The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 3 years ago

Mary Lombardo on When Things Go Wrong


The sale is going well – at least you think you know where it’s going. Then suddenly things start falling apart. “I need to take this to my boss.” It’s a phrase we dread hearing, yet are all too familiar with in the world of sales. So how can we combat chaos?

To tackle this topic we sat down with Mary Lombardo, founder and CEO of Absolute Impact Corporation, a sales training company for industries that have outside sales teams.

You're listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated ELPA executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: Welcome e Yeu wone to theB to be revenue executive experience on your host Chad Sanderson today we'regoing to talk about what happens when a sale does not go as expected, which I'msure none of you have ever experienced before and how you can avoid hearingthe dreaded. I need to take this to my boss to Tacko this topic. We have withUS Mary, Lambardo, founder and Co of Absolute Impact Corporation Mary. Thankyou so much particular time to be on the show today. Thank you chat, happyto be here so before we jump in. I have to ask I notice on your linked inprofile that you have a law degree and I have to ask I've heard of a lot oftransition. You know origin stories on how people end up in sales, becauseit's you're never sitting around playing with you know: Dolls and firetrucks when you'R kiddand go ang. I want to be in sales, but I got to knowhow did we go from lawyer to sales and eighblment aright trust me you're, notthe first person, you know it's not an obvious path asbusiness school Chad, but law school cannon has served for me as a steppingstone in my career and surprisingly, it's not Ancommon to find nonpracticingattorneys in elevated positions in the corporateworld, at least that's what I've discovered in one ofmy previous positions at an Forte onethusand company. There are five ofus on the same floor. So have lot degrees they a yes. We were all those people that went to law, schooland and there there we were so you K, O my legal education. It'soffered me a host of skill enhancements that I've applied to a wide range ofindustries, and you know, even though I do have a lat degree and I'm anentrepreneur at heart and I've benefited by my legal education,particularly because part of my studies focused on legal concepts and prameworks, and that has had immediate applicability to the startup efforts for my company. So you know again itmay sound like an odd trajectory, but it's surprising there's a a lot of us.Not npracticing attorneys out the program, excellent, so for our listeners. Canyou give them a little bit more context around what we're doing over it?Absolute Impact Corporation? Absolutely so we are a corporate sales trainingcompany and one of the major components...

...that we offer to sales teams is oursolution. Called smart selling at smartselling has been around for thirtyyears and the cofounder Larry Sugarman and I have reached recently mergedsolutions, so part of the umbrella of Absolute Impact Corporation and Aur,offering our targeted sales training to industries that have outside salesteams, excellence, excellent, all right. So, let's jump in anyone in sales rightanybody's. Ever carried Abag, as had the experience of believing they havean account under control right and then all of a sudden. You know you think youknow where it's going and then out of the blue procurement sticks their headin or all of a sudden. You get some indication that it's slowing down orworse, it goes quiet. So when we were prepping for this I'm kind of curious.Why is this topic so imported to you and how do you suggest tha sales raps?Keep from this keep this from happening right. So I guess it's important to mebecause there's there's there's several points here in understanding a salecycle. I think so. I think that sales is a mix of art andscience and and the science piece cannot beoverlooked here. You know tha somebody in sales. Obviously somebody successfulin sales needs to have strong people skills, but it's critical for a sale tohave all steps in a sales cycle completed in ninety nine and a halfpercent of the time they have to happen in the correct order. Andon. You knowwhen, when something falls apart at the end, it's the result of three things ifyou will, and so the prospects view of the solution to their problem aschanged, or there is not unique capabilityalignment and- and the third is that going through theentire sale cycle without testing, whether the person you're talking tohas the authority over resources to me. So somebody ibecause you no yeah, Oh yeah, yeah, so so ther. I guess the the main pointthat I want to make and why that's important to me is because I for surehave been part of the just getting swallowed up in the whole relationshipwithout really doing the methodical leg work in order to have a deal clus right. Well, I meansales is a discipline which those of us that have been successful at it have efigured out right. It's funny to me when we, you know when we work withclients, and you spend a lot of time with millennials or the youngers. Let's sayless experience, so let's say se five.

You know subfive years of fieldexperience and it's funny to see them making some of the sameassumptions that I made when I was a when I was carrying a bag right out ofthe gate right and it's fun. They just keep repeating themselves, and all thatseems to change is the context from the buyers perspective right, and so, whenwe, you know tha, so there's the all right. We things go dark. It goeshegoes a place where we don't expect it to go, because we haven't worked ourdiscipline. What about procurement right? Well often, here you get all theway through the sales process, and I actually had a situation where somebodykared me said: No, no, they never once brought up price and I'm like they will.They will just wait. No, no I've got this under control. They've neverbrought up price, and then you know two days later hey. So I got to talk tothis guy from procurement yeah and it precaremens. First words is going to betoo expensive, so I'm kind of careous. What top two things? Would you suggestsales raps DU to avoid this? Well, they have to get procurementinvolved as soon as possible. ISS AP SAP. So you know procurement. Their missionis to provide that person that has the authority with the lowest possibleprice. So it's important that they understand the value that I, as asalesperson, have created with this prospect, because if they have noconcept of the conversations or the value that's been created or my uniquecapabilities, they're just going to look at me and the other competitor orcompetitors and they're just going to look at price, the lowes price will win. Yep Yeah isget hem. You know, I agree. One hundred percent get prorcurmen involved early,procuremens, Goy goals and objectives to they've got metrics. They got a hitso worke understanding and get them involved. I think I's a great thing andit's funny, no matter how many times you say it or how many stories you cantell where you know it was a benefit or it hampered something. It still seemsto be the last thing that sales reps want to do, and I'm kind of you knowthe precuremant has this. I don't know this view. It's the're. The boogy man,its like no Wejus, get them in early makimg part of the process. Right rightand- and you know, sales are they're very relationship based atleast in my world and consultative sales. The are very, very relationshipbased if it was a transactional sale. You know we were selling computers orcell phones. I mean you, really, you don't need to develop a relationshipwhut. I want to buy a cell phone. I go to the store and I M by a cell phone,and you know I will never see that person again, but you know the types of consultativesales that that I have been accustomed to, and probably you Chad are very you know: Multimillion dollarmultiyear contracts that require...

...managing managing everybody. That's involvedthat intitution andhurting Thecam to think differently. You know like wehave to compel people to think differently. So so you know going toprocurement at the eleventh hour is not a good idea. All it's going to do is push things outwithout a dol, yeah and and you're right I mean I I mean I've donetransactional sills. I you know made my mark with the complex Hale. I love thatI love the complexity of it and it was always you know I was used to tell theteams when I ran Hem, you know j getting the contract signslike you know you, maybe forty percent there. I have taking ait night to get thatdone, but now you got to actually get them to the point where they realizethe value you just sold them. So it's much longer much more involvedin relationships. A definitely a heavy part, but you end up in a a lot ofsales EP, will end up in a situation. Por camen comes in Heya, it's tooexpensive. So why do you think so many reps today still continue. It's notlike this is a new thing till continue to fall back to okay, I'll discount,like I'll just I'll just discount. Why? Why do you think most ress just do that,instead of pushing back and and having a deeper conversation right? Personally,I think it's you know it's that hasty decision justwanting to close something, just something I don't. I don't reallycare what it is just something you know we have sales people, we all know thepressures of carrying the quota, and- and sometimes it can just be- that thatsales people are not close to making their number and we carry. We have alot of pressure because of the number that we carry, but you know it can bevery short sided for a sales person, and it's not that I haven't done itmyself, because I have, and I've learned the hard way that not every sale is a good sale. So not every sale is a good sale. If I, ifIot, to sell something just for the sake of selling it, it may lose therelationship in the end, and I personally believe that therelationships are are more important than a quick sale, because thoserelationships are going to turn into more relationships or future business,and so that person needs to really be invested in the problem that theprospect is trying to solve agreed agree in the relationship. Therelationships pay dividends far beyond whatever current account they're at orcurrent upportunty right. They go different places and they're going toremember the relationship they may not remember, which is sold Hem, but someof the people that are my best friends today are guys that I have guys andGals I seld to over the last seventeen years yeah and they become you knowgreat friends, because you no tart the trenches with them ight that's right.They most certainly do and- and they begin you know they begin to view... You know as trusted advisors. Youknow, and I think that there's I think- that when we get to that place,when we're able to take a relationship from the preconceived notion of this isa salesperson who just wants to sell me something and really doesn't care aboutme when taking that veneer and changing it to this person knows their subject matter:they're knowledgeable, they know trends. They know my business as well as I dothey understand my problems. They listen more than they talk. You know y. They they are here to help me and you know,kind of switching that mindset once you're there, Chad, that's the sweetspot and that's where the magic happens, because, as you just said, thoserelationships will pay off far more dividends than a an immediate quicksale.Yeah. There's nothing like I mean there are sales reptodere. Just like hey. Igot to close something I want something in the pipeline, but you really have toslow it down a little bit. Ask Yourself is this good business? Is this a gooddeal not just for your company but for the person you're doing business withright? If you force something bad down their throatthey're, going to rememberthat and that relationship's not going to be one you're going to be able torely on in the future. That is absolutely correct. But again you knownot every sale is a good sale for me. I want people to trust me and Iwant them to be happy and know that I'm vested in whatever it is that they aretrying to resolve and and by taking that posture and comporting myself inthat fashion, it creates livestanding result without a doubt without it out. So whenaccounts go dark, so we talked about pricing a little bit. We've talkedabout, you know, making sure youyour working your discipline, our work inyour process, but everybody's had those accounts, godark and you know n a day goes by and you get a little anxious and a weekgoes by and you start to sweat. You know you spent the time to workwith them. Build report, get them partially through the process. I'm kindof curious, if you have any tactics or approaches that you recommend forreengaging, with an account when it's gone, dark that you found to beparticularly effective. Yes, I do actually- and so yes, this has happenedto me and it was certainly part of my early learning process and part of whatwe teach and smartselling is and, as I mentioned earlier, I believethat sales is an art and a science and typically what I think. The reason thataccounts go dark is because of a failure to create that whole tangible, logicalstep by steptime table of events with people that have authority overresources right. So the the science part is...

...okay, your! So U, you need to increasesales by five million dollars by the end of this year. THAT'S THE GOAL! Okay!So who needs to be involved in this decision? All the board needs to beinvolved. Okay! Well, why don't we put them on the calendar for next week andI can talk to them. We can talk to them together. Who else needs to be involvedin this procurement? Oh procurment Ewell. I guess I better go downstairs.Can I talk to them today, ight now and so creating this backward stepby step timemodel. You know time table of H. events will will mitigate any eother reasons.Hopefully that accounts would go dark. So it's t the science component and thelogical component of sales like the tangible, here's, the nuts and bolts.So you want to be here. So let me get everybody else involved and let's putit own t on the calendar right right exactly having that plan thateverybody's bought into that you can hold each other accountable todefinitely helps keeping them from going dark. Completely. Agreecompletely agree all right. So What da e we? What do we see? So I mean a lotof these things that we've talked about so far. I mean these are kind ofstandard. What I would consider standard sails problems. I don't wantto say age old because well shows how old I am, but it's not like we'retalking about new stuff right We'e, probably if ther were podcast twentyyears ago, Ou and we'd be talking about the same stuff, but that's right. Let'slook to the future a little bit, I'm kind of curious what you see as kind ofthe next emerging trend in sales that sales professional should be aware ofand if you've given any thought to how how they might address it sure. So you know, obviously the Internet's madeit easier for prospects to develop a better understanding of productcapabilities without having to deal with sales. People Soit's already had a huge impact oncommodity sales, like you know, books or shoes or- and I do a lot of shoppingonline, even pencils. So and now you know that we're going tohave drans flying through the Aire, pretty so soi think we do in some someto some degree, but for more complex solutions. It's mypersonal belief that sales professionals are still going to needto be knowledgeable in their area, and youknow expert problem, analyzers and listeners and knowing trends and justbecause a product looks like it can do the jobthat a prospects looking for it doesn't mean it's the right one. So, for example, you know automating aninofficialt process can just end up...

...doing the wrong thing. Faster, I love it yeah, so I think that really being a subject matter expert knowing what isreally driving that customer and here's where the people skills come in. Youknow what is this prospect's real issue, and are they really saying it so is itsomebody's job is on the line, so they really need to make some changes. It's really it's important to know what the what the real driving forcebehind what people are saying is- and this is for you know, complex types ofsales- obviously not for the cell phones and not fom books or shoes, but that's what I think. I think peopleneed to really know the industry that they are working in and why they'reworking there and being able to show up as really a trusted partner, perfectand we can'. We cannot underemphasize how important and I think, you're right.It's going to be even more important, important, moving forward that abilityto understand the perspective of the person you're working with right andbecome that trusted relied upon go to person to be. You know, abackstop brainstorm. How do I solve this problem? Somebody that they trustand understand that requires a lot of emotional intelligence as well a aswell as the discipline right s the the field of sales, especially as we getinto more the technology taking away some of the commoditie spots. I think Ithink it was JE blunt said in his book. You know ten years, they'll be salesreps that tell robots what to do and sales reps that are told by robots whatto do yeah, yeah all right. So, let's Change Directionhere, a little bit. We ask all of our guess kind of two standard questionstowards the end of each interview in the first is simply you're a revenueexecutive, wo Ren in a company. That means you are a prospect for otherpeople for other side. F, the fessionals yeah so help our audienceunderstand. You know what gets your attention when someone's trying toSello ou someone, you don't know, thathat's, not a referral. It's not awar Mentro, but somebody were really prospecting into you. What woe get yourattention? What works best to capture that and build credibility? I think well, there's several thingsyou know. Are they really interested in knowing about me and my situation, ordo they just want to sell me? Something would be the first. The first item you know do they appearknowledgeable. I want to be able to get the sense and the experience fromsomeone sitting across the desk fom me that they know what they're talkingabout and are they willing to listen. You know, as I said earlier, aboutbeing willing to listen more than speak well,...

...when the tables are turned. I need to see that they're reallytaking in what it is that I'm saying and not just talking at me, also theyre their tenacity. So, if they're reallytrying to reach out to me and Y, they l they're consistent, then that tells me they're going towork hard for me and, and finally, I guess have theydone their homework. You know somebody came in if I allowed someone to comeinto my office or met with someone, and they said. Okay, tell me your problems.That meeting would be over right e, like what no I'm not going to inviteyou in my house and tell you all of what's happening here. You have to know, at least to somecursory degree what's happening in my business. Why you're sitting across forme, why I gave you the time and are you really interested in knowing aboutwhat's going on in my business? Or do you just want to sell me somethingperfect, perfect, so last question we calle, I our acceleration inside therewas one thing you could tell: Sales marketing or professional servicesperson. Just one piece of advice: You could give them that if they listened,you believe would help them hit their targets, crush heir targets. What wouldit be and why take smart selling? Really, I would help anybody, but one piece of advice- I guess, would benobody. Nobody really cares about you or your company or your product. Theyreally only care about their problems right, so talk about what they're interested inthirst and you'll have more than enough time to share, butonly when the time is right. Perfect, perfect, marry can't! Thank you enough.o being on the show Tad, if t e listeners interested in learning moreabout you, smart selling, Absolutei Pactcorp, what's the best way to getOldyeah sure, so they can email me at Mary at absolute impact Corpcom or theycan find me on Linkeon as well excellent. Well, thank you gettingmarried for taking the time. It's been an absolute pleasure avenue on the show.Thank you, Chad. My pleasure have a great Tan, all right, everyone thatdoes it for this episode. Please check us out of B Tob Revizeccom, and youknow the drill share it up there with your friends, families and coworkersleave its review. Let us know who else you'd like to have on the show alwaysopen to suggestions from the audience and until next time we avalue primesolutions, wish you all nothing, but the greatest success you've been listening to the BTBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes for your favorite podcast player. Thank youso much for listening until next time.

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