The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Purpose Drives Profits: How to Really Be Customer-Centric w/ Lisa McLeod


A noble purpose isn’t something that just happens.


It’s not like you need Bill Gates’ success to have one.


In reality, it’s the other way around. 


Today, I’m joined by Lisa McLeod, best-selling author of Selling with Noble Purpose and Founder of McLeod & More, to discuss why finding purpose is such an important step for any successful organization. 


Lisa explains:


- Why you need a purpose


- How to find your aim and your lane


- Why success means being able to sit with uncertainty


- Why your customers should value you and not just your product


This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Lisa McLeod, best-selling author of Selling with Noble Purpose and Founder of McLeod & More.


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

You need to be just as specific about the impact you have on customers as you are about your own internal metrics. You're listening to the BB 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 BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about what it means to have a noble purpose and business and why it goes beyond and proving just the financial returns of the organization. To help us, we're lucky to have with US Lisa mccloud, bestselling author of selling with noble purpose, and founder McLeod Moore. Lisa, thank you so much for taking time and welcome to the show. Thanks so pleasure to be here, Chad. So well, always like to start with like an icebreaker question, something a little off the off the cuff, kind of always curious to know people put a lot of time into their you know, public persona and all that stuff, but curious or something you're really passionate about that those that might only know you through work might be surprised to learn. People might be surprised to learn how much I care about the experience that young people have going into the world of work, and it shows up kind of on the edges of my work. But when I think of about a young person in their very first job, that sets the tone for what work is going to be like for you. Absolutely and would a lot of people don't realize, when you set the tone for what work is going to be like for a young person, you also set the tone for what life is going to be like, and the way they experience that job is going to have a dramatic effect on not only their ambition, their career success, but also the way they are in partnership, if they have a partner, and the way they parent eventually. Yeah, I love it that. That is probably the one of the most interesting I've heard in a while. That has...

...a nice ancillary benefit across the entire spectrum of our existence. I remember, unfortunately, my transition from college to work and I remember, and it's burned vividly in my head for some reason. We're talking. I mean those that can't see me. These are platinum highlights in my Cote. These are not gray hairs. The first time I got I was really into music and it was working for a magazine and I had a count executive look at me and say that's cute, you will no longer have time to enjoy anything associated with the arts, and he was rather aggressive about it and it just stuck in my head. I was like, I don't think I want to work with him or in any time. Rights Asian like that. Well, and so many people, sadly, and it does relate to my work, but people are often surprised to know that this is like a an emotional trigger for me. So many people in that first job get the feeling I'm working for the man young, certainmatic, and in reality that's often not the case. Like that magazine or not. You know we work with biotech, we working construction. A lot of times these companies really are improving lives for customers, but that first job is so far removed from that you can get bury jaded, and it is. It breaks my heart because it is a lost opportunity on behalf of the employer and also the young person starting their job. Oh absolutely I couldn't it. Couldn't agree more. All right, so let's start with a definition from a business perspective, of what we mean when we say noble purpose. Let's set some contacts for the conversation. People often think that noble purpose is reserved for the doctors, the teachers, the nurses or the big sexy companies. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Your noble purpose is simply how do you make a difference to your customers? And...

...when you put that at the four of your business, everything changes the challenges. A lot of organizations have these aspirational purposes, but when it comes down to sales, it's show me the money. This is a lost opportunity. Well, and you mentioned as we were prevent you mentioned that sales organizations with a noble purpose often outperform those that don't have one, or maybe are two focused on this show me the money aspect. Can you go a little bit deeper in that? For me that's right. And the thing you have to understand is purpose drives profit, not the other way around. A lot of people think will make enough money and then we'll be a good corporate citizen. The purpose that I'm talking about is not good corporate citizens right. I'm all for that and Bravo you, and I'd encourage that. But what we've identified? The research tells us that organizations whose noble purpose is to improve the lives of their customers and who put that at the center of their organization outperform the market by a three hundred fifty percent because they are laser focused on customers. And there's a nuance here that I want to be really clear on that. A lot of people think we want to be a customer centric organization. We want to do right by our customers. That's good. That's better than saying, you know, we want to be a bunch of jerks. But where we go is one step further, and that is clarity about the impact you have on customers. So it's not just about pleasing your customers, it's about improving your customers and it's a really crucial difference. Well, so let's go a little bit deeper than when we say improving the customer. Are we talking improving quality of life, educational landscape with like? What is that? Well, what are some of those metrics or aspects that, when we look at the improvement of the of the customer really resonate with the organizations. So what you have to do when you are finding your noble purpose is choose your aim and your lane. And so give you an example. One of our clients... a bank and their purposes we fuel prosperity. So imagine the difference. You have all these and we've all seen the bad bank sales people. Imagine perhaps you've been yes, we have, and have even made consistently the front page the wealth of street turtle. So but imagine if, instead, your boss said our purpose here is to fuel the clients prosperity. So that means we need to figure out what is prosperity mean to that client? How can we improve it? And it seems simple, but what you do when you do that is you change the North Star of the sales organization. And so we had another organization. They were in the concrete business and their purpose was we're going to redefine this industry and they had some very specific ways they were going to redivine the way customers experience them. And what it does is it points your people, because most of the time in business we point people to specificity on the numbers but vagueness on the customer experience and you need to be just as specific about the impact you have on customers as you are about your own internal metrics. When organizations have been investing, whether they have the right focal point or not right. You go back to Amazon and virgin and landing, like Disney even they've all used this customer experience approach. What is really interesting is that that to me seems like a means to the end of fulfilling a purpose rather than the end itself, and most organizations have a tendency to use customer experience as the end goal. That's what we're after. It sounds like what we're talking about is going one step further, getting more specific about not just hey, I made it to this point, but this is the impact getting to this point had, not only on my organization but my customer base as well. Is that a fair assessment? That is and so I'll...

...give you an example of how this plays out. One of our clients was provided it services to small businesses. See might they were pretty well known. They were in the news about this, and imagine the difference between them when the leader says okay, Chad, you're going to go out and call in this small business. You need to find out how are they measuring success? How are we going to improve it? How are we going to move the needle for this small business? Go get them, Chad, versus your competitor that the Moss says, Chad, you need to go close this deal right now. Sounds good, but who would you rather have called on you? The person whose organization has said improve life for the customer, find the biggest, boldest, best way you can do that and go to town with it, versus the person that said close it, close it, close it. The data tells us. A very famous study now at a Michigan State University, the person who was told make a difference to the customer will sell a bigger deal, they'll sell a stick your deal and they will have more tenacity in the face of setbacks. Well, that's because I would assume. I mean, I'm very much the same way right. So if I'm not passionate about I can help you solve this problem or we can drive these types of impacts for your or or your customers. Somebody just driving me go and close, close, close. That's going to come across in the way I present myself, my word choice, the channels in which I reach out to you and what I say in those things. It really could be. I could see situations where it could be detrimental to the brand as a whole, not only of the individual sales rep but of the organization that they're representing. That's right. We were dealing with client of ours who's Chief Avenue Officer for a global firm and when everyone went virtual, you know they, like everyone else, is worried about the revenue, but this particular chief revenue officer had the wherewithal. It came to us and said, I want my people to be seen as helpful, not scavengers. And it's exactly because the thing you have... understand is the internal conversation becomes the external conversation. And if you're internal conversation is only about how can we close it? How can we close it? You haven't given your salespeople anything compelling or interesting to take to the market and it's going to show up in every little way that they behave with customers. Yeah, and I think it goes even beyond just the customer approach. It very much is that human to human like you need to be curious about what that other person is experiencing. You need to be able to understand what there were problems they're trying to solve and if you're ethical, which I know some people would challenge some salespeople on that parts, but if you're ethical, you have to be willing to admit that they could be focused on things you can't help them with right now and that that's okay, that it's just not something. It's not going to make any sense to jam the, you know, Square, Square peg into the round hole. It really is about making sure you understand where they're at. When we did the research for selling with noble purpose for the second edition, so I wrote the first book about eight years ago and then we implemented this with over two dozen firms and we saw huge exponential growth in revenue and they're all outlined in there. One of the things that was really interesting when we were researching the second edition and we were identifying the habits of the salespeople that were the top performers. So the first thing we identified, first blush, was they have a purpose bigger than money and customer impact is are in game. But the second thing, this was super interesting, was they had the ability to sit with uncertainty and it was because they had enough confidence that I can probably help most customers. So we can get into a conversation about what their needs are and where they're going and I'm pretty confident that in most cases I will be able to help these people. So that gave them the capacity. And if you've ever been with a...

...salesperson who was like, Oh my God, Oh my God, this conversations going wrong, I've got a close I guy, it's it's so obvious the customer, but this, this one nor star, bigger than money, what we call the noble purpose, pointed them in a different direction. And then this second skill, the ability to sit with uncertainty, made their sales calls so much more collaborative. Well, that's not a skill set that a lot of sales people had. Like. I mean, I joke with some of our clients. You know, sales sales people typically have really, really, really big egos, but they're very fragile and uncertainty becomes one of those places where you can kind of shake those the foundation right. It shows up. It's one of those things where there's this sense of control. Now the question for me would be is the way that my organization is structured in or targeting me as a sales wrap. Is the internal complan processes in internal you know daytoday. Is that what is impacting the way I am perceived by my customers? Or can an individual sales rep even in the face of all of that, still identify something closer to a noble purpose for themselves and still be effective in that mail storm of kind of historical performance? Right? So, yes and yes. In most organizations the infrastructure, we call it the sales ecosystem, pulls the seller towards the transactional. Everything they see on the Crm, when you going to close it? When are you going to close it? Everything boss sets you down. Winning in a close image is going to be all those things are fine, but in the absence of any other larger story, they will take presents. But to your point, can an individual seller? Here's what we found that the top tier performers, the top ten percent, it didn't matter what their organization was doing, they held on to this North Star of I'm here to make a difference to customers no matter what.

And so so what that tells us is that's good news for individual sellers, because the individual seller and what we did in the new version of the book was we made it some really practical models for individual sellers to get your mind set right, because we've we've all been in that organization where maybe everything's going negative and a couple people still say no, here's what we can do. You know, we've all seen where individual mindset can supersede what's happening in the organization. So that's the good news for individual sellers. The good news for organizations is when we looked at what we call the malleable middle, the people most heavily influenced by the manager, the CRM, the executive language, when we looked at those folks, what we found was noble purpose was not innate to them, but it's still could be taught. Excellent that they could. They could learn it. So that means you can learn it on your own or, ideally, your whole organization will do it. Yeah, I'm ideally it would be great. I mean, nobody wakes up in the morning and says I want catastrophic change in my life, but if we had a change management approach that made it organizational. And when you work with an organization, so you go in and see you got to start with some sessment, understand where they're at now, but one of the first areas that you see need to be touched, evolved shifted. Where do you see the first where's the first sign that we're off track? One of the first signs is when we look at how the sales meetings are run and how executive town halls are run and we look at the language of those. If all of that language is pointed internal and there's no stories or examples of how we're improving life for customers, we know not only is that organization and danger, but we also know this is a fast, easy fix, all right, because if you are selling something that people are buying, they're getting some improvement off it. You've... some customer impact stories there. We know that they're there. We just have to find them and start telling them. I want to go back to something that you said, though, that I want to challenge folks on this belief that people don't wake up and want change, because we have this belief that nobody wants change. If that was true, no one will get married and no one would ever have a baby. What we find, what we don't want, is we don't want some change enacted by senior leadership that has no benefit for us. And so one of the way things that we lead with when we go into an organization it's rather than starting with, Oh, this is how we're going to make more money, this how we're going to do this, what we lead with is, and it's true, is this is how you're going to enjoy your job more and this is how you're going to better connect with customers in a way that's more meaningful and instead of sitting at home feeling like all you do is just hassle people for money, we want to create some meaning and happiness in your job. This is the same reason people have a baby, not because they go sign me up for late nights, but because they think, oh, this is going to be something that I'm gonna get some joy out of. And so that's one of the problems with so much of the change is that companies of the business reason for it and they think all the minions will come along. Instead, we want to lead with here's the wind for you right, because the money follows the meaning, and that's hard for a lot of organizations. I mean that's a hard that's a hard shift for an organizational structure, depending on the generational spread. You know, all the stereotypes exist for a reason, right. So the generational spread can make it challenging because the generations that are typically going to be in those midlevel roles at this point, they're probably going to respond to that a lot more effectively and with less skepticism than those who maybe, and...

I know this is a huge overgeneralization, so bear with me, audience, but those at the top probably have a little bit more gray hair and probably a little bit more skeptical just from an upbringing stand right. How do you bring them all together? How do you get them all on the same page? So you've got to meet people where they are and as someone who is older who camouflages her gray hair with hair, this what I had to finally bring together in my own life was the connection between the money and the meaning. So I grew up in sales. I'm x pro turn gamble sales. I ran a sales leadership consultancy firm before I started my own firm, and the idea of making money is thrially. To meet you. It's so exciting to me because when when you if you've ever been in a company that wasn't making money, it is horrible. Yeah, worried about it every night. You know, depending on how bigger small, you can't make pay rolling or fire. But it's awful. And so what we've got to do, what we do when we go in with senior leaders, is we show them the clear data about why embracing this noble purpose will make you more money, because that's you've got to meet people where they are. It's the same model. You need to follow customers. If senior leaders are looking at this panl and looking at this pipeline saying how can you affect this? We got to meet them where they are. Other people are saying, please make my job better. You got to meet them when they are and I do want to be clear. This is not a magic bullet that in one quarter will make you more money. But what we've consistently seen is in the course of twelve months, I mean we've had some clients double revenue and it and the thing the thing that I would ask is I use a really simple example, is imagine a salesperson's being coached and one leader says when you're going to close it and how much is it going to be? In the precoll planning and another leader...

...says when you go to close it? How much is it going to be? And then after they ask that, they ask how will this customer be different as a result of doing business with us? Yeah, it's a subtle shift and powerful, very powerful. From what you know, what that rep walks away from. Do you find you ask it last? It's right because it's the one thing you want. It's the it's the primary focal point. Right, so they're always going to remember that one last do you find that reps struggle sometimes to answer that question? They do, which is why it's so important to ask it. So we call it the game changing question. How will the customer be different as a result of doing business with us? And when you ask a seller that early in their sales process, they do struggle, and that tells you we got to do some discovery here. If you're asking them that before they're about to make their big pitch, that means Whoa, we don't have a very compelling bitch. But what we find and organizations that where we coach the sales managers, and again, this isn't a big leap. Ask All your normal pipeline questions just to insert this one at the end. What we find is that shifts everyone's mind you know, we often tell you know, mindset and language, we often think are these fluffy things, but mindset and language and sales is everything, because your customers mindset, in the language they use with you, is to tell about how they feel about you. And so what you're doing when you ask how will the customer be different as results of doing business with us? You you're flipping the salesperson's mindset. Instead of being pointed over here in the east, they're pointing towards the north. Now rest for impact, and then the language that they use to describe it, that's the language you want on the sales call. So that's why we call it the game changing question. When we work with companies over the course of a year or so when they introduce new products, every new product that comes out is everyone wants to know how will the customer... different as a result of this product? We're going to tell you that changes your product launches. Yeah, it has wide reaching effects on the entire room, is structurally and perspectively, but it also then lends itself to it removes the transactional nature of the sale, which is, I think, where one of the things that you've mentioned was that transactional sales is dead. And so if I'm not just focus on the transaction, I'm focused on the outcome of the customer, how they will be different if we'se that game changing question. Is that what you mean when you say transactional sales, or debt ors or something else that that I'm missing. That's what I mean. I want to be clear of people mean different things by different things. A transactional sale is a sale where the customer places no value on you. I like that definition. Yeah, so I can go to a fast food place and it can be transactional or I can go to a fast food place and it can I can it can be more than transactional. I can buy a multimillion dollar system and it can be very transactional or it can be more. And what we know is if the customer place is no value on you, the person, the company doing business with them, and the soul value is on the functionality of your product, you're going to be dead in the water because that deal is going to go up forbid the next year. That deal is going to come down to price. Even if you've got the coolest functionality in the world, your competitions going to have it. And so if you your salespeople are selling very transactionally feature function, you're in big trouble. Yeah, absolutely. And so I have to ask how you see said you publish the first edition, I think so, eight years ago. Yeah, how did you find yourself getting behind or championing this idea of noble purpose in business? We're to come. Where was the genesis? It was a study that I did for a biotech company. They asked us to study their sales team and they wanted to know what differentiated the top performers. And so we did a blind... We went in the film. We work with good performers and exceptional performers, but we didn't know who was who, and so we looked at all the things. You can imagine how throw it all the sellers tore us. No doubt every salesperson listening this is going O God. But we went out watch how many calls they make, how many questions they as? We did interviews with them and we were near the very end of the study, as with this one representative in Phoenix, Arizona, sitting in her car about to get out in the blistering hot heat and hoof my way up to the terminal at the airport and then I just wanted to take a minute in that air conditioning. So I asked her a question. I said, what do you think about when you go on sales calls? And she said why? I always think about this one particular patient. She says, a grandmother came up to me one day in a doctor's office. I'm where my company name Badge and she said, are you the REP for this drug? She's yes, ma'am, I am, she says. A Little Old Lady looked up at her and said, well, I want to thank you for giving me my life back, because prior to taking this I couldn't go anywhere do anything, and now that I've taken your drug, I can. I can fly across the country and visit my grandkids and get down the floor and play with them. And so this sales rep says, well, you know, I think about her every day, rainy Friday afternoon. Other reps go home, not me. She's my purpose. I think about her. And this was about ten years ago and when she was saying it I could feel something in my heart shift right and I had been a longtime sales trainer and I thought this is different, this is that intangible thing. So I went back and I looked at all the other interviews for that sense of purpose. I found four other people that had it. One Guy talked about his dad being a doctor. You just want to make the doctor's life easier. Couple of things. And the end the biotech company Said who do you think our top reps are? I said, I think it's these five, and that's who they were. Was a hundred percent right and I knew at that moment that I had spotted something not just magical but but, I hoped, scalable, something...

...that was a real differentiator. And so the biotech bunch of scientists and finance guys, so well, how did you know? What was the different you because now they think I'm magic. Right, and and so this is ten years ago. And so I said, well, you know the top sellers, now that I know who they are, I said they all have this different story in their heart. And so the Finance Guy, yes, Guy, love you know, and they gave me a little more rope because I'm just identify the top five and I couldn't quite articulate it, but that was I knew if we can bottle this. If we can scale it, if we can teach it, we can create magic. And it only took a scant decade later. All right. Well, I mean there's a lot of you know, when you think about a human motivation in general, you know, I think of I think it was Daniel Pink's work on Damn but tongue. Yeah, Tommery, master and purpose, and that purpose is the one that, when it comes up, is the hardest one for people to authentically put their arms around and express. In my experience. They may have it, but to share it sometimes is it is a level of vulnerability that if we go back to that sales structure where it's closed, closed closet, it's not necessarily the most welcoming environment for those types of conversation and that's why we have to change that. Yeah, it becomes a self and prophecy and it also how we do want to be clear. So I first discovered this in this setting where they were selling drugs that save people's lives. But what we've since found out is we haven't a concrete company, we haven't a plumbing company, we haven't in a bank. And if you think banking, concrete and plumbing are not noble purposes. Just try living your life without a rust. How are you good? So you know one of our clients is David Busters. We champion laugh out loud fun. I mean it doesn't have to be curing cancer, right. And and so what we find is when you can...

...establish an organizational purpose that goes beyond we want to be the number one provider, be a good community citizen, be good to our employee, Blah, blah, Blahlahlah. When you can have clarity about here is how we are making a difference to customers. That gives everybody something to rally around because, yeah, people want once we get beyond food and shelter, people want belonging and significance. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. And so one of the things I always say is revenue is not the purpose of a sales force. It is the test of its validity. The purpose of a sales force is to improve life for customers and we're doing that. The revenue is the proof. Yeah, I like it, I love it. It's a great perspective, one I want. I could not be more on board with and I think more people need to embrace. Let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions at the end of each inter be the first is simply as a as an author, as a revenue executive yourself, that makes you a prospect for sales professionals out there and I'm always curious to know if somebody doesn't have that trusted in, that referral into you, how do they capture your attention and earn the right to your calendar? What do you find works best for you? So I can tell you that we're works best for me is the same thing we teach our clients. You have got to have some meaningful content that shows me your point of view, with no pressure love. So don't be saying hey, I can help you do this on you on your first you know, email or in mail. You know, that's like saying, Hey, I'd make a great husband, want to go out on a date. It's exact same. Analyze yet but yeah, instead and every company should be doing...

...this. And even if your company's not, you can do it on your own with a blog post or you can even find something, but find something that says I looked at Your Business and I thought this would be helpful to you, Yep, and so help me first, and especially now, when then, everyone is, you know, zoomed out, calendars are full, you're having to compete for Wi fi with you know your kids and you know who are my rooms are worry I mean be like your customers. are in a spot now, and so be helpful first, give before you trying to get. Yeah, I love it and one hundred percent again agree. So last question called our acceleration insight. If there was one thing, just if you had only one piece of advice you could give to sales, marketing or professional services, piece of people, one piece of advice that, if they listen to you believe would help them hit their targets, what would it be? M Why? Identify very specifically, logistically, psychologically and emotionally how you make a difference to customers. Be really clear on the impact that you have on customers and look to bring to find more places to do that. The second part is important. Find more ways to do that. Not Tell them the first sentence, but find more ways to do that, because selling with noble purposes about bringing the money in, the meaning together. It doesn't mean you're just doing charitable work. It means at the center of your commercial model. You have absolute clarity about how you prove life for customers. You're excited about it and you're looking for more places to do that, to show up as the biggest, boldest, most helpful version of yourself you can possibly be. That will move the needle for you. I love it. I love... at LEASTA. If a listeners interested in talking more about these topics or getting copy of the book, where do you prefer we send them? How do we have them get in touch with you? Selling a noble purposecom. You can get a copy of the book there or connect with us. Follow us. Follow me on Linkedin and we do a linkedin live every Friday. One hundred and thirty is free. And if you're interested in US consulting with your company or we've got a ninety day sales transformation process, pick me on Linkedin and we will jump right on it. Awesome least. I can't thank you enough for taking time. It's been great having it on the show. Thank you. It was such a pleasure. I'm glad to be with a like a likeminded sales driver. All right, everybody that does it for this episode. CHECK US out. A BB REV exactcom share the episode of friends, families, Co workers. Let your kids listen to it if you need to distract them for a little while in the current environment. And until next time, we have value selling associates. 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 in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (250)