just a buzzword, but, an incredibly important skill that sales reps need to develop in order to maintain their relevance to their customers in 2016 and beyond. Anthony also details the steps you need to take in order to continuously increase the level of value that you deliver to prospects during your sales process. And for sales mangers, he provides a guide for how to hire sales candidates that possess the necessary business acumen to be a value creator for their customers. Finally, Anthony provides a detailed breakdown of the four main areas you need to focus on if you want to really kick off 2016 in a strong fashion. Are you really ready to start off 2016 strong? Them this is a must listen episode for all sales reps and sales managers.

January 6, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 63 with Mike Weinberg. If You Fail to Plan, Then You Are Planning to Fail. Essential Sales Planning Strategies for 2016 from MIke Weinberg.

That saying about failing to plan is from Ben Franklin. And, while Mike Weinberg, author of two best-selling sales books (New Sales. Simplified and Sales Management. Simplified) may or may not be Ben Franklin, he is one of the smartest people I know in sales. And, in our conversation, Mike describes the two essential planning steps that every sales manager and sales rep must take at the beginning of a new sales to increase their chances for success. He provides a simple framework for creating an effective individual sales plan that sales reps should use as a roadmap throughout the sales year. Mike also talks about why an important element of the sales plan is a personal investment plan; meaning that every sales rep should have a detailed strategy for how they will invest their own time and money in their own success in 2016. Mike reveals why he continues to invest his time and money in hiring coaches and outside experts to help him improve as a consultant, and consultant and consultants, speaker and author.  He does this for the same reason that you need to invest in your improvement: so that he can continue to be a source of great value to his customers. Now is the time to plan for your success in 2016. Listen to this episode to make it happen for you!