The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 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 be tob revenue executiveexperience, we're talking about B to be buyers, what motivates them, howyou can connect to them and how your organization, by understanding them, candrive greater returns. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcastdedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whetheryou're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to theright place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two one. Hello,everyone, I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today. Before we get started,I just want to remind everybody that we're looking for your feedback. Ifyou could go to be tob REV exccom, you'll find a link to a feedbackform. It says five dollar starbucks Gift Card. We'd like to collectyour feedback on the show get a better idea of how it's going for youguys, what value you're getting from it, so we can continue to evolve thethe show, in the episodes and the guests make sure that it's providingvalue for you. In exchange for your time, again, we'll send youa five dollar starbucks gift card. So just fill that out put your emailin there. We're not going to use the email anything. We just wantthe feedback and your perspective, so I'll thank you in advance for taking thetime to do that. Today we have the opportunity to speak with Brett Racklin. He is the CRRO chief revenue officer at KPI target and the topic todayis how be to be buyers by there's a lot of conversation going on outthere in the market place about why companies are struggling to connect to their buyers. You know, what's the key to selling value? What is it thatmakes it difficult for sales reps and organizations to truly understand what be tob buyerswant and, more importantly, what can they do to get a better understandingto drive their sales and marketing initiatives? Brett was kind of enough to comeon the show. We want to thank him for his time today to greatconversation. Hope you guys enjoy it. Brett, thank you for taking thetime and coming on the show today. Looking forward to introducing you to ourlisteners and I think the best place to start is probably just a little bitof a boy, your background and what's going on at KPI target, whatyou guys do, and then from there we'll roll into and talk about Bto be buying share. Chad. Thanks, I'm really happy to be here andlook forward to a very entertaining conversation. This is certainly one of my oneof my favorite topics talking about kind of how buyers by. I LoveI love discussing this. But little background about me. You know, I'vespent the majority of my career, really to pass a little over two decades, focused primarily on working with be tob and tech companies and helping them grow. Start off my career more on the public relations side and did a lotof media relations and annalyster relations, working with the gardeners and the forests ofthe world in the late s when the tech boom really kicked off in earnest. Unfortunately, obviously, therever some challenges with thecom implosion around two thou twothousand and one, I guess. Fortunately for me, I had then movedon to a software company where I did product marketing and then ultimately led thatled me to run marketing for a video surmounts and access control to Company foreight years. And my role really focused more on lead generation, much morethan the market awareness that I've been doing prior to that. And so forthe past few years I've been consulting and recently joined with KPI target, whichis run by microw and to really help our clients do the deliver marketing qualifiedleads and help them convert that to opportunities to close business. Mike had beena partner of mine where we were doing a lot of digital marketing activities likeSeo and paper click, as well as email marketing and social selling, andI was kind of heading up to strategy and for those those clients and thatare combined efforts focused around how buyers, by developing the messaging and positioning it'sgoing to resonate and then helping them go to market with the right marketing salesapproach that's going to engage their prospects and... close more business. We foundwas more powerful together to a part well in the concept of BB buyers andunderstanding your buyers. It's one that any any of us to do this fora living. We see companies struggle with it consistently. Sometimes they're large enoughthat they're getting in their own way because I think because they can't seem tokind of step outside of themselves. But it's this constant how do I betterunderstand in my you know, my buyers. So I'm really curious to hear canyour perspective on that and what approaches you found to be the most effective? Well, you know, it's it's interesting is is that back in backin 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 around theirknow their target market and we would listen to them. But we really atthat time, and maybe this was due to budgets, we didn't spend alot of time actually talking directly to the customers or the bought target buyers orthe or the influencers in the in the deals, and it was just generallyaccepted it. That's the way things were done. And it's sometime in thein the mid two thousands certainly, the trend started the focus around really talkingwith your buyers and having these kind of qualitative conversations. You could always do, I think we always recommend doing some quantitative commerce research to but the qualitativeones are ones where you get all the anecdotes that really dig into how theybuy. And you know, first off, in terms of how you go aboutit, everybody's really connected with their target buyers, companies, you know, especially sales people, but certainly the organizations themselves. They already have customers. There's a lot of people that they can go ask these questions to,but they're often afraid to have the conversations. They think that sometimes they won't engage, it's a waste of time. But what we found that really worksis is that, first of all, you just asked them. Usually peopleare going to say yes. I mean that's, you know, the thefirst thing, but the second thing is is that is especially if you havea third party. Do it. It there. It takes away this isnot a sales call, this is a this is a call or an interviewwhere you are spending 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 it we really find that we attract individuals to beable to do that. And we're talking typically a thirty minute call. Andeven though I'm from Philadelphia and have grown up, you know, kind ofbeing a little bit cynical. Coming from that area, you know, peopleare generally nice. It's a it's I we rarely get turned down for theseinterviews because it's positioned that ultimately, if they help us by giving us thisinformation and telling us how they buy, our promises is we're not going totry and sell you on this call and our communications should really be better toyou and the other buyers out there over time, because we should learn fromwhat you're saying and they they tend to appreciate that. And so when youwhen you engage with those types of interviews, is it typically your clients asking youto go out and do that and they're setting you up with, youknow, these accounts that we want or these accounts that we lost or thesecustomers that we've had for a long time? Where are you suggesting? Here's kindof the spread of people, you know we really should go talk toso that we get a nice cross section to aggregate into some type of youknow, buy our persona or something. Yep, well, more often it'sit's our suggestion. I mean it's amazing. The clients really are not coming tous with this. Usually are coming to us with a different problem.We are either, you know, we're experiencing some challenges in with our marketingand sales efforts. We're not getting people to return our calls or emails.There's some sort of barrier that's going on. Or, on the positive side,we may be entering a new market, we may be launching a new productin a existing market or a new market. So there's there are butit's rare that we get it on the positive side. Usually there's a problemand they want to figure out they want to fix their messaging and and soif they're going to fix our messaging,...'s usually us who's recommending. Well, you know, tell us a little bit about your buyers. What areyour buy our personas and and Bire percentage are often done at the surface level. You know, the typical buyer for a, you know, is aCFO who is often male, thirty five to fifty five, with this typeof education, probably has an MBA. That's just baseline. We get it. We get into the kind of the and we can talk about this moreon the call, but we get into really how do they make the decisionsto buy these types of products or services? What triggers them to look for themin the first place. What information resources do they trust? So we'recoming to them and recommending that, you know, we want to, youknow, talk to really as many buyers as possible. Usually it starts offwith a minimum of five, because they don't have a lot of time andthey worry about it, and so we get them agree to do, let'sdo five interviews, and what we've done is to say we prepare a communicationfor them to use with their existing customers and prospects and we prefer, youknow, to talk to prospects or companies that they've lost as well. Atthat has really note. Makes no difference to us. A buyer is abuyer. It doesn't matter if they want or lost to deal doing win lossanalysis is a different, different set of questions, also highly valuable, butserves a different purpose. It's an interesting perspective, right, buyers a buyer, whether you get them or not, because a lot of customers, youknow, and even when I was running, you know, sales and marketing groupsand we had an outside firm doing the wind last I, as theas the guy who is 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 a client that you've lost. You said, Hey, would you bewilling to jump on the phone with with Brett for me for thirty minutes andjust be honest? There's this there's this pregnant pause and they're like, areyou trying to trap me? But once they get on the phone with youknow, guys like you, then they definitely open up some of the mostvaluable information I've ever seen. I just don't understand why more companies don't embracethat as kind of a standard practice. I think it's I think there's somea bit of fear and but it's also, I think, somewhat have an accountabilityissue to marketing, for example, is being held accountable more and more, and rightfully so, for contribution to revenue. You and marketing. Infact, one of my favorite sales people I work with used to constantly jokewith me about how marketing was only about, you know, making pretty pictures andthis is yeah, well after, well after, he should have beendoing that, but but it was. But it's true. I mean that'sthe way marketing was perceived for a long time and marketing was not held accountable, and so there are still a lot of organizations out there where marketing andeven sometimes sales, depending on as and I'm sure you see this with yourcustomers, that sales is not being held accountable either. And so when youthink about having the conversations with your target buyers as well as your target influencers, especially these complex deals where you have multiple individuals in inside your prospect thatare influencing and deciding how they're going to choose you or someone else, iseither that or only win loss analysis side. Do they really want to know whythey lost, because it could might be having to look in the mirrorat some point and that's that's a tough thing to have happened. Yeah,we'd always when we get the win loss analysis, I'd always do a debriefwith the rap or I'd have somebody else, if it was my account, havesomebody sit down with me. And those can be painful, they canbe really painful. But if you just have the you know, if youhave the wherewithal to just take a moment, take a deep breath and realize isan opportunity to get better. I've seen people make serious strides and companiesmake serious strides in taking that feedback, internalizing and changing their behaviors into somethingthat has ten to see the generate more results. Now at the corporate levelwe're talking about if you were doing a, you know, a large scale kindof campaign, that's one thing, but if a company's not doing that, how do you recommend the individual sales...

...reps that want to understand their buyers? How would you recommend they go about it if it's not something that organizationsalready doing? So that's a that's a great question, Chad, and thethere's the best opportunity in from my standpoint on that, for a salesperson tobe able to do it is oftentimes after day win a deal, and theycould obviously do it after they lose a deal as well, but I thinkit's more likely when a salesperson wins there's obviously there's a sense of enjoyment,I think, on both sides. They've gotten this deal done. The customersready to move forward. There might be a you know, a transfer fromthe salesperson to a customer success person, some strong on boarding that may goon. So before that transfer happens. Why not have the salesperson take sometime and say hey, can we take thirty minutes? And you know,it means just go through some questions with you, because I want to,you know, I want to validate some of the things that maybe I learnedthrough this process, but I also want to get some feedback from you aboutwhat did I do right and what? What? What? What could Ihave done better in the deail? So it's it would probably be structured alittle bit differently from the questions we typically ask up front, but in termsof thinking about yeah, one of the things that's really important to me,I is market the terms marketing and sales. Marketing and sales are vendor terms.They are not buyer or customer terms. Buyers do not care about whether you'retalking to a marketing or salesperson. They're looking to somebody to help themand usually that is some sort of communications. I prefer the term communications and ifI think vendors start to think about how do we communicate with our targetcustomers, are target buyers? 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 bout, from their their customer. After, after adeal has been done, they're going to learn a lot more and how togo forward. Yeah, I agree it completely. I don't understand why.I mean, everybody's talking about value these days, right, but so fewpeople seem to understand that it's not me, as a rep, showing up sayinghey, these features and benefits and this part of my product is what'sgoing to provide value. The concept of value isn't isn't yours, it's thebuyers and if you can't figure out how to get there, you're not goingto be able to connect to it. And one of the ways I've seensome reps do it. I see very I'll be honest, I've see veryfew do it, but I have seen some reps ask the customers where they'vewon, 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 one. They came up with a great deal, so yougot to temper it a little bit. But those that have a tendency toseek that feedback or the most effective and again, it's one of those thingsthat I wish I had a silver bullet, I probabably could retire if we cameup with it, and actually a few and I come up with iton the show, then we'll both retire. But how do you write right reps? figure out like it's not to me. It's not a tough conceptthat and I'm wondering, and it work way off topic here, but I'mwondering. We've talked about fear a couple of times. I'm wondering the fearthat I see in some sales reps around rejection or around really wanting to hearthe truth. I'm just curious. Do you think that is inherent in thesales and marketing profession, like the fear that I don't get the message rightor I don't I get rejected, or are our sales absolutely more exposing themselvesmore at I think I think that fear really does exist. I think rightif you look at Linkedin with any regularity or twitter, but this is comesout on Linkedin, you've seen some of the shaming that goes on right awaywhere people, which I'm actually working with a client right now where I'm kindof actually helping them do some business development as and and so I'm actually sendingsome emails to some contacts at kind of large health insurance companies and I'm tryingto sort of navigate through and one of the questions I'm asking is is kindof can you, can you introduce me to the right person? I'm prettysure the person I'm talking to is not...

...the right person to be having thethe real conversation we're looking to have, but we've connected with them and Ithink that's a fair question to ask. But as I've been doing this,I've seen the fact that, you know, some people will shame that question outthere, saying that, well, you should know, you should knowwho the right person is already. Well, that's not always easy, easy todo. And I'm a human being and they're human being and if we'veconnected in some way, why is it off limits to ask a question likethat? And you you have to be willing to put yourself out there andI think that they're often is a lot of fear. It's just like alot of ways it's about, you know, some much stage fright. If you'reabout to go you know, do your performance and you're an actor,you you're nervous before that performance as well. As you've been doing it all yourcareer. It's the same thing if you're siming a new product or you'rereaching out to a new prospect, you feel you risk that initial rejection andyou have to test things out and you're not going to bat a thousand.So it's I think there's a lot of fear there and I think there's morerisk in terms of our social media efforts, that you could be exposed for potentiallymaking a, quote unquote, mistake when in reality that's fairly innocent.Remember when they used to say there's no such thing as a dumb question?I don't know the necessarily true anymore. Well, and then. And thenyou are expected, I agree. I mean you are expected to know alot more about your target customer than you were. I mean the discovery youcan ask the same discovery questions that you asked even two years ago. Ido. I certainly things evolved, but but there are times where you doneed to be able to ask questions. You need to be able to feelcomfortable with that. This idea. Clearly, buyers have a lot more control inthese complex be to be deals, but to say that buyers and buyersmay do a lot more research on our own, but that doesn't mean thatthey are going through the buying cycle without interacting with a salesperson. They maybe doing some research, but that doesn't mean they're going through the entire processwithout interacting with sales and that's why sales and marketing folks really need to thinkabout how they're aligned from a communications perspective, because it doesn't matter who it's comingfrom, but as long as they're delivering the right content to that buyerat the right time in the buying cycle, that's all that matters. And youhave to have a certain amount of humility and sharing of the turf amongmarketing and salespeople, and that adjust over time. So when you start withone thing, you have to recognize that it could change every time, whichis why interviewing your buyers on a regular basis really should be a best practice. Now we haven't gotten there to convince everybody to usually we do it upfront and then they don't do it as a regular practice. They probably shouldbe. Do Imagine your board sets a target of twenty percent revenue growth ineighteen months, so something will have to change with your sales team. Howdo you beat your target? Value Prime solutions can help ensure your managers andreps are leveraging a sales framework that focuses on value, not price. Don'tassume you have it all figured out. Don't wait until it's too late.Visit Value Prime Solutionscom and let them help. So we've talked about buying at atthe company level and looked at the sales sideline, how the sales goesthose talk about marketing for a second, the content that they produce. Aswe were prepping for the show, you mentioned that, you know, yourbig fan of content to differentiates and resonates when I've loved you to unpack thata little bit for our audience. Sure. So, first of all, beto be content, especially at the you know, especially at the beginningof the buying cycles, which, when you're trying to tract prospects to you, is is still too boring. Is the bottom line. It's I mean, companies are amazingly conservative, you know, when they when companies often will builda website. You know. I mean obviously all websites are responsive.Of course they're going to be responsive. They have to be because everybody welive in a mobile world. But they also all look the exact same too, and so you know everybody when you're...

...building a website. Our clients arealways saying here the sites I like, here to sites I don't like,and that's fine to do, but you do it is important probably to thinkthrough how do I want to be portrayed out in the world? How canI be bolder with my message, with my communications, and to get somebodyto turn their heads, because I think most vendors don't realize just how noisyit is. Vendors get very much tunnel vision around themselves and their immediate competition. What they feel to realize is that you are not competing just with yourdirect competition, you're competing with all the priorities that your buyer, target buyer, has. So if you're are ahead of all your competition, but you'rethe fourth priority, what are you going to do the raise urgency to becomethe first or second priority, to get them to turn their heads toward you? That's where you need to be a little bit more creative with your content. So and it does need to be a little bit more entertaining, andyou're seeing a trend where more be to be content is becoming more be Toclike, because it's not company to company, it's person the person, and peoplerespond to things that are interesting to them. So obviously you know aton about your buyers. Within linkedin you can get obviously, things about wherepeople went to school, what their interests are, what their charities are.You can use that information to create, you know, content that's inner personaldirectly to them. You can also create some more general content from a marketingperspective that relates to the issues that are available. That raising the issue ofin certain with certain buyers that's going to be compelling to them is critical tobe able to get their attention and it's just takes it takes some research andremembering that people, people are still people, even your even your buyers. Right. I had a conversation that day with Brian Kramer about his age toh book and we were talking and it's like be Toc and all of thechanges that have been made in B Toc in the expectations of experience, andyou know when the iphone came out and kind of changes the dynamic. Allthat's made its way into be to be. Not Because Bob's been looking for butbecause Bob is still people. So the bring that desire for that customerexperise, that frictionless experience into the BB buying arena. And what I seea lot of is, you know, I spent the last tenors doing digital, digital interfaces, right. We did a lot of customer interviews, CX, all of that kind of stuff. I see sales reps just their eyesget really big. They're not there. Wait, wait, you want meto put personality in it, like like how much is how much is toomuch personality? Like how much of myself do I really let shine through?And I think it's a line that a lot of these sales and marketers andcompanies 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 do think you need to read the room and heach company is different in terms of you have to know your market. So, for example, you wouldn't show up to a client meeting or a prospectmeeting wearing a certain type of clothing if it wasn't appropriate for that particular client. Now, some clients it would be appropriate to wear a suit. Okay, other clients that it's in itself. Wearing a suit could be offensive tothem because they have a different brand and that's not what they would want tosee from their sales rep coming in to meet with them. So you dohave to read the room. I fall on the side that you need toinsert your personality as much as possible. In fact, there's a woman namedSally Hogshead who has a company around called how to Fascinate, which is kindof the flip of the Myers Briggs. Myers breaks is how you see theworld. How to fast sinate is how people see you and she has comeup with this Uri a unique approach of how she identifies what fascinates people aboutyou. And so her point is that we all have certain amount of strengths. We should be using those strengths and part of that strength is our personality. So from a sales perspective, our...

...personality should clearly be involved. Ithink from a marketing perspective you would probably be using more of that personality againto attract people. I think you can be a little bit more businesslike onceyou're in the deal engaging with them. I think that where the personality comesin later in the deal when you're further through the buying cycle. Is whenyou have to re engage and get them to come back. I mean,as you know, marketing qualified leads are often handed the salespeople and sometimes they'llcall them and they'll they won't get a return to call and they'll say,oh, that's it, that wasn't really a marketing qualified lead. The leadwill kind of get lost, they won't go back in the nurture and thatin the wipe their hands of it. Well, that marketing qualified lead isbased on criteria that you've kind of defined as this is the criteria that definesthat that lead stage. And just because you define it that way doesn't meanthat the salesperson isn't going to have to work to get them to engage.And that's where personality comes in. You have to be able to differentiate andyou have to find a way to relate to them and people again, Ithink, I think the risk is much smaller than people think it is interms of showing that personality. Now, that doesn't mean you're never going tooffend somebody, you're never going to upset someone, but I'd rather I'd ratherdo that thing, have crickets and not have anybody responding to me? Well, you know, it's that is if you if you don't put your personalityis, let's say it's a beautby sale, it's a long sale cycle and thenyou have an engagement that's longer and you're going to be involved with thisclient at some point your personality is going to come out. And if youdon'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 spendingthe next two years working with that client? Right, it's for you, isgoing to be horrible a and for them. That's right, that's right. Yeah, she have to wait. You have to really weigh your optionson that and really again have to figure out how much you can use.But it you've but you can definitely take some chances there. I think too, if, depending on how it's set up. Like, I'm a verytransparent person, so I especially when I'm selling, even to my clients,I they know that I'm being straight with them from the beginning. So whenyou get into the engagement and there could be problems, they know they cancome back to me and they are going to get a straight answer of howwe're going to fix it and and I think that's really important. Now sometimesthat transparency can come back to, you know, the bite me, becausesometimes that's not appreciate it at certain times of communications. And have I probablylost opportunities or had negative interactions even with my own team members because that transparency. Probably, but you know that I'd rather be I'd rather overcommunicate than havesomeone expect think that I am keeping something from them. Yeah, without adoubt, I'm very much the same way. I would rather know where I'm atwith somebody. I think it makes it better for them too write.I mean it's just everybody knows where you're at. There's none of this wastedenergy on well, what did he really mean, or what happens if Igo to him? It just creates too much wasted energy. In my opinion. It's better if everybody is just not it's an overused word and I'm alittle it's probably almost a little bit too touchy feeling for me, quite frankly, but that authenticity. Everybody's talking about that authenticity. If you can't beauthentic in the sales cycle now people buy from people you know, and themarketing people have to understand that too. And if you just can't do thatand understand 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 thathappens. Well, man, that's painful. Oh wait, you don't like me, it's like. Now, just be realistic, you don't. NotEverybody's a match. Right, that's right, but it's that. But if you'rea public speaker, if you're trying to create a speaking business, youare not going to be liked by everybody. If you try to be liked byeverybody, will not have a successible, a successful speaking career because you aretrying to be all things to all people and that means you stand fornothing. You have to stand for something, even if it's a not a divisivetopic, but if it's it could be about something in terms of leadersit could be about leadership. And if you stand for a specific type ofprogressive leadership in terms of how your approach...

...and that goes against what's been donetraditionally, you you are probably going to offend traditional people from that perspective,but that doesn't mean you're not going to be successful. Exactly excellent will perfectbreath. This has been an absolute joy to have you on the show.If a listeners interested in talking more about these topics we touched on today,what's the best way to get in contact with you? Well, I havea couple ways. Obviously anyone can always call me. Yeah, I minda few people because maybe because I'm to the will not to that own Ido. I do. I think it's because I was used to do prand I used to always appreciate when people answered my call. So I ninetynine percent of the time we'll answer the phone if I can. And mynumbers, you know, six, seven eight, seven, seven, seven, three, one hundred and eighty seven. And then also people can certainly getahold of me by email, which is Brett, which is b ouret at KPI target. All One wordcom excellent. Again, I can't thankyou enough for having you on the show. It's been great. I really appreciateit. Well, thanks so much, Chad. It's been it's been apleasure and enjoyed it immensely excellent. All right, everyone that does itfor this episode, please check out be to be REV exaccom show the episodewith friends, families, Co workers and, if you like, what you've heard. Please do his favorite wrie a review on itunes. We do lookat those reviews to make sure we're bringing on people that you guys want tohear from. Until next time, we have valued prime solutions with you all, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executiveexperience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the showand Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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