If you want to be a top performing Sales Development Representative (SDR), you’re going to have to know how to get in with the c-suite. Selling from the top requires sales tactics that are fine-tuned and highly personalized.
What are the best methods to use if you want to watch the biggest deals roll in on a consistent basis?
In this episode of Evolved Sales Live, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with renowned sales trainer and keynote speaker, Ian Koniak, to discuss the exact formula needed to catch the attention of high level executives.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
With nearly two decades of sales leadership experience for Fortune 500 companies, Ian Koniak helps B2B Account Executives perform to their full potential and crush their quotas by mastering the mindset, habits, and skills needed to perform at the highest level. He’s personally generated over 100 million dollars in sales and was named Top Director of Sales for Ricoh and Salesforce’s #1 account executive. After a near-death experience, Ian started a coaching business to serve others and help them achieve incredible success by mastering the mindset, habits, and skills needed to perform at the highest level. His mission is to share his learnings over 19 years in tech sales to help AE's perform their best. To hear his full story, visit www.iankoniak.com.
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer 0:00
hey it's time once again for evolve sales live. Welcome back. I'm Jonathan Fisher. top performing b2b sales pros know that if you want to consistently consistently get the biggest deals, you've got to be good at getting into the C suite and selling from the top. So what are the best methods you can deploy to get your people in front of more top level executives? Well, today's guest is the perfect man to help us with that. Ian cognac brings nearly two decades of a career in selling tech and leading sales teams for Fortune 500 companies. Having personally generated over 100 million in sales eaten was named the top Director of Sales for Ryko and the number one enterprise account executive at Salesforce. Today, Ian has built on that success to become a renowned sales trainer and keynote speaker, and he sits as the dean of the enterprise sales School of Pavillion University. Ian, thanks so much for being with us to the show today.
Ian Koniak 0:57
Thank you for having me and appreciate the great intro. I'll try to live up to that awesome bio. It's funny to hear it. But ya know, it's great to be here, Jonathan.
Jonathan Fischer 1:06
It's good stuff, I had to pare it down, you've done a lot of great things. So if you would share a little more with our audience what you do every day.
Ian Koniak 1:12
Well, every day, I have the privilege of coaching salespeople and you know, I teach them, I'd say things that they're probably not learning in their own company. So what what it really takes to be successful, right? You have enablement teams that are teaching certain content, but they're, you know, they have a lot on their plate, they have to teach processes, they have to onboard they have to teach systems and products, right, but lot of times the selling skills are neglected in company. So you rely on a frontline sales manager. And let's face it, they're busy, and they have a whole other team. So I get to coach into train salespeople who are looking to up their game and learn what it really takes to sell seven and eight figure deals six figure deals for some. But how do you sell large transformational deals specifically in the SaaS space, so I run a program, it's called untapped your sales potential. And it's a coaching platform for eight years to really get to that next level in progress, their their skills, not only in sales, but in life. It's a very holistic program. That sounds fantastic. It is funny, you run into this a lot. We're a very large, very well run businesses and companies have these huge gaps in some of the enablement and some of the support that's required to help sales professionals succeed. So it sounds like you're really right on the front lines of offering some important gap filling assistance on that front. Sounds like it's pretty fun as well. What are some of the neat things you've been able to see in your career and coaching? AES? Gosh, I mean, the biggest joy and fulfillment I get is watching. I like to call it people when they pop, when they sometimes like get it that aha moment when it's like I've been thinking about this all wrong, I've been doing it because it really is so simple. But sometimes it takes many years before people can, you know, they're building up being ready to change that takes a split seconds when they actually make the change. So my biggest joy is actually seeing people get it, seeing that aha moment where something clicks, and then everything changes because they believe it themselves. And they, you know, integrate and process it themselves. So it can happen anytime on any day in any conversation. But that's, that's really my joy is watching people that didn't get it before and, and then all of a sudden they do and then they have the confidence to go try with what they teach. And then they tell me stories on how it's working and how they're getting into more meetings or selling bigger deals as a result of my training. It's really one thing to do it yourself and to see the benefits for yourself and your family. It's another thing to help other people do it. So that's where I am in my journey where it's really, really exciting to see other people succeed based on you know, what I'm putting out there. So yeah, love it. Love the passion for that, too. That's fantastic. So there's a whole range of of areas of skill that needs help to be successful, especially as an AE selling into larger accounts. We're gonna focus in on just one for today's show. And that is getting into the C suite. And maybe one obvious question is it almost, you know, kind of question the whole premise, you know, how important is it to get into the C suite in today's day and age? Yeah, it's, um, it's pretty important, but I want to be, I want to differentiate between C suite and senior executive because you can carry a C level title and not necessarily be the primary change agent or driver or decision maker. In many cases, it depends on what you sell. That's the truth. So if you sell one product, for example, that might only touch one department and it's a very niche product per se, then it may not be as important but if you're trying to sell in general large deals, six, seven figure deals, typically it's going to have to go to a CFO, it's going to have to go to a CRO. There's just let levels especially in the enterprise of approvals where they can't spend money unless it
To a certain amount, so I just recently did a large deal. And, you know, the head of finance told me it had to be signed from the CEO, for example, fortunately, I was already engaged with that CEO, we were already directly working together. And it was a quick, quick approval. But I think it depends on what you sell, it depends on the size of the deal. But in general, you want to make, you know, a lot of money in sales, and you want to get to that top level, you better get comfortable talking to executives. So whether it's a C suite, or whether it's an SVP, or an EVP, or a VP level, typically, that's the level that I kind of bundled together when I say executives, right, so it's, it's, it's everything. There's a recent stat that said that, if you don't, it came from GM, if you're not engaged with executives, or decision makers, that are economic buyers, and can pull the trigger, your likelihood of winning a deal is 80%, lower than if you are in SMB, and an enterprise, it's 233%, lower. And those stats came from analyzing literally 10s of 1000s of opportunities and all the data around that to see engagement with decision maker is by far the number one by a landslide indicator of whether a deal is closed. So it's everything in sales, and especially for big big deals.
Jonathan Fischer 6:15
Okay, I think that must be important. The number sounds like they tell a story. So yeah. So when we're talking about who the decision maker really is, I mean, the DM can be in a different rung in the ladder. I mean, corporate structuring has definitely evolved in, you know, the decades of selling into business accounts. But still, if you can have a little bit of the ear of the next rung up the ladder, as it were, or the next year, the next office above that could probably be helpful in negotiating deals. Yes.
Ian Koniak 6:44
Oh, of course. I mean, I always say never take a know from somebody who can't say yes, yeah. Yeah. If they can't say yes, what gives them the right to say no. So honestly, I've had so many deals where I was working at one level, maybe lower in the organization, and they said, We can't do this, we don't have authority, we don't budget, whatever. And I took that same message, same value prop up to the C suite, after I had been told no one was far along in the sales cycle. And then found out later that that deal moved within a week, two weeks a month, you know, it just power compresses, deals, power compresses, deals. So it really is, it's not just a matter of getting to power, it's about getting to power early. So you can save yourself, all those cycles of, you know, bottom up selling, which just takes you know, a lot longer,
Jonathan Fischer 7:29
top down is always a little easier than bottom up. Sometimes you have to do it, but definitely an advantage there. So there's a lot of challenges involved in that, you know, back in the day, the biggest challenge was just trying to get through the gatekeeper. And there's entire courses of training, you can probably still find them online and at the bookstore, had to get to the gatekeeper. Today like this, this is probably more of a problem than the actual gatekeeper, right than the cell phone holding in my hand. And as other challenges as well, let's talk about those, what are the obstacles to getting to the decision makers we're talking about? I
Ian Koniak 7:59
mean, I can give a clinic on this. But the biggest, I'll say two obstacles. The biggest one by far is their time, they're just busy, right? If you're an executive and you're running a pretty large company, or you have a big team under you, your your time is very limited. Most of your day is spent in meetings or when you're not doing trying to execute projects. So that's the first, you know, the first challenge is there's a lot of demands and attention for their particular time. The second, the second challenge is they are inundated with requests to meet not only by vendors or people reaching out, but also by their own team who wants their, you know, their attention in time. And the third challenge I would say is, is that they are constantly fighting fires, and I don't mean like ripping their head off. But like if you run a company, you run a company, I run a company. And you know, frankly, I pretty much only work with executives now if I'm going to do kind of some kind of engagement or training or coaching. And what I found is it's not that they're not interested in what you might have. It's just they have competing priorities and more immediate priorities that they have to focus on. So they can't even think about what you're talking about, which most likely will require them to change to get other people involved. So you're in a battle for their attention and their time and their prioritization. And those are probably the three biggest obstacles, I would say that that you're going to have to deal with is you're competing with a lot of other other resources and other priorities.
Jonathan Fischer 9:33
Well, in a sense, if they're not trying to solve a very specific problem, that is probably often on the very tactical level every day. They're also constant being sold, aren't they? Because even internally everyone wants to sell their idea get this be done convinced that this should go a certain way. And so are their walls a little a little higher on that front as well.
Ian Koniak 9:52
I think I think it's more Yes, yes, it is. And when I say walls, I think like tunnel vision. So if you're an executive you probably execute well, that's how you got to be an executive, that's how you got to the C suite is your laser focus, like less is more, it's the 8020 rule 80% of results is from 20% of activities. So it's not that they're so much like closed off to other ideas or meetings or whatever. It's just, they're, they're not trying to deviate from the strategy and from the plan that actually is right now in place. And I see that all the time, they might have a one year plan, they're working on a three year federal five year plan. And if you offer something that might be perceived as disruptive to the plan, or changing the strategy, that they're already in the middle of executing with a competitor, or with their internal team, that just can be perceived as, like I am already doing something else that is, is in the same line of thinking but not with you. And so you're also competing with that is like it is prioritization. In that sense, they're prioritizing the plan that they put in place versus constantly changing plans and moving around. So think the walls are not up from like a defensive standpoint, but more from like a execution standpoint, they don't want to deviate from the plans that they're already in the middle of executing to go start something else that may not be as important. So there's just so many obstacles and so many challenges in selling to executives that you're up against.
Jonathan Fischer 11:15
Yeah, and that sounds like a very different animal from your classic sales resistance that you'll find in the b2c sales space, for example, where people are just, you know, kind of tired of hearing it don't wanna make a decision or what have you, this is a very different animal. This sounds like they're they're allocating their resources right there, their mental and emotional resources, as well as their time resources, and see, but to have a darn good reason. Are there other challenges you might mention, before we swing into the solutions to those challenges?
Ian Koniak 11:40
I mean, again, it's like my program is a year membership for a reason, because there's so much to learn. It's not like just a year after the biggest, the biggest thing I would say, is just consensus building, right? There's another one. So even if you get the executive on board, you get their time they agree, then they have to go and sell this internally, then they have their stakeholders on board, then they have to get other departments who are impacted. I was reading the Challenger customer. And I think it was like at least six other, you know, decision makers or stakeholders for any large company over 1000 employees. And again, that's where I tend to focus. That's where I sold this course. And there's just a lot of cooks in the kitchen. And so you're you're also competing with politics, and you're competing with you know, egos and again, is there's a reason that the top earners in enterprise sales are making high six, low seven figures, because it is such a difficult challenging and, and really thoughtful job that you have to do to quarterback, all these moving parts within a large sales cycle. So not to sound daunting. But this is just the reality of what it takes to close, close big deals.
Jonathan Fischer 12:49
But to understand the challenge, if you can overcome it. So there's a lot there. And it sounds like it doesn't require a lot of skills. So let's, let's reflect on the fact that we started the conversation and the title of our show is about getting STRS into this position. So we're start we're talking about what is in most companies kind of a starting position, trying to work their way to what is going to be toward the top if not at the top position in the target prospective buyer. So let's talk about that. What is the beginning? Let me set the table for us a little bit like, and I think we're speaking both to the managers of STRS, and maybe to the SDR him or herself. What are some of the fundamentals we can begin to talk about here.
Ian Koniak 13:26
And before I talk about how to get in, I want to be very, very clear, this is something I will just back up 100% of the time, the best AES prospect to the C suite, it's not the job of STRS STRS are responsible for prospecting. But it's not only the SDR job if you're an AE, and you're running, you know a large company and you expect your SDR to just lock in and in bring you into meetings, I'm sorry, you're going to be out of a job very, very quickly. So it is all of them. And I coached the elite highest level performance, all of them have had to match your prospecting and still prospect now, the best ones coach their STRS and work in conjunction in collaboration tightly with their STRS, where they can divide and conquer and how the SDR is working some accounts where they're focused on others, or maybe they're multi levels within the accounts. So just want to throw that out there that this is what I'm going to say is for AES and STRS. Now, how do you get into the C suite? There's there's a lot of strategies out there. But I think the biggest one that I would say is you need to be relevance with your message. You need to be personalized with your messaging, and you need to be specific with how you can help. Okay, and if we think about when you do outreach, is this specific to them? Is this relevant to them? And is this personalized to them? In order for you to send a message that can check those three boxes, you're gonna have to do some research in advanced around not only the person that you're Reaching out to but also the company that you're really reaching out to and in the research is really where a lot of people get in, I know you're going to ask about this in a minute. But there's, there's, that's where a lot of people get it wrong, you know, a lot of the leadership and STRS, and a lot of the business development, you know, I'd say KPIs, and which STRS are measured revolve around volume. And when you're selling to the C suite, it's not a volume game, it's a quality game, the quality of your message will determine the caliber of your conversation. And so you want to have a clear, high quality message that actually, ideally teach us something new to them, that they don't already know about their business through the research that you've done, right. So fundamentally, doing research is not just like, I looked at your website for a minute, it might be here are your top priorities, I noticed you're focused on XY and Z, here are some of the challenges of executing that in a year, here's how we can help. And here's another customer that we've worked with that's similar. So it's not only knowing what they're focused on and saying, Oh, we can help with that, it's specifically coming up with a point of view on how you can help linking it back to the research and then referencing a proof point or social proof of how you've done it before. And to organize that kind of message is, frankly, it takes a lot of time. And you know, if you're working on a, you know, just auto dialer kind of high volume type of environment, then you may not have the time. So I think, again, a lot of people, they measure the quantity game, but it's not a quantity game, when you're talking about getting into the C suite. It's a quality game. And that's what actually gets you meetings with executives. And I am fortunate where I had to learn this the hard way, I came from selling copiers, and it was all about activity and volume. And it didn't work. And I ended up missing my quota several years in a row until I started to actually do some deeper work and come up with a point of view on how we can help a company. And that led to me becoming the number one account executive at Salesforce in the enterprise space. So you know, sometimes we just are a creature of habit, we think sales is all volume and all activity. But that's a major mistake that a lot of people make. And it's not, that's not what it takes. Otherwise, you're just going to sound like everyone else. And you're going to just go to their delete inbox, and they're never going to pick up.
Jonathan Fischer 17:18
Yeah, for sure. Well, why don't we do this as don'ts and do's then moving forward. So there's a don't want to do, we don't want to just measure KPIs, the old school way, in terms of volume, we need to measure quality. I'd love to unpack that further. That probably means that we need to have a wider range of activities that we're even looking at to start with. We're still we still need to monitor, maybe not monetary is even the right word. But we still need to be managing and ensuring that there's enough activity in volume happening. I'm sure you would agree. But we probably if we're too focused on what here's what I'm hearing, I'm gonna test this theory, I think I'm thinking I just heard you say is, look, at the end of the day, we've got to get to appointments, and maybe it's more about training on some of the kinds of activities is going to lead to that is that is that kind of what we're getting at
Ian Koniak 18:00
here's, here's the simplest KPI you need to manage its meetings meeting set in meetings actually attended, right? So if you're measuring calls, you're missing the boat. And too many people do that. It's I never will advocate any sales leader measure calls ever. I never did it. And I had the highest percentage of reps in the country over plan. Okay, and there were new apps that I was teaching how to how to prospect, all that matters is did you book a meeting? So if you're sending 10 emails out combined with 10, quality phone calls and video messages, right, you sent 30 contacts and that goes to 10 people, right, three times per contact, I did 30 touch points. Well, if those 30 touch points ended up getting, you know, two meetings, right? As a result, my my ratio is 20% of my outreach for the to the 10 people I got meetings with whereas I otherwise an old school I'm doing 100 calls in on personalized and I might get 1% So it isn't about the volume. It's about how many meetings Did you set we want people to innovate in terms of how they're thinking until they're how they're planning we want to give people autonomy to decide what channel works for them so some people might be better on the phone some people might be better with copywriting and writing emails sometimes people like me prefer video and they can be personal and just come on and you know share how they can help so the reality is there's no one way when people put people in a box and say you have to do it this way make this many dials and that's it and that's how you measure your your crushing someone's ability to be creative and to learn and to you know, find so so that's again on the do not list and on the to do list is you heard a couple things, use multiple channels, be creative stand out to get in. So I think that the KPI that matters most is booking meetings in sourcing opportunities period, you have a set amount that you have to book and then you have a set amount that actually have to convert into sales. So you know, they're, you know, real real deals and everything else. However you get there whether you're using events or whether you're using email or whether you're using video like it really doesn't matter you do If you can to get the meeting, if you want to go door knock in person, great, right? It doesn't matter. It's about getting the meeting. So that's the biggest mistake I see. And ultimately, you got to let people do it their own way, as long as they're getting the result. If they're not, then you go back down to activities. Okay, well, what is the quality look like? What are you doing? And then you coach them versus just saying the dials is the win? The Dallas is not the way. So anyway, that's just my two cents on it.
Jonathan Fischer 20:25
Yeah, that's really solid stuff. I love that. I feel like yeah, now now we're training our people to not just do rote activity. We're actually their stakeholders in the outcomes with a little bit more in this this approach. Because look, whatever I need to do creatively to get to this endpoint, I gotta do this number of points. I'm gonna, I don't know that I can feel the freedom to be creative.
Ian Koniak 20:46
Get Booked the meetings. That's it. So however, you booked the meeting, and obviously make sure they show up if you're booking, not showing up. That's a problem. So booking showing up in sourcing deals that close like, that's really it, nothing else how you get there is going to be different for different people. Right?
Jonathan Fischer 21:03
Yeah, for sure, for sure. Other Other don'ts and do's you might mention,
Ian Koniak 21:07
I think when we talk about like just a simple formula, if I want to give you kind of my playbook for getting into the C suite, the do is you research, right? Specifically, two things, one, the goals that they have and the priorities they have. Number two is the challenges or problems. And another do is like if you can, right, become a customer. So when I sold it Salesforce, I became a customer wherever possible, what didn't mean that I necessarily like, bought everything from them per se like Jacuzzi was my, one of my accounts when I was in Salesforce. And I went in and I went to their dealers and I saw their dealers were actually using multiple brands. And they didn't actually push me to jacuzzi, they pushed me to another brand. And I said I'm curious why this brand over jacuzzi, and they started bad mouthing that brand. And it was something and then I said, what tools show me Do you have any digital tools. And I thought since other this other company had some tools that made it easy to showcase the product. And so I took that information and kind of did that field research and surfaced that up to the CIO. And that was a very led to a pretty big deal in terms of how they enabled dealers to be more effective in selling the product. So a lot of times, you're teaching them something they don't know, because the executives are not always aware of what's happening at the ground level. So if you could become a customer, and really go through that customer experience, then fundamentally, you're going to have a point of view on where and how they can do better using their product or service. So there's a great example from the CEO of bravado, he did a post earlier this year. And he made he basically got meetings with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg and the CEO of Costco. And his approach, he worked at Glassdoor at the time, he would do a sentiment analysis on employees and find some insights on how remote employees actually rated their leadership worse than on site employees and brought that information to report to the HR head and who got past Zuckerberg because then he ties it back to their goal at the time, I know Facebook or Meadows is contracting now. But at the time, they were expanding what said, hey, I want to talk about how how your employees are publicly representing your brand and how that could be a negatively impact your recruiting efforts. And so it's not just teach them something new, it's provide provide them with a compelling reason to take action. So those are the two dues is like teach them something and combine them provide them with a compelling reason to take action. And you can't do that if you're just scratching the surface. So when I say research, I mean deep research. And the reality is, once you get into one of these larger accounts, like you only need a couple to make your number for the year. So if you can spend half a day doing some research and really understanding and coming up with a good message, then you can take that message to many execs across the organization. And typically, your likelihood of landing a meeting is going to be way higher, because you're disrupting the sales cycle where you know, they're not raising their hand and saying I know I have a problem, I need to solve it. If they're doing that it's already too late. They're already like probably looking at multiple vendors, you might be an RFP, it's competitive, and you're just a commodity. Whereas if you teach them about a problem they didn't know they had. Now you elevate yourself to trusted advisor status. And that's what we're all trying to do. So it's all about again, making that message specific and relevant to them and personalized and teaching them something they knew knew about that they didn't know they had. And then linking it linkage is linking the research back to what you do your product and service. So it's your unique is how can you help. And my experience has been when you go through and do this type of work. At the very least they'll refer you to other people, maybe the CEO is not going to handle it, but they'll get you in front of the CEO or maybe it's the worst case that they'll go in and respond back and tell you hey, this isn't a priority but you know what's on my radar for next year or whatever, but you're gonna get a response versus just, you know, sending stuff out to go into the ether where no one responds. The other the other do for sure is multiple choice. Animals. So on average, it takes between eight and 12 touchpoints outreach attempts before you can book a meeting. And it's probably even more with execs, I don't know the exact I don't I haven't seen a study that breaks it down just for executives. But in prospecting, eight to 12, most people stop between one and three touchpoints. So it's not a matter of like, is the message right or wrong, I mean, you could have the best message. But if you don't follow up on it, if you don't actually go in, and stay in touch with the person, the the, they're just gonna miss it. So that's that's so important is to continue, you know, a follow up series across channels. So I typically will do an email, I'll do another follow up with email. But when I follow up, I don't just say, hey, bumping this up. That's a big mistake bumping this up noon, and no, don't do that. Say, not sure if you've got my last email. But just in case, I wanted to elaborate a little more on what I said. And then you can give them a little more specific so you're teaching, you're nurturing, you're helping them, then you take it the phone, most people avoid the phone, like a plague, believe it or not. So get on the phone. And then when you call, don't make it a cold call, but reference the email that you said, Hey, did you get my email? Here's what I talked about, Oh, you haven't read it? Okay, well, real quick, three things. So now it's personal, it's not a cold call, they don't pick up the phone, go to LinkedIn and send him a video on the fourth touch. So it's like, you got to use different channels, but less is more fewer people, but more touchpoints those people, whereas most people, they touch people one to three times they're trying to cast this huge net. But that's, that's just not the right way to do it, you're better off doing more context to fewer people at the executive level. So those are some of the things I've seen having coached hundreds of people. And having done this myself for many, many years, that work really, really well.
Jonathan Fischer 26:37
Man, that is some solid, solid stuff. And I love it. I love the energy. I love the fact that you're you're talking about an approach that really is going to have a cumulative effect. So that it's almost like selling one to many, right, except it's kind of the inverse of that you're turning the pyramid upside down. Yeah.
Ian Koniak 26:55
That's exactly right, in many contexts to one person. And I have more than that, like I have, I have a whole thing I teach in my program. But each touchpoint should add something new. Right. So you know, one could be the original point of view, the second could be more specifics. The third can be a white paper that connects to the specifics. The fourth could be a customer story that you can reference that similar the fifth can be an ROI study that addresses the problems. So you have to add new content that expands upon the original point of view versus just bumping it back up. So the act of like creating a series of touch points with nurturing and education is something that I think nobody really does. There's certainly a lot of people do sequences, but I've never seen a good sequence apart what I've, apart from what I I shouldn't say that's not fair. I haven't seen enough sequences. But I will say most of what I have seen has been, you know, it hasn't followed a logical order. It's just like touching base touching base this, this this and it's like disconnected where a true nurturing sequence is building upon the original email and expanding around around that original point of view, where it has a logical order of educating and nurturing to the point where now they're really warmed up after they've heard from me four or five times versus annoyed. So that's something again, I do with my coaching clients, help them build out the sequences that expand around the original touch points. So a lot of a lot of bad things happening in not that many good things, but the ones we're doing the good things are getting CEO meetings, we're selling seven or eight figure deals because they're really being thoughtful with every communication, not just blasting a sequence out to hundreds of people thinking that that's going to sell because it doesn't work. I love it.
Jonathan Fischer 28:31
Well, the best way for our audience members would like to follow up on what you were just talking about is that as long as they're online on LinkedIn, and what's the best call to action for our listeners today?
Ian Koniak 28:39
Well, if you want me to help you with this in your business and apply it, I mean, there's lots of ways I can support you. But I have a coaching program. That's what I do. So best place is untapped your sales potential.com untapped your sales potential.com. That's my coaching program. It's sold out now. But I will be taking my 2023 class in January. So it'll open up there's a waitlist gotta get on the waitlist. That's what I'm selling to. So if you're interested in learning how to do this and applying it get on my waitlist, it is for AES. So if that's BDR is probably not the best fit, but AES listening or you're trying to get to an AE, and you're going to be there soon. It's a great place to accelerate your career, if you just want my content for free and you don't want to invest. I have a YouTube channel and I have tons of videos there. I also have a newsletter just connect on LinkedIn. And we're all probably already connected if you're watching this on LinkedIn. But if we're not shoot me a connection request, and I'll send you links to my newsletter and my YouTube channel, and you can follow me there. And when you become an ad or when you're ready. That's when you know we can go in and basically, we can start working together if it makes sense.
Jonathan Fischer 29:38
All right. Well, I love that. Well, one of the best place to find pre vetted talent to add to your team of AES or STRS firstname.lastname@example.org. We are proudly powered by overpass.com here on evolve sales. And if you go there, open up your free account and you're a hiring manager. Within days. You could have some of the best people on the planet hired on your team instead of week. Check it out overpass.com. Well, we're gonna go ahead and jump into our q&a and what a great conversation has been already. I'm excited to see what are some of the questions here in our chat. And so the aha moment someone says he has, there's another trainer on the line here that was commenting about that as well. So what what tactics do you recommend to Andrews asking this question if you're maybe, and I know what he's talking about here, frequently, maybe you have found an advocate, going back to the toward the beginning of our conversation today, maybe you're not quite as high on the rung as you need to be to get that final decision made. And you can assist that whatever that departmental head, in selling it up the chain, or the tactics or or tools you recommend for that.
Ian Koniak 30:45
I mean, I would start by reading the Challenger customer, the whole book is about how to enable your champion to sell internally, it's its own topic, but at its, at its simplest level, I think you have to think of this as not me on one side, and you on the other side, we err on the side together. So you're you're really collaborating with them, and understanding what they're up against, you know, what is their specific decision process look like? Who are the key stakeholders that they have to sell to? And what can you give them to help them tell a story internally, so a lot of times, what I'll do is I'll help them, you know, when when you're talking about this, it's really, you're already in the sales cycle, you're further along, and they're trying to sell it internally. So it's, it's one thing that I would, I would say works really well is if you take their deck, and you help them put a story on their deck on why they need it. So it looks like they're doing it versus a vendor presentation. So that's something I've seen work really well is when you use their template and deck and help them position this internally. Another thing, which I think people generally try to do, but they don't always make it mandatory is you have to assume the person that selling on your behalf is not as good of a salesperson as you are. So that's something a lot of people will try and equip the champion with everything they need to sell internally. But the reality is, there may be some politics, there may be some competing priorities. So the best way for you to determine your own destiny is to get in front of the economic buyer getting back to my original, you know, original statements. So it's like, look innocent until proven guilty is kind of the way I look at it, try and sell internally. But if you're not getting anywhere, let me give it a shot, right, let's, let's go. And so I'll ask the champion, hey, let's co sell this together, let's do a dry run, let's make sure you're comfortable. And let's co present to your boss. So this way I can get their input, we can make sure that, you know, this aligns with what's most important to them. And we can have a direct line of communication between me and them, I'll usually bring my boss at that point. So it's, you know, it's aligned there. I think that's a big thing. It's not just relying on them solely to sell on your behalf, but doing everything in your power to get in front of the decision makers that are actually going to sign off.
Jonathan Fischer 32:55
Yeah, that's good to keep your fingernails better trimmed, but that may not help get the deal sold right. As you wait in
Ian Koniak 33:03
front of the decision maker, and they can't sell it on you on their own. And that's they're not a champion. Yeah, they're
Jonathan Fischer 33:10
just an open loop. Right? I love how you're you you're coaching on taking control of situation in a way that would be should be well received. If you do it, right. Love that. Right. Yeah, we're just
Ian Koniak 33:18
trying to help make them successful. It's like it's not me versus you. It's us versus your approval process. Your purchasing department, your CFO, let's put a business case together, let's make this successful. It's helped you get this because they want it you have to assume they want it, right. So if they're on board, and they want it, it's simply a matter of helping them sell internally. It's you've got to be on the same side of the table.
Jonathan Fischer 33:39
Joshua has a great question here as well. And he's asked How important is it for an SDR to have that social credibility when they're trying to reach out C suite? I mean, LinkedIn is where it's at. You mentioned about enrolling SDR support for AE getting into the C suite. Maybe talk a little bit more about that. The issue of credibility within the online space, what role does that play? What are some best practices?
Ian Koniak 34:00
I don't think it's important at all to have social cred as an individual. I think, if your company has some credit, right, then that'll do it. So if you work for a company like Salesforce, people generally know it so you don't have to have this big personal brand established. I think a lot of people like to think that that's super important to like be well known, but it's not what's what's most important is to have a professional profile set up on LinkedIn. Right. So it's not about having a million followers or being the thought leader as an SDR. You don't need to worry, you go do your job and execute because that can be a big distraction. What's more important is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile has a professional picture than your messaging on your headline. So if you go to LinkedIn and and you actually click the little pencil mark by your profile, there's a little section called headline so a lot of people get their headlines wrong. They just put like, what they sell for what they do. Don't do that. Put how you help people. So we help sales teams deliver better high quality training to elevate their sales teams. So something like that, like if I'm doing training I'll say I help AES perform and their full potential in sales. And in life, that's the first thing. So you want to say, who you help and how you help them versus what you sell, right. So it's like Google are gonna glance at your profile, they're gonna see you, they're not gonna go digging and seeing whatever article you published or who you're connected with. But I do think you need to be professional, I do think you're, you know, ideally, you need to know about the problems you solve, and you need to have some resources on their on your page to help clients learn about you make it easy, where they don't have to, like dig in and figure out what you do by having to bounce around and like, make it really clear, give them the resources. And ultimately, again, if you look at my profile, it's a really good example. It's like I talk about who I help how I help them. And they have links to, you know, to learn more. So it's like, I think that's about the bare minimum, but you don't need to be some fancy influencer to get people, they're going to check your profile, they're going to make sure you're legit. And that's really the extent that you need to be to be set up for success.
Jonathan Fischer 35:54
Great, the professionalism is the most important key there, which sounds like an maybe a enablement piece. In terms of I mean,
Ian Koniak 36:01
a team talked about, we talked about social credibility, social credibility is not the individual, I want to be really clear to the company. So it is important. On the other hand, to make sure your company you have social credibility, in that you have some examples of people that you help you have some customer logos that you can share, you have some stories, right? So for me, again, my street cred or whatever is specifically testimonials from customers. And I make it very clear and easy to hear from other customers who might be working together because that that needs to be visible. So I'd say it's more important for the company marketing department to do that than the SDR to do that kind of work. But you want to be able to point people to that those customer stories fairly easily.
Jonathan Fischer 36:42
For sure. So another listener today, Jackson is asking, can you just give some good tips for an SDR who's trying to get to C level executives, you know, you mentioned earlier that your your recommendation is that that's an AE task. So talk to us about that, what
Ian Koniak 36:58
it's not only an eight tasks, so So what I again, my strategy is I have my ad account. So let's say I have an I was an enterprise, let's add 10 accounts, only 20% of those accounts, I was actually prospecting to it was two of the accounts I went all in on went to the C suite. They're huge, huge accounts. So I could make my number just off to account. Again, my strategy was, I was prospecting to the C suite of those two accounts, and my BDR was going after my B account. So my ad accounts, I was going after the BDR was going for my B accounts, which are the next 30%. So they had three accounts, and then the C accounts, which is 50% of the account, then the BDR was taking, but it was more just one channel email, whereas the BDR, and the B accounts was doing personalized prospecting to all levels and multiple channels. So they were kind of focused on those three. So you really do have to work with your ad to kind of break it up. But in general, again, I'll go back to what I said at the beginning research, provide a relevant point of view and teach them something new, and use multiple channels, right? The the oldest, forever new, it's just don't put people in a sequence, do not put people on a generic sequence, if they're in the C suite, right, go out and think about how you can help them and really, no one wants to, if your email, if you look at it, or your message sounds like you could send it to anyone else. Don't send it to a C suite. Because if you can just trade it for anybody that's not going to get in it's going to sound like everyone else. So you want something that sounds like and feels like it was just for them when prospecting the C suite. That's the biggest piece of advice I can give.
Jonathan Fischer 38:23
Right, right. Here's a question from our own levy powerpack. He's asking what is the revenue mark where the penetration challenge is not as severe? I mean, you're you're bringing this experience of selling enterprise level, but a different, you know, different, different rungs on that ladder as it were? Do you have a sense of that? Or do you know, some of the statistics on that?
Ian Koniak 38:42
Well, it's smaller businesses, I mean, honestly, like, if I, if I work with a company that's like under 200 employees, I can get to the C suite pretty quick. And it's not, it's hard to break through. And I don't have to do as much research, right, I can just reach out directly. So in general, the smaller the company, the less bureaucracy, the less layers and the less demands on their time. So I would say for small to mid sized business, anything under 500 employees, my experience has been, it's pretty easy to get into the C suite. And I wouldn't even bother doing director VP, I go right to the C suite for anything under I'd say 500 employees, that's been my experience getting right to the owner of the company, or the CFO, or whoever it generally is, I'd say fairly easy on a scale of one to 10 getting into that level and enterprise would be a 10 and a small midsize business, it would be a two or three, usually a couple of emails and, you know, you still want to be relevant and personal. But for small companies, there's just it's just not you're not competing for as much time and attention and they're not as bureaucratically you know, locked into what they're already doing. Generally, they have older systems, they have legacy processes. It's not like this thing where they've invested five years in this huge platform and they're not going to deviate from it. So the large enterprises exponentially harder to crack in versus the smaller as far as revenue mark. I think any deal under 100k I'm not wasting a lot of time I didn't even work deals under to fit See, when I was in sales for I was only doing the big one. So anything under 100k. I mean, we're talking a few calls, right? If it's 75k deal, I'm doing a first call, I'm doing deep discovery, I'm doing a couple meetings to kind of see what's happening at the next level, then I'm presenting back to, you know, the C suite and all the key stakeholders, you shouldn't be spending six months on a 40k sales cycle, that's just not a great use of your time. So I think the Pareto principle is very real. For me, it's the 8020 rule. So 80% of my time is going to 20% of my opportunities that there are very large opportunities, so you need to manage your time properly. But again, I'm speaking to AES, when the opportunity is already worked versus BDRs, who are prospecting?
Jonathan Fischer 40:39
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I had a question I want to ask into the mix here. And that is, Are there additional tools for research that are go twos for you, I'm thinking, you know, obviously, you can look online, their website and get a CrunchBase. Maybe there's zoominfo account, you know, if you have one, or the other, some other go to tools that you like, for learning as much as you can to be able to implement on your model here.
Ian Koniak 41:02
I mean, it's all the standard things, right, Zoom info has a lot of great info about like the account hierarchy, and you know, the different levels and executives, it's got their contact info, LinkedIn Navigator is great for just understanding, you know, multiple levels of connections, and grabbing leads, and bucketing lists. It's also good for seeing who's new in a role, right, so you can get alerts on LinkedIn. Or you can create lists on navigate on Sales Navigator that actually let you see who's new in a role within the past six months at a company, and then you can have a very targeted a targeted outreach to them on based on what they're trying to accomplish in their new role, and how it's going for them. And, you know, kind of call that out. Another thing that I use, I mean, this is pretty, I think most people use this, but maybe not, I don't know, I use Google alerts all the time. So rather than having going out and having to do research, where I'm having to find everything, Google Alerts is actually pulling from the news and from, you know, the most relevant information. So when something happens when someone has an acquisition, or they're doing layoffs, or they're doing you know, any kind of fundraising or whatever, you're gonna get those alerts coming to you every day. So you can set up Google alerts for your top accounts, and then use what's called triggers, trigger based prospecting, where you're basically seeing something that's happening, and you want to get in there first and say, Hey, I just saw this, we need to talk, right. So that's, that's another one. And then another tool that I use within LinkedIn is just the bell, if you want to get notified when someone posts something, or when when one of the people you're prospecting has, you know, anything that they're commenting, or posting or whatever, you can set up an alert for them hit the little bell by their button, and then you have notifications coming to you when they're posting stuff. And then you can actually comment or engage with their content and start building a kind of a social selling relationship with them and connect with them. So I use information coming to me through alerts and through notifications on LinkedIn. And then just straight up like Google, right? If you're, if you're Googling the name of the person and their company, typically, if they're an executive, they're the CEO or any any CC person, there's gonna have some public information. So a lot of times the executives will be on a podcast, or there's an interview featuring them, or there's just, you know, something, maybe they spoke at a conference. And that stuff is fairly, fairly common with with the C suite. So I'll just go to the all and then I'll go to the videos. And then I'll go to the news and like go through each of the tabs and Google to see where can I find stuff. And then you have to actually watch the video. And when you watch the video, or listen, you pull out things they're saying that you actually can help with. So that's the kind of like, I guess, tooling that that I that I would use in addition to the standard ones.
Jonathan Fischer 43:42
I love it. Well, it's been chock full of value for our audience today. I'm so thrilled that you've been on the show with us, I'm gonna have to have you back down the road. So just get ready. You'll you'll you'll hear from us. And I want to thank you again for being with us today.
Ian Koniak 43:55
My pleasure. Great to be here. And thanks everyone for joining
Jonathan Fischer 43:57
us and my thanks once again as always to our audience has been making the show such a success. Hey, come again. Next time invite a friend. We're gonna be here next Friday, same time, same station, talking with an expert on how to get the most out of LinkedIn in 2023. So more great info you can use every day to grow your organization, your revenues and improve your life. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next time. Take care everybody.