The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Sean Campbell on Virtual Selling

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

More and more organizations are implementing virtual selling as they reevaluate their travel budgets, cost of sales and changing desires of buyers.

Sean Campbell, CEO of Cascade Insights, a B2B market research firm specifically focused on technology companies, sat down with us to discuss what virtual selling is and why it’s becoming increasingly common in sales.

You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about virtual selling, a hot topic many are discussing and debating. His organizations continue to reevaluate travel budget, cost of sales, changing desire of buyers. WHO WANTS TO BE FACETOFACE? WHO Doesn't? To help us with this topic, we have Shawn Campbell, see you, of cascade insights, a be to be market research firm specifically focused on technology company. Sean, thank you very much for taking time to be on the show today. Now, thanks for having me on. So, before we jump in, we like to start with coming an odd question give our audience a little bit more insight into you as an individual. And so, if you look back over your career, can you select or find a defining moment that maybe change a trajectory of your career or gave you some insights and share that with the audience and tell us kind of what that event was and what you learned from it. Yeah, that's pretty easy and I imagine that's probably the same things going to be true for anybody else who started a business. It's it's starting a busit, you know, it's selling. Selling is hard no matter where you're in, whether you're selling for somebody else's business or for your own. But like I told somebody on a different show the other day, I said, you know, the thing you should never give away when you're growing from like one to ten emploise is selling. And so many times a new person who starts a business, the first thing they want to give away as selling. If they're one of these guys that's kind of a doer who likes doing the job of the business. And I like doing the job of my business too, but you have to hold on to that for a while. So for me it was starting a business. First one I started was in two thousand. I grew and sold that business and started cascade in two thousand and six, and the story from that standpoint was about two years ended that business. We had been doing. You know, our own selling. Personally, it was me and two other business partners and we had good relationships with the clients that we had and things like that. But we decided that we wanted to grow our relationship with Microsoft and for about a six to nine month window we tried some contract sales resources and it just didn't work. And that's not to say that they don't work always, but in this case it was clear to me that this individual just really did not know how to sell us, no matter how much they tried, and they didn't really even want to learn Microsoft to the degree they needed to. And this is when Microsoft was cool. Microsoft is somewhat cool again, somewhat cool, I might add, but there is a point where they were cool. They were like the Google of two thousand and two, and no one believes me when I say that, but like, if you went there in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, which was my first trip there to do any kind of work for him, it they they looked kind of like a google if you transported them back to one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine. You know. And so at the end of the day, the reason I bring up the story is I looked at this individual who was doing the selling. I looked at my business partners and I said I think I could tell Microsoft by buses. Partner's lost to me that I looked at them. My Dad had been in sales for his whole life. I thought I had some of the genome, you know, and I thought I could do this. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and it's some degree right. I mean it is enterprise accounts selling on a massive scale, and so we did really good at it. I mean good enough to grow the first business eventually have enough repleny in it to sell it. But there was a ton of stuff I learned and that was definitely kind of a defining moment, just kind of stepping up and volunteering to take on Microsoft. There are a lot of people out there that, when you ask them, you know, how'd you get into sales, I very rarely hear. Well, when I was young, playing with my fire trucks, I told myself I wanted to be an enterprise sales. There always seems to be a securitist route into it, right, and so they're those that find it, you know, quite fascinating. Like I'm like myself. I started my career and on the dark side. Why get depends on your perspective, but I started in marketing and went into sales because I like the problem solving aspects of it. But I was not that kid, you know, playing with the fire trucks and who I can't wait to do enterprise sales right. So it's always it's always interesting to hear how people, you know, kind of make their ways into that and hat and insights that they gain as they do that. So let's talk a little bit about cascade insights. help us understand a little bit more about them and your role there. Yeah, so cascade insights is a firm that does market research and competitive intelligence services for technology companies. That only be to be focused technology companies. I tell folks all the time we have a very narrow front door. I sometimes refer to it as a Kittie door at that small. That's essentially that that you can fit in and if you can fit through that door, and we regularly turn down stuff. It's one of the more surprising things about professional services, and I hate to say this, but I think anybody listening knows it's true...

...that a lot of professional services, especially if they're kind of highend consulting. They kind of do whatever walks in the door. Right, regardless of what the website says, and we really mean it, we turned down the other stuff that knocks on the door. Our clients work in different industries, but our clients are only be to be focused technology companies, and so for them we do, you know, market research services and competitive inntilwork. My roles on the CEO and I'm an equal cofounder, Co owner with a guy named Scott Swiger. Use The CTO and president, and basically day to day I focus on motivating and educating. I think, you know, I don't know what it's like to be CEO of even a hundred person company. I mean in terms that we have clients that are pretty large, but you know, I've never been a CEO of a Bayer Company Than Two thousand and twenty five people. And at the end of the day I think that's what a lot of CEOS find themselves doing, you know, outside of all the other stuff that they focus on, number, orient etc. It's a lot of motivating and educating and from a day to day standpoint, I manage a relationship with key accounts, I lead sales and our marketing efforts and I oversee a lot of the operational stuff like finance and legal, and that's that's kind of the day to day and week to week. So I've got to ask. I know it wasn't on the list of questions I provided about just kind of done on me. I did professional services for over a decade and one of the things that I saw a lot of firm struggle with was that focus. Right. So you guys are, if you look at the website and just to listen to you talk, you guys are very focused on a very specific set of customers and even it sounds like turning down business that doesn't fit into that. How did you I'm just curious for my own education, how did you come to that realization that that was, you know, the secrets of your success moving forward that level of focus? Well, it's interesting. It was a little bit of an up and down thing. The first business was so hyper focused on a particular client need that a lot of our business came from Microsoft and Intel and we had a smattering of other work. And we all know that when you open up a small business, if you look at their PNL, they'll say like yeah, we have key account and then you realize they have to key accounts that are like sixty percent of the revenue. Right, that's real typical for small businesses, right, and so and and if you if you don't believe that and you're listening, just open up quick books for most small businesses when they're starting and they typically have like a couple major accounts. And so, regardless of what the owners telling you, right. And so, at the end of the day, we were very focused in the first business and we're like, we're never doing that again. That was way too stressful to be like so hyper focus on a couple accounts. And so we got really broad when we started cascade in the very, very beginning for year two and I traveled the world literally, like when all these kinds of different places. We had accounts in different industry and we realize that what was happening is we were just going to be commoditized because at the end of the day, right, unless you have some incredible, almost patentable way of doing what you're doing in services, might like this this incredibly just boxed in way of doing it and you've written seven books on it or whatever, it's really hard to differentiate if you're if you're going to hit every industry right, because eventually the client start to sniff out the idea that you're not really focus, you just following a box. And so we looked at and said, look, let's go back to what we know. We're awesome at. We are awesome at dealing with large technology companies and down to the mid market and we really get tech and we really get B to be and and let's see how much we can grow if we just put a mode around that and say we're never leaving that castle. And again, you know, we have a client that's in life sciences, but that's a be to be sasplay. That's in life sciences. Right the line I draws like sure, our client might be in life sciences, but we're not going to go work for Merk and ask them what doctors think? Right, if that's a pure just sitting over in farm a kind of thing, and it creates some problems, to be honest. I mean, you know, are we going to be three hundred people with this focus? Know it's probably too narrow, but I don't want to be three hundred people. I don't have plans for world domination and I think as long as you know who you are, then it has a lot of benefits when you're in competitive scenarios because, frankly, somebody's looking at you and three other guys and the other three guys say they work in all industries and blah, blah, blah. Right, and we've all seen how that pitch goes. Right. Like, I have lots of experience across lots of industries and hence I can generalize. I work for a gold mine before I work for you, and we go in and we say we've only worked with your competitors and you, or people like you that aren't even your competitor, you know which proposal is going to float to the top and if you do your homework on all the rest of it, you're in a much better position to win. And so for us that's been a really good, strong thing in the final thing is you just get smarter about the space and that's that's a lot of fun because every time you just learn a lot more about a certain set of problems. Well, and it's I mean it's great to see you know, you guys doing that and do it with purpose because I, like said, I saw a lot of services companies that struggled, you know, with that, you know commoditization, because, oh no, we do it all. Well, all right, not really. You're not not as...

...good as you think you are at it. So I appreciate that insight. But we we're here today to talk about virtual selling. So it is definitely a hot topic. It's I was just having drinks with another co worker and it came up last week. But what I'd like to do is start with Cann Keem, our audience a definition or context around the phrase. What do you mean when we when we say virtual selling? Yeah, I would say the shortest definition is how to get a PO without being there. There's a longer definition, but that's the shorter definition. The longer definitions probably more like this. You know, running a sales process where you can take many months to do it. You got phone calls, Proposal Presentations and even the contracting process and and all of that, or at least ninety five percent of that, and we can talk about that, like the times when it needs to be ninety five percent versus a hundred percent is done virtually, and that's to me, is virtual selling, where the whole thing from the moment they said Hi and you said Hi to the moment you have a po and and potentially even all the delivery of the workout. But is just done virtually and it's so that's it's an interesting kind of change. I've been not not to give away my age, but I mean I remember Microsoft in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, and I've been doing this for a while. I remember when I first started in sales, it was all about get in front of your customers, facetoface, and and so now you hearing about everybody talking about how there's a change. Right, people don't necessarily. It seems more like it's you're really interrupting them or taking away too much time if you show up facepace. You have to be very strategic about when to do that. So, you know, we kind of mentioned when it should be ninety five verses a hundred, a hundred percent. How do you differentiate? You know, okay, we've done ninety five percent. This one needs an inface, like where's your wizr line for that? Well, there's actually two things to say about what you commented on. One, you're right. Back in the day you it was almost impossible to get a Po unless you showed up, if not once every time. Right. I mean you sold an enterprise account. You basically we're talking about one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, two thousand and two, two thousand and five and like that, but you lived at the hotel next to campus. Basically, I mean they knew your name, they knew your preferences, they knew everything, and that was the only way to really navigate that account. It was the only way to get referrals, it was the only way to get mind share and meeting and it was the only way to really get a PO. And Pos would even get stuck until you showed up. It'd be like yeah, well, rewarded to you, you know, but we need a meeting with your first right. And what I've noticed is you could almost graph in my own career. I don't have this graph, otherwise a chair, but I know it's I know it'd be true. The size of the Po that I can generate without ever showing up just gets larger and larger every year. And that's not like an ego thing. I don't mean like you know, hey, I can building two big POS. It's more just it's the change in Byre behavior. They accept you not being there and the time where that extra five percent comes in is really almost dependent a little bit on the client. But I think the risk in it is if you're used to traveling, and I went through this actually maybe five, six years ago, where I realize I was traveling to clients who probably didn't really need to see me to open the Po and I had on the wire myself. Right. I'm like, there's less people in this bobby then there was five years ago, and it's been harder to show up as a vendor than it was five years ago. You know, my wife has a line I use all the time, by the way, because she's been involved in the business over the years doing like a counting and finance and payroll, and she always as well. Well, you know, Sewan, you're never going to see a welcome vendor sign in the lobby, right, and she's what, she's right about that. But, but, but, there's less people in that lobby than there was in years past and I had to kind of recognize I was even holding on an old school method. Now I'm talking about like two thousand and ten, two thousand and nine whatever, and I needed to change but there's certainly still sometimes where that one flight, but I'm only talking about one flight, not like living on the hotel next to campus right, kind of moves the deal out of the pocket it's in. And I almost guarantee the person on the other side of the table a little bit to age here, because I'm forty seven, is about my age or older. Now, I don't believe in judging entirely based on age, but I do believe in paying attention to what I see right. And I know that if I'm selling to a younger buyer, they absolutely don't want me to show up in the building and they're happy to kind of let me do it. You know, the difference between selling to a thirty year old VP of marketing in a sixty year old VP of marketing when it comes to how much onsite time you need, is pretty stark. Right. So there's a there's certain issue there, but but at the end of the day it's it really just comes down to maybe one one meeting that goose. Is it forward? And I would say that for mid markets that's almost non existent. Yeah, and the one of you knows shift. It's an interesting shift and and you talk about that decompression right, because I lived, I mean the man one...

...of the big deals I close, I was bouncing back and forth between the East and the West Coast every week, going to site, you know, on site in the West Coast, goat of a headquarters on the east coast. And it's just like you said, they expected to, almost expect you to be there. And now I try to. I don't know if I've closed anything in the last eighteen months. It's required me to show up and we're talking we're not talking, you know, multimillion dollar deals, but we're not talking small ones either. There's this level of you know, Oh hey, I finally meet you, when I show up to perform some of the services for the first time, I shake your hand for the first time. And the hardest thing for me was when I went to the airport and didn't have status anymore. That was I get, that was the way I was. I was MVP. Yeah, I was MVP gold for a long time and you know, flying isn't that painful when you're that level of status and then all of a sudden you're like, okay, now I really remember now, like people hate flying at hotels and car rental. Yeah, that's right. Okay, yeah, but to your point, it's really gotten less and less and less, and I honestly think there's a generation of sellers, and I was in it, where you're very tempted to keep buying plane tickets instead of building a toolbox and a set of activities and routine that really allow you to be successful with virtual telling and so what. So, okay, so that's kind of a one perspective on what virtual selling is. What is virtual selling? Not Virtual selling is is not doing it while you're in a drivethroom. That's probably the best way I could describe it. I think there's a lot of people to think virtual selling is easy, for it's I can be a little lack of days a goal about the approach, or I can have a really cruddy Bluetooth headset and still get the job built. I mean there are certain things that almost become amplified, is what I'm trying to say. Right. You know, if you were never really good at picking up on nonverbal audio cues, you better get good at it now, because that's three seconds of silence in the meeting when you can't see everybody. And I know there's video calling and we can talk about the pros and cons of that too. But but the reality is you have to become this incredible listener and questioner that really exceeds what you would have to do in person, because in person you have all this other cues that you get to deal with, right, and so I think, I think a lot of it is it's not. It's not setting yourself up for success right and that standpoint. And people will kind of start doing virtual selling and they say it doesn't work, and I think it's because they're actually using kind of the old process applied to this new approach and that it ends up not working really well. For me, it requires a different level of focus. In my experience, I like you have to really have done your homework, if you really focus on what's going on, no distractions, like if you're on the call, you're on the call, not written an email or dealing with slack or going through the drive through or walk into the fridge, as you know we were talking about earlier. I think it requires, at least from those that I've seen and the Times that I do it, it is it is a different level of focus and and being present than I would have seen in more facetoface situations right now exactly, and there's some tradeoffs for sure. I mean, you know, if you're facetoface and you know Canon has his buddy, you know stacy, who's down the hall that he wants to connect you with for a future project, that's a little faster when it's in person because you might just walk you down to Stacy's office, but the reality is your sales process wasn't going to end there anyway. So if they introduce you over sale and have a phone call, you know you still got to do the rest of it regardless. And I think there's there's definitely like a like you said, there's a level of focus you have to have and it's even some advantages, frankly. I mean I remember with a lot of in person visits where you know you meet somebody. Let's use the Microsoft example again, right. You know you're talking to somebody that are a new product team. There's a new product they launched. I mean it launched yesterday. This isn't like a prep issue. You know you're being introduced to them now. If you're in person, you can't pull up the website while you're right in front of them right you can't. You can't Google reviews as a product and and of course, to your point about being focus, you have to know how good of a multicaster you are. Can you listen and do this stuff at the same time? But if you can, what a huge advantage. And the same thing. We taken notes right. We know, everybody who's done sales knows you can't be this kind of typing machine while you're in the meeting right where you're just taking really, really great typed notes or written notes, if that's what you want to go about it, because you got to make eye contact, you got to like be connected with the person kind of, you know, nonverbally and physically and stuff like that. You're on the phone, you could take some pretty awesome notes right because you're just right there, you know, talking to him over the phone. Now put the video. You got to stare into the camera a little bit more. But even there, I think your ability to kind of have them say something and you even, in line with the conversation,...

...look stuff up is great and I've used that even from selling us in the sense of, you know, I can very quickly say go check out our site while we're on the phone and that always felt a little more sales the if I was in the room right hey, look at my screen, here, looks look at this, or can you go to your computer and check out this? You know, it's a little less of kind of in their face, I guess, in and it's a little easier to do if you're just on the phone. So I think there's a lot of advantages. But you have to structure the call in your time the right way. And so when you look at you know kind of virtual selling, I mean it's not it's not new. I'm just getting more prevalent, I believe. But if you look at it kind of when it started, say five seven years ago, how have you seen virtual selling change over the last you know, five seven years, since since we were given the tools, whether they were good or not at the point is a different discussion. But since we started to get to tools like go to meeting and and video conferencing and stuff, how have you seen virtual selling evolved? Well, one thing I mentioned earlier the clients accept it now, it reminds me eerily is something that happened with our first business where we didn't have an office. We had a DSL line. Just to show you how long ago that way and we and that was considered fast and we had an exchange server in one of the owner's basements. Literally, remember, this is three guys, right and so. And it worked. And I remember vividly going into meetings as people at a Microsoft, at an Intel, seter and they pay. So where's your office? And say we don't have one. And initially there was this like Oh, you're not real right, right, it's like the same thing your relatives do. Until you have employees, you don't really have a business, you know, kind of thing. And so it's that whole that's whole thing. Yeah, you're like, no, wait a minute, now they have why is that legitimate? And so that went away. Nobody, nobody cares about that anymore. Right and and what I used to tell people back then is you could pay for it. If somebody got really difficult. I literally say that in a nice tone of void, that you could pay for our office. They and for a second they be like what do you mean? Like, well, who else is going to pay for it? You're going to pay for it. I mean, at the end of the day, I'm going to build it to you, not directly but indirectly. I am. So why don't we just like assume I don't need an office? And so I think the virtual selling in some ways is changed to a similar degree. They like the fact that they don't implicitly have to pay for your plane ticket and they don't have to pay for you to come out all the time and they can instructure they and the second thing is the tools. The tools have just gotten great. If you think about crms ten years ago versus crum's now, there's a plus or really good choices, usually tied to your industry, tied to your selling motion. You can pick something that's a very tailor made for you. Scheduling tools. I don't know how many times clients has said that calendly thing you work you use, is great, that Calundley is not the only game in town, but there's there's other ones like it. But what they're saying when they say that. And for the listeners, if you haven't use coundy, you basically send out a link and the link is structured by you. You say I offer thirty minute meeting slots or our meeting slots on certain days and you set up the algorithm and you send out the link and then the person, you said, it to fix their time to meet with you. And they're similar tools like this. And and seriously, I must be five times a week somebody in an enterprise or mid market goes and I don't know how they haven't seen these tools yet, right, if sellers are using a work but they're like that was great, that was so easy to set up a meeting. And what they're really saying, I think, even if they don't articulate it, is many moons ago when people met me, we sat with our Franklin copy day planners and we look at each other and we figured out the next meeting time and that was efficient and I really like that. That can of course, not thinking this out loud, like nobody said frankly copy day planner right, the first person to say that on a podcast in the last seven years. But the point is, you know, it's hard to do it. Virtually it's email back and forth and then by the time you get back to him, their meeting slop taken and the doors taken, you know, and eventually they get frustrated with you. They don't really say they're frustrated with you, but they're like, I'm going to work with the cello that's easier to schedule with. And what's he really mean by that? Is just his schedule lined up better with mine. It wasn't necessarily easier. And talently takes that all away and it becomes kind of a very asynchronous interaction and from their standpoint they cherry pick what they want. The same things true with things like Uber Conference. I love that school because it's painless. It's the same goofy thing. Just yesterday I had two people from Intel and they get on the call in the like. This is really neat. It doesn't have a pin. This is awesome. I don't like. Okay, I mean, I know you're it, guys, convinced you as you're having a secure conversation every time and you really need like a seventeen, you know, hexadecimal pin to make this thing work, but you don't. You know, you really really don't. You could just have a phone number and it would be fine. And and so my point is a lot of this stuff is just made it very, very smooth to have the call, get on the call, take the notes, schedule all the rest of that stuff right. And I think, and I could go on with that, there's there's other...

...tools that I think they're really important, but at the end of the day, if you build up that little toolbox, you actually are much easier to deal with and you were back in the day with your day planner sitting in their office and you can operate it a scale that you never could before. Yeah, without a doubt, I'm with you. I think that calendar link and I when I'm working with clients and teaching class and stuff, as one of the things I point out. I think it is probably one of the most impactful technologies that sales professionals have had at their farewere have at their fingertips. It just makes things seem less and it and I'm to your point. I don't understand why more people haven't heard of it. It's not like it's like it's particularly new. I mean I guess maybe adoption of it's ramping up, but I mean there are people out there that should be very aware of that and it just it saves my time too. It saves the time for the customer, makes it seamless and I so I'm going to echo which on side, because I've looked at calndlee or schedule once or the hub spots got one in it like you guys. Need to find need to find one of those really quick and start using it. What other besides crm and Uber Conference off like that? Give me a couple of other tools that you're really fond of in the virtual selling environment. Well, one is a catch I oh, and that is in a class to tools that similar. Again, it's like cannone. Like if you said attach io competitors into Google, you probably end up at GTO crowd or one of those sites that it would show you ten other options. So I just particularly of like the catch I oh. And we use that for sending out research griefs, which is what we call our initial proposal. That goes out to the client and you load it up in the tool and it can show you metrics of when they accessed it, which pages of the proposal they looked at and how many different people have looked at it. And you know there's tools like this, but but if you really invest in them, a good story that happened this past year, because we've been using them for a few years now. Is End of the year. You know, clients reset their budgets, they get prepared for next year, talking about larger accounts typically right. That might run on a calendar and they've got a lot of kind of strategic planning prod and that impact you research, because a lot of times they want research in advance of those meetings are after them, and so we'll tend to get a lot of activity that starts to brew up late in the year and early in the year. And so you know, I've got, I don't know, hundreds of proposals and attached I oh now over the years, and it's really funny. It's I love to fish and everybody's who anybody's been fishing. You know, if you put a bunch of lines out, you know you've gone over a school of fish because all the line starts to vibrate right. You have these magical moments sometimes where like all the lines hit and everybody in the boats got a fish on you know that does happened all the time, but sometimes it does. And that's where I'm going with this. Is With attached I oh, because those links aren't attachments to emails, that the best you could do is tell, like, if somebody open the email again now they kind of come live like fishing line. And so last year in December all of a sudden, like December two, a bunch of the line started to twins. And these are proposals I said a few months before that. They said they need to wait on budget or whatever, and it was this incredible dashboard of analytics right where I was able to kind of resurface this stuff. Based on that, that twingle on the line again, right. And if I'd said it as an attachment, I wouldn't ever known, right. And and if I had tried to wait to have the in person meeting, I couldn't have that many in person. So stay so attached. I was one. And then I would also say something like Zoom, you know, for video conferencing. Make that idiot proof. Too many of the video conferencing tools that were in the first generation were frankly horrible in terms of how good they were, and so you need something where the client can just kind of jump in really quick we use video for almost everything now, client calls, status call, sales calls and it's fantastic. And and you know, on the next breed to tools. These are beyond what we would personally need, but I keep track of these because we work sometimes as marketing or sales teams and for their research needs, of course, and I'll kind of want to know what tool set they're using. There's tools like when I came across the other day, it was like the courus dot Ai, I think was called, and there's these tools now that will just plug into your inside sales team and record every call they're having, let you run analytics on it. It'll do automatic transcription of every interaction and there's obviously been monitoring tools for this kind of stuff before, but the cost of where this is going. You can have like a five person inside sales team in some startup and you could plug one of these things in and get fantastic analytics on everything that's happening without a don another one like that called Gong Dot ioh that does it. Don't yeah, you know one too. And then there's a new yeah, Balto software actually designed to give to do all of that but then also give you a visual queue of word choice speed if you're at making too many statements versus questions. That one's in Beta right now, but those things are amazing to me exactly, and I think the next wave of tools for sales automation we're kind of at the space marketing automation...

...was maybe three years ago, I think, where you know, marketing automation as a phrase really meant your crm Plus your newsletter tool, plus a few social cool three, four, five years ago, right, that's what it meant, and then it's not that anymore. We all know that there's like four thousand tools or five thousand. There's that guy that puts out the marketing automation landscape poster everywhere, that big inflographic right, and there's like five thousand of those things on there. So now you're in a state in marketing automation where you have like incredible analytics and incredible kind of ability to monitor content and sales. We haven't even seen how far this is going to go, although it does lead to another point, which is that I think on virtual selling, the marketing your company does has, it has an outsize influence on your success to in a way that it didn't when you were doing a lot of in person selling, and we could get to that at some point too. Excellent, and so I if you, if you could, you know, move talked to tools of talk kind of what the definition is, why buyers are more receptive to say, but if you can give the audience three tips that you think would make them more effective at virtual selling. What would they be, I would think, you know, probably the it's off right. It's tough to boil that down right after that many years. But if, but if I was to say for virtue still selling in particular and to some degree selling in general, ask great questions. You know, ask really, really good questions is fundamentally going to set you a part from almost anybody. So many people pitch, so many people have statements, so many people have an ability to kind of orate really well. You know, they their sales process is like Shakespearean in terms of their ability to communicate, but in entire four minutes they never ask a good question. And I and I think and I think if if you open with good questions the client all, and notice I didn't say good answers right. There's two distinctions there. Like like, yes, have good answers. Know your client space, know you're industry, but initially, sometimes, frankly, if it's a brand new company to you, there's only so much you can spin up on and for and you also have to watch out for Huprius. You don't really know them that well at that point. No, matter how much you studied, and so a good question, though, can go along way. The second thing is I've said for years I've I've sold more by saying no than saying yes. And I don't mean an obnoxious no. I don't mean a superior no. I don't mean like no, like the F and I guy does when you're trying to negotiate your card deal. Right, I don't mean like that, but what I mean is no, I wouldn't do that. I would suggest this. No, I don't really understand why you're trying to do these two things at the same time. They don't quite seem the lineup. Right or no, we don't do that. To that point earlier, right in my own sales process, I don't know how many times times I in the middle of a call, I've said we don't do that and they're drawn in. Now I don't mean it. It's mackavellian. I don't mean like I'm yeah, we really do it, to do it, but I just tell you we don't. That's not what I mean. It's like we don't do it and they go, well, Gosh, you must know who you are. You must and and this is true, even if you're doing selling for somebody else right, like, like you really know what your company doesn't do? And I guarantee there's some sales managers out there that are just screaming right now because they're like never, never, never, never, never write. And this happened either with my own seller doers in my company when I'm training them, and happen the other day. We're having this call with Intel and I said we don't do this and we don't do this and we don't do this, and the seller dower, said, I never do that, and I'm like you need to start doing that. I keep telling you got to do that. And he's like an he's like, I know what happened that. They trusted you, right, because they have to trust you if they're going to buy from you. You might as well tell them what you don't do. Yeah, you know, and so that's that. And the last one would be, I think, you know, for this virtual selling, really focus on the audio and this is virtual selling and specific like I don't know how many times I've watched somebody try to do virtual selling through a pretty conference phone. I mean plant, you know, polycom is never made a good conference phone in my opinion, just just frankly, because that nobody likes talking to anybody's throne. And so really focus on how your audio sounds like. Imagine you're a podcast, or would be a really good analogy. Like the kind of quality you want that podcast to sound like. So when you crank it up to nine in your car, it sounds really buttery and it sounds really robust. Think about your calls that way, because I guarantee what will happen is people will just stay on longer, they'll enjoy talking to you, they'll feel...

...like this is a good experience and it's such a subtle thing, but it's huge. I mean, I have no idea how much money I've spent on good quality headsets over the years, but I haven't regretted a dollar of it because clients are always like that sounds really good, you know, and they're meanwhile talking to me on some pretty polycops. So I have but, but, but, but at least I sound good to them. Sorry, Polycom you guys has done good work somewhere, I'm not sure where, but it's just not for us. All right, so not for us. Let's pivot here a little bit and talk about cascade insight. So we talked about the importance of mark you mentioned them importance of marketing. When you do a virtual selling can you help the audience understand how you structure those efforts inside of cascade in order to drive that new business? Yeah, so, so we have, like a lot of consulting firms, we have, you know, some usually a principle of the firm, me in this case, leading sales. And then, if you're doing it right, you also have seller doers. Right, you take some of your people who are doing and you train them to be seller doers and at the moment two of our folks are analysts, have been kind of for about a year now kind of being led through kind of on the job training at how to do it, and I actually just told them the other day they kind of graduated in at least it's stage one. And from that standpoint and and there that'll take a while to get done right because you're taken a doer and trying to convert selling. On the marketing side, I've got two marketing people that reports to me full time and that's a real difference, I think, for a firm of our size. You know, we've got about a dozen employees and got two full time marketers, but it's been huge because we've heard time and time again from clients that we hit above our weight marketing wise. They love our site, they love the clarity of it, they love the content we produced, that it's on message, that it's the kind of things they want to hear, and we're extremely focused on all aspects of good marketing, you know, whether it's appropriate use of advised for be tob for our kind of audience, whether it's Seo, the kind of content we produced, our content calendar. We spend a lot of time thinking is that. Is the website a perfect example of what we'd want to pitch deck to look like for us, which is the funny thing. I sell have clients to this day that will be like, send me Your Piss deck. I'm like, you know, that's the website right, like why, why would I have anything other than the website? And they always laugh, but I said I because they're like yeah, it's kind of silly. Why would I want to keep for right, which links should I go look at and and so, and a good example of where that can be helpful and virtual selling is I we were we've been working with citrics for a while, but they wanted to upsize this one project of ours and they knew that one of these VP's was going to have to sign off on it, and they literally told me this. They said, Hey, we took your proposal into the VP, you know, this upsize version of the project that we wanted to move to, and the VP'd never met you, but we had them look at your website and after about five minutes that these are the guys I want to hire now. I don't normally get that kind of clarity because, as if anybody's read stuff like the CEEB reports and stuff on be toob sales process, you know there's somewhere between five to six people involved in every deal. Virtually. You won't maybe meet all of them. You might not have ever met all of them, even if it was in person for that matter. But that website and really good marketing becomes this amazing afterburner on your virtual selling effort, right, right, because all those other people then they kind of sell themselves and grow towards you. You still need to sell, but I I think it's just massive. And then you also talk about the buyers journey changes, which a lot of people know about. You know the depending on your industry, fifty to ninety percent of the sales cycle is is done before that you even heard from them. You just have to get really savvy with marketing and I think it's also something as a final thought on it. It can scale up or down is needed. Right. So I'm not saying you start off with all of it like if you're more of a solopreneur. I was talking to a guy who's one person business and he looked that we were doing. He's like, I can't do all that and like you don't start with all of that. You don't have to start with a podcast called be to be revealed. You don't have to start with a big website, you don't have to start with three or four articles a month and studies. You just start with a clean site that is the best example of the same pitch you would have given person and you nail it right and and from that foundation you build the rest of it. Yeah, the marketing portion of it is becoming ever, ever more critical these days. I cree one hundred percent. But when you guys are starting to plan for two thousand and eighteen, right, you're leading the team into a two thousand and eighteen. What's the strategic business objective as you guys head into head into the New Year? I want to keep growing the list of clients we have. You know, we're in a space where this little funny side marketing story related to that is my web team, who I loves right. Just love this group that we've worked with four years that it's called the cursner group. It's led...

...by woman named Aaron Curser and she does a great job. But one of the things your team does is on our what we do page, we have all our client logos and every time she sends me a version of the page for a new edit while we work on it, she drops it down to four logos because she hates the fact that that client logo block is so big. And I I say every time I talk to a client though and I walk on through the site there they do a full stop on the client logo block because we're focused on one industry. So from my standpoint I want to keep growing there in the number of clients. If we're talking about sales objectives, on a marketing objective standpoint, there's always things to learn. They're one of the biggest things I think we're focused on on marketing is the transition from organic to paid, because, even if you're doing awesome stuff, and you may know this from running a show, right, the difference between three to four years ago and your ability to get organic traction with content versus now, it's night and day. I mean they're you know, for anybody doing it at scale, there's got to be some kind of paid component to it, and that's kind of on my mind this year in terms of things I'd like to get a lot smarter about. I mean, we're doing some of it now, but it's a it's something I like to do a lot more of and we've had some really, really good success there, because there's some really cool things you can do with paid retargeting campaigns and all kinds of stuff if you do it right. So that's two thousand and eighteen and is there. I asked us again. I'm kind of a little off track now, but you've picked my interests because you're right, I run this podcast. So are there things that you have seen from the paid that are more effective than others or places, especially, you know, I mean you guys are specifically targeting be to be tech companies, but have you seen things that are more effective? You mentioned retargeting. We talked to Tim Matthews, who's the VP of marketing for coming called IMPERVA, and he was talking about pre targeting the text, almost getting the point where you can almost get ahead of of people. I'm just kind of curious. What have you seen in the paid side that's that's really impressed you or worked or made you believe that that shift has been beneficial? Yeah, well, it's been beneficial just because I've noticed the impact on our content numbers just when I do it. You know we did it. Here's a good example. We get a what I thought was a really good interview with the Guy Ryan single on net neutrality and it's the latest episode on the show be to be revealed and I you know, we have our normal ways of promoting. It's just like everybody does. I spend a hundred dollars on a twitter at that one post I put out got three hundred likes for a hundred bucks. You know, I like to say all of our post get three hundred likes. They don't. So at the end of the day, right, some of that targeting works really well and the retargeting stuff. A good example, therefore, a podcast one, for example. I got this tip from somebody else if we did the podcast mastermind group and facebook. I wish I could remember the guy's name, but I'd attribute to him, but I just don't. But he had a walk through video of putting facebook retargeting on your site, and so you just target visitors to your site with podcast adds on facebook and it's been really successful for a be Tob podcast because you know, if you think about it, people in business, when they're on facebook, that's probably a little more of their free time. They're much more likely perhaps the kind of grab a podcast that if there are two o'clock in the middle of a conference room beating with somebody else, right, because one of most people do a podcast, they listen to the first episode or two right or check it out, and so you hit him at a time where they're more likely to do that. They're on the couch scrolling through pictures of friends and all of the sudden this ad comes up and like yeah, it's a business podcast, but I yeah, I might like that right. So the retargeting STU's really big linkedin AD. I interviewed a guy on Linkedin ads will go live in a couple months and you know, he gave credence to what I noticed. It's a very expensive way to fly on Linkedin ads and I think that I'll change. But right now, while we dabble in Linkedin, we've been a lot more effective on facebook content that's more culture brand focused or podcast focus, because it's a little lighter in a way. You know, it's not like, you know, related directly to the research we do a hundred percent right. And then for Google ad words, we've been spending a lot on more like really targeted stuff to the research we do, and so that's that's where we've gotten a lot of uplift. And I use twitter occasionally. But but here's the thing. Everybody that I've interviewed on my show, at least about marketing, I've kind of for my own edification a bit, like you've mentioned a few times here in this this interview, I asked him like so, what about organic and Paine? And everybody I talked to this year, every marketing leader, PR leader, whatever, is like, yeah, you got to go spend. It's just the way the games played. Now that's how these guys are optimizing the platform. So I I think the idea of awesome content brings blocks of byball all is less true than before and you just got to get real about it. Right, right, excellent, all right. So let's change direction a little bit here. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions towards the end of...

...each interview. The first is simply, as a CEO, as a revenue executive in sales parlance, that makes you a target or a prospect. I would love for you to help our audience understand when someone you don't know is trying to get in front of you, believes they have a solution or something that that will help solve a problem for you, what's the best way to capture your attention and build credibility? Well, I wouldn't do what this guy did the other day. It was so bad that I actually like started actually laying it out word for word and flak, which is what we use for internal communications, so my teleguers could see how bad it was. And and it's short by the way, but it was like he got on and said something doesn't really matter. It was his basic introductory statement about the company and I always say, what's this regarding, because this first statement sometimes you're so vague, like you don't really know. So I say what's this regarding, and he literally said that's great, and then he said something. I said what's this regarding, and he said again, that's great. Admit I lost it. I finally kind of broke out and I said, I said, you know what I just said? Any any? Almost started to say that's great again. You can just picture him looking at this script going I'm supposed to say, but that just seems wrong, unlike every level to say that back to this man. And so I finally got him to recognize we weren't even remotely a target for his slit. I mean it didn't matter what value prop you had, we weren't even remotely in his universe. Right, which it was fine and he got it. And so what I would say works for me is B direct, open the call, ask me if it's a good time and mean it. There's a woman, Sharon drew Morgan, who's wrote up some really good stuff over the year. She's not as active in writing as she was once was and she used to mention that in her book sales on the line. It was a book for telemarketers back in the s. But it's still actually an interesting reason from historical standpoint. But in the beginning she said just ask if it's a good time. Like be direct, you know, don't do this like fuzzy weirdness at the start. There I have to kind of guess what you're talking about. I mean, that's not going to help you. And then don't badge or educate. Educate me right. And, like I said, it's just asked a good question. Even that'll full stop me and I'll be like so, what was asking a supposed to just badgering me right, to kind of stay on the line. Right. It's like they run it like it's a game of how long they stay on matters, and we both know that's not the case. Right, you can. You can close deals in a formnute phone call. I mean, not really that. You can move it to the next stage. And and so that's probably the biggest thing, right. That is those two things, I mean, don't bad a good yeah, asking questions right, don't badge er, educate me and and be direct. If you do those two things, you probably get my attentions better than they all yeah, we call it when we teach it to student. We teach it to clients. We call it a pattern interrupt just ask them. They direct and ask the caut it a bad time because most people don't take the time to do that. So it literally catch makes them kind of stutter step. Well, well, and and on that. Yeah, and on that point really quick. Just sorry about the eruption, but Sharon drew Morgan ties it back to NLP, which I don't really believe a lot of the NLP stuff, but but there's a point of it. Exactly the same thing. It's this kind of targeted interruption, right, that kind of unlocks their brain and they don't go to the road kind of process they have for dealing with you. And to your point, you can use that in a lot of places. You don't have to just use it at the start of the call it really good technique. Right, excellent. All right. So last question. We call it our acceleration inside. If there's one thing you could tell sales or marketing professionals, one piece of advice that if you gave them today and they actually paid attention to an internalize that that you believe would help them hit their targets to be better tomorrow. What would it be, and why be brave enough to say no. Seriously, just just say no a little more no. It isn't a good time to talk because I'm not going to be like really spun up on you by that point in time. You Know No. I don't want to stuff that in this proposal because it's not in your best interests. You Know No. We don't have to scale to that budget number because a smaller project would actually suffice to meet your needs. If they trust you to say no, you you're going to be way better off for the long run, especially if you're selling large accounts. We're going to have a relationship for many years. That's a much better place to start. So just say no more often. Yeah, there's no more powerful word there. It is the most powerful word in sales and I've told that to my teams for years. It creates authenticity, helps build trust. But you don't see a lot of sales are up to it, because I all get so flustered about all I got hit the quota and they're not thinking about the customer. They're thinking about their number rather than what's best. act like a run for the business. Excellent will, Sean. I can't thank you enough for being on the show today. If a listener wants to talk to you more about the things that we've talked about today, what's the best way to get in contact? They can just...

...email me. My email sewn sea and at cascade insightscom and that's on the site to if you go, take a look at the contact of stage and obviously, if they want to check out be to be revealed as another podcast, they could. They could listen to that for a while to excellent. All right, everyone that does it for this episode, please check us out at be Tob Rev exactcom. Show the episode of Friends, family, Co workers and if you like what you hear, does favorite writers review on Itunes? Would do pay attention to that. Until next time, we 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 or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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