Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
March 1, 2021

Episode #65 S1-EP65 launch and scale a business with Zach Rego

Zach Rego joins Collin Mitchel in this episode of the Sales Hustle Podcast. Let’s hear from Zach on his short version of how he got into sales. More importantly, Zach shares some insights on revenue and many tactical sales and marketing tips in this episode.


Episode 65 - Zach Rego

Collin Mitchell: [00:00:00] Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw 

[00:00:08] Zach Rego: [00:00:08] uncut experiences 

[00:00:10] Collin Mitchell: [00:00:10] from sales change-makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for too. Up your sales game. Today's episode is brought to you by sales cast sales CAS helps sales professionals transform their relationship building process and win their dream clients.

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin Mitchell, 

[00:00:35] Zach Rego: [00:00:35] Zach, how are you doing? Let's go on on call and thanks for having me. Yeah, man. Thanks 

[00:00:39] Collin Mitchell: [00:00:39] for being willing to hop on live. I think it's always fun when people are up for going live. It's a little bit of a different experience, but it's always fun. Um, yeah, kind of funny story.

[00:00:48] Right. We tried to do a podcast the other day and technology wasn't working out. And so here we are. Take two. Don't you hate that? Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so, all right, man. I like to start these out kind of similar to, before we get into the good stuff, just give people the short version of your, uh, sales story. 

[00:01:06] Zach Rego: [00:01:06] Yeah.

[00:01:07] You know, I, uh, I wanted to be a sports center anchor, like many folks that came up, you know, through the nineties and early two thousands, uh, that didn't pan out. So I quickly got into sales in college, um, started in retail, which was awesome. And I think a really unique experience. Any folks that are looking to get into sales out of college, like get into retail.

[00:01:26] I used to work at a shoe store, so we were upselling. You know, insults and socks instead of services and ad-ons, but same thing, right? Then you just understanding where people's needs are and trying to fulfill them with a pair of, uh, you know, high-end socks. So, uh, but no quickly transitioned into software, um, consulting services, which was tough.

[00:01:43] Again, if you're looking to break into sales, a hundred calls to CEO's is a great way to get your reps in and get hung up on and get some battle wounds and calluses built. Uh, they love hanging up on salespeople. They love stumping salespeople. That's those are the best. And it teaches you to think on your feet.

[00:02:00] Collin Mitchell: [00:02:00] Yeah. You notice, you got to learn your product when you're calling into CIO and CTO. Is he better? I mean, they'll, they'll quiz you quick and if you don't know your shit, man, 

[00:02:11] Zach Rego: [00:02:11] It's bringing up anxiety right now, but no having multiple, multiple screens with multiple tabs and typing in acronyms really fast and hoping you get the right one is how you learn.

[00:02:20] Collin Mitchell: [00:02:20] Be a master master Googler. 

[00:02:22] Zach Rego: [00:02:22] Oh yeah, no, you'll learn a lot. They're fast. Um, and then I got into SAS sales. I actually moved to Boston. I was in Raleigh for most of that time. North Carolina, I moved to Boston was like, I'm going to get into a SAS startup and get rich. I got into a SAS startup, but, uh, the other part didn't quite happen, but that's all right.

[00:02:37] Yeah. I got a ton of experience and, uh, you know, went through an exit with WordStream and started as a sales rep and worked my way into sales management, uh, director of sales, and then became a general manager where I was actually managing a piece of the business there that sold exclusively to agencies.

[00:02:52] Um, I did that for a couple of years. I've had a really awesome team working for me. A lot of sales, you know, SDR, um, full inside inside sales team, account management team, as well as, you know, small marketing resource team, uh, services team, and a product team that was dedicated to that. So it was a lot of fun.

[00:03:08] And then, uh, about six months ago, I moved on to unstack to run sales and marketing for them. We're a super early stage startup, a small team. Um, I'm the first kind of executive hire outside of, uh, you know, engineering and, and the two co-founders. So. Uh, it's been a lot of fun, but certainly a huge transition.

[00:03:26] Collin Mitchell: [00:03:26] Hm. All right. Awesome. I want to dig into a couple things. So, um, tell me, tell me what you learned early on, um, in, in, in shoe sales that, that kind of still sticks with you today. Cause I like, for me, there's I learned a lot of good things and a lot of bad things in my first sales job, but there's some that were good that still just kind of like set the foundation of things for me that, you know, still, um, are relevant today.

[00:03:50] So tell me a little bit about some of those things for you. 

[00:03:52] Zach Rego: [00:03:52] You know, I think the one thing is, uh, one build rapport, right? Like be approachable, have a good conversation. Don't let those rapport building moments fall by the wayside. So always be listening for things that you're hearing that are, you know, a little bit maybe outside of the current sale, but, you know, they might highlight a need that you can fill with an add on.

[00:04:13] So, you know, a really, really good example is. You know, people are like, Oh, I just, I ran in the rain a few days ago. It's like, okay. You know, that's, that's awesome. Like what is a crazy storm? Right. And then, and then you were able to sell them a different pair of socks because you can start to dig into, did you get any blisters?

[00:04:27] Like you can, you can start to find these things that you're like, Whoa, like that was just a conversation that happened. But I picked up on. This little thing, turns it into a pain and then, you know, fulfilled that, that need and pain with, with, uh, with a product. And I, I've always coaching reps on like, listen for things that they're doing in their personal life.

[00:04:44] Like if they're about to buy a really expensive car, talk about how expensive that car is, because then when you say our products, $2,000 a month, that's nothing, when they're buying a $50,000 car like this, just it's putting people's brains into a certain perspective. And then, you know, using that yeah. To have some fun with them, 

[00:05:00] Collin Mitchell: [00:05:00] that, that, that is a.

[00:05:02] Great way for building rapport. But what I love about that is not just building rapport. Cause a lot of people will say, Oh, you know, they start talking about your sports team because you're in a certain area and that's like, kind of like fake rapport, right. Or like, cause they don't really give a crap about your team.

[00:05:18] In most cases, um, they probably have their own team. Right. Or, um, or, you know, So, so what I like about what you just described sales, hustlers is, is tying in that report to what you do. Right? So looking at lists, a couple of things you said, I like listening, like the best sellers listen really well. And look for those windows or those opportunities to like connect, to build rapport, to build trust, or to tie it into what problem you solve, or maybe helping them identify that there's a problem that they didn't even know 

[00:05:48] Zach Rego: [00:05:48] existed.

[00:05:49] Yeah. You know, what's funny is, is, uh, and have fun with it. Like, like I used to use the car one, I I'll never forget the call. It, it happened on, but I listened back to it and I was like, Oh, that was interesting. Like, I was just messing with, with the buyer on the other end of the phone, but, you know, they were like, wow, that's, you know, $2,000 a month.

[00:06:04] That's pretty expensive. And I was like, yeah, but it's, it's providing an ROI. I'm like that Mercedes, you were looking at a couple of days ago and you're about to probably pay about 800 bucks a month for that. So like, At least you're making money with this. Like, let's talk about that a little bit more and I'm just totally joking, but also puts things into perspective.

[00:06:19] Like if you're willing to spend $800 on a car that depreciates instantly should have no problem spending two grand a month, if you're a business owner on something that's going to hopefully provide an ROI. And here's my model to prove that. Mm. 

[00:06:30] Collin Mitchell: [00:06:30] Yeah. Yeah. All right. So I love that. Um, now, so you had some interesting experience in, in kind of went up through the ranks over at WordStream.

[00:06:40] So tell me, like, what did you learn there? Um, and let's kind of dig into some of that stuff. 

[00:06:46] Zach Rego: [00:06:46] Yeah. You know, I was, um, when I started at WordStream, it was a pretty small team, 30 something employees. Um, they had just started really building out their sales team. I think they might've had 12 sales reps and man, they hired like five with our hiring class.

[00:07:00] And then it was kind of like a rolling thunder of five new salespeople walking in every few weeks, which was, which was a lot of fun. Um, and you know, the really cool thing about it is our CEO. At the time, Ralph Foles, who's still a mentor of mine. Uh, you know, sat right next to me. And in some cases we moved around a lot, but, uh, and I was always bouncing ideas off of him and he has such a unique take on things, but he really let me kind of get under the covers of the business.

[00:07:24] And I think it helped me quite a bit as a salesperson and also showed me really fast that like, I didn't always want to be in sales. Like I wanted to get into. You know, one day hopefully a CRO or CEO role or founder and, and come up with something. But I really needed to learn the intricacies of a business to become a better salesperson.

[00:07:42] So he spent a ton of time beating me up on churn and you know, how do you, you know, how do sales reps become profitable? And, you know, I even took it upon myself to rewrite our comp plan, to try to impact churn and like motivate reps in different ways, but still get the desired end results. The company, uh, he actually took a lot of my ideas, you know, Squeeze the sales reps a little bit more whichever your good executive would do.

[00:08:04] Mine was probably a little bit too sales rep friendly, but that like that instant exposure to like the business and the behind the scenes thought process of a CEO, like really got me involved in like wanting to learn more cross-functionally around the business. 

[00:08:16] Collin Mitchell: [00:08:16] Um, yeah, so there's a ton of value of getting into a company early on.

[00:08:22] Right, because there's so much opportunity for say a young seller, um, to learn so many other things outside of sales, you know, like operations and business acumen and just kind of see more, you know, big picture, full picture of things. 

[00:08:37] Zach Rego: [00:08:37] Yeah. It was, you know, it was eye opening and they, you know, luckily we did a really good job.

[00:08:41] I mean, all the way up until, you know, we were four or 500 employees of always having. Cross-functional meetings, you know, getting sales reps involved in product meetings, um, you know, creating opportunities for sales reps to get exposures to other, other pieces of the business, because it allows them to demo so much more efficient, right?

[00:08:58] Like there's, there's a level of transparency they're providing the prospect. That feels really real, you know, like when I knew what our churn rate was every month, I would say that I would say like, Hey, look, you know, our churns, you know, just, just about for like, you're gonna, you're going to be here for a long time.

[00:09:13] In all likelihood and this isn't a one or two month thing, this is a 19 to 25 month thing. And here's why, and here's what we're going to do for you. So it's really empowering to sales reps to have that in, in kind of their back pocket and exposing them to the business economics. 

[00:09:27] Collin Mitchell: [00:09:27] Yeah. Yeah. And that level of transparency is huge.

[00:09:31] Yeah. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about like your, you know, kind of career development path and how you kind of moved up there and, and, you know, Walk me through kind of that timeline and what you learned along the way, and like what contributed to that? 

[00:09:46] Zach Rego: [00:09:46] Yeah. Uh, I'm very impatient, which is a blessing and a curse and, and a lot of Ralph and others, my manager at the time, Tim and the VP of sales were always kind of pushing back, like slow down, just, you know, keep being a great sales rep.

[00:09:59] Your time will come kind of thing. Um, and you know, for, for probably about a year and a half, I was a sales rep. I became a team lead. I hired a couple reps that worked for me for a very long time. Built a team around them as a, as a player coach, you know, with as independent individual contributor. I, I was a player coach until five reps.

[00:10:18] Uh, so I had five sales reps reporting to me. It was still selling and carrying a quota and then went manager full-time, um, built out that team to eight, uh, maybe up to 11 at one point. And then a couple of team leads under me. So always trying to grow kind of the coaching tree as I like to call it. Uh, and, and what I found was, uh, My manager, who I'm still close with Tim, the director was a little bit of like a glass ceiling.

[00:10:43] It was just becoming difficult for me. Like I was never going to like pass him. Right. So it was only just me adding people and kind of building my coaching tree. So the opportunity came up to take on management of, uh, the agency sales team, which was six or seven reps at this time. And, uh, I took them on as a play to kind of get out from under my manager or the director at the time and become a director, uh, got promoted to senior manager.

[00:11:06] They still wouldn't give me the director title, uh, which was brutal, but I fought for a little bit. Um, and at that point I was managing close to 18 salespeople, uh, across two teams with a few team leads underneath me and, uh, The agency business was growing and we kind of got the sales engine humming and I started to get my sales reps, you know, kind of the key players on that team, really involved in, in the agency business and tried to take control of how we were marketing.

[00:11:33] How are we positioning the product? It was kind of a different business unit and sale. And, uh, they approached me after a little bit to kind of become a general manager of that organization within WordStream. So, you know, take more experience and responsibility for marketing and leads and take more. Uh, you know, responsibility for churn and revenue growth and services and offerings, and also, you know, product which was eyeopening and gave me all of that exposure.

[00:12:00] I'd always want it as a salesperson and allowed me to give the reps that were working for me and the people that ended up reporting to me a lot of exposure to different parts of the business, um, which was, which was really fun and allowed me to keep my core group of salespeople, uh, around me for a long period of time while I was there.

[00:12:17] Collin Mitchell: [00:12:17] Yeah. Yeah. So a couple of things that kind of are standing out to me. Right. So it sounds like the, um, you were able to. Kind of have sales and marketing work together as one unit fairly well. And so tell me a little bit about, you know, how, how you were doing that and you know, how much do you think that contributed to the success and, and why is that important?

[00:12:40] Because so many, there's so many orcs today where they definitely don't work as one unit or typically. Pointing fingers back and forth at each other. Right. Hey, marketing's not bringing us good leads. Hey, sales, isn't closing the leads that we're bringing in. And like, you know, it's just kind of not healthy.

[00:12:58] Right. So, so why is it so important for marketing and sales to align and work together as one unit? And what are some things that kind of worked for you 

[00:13:05] Zach Rego: [00:13:05] over there? Yeah, so I think obviously top-down approach, right? Like it starts with leadership. So if you're, um, VP of sales or VP of marketing, like try to get along with your counterpart as much as you possibly can.

[00:13:16] Like it, everyone sees it, you know, and I think we, we had really solid leadership at WordStream towards the end. Um, and, and they, they worked well together, but, uh, that's only the tip of the iceberg, right? Like they're not on the ground, you know, talking on the phone, they're not writing the emails, they're not creating the ads.

[00:13:34] So when I took over the agency business and, uh, and, and started working, you know, as the leader of the agency sales team, I started spending a lot of time listening to my sales calls as any sales leader would do, but I also started really auditing our marketing emails and how they aligned to the message that we were using to close our best deals.

[00:13:52] And what I found was there was a huge disconnect, right? Like there was no one. We weren't, we weren't targeting agencies appropriately. We were kind of writing an email for all prospects and letting it fly. And what I ended up doing was kind of finding a partner in marketing and, and, and, uh, you know, she was working in email marketing and we would sit down and we would talk about messaging and we kind of audit, and we started breaking out the emails and like targeting the list directly and really aligning the sales message with the marketing message and starting to take kind of those key features that.

[00:14:23] Maybe he didn't have broad appeal, but they had really targeted appeal to our prospects and using those as, uh, you know, subject lines or feature call-outs or creating, you know, specific white papers and assets for it. And once that started working is when they were like, okay, well maybe we should kind of create a new role.

[00:14:40] And that's when I became the GM and what I was able to do there was. Actually have sales reps that became kind of business partners. So I had a sales rep that was kind of my marketing liaison and they met with marketing, you know, every week or every other week about their plan. And, you know, the, the rep that did this, he loves the marketing piece and he wanted exposure to that stuff.

[00:15:00] And he's got a really bright future as a general manager or a CEO one day, because he's really started to spend a lot of time understanding different aspects of the business. Later down the line, I ended up doing the same thing for services. So there was kind of a services and sales liaison on each side where they would meet weekly and talk about the challenges and churn and, um, report back to me and meet with the team to talk about it.

[00:15:18] And we actually ended up spreading that out across the entire sales floor, um, where we would have kind of folks that were responsible for constantly communicating with marketing and understanding what we were promoting and how sales could support that. And vice versa. 

[00:15:34] Collin Mitchell: [00:15:34] And, and I mean, it's so important for salespeople these days too, to have marketing skills or to understand the marketing piece, because I mean, that line is, is, is, is not so, um, Separate than what it used to be sales versus marketing, like S you know, the best marketers understand this, the sales side of like, okay, if we get the leads in, like, what does it take to close them?

[00:15:59] What are they hearing on the other side? And the best sales people understand, you know, the marketing piece of like catching people's attention, pattern, interrupt, and standing out, you know, to their prospects. Um, and so I, you know, and, and I think it's a lot easier for. This to work in like a smaller org.

[00:16:18] Right. And then it becomes harder as the organization gets bigger. What's what's your take on that? 

[00:16:23] Zach Rego: [00:16:23] Yeah, that's true. I think, uh, you know, I think that's why we were able to, I think at the time we had 70 ish sales reps, including kind of our SDR team, um, And the marketing org was, I don't know, 15, 16 people in total, maybe a little bit more if you bring in design, but like actual, like, you know, performance marketers, uh, and, and it's just constant communication.

[00:16:42] And I think it's not, it's not constant communication between directors and VPs. It's constant communication between the people writing the emails or making the calls on both ends or writing the ads. Like when you get a really solid, you know, PPC marketer and a sales rep. Talking or sales teams talking, they get their headlines, they'd get their calls to action.

[00:17:04] Right? When you get an email marketer and a sales team talking, they're taking their, their subject lines, they're taking their, you know, features that they're gonna, they're gonna highlight and the solutions and the problems we're solving, because they're not hearing from the prospects. I think the other thing that's really, really impactful is not using sales tools.

[00:17:22] Uh, that are recording calls and recording demos in sales. Like those need to be constantly shared with marketing and marketing needs to be proactively digging into those scripts and understanding what's resonating and what features are being highlighted and why, because that's going to totally transform how they market to their personas.

[00:17:43] Collin Mitchell: [00:17:43] So are you saying that Mark, the marketing team should be listening to the call recordings? 

[00:17:47] Zach Rego: [00:17:47] Absolutely. Yeah. 

[00:17:49] Collin Mitchell: [00:17:49] Why do I feel like. Most marketing teams are not doing that. 

[00:17:54] Zach Rego: [00:17:54] I mean, it's, it is work. I mean, most sales leaders aren't doing it, you know, like it's not it's time consuming. You know, there are entire companies now dedicated to sales, coaching, and listening to some of those call recordings.

[00:18:05] Um, 

[00:18:06] Collin Mitchell: [00:18:06] I mean, there's definitely technology that makes it easier. Um, but even if like, say you're not, you know, Funded or you're on, you know, you're bootstrapping. Like you can still do it, you know, like even, you know, early on, it's just like, you know, Hey, if your sales reps want to get better, you should require them to give you three to five call recordings a day that you can review together.

[00:18:28] Ones where things went well and ones where things didn't go well and review those and, you know, role play with those and learn from those and tweak and optimize the sequences or the pitch or the script or the everything based on what you collect from that. 

[00:18:44] Zach Rego: [00:18:44] Yeah. Like you, you can't just keep going blind.

[00:18:48] Hopefully things are going to get better. Totally. They don't, they don't get that. No, I think when, when you're a marketer, I think there's like a couple of use cases. Right. So if you're about to craft an email for a specific feature, And you have a call recording software that transcribes it, go and search that feature.

[00:19:03] Listen to those two minute snippets, you know, about that feature from five or six of the top sales reps. And what you'll find is their naming convention is typically different than the product marketers naming convention, the way the client asks about it. Is typically different than the way you have built it or marketed it.

[00:19:21] So, you know, those things are really important and you're going to resonate so much more with your audience. If you are spending the time to hear what they call that feature. Um, and I think that's so important for marketers to spend time working on in product marketers, especially to spend time really digging into is I can name it one thing, but what the prospects say when they're asking for it is, is totally different.

[00:19:44] If they don't align, then we're missing the Mark. Yeah. And 

[00:19:47] Collin Mitchell: [00:19:47] even, even if, if your leadership, if you're a seller or an individual contributor and your leader not doing this, like, do it take ownership, do it yourself, get the recordings, review them, um, listen to them, you know, you know, the calls where you maybe could have done something differently or, you know, didn't go, well, listen to the ones that go well.

[00:20:06] To say, okay, Hey, this is working. Maybe I should be doing this more. Listen to the ones that didn't go well, I like listened to the ones where it didn't go well, because there's lots of opportunity for learning there. Um, so even if your leadership is not doing this or your, your marketing, team's not doing this take ownership and do it on your own.

[00:20:20] Yeah. You know, and their sense of peer groups and things like that, you can be like, Hey, can you listen to some of my recordings and see how you think I could have done better? Like just, you know, and I get feedback from somebody who's going to be 

[00:20:30] Zach Rego: [00:20:30] real with you. Yeah. And I think it's a. Empowering sales reps to take the time to do that is, is a sales leader.

[00:20:39] And like, that's one thing that I always, I got better at throughout my career in management. And I got better because as a sales rep, I was always asking to try to take on more. And when I was given that opportunity, it made me a better sales rep. So I always tried to expose my reps to that. And you know, if you're a sales manager or director, like talk to your reps about where they want to get exposure, and if they want exposure to what marketing's doing, Task them with exactly that like, Hey, we've got a feature that we're going to be going rolling out with.

[00:21:07] Can you see an audit, you know, X number of calls to understand how prospects are talking about it and share them with, you know, the director of product marketing. They're going to love that experience. It's going to get them to listen, to calls with a totally different lens on it, but still they're listening to calls, which has beneficial.

[00:21:22] They're gonna figure out their messaging and hone their craft. And they're going to share really valuable feedback with the marketing team that. Saving them a little bit of time. So there's a lot of wins to be had by just kind of getting that as a part of your coaching system. Yeah, yeah, 

[00:21:34] Collin Mitchell: [00:21:34] yeah. Um, man, it's been a lot of fun having you on here.

[00:21:38] Uh, really appreciate it. Love going live, glad that technology decided to cooperate today. Um, let folks know, like where can they find more about you learn about your podcast, anything that you want to know? And for the podcast listeners, we'll drop all those links in the show notes. 

[00:21:53] Zach Rego: [00:21:53] Yeah. Uh, first and foremost, uh, unstack.com.

[00:21:58] We are building the premier no-code CMS for marketers. It's got all the tools that you need as a marketer to build a business. Uh, you know, you protected me on LinkedIn, please. I'm always happy to chat about career progression, uh, opportunities to advance your career, you know, opportunities to get exposure to some of these.

[00:22:16] Other pieces of the business, Zachary go Z ACH, our ego. And, uh, yeah, if you're interested in startups and how they get off the ground and how they're scaling, uh, the zero to a million podcast is on Spotify, Apple, and everywhere else. Uh, listening. We've got some really cool founders, marketers. We got some really smart people like Colin Mitchell, joining us to talk about how to, how to scale a business and how to run a podcast and all sorts of cool stuff.

[00:22:39] So please check it out. 

[00:22:41] Collin Mitchell: [00:22:41] Yeah, we will drop that in the show notes for the podcast listeners and in the comments, uh, for the people joining us live today. Zach, thanks so much for coming on the show. If you are listening to the podcast and enjoy today's episode, write us a review, share with your friends.

[00:22:54] We're listening for your feedback. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of sales hustle. Are you a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level? If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales cast.com, check us out. And if you feel that you are ready, set up a time to talk with me and my co-founder Chris.

[00:23:18] I'm your host collum Mitchell. And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review and share the podcast with your friends.

 

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Transcript

Episode 38

Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales makers across various industries. The only place where you can get what you're looking for too. Uh, your sales game today's episode is brought to you by sales cast sales cast helps sales professionals transform the relationship building process and win their dream clients.

[00:00:30] I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. What is happening? Sales hustlers. Welcome to another episode of sales hustle. I've got Nigel green today. He's the selling power magazine top consultant for 2021. Um, we're going to dig into some tips for sales leaders, uh, and see where it goes from there. Nigel. Thanks for coming on sales household today.

[00:00:55] Colin. It's my pleasure. Nice to meet you, man. Yeah. Thanks for coming on. So before we dive in, just tell us a little bit about your story, uh, the short version of how you got into sales and how you wound up working with sales leaders. I got into sales because I didn't really want to go get a job and it seemed like the only way to get a job.

[00:01:14] So, um, funny story. So I played football in college and our team physician. Uh, I can't remember what my element was, but we were just kind of shooting the breeze and he said, man, you gotta meet my brother. My brother would eat you up. His brother recruited me to come, go through the sales training program at Northwestern mutual.

[00:01:33] And that's how I got into sales. Uh, I just knew that meeting with people and talking all day was, um, probably better for me than sitting behind a desk, looking at spreadsheets. Hmm. Okay. So you got into sales because you didn't want to get a job, but I think you were mistaken a little bit about how much hard work it takes to be in sales, right.

[00:01:55] But yes, I unmistakably, uh, there is a lot of work that goes into being in sales, but anyone that's 22 years old has a high degree of naivete, but it's also worth noting that if you really love what you do, it doesn't always feel like work. Yeah. You're going to grind and yeah, you're going to hustle, but it's a hell of a lot easier to get up and do it when you love it.

[00:02:16] And. There are days. It feels a lot like work, but most of the time it's really fun. And that's, it's still, it's still true. Now. Now I'll tell you, my career has morphed into more of looking at spreadsheets, being a heck of a lot more analytical, but I'm helping people do what they want to do. And that's fun for me.

[00:02:37] Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So let's talk a little bit about, you know, the stuff that you work with sales leaders on and, and see where it goes from there. Okay. I am often hired when a sales leader is red lining. Okay. So that they are competent, they have been successful. Now they're at their point in their career where there's an injection of capital into the business, or there's been an acquisition.

[00:03:02] Something has changed strategically and their competency level. Is going to need to be stretched pretty extensively over the next 18 to 36 months so that the equity sponsor, the founder, the CEO can have the exit, the outcome that they need. They're good at what they do. It's just a heck of a lot better for the outcome of the business.

[00:03:22] If they have someone alongside them that has positioned and successfully exited a business. And I've done that a few times, so I come alongside and help them. Frame what needs to be done through the lens of you're on the clock, right? They, they, your equity sponsor that your CEO wants to sell this business at some point in the future, you can't afford to make mistakes, Cassius precious.

[00:03:47] So how are we going to go hit these really aggressive sales goals on a short period of time and big, good of fiduciary with the capital that we have. Okay. And so tell me these P these, you know, um, particular sales leaders. What's the first thing that you look at of where, you know, you can make some improvements and tweaks.

[00:04:08] They get, they see their big sales number and they immediately say, well, we're going to have to hire a bunch more people if we're going to get this done. And I say, no, we're not, we're not going to do that. What we're going to get really clear on first and foremost is. All of the ways that we get sales, what are the individual tactics that produce the highest yield, the highest return on effort.

[00:04:31] And we're going to figure out how we can create specialization around those tactics. Sometimes that sh that shows up in specializing customers and segmenting the market by how a customer wants to buy with you. So instead of having. Multiple reps carry multiple offerings in their bag. We're going to specialize that way.

[00:04:49] We're going to create specialization by stage in the funnel. I know that you started being a full cycle sales rep. That's one of the things that we blow up immediately because, um, there was a recently a study done full cycle sales reps raced waste about 38% of their selling week and just context switching.

[00:05:08] The mental load from going from sending prospect emails to following up on deals, to getting ready for demos is exhausting and a huge waste of time. So we go, so I go in and I really challenged leaders to is as much as it might pain to pull things away from people, let them do more by doing less. What does that look like?

[00:05:29] How do you break that out? By stage of funnel or by, uh, by type of offering. And, and it's usually about a 50 50 split. We do some stakeholder interviews with the reps, with the customers, with certain business units and we we've. A little bit, we take the data, but then make a gut check on the people that we have on this team, the sellers, how are they wired?

[00:05:51] Are they going to be wired to stay full cycle, but then go after a certain part of the market? Or are they going to be really good at it? Owning a certain stage in the sales cycle. And I'm guessing that could be some tough conversations for a sales leader. That's maybe had particular people on the team for a while.

[00:06:09] They've had the, you know, particular way that they've been doing things for awhile. Maybe you've been, you know, somewhat successful and now something has changed where they need to really put the foot to, you know, the foot on the gas. What do those conversations look like? And how does a sales leader approach that.

[00:06:23] Some of them are very difficult. Some of them, uh, there's a there's ego involved. There's certainly a lot of pride. Uh, oftentimes they'll call Colin. There's a sense of relief. Uh, I can tell you that equally as often you hear sellers say, you know what? I really don't enjoy prospecting. I hate it. I hate that I have this new business quota or conversely, I don't like managing the business.

[00:06:48] I I'm really bad at the details. I just want to go close. But typically, um, you approach the conversation the same way what's in it for you. What do you want to do? And you got to anchor the outcome that you want with something that's going to be a win for the seller. Maybe it's career. Maybe it's income, maybe it's quality of life, but you've got to leave some space.

[00:07:15] And that conversation to think about your people first, because you're never going to hit any of your aggressive sales goals. If you can't anchor the hard work in something that that seller wants to achieve in their life. And so starting from the place of. This will work, fill in the blank and letting the seller, or let that person tell you what they really want or why they would do something differently.

[00:07:39] Why they would align with all this change versus you're going to do this. This is the way we're going to get it done. You either going to sign up and stay, or you're not, I've found that doesn't really work well. Sometimes it gets to that, but let's never start there. Right. Right. And, and, you know, I happen to know that the best leaders know what that is for each of their contributors.

[00:08:01] Right. They know what it is that drives them. They know, you know, what it is to get them to, you know, go to the next level. They know what it is to get them to be willing, to change, to help them, you know, meet whatever their, maybe personal goals are. And they do, but here's, here's what the best leaders do.

[00:08:20] That's a little bit subtle, good leaders might come in and say, call, Hey, I know you're really motivated by this and that's why we're going to shift. And this is going to be better for you. And they're still selling them on it versus saying, can we have a conversation about a couple of things you shared with me that I've remembered over the course of working with?

[00:08:37] You know, it was this thing that was really important to you. Is that still true? And I think it's important to do that now because everyone's motivations are changing. Like I can tell you a lot of folks, what they wanted in March is not what they want now. Because the way we're going to market is change.

[00:08:56] People's values are shifting, you know, there's this rush of people getting out of cities and having a simpler life, wanting more time at home. Like I think everything that we think is important needs to be stress test and, and resurface with our team and make sure it's still really important. Right.

[00:09:15] Right. Not just assuming. But a bit of a discovery process with your, with your, with your sellers as a leader, right? Yeah. And then, you know, before, you know, just assuming that that's still valid, just, you know, being willing to be open, to have a conversation, if it's true, if it's changed and, and kind of setting that, that table properly to have that conversation.

[00:09:39] If, if the goal is if the priorities have changed for, for the people on the team. Yeah. One thing I tell the leaders I work with is you've got to be rigid. On the expectations rigid on the outcome, completely flexible on the plan, how we're going to get there. You've got to be really clear with your team.

[00:09:59] This is where we're going from a culture perspective from a sales objective revenue attainment. And this is going to, I'm going to be rigid on how we do it. I'm totally flexible with the role you play and I'm open to ideas on how you think we ought to get there. And so is what I hear you're saying is the plan could be a little bit different for each individual.

[00:10:20] It can be it. And what I mean by that is, um, We want, I want leaders to manage everyone the same, lead them all differently. So if that means that you have enough flexibility to have a little bit of leeway in comp plan, or a little bit of leeway and some, some bonuses around objectives that are important to their development, then do it.

[00:10:47] But may, but the extent to which you can try to have a framework that everyone aligns, that's going to be better for your culture. Long-term I think the best leaders leave a little bit of room in the roles and responsibilities in the incentive comp plans to account for the uniqueness of each of the individuals on the team.

[00:11:08] Okay. And what about the plan of getting to the goals for the individuals? The plan of getting to the goal? The only plan that's going to work is the plan that they buy into. So if the plan isn't authored and endorsed by the seller, it ain't going to work. Ain't going to fly. Now. There are ways to. Get them to endorse the plan, a little bit of coercion or getting their buy-in along the way you can go into it, knowing this is what the plan is going to be.

[00:11:38] How do you get them bought into it? That's going to be really a Testament to your strength. As a leader, bad leaders force it. It's all fit fed down. There's no, buy-in, there's no anchoring into a why or a vision or how this is good for you. That's why I say you gotta be rigid about the outcome. You gotta know where we're going to go, but you got to leave a little bit of room and create some space for the sellers to see what's in it for them and why they would do it.

[00:12:04] Okay, now let's break down. Cause you know, I've talked to a lot of, a lot of people in sales, you know, and. Part of this journey. There's people that sit on different sides of the fences of on, on different topics. Um, and I'm curious to know what your thoughts are on, on this particular topic, which is, you know, there's, there's a lot of leaders that think, okay, Hey, here's the activity quota.

[00:12:27] You got to hit this many calls. You got to get this many discovery. You gotta get this many demos. You got to get this many deals in the pipe and you need to close this percentage of those deals and really sticking to that. And it puts a lot of pressure on sellers. To then just put a lot of fluff in the pipeline that probably shouldn't have been there, or make calls that are meaningless to hit their activity.

[00:12:46] Quota. How important is activity quotas such as that, or is the end result? All that matters? Um, if you're watching this on video, you're seeing me smiling as you're asking the question, because I love this question. I have this saying, um, that I share with people all the time, as long as you're hitting.

[00:13:05] Your most important metric, which is sales closed revenue attained. You work for you as soon as you aren't you work for me. So if your, if your bottom line result is number of deals closed, this period revenue attain this period. I don't give a rip if you walk around and your boxers and I don't care, get it done as soon as you don't.

[00:13:31] Well, now we're going to have a conversation about how I think you ought to do it and how many activities at each stage I think you ought to do. And I'm going to be really clear that until you get back to the days where you were crushing it and not showing up on Friday until we're there, we're doing it this way, but when you're there, do it however you want.

[00:13:50] I actually, I liked that. I liked that. So it could be, it, it goes back to, you know, Uh, leading sellers differently, right? If seller one is hitting his goal over quota every month. Not coming in on Fridays, walking around in his boxers, leaving the heck alone. And here's what I said to him. They said, well, why is Johnny get to show up and have a beer at lunch?

[00:14:13] And then he leaves at three because Johnny sit in his goals. When you do that, you can do the same thing or whatever your equivalent is. Right. But here's what I tell Johnny, that's doing all that. I said, buddy, here's the worst thing in a seller's world. And it's not failure. The worst thing in a sales role is being successful and not being able to tell your leader.

[00:14:34] And yourself why you were successful. So enjoy it. But if you don't know a lot of replicated, you're going to find yourself on the other side of that experience and it doesn't look right. Mm. Okay. All right. So now, just to kind of piggyback on that question, how much rope or leeway do you give those people?

[00:14:58] That are hitting quota over quota, maybe doing it their way, whatever that looks like, how long would be once they stop or, you know, maybe, you know, how much rope, how much leeway do you give those people just enough to create whiplash? So as soon is, um, you fall short of the standard. I'm not going to sit around very long and let you, um, miss expectations.

[00:15:26] I'm talking a matter of days, like I'm not buying well, it was a bad month. Why don't subscribe to bad months. I have bad days. So until you, because I know that you got 20 to 22 selling days in a month. So you need to break that expectation down into a matter of days. So if you, if you start missing, I'm going to intervene.

[00:15:48] I'm not waiting until the end of the month for you to come and sit down, licking your wounds, saying I had a bad month. Here's what I'm going to do about it. Once you start getting behind, after about day seven, where we're intervening pretty early. We know more boxer Tom on Friday. They now work for you again.

[00:16:04] They worked for me. Yeah. Okay. Okay. But I think I build rapport and goodly. It's not about me. Good leaders need to build rapport. They need to know that's what's coming. They need to know that we live in a world where you work for you until you stop doing the things that give you that autonomy and freedom.

[00:16:26] Yeah. And, and what we're talking about here is, you know, people, people are doing things different ways. Using social media, using, you know, video using, you know, different networking events, you know, different things where it's just not all, you know, calls, discovery, demos. However you get to then go is fine.

[00:16:44] But if you're not hitting your numbers, then you're going to do it the way that's laid out. Yeah, which is more activity quota based. I got a good friend, Rory Vaden who says this success is never owned. It's only rented and the rent's due every day. And the good sellers just know the rent's due.

[00:17:04] And then it could look a little different for different people, right? Some people might have, they might more feel more comfortable in a smaller SMB marketplace where they got to do a lot of activity to get to the end goal, or there's other people who are more comfortable doing more with less people with bigger deal size.

[00:17:22] Right. So whatever that looks like, if you're getting to the goal. You know, doing it, do it, having the autonomy to do it your way is okay until you're not hitting it. Absolutely. And I think that the, now we're getting to this conversation of like, No two sales reps and no two sales organizations are the same.

[00:17:43] You got to get honest with yourself. If you're behind plan, or if you're failing, failing to hit some expectations for your company, you may not be the problem. It could just be you're in the wrong role. And you've got to get really honest about your strengths, and there's never been a better time than right now to do that.

[00:18:01] And let me give you an example. I know some really. Solid sellers who have been successful because they are highly relational and their company culture has shifted to more of a selling by zoom environment because of circumstances that are beyond everyone's control. And it'd be really easy for them to think.

[00:18:21] Cause I'm just not, I don't know what happened. I've lost my mojo. No, you're just not good at getting in zoom and doing a demo. You close deals in a better environment and it's time for you to say, I got to move on. This is not going to work for me. And nobody was at fault. And I'm seeing a lot of sellers that need to have that conversation with themselves right now.

[00:18:40] And they just, they they're putting it on themselves and it's not their fault. Um, now how do leaders that don't know how to lead in this new. Way of selling, what do they do? Well, they got to get really clear on how their sales process has shifted as a result of customer sentiment. Customer sentiment has changed.

[00:19:00] I'm arguing that it has forever changed. Even when we go back to whatever this new normal is, the world is so much more receptive to jumping on a quick call or doing a zoom versus you coming to my office for an hour. I don't want that anymore. Even when I think it's safe and we're all fine. I may not even go back to my office anymore.

[00:19:22] So I don't need you to come here for an hour. Just get on the phone, get on zoom for 15 minutes and get it done. I think that is going to be an indelible legacy of this pandemic and leaders need to understand that there are some good benefits to that the seller's role, their anatomy has changed, but your deal velocity and your pipeline velocity is going to be a lot faster in this new selling environment and in, if you can figure out how to.

[00:19:50] Recheck customer sentiment. And in rebuild your sales steps, your pipeline sequentially that matches the way sellers want to buy. Now, you're going to get, you're going to have sellers that are getting up to speed quicker, and your pipeline is going to move a lot faster. Yeah, no, there's, there's definitely some benefits to selling this way.

[00:20:09] A lot of people have already been selling this way, so they're ahead of the curve. Um, but yeah, people that weren't selling this way and are still trying to figure it out, are going to really have a hard time. Really have a hard time. Um, and it starts with the leaders, right? Maybe the leaders no longer qualified and needs to get some outside help of how the sales process has changed and what they need to be teaching and coaching and leading their team on is not what it used to be.

[00:20:37] Bingo. Yeah. And what do you, and a lot of things that go into that about, uh, the changes we need is you get all this resources in the budget. That's dedicated to travel and expenses that you don't have anymore. How are you redeploying that in training sales, enablement tools, the tech stack that your sales team needs to be successful in, in a world where we're you, you ought to be able to have some video you ought to be able to, um, send over decks and, and sell in three to five, seven minute soundbites versus taking people to lunch.

[00:21:11] So you've got these budget dollars that bait need to be redeployed in technology and enablement. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, the money that used to go to events and traveling and trade shows and, and all that by, by that buddy, that money can be better spent now on the things that you're talking about. Yes.

[00:21:29] And they don't even know where to start. And so, uh, I think that. You know, finding, finding someone that can help you navigate what is a really crowded sales enablement space to figure out what tools you really need so that your team can do more with less is probably an exercise. A lot of leaders, leaders need to think about as they go into 2021.

[00:21:51] Yeah, I just had, I just had a great conversation with, uh, Mario Martinez Jr. About video selling. And there's a lot of things that he broke it down, you know, where. The first, the first thing is finding, you know, getting help is, is definitely if you're not, if you're not well-versed in this, you've got to get outside help.

[00:22:09] Number one, as a leader, number two, finding out what the there's so many tools it's becoming such a crowded space, you got to find what is the right tools to use. And then there's gotta be a structure of how you use those. It's not just hop on a video. Not looking at the camera, dirty laundry in the background, like, like there's etiquette and there's ways, you know, you have, like, I think he said it's eight.

[00:22:35] I said 10. He said it's eight to 15 seconds. Those matter the most when you're sending somebody a video, whether it's prospecting or any part of any that's when they're going to determine if they're going to continue to even watch the video all the way through. And if you're not adding or leading with value, They're not going to see it.

[00:22:51] I mean, there's little small things. Like even most people, when they shoot a video, they look at the camera and they're in the center of the frame. Right. But what happens is when you send that video over, then the play buttons right in the middle of your face, they don't get to see you smiling, you know, and it's less inviting for them to even hit play small things like that.

[00:23:13] They can make a huge difference in your pipeline. Bingo. Couldn't have said it any better. So Nigel, thanks so much for coming on today. I know that you have something special for all the sales hustlers that are listening. Please tell them what you have for them, tell them where they can connect with you and any other closing thoughts.

[00:23:33] Yeah. Well thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure to riff with you for a little while. So I wrote a book, uh, Call to sales leaders, Almanac revenue, harvest a sales leaders, Almanac for planning the perfect year. I wrote it for sales leaders, but I think it's a book that, uh, anyone that has a number to hit should read.

[00:23:50] I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, Kentucky. What I've done is I've borrowed timeless principles from our farm friends, and I've laid it out over the selling year. There are seven principles. You do these seven principles. Well, regardless of what your sales cycles are, you'll hit your number year in and year out.

[00:24:05] And I'm going to give anybody that wants a Kindle copy of the book. Give it to him. So we'll, we'll put some something in the show notes, so where they can go and access it. And it'd be my pleasure for you guys to give it a look. Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much again, we will include that link in the show notes for you.

[00:24:20] Sales hustlers. If you're listening to the show, please write us a review, leave your comments, share it with your friends and we're listening for your feedback. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of sales hustle. Are you a sales professional looking to take your sales career to the next level? If the answer is yes, then I want you to go over to sales cast.com, check us out.

[00:24:46] And if you feel that you are ready, set up a time to talk with me and my co-founder Chris, I'm your host, Colin Mitchell. And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave us a review. And share the podcast with your friends.