The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Breaking Down Generational Differences in Sales w/ Joseph Fung


Joseph Fung, CEO of Uvaro and host of "The Seller's Journey' Podcast, chats with Chad about the generational differences we're seeing in sales, the new challenges companies are facing, and how it relates to:

  • Societal changes (and advising teams and organizations on how to adapt)
  • A company’s core values
  • Understanding a foundation of accountability
  • Selling in a virtual environment
  • Equalization of talent

OPTIONAL: Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

If you want to dive deeper into the discussion, find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how generational differences are affecting sales professionals and doing a deeper dive on entrepreneurial success as well as the largest challenges that these new companies face. So it's a lot of heavy topics today, but we're going to be guided through this by Joseph Fun CEO of you varrow and host of the sellers journey podcast. Joseph, thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks for having me chat. This is going to be such a fun conversation. It's a topic that's dear to my heart, so I'm looking forward to digging in. Excellent, excellent. So we always like to start with an a kind of went off the walk question so our audience can get to know you a little bit better, and that is you know, hey, everybody probably has a perception of you from your work life, your digital profiles, things like that, but I'm always curious to know what's something you're passionate about that those who only know you from that work angle may be surprised to learn. So some of my work colleagues know this already, but I'm really passionate about electronic music. On the side, I produced some electronic music. It's completely embarrassingly poor quality, but it's a lot of fun and it keeps me be saying in healthy other side. Awesome. How did you get into that? I mean I've always loved electronic music and music has always been a part of my life growing up, from piano lessons as a kid, jazz bands in high school, and I'm a programmer by training, and so getting a chance to merge the music and the development is it's just a delight perfect all right. So let's jump into the topic of the day, and it's a big one and it's it's I've actually seen it coming up in many of the conversations or...

...workshops that I've been doing clients. Is this concept of the generational differences that we're seeing in sales and and the changes that are necessary like so, if in order, I'm a kind of macro to micro guy. So when we start to think about the generations that we're dealing with in a sales environment today, would love to get your perspective on just how you describe them, describe the differences, maybe in a powerful and accessible way, something concise that we give everybody some context totally. I mean the big one is when we talk about it, there's really two sides to it. There's the buyer side, in the cell side, on the seller side. We hear it all the time. People say, Hey, you know, am I tool to get into tech or you know, I've been in these industry forever. How can I switch over? And the really big thing that I am phasize in our team does and we see successful, is that that experience, the generational differences, translates into industry and buyer experience, so that the really good example areas. I was talking to the head of sales. They sell tutoring platforms, so they help, you know, schools, tutors, trainers find customers anywhere and they have a great sales up. Young guys, Super High Energy, really really active, but he's not a parent. He hasn't had to to find tutors for his kids. He has had to struggle with like work from home, study at home, homeschooling, and it's a journey for him to learn how to work with those buyers. And so we talked about generational differences in sales. It's not teaching old dogs new tricks or, you know, young is hungry. It's it's really about how much industry or industry and the lived experiences necessary, and that's really what we emphasize, and I like that we're not, you know, going to the typical, you know, boomer genics, millennial Gen's, that kind of thing. Right. It's if you look at kind of how the both sides of that journey change. My experience has been it really mirrors the societal change that we're seeing. So it's an increase in authenticity and increase in respect, showing somebody you've done their hope, you've done your homework, you know how to look at the world through their...

...eyes maybe a little bit more effectively. What problems are they facing? That's different than a you know, if we go back to what I would consider more of a true relational sale, like we trust this guy, we have I'm over for dinner, that kind of thing. And it's definitely a spectrum and I think to your point, change is based on the industry you're selling into and what you're selling because of that industry may be a little bit further ahead or a little bit further behind. Is that seemed like a fair assessment? Oh, a hundred percent, a hundred percent, and I love that you called out that. I didn't answer with the labels, because we see this. If Tun as you say, Hey, you know, and let's think about the buy Er side. Hey, I'm going to sell so to boomers or gen X or Gen Y, you get this very confrontational, you know, perception and as a seller that doesn't help you at all. It. Can you imagine holping on to a sales calling like wrapping it up with an okay, boomer. No, Itcaus but if we want to make a really, really relevant example that idea of it relates to societal changes. Let's take a look at really you can't see my finger. Scare quotes, boring industry. You'll say, we're selling into HR and you know, there was a generational change in HR tools and software practices. And so yes, someone who has been in hr before, who maybe is, you know, a boomer or our GENA X or they've been in that industry for a while, may have bought legacy payroll and HR software. And in that space a systems change is the most miserable thing ever. Like if you have someone hey, would you rather change your payroll software or driving a car with five kids from Minneapolis or Orlando, they're going to pick the car drive every time. But on flip side, someone who's been in the industry for a shorter period is maybe only purchased pay roll or HR software in the last couple of years, might have bought a more recent platform. And those platforms integrate really well, they switch really well, and so the idea of buying something more experimental with...

...a cost of switching is lower. Yeah, that's less threatening. They're buying it and you know, more like marketing might have bought stuff. So yeah, if you're selling to someone in that HR space, it's not about generation, you know, x, Y Z, it's about what was their lived work experience. And if you train your sales team to think about what was the lived experience of the buyer and meet them where they're at. You'll sell cross generationally way easier than anyone else. Absolutely, absolutely so. Now, the wareness part of it, the mindset and the awareness that I think is required of sales professionals has definitely increased. I think would say probably increased in all industries. For that inclusive, you know, inclusion and being diverse and understanding that nobody has any right to judge anybody else and we need to be living in a mindset of respect. Those are kind of high level concepts. We think about it, but then there's this convert this question of how do we make those real for organizations that want to scale. Al So, when it comes to a startup who's, you know, finally getting the point where they're going to have to actually put together some outbound type of or team buck type of sale, how do you advise organizations in a way that will allow them to consistently advise or develop their teams to have this awareness and understand the subtlety of the change that's happened in the sales profession? It totally. I mean the two things I would point to. The first one is talk about it like talk about that idea of empathy it, even if you've got a homogeneous team. It's you hired a bunch of college athletes who came out and figured out how to sell, and so they are all on the same team in the same if you talk about empathy, meeting the buyers with they're at, that's going to help a lot. So start with that. The second thing, though, is the actual composition of your team makes a big difference. And I spend a lot of time with startups, founders, CEO's, and the big thing I asked them to remember is don't think about culture fit, think about culture ad. So you've probably documented your values, documented your...

...culture or in your head you know what you wanted to be. When you go out and you're interviewing, Yep, cover the basics. You can use the cram. Do you know how to sell? Can You? Can you objection handle? But then also ask not how does this person fit our culture, but what are they going to bring to our culture? Like a good example, one of our sales reps is a strict observer of Rama One and and they're starting to fast and that makes it really tough to maintain your energy through the day. And if you simply took a culture fit perspectively. Hey, you can someone keep a high level of energy all the time, they might not make the cut on that interview. But at the same time this individuals much and much more sensitive to those cultural and faith based adherences. He's very soft spoken, superspectal and it's consistently at the top of our leaderboard as a result. And so challenging yourself as a head of sales or a founder to add to your culture all the time is a tough piece of humble pie, but makes it a big difference. Oh, it's a huge difference. It's the I mean it's a huge difference. And then you bring up a really good point in something you said dinner. Many companies will document here's our values, here's our mission statement, and those guiding lights I think are important. I just listen to the secret sauce podcast about Air B ANDB and their tagline being belong anywhere right, and I think that's cool. I get that and I think that gives everybody Nice context. But the way each individual in an organization interprets that is going to be different. What does that mean to them? So I wonder, have you ever seen an organization where they've come up with the values and the and the approach in the mission statement or a vision of their culture, where it's actually backfired on them because it has become it's become kind of confining in some sense. Oh, it's funny. I don't think I'd point anything where I'd say it's backfired, because even even the most contentious value statements can be leveraged in the right way. Like like. Up On to an example. You look at Amazon's leadership principles. It's a great filtering mechanism because you know if you want to be there or not.

And in one of their leadership principles is leaders are right a lot, which really that sets up a certain expectation for what the management culture is like in the leadership cultures. Like and like. We both chuckle because we can both see how that'll be misinterpreted. But like, clearly it's working for them. What I would point to, though, as mistakes is very often founders and leaders framed their cultural values or lessons from their Lens. I sold my last couple did in net suite and great, great company. In so many ways their company was the type of company wires was growing up to be. A couple of other values though. The one that stuck out was skate, where the puck is going. Well, well, that assumes you you know what what hockey is and how that goes. Another one that really stuck out was the idea of we take the hill. And it's funny because I hired so many people who never heard the phrase take the hill. And you think about that, the military connotations, the combat connotations, that sense of the hero and you know, we had folks who were amazing employees. You know you came from, you know, Nordic countries, or came from Europe or came from Africa and and yes, I'm Hey, what do you think this value means and the like? Well, well, he'lls are challenging and they're steep. So so I guess if we fall back down the hill, we climb up again. It is totally valid. But clearly the company values were a confusing thing in the environment. So you have to be really vigilant. You can't just take it for granted. At writing it down gets the message across. Gotcha, and so when you when you think of the actual having to put this into practice right in the sales there's a lot of things that sales professionals have to do today, I honestly believe, to stay at the top of their game. First and foremost, they have to constantly be feeding their head. They can't live in a bell jar anymore, although I mean, I guess that's a totally different podcast, but we could argue social media creates a bell jar. And but anyway, in terms of the things that people have to do and getting them, you know, to execute, how do... help, you know, values in that kind of stuff sets kind of the North Star. How do you help organizations understand kind of the foundation of accountability, Performance Space Culture? You know, how are you working with the sales leaders in these startups to set the foundation so that they can have the success in the timeframes that they want? Yeah, I mean a large part of it comes down to the actions that you have your managers do, because your reps are going to emulate them and use those as the kind of guiding light, not just what you write down on paper or stick on the wall, but what you have them do daytoday. So to big things too, big things I encourage sales managers and leaders to do. First off, recognize people when they're living those values. As sales leaders, we recognize people when they close deals. You know, the close challenging deals. I hit quarter. They see we do that. You don't have to advise managers to do it, they'll just do it. But recognizing people when they live the values. That's really important. Like like, one of our values is honesty, and to us we talk about being honest is not just don't lie, but be complete in your truth. If you you disagree with the direction, bring it up so we know we'll learn, will do better. We encourage our managers to spot those. Hey, if someone's giving uncomfortable feedback, you're telling an uncomfortable truth. Call it out, recognize them, share that, because that's how people know that that's the behavior to emulate. So that's the first thing. The second thing, and this hopefully is nothing new to the sales leaders ORT of listening, is carve out time for practice. You know, half day a week, couple hours twice a week for practicing your role player, your cold calling, objection handling, listening to calls together, supporting that Peer Coaching and doing it collaboratively and that, like you said, feed the brain. You half of the institutionalize it, because if you don't, it doesn't happen. Absolutely, absolutely so. When you think of I mean we've all you know what I'll come, hopefully coming to the end of this lovely pandemic that we've been dealing with. I'm curious if you've seen any changes in the ways you feel like startups have to approach their entrepreneur nature they're scaling it.

Is there a change? Now? We've seen some companies that have, you know, I mean just exploded, any of the ECOMMERCE companies explode, because everyboy was stuck at home when we were all order and stuff right. But is there any change you've seen that you think is going to be one that will go beyond kind of, hopefully, the tail of this pandemic that you would highlight for anybody who's listening? Oh for sure. I mean the big depending on your industry, it's obvious or it's a surprise, and that's the geographic diversity of sales teams is exploding. So we crawl job boards to see what open sales jobs there are. That's how we help our our grads. Of Our gradsland jobs as well. Out of the hundred twenty four thousand open sales jobs right now, fifty five percent of them are looking for remote hires. That's a powerful number. That means you're selling remotely. You're competing with people across, you know, the the continent. That's a new reality. That's tough in the workplace. That means you're going to have they AH, they'll be some teams who go back just to that boiler room open floor. There's going to be some who are just entirely remote, but the majority are going to have a hybrid where you've got that floor where, yes, you could sit calling beside somebody, selling beside someone, but a large part of your workforce is going to be remote, hoteling or just never on site, and that's a difference. That means you have to be more proactive as a seller to build your relationship in your team. You have more autonomy and accountability. Like it can be hard to be a remote employer if you're not used to it, especially if your partners a remote employee too and they're on the phone you're just across the room. Is So it's that idea of your team being dispersed is the new norm. Not that offices will be empty, but you will have remote teams. You've got to be comfortable with that. So when we think about all of these changes that people have to do with, there's another one that that is, I think, impacting the way he beings connected. That's this virtual environment that everybody's in. I'm hearing a lot of people talk about I don't know how to engage in a virtual moment. I don't know how to sell effectively in a virtual environment. Is this something...'re seeing and hearing team struggle with as well? Oh, all the time. I mean we run a program that helps sales professionals sell using remote technology. So yes, we do see it all the time. The part that's really surprised me, and I suppose with the the fortunate beneficiery of this trend, is we're seeing a lot of industries that historically weren't remote selling switching to it. Good example, we had one solar company that we're working with. They used to go door to door, look at buildings that had big rooves and then go and knock on the door and then, because of the pandemic, they can't do that anymore. So they're looking for people who can use, you know, zoom, use vid yard, use all of these remote selling tools. So I think we'll see more and more companies that previously a shoed technology being forced to adopt it and and that SUC sighting for sales Reps. we're looking to learn new things and keep their skill shop. Awesome. And if you were to think about kind of what's going to happen, I mean I don't nobody likes to make predictions anymore because we never know what's around the corner. But when you think about what the trends are that you're seeing is we move through two thousand and twenty one. I can't believe we're already into Q two, moving towards two thousand and twenty two. One of the biggest trans either for sales professionals were startups that you would want them to keep an eye on or be prepared for that maybe the current pandemic type situation is keeping them distracted from absolutely the Big One is kind of an equalization of talent. Over the last few years we saw a lot of disparity, regional disparity, in the the caliber of sales talent. You know, you'd see areas that had, you know, really great, well recognized firms like cannon, or areas that had, you know, a high density of startups like the San Francisqu area build a lot of high velocity, very experienced be tob talent and other geographies, you know, suffer from that. Because of all the remote work and because of the number of teams that are letting their own employees...

...move remote and relocate. We're seeing this huge diaspora of sales talent and also a huge equalization of companies, and that's interesting both from a compensation perspective, because we'll see more equalization of that, but also a little bit scary from a talent competition perspective, because now you're not just competing with your neighbors, you're competing across the country. Absolutely all right, perfect. So let's Change Direction here a little bit ask all of our guys kind of too standard questions towards the end of each interview. The first is simply as a revenue exact that means your prospect for a lot of people out there, and I'm always curious when somebody doesn't have that referral into you, that trusted reference or hey, you really should talk to this person. How does somebody effectively for you personally, capture your attention and earn the right to time on your calendar? The Big One is anchoring on on something that I've publicly said I care about it. This shouldn't be a surprise to sales professionals, but calling up somebody with the CEO title and just assuming you know what they care about is it is a quick way to get your email tossed into the junk folder. But we make public comments all the time about what we focus on, whether it's personal like hey, electronic music, or professional post about what we're hiring for, what we're working on, and if you anchor on that and you leverage that, is clear you're listening to me and you know what my business is about, and that that gets you that first call. Absolutely love it. Okay, and last question. We call it our acceleration insight. There was just one thing, one piece of advice you could tell sales professionals that you believe, if they adhere to or listen to, would help them to achieve or exceed their targets. What would it be and why? Totally you've got to Adam metric that you're probably not tracking. You're probably already tracking time to close, but you need to start tracking time to lose and get that number as short as possible. I love that. Every rep has crappy deals that are sitting in their pipeline that they hope against hope will close and you got to get those out. Stop wasting time. So get it to close lost as soon as you can and keep your pipeline lean and clean. Perfect,...

Joseph is, if a listeners interested in touching basic you talking more about these topics that we've touched on today? Where do you want us to send them to? Linked in a specific website? Where where you want us to direct them totally? I mean they can always had our website. You've are O U V, a rorocom and we're on most social media platforms, as you've are o life and it can also hit me up. I'm on Linkedin at Joseph phunk perfect. Just so, I can't thank you enough for being on the show today. It's been an absolute pleasure. My pleasure, Chad. This was such a great chat. Thanks for having me. All right, everybody that does it for this episode, you know, the drill be to be Rev exactcom sure with friends, family, Co workers, writers, review on Itunes if you like what you hear. Until next time. We have value selling associates, which we all 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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