The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 2 months ago

What Data & Analytics Have to Say About Buyer-First Selling w/ Carla Intal


Your organization says it puts its buyers first — like nearly every other company in existence — and you’ve been tasked with the unenviable job of clearly articulating how. Where do you start? You know that buyer-first selling may be one of the most human goals for your business, but it’s only achieved by understanding the humans involved — which means diving into the data.

Today’s guest, Carla Intal, Insights Analyst at LinkedIn, joins the show to discuss how. Using data and analytics, she’s helped create a list of 5 buyer-first principles that actually work.

In this episode, we discuss:

- What the data says about the most effective selling motions

- The 5 buyer-first principles derived from the research

- How sellers can leverage data themselves

Now that you know how to employ buyer-first principles, are you ready to take a deeper dive into the role data should play in your organization, or learn all about sales enablement 3.0? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. 

You're listening to the BB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated ELI executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three two one: welcome every one to thebetorn executive experience. I'm your host Chad Sanderson today we're talkingabout applying data science and thought leadership to sales, to understand whatselling actions actually contribute to being able to exceed sales targetsconsistently. ELP US. We have with US Carla Intel a graduate of theUniversity of Oxford with the Master of Social Data Science, a Master's inapplied economics from John Hopkins and today is an insights analyst at linkedin Carla. Thank you so much for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanksfor having me chat, it's really a pleasure to be here so before we jumpinto the topic of the day. We always like start with kind of an odd ballquestion. Just so the audience gets to know you a little bit better so and I'malways curious to know. You know people have a work persona and then there'syou know the personal life but curious to know something you're passionateabout that. Those that only know you through work may be surprised to learnabout you, yeah. That's really an interesting and a funny question tostart with so well. My answer is really gonna come across a Nurit, but I'm fromyeah side from doing data. In my day to day I also love thinking about data andpopular culture. So most recently, I help build this course on how datatransformed the music industry and how artists can use data and musicproduction or distribution. So also, a few months back, I co hosted theNetflix Club at work and we made it a point to show data insights aroundmovies. So one interesting study we discovered you know, like men, havemore dialogue in movies compared to women fell when you think like even infills or you think women would dominate like this nea princess films, you know,so I guess you could say that I can switch it off. I really love thinkingabout data in my daily life. That's awesome! So how did you get intodata science? What made it? What made it such a compelling field for you, yeah, that's a that's a! I have a veryinteresting juring. Actually so I started doing my career, doing publicpolicy work and I was in DC for about ten years doing international affairs.You know United Nations type of work and I discovered data science whileworking in public policy. Actually, so I was writing a speech for one of thetop officials in my organization and the topic was around theinterconnectivity of economies. So that say, a crisis happens to country a. Howdoes that ascade to the rest of the world? How fast does it spread and howbig it can be, so you can apply that concept to any type of topic right so,let's say the financial crisis of o nine, a human ear in crisis, or evenright. Now it's still relevant when you think about the pandemic and how itspread and affected all of us. So...

...anyway, I was doing research on thattopic and I was introduced to the field of data science and particularly socialand economic networks, and I really got obsessed with it that I left my job. Iquit DC and I went to afford to study it so yeah and then, while at Oxford. Ireally don't do me that you know I don't really need to be in publicpolicy to make big bold statements about the world. So especially now inthe age of information. You know, whoever has the date that has the mostto say so. Yeah Linen really became an attractive destination to me because ofmy interest in eprise ces, and I really wanted to discover new things about howthe professional world is interconnected, and I guess Linton wasalso interested in me, because I had the experience of taking data andtelling a story from this macro point of view, especially when you look atgroups of professionals on our platform and observing their online behaviorsand how it relates to let say career goes like promotions, so yeah so to thelong story. Short, that's how I ended up in linking analyzing a distinctgroup of professionals and particularly those who are in the sales function,and is there something about sales that you felt more compelled to apply yourexpertise and data science too? Is there some reason that that seemed tocall out to you? I mean because you with that background and yours, youcould do anything so a what was it about sales that made it so compelling?I guess, do things now, so I'm very interested in social data. You knowbehavioral data and the world around us and when you think of sales as afunction, there's a lot of questions that can be answered, but not a lot ofpeople are really studying it from a data since point of view, so there areunique questions that we could answer using these new tools and methodologies.You know so yeah. So that's how I really got attracted to to studyingsales persons so yeah I love it, and so how do you have you seen the world ofselling change, especially as we've? You know kind of fast tracked throughthe pandemic and the big changes that that made. How have you seen it changeand what are some of the observations you can share sure yeah. So we've seen a lot ofchanges in the sales landscape as or the sort of the pandemic. As, if said,no so from the data, I've seen, many sellers and buyers have really begun toembrace this idea of buying and selling remotely so every year at length, andwe run this report core called the state of sales and in this year'sreport, more than half of our respondence said that working remotelyhas actually made the purchasing process easier and more than seventypercent of them said that they want to continue buying remote in the future. And so the question was: were thesellers prepared for this someone abrupt shift to virtual selling andfrom the data I would say that they probably weren't really that preparedyeah. I know because, like in our analysis, we found a scramble amongstsellers taking courses on inside...

...selling or social sales on our Linganle Lit in learning platform. So when the world went into lockdown like inMarch or April last year, a lot of them were like really scrambling to takethese courses. You know so. This was particularly striking for sellers. Inthat say, the healthcare industry, for instance, were probably for the firsttime there was this huge demand for health care, goods and services, andsellers were trying to adopt to this nontraditional non face to face methodof selling that they were used to. They weren't, really. You know used to doingbefore so sales people really began to equipthemselves with like online sale. STOELS, like we've, noticed on our linkin sales navigator product, for instance, self bought licensesincreased by about sixty percent year in year, so yeah. So I really know thatinterest in other latoile technologies have grown as well so yeah I meananother observation. I've probably seen is that everybody in the professionalworld is now online and engaging with each other. So you have contentcreation sharing and conversations on our platform is off by about thirtypercent year and year, every minute, there's about a hundred thirty new signup to link in. So this really tells you that this online world will justcontinue to grow so yeah, and I guess so in my team. We just really tried toput to in to together. So you have everybody's online and engaging so. Howdo we femboering, let's say, sales professionals to make most of theirtime online? So one thing we've observed from talking to buyers. Isthat sure you have your online purchasing process it's fast andefficient, but it's also overwhelming because these sellers were probablystill prepared to sell online and they've begun to embrace the scale oversubstance way of selling. You know their sending mass emails and adding alot of noise, so yeah. So the challenge for us really just to end on this notes.How do we cut through the noise and how to equip sellers with some bestpractice guidelines of engaging with their buyers and that's how we came upwith our by our first principles and the study? I love it. Yeah everythingneeds to be focused on the buyer if it's not focus on the bare they'regoing to feel the friction and they're going to find somebody else who has theopportunity to focus on them and their specific needs. So it's a great insight,and so there was a specific study that your team did. I believe it was sevenhundred and thirty two sales navigators users. Looking at the question of howdo you, how did you perform against your individual revenue target in thelast quarter and it looked like you were looking for specific behaviors,but how did that come about and tell us about that study, Sure Yeah? So so our task as an inside steam us toreally understand what online actions can sellers make in order for them toachieve their sale targets, but they also want every buyer and sellerengagement to be valuable and meaningful. So we have linked- and wehave this ethos of putting our members first and we wanted to import that earsin sales and say that you know...

...everybody wins with a buyer firstmentality. So in a not shell, that means that you know putting yourcustomers needs. First over your sales goals cannot only be a positive buyingexperience, but it can also optimize your productivity as to sell it. So wehave five bier first principles, so the first is learning define burning thefiner buyer. Then you need to share your insight readily solve theirproblem, not sell you deliver value and the fifes orn trust. So you sing thesefive buyer first principles. We looked at actions on linked in that map toeach principle so, for instance, learning about your buyer that couldpertain to a search or a profile view on link in, let's say the principle onsharing inside ready. That could pertain to someone who shares contentonline and engages with them. When you think about earning trust. We map thatagainst how complete is your linten profile? Are you trustworthy? So we'veidentified a total of eleven actions on the Linton platform that map to each ofthese by our first principles, and the idea was to rack them by importance,and so when we define importance, we rank them by how they influencesalesperson success and, like you mentioned this success measure we usedwas whether or not sale targets were actually being met. So for that part ofthe study we teamed up with our market research team at night on who thensampled about seven hundred sales persons and we asked them, did you meetyour sale started? Yes or no, and then from then on, we were able to Mauhtheir individual outcomes to their sets of actions on Linton and then prepareit for some day, besides analysis, and so when you look at that study and youthink you think back through those results and kind of the approach. Whatwere you most surprised about in the results of the study? Yeah, I think themost interesting finding that we didn't expect was the point of quality overquantity and we found that if sellers send a message on lint in which we callour emails or if they share articles without being mindful about the content,it was actually negatively impactful to sale targets being met, bre yeah yeah.But if this article or the message added some value, let say if thiscontent generated some high readership or engagement than that contributed topositive outcomes, so that finding was really supportive of our observation inthe beginning that there's too much noise out there and yeah it's actuallytrue and though what matters is making yourself stand out by creating valueand on volume, so sellers should think twice before sending out a mass emailor doing an out preached scale, because customization is still very valuableand when you think about the largest predictors of success that you found inthe study, the things that the most successful people were doing in arepeated, consistent fashion, what were those largest predictors of success?...

Yeah. So when going back to the buyerfirst principals, that I mentioned, we found that burning a customers, trustthan learning and defining your customer and then sharing valuableconsent was the most important. So when you say earning trust, for example, soin the virtual selling world, like your online persona, is like the mostimportant thing. So to me, that makes sense that you know the first predictorto success is to appear trustworthy on the platform, so that's represented byyour profile. Complete is on linked in so is your profit updated. You have aphoto. Toser profiles send signals that they're always acting and online atlink this. So that's the first so now that you've established at say yourtrust wordiness on the platform now it's time to get to work. So the secondpredictor that we found significant is the amount of searches and researchingabout the customer that you do so that's represented by the number ofsearches you do for needs for companies for profiles and in our study we werecommended a daily dose of about fifteen searches a day and then finally,like I mentioned earlier, was our equality over quantity, predictor, socontent that was engaged and shared or messages that was spending or accept.That proved to be more valuable to seal's outcomes than an impersonalizedmessage: Blass, Nice, okay. So now, let's go macro fora second and kind of step away from the study itself and think about data insales. There's so much data that can be collected from customer intent, data toactions and activities that reps are taking or not taking. In some cases,I'm kind of curious that there's so much it's kind of overwhelming. So canyou provide some guidance for our chief sales officers and things like that?What role should data be playing in sales in the way that they approach theexecution of their groups or the coaching of their teams? Yeah? I knowthat's a good question, so I really say that at this time they in sellingreally go hand in hand, so there's so much to learn about a customer by justlooking at their data, and data comes in many forms. It's not just talkingabout that a CR data or the data that is in spread sheets, but really right.Now it's about the behavior, so behavioral data of the customers and atthe end of the day, sales is really a very social profession and socialinteraction is very important. So using social data to understand your customerthat say what types of content do they like to click on? What topics do theycare about? What time of day do they usually go online, or are they lookingto change job soon and also, and when you adder, get all that informationover a group of people, let's say business leaders in the call computingindustry or businesses executives in manufacturing? These are powerful toolsthat can help you understand your buyer, engage them better and perhaps need tobetter outcomes as a sales team, and if I'm a sales rap or even that salesleader in some some instances is there...

I mean, because there is so much dateout there is there a specific area. I should keep my eye on a specific typeof data that would be most critical, or is it really about keeping my eye onthe trends across a host of different data sets yeah you hit the nail on thehead right with that. So I'll probably say that there's no data, that's themost critical or the most important. Every dataset has its imperfections,but being able to weave different information together and find patternsin them is what's more, what's more important, so remember we can be led by just lookingat one day a point you know so, for instance, oh great, the more messages Isend the more responses I'll probably have, but in reality it really not thatsimple, you know, so you have a ton of messages on the one hand, but there'sanother data set. That tells you what types of messages actually receivepositive responses. So if you combine these two data together, you understandthe pattern. Then you have a road map for yourself on how to craft messagesthat will gain some sort of positivity. So I would probably say it's really notin the data but in the expertise of the person in understanding what the datameans and you don't really need to be a data scientist to read to learn this.You can be an industry leader with years of experience or a subject matterof expertise, and you can see these patterns a mile away. So it's reallymore about being conscious about the information around you and using thatall indecision. They can- and I think that's a very important point right. Soa lot of people will look at data. I've seen some executives go out data. Idon't know what to do with that, but you don't. As long as the construct ofhow it's collected and analyzed and aggregated is sound, like you said youcan see the patterns, so it's really more about the intuitive analysis thatcomes from understanding, human interaction and buyer intent than it isabout knowing how to calculate the data, and I still think there's a lot ofsales exacts out there that are hesitant to rely so much on the databecause they feel like they have to trust how it was Sitot Er. I rememberthe days when we would look at hey. This is my spread sheet for theforecast, and this is your spread sheet for the forecast and we would be like.Are we working in the same company right so yeah understanding that andgetting comfortable with it? I think it's a critical component for salesprofessionals at all levels, but I want to go back to something you saidearlier that by our first mentality it makes sense right. It makes sense tofolks on the fire to, especially since so much money has been invested incustomer experience over the past decade, to really make sure that we'regiving customers, whether we beat to see or be to be what they want wherethey want it, how they want it to help them navigate the field. What I'mreally curious about is from your perspective, why do you think, eventhough it seems so common sense? Why do you think more individual reps weresales teams? Don't do it more consistently? What's funny is I do feelthat sellers are so there's this gap in the market right,so you have...

...buyers who are very selected with whothey engage with, because it's an overwhelming world out there for as abuyer and then on the on the second part of it. You have the sellers whoare continuously trying to adapt to this fast pace virtual selling world,so they resort to like sending mass emails of scale. So there's thisthere's this big job or in the market right now. So with the buyer firstprinciples, we aim to Britch that gap and I think, what's it's difficult todo consistently, because sellers are probably not aware that this gap exists.So when, when I remember this funny start from our state of sells report,so we asked sellers if they put, the buyers needs first and then sixtypercent of them said yes, but then, when we asked buyers, dosellers put their needs first, twenty four percent of them said: Yes, sothere's a big gap out there about awareness. So I guess awareness isreally key and the principles provide a guidance on where this gaps can be. Sois it about trust or is it about proving value? Is it about engagingmore readily or you know, maybe and shoring a buyer and a product fit soyeah? So I guess the Muty of it is. I guess is once we move to what we call a hybridselling approach, which is a mix of virtual and in person selling theseprinciples will still be relevant and it still can be applied to any motiveselling. I love it. I love it all right. So, let's Change Direction here, alittle bit. We ask all of our guest two standard questions towards the NOVACinterview. The first is simply a as a professional at linked in with theexpertise that you have there's. No doubt there are people trying to getyour attention and sell to you, and so I'm curious when somebody doesn't havethat trusted referral into you. What works for you, when someone's trying tocapture your attention and earn the right to time on your calendar yeah? So I guess this dies back to whatI said in the beginning and in the way the results of the study we hadn. So Iwant someone to come to me who has already done the research about me as abuyer, and I guess a basic question, for instance- is: Am I the right personto approach for this product? You know I might work at length in, but ifyou're selling me a product that isn't late related, I won't be able to helpyou. So I guess after knowing, if I'm the right person for this product,maybe are you able to attract my attention by showing me the things I'minterested in maybe show me an insight. I've never heard before this could be asignal to me that the product are offering actually adds value and isrelevant to me and probably the last thing is. I probably want to make surethat I would want to buy from you. So are you trustworthy? Do you believe inthe product you're selling in and you answer all my questions, or are youjust trying to meet a quota? So I guess those things love it. I love it allright. So last question we called our acceleration insight. If there was onething you could tell sales professionals, one piece of advice: Youcould give them that you believe would help them reach or exceed their targets.What would it be and why I would...

...probably say that I, like this idea ofbuilding the person a trusted adviser so genuinely care about the customer,spantons go with them on the journey, but also recognize the trusties time,but I think of it as an investment. So I know successful sales persons whohave patiently solve their customers pro problems over a course of monthsand even if it takes them up from effort, the longer run benefitsoutweigh the quick winds. So as a seller or as a marketer. You learn moreabout the customers business and you build this relationship semper aroundtrust which really helps when it comes to renew or up selling. Absolutely theydon't trust you. Why would they buy? For me in the first place I yet littleon continue to buy from you perfect carly. If there's a if a listener isinterested in finding out more about that study that you conducted. Whereshould we send them yeah? I would be remiss if I don't say please follow me on Linkedin. That'swhere I've put all the the articles that I've done. So I willleave it at that. We have a science of sales blog on the links in sale,solutions blog, so you can find all this and more, including I've done somenetwork analysis as well of sils professional. So you can see all ofthat on the link in blog platform, excellently car. I can't thank youenough for taking time to be on the show today times at one asset. Nobodygets back, so I really appreciate it when people are willing to spend someof with us. Thank you very much for being on the show. It's with anabsolute blast, no worries I'm great to be here, and I really happy that I gotto share my passion for data with you and your listeners all right, everyonethat does it for this episode check us out of B to be revizor share withfriends, family co workers you like. Would you hate to leave this review onitunes until next time we avay selling associates, which is nothing but thegreatest success. You've been listening to the B TBRevenue Executive Experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show, an itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank youso much for listening until next time.

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