The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 3 years ago

Kristin Zhivago on Why you Can’t Automate Your B2B Relationships


The world is changing.

If you’re a B2B marketer, you know that one of biggest challenges facing marketing professionals today is meeting the buyer where they are.

So how do you market the way that they want to be sold to? How do you align your marketing strategy to meet them where they are?

You're listening to the BDB revenue executiveexperience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teamsto optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies, were tools andresources, 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'myour host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how to sell to customersthe way they want to buy, not the way we sell, but theway they prefer to be sold to. It's a subtle yet critical shift inthe sales arena, one that many are, you know, not is in tunewith his perhaps they should be. Help US tackle this topic, we'vegot Christen HIVAGO, founder Chivago partners, recognized revenue coach and author of RoadMap to revenue. How to sell the way your customers want to buy.Christen, thank you for taking time to be on the show today. Mypleasure. So, before we jump in, we like to start with a question, just to give a little bit of background into you, and soI was wondering, if you look back over your career, was there apoint, some kind of defining moment or event that provided you insights that youcontinue to leverage today and go back to over and over. I was wonderif you could just share that with the audience and help us understand what youlearn. Actually, there's two. The first one happened when I was seventeen. I was the first woman is sell machine shop tools in the US andand I failed miserably because I didn't know what I was talking about and Iwas so humiliated. And you know, you're a senior in high school andyou really feel like you're hot stuff and then you go in and you justfail and you say to yourself, okay, I'm making a vow, and thevow I made to myself was that I would learn everything I could abouttechnology and selling, and I've been doing that ever since. I've never stoppeddoing that. I'm still every day I'm learning new things about tech. I'vebeen in tech for decades. The other turning point for me was when Istarted being a revenue coach for CEOS and entrepreneurs and every single time I wouldgo into the company and I would ask them what they thought was important tocustomers and then I would interview their customers and the two lists, the companylist and the customer list, were completely different every time, and after aboutten of those I thought, HMM, there's a trend here. We gota real problem, and I call it the gap, and it's the gapbetween the buyers and the sellers, and it's not getting any better, it'sonly getting worse. Well, and it's becoming and, I think, evenmore critical these days. You know, we talked about how bb buyers live. BBC lives right, and so they suppose they're exposed, you know,to all of the investments and customer experience and frictionalist experience that apple and Disney, all those guys invest on their BDC side and then when they come intothe BB world, they expect, whether they're really aware of it or not, expect the same thing from their pre dollars. Yeah, we train ourbeaty be sellers first and foremost on everything you ever wanted to know about theproduct. So setting up to go in and talk. Yeah, bits andbites, yeah, yeah, and that's partly because most tech companies are startedand run by engineers, and I love engineers. I need to put thatout there on the table. I'm married one. I Love Them. I'vebeen in business because of them. I looked around and said they're making thesegreat products, but they can't market their way out of a wet paper bagand they need help. And that's really what started me in the whole servicesbusiness where we were a high tech AD agency and then I was a revenuecoach for decades, and then now I'm doing a digital marketing management firm andI love working with tech guys, but they always want to feed you thewhole Enchilada and you just came to see if you were going to see ifit was going to smell nice and look nice and maybe he's Gould solve yourproblem. You don't want to eat the...

...whole enchilada until you figured that out. And so I'm curious. What is it that you think is making thissuch a critical topic today? Well, it's actually getting worse because we've startedtrying to automate relationships. This is really rude. You know. It's likevoicemail and I look back with my husband recently we're thinking about all of thetechnologies that we helped launch for voicemail. Email. I mean I you aimit. We were there at the beginning and I really regret helping people dovoice mail. It's quite convenient and everything, but how many times do we haveto hear? Please listen carefully, because our menu has changed. Youknow, the first time we call a company, it's just the automation ofrelationships doesn't work. It ignores your individuality and your specific needs and you asa human being. So we're just pushing people further and further away with automatednurturing and automated, you know, voicemails and email, and people are tiredof it. They don't want any part of it. Well, I mean, it's not a right, it's not about them. It's funny because wemove into a ever increasingly personalized existence. You can personalize your Amazon, youknow, Prime Account, so it tells you when the next you know whateveryour favorite you know types of toys or whatever come on sale. I meanyou can customize, you know, every aspect almost of your life into aBab situation and that automation feels thin, it feels fake, it feels theword, I keep going back to his friction right creates this. It makesmy when I was younger and we would ride in the car with my mom, if we were listening to radio stations that we listen to it. Itmade her forehead crinkle. We had to turn it off. That was warand I think we're experiencing a lot of that beat. We buyers are experiencinga lot of that from BB sales people today, because it just makes youkind of cringe. Well, there's another thing that's kind of interesting, andI think if you look at BC now that you're bringing up and be tobe when you do a BDC thing, you kind of already know what youwant. And I agree with you about customization. By the way, it'sit is now possible to design your own pair of shoes and I'm thrilled aboutthat because I have extra wide feet and I'm always having trouble finding shoe.So it's just getting very interesting. But on the BETB side, you knowyou have a problem. You let's say you're looking for a certain type ofsoftware, you know there are probably fifty different types of software that solve thatproblem in their own way. And, like me trying project management software,I have literally tried at least I don't know, Thir forty, maybe fifty, of them, testing them, seeing if they're any good, and Ifinally landed on one that I like, which is teamwork, by the way. So you don't really know until you start investigating which one might be theone. And the problem with the people who sell them to you is staydon't know what kinds of things you're really looking for because they haven't talked toyou. They have an interviewed perspective buyers. They don't understand that subtleties and thesubtleties are often the gating factor, the go or no go. Ifit doesn't have this, I'm not interested, and you usually can't figure that outtill you're like five minutes into trying to figure out what the program doesright. It actually requires dialog and questions. What is it? What is theoutcome? You know, offtwhile'll coome you're looking for, not just hey, check out my cool new gadget. Exactly. Yeah, and you mentionedengineers earlier. I've been in tech for a very long time as well andI found it always interesting, you know, when you run into that one engineer, that one tech person who's now a management role, who whips outthe I'll build it and they will come and it's like, no, Idon't know if it was ever true, but it's definitely not true day,because if everything's so crowding, there's just so many apps are they're out there. You mentioned fifty project management types of solutions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think baby sellers have to be more like guides for buyers thesedays absolutely love and I think that's a big shit if yeah, you're absolutelyright and they can't do that. If...

...they're guessing, that's the mistake everyone'smaking. You know, marketers are like cats and dogs. So salespeople aredogs, marketers are cats. Cats are basically people adverse. For the mostpart. They don't want they just want to do their thing and stay inthe corner. And you know the dogs will run out there and get jumpall over you until you everything jump them down, so happy to see you, but they won't actually stop and listen. Right. So it's a big problemall the way around, and management is getting even more confused because atthe all this is happening while digital marketing has become completely specialized, completely complex, and you need specialists, which how we've built our company, because youabsolutely have to have people working on different parts of it who are doing itall day, every day. And are keeping up with the latest Google Algorithmor whatever has shifted. Well, and how did I just had a curiosity, and I know we're a little low scripture, but he said a curiosity. When client comes to you and you want to start working with them,how do you help set their expectations without just blatantly saying you're doing it wrong? How do you help them come to the realization that there is a better, more effective way to do it? Well, the Nice thing about peoplewho own companies, which mostly what I work for, their logical people,or they wouldn't be where they are. And a lot of the people thatI'm working for these days have had the company for a while and it hadbeen successful and now they're floundering because the competition has gotten so stiff and thetechnology has gotten so pervasive in terms of marketing. So nothing I do isI educate a lot and you know, between my book and my blog articlesand even my services descriptions, do a lot of educating about the realities ofthe specific areas. For example, SEO takes a long time and you can'texpect immediate results. If you want to get an immediate results, then youhave to shift over to add words, assuming it's appropriate for your audience andit can work for you, and then you can start experimenting seeing what worksand what doesn't. There's a lot of things that you can do with ina fairly short amount of time and add words that you just can't do ina short amount of time with SEO. So part of it is just understandingwhich things are working for people now and what to expect from each one ofthem. So then answers one part of your question. The other part ofyour question was how do you tell them that their stuff is terrible? What'sinteresting is they often know, oh, okay, they know that it's notworking or it's too hard to order or you know, whatever it is,and everybody has a different thing that they're struggling with. I just picked upa client who had a previous consultant tell her that she needed to brand hercompany with some name which is a weird name. I'm not going to talkabout any of this, of course, specifically when in fact this person,this consultant, is known for her name, her real name, and she ownsthat Url. So why get in the way of all that wonderful reputationand branding? So the first thing we're going to and she knows that.She knew it, but she didn't know what to do and how to youknow if it was right thing, because the other consultant had convinced her thatthis other way was the right way to go. So they usually know somethingis broken but they don't know how to fix it, and that's where there'sa lot of education and proper expectation setting. We don't promise you know that you'regoing to be in the top twenty five search engines overnight, which isridiculous because Google owns like ninety five percent of that market anyway. So eventhat's a silly promise. Well, and so when we when we look athow people have to get away from digitizing automating relationships today, how they haveto get back to understanding how a customer wants to buy, there's the marketingresearch that goes into it. Use a personas empty maps, ethnographic research,customer interviews, all those types of things.

I'm curious if you have insights intohow sellers either can leverage those assets that maybe being created by the marketingteam with a marketing organization or, if they're not, how they might takeadvantage of that to really understand, or effectively understand, how their customers arebuying. Well, the real thing that has to happen for all of thisto shift is that marketers have to get on the phone and interview their customers, and I was so excited about this and passionate about it. That's whyI wrote the book that I wrote. wrote them to revenue, how tosell the way your customers want to buy, and in chapter three I basically justspell it out, and by the way, the books on audible now, so I spell, I'd say, exactly how to get them on thephone, why you even want to interview them on the phone, because inperson they're going to be less talkative than they are on the phone. There'sall these little tricks that I've learned over literally thousands of customer interviews for hundredsof companies. So I reveal all of that. So any marketer, andI have had many markers come up to me after they've seen me in thespeech and then they go back. Can they read the book? And theydo this and they come back and they say, I can't believe what thisis done for my career, because now I know I'm not guessing. WhenI'm standing in front of everybody around the you know, conference table and it'sa meeting and so andso saying we should do this, and so andso sayingwe should do that. In the CEOS listening to him and he's completely wrong, I can stand up and say no, that's not what our customers want.I interview twelve of them and this is every single person said this.That's what changes the company from the inside out. And you come back withthe conversation transcription report. So the CEO and all the top managers get toread what people said about a particular subject and it's all categorize. So thisis what everybody said about this question, this answer, and it's all anonymous. So you really get the raw qualitative data and now you finally understand whothe person is and what they care about. Then you can build your personas.And, by the way, I don't like personas because usually people buildthem without doing this. And secondly, it's about the person. It's notabout the person, it's about that person specific need and how they're going tofind a solution, how they're going to look for it, what's going tomake them buy. That's what we need to know. The rest of itis it doesn't matter if their hair is brown or black or blond. Itdoesn't matter our redhead, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. Right.Well, and I think I mean ie before, where I got intoworking with sales teams doing sales. They and I spent ten years on that, on that CX side, where we would do personas and ethnographic research ofthat kind of thing. And you're right, you one hundred percent doesn't matter whatcolor here it is or things like that. If you're doing a personaright it would have in it their motivations. M What is it it's going tomotivate that? What kind of problems are they up against? We,you know, we we've all seen those sales emails and say hey, we'veworked with CMOS like you and companies are similar size and they often experience theseproblems, I think. But it's focused on one of the problems and wherethe outcomes they need, but also some of the personal influencing factors on themarketing side can totally make sense to do that. I have seen sales professionalsstruggle with understanding how the customers by and, more importantly, finding effective ways touncover that. Now, in my head it doesn't seem that hard becauseyou start asking but but I'm sure to ask problem. Just like you,I've consulted on both sides. I've run a turnaround sales departments and marketing departmentsin side company and had salespeople under me and train them. And salespeople loveto talk. Oh yeah, they hate to listen and they wait. Theylisten to you only so they can find their opening to talk. Is itpossible to turn a salesperson into a listening, interviewing type of person? Let mejust say it's very, very difficult.

Okay, if not impossible. Idon't think it's impossible, but it's very difficult. You really have towork at it with them. And once they get there and they calm downand they're they're actually listening and letting the other person talk, things change thenand they really start getting down to it and they start asking the right questionsand they start answering the questions the customer wants answered rather than just delivering allthe stuff they've been proud to learn. You're so you are so right.It is amazing when we work with and train sales organizations I'll ask a simplequestion and then I'll sit there in time it like, how long is thissalesperson going to going to rattle on? And they're rattling on in directions ofI didn't stop the question I asked and ask you how to build a watch. I ask you what time was. HMM. I think we do often. I think the way sales reps are on boarded with deep and pushing themreally, really deep into the product knowledge stuff and then expecting them to notwant to go tell people about how cool all this stuff is. It's inthe way. Well, and I think there's a deeper thing that people don'trealize. The reason somebody gets into sales is they want a job where therethe know it all, where they're the guy that knows more about that subjectthan anyone else, and then they want to exercise that thing that satisfies themfor the rest of their life. That's it. That's why they get intoit. You're just on the wrong track from the beginning in that situation.And by the way, I may recovered. I used to say recovering, butI truly have recovered, recovering salesperson and I still and I married anengineer remember. So that that was part of my training, was getting overmyself. Yeah, and it took a long time because I'm very stubborn andindependent, and I finally just relaxed about the whole thing and understood that Ican't know everything. I don't know everything, and the more I ask, themore I'm going to be able to help somebody. Completely agree, completelyagree, I but part of the challenge, I think, for I think peoplein general these days, and maybe this is so boxed material, butI think everybody gets so absorbed in themselves they find it very hard or difficultto stay focused on somebody else's perspective and really internalize it, and I thinkthat's I mean it goes back to your comment about automating relationships right. Ifwe forget that we are interacting with, connecting with and then uncovering the perspectiveof another human being, with all the complexities and emotional impacts that come withthat, then I think we do not only our profession to disservice, butalso the individuals that were that were interacting within ourselves. Hmmm, I've beenthinking about this a lot lately because it's a big problem that all markers andsellers and companies have and one of the things I realized is that we aretreating our customers, our perspective, customers like they're a mark. Identify them, we decide how what we can extract from them. And then I tookthat a step further and I thought, well, what's the difference between stealingand someone giving you something? So we actually want to end up in asituation when we sell, where they're giving us something gladly because they have seenthat we have what they want and they wanted enough to give us money.That's the essence of capitalism, whatever you want to call it, ECOMMERCE,I don't care what you call it, but that is the thing that happensin societies where people aren't if they're not at war, they're doing business,and the business that they're doing is, okay, you've got something I wantand I wanted enough to give you money. It's worth it to me. Butyou have to convince them first, and that's difference between stealing. Isuppose I could talk about raping and other things. I don't want to gothere right now, but it is the difference between raping somebody making love isthat you do just take what you want from them without considering their issues ortheir concerns or their desires as a human...

...being, and we've really gotten awayfrom that as we do all of this analysis and automation, kind of forgettingthat there's a real human being there who wants to tell us how to helpthem. No, they want to be heard to. Yeah, they wantto be heard. If somebody, you know, I know I have seendeals go to, you know, in a competitive situation that see deals goto a winner of a provider, product, service, whatever, that was notgoing to provide as great an Roi or return has. There was thatconnection, because that's person listen, yes, and pointed out like, okay,we may not have everything in the kitchen sink, but we have thesethings that will solve your problem and we'll go on a journey with you,you know, product plan or whatever it may be. Yeah, see,those happen because people, you know, at the end of the day,we are still selling two people, thank God. Yep, robots aren't buyinganything yet, right, it's just right. Yes, now, yet, right, just yet. Let's talk about the book real quick. What wasthe genesis for the idea? Where did where did it come from wake upone morning and no, no, it came from I knew I'd have towrite a book after, as I mentioned, you know, the ten conversation withcustomers, and it just kept continuing and continuing, and after hundreds ofthose situations with thousands of customers, there was no question in my mind thatthis is the biggest problem in marketing and I was determined, and I stillam, to help solve it. So what I did with the book isI said, okay, there's how you shift your whole company from being selfcentered to customer centric, and here's what you do, here's the steps.Then you go through this meeting after you present all the data and then youwork it out with all the executives and you get on the right path.But then I devote the rest of the book to the four types of productsand services in the world based on the amount of scrutiny that the customer appliesto the purchase. And every time I do this I tell people there's light, medium, heavy, in a tense scrutiny. I won't go into thedetails now, but it's everything from buying chewing gum at the light end allthe way up to buying a house or something on the consumer side, ora big long contract for BDB. That's intense. So each one of thosetypes of buying processes have their own rhythm and questions and people involved in allof that, and I spell that out in great detail in the book andyou'll find yourself people. When I say that to people, they automatically knowwhich category they fall into. What was interesting to me before I came upwith a scrutiny concept, and I have to give my husband credit for helpingme turn that around and think of it from the buyers perspective, was thatpeople were trying to sell light scrutiny things as if they were heavy, likea newsletter on how to Chew Gum, basically. Or on the other endthey were trying to just say hi, my name is Sally, will youmarry me? Kind of thing for the intense, and that doesn't work either. So they were making that basic mistake, which meant that everything they were doingin their marketing was off target, not just a little but completely,and so I thought if I could just at least get people to understand thebuying process for those four types, then they'd at least be in the ballpark. And be much better off. Thanks allent. All right, so let'schange a direction here a little bit. I ask all of our guests kindof too standard questions towards the end of each interview. The first is simply, as executive, Revenue Executive Yourself, you are often, I'll use yourword, of Mark for sales professionals. Ye, and so I've always findit interesting, when I talk to other professionals, to understand how somebody whodoesn't have a relationship with you, doesn't come in through a referral, youknow this talking, how do they effectively capture your attention, build credibility andsecure fifteen minutes of your time to have a conversation? Yeah, you know, it's interesting. I keep an eye on that because, you know,I'm looking at it not just for being a mark but because I'm a consultantin that area and I want to see what's working. And I did havea Gal a couple of years ago who... in touch with me through linkedin. Linkedin is very good for me to be if you use it properly.She messaged me and she had just the perfect pitch. It was like,I know that you're you started to company and you're doing this and that.So she had done her research. So right away she wasn't treating me likea mark. She was actually saying, okay, I know you are whichdo looks like you care about Blah, blah blah, which was correct.I thought, okay, so far, so good. We're sitting here andreading my little bio. I I'm okay, I'm still reading. And then shetold me about her product, and it was probably a message that wasto intro paragraphs, couple of bullets and then a link over to a demoor something. That was made it very easy for me to immediately go inand see how this product work. Now, ironically, I can't at the momentremember which one it was. It my had have been team work,but but it was an application that I ended up buying and I bought itvery quickly because she came at me the right way. She was very courteous, she knew who I was before she talked to me, and I haveto say now, any salesperson that goes after anybody without at least going totheir website first, it is just they shouldn't even be in that job.Right. It's so easy now. Yeah, it's funny we talked. I wasworking with the client last week and I was working with their sales teamand we were talking about like you have to do the research, you haveto homework. It's respect for the person you're calling on. Its respect foryourself, it's respect for the discipline of sales and marketing. Like you justgot to do the research. And one of the guys goes, well,I can spend an hour. I'm like, well, actually, you could probablyspend two or three if it's a public company. I said you don'tneed to, not for the initial contact, and so we go through some ofthe strategies for how do you, in you know, ten to twentyminutes, find the things and get the perspective that we'll at least make thatfirst interruption credible so you can then set another meaning? But they just themere thought of AH, research, I could. That's the problem, though. They're not researchers. So one of the things we talked about a lotwith our clients is that they have a different person who loves doing research,somebody who would have been a library and you know fifty years ago in theback room kind of thing, and they prepare all that for the salespeople.salespeople should not be spending their time researching, they should be interacting with people becausethat's what they're supposedly good at. So I think that's one of thethings that's going to happen as we go forward is people going to realize that'sa cat and dog situation where you can't the dog to research excellence. Allright, last question. We call it our acceleration insight. There's one thingyou could tell sales, marketing professional service people, one piece of advice youcould give that, if they listened, which is always the communation Peo,will help them hit their targets. What would it be? A why?Well, I think it really comes down to the basic idea that we areall buyers also, and we avoid salespeople. Even salespeople avoid salespeople because we don'tlike being sold to. True, we like being helped, and I'mstarting this whole other train of thought and my writing and such, where I'mtalking about that idea of helpfulness and which you need to keep asking yourself is, how can I help this person? What kind of help do they needand how can I help them? And if they sense that about you andthey know you've done your homework, they're going to be ten times more willingto talk to you just because your head and shoulders above everybody else who's justcoming up to them and saying, give me your money, I've got agun. Right. Perfect, Christen. If a listeners interested in talking moreabout these topics or ask place to get the book, where would you recommend? I mean you mentioned audible, but let's focus on the book first.We're best place Amazon, or Amazon is really where I sell the book.Just type in road matter revenue. You get to the book and again it'sprint inaudible and it was kindle, but they took that down when I putit my audible books, so I have... figure out why that's happening.We'll get that back up there. Just last day or two. And thenalso my website is Chivago Partnerscom. Excellent. All right, people want to thankChristen for being on the show. Has Been An absolute pleasure to speakwith you. Yeah, same here. All right, everybody that does itfor this episode, please check us out at be Tob Rev exactcom. Sharethe episode with friends, Family Co workers, for like what you here do.His favorite. Please write a review on itunes and until next time.We have value prime solutions with you all nothing but the greatest success. Thereis 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 usesproven formulas and frameworks with a customized approach to increase your sales and Marketing Roito learn more about how we can help you, visit value Prime Solutionscom.You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you nevermiss 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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