The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 6 months ago

After COVID, the C-Suite Joins More Calls: Are You Prepared? w/ Thiago Sá Freire

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

You have an important sales call and you’re ready for it. You’ve done your research, you’ve rehearsed objections, you know everything about the product and exactly how it solves your customer’s problems. Then, an unexpected C-level guest joins the call — are you prepared?

These days, C-level executives are much more likely to hop on a sales call than ever before. In this episode, Thiago Sá Freire, Chief Revenue Officer at Chorus.ai, joins me to talk about his research into the phenomenon and what to do to never be caught off-guard by the C-suite.

What we talked about:

  • Why more C-suite executives are hopping on calls
  • Why you want to get the C-suite talking
  • How to prepare your sales teams for this new reality

Now that you can confidently handle any surprise C-suite guests, are you ready to dive into how AI is revolutionizing content marketing or how to get the most out of your CRM? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

You're listening to the BT revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated elen executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three two one: welcome every one to theB to be revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chats Anderson Todaywe're talking about how sales rep should most effectively handle andprepare for the reality that more sea level executives are joining salescalls. Today. Thank you pandemic to help us. We have with US Tiago Sa Fredachief revenue officer at Corus Daai Tiago. Thank you so much for takingtime and welcome to the show. Thanks for having me chat and well done up,was it all right I was going to ask. It was really good. Well done, bruite bestpresent that all right, so before we jump in, we always like to ask a randomquestion to help our audience get to know you better as a person and reallyI'm always curious to understand. You know a lot of people will know ourdigital personas. Our work brand of that kind of stuff, but something thatyou're passionate about that. Those that know you largely through work maybe surprised to learn about yeah. It's a great question. I'll go down thepersonal side I on this one. It may not be that that interesting for yourlisteners, but Portuguese was my first language. English was my secondlanguage. Spanish was my third language, so I am extremely passionate aboutHispanic and Brazilian, so ome. So that is how I keep up with my languageskills. So you know if we got a extra about thirty minutes every day for alittle bit of TV. That's what I focus on. How can I ratch some Hispanic orBrazilian soap operas to keep up with my line? That is awesome that that Ihaven't heard that, for I hope that it is first, it is definitely first and Iappreciate you sharing it and the immersion thing languages is somethingI have I've never been very, very good at. I always impressed with those thatknow more than one obviously our case three, but just impressive all the wayaround. So I appreciate your sharing that so in terms of the topic of theday right with the pandemic, its, we see a huge shift in the number ofexecutives involved in buying decisions. It's like they came out of the ivorytower and now they're involved in the sales proces we couldn't get to himbefore now. We can't avoid them and which is probably a good thing, but itchanges the dynamic right, and so I'm curious when you think about your teamright that you have to coach and lead in your sales organization. How are youpreparing them for this new reality or asking them to be prepared? What newexpectations are you setting for them or coaching them towards yeah? So Ithink first, it starts with the concept that hey. This is something new weweren't seeing this happen, especially as early as it's happening now acrossthe sales process and it's important to quantify it. So, through our data weanalyze about thirty five million customer facing conversations salescalls included. Sewee par dissipation is up roughly a hundred an eightpercent compared to a year ago, which is absolutely insane when you reallyput it into perspective. As you mentioned, it was really tough to getthese people involved back in the death and it's good to see the differences inwhat sea level folks are joining conversations so buying side C fos, forexample, have joined. Ninety two percent, more meetings and selling sideCos even about twenty nine percent. More and- and it really comes down tothis higher scrutiny on budget and then is also access. It's a lot easier forsomeone just hop on a zoom compared to you. If your high AV company going andvisiting somebody and ensuring that all the executives are available for ameeting on that same day in person, yeah, absolutely absolutely, and so init's interesting on the on the selling...

...side, I think there's probably a lot ofpeople out there would say yeah. You know our executives got a little words.Of course, they got a little bit more involved in the in the you know,selling process as it were, but to know that C fos that the elusive C fo right,having been having been in continuing to be a commission base sales rap Imean to get access to them, was always you know the holy grail and now they'rethere, but it changes the way you have to be prepared. As you go into theseconversations, and so when you think about the sales cycle, are they showingup earlier in the in the process in the middle of the process? You know how arethe, how are they showing up? Where are they showing up kind of moreconsistently yeah they're, showing up at every stage, and one of theinteresting things that that you need to think about? Is You need to ensurethat your team is prepared for that sea level? Conversation at any time, sowe're even seeing that I CX OS will turn up to a meeting. They weren't eveninvited to approximately ten percent of the time, so you need to anticipatetheir involvement, even if they weren't confirmed. So some of the some of theways that that you can do that is one by ensuring you have those talk tracksbuilt out and your teams trained on it, including the content necessary forthat. You need to ensure that your teams are coached to establish what Icall extreme Ri. So if you can really speak to how your solution solves acritical business problem in delivers on that bottom line benefit that the clittle folks are typically looking for you're going to have a much greaterchance of closing a deal and then chat. I'm gonna I'm going to jump in here andtalk a late bit about the fact that once they're in there, but do you getthem talking? What are the indications that you need to see and someinteresting stats that that we have for your listeners? Is that CSS tend totalk about eight point, five percent more in deals that close and we're seeing about five engagingquestions to get that conversation going with the SE excels all right!Wait! That's an important stat! So to be a favorite say that one again, so Iwant to make sure that the audience catches it. Actually, I will make sureI catch it too, so we got to get cos talking, that's an important concept.Sometimes we like to think of them. Is there going to be more observers, etcwhen CX P, eight point five percent, more deals, close all right, justTrottin that down sorry cried. I just I just said it, and I just remember thatI did not say that that right, that's okay, so let me correct myself: CX Ostalk, eight point, five percent more in deals that clip right, so we want them talking we wantto. We want to get them fuck. Now, that's a challenge for a lot of repsright, because a lot of the reps out there have been. You know we bring theminto a company, we train him, they drink the Kule they want. We tell themhow awesome we are and we unleash them on the world, and it's not unusual thatthey go out and want to talk about themselves over and over and over, andso the ability to really you know you hit a key point be prepared, but to askthe right types of questions to engage that conversation. I think youmentioned five questions when you think about you know, Teaching Your teams ancoaching, your teams. How Are you coaching them to ask the rightquestions to open up that conversation yeah, so so, like an example of a greatquestion that we're seeing work really well across our customer bases, theirobvious outcomes that all these organizations are are looking toachieve and a great question to really find outhow much this matters is to ask that that Co f, the problem was solvedimmediately. What would be the impact in the business love it? That is onequestion that really gets people going. What makes them start thinking right italso, then it also kind of allows them to if they're, especially if they're averbal process or to step through and really get to that future state. Thinkabout that future state of what does...

...this resolution really provide for theorganization, so they can start to sketch out what the value is from theirperspective. Yeah, absolutely, and what's also really important fortalking about this in the CX, so is that sea level executives they alsocare a lot more about how your company's vision and the outcomesthat you drive, how it aligns within their own value proposition, so so diveinto that for me, so kind of maybe have an example or compagna paint a picturefor US yeah. So, for example, like someonethat is selling to me right now, I at Corus, AI, and our ultimate goal is tohelp revenue teams deliver better results. That's really as simple as asa can and to dive a level deeper is we want to enable people to bring theirbest to every interaction that they have and then also to bring the voiceof the customer? Every decision that they make internally so if someonethat's coming and selling to me, is able to align what they provide, for example, I'll state that we'rereally looking at our contract life cycle management process right now, something that we're actively lookinginto and what I'm really inspired by are some of the vendors that havefocused on how that drives to our ultimate outcomes and to us is we wantto enable our customer the best to every interaction and to me the voiceof the customer to every decision that they make internally and if you're ableto align the fact, for example, in a contract life cycle management that theengagement that we're going to have with customers is going to help enablethem to buy into our solution faster with the cleaner process. So they canstart realizing that value materie than otherwise. If we were doing thingsmediately all right. So that's just a quick example. I just thought of offthe top yeah. No, I love it, and so so the question that becomes, I mean forthose that been living under rock. I think I thinkeverybody knows who corse that a is and and what you do, but it's a largecompany, large team. It just had of curiosity. How big is the sales teamover there so yeah. We got roughly fifty crincle at this at this point andscaling rapidly so yeah we will close out the year at roughly a hundred andthirty fucker, and so when you, when you are in those situations right,we've got a new reality. We've got, we've got more sea level, peopleinvolved in the conversation they have to be. You know prepared right as wewalk into those conversations. They need to be asking the right questions.How do you start to ensure that there's consistency across your teamconsistency of behavior right from from one rap to the next, in the way thatthey act? Ask those questions or prepare yeah? That's a good Sega intoexactly what commercy I does and that's what we're focused on that. So we havewhat we call trackers, where we're tracking, if our team is actuallyfollowing the projects that we establish for them, and not only thatwho cares about just track right or are these talk tracks being our lives ornot or they actually driving outcomes? So, are we seeing better conversionrates? What's leading us to win more or lose more and then also? Are we gettingbetter velocity so from stage to stage? Are we moving deals across the board? Rigor Yep? Sothat's that's how we do it now, so it starts with. Obviously the naval menfunction and billing needs the assets for our our teams, and then it goes with actual themeasuring of that impact which we drink our own champagne and utilize.Our our solution for Nice, nice all right, and so you know we're scalingfast over there we're going to have a big team. It's going up. We got peoplewe got to prepare, but now, even though...

...we're coming out, we were kind oftalking about this before we get record we're coming out, hopefully on the downside of the pandemic and headed back to some semblance of something close to anew normal. I hate that phrase, but it'll everything will be a little bitdifferent. What I at me, hopefully we'll get back to closer to what we allknow and love, but let's say there those out there that really felt the the impact right of the of catastrophicchange that had to happen. How does somebody, I don't want to say pandemicproof, because that makes makes me think we might have another one, and Ijust don't know that I can handle that right now. But let's say how do I? Howdo I work or how should people be working to make sure that they're kindof bomb proofing their their salespipeline in the future for unforeseen circumstances? Yeah. That's a that's agreat question. If I, if I had the Sivi bullet for that, I would, I would loveto share that with your with their listeners. But I don't, but I'm a bigbeliever that that any experience such as the one that we just went through itleads to life, long changes and I've always thought of things. That way.There have been various occurrences in my lifetime that we, I think, havechanged me for the good right and also in terms of how I look at the world andone one aspect of that is. I think this has required all of us tolevel up in our game, especially in the God, make side a marketing leaders,sales leaders, then also on the on the on the technical side as well, in termsof how you adapt your pro your product and the problems that you're solvingfor and to some extent, the pivots that you've made. So it's helped our teamsbecome a little more agile right. We all have these great plans for whathour, depending on on your fiscal O, your fly, twenty or fig twenty one wasgoing to look like, but we all had to quickly pivot change our talk track. Iwe all remember that we're human first and foremost, when I have to check hey when I'mprospecting, somebody what's going on, where they're at an potentially acrosstheir lives right, and that- and I think that's that's- going to createlong term changes and to me it's there's going to be an even tighter,focused in before on how our sales CS and marketing teams are aligning toextreme Roi and how we can enable our teams and our message to give thisperception to potential buyers that we are a must have, rather than a nice tohave and there whatever their critical business problems are in order for forthem to see success in those areas. They need to have our solution and it'sa little bit different than a lot of companies were doing before they weremuch more focused on features and strictly use case, space type ofapproaches, and I I think that's here to stay, and I think it's probably youknow I'm with you on the you know. We all have. We have choice every morningwhen we get up what kind of day is going to be right, what kind of personwe want to be? We have this opportunity to be, and I, like your phrase, morehuman right and we're seeing that in all the statue see on you, know, peopleengaging in virtual, like Hay, the the C virtual backgrounds are out, peoplewant to know. You got dirty laundry behind you, where you know you gotother people in a house. They want to see the human side of it so that we canconnect, but it's also about what what really is going to be the wind for theperson on the other side. What is what is their view of value? How are theygoing to quantify the impacts, and I think that focus is going to be a boonfor us in the sales profession, hopefully get us away from the tiredcliches of you know, slick and not trustworthy to a place where we'rereally more of a buying Sherpa all right. How do we help them get to wherethey're going to have the outcomes that they want now in all of this in all ofthe pandemic, and all of the changes that everything everybody's goingthrough? How do you coming into you...

...know we're at the end of as we'rerecording this end of Q, One of twenty one? How did you get the team excitedcoming into a new year or a new quarter? How do you get them focused and reenergize? You know when some of them may not be embracing the opportunityfor self evolution as much as others, let's say yeah, that's that's a greatquestion and it's just something I learned back in my responsive days,which was a cross channel marketing platform. That's where I spent six orseven years of my my career and we had a new sales leader, come on board bythe name of Jason's intact, he's now the co of six cents, and he establishedthe sense of a monthly rigor instead of a quarterly rigor and it's, webasically run the business monthly and by doing that, and that's somethingthat I adopted moving forward across my career, it really helps ensure thatpeople stay focused day in and day out. It's not that you're, always measuringhey. What are we going to do for the quarter? What are we going to do forthe next quarter? That still happens, but to drive a special on Isis on amonthly rigor and that we establish and hit goals every single month? It reallyensures that people stay focused on and day out and on two cars right. What our teamneeds to do to be successful, but then also what our customers need to do tobe successful. So that's one way that I've seen work really. Well, I justit's almost like we celebrate the winds that we've had for that month, or eventhat quarter, but it's always that monthly Rora and the second is thisconcept that that I built with with my team when I was when I was at huddlecalled Tako and Taco stands for trust, accountability, coaching and ownership,and each one of those it aligns to yourself to the rest of the company andthen to your customers, and that's in the people have really bought into inmy organizations and helps guide them to have that second level. Purpose inwhat they're doing dayanand day out to keep that motivation high, so trustaccountability. What coaching? What was coaching and ownership, and what that?What that leads is that everyone in our revenue organization is the C O theirown part of chorus, that's sense and it that there's why it ends with Onerstithat sense of true ownership. It helps drive in sure that people are focusedand they're right to hit their numbers and help customers me six yeah. I lovethat the and it taps into I'm sure, familiar with Daniel, pink and theresearch that they all did on what it is, that motivates you of beings andits autonomy, master and purpose, and that the lines very nicely with that interms of empowering people giving them the ownership and the opportunity to do.You know the best work they can and then we as leaders get to help,hopefully coach them, so their vision gets bigger in terms of what they canaccomplish were what they can add to the organization into the teams. Thatseem like a fair assessment. Yes, very similar I'll go a step further on there,though, and it's something that I push heavily across our our management teamis it's important to find. Each individual's purpose thinks it's going to be differentdepending on the person, and that to me is the only way that you are able toachieve that epic performance, that the being the best version of yourother self is how we discuss it internally and by tapping fighting whatis your over all purpose and how this chorus help you obtain thatpurpose and fulfill that purpose. That's how we get peak performanceacross our teams and, ultimately that drives out comes for us, and I love itbecause that that is I would. I don't want to be pandering to others thatit's a very enlightened approach is what I would say right in terms of howdo I sit down and help an individual understand? You know what is thepurpose now, when you do O that? Do you...

...find that, in the majority of caseswhen you're coaching, you teams that most people know what their purpose is or is there alsoan element in the leadership in the management in the coaching where wemight have to help them realize what what their purpose may be?Yeah, you're, absolutely right. That's often the most common answer is I've.Never thought of it really thought about that before. Oh right, that's thethat's the most common reaction, an ah that's where you can you can help guidethem on what gets you excited about getting out of bed every day right andit often times it. People go straight to the business elements like no. It's just like truly, likethink about you, Broudou surroundings, your community, your family, what'shappening around the world, how you envision, you know what the world canlook like in ten twenty years. What's what's your all and and it helps guidepeople to find that that part of did you find I just had of curiosity, and Iknow we're way off script here on the questions. I said it happened, but Ilove this stuff right so have you found I mean, and I you know I'll just bevulnerable. On My side, I can say that what I've experienced over the lastyear, plus in the pandemic and some of the personal losses or things that I'veencountered as a result, it shortened it kind of brought forward that timehorizon. Like he said, what's the Word Look like in ten twenty years, andmaybe it's also because I'm getting a little bit older, but we will ignorethat for a second so, but have you found that some people's horizon hasshortened like it's become more of a focus for them, because for the firsttime in a long time we have a true, truly shared global experience as humanbeings. We've all experienced this in some way or another. Have you seen someof your team members kind of not work, not necessarily say worried, but maybenot focus ten years out, but focus two years out were focus on more of the nowyou seeing the team be more present in the moment, a hundred percent, and thatand again that's that's from what's happening around us. I think everyone.Everyone had a level of uncertainty over the last year and a half that mosthave never felt before and we're very blessed to be in that position rightthat a pandemic was what really helped this have to consider thingsmore in the day by day and truly lose control and be in thisaltogether. So that that has definitely changed people's perceptions on whatplanning for the future looks like just due to the environment around us, it'shard to know exactly what the world's going to look like next week, yeah those us that thought we knew havejust been given a global slap in the face. I was really pessimistic. I was like. Idon't think I do T I n I'm not going to get this fact. You know I's going toget the vaccine till next year and from this one right. I was very pessimisticabout about this and now we're seeing right millions of people get vaccinatedacross the world and is ness open up again et ce it's hard in measure,though, and to, and to really foresee that when that all that will happenright, absolutely all right. So, let's Change Direction here, a little bit. Weask all for guests, two standard questions, T E N, O Chave, first, assimply as a chief revenue off sor. That makes you a prospect for a lot ofpeople out there, and I'm always curious, especially as the world ischanged right. What is it if somebody doesn't have a referral, an they? Don'tthey don't have that trusted reference, and what is it that works for youpersonally to capture your attention and have somebody earn the right totime on your calendar yeah? I do think, depending on the executive, there aredifferent approaches that will work and you should you should try variousthings. But for me, what really works is when people tie how their solutionshelped an organization similar to mine even better. If it's in a similar space,it really gets my attention. Even if it's a quick, two lines about it, itgets me leaning in and I love reading...

...prospective. No, I don't I don't. Idon't always respond, but the reason why I do it is because I'm looking forgreat stuff R to eat a life, so I really pay close attention and I, I really believe, like I said inthis, in this concept of ownership, so most of the time, what I, what I willdo is I'll forward it to their respective leader, that's responsiblefor that function. That is what I typically do and I'll encourage aconversation, but I do believe in this concept of total ownership. So unlesssomething is very geared towards me and something that I would be the oneowning directly, I would often time send it to one of my direct reportsthat owns that particular function and- and there are a lot of people who won'teven go that far right. So that's where and I think that's a that's where therubber hits wrote on that concept of ownership, and it's like hey. We have,we all, have a tendency to keep our head down right, we're so focused onthe trrees. We missed the forest, often and being able to at least unless it'sa horrible, horrible horrible prospect to e at least being aware of what'sgoing on in the organization. I think that accomplishes two things one. Itshows the type of leader and team player that you are, but I think itjust as a practice in general. It helps us stay aware of what our co workers orother areas of the business may or may not be dealing with all right. So lastquestion: We call it our acceleration insight. If there was one thing youcould tell sales or marketing professionals, one piece of advice thatyou believe it helped them hit their targets or exceed them. What would itbe? And why yeah? This is an easy one for me, so it really comes down justinsuring that your pre sales and your post sales process are based onehundred percent on the buyers journey in their customer outcomes and not onyour internal processes that that is really easy. One for me to answer, andthe reason for that is, it removes friction. You think about the the theliteral customer life cycle. If you tie everything to customer outcomes in thebuyers- and you removes unnecessary friction, it's going to ensure thatyou're getting time to value for your customers much faster, at least toexpansion at an accelerated rate, and it also drives your team overall to bemore focused on the customer, especially if you're trying to createthis mentality of customer obsession. And it's the first thing I do when Ijoin new organization, a rib apart, the cur the current customer journey. Reanalyze it for us, it's a lot easier. We can listen to thousands of calls,and you also did interview some customers as well and got and got theirfeet back on their process, but ultimate that that's the one thingthat I recommend for for everyone: love it all right, Chigo. If a listenersinterested in learning more about you or more about course, where's the bestplace for us to send them, we don't linked in website microsis. Do you gotyeah linked in is the best place, absolutely tat, all right? Well, tug. Ican't think you enough for taking time it's been an absolute pleasure havingyou on the show. Today, thanks shad is on nine hope. This is helpful for youryour listen right, everybody that does it for this episode. You know the drillbe to be revizor share with friends, Family Co, workers, ketch vaccinationand until next time we have valse Ling associates which will nothing but thegreatest success. You've been listening to the B TobRevenue Executive Experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Iton or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time. I.

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