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

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 specificabout 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 helpingexecutives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking fortechniques 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 BBrevenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking aboutwhat it means to have a noble purpose and business and why it goes beyondand proving just the financial returns of the organization. To help us, we'relucky to have with US Lisa mccloud, bestselling author of selling with noble purpose, and founder McLeod Moore. Lisa, thank you so much for taking timeand welcome to the show. Thanks so pleasure to be here, Chad.So well, always like to start with like an icebreaker question, something alittle off the off the cuff, kind of always curious to know people puta 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 knowyou through work might be surprised to learn. People might be surprised to learn howmuch I care about the experience that young people have going into the worldof 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 thetone for what work is going to be like for a young person, youalso set the tone for what life is going to be like, and theway they experience that job is going to have a dramatic effect on not onlytheir 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 interestingI've heard in a while. That has...

...a nice ancillary benefit across the entirespectrum of our existence. I remember, unfortunately, my transition from college towork 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 platinumhighlights in my Cote. These are not gray hairs. The first time Igot I was really into music and it was working for a magazine and Ihad a count executive look at me and say that's cute, you will nolonger have time to enjoy anything associated with the arts, and he was ratheraggressive 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. RightsAsian like that. Well, and so many people, sadly, and itdoes relate to my work, but people are often surprised to know that thisis like a an emotional trigger for me. So many people in that first jobget the feeling I'm working for the man young, certainmatic, and inreality that's often not the case. Like that magazine or not. You knowwe work with biotech, we working construction. A lot of times these companies reallyare improving lives for customers, but that first job is so far removedfrom that you can get bury jaded, and it is. It breaks myheart because it is a lost opportunity on behalf of the employer and also theyoung 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 forthe conversation. People often think that noble purpose is reserved for the doctors,the teachers, the nurses or the big sexy companies. In fact, nothingcould be further from the truth. Your noble purpose is simply how do youmake a difference to your customers? And...

...when you put that at the fourof your business, everything changes the challenges. A lot of organizations have these aspirationalpurposes, but when it comes down to sales, it's show me themoney. This is a lost opportunity. Well, and you mentioned as wewere prevent you mentioned that sales organizations with a noble purpose often outperform those thatdon't have one, or maybe are two focused on this show me the moneyaspect. Can you go a little bit deeper in that? For me that'sright. And the thing you have to understand is purpose drives profit, notthe other way around. A lot of people think will make enough money andthen we'll be a good corporate citizen. The purpose that I'm talking about isnot good corporate citizens right. I'm all for that and Bravo you, andI'd encourage that. But what we've identified? The research tells us that organizations whosenoble purpose is to improve the lives of their customers and who put thatat the center of their organization outperform the market by a three hundred fifty percentbecause they are laser focused on customers. And there's a nuance here that Iwant to be really clear on that. A lot of people think we wantto 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 bea 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 notjust about pleasing your customers, it's about improving your customers and it's a reallycrucial difference. Well, so let's go a little bit deeper than when wesay improving the customer. Are we talking improving quality of life, educational landscapewith like? What is that? Well, what are some of those metrics oraspects that, when we look at the improvement of the of the customerreally resonate with the organizations. So what you have to do when you arefinding your noble purpose is choose your aim and your lane. And so giveyou an example. One of our clients...

...is a bank and their purposes wefuel prosperity. So imagine the difference. You have all these and we've allseen 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 tofuel the clients prosperity. So that means we need to figure out what isprosperity mean to that client? How can we improve it? And it seemssimple, but what you do when you do that is you change the NorthStar of the sales organization. And so we had another organization. They werein the concrete business and their purpose was we're going to redefine this industry andthey had some very specific ways they were going to redivine the way customers experiencethem. And what it does is it points your people, because most ofthe time in business we point people to specificity on the numbers but vagueness onthe customer experience and you need to be just as specific about the impact youhave on customers as you are about your own internal metrics. When organizations havebeen investing, whether they have the right focal point or not right. Yougo back to Amazon and virgin and landing, like Disney even they've all used thiscustomer experience approach. What is really interesting is that that to me seemslike 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 goingone step further, getting more specific about not just hey, I made itto 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 afair assessment? That is and so I'll...

...give you an example of how thisplays 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 tofind 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? Goget them, Chad, versus your competitor that the Moss says, Chad,you need to go close this deal right now. Sounds good, but whowould you rather have called on you? The person whose organization has said improvelife for the customer, find the biggest, boldest, best way you can dothat and go to town with it, versus the person that said close it, close it, close it. The data tells us. A veryfamous study now at a Michigan State University, the person who was told make adifference to the customer will sell a bigger deal, they'll sell a stickyour 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 sameway right. So if I'm not passionate about I can help you solve thisproblem 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 tocome across in the way I present myself, my word choice, thechannels 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 detrimentalto the brand as a whole, not only of the individual sales rep butof the organization that they're representing. That's right. We were dealing with clientof 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, butthis particular chief revenue officer had the wherewithal. It came to us andsaid, I want my people to be seen as helpful, not scavengers.And it's exactly because the thing you have...

...to understand is the internal conversation becomesthe external conversation. And if you're internal conversation is only about how can weclose it? How can we close it? You haven't given your salespeople anything compellingor interesting to take to the market and it's going to show up inevery little way that they behave with customers. Yeah, and I think it goeseven beyond just the customer approach. It very much is that human tohuman 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 solveand if you're ethical, which I know some people would challenge some salespeople onthat parts, but if you're ethical, you have to be willing to admitthat they could be focused on things you can't help them with right now andthat that's okay, that it's just not something. It's not going to makeany sense to jam the, you know, Square, Square peg into the roundhole. 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 thiswith over two dozen firms and we saw huge exponential growth in revenue and they'reall outlined in there. One of the things that was really interesting when wewere researching the second edition and we were identifying the habits of the salespeople thatwere 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 theability to sit with uncertainty and it was because they had enough confidence that Ican probably help most customers. So we can get into a conversation about whattheir needs are and where they're going and I'm pretty confident that in most casesI 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 myGod, Oh my God, this conversations going wrong, I've got a closeI guy, it's it's so obvious the customer, but this, this onenor star, bigger than money, what we call the noble purpose, pointedthem in a different direction. And then this second skill, the ability tosit 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, salessales people typically have really, really, really big egos, but they're veryfragile and uncertainty becomes one of those places where you can kind of shake thosethe foundation right. It shows up. It's one of those things where there'sthis sense of control. Now the question for me would be is the waythat my organization is structured in or targeting me as a sales wrap. Isthe internal complan processes in internal you know daytoday. Is that what is impactingthe way I am perceived by my customers? Or can an individual sales rep evenin the face of all of that, still identify something closer to a noblepurpose for themselves and still be effective in that mail storm of kind ofhistorical performance? Right? So, yes and yes. In most organizations theinfrastructure, 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. Winningin a close image is going to be all those things are fine, butin the absence of any other larger story, they will take presents. But toyour point, can an individual seller? Here's what we found that the toptier performers, the top ten percent, it didn't matter what their organization wasdoing, they held on to this North Star of I'm here to makea difference to customers no matter what.

And so so what that tells usis that's good news for individual sellers, because the individual seller and what wedid in the new version of the book was we made it some really practicalmodels for individual sellers to get your mind set right, because we've we've allbeen in that organization where maybe everything's going negative and a couple people still sayno, here's what we can do. You know, we've all seen whereindividual mindset can supersede what's happening in the organization. So that's the good newsfor individual sellers. The good news for organizations is when we looked at whatwe call the malleable middle, the people most heavily influenced by the manager,the CRM, the executive language, when we looked at those folks, whatwe found was noble purpose was not innate to them, but it's still couldbe taught. Excellent that they could. They could learn it. So thatmeans you can learn it on your own or, ideally, your whole organizationwill 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 mylife, 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 yougot to start with some sessment, understand where they're at now, but oneof 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 arerun and how executive town halls are run and we look at the language ofthose. If all of that language is pointed internal and there's no stories orexamples of how we're improving life for customers, we know not only is that organizationand 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...

...got some customer impact stories there.We know that they're there. We just have to find them and start tellingthem. 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 andwant change, because we have this belief that nobody wants change. If thatwas true, no one will get married and no one would ever have ababy. What we find, what we don't want, is we don't wantsome change enacted by senior leadership that has no benefit for us. And soone of the way things that we lead with when we go into an organizationit's rather than starting with, Oh, this is how we're going to makemore money, this how we're going to do this, what we lead withis, and it's true, is this is how you're going to enjoy yourjob more and this is how you're going to better connect with customers in away that's more meaningful and instead of sitting at home feeling like all you dois just hassle people for money, we want to create some meaning and happinessin your job. This is the same reason people have a baby, notbecause 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 outof. And so that's one of the problems with so much of the changeis that companies of the business reason for it and they think all the minionswill come along. Instead, we want to lead with here's the wind foryou right, because the money follows the meaning, and that's hard for alot of organizations. I mean that's a hard that's a hard shift for anorganizational structure, depending on the generational spread. You know, all the stereotypes existfor a reason, right. So the generational spread can make it challengingbecause the generations that are typically going to be in those midlevel roles at thispoint, they're probably going to respond to that a lot more effectively and withless skepticism than those who maybe, and...

I know this is a huge overgeneralization, so bear with me, audience, but those at the top probably havea little bit more gray hair and probably a little bit more skeptical just froman upbringing stand right. How do you bring them all together? How doyou get them all on the same page? So you've got to meet people wherethey are and as someone who is older who camouflages her gray hair withhair, this what I had to finally bring together in my own life wasthe 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 firmbefore 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 ifyou'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 biggersmall, you can't make pay rolling or fire. But it's awful. Andso what we've got to do, what we do when we go in withsenior leaders, is we show them the clear data about why embracing this noblepurpose will make you more money, because that's you've got to meet people wherethey are. It's the same model. You need to follow customers. Ifsenior leaders are looking at this panl and looking at this pipeline saying how canyou affect this? We got to meet them where they are. Other peopleare saying, please make my job better. You got to meet them when theyare and I do want to be clear. This is not a magicbullet that in one quarter will make you more money. But what we've consistentlyseen is in the course of twelve months, I mean we've had some clients doublerevenue and it and the thing the thing that I would ask is Iuse a really simple example, is imagine a salesperson's being coached and one leadersays 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 businesswith us? Yeah, it's a subtle shift and powerful, very powerful.From what you know, what that rep walks away from. Do you findyou 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 toremember 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. Sowe call it the game changing question. How will the customer be different asa result of doing business with us? And when you ask a seller thatearly in their sales process, they do struggle, and that tells you wegot to do some discovery here. If you're asking them that before they're aboutto make their big pitch, that means Whoa, we don't have a verycompelling bitch. But what we find and organizations that where we coach the salesmanagers, and again, this isn't a big leap. Ask All your normalpipeline questions just to insert this one at the end. What we find isthat shifts everyone's mind you know, we often tell you know, mindset andlanguage, we often think are these fluffy things, but mindset and language andsales is everything, because your customers mindset, in the language they use with you, is to tell about how they feel about you. And so whatyou're doing when you ask how will the customer be different as results of doingbusiness with us? You you're flipping the salesperson's mindset. Instead of being pointedover here in the east, they're pointing towards the north. Now rest forimpact, and then the language that they use to describe it, that's thelanguage you want on the sales call. So that's why we call it thegame changing question. When we work with companies over the course of a yearor so when they introduce new products, every new product that comes out iseveryone wants to know how will the customer...

...be different as a result of thisproduct? 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 mentionedwas that transactional sales is dead. And so if I'm not just focus onthe transaction, I'm focused on the outcome of the customer, how they willbe different if we'se that game changing question. Is that what you mean when yousay 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 differentthings by different things. A transactional sale is a sale where the customer placesno value on you. I like that definition. Yeah, so I cango to a fast food place and it can be transactional or I can goto a fast food place and it can I can it can be more thantransactional. I can buy a multimillion dollar system and it can be very transactionalor it can be more. And what we know is if the customer placeis 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 goingto be dead in the water because that deal is going to go up forbidthe next year. That deal is going to come down to price. Evenif you've got the coolest functionality in the world, your competitions going to haveit. 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 howyou see said you publish the first edition, I think so, eightyears ago. Yeah, how did you find yourself getting behind or championing thisidea 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 askedus to study their sales team and they wanted to know what differentiated the topperformers. And so we did a blind...

...study. We went in the film. We work with good performers and exceptional performers, but we didn't know whowas who, and so we looked at all the things. You can imaginehow throw it all the sellers tore us. No doubt every salesperson listening this isgoing O God. But we went out watch how many calls they make, how many questions they as? We did interviews with them and we werenear 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 hotheat and hoof my way up to the terminal at the airport and then Ijust wanted to take a minute in that air conditioning. So I asked hera question. I said, what do you think about when you go onsales calls? And she said why? I always think about this one particularpatient. She says, a grandmother came up to me one day in adoctor's office. I'm where my company name Badge and she said, are youthe 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 totaking 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 grandkidsand get down the floor and play with them. And so this sales repsays, well, you know, I think about her every day, rainyFriday afternoon. Other reps go home, not me. She's my purpose.I think about her. And this was about ten years ago and when shewas saying it I could feel something in my heart shift right and I hadbeen a longtime sales trainer and I thought this is different, this is thatintangible thing. So I went back and I looked at all the other interviewsfor 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 makethe doctor's life easier. Couple of things. And the end the biotech company Saidwho do you think our top reps are? I said, I thinkit's these five, and that's who they were. Was a hundred percent rightand I knew at that moment that I had spotted something not just magical butbut, I hoped, scalable, something...

...that was a real differentiator. Andso the biotech bunch of scientists and finance guys, so well, how didyou 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. Andso the Finance Guy, yes, Guy, love you know, and they gaveme a little more rope because I'm just identify the top five and Icouldn'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 cancreate magic. And it only took a scant decade later. All right.Well, I mean there's a lot of you know, when you think abouta human motivation in general, you know, I think of I think it wasDaniel 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 itis a level of vulnerability that if we go back to that sales structurewhere it's closed, closed closet, it's not necessarily the most welcoming environment forthose 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 beclear. So I first discovered this in this setting where they were selling drugsthat save people's lives. But what we've since found out is we haven't aconcrete company, we haven't a plumbing company, we haven't in a bank. Andif you think banking, concrete and plumbing are not noble purposes. Justtry living your life without a rust. How are you good? So youknow 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 andso what we find is when you can...

...establish an organizational purpose that goes beyondwe want to be the number one provider, be a good community citizen, begood to our employee, Blah, blah, Blahlahlah. When you canhave clarity about here is how we are making a difference to customers. Thatgives everybody something to rally around because, yeah, people want once we getbeyond food and shelter, people want belonging and significance. They want to bepart of something bigger than themselves. And so one of the things I alwayssay is revenue is not the purpose of a sales force. It is thetest of its validity. The purpose of a sales force is to improve lifefor customers and we're doing that. The revenue is the proof. Yeah,I like it, I love it. It's a great perspective, one Iwant. I could not be more on board with and I think more peopleneed to embrace. Let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask allof our guests kind of two standard questions at the end of each inter bethe 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 curiousto 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? Whatdo you find works best for you? So I can tell you that we'reworks best for me is the same thing we teach our clients. You havegot to have some meaningful content that shows me your point of view, withno pressure love. So don't be saying hey, I can help you dothis on you on your first you know, email or in mail. You know, that's like saying, Hey, I'd make a great husband, wantto 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'snot, you can do it on your own with a blog post or youcan even find something, but find something that says I looked at Your Businessand I thought this would be helpful to you, Yep, and so helpme first, and especially now, when then, everyone is, you know, zoomed out, calendars are full, you're having to compete for Wi fiwith you know your kids and you know who are my rooms are worry Imean be like your customers. are in a spot now, and so behelpful first, give before you trying to get. Yeah, I love itand 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 adviceyou could give to sales, marketing or professional services, piece of people,one piece of advice that, if they listen to you believe would help themhit their targets, what would it be? M Why? Identify very specifically,logistically, psychologically and emotionally how you make a difference to customers. Bereally clear on the impact that you have on customers and look to bring tofind more places to do that. The second part is important. Find moreways to do that. Not Tell them the first sentence, but find moreways 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. Itmeans at the center of your commercial model. You have absolute clarity about how youprove life for customers. You're excited about it and you're looking for moreplaces to do that, to show up as the biggest, boldest, mosthelpful version of yourself you can possibly be. That will move the needle for you. I love it. I love...

...it at LEASTA. If a listenersinterested in talking more about these topics or getting copy of the book, wheredo you prefer we send them? How do we have them get in touchwith you? Selling a noble purposecom. You can get a copy of thebook there or connect with us. Follow us. Follow me on Linkedin andwe 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 ninetyday sales transformation process, pick me on Linkedin and we will jump right onit. Awesome least. I can't thank you enough for taking time. It'sbeen great having it on the show. Thank you. It was such apleasure. I'm glad to be with a like a likeminded sales driver. Allright, everybody that does it for this episode. CHECK US out. ABB REV exactcom share the episode of friends, families, Co workers. Let yourkids listen to it if you need to distract them for a little whilein 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 theBB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribeto the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so muchfor listening. Until next time,.

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