The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Brian Burns on 5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Sales


Sales is a rollercoaster profession – everyone who’s been doing it for a long time knows there’s days where you feel like you’re on a treadmill going nowhere. No one is responding, you can’t keep the pipeline full and it feels like nothing’s getting done. Other days it feels like you’re ramming your head into a brick wall because there’s so much to do and you don’t know how to prioritize things.

Motivation is key in the sales profession for ultra high performers. It’s something that requires focus day-to-day; you can’t just wake up and expect you’re going to be motivated. We sat down with Brian Burns, host of The Brutal Truth About Sales and Selling to discuss five ways to stay motivated in sales.

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. Topic for today is motivation. How do you stay motivated in sales? Sales as a roller coaster profession. Anybody who's been doing it for a long time knows there are days where you just feel like you're on a treadmill going nowhere. Nothing's getting done, no one's responding, you can't seem to stay focused, you can't keep the pipeline full, you can't stay, you know, with your head in the game. And then there are days where all of a sudden something catches and your rem in your head in a brick wall because there's so much to do you don't know how to prioritize things. So motivation is a key for sales professionals, for the ultrapive performers that we work with. That ability to stay motivated is something that comes in extremely handy throughout one's career and it's something that you really need to focus on in a daytoday environment. You can't just, you know, hope that you're going to wake up in the morning and things are going to go the way you want. You need to stay motivated and focused. Then Brian Burns and I decided to sit down and talk about the five ways that we believe you can stay motivated. These are tips, tricks and insights, so we hope you guys find this valuable. Hey, Chad, yeah, you ever find it's hard to stay motivated in the sales I think that's probably one of the biggest challenges that most people have right in fact, as we're doing this podcast, I'm looking up at my monitor. I've got my calendar, I've got slack, I've got what is that? I've got a file open over here. I've got two emails open in front of me. It's like very easy to get distracted and if I were to focus on any of those things other than the time I'm spending with you, it I would be multitasking, which we all know can't be done right. It basically just screwing up to things simultaneously and so without being able to, you know, put those distractions aside and truly focus. You know, sales rep suffer, and so to pipelines and the best sales people out there, including yourself. You know what, how do you stay motivated? Well, it's so there's a couple of ways. For me, the biggest thing for me has been time blocking, and it's not new right, but I set up at the beginning of every quarter, I set up my weeks so that I know the activities that I have to do in a given week in order to keep the pipeline full, keep accounts moving or expanding, give me the time in the space I need in order to make sure I'm bringing value at every interaction. If I don't do that in advance, if I don't protect those times, then the distractions and the fire drills and all of it get really easy. The next thing you know, you've gone three weeks, you haven't made any outbound prospecting calls, you haven't followed up on the people that said Hey, contact me in a month, and the next thing you know, the pipeline starts to dwindle. So for me, that diligence of time blocking, fifty percent of my week, every given every week has been kind of the most effective way for me to make sure there aren't distractions. Now I mean as an entrepreneur. I'm sure that switch was pretty hard, where you go from having a base salary and benefits to, heaven, all that independence and a great title. Look at my title. I run a company. It's not making any damn money, but I run a company and that's not why we do this right. I mean for me, even when I was an individual contributor or running sales and marketing organizations, if if we weren't focused on the right things in the right way consistently, you saw that. You saw the numbers fluctuate. The peaks and valleys were ridiculous, and so the only way to make sure we kind of stayed focused and fought back the natural distractions of business, in life and all of that has been the time blocking for me. That's, I think, been the most effective.

I'm curious what's been the most effective for you? Well, I'm looking at it. You know, certainly time blocking is great. I'm you know, I'm very focused guy. I think from me what motivates me and keeps me, you know, strong, is really I'm super competitive, you know, kind of a I was a middle child, so, you know, you kin and I told the hiring manager that he those. I never heard that before. You know, it's like, you know, I hate the idea that somebody else is either better than me or making more money than me or, you know, and more time. And it just in sales. I mean it was kind of the thing that I found that I could be good at, and I don't know why, but you know, I was an engineer before and I go, you know, I could work eighty hours a week for the rest of my life and I'll be a B to a B plus engineer. I'm never going to be that. I saw the a level guys that could just, you know, crank out these beautiful pieces of code, you know, that just came natural to them, and I'm like I'm just not going to be there. But when I got into sales, it's like, you know, I worked my butt off and everything, and what every time I did better than somebody else, I felt better and I don't know if that motivates you or oh yeah, it's a dope men rush right. I mean I don't think I don't think people go into a profession like sales, where success is very easy to determine. You likes that we were talking about before. You either do it or you know. I don't think people go into it unless they are competitive. Now it may not necessarily be competitive against other members on the team. I've had some reps that are extremely competitive against themselves like that, you know, the cliched own worst critic kind of thing. But they know what they're capable of. They know what their top quarter was and they want to beat it by ten percent or they want to bring in, you know, more new logos and they did the time before. And sometimes it's internal competition, sometimes it's competition with self and sometimes it's competition with, you know, true competitors like, you know, the sales reps that are selling competing products. And if you have any sense of connection or community with them, you know we all kind of will share how we're doing, and so maybe it's just competing as sent but that constant benchmarking is something that I see a lot of people doing. For me it's by it's part of the fun. I mean it's really part of the fun. It is and I could always tell a B player that if they're if they lose a deal, they're okay with it. You know, I'm like, and I used when I move, first move into managers, I go all the Reps. I go tell me who you're competing I want you to know their names, I want you to know where they live, I want you to know, I want you to know what kind of car they drive. You know, and you know if they lost a deal, I literally would do this in a pipeline review. I go, give me a wallet. I would literally take money out of their wallet and give the Wallet back to them to make them feel what it's like when they lose it deal with. Oh yeah, and they now, twenty some years later, they still remind me of those stories that I have sense forgotten, but I mean I would lose sleep if I lost a deal and I make sure I knew the person's name. I'd have headhunters calling them giving them new opportunities. It was just yeah, because it's you know, I mean you worked for one of those. You know, you're Ma dric was like crazy competitive, right, yeah, Oh yeah, and it's something that continues for me today. Like when I started working with Vale Selling Associates, and there's I'm sure everybody out there probably knows how this works, but value selling associate has the IP and then all of the rest of us kind of a franchise model. We have to be certified and do all of the stuff, but we all work as a community. And there's one guy who runs his little franchise, has been doing it for fifteen years. He's been the top dog for, I want to say the last seven or eight in terms of revenue generation and multiple millions of dollars generated in revenue. And we were at our associates meeting, what three months ago, and in front of the entire room, you know, Scott was standing up there. He was accepting his award for having crushed it again. And we go to the break and I walk up to him and...

I'm like, I think you need to get really comfortable holding that award and he's like why, secce, that's the last one you're going to hold and he's like he's like did you just call me out? And I'm my hey man, your top dog, I'm coming for you, like it's just and it's not a it's not an aggressive thing, it's just like hey, it's a fun part of the competition like you're crushing it. Yep, you have to have you have to know you have a target on your back and if you're one of the guys who isn't crushing it and you're not spending time with those that are in an attempt to get better, you're missing a huge opportunity. I mean that's for me, that's part of the juice, you know, the juice as we call it and sales, to motivate me to stay focused and do those is call blocks or do those things that you don't really want to do right, because at the end of the day, you know the results will get you to that top of the podium right. And I think a lot of people early in sales they think you all you're going to get over the rejection or you're going to become so callous or so you know, so good that you won't face it. It's like, Huh, I think people still face it, if well, and every freaking rejection still hurts. Man, been doing this for twenty some years. I wish I could get cut. Well, I guess my maybe my ex wife would how I am, but in terms of sales and not necessarily like every rejection. It just hurts like you're like Shat, could have done better. I could have I could have done that better, I could have moved that forward, I could have answered that question more effectively. Right. And so maybe the rejections not a know and somebody hangs up on you or no, you lost a deal. But I think the empathy that sales reps have to have these days in order to connect with the people that they're selling to you also has, you know, kind of what's a dark side, but has a side where they have to be able to deal with that on an ongoing basis. And how have you got to work around you? Do you look in the future? Do you just have a pattern that you go through? Do you go running? Do you have a drink? Yeah, all of you above no. So for me it's I have I typically have a heavy bag in the office somewhere, and so I'll unleash on that and then, you know, we celebrate. For me it's I've always, especially in complex as, you celebrate the small winds. Right. This goes back to has stay motivated. Right in a long tail sale, they I mean, I'm used to selling twelve, eighteen month types of deals in it's in a long tail sale. With that many people involved, you have to celebrate the little wins, and that's where I go have a drink with the crew and we talked about, okay, this is look, we did this, we were successful, we got, you know, the next commitment or the next meeting, whatever it is, and then, while we're doing our say okay, well, what do we need to do next? What's the next goal? Right, how do we set that? So setting the goals along the way, making sure you stay focused on those, celebrating and when you hit him and when you don't hit him or something goes awry, fight, take fifteen minutes, blow off this team, go for a run, hit the heavy bag, do some pushups, do some set I get on your motorcycle and go hundred miles an hour down the road, whatever it is. But then let it go, because they don't carry it with you, it's just going to continue to drag you down. Yeah, keep saying next, all right, next. Yeah, some act comedian had that is that you just go outside and say next after you get rejected for a film. And I think, I think the other thing is that a lot of wraps is a lot of listeners are the podcast I'll go very concerned about getting fired and it's like, you can't focus on that, because whatever you focus on will most likely happen. You got to focus on being number one. You focus on, you know, getting the next deal, showing your manager that you're in this game, that you can figure it out, that you're putting in the time and the smarts to get the thing moving in the right direction as a posed to worrying at night. Oh I going to make it, am I going to go out canned? And it's like, if you're worried about that, it's probably going to happen. Yeah, well, let me think about where you're putting the energy to right. If that's if that's really what you're worried about, then you just wasted however much time you spent worrying about that, that you could have been applying to moving a deal forward, getting ready for a deal, getting ready for a meeting, something that would have been, you know, positively impacted your direction in your career, not not fear. Right, if... if you react from a place of fear, that's all you're doing is reacting. And the best sales people, the ones that are the most motivated, that I've seen, and including myself. I get motivated by being proactive, like, okay, this is the current situation and maybe it sucks, maybe it's not optimal, but there's a way to turn this around. So how do I do that? How do I proactively engage plant put a plan together in a strategy that I can execu you that's going to turn this around, rather than, Hey, I'm worried about my boss coming down on me. You know, if you're in sales and your boss hasn't come down on you, that means your Unicorn and you hit quote at every quarter, which that is very rare. Right. So just get used to it. Focus on what you need to do to be successful. Don't worry about what's going to happen if you're not. Yeah, I always say that. You know, the only fear you should worry about is the fear missing out, because it this is like the only career that you have, you know, almost total control over your income. It's like that. There's no other thing. And it also comes down if you're not money motivated, sales probably isn't the thing for you right especially, especially right now now. There's a lot of talk and you and I should tackle this at one point too. There's a lot of talk about what maybe they get rid of variable commission, but a flat said, and I'm just like yeah, check out for me, like no, that's not I don't do this. I don't do this for trying to solve world peace, like like, this is about the money at the end of the day, and and if your money motivated, this is the perfect place to be. I don't know if any place else as but depends on the complan and what kind of organization you're working for. But, like you said, you have control over it. Your activity, your focus, your effectiveness determines how much money you make, not how well the company as a whole did or what your boss decided to do or how much the board decided to kick back or whatever it is. It's you, right, and that awareness, that accountability, is, at least for me, another huge way I stay motivated. There's nobody to blame if the pipeline looks like crap. It's me right, and so that is a great deal of freedom. It's a little risky. There's a lot of risk in sales, but that gives you the opportunity to be accountable for your actions and see what you're capable of, not only in terms of earning, but what companies can you get into and all of the myriad of things that happen in a complex sale. That accountability and that ability to operate independently. That is a is a huge benefit to being a sales professional that I don't see in a lot of other professions. And I think a lot of companies are making huge mistakes right now and I'm not sure what's causing it, whether it's the the division of Labor that's going on, there's so many people involved. But I was looking at this Webinar or the other day and it's like fifty percent of the people are making their number now. I mean, I don't know about you, but you know if only fifty percent making their number, it's like something's wrong. Well, you know, and it's gotten worse right. I remember was what did it dropped. I didn't see that women ever. And I've heard that stat recently. I want to say it was like six years ago, fifty six percent or fifty five. Don't quote me on that, but it was over fifty and now the latest stats will show you forty eight to fifty percent. If less and less people are making their number. Something is seriously wrong, serious and I don't think it's a sales issue. I think it's an operations issue. I had a consultant who does nothing but complan consulting on on one of my podcasts and he says, you know, well, the companies want to target it in the S and I'm like really, I mean, shouldn't be twenty like everything else in the world? And and it's like and you can see what's happening, because what they're doing is making the quotas high so they can have a high on target income. Sure you know, and you know I've always called myself a complan ologist because because, let's face it, if the complant doesn't work it, you know, doesn't matter how good you are, you can't make money right and if you can't make money,...'re not excited. I mean, let's face it, when are you motivated? At eighty percent of your quota or a hundred, twenty percent of your quote? I want to hit a hundred. I want to get past the accelerators. I love it when you can get to the opportunity where they go. You know what we did an account for that type of revenue and in the complant, and that just means that the sea level somewhere got pissed off because I found out how much money I was making. Yeah, any they'll get over it. Yeah, I love when they asked, do you mind deferring some of that? I got. Yeah, yeah, I too much deferring. Yeah, so let's not even have that conversation right now. Are you deferring the recognition of it? Are you deferring the what it did to the Stock Price of the company? Right, I might get ten percent of it, but you're getting ten x on the evaluation of the top line. Yeah, without it, people quickly forget about that. You know, Oh, you won't ten percent of the company. You know, I gave you a ten percent equity increase, and people like Oh, okay, you know, and that's used to be my interview process with I an early stage start up. I go, you know, you earn this. You know, if I bring in an extra million, what does that mean to you personal and they're like, means a lot. Yeah, every it. Make sure I get my bonus and I keep my job and I could my career continues to go up. Right. It's just to me it's amazing where we see you know, back to that whole salary as you like do do we should we give them less commission because there's so many people involved in sales? Well, first off, there's a couple of things there. If we've got an age component to it, like we generational component to it, and I think we've got this belief that if there's more people involved it's going to be more effective. But if that effectiveness comes at a cost, and I'm not a hundred percent sure I buy that, like for the reps that are the ones that want to make that type of money. Maybe they want to retire early, maybe they want to buy a boat, maybe they want to send their kids to school right. They're willing to take the risk, because there are quarters and we've all had them. There are quarters where you go, crap, is that all I got paid this quarter? Like I got to really like turn it up right. There's ups and downs that have to be manager serious risk and a lot of people that complain about what sales people make only complain when the sales reps are bringing in the big bucks, but never really have much to say on those months or those quarters where something went sideways and they didn't hit a number and there, you know, cracking open savings accounts to pay mortgages and things right. It's just there's a risk reward ratio that attracts a certain type of individual and you're not going to get that superhuman effort at the end of the quarter for people who aren't getting comped on it. You just not. You're going to get smiles and nods and excuses and that that doesn't bring in a deal. It is, you know, the big deals, or even hard deals, require somebody to get emotionally attached to it working. And why are you emotionally attached? Because you're financially attached. You know, and if you know, I hear that argument all the time by the bike riding, you know, pot smoking entrepreneurs who think, all we don't need to and it's like, yeah, you're selling a twelve dollar a month product. Its right, get on get off of it. You know, you know right, and they have great support and it's like okay, yeah, and you know everybody gets to Kumbai Ya at the end of the day, is that you locked out? But that's not the way the real world works. You know, how often is your phone ring? Right? It's like we're out there making things happen and that's why you get paid for it. Well, I think there's a lot of we have a tendency. The media helps with this right, especially in our industry, but we have a tendency to celebrate those that have been extremely successful and there are very few that will be painfully blunt about what it took for them to be that successful, especially in sales. There's up podcast called sales success stories and I think Ingram is the guy that runs it. But he talks to these ultra top performers and they lay out the amount of effort that goes into them achieving these numbers and you listen to it you go yeah, okay, totally makes sense.

But then you talk to other reps and they maybe they've heard one, and they go make it you believe how hard that person was working. I don't think I could do that. Well then maybe it's time to think about your career choice, because sales, like revenue, doesn't fall off a trees. It just doesn't fall off a tree. So if you're not competitive, if you're not motivated, if you're not money driven right, if you're not if you don't get motivated by working with a community of individuals like that, then you probably need to start looking about doing something else. Right and if you're not willing to, you know, take that feedback, that really ego crushing feedback of when you lose a deal and own it. You know how many reps when they lose a deal, it's everything but them. Oh yeah, it's price, it's product, it's timing, it's the customer has issues, but nothing about them. If every deal I lose, I say because I lost one deal this this quarters because I overlooked an email and I'm like, Oh God, how could I have done something so stupid, you know. So now I'm like, you know, it wasn't like an email. Email was like a linkedin email, right, I like. The problem is I get like a hundred a day, you know, the congratulations on this and you to see me on this, thanks for connecting, and you like a boo bla, Boola, Boola Boo. You know, you know, and it's so rare that someone reaches out to me as opposed to me connecting with me, proactively doing something, and I go no, I've got to go through all of them every day and not miss them. Yeah, it's that. It's that ownership right, that ownership and working with one of the big things for motivation for me is that sense of community. Right. So Sales Reps have a tendency at times, I think, to get pretty silent into their own heads, right, especially depending on the size of the organization, maybe they're off and running competing internally. One of the things that I have seemed to be very effective, and actually was taught this by one of the top performers that worked for me a few years ago, is that sense of community. Is that making time once a month, once a quarter, to get together with other sales reps. maybe they're in your industry, maybe they're not, but at least let's say they're at least all doing be to be complex sales you get together, you have a couple drinks and you dissect each other's deals and you take that brutal, Ego crushing feedback. Yeah, you internalize it and you pick each other up. Right. It becomes that you know your own little tribe, so to speak, and that surrounding yourself with that type of community, I think, is also extremely motivating. Yeah, I mean I had the good fortue. I had the same you know. See, says sales engineer who work with me for four different companies over ten years. You know we would we would like a couple. We just got hired, you know, because the VP goes, you know, any good se's I go, he's okay, you know, but the the Mojo that we had is we would rip each other apart when we when we messed up. You know, I missed a flight once. He goes, if I missed that flight, you be up my butt so deep by you know, and I go, I know, I know, but you know, because he was always like walking up to the gate at the last possible moment, or he give me his bag. He goes, can you watch this, I'm going to go get a coffee. I'm like, I'm not watching your bag. Who Am I? You know, but after every call, you know, I if the machine, the Demo didn't work, I just be rolling my eyes and he'd be like, I know, I know, I know. And if I didn't like clothes for the next meeting, goes, yeah, we're not getting that deal. You know. It's like you've had better meetings and you know it hurt and I at the time I wish I didn't hear it, but it got me on my game. You know, it was just I know these, you know, because his income was based off of my income, right, you know. And he'd like to pull out pictures of his kids. That go ahead and be Brian. They going hungry? Oh, that's awesome. Nobody's showing though, right. And I think a lot of sales refs. Yeah, this is one of the things that always when I would start managing a new team and I would say, guys, look, our job is obviously to bring a revenue for the..., but it's not bringing in revenue for the company. It's making sure that the kids of the consultants or the project managers or whoever, are fed and have the opportunity to go to school, that everybody that works here we have the revenue so that they can have benefits and they can live a good life. Yes, we're going to make a lot of money doing it and yes, it's going to hurt because we're going to work harder, put in more time and take more feedback than any other department in the in the a group. But it isn't just about us. And so trying to create that sense of community internally and then seeking it outside from other peers, that would be just brutally honest. That, to me is maybe it's massochistic, but it's also extremely motivating and in powering, because if somebody can point out where I can do better, I feel like if they've taken the time to at least say that or give me that feedback, then I owe them the respect of actually listening and seeing if I can internalize it. Yeah, because nobody wants to hurt your feelings, right and and I you know, certainly when you become a sales manager, you've got a you're going to hurt someone's feeling. This is somebody's get emotionally. But you know, and when we talk about you know what makes sales people successful, I hate when people say it work, hard work. It's like, obviously, I mean there's no getting around it, but I would like to dig in. You know, what I see is typically what you told me, like those habits, you know, structuring your time, owning your time, controlling your time, being focused on it and and also being able to accept that you're not superman, that you have a punching bag to release that frustration, because it's never you're never going to go away, you know, unless you're a sociopath. You're never going to get completely away from being. You know, it was I got rejected this morning about something and I'm like, what the hell, it is still bugs me right, you know, especially once you get out on social media. Forget it. You know, everyone loves to hate. You know, it's like sport. But you know, if but if you have structure and your have habit and you move on and it just you know, accept that. You know people have bad days. You have bad days, but anything else that you you know really works for you, if you've seen work for other people in terms of getting motivated in the spot. This is kind of a you know, before a call block or before a big meeting. I'm a big music fan, so there's always there's always a song that gets played right. And I said the last one for me is always make sure I have goals. Is If, whether it's set, you know, by a manager or not, if I don't have goals for myself of what I expect for myself, I am one of those guys that is the harshest critic. I screw something up, nobody's going to give me more crap that I'm gonna give myself. But I want to set goals because it it gives you that kind of the combination of everything right. You're setting goals so you can time block towards it. You're going to celebrate those small wins when you hit. It gives you something to focus on and strive for and it keeps you focused on the game, not necessarily the you know, the the feedback in the rejection that you get as a result of being in the game. Right. Yeah, you don't care about the first inning. All you care about is to do win or did you loves right. And I think the Times that I have done it and I'm doing it now, like the first thing in the morning, you know, I kind of it's not really a meditation, but I just kind of like visualize what I want. I just ask myself what do I want, you know, and I kind of, you know, just talk myself into a why do I want it? And I come at why do I want it? And then if you have some kind of you know, either auditory would be being a song, or a visual I used to have, you know, as a screen saver like this, you know, tropical island, because club was in Hawaii that year. I'm going, you know, and I'm not going to let someone else get that statue, you know. So I'm getting that little trophy. There's no way. You know, here's funny stories, like a first time, first company I work with with that SC that the guy in New York was best friends with the VP of sales, of evp of sales, had that territory before.

He was number one, like you had in your company like three or three years in a row. And I told my vp ago I'm gonna crush him this year. I had a brand new territory, shitty territory with, you know, not much help to did nothing. It was I kind of some orphan thing. I go, I'm going to crush him, you know. And this guy, he would seek a lazy you know. He got like, you know, had big accounts, repeat business. I had none of that and I'm going to beat him. And that that excited me, you know. And if you have that and you work on it on a daily basis, that will get you away from the hangups that unsubscribes, the leave me Alane's or not interested, it's whatever it is that annoys the hell out of you. Oh yeah, and that mantra in the morning is so funny that the research on people presenting and stage fright. Right. I read a book on the history of Stage Fright. The one of the biggest things that changes the way somebody performs on stage is the last thing they say to themselves before they walk out on stage. And so if, instead of Holy Crap, I'm scared because I'm going to go do public speaking and I suck at it, I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to be here, I'm excited to be here, it makes a world of difference. And so making sure you're doing all of those little things all along the way and make sure that staying motivated is part of your everyday routine, the results will speak for themselves. All right, everyone that does it for another episode of the B to be revenue executive experience. I hope you found that insightful, enjoyable took some value away from it. Brian and I talk a lot about motivation. We spend a lot of time trying to motivate ourselves and hopefully we were able to give you guys some insights and some ways that you can do the same in your day to day and in your sales career. I want to thank everybody for listening and again, please leave us review on itunes, drop me an email, let me know what kind of guests or topics you'd like us to cover. And until next time, please remember we have value prime solutions. With you all, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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