Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
November 13, 2017

#596 Think Like a Marketer to Build Your Sales Brand. With John Jantsch.

John Jantsch, President at Duct Tape Marketing, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


  • John says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is the change in the way people buy. A sales rep must add more value, such as caring about buyer needs.
  • John plays the long game. He shares what works. He keeps his customers for years. He loves what he does. He says people don’t find negative reviews of Duct Tape Marketing. He is customer-centric.
  • John says to focus on using technology, not for its newness, but to add client value. To work really hard for a long time is the secret to success.
  • John’s book, Duct Tape Selling, is based on the premise that sales and marketing are moving closer together. Salespeople need to start building their brand to add value. Perceptive listening s to let the client lead the way.
  • Reps following a script sometimes miss cues from the customer that lead the conversation away from the script but towards a sale. Listening perceptively helps avoid missing cues. Don’t assume what the client wants — ask.
  • Andy tells reps to listen without filters and forget biases about what is right for the client. Help the client come to the right decision based on their needs. The client should talk more than the rep, especially in discovery.
  • Robert Cialdini notes in Pre-Suasion that we not only buy from people we know, like, and trust, but that like us, too. See how long you can ask somebody questions before talking about yourself.
  • John talks about being your own talking logo, or sales affirmation. When asked what you do for a living, answer in a way that is interesting to the person. They don’t care about your product; they want to solve their problem.
  • When people ask John what he does, he says he installs marketing systems. People generally they ask follow-up questions to learn more. John has a client who does SEO. He says, ‘I make the phone ring.’ That generates interest.
  • Salespeople may want their own website. Some organizations resist it. Resistance may come from legal compliance, or from fear of losing the rep. Customers will search you. Add value to build your sales.
  • John discovered while writing his book that marketing and sales compensation is so misaligned that there is guaranteed conflict between the groups. Compensation may need to be adjusted to fit new circumstances.
  • John says that the sale is not complete until the customer gets a result. Sales reps in it for the long haul will advocate for the client.


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 now, to learn more and enroll today.

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 29, 2017

#577. Why Empathy Matters. With Bridget Gleason.

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


[2:04] This episode is about empathy. Andy quotes Meg Bear, “Empathy is the critical 21st Century skill.” As selling becomes automated, the ability to connect in an authentic fashion becomes highly valued. Society has a shortage of empathy.

[4:23] Bridget and Andy discuss whether empathy is rewarded in business. Bridget has never seen a job description for a VP of Sales that called for empathy. People hire for the number. If empathy is not present though, success will not be long-term.

[9:29] Andy reveals the one question a customer will never ask a Sales Manager: Will you make sure my rep is really salesy? They do want someone dynamic and inspirational, with some degree of empathy for their situation.

[10:38] In early-stage startups there is more need for aggressiveness. Bridget says that culture gets embedded early, and if empathy is not a core value of the Founders, it will not develop in the company. Trust and empathy go together.

[13:36] Andy cites Stephen M.R. Covey, who says empathy is necessary to develop trust. Recent research says empathy in college students is decreasing over the last few decades. It may relate to engagement with screens rather than people.

[15:39] Empathy is fading in the national discourse. Try to understand the other person’s point of view. Andy quotes Michelle Norris “We are losing the ability to actively listen and therefore to engage in deep and meaningful conversation.”

[17:49] Salespeople engage with an increasing number of stakeholders in various cultures around the world. If you can’t identify with them individually, you impede your ability to help them and win the sale. Bridget reflects on the team at

[19:53] Empathy is not stressed enough. Michael Bungay Stanier talks about the ability to listen without judgment. This is the critical skill. Understand them.

[22:20] Identify your own filters and make a mindful effort to set them aside. The sales process does not control the buyer. People tend to respond to influence, but each has their own reactions, emotions, and reasons.

[24:16] What does it take to develop empathy? It is a behavior that can be learned, but it takes mindfulness. Sales is a game for thinking people. Every action should be deliberate, not reactive. If we lack empathy, we should cultivate it.

[27:07] Continuous learning is not just about reading books but learning about ourselves, in personal growth. Society changes one person at a time. We all need to model empathy.

[28:45] People buy from people and the connection and trust is important. Empathy is key. Quoting Eric Shinseki, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” Empathy is a ‘gotta have.’


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!


[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.


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 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 20, 2017

#570 Using Funnel Metrics to Close More Deals. With Matt Ostanik.

Matt Ostanik, Founder and CEO of FunnelWise, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!


[5:53] Matt says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is changed buying behavior, with buyers going further in the buying process before contacting a salesperson, plus changed sales technology. Reps need to be very adaptable.

[7:14] Matt discusses recent changes to the buying journey and how it continues to change.

[8:57] Committee-driven buying is the rule across many industries but there is always one person on each committee who is the most accountable, according to recent research. Find this person during discovery.

[11:37] FunnelWise is a set of services to help you get more out of your marketing and sales funnel. Matt started the company after starting and selling a SaaS business and struggling as a sales manager to look forward in Salesforce.

[14:34] FunnelWise analyzes funnel metrics such as marketing qualified leads (MQLs) converted into sales opportunities and win rates of sales opportunities. It shows how MQLs get higher win rates than other sources. It can study individual rep rates.

[17:05] Matt address variability of variables between industries and clients. FunnelWise takes into consideration points that are fair comparisons and points that should not be compared due to variability. Matt sees a need for funnel education.

[20:22] To get more out of your funnel, draw conclusions from the data, then test the conclusions and iterate continually. Matt gives an example of how to hypothesize and test conclusions.

[21:49] People want to use the metrics to find the top performers, see what they’re doing, and teach others to do the same. Andy doesn’t see that working. Matt sees three dimensions to test: actions, skillsets, and product knowledge.

[23:39] The real variable is the individual seller. The biggest puzzle is to measure individual productivity and to improve it. It is a conversation of art vs. science of sales and management.

[25:47] Productivity is a key metric that is not standardized. What is the maximum an individual contributor can produce? Matt sees organizations looking more at capacity planning.

[27:15] A rep produces $X of revenue per hour. What is that number and what is its growth potential? Look for patterns and the bigger picture, and what reps do with their leads.

[28:22] The CEO needs to drive Sales and Marketing Alignment, and sometimes they need to see the business case, based on potential success from more sales. The CEO either intentionally or accidentally shapes company culture.


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.

September 6, 2017

#560. The Value of Salespeople According to B2B Buyers. With Steve Martin and Katie Bullard.

Steve Martin, technology sales author, sales researcher, Founder of Heavy Hitter Sales Training, and adjunct Professor at USC, and Katie Bullard, Chief Growth Officer at DiscoverOrg, join me on this episode of #Accelerate! to discuss their new report on B2B buyer preferences.


[4:01] People hear Steve Martin, and they smile. He has to go by Steve W. Martin. Steve says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is customer attention span. Attention spans have been shrinking for years, influenced by technology.

[5:46] Katie explains the DiscoverOrg report, “Why Didn’t They Buy: A Deep Dive into Buyer Preferences, and Implications for Salespeople,” primarily authored by Steve. The goal is to share knowledge of buyer behaviors to adapt seller behaviors.

[8:18] The report notes that buyers rank feature sets among competing products as equal. Factors other than product determine the sale. The sales cycle is the process of ferreting out the truth from confusing product claims.

[9:53] Buyers are more informed today than ever. One of the findings of the report is the influence of the internet, and how buyers use it. Steve says generalizations have exceptions. Katie talks about selling to sales, vs. selling to marketing.

[13:41] Selling to personas encourages rigidity. People belonging to a persona are not identical. Sales methods fit the pitch around the persona, not around people. Selling fits around people, not personas, so, human connection is vital.

[17:14] In our lifetime, AI will not replace reps. The report gives six topic areas. First is Risk. Buyers see most reps as average or poor. People with degrees in the sciences have a lower view of salespeople, which affects their tolerance for risk.

[23:13] Buyer perception of reps and buyer willingness to take risks are inversely proportional. At the low end of risk are government and health care. At the high end are fashion, entertainment, and real estate. RFPs protect against reps.

[25:09] Group Dynamics is the second topic. There are several influencers on a buying committee, but the main one to convince is ‘the bully with the juice.’ This dominant person is not afraid to go against the flow. Steve explains how they buy.

[32:09] Vendor Market Position Advantages is the third topic. Buyers don’t care if you are the first, second, third, or lower in your industry market, just so your name is known. Buyers do not like unknown quantities.

[36:39] Topic four is Websites. Topic five is Selling Style. Buyers prefer friendly, moderately knowledgeable reps over personally cold, highly knowledgeable reps, and charismatic but unknowledgeable reps. Fit your approach to the buyer.

[42:23] Topic six is Buyer’s Regret. Buyer’s remorse is largely not the salesperson’s fault. Steve asked buyers to explain their buyer’s remorse. He found 10 root causes, and 70% of the time, the root cause was an action of the buyer.

[44:54] It is critical to manage expectations throughout the process, and especially, right after the contract for a complex order is signed, so there is mutual understanding of the deal, and no confusion. Buyers have a short attention span.

September 1, 2017

#558. A Millennial Sales Rep Joins Us to Talk about Selling. With Bridget Gleason.

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


[2:15] Bridget — who feels fantastic today, and just had a great family reunion — is joined by special guest Josh Phillips, head of the account management team at in Tel Aviv. Josh is on the customer front line for technical help and other needs. [7:06] There are a lot of people skills in sales, and a lot of sales aspects in nearly every job. Josh says his generation is used to short-term targets and goals. Sales speaks to his generation.

[8:23]  Josh is from Manchester, United Kingdom. Andy and Josh bond over the Red Devils and the Romelu Lukaku transfer. Being a striker in football is just like being a sales guy. You’re the pointy end of the stick, and you need to be consistent.

[9:47] Josh says the stereotype of Millennial entitlement is real, for a specific reason. He talks about the educational process of constant targets to hit, for which you get Pavlovian rewards.

[13:58] Josh tells tips he learned getting his Master’s: If you only do as you’re told, you’ll excel; but that doesn’t work in the office. Millennials are surprised to be micromanaged; their supervisors are surprised Millennials want to be unsupervised.

[15:56] Andy says Boomers and Gen Xers misinterpret Millennials. Millennials want to know why things have to be ‘this way.’ That is motivated curiosity, not entitlement. They believe more in a meritocracy.

[18:01] Bridget agrees with the concept of meritocracy, and contrasts that with the Boomer mentality of ‘doing the time’ for the eventual reward. Millennial impatience is a good thing.

[19:45] Josh says technology increases transparency for a workplace of meritocracy. CRM lets everyone see everyone else’s work. Andy and Bridget remember the ever-present sales board. There has always been a ranking.

[21:29] Josh knows very few people who have been six years at one company. Andy notes that people not making their numbers were dropped quickly. You qualified to go to training.

[27:22] Josh says, the more tech comes into sales, the more it distracts the process. The customer buys the person, and the benefits they sell, not the product.

[28:58] Buyers think the Millennials are great at tech, but not as good at connecting with people. Josh says knowledge doesn’t close a deal. Bridget taught him not to have ‘happy ears.’ Proper listening is critical to selling.

[31:16] Technology can only replace some aspects of sales. Successful sales reps will be more human. Josh does not see his customers, so he looks into their social profile.

[32:34] Josh uses video on conferences sometimes. If the customer turns on the video feed, so does Josh. Some only want to chat or do email.

August 31, 2017

#557. How to Create Accurate and Realistic Sales Forecasts. With David Griffin.

David Griffin, CEO of Vortini, a sales forecasting system, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate


[2:33] David says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is that the level of competition increases quarterly, making it difficult to achieve predictable income. The buyer is also more informed, both on you and on your competition.

[4:32] Vortini came to be when David was doing sales data analytics. David wanted to specialize, as it is a crowded market. He looked for core business processes that were not well-supported with software solutions, and found forecasting.

[5:08] David sees heavy investments in CRM, and pipelines of opportunities. However, pipelines don’t tell the whole story for a solid forecast. Managers create spreadsheets, send them to opportunity owners, and get their forecasts a week later.

[7:20] Forecasts matter because revenue expectations must be met. SaaS has issues around staffing, and manufacturing has problems around inventory, if forecasts are inaccurate.

[9:34] Vortini takes data from the CRM, compares it to history, and considers collaboration for pipeline deliverability. Then it creates a scenario around the pipeline and resources.

[14:44] Andy cites Philip Tetlock, saying that we should train people to become better forecasters. It is a skill that can be learned. Vortini focuses on history and information available, to step through the assumptions that create a forecast.

[16:34] Reps are nervous about committing. Under-forecasting is as great an issue as over-forecasting. It can mean canceled orders if the goods or services are not available on time. Corporate forecasts are built from many smaller forecasts.

[18:22] Forecasting tip: first, ensure opportunities are realistic and achievable. The last day of the quarter is not a credible close date. Are targets set too high by management? Setting targets 15% higher this year than last is a hope, not a target.

[21:58] It is essential to manage biases. Don’t put the forecast in a spreadsheet. Keep it in the CRM, so forecasts and the quarterly results can be compared within the CRM. People can see their bias by looking at the evidence.

[24:24] Make sure you are staying connected to the overall plan. Are your quarterly forecasts supporting the annual forecast? David compares day 70 in history with day 70 of the quarter and day 70 of the forecast. Watch for going off track.

[27:17] It might be better to work on fewer opportunities, and do a better job on them. Carefully convert as many as possible. Don’t burn your way through them. They represent the base of future wealth to the company.

[30:09] The forecast that works uses machine learning to look at history and make defensible assertions about times to close. Forecasting does not say a quick close is impossible, but that it does not match past observed behaviors. Talk about it.

August 18, 2017

#544. Books to Elevate Your Attitude and Change Your Behavior. With Bridget Gleason.

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


[2:45] This is a book episode! Bridget read What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars, by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan. There are lessons in failure. The book asks why someone stays in a losing position. Don’t tie your self-worth to external things.

[5:37] Research shows that specific direct goals are less attainable. Put some space between your personality and the ultimate achievement. This book was about a trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He learned to be resilient.

[7:23] Resilience is a trait of a sales professional who will endure and move on. Bridget looks for examples of resiliency in her interviews. It’s not indifference, but self-acceptance.

[9:16] Andy recommends Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will, by
Geoff Colvin. It speaks directly to sales. The research on technology shows there will be changes, so provide value.

[11:11] Geoff Colvin states, “Look into someone’s eyes. That turns out to be metaphorically, and quite often, literally, the key to high-value work in the coming economy.” What is often missing in sales is face-to-face contact. Go visit your customer.

[13:12] Sales visits have to be used wisely, to contain cost. Andy used to visit overseas customers about once a quarter. Use travel strategically to make something happen. Consider the lifetime contract value. Group multiple calls in as trip.

[14:48] Bridget read The Halo Effect: . . . and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers, by Phil Rosenzweig. His premise is business thinking is shaped by delusion, such as assuming all aspects of a great company are equally great.

[16:58] Studies on successful companies like Google show we tend to underestimate the impact of luck, market conditions, and things outside the control of the company. The book notes the delusion of the single explanation.

[17:53] There are humans at the helm, executing plans and relying on chance. Avoid the hero cult. See past the halo effect.

[19:27] Increasingly our information is informed by Big Data. Andy refers to Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day, by John H. Johnson and
Mike Gluck. We err by shaping data to fit our world view.

[21:34] Pablo Mastroeni of the Colorado Rapids said, “Pundits … will look at possession … and … metrics that have very little to do with heart, and courage, and the commitment … The stats will lose to the human spirit, every day of the week.”

[25:11] Andy’s last book is The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales, by Anthony Iannarino. It’s about gaining customer commitments that each lead to the next step, all the way to the buying decision.