Sales Enablement Soiree – Keynote: 5 Winning Sales Enablement Strategies
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Jim Lundy: Okay, so first off, I was here last year. Probably some of you were. But just to get to know all of you, how many that are in the audience right now today are sales leaders or are in sales? Raise your hands. Okay, about 40%. How many are in marketing? Okay, so about half the room.
So, I am the lead analyst at a research firm. I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about my firm and what we do, but we help a lot of clients with everything relative to tech strategy and how they win in the market using tech. But what I am going to spend a lot of time talking about is how you can win in sales. That’s what we’re here to talk about, and how you can use technology to win in sales.
And my confession is this: many years ago before I ever became an analyst, I was at Gartner for 12 years and I ran big research teams there. When I first started at Gartner, my boss said, “you can’t tell the CRM team that you did every job there was in sales and marketing because you know way more than the CRM team does” and you know what, I never told them. But when I started Aragon, some of my clients that knew, they said, “hey, you know a lot about sales. You should do sales enablement because the other guys are just not covering it that well.” So, when you have 25 clients that call you over three years and say please cover it, four years ago we started covering it. So, we are going to dive into it. The second half of the presentation is going to talk about the five winning strategies. I’m going to talk about a couple trends. There’s a lot of things we do talk about as far as trends in technology and things like that, but this is very focused on the sales and really how marketing helps sales, and the technology stack that is kind of going on in sales enablement.
This race to digitize sales is one of the things you are hearing a lot about here today and I’ve been at this for quite a while. I think there’s a lot of hype in it, but there is absolutely no doubt that there is a much larger technology stack – just look at all the providers that are out in the hallway – today than there was four or five years ago. There are more choices. Cloud technology has enabled that. And the question becomes, is it really one thing – I still talk to a lot of leaders that think they’ve got CRM so they’re all set – or is it actually a couple things that actually help you build your tech stack so you can actually compete and win?
How many of you have millennial salespeople at your company? Do you learn from them? Do they show you things that they are doing? Some of you in the audience are obviously millennials, but that’s one of the things that I’m going to just tell you is that millennials are not afraid, and sometimes we actually talk to some of the leaders and ask, “well, what are your millennials saying?” They’re like, “well, what do they know?” They know a lot. We’ve got a number of millennials at Aragon and I think it’s an interesting dichotomy to see.
But again, this whole race to digitize sales, getting rid of paper-based transactions, the whole sales engagement opportunity, is kind of a big deal. But for every company that’s doing it and doing it well, there are four or five companies that are doing nothing because IT is blocking them or they don’t have agreement on that. So, it is still relative to going away from the old portal technology and things like that. It is still relatively new. We are going to talk about this idea of an office suite or digital work hub for sales. That is one of the big things that we’ve been seeing. We will talk about AI too. I don’t know if you saw some of the announcements that Salesforce made. We will talk about that. So, three basic things: We are going to talk about some trends, we are going to talk about some of the top technologies, and then we’re going to talk about the five winning strategies. And then if I’m successful, we will have a couple of minutes at the end for some really amazing questions from the audience. We’ll see who can ask me the best questions.
This whole era of technology, and again, having lived it – like I said, I carried a bag, I was the district manager of sales at Xerox many years ago – we think we are leaving what we call the CRM era and this idea of tool overload, and that we’re getting into this idea of real sales engagement. Whether you call it sales enablement or sales engagement, we don’t really care, but in many cases, sales enablement has been kind of overused, and it is really more about an area term and I will talk to you about what we think about that. But the biggest thing, when we talk about what’s happening right now overall in all tech, is intelligence. And there are a lot of people that are saying, “oh yeah, we’ve got AI in sales, and we have a big report coming out next week.” Let’s just say it’s very early days as far as AI in sales. And we will talk a little bit about that.
But again, leaving the CRM era, CRM is a tool but it’s not really a selling platform. It’s really where you capture and keep track of things – and if you’re in sales, your boss yells at you about where your forecast is. But it’s really, we think, this idea of an office for sales, basically a digital work hub that allows you to get work done. It’s really one of the things that a lot of people say, “I wish I had that.” Now, what is this trend, and we wrote a research note about year about this shift about what we call to a work hub or a digital work platform. In overall tech, this is a shift that’s happening whether Google or Microsoft like it or not. The first area it’s really happening in is sales. So, you’ve got a lot of different tools that you can use relative to the things that you do for sales productivity. Portals are still very popular. A lot of people have them.
Let me ask you a question. In your team at your company, how many of you have more than five products that you use besides CRM? Okay, so that’s about 75% of the room. Proliferation, partly due to cloud, is a trend. And by the way, I’m not going to say it’s bad because you say, “hey, you found this tool, it costs this much, I put it on my credit card, boss, and we’re rolling.” Is your boss going to criticize you? I would say, “wait a minute, let’s see what happens.” Again, proliferation of best of breed tech stacks is a trend. I don’t think that trend is going away. If you go down the street to some of the banks, how many content management products do you think they have at Bank of America? 10? 15? 20? They have a few. And by the way, it’s been a trend in content management for a long time and collaboration hasn’t been as much of a trend. Now we are seeing multiple collaboration things. In sales, you just proved it – multiple products because there’s not a one-size-fits-all.
You look at this maturity curve relative to a digital work hub, discrete apps, productivity suites, the enterprise level things, and this idea of a prescriptive work platform where you get more intelligence that comes in to help you get your work done. And we’re kind of at the end of the era of dumb software applications and the beginning of the era of smart software applications. But let’s be honest – a lot of the applications today are not that smart. By the way, I used to get a lot of pitches from a lot of providers with AI in sales. Well, they have the beginning of AI in sales. Now, I have a Ph.D. on my team, one of our analysts that has been in AI for 25 years. He can talk to you about all the deep learning things you ever want to know. We are still at the beginning stages. I mean, a lot of it can recommend the right content for you and things like that, but we do think between now and 2022, there’s going to be a revolution relative to the level of intelligence. By 2022, you’re all going to be able to talk to your software application and it’s going to talk back, and you’re going to tell it to do things and it’s going to do those things for you and do it really fast.
Did anybody see the Salesforce voice demo? Basically, they announced Einstein voice. I wrote a little blog about that. It’s not available until the second half of 2019, by the way. So it’s a great, phenomenal demo. But there actually were some products on the show floor of stuff that’s available right now – conversational AI and things like that. Let’s just say, we think it’s by 2021 or 2022, you’re going to spend most of your time talking, not typing. The touch era is the one we’re in right now with smartphones and tablets. We’re going to leave that era and we’re going to go to this whole idea of augmented. But the big thing and the big reason why these work hubs are a big deal is, for example, there was a little vendor down on the show floor that just did RFPs. It was an RFP platform. That’s all it does. So, these vertically enabled work hubs are important – because it does what my team needs it to do. You see some of the chat providers today in a hotel. It’s a specific application for hotel workers. For here, I think the sales engagement platform is really a way to start to automate the things that you do in sales.
Again, communications, content management, a lot of the providers here focus probably a little more heavily on content. There’s some that focus on communications, but we think both of those tie into it. Maybe they provide enablement, maybe they don’t. The idea of predictive analytics is still a journey. Partner applications obviously tie into CRM. And again, we are in a different stage. We look at some of the things like data entry. Some tools do a great job automatically updating Salesforce for you, some of them don’t. So, when you start looking in evaluation and what you should pick, these are some of the things you should be able to look at, this idea of guided selling.
I will be honest with you; there is no guided selling today. There is no app that’s going to tell your reps what to do. But that is something that’s going to come and when we talk about the playbook, we’ll talk about that. What about the market? So, we’ve got the CRM market getting very large over the next five years. We’re launching our Aragon forecast next week, so we’re actually going to have these numbers published. We’ve got sales engagement going from 700 million to about five billion. Now, look at cloud office suites going from 14 billion to about 19 billion. So, if you look at the digital work hub for sales, that’s about one-quarter of all office suite spending. We think cloud office suite spending will go up but there are going to be more work hubs, best of breed work hubs that will challenge and say, “I don’t need Microsoft Office 365, I don’t need Google G-Suite, I’ve got something that does better work for my team that is more laser-focused.” That is what we are talking about relative to sales engagement platforms. And the reason why is it’s going to give you faster outcomes.
One of the big things that they do today is amazing content intelligence relative to what people are looking at. Some of them do amazing voice intelligence relative to the calls you had; talk time for the rep, talk time for the customer, sentiment analysis, all those sorts of things. So again, this is just a quick laser view of where we think the market is. But the whole office TM is over $150 billion as far as software spending on the “office” side, the digital work side. So, there is a lot of spending that’s going on around here, and that’s what you see on the show floor here and on the show floor over at Moscone South.
Let’s talk about intelligence. I kind of teased you a little bit about it, but when we talk about legacy applications, going over to the idea of the intelligent sales era. If you look at the left-hand side, you’ve got a platform you can get today. It’s going to help you start to automate some of your tasks. Again, the better tools will automatically update Salesforce for you so that you don’t have to go in and update that record. That’s kind of table stage.
When we talk about this idea of guided selling and a digital assistant, again, we’ve got a full-time guy that covers that. We’re going to be evaluating conversational AI platforms later this fall, so a lot of the big cloud vendors are going to be in that. We think by next year here, we will be having a different conversation about voice-enabled sales engagement because there aren’t that many things. I mean, there are a couple of players over on the show floor, we’ve got some demos on that a year ago when they were in beta and they are in production now. You can deploy it but it’s not going to ship until the second half of next year. Why is it not going to ship until the second half of next year? Anybody know why? Because Apple is redesigning the Salesforce mobile app for Salesforce. If you actually read the Apple press release, it was actually more forthcoming. So, digital assistants we have talked about since 2013. But again, it’s going to be a journey. Some of them will talk to you. Some of them will be able to talk to you through Alexa, etc., so it’s really great marketing by Salesforce on their demos. It’s just not quite ready for prime time. But again, we think it’s a journey over the next three to four years.
The bigger thing you should be worrying about is what things can the platform today automate for my team? What intelligence can I get on the playbooks? We’ll talk about playbooks as well. So, I heard some of the people talk earlier today about video as a content type. The reason I want to talk about video as a content type is it is the number one marketing asset that anybody has and most of the time when you go to anybody’s website, they don’t have that many videos on their website. Why is that? Why don’t they have a lot of videos on their website? Because videos are hard to make. When you look at customer pitches, will they open the video that one of your reps sends when they send them a little video note versus an email note? They will. How many of your reps in new business, inside sales send a video welcome? I see a hand in the back. There are tools that do that. Why do you not do that? I think that’s a takeaway from this meeting is you should experiment with that. Now, I have a sales team too. They don’t do it as much as I would like either. You know what I say? Why are you not doing that? Why are you not sending them a video? They’re like, “yeah, we should do that.” So, sometimes it’s just we’re not used to doing that.
But video is a huge deal. By the way, I’ve got news for you. One of my analysts a couple years ago gave me a hard time about our research – we’d have published PDFs and things like that. “Hey Jim, we talk about video as a new document but we don’t do that much.” And we started producing videos as part of our research. That was five years ago. So, we said that’s not good enough. The only thing I’ll tell you about Aragon is if you see our research, there’s a video that goes with every single research note. So we have video producers that produce that stuff, and it’s changed our business. I’m just telling you, relative to video content, the more video content you can have in your sales playbooks, the higher your win rate will be. You’re still going to be able to close the deal, right? But the higher your win rate will be because people will lean in and say, “I saw a nugget in that video, I’d like to talk to you about that.”
What is the recall rate of video for videos you’ve seen in the past 30 days? How many of you have a favorite TV show? How many have a favorite sports team? If I asked you your favorite sports team, what was the top play in the game last Sunday or last Saturday, depending on whether it’s college or pro, who would be able to tell me? The recall rate of video is 80% for the last 30 days. So, 80% of the videos you have seen, you can recall 80% of what you saw in a month. So if you say, “wait, I’m going to send them a 30-second video clip of my product, do you think they will remember that?” Yes. Do you think they will remember your rep saying, “hi this Jim, I’d like to talk to you”? They will remember that. They will not remember a hacky email and text that you send them because they’re never even going to open it. So that’s my little takeaway of video.
Alright, sales coaching and learning. So, my other confession on sales coaching and learning is that I’ve covered corporate learning for a long time. When I went to Gartner, I was running the content management team, the knowledge management, and content collaboration. They said, “hey, you did some sales training at Xerox, the HR team doesn’t want to cover learning, it’s really hard, so you have to cover that.” So, my whole time there, I covered it. We still cover corporate learning.
We think sales coaching and learning is a breakout category from corporate learning. Why? Well, I go to a lot of these learning things and I see these sales leaders and I’m like, “why are you at this learning event?” “Well, we don’t like our LMS, so we are looking for something new.” By the way, that was a couple years ago. So we’re about to publish a report that evaluates the number of sales coaching and learning providers – some of them are here. I will tell you though, in talent management, a lot of the talent managers try to take learning and throw it into their talent management platform. Some of the people that did that, their learning product kind of got old and tired, and people didn’t want to work with that talent vendor because their learning product is so old. Because learning is about training, right? How do you do things? How do you remember things? It’s not just about a piece of software – you say I have a learning app. It’s about content channels. So, a lot of people that provide learning at the corporate level forget that.
Does anybody know Richardson? Richardson is not a small company anymore, based in Philadelphia, they do a lot of stand-up teach and custom training. If you are a sales enablement leader or sales ops, you’ve probably worked with them. They do a great job with stand up teach and custom content. That’s why they got to almost $40 million in annual revenue. That’s really one of the big things. It’s not just the sales coaching and learning platform you need. It is actually the content that you are going to deliver. That is really one of the big takeaways.
We talked to CEO clients of ours and do you know what the number one thing that keeps them up at night besides their board meetings is? Sales. They are not happy with sales. One of the things I say to them is, “well, let me ask you a question: Engineering. Do you have an engineering methodology that you use for agile development for your engineering, your cloud software or whatever?” “Oh yeah, totally, we revamped, we went to agile a few years ago.” I say, “Do you have a sales methodology that you use for sales?” As soon as they look over at their COO, you know they don’t. I’m going to talk about that as a best practice. But a lot of CEOs don’t know why sales aren’t going well, and this whole idea of what is a sales methodology?
Now, you are all sales and marketing, so I shouldn’t have to tell you what that is, right? But I’m going to talk about it as one of your playbook options. So again, this is something that’s becoming a big deal. Let me ask you a question: When you have your sales kickoff meeting at your company, do you do role play contests at your sales kickoff meetings with your reps? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Do you have contests? Yes. You know what a great one is? I’ve done this a number of times. So, you have a really amazing prize for the best demo, for the best pitch, whatever you are going to do. And then you have some really bad stuff that you give away, like steak knives, right? We did this one year, and it was kind of mean, so a brand new iPad Mini and steak knives. Guess what happened? The rep that got the steak knives, he went on and had the best year he’d ever had in his life because he was so pissed that he won steak knives. So, if you gamify it, it becomes a huge deal.
But here’s one of the things: I was a soccer coach for 10 years. If you don’t practice as a sports team, are you going to have a good game? In sales, if you are not practicing your pitch a lot more than at your sales kickoff meeting, your pitch gets rusty. So again, we talk about sales coaching and learning, and one of the big things that some of the newer platforms do is allow you to practice your pitch.
Alright, tech. So, we cover sales and marketing. This is our technology arc, and by the way, we have a little AV thing. I have a video that goes through this much faster than I can talk through these things, but we couldn’t get sound. The video goes through things like, for example, the emerge arc, the mature arc. Business leaders want to talk about the emerge arc. But what are all those things on the upper left? The IT leaders want to talk about the lower right. How can I save money? The business leaders will say, what is that guided selling thing? We need that. Well, it’s not really ready yet. That’s why it’s red and it says five to 10-year maturity. What is that thing called a sales engagement platform? We need that. Yeah, there are a lot of vendors that do that and we have a whole report on that. What about sales coaching and learning? Yes. There’s a big thing going on there. Do you mean is that different than our LMS? Yes, it is. And then things like digital transaction management. How can I do all my deals, my contracts with a signature electronically? Are you guys all doing your contracts electronically? Who is still using paper? You’re not going to raise your hand.
Well, this is kind of a fly-by but we don’t think there’s a trough of disillusionment. Literally every business we talk to is saying, I need to talk about this, this, or this. You know why? Because it’s cloud-ready and I can buy it and if it doesn’t work, I can turn it off. So, this fear factor of it’s not really ready and things like that – I buy an AI chat platform and it’s not really ready. Well, then you can turn it off and you can turn something else on. That’s one of the things I think that is marketing. You do A/B tests, right? So, with tech, you can do A/B tests. You can say, “I’m going to put two in a box. I’m going to buy two of these things, these chatbots. I’m going to see which one works, and then we’re going to go with that one.” So that would be my advice relative to all of this AI stuff – put two in a box. By the way, that’s a technique that my friends at Cisco do with executive leaders. They put two people in a box and they compete them, and whoever does the best gets the promotion. You can do that with tech too, so that’s what I would do with some of this.
Let’s peel the onion. So, this is really getting into, in the last few minutes, the five playbooks that I’m going to talk to you about. If you don’t have a sales engagement platform or whether you call it a sales enablement platform, if you don’t have one, next Monday you should have a bid going out to some of the players that are here that says, we would like you to submit this request for our proposal; a bid to us to provide us with a platform. Look at all the different things that they have. Some people buy two. Some people say one is good at content management, one at voice. Some of them do both, although a lot of them don’t. Most of them are still working on the guided selling, and that’s an aspirational part of it. And again, this is an architecture.
But check out the analytics, you know? It is amazing. Sometimes with your younger reps, they will tell you, like, “hey, Jim we’re going to get the deal because they are looking at the pricing page right now.” And maybe some other ones, like, are they using tools we have – and not everybody uses the tools. So, you’ve still got to deploy it. Not everybody is going to use it, but again, the rule of thirds in sales. Some people will use it and some people will not. Again on this digital selling, why do it? Why deploy it? There’s a whole lot of things that one of these platforms will do that saves a lot of time – a lot of data entry, a lot of updating, things like that – on your opportunities, and relative to opportunity management.
How many have problems with your reps updating Salesforce? And even if you yell at them, it doesn’t matter, right? Well, what if the tool would update it automatically? The better ones do that and they do it pretty well. So again, we are automating, we are talking about automation vs. intelligence right now. Automatic updates of CRM is kind of a big deal. That’s really one of the biggest things about sales engagement platforms is the automation, so it’s kind of like that term has been around for a long time. The analytics on the engagement – again, what are people looking at? What is the right content that’s working? All of that stuff is a big deal. I will talk about playbooks in a little bit.
Number two, and this is the most important thing: How many of you have a sales methodology that you use? How many have more than one? Why would you have more than one sales methodology? Well, that’s a trick question. The reason why is not all these things are the same thing, and again, there’s many more than these. But let’s just take one: spin selling. And again, I was a district manager of sales. I sent my reps to training. They would come back. Anybody see the Wolf of Wall Street movie? One of the best sales movies. Put aside all that stuff that goes on, right – the bad things that he does in the movie. It is a good selling movie. Why? Well, when you come back from training, you give them the pen and then say, “sell me this pen.” I used to do that. They ripped that off from the Xerox training. Then it was called “Sell Me This Pencil”, so they shortened it to “Sell Me This Pen”. By the way, if you send your reps to training and they come back, and you say “sell me this” and they don’t want to, you have a problem rep, because they should be able to sell you anything once they have gone through training.
The reason spin selling is good for discovery calls. I just wrote a blog about that. It’s not a complete methodology, but very good for discovery. Some of the other ones are more complete. The one trend I would tell you that’s happening – and you know Miller Heiman is out there, Altify is out here taking methodology and making it into a software-type of capability that would work within Salesforce. That’s a trend. Miller Heiman Scout has only been out for a couple of weeks. Altify is around – they used to be the TAS Group. So again, a methodology for selling build into a software product. That’s a trend. You’re going to be hearing more from us about that. Does everybody get that? It’s a trend.
By the way, I met a guy from Sandler and I forget his name off the top of my head, but a little birdie told me that he did a lot of the new training for Salesforce reps. He would fly out here, which is a violation of Sandler’s rules. So, I called him and said, “hey, I hear you do all the training for Salesforce new reps.” “Who told you that?” “A little birdie.” “Well, you’re not supposed to know that.” “Dude, I’ve been in this game for a long time.” So there’s different ways and different things. Sometimes when you talk about a sport, there are different technical skills. Selling is a technical skill. You have to have the technical skills to do a big deal. How long does it take a rep to become a major account salesperson? Three to five years. You can’t just throw the new ones in. It takes time.
So here’s the big thing: Get a methodology. Do it. And by the way, the nice thing about the Challenger methodology is that it’s kind of a roll-up. CEB did a really nice job with that. I have clients that use it, they’ve used it successfully to get into accounts that they didn’t do. You know why? With Challenger or some of these things, if you don’t know your customer, you are never going to get the big deal.
So, here’s a little story for you. We talked about role-playing – well, you can also build simulations. And I would say, if you’re serious about sales, you should build a world-class simulation for your people. We did this when I was at Gartner. So, the VP of sales training comes to me. I’m leading the content management collaboration team, and she says, “Hey, the sales guys tell me you know a lot about sales. I need help.” I said, “what’s your problem?” “I have nothing to train on. There are no new products. What are we going to do?” I said, “we’re going to build a sales simulation.” So, she had the money. We spent like $200,000, which by the way, today you can do it for about $10.
We did a group thing at the sales kickoff meeting. We group young reps with mature reps and put them in front of this video simulation, and it comes up – the videos – and the manager pops on the screen and says, “Hey, you’ve just been assigned to this account. It’s really important that you do your account planning before you call in the CIO.” And then it comes up with a decision matrix. Should you do what your boss said or should you blow it off and just call? You know what all the experienced reps said? Screw that crap. Just call them. Right? In the video simulation, they got kicked out of the account. The CIO said, “wait a minute, you don’t know my business, you have no idea what we’re doing – get out.” And they got kicked out in the simulation. The ones that did their homework and asked some questions, even though they were less experienced, they actually ended up getting a larger deal. So, the more experienced rep had to fight their way back into the account. In the simulation, they got a deal but sometimes even half the size of what the more inexperienced person did because the seller said, “wait a minute, it sounds like you’ve done your homework on us. I’d like to have another conversation with you.”
So, again, that is one of the things we actually talk about; the methodologies. This is non-trivial. There are technical skills and then there is account-based selling. Some of you may not know Force – that is pretty good for major account selling. We have some clients that use it and they use it religiously. Again, this is an art and a science. 90% of the clients I talk to – the CEOs – they don’t know what they are using. Do you think that’s a problem? Yes. Do you think there are some really big companies in the Bay Area that don’t have a sales methodology? Yes. I know them. Publicly-traded, Fortune 100 companies. They have no sales methodology. They just call up their buyers and say, “how come you haven’t signed the PO yet?” There might be a really large research company that I used to work at that reps call up their clients and say, “how come you haven’t signed my renewal yet?”
Alright, coaching. If you have a methodology and you have a sales team or if you have been helping the manager out, how much time do you spend coaching? This is really important. Sales engagement platforms we think will help with the middle and bottom third as much as the top performers. The top performers are going to make it no matter what. It is the middle third and the bottom third you need to worry about. That is the big deal, because if you get the visibility through the analytics of calls, talk time, content engagement, then you can say, “wait a minute, hey Sammy, let’s talk about this. It looks like you were talking too much on the call and you’re not getting the close ratio that other people are getting. Why is that?” So again, just some different ideas relative to what you can do. But if you can visualize what’s going on in the deals, not just through the opportunity dashboard, but what the activity is, you can coach. So again, for next year, coaching is really, really critical.
Playbooks. So, I would just say to you a couple of things. One, some video content. By the way, how many of you are happy with your content playbooks for sales? Are you happy? Raise your hand. Yeah, no one is usually happy with their content. So I took a sabbatical after Gartner. I went to Saba and I was a GM and I met with all the global field managers that ran their countries. I said, “what content are you taking from marketing that you like?” They’re like, “we don’t like any of the content. We’re recreating it all. It’s terrible.” Take the time to assess your content and say, “how can we do this a little bit better?” Take the time to do that. I would just tell you that one of the things when I taught Google how to beat Microsoft in major account deals, you know what the secret was? It was using third-party validated research in a discovery situation to say why we’re good.
So when I met them, they had this big deal. I said, “you’re going to lose this deal.” “You’re just an analyst manager at Gartner. What do you know about sales?” Actually, I know a lot. I said, “I’m going to give you five research notes that you can use one time on this deal, and I’m going to give you written permission, but you have to use them and you have to give them to the directors of this account. If you do that, you will win.” So, I saw them at a symposium a couple weeks later because Eric Schmidt was speaking at the symposium, the first time he ever spoke there. We had dinner. I said, “hey, how’d that deal work out?” “Hey, you’re a smart guy. We’re going to win that deal. I don’t know how you knew how to do that, but that was amazing.” I said, “well, did Microsoft give out 10 notes that said horrible things about Google?” Yes, they did. So guess what happened? Google won, this little county in Los Angeles called LA County. And all hell broke loose because Microsoft thought they had it in the bag. So we recently met with the new team at Google and said, “hey, LA County – that’s still a client of yours?” “Yeah.” “How did you win that?” “They said we have no idea how the hell we won that deal because all those people had left.” So it’s not just white papers. It’s branded research. Whoever you get it from that will help you, because it’s not you talking about yourself. It’s somebody else. What does Microsoft do to other companies? They trash them.
I won’t tell you the name of the company. This tech 100 company calls me up – the managing vice president – “hey, this research note that says bad things about us was at our event.” I said, “wait a minute, are my analysts at the event?” No. I said, “but somehow that piece of research that said bad things about your company showed up at your event?” He said yes. I said, “that’s Microsoft doing that to you. It’s not us.” Again, refine your playbooks as a best practice.
The last and most important thing. Let me just ask a question: How many of you have a winner’s circle that you do at your company? Everybody should have their hand up. If you’re not doing a winner’s circle for your sales team, you are doing it wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you have two people or 10 people, you have to do winner’s circle. Why? Because that’s what all the great sales companies do! They have a winner’s circle and you get to go on a trip. You put posters up: “You’re only this far away from your trip.” We’ve done that and, by the way, if one of my guys wins, I get to go.
You’ve got to have great compensation. Salespeople are really smart at figuring out your compensation. You have to understand that. That’s why there are great companies that help you with compensation. It is not for the faint of heart. Do not let your finance people do your compensation. If you do not have somebody that knows how to do sales compensation, you need to hire a sales compensation consultant for them to do that. We happen to know a little bit about it, but that’s not our business, but we know a little bit about that. Have contests. Make it fun. Offer a weekend for 2 in New York City. So again, the biggest takeaway for you at this event is you need to have a winner’s circle if you don’t have one. So for next year, for 2019, that’s a takeaway. And then, make it fun. And recognize the people.
How many of you have a gong at your office? Okay, wait a minute, why is everybody not raising their hand? So, you know what one of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley is? Zoom. Have you heard of Zoom? So I know Eric Bond, the CEO, because he was at WebEx. So when I met with him four years ago at his office, and they were still small. He had this huge gong and he had a little gong. I said, “Eric, where did you get that gong?” “Well, it was mine at WebEx before I went to Cisco, and I owned it, I bought it, so I took it with me.” So, if the deal is over $100,000, he gets to ring the big gong. You should go on Amazon and order a Zildjian gong today. But what do we do? When one of our reps wins a deal, one of our new associates gets to ring the gong and we send it out on Hangout – everybody gets to see the ringing of the gong. You celebrate success. When somebody scores a touchdown or a goal in soccer or football, they celebrate. So, you have to make sales more fun than it is. By the way, these are old school techniques that still today win. Get a gong. Do a winner’s circle.
There are a lot of things that come into the mix relative to the digital sales organization. There are roles for marketing, for example, the product, the brand, the awareness, the identified buyer, compelling content. And there are a lot of things that sales leadership needs to do. I’ve got to have equipment. How many of you use tablets for your salespeople? I will just tell you that we deployed iPad Pros for our organization. It’s a game changer. I’m not saying everybody is using them every single day, but I’m telling you those iPad Pros – they run for two or three days on one battery charge. You can project great presentations, you can update Salesforce and they are not that expensive. The cheap ones cost about $329.
So, are you equipping your sales team? Do you have a sales engagement platform? Just some basic things. And is marketing delivering the kind of content you need? Marketing is responsible for great content. Great content helps to win deals. So, bottom line is, there are a couple of recommendations here. Digital selling is the future and tech stacks matter in sales. Methodologies matter in sales. Invest in your salespeople. Invest in training. Invest in coaching. And please don’t wait to get started.
So, I think we have maybe eight minutes for some Q&A. I want to thank you, first of all, and we will open up for Q&A. Who’s got a hard question for me?
Audience 1: If you are making a foray into this whole thing, where would you start?
JL: I would start with the tech stack and get that right. But at the same time, in parallel I would do some of the operational things relative to gamifying and making sure, for example, do we have a sales kickoff meeting, do we do some role plays? We do a growth meeting every Monday and I’m now making them do role plays every single Monday. Let’s do a role play on this. Let’s do a role play on that. There are some operational things and there are some tech things.
Audience 2: [inaudible]
JL: The only thing I would say is it doesn’t have to be different than the EMLs. Some of the newer platforms for sales coaching and learning are very good at just-in-time content delivery, also known as micro-learning. So, there are some players that do great quizzes in life sciences, so before you go on the call, you have seven minutes with this doctor, here are five things about that drug that you need to know, because you can’t remember all the drug stuff. So, in life sciences and micro-learning, just in time delivery of some knowledge nuggets, helps them actually win, get a better effective call where the doctor says, “hey, I would like some samples. It was a really good discussion. I would like some samples from you.” Because a lot of times the doctor will say, “I don’t want any samples.”
So again, we cover all the LMS vendors and they can’t do that. That’s why sometimes, even for training, my core onboarding for HR is through the LMS, but I need more just-in-time delivery. That is really what the sales coaching and learning software platforms do, more just-in-time, more repeatability, more reinforcement. And sometimes some better analytics for the managers to say, “you didn’t take that quiz and that’s why you failed at that call, you couldn’t recall the stuff about that new drug.” So, the manager gets told if the rep doesn’t take that little quiz. By the way, it takes about 30 seconds. Here are five things, or a 30-second video. Here are the three things in the video you need to know. So, that would be my answer. I don’t think it’s one or the other. I think sometimes it’s a little bit of both. Just again, around that collaboration. Again, you do some A/B testing. You bring one of them in and if that doesn’t work, turn it off and bring another one in. Was this helpful? And do I have more questions? Yes.
Audience 3: In a different session, it was mentioned that gamifying is not so good, and we’re talking about gamifying being good. The question I have really is, as far as an incentive structure, where does gamifying go bad and when is it most effective, because I think there is some kind of incentive issue, especially in the millennial generation?
JL: If you talk about the compensation plan, you have to have a tight plan because people can say, “I can go sell this, I don’t have to sell that” and you’re trying to launch a new product. If the compensation plan allows them to sell the old stuff and not the new stuff, then the new product doesn’t get out the door. So, I think relative to that part around the compensation. Let’s put it this way: There are just some basic fundamental things about how people do engagement in the workplace. If you are competing against your competitor and you beat them, you should celebrate.
You don’t have to do too much of it. I just talked about what the fundamentals are: Do you have a gong and do you do winner’s circle? There are a lot of other things. People go overboard, to your point. You can go overboard. But those are just some fundamental things. I won a deal. This is great. Let’s celebrate. I made my number. I made 110% of my number. Guess what? Maybe a marketing person gets to go on the trip too, and sales gets to pick the marketing person that helped them the most that gets to go on the winner’s circle trip. To your point, again, you can go overboard.
All I’m trying to talk about is your playbook for next year and some of the fundamentals, and the reaction I got – what I learned from you. Those two things I talked about, you all need to be doing those things because those are the most basic building blocks in sales, which is I won a deal, let’s celebrate. It’s like scoring a goal, right? Because then you want to score again. So again, you put a team on the field and they win, then this is great. If marketing helps them, then marketing should celebrate too. By the way, it makes work a lot more fun. One of the things we look back at – and there’s one of the women in the audience that worked at a large tech company in the valley – is there are some legendary things some of those companies did in the past that we’re trying to basically bring back, because work does need to be more fun. But to your point, I respect that, sometimes you can overdo it. But we’re not talking about overdoing. We’re just talking about two things.
Okay. Thank you very much.