The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 years ago

Brian Burns on 5 Key Elements to Build a Next Generation Sales Team


Sales has become an increasingly dynamic profession - from AI, to the evolving use of social media, to ever more complex decision making from buyers.  As a result, team structures that used to work, will not work in the future.

Brian Burns, host of The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling, sits down with Chad Sanderson, Managing Partner, Value Prime Solutions, to discuss the five key elements sales executives need to consider as they design their next generation sales team and sales professionals must be aware of in order to succeed the next evolution of sales.

Subscribe to the podcast or listen to the episode above as they discuss the 5 key elements sales executives must consider as they build their next generation sales teams.

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You're listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson, and today we're going to tackle the topic about how you create a next generation sales team, but we're going to do it in a little bit different fashion. I've had the opportunity to connect with Brian Burns, who hosts several wellknown podcasts, that's just the B tob revenue leadership show and the brutal truth about sales and selling. It's also wellknown author, creator of the Maverick method and a well respected thought leader in the sales space, and so what he and I've decided to do is kind of sit down on a regular basis and tackle big topics that Cros CMOS, VP of sales rep of marketing are wrestling with and kind of give a debriefarm kind of where we see the market going, based on our experience and working with our clients, provide some insights and, hopefully, some strategies that will allow executives to, you know, go back and start to make a difference and evolve in a way that will give them the kind of results they want as market dynamics continue to change. At the end of the PODCAST I'll wrap it up a little bit more information, but until then I think I'm just going to let us roll right into the conversation with Brian Hey. So, the future of sales organizations, Chad, I had like number one is specialization. Have you seen that happening a lot, though, in your client base? Without a doubt. I mean specialization becomes kind of key for sales reps to start to build credibility and to be able to understand the buyers that they're working with. Right nobody wants to be sold to anymore. They want to be collaborated with. In order to do that, you really have to understand, you know, where that person is coming from and what it is that they're up against, what they're facing, what they you know, what their truepe problems they have in trying to solve them, and you have to bring value to that conversation. In order to do that, you know, specializing and maybe an industry or vertical or, if it's a tech solution, really knowing how that text solution can affect the business. I mean I think that's going to be critical moving forward. Yeah, yeah, because I had done a stint at IBM a, the company I was working yet got acquired by them, and it was kind of specialization gone mad. But it was necessary, you know, because you had people who were the salesperson on the product, sales engineers that were on the product, then you had people who knew the account people who knew, you know, the the whole the brand, and although it seemed, you know, to Matrix, it did work. It kind of came together when people needed it to and kind of dispersed afterwards. And I think we're going to have to specialize in the future because the sales job is just gotten really tough. I think we're seeing it today with, you know, the separation between, you know, people getting meetings, like the sales development reps, and then the people taking the meetings. But I think it's going to go even more than that. I think the next thing, I think it's going to be popular, is kind of what they call the information concierer's somebody who's who's building the lists. Are you seeing that or yeah, it was interesting. Actually interviewed Mark Causa Glow. He's the VP of sales for outreached io, and he kind of caught me off guard. We we're talking, he's like yeah, he's like the last thing I want my sales reps doing is actually picking the accounts that they're targeting. And a kind of stutter step that was like what, wait, what? I'm not used to hearing that. He's like no, no, I want my sales up selling. I want somebody else vetting those accounts that they're targeting so they make sure that they meet specific criteria that they you know, they are going to be those type of a accounts. In these sales guys aren't wasting their time because there's such you know, expensive resources, you know, going after stuff that's not going to pan out, and it...

...was kind of eye opening for me. I mean they've implemented it pretty aggressively. It sounds like an outreach and it's it. I mean it requires more people. I mean smaller businesses like like mine, I don't wish I had somebody to put together lists, but in larger organizations, I can definitely see how that could be, you know, particularly advantageous and I think he just goes to that segmentation in that specialist, I should fee, somebody really understands how to evaluate, you know, companies, the types of roles and types of problems at they're in, so they can really focus for the people that they're setting meetings for. I think that's going to be extremely advantageous going forward. That's it, because that job is not, you know, a fifty or a hundred K job. That job is a, you know, a thirt K job, right, you know, just getting those email addresses, phone numbers, you know, but social profiles and putting that into a cram and kind of maybe even finding out what they care about to target some personalization, separating that out so that a rap who's, you know, making eighty to a hundred and fifty doesn't have to spend their time doing that, because that's time consuming. Yeah, it's, and it's a quite honestly, with all the clients that we've worked with, you know especially like it. Adobe the constant thing you see is all of the reps are like, well, the first step is get your list. So well, how do I get my list? Where do I go? What do I do? How do I know if it's good? And so you can just see the wasted cycles, right. So that specialization on somebody who really knows. Okay, here's the criteria that you really need to be focused on. These the types of accounts we want. Now give that to the people that are going to be actually, you know, push them through the funnel. It says a lot of time and I think you get a better sense of scale out of it. And my number two thing was using technology. I think in the future that the sales reps who embrace technology, you know before it's in vogue, you know that the certain things about finding email addresses, finding social stuff, finding what people care about. I think those reps who really embrace technology are going to be the ones that are going to succeed. Are you seeing that? Or yeah, it's interesting. Right. So there's this. There's so many tools out there, right, and more come to the forefront every day, and so it can get a little bit overwhelming for Reps. the key, I think, is to find a text act that enables them to accelerate to human connection. Right, essentially, what you want to do. There's information everywhere. You look at twitter, linkedin maybe some reason, snapchat, whatever it is, there's a whole bunch of places you zoom in for you can pull all this information from and put it into all of these different tools. I have a tendency sometimes to see sales reps get, you know, they go too far down into the shiny object like, who, here's your tool and this is the silver bullet. No, no, they really need to stay focused on the technology that's going to make them more effective at providing value and having that human connection with with the people that they're that they're working with. The tools are plentiful. I guess my advice to any REP would we don't get distracted by them. Yeah, I think you have to adopt them slowly and get deep into them slowly and and not become, you know, a tool efficionado, even though I fall in love with these things, but I know it's the same. Hard not to write. But I also try and keep a distance too, because you know, there's a lot of them. You know the vendor to say, well, you're not using this or that, and I'm like, okay, but I I'm getting eighty percent of the value and fifteen minutes a day. You know, I don't know if I need to spend another thirty to sixty minutes a day to get the the remaining twenty percent value. Yeah, and it's amazing. I mean if you look at things like connect and sell right from a dialer orn str standpoint, those are some phenomenal tools right. You can do and can rip through eight hundred and sixty dials in an hour and it's only connecting you to the people that are actually picking up the phone. That's a phenomenal tool. But then there's all the integration on the back end. I forget who is, I forget how it was, but I was listening to James carberry's podcast. They had a Martech guy on and he was advocating that marketing and sales organization should have a technology person specifically dedicated to the integration, maintenance and evolution of...

...that text act, so it's not on the sales reps plate as well. So back again to your first point, specialization. That's probably not a bad idea, especially I think he said there were something like fifteen hundred sales and marketing solutions, applications or tools out there that people could choose from. I mean that's just that's just overwhelming, right. So you just got to be careful not to get too distracted with that stuff. Yeah, I think, you know, any sizeable company should have a marketing ops and a sales ops. And you know, on the if I had the five things I'd like to have a sales manager change, it would be number one is to get a sales ops person to do your forecast and stuff. And Yeah, that's stead of wasting everyone's, you know, two or three hours a week to make sure every field is filled in and and it all looks the way that he wants to see or she wants to see it. And it's just that that's really administrative work that can be done by that person who's not on the phone or in a meetings with people, right, right, I mean when you when you look at it really, I'm you look at sales in general, everybody talks about, you know, oh ai is going to replace sales and all this. Fact of the matter is people will always buy from people until robots are buying from robots. But I mean, the end of the day, people buy from people. So if you can use the technology and you can structure your organizations in your teams in such a way to really focus on scaling that portion of it. I think you're going to have wildly more success than just relying on, you know, somebody to do it all at once. That's it, because I think the technology you can use to find people even you know, connect with them on a human level. But once you engage with them, it has to be on the phone or in person. Right, it's not going to be through email, right, right, you know, it is at least going to be, you know, a go to meeting, a skype call or whatever you use for, you know, screen sharing and stuff, but it has to have that communication, because no one's sitting around waiting for you to, you know, call and pitch them. Right, I'm sitting at my desk waiting for that next cold call. Yeah, to tell you something, my number three was sales reps. a gut a figure out what I call the mystery middle of the sales process, and I think this is like no one really talks about this part. And what I mean by that is, let's say you have you know that this is the front end. We you find somebody, you connect with them, you have that first meeting, but then what reps do is they think. They give them a proposal and what and what ends up happening? Right, you given a proposal to someone who has no budget, some influence, a little political power and but has a big need, right. But but they don't know what to do with it. That's that's this mystery middle that reps don't understand what has beens here and what has to happen here. And you get into the situation where you if both people don't know what to do, nothing happens or it just it'll either happened by luck or by chance or will just die a slowdown. You know, you see the sales cycle drastically increase, right. I mean if you look at any revenue funnel you've got, and people will name them or give them different percentages, but you're got to find them, qualify them, you got to educate them, sell them and close them, right. And so right now you see every you know, especially on social media, every talking about how you find them, how do you prospect, how do you get them in? Well, there's that education piece that there isn't a lot of focus on right now and that you know, okay, great, I got you into the funnel. Well, now, at the hell do I do with you right, if you're not consistently looking at educating and, you know, providing insights, providing value to get them to the point where they're like yeah, Hey, I need to buy, and also figuring out if the person you're talking to is actually the guy who can sign the check or woman. Excuse me, because they can sign a check. You can't sell somebody who can't buy. They may have a problem, but it isn't going to resolve, you know, the things that get funded or the things that are business objectives and business issues. Things are getting in the way of that and reps really struggle. I think sometimes the figure out there just so happy that somebody wanted to talk to him.

I got I took my call, I got to give him a pitch. Now I should just rip off a proposal. Well, that's more cycles that you're spending without knowing if you're really selling to somebody who can write a check, then if you're in if you're really meeting in need, that's going to make a difference for the business. That's it. If they don't understand that part and how to keep that deal moving, and that's what really distinguishes, you know, great reps from Okay Reps agreed, you know, because it gets stuck there. And what do they do? They just hound that same person. And I think if I had a three point five, it would be sticking with one person within the account right, you know, and not, you know, expanding outside and really getting out of dealing with just that one person. And understanding of the economic issues, the other technical issues, like what you said with integration and everything. They got to understand that because somebody has to do that and nobody teaches this. You know, there's no course on the mystery middle of the sales cycle. Everybody focuses on that front at the negotiation, the presentation, in the demo, but nobody really focuses on how do you keep the deal moving? Right? Well, then you get him through the let's say you get them through their negotiation is a whole nother I mean you get if it's a larger company, or deal with procurement. I mean what I think it was at Ceb said something like seven people are involved in every decisionmaking process. So the negotiation portion of it becomes just as critical. I mean, sales is no longer a open the phone book and Smile and dial until somebody says, yeah, I need to set a knives or some new sighting. Right, it just doesn't work like that anymore. It's just it's gotten a lot more complex and you know, as a sales professional I probably have probably rubs me the wrong way when people talk about sales people in the same breath that they talk about politicians. Right. It's just it's annoying because this isn't it's not a simple profession anymore and I think it's going to get the skill set is going to get more complex for people to really master the entire revenue funnel. Yeah, yeah, and then it's the person who's going to figure this out. And that's why I call it the mystery because it's not the same every time. It is but different company to company. Yeah, but you've got to understand that just because you sent a proposal with an expiration date, that something's going to happen within that time frame is naive at best. Without well, I gave him a date. I swear process where I gave them a date. They're going to close on this day. Yeah, okay, that's it. And then it goes on to the forecast and the manager. It goes from what fifty to seventy five percent better. Yeah, I love it when companies having clients have fifty percent in their in their in their sales stages. Like one of the first things I look at as bar of the sales stages and anybody's got fifty percent in there, I'm like fifty percents of BS designation right, because I can flip a coin and it'll go either way. So you're either in control of the account or you're not. Sorry, R rant on a fifty percent thing. Yeah, Hey, so number four I had. I think there's going to be a new role. I think it's starting to emerge now is, you know, the chief Revenue Office, or I'm starting to see that resonate as a way of getting marketing and sales to work together. Have you seen that within your client base or if we act? It's interesting. So when we when we put together our podcast, we started thinking about who we wanted to talk to. We specifically started talking about you know, all right, let's get rid of the titles and let's look at how businesses operate. Right. So it's a revenue it's all about revenue. Or if it's a nonprofit public section. Maybe it's mission and funding, but there's this flow of money and the complexity that you've seen kind of crop up in both marketing and sales and the everybody complains about there not being enough alignment between marketing and sales. It requires a different type of leadership. So those CR rows that I mean, we've seen some in some of our clients and they may come from a sales background. They've at least done sales somewhere at some point, in at least the ones I've met so far and see coming up, but they have a much broader understanding of the entire way that a company interacts to generate revenue and I think that's going to be in order to provide that vision and that leadership, kind of that point on the horizon everybody's aiming to I think it's gonna... critical for organizations in the future and I think it's going to require, you know, a very unique person because you know, sales is getting more complicated, marketings getting more complicated and I think you're going to have to put client advocacy or client success under that as well, especially if you're in a SASS model where most of your revenue is recurring and if you don't get it to recur, yeah, sure, that's right, churn is just going to kill you. Yeah, and well, I mean if it's interesting. So I spent before I got into the sales and name was faces, but the last ten years doing digital experiences, that merging of physical and digital, and so work with companies like verizon in the Minnesota Vikings and stuff. But what's interesting is seeing that concept of experience, that totality of what a sales experience is, is now creeping into sales. I mean the sex world proved that the return on investment was huge, right, though I forget. I think it was Forbes maybe, did a report on companies that it invested in their customer experience saw a huge returns on Wall Street. Right. Well, now you're seeing, and I think he was sales force that no noticed it in a report que for last year, that sales exacts, these chief revenue officers are going well, man, I've got a sales experience that impacts my branded impacts, you know, the the buyer and the concepts that I've been here in for ten years on the sex side, like friction less, like how do you make this sales experience, friction less are moving into sales and it's going to take somebody in that cro spot that not only understand the mechanics of sales, which is getting more complicated, and marketing, but how to put it all together and something that seamless, because betob buyers are now having their expectation shaped by the BETC experiences that they have on a daily basis, and so they're going to have to match that and to understand that, you know that doing the right anthropological and ethnographic research and how to tie that into things that's still generate revenue. It is going to take a unique skill set, I think, to be a successful crow. I think that point about the BTC experience and expectation is really creeping its way into the be tob meaning like a client, a customer has been in such control in the btcase space that they have all this power at no cost right and they're just worshiped and you know and be to be it's kind of not necessarily that way and that it's hard to get into accounts. People don't want to be bothered anymore. They want everything for free, they want to have all the power, they want to get it at the price they want, that they don't understand the differences. And you know, the perfect example I have is I remember reading that I was looking at this new iphone APP that had come out and it had like a one star review and it was just beautiful APP. It was free and as like all they said was, oh, I couldn't expand the photos, and I'm like a version one is a one star, it's free. Right. Well, I took the time to cram. You can go back and actually you can look at this. This transition of BC experiences influencing me to be actually started with apple, right. So if you think about when the IPHONE, it's been a while and I know where it what ten years now, but when I when that iphone came out, everybody was like, Holy Crap, look at this, like it was the wow factor. It changed the game. It actually for for users it was a lot more seamless, but for business it actually change the dynamic. Right, so instead of it just developing applications and slapping and user interface on, you know at the end as an afterthought, all of a sudden their applications and stuff could be deleted with a swipe of a finger, and so all of a sudden the powers in the consumers hand, so be Toc people started to drive what was a phenomenal experience. Well, those BC people are also the buyers and B tob and so their expectations of look, don't sell to me, you make sure it's about me, make sure it's about my value. Those are becoming more prevalent and their expectations are bleeding over to the point where, if on...

...the be tob side, I mean I I got an email. I actually it's put a request and for a demo for an outreach type tool, sales cadencing stuff, and the email that the guy sent me, Jap pits, hit me wrong, maybe really wrong, like it was completely all about him, like hey, if you're not this good or you don't do this, or you don't have this solution that we can integrate with, there's no reason for us to talk. And I was just kind of like what, like, all right, I'm not even I'm not even respond to this, like your tool may be the best one on the market, but you just pissed me off, like why would you do that? Why would you take that type of approach? Right, and I know, having been doing this for ten years, that my expectation for the type of experience I want is much higher and I'm much more aware of it. But I'm seeing it with our clients all the time. The people that you're selling to or influenced by wanting frictionless, easy, collaborative types of experiences, and bb sales reps, and especially sorrows, are going to have to figure out how to deliver that. They are and it, and we'd really hurts is in the latent sale. You know, this is really what I focus on. is like the latent sales, the person who doesn't know you exist, right hey, not even know they have the problem you solve. But it is, you know, Ninety eight percent of your market at what everyone's doing today is putting all their money and effort into the you know, the one person who's actively looking to buy your product instead of the ninety nine that doesn't even know you exist. Right. Well, on sales reps, I mean, have you seen? I mean I've seen throughout my career and I've always struggled with it a little bit when I was when I was running teams, everybody wants to go for the obvious problem, the one that somebody's talking about, but if you dig a little bit deeper that late and stuff, you're really looking at a much larger opportunity. But sales reps don't seem for some reason, I haven't figured out why don't seem to you know, focus on or dig into the stuff where there's going to be more opportunity, more dollars that you can sell, more, you know, more revenue you can reap. I don't understand it. Maybe you've seen a solution, you have a switcher for it, but I don't know how you get sales reps to see that, especially when they're over, you know, overrun with new technology, solutions and all that kind of stuff. How do you? How do you? I'm just out of curiosity. How do you work with them to get them to understand that late and sale? Well, it is hard because their managers are focusing them, you know, solely on, you know, call them and pitch them. What they have to understand. It gets to my point of number five, is they don't know you right. If they don't know you, they can't like you because they don't know you right and they certainly don't trust you. So the days of you being able to use a pitch that's based off of increasing revenue decrease in costs. Everyone does it right, it doesn't really stick anymore and it doesn't really kind of pop up and what everybody does is say I got to come up with a better pitch. I hope. No, you have to become known, become legged and become trusted and neglect that takes too long. Well, you're already at no, you're there. Wait, I have to work for this. You don't have to do a thing to go see you can stay it. No, you're zero percent on the forecast right now. You got to get to ten, right, and that's just not their name in their mill address. That's them being able to you, be able to converse with them, and to do that they have to know you, like you and trust you, and you coming up with a more appealing pitch will work with somebody who may be open minded, but they're not. That's not going to get to ninety nine percent of the market. That's going to get you maybe another one percent. Right. I don't I can't remember the last time I've done a canned pitch. Everything I do is customized to the client that we're talking to, and this is one of the things that we teach that concept of increasing your familiarity. Right, so you have all these tools of your disposal. There's social there's email, you can voice smells, there's this cadence you can create to increase familiarity without creating an ask. Does it take time? Okay, yeah, maybe it takes you two weeks so that they actually recognize. I. You know, I think I've seen Chad's name somewhere. Maybe I should actually open anywhere. Maybe I should...

...respond to that, you know, linkedin request, because I've seen his name start to work in the brand that way. Right, it takes two, three weeks, okay, but if you got no and you're going nowhere, well then it wasn't even in the funnel begin with. So so at least take the time to build that familiar and through that process, understand that person. So if you can understand them, then your pitch can be to them, to their specific problems, to you know, ways that you can uniquely help them, not just hey, I happen to work with another executive in the same industry and we did this or you. Are you up for a conversation? No, I'm not a pass right. It's a lot like buying the drink at the bar. It's like, because is that becomes a conversation point and you start talking about what you're both interested in. You know, you breaking the ice and I think we we know how to do this in the social world and the you know, the physical world, when we're at parties with people and social situations, but we lose it when we're at work when we would like accounting the number of emails we send, the number of cold calls and voicemails we leave. But are you really going from unknown to known? I don't think you are until you're doing something for them. Yeah, without a doubt. And in order to do it and provide the value, to get to attention, you have to preparations. Another big one. I know I see a lot of reps that just kind of want to hey, I put together ten emails, I'm going to rip these out to these people. I'm like, okay, well, great, but if you don't spend the time to do your homework, if you don't understand, again, that person and what they're experiencing, if you're not personalizing your outreacher, just kind of wasting your time. These days, people want to feel important, they want to feel part of the process and in order for you to I mean at a cocktail party, you don't just walk up and say, Hey, I'm selling this as solution. I noticed you were drinking at Jack and coke. Do you want to buy this? That's not how it works right. You really gotta think of the way that you interact with the technology or even in conversations. You don't go straight for the sale. It's just a bit puts people off and in order to figure out when to do it right, you got to know your soft skills, but you also need to have done your homework and understand what those people are up against. Yeah, Hey, I really appreciate your joining me today and talking about this stuff and I'll sum it up at the end and we'll talk soon. All right, I appreciate it. Thank you. All right, everybody. That does it for the episode today. Thank you for listening and being with us today. I hope you found some value in the new format and the conversation between Brian and myself. Next Time Brian and I get together we're going to be talking about sales process and how you use that as a differentiator to so sales executives can turn their sales teams into a differentiate or just as much as the products and services that they sell. We're going to do a deep dive on that with our top five, you know, things to think about. Until then, please share out this podcast with friends, families, coworkers and please leave us a review on itunes or Stitcher, you through your favorite podcast provider. We use those reviews to format the show choose what guests we bring on. We really want to make sure we continue to provide value to the listening audience. So again, thank you everyone for showing up, drop us a review on itunes or stitcher and until next time, myself and everyone in value prime solutions wish you nothing but the best. Filling the top of the funnel is a challenge, especially in dynamic markets with shifting technology solutions and increasingly informed buyers. There is no silver bullet to effective prospecting, but value prime solutions has developed a proven framework and approach the delivers results. CHECK OUT VALUE PRIME SOLUTIONSCOM and ask how vortex prospecting can deliver more qualified leads for your teams.

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