The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 3 years ago

Amanda Moriuchi on How Do you Keep your Sales Teams Focused? Truth in Sales & Equal Pay


What happens when your sales teams get too emotionally attached to prospects? How do you help them stay focused and keep leads rolling-in? Amanda Moriuchi, Co-Founder of AppIt Ventures, joins us to chat about how her organization is applying a truth is sales strategy and what they are doing to address the equal pay issue.

We actually don't assign quotas to our sales team. Are Sale people again one more time? Yeah, it's crazy. Our sale people choose their own quota. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies were tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're tackling to topics. Going to have a bit of a odd book ended conversation, but we're going to talk about truth in sales, knowing you know, all sales professionals have a tendency to have happy years or jump at the slightest hint of a potential opportunity, and those of us have been doing this long enough. No, that's kind of selfdeluding and disastrous in terms of our pipeline. So we're going to spend some time on that. We're also going to talk about equal pay and to help us do that we have with US Amanda More Ucchi, CEO of APPI AD ventures, which is a mobile APP Development Company based here in Denverork, Colorado. Amanda, thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks so much for having me chat. I'm happy to be here. Excellent. So for our audience, is a little bit of background on yourself. Tells them understand how you ended up CEO of APP adventures. Yeah, of course. So I always joke with my friends and colleagues that I was born a salesperson. I've had the disease since birth, and so my entire career has been in sales and because of that I've really been lucky to build some incredible relationships in the Denver area. And so the founder of App Adventures, Rob Carpenter, when he was ready to move on, he started a product company. Then he he was looking for somebody to take over the growth of his company, App Adventures, and asked me to step in and since then it's been a wild ride and in a true privilege. So I'm thrilled for the opportunity. Excellent. Will congratulations of that. It sounds like a great adventure and challenge. As we were preparing for the show, let's start with kind of the truth in sales approach. Some of the emails we sit back and forth. You talked about sales pros getting too emotionally attached the prospects, which spoke to me. I'm not saying I'm too emotionally attached too much, but I have been there and suffered from that, and so I'm curious to be how our audience understand if someone's too emotionally attached to prospects, what does that end up doing for them or to them? Yeah, great question. So a lot like how we have, you know, baseline symptoms physically that indicate a sickness, right, so if we have low energy or maybe a running nose or maybe a headache, that's a symptom of a a different problem. Maybe you're coming down with a cold or maybe you haven't eaten enough. In sales, I've noticed that if you're getting to attach to one particular person, whether they buy or not, that to me is a sign of an anemic pipeline. So you probably haven't done enough prospecting, you probably don't have enough people that you've been talking with. And so for me, working with my sales team, when I start to see an emotional attachment to if this deal goes through or not. That's an indicator to me that we need we have some work to do on the marketing and prospecting side to help bolster that pipeline. Prospecting the bane of every salesperson's existence, right. So it's be great if we never had a prospect and it's the place where you know look, the discipline in the grind come into play. And so you mentioned it best and there was a statue throughout the conversion rate for conversations maybe at best ten percent. Keep provide our audience with some suggestions on how do you help your team stay in the zone right? Prospecting takes focus, takes commitment, consistency and it is always the first thing that seems... fall by the wayside for most of the sales professionals I've worked with. Kind of curious how you work with your team to keep them focus and keep that prospecting happening. Yeah, so one of the biggest things that we've done at APP adventures is we actually don't assign quotas to our sales team. Are Sale people sign again one more time? Yeah, it's crazy. Our sales people choose their own quota. So we usually will do this in q four and preparation for the following or the upcoming year. But it's all goal based. So I sit down with my sale people and I say how much you want to make next year, and it's a math problem. So based on how much they want to make, we set those quotas for them, and so that's been a huge game changer for us because changes a conversation with my sales team. So if my team members are missing the goals that they've set for themselves, I get to ask them why. You know what's going on, and so in that conversation it starts by here our goals, this is what I need to sell in order to achieve my goals that I've set for myself, and then we brainstorm a set of behaviors, a prospecting plan. So it's different for every business, but some of that comes from inbound leads from our marketing team, some of that comes from networking, it comes from asking for referrals, it comes from cold calling. Our conversion rates and our business on cold calling aren't quite high enough to justify a heavy cold call approach, but at any rate there's a behavioral mix that we follow and we track those behaviors, and so it gives me a place to start with. Okay, are we missing on behaviors and if so, why is that? Is it because you don't like network working? Okay, if you don't like networking, once pick a different set of behaviors and it's more of okay, what do you want more do you want to explore behavior you're not comfortable with, or do you want to make the money you said you wanted to make? And so so a lot different conversation. Well, and I would assume then it's slightly differ in the mix is going to be slightly different based on the individual sales rep and where their strengths are. So it's really playing to their strengths as well as creating accountability. I mean, they created the plan. So is that you find it's easier to coach as a result of that or help them along that journey? Very much so. Yeah, because people never argue with their own data, right. So if I said to myself I want to do this, well, you got to do it or you just have to pull out the pocket mirror and say do I really want this? That's a much more productive conversation than if I is a leader say okay, Ryan, your quota this year is two million dollars. Go Get me those deals right. So yeah, absolutely, much a lot of castation, much different conversation. I love it and I would assume that that also creates more room for the sales reps to be there authentic cells, like we all know. You know, people buy from people and it's really more about the human connection that it is being, you know, a cookie cutter type of approach. This would allow them to be more authentic and, I would assume, has great benefit for the culture at APP adventures because they're not trying to force themselves to be something or do something that perhaps are not good at or is comfortable with. Is that a fair assessment? Oh, absolutely, and I would say any leader or executive knows that customers that aren't well suited for your organization damage your profit margin. Right. So bad customers are expensive and there's a high level of accountability on our team. If our sales team is delivering customers that aren't a fit for APPIT, it puts a strain not only on the customer but on our delivery team as well. And so, because we don't have leadership assigned quotas. We there's not that pressure on the sale person to jam through somebody who is not a good fit. And so that really... given us the ability to create the space for authenticity and how we sell, and that's given us the ability to be honest with our customers and even our prospects. Not Everybody is a fit. Right back to ten percent, I mean ninety percent of the people we talk to aren't a fit for us and that's okay. Well, that's hard. That's a hard realization for most sales people, right, because you know, going back to the happy years and being really candid and truthful for yourself. I mean sales reps hate to say you know to a deal. So is do you find, when you have a new sales rep come on, that you have to really tell them it's okay to say no. In fact, it's better for the business. Is that something you have to overcome consistent, stantly? When people get exposed to this type of approach? It is a little bit. It's we're having to almost reverse brainwash, right, but I think, I think, and I think in that sense so Chad. We we look for authentic, honest people and you're when you're around people like that. It's obvious. And so we start with that and then we kind of undo some of the brainwashing that sales people have dealt with for our entire careers. It's got to be very refreshing for the right individuals, right. It's got to be a great motivator, I would think, internally. And also, does it reduce the friction between sales and execution, because, you know, execution always loves to say, you know, what you sold is not necessarily we have to implement. Yeah, I'm laughing. I laugh about this because sales and delivery, you know, we're too opposite sides of the same coin. So they're always be a healthy tension between the two departments. Right. What we struggle with is actually, hey, sales, can you guys lighten up, because we're buried right now, and so so, yeah, so we're lucky to have that. I think for us our challenges are more in fusing consistency and in the delivery of sales, to keep our delivery team properly staffed. But because of this honesty, transparency, self driven goals, authenticity, we don't have the struggles that most organizations have, which is hey, you over promise and now we're under delivering. So we're really lucky to have that. And so when you talk about managing that consistency of sales, are you working with your team on, you know, common Lang language framework that also plugs and seamlessly to execution? How are you guys working to handle that? Yeah, so that's something that we're actively working on right now. One thing we're doing, which is embarrassing because we're a technology company, but we're manually tracking all of our sales behaviors and seeing what the sale cycle length is. So, for example, while cold calling has a very low conversion rate for us, that the sale cycle is much shorter than going out in networking and building a referral network. So we kind of know our mix of behaviors and we have levers to pull when our pipeline start to get an emic. So we have a strategy that we can execute on when we need to. So I think you know that takes time, right. That takes six months to a year to have that data set, but if you stay disciplined in tracking those behaviors, you'll have insights that you can take with you anywhere. Yeah, I mean insights in the data are key these days. But you're right. It's that focus, it's that am I being consistent about it. Consistent is the biggest challenge and just about every aspect of the prospecting top of funnel. It sounds like you guys have a unique approach to it and it sounds like it's working well. Yeah, it really is. We're we're thriving and we also have an incredible marketing team that that's doing great work first as well. That's not to be underestimated, certainly. And so when the when the mq out? So I'm going to sue. Mqls come in, marketing Leeds come in. This is just a random question for my own edification. Do you guys randomly assign them to the team members, or are they vetted for what? Maybe a...

...better fit based on, I don't know, previous experience or that behavior set that you guys identify? No, no, what they're randomly assigned and our team is is well rounded in our training, in our approach. You know, being in custom software, WE'RE INDUSTRY AGNOSTIC OR technology agnostic. We have to be almost a jack of all trades in order to have an intelligent conversation with our process in each of our sales people are trained that way on purpose. And then to your earlier point, the behavior mixes more just what our sale people like to do. Some of our sales people like to send out emails and the cold call. Others like to do networking, and that I'll leave that more up to them, right because their quotas there and it's up to them how they build their behavior mix. And then I just kind of support the team to augment leads or the pipeline where we need to okay, excellent. So if there were three things, just three things that other sales exactly listening to this or see as listening this from a sales for spect active that you would really want to drive home with them, what would those top three takeaways be? So first one, I'm totally feeling this from Jocko. Well, make the guy's amazing, but he has, he has a little praise that says discipline is freedom and you know, for any sales person the worst feeling in the world is leaving at the end of the day feeling like you have unfinished business. So just do it, just do the behavior. It doesn't matter what you feel about it, just do it and that discipline will give you freedom in so many areas confidence. It'll build up your pipeline. You don't have to stress about leaving work on done right. So that's number one. Just stay focused and disciplined. Number two is get some training, get good at getting to the truth of the matter. I mean, most people don't really like talking to sale people, let's be honest, because they're afraid of getting sold right. But if you can find a way to create a personal presence or to drive a conversation in a way that makes the other person feel comfortable being honest with you, it'll save you a lot of time, and that's time that you can dedicate to different behaviors or just time to sharpen the saw right. And then, I would say the third thing, is is kind of my personal ethos that I follow, is look, nine out of ten people that you talked to aren't going to be a customer of yours, but leave them in a better place and when you found them. You know, as sales people especially, we have the power to improve someone, say leave it the same or make it worse, and it's a privilege to be able to come into contact with someone and leave them in a better spot than when you found them. I could just do that. I could not agree more. I mean we have if we're especially be to be complex enterprise sales right, we have access to data, we're doing research for sting on top of things. Just from a industry standpoint or professionalism standpoint, I think that's great. And then from a personal standpoint, right, we've all met those sales reps there, probably the ones actually that created the cliche that the rest of us have been fighting, yes, for our entire careers. But don't be that guy, right. Just be a genuine, caring, empathetic, accessible human being. Provide value with every interaction. Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, one powerful thing I've learned with working with my sales team and some of the other folks on my network is when you do goal setting, it's amazing to me how all of us want such different things. Right. Some of US want, you know, the modern loft in the city with a tesla. Others of US want the log cabin in the woods with a truck or something like that. Right. And so there is enough to go around. We live in a world of abundance, and so... can help other people get what they want and kind of Emerson's blob compensation. You get back what you put out, and so if you leave people in a better place, good things will come to you. Yes, agreed wholeheartedly. Nicely put nicely, but all right, so let's switch direction just a little bit and let's talk about equal pay. And just for the audience, just so you guys are where my business partner introduced Amanda and I and as I was talking to my business partner before we jump to the podcast, she said, hey, you really need to talk to him and about how she's tackled equal pay. It's obviously a hot topic, but it sounds like there's a real, practical, real world example of, you know, not only why but how you did it and what kind of impacts it's had a APP it. So I it's going to be a little bit more free flowing here. Guys. We're going off script, but I would love to hear a man a kind of why you're passionate about it and how you've worked to tackle it. Yeah, yeah, so I think on this whole abundance concept, right, I have this core belief that if people have enough, if they have enough time, if they have enough money and if they have enough education, they will do incredible work for you, like you don't have to motivate your your employees to do good work, like people are just bent towards excellence. And usually when I see somebody under performing, it's because there's a gap somewhere. They're not getting paid enough and maybe they're stressed about making their mortgage payment or maybe they just don't have enough time because they're overwhelmed at work and they don't have the support at home that they need, or something like that. And so for me, removing variable to get to employee engagement is critical for the health of our business. And so one of the things that I was really important to me is making sure that people were paid enough, and especially in technology. There's been a lot about the gender pay gap in technology and IT's ridiculous. It doesn't it doesn't make any sense. And so what we did is at APP it, our office manager, Lucy strum bus, she's she's a real person who runs APP it, let's be honest. See Sheet in a research project for us and she gathered data on all of the salaries in the Denver area for each position and we created tears based on levels of experience. Right, so you'd have your junior, your mid and your senior level. And so then we created a let's just call it it's a spreadsheet, but it's a it's a budgeting sheet that I use. And so we determined, by each position and by year, how much each person should make, and so from that we set annual rays percentages based on, you know, that progression for the position. And so what we did is we went back and we gave every employee a paid change based on where they were at they were. It was all an increase, which is good. And then now I budget each year, when I'm setting our annual budget, I plan for our annual raises for our employees. So that really helped me. took a ton of pressure off of me when we're budgeting for new employees, but also in our recruiting process are very first call that we have with potential employees. I say up front, based on your experience and your position, this is what we've budgeted for the role for you. Is that in alignment with what you'd expect and it's about water thing? I say Yep, and that transparency, I think, really reduces a ton of pressure for our prospective employees and so we really get to know who they are. And validate it on skill set, not on pay, and that's been something for us. It's been a game changer. Total transparency. People feel comfortable that they're...

...getting paid what there worth. They don't have to go out and start looking for other job just to get a raise, and that's been really nice for us. It's also saved us a ton of money on recruiting fees. I mean balancing giving people who what they deserve to be paid against paying recruiting and hiring fees. It was a no brainer for us to take that path and I'm really proud of that. That's excellent. It's got to be refreshing for people that are interviewing, because that's always, you know, you go through the interview process, even in sales and when I was in marketing, same thing. You're the interview process and then you get to the end and it's like, okay, now let's talk about you know, conversation, and there could be this wild mismatch which starts to create friction right between the employee in the compas relationship, and so you get rid of that right up front. I would assume that transparency and that type of skilled I approach decreases your turnover and increases the loyalty that the individuals have to the organization absolutely and it kind of removes just the confusion, right. So I always have said hiring and interviewing is it's like that movie inception, right, the dream within a dream, and how weird it was. Well, I mean hiring is a sale within a sale, all the smoke and mirrors that go into it. I don't I'm there to get the truth of who you are, like, let's take the money out of it. If you're not a fit, you're not a fit. That's okay. Who Do you know? Right, right, and I asked for a referral, just like a sales person would, and it's been a game changer for our team. I mean our team is a group of some of the most incredible professionals I've ever worked with, and that's how I'm getting top talent and keeping them. Yeah, it's a it's a great approach. It speaks volumes to not only your leadership but also the culture for the company and the types of talent that you can attract and tame. So Bravo, well done. I can understand why I tony. It was like, Hey, you need to ask her about this. Thank you for going off script. For anybody that's been on the show knows I provide questions in advance, but sometimes we go far afield and this was. This was great. So all right, and the VG interview I ask two standard questions of our guests and the first is simply, as a CEO, that makes you a, you know, pc terms, prospect, for rest of US maybe a target. And so I'm curious when somebody doesn't have a referral into you, when you don't have a relationship and there's not a connection, but they want to capture your attention, what works the best to capture that attention and get you to give them fifteen minutes? You establish her credibility so that you'll actually invest in time with them. So I'm going to say I'm a really tough nut to crack, which it breaks my heart a little bit, because I'm a sales person by nature right, and I love I love the craft, I love the trade and I have a lot of respect for for those folks that are out pounding the pavement. But two things today are working against sale people that try to connect with me. First of all, I need very fast decisions when I need to make a decision. You're either there or you're not, and so it's very rare that someone's going to catch me on the off hand and get me to listen. I need to have a relationship with you. So I would probably be the prospect. That is a longer sale cycle, but when I need you, I call you and then I'm going to buy right away. That's kind of my buying style. And the second thing, and I would say this whole true for most executive, is my calendar is out of control, right. And so if you think of like, think of the typical profile of a VP and above right. So these people are kind of mid to late S, early s into their S, right. These people probably don't live in the city because they have a family, so they live in the birds, right, and think about a typical day. They're up at thirty. It's chaos from the minute the alarm goes off, right. You gotta Get up, turn on the coffee pot, walk the dog, get the kids up, get them in the shower, pack the lunch for the kids, pack the lunch for the husband,...

...get them all out of the House somehow and then you have to get ready for work. Getting the shower battle rush hour traffic, which is forty five minutes to an hour, because, remember, you live in the birds. Then you hustle and you got to use the bathroom. Meeting start from eight am and it goes straight till five and you you really have a rare break in the day and then you get home and everybody's home from school or work. They're cranky, they're hungry, you make the dinner, you have your family conversation around the table, get everybody ready for bed and then all of a sudden it's like thirty. And so I some a lot of time thinking about this because if people just email me out of the blue, it's like no, man, I don't have fifteen minutes. It's to talk and it's tough because I don't even really know at that given moment what my issues are, because I probably already made a decision to fix that. And so really the only way you're going to catch me is at a networking event or I do check linkedin messages, but it has to be very much like Amanda, I know that you're struggling with this and but I just don't know how they would find that out. Maybe reading what I've posted on Linkedin or asking some other folks in my network. I mean they'd have to really be dialed into my network to get a referral or meet me at a networking event. That's really the only place I think you're going to catch me. So it's really about who you are and how you buy right. So and anybody now, yeah, the podcast will know that, but it's that also. It's also that it's catch you where you where you're in a space to make those types of connections and in that day you describe, which sounds very familiar, there isn't a lot of time. And so when you already have it in your schedule to do a networking event, you're at that event, your present, you're focused on meeting other people making those connections. That, for you, is the best way to make that initial connections. That Fair summary? Absolutely, or maybe just build a relationship with me, like I'll tell you, but I'll tell you what I'm dealing with, I'll tell you what's going on, but it takes time. Yeah, and that we see. You know what? We see a lot of reps who who think just because somebody pick up the phone that they're going to make a sale. Goes back to that happy year's thing that we were talking about. Look, the goal of prospectings information at the timing is not now, then come back when it is and, you know, massage or work that relationship, build that relationship in between the time that's not based around selling back to your point of making them better than when you left. Right, they don't. Absolutely it's a human game, all right. So last question. We call it our acceleration insight, and I think I know what this may be. You're in the where it may come from. But if there's one thing you could tell a sales, marketing professional services person, one piece of advice, if they listened, caveat there, that would help them beat their targets, what would it be and why? I would say set a goal that higher than your target, build a plan to get there and execute on it, and execute on it regularly. Stay focused and always stretch higher than you think you can. Yeah, because you can hit a finish line. Look, I'm waiting for them to and waiting for the universe to make a marathon thirty miles and then see that people can run thirty. You know, you run to the finish line right, excellent, excellent, all right, perfect, man if a listeners interested in talking more about the topics we touched on today. I was going to say what's the best way to get in contact with you, but is there a networking event coming up that you would like to promote? So people might, you know, actually reach out to me on Linkedin, reference the PODCAST APPS and I will respond to you. But Denver Startup Week is next week. I'm going to the breakfast. I am the founder of Denver Women in text so if you're a lady, you can come find me there. I'm there every month. But yeah, send me a note on Linkedin, reference the podcast and let me know how I can help you. Just a specific note. What do you guys need, and I'll be all over it. Excellent. I also want, while we're talking about that, I want... put a plug out there and it's based sound. Not Coming for me. I want to put a plug out there for Denver Women in Tech. Now, obviously I'm not part of the group. However, I have met a lot of amazing individuals that are associated with this group. So if you are a female and you are listening and you are in the Denver area, highly recommend you check it out because the caliber of the individuals that I've had the pleasure of working with. We're talking to these outstanding so it's definitely something you want to take a look at. So man to thank you again for taking the time to be of the show. Has Been Absolute pleasure. Right. Thanks so much. Had My pleasure as well. All right, everyone that does it for this episode, please check us out. Of Be Tob Rev exactcom. You know the drill, Reddis review show with friends, family, Co workers. If you like what you here, keep giving us feedback. We'll keep bringing quality content until next time. We value prime solutions, which you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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