Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Oct. 13, 2021

#171 S2 Episode 40 - From Content Marketer to Scaling Companies at Growth Genie with Michael Hanson

On this episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Collin Mitchell, he's joined with Michael Hanson, founder, and CEO of Growth Genie, founder of enMotion, and a veteran public speaker.

Collin asks the right questions to Michael to understand more on what Growth Genie incorporates their own twist in marketing and how it is more successful in getting revenue. Not only that, differences between a humble approach to the break-up approach and how the former is more successful. All this and more!


01:14 When did Michael's sales journey begin and how it is so far

04:07 What to do in the first touch using Michael's approach instead of the norm 

11:58 The humble or feedback approach and how it works better

15:34 Personalization and relevance in line with Michael's approach

19:22 How to reach Michael and get into his world


03:23 "People who have marketing experience and understand the sales side of the coin can be very successful in growth and thinks like that, because understanding both parts are so important regardless of what department you're in."

10:15 "The thing we do is a feedback email, where most people do is a break-up email like 'Oh sounds like it's not the right time, can you introduce me to a colleague?' as we actually do a humble approach and say, 'look it seems like the messaging's aren't resonating, would you mind giving some feedback?'"

11:21 "If they haven't given you a good reason as to why they're not interested to just stop at that point, you're definitely leaving money on the table."

13:58 "We don't give them the piece of content, we say 'would you be interested in seeing it?' Because if we just give it to them they can just click it and go away with it."

16:01 "First email is always personalized. And we're always saying 'what's the business relevance?', like how can you help the company realize the goals they're trying to achieve."

Learn more about Michael in the link below:

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[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell, and this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.

[00:00:24] All right, welcome to another episode of sales transformation today. I've got a fantastic guest for you. I'm going to be talking with Michael Hanson. He is the CEO founder over at growth genie, a consultancy. That empowers B2B sales teams to have better conversations through playbooks, cadences, training and coaching before starting growth.

[00:00:43] Jeannie Michael helped scale cloud task from 10 to 200 employees in three years, Michael is based out of London, but has lived in Columbia, Spain, Germany, and South Africa. Michael, welcome to sales transformation. I'm great. Thanks very much to me on the [00:00:59] show. Colin looking forward to that conversation.

[00:01:02] Awesome. Uh, I have to admit that's the first time I read your bio. I didn't know that you, uh, helped, uh, Amir scale, uh, cloud task. Yeah. Yeah. I was kind of a white, very closely with a mayor for, uh, for a few years. Um, yeah, I learned a lot in those three years, which definitely helped me a lot with grades gene.

[00:01:21] Awesome. I love it. So just tell everybody kind of the, your story here. Like where did it all start? When did you get into sales and the work that you're doing? Yeah. Sure. So, um, the old company I used to work with clouds, house finisher sounds like, you know, Collin, they essentially do like outsource our services and predominantly outsource STL business development.

[00:01:42] Cyber says, um, one of the things I noticed in order to swift clouds hall, I spoke with like a lot of software companies. Yeah, it is for me, we give the hardest skill in sales or even just, I was one of the hardest skills in business to someone who's got no business experience. I've just recently [00:01:58] graduated from university and we throw them on the front line and kind of expect them to perform miracles.

[00:02:03] And it happens a lot by companies. So I essentially saw a big gap in the market when it comes to sales enablement and training and coaching. But specifically for us, Um, and that's why I sat up growth genius, and to provide that and provide kind of repeatable, scalable processes, which is on two sides. One is on the playbooks and cadences and messaging the STLs can use.

[00:02:24] And that also like from a training and coaching perspective where we, we coach our CTRs. Um, so yeah, that's pretty much my story when it comes to silence. And so what were you doing before cloud tech? Before cloud task item, mixture of a content marketing and account management roles. So my first sales role was actually an account management role.

[00:02:46] So I was managing accounts and then also dang renewals and upsells that I watched and content marketing and most things I was working with, um, with SDR [00:02:57] teams. Um, and then yeah, go, go involved, uh, in cloud sauce. It's it's funny because some people will see me as a sours person. All these people see me as more cause same, which I think says a lot about SDRs in general.

[00:03:08] Cause I'm known for STRs and payment markets. They often have payment silos, but where we're very much about the approach of actually the way we do outbound is almost like. Because we never asked for a meeting on the first like email or LinkedIn or call we're actually asking them if they're interested in a piece of content.

[00:03:27] And normally our piece of content is very related to the business anyway. So it becomes, then becomes quite easy to book a meeting. Yeah, I love that. Um, I had a sneaking suspicion that you had some, some marketing experience because I mean, people who have marketing experience and understand the sales side of the coin, um, can be very, uh, ver very, very successful in, you know, growth and things like that because understanding [00:03:56] both parts are so important regardless of what.

[00:03:59] Department and you're in like marketing, understanding, you know, how to best support sales and what they need. And, and vice-versa is so crucial in today. Like sellers have to be great marketers, right. And then there's the whole debate, like where should the SDRs even report? And we could get into that, but it'd be no fun.

[00:04:15] People would probably stop listening, but because they've heard it too many times, but, um, so. Interesting. Okay. So let's dig into that a little bit. I want to tell me a little bit, like, give me an example. What does, you know, in the first touch, whether it's a call a DM or an email, offering a piece of content and not asking for something which is still what 80, 90% of people do in their cold outreach.

[00:04:38] Um, why is that so effective? And what's an example of something. Well, I think it's effective one because just as you said, 90% of people don't do it. So we see one of the biggest problems in sales, especially like outbound at the moment is just standing out from the crowd. Because since the pandemic everyone's using email [00:04:55] automation, LinkedIn automation, and, you know, C level people are getting hundreds of messages a week.

[00:04:58] So one obviously stand out by being. At different. And then it's also like a little less transactional. It's like, I'm not doing, I don't just want your money. I'm trying to be helpful. Right. So I can give you an example. We have a sales playbook template, which is a service we actually offer for clients.

[00:05:14] Right. We help write sales playbooks for them, but what we're doing with desk, like if I give you a. An example, we say, Hey, I noticed you're hiring SDRs. Um, one of the things that can be difficult once you've hired STL is the onboarding process and how you're going to train them. We've got a sours playbook template that can help you do that.

[00:05:30] Would you be interested in seeing it right? And they got a notch, just a, we send them all growth genius, one that's got example. And then we send them a blank template. And again, they say, yes, that's something that you can go away and use to onboard and train us the hours. But we know that realistically, they're not experts in building that so we can give them that.

[00:05:47] And then they're like, okay, we might have this template, but how are we actually gonna write this thing? Um, so yeah, that's kind of. An example [00:05:54] we use and where we buy to practice what we preach that we're speaking to our clients, as well as speaking to the sours team, we always speak to the marketing team and be like, what's the equivalent, what's something you can give away for free.

[00:06:04] That's like a hook to get them in. Yeah. And I love that because like, okay. So if they did follow that guy to a T, they could probably maybe figure it out. Right. Um, But probably not executed at the level that it's needed to be successful. Um, we we've, we do some, we've done something similar where we just put on a three and a half fast, you know, three and a half hour masterclass of teaching people how to start and produce a seven figure podcast.

[00:06:31] Right. And it's a 72 page deck where, you know, if you follow the instructions to a T yes, you could figure out how to do it, but majority of people are not going to want it. You know, they'd rather spend their time doing something else. It's not something that they feel comfortable executing on and they'd rather pay somebody who lives in breeze, that stuff to do it.

[00:06:52] Yeah. What [00:06:53] was funny about that approach? As well as sometimes when people would be like, oh, do you want to see how we can help you build the playmates and play it? And they're like, yeah, sure. And we send them the playbook template, but then they don't even read the template and they're like, oh, we just liked her approach.

[00:07:05] We thought it was cool. Yes. Very cool. Very cool. All right. And so, um, and, and, and, you know, something that you mentioned before we got started here is about a cadence or a sequence that's, you know, three times longer than your average sequence. I'd love to hear more about that. Why, what your reasoning is and kind of break it down.

[00:07:31] Yeah, sure. So. Essentially, it comes down to a colleague of mine at grace genie. He used to always have worked with me at cloud's house gum, and I decided to bring him over because. Essentially, what I was saying is this guy was like, he's called Lawrence Chapman to connect with him on LinkedIn as well. He was like, just, I would see him getting meetings at like absurd [00:07:52] points in a sequence where like everyone else has given up.

[00:07:54] Right. And it's like touch 25. Like it could be emails seven cool 15 or whatever it is. And I was just like, there's something to this. Cause I see that people are giving up too easily and we actually started doing it with our clients at cloud's house. Cause wow. And essentially we notice something which is that you've got two groups of buyers, right?

[00:08:13] You've got people that know they've got a problem. And within the first kind of, you know, five touches, I would say, yes, this is interesting. Let's have a meeting. And then you've got other people that don't know they've got a problem, but they do have a problem. So you need to educate them about it. So actually with those people, you're kind of taking them through the store.

[00:08:31] And now I actually converting between like touch 20 and touch 30. And when people say, oh, well here, we've got this 30 touch cadence, like that's harassment, whatever, but kind of, as it was explaining before, a lot of what we're doing is very thoughtful. So there is, there is automated that's, but there's also personalized to that site.

[00:08:50] The first step [00:08:51] is also always personalized. There's always a video in there. There's always a voicemail in that. So the touch is a very throughout. And then just from a data perspective, like I think the average open rate has gone down from 25% to 20% over the last five years, the average connects rate for a cold call is like 5% of people are picking up their phone a lot less.

[00:09:10] So just, you just need to do more touches to get through to people. And often people are just busy. That's the thing I see with Lawrence. I've seen with our clients when they're getting meetings off to like touch 20, it's just. I really, sorry, I haven't got back to you. And then they either say we're not interested because of this or will they, will they take a meeting and see how it's kind of the logic behind 30 times?

[00:09:31] Yeah. And in most cases and a lot of organizations is what you'll see is okay. There's like an eight or 10 touch sequence. Right. And then if nothing happens within that sequence, there's a cool off period. And then they might even throw them right back into the same sequence or maybe a newer, you know, [00:09:50] 2.0 version of that sequence after say 30, 60 or 90 days.

[00:09:54] Why not just do the. Um, because wherever you put, whatever you put them in the same sequence they got, and you're just repeating the same math. Right? So that that's one thing. And again, we, we just we've seen conversion rates, even like we practice what we preach. Um, I had a, I had a sequence that I was running and I think it was email seven.

[00:10:16] So that 30 touch te sequence you're typically looking at. Seven or eight emails, seven or eight LinkedIn messages. And then, you know, like tens of 15 calls. Um, and then I run a sequence where it was like the very last email email was stubborn, which actually the thing we do is like a feedback email. When most people do a breakup email, everybody be like, oh, it sounds like it's not the right time.

[00:10:36] Can you introduce me to a colleague? We actually do a humble approach and say, look, it seems like. The messaging's resume saying, would you mind giving some feedback? Sometimes people just give feedback, which is great. We learn more about how we can improve, but [00:10:49] sometimes they'll book a meeting. Anyway, this guy booked a meeting and now they're our top performing Powell, highest paying customer.

[00:10:55] Um, so yeah, we've got loads of examples like that, where we've booked meetings, touch 20 seats to touch 30, and then, you know, they've ended up in revenue. So that would have been revenue that we would have missed if we were to have done. Uh, 10 touch cadence. Um, and then also the other thing to bear in mind is typically we do see higher conversion rates at the start.

[00:11:14] Like you're not going to get as high reply rates in the touch. I need to 30 is touch nought to 10, but it's like, even if you got like that 5% reply rate at the end versus like 20% of the star. That 5% could be like a really high paying customer as was our case. So essentially, I just think you're leaving revenue on the table if you, if you don't do those touches.

[00:11:35] Yeah. I mean, because if, if, if they haven't given you a good reason of why they're not interested to just stop at that point, you're definitely leaving money on the table. And in a lot of cases, like the one that you just [00:11:48] shared. It's probably that they're just too darn busy. Like they ha it's not that they're not interested.

[00:11:53] They just didn't take time to reply. You know, maybe they missed it. It wasn't a priority. They were focused on other things. And then eventually after seeing you 20 different times on across three to four channels, They're like, oh, you know, maybe, maybe I should take a look at this. Um, but I, I want to dig into something that really kind of piqued my, uh, my interest is the humble approach of the feedback.

[00:12:17] Cause I just love that. Um, where people typically, oh, you know, please, you know, what the people are used to seeing, which used to be clever, you know, several, several years ago, please tell me where you stand. You know, 1, 2, 3, and four, you know, Hey, I'm interested. Hey, I'm too busy. Please go away. I'm not interested, you know, sort of giving them an easy way to reply and let you know where they stand.

[00:12:35] Um, but asking for feedback, because generally I want to break down like the psychology of that, because people generally like helping people, most people, at least good people, [00:12:47] which I like to believe, you know, most people are good people, but, uh, so let's dig into that. Yeah, I think it's literally exactly, as you said, um, people like helping people, and this is the feedback approach is something, I think like account executives or people more at the bottom of the funnel tend to do, they still don't do it enough, but like, if you lose a deal, whether you win a deal, you know, also by, can you give me some feedback?

[00:13:09] Why did you buy? Or why didn't you buy? Right. But people don't ever need to do it from like an outbound perspective. So yeah. Again, it helps you stand out from the crowd and yeah, generally. Yes. People are helpful. I don't do much cold calling. I still double a bit. Cause we, we trained cold callers, but like my colleague Lawrence, he's like an old school sales guy still loves cold calling.

[00:13:27] And I notice when he speaks to gatekeepers, he's always like, oh, I was wondering if you can help me out. Because like you said, people naturally like to be. Normally people treat gatekeepers like pawns, right there. Just put that someone you want to get through to get to the decision maker, right. As he's empowering them and saying, look, you're in control here.

[00:13:43] And I was wondering if you can help me out. That's essentially what [00:13:46] you're saying. Now see, as that psychology of Germany, people liked to help other people. Yeah. Yeah. And, okay. And so what, what does that messaging look like on, you know, those later touch points in a 30 step sequence versus, you know, what it looks like in the beginning stages?

[00:14:05] Yeah. So we've kind of got, uh, the, the interesting thing that we do with the content given. And the, and this was something I changed a couple of years ago, um, is that we don't give them the piece of content we say, would you be interested in seeing it? Because if we give it to them, they can just click it and go away with it.

[00:14:22] Um, so normally we, we S the first touch is we say, are you interested in. If they don't reply them, we'll give it to them. Um, and then third kind of touches three, six. We're getting a little bit more into, you know, the, the, what you do. But again, we're not saying, Hey, we're a sales consulting company. We're going to get you loads more pipeline.

[00:14:40] We're saying these are some of the pains we're seeing. Like I said, People are getting [00:14:45] spammed, for example, that can be a pain or that it's taking six months to ramp up an SDR. So it's talking a little bit more about pains, and then we're talking about how we've helped other similar companies solve them.

[00:14:55] And for me, every sequence, the most important part is before you've written the sequence, which is. How narrow can you get your ideal customer profile? Cause we've had very successful clients. So we've worked with maybe not your training's great. The STL has been great with it. I've listened to the STL and not even doing great calls around great emails, but they've really narrowed down their target audience by industry by persona.

[00:15:19] And then what we call triggers. So trigger event could be that they're hiring a particular position than you in the role that using a particular software. Um, so essentially it's like an extra layer on top of the persona and the vertical that makes a company a good fit for that. So if you ready get your ideal customer profile right at the start, it makes such a big difference for the sequence.

[00:15:39] Okay. Yeah. And are you using personalization or relevance like [00:15:44] relevance or, or just one or the other? A little bit of both. Tell me a little bit. Yes. A good question about personalization and relevance. Um, it can be a bit of both, I think, because you all were having a business conversation, right? I think the relevance is always the most important thing.

[00:15:58] Cause you could. Hi, I noticed UNT university and X, Y, and Z, or I could contact you and say, Hey, I notice you've got this great sales cause podcasts, but that'd be kind system, huge pitch. That's nothing to do with podcasting. No, one's going to care. Right. So maybe agree. Personalization has got to have the business relevance to it.

[00:16:15] So, yeah, as I said, all first email is always personalized and we, we're always saying what's the business relevance. Like how can you help this company will provide a piece of content that's relevant to the goals they're trying to achieve. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Okay. And so, um, I'm curious, like what have you seen kind of change as you know, the world has kind of changed the last couple of years [00:16:43] with, you know, how I approach things.

[00:16:44] I mean, clearly you're not using. I hope your family is all well and healthy. And how is COVID treating you, which I, I don't understand why people are using that in message Jean, but, uh, I mean, somebody must be still rewarding that behavior and replying or else people wouldn't be doing it. Um, but I'm just generally, like, how have you, like, because a lot of people had to really rethink their sequences and their cadences and their messaging and how they're approaching things with, you know, all of the changes that have sort of happened over the last couple of.

[00:17:16] Yeah, I think less automation, I think before, like in my clouds house stage where you could run like fully automated email and even like we were doing LinkedIn automation and could get results. I think now people are getting so many more emails, so many more LinkedIn messages. I think your messaging needs to be a bit strict.

[00:17:33] Than it used to be. And of course you can like that's one of our tactics with automation is to create automated message. It seems personalized. So for example, I [00:17:42] can build a list of, you know, 300 companies hiring SDRs, and I could say, Hey, noticed you're hiring SDRs. Right. But there's still there's. If you can do a more personal approach and look at the company's goals, that's always going to be better.

[00:17:54] So that's where I would say all our sequences are probably like 50% personalization, 50% automation. Um, whereas before we were doing maybe like 10% personalization, 90% automation, and even back in the day, reduce some campaigns, which were a hundred percent automation, which we wouldn't recommend, but we're just saying those campaigns, it's more and more difficult now to get meetings out with them.

[00:18:16] Yeah. And so how would you suggest somebody, you know, who's tried. Insert more personalization into their touches. Like what are some tools or hacks or things that they could do, uh, to get more personalized in their outreach? Yeah. So we, we break also might trigger events earlier. So we, we talk about triggers.

[00:18:37] So like I said, it could be the hiring a particular possession, like I said, hiring STL [00:18:41] is a good one for us. Are they using a particular software that you know about. Or a personal approach, like save that all throwing any content on LinkedIn. Um, I think your colleague is he called Edward. Um, he had quite a good approach with me before this podcast and he said he was talking a little bit about also your services.

[00:18:59] And he said, Hey, I've been reading your sours content on LinkedIn. I find it quite interesting. Have you thought about like doing a port cost to, to share it? Cause we don't have a port cost right. By posted on LinkedIn. So that's the type of thing. Seeing if they're posting content and then making a relevant transition into like what your services as, or, or some piece of content.

[00:19:18] Because again, what you don't want to do is personalization for the sake of it, where you personalize one line and then go on a sales page because people aren't stupid. They can read through that. Oh, Yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Michael, it's been fantastic having you on today. Really, uh, tons of value in this episode, tons of nuggets for people to pull away.

[00:19:37] Uh, what is the best way [00:19:40] for people to get in touch with you or get into your world? Or what are you going to share? Yeah, sure. I'm very active on LinkedIn. You I'm like potent Ellington, Michael Hudson growth geneal come up. I pretty much connects with anyone as long as they don't send me like a huge pitch.

[00:19:55] And, um, yeah, you can go on our website to learn a little bit more about us. It's growth, Um, I couldn't, so it's it's dot co. Um, yeah, so those are probably the two best ways to get in touch. Awesome. We will drop those links in the show notes for everybody. Again, appreciate you coming on, Michael.

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