The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 years ago

Lavon Koerner on How Psychometric Science Prompts Prescriptive Sales Training

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The industry of sales training has been revolutionized by the idea of prescriptive training.

This industry has experienced many new developments in recent years.Oftentimes, companies are focused on sales training in order to increase their revenue. This approach has largely been the standard of the business industry for years, but recent studies are suggesting that this one-size-fits-all training approach is ineffective in regards to revenue growth.

In order to understand more about this shift in sale training, we sat down to speak with LaVon Koerner, Co-Founder of Revenue Storm. LaVon has experienced this shift in mindset regarding sales training firsthand.

You're listening to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies, were tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BEDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about the current market place, the way the changes that are happening today are affecting what makes up the ideal sales professional. To help us tackle the topic, we have with US Lavan Kerner, cro of revenue, storm Levan. Thank you very much for taking the time to be on the show today, thank you for inviting me and thank you for allowing us to talk about what I think to be an essential and highly critical and probably somewhat controversial subject. Excellent. So, before we jump in, we like to start with a question a little bit out of the ordinary. When you think about your career and think about how you got where you are today, was there a defining moment in your career that you go back to again and again that tidd you lessons and if so, what was it and what lessons did you learn from that? Well, it's it's a hard do you have all day on just a few medics. But we had this was an n ninety nine and my wife really still says it was a function of the turn of the century, but it wasn't. In one thousand nine hundred and nine and I was reviewing what I was doing. I was president of a sales training company and reportedly, I don't know that this is true, but we reported it was the fastest growing sales training company in the world at that point. But we were being very profitable and very high growth rates. But I did a study in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine to find out the impact that our sales training was having on the market place and especially on our customers. I was convinced at that point I was going to write a whole bunch of case studies that show marvelous return on investment, etc. Etc. Well, it didn't happen. I not only got discouraged, I got embarrassed and to the point that I resigned and I took off. I took off better part of a year and I came to the conclusion that sales training doesn't work, and that's what I was doing. So I thought about it a lot. I thought and I came up with an idea that maybe we're training the wrong people and maybe we're not doing the other things that training needs to be successful. So I reinvented the whole approach and started revenue st arm in two thousand and one, which was about a year and a half after I had resigned, ...

...and so took a whole no approach. But that was a defining moment. That was a very sad moment for me, a very embarrassing moment for me, and it's changed my whole outlook on how to develop a sales organization. I mean that's a that's a pretty large epiphany, right the sales training doesn't work. He work. Seeing that, I'm assuming when you were doing that assessment you weren't seeing the results with your clients that you wanted to. Before we move on, just because I'm just curious, what was it that you found about sales training or thought about sales training? There wasn't working, we weren't changing behaviors and what we did was not self sustainable. So two problems I refer to it as vision drift, much like a new year's resolution. They come training and they really liked the idea. But, and now I've read since then, I didn't know this at that time, that about eighty percent of what one learns in a training program is lost one in the first ninety days. Well, my studies proves that, but I didn't know that set of statistics from the academics at the time. So vision drifts was a really ready big deal and it was more than discouraging Chad. I was embarrassed by I mean people. People had spent a lot of money and I couldn't, I couldn't point to what we had done for them economically to the degree. I mean. We had incremental bumps and and we had wonderful evaluations, wonderful critiques, but the Really Real Chad just wasn't there. And so that LEDs to revenue storm. So can you give us a little bit more context around what Revenue Storm does in your roll? There what I don't want to take up a lot of time. I don't know what my time constraints are, but I decided one of the things I thought that maybe we're training wrong people, maybe not all people can be developed. Maybe not all people have the ability to to be developed to the next level of sales effectiveness, and so I searched the entire country to find a psychometrician that was willing to partner with me, and I found one, Doctor Fred Raffleson, and I found he he does. He develop a whole battery at test, unbelievable test, and one was for police force and most police forces in the United States used his stuff. And he could, he told me he could, predict what a person would do and live gun fire. I thought, all right, that's close, that's that's that's one heck of a thing for days. Yeah, and then he also does it does all the testing for firemen, and I thought all right again, he said he could. He could, he...

...could predict what a person would do in a burning building. Now you take those two things, I thought I found my man and after a number of talks with him, he finally agreed that we would work together and we would develop a psychometric test that would allow us to have valid predictability. And we did get it above eighty five percent. And you think about that, that's that's what he's something. So now I can tell you who can and cannot make the journey. And now I can tell you instead of doing off the shelf cookie cutter sheep dipping training, which I did for years, fifteen years, now I can offer people prescriptive training or, if you please, science space training. So it's an extremely different approach. It's just it just turned the training upside down for me and so now we're able to do that. And so when we look at the at the market place today, emerging market place today, everybody there a lot of trends, a lot of things people are talking about, but I would love to get your perspective on how that's changing the redefinition of the role of tomorrow sales professional. Well, not only would change approach, but the market change, as she was saying, dramatically and in the Bob sales expression pretty much became in effect and hasn't changed since in the s during the time that Thomas Watson came out with the selected type Orrider at IBM, and most people even know what on this telecast. Probably Right, I'm moving to surrender, but it's something that won't know what a type better. But most people would agree that's the time that BTP sales became a viable profession and the truth is it it is increased a little bit in its sophistication, but no radical change until right now, until some trends. And let me let me just name a few of the trends that are impacting and it's not one trend. I think one trend would have not done the disruption that I'm going to tell you about. But when you have more than one trend converging at the same time on top of the same profession, then you get this wow disruption. So you've got like the trend, but just the economic trend is a big one. We've just now finished what seven year, eight years, and we never got above three percent growth, and I can assure you that most companies have an ambition of growing more than three percent a year. And so the economy has has really had an impact upon how we sell. So put that up as number one and you put up number two that they're alternative sources. I know when I first started selling back in...

...early s that I I was God. I mean I had I had all the information. Date couldn't go anywhere else, they could only get it from me in so I had this stuff, man, I had it. But now that's all changed. I just got back from India just really just three days ago, and and there are people, there's who can on call centers and there being trained on even how to sound like Americans. And you think you're calling somebody on the phone or they're calling you and you're talking to somebody in Boston or Charlotte or or whoever, and you're really talking to Mumbai or Shannai or Bangalar, and these people can give you information that wasn't available before. And if and if not that, you can just get online. And according to Gardner now that eighty five percent of the communications between Bebe is going to be done without a human being by two thousand and twenty. So you start seeing all of those things. Those are real trends that are going to change forever the role of a sales professional. So I've given you too. Let me give you a third one. The time, I remember when I was working with IBM, we would take people behind the curtains and show them the hot main frame was going to come out rights. We would actually have people Chad. You wouldn't believe this, but we had. We used to say look, you don't want to spend that kind of money on a main frame. I mean in just two years this will be available. And so just wait, and people would for two years, you would stall a sales cycle for two you today the average is less than six months for innovation to come out, and so that's a major change. And there's one more that should be said, and that is in December of this last year there were eighty eight million millenniums in our market place in America, North American market place. In that's forty six percent of the workforce. Now, at one point those millenniums that were in they weren't in a position of authority or not in a decisionmaking but they are now and, as you know, Chad, they talk differently, they re storch differently and the end is they buy much differently. So if you put those four trends I just mentioned pretty quickly, they all converging now at the same time on top of the same profession, sales account management. Well, that's that example that you talked about with the with the Indian call centers, right, and I'm being able to provide information. Are we moving to a point now? I think this is kind of where I where I fall down on it, but I would love to hear your perspective. I think in the future, because of the availability of information, am I wrong in assuming that the best be to be sales professionals will be...

...more than just curators, but they will be guides of connecting the dots, like you did with those four trends? That's a value that a buyer wouldn't necessarily get just by reading things. They might put those things together, but you, as a professional, you know as salesperson, staying on top of that, sting informed, critically thinking about those things. That I think in my wrong. I think that's going to be one of the skill sets that's going to be critical moving forward. Yeah, only I would. I would double or cripple the impasis in what you just said. It is you still have to know their table steaks. You got to know enough about your products and so on that are table stakes allow you play the game, but that's not going to differentiate you and that's not going to keep people from just going to the internet or listening to an outbound call center that can give you the same kind of information quickly and at your fingertips. What they're ruling hunting is for what they can't get from the Internet and they can't get from Mumbai. They can only get from you if you are properly been developed for the new role of a sales professional. And so so let's talk about that in that new role. So what's how would you compare and contrast, you know, kind of be to be since it started to be the sales professional and and and I started before the the Internet to so it was great to have you know, be able to provide that information in your right the landscape is changed, but with the convergence of all these trends that you mentioned, what's uniquely different about the sales professional of the future? But the best way to do that if I could help your listeners, if they could just kind of draw a circle in their mind and then divided into four quadrants, and then I can show you very quickly, just in your mind's eye, what that change is that's happening right now as we speak. And quadrant one of your model, that it's in your head. You've called that the world of transaction, transactions selling. That's a very was very common, is still is very common, and the people in the call center or the Internet, that's going to go almost entirely in that direction, level to level the second quadrant, and that's when you, and I you feel, recalled Chad all what seven, eight nine years ago, people started saying in our business we don't sell stuff, we know sclution. No, we sell integrated solution and and solutions, and right here one stop shopping. So that became Canada fad and that would be what you would call level to level three in that circle. And the third quadrant would be business consultant. At that point you're not selling quote product type solutions. You're selling in that now catch this. You're selling a business...

...improvement value proposition, a business and so you're selling two different people in the customers environment and you're selling much more sophisticated business approach or business solution. At that point you really are a business consultant. And level four you would be a teen t going to APP and say hey, that's coming out with an iphone, so it's a joint venture. So those are the for different we call them go to market strategies. So when you ask me what is different in the marketplace, I'm saying number two or you're the solution selling or more holistic process approach. At the selling that's moving down into level one, the market is bifurcating and that will be handled by the Internet, call centers, etc. And you will not need a human being sales guy, especially an expensive sales guy. Then you have on the other side level three and level four. That is going to be handled by a much more sophisticated the sales individual. And on the one side of that model, if you could just write in your mind's eye, and this is this is kind of the bottom line of their change, that level one and level two is really the home of traditional selling, which I called demand capture. Your job is go in on cover and find it and bring it on home. On the right hand side, if you'd write towards that's the home the new world of demand creation, and that's a very different so on and nutshell, the world is now changing. Demand captures going to be handled without a salesky and demand creation is the new home of a sales professional. When I think it's a really important point because when I was when I was running sales teams, you'd always have the sales reps that would default to, okay, this is what I sell and this is the problem I think I can solve. So I used to call I just called the black box. My black box is this big, it's this deep, it's this tall, and I'm going to go out in the market. I'm going to find places that that fits. So there's a demand, I'm going to slide the black box in there. But those that were able to actually interact and understand and critically apply themselves to create demand, as you said, those were the ones that were always the ultra high performers. And, if I hear what you're saying, that's really all we're going to have room for in the future. That's right. What what the others will be taking care of offline without a sales guy? That's that's what I want to sales people to know is that they won't be needed. They won't be needed. If that's all they can do, they simply will not being needed. Well, so how do you help them? How do you make people make that jump right, because you're talking about a skill set to be that business consultant, to do that joint venture stuff on that demand creation side.

You're talking about a skill set that I don't know is easily taught. I mean it's critical thinking, it's spatial reasoning, it's business acumentary, right so how, as you look at it, how are you helping your clients or suggesting that sales reps basically up level their game? Well, here's the ugly not all these sales people can up their game. When we do psychomat protesting out this, this will scare some of the people in the audience, but when are we have over twenty Onezero people in the database of these sales people that we're talking about, and we now know that forty seven percent of the people cannot be developed to that level three or that level four that I just shared with you. That means almost one out of every two can't make the journey that we're just now talking about it and it's the difference from going out on finding customers to building to go out and make customers. It's ability to stop going out and finding I can't believen want to say this, points of pain and serve what keeps you up at night. So that whole approach to selling, that's that's going to be offloaded from the sales profession. That's going to be done by Internet and and the people on the other side of the pond who being paid a fraction of what sales people are being paid here, so that's where that's going to go. But the ability to go out and create the man as opposed to capture, and it's interesting because even our expressions in the sales language have been built around that demand capture mentality. They call selling what you sell solution, which means there is a problem, as opposed to exploiting an opportunity. That's a very different you gold from known points of pain to unknown points of gain, and that's a very different dialog that's taking place. And we know from psychometrics now what it takes to be able to sell in the new way and why most it doesn't make them, I should be very quick, Chad. That doesn't make these people bad people, it's just that they're not they're not fit for this particular role. Oh yeah, there's and I don't think there anything wrong that. I mean, I'm not. I am not the most mechanically inclined human being. I am never going to be a master mechanic or I just don't have it. I don't like we used to joke my brother got all the math skills, I got all the charm right, I just don't have that. Well, and I'm certain that your wife would validate that? I don't know the first or the second one. Probably don't want to talk about that, but I could probably find you somebody that would say I'm trying, I'm just not sure that around me very long. Okay, well then, the psychometrics is absolute. That's...

...why everything we do today is is science driven. We don't, you know, the old thing that used to say good sales people are born, not made. Well, what's that at about? They don't say that about doctors and they don't say that about lawyer. Well, they wouldn't ever say about lawyers. Saying how. But but the whole thing that there is no science two sales, that is just absolutely wrong. We have found bushels and bushels of science and so everything we do with the company is in fact science driven, right down to the individual right up to the different sales cycles and so on. So, based upon the twenty seven competencies we've identified, based upon the thirty four aftributes, the unchangeable attributes where you're hardwired, we can predict with eighty five percent degree of accuracy who can make it, who can't, what comperancies that they will struggle in. What conversation can they be developed in? So you do prescriptive training and you all the with, always with prescriptive coaching. That's the one two punch that takes to start moving people up. To answer your question, yeah, without having without the coaching, in the reinforcement, I'm one hundred percent on the same page with either. But let's talk for a second about you said twenty seven competencies in thirty four immutable attributes. Can you give me an example of the give me a couple examples of the top competencies that you think that your science is showing you the sales professionals of the future will need. Hey, I just got in today, and I keep doing this because our database keeps getting bigger, and I asked them what are the biggest compressy deficits right now at play in today's market? Number one executive credibility. Number two is political mapping. Those are the top two deficits in organizations today. From a composent point of view, if you go from an attribute and they're twenty five others on but in you can go to an aftribute point of view. Let's say you want those two. Well, to be able to develop them that that level, there needs to be hot what's called high risk tolerance and the ability to have empathy. Now isn't that interesting? You have a person that is a risk taker but empathetic. He put those things together and you start to get an understanding of attributes. Okay, all right, that makes sense to well, I'm not. I guess I'm not surprised to see the empathetic at the top of that list. I mean the in my experience, you don't it's selling for a long time and doing sales coaching and stuff for a while. In my experience, the people that are the most effective have that innate ability to understand the world from the buyer, executive buyers perspective, understand what they think about, what they care...

...about, what they are trying to solve and accomplish, what their vision or mission maybe, and be able to somehow relate and connect to that. It seems to me and my experience be extremely rare. Is that something that you see in your surveys and stuff, that a lot of people fall out because, well, quite frankly, they're I don't want to they're not empathetic. I was going to say a different way, but why I would just modify what you said that you said they have the building. I would say they have the attribute or genetic blueprint or the DNA to be developed with that opera, that ability. Okay, so it there is a development cycle that needs to happen on top of them having the right genetics, if you please, and you know, we have to understand that people's attributes are not going to change unless you're a therapist, and we're not going to be able to do that with every person that reports. Do you. So you you need to and this is something that's just almost diametrically opposed to what's going on, that you want to hire two attributes and then develop the componencies, and that's almost backwards in every case. and You wonder why the day they're just less than a fifty percent success rate of hiring. It's because they're hiring to a resume that glows in the dark, you know, that has all these competencies out, but you don't hire the compsies anymore. You hire two attributes and then you can reduce to time performance because you got an individual that has the right aftributes, that is hungry for the kind of things that you can train them and coach them on. Well, that's a big on my shift. I mean that's a that's a big you know, that's a that's a big shift right from a lot of the sales leaders and managers and hiring people that I know, if you were, if I bet, if I were to ask them just to write down what are the things that you're looking for, they would probably give you the confidencies before. I mean I know that the company set way to give the attributes. So when you're working with clients, how do you help them? How do you help them make that shift? Well, there's a new paradigm that, it should probably seld be said, right on top of that is in you and I, when we grew up as sales managers, week we had a coverage and we so we covered the the feet on the street, so to speak. But today you no longer account people. You the real paradigm today is he who has some most competencies in the fewest spotties wins. And so it's all about that. And to be able to have the most competences in the field of spotties, if you got to hire the right bodies who have the right attributes. And the only way you can do that, as you have to use psychometric science to do that. And this is two thousand and seventeen and Chad, the science is available. Just blow your mind. Oh, I have no die. I'm a I am a I'm a data Geek, like I love. I consume it...

...as much as I can out. I always want to. I guess I'm one of those guys that always wants to be make sure I'm getting better right, and that's honestly, that's why this podcast started. I didn't plan on really do anything with it other than just having an opportunity to talk to people like yourself, professionals and people that have that experience. I just I want to learn from it. So the date is fascinating. The application of it, though, becomes another question. So when you have a client who's willing to make the jump, are when you do like the assessments or interviews or assess the skills and attributes of sales professionals, and you show them the results, are they surprised? Oh, oh, yeah, and put show it to their wife so that they are, yeah, surprised, but more than that they're disappointed and for the first time they can see where they've been blindsided or they they can see where they've been out sold and you know they scratch your head and swallow hard and and it's a yeah, yeah, it's that's right, that's really true. But more important in you then you can provide not only prescriptive training, I mean most training. Again, it's not prescriptive. But three mistakes are made that I committed every day when I was president of that sales training couple. I'm not proud of it. Again, it's embarrassing, but I overtrained in the wrong componencies, I undertrained in the right componencis and I missed certain competencies all together. And people who buy sales training, that's the three mistakes are making, unless you're using prescriptive training from psychometric science. It's just that. That's simple. It's as simple. Yeah, and so why? Right? So help me understand. So you you go in, let's say, just for manageability, for the conversation. Say, let's say you go into a sales organization. You got one VP or director and they got ten sales reps. and so what does it look like? You go in, they do these assessments and then, based on that, you identify those that can't be coached up, can't be you know, lifted up to the next level. So then I guess the VP knows who he needs to replace. And then the remaining ones. You at least know that to your to point of prescriptive training. You know how best to elevate them. What do? What can the makeup of that training look like when you guys engage that way? That's I don't think that's anything on my end. Is it on your end? Now, there we go. That better. Actually, no, M I'm not hearing anything. It sounds it's I hear you're hurt hearing you know, I heard it a little bit, but now it sounds okay. Well, I hear it. I can ignore it if we can do it. So yeah, we should be. Let's just okay, if it'll the let's see if it'll settle out a little bit. But...

I mean so, so, yeah, back to the course. So how do you what type of pre scripture training do you come out with as a result of those assessments? But the way, the way you do that, it's really kind of fun it. We do what's called a compsy calibrations things, because the competencies that your company may find as core, like all twenty seven, are not equal. Right. So you've got to prioritize them, and that's based upon to whom you're selling, the nature of what it is you're selling, the nature of your sales cycle, etc. So we calibrate which of the compsies are absolutely core and that becomes in we baseline them, the individuals, against that core and we baseline them a benchmark them against our competitors as well. So we have two points of reference and then the correct them and and is developed around those things. Okay, excellently. Something else there's there's something being use that. I think it you, given what you just said a few minutes ago. They would find very interesting is coaching. Coaching is a bigger problem than just to training. People don't people are not good coaches because they don't know what to coach on. And so we had once once you get my profile and I report to you. You can go online with my profile and it will break down those twenty seven competition to over nine hundred specific skills in the right order that you should be coaching me on. So you have enough to coach me on for a couple of years in develop me. And then do you take that and go back to our opening comments about millenniums. Millenniums number one, the number one thing that keeps loyalty of a Millennium in a sales organization is do they think they are growing? Do they think? Well, if we're getting prescriptive training and prescriptive coaching, there is they're happy campers and you've got a loyal person and you've got in your biggest risk is not your low performers. Your biggest risk in the sales organization is losing your high performers. Right that as long as you're doing those two things, you'll be able to keep them. Everybody's happy and excellent. And so let's Pitt here a little bit and talk about Revenue Storm. Can you help our audience understand how you, you know, when you approach a client, what's the normal reaction that I'm assuming you're going after, you know, top level sales executive, is. What's the normal reaction you get from them when you start to present this mind shifts, mind shifting type of information to them? Well, some are skeptical and sales yeah, and do remember that people get to those levels by doing the things they've always done, and so there's a principle in history that all revolutions started in the palace and back pedal themselves out of the palace. And so the people in the palace are not the instigators of change that they want to do what got them into the palace and they fight off everybody who wants to change that. Right. So...

...you've got to break through that. And so the best way to do that is we, in most organizations, create what we call an one and love excellence taken on performing area within the organization. And every organization has them. It could be a product line, it could be a geography, it done matter. And then we apply this science approach and then we get unbelievable dramatic results, so kind of results that I used to pray for when I was president of a sales training company. And once we get them, and then the whole company. Always, always, because the company is nothing more than a made up collection of copycats and anything that work, that's what people want to do. So that's how it works. At I made that up, but but that's how it that's really how it happens. Yeah, so it's your typical you know, landing expert. If you can prove it out in one area than everybody else wants to replicate it. Yeah, yeah, and that's I'm it makes total sense. So let's change direction a little bit. I ask all of our guests two standard questions towards the end of each interview. First is simply, as a revenue executive yourself, you you know cee arow at Revenue Storm. That makes you what we politically correctly would say prospect. I just like to call it like I see it. Call it a target for other sales professionals. When somebody's trying to get your attention or they think they have something that's going to be able to solve a problem that you may have, what's the best way for someone you don't know to capture your attention and get in front of you? Oh, good question. Of course they have to show the been through revenue storm approach. Now, other than that, I need them to come at me, not through my company. That was the old training trick. You Got Don older company. Know what their business issues are. No, no, I I run the cup. May feel pretty good about that and I feel pretty good about what we're doing. I feel pretty good about a growth rate and excited excter. I want them to come to me through my industry if they can come to me with industry knowledge and the battle ground has moved from the company into the company's industry. So you never can know an and individuals company better than they know it. You will always be one or two questions away from being exposed. But if you come to me to the new battleground, which is my industry, that scenario where I'm not yet formulating my response, I haven't formulated my strategy, that I sometimes don't even know what the new trends are Indian US industry. So if the salesperson comes to me from that area and they can put something in my mind that I have not thought or if they put some options that have not considered or help me draw some connections that I've never drawn, he's got me. I'm going to be there. I'm going to suck him drive because that individual has just become a resource to me, and that's the...

...right of value, the providing more than just contecturation. They're providing value and insight. Yeah, Yep, they become a strategic resource. Perfect, perfect. So last question. We call it our acceleration insight. There's one thing you could tell sales professionals that would help them prepare in the in the changing market place that you think would make them more successful. What would that be? In why? I'll give a very simple one. You've got to come to the place in your mind that there will not be enough customers for you to find, for you to make your growth numbers. You're going to have to shift to making customers rather than finding customers. That means you're moving from demand capture to demand create. Shin know if and some butts about it. That should be number one on your list. Excellent. That was perfect. Thank you very much, Lavan. If somebody's interested in getting in touch with you to talk more about this learn more about revenue storm, what's the best way to get in contact with you? You can call revenue storm or you can call me personally. Six three zero eight, four, one, two, three seven three, or email me at leav on at Revenue Stromcom, or just get on our website, revenue storm website, and say contact me. So any of those things work. Excellent, Lev I can't thank you know for taking the time day. It's been great having it on the show. Well, thank you chat and thank you for good questions and thank you for allowing people like me to put this kind of information out in the air waves. It's much needed and you get you're doing a really good service by making that happen. Thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you again. All right, everyone that does it for this episode. Please check us out at betb REV exaccom, share the episode, Give us a review on itunes so we know which guests you're getting the most value from and, finally, remember, 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 for your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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