Sales Readiness at Scale – Soirée, Europe
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Steve Burton: Alright. So, it’s that time of the day again. The coffee’s wearing off a little bit, it’s after lunch, you’ve sat through four or five panels, but the good news is, this is the unofficial main event of the day in my opinion. It’s not just because it’s hosted by me – but the level of the panelists are phenomenal. We’ve even had one person fly all the way from South Africa just to share some hints, tips, and tricks around sales readiness. So, the aim of this talk is for you to all go away with some actionable insights, some stuff you can apply tomorrow to get some value. That’s what I believe we’re all here to do. We’ve spent a day out of the office, we’ve traveled here, we want to go away with some value. So, as I said, the panel is second to none. They really need no introduction.
We’re going to be talking about sales readiness, how you can employ modern techniques around coaching, onboarding and enablement to help you scale. As I said, the profiles don’t need any introduction, but I would like the panelists to take some time now, once I sit down, to introduce themselves, let you know who they are, what they do, and really why you should care. But before we do that, can I just get a quick show of hands, who here is a sales leader in the audience? Who here is a leader? Alright, who here is involved in coaching and onboarding people? Alright, so we’ve got a lot of smart people in the room.
If you’d like to just leave your questions until the end, we do have 10 minutes. We’re going to go on for about 30 minutes on the pre-prepared questions. If you’ve got any value to add, or just any follow up from what the guys and girls have said, please leave them for the end. We’ve got a mic runner, they’ll come out and grab you and let you say what you have to say. Alright, so without further ado, I’d like the panel to introduce themselves. So, over to you Tanya.
Tanya Kunze: Thank you! Hello everyone, it’s so nice to be here today. I hope you can all understand my accent from South Africa, but I will do my best to speak slowly and eloquently so that you can. So, I have a company called Swift Coaching and Swift Training, and I’m the CEO of the companies. I’ve coached thousands of people and worked with the neuroscience underpinning it, so it’s all for me about the science, the psychology, the mess behind sales and underpinning it, which I think has been massively underplayed. So, any questions pertaining to that later on, more than happy to answer.
Simon Rider: Impressive. Hello everybody, I’m very conscious that there’s a range of very different companies in the room, different scales, so I’ll try to make everything I say relevant to everyone in the room. I’m Simon Rider, I’m the director of sales enablement for a company called GFK, which is a global marketing research company. Billion-dollar turnover. I currently look at over 800 salespeople in 50 countries. Scaling up with zero budget and a sales enablement department of, me, is a little bit of a challenge.
Rohan Abey: Thank you. Hello everybody, I’m Rohan Abey, I’m the director of training and sales enablement at Extreme Networks. Extreme Networks manufactures network equipment, so Wi-Fi equipment, fixed land equipment, and data centers. And we do well in anything that’s complex. So, a stadium or a large hospital, wherever there’s complexity in the network, we usually do well. I’ve been there for two years. I joined in a channel sales role, and I gave so much feedback about enablement and training, that they said, “Okay, you’ve got that. You’re going to do that.” So, hopefully, I can share some of our experiences from those two years, and I’m here to learn as well, so I look forward to the talk.
Paul Roberts: Okay, hi everyone. I’m Paul Roberts from DSG. I’ve been a management consultant for the last 25 years. I help companies with their growth strategies and sales transformation. DSG is a U.S.-based change management business and a creative agency, so professional services but also creative stuff with about 60 people. We work with organizations right across the globe on large, commercial-related projects. Prior to DSG, where I’ve been for 5 years, I sat on the global leadership team at CEV for challenger services, and then prior to that I held various roles at Lloyd’s Banking Group, I used to run a solutions unit there, and then PwC and Ernst and Young.
SB: Alright, well welcome everyone. Thanks for taking the time to come and be on the panel today. I really appreciate it. Now, the questions for you guys have been selected to give the people in attendance the most value. So, when answering any questions, please be thinking about insights, action, what can people take away, where can they get value, because that’s why everyone’s here. So, let’s just start at the basics. Paul, this is a question for yourself. In your experience, and I know you’ve got a lot of experience, what are some of the key areas to execute to ensure sales readiness at scale?
PR: Okay, well as you say, there are lots. In my experience, sales process, sales leadership and sales messaging are right up there, typically, amongst the big areas. There are lots of other areas, sales compensation, etc. But I tend to find that those areas, I think sales messaging is the one that seems to have got most traction over the last five or 10 years. I think increasingly, organizations are realizing that they’re getting more and more commoditized. It’s how you sell, not just what you sell. I think everyone in the room will recognize that and have read lots of books and pieces of research on that.
So, what I’m talking about in terms of content is content for sellers, frontline sellers and managers and sales leaders in terms of what to do, what to say, what to do, what to show. That type of sales-ready content I think is absolutely key for scaling an organization up. As opposed to relying on a small, sort of subset of high-performance sellers, how can you take what they do, improve it and then scale that across the 70% or 80% of sellers who are only average or low performance right now? So, what I’m talking about here is some sort of creating a guided sales tool. That is what I’m seeing more and more organizations doing over the last five or 10 years. There are lots of different names for guided sales selling tools.
So, a couple of extra points here. What I would say is, I do see a lot of organizations creating great content but then throwing it into some platform or some other, what I call a document graveyard site, stuff that doesn’t get accessed. So, I’m certainly seeing more and more organizations think about the concept of sales plays. It might sound a slightly American term, but certainly, for larger organizations scaling up, they may have a consistent overall global sales strategy. But they’re also likely to have different sales plays that need to get executed in different markets, different countries, or different verticals or around different solution areas. So, how do you organize all of that, what to do, what to say, what to know, content according to sales plays so that people can navigate it? Because let’s face it, sellers are, on the whole, just in time people. They’re on the plane, on the train, in a coffee shop. Or even if they’re inside sales, thinking, “I’ve got a meeting in 10 minutes with an organization in that sector, what do I say to make an impression? What’s my point of view? What’s my insight?”
I think there’s just one other point, just very briefly, just in terms of scaling up. In this world where more and more organizations are trying to sell solutions, as opposed to products, the idea of the sales organization doing assessments or reviews at the customer after a good first meeting to validate a good early-stage insight, is clearly gaining traction. And I think trying to industrialize that and trying to come up with the right process to do such diagnostics or reviews is key also.
SB: Thanks, Paul. Simon, do you agree with those points and what you execute with your clients?
SR: Okay, so here is the golden piece of information for today for everybody in a sales enablement role. Keep it simple. Keep everything as simple as you possibly can. I’m sure Tanya will go and talk about the neuroscience of salespeople, but salespeople are pretty simple. They need to know what they’re selling, who they’re selling it to, and how they get paid. We can boil it down to the basics and we can get there. Now in terms of my role and how you scale up, there are 3 stakeholders to bear in mind. Get some air cover of the most senior level you can. So, you need to go to your MD, your exec leadership team, whatever, and find out what matters to them, what’s the key things you need to deliver. What are you accountable for? Then get the next level down in lien. For me, it’s the regional vice president. Then identify the key people in the regions, the sales leaders. And work through from there. But keep everything as simple as possible, otherwise, you’re never going to get anywhere.
And focus on what matters. You talked a lot about content and playbooks and they’re great, they’re really important, but the consistent thing that we’ve all heard today throughout the sessions has been content is great, but it’s never accessed, never used, and people can’t find it. And I know all the people next door have got all the boondoggles that will help us do that, and that’s great, but actually, I’ve never met a salesperson who is successful because of the content. You know, if you can give them that purpose and focus on what they want to do in a simple way, they’ll go out and walk through walls for you.
TK: So, to follow on from that, which is really interesting, so I love the simplicity and I completely concur with that, but I’ve spoken to a few people and through profiling, we’ve ascertained that there are 48 different types of salespeople. So, we normally have it down to like hunter, farmer, admin. There are 48 different methodologies. 48 different ways of opening, closing, presenting, etc. So, when I say go back to basics, I’m saying introspection. So, where you correct me is that we look at the profiles and we have, let’s say hypothetically, 5% of the sales population require knowledge in order to sell. Knowledge is potential power, applied knowledge is power. Now that 5%, whatever it might be, it could be 95%, it depends on how the recruitment process was, need that knowledge in order to sell. But then you’ll get another dynamic, where the individuals are the 5%, where they really don’t, they wing it. It’s actually how they sell. So, give them too much information you cripple them. So, understanding the fundamental operating system of your sales team is beyond critical. Then you start overlaying the processes. But the “keeping it simple” dynamic is precisely what you need to do, you’re absolutely right.
SB: Fantastic. Well, thanks for coming here from South Africa. That’s a long way to travel to speak to everyone, but we appreciate it. You’ve got clients worldwide. People keep telling me in my industry that the way people are consuming information, the way training is digested, is changing. Do you agree with that, and what ways have you adopted your practices to accommodate this change in the market?
TK: So, the interesting thing is that everywhere in the world sells differently, because the market is different. I’m a firm believer that this one size fits all approach does not work. It will never work for anyone. There is no one size fits all t-shirt. It doesn’t exist. So, I think we have to understand each market, each company, each individual within that company. So, the introspection and the analysis right down to the core is so critical, you cannot apply the people by people terminology to everybody, because some people buy knowledge, some people buy trust. It really depends on what that dynamic is. So, I would say that my take out from my global work is really and truly understand the dynamic that you’re working with intrinsically and don’t try to overlay an existing methodology just because it’s supposed to work.
SB: Rohan, do you agree with that? And moving forward with the market changing, how do you use training to address the changing needs of the marketplace at Extreme Networks?
RA: Well for us, the change, and I think it’s been said already today so there’s a theme about changing the conversation with your customer, and especially in tech. Traditionally, the Wi-Fi network was about speed, like how reliable it was. And nearly everybody’s got one. There aren’t really any, sort of, green fill sites anymore. Maybe new builds but most people have already got something. So, our challenge is to change the conversation we’re having with our customers and talk to different people in the organization. And that doesn’t come naturally because most of our salespeople are ex-engineers, so they would rather talk about technology.
To give you an example of our perspective on it, we’re in a hotel now. Every one of you has got a phone. Give me a show of hands if you got more than one connected device on you right now, say a laptop and a phone. So that was most of you, and some of you will have three. You’ll have a tablet, you’ll have a phone, you’ll have a laptop. You’ll have a connected watch as well. And all of those things are competing right now in this room on the radio frequency to get to the access points. That causes contention and disruption. And you may go away from this thinking, well the Wi-Fi doesn’t work. I’m having a bad experience with the Wi-Fi. And that will define your impression of the hotel and you may not come back. It may have nothing to do with the Wi-Fi, it could be something else. It could be the fact that there are so many people here and there’s only one access point on the roof. So, when we talk to a hotel and try to sell to them, we’re trying to go and get our salespeople to have a different conversation with different people, and talk about how can they make the experience of their customers better through technology.
What we’ve changed is that we’ve completely reoriented our training to be about the customer, about the persona of the customer, insights in the market that they’re about, and we’ve changed all of our technical training to be elective. So, it’s kind of online, it’s available when you need it, but we’re really changing the focus. I think somebody else said this morning they were on a 5-year journey. We’re probably only about 2 years into that journey, and I think we got a long way to go still to change that behavior.
SB: A lot of training, a lot of coaching, a lot of enablement comes down to budget and budget restraints within an organization. Paul, I mean you probably see this with a lot of your clients when you’re consulting. What are the key challenges around scaling when it comes to budget and how you get around those things?
PR: Well, we’ve talked about one area already in terms of scaling up content and messaging. One area that I think is, I’m certainly seeing a lot more of and it may be applicable to most of the people in the room but maybe not everyone, the idea of better enabling doers to sell. So, as opposed to just thinking, well let’s hire a ton more salespeople, some organizations can do that, some can’t, but they want to grow. A lot of organizations have people in doer roles, and I’ll explain what I mean in a few seconds, that could identify opportunities and create opportunities. If you think about the engineering sector and the industrial sector, I’m talking about site directors, plant directors. If you think about insurance, I’m talking about underwriters. If you think about accountancy, I’m talking about the fee earners. If you think about warehousing and logistics, I’m talking about warehouse managers. These are people that went into a certain trade, not to sell but to do something else, but they’re in a great position because of their insight into customers and seeing how things work to both identify new opportunities but also to create demand, particularly for broader solutions, as opposed to selling lower value products.
I’m certainly seeing organizations thinking about how do we awaken the sleeping giant if you like. And just to give you an example, I’m doing some work for an insurance company at the moment, globally, they have a sales function of 100 people globally, but they’ve got 3,000 underwriters. So, these are people that serve end customers with services and advice. A lot of them don’t sell anything. The ones that do sell stuff are selling just one silo, as opposed to the broader picture. So, trying to scale up and to grow through enabling those 3,000, and a lot of them won’t want to be selling from start to end, but at least the early stuff in the sales cycle. How can we enable them to create opportunities, identify, and then pass them over to a colleague in the sales function to run with?
SB: Strategies always seem to be changing when it comes to sales readiness. It’s an ever-evolving process and the amount of information that’s available to everybody is massive and that’s all going to keep changing. Now, from your experience Tanya, what new, innovative methodologies and modalities are you using, or have you seen some of your clients use, or you’ve heard about people using, that people might want to take away and incorporate into their sales readiness strategy?
TK: So, I’m going to go back to basics again because I think it’s also been a theme that’s gone through. So I’m not really going to look at technology per se, but I’m going to look at the methodologies that people don’t know about. So when we look at something like, for example, neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP. I’m sure you’ve heard of that in the field. Understanding some of those technologies are very important, but then even deeper than that, is understanding oneself. Things like are you audio, visual, kinesthetic oriented? Are you more left brain dominant or right brain dominant? What is your programming? And is there elect thinking within your mindset? Because if someone is stuck in an elect thinking mindset, they’re not going to find the opportunities- like something called unintentional blindness- and they’ll have this inability to see the opportunities right in front of them.
When we start introspecting, using the psychology technologies to first understand the makeup of the individuals that you’re working with and then build on those things using the other technologies that are out there, that’s when we start building a sales force that’s very powerful. So physiologically, someone will be actually incapable of seeing the opportunity if they have an overproduction of cortisol, for example, because they get unintentional blindness. So, we need to understand the physiology and the psychology behind the individual that’s getting out there, to look for these opportunities in order to close deals. Looking for buying signals. All of those processes are critical to be taught to these sales individuals, and then we apply those into the technologies that are out there, and then we’ll be taken up.
SB: Just a question for all of you guys. Is the biopsychology, is that something within the corporate world that you’ll see more and more adoption of? Is it something in your readiness strategies at Extreme Networks or JFK or DSJ?
SR: We don’t have any. I’m fascinated by this. So, the question I think everybody wants to ask Tanya is, okay, how do we do that? Because we’ve established earlier on that our sales leaders need to be better coaches. And it’s hard enough, and I can talk to it, getting your sales leader to coach in a decent, structured way with salespeople across different cultures. But to actually sit down, which will be brilliant, to fully assess salespeople and work through their neuro-linguistic programming tendencies, I’m not sure will work. I’ll have to contend with what in particular you want me to do that. But can you explain a bit more about how you work in this way?
TK: Yes, so essentially, I run a 5-day workshop in order to ascertain that. And it’s a series of- so we do a profiling process online which is based on obviously a psychometric foundation- ascertaining which one of the 48 different types of sales profiles the individuals are. And then we work through in groups and try to understand through different assessments and processes, whether the people are audio, visual, kinesthetic, what their outset is, what their mindset is.
And the thing is, I find there’s a very big confusion between coaching, mentoring and training. So, in my opinion, training is the imparting of knowledge. So that will happen within a training coaching process. Then the mentoring is an unskilled person that is busy imparting their experience, which might be vastly different from someone else’s experience and might not work for them. And coaching is actually extrapolating information from that individual, enabling them to use their own sustainable resource on a consistent basis. So, for me to try to coach somebody, my methodology might fall on deaf ears, because I’m talking a completely different language to that person. So, if I’m speaking to a left-brain visual, and I’m right-brain kinesthetic audio, I’m struggling to get us to talk to each other because we’re not going to be speaking the same language. You’re going to need some kind of interface. So, we have to start understanding from a fundamental level. There’s a lot of material out there on NLP, and neuroscience has an incredible amount of information out there. But it’s really about understanding self and about introspection. So to answer your question, investigate those avenues a bit deeper. Don’t just stop on what is sales. Go deeper than that.
SB: Great, so some real high-level stuff there. So, just getting back to basics Rohan, role play is something traditionally used with a lot of tech vendors and people who I deal with. And actually, I was out there yesterday and people were terrified of doing role play. How are you seeing this evolving? Who should people be role-playing to? With? And what are the alternatives to reinforce training outside of role-playing for companies who hate doing it?
RA: Well, we might have to talk about the word “reinforce”, because that can be perceived differently by different people, by the learner or the company. You talked about air cover earlier. I had the fortune or misfortune to sit next to our CEO at the Christmas party. This is about 18 months ago, and I didn’t realize why nobody was sitting next to him, and I was late and I sat down. And he’s a great guy. If anybody knows him, just, he’s fantastic. But he’s known for absolutely grilling people on what’s happening in their world and why isn’t it better. And his perspective was, we’ve just come through three acquisitions, and when he was out in the field with salespeople, they were telling similar but different stories about the company and what we’re doing. And that was very frustrating to him. So, his perception of, how do we reinforce the training was, make them do it. It was mandatory. Make them do it.
Now, having just come through acquisitions, we have different cultures and different people, some of them who are concerned about their job. Whether they’re going to keep a job. So, when you put them in a role play scenario, you’re testing them and making them feel vulnerable. So, we have to tread this line very carefully. We did lean towards the more reinforcing side because we have the air cover and that was where the money was coming from. And what we did was, we built a program called “Extreme Dojo”, it’s a martial arts-themed training program where you progress. And the idea was, make it feel like a safe environment, where you start a white belt, yellow belt, green belt. But as you get through to the later belts, that’s when it gets tougher, and that’s where we have roleplay in classrooms. And we asked 1,200 of our salespeople to submit videos.
When they got to a certain level, to get to a purple belt, which is our company color, you had to prove that you could do it, you had to prove that you could pitch and you have the company strategy. Now, that wasn’t very popular with the sales organization because nobody likes, kind of, videoing themselves and submitting it. We’ve been going for about a year with it and we’ve got about 700 people who have done it. So, I think the feedback is now that, yeah people don’t like doing it but they have accepted they’ve got to practice. They can’t go out and compete with our competitors unless they’re practicing. And the dojo was built just to create that environment to do that.
SB: How do you feel about role-playing with existing customers? You know, friends of the organization as opposed to going out and practicing in the field.
RA: Most of our role-playing and our video, that’s internal. It’s peer to peer role-playing that’s quite traditional. There was a conversation earlier about customer advisory boards, we do a lot of customer advisory boards, so our salespeople are present there. We also do a thing called “Birds of a Feather”, so birds of a feather stick together. So, we put healthcare customers together in a room, we back away and just let them talk, and we’ve got people in the room that are listening. That helps to get insights and it creates an environment for our customers to talk. But we don’t, we haven’t tried role-playing with them. That would be novel.
SB: That would be interesting. So, as I mentioned, I work in tech. A lot of the senior sales leaders can be a little bit stuck in their ways. They’ve learned how to sales train 20 years ago and it’s not really evolved past that. So, my question for yourself, Simon, in your experience what are the strategies you can employ, because it’s really important to get buy-in from the managers, not just training the employees, what strategies can you use to get buy-in and making sure managers are using modern techniques?
SR: God, that’s a huge question with a five-minute warning on there. So, if you read Dan Pink’s book on motivation, he talks about autonomy, mastery, and purpose. So, you got to make sure you’re absolutely clear with people on what they’re accountable for, what they are in charge of, what their purpose is, and give them the chance to become a master at it. There was a conversation earlier on about very experienced salespeople. Well, when you get to that level where someone’s been in there for 10, 15, or 20 years, and I’ve got a lot of people with very long tenure, to actually have to sit down with them and explain the world has changed, we need to change as well and I can help you adapt to this new world, and here’s how we’re going to do it. Role-playing can be a bit forced, it depends on how engaged people are. I love video. I’ve done a lot of stuff with video submitting and working across a vast geography, it’s a real problem.
In terms of scaling and bringing people on board, we talked about sales readiness at scale, and I’m conscious that everybody in the room has different budgets, different technologies, different challenges that they’re facing with how to reach out to their salespeople. Firstly, build on what’s there. There’s an awful lot you can do with fairly simple tools. You know, Skype, you can do surveys, you can do video things. You can do a lot of stuff just with simple skype, mass calls, sharing a slide deck because then you’ve got the audio and the visual acuity which you were just speaking to.
I tried to run a program where I was individually coaching certain sales leaders, who were like my champions in certain regions, in a bid to create multipliers to work it through. Because I began to realize after 50 flights, that I didn’t scale going around everywhere. So, these are some of the different things. I think if you can really tap into, from the top, this is air cover again. We are going that way, get onboard because if a company is going that way, and you’re still going that way, you have no future here. But, we’re going to give you the tools so that everybody can go that way and then suddenly you get the buy-in from people and off you go.
SB: Thanks very much. Last question for yourself, Paul, that I’m going to actually also show you top tips. Your actionable tips. So, Paul, technology is a massive theme today. It’s a massive theme with some of the sponsors. What mistakes are people making using technology? What should they be looking out for?
PR: Oh, there’s just some superb technology out there. I would say technology is great, but content and tools, you need some great stuff. So, I’ve had a number of people talk to me today say, “Hey, thinking about this system or that system.” So, the technology scale, these technology businesses like Highspot and others out there are scaling up massively. But kind of good, old fashioned brains behind the content that you need for your organization in terms of your sales strategy and translating that into actionable stuff, whether that’s insights or why us or what are your differentiators or competitive messaging, all of that’s going to be unique to your organization. And that stuff takes time to develop. So, I think probably number one is, don’t buy a flashy system unless you know that you can fill it with good content.
And I think the other thing related to technology is, just think about some of the things that you can do with it nowadays, so reporting usage, slicing and dicing data, correlating that to the performers, sales performance, leading indicators, lagging indicators, relative to your sales strategy. Just make sure that the system can tick the right boxes. I do see quite a lot of organizations using still fairly, fairly dated, what I call, as I said, document graveyard sites because they don’t want to fork out on that. And I just think they are missing out on a ton of functionality, that if used in the right way, could really try and drive, and this is all about driving change I think. This session today could really drive change in terms of seeing which individuals, which reps, which managers, which regions, which vertical teams, what are they using, what aren’t they using, why is that? Correlating that to their performance and those indicators and through all of that, I don’t think there are any silver bullets, but through all of that, really trying to identify and focus in on maybe why change isn’t happening and where it is happening, learning off that and floating that elsewhere.
SB: Thanks, Paul, great stuff. So, just top tips. Your top tips for people to go away tomorrow and start thinking about their readiness strategy to help the team scale. What are you going to do?
TK: One thing I would definitely do is focus on rather rewarding and inspiring your team, what it does it takes you into the near cortex, which gives you an impossible attitude. If you terrify your team and you make them feel like they are going to lose their jobs, they go to the impossible amygdala and they will then not be able to see the opportunities. So, reward, reward, reward.
SR: Top tip for anybody in an enablement role in the room, and we kind of touched on this earlier but I just wanted to go back on it, and I know it’s something that Cat, if she’s still here, does. Have a report card and send it to your air cover sponsors, your executive leadership team at least once a month. Show the metrics, demonstrate your value before you are asked to do so. So, prove how many people have done the training, the ROI is, how the pipeline covers improved. Create your scorecard and have the pride to show it upward. And negotiate a bonus related to the improvement.
SB: Nice, nice. Sales background, you can tell. Rohan?
RA: I’ll just build on what Paul said about having a content strategy. I think you can, we realized early on we couldn’t move fast and scale unless we had a content strategy. It was quite easy to put in place something to get the concept out there, in the end, and what we found was, we had a lot of employees, we couldn’t keep up with the amount of training that was required. We kept launching products all the time, we couldn’t keep up. Then we have a lot of employees recording videos and putting them on YouTube and Vimeo, sharing it with customers. Which is very commendable but a little bit out of control, not in line with the brand as well.
So as part of the content strategy, we put pop-up studios and set them up in our offices. It was a camera, some lights, a green screen, and some software, and then let people create content. And then my team now curates that content. So, we decide what goes out and we kind of slice it up and put it into different programs. So, my advice is really focus on the content strategy, because that’s what you’re going to need to scale.
SB: Great stuff Rohan. Paul, the best for last, what are we doing?
PR: Building, I’m going to pinch on some of the other points that some of my panelists have raised. We talked about air cover, so executive alignment, I think, is the number one reason why change initiatives fail. Getting sales, marketing, products, the MD or CEO onboard at the start and keeping it super tight, joined at the hip throughout because the amount of great work that I’ve seen happen- which doesn’t ever see the light of day or it does then withers on the vine- because the marketing directors going in that direction or one of the commercial leaders or a president of Europe or Asia is going in another direction. So, exec alignment, it sounds pretty obvious, but it’s incredible the number of organizations that are just not on top of that.
SB: Fantastic, thanks for that. So, that concludes the first part of it. We’re going into the Q&A now, so if anyone’s got a question, put your hand up and let’s go.
Emcee: Great, so, if you ask the question and then if you pick one of the panelists to ask the question to.
Audience 1: I’m Phaisel from Sienna here. First of all, on the videos, we’ve seen videos work really well. I use gamification quite a lot, but the challenge I get, and here comes the question, is we’ve got four generations in the workforce today, so the problem I have is gamification, videos, millennials, and youngsters, they all love it. Playbooks, sort of fit people that are in the late sections of their careers, they need it. They want it. They will not go into a meeting without it. So the problem I have is, and my budget gets strained over this, is I’m trying to create collateral assets, training, research, for four different generations all wanting different things, all wanting it sliced up differently. Do you guys see that same challenges? If so, how do you differentiate from it?
RA: Yeah, we absolutely see that challenge. I think we’ve got, I’m not sure if we’ve got 4 groups but we do see a difference of people just, you know, younger generations just getting in front of the video on their smartphone and submitting it. And maybe they were the first to do it, and there’s no surprise that the older people in our team were less enthusiastic to do that. But they did in the end. I think after coaching and just creating that safe environment.
And then, the biggest request we get is, where’s the PowerPoint presentation, or something? It’s not, it’s very basic. I just need the PowerPoint presentation so I can go and do it. So, it was quite simple for us and that’s like bread and butter. It’s just got to be there, easy to access. And so we just solved that problem, just making sure the latest version of PowerPoint presentation was always there. But that probably took away 70% of those types of problems for us.
PR: Just to add to that a little bit, one thing, you may have done this, you may not have done it. Create the persona of the different staff that you’ve got to train. To actually expand out what works for them, what doesn’t, what they’re looking for, and so on. Because that will help to secure the budget. And sort of selling upwards and not getting air cover again and saying, “Look, this is the challenge that I’m facing. We’ve got X, Y and Z different groups, and this is the different mediums I need to work with.” And then it shows that you understood and addressed the problem.
SB: How would you go about this, Tanya?
TK: So, when we look at generations, there’s actually five, because your Gen Z’s are coming through now. So you’ve actually got five different presentations, so that’s a very nice question that you’ve had. And a lot of people haven’t done that. So they think, let’s do a marketing strategy. Well, okay fantastic if you’ve got one very defined market that’s in a specific space. But if we’re talking to Gen Z’s, for example, or we’re talking to Gen X, whatever it is, I mean because people are staying alive longer, we’ve got a massive amount of people in the industry that are advising and guiding the younger ones as well.
So, we do have five processes that we need to go through. And it’s quite well-defined online, actually. If you look at all the different profiles that are out there from a generation perspective, all the vine signals are there. So you just need to research it.
SB: Yeah, great question, great question. Any other questions?
Audience 2: I’ve got a question to Tanya, actually. I had a pleasure to be part of the sales team that I would say is quite not enabled, but the other way around. So I’m no longer with them. And I wanted to check with you, the top three tips that I would maybe in the future convey to their sales management team on how to positively motivate their sales workforce.
Because, in my opinion, setting up a bell, in the 21st century, that rings when the sale is made, or actually trying to make good use of technology by introducing all 40 people who work in sales for the whole day, to come up and be on screen for the whole day. Yet the management in the room keeps talking about, “Oh, looks, they’re not making any calls. They should be making calls. Why are they not making any calls?” It’s not necessarily empowering or a good use of sales people’s time. Nor definitely not affecting the revenue positively. Over to you.
TK: That’s a good point. You know, it’s interesting. In the profiling, we ascertained different methodologies of motivating people. So not everybody is motivated by winning, and not everybody is competitive. So, you get certain profiles that are motivated by being noticed, being recognized. You get certain profiles that are motivated by part of the team, and they’re not going to stick on their partner’s heads so that they can win because they don’t want to do that.
Also, the duration of the sale depends on what the profile looks like. So, if you’ve got a high C profile, the person is going to take longer to close the deal because there’s a lot more analysis that goes into the process. So, if you had, for example, a high dominant and a person that needs a lot of knowledge, and you put them both in a room, and you go, “Come, guys, let’s go and prospect the area.” The person with the high C is going to go onto google earth, they’re going to look at the environment, they’ll analyze the different companies, find out, and they’re going to take longer, but what will happen is their outcome will be a more sustainable outcome and a more direct approach. The high D in the room is going to go out there and is going to go prospect. So, they’re both going to get the sale, differently.
SB: Some really good questions so far. Any others?
Audience 2: My company, Phsychometrics, it knows exactly how to profile their own people.
SB: I think we’ve got somebody at the back already has the mic for a question.
Audience 3: Hi, guys. I’m curious about the video. Who delivered the first video? Did a director lead from the front, or was it some sales junior down the bottom?
RA: No, it was our VP of solution strategy who delivered video training. And then a number of our leaders did it first.
Audience 3: And how many takes did they do?
RA: They did a lot of takes. We just said to people, “Look, you can take as many attempts as you want. You can submit it, you can take it back, you can get peer review.” Again, it was that safe environment but we did have our sales leadership lead by example and I think that’s the point you’re making. It had a big impact. If one of the leaders is going to look stupid in front of the camera, then I can do it as well. That’s what we tried to achieve.
SB: Niraj, got a question?
Audience 4: Yes, hi, I’m Niraj. I’m an expert sales coach and trainer and author of the Amazon bestseller “Everybody Works in Sales”.
SB: Thank you for that plug. Always be selling, Niraj. I like it, I like it. Can’t blame you!
Audience 4: That was my point. First of all, thank you so much. I got so much value from everybody on this panel. It was my favorite talk so far today, so thank you. Whenever I hear people who give me great information or I really admire, I love asking them, what books are you reading that you can recommend? And it can be on leadership or management I guess, with the panel here, what great sales books should we be reading that you think are fantastic, that would really empower us?
SB: I’ve heard “Everybody Works in Sales” is a good one to buy. Is that available on Amazon?
Audience 4: It’s available on Amazon, yes.
SB: Oh, yeah. Anyone else?
Audience 4: No, that’s deliberate.
SR: Okay, I can easily speak to one on that. And it’s not just sales-related, but particularly good. James Clear “Atomic Habits” is absolutely phenomenal. So, I’d have a read of that. The other thing I would say is, if you’re serious about educating constant learning, have a look at “Blinkist”, which is the kind of speed-reading app that you subscribe to. Its bestsellers boiled down to an 8-minute read. It is completely addictive. So you can read a book a day on that, and if it’s good, like I believe yours might be, then you will go out and buy the long-form version. But Blinkist is really good. But James Clear, “Atomic Habits”.
SB: His book is actually good, I’ve read it. So, any other recommendations?
RA: I can name authors, but I think when I get the chance, I’m reading about behavioral economics and behavioral sciences, when I can. I’m trying to get there. You know, it might take us a little while but anything on that topic is fascinating. I think if you can understand people, that leaves you in a good, good direction.
TK: I agree completely with “Blinkist”. I use it, I love it. It’s really amazing. I would actually read a book called, “Trying Not to Try” by Professor Edward Slingerland. He talks about duelist principles and it’s really fascinating is that when you are in a state of flow, how it just happens. So, it’s a really powerful book.
PR: I’m going to say something a little bit controversial here. So, I read a number of, I thought, really good sales books years ago. Now, I see these amazing sales books, kind of, you know, that big influencer’s out on LinkedIn are saying, “This is just incredible and it’s got the most amazing forward by someone really famous.” So, I buy the book and I read it, and I’m thinking there is just nothing new in here. You know, is it just “you scratch my back, I’ll just scratch yours with your book, etc..” So, I’m all ears to some of these, I’ll dig into some of those. But in terms of selling, I don’t think I’ve read anything, to be quite honest with you, particularly new. Certainly not in the last couple of years, so yeah, all ears to some of these other options.
SB: Any others?
Audience 5: Hi there. Adam Grey from WeWork. As you know, we work a business that’s expanding globally at a phenomenal pace. So really this is a question for Simon, I guess, but then again, all of you have touched upon the point of globalization. So, how would you recommend we deal with a centralized function that handles translations and more importantly, trans-creation to make the material we’re producing relevant for the markets we’re operating in?
SR: So, this touches on a conversation that I had at lunchtime. About training across different, around the world, and do you localize the languages, which is a real issue. So, with most companies, mine included, we’ve made a very clear decision. We are an English language organization. Now, the challenge you there get, is when you go across to China and Japan, English can be a little bit more challenging for those people for many reasons, which makes perfect sense.
The solution we’ve come up with is to do fairly simple frameworks that are then easier to localize. So what we’re doing is creating central content, but then made it almost a simplified English version that was easier to translate down. It depends on how many languages you’re looking to go into, but from experience, we found Korea, Japan, and China were the main hotspots where the message wasn’t getting through because of the quality of English as a foreign language, which is purely understandable.
The other great thing I would do is quality checking. You got to just quality check it and read it through and try and naturalize the translation. And so, work with them and sort of give them 3 or 4 different ways of phrasing it. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with those unintended viral moments that none of us really want.
RA: Yeah, two things that we’ve tried to address that and sure it is a big challenge. We organize countries into tier one and tier two countries from a translation perspective. So, really trying to save where we’re going to spend money. And like, some countries where you just can’t do business if you haven’t translated it, like Japanese for example. The other thing that’s worked well recently is, because we’ve got a lot of content moving to video, we’ve found some really good companies that do transcript services on video and then use machines to translate, and you get a human than to check it. So we can usually put subtitles on a video within about 48 hours of it being produced. So that’s proving very agile and popular amongst our teams and channel.