Selling B2B simply doesn’t work like it used to. To be effective, buy-in from the entire sales team coupled with a precise framework for implementation is necessary to transition into the new age of B2B sales. New techniques and skills are required to keep up with the fast-changing pace of audiences and selling channels.
How can your team begin rejecting outdated B2B selling methods without compromising value?
On this episode of Evolved Sales LIVE, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with founder of The Sales House and host of the Sales Enablement Podcast, Andy Paul, to discuss the precise framework B2B sales teams can adopt to regain control of the sales process and watch results skyrocket.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
With more than 30 years of experience as a business development leader with enterprises ranging from Fortune 1000 companies to technology start-ups, Andy Paul is a best-selling author, host of the Sales Enablement podcast, and the Founder and Principal of The Sales House.
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer 0:00
Hi. Welcome back. Thanks for joining us. I'm Jonathan Fisher. Everyone seems to agree that the old ways of selling b2b simply don't work like they used to. But few thought leaders have as much clarity on how to fix the problem as today's guest, Andy Paul, Andy is the best selling author. He is the host of the sales enablement podcast, and he's the founder and principal of the sales Action Group. In our conversation today, we'll discover a precise and road tested framework you and your team can use to reject the outdated sales methods your buyers hate, take control how you sell, Be your authentic self and blow your former sales results out of the water. Andy Paul, great to have you on the show today. Jonathan, thanks for having me. Yeah, fantastic. So you've had a lot to say, I mean, if someone explores your world, you actually have a ton, a ton of IP, in addition to the book. So we're gonna be definitely narrowing our focus today, but I'm gonna put that out there for the listener. I mean, you have a world to explore. But we have a very specific framework, we're gonna get into today that you do cover in your book. And I'm just wondering, How did you arrive at the insights that you're going to be sharing with the audience today?
Andy Paul 1:09
Experience personal experience, both selling myself as well as, as working with clients, over 22 year period, sales teams of all sizes, and just looking at the results people are experiencing, and the trends that are happening in this industry and came to the conclusion, as I started to sit down and write this third book, knowing somehow I want to write but it's just like, why do we seem to have gotten worse at selling over the last 10 or 15 years? When we're really in the sort of golden age, we've got all the sales technology to support us, and why aren't we able to use these tools to be better? And so that's really the question I was trying to answer. And, and, yeah, it's saw, and we all see constantly that, you know, the way that sellers are perceived by buyers, is often very negative. And it's for a reason, which is, that's largely how we enable and train sellers to act. And button, okay, there's a better way to do it. So that's the book is about?
Jonathan Fischer 2:15
Well, and I've seen multiple studies that indicate that there is a large portion of your whatever you're in whatever your market is, a lot of your buyers really don't want to talk to you. Right, there's definitely a thing out there about salespeople. What what do you think that's rooted in, by the way?
Andy Paul 2:30
Well, because salespeople don't provide any value don't provide a return on investment. Yeah, if you look at the buyer saying, Look, I'm gonna invest my time, my attention, my resources in you. They're not getting a return on that investment and time attention resources. So why did they want to spend time with the seller? Yeah, it's the sellers show up with their own interests, first and foremost in mind. And not they're really prepared to help the buyer do what they're trying to do, which is make progress toward making a decision.
Jonathan Fischer 3:01
Well, and that's and that's really the key role of a sales professional is to help people make a good decision. Humans are typically not fantastic at making decisions, especially when there seems to be interested or conflicting. Would you agree with that? And do you think that there? Is that one of the gaps? What are some of the gaps, you think in terms of the disconnect between you got a lot of people that are in sales, that's the other thing you could look at look at studies, and a lot of folks in our country today are in sales job, that's a huge portion of our workforce, something's 30% plus. So what is that disconnect? In a nutshell, do you think? Yeah, I don't think
Andy Paul 3:34
a 30% of people are in sales is the single largest profession. And I'd say it's actually as truck driver. But there's a lot of people whose job it is, as Daniel Pink wrote in his book to sell us human whose job it is to influence other people and work through other people, which is what sellers do. And the big disconnect, I think, is that you we train sellers, the fundamentally their job is one of persuasion, right? Your job is to persuade somebody to buy your product or service. And there's a couple problems with that. One is that shown in research that Jonah Berger wrote in his book, The catalyst that human beings universally, react negatively, to attempts to persuade them, like all persuasion, reactance 100% It's a universal trait of humans. So it's sort of ironic that we spend billions of dollars a year in sales training, fundamentally trying to train sellers how to become more persuasive, which is a trait that people instinctively resist. And so I tried to frame that there's another way to do that, which is Sim because persuasion is all about trying to get what you want. Instead of being so sell sales century has been more buyer centric, which is your job as seller really is to listen to your buyer. Understand that things are truly most important to them in terms of the problems they're trying to solve and the outcomes they want to achieve by solving them, and then helping them I achieved those things. And that's a completely different way of looking at it. And it's that framework that enables you as a seller to create an experience for the buyer during the buying process that sets you apart from other sellers.
Jonathan Fischer 5:14
Well, right on and I think that there's there's a lot to be said about what is the buyers experience, right? That's all the buzz when it comes to differentiating yourself in the tech sector, even from this, from the standpoint of your product, how people encounter you online, is true in terms of human human interactions as well. There's a lot that people do that are kind of just some bad habits. So
Andy Paul 5:33
well, but look at the context of this is that in so many marketplaces is so many spaces the market, let's choose an example out of the software world, let's say conversational intelligence. You know, an example I use before is, I don't three, four years ago, maybe there was half a dozen companies that were doing it, you know, three years ago, there was a dozen two years ago, there's two dozen a year ago, there's I think, 40 companies I counted, there's probably more today. So if you're a buyer, and you're in that situation where you're looking for a solution, let's say I'm the conversational intelligence space. How do you choose? Because from their perspective, now, they all largely do the same thing. And they all are priced? Pretty much the same. How do you make a decision? Well, what Gartner showed are the German Breton and map that wrote the Challenger sale? Referencing Gartner research says that, well, hey, well, we found our research 53% of the buyers purchase decision is based upon their experience with the individual seller. So the number one factor influencing the decision is that experience with the seller. And there's been subsequent research that's done with companies that do heavy wind loss analyses, that said, are found there's company Australia, Trinity perspectives run by German key and McLaughlin, they've done extensive win loss analyses with enterprises over the last dozen years. And they published a summary of nine reasons why you win big deals, and nine reasons why you lose big deals. And of those 18 reasons, nothing had to do with the product, or the functionality, or the price, why the one mentioned by price was the product was too cheap. But in general, the these 18 reasons why a win and lose, were all based on the human experience that they had with you as a seller. And people just want to ignore that and say, no, no, we're all process driven. It's all about the metrics, the outs, we're going to purely a numbers game, which undoubtedly sales is at some point, always a numbers game. But people are making their decisions based on their experience with other human beings.
Jonathan Fischer 7:44
Well, that's a really powerful statement, because identifying the problem allows us to offer a real solution. And I think we deliver on the promise I made, I think you've got real clarity on how to fix this problem. I fully agree with your analysis. How do we begin? What are the stages and steps we can take a look at to begin to formulate a solution to this and build a better user experience from the human standpoint?
Andy Paul 8:05
Well, it starts with sellers taking the control of how they sell, right, as is, you know, we operate within processes, we operate within frameworks, but fundamentally, your job is to your responsibility, I'd say, as individual professionals to become the best version of you that you can be. And, yeah, I like to sort of look at sort of a salesperson will say they have served divided into two parts, right? There's your product knowledge, there's your knowledge about your process, your methodology, and so on the things that we get trained on routinely, right. All necessary. But there's a missing piece, which is I said, you know, we're good at training humans how to be sellers, are we doing good job training sellers how to be human, because it's that human that makes the difference ultimately, in the mind of the buyer. And so that's what I talked about in the four pillars of selling in the you know, if you're not selling out, you're selling in the based on these innate human attributes, connection, curiosity, understanding generosity, that enable you to connect with the buyer build the credibility and trust, you need to be able to ask the questions that that go a little bit deeper to enable you to get the answers perhaps you weren't going to normally get if you're just doing sort of your standard drive by discovery that most sellers do. Where you can get to the point where you have reached this deep understanding what's truly most important to the buyer. Because if you can reach that level, where the buyer really feels understood, well, that has tremendous value for them in terms of making their decision, and then generosity is about Yeah, how do you provide the value in a way that helps the customer do what they want to do, which is to quickly gather and make sense of information they need to make an informed decision with the least investment of their time, attention and resources possible.
Jonathan Fischer 9:58
So you've given us a really good frame work, let's dive a little bit deeper if we could, if you could start by defining terms selling out versus selling, what do you mean when you talk about that?
Andy Paul 10:08
Well selling out as, as a seller putting your own interests ahead of those of the buyer. And so this is this is when you show up and throw up when your shop, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch pitch, if you think that your job as a seller is purely to persuade the buyer to buy your product or service. I mean, think about that. If you have that black and white, if your job is really just I'm here to persuade you, then understanding what's your needs, your requirements, things are really important to you really sort of secondary, because it's almost immaterial, because I'm here to persuade you to buy my product. And this is we have this mismatch all the time is because in the early part of their their buying process, the buyer, and I think this is a confusion point from a seller's. And I think, unfortunately, because some analysts reports sort of have muddied the waters. People hear this all the time, either buyer 70% of the way through their buying process, before they talk to sellers for the first time. It's just it's not true. Right? And maybe in the real transactional product, perhaps it is, but anything with any sort of complexity, part of the reason your sellers need to talk or excuse me, the buyers need to talk to sellers, is they need your help to better define and understand the problems that they think they have. And the outcomes they can achieve by addressing them. I mean, if this is this is the role of sellers is to help your buyers more fully understand the scope of the challenges they have, and the scope of the opportunities. And so if you go into it thinking, Oh, well, they know exactly what they want. They know exactly what they need. They fully understand the landscape out there. You're just a transactional sale that point. Sell on price and features.
Jonathan Fischer 11:55
Do you think it's fair to say that part of the issue is maybe defining one's role in sales? There's a missed there's a mismatch there is that's that's kinda what I'm hearing you say, if I'm in tell me if I'm right, it's almost like it most people, most sales professionals seem to feel that it's their job is to create an outcome, where you're saying no, it's actually to play a role. And that's that role is one of service. Would you agree with that? Is that a fair way to summarize?
Andy Paul 12:18
In general? Yeah, yeah. I mean, sales is a service, a service profession. I mean, it's almost research right now that's come out that said, Look, buyers don't want to talk to sellers. And I think that's just half answer or partial answer. The answer is, they don't want to talk with sellers that can't help them get their job done. Right, they can help them better understand the nature what they're trying to accomplish, that can help them make a better informed decision. And so if you're showing up purely as a sort of self interested, self motivated seller, putting your interests out of the buyers, and they don't have time for you, they don't want to talk to you because you're not helping them. But self aware, buyers know that we need people from the outside that can ask the questions that we don't think to ask ourselves, right? There's there's a whole body of research around the concept of strong ties and weak ties, right. And so when people within an organization develop strong ties, what happens as they all start knowing the same information or what the sociologists call redundant information. And so when it comes time to contour making a change in the way they're doing one thing or another within their business, and to achieve something else, the self aware organization knows that they need to be able to talk to people like that, who they have weak ties with, who know things that they don't know who know, what questions ask them that they don't know that ask themselves. This is why buyers need to talk to sellers, they don't want to talk to sellers only, I don't think I've had great relationships with my customers over decades. I don't think any one of them ever wakes up in the morning says, gosh, I hope and he calls me. They don't want to talk salespeople. But they know they need to. The problem is there's this disconnect because they have a hard time finding sellers who can help them do just what I talked about. And so you start with the serve basic human attributes. We're all wired to connect with other human beings. We have we have the need to do it. Our buyers want the connection. I know there are voices out there in the sales world saying oh buyers don't want the connection. That's just wrong. They do are human beings it's important thing. They want to build, you know, work with you and they want to have this build this credibility and trust bond with you. Because you know, helps them in their their process that they're going through. And that's part of the experience I have of you. And it's just it's a necessary step. I mean, if you want to truly get to the point where the buyer opens up to you shares information with you that I willingly share with every seller that crosses you know the that they talk to, or that comes into their office or whatever. You have tests to be built on a level of trust that exists. When that trust exists, then you can start using your curiosity, not to ask your standard discovery questions. But ask questions that cause the buyer to think differently about the problems they think they're facing and the outcomes they can achieve. If you're not able to go and have them, think differently about it. Again, someone else's shaped their vision of what success looks like. And you're just trying to compete on what functions and price at that point. Yeah.
Jonathan Fischer 15:45
So the alternative that you proffer is selling in and you gave us a four part framework to that let's dive into those each one if we could. So begin with the first one. How do we get into be specialists in selling in?
Andy Paul 15:58
Yeah, well, yeah, I started just doing that, again, talking about connection, actually, the sort of a one one step before the, the four pillars. And that's, there's a question that every buyer asks you. They don't they don't ask it necessarily out loud. But they're asking nonetheless, which is why you write why should I invest my time in you? Why should I trust you? Why should I take advice from you? Why should I work with you? All these questions that if you strip out the middle words, they just end up being why you. And the source speaks to the power of first impressions with buyers. Because first impressions are incredibly powerful. We know from science and research, that when people form an impression of someone, it's very hard to change that, even when you present them with facts that contradict their their perception of you. So it's really important to understand that every time you have an opportunity to interact with a buyer, it's important, you know, there's no casual throwaway moments, they all count, you know, it's nothing too small, because obviously the buyer never forgets. So, we think about your initial interactions with prospective prospect, a potential prospect? Are you prepared? Have you done your homework into the company into the person? You know, are you prepared to be able to engage, as I said, on a human level, just find some common ground that you can talk about? Build a little bit of a personal connection that enables you to segue into the business conversation? takes little work. But if you don't get a positive answer to that, why you and again, they're not going to ask it out loud. And you're not answering it verbally. It's how the buyer experiences you. That's right, the beginning.
Jonathan Fischer 17:40
That makes sense. So if you if you could answer that question effectively, why you and you're diving in. So you'd have those four parts of the connection, give those to the listener again, if you want to dig a little deeper,
Andy Paul 17:51
which we dug into connection ago connections, just forming that initial connection, that again, lets other voices out there, say yeah, buyers don't want or relationships with sellers. Well, you know, you're not solely in a relationship, but you have a relationship with with your buyer, just by virtue of the fact you know, relationship. Let's look in the dictionary, it's defined as the way two or more things are connected or work together. So if you're working with, with your buyer, you have a relationship with them. Sorry to break that news to some people out there. But it's that that's the basis for building credibility and trust. And in the book, I have a framework for pipe framework for how you you build trust, as an acronym called mice, M IC E, it's very motivations transparent, the operate with integrity, you demonstrate competence, and you execute, meaning do you live up to your commitments, and it's a simple, simple framework you can use immediately in your conversations to show up differently with your your buyers. But again, the important thing about the trust and again, some people want to overlook it is that you're one of the purposes in building this, this level of connection trust with buyers is to be able to, I like to call it stick your nose into their business. Right? If you're just doing the superficial discovery, if you're doing your superficial normal discovery questions, you're never gonna find out what's most important to the buyer. So my experience, again, personally and working with many, many, many sellers over the years, is that every opportunity I've worked on, there's always one thing that's more important to the buyer than everything else. Doesn't mean that there aren't a number of things that are important, but there's always one thing that's more important than your ability to discover and understand why that is important. What that is and why that's important to the buyer is really crucial in terms of differentiating yourself from the competition because to the extent you can make the buyer feel heard and understood. That's tremendous source of value to them. And it's differentiator.
Jonathan Fischer 19:56
Well, that makes a lot of sense. So you've got connection. What's the what's pillar number two?
Andy Paul 20:00
No curiosity, which we talked about. So in the book, I give six, six types of questions that people can use this frameworks to say, yeah, these are questions will cause the buyer to stop and think differently about what it is they're trying to do. And that's, that's what the purpose of questions is helped the buyer think more deeply and broadly about the problems they're encountering, and the outcomes like think they can achieve. And if you can have that conversation with them, then again, you start differentiating yourself from most sellers that are out there, they're just following the standard process and as in the standard questions and, and, you know, if you're asking those standard questions, time and time again, for from the buyers, you're gonna start getting rote answers to your questions, because we train the buyers over time. So they're gonna give me their, their superficial questions, I'll give superficial answers. That's not gonna help you. So use curiosity and six question types, which are, again, available in the book to help the buyers think differently. And when they think differently, it's like, well, this interaction with the seller is different than it is with the other sellers, this experience is different that helping us in a way that no, no one else's. So then once you've earned that trust, and you start asking these questions, you then start surfacing this information about really what's driving their decision. And I'll give an example. I mean, I sold to a lot of large, large enterprises around the world. And oftentimes, it would be an open competitive situations, but they would narrow the field down from, you know, dozen vendors, the final three, and they put together an RFP that was released to the final three finalists. And you'd open up this RFP and there would be these compliance matrices, you know, could be 300 items, line items long, that they want to know whether you complied with them or not. And you'd look at and say, well, they can't all be equally important, right? What's the one thing that's really driving this? And that really then becomes your job as a seller? When will sport job is? How do you get that level of understanding of the thing that's most important to the buyer, because there is one, it's there. It's just your job to find it. And so the book talks about how you can work the buyer through three stages of understanding to help them navigate, navigate that both the power of the buyer, their level of understanding your level of understanding as a seller to identify what this is, and then when you've identified this, what you've then identified as sort of the target, if you will, and I talked about in the book is, you then collaborate with the buyer to create this vision of success? What does success look like for them if they're able to achieve this specific outcome? Well, if you're the first vendor, the first seller to be able to help the buyer bind to that vision of success, there was research that was done by I think was Forrester 10 years ago that said, that a study among 1000 Plus it buyers, if you were the first vendor to get the buyer to align with your vision of success, your odds of winning the deal stood at like 60 or 65%. That's huge, right? That's pretty decisive. So helping the buyer work collaborate with the buyer to identify what successful look like? Well, that's that vision, if you're co creating it with them, the vision should be aligned with your solution. So when the buyer then starts going into the market, and looking more deeply at specific products and features and functionality they need to achieve that it's more likely to be aligned with your product your offering than with someone else's. You've created the template for what success looks like.
Jonathan Fischer 23:51
Well, you can add a fourth pillar of generosity in a moment. But before I do just a friendly reminder to our live audience. We're going to get into some nice q&a with Andy Paul here in just a moment. Some of you began to send us your questions. Hey, don't be bashful. Send us more we're gonna have a fantastic back and forth q&a here in just a few minutes. So Andy, we've got three of our four pillars. We've dug a little deeper on connection, curiosity, understanding, generosity. Now how does that apply to I get that sales is about you know, you're making it about the other person and putting their interest first showing curiosity understanding what a good outcome is. Generosity. That sounds a little bit maybe a little off the out of the norm to a lot of salespeople ears. Tell us about that.
Andy Paul 24:33
Yeah, what's the problem, isn't it? So it's, you know, there's a way in which you give right as is Jonathan we're wired as human beings to be generous to give but there's there's a way to give that helps the helps the buyer again, accomplish this fundamental job they've set out to do which is quickly gather and make sense of the information they need to make an informed decision, with the least investment possible. other time, attention and resources. And so there's a way to give that is generous. And I think, you know, even if you look at sir, this definition of sales I gave you before, as you know, Java sellers is to listen to the buyer, understand the things that are most important to them, and then help them get that, well, just let's deconstruct that your job is to listen to buyers. That's a generous act, right to listen to somebody to understand them. And the things that are most important to them, that's a generous act, and then help them achieve that. Also a generous act so that just the act of selling itself when done well, it's an act of generosity. To dig deeper in that though, in the section of the book that we write about, I write about generosity is a definition of value that's very specific. And I think it defines value from the perspective of the buyer. And this is something I think, is really important for sellers to understand, because they always think about, well, how can I create value for the, for the buyer, or, you know, I'm giving value? And are you really from the buyers perspective. And so very simply, value from the perspective of the buyers is equal to progress. Meaning if as a result of an interaction with you, as a seller, Jonathan, no matter what type could be emailed voicemail, voice conversation in person meetings, Zoom meeting, whatever, if as a result of that interaction, I'm closer to making a decision after it than I was before. That's progress. That's value that's value for me as the buyer, that is the fundamental definition of value and sales. So as a individual contributor, or as a sales manager, you know, if you're looking at your pipeline, you need to answer you need to be able to answer two questions about every opportunity that's in there. What does the buyer need from me or from us right now? In order to make progress toward making a decision? And be having received that from us that value from us? What steps are they willing to commit to take next? And if as a seller, you're looking at every you can answer those two questions, what every opportunity in your pipeline, then we need some coaching. Right into go back and look at Hey, have we really connected? Did we answer the why you are more
Jonathan Fischer 27:29
Andy Paul 27:32
Beginning? Yeah. Trust so we can deploy our curiosity to get the deeper answers that we need, you know, the information they just don't routinely share with everybody. Yeah. And do we truly understand what they're telling us? Did we confirm it? Did we make sure that that was happening? Did we? It was a question I asked in the book is just when you think you've reached a level of complete understanding of the buyer, you should always ask, well, that's okay. So make sure you confirm that's great. So tell me, what are we missing? It's really powerful. Right? Just when you think you've got it all tied up, you're putting a bow on it. Hold on second, what are we missing? You'd be surprised what comes up at that point in time again, something that most sellers just gonna glom right past. Right.
Jonathan Fischer 28:14
Yeah. Like that. Like that. What are we missing? It demonstrates that you are really, really dedicated to making certain it's a great solution not trying to rush to some ending that suits you. It's another it reiterates the value with which the whole thing was begun. I like that a lot.
Andy Paul 28:28
Yeah, well, it's just also it's, we just have to get off this track that, you know, there's buyers oil, sort of, if we've got an ICP, and you know, we have sort of 200 companies in there, and our ICP, and they're all pretty similar. We think, well, they're all alike. Well, yeah, but the problem is, they're not all alike. In their perspective, right. I mean, excuse me, think about yourself, like a medical condition is, you think, well, no one feels this way. I do, right. I mean, I'm, you know, maybe I've got a flu or something. And yeah, I don't I just, I feel unique, right, I've got this unique perspective on how I feel. And I found this in the beginning of my sales career, that I was selling into the construction industry. And so I thought, well, yeah, there how large the same, you know, they fit our criteria, ICP and so on. But in their perspective, they were nothing like, you know, other people, right? They had their own unique, I am sure, we're sort of like them, but our problems were different, right. And our problems are different. Unless you understand the Spurs how they think they're unique. You've never really reached this level of understanding. Yeah. And this has come up a lot recently in discussions about, you know, the role of AI and sales going forward. is like, Yeah, it's amazing. It's going to do a lot for sellers in, you know, take things off their plate they're doing today, maybe help them some degree in interaction with the buyers. But there's already been research into AI driven systems for medical decision making. And what they found is that, you know, the shortcomings, the way that trust are falling off with those systems with the patients is the patients that the machine can't recognize my uniqueness. Yeah. And this is always gonna be the case with customers and b2b sales, it's gonna take the human to really understand the buyers perspective, why, what they're facing the challenges the way they're facing their challenges, their specific problems, yes, they're similar, perhaps to other companies. But we think they're unique. And when you can understand and acknowledge that uniqueness, again, you create a differentiated buying experience for the buyer.
Jonathan Fischer 30:40
I love that. Well, speaking of uniqueness, I think you bring a unique voice. And I'm sure our listener would like to take it further. You have a really nice offer for the listener where they can do just that. Why don't you tell us a little bit more about what the listener can do?
Andy Paul 30:52
Oh, yeah, yeah. So if you want to grab a free chapter of my book, sell without selling out Guide to Success on your own terms, you can do that on my website, Andy paul.com/free Chapter. And, yeah, I'd love to have you do that and have another resource there for a free assessment, that sort of a fun assessment just serve to help you gauge just how salesy you might be.
Jonathan Fischer 31:20
Just how salesy you might be might not want to know? No, actually.
Andy Paul 31:26
It's meant to be fun, and little serious, too, but meant to be fun.
Jonathan Fischer 31:30
Yeah, that's good to know. There's probably some bad habits lingering, and even the best of us trying to update our games. I love it. Well, at this point, let's, let's revert over to some live q&a, I think we've got some good questions that had been asked. And let's check in with those that are into the chat here. Beginning with a friend of the show, Amy Rahab, check. She's asking Where do our sales processes, you may know AMI processes get in the way of delivering a winning buying experience? And it's a really great question, because you said at the outset, Andy, that that we do have these processes by necessity. When do we get I guess, in my mind, yeah. Is this process serving you? Are you serving the process that there is a possible sharing there talk to us about that?
Andy Paul 32:13
Well, I think that's you sort of identified the key point is is and this is not this is not to be blaming anybody but but you know, there's too often managers believe the process is paramount. And that, hey, if we just follow the process, you as a salary are somewhat interchangeable cog in this process, just follow the process will do. Okay. And there's been an increased emphasis on this over again, the last 1015 20 years in sales. And what the data showing is actually, that's not not really working. Right, there was a study done in conjunction with a book that's published a year ago, called strikingly different selling, but I think they've surveyed 5500 companies across multiple industries, industry segments in the b2b space, you know, the average win rates. In b2b space on this was for deals more in excess of 100k. But these days, 100k is pretty modest size deal. Yeah, average win rate 17%. Meaning that, on average, and b2b sales, sellers are closing fewer than one of every five or the most qualified opportunities in the pipeline. That's crazy. That's hugely problematic. And this is one of the issues I address specifically in the book that we're addressing with our court based training, selling school, is there's no reason for win rates to be that low. And so what it speaks to, is this mentality of sort of just playing the odds, right? If I bring enough opportunities in my pipeline, if I'm just sort of mediocre, I can close one out of every five. But we didn't get into this business to be mediocre, right? We got in the business to be the best version of ourselves, right? And so as a seller, you have to ask yourself, if your personal win rate is less than 50%, you know, if you lose more than you win, I contend that for the most part, your buyers are making the decision to buy from you, in spite of you, not because of you. You don't want be in that position, you won't be the affirmative reason why the buyer decide to buy from you and your company. And this is the challenge is to and I think what happens is that too many sellers get caught up in sort of this rote, rigid processes and they feel that they're not empowered to sort of act in a way that's best in alignment with their own personal strengths and character and value. In order to win business, and yeah, that's unfortunately, enforced by many managers who for a variety reasons, mostly because they're not, I think, adequately trained to help develop people become the best version of themselves. And it's the part we're really missing. And that the buyers are asking for, they're asking for an experience, right, to help them make this decision to set yourself apart from the other people. That's what they want. That's what they're looking for. Yeah, yeah. If they don't get it, they'll buy from the machines. Well, and
Jonathan Fischer 35:36
unpack further with Amy's question I think is laying bare. I mean, if you're running a team, and you're just relying on your processes, your people are probably based on the numbers alone, you would contend that if I'm hearing you right, on numbers alone, they're underperforming, because they're not really pushing for a qualitative outcome that is really, based on these sound principles you've been talking about. You're just letting the process carry most of the day. And I think this is really what you seem to be issuing was a challenge to No, no, there's way more to it than that. And the numbers, if your process is yielding these numbers, then the process is broken. And you're relying on it too. With too much focus. It sounds like what you're saying.
Andy Paul 36:15
Yeah. So here's a very simple way to look at it. The buyer has a vote, right to buy from you or not. Your win rate is the reflection of their votes about you, and the experience of working with you. As a seller. That's just Yeah, it's not personal, so to speak. It's just it is what it is. And so if Yeah, they vote the majority of the time, or in the case of this, you know, this research says more than 80% of the time they're voting, that experience was negative. Yeah. What's that say about the future of this profession?
Jonathan Fischer 36:59
Right, right. Let's get some, let's get into something a little more tactical, we had a great question here from Tukey. Steel, what's the best way to approach the buyer to get to that first meeting without making them feel you're trying to sell them something? You know, you you there are KPIs, there's expect expectations that your manager has of you, your producer on the front lines, you can kind of feel the pain of a guy like Toki. Right? How do you get it, maybe get in touch with yourself enough to be authentic at the front end? Do you have some tips for him?
Andy Paul 37:28
Yeah. So you know, there's it's never been, I wouldn't say easier. But I'll use that word, qualifying just second, in a sense to get in touch with people that you want to have conversations with, because we have this incredible platform LinkedIn. Right now. Firstly, yeah, LinkedIn sounds familiar, sort of like email, you know, it's people are bombarded their inboxes are incredibly busy. They're noisy. But unlike with, with email, with LinkedIn, you have this opportunity to connect in a way that is more authentic. Right. And now, we go into a sort of a long, long story about, you know, how you set yourself up for that mean, part of that, as you know, you have to as a individual contributor, I'm a huge believer that you also have to be sort of a content creator these days that you have to create a brand around yourself, you have to have a point of view. So we know that ad from research on the rain group said that, you know, 82% of buyers look at a seller's profile before they speak with them for the first time. Assume that numbers are high enough, just assume it's 100%. Right? Yeah. So what are they seeing when they go to your profile? What is it that that speaks to them to say, look, this person is worth investing my time and attention in? You know, do you have something to say that speaks to the challenges that they're facing? Right, and it's not just purely sharing marketing content from put up by your marketing department? What do you think, because they're having the conversation with you. So that's one element of it is you have to be prepared to start building this brand of you as a seller, because people are judging you based on that. And then secondly, it's just in your outreach. You know, what, what's going to work for you? What works is, you know, it's part of it's like finding your voice, in terms of the ways that the words that you want to use the ways you want to connect, that will resonate with someone in an authentic way. And do it in a way that that's giving and not taking, right if if we all innovate on this session. I'm sure as experienced somebody reaching out to them on LinkedIn, hey, I want to connect and then within 15 seconds, those automated response, you know, trying to sell you something. Don't do that. Right. Define people's expectations about what's going to happen. And so you know, what starts with sharing, what are you sharing that might be of value to them, and maybe you have to share for a long time. Before you take the initiative, say, is it worth talking? Right? Maybe it's not just one outreach, maybe it's five outreaches, find out experiment, find out what works, and what works for you. Right? Because what may be working for the person sitting next to you is completely different. And you can't judge yourself by that, you know, it's too easy to get sort of nervous saying, Oh, well, guys, this person has had such great success reaching out and I'm, I'm seemingly not, it's like, no, what I think it matters at the end of the day is we're able to win a deal, we're able to help the buyer, make a great decision. And the way you do it is gonna be distinct and unique to you. So you have to experiment and find out what works.
Jonathan Fischer 40:43
It sounds kind of like tech, he may be relying too much on process, if I may say, and I think you're getting a friendly challenge from Andy Taki. To take more, take more, more of this on you right and be more authentic. And again, some of the process we've been talking about. I love it. So
Andy Paul 40:56
the Great, the great American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, All life is an experiment, the more experiments you make, the better. And I absolutely couldn't be more true for sales.
Jonathan Fischer 41:06
I love it. I got a question from Mitchell. And he asked What is one thing you believe Andy, about sales that is not or would not be accepted by most sales leaders take it away?
Andy Paul 41:20
Where do I start? Well, we're just going to talk about one thing that we've we just talked about here today, which is win rates. It is. It's amazing. Because we run these, we my partner's a member of checking magma shack, we run selling School, which is a CT based cohort based course we talked about that teach the principles of selling in. And it's focused on increasing win rates. That is the metric we focus on. And so when students come into the course, I'm always sort of amazed is how few actually know their win rates. And on top of that, their managers aren't tracking. It's like, well, no, no, this is the metric, right? Sure. We need, we need to have activity we need to track activity. Because yeah, sales is at some point, a numbers game. inescapable. But the number that matters the most is, what's the buyer think of the experience working with you? And that's, that's what's reflected in the win rate? Yeah, and you have control over that. Right? I mean, we don't have control of our product. We don't control the pricing, we don't have control over features. I have control over how I act with the buyer. And, yeah, I'm not gonna win every deal. But I need to be able to get to a position where I can win more than I lose.
Jonathan Fischer 42:41
Yeah, I love that. Dennis has a great question for us as well. It's kind of a comment with a question how many salespeople we've known that literally happened to sell in spite of themselves. There's a lot of truth in that. Maybe you got a good maybe you have a great, that good of a process, you're just in a good, hot market. Some of this could be a function of training. I agree with Dennis, his question is, what do you do when folks aren't coachable? I think that's a really great question. Do you think is this like, as a leader, what's your decision making process with the team? Was it time to maybe rotate someone in or out of your team? You know, talk to us about
Andy Paul 43:15
the kind where you're standing on that and rotating them? rotated? Yeah, coaching them to a different opportunity. Right? No, I done this is really identified. And I think that's something you want to actually you want to interview for, right? When you're testing for when you're interviewing peoples? Are they coachable? I mean, this is this is one of most critical things. Because yeah, if you can bring someone on the team that maybe has potential, but they aren't coachable. You know, they're never going to achieve at the level that they think they should. They're never gonna achieve the level that you think that they should. And so you're gonna have that mismatch. I think coachability is one of the key characteristics that you that you screen for, when you interview. I remember interviewing Mark robear, who was one of the founding, you know, VP of sales or CRO at at HubSpot on my podcast. And he talked about how that specifically when they interviewed people that had people sort of do a sample presentation, they give a few minutes to prepare a presentation and come in and make the pitch to them. And then they would provide feedback, and ask the person to go away and prepare for a few minutes, come back and re present. And what they're looking for is did they take the coaching? And I think it's it's just a great thing. I recommend it to companies as well as is, yeah. When you're interviewing people, you want to test the things that are really important to you. And the things you think are critical skills for the job, and if being coachable is one of them, test it. And I think for most managers that should be
Jonathan Fischer 44:47
I love that. I think it's such a great note to end on. Well, Andy, Paul, thank you so much for adding so much value to the show a lot of size today. When I encourage everyone who's listening go get yourself the book at minimum Go to the website and get those free resources. Andy has a lot of fantastic IP. But on behalf of the overpass team and our listenership here, Andy, thanks for being such a fantastic guest today,
Andy Paul 45:11
Jonathan, thank you for having me. It's been so much fun, great conversation. Yeah, absolute ball.
Jonathan Fischer 45:15
Well, and if you've been enjoying the guests we've been having on the show, you can go check out our previous guest anytime you like by going and checking out the Evolve sales leader podcast. Wherever you'd like to get podcasts. We've got this re edited into a form you can download during your workouts. Listen to while you're in the drive time, what have you check out the Evolve sales leader podcast and also a friendly reminder our we are powered by overpass. If you need to rotate somebody into or out of your team, there's no better place to get some fresh, fantastic new talent on your team quickly than overpass.com it's free to use to hiring managers jump over there, create your free email@example.com That's gonna do it for today. Thanks everybody for listening and making the evil sales leaders such a successful show. We'll see you next time. Same time same station See you then bye