The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year 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 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 BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how sales rep should most effectively handle and prepare for the reality that more sea level executives are joining sales calls today. Thank you, pandemic. To help us, we have with US Tiago Safrida, chief revenue officer at cours data. I Tiago, thank you so much for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks for having me, Chad, and well done. I'm with it all right. I was going to ask it was really good. Well done, priused the best pridge. It all right. So, before we jump in, we always like to ask a random question to help our audience get to know you better as a person and really I'm always curious to understand you know a lot of people will know our digital personas are work brand that kind of stuff, but something that that you're passionate about that those that know you largely through work may be surprised to learn about. Yeah, it's a great question. I'll go down the personal side on this one and it may not be that that interesting for your listeners, but Portuguese was my first language, which English was my second language, Spanish was my third language. So I am extremely passionate about Hispanic in Brazilian soap oper what so that is how I keep up with my language skills. So you know, if we got an extra that about thirty minutes 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 with my language? That is awesome that haven't heard that for I hope that it is first. It is definitely first and I appreciate you sharing it. And the immersion thing I languages is something I I've never been very, very good at. Always impressed with those that know more than one, obviously in your case three, but just impressive all the way around. So I appreciate you sharing that. So in terms of the topic of the day, right with the pandemic hits, we see a huge shift in the number of executives involved in buying decisions. It's like they came out of the ivory tower and now they're involved in the sales process. We couldn't get to them before. Now we can't avoid them, and which is probably a good thing, but it changes the dynamic right. And so I'm curious when you think about your team right that you have to coach and lead in your sales organization, how are you preparing them for this new reality or asking them to be prepared? What new expectations are you setting for them or coaching them towards? Yeah, so I think first it starts with it the concept that hey, this is something new. We weren't seeing this happen, specially as early as it's happening now across the sales process, and it's important to quantify it. So through our data 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 you mentioned, it was really tough to get these people involved back in the day and it's good to see the the differences in what sea level folks are joining conversation. So buying side CFOs, for example, have joined ninety two percent more meetings, and selling side CEOS even about twenty nine percent more. And it really comes down to this higher scrutiny on budget. And then is also access, because it's a lot easier for somebody just hop on a zoom compared to you, if you're high a CV company, going and visiting somebody and ensuring that all the executives are available for a meeting on that same day in person. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

And so in it's interesting. On the on the selling side, I think there's probably a lot of people 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 CFOs, the elusive CFO right having been a having been in continuing to be a commission based sales up, I mean to get access to them was always, you know, the the Holy Grail, and now they're there, but it changes the way. You have to be prepared as you go into these conversations and so when you think about the sales cycle, are they showing up earlier in the in the process, in the middle of the process? You know, how are the how are they showing up? Where they showing up kind of more consistently? Yeah, they they're showing up at every stage and one of the interesting things that that you need to think about is you need to ensure that your team is prepared for that sea level conversation at any time. So we're even seeing that CXOS will turn up to a meeting they weren't even invited to approximately ten percent of the time. So you need to anticipate their involvement even if they weren't confirmed. So some of the some of the ways that you can do that is, one by ensuring you have those talk tracks built out 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 extreme Rli so if you can really speak to how your solution solves a critical business problem in delivers on that bottom line benefit at these level folks are typically looking for, 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 talk a bit about the fact that once they're in there, but do you get them talking? What are the indications that you need to see? And some interesting stats that that we have for your listeners is that sexos tend to talk about eight point five percent more in deals that close and we're seeing about five engaging 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'm want 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 going to be more observers, etc. When C xos feed eight point five percent more deals close. All right, just trotting that down. Sorry, chat, I just I just set it and I just remember that I did not say that. That right. That's okay. So let me correct myself. See xos talk eight point five percent more in deals that close. Some more deals to close, right. So we want them talking. We want we want 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, we bring them into a company, we train them, they drink the cool AI, they won't, we tell them how awesome we are, we unleash them on the world and it's not unusual that they go out and want to talk about themselves over and over and over. And so the ability to really you know, you hit a key point. Be Prepared, but to ask the right types of questions to engage that conversation. I think you mentioned five questions. When you think about, you know, Teaching Your Teams, of Coaching Your Team's how are you coaching them to ask the right questions to open up that conversation? Yeah, so, so I can example of a great question that we are seeing work really well across our customer bases. They're obvious outcomes that all these organizations are are looking to achieve and a great question to really find 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, what makes them start thinking right. It also them. It also that allows them to if they're especially through a verbal process or to step through and really get to that future state. Think about that future state of what does this resolution really provide for the organization, so they...

...can start to sketch out what the value is from their perspective. Yeah, absolutely, and what's also really important for talking about this in the CXO is that sea level executives, they also care 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 into that for me. So kind of maybe have an example or compain a pain a picture for us. Yeah, so, for example, like someone that is selling to me right now at Corus AI, and our ultimate goal is to help revenue teams deliver better results. That's really as simple as it as a can. and to dive a level deeper is we want to enable people to bring their best to every interaction that they have and then also to bring the voice to the customer to every decision that they make internally. So if someone 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 management process right now something that we're actively looking into and what I'm really inspired by are some of the vendors that have focused on how that drives to our ultimate outcomes and to us is we want to enable our customing the best to every interaction and, to me, the voice of the customer to every decision that they make internally and if you're able to align the fact, for example in the contract life cycle management, that the engagement that we're going to have with customers is going to help enable them to buy into our solution faster with the cleaner process, so they can start realizing that value much earlier than otherwise if we were doing things manually. All right, so that's just a quick example I just thought off off the top. Yeah, no, I love it. And so so the question that becomes, I mean for those that have been living under rock, I think I think everybody knows who course study, I guess, and and what you do. But it's a large company, large team. It just kind of curiosity. How big is the sales team over there? So, yeah, we got roughly fifty people at this at this point and scaling rapidly. So yeah, we will close out the year at roughly a hundred and thirty five. 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 people involved in the conversation. They have to be, you know, prepared right as we walk into those conversations. They need to be asking the right questions. How do you start to ensure that there's consistency across 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 what we'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 establish for them. And not only that, who cares about just tracking, right are 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 or lose 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 starts with 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 drink our own champagne and utilize. Are Our solution for Nice, Nice, all right. And so you know we're scaling fast over there. We're going to have a big team. It's going up. We got people. We got to prepare. But now, even though...

...we're coming out, we were kind of talking about this before we hit record, we're coming out, hopefully on the down side of the pandemic and headed back to some semblance of something close to a new normal. I hate that phrase, but it'll everything would be a little bit different. What if I need hopefully we'll get back to closer to what we all know and love. But let's say they're those out there that really felt the impact right of the catastrophic change that had happened. How does somebody I don't want to say pandemic proof because that makes makes me think we might have another one and I just don't know that I can handle that right 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 proofing their their sales pipeline in the future for unforeseen circumstances. Yeah, that's a that'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 we just went through, it leads to lifelong changes and I've I've always thought of things that way. There been various occurrences in my lifetime that I think I have changed me for for the good, right, and also in terms of how I look at the world. And one one aspect of that is I I 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, in terms of how you adapt your prop your product and the problems that you're solving for and, to some extent, the the pivots that you've made. So it's helped our teams become a little more agile. Right, we all have these great plans for what our depending on your fistcorks, your Fli twenty or Fli twenty one, was going to look like. But we all had to quickly pivot change our talk track. Right. We all remember that we're human first and foremost, and I have to check here when I'm prospecting somebody what's going 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 me it'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 can enable our teams, in our message, to give this perception to potential buy or 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 see success in those areas, they need to have our solution. And it's a little bit different than when a lot of companies are doing before or there are much more focused on features and strictly use case space type of approaches, and I think that's here to stand and I think it's probably you know, I'm with 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 of person we want to be. We have this opportunity to be, and I like your phrase, more human, right, and we're seeing that in all the status you see on you know, people engaging in virtual like the the cue. Virtual backgrounds are out. People want to know you got dirty laundry behind you or you know, you got other people in the house. They want to see the human side of it so that we can connect. But it's also about what what really is going to be the win for the person on the other side? What is what is their view of value? How are they going to quantify the impacts? And I think that focus is going to be a boon for us in the sales profession hopefully get us away from the tired cliches of, you know, slick and not trustworthy to a place where we're really more of a buying Serpa. All right, how do we help them 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 changes that 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 of twenty one. How did you get the team excited coming into a new year or 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 self evolution as much as others? Let's say, yeah, that's it. That's a great 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 seven years of my my career and we had a new sales leader come on board 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, and that's something that I adopted moving forward across my my career, it really helps ensure that people stay focused day and and day out. It's not that you're always 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 and hit goals every single month. It really ensures that people stay focused and and day out and on two key are is right, what our team needs to do to be successful, but then also what our customers need to do to be 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 month or even that quarter, but it's always that monthly right. Yeah, and the second is this concept that that I built with with my team when I was when I was at huddle, called Taco, and Taco stands for trust, accountability, coaching and ownership. And each one of those it aligns to yourself, to the rest of the company and then to your customers, and that's that he will have really bought into in my organizations and it helps guide them to have that second level purpose in what they're doing day in and day out to keep that motivation high. So Trust, accountability, with coaching. What was coaching and ownership, and what that? What that leads is that everyone 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's sense of true ownership. It helps drive and you sure that people are focused and 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 Daniel Pink in the research, that they'll tell them what it is that motivates you and beings, and it's autonomy, mastering purpose, and that lines very nicely with that in terms of empowering people, giving them the ownership in the opportunity to do, you know, the best work they can and then we a is as leaders, get to help hopefully coach them so their vision gets bigger in terms of what they can accomplish, where what they can add to the organization into the teams. That seem 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 team, is it's important to find each 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 to achieve 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 overall purpose 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 for our custome and I love it because that that is I don't want to be pandering to others, that it's a very enlightened approach, is what I would say 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 your teams, that most people know what their purpose is, or is there also an element in the leadership of the management, in the coaching where we might have to 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 never thought of it, truly thought about that before or right. That's the that's the 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 people to to find that that persons. Did you find? I just not a curiosity and I know we're way off script here and the on the questions I said, yeah, it happened, but I love this stuff. Right. So, have you found I mean, and I'll you know, I'll just be vulnerable on my side, I can say that what I've experienced over the last year plus in the pandemic and some of the personal losses or things that I've encountered as a result, its shortened. It kind of brought forward that time horizon. Like you said, what's the World Look like in ten twenty years? And maybe it's also because I'm getting a little bit older, but we will ignore that for a second. So, but have you found that some people's horizon has shortened, like it's become more of a focus for them because, 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 way or another. Have you seen some of your team members kind of not we're not necessary don't say we're but maybe not focus ten years out, but focus two years out or focus on more of the now. Are you seeing the team be more present in the moment? A hundred percent, and that and 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 most have 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 in the 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 looks like. Just due to the environment around us, it's hard to know exactly what the world is going to look like. Yeah, those was the thought we knew. Have just been given a global slap in the face. I was 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 next year and from this one. Right, I was very pessimistic about about this, and now we're seeing, right, millions of people get vaccinated across the world 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 is simply as a chief avenue off. So that makes you a prospect for a lot of people out there and I'm always curious, especially as the world has changed, right, what is it if somebody doesn't have a referral and they don't they don't have that trusted reference, and what is it that works for you personally to capture your attention and have somebody earned the right to time on your calendar? Yeah, I do think depending on the executive, they're different approaches that will work and you should. You should try various things. But for me what really works is when people tie how their solutions helped 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. It gets me leaning in and I love reading...

...prospect of emails. I don't I don't, I don't always respond. The reason why I do it is because I'm looking for great stuff right it to eat a lie. So I really pay close attention and I I really believe, I said in this in this concept of ownership. So most of the time what I what I will do is I'll Ford it to their respective leader that's responsible for that function. That is what I typically do and I'll encourage a conversation. But I do believe in this concept of toy ownership. So unless something is very geared towards me and something that I would be the one owning directly, out oftentimes send it to one of my director ports that owns that particular function. And then there are a lot of people who won't even that far right. So that's where and I think that's a that's where the rubber hits wrote on that concept of ownership and it's say hey, we have where we all have a tendency to keep our head down right, we're so focused on the trees we missed the forest 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 of leader and team player that you are, but I think it just as a practice in general, it helps us stay aware of what our co workers were other areas of the business may or may not be dealing with. All right, so last question. We call it our acceleration insight. If there was one thing you could tell sales or marketing professionals, one piece of advice that you believe would help them hit their targets or exceed them, what would it be and why? Yeah, this is an easy one for me. So it really comes down just ensuring that your presales and your post sales process are based one hundred percent on the buyers journey, in the customer outcomes and not on your internal processes. That that is a really easy one for me to answer, and and the reason for that is it removes friction. If you think about that, the little customer lifecycle. If you tie everything to customer outcomes in the buyers are and you removes unnecessary friction, it's going to ensure that you're getting time to value for your customers much faster, at least to expansion and accelerated rate, and it also drives your team overall to be more focused on the customer, especially if you're trying to create this mentality of customer session, 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's a lot easier. We can listen to thousands of calls, and you also did interview some customers as well and got and got their feedback on their process. But ultimate as that, that's the one thing that I recommend for for everyone. Love it. All right, y'all. Go. If a listeners interested in learning more about you or more about course, where's the best place for us to send them? When I'm linked in website, microsie. What do you got? Yeah, Linkedin is the best place absolutely to all right. 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 to be REV exactcom share with friends, family, Co workers, get your vaccination and until next time, we have value selling associates, which will 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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