The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Brian Burns on 5 Ways to Maximize Income


“How do you plan to maximize your income?” We get asked this question a lot by sales leaders and coaches. 

We sat down with Brian Burns, host of The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling, to discuss five ways to maximize your income and make sure you're on the right track. 

You are 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. Greetings everyone, and welcome to the BDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today, Brian Burns in our back talking about a topic that we've been asked about a lot, things that we hear from our clients, from Reps that we coach and mentor, and that is, how do you plan to maximize your income for the year? What kind of things can you do to make sure that you are on the right track to maximize your income for the year? Sales is about revenue. Revenues, name the game. Most of us are in it because we're money motivated. Sure, we like to solve problems, we like to help customers. We enjoy the Camaraderie, the competition. They're debiting other motivators for people to be in sales. However, the number one motivator remains the ability to make money and so in order to do that we need a plan. We need to know what things we can do in order to maximize that income for the year. So Brian and I spent some time kind of running down our experiences and insights to give you a list of five things that you can do to maximize your income. Hope you enjoy the conversation. Hey, Chad, happy two thousand and eighteen. Yes, happy New Year. I'm glad you've recovered from one of your recent but it's always something, isn't it? That that is the worst feeling. Just for the audiences benefit, Chad's computer didn't work one morning. We did didn't work. It in sue panic, right, anybody? And when you're going to turn on that computer and it's like wait, wait, well, and like you just feel your heart rate and crease and you start to sweat. It's like, Oh shit, when was my last backup? You know the only thing worse than that is if you have your phone doesn't work. No, yeah, it's a yeah, the shakes kick in pretty quick. Yeah. And so we're here, you know, January, and you know, I think a people make a lot of mistakes. Is Top that. I'm of year. But what everybody wants to do is maximize their income and their success through this brand new year. What some are your ideas? Well? For me, I think one of the best things that reps can do is they've got to have a vision of where they want to go right. So, so I always would start with, all right, my target earning this year's x, whatever that may be. Then, based on the new complaints that are rolled out and how they're trying to, you know, play with the rules, how do I back into the activity level that I need in order to achieve that goal, if not exceed it, and do it through the entire year? I mean I'm not getting down into okay on day one, I've got to do this on day two. But have some type of vision of where you want to go and how you want to get there. I see a lot of reps, you know, sit around and go, oh, it's que I've got time. No, no, it says, you never have enough time. Ever. So Planet, planet, from the beginning. Nowhere you want to go and stay focused on that. That plan will keep you on target when everything else in life or in business is, you know, spinning around you. Yeah, and I think that's one of my big ones too, because when you start with a brand new year, you think a year is a long time. Yeah, older you get, the shorter they become. Tell me about because I did this crazy thing last year where I got a wall calendar that was a whole year, not just one month or not just three months, and it's right here in my office and I look at it every day and I grade myself every day. And last year was the first year I really did that as opposed to just looking at, you know, your phone or your desktop calendar. And, believe me,...

...a year is so short. I was like, Whoa, it's all over, because I was last year. I was like I'm going to really super focus, no more BS. You know, I had a kind of a weird year before that and I got this is going to be a great year and I was super productive, but I really realized how short a year is. Oh, it goes by so damn fast. I mean, I mean think about I mean I know the audience. We're recording this almost into January already. I mean I was it was just Christmas. I swear it was just Christmas. I just puts a US miss ornaments and now I'm looking at I'm already through one three of my first quarter and it's like I'm so far by. I'm not so far behind, I'm behind where I want to be. I know where I want to go, but it's like crap, all right, so I'm not going to go to the motorcycle expo this weekend right. I need to spend Sunday catching up and getting back on track. And so I think I see a lot of reps. think years a long time, and it's always the younger ones. The thing, because I remember being like twenty four, twenty five, probably even in my s, and here seems like forever. No, not anymore. Like it's amazing how fast they go by, and so being aware of the passage of time and being being focused on what you want to accomplish in those three hundred sixty five days. As I love the grating idea, I love the grading idea because if you don't stay focused on yourself and what you're doing, it's so easy to get off track, it's so easy to get distracted, and that's I mean, if you want maximum income, you gotta stay focused on that and that's it. And our companies really don't help us with this side. They actually work against us, right, because how often did you get your complan January for? Oh yeah, no, very rarely, right. I never not want reer and and and there's also, you know, the whole bunch of stuff that goes on. You get the sales kickoffs, which you know, we I could do a whole episode of. Oh Yeah, Oh yeah, it is. Some of us are in the business of sales kickoffs. So I won't. Those are great, they're great, they're great, very valuable. I always very valuable. But yeah, but there's distractions because you don't have your Complan, you don't have your territory, you're still kind of cleaning up a little bit of last year. You know that the orders accounting calls you up and says, oh well, that we can't book this because of this, and it's a all this activity. And if we don't take ownership of our calendar, of our time, you know, q one is just going to slide right by us. Oh yeah, and so, I mean for me it's like, you know, moving moving on to like the second word. For me it's like, okay, nobody when it goes number one, but then be relentlessly focused, right, relentlessly focused on your goal. And that's that self awareness. I have a client. was actually talking to one of the refs that I'm working with and and she was like she apologizing left and right, and she's like, I know, I was supposed to do this, that and the other thing, whatever it was, and she's like it is just been absolutely insane since the first of the years. We they did their kickoff in q four, so their fiscal started cue for. So their kickoff was in que for. And she's like, but since January one, she's like, we just need the executives to leave us alone and let us go build pipe. And she's like all they're doing is getting in the way. So that relentless focus on what you need to do to be successful, that rely the folks, on the activities you have to do. I think that comes down to individual reps ability to effectively manage up, which I was never really good at. Let's just put that out there. I was just I was too much, I was too candid. Let's say that. Think that's a nice way to say and it's a nice Swiss basically an asshole, but I want to sell. That's what I'm here to do, and so I think the reps have to take it on themselves again, no, where they want to go. For one point, to stay focused on... Don't let the company or the executives of the kickoff or the clients knock you out of the out of the channel you're putting yourself in. Yeah, yeah, my number two was focusing on your ideal clients, meaning there's so much noise. And again, our management doesn't really help us with this because they can't well, they can't measure quality unless the the deal comes in. So they look they manage quantity, which typically isn't helpful for us. Right, you know, number of calls, number of meetings, number of Demos, and as opposed to the quality of the meetings, calls and Demos. So we have to do that and kind of present what our management wants to see while we do what we really need to do to get deals done. Yeah, the qualifies, the ability to quit Alli where you should be spending your time. And and it's funny because you know, you talk about that activity tracking and it's I've got a huge handful of clients where, at some point, at some somewhere in a conversation. Well, how do I know what activity they're doing every day? I need to build that into my crm and I'm like, all right, well, okay, I understand why you won't to do that, but the fact of the matter is, regardless of how connected your crm is to everything that's going on, unless your dialer is connected to your crrm, unless your mobile phones are connected the ceremon you're never going to capture all of the activity. So for me it would always be more about are they qualifying and focusing on accounts that are the highest potential Roy now, reps have a tendency any they want to chase anything. Right, more is better, and I think we should be if you want to maximize revenue, like you said, focus on the clients, qualify who you're spending your time with, how you're applying that time, and focus on the ones that are going to that have the potential to bring the biggest returns. Yes, you know, because naturally we're going to focus on the people that we're friendly with, the people who we like, the people who call us, sure, but typically they're not the best and the they're calling me, that means they don't have enough to do, yeah, or that they want to complain or they got a deal or my next one was look at the year as a whole instead of, you know, kind of what kind of focused in quarters, typically your months. Yep, and there's this you know, sprint, rest sprint thing going on, and you know right now we're probably in a sprint on the administrative side, and you know people are going to wake up, you know, February twenty eight, and say, Oh oh, we've got one month left in que one. Oh yeah, I mean all of a sudden you see the pipeline just dwindle right. You gotta if you don't stay focused on the whole. Again, it goes back to the we're talking like that, that vision. If you look, look at it, I'm just going to do this this month. You're not taking into account what ass what could happen or what should happen throughout the entire year. So I think you're one hundred percent spot on. You can't think of I know, I know reps that think in terms of weeks and these aren't even guys are doing transactional sales, they're doing big scale B to be and all they do is focus on this week. But if you're not focused on the whole in especially in a b Tob Complex at where it's a long sale cycle. How do you know you're doing the right things today? They can to keep your pipeline fall and help you hit your quote or exceed it, you know, three six months down through the sales process. I have the tunnel vision I think is a problem for some reps, where those just focus on okay, hey, it's January, I got all. You are worried about the rest of your in February. Oh, crap, Februaries here. Well, I'll worry about Q two. I got to focus on q one. Right. And they have a tendency to get in this really short sighted cycle. Yeah, I used to call it the quarterly roller coaster. Yeah,...

I work for this manager. He was the conductor of the roller coaster and he would never admit. We'd have beers and he goes, yeah, you know what happens? The first month of the quarter or everybody's on vacation, having babies, having meetings, and then the second month of the quarter we start going out and meeting people and then the third month of the quarter we panic. And he did it every quarter and and what I learned was like I just thought linearly. I thought like I don't care about the quarter because it doesn't matter to me financially. It matters to me emotionally and politically, but it had no real financial matter. Yeah, I mean Denner the day. It is the totality of it. Who May who made the decision on the quarters. I mean, I mean it's been around forever, but I I'm always been one that's looking at I got three hundred sixty five days. This is the target. How we're going to get there? If I'm and maybe I'm, maybe I choose. Maybe I choose strategically, choose to do things in q one that will set up a higher close rate in q two and three. Then just focus on something I can bring it in que one and let these other things that could be bigger slide right. So it's that managing your time right and not being so tunnel vision on what you need today. And Look, management not not your friend there just now. I wasn't what I was a manager. I know I wasn't. Well, that's it, because you know it comes, you know it slides down hill, as they say, because you got the board of directors of even a tiny coneys, whoever the shareholders are. You know they look at it, probably quarterly, because they meet quarterly, right, and then the CEO's got to present and and when the number isn't there, then there's panic, you know, and then it goes downhill very fast, and then panic causes activity, which causes distraction and defocuses everybody. And as a wrap, well, you own your business, you own your w two or your one thousand and ninety nine, whatever it is. And and if you're in a new year and you got a long sales cycle, say even ninety days, a hundred eighty days, you know, que is your time to prospect, it's your time to invest. And you know, the big thing I learned about the the calendar exercise I did last year's look at the pattern and I started marking down the pattern of you know, we're one of the trade shows. You know the you have mark off July and August because it's just a you know, a ghost town. Own and and quit thinking it's a recession. It's not a recession. That's a pattern. And I can't tell you it took me probably ten, fifteen years of being in sales before I understood that it wasn't a recession. I literally would be like, am I in the wrong industry. You know, did something happen? No, it's just like everybody's on vacation in July and August. Yeah, and you is that that pattern? Recognition, I think, is critical for maximizing your income. I would I would in my list. It's funny shows up, is avoid the seasonality trap, right. So know how your industry runs. Know what's going on, not just for you, but it's you know the customers. So if you're targeting CMOS, when art, when's the big you know glut of shows they're going to be at. So don't waste your time trying to get ahold of them, because you know they're going to be on the road or they're going to be at those places. Right. If you can see that pattern and then you can start to you can start to layer in your activities to counteract that, right, to balance it so you don't get caught in that. Man, I remember the first year that I was I hit August and I was doing work with company and in Europe and I thought they'd been wiped off the map because it was three weeks into August, nobody returned to phone call or an email and I was like, what is going on? And then somebody explain to me that basically the entire content takes off in August, and I...

...but I didn't know that and I was spending, I mean, I was ramping myself up waste in time because I wasn't aware of kind of looking at the world through my customers eyes and my custer's customer schedules, and that pattern recognition, I think, is critical and it's not a skill I see in a lot of a lot of reps, unfortunately now, because I think we're still, you know, we have that Lizard Brain. What we deny it. Yeah, you know, scientifically it's three quarters of our brain. Oh yeah, embrace it. It is. Certainly recognize it. You know that that you're not. All you're really thinking about is your next meal and your next nap, right and so down my head, get out of my head right now and understand that we're not. You know, we try and pretend that where these business people and you know that what we only have a third or a quart of our brain to apply to that, but we got to apply it, otherwise we're just going to be constantly reacting instead of planning through. And you know, I had the same experience every summer and I did the exact opposite thing I should have been. It's like, if everybody in your industry's gone in August, guess what, that's the time to fake your vacation, right, right, you know, don't try and take your vacation in November or December. You know, especially when I covered the government, you know, I wanted to go on vacation rate after Labor Day because the weather was fantastic where I lived. The the rates were half of what they were a week before. But the problem was that was my high season, right, you know, they were all had ear end money that they had to spend and I wanted to help them. Oh yeah, we want to help that, we want to help spend those dollars, but you have to be there, right, and that's just that's one of the struggle with how to help and I don't know if it's an innate thing or if it's something you can actually help. People accomplished with that. That becoming more mindful of the way the ecosystem you're in breathe right, the way the heartbeat goes, so you understand what you're a part of, rather than trying to force your agenda, not just on a client or in a sales interaction. I see that a lot too, but really understanding the ecosystem that you're in and how it moves, that mindfulness of what you're bringing the table, when you need to be doing what, and how that then plugs into this larger picture. I don't see a lot of reps and I've struggled with it too. Rave he put a big deal. I've gotten better at it over the last five years, but used to put a big deal in front of me and I was like a dog with a bone right. I didn't care what was going on, I was going after that. But it just is kind of productive waste in time. I'm not in the right places at the right time. I'm focused on one thing. I'm over here when I've got all of these other customers who are, you know, in the prime target to be interacted with or sold to, and I'm missing it because I'm not paying attention to the bigger picture. Yeah, and then one of the smartest managers I ever met, you know, we was again having a beer and you know, I go so, what's the secret to your success? Because he was a young guy, rose up through the org very fast, was doing really well and he goes, well, let's go through the team here, and he point out one person. So that person focuses on one deal at a time. It's big, he gets it and then he takes a vacation and then he starts as the next one and then, you know, the classic hunter. And then then there it goes. All okay, now look at this other guy. He works on these tiny deals, but a lot of them he grinds it out and he makes his number. But you know, look how hard he works. You know, it's like every night, every weekend, he goes. What I do, steady state. I focus on both big deal small deals. I just work the system and that changed my career because, you know, I was probably not the big deal guy and I didn't like the idea of working eighty hours a week on tiny deals, you...

...know, because a tiny deals tend to actually happen anyway right where you can. We end up work in a hard to make them happen a week ahead of time. But if you're if you then you know, kind of work your way up so that you can work big deals and not just have blinders on right you know, and and today I think a lot of people are just got in and date it with tiny deals of which eighty percent won't close and they get distracted, I from it's funny for me by my last one was consistency, just like you're saying that managers right and I today now look at you, know our business is pipeline and it's like I want a certain percentage of what we would call those small deals, I want a certain percentage of medium size does and I want a certain percentage of whales that were constantly chasing and constantly engaged with. Right gives us that nice spread throughout the pipeline in the revenue funnel, and that's kind of where we focus and we and we know, like you said, a lot of those small deals you're having a conversation to a people don't have budget, but they may not have a budget today that they may be able to go find it. You don't necessarily to go chase it with them, but you want to be working those medium deals, in those biggest just consistently. Just be consistent, little engine that could get up the Damn Hill, just keep keep working the system. I love that manager's advice. I think it's spot on. Yeah, and I know this is a something that you know, I relearned last quarter was that I had one client that I was working really hard for, but they didn't know it, or the person who paid me didn't know it. So I what what I did is, every other week I would update them on what I had been doing and then give visual evidence of it. Right, right, and then all of a sudden they're like Whoa, but you know, did my actual output change? Not, my output was identical, but my communication of what I was doing. And you know, we've always seen this when you were a manager, you know, because you had some of the reps that overcommunicate it with you. Yeah, then you had the lone wolf where you had to like they still employed here? Did they call each are? Yet I seen them a long I didn't see a Peoh, you didn't know if existed. I think you need to find that right level of communication with both your clients and your manager. But if you are getting, you know, a lot of revenue from a client, don't take that for granted and make sure that you're communicating with the person who makes the actual payment decision, not just the usage decision. Well, yeah, I mean, and that's part of that, the communication across an account right we have a tendency to thinkure I'd have got my my champion, my sponsor, mistake, all to whatever you want to call them. This is the guy who hired me, of this is the Gallo hired me, and I'm working for them and they know what I'm doing. Maybe, and then there's this person that rights a check and then there's maybe these other people that are affected by what you do. I've kind of taken a habit of on a monthly basis, when I send send the invoice off to accounting, I sent a summary to everybody that I've touched that month in the account it's and it's just a standard's not like to take any time other than adding the people to the email thing, but it actually ends up resulting in more conversation and seems, actually seems to keep them all on the same page. Like I wonder if they all talk most time or maybe not about you, man. I hope not. But but we take that for granted. We assume that our champion is being the champion right with the account and it continually and you know, and the manager may not know that, they might be, you know, looking at the list of products that they're going to renew or scrape, right. And unless somebody say no, no, no, I can't live without that or I can't live out with that guy or what they're doing for me, they'll try and live without out you, right. And it because, believe me,...

...everyone's got so many options today it's very easy to be overlooked. Well, it's I mean the district amount of distractions, amount of things people have on their play. If you don't find a way to communicate in a valuable manner, right, like not just hey, spam, like here's a list of crap I did, but communicate in a valuable way to make, you know, keep their confidence up in you, continue to stoke the fires of your credibility. Right. That credibility isn't you don't get it and keep it. You have to keep earning it, right, if to earn that respect over time, because there's always going to be somebody else like me, trying to get you out of that account so I can have it. That's what that's your job, that's my job. That's my job is to take you and that your job is to take my account away for me like that's it's called sales. That's part of what we do. So if you can't keep that consistent, clear, valuable communication between everybody in the account you run the risk of not only the account forgetting about you, your credibility slipping with them, or them not understanding the value you're bringing to the table, which open the door for the competition as well. And how are you seeing things out there? You think two thousand and eighteen is going to be a great year. I so. Obviously, I'm sure everybody's kind of figured out, I have days where I can be a little soft and cuddly, but the vast majority of them a little bit more sharp edges. So I am trying to embrace this year believing that two thousand and eighteen is going to be a killer year, and I tell myself that every morning, because two thousand and seventeen, from a business standpoint, was awesome, but personally it was a kick in that you know what, because it just didn't stop from a business standpoint. In two thousand and eighteen, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be a phenomenal year. Right. It's as much as things change, they all stay the same, and so if reps are doing those things that we know not just from one year five year, ten years, but from twenty, thirty, forty years of experience we know these things work. They continue to work. It's just the matter of applying them. And if you do that, I see no reason why rep should be able to blow out their quotas a year. I feel the same way. I think it's going to be a super year. I think all the mega trends are in place, meaning that, you know, there's all the sales technology for the people who embrace it. The economy is doing really well, the geopolitical situations reasonably named at least entertaining. That certainly entertained. I do enjoy talking to Brian Burns. We have such a good time together going over these topics. We have similar enough experiences that we that we can connect on things and unique enough perspectives that hopefully it's providing you with unique listening experience or some things you can take away from this as you continue to listen to this series of Brian and are working on, you know, maximizing your years. What is what we need to be focused on right now, maximizing your income. And really, if you're only going to take away one thing from this episode, from this conversation, please please, please, make it be about focus and consistency. If you stay focused on your goal, if you consistently apply the best practice is if you never assume that you know everything, that you've got it all right, if you can keep that focus, in that consistency, you will have the results that you want. Sales is a discipline. It is not an easy profession. It is not for the for the fate of heart, so to speak. So hope you guys found this exciting and interesting and engaging. This is probably, you know, the most fun I have doing these is just being able to sit down with Brian and for today that I'll do it for this episode. When to thank everybody for listening again. Share it out there, promoted force. Really appreciate that and until next time, we have value prime solutions with you nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe... the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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