Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
August 8, 2017

#534. Closing Starts at the Beginning of a Deal. With Anthony Iannarino.

Anthony Iannarino, best-selling author of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, and author of the new book, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments that Drive Sales, joins me for the fourth time on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[4:24] Anthony says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps is changing their mindset. Instead of a talking about how great the seller’s company is, start by sharing something of value the buyer hasn’t considered about the buyer’s company.

[6:28] Information parity offers no value for the buyer. The salesperson is in discovery mode, but they should concurrently help the buyer discover the value of a decision.

[7:17] Anthony speaks of the commitments needed of the buyer. The sales world has changed since the 1960’s, but not the close. Now, commitments along the way form the close.

[10:31] Closing is integral to the full sales process, as a series of commitments from the buyer, from the initial contact through the final decision. The final commitment is the clear result of earlier ones. The process is fluid.

[12:48] Exit criteria set by the seller, ignore the buyer. The buyer may not be ready to exit a stage when the seller thinks. Customer verifiable outcome conversations are awkward. Anthony explains of process maps and compasses.

[15:48] The buying process (if any) and the sales process run in parallel. Anthony covers how the salesperson can help the buyer discover their buying process, including stakeholders. The sales rep must learn how to serve them where they are.

[17:39] It’s always been hard to get in front of the people you need to contact. It is easier to find them today, from data available anywhere. Expectations on salespeople are higher.

[20:49] Col. John Boyd repeatedly said, “People, ideas, technology.” Now we say, “Technology, ideas, people.” We’re getting it backwards. The tech cannot cover up all the places where salespeople need to invest in their development.

[21:41] We create an environment full of excuses. Cold calling still works. Content creators are content marketers, not social sellers. Content you do share should help the buyer think what they should be doing differently.

[26:06] ABM is going back to ‘bell-bottoms.’ Fundamentally good ideas get recycled over time. Close rates don’t seem to get better.

[27:40] Shiny objects are not moving the needle. Develop people to be consultative, with a point of view, and understand how to help buyers create change within their company. Those reps, with ideas and tools, will be successful.

[29:04] AI does more repetitive tasks, that have nothing to do with creating value for the buyer. People in power have always had trusted advisors. Be the advisor. Don’t be a catalog. Learn to control the process to provide value for the buyer.

July 22, 2017

#517. Sales Secrets and Hiring Hints for Startup Success. With Pat Helmers.

Pat Helmers, author of the Selling with Confidence sales system, and host of the Sales Babble podcast, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:25] Pat says the biggest challenge facing sales reps is trying to differentiate themselves from all the noise on the internet. To start, build a relationship with your prospects. Go where they are. Find their itch before you pitch.

[2:48] Serve before you sell. Have two attitudes: I’m here to help, and, I’m here to add value. Don’t be afraid to ask service  questions. “What can I do to help you?” This can be a learned behavior. Non-sellers can become sellers.

[5:48] Pat works mainly with software startup companies. A lot of them are scratching their own itch with a product, and haven’t learned where else it is needed, or how to frame it for their prospective market. Pat explains the path to growth.

[8:33] Startup founders should not hire a salesperson first. They need to be their number one salesperson. Just as they pitch to VC and private equity, they can pitch to prospects. The best way to understand the product is to sell it to real people.

[10:20] The founders have to know how to sell it. A good start is to go to LinkedIn for prospective clients. Don’t hire a marketing department before you have a market. Creating relationships will never be automated.

[11:38] Founders, when they decide to hire, often hire the flashy hunter, because they are not hunters themselves. Instead, create filters, in the form of assessments and tests. Pat gives an example of a sales post, and his hiring process.

[16:02] Pat explains his hiring process. It includes giving a a software demo as a 15-minute presentation phone call, with himself as the customer. If the candidate shows the base set of skills, Pat will work with them.

[18:15] Hiring is risk management. Seth Godin asks people to intern for him for free. Who wouldn’t intern with Seth Godin? Pat’s filtering process is the next best thing for finding talent.

[18:44] At about the fifth step, Pat walks through their resume for hours with them, line by line, to see how genuine they are. Pat doesn’t bring a candidate in for lunch unless he’s 90% sure.

[20:26] Andy cites Jason Dana’s NYT article about job interviews, saying that looking at the resume gives a more accurate prediction of job success than the interview does. By the end of Pat’s filtering process, he has a successful hire.

[23:17] Certain cliche words on a resume screen out candidates when Andy hires. Many B2B companies are still advertising for extroverts and closers. That is not a good fit for B2B. Asking for the sale should be the natural meeting ending.

[27:21] Customers don’t want to spend excessive time deciding. They want to make a good decision. Most are satisficers. As a company grows, founders can’t make every decision. They become leaders and leave decisions to others.

July 10, 2017

#505. 5 Proven Habits of Number One Performers. With Scott Ingram.

Scott Ingram, a practicing salesperson in his day job, and moonlighting as host of the Sales Success Stories Podcast, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:13] Scott sees the single biggest challenge facing sales reps as overwhelm, from responsibilities, confusion on tactics and ideas on how to get the job done, and trying to maintain focus in a very noisy environment. Scott has turned off notifications.

[4:53] Scott began the Sales Success Stories podcast to learn what the very best salespeople do. Superior salespeople are too busy to write books. Sales Success Stories offers a forum to the top sales contributor in an organization.

[7:05] Scott has learned that the best salespeople believe in the value their solution brings. They believe it is best in class. Scott explains this is through their passion for their solution.

[8:56] Some sales reps land on the one-in-a-million solution that takes off like crazy. That is a best-in-class case. Competing solutions are also being sold by passionate sales reps, who believe they represent best-in-class, as well.

[9:50] You have to believe in the value you deliver. Scott says the best reps believe in themselves, and have confidence and trust in their process, and their ability to execute.

[13:18] Top performers focus on their clients and care deeply about their results. Scott says the conversations smash the stereotype of top performers. They are passionate on helping their clients and building long-term relationships.

[16:17] Top performers surround themselves with the best, and grow themselves. When they start at an organization, they find the top people for role models of what works. Scott gives an example of one practice. Scott’s podcast is for this purpose.

[18:44] The broadest theme shared among top performers is they have a deep level of self-awareness, they know their strengths, and they leverage them creatively.

[21:52] Find your comfort level. Most organizations have a strict program for sales. Highly successful people who stretch the process may be seen as disruptors, not as cultural fits.

[24:04] Sales is not an assembly line. Bombarding the market more with ineffective calls does not sell. Scott’s most effective SDR guests have been creative, not compliant. Make ‘dials’ more effective, not more numerous.

[29:39] Top performers orient around goals, and develop habits, routines, and actions to make them happen. They understand that a goal is not enough. Routines support goals. Optimize everything you do.

[31:56] Habits are routines. Confidence is built on habits of achievement. Instead of spending all your time halfway engaged in activities, do one thing at 100%, finish it, and do the next one. SEAL Jocko Willink said, “Discipline equals freedom.”

[35:46] U.S. Soldiers are so well trained, and unambiguous about their jobs, that they make the right decisions and take the right initiatives on their own. Andy cites books on WWII by Stephen E. Ambrose. Scott is from a military family.

May 10, 2017

#454. The Ins and Outs of Customer Success. With Lincoln Murphy.

Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Architect and Mentor at Storm Ventures, and co-author of Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Can Reduce Churn and Grow Recurring Revenue, joins me on this episode of #Accelerate!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[2:58] Lincoln saw there was no book that fully covered Customer Success, so he wrote one. You can’t lose customers and expect to grow in any meaningful way.

[4:37] Lincoln explores how we got to the point where customer success is a new operating philosophy, not just for SaaS, but for all businesses. Salesforce was the main influence.

He also compares reducing churn with real revenue growth.

[9:53] Salesforce was facing an existential threat with 8% churn every month, before focusing on customer success. Lincoln gives his definition of customer success, and explains the causes of churn.

[13:44] Churn also includes revenue churn, based on discounts offered for renewal. Lincoln discusses net revenue retention, how to determine it, and how it relates to overall growth.

[15:29] Lincoln suggests segmenting customers, not based on their payment level, but on the experiences you need to give them to ensure their success. Losing a customer in a bad experience also costs you anyone they influence.

[19:54] A customer who receives no value is not a good reference. Shoot for 100% referenceable customers. Know the traits of a bad-fit customer. Don’t set your customers, or your company, up for failure. Don’t sign bad-fit customers.

[22:07] Customer success needs to be aligned with sales and marketing. Customer success can educate marketing and sales how the customer is using the product, and what language appeals to the customer.

[24:25] A customer signing a one-year contract, and staying for five years, contributes five times the revenue of the original contract. Customer success is responsible for 80% of the lifetime revenue of that customer; sales is responsible for 20%.

[26:54] Lincoln addresses time-to-value. If immediate value is expected, and that expectation is not met, that is a problem. Teach the client what to expect at 30, 60, and 90 days, so expectations are met. Help clients see long-term value, ASAP.

[30:02] Lincoln talks about personal relationships and loyalty. Humanity is the table stakes, but the sale is about the value to the customer, and their success, not their loyalty to you as their sales representative.

[33:53] Deals are no longer closed on the ability to charm. Value has to be delivered consistently from the vendor to the customer.

March 22, 2017

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

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

KEY TAKEAWAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[20:57] How to dig deeper.

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

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

March 4, 2017

How to Add Value with Affiliate Marketing. With Priest Willis. #397

Priest Willis, Founder and CEO of Affiliate Mission.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[1:22] Priest is President of AffiliateMission.com, an online affiliate management company, managing large to small business affiliate programs, for the past four years.

[2:06] Priest started in business building PCs, but got tired of cleaning up people’s viruses. Then he sold software on eBay. Next he  created websites, and he became an affiliate. He started affiliate marketing and has stayed with it, ever since.

[3:58] Affiliate marketers earn commissions promoting other people’s products on their websites. A blogger can put up a banner for a related product. Sales are handled by the vendor that sells it. Amazon was one of the first big affiliate players, in 1996.

[6:22] Merchants with affiliate programs work with a third-party tracking system, or an affiliate network. Some of the big names out there are: CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), ShareASale, and Impact Radius. They track cookies.

[6:45] Clicking on the banner drops the cookie; the cookie alerts the affiliate network; the affiliate network waits for the sale to convert and register a commission. The commission could be a flat amount, or a percentage of the sale.

[7:38] Typically, if the sale is not converted within 30 days, the cookie expires. So, the customer may abandon the shopping cart, but if they make the purchase within the duration, the affiliate gets the commission.

[9:08] Andy asks how people could get into affiliate marketing. He could enter as a merchant, offering affiliates incentives to market his books on their websites, or he could become an affiliate of a merchant in a niche where he already has a blog with readers.

[11:48] Affiliate marketing will not drive traffic to your site. If you decide to start a cooking blog, and want to affiliate with an oven manufacturer, be aware of the work ahead of you, to get a following that will provide eyes for your affiliate banner.

[14:50] Look on YouTube for great videos to teach you about affiliate marketing. This works on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all three or any one. Post the text links in connection with your mention of the product, or in your bio.

[19:51] Priest recommends only affiliating with products that are cohesive with your own brand. A computer blog doesn’t need a banner for skateboards or detergent. Look at your pages as real estate, and think where to put the banner or link.

[26:45] Affiliate Mission works for large merchants to manage their ecosystem of network and affiliates. They represent the merchants to the affiliates, supplying current materials, links, and cookies. They find new affiliates for the merchants.

[32:48] Priest likes capitalism to make a difference in the world. He tells clients that Affiliate Mission will give 3-to-5% of their profits from that client to a charity of the client’s choice. The mission is giving back.

January 28, 2017

How to Apply the Coaching Model in Your Organization. With Barry Demp. #367

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Barry Demp, Founder of Barry Demp Coaching, and author of an interesting book, called, The Quotable Coach: Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom. Among the many topics that Barry and I discuss are how a coaching relationship differs from a management relationship, why it’s essential to connect with the vision and values of your people, and how to find fulfillment in your work.  

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[:50] Barry taught Science for two years in the Philadelphia Public Schools. He moved into pharmaceuticals in sales and marketing for 12-1/2 years, for Upjohn. Barry left in 1992.

[2:48] Barry was moved by the Barcelona Olympic Games. A documentary on athletes and coaches inspired him to bring coaching to business, which he has been doing for 24 years.

[7:09] In a coaching relationship, people promise action to fulfill a future goal they intend to achieve. They lead themselves to the future they desire. Old-school management is, my job is to get you to go where I need you, like it, or not.

[9:33] When people’s vision and values connect with the organization, they see work can be an expression of themselves, and they engage with it, and are fulfilled by that community, and they build it up to mutual benefit.

[13:16] The balance begins with relationships. Quality relationships underlie quality results. Knowing your employees, and their values, are drivers of human behavior. “We’re not a machine anymore,” ― Seth Godin.

[23:48] Barry’s book is developed from his blog. Andy notes selected quotes: “You’re more likely to act yourself into
feeling, than feel yourself into action.” ― Jerome Bruner.
Start something!

[25:47] “People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but they’re unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound.” ― James Allen. Invest in yourself!

[27:10] “Don’t stumble over something behind you”
― Seneca the Younger. Where do we live — past, present, or future? Be present in the moment, and step into the future!

[28:34] “Death is Nature’s advice to get plenty of life.”
― Goethe. Life is finite. Get the most out of it!

[30:06] “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson. The ability to take a stand for other people is a remarkably powerful place!

[31:30] “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
― Author Unknown. Choose and focus! The most productive people are highly-focused, not multi-taskers.

[32:33] “Instead of seeking new landscapes, develop new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust. Perception is reality. If we perceive things in new ways, we create new realities!

December 3, 2016

What’s Your Unique Promise of Value? With John Smibert. #321

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is John Smibert, Co-founder and CEO of Strategic Selling Group. Among the many topics that John and I discuss are the importance of building your personal brand — your unique promise of value; how you as a salesperson can become a domain expert; and why every salesperson should publish on social media.

October 17, 2016

How to Use Metaphors to Sell Your Intangibles. With Andrea Goulet. #281

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is Andrea Goulet, Founder & CEO of Corgibytes, a software/code remodeling firm based in Richmond, Virginia. Among the many topics Andrea and I discuss are how Andrea incorporates her company’s core values into her team’s selling efforts, how to use metaphors when selling your intangible value, and how selling her company’s core values have helped with conversion rates and customer lifetime value.

October 11, 2016

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. With Anthony Iannarino. #276

I am very excited to welcome back to Accelerate! my good friend, Anthony Iannarino. Anthony is a speaker, blogger, extraordinary sales leader, and author of a new book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. Join us in this episode as Anthony and I discuss a range of topics from his new book including, why you as a salesperson are the primary value proposition, how psychology is more important than technology in sales, how a healthy sense of competitiveness is critical in sales, and how to ignite your competitive spirit.