Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
October 20, 2017

#586. Setting Priorities to Increase Productivity. With Bridget Gleason.

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


[3:47] Bridget is fantastic and busy! She talked to the executive coach working with her and he reminded her that her time management is within her control.

[5:01] Andy refers to systems by David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, and Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. You can hear interviews with David, on Episode 483, and Kevin, on Episode 82.

[5:48] Andy was using Kevin Kruse’s system until about four months ago when things just went off the rails! Andy is doing a reset and starting to be more clear about priorities. Bridget picks up projects that are left on the table. It’s too much.

[7:54] It’s important not to be a helicopter manager. Lead your team to get their tasks done. Bridget’s compulsive neatness contributes to her tendency to take over.

[12:19] Andy suggests reading about time management, and pick a methodology, to understand the principles. Find one that’s more aligned with who you are. Andy uses bits of several, which is a purposeful choice.

[13:56] Everyone has a favorite sales metric. Bridget describes the KPIs she uses. She gets a snapshot of actionable items, such as MQLs, the dollar value at top-of-funnel, and prospects at the Proof-of-Concept stage.

[18:31] Other KPIs Bridget looks at are stage conversions, revenue per rep, and how quickly reps ramp. Reps look at the same KPIs, so they know what matters to Bridget.

[23:22] Andy says talk time is a metric some consider outmoded because it doesn’t move the needle. We have so much data coming to us; are we using the right data? Can we normalize other metrics? Bridget ignores some dashboards.

[26:27] The problem with so much data is knowing what to look at. Are we missing something? Some assumptions may be wrong, and the data could clarify them if viewed correctly. Bridget talks about metrics used at an earlier job at Yesware.

[29:12] Test your assumptions continually. One of the weak points of big data is that algorithms are based on assumptions. Reexamine assumptions to understand the data.

[30:12] Please tell Andy and Bridget about your important metrics, and which ones provide less value now than they used to. Send them to

[31:02] We tend to use data to confirm what we already think to be true. We need to take maximum advantage of the data, to learn what we need to do differently than we now do. Get some outside perspective, such as a coach or consultant.

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.

August 1, 2017

#527. The Mindset to Sell like a Mad Genius. With Randy Gage.

Randy Gage, bestselling author and leading speaker on success and prosperity, and President of the Prosperity Factory, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:13] Randy says the single biggest challenge facing sales professionals is the mind game. 80% is mental — having the right mindset, in spite of resistance and rejection, knowing the value they offer, and finding their opportunities.

[3:33] If you ask 100 people what is the opposite of success, 99 will answer “failure.” Randy gives his interesting answer.

[5:24] Companies that do not set expectations for growth, or prioritize employee development, are rewarding mediocrity. People think it’s safer not to get noticed. But they lose. Look forward as your prospects change, and solve their problems.

[8:24] Know ‘where you live.’ Are you mediocre, good, great, or a mad genius? Know the path to becoming a mad genius. FInd two or three people who will be brutally honest with you.

[10:09] The ‘good’ is the area where people are self-satisfied. Keep building on success. Don’t stay in a comfort zone. Randy tells of his 20-70-10 formula. The 10% are the ones who strive to grow. The 20% do not. The 70% can be guided to develop.

[14:12] It’s all about creating culture. People know what is expected, and how the company operates. Create a customer-centric culture of innovation, and initiative. Create a culture where people are allowed to fail on the way to success.

[18:14] Processes that are too strict restrain sales reps from finding what works for them to meet their potential. There needs to be a safe space for creative people to be brilliant.

[19:23] Business is art. Data should support the sales process, not govern it. Randy uses a game/players analogy. Know the players and their abilities. Innovation and creativity come from within. The next decade will be the most cataclysmic in history.

[24:22] Uber plans for autonomous cars. That will change everything about car sales. Google changes everything about buyer knowledge. What trends and challenges are coming? When we know, we can help solve them and add value.

[26:37] The salesperson’s job is to know what the customer needs before the customer knows. Henry Ford knew that people needed cars when they just thought they wanted faster horses. Ask the right questions.

[27:27] Break out of habitual thinking patterns. Find questions that answer tomorrow’s issues, to help the customer accomplish what they want to achieve. Asking the wrong questions yields no value.

[30:09] Think about your own future. Mad Genius is worth the read. Solving problems and adding value are the underlying themes for salespeople.


July 26, 2017

#521. The True Measure of Sales Productivity. With Erol Toker.

Erol Toker, Founder and CEO of Truly, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:00] Erol says the biggest challenge facing sales professionals is how the nature of sales is changing underneath them. They need to take of their sales hat, and have an engineering approach to finding solutions.

[3:18] Product and domain expertise is essential to meeting the needs of the customer. The key is to add value that goes beyond the product. Willingness to learn and provide service is an advantage in sales.

[5:45] Truly is a sales communication platform. They build “the system of record for conversations.” For sales teams engaging buying teams, it is important to know who spoke to whom about what, by what channel. Truly gives that report.

[6:54] Truly records how much time you are spending in which stage of the opportunity, with which customer contact role, and what is being said in the conversation.

[9:22] Erol gives a client example on how Truly is used. In one company, among 80 reps, there was no common definition of a decision-maker conversation. Truly used quantitative metrics through analysis to formalize to a common definition.

[11:08] Truly’s ICP is a larger revenue organization, with at least 40 reps within a sales team, such as 40 SDRs, 40 Account Executives, or 40 Account Managers. The objective truths they measure are more important on large teams.

[12:02] Sales productivity is about understanding input and output. Truly looks at Customer Success. Outcome is more important than product. If a company does not understand their output, it is impossible to measure it against input.

[14:00] Order-of-magnitude increases in inputs (how many email messages are sent) do not produce order-of-magnitude increases in outputs (responses). Companies at different stages have different levels of productivity.

[17:46] Individual contributors need the data to learn whether they are productive or not. Reps need to know how to measure the right activities to enable productivity to go up over time.

[21:48] Andy gives an example of an agile company he has helped. Will conventional companies retain the same business model in ten years as they do today? Andy suggests that the current structure of sales no longer makes sense.

[24:33] There is a trend to think that technology will make you better, rather than to understand that making people more effective will make you better. Companies need to think long-term. Reps need the basic skills of human connection.

[28:47] The future of sales is about becoming more human, not less. Helping the customer quickly gather the information to help them make the good decision, is what matters in sales.


June 27, 2017

#495. Learn How to Create a Killer Presentation by Asking the Right Questions. With Tim Wackel.

Tim Wackel, top sales trainer and leading expert on making better sales presentations, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:17] Tim sees too much activity without accomplishment, as the single biggest challenge facing sales reps. This is driven from the top. Tim stresses working on the fundamentals first.

[4:13] Your sales process needs to be set up to make the human interactions within the buying process as value-laden and impactful as possible. Tim cites the art of conversation.

[4:55] Metrics are set by management. Reps need coaching on basics more than on metrics. Tim says executives often don’t know what’s going on in sales, but they want more of it. The real metric is, how much business are you producing?

[6:02] They must put their own stamp on the process. Don’t work robotically. Top performers have unique ways of doing things. Have the confidence to shine.

[7:40] Sometimes the manager doesn’t have the right process for you. Tim tells an anecdote about following up, and a rep who lost a prospect, and why he lost them.

[9:15] Every interaction needs to provide value. Tim’s first manager asked him if his clients valued him so much, would they be willing to pay for a sales call?

[13:06] Tim talks about the two opportunities you may have to make a presentation. At either time, a poor presentation will prevent a sale. Don’t deliver everyone else’s presentation.

[16:44] A presentation is not always necessary. You engage in relevant conversation, tell your story, and the laptop stays closed (even though you had a presentation ready). Tim says, design it in analog, deliver it in digital.

[18:00] Presentation clumsiness is a failure. People leave their practice until they have a presentation. Practice all the time. Don’t rely on the deck. Rehearse it in an environment similar to the client’s boardroom. Make it about the client, not you.

[23:52] Delete the corporate capabilities of your company. The client has already researched you. Focus on three things, what, how, and why. What is the concern? How can we fix it? Why are you the right vendor? This is the last, and easy part.

[28:30] Tim says, remember, it is Powerpoint, not Powerparagraph. It is a visual aid to support your story. Make the story more important than the slides, and use the slides with images to keep people engaged in your story.

[34:15] Presentation, like sales, requires methodical deliberation. How will this presentation engage the customer and move the sale forward? Sell on purpose. There is a pattern of success.

June 26, 2017

Townsend Wardlaw, sales transformation architect, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate!


[1:35] Townsend discusses his year so far, and his goal to accomplish more, to focus on time management and save time by not traveling for work. He quotes a traveling rate so ‘absurd,’ that his customers prefer for him to work remotely.

[7:51] Productivity is the number one challenge for sales organizations, and it’s getting worse, Townsend says. Selling comes from activity, and there’s not enough activity. To get enough first conversations, call, email, and sell socially — a lot.

[10:29] Townsend finds a lot of organizations that are not using a CRM to track activity, so they don’t even know what they lack. Then when he helps fix that problem, he sees the reps are still not doing enough activity.

[11:16] Townsend works with small business of $2-$10 million. In many cases, they only endure because the founder is still heavily involved in selling. Other clients may have a few outlier reps who bring in good deals, while most reps do not.

[12:24] Townsend sees the problem coming from low management expectations, poor tracking, and a poor grasp of hiring and onboarding. Reps know they would have to be actually detrimental to the company before being fired.

[14:04] Reallocating accounts can stir activity. Another point Townsend stresses is getting to the actual decision makers. A prospect who doesn’t have authority to decide is not a sale. Identify the person of authority early in the process.

[17:10] When a potential deal is questionable, the rep gets defensive when it is questioned. Townsend blames the mistakes on poor training. Selling is helping customers to buy the product or service that will meet their needs.

[18:44] The BALD method: Be present; Ask great questions; Listen without judgment; and Deliver value at every touch. Townsend urges reps to have an abundance mindset that allows you to say no to unqualified deals.

[21:05] BANT is not enough. Sales managers must do one-on-ones with the reps, with deep dives into the deals.

[26:44] Invest in your own development, make yourself invaluable to your company and customers. Learn your product, service and industry, and you will be in a good position, no matter what comes. Improve your skills. Learn.

[28:15] Some organizations are encouraging reps to read sales books and participate in professional development on company time.

[33:40] Townsend first went to the Traffic and Conversion Summit three years ago, and 85% were fringe internet marketers. He went in 2016, and 85% were B2B marketers and digital agencies. Townsend discusses marketing vs. sales.

#494. Quick Fixes for Poor Sales Productivity. With Townsend Wardlaw.

June 17, 2017

Eric Taussig, Co-Founder and CEO of Prialto, which helps executives and companies improve their productivity through the application of technology and a global workforce, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:10] Eric says almost any sales professional could use an assistant, either in the office, or remotely, to manage activities that are not directly part of the sales process.

[3:07] Prialto hires the best people they can find in traditionally heavy call-center cities to fulfill a more meaningful role than answering angry callers. Eric notes that people have forgotten how to use assistants, and they need help to get the value.

[5:26] Salespeople spend 80% or more on menial tasks that do not involve originating and nurturing relationships with prospects and clients, and that could or should be delegated.

[7:06] It’s the exception rather than the rule that the salesperson is also the most meticulous, detail-oriented CRM data person. So get someone who excels in that role to fulfill that role.

[7:46] Eric explains the methods of Prialto VA cohort. One VA acts as the interface, while multiple people may be doing the activities behind the scenes. Prialto is not a work-at-home model. They have managed work centers for quality control.

[10:14] Prialto has a center in Latin America, and one in Southeast Asia, and plans to continue adding centers in the future. They operate during U.S. business hours, East, West, and Central Time Zones. They recruit intelligent problem solvers.

[12:03] Prialto has upfront training, and mentorship between their associates. The centers look like open call centers, but behave as professional services centers. The best performers are promoted to mentor the newer people.

[13:31] Prialto stands behind the quality benchmark of their team. About 5% of the time they will switch out an assistant, but since all tasks are documented thoroughly, training is smooth, and the process is relatively simple for the end user.

[15:05] Eric states their best practices. There is a daily summary of work done, with an action plan for next work, with questions, and a place to rate the day’s service, and comment.

[22:45]  Eric explains how the A-player can use the VA in a rigorous sales process, and the VA can turn around and help a B-player to execute the same process, and improve results.

[23:15] Eric says the algorithm to solve scheduling is more complex than the driverless car. There is sociology and signaling involved. VAs with access to AI tools are the best fit.

[28:38] The base package starts with an in-depth needs analysis, and what services will fit for the client for the first few months, in one ‘Prialto Unit’ of 55 hours a month. Typically a dedicated VA is not distracted, and so works faster.

#487. Boosting Sales Productivity with a Virtual Assistant. With Eric Taussig.

June 13, 2017

#483. How to Get the Right Things Done. With David Allen.

David Allen, Founder of David Allen Company, and author of three bestselling books, including the all-time classic, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[2:55] David defines productivity two ways. The first is that you are producing the experience you are having. The second, is in improving the quantity or quality of an experience, by being more efficient, and/or more selective in what you produce.

[4:19] The 24/7 availability of ‘all the stuff’ has built an easily distracted world. However, humans have always sought distraction from hard, challenging activities. The distractions are now in a digital form.

[5:57] David explains how to know what is done. You must define what ‘done’ means, and what ‘doing’ looks like, and where it happens. Know when you can mark an item as ‘done.’ Then, know what is the next action to take about it.

[7:44] Things on your mind that worry you, are unproductive and exhausting. While they are on your mind, they are not getting done. So, start to notice what has your attention.

[9:25] Think about your client (steps you will), not of your client (worry). Getting things done is about being appropriately engaged with your life, so you can be present with whatever you are doing. Have your head totally clear.

[10:47] Get everything out of your head and on pen and paper, into a collection bucket, such as an in-tray, to clear every 24 to 48 hours. Carry a notepad and a pen. Or go digital. Just get it recorded where you will find it. David cites a five-step process. [13:40] The first driver when you open email or notes is to determine if there is any action you need to take. If no, trash it, save it for reference, or park it for potential future action. If yes, decide the next action to take, or if it is part of a project.

[17:33] David says, good luck, to relying only on a calendar. Life is full of interruptions. Write down what you need to do when it occurs to you, and it may not fit on your calendar.

[19:19] Having a clear mind allows you to focus and be present with what you are doing, allowing you to get more done of the things you want to do.

[20:31] David has a test to choose the next physical action. Most people procrastinate because they don’t know the next action to take. Make sure you know it. Set a time to do it.

[23:10] Each task has many small steps. Don’t plan past the next action, or you could go in the wrong direction. Thinking is required. “Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.” — Henri Bergson

[24:43] David’s latest book edition has not changed in its methodology, but the breadth of the audience that needs it has grown. Because of the digital onslaught, and the stress of opportunity, there is more need than ever for clear thought.

April 20, 2017

#437. Use Small Data to Compress Sales Cycles and Increase Conversions. With Mark Ripley.

Mark Ripley, VP of Sales for Insightly, a CRM and project management system, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[:41] Mark sold retail car stereos in college, and fell in love with sales. He got an early start in technology in San Diego. He is now at Insightly, where the goal is to bring CRM to medium and small businesses around the world.

[2:06] In three years, CRMs have grown from 60 to 250, today. Insightly captures market share with its ease of use and simplicity. Insightly is the number one CRM globally for G Suite users, with almost half the market.

[4:40] The CRM market is not saturated. There are many large and small companies not using CRM. What is the big fear many companies have about CRM?

[6:23] Some of Insightly’s best features are the UI, and its integration into other extremely common tools, such as Gmail. Many Insightly activities are accessible through Gmail and Office 365. Ease of use makes adoption simple.

[8:15] Mark notes three values for SMB pain points: sales productivity; organizing all activities for a world-class red carpet customer experience; and data visibility for managing larger sales teams.

[10:33] Insightly CRM can help sales reps get a larger Return on Time (ROT). Automation manages drip campaigns and email logs. They are launching a call transcription feature this year.

[14:15] Performance and productivity vary per market and industry. Activity and skills drive productivity. If you keep effectiveness the same, increasing activity increases productivity, in theory.

[21:30] Mark sees through a customer lens and a salesperson lens. A good CRM provides pre-sale and post-sale service to grow the customer relationship through personal attention.

[25:30] Mark uses the term small data. The smart use of data should yield tangible, digestible, and actionable results in a time-compressed fashion.

[28:44] Accurate forecasting through the CRM is the next ambitious step for Insightly. CRMs will get better at putting more accurate forecasting at the fingertips of managers.

[30:50] Present forecasting methods are tied to the stage of the client along the funnel, which ignores competitors. “You can’t measure probability with a yardstick.” Mark looks at history to predict outcomes.

[33:28] Mark questions the wisdom in incenting forecasting. What problem does Mark see? It’s a very common thing to assume everyone on the team is forecasting the same way, but it is not necessarily so.