The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

How Business Conversations Are Changing w/ Jim Benton

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Has the pandemic made you worried to say the wrong thing?

 

How has it changed how you talk with clients?

 

When the world changes, business conversations change. And it helps to know how others are successfully adapting their conversations to these uncertain times.

 

That’s why I’m excited to be joined today by Jim Benton, CEO at Chorus.ai. He is an expert on how COVID has changed our conversations — and he brought the data to back it up. 

 

In this episode, he explains:

 

- How Chorus.ai works

 

- How COVID-19 is affecting engagement

 

- What to do with this wealth of data

 

This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Jim Benton, CEO at Chorus.ai. 

 

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

There's more time being spent onempathy on coming to agreement on understanding, folks, that's impactinghow demos are being used in the sales experience today, you're listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated elpe executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies wore tools and resources. You come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: Welcome Ev, you one tothe Bto, be revenue executive experience. I'm your host ChadSanderson today we're talking about how the current state of the world'simpacting business conversations it's a little crazy out there and everythingfor prospecting to sales calls to communications with existing clients.Things are changing and fortunately there is data that allows us to stayahead of the curve if we're willing to listen to help us. We have with thisJim Betan Co, of course, Tatai a conversation, intelligence platform.Jim. Thank you for taking the time and welcome to the show Chad thanksexcitidg to be here so before we jump in. We always like to ask kind of arandom questions. is so the audience gets to know you little bit better andwith the way the world is right now it provides an opportunity to dive intomaybe something you know in this new work from home reality that that you'vebeen able to reconnect with whether it be a hobby, a passion, a pasttimefamily time, just something you've been able to explore some positive element.That's come out of this, for you would love to understand what that is for youand why it's so important mine might not be that original, but the idea ofjust walking around the neighborhood, you know taking a few kids out afterdinner and you just meet a ton of neighbors and weve know before otally. But it's beenjust awesome. You know getting around and and seeing people and you're kindof craving those interactions and quality time with the kid. So it's anew new hobby excellent, excellent, a right. So, let's start with a quickoverview, of course, Tha Aa for those...

...that may not be familiar, especiallywhen you use the phrase conversation intelligence platform help usunderstand what cours does and what t? What that phrase means yeah, so we weare, you know capturing the conversations that sales teams arehaving with customers, probably the most important aspect of building uprelationships. So we have a native inigration to zoom. We work with alldifferent meeting platforms, but it's about deeply understanding whether yourteam is bringing its best and what works best, to drive conversationsforward and deals forward. How do we deeply understand what happens in thoseconversations and the key topics and whether competitors mentioned topricing an unlocked that voice of the customer, bringing it back to the restof the company and getting this kind of truth into the rest of the stale? Thesalestack getre o the sales stories that we all tell ourselves right. Youknow e now know what actually happened and how do we deeply hear it straightfrom the voice of the customer, excellent, and so, with this with hisplatform, your obviously you're getting a lot of data, there's a lot of datacoming in and I'm curious right now, just given the current state of things,how often are you hearing or seeing Covid or coronavirus sorce you K, owrelated drivitives, showing up in calls or what trends have you seen impacts?It's been interesting, we started looking at specifically the covidnineteen mentions, Ou ow back in eary February, so, like February twentythird, we saw it jump up to eight percent of calls had a mention of covidin the week later is twenty nine percent by March eight ans sixty threepercent and it jumped up to ninety eight percent by March sixteent. So wesaw a significant increase. It's depped clearly since then we're seeing kind ofnew trends in terms of how people are engaging, but it was fascinating towatch that you K, ow go up and that was in some ways just a beat ahead of eventhe new cycle. On it wet and so and now ere so we're just for the audience. Youknow where it's middle of June, when...

...we're recording this and now the newsis, you know, everybody's trying to reopen and en there's a whole bunch ofnew stuff, but when you say that you saw the spike and then there's newtrends coming out, what kind of new trends, ideally, are you seeing yeahtoday, it's interesting, I'm looking at some of our most recent data is sort ofwhat dos this all mean now now that we're reopening- and it just dealingwith this this new, normal and interesting things like demos- areeight percent shorter now and why because demos are starting later, theyused to start right after the tenth minute of a call, and now they startaround the twelve minute of a call. So there's more time being spent onempathy on coming to agreement on understanding. Folks, that's impactinghow demos are being used in the sales experience today and are there other solike fuck? Let's think, fundamentals right, so everybody everybody has anopinion on you know. Should I be emailing more co calling moreor thingslike that, but are there fundamental changes that you're seeing? Is ittaking more calls to get a hold of a prospect or lass calls or people? Isthere call fatigue because everybody's working from a home, or maybe likemyself, they're looking for a reason to talk to another human being that isn'tsomeone I'm living with Twentyor? Seven: Hey look, I know the feeling, but I youone thing: We've noticed O'm, just looking at cold calls overall cold coat.Dolls are down twenty seven percent since January, that's as of kind of midFebruary datapoint, so cod calls did take it DEP. They dropped dramaticallythe week of March twenty third, and that makes sense. That's when shelterinplay really kicked in and they've kind of stayed lower. Yeah you've got youknow: People Not in the office of those phone numbers, aren't active you're,more reliant on cell phone numbers, but what's interesting is that those makingcalls are connecting at almost the same rate, so we've seen connect rates, holdsteady around the ten percent mark, so we didn't see a big drop and that webasically have been seen is that, if...

...you're willing to make the calls,people will pick them up, wow and and so any way the system can provideinsiht in just like overall meeting volume. For All of the same reasonsthat I think about. You know why I pickd the phone now more. When I get cocalls are people booking were meetings, and maybe it's a trend that you know ascovid and shelterplace start happen. We saw something different than maybe whatyou're seeing now yeah the IT's interesting on the overall meetingvolume. It is held incredibly steady since precovid levels. You know it isessentially it's been down about nine percent from what we were seeing, maybein the January time frame. But that was a surprise to us. I would have expectedto see a much bigger drop but yo e toe yeah. I mean everybody's shifting andworking from home and when we peeled the onion back, what we've noticed isthat certain segments, certain verticals, are significantly up onmeeting vine. So if it's a collaboration, project managementcompanies, you know they're up forty five percent in precovid sales, tech,companyis up six percent, thin tech up ten security up seven, but there'scompanies that are significally down so hr techind recruiting companies aredown twenty eight percent data, Bi down twenty, and so, when you put thattogether, although it looks sort of even and flat there's a wider varianceby segment for sure, definitely would basica a lot ofindustries that were going stronger, have screeched to a halt and- and someof those that were just you know doing well, have taken off like I was talkingto the president of the one of the fitness galleries here in town, not agym, but they sell Home Jim Equipment. His business is up three hundred a Dsixty eight percent. He says his phone's ringing off the hook heasn'tenough time in his day to take the meetings, because everybody wantsaehome gym all right. So it's interesting to see how, when you lookacross those industries in those markets, it changes and then not onlythat. But I would assume- and please correct me if I'm wrong- that dependentupon the industry that I'm calling into my level of empathy and my approach hasto change based on the reality of the...

...individuals in those markets andsegments and what's going on in those in those types of Businesse. Is thataffair? So Yeah we've been hearing interesting pieces on that first, oneis your ability to target accounts based on the industries that arethriving and, and you know, making it through this in a more positive way.That's critical so making sure that you're focusing your time and effort onindustries that are up the second piece that surprise me when I've talked todifferent guests. You reviewing this data. Is that in markets that you thinkmight be down, we keep hearing more positive attributes and example was acompany that was selling point of sale systems to you, restaurants. You wouldthink that that would be. My assumption was that's getting crushed, especiallyback in you know, a March n April time period and what I was hearing from thisthis one sales waiter was that look. Restaurants, bynd theres this to be agood time to upgrade their systems. It's quiet, they can do it, then,whether you know how that was playing out. It was an authentic comment. Ididn't feel like. I was just being told that it was they were seen upside andthey had to target the right accounts themselves. So I think there has beensome just great conviction to work through this and to bring in swicestogether during a tough time and have you seen a number of say, executivesinvolved in sales, calls now versus, say: Pre covered like January timeframe, Tonowo or again was that trend different through mare, Apol time frameand changing now or is it? Is it just something? That's kind of stayedconstant, yeah, that's been one of the more interesting stats, so both theexecutive involvement on the saleside, as well as in the buyind side, is upsignificantly so on the sale side. So, if I'm in ae what we're finding is thatyou know I would have an eighty eight percent increase in my leadershipjoining those calls. So that's a director level and a seventy twopercent increase in executives joining...

...the calls. That's significant! That'schanging the way that I'm engaging if I'm in O. I means that I'm having a! UKnow Almost two x involvement of my leadership on calls and one of thedrivers is on the bind side, so the vendors that are purchasing they havedouble we've seen a hundred percent increase in directors joining calls anda hundred and four percent increase in executives. So we're Seeng a verydifferent motion, since pre covid of leadership being actively involved inthese calls. Maybe one last step. That's really interesting. Is We see aninety one percent increase in STFO's joining calls? THAT'S A BIG UPTECK! Imean in the middle of May. We saw this jump up significantly. That really doesshift the way you run your sales process and how you think about thematerials and how you present Roi it's different. When you know you have theCFO in these calls plan an active role and with the executive involvementincrease, does it change the buying cycle? Is it are they with CFOS? Iwould wonder if it's changing request for payment terms, or you know, makingsales suck, but it could and some situations make them shorter, we'reseeing any impacts there. That's a good question n, the payment term.Specifically, we saw net thirty, which used to be about seventy six percent ofdeals had net thirty payment terms, Tis a sort of early March data. It droppedas well as fifty six percent by mid April and is bounds back up so nowwe're seeing you know middle of May about sixty. Seven percent of deals areback to net thirty terms, so it's been yeah. You can see a direct impact, indsort of the the severity of the the covid nineteen impact in this. What I'mhearing chat is that, by having the exacts involved, we are seeing salecycles that are being very compressed in certain cases, so in some casesthey're being much longer because we're not business essential that could beperceived yeah. Certain companies aren't being seen as business essentialbut in others were getting all the right parties together, who are movingincredibly quickly to implement and...

...sign off on new technologies thatotherwise might have had a much longer selcycle yeah, absolutely all right. So,let's, let's Piv a little bit and talk about it in now, we got all this dataright. There's all this Tan, there's OL in Siy. We know we have better vision, better focus ofwhat we need to be doing and how we maybe need to enable our sales teams.So I'm curious how it's changed or impact the selling motion at CorusDaria Yeah on our side. I think authenticity is just so key. I'mexcited about what I'm seeing in sales right now in two thousand and twenty.It is some of the best sales I think, we've seen in a decade in terms of justsales, people really having to deeply think about the Roy they bringcompanies and how to communicate that in a more natural way. So it isn't sojust automated you know sending out the sequence and Yo know blitzsplit blits.I think we're having to think more critically about how we engage people,how we rise through the noise to make sure that what we're doing is missioncritical business essential. So for us as an example yeah, this data was anexample of look. We have remarkable data that could inspire and giveconfidence to executives out there who are trying to understand how their ownteams are performing. How do we unleash this and get this out to the market andenable our sales team to use this date and sales calls? This is different thanwhat we are doing before, but to be thought leaders and actually helppeople make brilliant decisions right now. That was one of our ways to nowchange up our own messaging emotion and are there challenges so I mean there's,there's definitely a lot of positives, but I'm curious. You know a lot ofpeople I think I'm kind of experiencing. You know people are coming out of thethe shock and all that was the initial. You know shutdowns and things like that.But what challenges are you seeing across the across the revenue funnel? Ithink that you know in there's certain categories of companies that are justvery negatively impacted. Other budgets,...

...and you know how do we get morecreative to work with companies be more flexible and just more thoughtful abouteither whether it's payment terms? How we put a deal together, but there aredefinitely categories in existing customers that are being impacted moreseverely than others, and that's required us to be very numble, verythoughtful and speed up our process of kind of connecting our own kind offinance, ofps teams, closely connected to the sales and CS motion to make surethat we're just doing what's right for the customer than you know, findingways to work through this tough patch. So t that's one area. I think thesecond thing is just how do you? How do you keep the teams motivated? You knowduring this time it's tough, you mentione your ere all at home andeveryone's in different situations. There's some real challenge that comeswith this. How do you keep it interesting? And you know on our side,we've sped up our velocity, significant th. You know whe're weekly companywide,all hands. We have a employees actually host te all hand. So each week we havea just any employ in the company is selected. It's like a Starti ight livesort of experience, but it keeps it really interesting. So I sort of cohostthis I've. Always enjoyed working with some member of the team that helps tokeep it fresh and interesting, ind, just little things: Jus cavenger hunts,their virtual Yo, one last thing: Chad, we had a. We had our first virtual wine tastingevent with prospects last week, heas actually incredibly. Well done it.We had, you know: Winery lead the tasting virtually you know, pollingquestions that were thoughtful and then breakout groups at the end on specifictopics. But it worked. You know for what we were trying to achieve. We hadpeople around the country coming together drinking a lot of wine thatwas shipped Yo know just before the event and having really Nice Dialogueand conversation. It's interesting, the the shipping two individuals at theirhomes right and I know we're totally off scripture, but we've done virtual. We on virtualtrainings. It was always a small part...

...of a business. Obviously it's now ahundred percent of our business and ther shipping to shipping of workbookswere kids to individual homes. Have you run into privacy challenges so, like Ihave some clients where they're like yeah? No, our client, our customers,our people are fine, here's a list of their home addresses and others wherethey're like Hm. Why don't you just ship those all to us and we'll takecare of it? Have you run into any of those challenges at all? I don't knowit's part of this process. I was not aware of US right in any challengesabout this. I also think people right now are, if you're willing to ship themsome bottles of wine. I don't know it's true. I guess it's completelydifferent based on wine versus me, so Vinyo a kit to do some SASTRY, say Sayon that one ace all right. So,let's change t direction here a little bit. We ask all O our guest twostandard questions. The intervedan of the first is simply has a CEO. Thatmeans you are a prospect for sales professionals. I'm always curious tounderstand when somebody doesn't have a trusted referral into you like there's,no reference that comes in what works best for you to capture your attentionand earn the right to some time on your calendar yeah. It's a great questionand you're talking to a former hunter and kind of an olt person. Look arefers great. Those are the clearly make things easier, but that alsoassumes that the referral uses through for all thoughtfully isn't just youknow connected to you, but I'm looking for conviction, I'm looking for someonet that really is personally choosing to reach out to me. You can tell that Iwas selected for a reason. Maybe they've got you know hundred companies,they think they can really help and they think I'm one of them. I want tohear that in the tone I want to feel special and I want to see a thoughtfulperson want to engage with me, not just a book AF meeting but to really saylook. I think we can play a major role. You know we want to do that for peoplewe know everyone's working from home and we can keep teams connected. That'snot just a ham referred in. It's we're playing, Misshu, critical role rightnow to help keep executives connected,...

Ind, coaching R, their team membersthit. This is this: is an optional you're going to buy us a beer in sixmonths to say thank for persistent, so I just think that authentic, thoughtfuland fresh is so important which US choose. Your own words be thoughtful.Do not put me into an eight step trip sequence, an those can work but makesure that I'm gaiting some thoughtfulness about. Why you' reachingout to me, because I'm happy to take those calls, if you think you can solveour problems, excellent, all right! So last question: We call it ouracceleration insight. I have a feeling. I know what this answer will be, but ifthere's one thing you could tell sales marketing or professional servicespeople, one piece of advice: You could give them that you believe would helpthem pit their targets. What would it be and why have a purpose have a purpose when youtalk to everybody, it's the Jym Collins built the last book approach, butpurpose is tofined as how do you help people? So what do you? Why are youreaching out? How are you actually going to help that individual or thatcompany? And I just think if you know the- why, if you have that purpose,everything else is super easy. If Jim, if a listeneris interested inlearning more about course that ai or experience talking to you or seeingmore of the data, where do you want us to send them, they can go to chorusDotai and we've got a bunch of different links, take them to the dataand to Yo get started and get that dip. You have to get a demo awesome. I can'tthink ou'e enough or taking time it's been amazing having you on the show.Thanks toad, really appreciate it all right, everybody that does it hisepisode. You know the drill be to be Revizeccom, show the episode withfriends, Family Coworkers, like what you hear leaveas to review till nexttime. We are valueselling associates, Wich, you nothing with the greatestsuccess. You've been listening to the BTBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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