Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
September 18, 2017

#568 The Science of Effective Presentations. With Nadjya Ghausi.

Nadjya Ghausi, VP of Marketing at Prezi, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[4:41] Nadjya says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is noise. Attention spans are decreasing while competition for attention is increasing. Reps need to learn to engage prospects by zeroing in on their wants and needs.

[7:06] Prezi started in 2009 in Hungary and moved to San Francisco. There is a user base of 85 million. It is a unique presentation platform built on an open canvas that allows free collaboration and conversation.

[8:33] Prezi’s non-linear navigation is unique. With pans and zooms, the experience is more like a movie than a slideshow.

[10:12] Prezi was the inspiration of an architect/visual designer and partners. They wanted a presentation that made good relational use of space and freeform movement. It became a unique new approach to communication.

[11:55] Nadjya explains how a user creates a Prezi. Start with the end you want to reach. Think of visual metaphors to use along the way. Consider story structure, and nonlinear paths to establish the story. The canvas presents topics at a glance.

[13:50] Prezi allows reps to zoom into what the prospect wants to know, whether introduction or detail. This can focus and help accelerate the sales cycle. Nadjya contrasts Prezi with a sales deck. Prezi is usable as an interactive conversation.

[17:03] Presenters using Powerpoint are telling a sequential story. Prezi requires mastery of your subject matter, leading to better conversations. Graphic presentations are more persuasive than text presentations.

[18:29] Nadjya discusses graphics, and expectations, as audiences will evolve through generations. Storytelling is a natural aspect of Prezi.

[19:51] Storytelling is an underdeveloped skill in sales. Prezi makes it easier to present your story.

[20:46] Prezi tracks how the presentation goes and what is shown, with analytics integrated into Slack or Salesforce.

[23:11] Prezi can share editing through Slack with permissions. Analytics note the time each user spends with a Prezi. In the course of a meeting, a Prezi can be zoomed in as the prospect comments. Watch for Augmented Reality to come!

[29:12] Preparing a Prezi, Nadjya asks herself what’s the best visual way to explain what she’s saying, and how all the parts fit together or stand alone. Higher user engagement adds memorability.

September 7, 2017

#561. Buyer Aware Account-Based Selling. With Darlene Mann.

Darlene Mann, Co-founder, President, and COO at Akoonu, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[3:08] Darlene says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is the complexity of the selling process to create value leading to a sale. The mechanization distracts reps from the heart of selling — understanding and helping buyers.

[4:30] Is the sales stack too complex? Darlene sees two sides to the issue. They buyer team faces greater complexity in buying, from many competing vendors offering feature-rich services. Personal connection is the key.

[7:03] The sales stack serves the seller, but where are the tools to serve the buyer’s need for making a good decision quickly? Darlene says Akoonu factors in the buyer and seller, each with their own activities. It helps the seller to understand the buyer.

[10:15] There may be an opportunity for an entrepreneur to develop tools to engage the seller and buyer systems in collaboration through the buying journey.

[10:50] Akoonu means ‘content.’ It looks at content the digital marketing world is producing, in an effort to reshape account-based selling for sales organizations. It is suited for complex, long-cycle sales, not for transactional unit sales.

[12:48] Akoonu collects data from Salesforce, email, calendars, and other sales enablement tools, to construct a buyer’s journey in alignment with your sales process, showing an opportunity map, and suggesting next steps with each contact.

[14:20] Darlene discusses Akoonu’s ROI. Giving the rep better views of the buyer puts them in a better position to close. Two extra deals a year will pay for Akoonu. Buyer context that persists is being created. Deal reviews are quick and efficient.

[18:02] Does the stack help sales? Darlene says the marketing side of the stack is essential. The sales side of the stack facilitates account-based selling. Reps are using the CRM mainly to store data, while the stack enables sales efficiency.

[21:37] Reps are still figuring out how to use the stack to make account-based selling efficient and productive. Darlene explains marketing automation, and leads, vs. opportunities.

[25:45] Distinguish between tools and best practices. A smart organization aligns marketing and sales, so outreach is researched, and contacts are personalized to specific needs.

[30:67] Use the technology to help position yourself as buyer-centric. Understand the business and needs, and get feedback to help the buyer make a good decision to buy.

[32:16] Customers change through the act of selling to them. They become more informed and intelligent about their needs. Be thoughtful, mindful, and deliberate as their ideas about their needs change through greater product knowledge.

August 7, 2017

#533. Why a Greater Focus on the Buyer is Essential. With Robert Koehler.

Robert Koehler, Director of Consulting at TOPO, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[1:25] Robert says one of the biggest challenges facing sales reps is trying to accelerate the sales cycle given the growth of buying committees and consensus buying. Robert suggests some tactics.

[2:26] The buying process depends on the buyer, and they don’t usually formalize it. It is impossible for the salesperson to control it. Building credibility early on, and educating the buyer, will help the salesperson guide the buying process.

[3:51] The salesperson needs to understand the commitments the customer has to make to get to the decision. Know the exit criteria of each stage of the process. Have a tailored customized sales process. A sequence is not the process.

[8:37] Salespeople need to know what information the customer needs in order to make a decision. Robert shares an anecdote about missing information.

[10:02] Instead of following a checklist, learn where the customer wants to be, and the gap to cross to get there. Understand the buyer and their business, and what challenges the buyer faces day-to-day.

[13:13] Onboarding should be about understanding the customer. This will not be solely acquired through experience. Training is required. Examine your onboarding program. What percent of the information is in the buyer’s voice?

[15:36] Surveys will not tell you about the customer. Talk to them in person. Personal meetings give the best opportunity for deep understanding, especially for milestone meetings.

[22:35] Question what the data shows. Robert looks forward to AI for personalization of coaching and training.

[24:25] AI can adopt repetitive tasks, to free time for reps to engage. People have uniquely human qualities, where a personal touch is becoming more important, as technologies come into play.

[25:54] Be mindful and present with the customer. (Put your phone away!) Understand the business. Ask the right questions. Tie your solution to the buyer’s challenges. Put together a proposal that speaks to their business challenges.

[29:53] There seems to be little or no correlation between the sales stack, and the productivity of the individual contributor. Close rates are dropping. The tech is not customer-focused. Robert says the solution is not seen on the horizon.

[32:39] Andy cites Geoffrey Colvin: “The ability of a company to make a good decision with the least investment of time and effort possible, is viewed by the buyer as a strategic process.” Robert considers the importance of customer success in SaaS.

April 13, 2017

#431. Improving Productivity with Sales Enablement. With Giles House.

Giles House, CMO of CallidusCloud, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[:49] Giles has been in sales and software for 12-13 years, with CallidusCloud since 2010. CallidusCloud’s mission is to become a top five cloud company, with ‘Lead to Money’ sales enablement.

[4:15] CallidusCloud offers a suite of connected sales and marketing applications, for a consistent, shared sales and marketing stack.

[6:43] Sales and marketing alignment involves shared information and consistent follow up. Giles explains the process.

[10:19] Giles gives his opinion on ABM. Aligned sales and marketing teams should be using it, but not exclusively.

[12:59] Lead to Money is a platform for generating more leads and prospect interest, helping marketing ROI, and providing rich information to sales for better buyer connection. It also involves sales training and coaching.

[15:14] Giles shares his understanding of sales productivity, concerning the organization and individual reps, with onboarding and goal attainment tracking.

[17:38] Productivity of a salesperson includes time they use for sales activities and tasks, and how effective they are. Giles considers CSO Insights’ report on quota attainment, and why it has been flat over the years.

[19:52] It’s difficult to correlate records between multiple systems in a typical sales stack, so history and other critical facts are not often available where they are needed.

[21:45] Giles discusses the concepts of productivity and quotas. He offers suggestions for setting quotas and commissions. Forecasting is critical.

[25:05] Giles would like to see quota attainment much higher than 50%, and he suggests how that could be done.

[26:55] Salespeople today carry great burdens of expectations, offset by great opportunities, if they can take advantage of them. The right technology stack is essential. The quality of the customer experience is critical to landing a deal.

[30:15] Giles says AI should refer to assisted or augmented intelligence. In Giles’ opinion, robots will never complete the complex sale, but machine learning is a great boost to sales.

September 13, 2016

How to Build The Right Sales Stack For Your Needs. With Nancy Nardin. #252

Nancy Nardin is joining me for a second time on Accelerate. Nancy is a thought leader on sales and marketing productivity tools and the founder of Smart Selling Tools.  Join us now as Nancy and I discuss her Hierarchy of Revenue Needs and Sales Stack Maturity Model and how to use these tools to help you build a sales stack that aligns with your requirements, and many more topics.   


July 28, 2016

Mark Kosoglow, is Vice President of Sales at Outreach. Mark joins me on this episode to talk about the sales stack, what it is and how companies should go about the process of constructing their own sales stack. Listen in as we discuss many topics including how companies should evaluate and choose applications to add to their own sales stack. Join us now!

How to Choose The Right Solutions For Your Sales Stack. With Mark Kosoglow. #212

April 21, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 139 with Micheline Nijmeh. Improving Sales Team Productivity.

Micheline Nijmeh is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at LiveHive, a unified Sales Acceleration Platform that delivers enhanced sales team productivity, email effectiveness, and follow-up through automation and engagement analytics. Among the sales productivity topics Micheline and I discuss are:

  • What forces are shifting the balance between inside sales and field sales positions?
  • What necessary sales disciplines have slipped in recent times as sales increasingly shifts towards inside sales?
  • Why sales on-boarding processes need to change and how to decrease the amount of time required to train new sales reps.
  • What inside sales reps must do to create positive first impressions on prospects.
  • How to prioritize your investments in new sales technologies.
  • What are buyer-side analytics? And why are they important drivers of sales productivity?
April 15, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 135 with Bridget Gleason. What’s in Your Sales Stack?

My regular guest on Front Line Friday is Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales for SumoLogic. In this episode, Bridget and I talk about the sales stack, what it is, and how it supports specific sales processes. Drawing on specific examples from her own sales organization and the tools they use, we talk about essential elements that every sales team needs in their sales stack. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • What is the definition of Sales Stack?
  • Why sales reps should not be responsible for list building.
  • What tools are used for list building?
  • Within a company, which department should own the task of building the list and list hygiene?
  • Why multiple tools might be required for outbound emailing.
  • Specific automation solutions for sales development reps.