The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Transforming Your Sales Org Through Data & Technology w/ Seth Marrs


This quarter, you're falling behind and worried you won’t make your sales goals. Taking a look at your sales team, you realize that if everyone could just sell like your top earners, you’d be way ahead of your target by now. What if there was a way to take the artistry of your best reps and boil it down to a science all your reps could follow?

That’s exactly what my latest guest, Seth Marrs, Research Director at Forrester, is an expert in. He joins the show to share how you can marry the art and science of sales by effectively leveraging data and technology into your sales org.

Now that you know what it takes to transform your sales org with data and technology, are you ready to dive into how to rehumanize your customer experience or learn the secrets to personalizing at scale? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

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 BDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how organizations can most effectively leverage data and technology to transform their sales orgs. Now, we all know there's a host of technologies out there. We know a lot of people like to hide behind some of those technologies. We want to find out how we use them effectively to optimize the revenue funnel. To help us do, we have with a Seth Mars, research director at Forester Seth. Thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Great be here. Thanks for the invite. All right. So before we jump in, we like to ask a question just for our audience to get to know you a little bit better. For those that know you mostly through work, what is one thing you're passionate about? They might be surprised to learn about I am a very active age grouper with do Athon, so competing on national events and international events. Spend a lot of time going around the country and competing in those. So probably wouldn't know that, especially being remote for these last few years. Their list this year right now. Did you get into that? I mean just as early as a way to stay in shape. So it's you can do your work outs and then also satisfy that kind of competitive urge that comes from playing sports when I was younger. So it's a good way to do that, to do both. Love it all right, excellent. So, in terms of topic of the day, some of our audience may not be filmed. Many are going to be familiar with forester, obviously, but many may not be really understanding what a research director does or how they approach their position. In order to have that kind of totality of... for the industry, would love it if you could just give a little bit of a description or overview. Yeah, absolutely, we're in a very unique position. As as a director at forester, what I do every day? I do two things. I spend time talking to clients around the issues they're seeing and connecting them to the research in the expertise that we have within the business to help them and I spend the rest of my time researching understanding, talking to tech vendors, talking to bought leaders in the market to make sure that I'm on the cutting edge or understand all the different opportunities and best practices and things that are happening in the in the sales world and actually now moving into the revenue world, so that when I have those client calls, I'm best position to give them advice and guidance that's going to help them grow. Awesome. And so what was it? I mean, you could have picked any topic probably, but what's the what is it about the combination of sales and technology that makes it such an interesting focus or a passion for you? I've spent a lot of time in it. Huge Passion for technology, leveraging data to to drive businesses forward, and I've always been interested with sales because sales is always been talked about to a certain extent is more art than science. So when you start pushing technology into sales, you have that clash of kind of the art and science and trying to find that balance point where you could make the most out of the artist as this as the sales wrapped by helping them leverage these tools is really interesting to me and and a space where you do it right, you can really get some exponential impact in organizations. There's an interesting blend. They're right. There's that. Yeah, we keep it, especially on the B Tob side. How do we keep that human human connection but still leverage the technology so that we get the efficiency, the scale, the impact, the better understanding of our clients and things like that? How would you kind of described to an organization how they should effectively... leveraging the tech and where that line may be? Yeah, I mean I spend a lot of time trying to I had somewhat stay away from the efficiency side because that's what well trodden path. Where I've been spending a lot of time researching is on how you can leveras this technology to actually improve sales outcomes, and that's kind of a thing where people say, yeah, of course that's what I want, but it's not really what a lot of the sales technology has been designed to do. A lot of IT'S DESIGNED AROUND EFFICIENCIES IN PIPE in pipeline management efficiencies and activity aggregation, but not necessarily set up for the rep but that is where the real kind of gold is, and also with the with the introduction of AI and how this stuff is going, there's real opportunity to do that. So I've spent a lot of time in that area, specifically focusing how do you align those two? And that's a there's a lot of conflict with that one, because I think when people see these technologies, sales reps especially see that, they see it more as you're telling me to do kind of rote steps and that's how you're got. That's these you want me to be a robot, and that balance. That's not what this is about. This is really about augmenting and being able to provide insights that make the rep better, not telling them what to do. And so how do you how do you approach that with them? Is it how do you give them like paint the picture for a wrap on, Hey, this is going to help you in the long run. I mean we go back to when people we had to first make them start using the crm or or you know the constant battle that that every sales leader has had of getting them to U Crm. We had to make it valuable for them, and so I'm curious when you advise as companies on this blend of the two. How do you get them to a point or how do you advise them so that they can in some way make it valuable from the reps perspective so you get the level of adoption and application that we want that will drive those outcomes. Yeah, in one of those key places is in the intersection between sales and marketing and actually using a crm for what the CRM is is supposed to be used for, to drive to drive results on the sale side. And...

...where I get the biggest reaction when I talk with sales teams is talking about the opportunity as that kind of center point to work the deal and using it as an enabler to bring the rest of the organization in. So if a sales rep puts an opportunity in and connects all the contacts they know and makes that visible in the system, using technology like intent data, now marketing can connect in with you and start telling you what's happening digitally, because one of the things that that were continuous to seeing. It's not news, but buyers are spending a lot more time searching on their own. So the REP is still vitally important but you're getting less time in front of the buyer, so you have to make a bigger impact. But when I think a lot of people miss is by having all those transactions go digitally, they're actually a lot more visible than they were before. So if you can tap into that visibility, which marketings but doing four years, and then show them what you're looking at from the opportunity standpoint, the deals you're trying to close, they can start feeding you insights that correlate to what's going on in the deal that allow you to really make different decisions and more proactive decisions to close it. That's something that's never really been available. Even today it's not really it. We're just at the beginning of it, but that allows for insights that they can now leverage to help them win by working with marketing and by opening up. And then marketing can also tell you, hey, this person over here is talking about is starting to look into this and and here's what we're seeing with another buyer that maybe you didn't know that's connecting with it. So just one simple example of working within your system and leveraging the insights and technology from marketings, text act from and bring that into the sales text act to make it visible, so the REP can not be not be, like I said before, not rotely guided to what they need to do, but be able to give insights that inform their next action. And so that makes the data of quod, you know, everybody knows the date, is absolutely critical for customizing...

...customer journeys and things of that nature. With some of the trends that we're seeing, for example google announcing they're letting cookies go, in this rise of customer data platforms, where companies are going to have to maintain and capture and analyze their own data moving forward, does it? Do you feel like that kind of thing is going to move us closer to making this a reality where I don't have to rely on a third party aggregator to get my data, I can get the intent data that I need to provide these insights to guide the effective action of the sales team? Will bringing that data internal, owning that data internal from the marketing CIDER, maybe it's a cio side, whoever's going to own it. Do you think that will get us closer to this reality where will have the data necessary to provide those insite to the sales teams? I don't know if it'll make it closer, because all of those things are good data points. I think the big step that many companies need to take is the one they don't really want to take it and that's doing the rote the road boring stuff of having a great, well structured and well that out account hierarchy, aggregating data with a thoughtful approach that make sure that what's coming in is clean and can be turned around and used to derive insights or to attach insights that are coming in to help the route. I'm shocked at how often I see organizations super excited about all the front and stuff and what it's going to do, but then super disappointed when it doesn't work because they haven't built their data structure in a way that allows them to leverage those insights. And that's a huge point. Yeah, and it's amazing because it's I think it's time and money. That's a lot of times it when I when I talk about it. It's time and money and as an executive or as a company the last thing you want to do is spend money and allocate time to a project. You want it done now and you want it done cheap and data structure and and data integrity doesn't play to either those. You have to spend time and money to make it right. Long term it will be...

...good, but short term if you don't spend that time and money, it's you're going to short change yourself. Point all these other tools you're buying well and it'll show up. It'll show up. The lack of that structure, the lack of it being clean data and cared for, will show up throughout the entire revenue funnel, whether it be your prospect is not having the information that they need or insights into the roles that they're prospecting to, or customer success Tim on the back end not really understanding what's going on in an account when they could have amazing insights if the data structure was there. Do you have an example of that you can think of where a company has invested that time and maybe some of the outcomes that they've seen that you could share? I've seen several companies that will start with that where they have it's weird because in a lot of cases companies will splinter it out in a marketing organization will. They're starting to use CDPs to really aggregate all their information together. So I think we're starting to see it on that side where they're starting to have the philosophy of putting all that data together. The problem is, in order for a sales organization to really utilize that, you need to bring it over and connect together. Where will connect the the results engine like your earp's or those types of systems that are monitoring transactions? So I'm starting to see it on the marketing side where they kind of get it and they're pulling it all together and I'm sorry, I see it to some extent with some companies in a way they're managing master data and they're starting to aggregate those two together. So the companies that are working down that path are the ones that were starting to see different insights and they're starting to go a layer below just kind of the generic stuff and they're going to be well positioned to utilize some of these new tools that are able to analyze all that information and aggregate and then display actions and next best actions, not just at the cadence level like you'd see in a sales engagement tool, but deep into the contact level like well, there's there are certain tools out there that can show you not just what the best next step is, but also what the best next step is for that...

...particular contact on that particular deal. That stuff is pretty cool to see when we've seen some companies starting to move in that direction. And so there are a lot of tools out there and a lot of different segments and ways people could look at them. Just kind of curious. From your perspectives, and you probably have the best view of the entire kind of industry in the tech out there, what's the tech pieces that excite you or particular products that you've seen that you think are harnessing this opportunity to get to the next level? The most exciting space to me is this intersection between sales engagement, revenue operations and Revenue Intelligence, or I mean a lot of times people combine together revenue operations the Revenue Intelligence and that to me is the most exciting space in sales tech right now because they're all competing to be that unify, that that painted glass for the Rep, that painted glass for the manager, and they're doing really exciting stuff. The cadence optimization that you can utilize in sales engagement platforms for early stage pipeline management, early stage qualification is really, really good and I think it sets the stage for what's going to happen late stage because as you add data to cadences, you can make the cadences smart. So instead of having a rote cadence of five steps where you're doing interactions, you can have it change with each interaction. I think you'll see other vendors on the revenue intelligence side they're actually trying to skip to that right now and do next best action based on all the data that's in their system. That the hard part about all this stuff is first I don't think many sales organizations are ready for it. Like on when you talk about cadences, most people buy spend a good deal of money on sales engagement platforms and then run one step cadences and and using one piece of technology, or four step cadence where you just use it for email, and it's like these vendors will show you that if you just use multiple forms of communication you can increase your odds of winning. But many of them are just getting used to the technology. These are really... the beginning, but as this evolves in these two technologies are these the categories are kind of merging together and eventually it's going to lead to a rep being able to log in and seeing contextual recommendation saying, you know, with this particular contact in this particular stage of the deal, we recommend or we've seen that seventy two percent of the time, if you take this action, it leads to positive progression in the deal. And then when the REP actually does or doesn't do it at all, log bat to so if you get a rep who's figured out how to do it a different way, it'll eventually tell you, hey, do this different way because this may have been a higher percent at one point but now, as we've seen it, someone else is doing it better. So that's where you'll get that continual progression that can work alongside the REP and make sure that they are informed enough to make the best decision possible at each step. And then it allows the reps to apply their expertise, ideally their expertise that they're bringing with things that they know have worked. The system continually gets fed the results, and so it had paid to use the word learns, but it basically, from a statistical standpoint, provides the hey, based on math, here's, here's what we're seeing working, and it's not afraid to say hey, we have to change it because we've gotten a new data which is something that removes ego. I mean, obviously the technology doesn't have the EGO, but sales reps historically do. That's so, yeah, so how do we ded and equip them in a way that isn't going to it's going to show they're still bringing something to the table and I think that's going to be part of that delicate balance as well. Or give a different perspective on that. Oh, I think. And they do bring something and table critical components at the table. They have to have that thought and reasoning to a not not to be a slave to the model, but to be evolved with it. Right. So as things change and because you've got a buyer on the other side of it, you can't just press one button, if it works the same time over and over, and expect a buy or not to react to it. They're going to evolve too. So as a sales rep, you need to manage that dynamic and provide... So it's just going to it's going to give you a tool, kind of going back to our original kind of starting point, a tool that helps you sell more and reps just are when they see that they they're very hesitant because most of the tools they've been given over time are more on Ed, best, helping them be efficient. At worst they're a monitoring tool that's just forcing you to spend time and administrative time to put stuff in to help other people. But I think that's on the verge of changing, and changing pretty significantly with some of these new tools like these revenue intelligence and sales engagement tools. Excellent. All right, so let's change direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests two standard questions at the end of each interview. The first is simply, as a thought of yourself as a research director. Fortune that makes you a prospect and no doubt for a lot of people out there, and I'm always curious to know when somebody doesn't have a trusted referral or reference into you, what works for you individually, for somebody to capture your attention and earn the right to time on your calendar. I think the biggest thing for me is to show something that, without for trying to force an interaction, to give me a pathway to learn more or to show me how how it will add value, how whatever technology is coming to me will add value to me and and ideally in the easiest, simplest form possible. So whatever your biggest cell point is on the technology, you want to put that right up front. And they give me a pathway to kind of burrow in deeper. Right, so if you send something to me, I won't be responsive to someone trying to call me or someone trying to per se, but if you send something to me and I see it and it causes me to click in and then I have the way to click in deeper and deeper, that's kind of the way that that I've been drawn in in the past. Okay, to finding something that's valuable for me, that I'd be willing to spend money on in an organization I'm working for. Excellent. Okay, so last question. We call it our acceleration inside. If there's one piece of advice you could give sales professionals that you believe, if they...

...listen to, would help them achiever exceed their targets, what would it be and why? The biggest thing I would recommend is make sure there's there's so many different technologies out there, even within different technologies segments. Make sure any technology you buy is analyzed and a review from the perspective of the solution you're trying to solve within your particular business. Understand your process first and then evaluate technology on its capability to solve your problem, not on its wider capability in general. Very often I see companies that buy the technology because it's either the flavor of the month, looks really cool and we really want it. A lot of times you really want to. If you want to be successful in technology and make the most of it, you need to fit it into the the issues and and problems you're trying to solve in your business or things you're trying to accelerate. Perfect scept if a listeners interested in talking more about these topics were touched on today or reach out to where would you like us to send them? Yeah, just send them through to Linkedin and and it would be great. Connect on Linkedin and happy to try. All right, I can't thank you know. Thank you so much for being on the show today. No, no problem, thanks for having me. All right, everybody that does it for this episode. You know the drill. CHECK US out of be to be read exactcom show the episode with Friends of family and until next time, we have valued selling associates with you all nothing but the very best. You've been listening to the B Tob 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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