Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
April 22, 2017

#439. How to Transform Your Processes for Sustained Growth. With Greg Head.

Greg Head, CEO of Greg Head Consulting, and former CMO of Infusionsoft, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:40] Greg details his software sales career since 1987, starting at Egghead. He grew two companies to over $100 million, and then founded Greg Head Consulting in 2016. He likes helping grow companies that look crazy, before they look obvious.

[5:15] Helping companies grow is not easy, and there are treacherous obstacles. Greg discusses signs that show your growth strategy needs updating.

[7:13] The recipe for growth changes as a company grows. Rather than charting a smooth curve, it grows by steps, and each step is different.

[9:33] Greg explains the inflection points of growth from a sole proprietorship to a large company. He compares it to transitioning from ADD to OCD.

[12:04] When Greg was at Infusionsoft, they decided to stop being all things to all customers. When they focused on a particular customer need, and narrowed the product, they went from no growth to 50% growth in six years.

[15:01] To maintain growth in a high-growth company, you must reset the process about every 18 months. The first rule of the game is to know what game you’re playing, and the game is always changing.

[17:12] The sport of growth is like playing in the Pros. You will not play the same role in the same game for many years.

[19:14] A small company that starts off by “making stuff up” as they go, soon has to transition to a business plan. Things change in the maturing process. Amazon started by just selling books, and gradually shifted to a variety of merchandise.

[23:44] Greg talks about assessing past, present, and plans for the future, and suggests pulling your mind like taffy. Block the possibility of failure. Greg discusses a real estate growth firm.

[27:10] The big challenges still need addressing, and we need more entrepreneurs, companies, and people to aim high and go after them, like they cannot fail.

 

March 31, 2017

How to Optimize Your Sales Process. With Bridget Gleason. #420

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular guest on Front Line Fridays.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:15] A sales process is subject to iterative improvement. Is it scalable? Do your salespeople have, or need, the skills to handle inbound and outbound? Examine historic sales data, from lead to close. Identify where the process needs change.

[6:24] Bridget’s team receives inbound and makes outbound calls. Outbound is tasked to reach into various departments of the prospect. SDRs help supply the inbound leads.
[9:12] A Logz.io sale usually starts with the manager of the end user, and it is critical for the account executive to involve other buyer contacts with more authority, to align the sales process with the buying process, from the beginning.

[11:19] Bridget discusses exit criteria for each stage of the sales process. How does the salesperson shepherd the buyer along the buying process, by inviting legal, security, procurement, and budget contacts to buy in?

[13:35] Has Logz.io settled on one sales methodology? Bridget talks about her Xerox training and SPIN Selling methodology. She also invokes Sandler training as an example.

[16:38] What parameters influence the choice of sales methodology? Are there great differences between most sales methodologies?

[18:29] What about compensation? How do you balance the needs of the company with motivating individuals? How does personal growth opportunity balance direct compensation?

[21:46] Is compensation the ultimate determining factor of performance motivation? Bridget reveals her opinion.

March 29, 2017

Process and Execution Rule in B2B Selling. With Tibor Shanto. #418

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Tibor Shanto, author, speaker, trainer, and sales expert.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:00] Tibor offers training, speaking, and coaching, and he writes. He helps B2B companies get new business through process and execution. “Everything else is just talk.”

[3:56] Tibor comments on research about social media influence on B2B. Is the research relevant and reliable?

[6:11] Some buyers enter the market on their own. Some do not, unless approached; and they may not be on social media.

[10:23] When you start content marketing, what happens when you run out of content? Tibor shares his experiences. [12:46] Tibor does not seek pain points. What does he focus on, instead? How does he help prospects become buyers?

[16:24] ‘A’ players use tools to boost their success. ‘B’ and ‘C’ players hope tools will make them ‘A’ players. “‘C’ players should be seeking employment in the hospitality industry.”

[20:41] A robust sales process that is followed, serves as a platform for coaching, hiring, and individual success.

[23:29] Managers need to spend more time coaching their B players. 75% of their time should be coaching, but rarely is.

[29:02] Some sales behaviors and traits can be taught. Can passion be taught? How does process help sales?

[34:00] Statistics vary about buyers, regarding who initiates, and who is brought into the process. Embrace both types.

[38:25] Sales complexity increases from the technology and apps being thrown at the reps to ‘help them.’ They hinder more than help. Look for helpful tech, not just new tech.

[40:44] Tibor notes that tech doesn’t make the sale, but it does help reach the buyer. Learn to sell first, and tools can help.

 

March 22, 2017

How To Create Value for Your Prospects. With Jack Kosakowski. #412

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Jack Kosakowski, Global Head of B2B Social Sales Execution at Creation Agency.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:58] A sales professional for 12 years — in manufacturing and tech — Jack found a niche in social sales. His passion is integrating social into B2B sales.

[2:55] Jack gives his straightforward assessment of the single biggest challenge sales representatives face today. He follows up by describing a general problem with the SDR model.

[4:35] What happens to the sales process, in companies under high pressure to grow?

[5:36] Jack talks about shortcuts that turn out not to be pathways to sales success.

[7:36] The discussion turns to training issues.

[8:40] Jack has advice for marketing and sales alignment.

[11:27] What is different about B2B selling today, than before the use of the account-based sales model?

[14:22] The Art vs. the Science of Sales: the Debate. Jack would like to know the sales equation, if there is one.

[15:10] Jack covers building the right team, creating the right processes, stacks, and sales training strategy.

[18:05] Jack talks about questions sales representatives ask.

[20:57] How to dig deeper.

[23:50] Jack has learned more empathy for the buyer by being pitched. What skills has he seen lacking, among sales reps who called on him? Could they have given more memorable value?

[30:11] How does social media selling allow the sales professional to sell proactively?

March 16, 2017

How to Optimize Your Sales Effectiveness. With Manny Medina. #407

Manny Medina, is CEO of Outreach.io.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:47] Manny was a telco software developer. He moved to Amazon, then to Microsoft’s Windows Phone, and then, sales.

[1:40] Manny founded GroupTalent, as the main salesperson. They developed internal outreach software, but customers wanted the software, not their service. So he began Outreach.

[2:42] The declining number of hours reps spend selling is the biggest problem Manny sees in sales. Why has it declined?

[4:50] Could CRM syncing take less sales time? Manny also has ideas for getting real-time client information to salespeople. What can be automated in communication?

[7:30] As sales is a process, Manny asks, for each action, what is the value of that action relative to the expected outcome. How do you optimize your time to be most effective?

[9:02] Marketing Automation provides customers with a lot of information before they buy. Salespeople should have a lot of information about the customer’s persona, and the individual contact, and engage them to fit their needs.

[12:55] In B2B sales, you need to know the structure of the prospect firm. Who are the influencers, who makes the decision, and what value proposition engages each contact?

[15:30] How can you set up your system so that when your automated message is sent to the contact, it lands at the right place and time to work? When should you use testing?

[17:55] The sales process has two issues: how well does the process fits the prospects, and are people well-trained to have the right conversations to engage with the prospect? What message resonates with each persona?

[22:16] Sales process training is largely ineffective, and, when effective, it fades in the absence of continued follow-up. When Outreach.io works with a client, they check for a process; if it’s being followed; and lastly, if the results are being measured.

[26:36] Manny cites Bill Walsh’s The Score Takes Care of Itself, about a standard of performance, that when followed, produce repeatable results. SaaS needs a repeatable process.

[29:01] What relationship does Manny see between quota attainment, and CRM roll-out? Are shops actually using their CRM? How can Outreach.io fit into the process?

February 27, 2017

How to Climb to the Top in Any Sales Organization. With Lee Bartlett. #392

Lee Bartlett, is a sales expert, entrepreneur, and author of a new book titled, The No. 1 Bestseller.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:25] Lee wrote The No. 1 Bestseller as his interpretation of sales excellence — what top salespeople do differently from their colleagues and their competition.

[2:03] The book tells how a salesperson uses sales skills with a mindset and strategy, to work themselves consistently to the top of a sales organization.

[5:09] In Lee’s view, sales statistics can be viewed different ways, but there’s only one way to view a paycheck.

[7:01] Lee always aligned his expectations with those of the company. The company wanted $X million of new business; Lee calculated his sales and agreed on his salary to produce his part. Everyone was aligned, and they went to work.

[9:22] Lee worked both enterprise sales, and very high-value transactional sales, and the sales processes were always defined. Lee looked at the top salesperson to see how they worked.

[12:22] Lee asked customers how they wanted to be sold to, and then he aligned with their expectations.

[15:18] In his book Lee describes the level of preparation and responsiveness he applied to win these deals. In one year he won over 90% of the deals he pitched, with a product similar to competing products.

[17:55] Lee applied quantification to as many of the parts as possible, and built a strategy to be able to handle any situation.

[18:37] Lee explains “the magic” of a boardroom sales pitch. There is a difference in how a salesperson approaches, and adapts to the situation, depending on their ability to “read the room,” and engage with the influencers.

[20:49] In the pitch, behaviors and habits matter more than skills. Lee ended a pitch by pledging to help them through problems that may come up.

[24:05] Lee looked for new products, to be early in a business, and build it up, with a contribution to the culture of that product. Being involved with the right product that suited his personality was intrinsic to over achieving his goals.

[27:06] Lee didn’t personally work with scripting for cold calls. The minute someone took him off the script with a question, he would panic. So he learned the product, and internalized the message, which allowed an engaged dialog.

February 3, 2017

How to Accelerate Your Sales into 2017. With Bridget Gleason. #372

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest (and Front Line Friday co-host), Bridget Gleason, VP of Sales for Logz.io.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:43] Bridget likes to finish with the panic before the end of the year. The last two weeks of the year, reps say, “I don’t have anything else to close this quarter.” Bridget says, “So start building up to where you need to be for the next quarter.”

[2:56] By the end of January, Bridget likes reps to be well on the way to meeting their first quarter goals. As VP of Sales, Bridget needs to have the year’s structure — territories, hiring, ramping — all set, to focus on the year’s success.

[4:45] Bridget sometimes postpones personnel issues until the new year, to focus on finishing the year well, but, as soon as possible in the year, has that difficult conversation.

[6:08] Andy says to have those conversations back in October or November — because the problem is evident by then — so you have the team composition in place that you need by January.

[7:01] In sales, the data identifies there’s something that’s not working. Millennials in particular, would like ongoing feedback. If managers provide feedback often and early, then the final conversation isn’t as difficult, because it’s not a surprise.

[8:58] Andy wants to see successes in January — milestones, closes, shared successes — to build team confidence. It is crucial to keep the team motivated.

[12:20] Angela Duckworth’s, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, says great performers are often made by the team, as opposed to great players making the team great. Bridget wants a team that makes people better for being on it.

[13:13] Andy believes a team gives you more people to hold you accountable, because no one wants to let their teammates down. Everybody wants to contribute.

[15:30] Bridget ‘feels that in spades,’ about her company, Logz.io. Team accountability applies not only to sales professionals, but to all levels of a company. It’s a mesh.

[16:35] What has inspired Bridget recently? Angela Duckworth’s book on grit, teaches that intelligence matters, but if others are smarter than we are, we can do a lot to counter that by persistence, and by hard work.

[18:19] Bridget shares a story of a personal sacrifice made by one of her managers, with quiet determination, to help close out the big year-end deals. Some sacrifices are needed and appreciated, without apparent martyrdom attached.

[23:05] In the first month, pay attention to what’s going on; get early successes for the team; and deal with problems, regardless of sunk cost, whether personnel, or projects that will never close. Take a hard look at everything.

February 1, 2017

How to Make Your Own Game in Sales. And Win. With Chris Brogan. #370

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group (which provides skills for the modern entrepreneur), a highly sought-after professional speaker, and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books and counting, his latest being, Find Your Writing Voice.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:54] Chris introduces his book coming out, called Make Your Own Game. The book has two sections. First is The Fast Book, for people who believe they are too busy to read. Second is The Real Book, for those who want it all.

[2:51] Make Your Own Game first teaches how to win a game, seeing it as story (who, what, and why you are playing), rules (how to play), and strategy (how to win). Second, it teaches how to create your own story, rules, and strategy.

[3:30] Some companies may say innovation is important, but then they retreat to, “That’s not the way we do it.” Innovation assumes risk, but proposes reward, and includes breaking out of the blue binder on the shelf.

[5:44] Chris tells how doing something extra on Facebook to connect, led to a third party’s offering him a business deal.

[6:33] There is a conflict in sales organizations between optimization of process and reporting through Big Data tools, and creating and nurturing human connections. Dashboards help, but people buy from people they know, like, and trust.

[10:31] It’s easy to see on social media what people’s interests are. Google your contact before your sales meeting. Find out what will help understand them better, and bond together.

[13:03] Your buyers are all involved in things outside the sale. There is great value in small talk. Chris would like to see it codified into systems. He admits to personally getting too familiar, too quickly, though.

[15:20] Teaching authenticity is like scripting improv.

[17:16] Andy suggests doing what you need, to be one percent better than the next guy. As the sales professional, you — not the price — are the first differentiation. Be your best you.

[18:44] Sales professionals need to spend more time learning about their clients and connecting to them. Uniquely human skills make the sale. Don’t show you are busy, show you are responsive to them.

[25:18] Sales is not about metric-driven methodologies. It’s about people. The biggest challenge in any sales organization is engaging with the prospect. It’s hard to put metrics on a sales rep’s ability to get others to ‘know, like, and trust’ them.

[29:47] Sales professionals, like most people, want to have a system. The sales challenge is to learn a really simple system to win the sale. Chris wants his book to help people with this, using self-permission.

January 25, 2017

How to Close Sales Without Manipulating Buyers. With James Muir. #364

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest James Muir, sales trainer, speaker, coach, and author of The Perfect Close. Among the many topics that James and I discuss are why bad sales practices still abound, essential questions to help advance your buyer along their buying process and how facilitating the buying process builds trust.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:38] James wrote this book to help sales professionals that are uncomfortable asking for commitments in manipulative ways.

[5:11] A majority of meetings with prospects conclude without the sales professional asking for a commitment. You need to go into any encounter with an idea of what you want the outcome to be. Use advancing questions, such as, “Does it make sense to X?”

[7:28] Andy makes the connection to Neil Rackham’s Spin Selling, and asks if the prospect today still needs to be prodded from stage to stage.

[10:14] Asking, “What’s a good next step?” may reveal internal procedures that need to occur before anything external. That tells you where they’re at in their buying process.

[11:51] 50–60% of qualified opportunities end in no decision because sales professionals make assumptions without making a compelling case to change the status quo.

[13:10] Advancing questions show at each step if more justification is needed before going forward. Complex sales, particularly, may slow from insufficient justification.

[19:29] Endowed progress means that the closer one is to achieving a goal, the more one accelerates toward the goal.

[20:28] Commitment consistency is a propensity to sustain commitments, based on the psychological need to maintain internal coherence. Robert Cialdini addresses this in Influence.

[24:39] James tells about a client who refused to work with a sales rep ‘with commission breath.’ Closers who serve themselves are not serving the customer. Be a facilitator.

December 13, 2016

Collaborate with Prospects to Increase Win Rates. With Dave Stein and Steve Andersen. #329

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! are my guests Dave Stein and Steve Andersen, co-authors of a new book, Beyond the Sales Process: 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer-Driven World. Among the many topics that Dave, Steve, and I discuss are how to (not) control the sale, which activities support the sales process and create a higher probability of success, and what kind of sales behaviors do today’s buyers require from successful salespeople?