The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 3 years ago

Bret Rachlin on How and Why B2B Buyers Buy


The number of people talking about how B2B buyers have changed and are more informed today are legion. The question now becomes how do you understand them, how do you connect with them, and what do you need to know in order to connect with them effectively to drive revenue growth and results.

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Today, on the B to b revenue executiveexperience, we're talking about B to be buyers, what motivates them, how youcan connect them and how your organization, by understanding them,can drive greater returns. You're listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated ELP e executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one, hello, everyone, I'm yourhost chat! Sanderson today before we get started, I just want to remindeverybody that we're looking for your feedback. If you could go to Btob,Revizeccom you'll find a link to a feedback form. It says: Fivedollarstarbucks Gift Card we'd like to collect your feedback on the show, geta better idea of how it's going for guys, what value you're getting from it.So we can continue to evolve the show and the episodes and the guests makesure that it's providing value for you in exchange. For your time again, we'llsend you S A five dollar starbucks gift card, so just fill that out put youremail in there we're not going to use it to email anything. We just want thefeedback and your perspective so I'll. Thank you in advance for taking thetime to do that. Today we have the opportunity to week with Brett Racklanhis the CRO chief revenue officer at KPI target, and the topic today is howB to be buyers by there's a lot of conversation going on out there in themarketplace about why companies are struggling to connect to their buyers.You know, what's the key to selling value, what is it that makes itdifficult for sales, reps and organizations to truly understand whatbe tobe buyers want and, more importantly, what can they do to get abetter understanding to drive their sales and marketing initiatives? Brettwas kind of enough to come on the show. We want to thank him for his time today.'s to great conversation hope you guys enjoy it. Bread thank you for takingthe time and coming on the show today, looking forward to introducing you toour listeners- and I think the best place to start is probably just alittle bit by your background and what's going on at KPI target what youguys do and then from there we'll roll into and talk about, be to be buying Shir Chad thanks, I'm really happy tobe here and look forward to a a very entertaining conversation. This iscertainly one of my one of my favorite topics talking aboutkind of how buyers by I love. I love discussing this, but a littlebackground about me. You know I've spent the majority of my career reallyto past a little over two decades, focused primarily on working with BTBand tech companies and helping them grow. STARTE off my career, more on thepublic, relationside andto, Tha, lot of media relations and analysts relationsworking with the gardeners in the foresters of the world in the late swhen the tech boom, really, you know, kicked off in earnest. Unfortunately, obviously there weresome challenges with thecom implosion. You kno around two thousand. TwoThousand and one I guess fortunately, for me, I had then moved on to asoftware company where I did product marketing and then ultimately led thatled me to run marketing for a video, survounlance and ext is Control Companyfor eight years, and my my role really focused more on regeneration, much morethan the market awareness that ihad been doing prior to that, and so forthe past few years, I've been consulting and recently joined with KPI target, whichis run by Mike Roan. To really help our clients do the deliver marketingqualified leads and help them convert that to opportunities to close businessMike had been a partner of mine where we were doing a lot of diginalmarketing activities like sceo and paper click as well as email, marketingand social seling, and I was kind of heading up to strategy and for thosethose clients- and there are combined efforts focused around how byers, bydeveloping the messaging position it's going to resonate and then helping themgo to market with the right, O... sales approach, that's goingto engage their prospects and help close more business. We found was omore powerful together at a part well in the concept of btbe buyers andunderstanding your buyers. It's one that any any of us that do this for aliving. We see companies struggle with it consistently sometimes they're largeenough that they're getting in their own way, because I think because theycan't seem to kind of step outside of themselves. But it's this constant. Howdo I better understand my you know my buyer? So I'm really curious to hear anyour perspective on that, and what approaches you found to be the mosteffective? Well, you know, What's interesting isis that back in back in the s when we used to do a lot of messaging sessions,we would get together with our clients, and we would do some research aroundder y know theur target market and we would listen to them, but we really atthat time- and maybe this was due to budgets. We didn't spend a lot of timeactually talking directly to t e, the customers or R, the BOT target buyersor the or the influencers in the in the deals, and it was just generallyaccepted it that's the way things were done and it sometime in the in the mid twoUSANDS. Certainly the trend started the focus around really talking with your buyers and havingthese kind of qualitative conversations you could always do. I think we alwaysrecommend doing some quantitative converse. You know research to but thequalitative ones, an the ones where you get all the anecdotes that really diginto how they buy, and you know first off in terms of how you go about it, everybody's really connected with theirtarget buyers, companies. You know especially sales people, but certainlythe organizations themselves. They already have customers there's a lot ofpeople that they can go. Ask these questions to, but they're often afraidto have the conversations. They think that sometimes they won't engage it's awaste of time, but what we found that really works is that, first of all, wejust ask them usual wy people are going to say. Yes,I mean that's, you know the first thing, but the second thing is: is that isespecially Yo have a third party? Do it it there it takes away if this is not asales call. This is a CA. This is a call or an interview where you arespending some time with someone to really understand their perspective andwhen you make it about someone else about themselves, people really like totalk about themselves and- and we really find that we attract individualsto be able to do that and we're talking, typically a thirty minute call, andeven though I'm from Philadelphia and IV, you know grown up it. You know kindof being a little bit cynical coming from that area. Youo people are generally nice, it'sit's. We rarely get turned down for these interviews because it'spositioned that, ultimately, if they help us by giving us this informationand telling us how they buy our promises, we're not going to try andsell you on this call, and our communications should really be betterto you and the other buyers out there over time, because we should learn fromwhat you're saying and they tend to appreciate that, and so when you, whenyou engage with those types of interviews, is it typically yourclients asking you to go out and do that and they're setting you up withyou know these accounts that we wont, or these accounts, that we lost ore,these customers that we've had for a long time ore. Are you suggestinghere's kind of the spread of people? You know we really should go talk to sothat we get a nice cross section to aggregate into some type of you knowBirpersona or something yeah, but more often it's our suggestion. I mean it'samazing that clients really are not coming to us with this usually tey'recoming to us with a different problem. We are either you know we'reexperiencing some challenges: N With our marketing and sales efforts, we'renot getting people to return our calse or emails. There's some sort of barrierthat's going on, or you know, on the positive side we may be entering a newmarket, we may be launching a new product in a existing market or a newmarket. So there's there aret, but it's rare that we get it on the positiveside, usually there's a problem and they want to to figure out. They wantto fix their messaging and and so, if...'re going to fix, thour messaging,it's usually us is recommending. Well, you know e tell us a little bit aboutyour buyers. What are your Bo, ire, personis and and bier percentage areoften done at the surface level. You know the typical buyer for a ois, a CFO who is often male thirty.Five to fifty five with this type of education probably has an NBA. That'sjust baseline. We get it. We get into the kind of the and we can talk aboutthis more on the call, but we get into really how do they make the decisionsto buy these types of products or services? What triggers them to lookfor them in the first place? What information resources did they trust sowe're coming to them and recommending that Yo we want to. You know, talk toearly as many byers as possible. Usually it starts off with a minimum offive because they don't have a lot of time and they worry about it, and so weget tem agree to do. Let's do five interviews, and what we've done is isthat we prepare a communication for them to use with their existingcustomers and prospects, and we prefer, you know, to talk to prospects orcompanies that they've lost as well. An that has youra not makes no differenceto us. A buyer is a buyer. I doesn't matter if they won or lost the deal.Doing winloss analysis is a different different set of questions also highlyvaluable, but serves a different purpose. Thit's an interestingperspective right. Buyer is a buyer, whether you get him or not, because alot of customers, you know, and even when I was running, you know, sales andmarketing groups and we had an outside firm doing. The winloft. I is the asthe guy who was responsible for the revenue was much more interested tohear why we had lost. I wanted to understand the buyer and what theirmotivators were and the by it's always interesting. When you go to a buyerlike client that you've lost- and you say hey, would you be willing to jumpon the phone with with Brett? For me for thirty minutes and just be honest,there's this there's this pregnant pause and they're. Like? Are you tryingto trap me, but once hiy get on the phone with you know guys like you, thenthey definitely open up some of the most valuable information I've everseen. I just don't understand why more companies don't embrace that is kind ofa standard practice. I think it's, I think, there's some abit of fear, and but it's also, I think, somewhat ofan accauntability issue too. Marketing, for example, is being held accountable,more and more, and rightfully so, for contribution to revenue and youmarketing. In fact, one of my favorite sales people. I worked with used toconstantly joke with me about how marketing was only about you know,making pretty pictures, and this is yeah well Aber oaks well after heshould have been doing that, but but it was but it's true I mean that's the waymarketing was perceived for a long time and marketing was not held accountable,and so there are still a lot of organizations out there, wheremarketing and even sometimes sales, depending on, as I'm sure you see thiswith your customers, that sales is not being held accountable either, and so,when you think about having the conversations with your target buyersas well as your target influencers, especially these complex deals where Yohave multiple individuals in inside your prospect that are influencing anddeciding how? U O they're going to choose you or someone else, is either that or on they win lussanalysis side. Do they really want to know why they lost, because it couldmight be havping to look in the mirror at some point and that's that's a toughthing to have happened. Yeah we'd, always when we get Tho win loss,analysis, I'd always do a debrief with the rappor and have somebody else. Ifit was my account, have somebody sai down with me and those can be painfulthey an they can be really painful, but if you just have the you know, if youhave the Werwithal to just take a moment, take ity breath and realize hisis an opportunity to get better I've seen people make serious, tries andcompanies make serious strides and taking that feedback internalizeagaiand changing their behaviors into something that has tendency to generatemore results, not at the corporate level. We're talking about. If you weredoing a you know, a large scale kind of campaign. That's one thing, but if acompany's not doing that, how do you...

...recommend that individual sales rapsthat want to understand their virus? How would you recommend they go aboutit if it's not something that organizations already doing? So? That's a that's a great question:Chad and the there's the best opportunity in from mystandpoint on that for a salesperson to be able to do it is oftentimes afterthey win a deal and they could obviously do it after day lose a dealas well, but I think it's more likely when the salesperson wins, there's,obviously there's a sense of enjoyment. I think on both sides, they've gottensteal done the customers ready to move forward. There might be a you know: atransfer from the salesperson to a customer success person is en Straonboarding that may go on so before that transfor happens. Why not have thesalesperson take some time and say: Hey? Can we take thirty minutes and you knowte me Jus go through some questions with you because I want to you know Iwant to validate some of the things that maybe I learned through thisprocess, but I also want to get some feedback from you about you. No, whatdid I do right and t what hat? What could I have done better in the DEA? Soit's, it would probably be structured a little bit differently from thequestions we typically ask upfront, but in terms of thinking about yeah, one ofthe things that's really important to me is market. The terms marketing ansales, marketing and sales are vendor terms. They are not buyer or customerterms. Buyers do not care about whether you're talking to a marketing orsalesperson they're, looking to somebody to help them, and usually thatis some sort of communications. I prefer the term communications and, ifI think, mendors start to think about how do we communicate with our targetcustomers our target FYERS? How do we deliver value in those interactions?The conversation changes greatly and I think if a sales rep can get that kindof feedback from a Bott from t ir their customer after after a dealas been done,they're going to learn a lot more and how to go forward yeah, I agreecompletely. I don't understand why I mean everybody's talking aboutvalue these days right, but so few people seem to understand that it's notme as a rep showing up saying hey these features and benefits, and this part ofmy product is what's going to provide value. The concept of value isn't,isn't yours, it's the byers and if you can't figure out how to get there, you're not going to be able to connectto it and one of the ways I've seen some reps do it. I see very I'll, behonest. I see very few. Do it, but I have seen some raps ask the customers,where they've won to kind of give them that feedback. Then you have to applythe happiness filter to it right. They are, like you said they all just won.They came up with a great deal, so you got ta temper ate a little bit, butthose that have a tendency to seek that feedback are the most effective. Andagain it's one of those things that I wish. I had a silver bullet. I probablycould retire if we came up with it and actually AF yow and I come up with iton the show then we'll both retire. But how do you write right, raps figure outlike it's not to me. It's not a tough concept, I'm wondering and it workd way offtopic er, but I'm wondering we've talked about fear a couple of times.I'm wondering the fear that I see in some sales raps around rejection oraround really wanting to hear the truth. I'm just curious. Do you think that isinherent in the sales of marketing profession, like the fear that I don'tget the message right or I don't I get rejected or are ar sales happy he moreexyoknow, exposing themselves more Absi think I think that fear really doesexist. I think right, if you look at linked in with any regularity ortwitter. This is comes out on Linkdon you've seen some of the shaming thatgoes on by the way where people which I'm actually working with with a clientright now, where I'm kind of actually helping them, do some businessdevelopment, a 's and, and so I'm actually sending some emails to some contacts at kind of large healthinsurance companies and I'm trying to sort of navigate through and one of thequestions I'm asking is, is kind of. Can you can you introduce me to theright person? I'm a pretty sure the...

...person I'm talking to is not the rightperson to be having the the real conversation we're looking to have, butwe've connected with them, and I think that's a fair question to ask. But asI've been doing this, I've seen the fact that you ow some people will shamethat question out there saying that. Well, you should know you you shouldknow who the right person is already well, that's not always easy easy to do,and I'm a human being and they're a human being, and if we've connected insome way, why is it off limits to ask a question like that and you you have tobe willing to put yourself out there and I think that there often is a lotof fear. It's just like a lot of ways. It's about. You know somewhat stagefright if you're about to go, you know, do our performance and you're an actoryou V, you're nervous before that performance, as well as you've, beenyou doing it all your career. It's the same thing if you're steming a newproduct ore you're reaching out to a new prospect, you feel you risk thatinitial rejection and you have to test things out and you're not going to bata thousand. So it's, I think, there's a lot of fear there and I think, there'smore risk in terms of our social media efforts that you could be exposed forpotentially making a quote. Unquote mistake in reality: that's fairlyinnocent yeah. I remember when they used to say there's no such thing as adumb question. I don't know thiss necessarily true anymore and th, andthen you are expected. I agree I mean you are expected to know a lot moreabout your target customer than you were. I mean the discover fre. You canask the same discovery, questions that you asked even two years ago. I do. ICertainly v things evolve, but but there are times where you do need to beable to ask questions and ou need to be able to feel comfortable with that.This idea y clearly buyers have a lot more control in these complex BTB deals,but tho say that buyers and buyers may do a lot more research on their own,but that doesn't mean that they are going through the buying cycle withoutinteracting with a sales person. They may be doing some research, but thatdoesn't mean they're going through the entire process without interacting withsales, and that's why sales and marketing folks really need to thinkabout how they're aligned from a communications perspective, because itdoesn't matter who it's coming from, but as long as you're delivering theright content to that Buyar at the right time of the buying cycle. That'sall that matters, and you have to have a certain amount of humility andsharing of the turf among marketing and salespeople and that adjusts over time.So when you start with one thing, you have to recognize it, it could changeeverytime, which is why interviewing your buyers on a regular basis reallyshould be a best practice. Now we haven't gotten there to convinceeverybody to usually we do it up front, and then they don't do it as a regularpractice. They probably should be go. Imagine your board sets a target oftwenty percent revenue growth in eighteen months, so something will haveto change with your sales team. How do you beat your target value? Primesolutions can help ensure your managers and reps are leveraging a salesframework that focuses on value, not price, don't assume you have it allfigured out, don't wait until it's too late visit value, Prime Solutionscomand let them help so. We've talked about buying at at the company leveland looked at the sale side like how the sales guys dot notus talk aboutmarketing for a second, the content that they produce as we were preferefor the show you mentioned that you know you're big fan of content odifferentiates and resonates Yo. I Love Fo. You unpack that a little bit forour audience sure so, first of all being to be content, especially at theyou know, especially at the beginning of the buying sals serch mean Youre.Trying to tract prospects to you is is still too boring. Is the bottomline S it's. I mean companies are amazingly conservative. You know whenthey, when companies often will build a website. You know I mean. Obviously allwebsites are responsive, of course, they're going to be responsive. Theyhave to be because everybody we live in a mobile world, but they also all lookthe exact same too, and so you now...

...everybody when you're building awebsite, our clients are always saying here are the sites I like here to sites.I don't like and that's fine to do, but you do. It is important, probably tothink through. How do I want to be portrayed out in the world? How can Ibe bolder with my message with my communications and to get somebody toturn their heads because I think most endors don't realize just how noisy itis. Vendors get very much tunnel vision around themselves and their immediatecompetition. What they feel te realize is that you are not competing just with yourdirect competition, you're competing with all the priorities that your buyertarget byer has. So, if you're ahead of all your competition, but your thefourth priority, what are you going to do the raise urgency to become thefirst or second priority to get them to turn their heads toward you? That'swhere you need to be a little bit more creative with your content so, and itdoes need to be a little bit more entertaining and you're, seeing a trendwhere more be to be content is becoming more betos like because it's notcompany to company, it's person to person and people respond to thingsthat are interesting to them. So, obviously you know a ton about yourbuyers within linked in you can get obviously things about where peoplewent to school, what their interests are, what their charities are. You canuse that information to create. You know content, that's interpersonaldirectly to them. You can also create some more general content from amarketing perspective that relates to the issues that are available. Th,raising the issue of in certain with certain buyers. That'sgoing to be compelling to them is critical to be able to get theirattentiono it just takes. It takes some researchand remembering that people people are still people, even your even yourbuyers right. I had a conversation other day with briant cramer about hishtoh book and we were talking and it's like Betas C and all f the changes thathave been made, ind btocee in the expectations of experience- and youknow when the iphone came out and kind of changed the dynamic. All of that'smade its way into be to be not because BTB's been looking for, but because Btob is still people so they're. Bringing that desire for that customerexperience that frictionless experience into the bee to be buying arena, andwhat I see a lot of is you know I spent the last ten years doing digitaldigital interfaces right. We did a lot of customer interviews, CX all of thatkind of stuff. I see sales reps, just their eyes, get really big they're. NOTTHERE WAIT! Wait! You want me to put personality in it like like how much ishow much is too much personality like how much of myself do? I really letshine through, and I think it's a line that a lot of these sales and marketersand companies are struggling with. So, just out of curiosity, if you couldgive somebody guidance on you know, making it more personal and how far?How far would you suggest they go? Or can you give us an example? Well, I dothink you need to read the room and HH Company Is Different in terms of youhave to know your market, so, for example, you wouldn't show up to aclient meeting or a prospect meeting wearing a certain type of clothing ifit wasn't appropriate for that particular client. Now some clients, itwould be appropriate to wear a suit. Okay, other clients that its in itselfworing a shuit could be offensive to them because they have a differentgrand and that's tot what they would want to see from ther sales rep comingin to meet with them. So you do have to read the room. I fall on the side thatyou need to insert your personality as much as possible. In fact, there's a woman named Saly Hog,sad who has a company around called how to Fascinate, which is kind of the flipof the myrers Briggs Myers Briaks, is how you see the world. How To fascinateis how people see you and she has come up with the jury, unique approach of how she identifieswhat fascinates people about you, and so her point is, is that we all havecertain amount of strengths we should be using those strengths and part ofthat strength is our personality. So,...

...from a sales perspective, ourpersonality should clearly be involved. I think from a marketing perspective,you would probably be using more of that personality again to attractpeople. I think you can be a little bit more business like once you're in thedeal engaging with them. I think that, were the personality comes in later ina deal when you're further through the vying cycle is when you have toreengage and get them to come back, I mean, as you know, marketing qualifiedleads are often handed the salespeople and sometimes they'll go call them andthey'll. They won't get a return to call and they'll say: Oh that's it thatwasn't really a marking qualified lead, the lead will kind of get lost, theywon't go back, inthe, nirture and th and te wipe their hands of it. Well,that Markin Qualifi lead is based on criteria that you've kind of defined,as this is the criteria that defines that that lead stage and just becauseyou define it that way doesn't mean that the salesperson isn't going tohave to work, to get them to engage and that's where personality comes in. Youhave to be able to differentiate and you have to find a way to relate tothem and people again. I think I think the risk is much smaller thanpeople think it is in terms of showing that personality. Now that doesn't meanyou're never going to offend somebody you're never going to upset someone,but I'd rather I'd rather do that than have crickets and not have anybodyresponding to me well yeah yeah, that is, if you, if you don't put yourpersonality, is let's say it's a be to be sal, it's a Longsale psycle, andthen you have an engagement, that's longer and you're going to be involvedwith this client. At some point, your personality is going to come out and ifyou don't, if you don't include it up front, do you really want to? I mean,if you offend them, do you really want to be spending the next two years?Working with that client right Erans, for you is Gongna, be horrible Ame forthem. That's right! That's right! Yeah! So you have to wait.You have to really weigh your options on that and really again have to figureout how much you can use, but y? U, but you can definitely take some chancesthere. I think, if, depending on how it's set up like I'm a very transparentperson, so I especially when I'm selling, even to my clients, they knowthat I'm being straight with them from the beginning. So when you get into theengagement and there could be problems, they know they can come back to me andthey knit are going to get a straight answer of how we're going to fix it,and- and I think that's really important now- sometimes thattransparency can come back to j the bite me because sometimes that's notappreciate it at certain times of communications and have I probably lostopportunities or had negative interactions, even with my own teammembers, because that transparency- probably but the O I I'd rather be I'rather overcommunicate than have someone EXPEC, think that I am keepingsomething from them yeah without a doubt, I'm very much the same way. Iwould rather know where I'm at with somebody. I think it makes it betterfor them too. Right I mean it's just everybody knows where you're at there's.None of this wasted energy on well, what did he really mean or what happensif I go to hem? It just creates too much wasted. Energy, in my opinion, isbetter if everybody is just not it's an overused word and I'm a little. It'sprobably almost a little bit too touchy feeling for me quite fringly, but thatauthenticity everybody's talking about that authenticit, if you can't beauthentic in a sales cycle and people buy from people ou in the marketingpeople have to understand that too, and if you just can't do that andunderstand that sometimes you're going to be looked at and said, yeah, I don't.I don't want to do business with you, the first time that happens. Wel Man,that's painful, yeahoh Wai, you don't like me. It's like! No just burlistic!You don't not everybody's a match right! That's right! But that's that, but ifyou're a public speaker if you're trying to create a speaking business,you are not going to be liked by everybody. If you try to be like byeverybody, you will not have a Successibal, successful speaking careerbecause you are trying to be all things to all people, and that means you standfor nothing. You have to stand for something, even if it's a not adevicive topic, but if it's it could be about something in terms of leader. Itcould be about leadership and if you stand for a specific type ofprogressive leadership in terms of of...

...your approach- and that goes against,what's been done traditionally, you, you are probably going to offendtraditional people from that perspective, but that doesn't meanyou're not going to be successful, exactly actally well perfect breath.This has been an absolute joy to have you on the show. If the listenersinterested in talking more about these topics we touched on today, what's thebest way to get in contact with you well e a couple ways. Obviously anyonecan always call me yeah I mind a few people hes, maybe to the will much of Yown. I do I do. I think it's because I used to do pr and I used tolyappreciate when people answered my call, so I ninety nive percent of the timewill answer the phone. If I can and my numbers Yo, O six seveny, eight seven,seven, seven, three hundred and eight seven and then also people cancertainly get a hold of me by email, which is Brett, which is br et at KPItarget. All One wordcom excellent again, I can't thank you enough for having iton the show tot as been great. I really appreciate it. Well, thanks so much yetit's been. It's been a pleasure and I enjoyed it immensely excellent, allright everyone that does it for this episode, please check out. BTOBREVIZECCOM show the episode with friends, Families Coworkers and, if youlike, what you've heard please do is favorite writeer review on itunes. Wedo look at those reviews to make sure we're bringing on people that you guyswant to hear from until next time. We have value prime solutions with you allnothing, but the greatest success you've been listening to the BTBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes for your favorite podcast player. Thank youso much for listening until Mext Time.

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