The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Julie Thomas on The Difference Between a Sales Methodology and a Sales Process

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

There are those out there who don’t understand the difference between a sales process, a true framework, and more tactical types of training.

If you’re one of those people, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re talking to Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling Associates, about how sales methodologies fit into your organizations and how you as an individual contributor can leverage them to effectively increase your success. Julie uses an American football analogy to explain.

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

Today on the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience, we're talking about the difference between sales methodologies, frameworks and process how they fit into your organizations and how you, as an individual contributor, can leverage them to effectively increase your success. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the 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. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're going to be speaking with Julie Thomas, CEO of Value Selling Associates. For those that are not aware, value selling associates is responsible for the value selling framework, as well as vortex prospecting framework that sales companies are using today to make sure that they are connecting to the buyer, keeping the pipeline full and understanding how to effectively qualify opportunities, so sales reps are spending time where they're going to be able to generate the greatest returns. It's an interesting conversation especially as the buyer landscape has changed, as buyers expect more collaboration, they expect their sales reps and sales teams to connect with their needs, not necessarily what sales executives believe is important. There needs to be a framework and a tool set that enables us to happen. The value selling framework the vortex prospecting framework are both examples of effective tools that are tailored to today's landscape of B tob buyers. It's a great conversation with Julia. Want to thank her for taking the time and without further ado, let's roll right into that interview. Julie, welcome to show. Thanks for taking the time today. Thanks chat. It's pleasure to be here this morning. Excellence. So, before we jump in, same question that we ask you know, all of our guests give little insight into our listeners about defining moment in your life, something that you keep going back to maybe change the trajectory of your career, where your life and lessons that you learn from it? Sure, without a doubt, the defining moment in my life is when I transitioned out of a corporate, big corporate position into value selling associates and I kind of call myself an accidental entrepreneur here. But the situation was this. Back in two thousand and two I worked for a large company. I was actually a group vice president running all of training and development for a worldwide sales organization and I reported directly to the executive vice president of US sales. And what happened is what sometimes happens in in corporate America. My boss, has boss left the company and a new guy came in and slowly but surely he started changing out all of his direct reports. So about two months into it, all of a sudden my boss left the company and and and a new guy came in and it was just one of those things where you kind...

...of saw the ripple effect of management changes take place. And so I kind of knew I had a target on my back and sure enough I got the call literally the Friday before Christmas at the end of two thousand and two and was told Hey, we're going to eliminate your position and if you want to sit with a company, you have an option to move back to Connecticut and take on a different role. Why? I live in San Diego and my heap, so that wasn't an option. So after, after he transferred me to human resources and everything. You know, I left the company that. The good news is the company too treated me extremely fairly. I had been, you know, a good employee for them, a top performer in sales and sales leadership, and so they treated me very fairly. But it put me in a position to really evaluate what I wanted to do. And I was actually a customer of value selling associates and through that relationship had become very good friends with the founder of value selling, Lloyd SAPPINGTON, and so I approached him and thought, Hey, I can do this, I can be a trainer, I can become one of the team members at value selling associates. And unbeknownst to me at the time, Lloyd was starting to think about his retirement plan. So we sat down and and he suggested that it might rap other than come in as a trainer, that it might make sense for me to consider buying him out of his kind of so proprietorship business and taking over value selling associates. And and so, after some soul searching and some finance decisions, my husband and I took a second mortgage out on our home and put together a plan to purchase value selling associates and the intellectual property in the company from Lloyd and over a four year period of time I became full owner and president and CEO of value selling associates. So never planned to be running a business, never expected to be running a business, but but I kind of open myself up to the opportunity as it came up and figured it out as I went along. And, you know, fifteen years later, here I am. So definitely change the trajectory of your life, for sure, for sure in such a positive way I can't even imagine. It's imagine still being, you know, a soldier and Corporate America. While that was a wonderful part of my career and I learned so much through every position I had in corporate America, now running my own company. You know, when we our corporation, however, were a smaller corporation and it has just been a ton of fun and again, learned a whole lot through this process and...

...really have, I think, brought value selling associates to the next level in our kind of trajectory of our business. Excellent. And so for our guests, our listeners, let's talk about what exactly is value selling associates and what do you guys do? So value selling associates is a sales methodology company. We partner primarily with business to business sales organizations and help them improve their sales productivity and we do that by working with the sales team and teaching them how to compete on value, not price. And so when we talk, when you say framework, right, they're those out there. We run into them every day that don't really understand the difference between a sales process, a true framework and more tactical types of training. Can you help our audience understand the difference? And in that landscape, what sets value selling, the value selling framework, apart from others? Absolutely. So I'm going to steal an analogy that somebody shared with me a couple of years ago and compare and the analogy is going to be based on American football. So if you think of a football field, you've got mile or yard markers along a hundred yard field and you're either at the fifty yard line or you're at the twenty yard line or you're in the end zone. So if you kind of picture that, a sales process is analogous to that football field, and it is, you know, where am I in the process of finding a prospect to converting that prospect to a customer, and am I at the fifty yard line or the beginning part of that process, or am I in the Red Zone, at the ten yard line and at the end of that process? So sales process typically is an indication for a sales leader or manager to look at an opportunity and say, okay, where is it on this field or the spectrum of finding them to converting them to a client? A sales methodology is actually the steps and the processes that a sales rep would go to move something from that fifty yard line to the end zone and all of the things that has to happen in between there. So the value selling framework is a methodology. We are the how to qualify, advance and close those opportunities and we have the by when we talk about a framework, we've got a set of tools, skills and processes that are all interwoven together for the objective of moving that that opportunity from the fifty yard line to the end zone. Now, one of the...

...things that I think is very unique about value selling is, since we are a sales methodology, we can align and integrate into any sales process, because the sales process is just the definition of those steps. And then sales skills training is kind of the blocking and tackling. So by becoming a framework and positioning ourselves in that way with a client, we not only bring to them the process, the how do I move this opportunity forward, the skills of what actually has to happen, whether it's how do I open a sales call, how do I actually create an opportunity in the first place? How do I qualify that? How do I demonstrate my credibility and value and handle objections and all those despair? It skills as well as a tool set that hangs all of that together. So our framework is really the process, the methodology, the skills and the tools all integrated together. That makes it a very executable and implementable solution. Perfect perfect. So Value Seller Visa has more than just the value selling framework in terms of tools and ways of training people, offerings, things of that nature. Can you help give us an overview of you kind of the the landscape of value selling associates offerings for sales enablement? Sure there's there's a you can look at it a number of different ways. So the value selling framework is our core methodology and that's what I think probably ninety percent of the people in the marketplace and in the industry recognize us for. But in addition to that, we've got a number of different offerings that, aligned to that frame framework, leverage the same terminology and tool set and extend the application. So, for example, we also have a value selling account management tool, which leverages that methodology but also addresses the unique skills that a sales up might need to really identify potential opportunities in a large account and how to communicate with a global account team and collaborate to bring those opportunities to fruition. We also have an offering called vortex prospecting, which is all about how do you fill the funnel, how do you create those opportunities so that I have the opportunity to actually engage those prospects and advance and close those opportunities, and vortex prospecting again as an extension of the value selling framework, the language, the tool set, but it is a rigorous, disciplined approach to process sspecting that we bring to our clients. We also have a product called executive speak and that is okay, if I'm going to have these opportunities in...

...my pipeline and going to have to make an executive sales call, how do I best prepare for that sales called? Do My sales reps have that business acumen, if you will, to engage an executive and have a conversation about how they can add value both of them as individuals into into their business? And then all of our clients often go through different types of application workshops that are extensions of value selling. It might be hey, how do I jump Tart, jump start a stalled opportunity in my pipeline? How do I differentiate myself or create need in the face of new competitive alternatives facing my clients or new products that I need to be able to engage new buyers on? So we work with all of our clients over time and think about how value selling can be applied to solve their specific challenges that are getting in the way of optimizing their sales productivity. There is no one size fits all solution for optimizing your sales and marketing organizations. Yet how you sell and market is a tremendous differentiator. Value Prime Solutions uses proven formulas and frameworks with a customize of coach to increase your sales and Marketing Roi to learn more about how we can help you. Visit Value Prime Solutionscom. So let's let's talk reach for a second. Another value selling framework isn't new. As you said, you've been doing this for fourteen, fifteen years, and Lloyd had done it before. That now granted. In my opinion, and I am biased, for anybody who's paying attention, yes, I do sell and implement this. It is the most effective framework, in my opinion, to understand the buyer landscape as it's changed in the last decade, really understand things from the buyers perspective. But I'm curious, since its inception, how many companies have been clients and do you know roughly how many students globally you guys have trained? We've trained tens of thousands of students all over the globe. Value Selling is available in a multitude of languages and many of our clients are multinational clients that one of the reasons they select us is because we have the ability to localize and translate our content and deliver around the globe and local languages. You know, in terms of the number of companies. It's it's hundreds of companies, from the very smallest companies, from a startup that might only have four or five clients, to some of the largest multinational companies on the globe that our household names. I mean Google has been, it's well, has been and is a client and in CR is a client. We work with a number of large software companies, business services companies. We work with professional services companies that don't even...

...think they have a, quote unquote, sales force, like a deloight and touch. But guess what, somebody still has to go out and get a customer. So there we work with professional firms in that that framework. We work with inside sales to outside sales. I would say the common denominator in our client base again is that business to business, complex sale, difficult to differentiate and typically a business decision when that purchase is being made somewhere in the executive ranks of a client organization. nextcellent. So let's talk implementation for a moment. We've both seen clients who implement correctly and get the results they want and sometimes they don't. Write and I'm curious from your perspective, having worked with as many clients as you have. Why is it that sales people, sales executives, have a tendency to struggle with the implementation side of it? Because that's where the real work comes in. I mean, the reality is. I mean, so think about it. Think about how hard it is to change adult behavior. I mean, if you just even looked at it, it prime behavior of the weight loss industry. There's no silver bullet to losing weight. You eat less and you move more. Yet it's a multibillion dollar industry where people pay lots of money for other people to tell them, hey, you got to eat less and move more or eat this and not that. The same is true when you think about how we're going to change adult behavior in a sales organization. When value selling associates is brought in, we're brought in because we we want the sales people to interact and engage their perspective buyers in a different way, and so we're going to teach them skills and we're going to work with them to build those habits. Well, human nature is working against us. So the companies that look at this type of a methodology or process as an event. I'm going to do a two day training drink the Koolaid and my world is going to change. Are Setting themselves up for failure because human behavior will always revert back to kind of the steady state and the habits that they already have in place. And the challenge with sales sometimes is you could have a sales rep who is successful in spite of their skills, and so they're getting rewarded for doing the wrong thing because for whatever reason and somebody just bought from them. So the clients that we really embrace and in the best practices that we bring to them is this has to be a process that the organization wraps his arms around and we do a number...

...of things to transfer the ownership and the success of an implementation from us, as the consultant and the expert in the trainer, to the leadership and management team in our clients, and we do that in a number of ways. We actually focus specific training offerings on the managers. So what is your role in driving adoption? How do you coach it? How do you measure it? How do you recognize success and build a unique, separate skill set within those managers? We also know that we for salespeople, we need to align the tool set and the skills that we bring to them into where they're working on a daily basis. And so for most of our clients today, their sales reps are expected to be doing something in some sort of a sales force automation, whether it's Microsoft dynamics or sales forcecom, were they're tracking their interactions, tracking their activities, tracking the opportunities as they develop. And so we integrate in Aligne to that so that value selling doesn't become another thing that the team has to do, it becomes the way we do everything within that organization. Excellent, much more of an amplification and alignment rather than a rip out and replace. Absolutely, absolutely and and you know, people always ask me, what about the senior guys? What about the people that have been in the field for twenty years and and things like that, and the good news is because value selling is a very intuitive approach and, as you said, it's all about understanding better understanding our clients through a set of engagement skills. We're not pitching, we're not professing, we're really teaching them how to engage. That nine out of ten times when a senior person comes through our class, they're like, Hey, I do this when things are going really well. And now what you've provided me, Julie, is a language so I can more effectively communicate with my boss about when things are breaking down, and a tool set to better manage the opportunities, and so we're not trying to undo things that are working, while we want to build on those best practices with terminology, with tools and with the ability to replicate success throughout an organization. And can you give us an example of a company that you feel like that, that you a can talk about publicly, but be that you feel has done a great job of implementing value selling and seeing those results? Yeah, and I'm happy to them. We've got a number of client success stories that we have published, but but an example that I would talk about right...

...now is a company called map are, and there a software organization and they brought value selling in, they trained their managers, they integrated the terminology and the tools set into not only their sales process, which I defined it early earlier, but into their management process as well and because of that, value selling really became owned and the implementation, in the execution and the results were really driven in measured by that organization and they saw a tremendous, tremendous growth. We've also worked with a client years ago that was the number two competitor in their space and they they were kind of what I would call an ambulance chaser sales force. They they would go find where the number one player was and then their whole story was, hey, I'm better, faster, cheaper. If you love if you like them, you're going to love me because I can do everything they can. But the reality is they they were different. They did have some increm mental value. So by going with that better, faster, cheaper, they were on average discounting eighteen percent from their list price for every transaction they they closed after value selling, where we spent an in Noordin amount of time in the classroom focused on this whole concept of how do we create need for our differentiation? The result was not only a skill set that those sales reps had, but a new energized confidence that they were valuable and they didn't have to discount to win. And through that implementation, almost overnight, but certainly in the next thirty days, they saw that discount rate reduced from eighteen percent to five percent. Wow. Now the interesting thing is they're still a client and I can't I have a no publicity clause with that client, but they were acquired by the number one competitor. In that speech, the people that they had been, you know, stealing business from, and in the press release when they announced that acquisition the they noted one of the reasons for their purchase was their, quote unquote, well trained, professional sales organization. So I take that with a real pride that we we made such an impact that the competitor had to take them out. Okay, so now I need to ask about the Stevie awards. Last year Vicelin clients where sizeable portion of the winners. Are A lot of vialcelin clients that were recognized and I'm just kind of curious for you, you know, as the owner of the business and the and the president and CEO of all this,...

...how does it feel to be involved in that and be able to recognize those clients for that success? I love it. We've been involved with the Stevie awards for a number of years and it is a phenomenal opportunity for us to partner with our clients and get the leaders and the sales teams and the organization's recognition for their phenomenal results. So over the years we have had a number of clients recognize as the best sales leader, the best sales team, the best sales enablement team. We've had a client recognized for the best sales meeting that they've put on, and it's so rewarding to see the thrill in these client in these clients when they get that recognition. I have a client that has turned the recognition that they got as a result of partnering with Value Selling in the Stevie awards into a phenomenal recruiting tool. I mean they put there, they put the Stevie award logo on their website. Is Hey, we are one of the best sales organizations in America. Come work for us, and that sales leader is extremely proud of that and that gives him some great credibility as a leader, not only in his company but in the industry as a whole. So it's a tremendous reward to be able to celebrate the success in the partnerships that we have with the clients that we have perfect so let's talk about by selling kind of business model and how you attract a new associates. You know ensure they're up to the caliber of the brand and the facilitators that, you know, protect the quality of of your brand. You know what's that look like? And how do you work with the associates to kind of essentially help them start their own business? Well, absolutely, it's an interesting business model in and, quite frankly, it's not for everyone because it is a licensing business model. So what that means is we attract really good sales talent who is in a position that they want to set up an entrepreneurial business but leverage a wellknown brand and world class intellectual property and and do that as a part of the value selling brand. So we're looking for, you know, world class sales talent and sales leaders in their own right and one of the differentiators I think, that we bring to the market places. We can tell every one of our clients, Hey, any facilitator that we put in front of your class is not only a world class facilitator, they still today use the value selling framework every day and use our skill set every day to create their own clients with value selling. So we use value selling to sell value selling. As a matter of fact, we've got some associates that are are bold enough that they'll sit in front of a VP of sales and...

...say, Hey, what I really would like you to do is watch how I run this sales call and how this meeting goes for the next forty five minutes and if this is how you would like your sales reps to interact with the executive, I am probably perfect for your team. But if this isn't, that's okay, then I'm prop this is what I would be teaching them. So I'm probably not a good fit. And we've never had anybody say, you know what, I didn't really like how that call went. So so that's part of that. So once we find them and we we license them based on their sales skills, and most sales guys are not afraid to be on a platform, but we so we're really searching for this, those sales skills and in the people that are really interested in building a business as opposed to people who only want to teach. But once we get them on board, we do have a rigorous certification process to make sure that the facilitators understand how to engage the classroom. Our kind of hallmark of participants centered leader led workshops where we do a lot of exercises. Sales Reps are on the feet. We believe firmly that people learn more when they're having fun and that and and so we make that classroom fun. We also know that they learn more when the experience or what they're learning is connected to something that they already know is true. So the classroom experience is tailored to every client that we have, from understanding their language, their products and building tailored case studies that allow them to practice the skills and real world, simulated sales organization situations that they would have outside of the field. I think our team is is the best in the world and and and it's amazing we have. Because of our team we've been able to do things that I don't think there's another sales methodology company on the planet that can can do and and here's a perfect example. About two and a half years ago we were approached by a class one of our clients, I already mentioned them, and CR and they were having, as many sales organizations do, their global kickoff meeting at, you know, a big fancy schmancy hotel on the east coast. They were going to be flying in over two thousand five hundred people to participate in that meeting and what they had decided they wanted to do as part of that meeting is introduce value sell link to the entire financial services vertical sales team. It was roughly six hundred people. So they wanted to train six hundred people simultaneously in one place. Now we we try to keep our classroom size and, you know, between twenty five and thirty. So for that six hundred people we ended up...

...bringing in twenty three facilitators delivered twenty three simultaneous classes. And here's the kicker. In six different languages. We had a Chinese facilitator and and materials, Japanese, Spanish, German, French and, Oh yeah, the rest of us were speaking English. And the international audience that came into the room, the Chinese and the Japanese, after sitting through three days in a sales meeting that was one hundred percent in English and then walked into a workshop with local language materials local language facilitator, they were on top of the world and I don't think anybody else could have pulled that off with the caliber of people, the quality of the experience and the scalability that we could do in that particular session. Yeah, I can. I can attest being and being one of the newer value seling associates that not only is the business model scary to start but you know what, if you if I look back now, what the ten months, ten months in, I am now at that point that you told me when we first met that I would hit damn, I wish I'd done this four years ago. Right, and it's like, okay, you can see the possibility. So that empowerment and you're right, most sales guys don't have a problem being on stage. But then when I just we just got back from the associates meeting, you get to meet so many of the associates and and the level of expertise and experience and insight that is in that room, across that team globally is, I would have to agree, unbelievable and unmatched in any of the other methodologies I've run into or been trained in. So for that I want to say personally say thank you and congratulate you on being able to get the company to that point. Thanks, Chad. So let's change direction a little bit here. I ask all of our guests towards the end of the interview. Two Standard questions as a CEO, that makes you a the Nice word is prospect. The real word is target, and so I'm curious help our audience understand what gets your attention when someone is trying to sell. Do you someone you don't know but who wants to get in front of you? What works best to capture your attention and build their credibility? Well, there's probably two things. First of all, there there's there's no replacement for timing. So when someone reaches out to me at the point of time that I'm thinking about something. So, for example, I'm currently thinking do we need to change our learning management system? And so I've got that's on my ray are, it's on on my mind and if somebody were I should probably shouldn't say this, if somebody were contact me from about LMS company today, I'd probably be open to that conversation. So timing is one thing and the reality is for most sales reps, you know, the more activity to have, the higher the likelihood that they're going to hit hit somebody at the right time. But beyond that, I think what what really...

...interests me is someone who, you know, quite frankly, gets me, somebody who understands my business, somebody who's done a little work to understand and potentially predict what my challenge is will be. I got a call yesterday from a recruiting firm. Well, if you look at my website, you know that my business model is such a model that a recruiter probably is not going to be someone that I'm interested in talking to, because recruiters want to place people with high salaries because that drives their compensation. So and years ago our company was called Value Vision and we change. We change the name almost ten years ago. But it turns out there is a discount I retail, I wear chain in the southeast called value vision and they're in Nashville and, you know, all over the southeast. To this date I get calls for people calling me at value selling associates thinking I run an eyeglass company and either they're complaining about, you know, the the retail clerk in Nashville, or they're trying to sell me something for a retail solution. So that's me. says. They didn't even look at me on Linkedin, they didn't even look at me on my website. They didn't do anything to understand me. I have no time. I don't have time to waste and just like any executive, I am not sitting at my desk going cash. I really have nothing to do today. Wouldn't be great if a sales crap that I didn't know selling something I don't think I need, just called me right now. Nobody's sitting around that. So it's it's the messaging, it's the approach, it's the timing and it's showing them that you know them and then you can add value to them. I think that is so critical. Perfect. So last question. We call it our acceleration inside. If there's one thing you could tell sales, marketing or professional services people, one piece of advice you could give them that you believe would help them hit their targets, what would it be and why? So years ago I was in a management training class and the the consultant that was working with US shared with us the text of a speech that was written by a gentleman by the name of Albert Gray, and it was a he was at the time, which was the late s D countries top life insurance salesman and he delivered a speech at a national convention and he called that speech the common denominator of success, and in that speech he defined the common denominator of success. Is the only difference between people that are successful and people that are not successful is that successful people make a habit of doing...

...the things that unsuccessful people hate to do. So I you know you think about that and you know successful people make it a habit to prospect every day. Successful people make it a habit to rigorously continuously qualify opportunities. Successful people make it a habit to do the things that we all need to do, but they do it every day, where failures or unsuccessful people will find the excuse, find the reason, procrastinate it out and and therefore not reach that same level of success. So it's all about discipline and execution and Chad, you and I have talked about this a ton over the last ten months. It is not what you know how to do, it's what you actually do that makes the difference, and so knowledge and process is the starting point. Discipline in execution is what will get you the results that you're seeking. Perfect. Julie, for listeners interested in talking more about the topics we touched on today, what's the best way to get in contact with you? easy, my email is super simple. Julie, Julie at value sellingcom. VISIT VALUE SELLINGCOM and sign up for our complimentary newsletter. We do monthly webinars and and give away our content in a number of ways to sales professionals all over the globe and we'd love to talk to you and about what's going on in your world and how we might be able to add value to you. So I can't thank you enough for taking the time to be on the show. It's been great having you. Thanks chat. I appreciate it all right, everyone that does it for this episode. Please check us out a be tob REV exactcom. share the episodes with friends, family co workers. If you like what you here, leave us review on itunes. We do look at those. It does determine who we bring on the show to give you, guys, type of content you're looking for. So take the time to do that and check out the website, be to be REV exactcom, because we're given away five bucks starbucks cards if you fill out of feedback form for us. So buy a cup of coffee. You give us. Give us some feedback. Until next time, we have value prime solutions with you all. Nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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