The Modern Selling podcast, hosted by Mario Martinez, Jr., is the go-to podcast for sales leaders, sales professionals, business owners, sales enablement leaders, and anyone responsible for generating revenue. Mario's guests are practitioners in the trenches, experts in their profession and influencers who are leveraging modern selling techniques to inspire you to create more sales conversations with your target buyer!
Sales Enablement in a Digital Sales World with Kyle Healy, #173
How do you get a traditional sales team to embrace modern selling techniques and engage with prospects digitally?
That is the topic of conversation in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast with my guest Kyle Healy.
Kyle is the SVP of Sales Enablement and Strategy for NFP. A dynamic leader with nearly 15 years of experience in the insurance consulting and sales space, Kyle is a core member of the leadership team at NFP tasked with driving transformation inside the functions connected to the organization’s revenue growth. Kyle is a regular public speaker on progressive sales strategies for complex B2B buyers, as well as total rewards and human capital trends as a result of his background in benefits consulting.
Listen to this episode to discover how NFP has transformed its traditional sales force into a modern sales organization.
Focusing on Outcomes We started our conversation by talking about some commonly held beliefs about selling that he disagrees with.
One of those beliefs is that as a seller you need to talk about yourself at some point early on.
“We have a lot of our sellers sort of really vehemently believe that if they don't get something about them or us or their product early, it's a waste, that we need to convey value right up front,” Kyle says. “I don't believe I need to talk about me or us until maybe meeting two or meeting three. We've got a pretty long sales cycle.”
His advice is to avoid the product dump or pitch, to avoid talking about yourself as the largest, greatest, baddest in the world. You can talk, though, about your journey, your culture, and the process you have gone through helping others.
“Do not go in presuming you know exactly what their big problem is. Try to understand them and what's kind of keeping them awake at night. Let them lead based on what's important and unique to them.”
The magic word is outcomes.
Especially that first conversation that a seller has with the customer. What is the outcome that they are desiring and does that align with what we do?
When the desired outcomes match with what you deliver, you've got an opportunity.
But what about when they don't have a really clear sense of what the outcome they want is?
Kyle thinks sellers have a great opportunity there.
“The discovery meeting is really about learning about them and helping them discover things about themselves for their business that they weren't even really thinking about yet. That's the fun stuff.”
The New Digital Selling Environment Kyle says that the insurance industry went through a lot of prospecting challenges because of COVID. “It’s an old school industry and the average age of the typical insurance sales person is 58.”
Once they realized they couldn’t visit people in person, they went to emails, but that wasn’t enough. They need an omnichannel approach to build their sales pipeline.
“We are trying to get our sellers more comfortable with creating content through social, using video, going back to the phones. Something that we're continuing to hammer and coach and one of our big focuses is, okay, if you're only sending emails you're in trouble.”
The modern buyer has changed and sellers must use every available channel to reach their prospects in the channels they prefer.
“I don't love high-volume. I don't love Mass automation. There's a time and place for some of that stuff to create some efficiencies to just make business run better. But especially in the early sales motion, the early funnel when I'm trying to really establish that relationship, I think it's got to be hyper-informed, hyper-personalized, super-specific to the person you're reaching out to.”
This is at the heart of our own PVC Sales Methodology, which calls for personalization in your sales messaging.
Listen as Kyle explains their strategy to customize benefits to each buyer a
Product-Led Growth and the Future of the Sales Force with Doug Landis, #172
Sales and marketing have evolved significantly in the past few decades, especially in the SaaS space.
In the 90s, for example, we had sales-led growth, with sellers doing cold calling and hitting the phones. In the 2000s, it was about marketing-led sales or marketing-led growth, with events, inbound leads and SDRs doing outbound prospecting.
Now, according to my guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast, we are moving into a new era of product-led sales.
Doug Landis is a Growth Partner at Emergence Capital. In this role, he is responsible for capturing, creating and sharing go-to-market strategies and ideas with the Emergence Capital portfolio companies and the greater SaaS community.
Join us in this conversation about the future of the sales force and how to better qualify your leads.
What is Product-Led Growth? “I would argue in this generation and especially over the next three to five years,” says Doug, “you're going to see a tectonic shift to product-led growth, meaning the product is leading every single interaction. Instead of us doing outbound prospecting to a brand new client cold, we're actually reaching out to people who are deeply already involved and getting value out of our product.”
He gives the example of Slack, Dropbox or Twillio, where people just go to their websites, enter some information and can start using the product right away, getting full value.
In this scenario, people have a need and instead of having a sales conversation with a rep or requesting a demo, they can try a product for free and immediately know and understand whether it is the right fit for them, the solution they were looking for.
After customers try the product, an SDR would call them and help them get more value out of it.
“So now an SDR’s role is different,” Doug says, “because I'm no longer cold calling people who I think are a good fit. I'm actually looking for signals in the product based on how you're using it to call you and help you learn how to get more value out of the product and in doing so you will then become a paying customer.”
This scenario implies we are moving from a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to a Product Qualified Lead (PQL).
And when working with PQLs, both sellers and marketers have a different role in the buying process. SDRs become Product Specialists, now having conversations with prospects who have tried the product, and marketers focus on leading people to a product trial, not a web form.
Listen to the whole episode to learn Doug’s predictions about the future of SDRs and how their role will dramatically change.
From SDRs to Product Specialists Here are some ways Doug sees the SDR and AE roles shifting:
Sales conversations will focus on discovering why a free user should turn into a paying customer. It’s all about upselling opportunities and how the product could be used more broadly across the client’s organization. Using data on product usage to create more sales opportunities. Although many SaaS companies are already doing this, Doug predicts it will be more common in the next two years, as companies ask themselves, how do we get people into our product with the least amount of friction with the most amount of value?
This is the future of the sales force and as sales leaders, we must think differently about the characteristics of our sellers and the metrics we use to measure sales success.
“What we're looking for is more product signals versus the prototypical marketing signals, like the MQL and the SQL,” Doug says.
Listen to the episode to hear how the PQL is more valuable than the MQL, and why Doug thinks the MQL actually doesn’t exist (Hint: they are just contacts until someone talks to them and validates they are a good fit).
Also learn why modern sales organizations must change the way they qualify l
Interviewing Techniques for Landing a Great Sales Job with Richard Harris, #171
Whether you are a sales leader looking for a new role or an aspiring sales rep looking for your first sales job, you will want to listen closely to what my guest has to say.
My guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast is Richard Harris, a seasoned SaaS leader and consultant.
Richard has 20 years of sales and sales training experience with companies like Google, Visa, SiriusXM, Pager Duty, Gainsight, Salesloft. He is also the author of Owning Your Job Search: Your step by step guide from application, to salary.
The goal of the book is to teach people that they have way more control in the interview process than they think they do. It's all about the mindset.
“When you go to a job interview,” Richard says, “you're interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.”
Listen to the episode to learn some tips on how to land your dream sales job.
How to Get a Sales Job These are the basic steps to apply for a sales position, according to Richard.
1. You have to update your resume -- that means LinkedIn Although you may still need a resume, your LinkedIn profile is your most up-to-date resume. And in Sales, people will surely find sellers on LinkedIn.
“Nobody wants to look at a four-page resume, but they'll scroll till the end of the Earth on LinkedIn,” Richard says. “So LinkedIn is my most optimized page.”
Listen to the episode to discover the type of information you should put on top of your LinkedIn profile as a sales professional.
2. Contact the hiring manager The second step is to go to LinkedIn, find the highest person in HR you can or find two or three people in HR and send them a message that says, “Hey, I just applied online. I'd love to know who I should follow up with directly.”
Whether they tell you or not, you should try to figure out who the hiring manager is and contact them. If you are connected to them you may see their email and phone number.
Richard says you should call them or leave a message. “So when I apply to a job, I'm not applying to a job. I'm applying to the whole company. I'm taking this much larger approach
because I already know it's going to be a six-step process, anyway, so I need to put my name in front of as many people as I can. And the beautiful thing about us in sales is that this will be seen as the right thing. It will show that we are tenacious, that we don't take “no” for an answer. When you hire me, this is what you get.”
We need to run a sales campaign about us as the product as much as if we were actually selling an individual product for a company.
3. Ask the right questions during the interview One piece of advice I give to people looking for a sales job is, “You get to choose who you work for and you get to choose the company that you work for. So choose wisely.”
Richard agrees and says you should be asking some key questions to the interviewer so you can actually choose wisely.
“I want to be able to ask politely, when it's my turn, what are the things that you see here that make someone successful and what you know about me so far, what do you think I have and what do you think I don't have?”
You want to ask that question to show that you can ask tough questions and you can handle the answers.
Another question is: If you could snap your fingers right now and three things in the sales world, in your sales environment can change, what would they be?
“They come back and they give me three things and I say, great, so what's preventing it from happening? Because that gives me insight into the culture of the organization and it gives me insight into this person's ability to push for it.”
A third question is: Aside from me hitting my number, what do you need someone in this role to do to help you be successful?
This is a good question to ask a potential boss because now they are thinking what those things are a
The Index Card Business Plan for Sales Pros and Entrepreneurs with Brian Margolis, #170
Most sales professionals operate without a strategy, which results in a reduction in sales productivity. How can we fix this?
That is the topic of discussion in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, with my guest, Brain Margolis.
Brian is a former environmental/fisheries scientist turned entrepreneur. He is the founder of ProductivityGiant.com and author of the book The Index Card Business Plan for Sales Pros and Entrepreneurs. His client list ranges from individual sales reps to Shark Tank entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. Brian's Pillar System helps sales pros and entrepreneurs create a strategy so simple, it fits on an index card, but so powerful it’s helped create 7 figure earners and has been licensed by some of the largest companies in the world to train their sales teams.
The Need for a Sales Strategy Brian says that sellers can grind their way with their skills and work ethic, but at a certain point they will hit an upper limit, because there are just so many hours they can put into their work every day.
What most sales professionals never stick with consistently is having an actual strategy. A strategy is a predetermined place to focus those skills and work ethic. That way, they get the biggest return on investment instead of winging it and being reactive.
“When it comes to sales professionals,” Brian says. “I think there are two versions of everybody's business. One is the reactive version, where she just reacts all day, flying by the seat of her pants. And the problem with the reactive version of the business is most of the output doesn't give you anything back. The other one is the intentional version, where she determines ahead of time-based on good criteria, good thinking, where to put her skills, effort, talent, and work ethic so that she gets the biggest return.”
And the difference between those two versions of the exact same business, is the difference between failure and success.
The challenge that we have is salespeople don't know how to develop a strategy and how to focus on the right areas.
Building an Intentional Plan So, how do you build a strategic plan to be intentional?
Brian says there are three components or pillars of an intentional plan.
1. Consistency Pillar What are those things that you need to do consistently? What do you already know how to do effectively, that if you just did more of it, you would have the biggest impact on your business?
2. Effectiveness Pillar Many sellers are working hard but they are not getting better at their jobs. They don't become more effective at the skill.
“A lot of salespeople consider making 25 cold calls productive,” Brain says. “But yet if I said, would you be willing to spend an hour a week getting better at something, working on your messaging, working on your direct response copywriting, most of them don't see that
as work. And so you have to intentionally put time and effort into getting better at those skills so that when you do send the email you get a higher response.”
3. Strategic Pillar Make sure you're doing the things upfront that make everything else more effective. For example, a seller can just make 50 dials, but taking an hour each week to do research on the clients would make those same dials more effective.
Brian calls this the pillar system. A pillar is an activity that you control whether it gets done or not. As long as you hit your pillars every week, everything else takes care of itself.
Sellers should start every week with a plan of who they are going to call and what they are going to do every day according to those three pillars. Planning their week in advance will revolutionize their results.
Be sure to listen to this podcast for more tips and strategies to help your sellers become more productive and successful at their work. Plus, Brian talks about the Index Card Business Plan, whe
Why your Sales Pipeline is the Headlights of your Business with Scott Walston, #169
Pipeline generation is one of the biggest challenges to the sales force today.
No matter where you go or whatever the organization is, whether it's consulting services or SaaS, pipeline generation is the Achilles heel for most organizations.
So how do we solve that problem? That is the topic of this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast with my guest, Scott Walston.
Scott is the President of North American Sales at Micro Focus. In this role, he works with Senior Executives to make sure they are receiving incredible value from Micro Focus’ digital transformation solutions, helping them identify solutions that deliver essential business insights, operational efficiencies, and process automation.
Don’t miss this great conversation about building and managing the sales pipeline.
Why is a Sales Pipeline so Important? For sales leaders, the sales pipeline is the headlights of the business, allowing them to do sales forecasting based on their amount of pipeline and their close ratios.
“Now when you're thinking about it from a rep’s perspective,” Scott says, “the pipeline is what allows them to make life-changing money. It's what creates wealth for them.”
For example, if a sales rep knows they have a two million dollar quota and they only have four million dollars in the pipeline, they are not going to hit the goal ― not too many sellers have a 50% close-ratio.
Scott says that sales leaders should coach reps on interpreting the numbers, knowing the statistics of their industry and understanding the volume of the pipelines they need to be able to achieve their sales goals.
Now, how much should you have in your sales pipeline?
“That's a data-driven exercise,” Scott says. “I have multiple product groups that roll up to me and each one has a different data set. One of them actually needs 2.7 coverage from pipeline. So if it's a million-dollar quota,
they need 3.7 million dollars in pipeline if you do the math. Another group needs 6x coverage. So if they have a million, they need six million dollars. So it really goes back to your Operations and Finance teams to inform the sales leaders on really what historically has been closed because once you understand those historical metrics, you can apply those with some rigor and some certainty.”
These numbers can change over time, so sales leaders should look at their pipeline ratios every six months to see if they need to make adjustments.
Listen to the episode to learn how Micro Focus reinforces the pipeline ratios in their sales organization.
Pipeline Generation Best Practices Scott uses a couple of practices that help his team generate more pipeline.
First, he says you should make pipeline generation easy. Provide your sellers with the right sales prospecting tools so they can easily get a message out to multiple customers.
“If you give them the content and you give them the tool to disseminate the content, that makes it very easy for the reps to send out thought leadership pieces.”
A second practice is what he calls pipeline generation days, which are 2 or 3 days where all they do is attack the pipeline itself in a fun way (with costumes and awards, for example).
Listen to find out the fun activities they do at Micro Focus during pipeline generation days.
Another best practice is for sales leaders to lead from the front when they have a pipeline generation problem, reaching out to their network, making phone calls and asking for and giving referrals.
“There's no better way to build trust with a sales team than getting in the foxhole with them,” Scott says, “making some calls, talking to some customers. That is a show of your commitment to them to be successful.”
When Should an Opportunity be Entered into the Pipeline? Scott says there are three areas you need to look at before an opportunity enters the pipeline.
Metrics - what
5 Keys to Sales Success with Robert Paylor, #168
On May 6, 2017, Robert Paylor broke his neck. On national television. During the Rugby collegiate championship game.
Doctors said he would never walk again and would actually be lucky if he could regain any movement below his neck. Yet, almost four years later, Robert is telling an amazing story of recovery, hope, and forgiveness.
I’m super excited about having Robert Paylor as my guest in this episode of The Modern Selling podcast.
Robert is an international public speaker and, in his own words, a “quadriplegic on a journey to walk again and inspire others.”
Don’t miss this episode to hear Rob’s story, some amazing life lessons, as well as valuable keys to sales success for leaders and sellers alike.
1. Mindset Rob was a rising star in UC Berkeley's Rugby team, with a bright future in front of him. But it all changed in an instant.
The medical prognosis was that he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Rob, however, refused to accept that.
Rob’s attitude and mindset after his injury helped him get through the pain and the grueling recovery process.
“Don’t take negativity in,” Rob says. “Don’t listen to hopelessness. You have control of your mindset.”
One of his secrets is to go on a mental diet. Just as with a food diet where you avoid foods that are bad for your body, a mental diet will avoid bad information into your brain.
“Audit your thoughts,” he says. “Decide what is good for you and look for inspiring stories.”
I love how Rob’s advice can be applied to the mindset of a seller.
Salespeople hear “no” all the time. Rejection is a constant in their work.
So, as a sales leader, how do you help your team deal with rejection?
Through a mental diet where sellers are inspired by the wins of others and negativity is filtered out.
2. Perspective Another one of Rob’s secrets to stay positive is perspective.
“Perspective is a powerful tool. You can compare yourself to others up or down, to what you’ve accomplished or to what you have failed at.”
Rob recommends that when you are going through a struggle, you ask yourself, “compared to what?” That will allow you to put your problems into perspective and feel empathy for others.
Rob keeps a gratitude journal where he writes down three things he is grateful for every day.
Perspective in selling takes many forms.
“When pursuing a sale, always keep the buyer's situation in perspective,” says Kurt Shaver, Vengreso’s CSO and Co-Founder. “They may not be on the same timeline as you. They may even be having personal challenges outside of work. Slow or no response from a prospect doesn't always mean there's no interest. Sometimes it just means other priorities are more important right now. Don't risk future business by pushing too hard.”
3. Give It Everything You’ve Got Compared to Rob’s physical trauma, many of our problems in the sales profession pale in comparison. Still, selling can be hard, especially during these times when remote selling is the new normal and we can’t keep doing business as usual.
Rob’s advice is to give everything we’ve got, no matter the circumstances.
“We have one life,” he says. “Don’t live it as a quitter. Fight and get everything you want.”
4. Find Vision and Purpose His recovery process involves doing physical therapy for three hours every day. But remember that for him, even doing simple things is hard work.
The way he motivates himself to keep going is by turning it around and finding purpose in his recovery journey.
“I don’t do it for myself, but to inspire others. Find the ‘why’ to keep going forward. You must have a vision.”
'Vision yourself where you want to be in 6 months' time, 1 year time, and 5 years' time in your sales career,” says Diego Garcia, Market Development Manager at Vengreso. “Once you find your purpose and
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Loved being a guest on the show and hanging out with Mario. Super informative episodes with some really cool guests. Well done team!
Excellent Podcast for Professional Sellers
Mario covers the essential topics that being real value to Professional B2B Sellers.