The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

The Science of Customer Connections w/ Jim Karrh

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Opportunity generation ultimately drives revenue. 

 

And it comes down to the interplay between 3 things:

 

Message, messenger and management habits. 

 

To learn more about how these play off each other, I spoke with Dr. Jim Karrh, Consultant and Professional Speaker at Karrh & Associates and Author of The Science of Customer Connections.

 

In this episode, we discuss:

 

- The elements of great messaging

 

- Why everyone can sell — even introverts

 

- Why a central source of conversational truth is important

 

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Dr. Jim Karrh, Consultant and Professional Speaker at Karrh & Associates.

 

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

All of this is a hundred percent underyour control. You don't have to be perfect, but it's manageable. It's justmanching what comes out of your mouth and what comes out of the mouths aboveit in your business you're. Listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated helpin executives, traintheir sales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're lookingfor techniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to theright place. Let's accelerate your growth in three two one: welcomeeveryone to the BTB revenue executive experience. I'm your host ChatSanderson today we're talking about how the interplay of message, messengersand management habits impact opportunity generation in ultimatelyrevenue. Often we focus on this show on one of these elements of this equation.Today, we're going to break down ench one and see how they play off of eachother, see how they amplify or nullify each other, depending on how wellthey're done to help us. We have wit this Dr Jim car, founder of carassociates and author of the Science of Customer Connections, manage yourmessage to grow Your Business Jim. Thank you for taking time and welcometo the show Ah Chat. It's a pleasure to be here and I feel like I will betalking among my people. Work Aloy with Thatwo have they're on the line for revenue andtrying to get there without driving themselves and r their team insane, which, depending on what posision youhave in an organization, can be a bit of a challenge you bet so before wejump in. We always like to ask random question just so. The audience gets toknow O little bit better. So we've all been in this new reality. Where there'sa you know, lot more remote work, we're working from home. You and I both havetraveled endlessly in the past when now we're home mare for better for wors, socurious to learn something that you've been able to reconnect with with thisextra time at home and maybe a passion at Hobby, something you were able to tofind it helps you recharge and level set...

...chat. I appreciate the the aspiration,the optimism in your question, not to let you down. I did not learn anotherlanguage or take up any new hobby ehe. The household reality in the carhousehold is my wife and I have three teenage sons, the oldest of whom is a graduatingsenior, getting ready to go to college plus a three year old daughter. So it's not like we've had extra time.Everyn ie is man home from school, and we've been doing that sort of thing. Iwill say on a on a positive note. I did resolve to that was an decent shape andI tried to stay in decent shape, but I was not going to make the nineteen ofcovid nineteen being the nineteen pound right right. So I went back to the PNIDX three workoutseries, which Ih'd done in the past, and it's something you can do about ahalf hour a day at home for the most part and sometimes could even work outwith with my sons, and so I'm probably tad in a little better shape than I waswhen all of this started. So maybe that that's awesome yeah, especially whenyou know, especially when we live on planes and travel as much as we have inthe past, like it's hard, it's hard to be as physically fit or healthy asthere's so much temptation. So Much Tom, yes and just schedules areuneven and the quality of food is uneven and sleep is uneven. So allthose sorts of things are difficult an when you are on the road as much as wemay have been before and we'll see how that's all going to play out. I thinkthere's going to be a bit of a hybrid world going forward, but my crystaballis none more clear than anyone else's ight yeah. If we only knew who wouldhelp and help ee's a lot of all right what's happening today, where's the business going today allright. So, let's get start anything I can say Chad. What I try to follow isif anyone s any supposed expert starts...

...by saying something along. If present trends continue- or at thisrate, just turn them off at Mat. Point Right: ECAUSE, itiy won't continue atthis rate yeah and Whel. It's like every morning ends it up. Is it down?You know it's just it's one of those all right, we're just rid the rollercoaster. Let's see what exactly so, what happens all right? So, let's jumpin in and let's talk about this common challenge and see we can had a newperspective. So we all know every anybody WHOs Listeng to this would knowthat most sellers people in the sales profession are really good at talkabout the value of what they provide, whether be product or service, and it'strue for any seller right. Anybody in marketing you get really good attalking about US talking about what we're delivering and it's true.Basically, anybody who toches a customer right, but they struggle tomessage or talk about their solutions, their products effectively or in a waythat you know is difficult for others to connect with, and I'm curious toknow it's one of those things I've seen throughout my career, but from yourperspective and expertes. What causes this? What what is it that we'restruggling with? What's the real challenge, er with that creation andarticulation of the message? Well, Chad, you hit on the wordconfidence and let's established that that is a chronic issue and a reallybig issue when you think about whether you call it sales messaging sellingconversations or just what it takes to generate opportunities and revenue.I've seen a number of surveys of BTB sales reps in particular and in general,their confidence in the message behind their solutions. Self reports ofconfidence is less than half of their confidence in the solutions themselves,and that has a tremendous number of consequences. So if you're, you have aa selling team and they're, not sure of the questions,to ask what to say the stories to share. They don't feel like they've got itstraight: they're, probably not going...

...to engage in the way that they shouldand oftentimes sales managers leaders. Company leaders will be frustratedbecause you know why aren't they getting out there and doing there's somuch opportunity? Why aren't we engaging the marketplace? And it can bethat hesitation on? I can have that conversation, but it'snot goning to go well, because I don't. I can't preview- I not confident in it,and so the conversations don't happen, but you ask about causes and I considerthem road blocks and they're, based in brain science and they're, based inpsychology and oftentimes past assumption. So the number one roadblont Chad to just what you were talking about is our brains, which isthe most wonderful mystical machine ever, but our brains reward us forthings that are comfortable. We get a nice electrical chemical charge fromthat, which means that we tend to talk about ourselves and our stuff too muchour brains just draw us in that direction. So it requires someintention and it requires the leadership and reinforcement about howwe don't let ourselves continue to drift. That way, I'd say a second areathat causes some of these problems. Is Our assumptions there've beenassumptions for decades that there's a certain personality type, there's acertain kind of person, who's really good at leading selling conversations.Typically, this the extrovert it someone who is skilled in communication,who said specific kinds of training, it's that person and a lot of sales,people and customer service people and others inside the company would sayit's that person and by the way, I'm not that person. But what we've come tolearn over time with real sales. People is that extraversion intraversiondoesn't really make a difference in terms of affectiveness. In fact, mostof US personality wise are in the...

...middle of that continuant. Where arewhat maybe called MVERVERTS, or I call the NIMBO majority, it's more of a billcurved, and that means most of us are naturally wired for the give and takeof good conversation. However, that's going to be and even t the more extremeintrovert oar extreme extrovert have their own assets. They had their ownstrong points about it, but the real takeaway chat is, if you look acrossnot just a sales team or a marketing team but service to livery installationselling partners, whatever the ecosystem is around your solutions oryour stuff is that most of us are naturally equipped to be able to do it.Well, so we need to look at that with a broad view, and I just as a final thingthat I run across a lot chan that gets in the way is organizational baggage,some of that's baked in. We have silos and layers and business units all overthe place. There may be lack of training or coaching. A lot of peoplehaven't been trained in selling conversations, and so they findthemselves then to be frontline managers and they're supposed toprovide coaching for their direct reports and they're ill equipped to beable to do so so an oftentimes we're bag. Maar weigh down by where we tryeto do something like this last year. Remember give around so and so about engaginghigher in the customer organization, or this of that it tended to fizzle out.So the member one thing is our brains, but also I'd, say our assumptions andour organizational baggage can get in the way, and so we have to reverseengineer the process a little bit in terms of what will make for goodselling conversations and then attack those accordingly well and in a lot ofsituations. If you think I think sometimes organizations have setthemselves up to propagate this right, you hire, let's just say a sales,professional or t could be Serviceis doesn't matter, you hire a new personand the onboarding process is...

...ninety five percent. US US US US us.This is what we do. This is how we do it. This is our process. This is youknow, these are our products. These are skuws, you know it's all about us, thenwe UN leash these people into the market and can't understand why they'renot having these productive conversations because nobody respondsto hey. Let me talk about me, hey. Let me talk about me and let me talk aboutme and so have you seen twe clients or do when you work with clients? Do youapproach it in a way that maybe doesn't specifically go after? You know howthey effectively on board, but helping them understand that at some point ateach stage in the revenue funnel, there needs to be a focus on how this message is put into the world and, moreimportantly, do you tailor the approach to say how I'm going to work withmarketing versus I'm going to work with? You Know Customer Success Woth thesales team, absolutely Chad. What you described is is pretty common,certainly from what I've seen with clients and and other organizations interms of approach. The first thing I do with the leadership is: Let's take adeep breath. The good news is that, in order to get much more effective,consistent selling conversations, you don't necessarily need to change yourgo to market strategy. You don't need to turn the business upside down. Youdon't need to necessarily change your pricing or distribution or your partnerarrangements or anything like that. But let's look at the nuts and bolts ofthose effective sales conversations this is eminently manageable, doesn'thave to be perfect, thank goodness, but if you can manage in and beconsistently good, then you will rise above the noise you will in terms ofagainst your competitors, do very very well, but you just need to getintentional simple and serious and I'd say for a you mentioned. You know: Howdo you approach this across sales teams and marketingsuccess and other parts of the organization? I do recommend a COcreation type of approach there and...

...there needs to be a central source of conversational truth.It's kind of a high. I like the title, Iliplan O playbook, aguide that takes, I not a repository, but a guide of here our ideal ideal clients. Yourperson is your questions to ask stories to share evidence of what we do, thingsthat are tailored toward a few specific conversations that are really thepriority and I think, if a lot of times chand, what we'll see is is companieswill turn this over to marketing or theyaltern it over or it's?The CEO has decided what he or she really wants to say. I want everybodyto be able to spound out our eleven point, dision statement you know thisis this is the thing that it needs to be or there's an agency or some outsideparty that comes with a new message, sometimes maybe a slogan or some MatraThats there, and- and it's not internalized with the very people thatyou want to deliver that message in their everyday business conversation.So there are a couple of things by being very intentional of having a COcreation. Mentality first is that your message itself will be better becauseyou will involve frontline sales, people and Marketing in customersuccess, and, I would say other subject matter: Experts other people inside ofyour enterprise, that they will be able to bring you more real words betterstories. They will know the kinds of questions that we need to be ready forand the kinds of questions that we need to be asking in those thoseconversations. The other advantage to approaching it. That way chat is thatyou're building some street cred you're building some momentum for this newmessage during the creating process,...

...because people are going to go back,whether you're doing workshops or group meetings or you. However, you you dothat and build out your playbook and validated over a period of a few weeks,they're going to be going back to their teenates they're, going to be goingback to their regions and saying hey, I'm in this, this cool thing we'rereally developing something that feels like us and is very tailored and veryauthentic and real. So when it's time to roll this out, you'll have somemomentun behind it. Yeah there's I mean: There's always that's kind of a changemanagement approach right. So, if we think about there's the, how do we? Howdo we evolve the message? How do we get everybody on board it? I love the ideaof Co creation and I am going to I'm going to go back and listen this andgrab that phrase again, because that sound sounded very official. It's notoriginal to me. I ripped it off from other people, so nounta great though Iwas like wow I I mean it really resonate so, but there's the creationof the message then there's the change management portion and getting peopleinvolved early. One hundred percent, one hundred percent agree with you. Youknow it'sus critical, then youv got you know the reinforcement. How do we makesure they don't fall back into their old habits, but when you're developingthat message part when you're working on that cocration you mentioned pullingin people that will have better words or things like that. Do you incorporateany like conversations with current customers to see what it was thatresonated with them, or is this really just farming and pulling together theinformation and the expertuse that we have internally great question Shat and I think youneed to pull from several sources ideally- and I will say to to you andyour listeners this doesn't have to take a year and a half I mean you cando a lot of these things. A lot of this work fairly quickly, but I certainly atthe first level because there's this historic disconnect between marketingand sales. So let's break that apart, when we want to make sure that it's notone area delivering something, they expect another area of the company toParrot. U To say so, marketing in sales.

I would look at and what's the businesscase in what are the conversations that we want, so it might be just as oneexample that the business goal is to expand accounts to expand the number ofthe things that you're doing and to retaine people retain customers. Ifthat's the case that I want to get that customer point of view, why they'redoing business with us, what we're helping them with what other thingsthey consider along the way and stay ahead of that now it might be. You areseeing a problem with win rates or commoditization. Your margins areshrinking. You get into these beauty contests and where you don't want to beas a seller, so then you want to explore a little bit more. Maybe whyyou did not get certain deals. Why, and I know a number of companies will have,you know, win Los Studies and that sort of thing you want to be able to bringin those datapoints those stories that are specific again to the business goalthat you have and then the conversations that will be necessaryfor you to hit that business goalso. I say sample widely yeah talk to as many people as you kindof mean the there's a lot of focus. Now it's almost got an point where its kindof a buzzward but that buyer journey. What is what is the buyer experiencefrom from first contact when they might be in like a low interest, lowawareness state they're, not interested in what Youe provided er, notparticularly ware of your company, but then moving them to that high interest,high awareness state where they are engaged and then all the way throughthe sales process. There also has to be a connection point of the messaging sothat, from an early stage, prospecting standpoint through customer success,the individuals or the COMPINIS that you're working with don't feel likethey're dealing with multiple organizations. So there has to be somelevel of alignment, and I'm assuming this is where the interplay andamplification of these messages come in serious if you've seen not that, I wantto throw anybody into the bus but...

...curious if you have seen wherecompanies have been way out of alignment in that and how you've helpedthem kind of get to that more consistent amplification of messagethrough the entire process. Well- and we won't mention any name and look this- these are chronic issuesand again it has to do with our the way we're organized it has to do with ourbrains. It tends to look it's complicated, how we sell and how we buy,especially for high value solutions on the BTB side of things. So it's a messyissue: It's not inaccessible. We just need to break it into some some simplecomponents. So, yes, this happens, and it happens to really good companies andreally good teams and professionals. That's why you need a good, simple,scientifically sound, practical approach to tackling the problem again,knowing that you don't don't have to be perfect, because you won't be perfect B,but that's fine, so I think, is a clarifying way of approaching all ofthis. I tend to think of really good messaging as a three legged stool andso think of the legs of message, Messengers and management habits. Themessage is, you need a a story and it's not a story. That'sthat's! Not even the right way to put it chat, you need things to say andshare that are conversational and shareable. So I talked earlier about mission visionstatements. There are a lousy basis for a real selling conversation, agoodeveryday business conversation because they are self referent in theytend to sound the same across industries and across organizations,but you want something. That's really interesting, that a lot of the emphasisthese days on storytelling is a component of that bite, sized chunks,things that are relevant to the...

...customers world. Things that you canremember in the moment and that when they're heard on the other side areunderstandable and interesting, and that can be shared yet again so there'scomponents of taking what might be say, marketing language, which is aroundpositioning and bringing it into sales, language and customer language. That'spart of a bringing in different different people from the organizationand in being really brutal about getting it down into its slimming it down and getting into ittry components. The messengers part is thinking about. It can be your fan baseof customers, but it's certainly the other people inside the organizationwho were going to be carrying the message primarily proper, probably thesales team, but also maybe you may have lots of teams that have customercontact and oftentimes it's the delivery or the maintenance orimplementation. Those folks need to have at least some pieces of thatmessage at the ready that they're, comfortable and confident ind sharingas well. then. The third leg of the Stool Shad is management habits. Thoseare the ways that we bake this in to how we meet talk. Coach reward support,socialize. How do we get this to be into the fabric of our culture so that people will know what to say and theywill have developed the skills and the repetition of doing it? And then we'llget back to that very notion of confidence that you talked aboutearlier Co. People will be confident when theyre they feel fluid in it. Theythink it's going to make them look good and it's going to help them hit theirgoals and they won't get wacked if they're trying it and it doesn't gogreat, the first time right, so we're working on this managers or workingwith their teams and we're all sharing successes and those wins, and so itbecomes a very virtuous circle of a good message, alot of people who are equipped and...

...confident sharing it and thenmanagement habits that make this a more or less permanent part of your sellingculture. And so that's I mean that's a great breaktdawt on how we manage itinternally right, but the and we all know the minutes we turn around with.We can management as effectively and internally as we want the minute. Weturn around and we let people lose, then it's out in the wild and it's andit can take on a life of its own right. So I'm curious how how it affects youlike. If we have this down the message, the messengers and the managementhabits, if we have it down, how does that impact amplify effect? Things like word of mouth orthe concept of trustworthiness that maybe a buyer prospect hazard doesn'thave with US curious once you've got that down. Is it easier to see positiveword of mouth happening and the trust credibilityn repor go up, or is thatyet another layer of messaging management that has to be consideredwell? These things certainly are connected and you just think into theeveryday consumer world of word of mouth. If you have a great meal or seea movie as your Netflix binging during this time, the case might be, andpeople are inclined to share their experiences with others that they thinkmight benefit. It helps them look good in the process. So if we are feeding asystem chat of having the right sort of message and thinking who is that fanbase of messengers going to be including your current customers ofclients and channel partners and other people taking a nice broad view of it,then we will enable a lot of a lot more word of mouth and interesting in that,even in this digital world. A lot of recent studies about where word ofmouth happens. Its still is far more on individual conversations in oldfashioned analog stuff. Then it is through say, social media or a lot ofthe digital market, not to say that the...

...digital side of the House isn'nimportant and increasingly important. We want consistency across that, but itis in those conversations. That's where the money is right, so we want to beable to connect those dots. You mention the word trustworthiness and I thinkthat's worthy of a just a moment, because there are very few absolutes inthis business world, but I would say, absolutely chat a hundred percent ofthe executives ind companies that I work with say they want something alongthose lines. They want their teams to be trusted, trusted advisors,consultative, something around that area of trust, which we can imaginethere' lots of great reasons. Why? And it's also the case that trust is a anincreasingly scarce commodity. Let me go back a little bit from what we knowabout consumer psychology and what I see in everyday practice as well. Sowhat is trust worthyness really, and how can we avoid pitfalls? And how canwe get that right? So I think of a very simple balance that two things thatthat comprise trustworthiness, so I think of t equals eplus e and the tistrustworthiness. The two EAS are expertise and empathy. These arerelated, but theyre, they're separate. What what I find is that many teamsover index on this notion of expertise, so expertise being your credibility,your credentials, your years of experience, the logo slide that youhave all of that. It feels easier to express that, because it's objectiveand we can show it and we're confident in being able to do that, but there'sthe other side of it. The empathy is our understanding of the customersituation and what makes them unique and what they're struggling with notsympathy but empathy, and what I find...

...is that conversations are the onlymeans to really build understanding and demonstrate your empathy by sharing astory by asking a question reflecting things back. So it's also easy, andmaybe this is one of the reasons why Chad, that that it is thoseconversations that drive word of mouth and drive so much of business. A lot ofthe expertise stuff can be sheared digitally. It is your videos and yourwhite papers and your thought leadership and all of that again it'simportant as super important foundation, but it's getting into the right kind ofconversations o the right time with right people and leading theconversation in a way. That's friendly to the prospect of the customer helpsthem solve a problem, helps them address an issue, that's where you willset yourself apart by building that trustworthiness and throughdemonstrating your empathy. I love it and I love to hear you say it because,yes, everybody listen very closely. People still have conversations withpeople, it's not it's not about the SOCIA media stuff just by itself, andyou know I think about my own experience. If I'm looking for areferral or something I am having a conversation with people that that Itrust and asking some very specific questions. It's not like one hundredand forty two character limit. Something is going to convince me thatI've found the right solution. My point me in a direction, but I'm still goingto want to want to talk to the individuals themselves, O Al Right. So,let's, let's Change Direction here, a little bit. We ask all of our guest twostanard questions. Dine eacine. First is simply as a revenue executiveyourself. That means you're a prospect or target for other sales professionals.I'm always curious to understand when somebody doesn't have that trustedreferral into you when they don't have somebody that you trusting hey, youreally should talk to this individual. What works for you for someone toeffectively capture your attention, build the credibility and earn theright to get time on your calendar. Well, Chad. I suspect that you and Ican both tell lots of stories. Af Wo,...

...get it wrong and a lot of it is justyou know, diving right into a pitch and and and know I don't want any seo, I'mjust fine, but you know because we're in thisworld I do have a lot of empathy have a lot of appreciation for what it doestake to be a great sales, professional and a revenue generator it's hard. Youknow this is a tough job, and so I try to have a little grace. That said,there is a lot of bad practice out there I'll tell you I' put it, maybethe other way around in what tends to work and what I appreciate the most. Ido appreciate those folks who can compine a couple of things. So thefirst is an expert point of view. They'll tellme something I didn't know or help me look at a problem or opportunity in adifferent way, and that comes back to that expertise part, but so someone whocan can say something it doesn't have to be provocative. The fact hat thatit's insightful is probably itself provocative. So I appreciate that part,but the second area that I appreciate is is something that's tailor to me:someone's done their homework, so they may understand the pattern they may.They have their domain of expertise, but they also appreciate in anempathetic way that I'm not quite like everybody else, or at least I don'tthink, I'm quite like everybody else. Everyone wants to consider themselvesto be alconomist right. So that means that the people who approach me thewell they're not giving me a presentation, aright and just pitchingand they're, not trying to force an interrogation on me either a they'renot saying hey sa you. How about we schedule a two hour call, so I can askYo eighty seven questions about your business and we'll see if we might be agood shit, so instead it's I actually do appreciate a conversation that wouldmake me feel smarter and can give me...

...something that I think is of value. Soif it's not a presentation, and it's not an interrogation, it's probably agood conversation. Love it all right! Last question: We call it ouracceleration insight. If there was one piece of advice, if you were limited toone piece of advice, you could tell sales marketing or succustomer successpeople, one piece of advice that you believe would help them hit or exceedtheir targets. What would it be and why they can offer some practical and justrealistic encouragement having a message that does justice tothe value you offer? It's that that confidence issued that a huge gap thatwe talked about just tat, the top of our conversation. Knowing this is achronic challenge. No one can do this well by themselves and we're in our ownbubble. We've got our brains talking to us in the wrong way, but all of this isa hundred percent under your control. You don't have to be perfect, but it'smanageable. It's just matching what comes out of your mouth and what comesout of the mouths abot it in your business and you'll just need a plan owhether you want to call it a playbook or a guide or something that helps youbreak through barriers. Helps you break through the natural tendency to talkabout ourselves too much, and it makes it something: that's imminentlysharable, so it can sound very simple conceptually. It is simple, but with alittle intention a little practice and and staying with it, then this issomething you can actually use to set your business apart and grow yourrevenue faster than you could have otherwise excellent, all right Jim. Ifthelisters interested in talking more about topics, we've touched on orlearning more about your servicesor or your book, We, where do you want us tosend them well for the free stuff, which is always very appealing, I'd,say, go to my website, which is Jim carcom. My last name is billed KARRH.It's a a family branding issue and I've just ou now stuck with it. If you canget close by the way chat, I've...

...purchased the domains of most of theCommon Misspellings O. My na you can get close you'll find it. I have my ownpodcast called the manager message podcast, and so that's a nice resourceas well on the inexpensive stuff I ha e. havethe book that you mentioned, which you can find on Amazon and audio book isonaudible is basically on all the ways that that you buy and consume businessbooks, and I break it down into message messengers, management and and offer alot of tips and encouragement there, and I would encourage anyone, who'sinterested and once the Connecton of Linkedin is my primary social platformplatform of choice. So at Jim car there would be great and as long as you're,not pitching the SEO services within four nano seconds of making theconnection that I' welcome. That Sto tell me that you heard heard us hereand and anyway that I can serve as a sounding board or a source of inside Obe happy to do that excellent Gim. I can't think ou enough for taking timeto be on the show. It's been in a pleasure pleasures all mine thanks allright, everybody that does it FIS this episode. You know the drill be to beRevizeccom, shote friends of family coworkers, anybody's jut stuck inquarantine, and if you like, what you G do is a favorite leavous review onitunes. Till next time we had valueselling associates which wallnothing, but the greatest success you've been listening to the BTBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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