The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Darren Stordahl on 3 Ways to Get Your Team On Board With a New Sales Method


Is your selling method not working anymore? Have you and your sales team been doing the same thing without any new results? It’s probably time to pick a new method of approach.

But picking a new sales method for your company is hard enough with the countless options available.

Darren Stordahl, VP of Sales and Marketing at FMT Consultants, joined us to talk about when FMT was looking for new alternatives. He said the most important thing he and his team had to remember is that: people buy from people. Listen to our conversation to learn the 3 ways you can get your team on board with a new sales method.

You're listening to the BDB 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, were 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. Today we're talking about why anyone in their right mind and the sales and marketing game would take the time expend the energy to reinforced, implement and utilize the sales methodology. There's a lot of quick fixes out there today. Everybody's talking about how text going to revolutionize the sales game, and it is an important piece, but the end of the day, having that sales methodology is something that we still see companies generate massive amounts of results with. To help us, we have Darren stored all VP of sales and marketing at FMT to consultants. Now, fair disclosure, Darren, it's someone I have sold to in a previous life. We have become friends over time because we are both motorcycle fanatics and we also enjoy laughing when we work and sunset walks on the beach, and he is also a current client of ours. I just want to put that out there for everybody. Darren, thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks, Chad, glad to be here. Excellent. So, before we jump into the top of the day, like start with a question to provide value to our audience help them understand you a little bit more. When you look back over your career, can you tell us about a defining moment or event that provided you insights that you continue to leverage today and perhaps maybe change the trajectory or your perspective on your career? I wish I could point to a single moment. That would make for an easier answer, but you know, it's a combination of things. I've had two good luck of working with a number of different companies up and down the West Coast here, different people, different customers, and when you have kind of Mush it all together, I think it's that the fundamental qualities of buying and selling involve quality communication. You really have to listen, have to be real and straight up. Most people first they know that they're being sold and most of them don't like it, so don't wake up in the morning for Hey, please tell me today. Right, right. People want to buy, they want to acquire things, they want want to build their business or their lives together, but what they don't want to do is have somebody come and push them right. Excellent, excellent. So little context around FMT in your role. They're just to the audience understands kind of perspective. Excellent. I hope we have about thirty minutes. At FMT. We are of our consulting company out here in Carlsbad, California, and we focus on helping companies in manufacturing and distribution primarily, but we work across the spectrum really make the most out of kind of that next generation technology. There's three platforms that we work with, primarily Microsoft, not sweet and sales force, and we use those platforms really in the finance operations, earp side of things, crm, we do a lot in the collaboration space with share point, and then we mix in a healthy dose of kind of I t consulting in structure, cloud progression and customer support. mentioned. Carlsbad great place to live and work out here at seventy two and Sonny all the time. So what it's known in Denver. I can call Chad and and and let him know that the motorcycles are still warm out here on the roads and that guys. He does that quite honestly because he needs that. And My role here is BP and sales and marketing. I think the titles are kind of in a lot of cases they are throwback to another age. But customer engagement, right, it's from first contact all the way through transaction into repeat engagement. That's kind of the environment that I work in. Have a good team of folks and small focus, diverse, really complex business model and that's our story. Perfect, perfect. So...

...topic of the day sales methodologies. So before we get too deep into the woods, let's ask the obvious question, the one that, honestly, I don't hear enough people ask at all. Why chees the sales methodology at all? Right, artificial intelligence is the answer. Machine learnings out there. They're wonderful tools. So with all that tech, why, why would you suggest people listening still invest in a sales methodology? Well, Mike Him as a surprise, but not only am I a podcast guest but I also use value selling and one of the things we say is people buy from people, and whether your Zig zigular or Leshwab or any the guys that have come before, somebody needs to stick out their hands, mean what they say and follow through. And I think there's a way of doing that that allows you to scale and there's a way of doing that that allows you to learn from your senior people, help your junior people progress and help the senior people gain perspective from the junior people. But that only happens if there's consistency, if there's a structure that you can build on and if everybody's left to their own devices. There is a certain chaotic aspect. Some people rise, some people fall, but if you level the playing field, create a structure invest in it over time, I think it's the surest way to scale, as surest way to deliver value to the clients and really connect that product side through this fuzzy interface too, folks that need use, in our case technology. And when you decided to standardize on on a sales methodology, when you started to look what were some of the problems that you were attempting to address inside of the organization, that made it get to that critical point where said you know what, we've got to do something different. I think number one was complexity. So we at FMT we have a different consulting practices and we just added a new one through an acquisition of a sales force practice, and the net result is you have fundamentally different options, solutions, approaches that are available to our clients aid of the small package. We also have a fairly small sales team and trying to mix and match and map across multiple, multiple variations proving to be almost impossible for the company, impossible to scale, really, really difficult to grow as a business because of course we are all focus on growth. And then I think the last part is customer alignment. So if I put a salesperson out there that isn't confident and clear that what they are saying can be delivered, but not sure how to move through an engagement because each one is different because there's so many practices, you know, it's just it's super hard for for us to be successful. Okay, and so here's the loaded question. Right. You obviously made the investment. We have. As I said earlier, we have been working with you guys for a while and I know, just so everybody out there doesn't think it was a blue bird, as we say in sales. Darren did do evaluation of other things in the market. So when you look at you know the pleasor of options out there, why choose value selling framework and bore text prospecting? Oh well, you sold me. I actually use our framework. Wow, it were you use the framework so seriously. That is part of it. I think you have to trust the people. Let you work with he use the framework. That's cool. Part of its you, part of it's a tool. Part of its affluency of the product that you bring forward. There are lots of options. WHY VALUE SELLING? We talked about a little bit earlier about the customer engagement spectrum. This one connects more and this is that's kind of fundamental to my approach to business and what we're trying to do here at FMT is not necessarily to breakdown silos, but to deconstruct them. We don't want to cause damage and there's benefit in focus, but in connecting everything from the first touch through engagement to follow through and re engagement requires really understanding what the customers all about. And if I'm telling them what they're all about, we're going to go... a different direction, value selling. Value Selling allows me and our teams here to really collect information. It's focused on listening. It's folcused on the customer. That's a big effort for us to reinvigorate kind of a customer centric approach to business. So it gives me the flexibility I need. Its scalable, there's good training. I think materials were on point. It was much less about tricks and techniques and more about finding that genuine conversation where each salesperson, in their own way, can follow a structure. They have the flexibility but they have support. So I think those are the things that kind of differentiated it from some of the other good ones that we were looking at. Excellent and so a big chunk of any sales transformation or implementation of this scale it requires internal buying right, and you were the you know, you were our champion, to use our vernacularly, you are a champion and you ran into the breach and and carried the carry the message internally. This is just standard challenge that sales executive see. You know, even if they're one hundred percent brought into something, getting other elements of that organization behind it can often be challenging and we went through several cycles of that. Some kind of curious what advice you've gived anyone in a sales and marketing role that's thinking about doing this, something that will help them reduce that friction of getting that internal alignment? Wow, I you know that one. There is no magic bullet. I think there is. The approach that I've used is, you know, I think, started a very fundamental logic level. So what do we have? What's working, what's not working? Will what we have an our approach allow us to reach our goals and objectives and service our customers appropriately? If the answers yes, then maybe you don't need a methodology, but if it's not, then I think most of the time it's not. That's your first step. So what we have isn't working the way we want to do. We all agree, yes, yes, yes, all right, that socialization is super important. And then beyond that I think there is a very pragmatic, logical sort of uncovering of potential and value in the program I know we went through a fairly long pre engagement and I know we talked to some other folks that have been using value selling and it was that blend of recognizing it there was an issue getting by and that, yes, it's an issue understanding that if we continue doing the things the same way, we can't get better. Okay, great, so we need to change sales methods. There's a lot of them. The reason there's a lot of them is because they're necessary, and I think leaning on some of the tools, some of the messaging that's coming out of value selling was really helpful in getting people on board here. And then it's just time and being persistent, you know, otherwise, you know if there's just a quick way to do it, there isn't, but you know there just isn't. It's you can accelerate a little bit by being focused, but getting people to buy in, and the cool thing is in the process getting people to buy into the method is once they do, we need all those people to support it going forward. So it's not a really a something that you do, it's as something you are and once you really get people invested in the system, and these are the same people that are making decisions to purchase it, then those the ones that are your champions going forward, and I think that's an extremely critical point you just made. Their sales transformation, marking transformation, putting in this type of methodology. It's not a check the box thing, right a lot of people. We run into clients all the Times I go this year, I have on my list I must train my sales people and so come in for two days and then we'll see you in two years and we have to do it again. And you know, our goals never to be there forever. We want to empower the managers and you guys to be out and running at own but it's a...'s not a check the box. It is a journey, not a destination, and we've been through several iterations and work with several of themnts, your team. So when you look back kind of where you've come over the last year and a half and where we're headed, what have you found to be the largest challenges to spearheading this initiative? Maybe adoption, visibility, consistency? What are the ones that kind of float to the top that other people should keep in mind as they embark on this journey? You know, it's again the God. I wish I was profound, but I would say it's this one. This one is is really simple and people are uncomfortable not just with change, that's a nice platitude, but with using the words, using the words, using hey, what is what's a qualified prospect? WHAT'S THE QP formula? Have you done your mutual plan? Those are brand new and when they come with an expectation of fulfillment, and typically our sales guys work really hard, but it's a challenge because you're changing the way that they are used to engaging with their clients. They're used to making money, they're used to working overall, and so there is it's like a new schood. To close, it's a rough new pair of shoes. They lay look sharp but they haven't fit in just right. So it takes repetition and it also takes in our case, we have a sales manager who said, all right, I'll carry this flag up the hill and he was absolutely committed. And now it's the big difference. There's compliance and pretend compliance and then there's commitment. And it's every pipeline, every scrum, every review, we look at the tools that are necessary to move the method forward. We work and stay within the method and that takes some time and that takes some time as an organization. It takes some time for each end of a visual person to say, Oh, all right, that actually works. Okay, did it work twice? Did three times? Yeah, we're three times right. And it's at at every level in the organization. Because, again, this is not something you'd do, it's something you are so for us value selling and the tools of techniques, artifacts of creation, the metaphor, the language, the lexicon, best run all through the organization. But so it's can start with like our catalyst, our sales manager catalysts, are a marketing manager catalyst, and then we have the executive team that says yes, will play along, and then a few of our salespeople and all of our sales people, and then a few of our consultants, then all of our consultants and then eventually it becomes really vital. And to your point, it's not training, it's not something you do and forget about it. It's you get to a certain state and then you work it for a while and then you bring in and you go to the next level and you work that for a while, go the next level, we do some corrections, then you go to the next level. So I guess that would be my kind of view of the challenge. The language is. It's funny. It's a language. Is a big thing because it's change and you can't get better without change. So I guess there you go. Well, nobody in like said earlier, nobody likes to change. You don't wake up in the morning said who I hope I have a fundamental change in the way I do business today or the way I have to talk at work. The adoption of it is is one of the challenges for any sales methods, your marketing approach. It's not just us. Then one of the things that you know we've pride ourselves on is the simplicity of it. Right is, once you get the core language, it is rather simple. I know as we've gone through this journey together you've had some turnover. You've brought on some New People. Kind of curious has you seen that simplicity play out where those New People can at least get enough of an understanding to not be disruptive, if perhaps not additive, right out of the game? I like that question. I think that's a really good one. Everyone knows nature of the beast technology. People move through companies, their families drive it, business opportunity drives it. We try to keep our people as long as we can because, hey, we like them and we we get along well.

But either through growth or through natural attrition, we have optated bring on new folks and the change that we've seen and we still have a ways to go. I mean, anybody that works in sales and marketing knows that there's opportunity to improve the playbook. It gets old after three months. New Offers, new opportunities, new methods, new tools. Happens all the time. But this method, once it's introduced, it allows our new people and we've brought in a couple of new folks, both in marketing and sales and the last three months and a couple brand new I can honestly say I think it has shortened our ramp time from probably six to nine months. Again, where it's complex sale, we got a lot of practices. Deeptech, RP's not simple, but there you go to probably we can get them effective for our clients within three months. When that's a that's a big difference. Yeah, no, kidding. That's I'm going to I'm going to write that down right now. There's a whole bunch of things we could talk about elements of this, but let's go back to my Jelo Clische journey versus destination. And so when somebody listens to this, I want them to have three takeaways, you know, that really kind of summarize why you made the choices you made and lessons learn. So, if we had three takeaways that we could leave people with, what would your first one be? You know, I think concept of journey. So you need to understand how value selling works. Take some time get comfortable with the language. One of the things that we're now doing with intensity is incorporating the value selling approach, methods deliverables into our internal crm. We want to make sure that as our account exacts move through an engagement, that there are prompts, resources, all of the prompts, value prompters close to hand, readily accessible, and that they can constantly improve them, because that's a huge, huge thing, is if we find a way to get to key information quickly and accurately and that can be replicated across the team using value prompters, prompting questions, thoughts and appropriate approach. Great, I want to do that over and over again. So getting into the CRM, that's a big one. Again, incorporating into the playbook so making it part of the documented structure of the business. So it's, Gods, part of the DNA. Yeah, make it a part of the DNA. Make sure they have the support they need, the tools that they're ready maps to the way that they naturally are interacting with customers. Yeah, I think beyond that we are and do quite a lot with training, repetition, Cross team support. We have weekly planning sessions where we review value selling us part of a specific account or specific stage or specific part of the prospecting at for whether it's building cadences or building the content that goes into cadences. So in the system, consistent training and the next thing for us really, and it's what's great about it, is it's requested. It's not tithing miss being pushed onto our delivery teams or our practice managers as something that they're saying, oh, this is good. This helps me focus on what the customer wants outside or the context. That allows me to deliver technology and make good balancing decisions about where we can emphasize which products and services so that they get what they expect of the engagement. And we're doing at an initial level, which is very, very helpful, but it's going to get deeper and once it's built in and we start doing that more often. That's say those three or kind of the big things that we would point to. That last one for me, before I started selling and implementing it, when I was actually using it, when I was in positions like here's, that was the thing that always a amazed me...

...the most was the minute you say value selling to the consulting of the or the executions out of the house. You know, you just see their eyes glaze over, but then once they start to hear it and see it, they go, wait a minute, this is really just about consistently managing and focusing on the buyers perspective and connecting with that. And then all of a sudden they start to adopt it because it's streamlines the amount of time they first because they have to talk to sales people less, but then because it actually helps them to execute their jobs in a consistent way. So it's a nice lay over for the entire or. Yeah, I mean we joke about it because we're in the profession, but sales and marketing folks, what is our value in a technology industry? Don't laugh. In the technology space, you know I have absolute confidence in our consultants to deliver solutions that are well beyond what most of my sales team would even conceive of. Rannice, a lot of training, law of certification. Special Mindset Sales and marketing side is what can we do to add value to the engagement? And it is if we can understand and set the stage for the delivery of the technology in a way that's meaningful, that's accurate, that helps inform that technology delivery. My consultants they want to win. They want to build the best systems for our customers so that our customers are stoked. That's Carl's bad term, by the way. So if that's the case and we can help them do that by really helping them understand the business need what the outcome of the solution needs to deliver, and we put that in a documented form with a timeline, I mean we're helping the clients, we're helping our delivery teams. There's a many, many wins all the way through. That excellent, excellent. All right. So let's change direction a little bit here. Ask, guess, two standard questions in of each interview. The first is simply, as a VP of sales and marketing in ourselves parlance. That makes you a quote unquote target or, politically correctly, a prospect. So always like to understand from our guests when somebody doesn't know you, doesn't have a relationship, doesn't have a referral in but they believe they have a solution that is worth the time to talk to you, how do they build how they capture your attention and build the credibility enough that you'd be willing to give them ten fifteen minutes of your time? What works the best for your perspective? This is that's a that's a fun question. Appreciate it. I tell you what I get, dirty solicitation a day, maybe more. If folks are listening to the podcast, I would suspect you. I'll count in the same boat, Legen leat. Here's a list. Those always get deleted. Flat out, you can't. You can't tell me a list. Next would be recruiters offering to sell resource. Those get deleted and I talked to my teams about this, which is if somebody's reaching out to you, the first question is, are you currently looking for their their service or product? If yes, have you exhausted your network of referred resources? If yes, have you heard of them? Can you validate their real if yes, take a call. If it's no, at any point along that chain it's bleet because we don't have time. I mean you just don't, and prospects don't have time. So and I've been I think I hope everyone has, because you know that what what keeps business going around and around. The ones that have gotten through, who are they have to be on point for needs of my business that are specific and there's some luck involved there, but they better understand what my business is. Doesn't take much, but just hey, was on your site saw this. Hey, see that you're having an event coming up in October eleven. Why don't we have a conversation about sponsoring or participating in that? Something that is specific and if it's not visible, you know it's best guest stuff and it has to be on point. I don't care about lists of Microsoft users, for Heaven's...

...sakes, I mean that's everybody on the planet. But I care about is making sure that my proposals are efficiently delivered. Had A great cold call on that that I took. So very specific, very timely. Has to tie to my business. There's a lot of noise out there. Persistence matters human being. If you if you show up in my inbox ten times over eight weeks, I will you at least have a better shot than if you're a one and done. Make It short, make it simple, make it clean. Honestly, I'm not one of those guys that likes that sort of sequence that ends with, Oh, you must be under your desk or dead, so you're not responding to me. It's like, no, I'm still busy and I'm still not responding to you because I don't want to have another trigger added to my name and your distribution list. Like. Okay, it's genuine super for genuine find the problem. Nail the problem, tell me the value prop tell me half a dozen times. If I'm hunting for you, I will find you. If I'm not, you can't force me into whatever it's you're doing. Excellence Act. All right. Last question. We call it our acceleration inside. There's one thing you could tell sales, marketing or professional services, one thing that, if they listened, that you believe would help them hit their targets achieve their goals. What would it be? M Why? Oh, again I find myself wishing that I was profound because, boy howdy, had cash that one in my team every single day. You know, there's no substitute for hard work. And then I would carefully send that off with its brother, smart work. And the last part would be stay humble. There's so much we don't know and even when we think we know, we don't know what is motivating the client, what is motivating the prospect why, when, how they will move. And the minute that we think we know, we don't, and cycles get extended, clients spin off and an unpredictable direction. So it's in that kind of that constant connection, always looking, always digging in. You know, you could say, Hey, do ten more things, five more in the morning, five more before you go home. Focus on keeping your workspace tidy, Keep Your Chin down, keep your left up. You know, there's a thought perfect. So for listener's interested in reaching out, learn more about FMT or talking about some of the topics we talked about today, best way to do that, you know. Remarkably, do you have a website? We welcome. I've heard of we welcome all of your visitors to come to our website, FMT consultantscom. If someone wants to reach out to me specifically and reference this podcast. Hey, heard you on Chad's podcast. put down the subject line. I will absolutely respond to everyone, and that's d store at all the store, Dahl at, FMT, Consultantscom and otherwise hunt me on Linkedin or what not, unless you're selling lists, in which case I will fly late decline. All right, dare hey, I can't thank enough for being on this show man. It's been great to have you. Appreciate it. I always going to talk to you and best of luck to you and the value selling crew. Thank you all right, everybody that does it for this episode, please check us out. A BE TO BE REV exactcom you know the drill right US review on Itunes, share the episode of friends, families, cut workers. If you like what you're here and until next time we have a show. Nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB 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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