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 Logz.io and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. We’re joined on this episode by David Kerr, CEO of Octiv.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • 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.
November 20, 2017

#599 Optimizing the Value of Your Sales Intelligence. With Henry Schuck.

Henry Schuck, Co-Founder and CEO at DiscoverOrg, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Henry says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is to have the ability connect with their buyer in a meaningful way. Henry talks about the problems of hiring people just out of college with little business knowledge.
  • Sales comes from connection through a trust-based relationship. Authenticity builds trust. Henry says reps need intellectual curiosity to sell. Rapport comes from asking about business issues and needs.
  • Andy finds that authentic small talk works to warm up the conversation. Use LinkedIn profiles and tie them to work issues. Andy tells a Seinfeld sales story.
  • DiscoverOrg reps are encouraged to use a webcam so they don’t multitask while on a call. Henry blocked Facebook at DiscoverOrg. Multitasking fails.
  • Leave the smartphone in the drawer when talking on the phone, or in the car on a sales visit. It is powerful to give your full attention and focus to your customer.
  • DiscoverOrg provides accurate data on companies’ contacts, technographics, the intent data on company initiatives, and when they will pull the trigger. Data includes direct-dial phones, emails, and org charts.
  • Henry talks about fixing the 2016 budget for DiscoverOrg, having to make up a shortfall and to solve their own data issues. Henry tells how they worked out their research needs, added staff, and met budget, with more income.
  • Henry spent $1,000,000 on the research team, and made $10,000,000 from the research. Companies that don’t want to use DiscoverOrg are making the decision to turn their own sales teams into a bad version of DiscoverOrg.
  • The availability of data, if you use it, democratizes growth. Henry sees a sophistication problem. A CRM with DiscoverOrg is the first step towards success. The power is in building a go-to-market process around the data.
  • Companies with 75 to 1,000 employees use the highest levels of sophistication of process. They tend to get every dime out of their investment in data. Henry sees less sophistication in companies over 1,000 or under 75.
  • Andy and Henry discuss improving the inside sales close rate. Activity is the core of sales, but brute force multiplication is not efficient. Look at the set of people you call. Filter out the bad fits before calling. Use ICPs.
  • We have to get better at closing the qualified leads we already have, and making sure the decisionmakers are involved early on.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

For Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth companies and built on recurring revenue — Andy is teaming up with his friend Jacco van der Kooij, founder of Winning by Design and author of Blueprints of a SaaS Sales Organization, to launch the Sales Leadership Accelerator Mastermind, an intensive 12-month learning, coaching, and mastermind program for the Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth subscription-based companies. If the responsibility sits on your shoulders to scale your revenue team, to hit the $100 million mark ARR and beyond, then the Sales Leadership Accelerator Mastermind will help you transform how you sell, scale, and develop the capabilities of your team to crush your goals. Enrollment is limited to a very small group, so go to SaaSSLAM.com now, to learn more and enroll today.

September 25, 2017

#573 The Structure of a Closing Call. With Kayvon.

Kayvon, The One Call Closer™, International Sales Trainer, Speaker, and Consultant, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:51] Kayvon says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is that the buyer has the power, based on the knowledge they learn before contacting the sales rep. The way to sell is to create a trusted relationship with the prospect.

[4:39] Kayvon, a.k.a. The One Call Closer™, explains his name.

[5:39] Kayvon describes how he harnesses ADD/ADHD. The schools did not serve him. He learned as an adult to do things his way and that ADD/ADHD is part of his entrepreneurial make-up. He works using his energies and passions.

[8:56] The One Call Closer™ System is a methodology based on Kayvon’s 19 years of sales experience, and his work with mentors and sales gurus. He claims unmatched success with it for high-ticket closing, against using old closing techniques.

[9:49] Kayvon calls the prospects for his clients with offerings of $5K or higher and closes a sale in one 30-to-45-minute call.

[10:31] Kayvon lists the problems old-style sales reps run into on their calls. First, don’t speak exuberantly, and don’t speak more than 20% of the call. Ask all the right questions.

[11:55] Kayvon reconciles how The One Call Closer™ System provides service. He has three requirements of his clients and three questions to ask himself before taking a sales project. It is always a helpful solution to a problem the prospect has.

[14:32] Kayvon does not do cold calls. He works with people already in the sales funnel. Closing involves a critical exchange point, or a transfer of value.

[16:26] The One Call Closer™ System is not a selling system. At the end of the conversation, Kayvon congratulates the customer for getting a solution that helps them.

[18:33] The first step in a call is the introduction to set the stage. Then come a few questions, the solution, and the agreement. A person who will not answer questions is not the right person to continue the call or buy the offering.

[22:06] Kayvon tells why thought leaders delegate the closing to him. He discusses the process of choosing prospects to call. Kayvon helps winners to win more. Thought leaders need to spend their time on coaching and training, not on closing.

[28:37] Kayvon explains how a script works for high-ticket offerings, such as a four-day event for $20K. The events are transformational entrepreneurial experiences. Kayvon says, to make $10 million, hang out with people who make $10 million.

ANNOUNCEMENT

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. See the complete list of episodes at AndyPaul.com. 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.

August 23, 2017

#549. Align Your Marketing and Sales Teams to Increase Your Revenue. With Hugh MacFarlane.

Hugh MacFarlane, originator of ‘The Buyer’s Journey,’ author of The Leaky Funnel, and Founder and CEO of Align.Me, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:11] Hugh says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is wanting to tell their story before the customer is ready to hear it, instead of hearing the buyer’s story, and letting that direct what to say to them. What’s the buyer’s idea?

[5:06] A rep must know what the customer already thinks. In the past, the rep was the source of knowledge. Today, the customer knows more about the product use case than the rep does. Marketing can supply the rep with info on the buyer.

[7:52] Sales and Marketing alignment is building a process together that both departments know, in which they both do their part. It does not require cross-training, but training specific to the role.

[11:22] Hugh compares alignment to a relay race. Reps don’t need to know how to write copy. They need to know prospects have been reading blogs and downloading white papers.

[12:19] Turf wars come from job insecurity over new technologies and processes. Working together serves the customer better. Hugh talks about the evolution of the process being an important factor in sales success.

[14:22] Hugh details the firmographics of two studies his firm did on Sales and Marketing alignment.

[16:16] Hugh was surprised by the results from the optimization of an aligned process. Sales reps are more likely to accept a marketing lead. Hugh notes the short life of a lead. Self-declared interest needs to be addressed the same day.

[21:20] When sales accepts more leads that will close, then both sales and marketing benefit from the improved results. A single, optimized process designed by both marketing and sales brings this result.

[22:37] Building a robust sales and marketing aligned process, and training both the marketers and reps, correlates with rises in acceptance, and closure, of late-stage opportunities.

[26:18] The data was not available on the quality of training in marketing and sales. The studies raised questions to explore. Some training appears to be an improvement over no training.

[28:36] Andy recently read an article comparing gender differences in sales, but there was little usable data. All reports have biases. Hugh’s research was looking for big differentiators. Alignment is the biggest they found.

[32:34] Organizations working for alignment adjust the process together. The driver for alignment in companies is when marketing and sales are not working together, and it shows. There are many voices making the case for alignment.

 

August 21, 2017

#547. How to Build Your Authority with Effective PR. With Josh Elledge.

Josh Elledge, Founder of upendPR and Chief Executive of SavingsAngel, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:20] Josh says the single biggest challenge that salespeople face today is getting out of our own way. It’s so important to adhere to a script or a system based scientifically on what works, with authenticity, for the customer.

[3:14] It’s an open question how much sales has improved from the “old school.” Customer-centric selling has long been a topic. Business selling has to be about the prospect. We may not be evolving fast enough in that direction.

[6:06] SavingsAngel was launched 10 years ago to cut the family’s grocery bill by coupons and sales. It is an automated data site, building membership through PR. Josh used PR firms to promote it, but they all failed him.

[10:27] Because Josh felt traditional PR methods were ineffective, he started upendPR as an anti-PR type of firm, to use current marketing methods. They have a great success rate for their clients.

[11:31] Andy hired a reputable PR firm for the release of one of his books, and paid big money for no results. Facebook can calculate the predicted return on an advertising investment. But a PR campaign isn’t an advertising campaign.

[12:45] The number one job of a business is to grow.  Network with influencers and serve large audiences. The more you give, the more they will want to reciprocate, and the more they will look to you for value, and engage for a deeper dive.

[18:26] Josh contrasts PR with social sharing. The best way to get the respect of influencers is to be an influencer. Build yourself into the position of being an authority. An unknown running ads on Facebook will not be noticed. PR is the path.

[20:18] Radio, blogs, print all may reach your targeted client. Traditional media sources are hungry. Approach writers in industry publications. Josh discusses PR placement (instances where you get quoted). People want to be part of a movement.

[26:17] There is a playbook for startups to build their brand, and it usually neglects PR. Effective PR builds your authority.

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!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[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.

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.

August 8, 2017

#534. Closing Starts at the Beginning of a Deal. With Anthony Iannarino.

Anthony Iannarino, best-selling author of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, and author of the new book, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments that Drive Sales, joins me for the fourth time on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[4:24] Anthony says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is changing their mindset. Instead of a talking about how great the seller’s company is, start by sharing something of value the buyer hasn’t considered about the buyer’s company.

[6:28] Information parity offers no value for the buyer. The salesperson is in discovery mode, but they should concurrently help the buyer discover the value of a decision.

[7:17] Anthony speaks of the commitments needed of the buyer. The sales world has changed since the 1960’s, but not the close. Now, commitments along the way form the close.

[10:31] Closing is integral to the full sales process, as a series of commitments from the buyer, from the initial contact through the final decision. The final commitment is the clear result of earlier ones. The process is fluid.

[12:48] Exit criteria set by the seller, ignore the buyer. The buyer may not be ready to exit a stage when the seller thinks. Customer verifiable outcome conversations are awkward. Anthony explains of process maps and compasses.

[15:48] The buying process (if any) and the sales process run in parallel. Anthony covers how the salesperson can help the buyer discover their buying process, including stakeholders. The sales rep must learn how to serve them where they are.

[17:39] It’s always been hard to get in front of the people you need to contact. It is easier to find them today, from data available anywhere. Expectations on salespeople are higher.

[20:49] Col. John Boyd repeatedly said, “People, ideas, technology.” Now we say, “Technology, ideas, people.” We’re getting it backwards. The tech cannot cover up all the places where salespeople need to invest in their development.

[21:41] We create an environment full of excuses. Cold calling still works. Content creators are content marketers, not social sellers. Content you do share should help the buyer think what they should be doing differently.

[26:06] ABM is going back to ‘bell-bottoms.’ Fundamentally good ideas get recycled over time. Close rates don’t seem to get better.

[27:40] Shiny objects are not moving the needle. Develop people to be consultative, with a point of view, and understand how to help buyers create change within their company. Those reps, with ideas and tools, will be successful.

[29:04] AI does more repetitive tasks, that have nothing to do with creating value for the buyer. People in power have always had trusted advisors. Be the advisor. Don’t be a catalog. Learn to control the process to provide value for the buyer.

August 3, 2017

#529. Using Automation to Enhance the Human Element of Sales. With Kyle Porter.

Kyle Porter, CEO and Founder of SalesLoft, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:36] Kyle says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is distraction. They are distracted from the mission and what’s important. Reps must protect their time and engage in things that add value, but not be swayed by new shiny objects.

[4:52] In an organization that doesn’t have a set process, reps need to find their own way immediately. In an organization too strictly tied to the process reps have no leeway to find their own way.

[5:42] AI in sales is happening. Great AI makes salespeople more human. In sales, the human-to-human interaction is always needed.

[7:20] Kyle distinguishes between machine learning and process automation. SalesLoft, for example, logs emails into CRM, to free the rep’s time for prospect engagement. It does not analyze the email content to make decisions from it.

[9:08] SalesLoft uses advancements in technology to accelerate what sales reps do, by removing barriers to managing large lists of accounts. The rep prescribes SalesLoft actions to be triggered by specific events, and is notified to act.

[10:46] The mechanization of process tasks permits following the strategy more closely. Then the process can be measured, and sales success measured more accurately. It allows tweaking over time, based on the outcomes.

[11:58] The human portion of the strategy — person talking to person — is still unique. No two salespeople perform exactly the same way. Kyle notes that reps using a mechanized process have more time to engage, so they improve.

[17:41] Kyle says SalesLoft SDRs spend more time engaging than the industry average, because that’s the product they sell, so they’d better be good at it.

[18:20] There are many things SalesLoft can do. But all you need is to programs in the process you want to use, without sacrificing the authenticity of communication.

[20:45] Kyle notes some of the more complex features of AI in sales, and how they empower the salesperson. AI is just getting started.

[27:51] Close rates are so low because qualification is so mis-applied. Everyone wants more leads, but the leads they get are not the right ones, and the reps are not following up with them properly.

[29:43] Follow up is still a problem. Kyle says, “Not our customers.” Reps must manage all the contact points necessary. That’s what SalesLoft does.

August 2, 2017

#528. How to Fix the Failing Sales Model. With Jacco vanderKooij.

Jacco vanderKooij,  Founder and CEO of Winning by Design, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[3:56] Jacco says the single biggest challenge facing sales professionals is that they are unable to execute a proper sales process consistently. The process depends mostly on artistry.

Sales organizations are failing, and they have weak processes.

[6:32] Jacco notes that a procedure is not necessarily a sales process. A process is doing something that is proven to work, and doing more of it, while stopping what doesn’t work.

[8:11] Jacco Prepared a Prezi on the new sales process, “The Art of Making Love,” or doing sales right over and over again. If you don’t have any customers that ‘love’ you, you have not been doing it right.

[10:28] Jacco recently showed the Prezi at an event, “Flying Upside-Down.” People from various disciplines presented for startup founders.

[12:08] Jacco says to think of SaaS sales as a technology that has had no innovation over the past decade. Nothing has changed in the predictable revenue model in 10 years. It persistently fails today. Now we need an innovation.

[14:07] New tools have not produced increased levels of performance. A two-touch sales organization doesn’t work. Jacco explains the reasons. He calls it the triangle of death.

[18:29] Jacco urges changing from sales-centric to customer-centric. SaaS will evolve. Revenue is made as the customer is successful. The sales mindset is outdated. Think Committing, not closing; Trading, not negotiating.

[23:07] The trade in the heart of sales is the customer’s time for the salesperson’s value. Most business should come in the customer success system. The salesperson should work to make the customer happy. That flips the current model.

[24:25] Sales is service. Jeff Bezos said, “We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.” The methodology must become customer-centric: experiences, not stages.

[28:11] The experiences are emotional steps. Salespeople need to recognize what experience the customer is having to know how to educate them. Don’t go to a pitch. Guide and inform.

[32:10] Jacco uses TALKER as an acronym for Tone, Ask questions, Listen actively, Keeping notes, Elaborate on the conversation, Repeat what you’ve heard. Don’t let there be problems from miscommunication.

[34:33] Qualification today is based on an old process. The salesperson gets all the value from BANT. The customer gets nothing. This needs to change. When organizations treat how they sell, as important as what they sell, then sales will work.