The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 8 months ago

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


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, 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 BB revenue executiveexperience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teamsto optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies, were tools andresources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three,two, one. Welcome everyone to the BB revenue executive experience. I'myour host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how sales rep should mosteffectively handle and prepare for the reality that more sea level executives are joining salescalls today. Thank you, pandemic. To help us, we have withUS Tiago Safrida, chief revenue officer at cours data. I Tiago, thankyou so much for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks for havingme, Chad, and well done. I'm with it all right. Iwas going to ask it was really good. Well done, priused the best pridge. It all right. So, before we jump in, we alwayslike to ask a random question to help our audience get to know you betteras a person and really I'm always curious to understand you know a lot ofpeople will know our digital personas are work brand that kind of stuff, butsomething that that you're passionate about that those that know you largely through work maybe surprised to learn about. Yeah, it's a great question. I'll godown the personal side on this one and it may not be that that interestingfor your listeners, but Portuguese was my first language, which English was mysecond language, Spanish was my third language. So I am extremely passionate about Hispanicin Brazilian soap oper what so that is how I keep up with mylanguage skills. So you know, if we got an extra that about thirtyminutes every day for a little bit of TV. That's what I focus on. How can I watch some Hispanic or Brazilian soap oppers to keep up withmy language? That is awesome that haven't heard that for I hope that itis first. It is definitely first and I appreciate you sharing it. Andthe immersion thing I languages is something I I've never been very, very goodat. Always impressed with those that know more than one, obviously in yourcase three, but just impressive all the way around. So I appreciate yousharing that. So in terms of the topic of the day, right withthe pandemic hits, we see a huge shift in the number of executives involvedin buying decisions. It's like they came out of the ivory tower and nowthey're involved in the sales process. We couldn't get to them before. Nowwe 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 areyou preparing them for this new reality or asking them to be prepared? Whatnew expectations are you setting for them or coaching them towards? Yeah, soI think first it starts with it the concept that hey, this is somethingnew. We weren't seeing this happen, specially as early as it's happening nowacross the sales process, and it's important to quantify it. So through ourdata we analyze about thirty five million customer facing conversations, sales calls included.seatsweet participation is up roughly a hundred and eight percent compared to a year ago, which is absolutely insane when you really put it into perspective. As youmentioned, it was really tough to get these people involved back in the dayand it's good to see the the differences in what sea level folks are joiningconversation. So buying side CFOs, for example, have joined ninety two percentmore meetings, and selling side CEOS even about twenty nine percent more. Andit really comes down to this higher scrutiny on budget. And then is alsoaccess, because it's a lot easier for somebody just hop on a zoom comparedto you, if you're high a CV company, going and visiting somebody andensuring that all the executives are available for a meeting on that same day inperson. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

And so in it's interesting. Onthe on the selling side, I think there's probably a lot of people outthere would say, yeah, you know, our executives got a little words.Of course, they got a little bit more involved in the in theyou know, selling process as it were. But to know that CFOs, theelusive CFO right having been a having been in continuing to be a commissionbased sales up, I mean to get access to them was always, youknow, the the Holy Grail, and now they're there, but it changesthe way. You have to be prepared as you go into these conversations andso when you think about the sales cycle, are they showing up earlier in thein the process, in the middle of the process? You know,how are the how are they showing up? Where they showing up kind of moreconsistently? Yeah, they they're showing up at every stage and one ofthe interesting 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 CXOS will turn up to a meeting they weren't even invitedto approximately ten percent of the time. So you need to anticipate their involvementeven if they weren't confirmed. So some of the some of the ways thatyou can do that is, one by ensuring you have those talk tracks builtout and your teams trained on it, including the content necessary for that.You need to ensure that your teams are coached to establish what I call extremeRli so if you can really speak to how your solution solves a critical businessproblem in delivers on that bottom line benefit at these level folks are typically lookingfor, you're going to have a much greater chance of closing a deal.And then Chad and I'm going to I'm going to jump in here and talka 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 sexos tend to talkabout eight point five percent more in deals that close and we're seeing about fiveengaging questions to get that conversation going with those see xls. All wait,that's an important stat so do be fair. Say That one again. So I'mwant to make sure that the audience catches it. Actually, I yeah, make sure I catch it to so we gotta get see xos talking.That's an important concept. Sometimes we like to think of them as they're goingto be more observers, etc. When C xos feed eight point five percentmore deals close. All right, just trotting that down. Sorry, chat, I just I just set it and I just remember that I did notsay that. That right. That's okay. So let me correct myself. Seexos talk eight point five percent more in deals that close. Some moredeals to close, right. So we want them talking. We want wewant to get them fuck now that's a challenge for a lot of reps right, because a lot of the reps out there have been you know, webring them into a company, we train them, they drink the cool AI, they won't, we tell them how awesome we are, we unleash themon the world and it's not unusual that they go out and want to talkabout themselves over and over and over. And so the ability to really youknow, you hit a key point. Be Prepared, but to ask theright types of questions to engage that conversation. I think you mentioned five questions.When you think about, you know, Teaching Your Teams, of Coaching YourTeam's how are you coaching them to ask the right questions to open upthat conversation? Yeah, so, so I can example of a great questionthat we are seeing work really well across our customer bases. They're obvious outcomesthat all these organizations are are looking to achieve and a great question to reallyfind out how much this matters is to ask that that CX. Oh,if the problem was solved immediately, what would be the impact in their business? Love it. That is one question that really gets people going, whatmakes them start thinking right. It also them. It also that allows themto if they're especially through a verbal process or to step through and really getto that future state. Think about that future state of what does this resolutionreally provide for the organization, so they...

...can start to sketch out what thevalue is from their perspective. Yeah, absolutely, and what's also really importantfor talking about this in the CXO is that sea level executives, they alsocare a lot more about how your company's vision and the outcomes that you drive, how it aligns within their own value proposition. So hope so dive intothat for me. So kind of maybe have an example or compain a paina picture for us. Yeah, so, for example, like someone that isselling to me right now at Corus AI, and our ultimate goal isto help revenue teams deliver better results. That's really as simple as it asa can. and to dive a level deeper is we want to enable peopleto bring their best to every interaction that they have and then also to bringthe voice to the customer to every decision that they make internally. So ifsomeone that's coming in selling to me is able to align what they provide,for example, I'll state that we're really looking at our contract life cycle managementprocess right now something that we're actively looking into and what I'm really inspired byare some of the vendors that have focused on how that drives to our ultimateoutcomes and to us is we want to enable our customing the best to everyinteraction and, to me, the voice of the customer to every decision thatthey make internally and if you're able to align the fact, for example inthe contract life cycle management, that the engagement that we're going to have withcustomers is going to help enable them to buy into our solution faster with thecleaner process, so they can start realizing that value much earlier than otherwise ifwe were doing things manually. All right, so that's just a quick example Ijust thought off off the top. Yeah, no, I love it. And so so the question that becomes, I mean for those that have beenliving under rock, I think I think everybody knows who course study,I guess, and and what you do. But it's a large company, largeteam. It just kind of curiosity. How big is the sales team overthere? So, yeah, we got roughly fifty people at this atthis point and scaling rapidly. So yeah, we will close out the year atroughly a hundred and thirty five. And so when you when you arein those situations, right, we've got a new reality. We've got we'vegot more sea level people involved in the conversation. They have to be,you know, prepared right as we walk into those conversations. They need tobe asking the right questions. How do you start to ensure that there's consistencyacross your team, consistency of behavior right from from one rep to the next, in the way that they act, ask those questions or prepare? Yeah, that's a good segway into exactly what, course, I does and that's whatwe're focused on. that. So we have what we called trackers,where we're tracking if our team is actually following the con tracks that we establishfor them. And not only that, who cares about just tracking, rightare are these talk tracks be utilized or not? Are they actually driving outcomes? So are we seeing better conversion rates? What's leading us to win more orlose more? And then also, are we getting better velocity? So, from stays to stage, are we moving deals across the board? Ruger, YEP, so that's that's how we do it now. So it startswith obviously the nable when function in in billy easy assets for our our teams, and then it goes with actually measuring of that impact, which we drinkour own champagne and utilize. Are Our solution for Nice, Nice, allright. And so you know we're scaling fast over there. We're going tohave a big team. It's going up. We got people. We got toprepare. But now, even though...

...we're coming out, we were kindof talking about this before we hit record, we're coming out, hopefully on thedown side of the pandemic and headed back to some semblance of something closeto a new normal. I hate that phrase, but it'll everything would bea little bit different. What if I need hopefully we'll get back to closerto what we all know and love. But let's say they're those out therethat really felt the impact right of the catastrophic change that had happened. Howdoes somebody I don't want to say pandemic proof because that makes makes me thinkwe might have another one and I just don't know that I can handle thatright now. Let's say, how do I, how do I work,or how should people be working to make sure that they're kind of bomb proofingtheir their sales pipeline in the future for unforeseen circumstances. Yeah, that's athat's a great question. If if I have a similar bullet for that,I would love to share that with your with your listeners, but I don't. But I'm a big Leiever that any experience such as the one that wejust went through, it leads to lifelong changes and I've I've always thought ofthings that way. There been various occurrences in my lifetime that I think Ihave changed me for for the good, right, and also in terms ofhow I look at the world. And one one aspect of that is II think this has required all of us to level up in our games,specially in the go to market side, a marketing leaders, sales leaders,but then also on the on the on the technical side as well, interms of how you adapt your prop your product and the problems that you're solvingfor and, to some extent, the the pivots that you've made. Soit's helped our teams become a little more agile. Right, we all havethese great plans for what our depending on your fistcorks, your Fli twenty orFli twenty one, was going to look like. But we all had toquickly pivot change our talk track. Right. We all remember that we're human firstand foremost, and I have to check here when I'm prospecting somebody what'sgoing on, where they're at, potentially across their lives, right and that, and I think that's that's going to create long term changes and to meit's there's going to be an even tighter focused than before on how our sales, CS and and marketing teams are aligning to extreme rowy and how we canenable our teams, in our message, to give this perception to potential buyor ys that we are a must have rather than a nice to have,and they're whatever their critical business problems are in order for for them to seesuccess in those areas, they need to have our solution. And it's alittle bit different than when a lot of companies are doing before or there aremuch more focused on features and strictly use case space type of approaches, andI think that's here to stand and I think it's probably you know, I'mwith you on the we all have a choice every morning when we get up, what kind of day is going to be, right, what kind ofperson we want to be. We have this opportunity to be, and Ilike your phrase, more human, right, and we're seeing that in all thestatus you see on you know, people engaging in virtual like the thecue. Virtual backgrounds are out. People want to know you got dirty laundrybehind you or you know, you got other people in the house. Theywant to see the human side of it so that we can connect. Butit's also about what what really is going to be the win for the personon the other side? What is what is their view of value? Howare they going to quantify the impacts? And I think that focus is goingto be a boon for us in the sales profession hopefully get us away fromthe tired cliches of, you know, slick and not trustworthy to a placewhere we're really more of a buying Serpa. All right, how do we helpthem get to where they're going to have the outcomes that they want?Now, in all of this, in all the pandemic and all the changesthat everything, everybody's going through, how do you coming into you know,we're at the end of as we're recording...

...this, end of q one oftwenty one. How did you get the team excited coming into a new yearor a new quarter. How do you get them focused and re energized,you know, when some of them may not be embracing the opportunity for selfevolution as much as others? Let's say, yeah, that's it. That's agreat question and it's it's is something I learned back in my responses days, which was a cross channel marketing platform. That's where I spent six or sevenyears of my my career and we had a new sales leader come onboard by the name of Jason's intact. He's now the CEO of six cents, and he established the sense of a monthly rigger instead of a quarterly rigger, and it's we basically run the business monthly and by doing that, andthat's something that I adopted moving forward across my my career, it really helpsensure that people stay focused day and and day out. It's not that you'realways measuring. Hey, what are we going to do for the quarter?What are we going to do for the next quarter? That still happens,but to drive a special IMP says on monthly rigger and that we established andhit goals every single month. It really ensures that people stay focused and andday out and on two key are is right, what our team needs todo to be successful, but then also what our customers need to do tobe successful. So that that's one way that I've seen work really well.I just it's almost like we celebrate the winds that we've had for that monthor even that quarter, but it's always that monthly right. Yeah, andthe second is this concept that that I built with with my team when Iwas when I was at huddle, called Taco, and Taco stands for trust, accountability, coaching and ownership. And each one of those it aligns toyourself, to the rest of the company and then to your customers, andthat's that he will have really bought into in my organizations and it helps guidethem to have that second level purpose in what they're doing day in and dayout to keep that motivation high. So Trust, accountability, with coaching.What was coaching and ownership, and what that? What that leads is thateveryone in our revenue organization is a see of their own, part of chorus. So that's sense and it that's there's why it ends with ownership. That'ssense of true ownership. It helps drive and you sure that people are focusedand they're ready to hit their numbers and help our customers music. Yeah,I love that the and it did taps into, I'm sure familiar with DanielPink in the research, that they'll tell them what it is that motivates youand beings, and it's autonomy, mastering purpose, and that lines very nicelywith that in terms of empowering people, giving them the ownership in the opportunityto do, you know, the best work they can and then we ais as leaders, get to help hopefully coach them so their vision gets biggerin terms of what they can accomplish, where what they can add to theorganization into the teams. That seem like a fair assessment? Yes, verysimilar. I'll go a step further on there, though, and it's somethingthat I push heavily across our our management team, is it's important to findeach individual's purpose. Ikes it's going to be different depending 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 your other self. is how we discuss it internally and by tapping finding what is your overallpurpose and how this chorus help you obtain that purpose and fulfill that purpose.That's how we get peak performance across our teams and ultimately that drives outcomes forour custome and I love it because that that is I don't want to bepandering to others, that it's a very enlightened approach, is what I wouldsay right in terms of how do I sit down and help an individual understand, you know, what is the purpose? Now, when you do that,do you find that in the majority...

...of cases, when you're coaching yourteams, that most people know what their purpose is, or is there alsoan element in the leadership of the management, in the coaching where we might haveto help them realize what it, what their purpose may be? Yeah, you're absolutely right. That's often the most common answer is, I've neverthought of it, truly thought about that before or right. That's the that'sthe most common reaction and that's where you can you can help guide them on. What gets you excited about getting out of bed every day? Right,it, and it often times it. People go straight to the business elements. Like no, just like truly like think about your broad our surroundings,your community, your family, what's happening around the world, how you envision, you know, what the world can look like in in ten twenty years, what's share? What you're out and then, and it helps guide peopleto to find that that persons. Did you find? I just not acuriosity and I know we're way off script here and the on the questions Isaid, yeah, it happened, but I love this stuff. Right.So, have you found I mean, and I'll you know, I'll justbe vulnerable on my side, I can say that what I've experienced over thelast year plus in the pandemic and some of the personal losses or things thatI've encountered as a result, its shortened. It kind of brought forward that timehorizon. Like you said, what's the World Look like in ten twentyyears? And maybe it's also because I'm getting a little bit older, butwe will ignore that for a second. So, but have you found thatsome people's horizon has shortened, like it's become more of a focus for thembecause, for the first time in a long time we have a true,truly shared global experience as human beings? We've all experienced this in some wayor another. Have you seen some of your team members kind of not we'renot necessary don't say we're but maybe not focus ten years out, but focustwo years out or focus on more of the now. Are you seeing theteam be more present in the moment? A hundred percent, and that andagain, 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 right. that a pandemic was what really helped this have to consider things more inthe day by day and truly lose control and be in this all together,so that that has definitely change people's perceptions on what planning for the future lookslike. Just due to the environment around us, it's hard to know exactlywhat the world is going to look like. Yeah, those was the thought weknew. Have just been given a global slap in the face. Iwas really pessimistic. I was like, I don't think, I don't know. I'm not going to get this vaccine. One's going to get the vaccineuntil nextyear and from this one. Right, I was very pessimistic about about this, and now we're seeing, right, millions of people get vaccinated across theworld and business open up again, etc. It's hard to measure,though, and into into really foresee that when that all that would happen.Right? Absolutely, all right. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask all over guests to standard questions and the reaching you first issimply as a chief avenue off. So that makes you a prospect for alot of people out there and I'm always curious, especially as the world haschanged, right, what is it if somebody doesn't have a referral and theydon't they don't have that trusted reference, and what is it that works foryou personally to capture your attention and have somebody earned the right to time onyour calendar? Yeah, I do think depending on the executive, they're differentapproaches that will work and you should. You should try various things. Butfor me what really works is when people tie how their solutions helped an organizationsimilar to mine, even better if it's in a similar space. It reallygets my attention, even if it's a quick two lines about it. Itgets me leaning in and I love reading...

...prospect of emails. I don't Idon't, I don't always respond. The reason why I do it is becauseI'm looking for great stuff right it to eat a lie. So I reallypay close attention and I I really believe, I said in this in this conceptof ownership. So most of the time what I what I will dois I'll Ford it to their respective leader that's responsible for that function. Thatis what I typically do and I'll encourage a conversation. But I do believein this concept of toy ownership. So unless something is very geared towards meand something that I would be the one owning directly, out oftentimes send itto one of my director ports that owns that particular function. And then thereare a lot of people who won't even that far right. So that's whereand I think that's a that's where the rubber hits wrote on that concept ofownership and it's say hey, we have where we all have a tendency tokeep our head down right, we're so focused on the trees we missed theforest often and being able to at least unless it's a horrible, horrible,horrible prospect, even it leaves being aware of what's going on in the organization. I think that accomplishes two things. One, it shows the type ofleader and team player that you are, but I think it just as apractice in general, it helps us stay aware of what our co workers wereother areas of the business may or may not be dealing with. All right, so last question. We call it our acceleration insight. If there wasone thing you could tell sales or marketing professionals, one piece of advice thatyou believe would help them hit their targets or exceed them, what would itbe and why? Yeah, this is an easy one for me. Soit really comes down just ensuring that your presales and your post sales process arebased one hundred percent on the buyers journey, in the customer outcomes and not onyour internal processes. That that is a really easy one for me toanswer, and and the reason for that is it removes friction. If youthink about that, the little customer lifecycle. If you tie everything to customer outcomesin the buyers are and you removes unnecessary friction, it's going to ensurethat you're getting time to value for your customers much faster, at least toexpansion and accelerated rate, and it also drives your team overall to be morefocused on the customer, especially if you're trying to create this mentality of customersession, and it's the first thing I do when I join new organization.Rip Apart the current the current customer journey, we analyze it. For us it'sa lot easier. We can listen to thousands of calls, and youalso did interview some customers as well and got and got their feedback on theirprocess. But ultimate as that, that's the one thing that I recommend forfor everyone. Love it. All right, y'all. Go. If a listenersinterested in learning more about you or more about course, where's the bestplace for us to send them? When I'm linked in website, microsie.What do you got? Yeah, Linkedin is the best place absolutely to allright. Well, till go. I can't thank you enough for taking time. It's been in an absolute pleasure having on the show today. Thanks,Shad is all nine. Hope this is helpful for your list all right,everybody does it. For this episode. You know, the drill be tobe REV exactcom share with friends, family, Co workers, get your vaccination anduntil next time, we have value selling associates, which will nothing butthe 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 oryour favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until nexttime,.

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