Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
December 11, 2017

#608: Use Your Passion to Achieve Breakthroughs in Sales w/ Jay Abraham

Jay Abraham, Founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc. and business book author, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Jay says the single biggest challenge facing sales professionals today is authenticity, credibility, and true intent on behalf of the prospective buyer. Sales reps are rewarded for the actual value they create for others.
  • The solution you provide must fairly remedy the pain the prospective buyer has, whether for productivity, savings, labor, time-to-market, or other need.
  • More sales are made with storytelling, metaphors, and analogies than are made with Powerpoint decks. Jay does not respond to requests for ‘a deck.’ It is a disservice to a product to think a prospect can see its value in a deck.
  • The best presentations do not involve a laptop or tablet. They harness passion for the people the solution will benefit.
  • Andy recently read The Abraham Mindshift Challenge that examines a different way to do business. Don’t look at what other companies in your category are doing. Look at meeting the needs of your market.
  • Andy quotes a statement about breakthroughs from Jay’s Getting Everything You Can book. Don’t network only within your industry, but mainly outside of it. Big breakthroughs come from outside an industry. Jay explains by examples.
  • The key to success is examining, understanding, appreciating, recognizing, exploring, acknowledging, and respecting how the ‘other side’ is experiencing life. It is empathy in practice. Jay tells attitudes to avoid in sales.
  • Jay discusses Stephen M.R. Covey’s research on trust. He found that 90% of people working in fields that rely on trust are sub-optimal in their ability to generate trust. Noble and worthy values are not found universally.
  • Empathy decreased year after year among college freshman for three decades according to the University of Michigan. It seems to be replaced by self-absorption. Salespeople need human values, especially empathy.
  • Jay talks about teaching young people how to connect with others. Breakthroughs come by open-mindedness, including curiosity. Don’t be hardened in your positions.
  • Jay has a 747 flight story. He learned that if the wings were rigid they would crack off. Flexibility is essential to successful flight, or to anything else in life. Knowledge doubles quickly. No one knows it all.
  • It’s improbable that your particular company has discovered the very best method of doing anything they do. There is always going to be a better way to do things.
December 8, 2017

#607: Key Traits Shared by Top Sales Performers w/ Bridget Gleason

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Andy and Bridget discuss going to Dreamforce. Andy was interviewed by Matthew Bellows of Yesware. Dreamforce took over several venues in San Francisco.
  • Bridget is going to Reinvent in Las Vegas. Amazon books all venues and sells them to sponsors.
  • Bridget will go to Boulder to visit a friend’s book club discussing The Lemon Tree. At work, there is always more to do than there is time to do it, as is typical with a startup.
  • Andy has been talking with leaders about who should choose sales strategies and tactics — reps, managers, or executives? Is there too much command and control in sales? Where do the science and art of selling combine?
  • Andy believes we are hurting ourselves by constraining the creativity and individuality of our reps and account executives. It shows itself in industry-wide results. But we have a system that leaders are loath to change.
  • Sales reps follow a script to sell to personas. Frontline managers are like helicopter parents. They do not let reps solve problems. Andy tells how he was given freedom — once he was trained — to adapt his process to hit quota.
  • Bridget attributes Andy’s case to the better training that was given in the past than reps receive today, and to the longer time a rep stayed in a role then, contrasted with reps, today. Reps today look for structure in their role.
  • Bridget and Andy discuss one thing top performers have in common. Bridget says it is self-motivation. Andy says it’s that they all break the rules. They shape the process to what works best for them.
  • Andy says we are not providing an environment to create more top performers. The people who try successful measures are given more rope to explore. He worries that holds back average performers. Are quotas too high?
  • How do you engage the middle group of sellers to elevate their success? Andy gives one idea.
  • Investors put pressure on startups to scale up, but hiring more sales reps dilutes the quality of deals and sales. Is the quota still serving profit interests?
  • CSO Insights says 50% of reps make quota. Another source says we are closing 20% of deals in the pipeline. A fundamental change is needed in sales thinking. Once people taste success, they want to keep succeeding
December 1, 2017

#604. Happiness and Sales Success. With Bridget Gleason.

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Bridget is doing fantastic in Boston, enjoying the change of seasons! Andy enjoys running in Central Park.
  • The topic is happiness. Bridget’s resting state is happy. There is a lot of stress she faces as a VP of Sales, and she wants to be imperturbable at work.
  • Andy cites author Emma Seppälä, about making work a place of calm, centeredness, and focus, to enable us to be more successful at work and in life.
  • Stress up and down the chain of sales has been ratcheted up. A recent study of stress showed 58% of people surveyed nationally report their level of stress is rising. In 2014, Gallup found employee engagement to be low.
  • Seppälä says decades of research have shown that happiness is not the outcome of success but the precursor to it. This resonates with Bridget. She doesn’t want her happiness dependent on future results.
  • When we feel burned out, we accept over-extension as a way of life. Then we blame ourselves for the burnout. Andy is not one of the 58% of over-stressed people. The perspective of experience helps him not to stress.
  • Emma Seppälä lists six myths of success. Andy comments on each myth. Seppälä isolates the actions of success from the feelings of happiness. Happiness is a state of heightened positive emotions that prepare for success.
  • Happiness leads to connections and is contagious. Bridget talks about how happy the VP of Customer Success at Logz.io always appears and how she asked him about it. She looks forward to encounters with him.
  • Seppälä divides happiness into three categories of benefits. On the intellectual level, it helps us learn faster and be more creative. Psychologically, it helps us bounce back from stress. Socially, it helps build relationships.
  • The turnover rate for SDRs (about a year) indicates they are not happy at work. As the prospect-facing team of the organization, it would be better for them to be happy. Can the inherent stress in their environment be reduced?
  • Seppälä considers there to be six keys to happiness. Living in the moment — being present with people — is the first. Andy explains the six keys. The last is to show compassion and be of service to others.
  • Andy hopes you will read the book and he invites your comments and questions about Emma Seppälä’s book, The Happiness Track, in the context of sales.

 

November 29, 2017

#603 5 Keys to a Sales Cadence. With Gabe Larsen.

Gabe Larsen, V.P. of InsideSales Labs, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Gabe says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is getting more and better leads.
  • InsideSales recently researched the sales cadence. A sales cadence is a sequence of activities to increase contact and qualification. Great cadences allow you to educate and qualify leads.
  • In researching the cadence survey, InsideSales asked sales reps and leaders to self-report activity. They also ran external audits on invented leads. Self-reporting showed the reps doing better than the actual audits showed.
  • Reps believe social selling improves their results. Gabe looks at data. InsideSales looked at 10 million sales opportunities and at what happened at the end of the quarter. A lot of potential money was left on the table.
  • There are five keys to a cadence: attempts (touches), media (channel), duration of the message, spacing (gap), and content (message). The average number of attempts per lead is four. 40% of leads received no follow up, at all.
  • Data shows U.S. reps are sending more email messages than European reps. There is a movement to an account-based outbound model, and the inbound leads are being somewhat neglected.
  • Some reps are leaving leads alone that they think have little potential for a sale. The desire to hit activity metrics is having an impact on actual selling. If a customer says they want to be contacted, then contact them now.
  • The most common follow up is a single email. This is not the most effective way to follow up. Email should be used to set up a conversation between two people.
  • Every day that passes after a lead comes in degrades the prospect’s top-of-mind awareness. If you wait five days before contacting the prospect, you will likely lose them.
  • Is there an optimal cadence? If there is, reps aren’t using it. The tool doesn’t set the cadence or fix a problem. A person using a tool solves a problem. Find a balance between activities and results.
  • Personalization always trumps automation. Andy says humanization trumps personalization. Let technology augment the sales rep, without replacing the rep. Testing is essential.
  • Do we need to restructure marketing? We need to think about acquisition and retention. Gabe talks about internal changes at InsideSales Labs.

 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

For Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth companies based on a recurring revenue model — 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 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.

November 27, 2017

#602 Avoid the Pitfalls of Online Marketing. With Bill Troy.

Bill Troy, CEO of Civilis Marketing and author of the upcoming book Clicksand, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Bill says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is how the online marketing mindset has affected sales reps. They see leads in an adversarial way to be lured. This is a different path from building relationships.
  • Bill’s upcoming book warns sales reps against adopting a marketing view. Bill misses the optimism of approaching a client to work with them, not against them.
  • Big data is interpreted through algorithms. Algorithms are written by people with a stake in the sales process. If an ‘open rate’ is the key for email, what happens when you use a deceptive subject line to tweak the open rate?
  • Email and other online marketing provide a form of anonymity and make it easier to act differently than you would face-to-face.
  • Clark Stanley started selling snake oil at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, mixed fresh on site. He built a multi-million dollar whole business on this ‘liniment.’ He was finally shut down for false labeling practices. It still happens.
  • One third of Bill’s book is about all the triggers in our brains that cause a snake oil pitch to work. In ten years people will talk about how everybody bought the online marketing magic pill. Fear of missing out is one trigger.
  • Bill wants marketers to stand up and say, this isn’t right. A $2K ad will not bring in a $1million sale. There are appropriate techniques. Start with your marketing and sales approach, and see what tools you need to use.
  • Bill gives an example from his book of why one-to-one sales are needed. Even online marketing sellers sell online marketing in person.
  • Build your sales and marketing process around what your prospect needs in order to buy from you. This may mean building a relationship before starting a sale.
  • Companies have sales processes but are missing relationship processes.
  • Don’t use online marketing in a one-to-many model. You aren’t selling to many, you are selling to one person, and the model must be directed to that person with their own needs.
  • Whatever you are looking for a client to invest in you, show you are investing that much in them. Marketing is for putting yourself into the position to have a one-on-one conversation with a prospect. Make it good.

MPORTANT 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.

November 22, 2017

#600 Write Your Own Rules to Succeed in Sales Today. With Jim Brown.

Jim Brown, sales coach, trainer, and host of the SalesTuners podcast, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Jim says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is how many communication platforms are in play. Figuring out the right ones is hard.
  • Just having a cell number is not a de facto relationship with the privilege of texting. Sales is a hard road and you have to follow the right steps. Habit trumps discipline.
  • People want to talk with people about critical decisions they have to make, regardless of big data. Jim uses an example of big medical data and automated diagnosis vs. the empathy of a doctor speaking face-to-face with you.
  • When Jim is on phone calls, he invites clients to connect on Skype with webcams, to see each other, in a personal connection. It adds body language to the process.
  • One of the real outcomes of the new machine learning is perhaps the greater value will be placed on being more human and being able to form human relationships. We underestimate the complexity of relationships.
  • On SalesTuners Podcast, Jim talks to great sales leaders and high-performing reps about behaviors, attitudes, and techniques for their success, and tries to break down what those ‘secrets’ are. (Hint: there are no secrets.)
  • The most important thing Jim has learned from the podcast is the importance of empathy. The only way to succeed is to have empathy for the buyer. You have to understand their purpose. It is never your solution.
  • After empathy, curiosity is the next behavior. Watch body language and ask probing questions. Ask them to repeat, and they will expand on it. They will reveal the key point. Andy says to listen without filters and crank up curiosity.
  • Andy discusses cognitive biases, relating to tribes, and then a medical frame. We have at least 50 biases to peek through in all our communications. Be conscious of them.
  • Selling is deliberate. If you’re not thoughtful about every action, and every prospect interaction, you won’t build relationships or find success. Sales calls should happen with prospects, not to them.
  • Jim says you have to write your own rules. Once you’re an adult, no one checks on your expectations. Everything is up to you. You have to care enough about yourself to get it done. In sales, you are CEO of your book of business.
  • SaaS close rates of 20% to 30% are regarded as successful but that’s an abysmal rate. It takes a good salesperson to improve close rates. Managers should not give all the opportunities to the top closers so others can learn.

 

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.

November 17, 2017

#598. Win with a Disciplined Sales Process. With Bridget Gleason. And special guest, Phill Keene.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. We’re joined on this episode by Phill Keene, Director of Sales at Costello.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Bridget and Andy discuss travel and weather, as Bridget is just back from Tel Aviv.
  • Phill Keene, Director of Sales at Costello is the special guest. Costello helps align front-line reps, managers, VPs, and CROs about pipeline deals to identify gaps and remove roadblocks in a three-part solution.
  • Phill explains the parts of the solution. One aspect proactively simulates a pipeline review to visualize what steps are needed for deals.
  • The Costello solution works with reps on calls, capturing notes and information, and guiding a rep through a conversation to find the path to a signature.
  • Phill describes how Costello saw that reps were using only the required fields in Salesforce but they were recording copious data on paper or stand-alone apps that never made it into a CRM. Costello addresses that issue.
  • The next aspect is to look at competitor statistics, the number of problems to solve and other data points to visualize gaps in the pipeline and how to fill them.
  • Ideal customers for Costello are companies already on Salesforce, with more than 15 and up to 200 reps, following a documented sales process, and having a VP of Sales who is motivated to enforce it.
  • 50% of SaaS reps hit quota, casting doubt on the efficacy of methodologies. Phill asserts that top performers follow a process. Andy says that top performers have their own process that is not often the general company process.
  • Phill uses examples of Costello customers improving their conversions by leaps and bounds when uniformly following a methodology.
  • People buy from people. Building a rapport precedes methodology. Principles come before methods. Methods must be built on engagement and the basic principles of sales. Phill dives into Costello guidance to the process.
  • It requires hiring for sales ability and investing in training and development; reps will feel purpose and they will want to stay and excel. The primary reason for sales rep turnover is the manager.
  • The inside sales model has a low close rate compared to other industries and market segments. Andy suggests rethinking every position, especially SDRs.
November 10, 2017

#595. Sure-Fire Ways to Grab the Attention of Buyers. With Bridget Gleason. And special guest, Braydan Young.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays. We’re joined on this episode by Braydan Young, Co-Founder of Sendoso.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Sendoso is in the attention-grabbing business. Businesses buy credits from Sendoso, which their SDRs send as gifts to their prospects. The gifts are tracked by Sendoso on opening and use. Sendoso reports the use to their clients.
  • Sendoso adds gender-matched hand-written notes to the items that are sent from their warehouses inventorying catalog items around the globe.
  • Braydan gives some examples of good uses he has seen work really well: a pre-conference bottle of wine that is locked, with a key code available at your booth, a conference survival kit with items branded with your logo.
  • Braydan explains the hand-written note accompanying the gift. Sendos also sends an email and e-gift card to the admin gatekeeper, to thank them in advance for passing your gift on to your prospect, such as the CTO or CEO.
  • Braydan describes the on-demand gifts, including baked treats with your logo, to use as door-openers, using Postmates in the U.S., the UK, and Ireland. Cookies can be shaped as the person’s LinkedIn profile picture.
  • Braydan talks about their brainstorming meetings where they come up with the gift ideas. Braydan suggests revolving around timing. In football season, send a Jersey with the prospect’s favorite quarterback number.
  • Braydan shares their wine and bakery vendors in the U.S., Canada, the Europe, and Asia Pacific, to minimize customs fees.
  • Braydan talks budgets: about $25.00 per gift, for a list of about 100 gifts.
  • Braydan assures that the items have been taste-tested. Andy wants to be on the tasting committee.
  • Listener Contest! Within two weeks of the podcast, please send your story of what you have sent as a prospect gift or incentive — if you have used Sendoso — or done it yourself, and the best use case will win a Sendoso prize.
  • The Sendoso prize will be to set up the winner with a free Sendoso account for six months, with $1,000 account credit to send your special gifts to your prospects.
  • Send your stories by email to Andy@AndyPaul.com or as an audio message at the microphone on AndyPaul.com, about what you’ve done, and what the outcomes were. Bridget and friends are ineligible to win!

 

November 8, 2017

#594 Don’t Surrender to Your Confirmation Bias. With George Brontén.

George Brontén, CEO of Membrain, joins me for the second time on this episode of #Accelerate! Listen to George’s first visit in Episode 347.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • George says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is to stand out and differentiate themselves. They need to understand their buyers and their product’s selling point and communicate it quickly to their buyers.
  • George recently wrote about confirmation bias in sales, which led to this visit to Accelerate! Confirmation bias is selecting data to reinforce our existing beliefs, even when contradictory data is present. This is a human behavior.
  • We have a bias that we are not biased. We need to acknowledge that we have biases that impact how we communicate with and receive information from others. It is also important to understand others’ values or biases.
  • Andy cites the book Blind Spot, and Project Implicit’s online Implicit Association Test, that reveals biases. We all have biases. Our biases impact our communications with others. Listen to the words people use to detect biases.
  • Don’t take what the customer says at face value. There is a motivation behind it that a sales rep needs to know. The conversation becomes more productive if you ask probing questions.
  • We need to ask what new information means and if it challenges what we or the customer believe. System One thinking is easy. Perceptions are sticky. It’s hard to change them.
  • Sales reps need to help customers activate their System Two thinking. Messaging must be simple, or the customer will simplify them with their own assumptions.
  • Humans are not motivated by logic. We make decisions from our emotions, linked to our values and beliefs, and then justify those decisions with rationalization.
  • Andy suggests asking customers questions about their business they should know the answers to but don’t. Challenging is not to be argumentative but to awaken in the mind of the buyer a risk of missing something.
  • Sales reps have a confirmation bias that if the first calls with a prospect go well, the prospect is on the way to a sale even with subsequent contradictory evidence. They may skip discovery steps or miss influencers.
  • Sales reps tend to have ‘happy ears.’ This bias can be overcome by strict adherence to process. Don’t forget anything important. Make sure the prospect meets exit criteria for each stage of the pipeline. Look at details.
  • A thorough pipeline review can dispel confirmation bias. Managers also have biases. All reps need pipeline reviews and leads should be distributed to reps appropriately.

 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

For Vice Presidents of Sales of high-growth companies based on a recurring revenue model — 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 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.

November 6, 2017

#593 Virtual Agents, AI and Sales. With Diego Ventura.

Diego Ventura, CEO at noHold, Inc., joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Diego says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is getting introductions to the right people (decision-makers). It is hard to do with email.
  • Diego explains the sales process noHold uses, and future directions they may take.
  • Before noHold, Diego’s first company was STEFRA, which made software for video cameras. To support customers, they wrote a virtual assistant. They wanted to offer the VA to others. Diego raised $15 million in VC to start noHold.
  • Diego explains how a virtual agent or assistant differs from a knowledge base. A virtual assistant helps the user get to the most specific solution as quickly as possible within the framework of a dialog rather than a search.
  • The agent uses inference engine AI to access hierarchical categories of content about product installation and setup, use, compatibility, price, and warranty service. The agent asks questions that lead to the correct content.
  • Diego compares the inference engine to navigating a chess board from edge to edge. The path is not scripted but is followed by questions and inferences.
  • NoHold is partnering with companies like Google and Amazon to accomplish voice recognition and speech synthesis with natural language processing (NLP).
  • Diego points out potential applications for online sales. Besides speech technology, it requires NLP-to-SQL (Structured Query Language) technology. This may be ready on some sites for 2017 Christmas shopping!
  • Diego mentions two current noHold projects: a customer-facing application (the Sales Advisor), and an agent-facing application. Diego covers the details of the Sales Advisor and gives examples.
  • Diego discusses levels of AI in virtual assistants. He gives examples of chatbots built from user documents, including executive orders from four U.S. presidents.
  • Diego address the future of AI in sales and its impact. It is an excellent tool to augment sales capabilities. Diego gives an example for the enterprise, the Marketing Advisor, for augmented selling in groups of 500 SDRs.
  • AI guides transactional selling. AI can also guide B2B sales by previewing points to be covered in an upcoming call. Diego notes that noHold has a tab in Salesforce to guide reps. NoHold plans to enable smartwatches with AI.

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.