The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

How to Establish a Repeatable Sales Process w/ Dan Morris


Your new startup has got a killer product, which deserves a best-in-class sales process, so you hire someone with a track record of success at your favorite company — the one you most want to emulate. You’re as confident as they are when they join the team. Then it all goes wrong. Why is it so hard to build a repeatable sales process?

If you listen to my latest guest, Dan Morris, Managing Partner of Mindracer Consulting, a modern VP of Sales & CRO as a Service firm, you’ll quickly learn it doesn’t have to be. You’re just approaching it wrong.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The purpose of a sales process
  • What companies most often get wrong when building one
  • How to avoid those mistakes and create a killer — and repeatable — sales process

    Now you know how to establish a repeatable sales process, are you ready to learn how to build the right team or master acquisitions as a growth strategy? 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 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 of the BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about creating a repeatable sales process, the importance of getting it right and when it makes sense to outsource this and potentially even outsources cro to help us, we have with US Dan Morris, managing partner of mind Racer Consulting, a modern VP of sales and CR row as a service firm. Dad, thank you for taking the time and welcome to the show. Hey, Chad, is really great to be here. Thanks very much for having me. EXCITES IT to be having this conversation with you today, excellence. So we always like to start out with kind of an off the walk question, just so our audience gets a chance to know you a little bit better and always curious to learn something you're passionate about. That those who only know you from a work environment might be surprised to learn. Sure, all right, I learned to drive when I was six years old and I have a really massive passion for cars. So, yeah, despite living in Manhattan, which is not a great place to have that passion, I see. Yeah, let's drive so early. So I've always had this interest and yeah, very, very, very deeply passionate about those sort of things to a sort of ridiculously kieki level. Particular types of cars are just all cars in general. I like the analog cars, the ones where the driver was really playing a massive role in the the performance of the vehicle. Favorite cars probably BMW M cars between the S and two thousand. Okay, but I think if there was a no holds Bard you could do anything. I think we have now reached peak car, you know, with the phasing out of the gasoline engine over the next couple of years, KNIC SAG Swedish manufacturer, has released a car that I think is peak car, and so that's called the Gemera. It is just an absolutely ridiculous piece of equipment and happy to geek about that with anybody who's interested. I will definitely check that out. All right. Well, thank you. Thank you very much. For sharing that, giving us that insight. So topic of the day. Let's let's start with I always kind of like to go macro to micro, and so, you know, everybody thinks they understand what a sales process is or what it what it is for. I'm curious to know, you know, if you think about it, why is it so critical for business to get it right? Why is it critical for them to have it and then make sure that they have the right one? It really interesting. You know, you say that you think everybody understands what our sales processes and what it's for. I'm not sure that's completely accurate. I was trying to be nice and you know, like people make a lot of assumptions about what a sales processes and that's where there are so many problems. And you know, they're a great salesperson selling a product that fits the market really well. Is going to make it look easy. They're going to be making a lot of money and there's going to be a lot of stories around that. But the real hard work and the real hard grind in the early stage of a business, which is where we do most of our work, is working out who that sales process is actually for. You know, like the ideal person for that particular product or service may not be who initially they built it for, it depending how much research they've done and how many times they've had conversations with people rather than just selling to their friends to start with. And so you know, the goal of a peaceable sales process. For that we focus on WHO's helping founding teams be able to effectively on board sales people and give them a fighting chance of getting up to speed in time to be effective for the company from a returnal investment perspective and be effective...

...for their career in terms of helping them actually make money and move toward their personal goals. And those, those two things are hard work, and so once you've got those parts right, it's really then dialing in the marketing investments to support the sales process, improving forecasting so that you actually know, hey, if we do this, we should win this number of clients, and that means we're going to need this number of people in customer success to look after them. We're going to need to do x number of things because of that's what our business does, and also keeping the board and the investors informed an aligned with what you're doing on a day to day basis. Yeah, if you don't have something that you can talk about that is a systematic, step by step, it's harder to keep people aligned with where you're spending your time and where you're spending their money. So there's some of the things. That's the goal for us of helping de develop an effective sales process is checking those boxes well, and everybody, you know, everybody on the board, definitely wants to know where their money is going and so having something where you can point to, Hey, here's the progress is huge. The challenge with some companies that I've worked with in the past, I've seen them really consider their sales process a differentiator. Maybe it's a differentiator in the way that they choose to do business or the way that they view the customer journey. And and I'm curious, how do you give a consistent process or approach of sales process is going to work for the organization and still give them room to, I don't know, put in there, you know, that special little something that they consider a differentiator? If you run into that before and how have you done so? Lets so let me be clear. We do most of our business with betb companies that are between two hundred and Fiftyzero annual revenue in about twenty million annual revenue. And so in that world there is a lot of creation required to get to a repeatable sales process. And then there's this moment where it starts going well and that the team wants to change it because that you know we've we started doing well and now let's go and sell to a completely new industry, because that would be a great thing to bolt on, wouldn't it? And so you know, there's always room for the uniqueness that has to be right. What's going to set that business apart? The way that they deliver the value that their service or product brings, and the ability of everybody to communicate that unique less consistently is what that sales process needs to do. So wrapping the sales process around their ability to communicate the that uniqueness is the key, and then trying to keep that train on the same rails heading in the same direction is the next piece. And so you sort of asked how we do that. We've got a checklist of sales and marketing assets that we look at to make sure first of all that they actually exist and then to see. Hey, look, you know if they exist. Have they just been drafted or have they been released? Two people know where they are. Have they been refined for each ideal customer that they're going for? Hopefully not too many of those, and then is the team actually fluent in using those tools? And that's really how we look at it. We've got to check this. Does it exist, as it have a heartbeat, as it been rolled out, the people know where it lists that don't know where it lives and are they actually fluent and using it? And that lets us be really objective, because any VP's of sales revenue leaders listening to this, you know if you're not doing that to make sure that things are actually making it into people's hands and being used regularly, there's huge value in making that part of your checklist. And you know, the more often things are changing, the more often you have to check. And you know, if you're more mature, obviously it's part of a more robust on boarding and training...

...program if you're really a you got more of a dynamic life where you've got to be checking a bit more often. But that that's how we approach it. Checklist. First level of understanding among the team using them and then, like I said, we've got a simple grading system, so we work out what needs to be built, what needs to be rolled out, what needs to be reinforced, and that gives us a great place to start. So uniqueness has to be built into all of those the first they have to exist. It has to be there to be unique. So if you run into I can I've got a picture in my head of a specific individual where that's happened. But you ever run into sales or sales exact or exact in a company that are very invested in their current state sales process, believe that it is bulletproof and perhaps have a emotional reactions, shall we say, to the thought of changing it, evolving it, making it better? Have we run into internal frictions, probably the best word? I don't want to say, you know, saboteurs, but people that are invested in think that hey, what we're doing right now works. I don't know why we need to do anything different, why we need to invest in this right now to change it. Have you run into individuals or situations like that, and how do you how do you address them? How do you help them kind of come over the fence to understand that this is really to make the organization better. Yes, I have. Yes, we have, although typically when we get brought into a business it's because they've brought in a sales leader and it hasn't worked out or, you know, somebody's departed and left them with a need for sales leadership until they can find them the right next person, or they've got a flat line in sales or, you know, there's some reason why they want outside perspective. And typically at the point where we are being asked to advise on these sorts of things, it's when that person is about ready to listen. Okay, and you know. So, yeah, we've definitely run into that before, although you know, we're coming in to help them to solve a growth ceiling that they've hit or a growth problem that they've come upon and to get past that. And and I absolutely the way of working with those people is sharing more information and sharing examples and sharing data and proving to them that that's the way of this is how it's going to work. And you know, you can quickly make some small changes that can bring those people on to your side of the table a bit more. If they are around but yeah, generally we're going in to help solve a problem or to fulfill a short to medium term need where, you know, they value the experience of sales leadership but don't necessarily have the budget for somebody full time. Gotcha. Okay, and I'm going to I'm going to come back that. So on the on the sales process part of it, when you're younger, smaller company, you know everything is in the constant state of change, constant state of flux. You get to a certain part things start to level out a little bit. Do you have a recommended best practice for frequency of revisiting a sales process for an organization, depended upon stage of growth? Is I mean it's never going to stay, you know, static, but is there is there a kind of a regular kidence at which they should be double checking in that process to evolve it that you've seen over the year? Let me give you an example. Yeah, so we started working with a sus business at the front of Twenty twenty, and so we now been working with them fifteen months or so and there are nine year old business when we went in to help them and they've been at multimillion revenue, got down to a couple hundred thousand, back up to a higher number and then back down again. And Yeah, they needed to focus right. So the first thing was let's get...

...everybody focused on one ideal group of customers document that. So we rebuilt the sales process so that everyone was using the same sales process. We documented it. Six to nine months later they were absolutely well. They started getting a lot better. But there are very different business six to nine months later because they've been rocking it throughout the those six months. They continued to develop and it was easy to bring in a couple of additional sales people at that time. So that was great. So year one, five x the revenue, got more people going into q two of this year we're rewriting the sales manual and building out additional pieces for them because they've gone into larger accounts. And so you know, as you as your organization develops, you definitely going to need to keep documenting the things that have changed so that you can bring other people into it. But you know, it maybe a six month check in just to make sure that you've got everything documented. It may be a little less often if your organizations more mature and you're just running groups or pods of sales people in an organization. You know, so I built a service business years ago, team of forty seven people, and we built it from nothing. And you know, once we've got the sales process nailed and trained people onto it, we didn't need to change it. We just needed to keep adding people to it and over three years we grew four thousand percent. So you know, it depends on the organization and if you are adding additional layers to your sales motion and that that means going to an additional different type of customer, size of customer typically, or you just change the way that you deliver. One of our other clients is very high technology business. They've got a software and hardware element to what they do and the implementation side of the hardware as been simplified a lot over the last year and so you know, rewriting what their standard sales process looks like is now a requirement because six months ago they were delivering it differently. So yeah, you just got to keep your ear to the ground on hey, look, what's the easiest way to get value to this customer and have we documented that so the next salesperson who comes into the team can actually read this or watch videos of it, or both. And and have that right? And and does that mean that your sales process still operates in the same stages, you know, qualification through close and hand over, or is there some more qualification or solutions work that needs to go in the middle now because you've evolved a bit? So there's not a specific set you watch time to do it. But you know, I'd suggest a sort of sanity check at least every six months, just as just to go hey, look, are we still doing the same thing? Are we still trying to and obviously more frequently if you need it, less frequently if you're already at a stage of maturity where you've just got your ideal customer in front of you all the time and you are just adding salespeople and going for the move. Okay, and so and when you think about all the companies you work with and sales processes and organizations, what's the biggest mistake that you see kind of consistently made when people are thinking about revising their sales process? It's something maybe our audience should be aware of and hopefully be able to avoid. Yeah, so it's interesting. I was talking about this with a group of agency owners. It was last week in a slack group, and these guys are all awesome. They've got bit businesses that are blowing up and they're hiring sales people and there's a lot of good stuff going on and I said, you know, one of the most common things that happens at this stage is you get really excited, you're selling to your ideal customer really, really well, and the founding teams suddenly gets this idea, Hey, let's go and sell to them or those people and those people as well, and then hire some more salespeople to go after those new sectors. And I said, hang on, guys, red flag like that is a great way to set somebody up and not have a repeatable process for them to follow straight away, which means that they're less likely to succeed. You know, like if... can really nail down your core market and build a team that's big enough to be serving that whole core market or getting towards it, that's going to be your quickest route to revenue. And you may be getting board pressure, you may be getting investor pressure to go and diversify, but you know, the software company I was just telling you about a minute ago has now one over their board and the board says, actually, look, we now recognize that you are getting many more referrals and much more business in that ideal customer group that we were questioning then. We ever thought was possible, and it was because there was a consistent sales process with data to show that. You know, if you stay in it, you get across the chasm. That great book Jeffrey Moore across on the Chasm. If people haven't read it, definitely worth a read. So getting back to that, getting excited and going into other markets before you're ready to go into other markets is a very common thing that we see and they wonder why people come in and they don't succeed. Not Surprising, I would think. We got this one covered. So the next training object comes up. We've seen it all. See it all the time and in companies as they grow, and so I'm curious. Let's kind of switch you a little bit and talk about minders are. So how did you get into the CRO as a service space? Like, give me, give me the story. What's it? What's it look like, and where did minories to come from and how did we end up where we're at today? The quick story is I got very lucky as a salesperson and I worked for a lot of really awesome entrepreneurs and investors who kept over promoting me and I had to keep making it work. And you know, I was a very, very motivated salesperson. I was doing great deals. I became a sales leader. I had to work it out and you know, in those early stage organizations you don't get training, you don't really they don't have the opportunity to support you in that way. I'm one of the lucky ones who worked it out and built some more some teams and developed a lot of confidence around very fast growing organizations. And then once I had become a CEEO somebody else's company, which was my early career goal, I then looked at that and I went okay, Great. I was living in Boston at the time. Didn't want to live in Boston forever. Personally, I was like I'd had a great time building my career there and I thought right, you know, I'm British originally. I've got a green card, I could work anywhere in the United States. Where do I want to go? So I went to New York City and I started giving away my time to start ups and early stage companies to help them out and then, via a couple of w two's I got pulled into along the way, developed this repeatable process for helping early stage businesses nail down their sales process. And then, you know, during Covid we had the most enormous demand because everybody needed to pier really quickly, and mind race has just been exploding ever since. We're bringing in fractional VP's, we're bringing in marketers, we're bringing in on sales operations people and all these sorts of stuff to to project sales trainers, sales coaches, and we we're trying to help a thousand people get up to the the thousand businesses get to the next stage by the end of two thousand and twenty five. And so, you know, leveraging the experience that I had and the framework that we then created, we're able to bring that framework to lots of different businesses. And it's because people need it right that we just listen to what people need. They need the experience, but they don't have the budget for a four hundred thousand dollar VP of sales yet and even if they do, it might be too early to have that kind of horsepower when they don't have a sales team for them to manage right. And so, you know, we help them bridge that gap of getting the experience and the resources to get stuff done. So it's been really interesting. You know, helping entrepreneurs is great fun. As you know, it's full of all sorts of interesting challenges. So you never know it's around the corner. You never do you know. You know it's going to be chaotic, but it's exciting if you like that space right. So that's really where mind rate to came from and the team that we're building and it's great fun to help people. And as...'ve been going through this kind of what's the largest surprise or our Har moment you've had over there a mind raiser, I think the biggest surprise in our haur moment is actually how commonly some of the mistakes businesses of business leaders who are not got experience for sales leadership actually make. Our right. So the the most frequent thing that we see, especially in the in the tech startup space, is that hiring a rep from a tech giant to a very early stage tech company and expecting them to build a startup sales process, for an example. Things like that are happening all the time and it's done with all the best of intentions. Hey, this person succeeded at that massive company that we want to be, like, let's bring them in and they can bring that Magic to our company. And that person also thinks that their bulletproof because they've had a lot of success within a very well built out organization. And then they come to a very early stage start up with none of the support resources around them, and both founder and they're higher don't succeed and they hadn't seen that they just not going to be able to close the gap. Things like that happen all the time and nobody wants to fail, nobody wants to make a bad higher, but the first time you get into building a business like that it's really hard to make all those decisions and when you're in it in your career as a rep looking for a new challenge, it sounds really exciting to get in with an early stage company and have a big impact, and it just doesn't work very well most of the time. It is different worlds. It's completely different worlds and people don't recognize how much they rely on the resources around them in large organizations until they've left. Absolutely absolutely all right. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. We asked all of our guests to standard questions towards the end of each interview. The first is simply as managing partner. That makes you a prospect for a lot of people out there who trying to tell you. Sure does, and I'm always curious to know from my guess when somebody doesn't have a referral in like, you know, trusted trusted resort, trusted introduction, what works for you, when somebody's trying to capture your attention and earn the right to time on your calendar. It's of such a rare thing that people really make the effort. There's there's a lot of noise, isn't there? And you know so the way that we work, not only do I get prospected as managing partner, but we'll also get prospected as VP sales or crow within the clients that we're working in. Sure he works sort of white label as part of their team, and so you know, we see all sorts of prospects who are hitting up as as SASS companies. They hitting as up as consulting companies that hitt us up as agencies and we get the same linkedin message anyway. You know, Oh, I see you're in this business and thought we should connect, followed by a pitch. And guess what, that's not very alluring when you're trying to be a busy person. So the thing that works for me, and the thing that I know among my peers in our team is that, you know, if we get somebody who's actually read the website and then written a message to me mentioning something that I might be interested in or giving me something valuable in a very short and concise message, that has the highest opportunity of capturing my interest and and that's that's what I find works pretty well. I do love a good cold call, but mostly why say I like it? I love a good one. Most people are horrible at them and you know, I'd really don't need a warranty for my vehicle. And so every time I answer my phone and I'm consistently thinking it's going to be one of those people, and you know so you've got to be really good these days to get and some attention. But those that stand out. I still remember somebody who pitched me on a trade show about a year ago and they'd really researched who...

...our customers were and what our technology did and why their trade show is going to be an excellent fit for one of our customers who had been speaking at other similar trade shows and would we be interested in doing like a PR sponsorship package with their trade show? And that's the best one I've had in years because that person had really done the research. They called me and they just talked to me about they saw our customer on stage at this thing and we they thought that this would be a good fit and would I be interested in learning and hey, here are some other people like you who are doing the same thing. That was the best cold call I've had in years. Nice, very nice. Yeah, it's very rare for anybody to put in the time it takes two master really making effective calls. I mean a lot of people will dial and and sit there and hope nobody picks up the other friend of the phone. But when you when you put in the time, you put the price to do the research and you're prepared, it's amazing which you can pull off. So yeah, last question for you. We call it our acceleration in sight. If there's just one thing of all of the wisdom that you have, there's only one thing you could tell all sales, marketing or professional services people, one piece of advice who given them, would help them achiever, e. see their targets. What would it be and why? It's about listening. Listening pays dividends way beyond many other things, you know. So as a marketing professional trying to understand what's going on in sales, as a sales professional trying to understand what marketing are doing. At professional services people trying to provide services, listening intently to what's really going on both inside the organization when people are trying to decide how to communicate, and from the client about what they really say that they want and the problem that they've really got. It's not as common as it should be for people to really listen like that and then leverage that information to understand that person some more because, you know, we're all we live in such a world of noise and you know, if somebody truly listens to what I've said and somebody really builds that into what they're doing in that stage of their sales process or communication it makes such a big difference. But that happens internally as well. You building an organization, listen carefully to what the other people are doing here. We're trying to reach that same customer and it's could just going to help you succeed. I love it. Great advised down for listeners interested in talking more about these tabots or learning more about mind Rs. So where would you like us to send them? New linkedin website? Someplace else? Yeah, so there's always good content going out on my Linkedin, if I do say so myself. Joking apart, people can look me up at it is Linkedin, linkedin zone, look domain and then my if you search for Dan Morris Profile, it's all just one word. They're Dan Morris Profile, they'll find me. The stuff going out on there every day. Also got some resources on there that you guys can check out, and then also on the website is a breakdown of the review, refine roll out process that we use. So if you're a leader of in an revenue organization and you want to learn more about that to use it yourself, go have a look at that there. You might find that useful, as well as some other resources out there about like top five non closed reasons to follow up and how to hire the best sales people. Those sorts of things are all available to you for free, so enjoy those and, of course, if we can be of assistance, give us a shout. Excellently, and I can't think enough for ticking time. That's been amazing having you on the show. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure talking to you and yeah, look forward to that conversation about cars with anyone who's interested. All right, everybody, that does it for this episode. You know, the drill be to be real exact. I cal I'm sure, with friends, family co workers. Leave US review on itunes. I feel like what you're here and until next time. We value selling associates, which will nothing with 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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