Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
March 29, 2021

Episode #77 S1-EP77 Fueling Product-Led Growth with Evan Patterson

Evan Patterson joins Collin Mitchell in this episode of the Sales Hustle podcast. Let’s hear from Evan as he shares his story in breaking norms and finding the right business that complemented and flourished his skills as he continues his journey in establishing and making a name for himself in the industry of sales technology.

Evan Patterson is the Senior Business Development Representative of Reprise who dons and practices the work-smarter mentality. With his extensive work experience, he’s able to brandish his skills in sales technology, copywriting, email marketing, social selling, revenue enablement, and client success which enables him to provide valuable contributions to his team. And because of his passion for solving problems, he’s able to create efficient workflows and produce extraordinary results.

Apart from his efforts to further his career in the avenue of sales and marketing, Evan is also an advocate for humanity who promotes LGBTQ+ rights, fighting racial injustices, developing team-building activities, and encouraging professionals to prioritize their mental health.

Reprise is a demo creation platform used to create and control software demos. These are called replays, and at a value of USD 5,000 each, they’re offering to build one free replay for any listeners. 

Find out more and reach out to Evan Patterson and Reprise through the following links:

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Episode 77 - Evan Patterson

Welcome to the sales hustle. The only no BS podcast, where we bring you the real raw uncut experiences from sales change 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 transformed 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. I'm excited today. I've got Evan Patterson. I met him a while back on LinkedIn. He has a new position now and he posted something interesting on LinkedIn that caught my attention, and I knew that I had to get him on the show.

[00:00:49] Um, Evan is feeling product led growth at reprise. Evan. Thanks for coming on the show. How you doing? I'm doing pretty good. And thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here. Yeah. Awesome. Before we jump into the, the good stuff, um, that we kinda talked about before we hit record, just give us the short version of your sales story.

[00:01:09] Yeah. So I guess, uh, I was in traditional retail sales, hated that worked in insurance, hated that. And then I've been in too many sales led tech stock companies since. So when I was looking for my next job and reprieves came across my radar and Joe told me his concepts and ideas, I was like, this is exactly what I've been complaining about all this time.

[00:01:29] Somebody finally gets it and wants to make a company around it. So that's where I'm at now. Hmm. Wow. You definitely kept it short. I mean, I am a salesperson by trade, so, you know, concise as part of the game. Yeah. Most people I tell them to keep it short and keep it short for the most part, but that was short.

[00:01:48] I love it. Um, all right, so there's a couple of things. Uh here's. Let's, let's dig into what I saw you post the other day on LinkedIn, right? Like I think it was, I can't remember. It was, if you booked five or six, you know, Demos or meetings? Uh, no cold calls. No called emails. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So we're at 23 meetings booked today in nine days with not a single email or call, dude.

[00:02:16] Why are you making me look bad? Like I didn't do my research. Well, that's updated. I didn't post that number in your defense. So 23 demos booked in nine days. No cold calls, no cold emails. What the heck are you doing? I have the audacity to be a human being, taking everything I got taught and Chuck it out the window.

[00:02:42] Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I know it's a funny thing, right? Everybody's talking about be more here. Like we need to be more human. Like we are human. It's such a funny concept to tell people to be more human. Just use just personality. I always tell people, Arizona, what are you doing differently? And was like, I'm not doing anything differently than people did in the eighties.

[00:03:00] You know, just networking the way I would in a bar. I'm just using LinkedIn. That's the only fricking difference. This is, I'm just doing it from the comfort of my chair. I don't have to wear pants. The only difference, I guess, if funny, walk in a bar you're going to, but the point being more meetings in some bars, I guess, I guess it depends on the bar.

[00:03:20] Uh, all right. So let's tell me a little bit about this. Like, what is your strategy? What are you doing? Uh, just break it down, man. So the biggest, the biggest feeling factor is the fact that we are product led growth company. So what I do would probably not work as well as, as it does, if it wasn't for the way that we talk, walk and act and think here.

[00:03:40] So with that said, everything's about creating that two-way connection, making sure everybody's on board, making sure everything's about their opinion of what we're doing. Right. So that's what my messaging. Is surrounding is showing people like, Hey, we're working whole thing. Pretty fricking cool. Here. We think what you're doing is pretty cool because we talked to other people to do this same thing.

[00:03:59] That's pretty cool. And they think what we do is cool too. Let's talk. Let's see if you think it's cool. And you, they said cool five times, but it works most. They're like, dude, I'm not that cool. I'm not your ICP. I'm not that cool. Well then I wouldn't be sending them a message if they were my CP. All right.

[00:04:16] So I don't have to have a response. That was a trick question. Um, all right. So and so you're, you're using LinkedIn, you're using it as a digital networking platform. I do something similar myself. I have to admit I'm not, I'm not nearly as successful as you're doing it. So, um, but I do. I have been super intentional about building relationships with the right people on the platform, taking it off of the platform, having a conversation and really just, you know, like you said, using it as a networking tool, right?

[00:04:46] So once you get people off the platform and have those conversations, what are you doing differently than other people that are actually like. Actually getting you the meetings. I actually don't think I'm trying to think differently after I'm connecting with people than other people are. I think what I'm doing is I'm able to, I give more myself more horsepower with how I'm finding the people.

[00:05:04] I'm spending less time fumbling than most people do when they're networking on LinkedIn. Um, with that said like it's usually trying to go find the thought leaders and the people that my prospects love and finding posts and content that they're commenting on, uh, reacting to, um, that. Is along the lines of what we solve here at reprise.

[00:05:23] Right? So if you've got a product, if you've got a post about product led growth and you've got CMO CEO Ciro's and sales engineers, the whole nine yards commenting and reacting on that post whatever's in that post, those people that are commenting and reacting without realizing it are raising their hand saying whatever's in that post is on their mind.

[00:05:41] So they're spoonfeeding me a way to get into their head and be relevant. I hate the word being personal because I don't care if a kid plays little league, but I mean, relevant to them based off that post. So no one's going to deny it. They've already painted themselves out of that corner. I'm just tapping into it.

[00:05:58] So all I got to do is come through those two sections to everybody's posts and there's just a gold mine of leads right there for you, people that are willing to accept your connection requests and talk to you. All right. And is in, is this, is this a manual process? Do you have any technology helping you?

[00:06:13] Are you literally like searching hashtags and just going deep and finding the right people, like walk us through the process. I become buddy buddy with the thought leaders, actually that's the first goal, so I can see their content as much as humanly possible on my feed and kind of make them aware of also like why.

[00:06:29] Um, using their content the way that I am too, I try to be as transparent as possible. So it is very manual actually. Um, I don't, there's no social selling CRM. There are CRMs that integrate with social, but I have yet to find one that is designed for what I do. So it's very spreadsheet space. It is very, um, Guessing all the time I have to measure based off of people, not alpha messages, because I could talk to somebody about brunch for four days before they actually turn into an actual opportunity.

[00:07:01] I'm not going to track all that. No you can't. And why would you like, um, you know, a lot of the things that you do that work you shouldn't need to, or want to track, like that's the part of being human right. And networking and focusing on people and building relationships and having conversations rather than just focusing on, like, I need to get this meeting.

[00:07:24] Yeah, it does take a lot of trust from management to like at the end of the day, I tell my boss, you know, this is how many people I've been talking to. This is how many replies I got from outbound requests to start conversations. And these are how many meetings to get booked. I know though what my connection requires, my connection rates are, which platforms, which messages, everything else.

[00:07:45] That's where the art of this comes into play. The science is just that my boss gets near at the end of the day. Um, and there's not a lot of, there's not a lot of companies that would let somebody in your position have the autonomy to do what you're doing. Well, I also think that's why we're doing so well is because they're acknowledging that my role is no longer a stepping stone.

[00:08:08] This is no longer a job. People get to become an IE. This is a job people want is a career path. Actually. Um, silver praise is doing a pretty good job of taking the definition of a job title and turned it upside down. Wow. Okay. Tell me a little bit about that. So we just, I I'd get treated the same way as A's.

[00:08:25] I don't work for them. None of them call me their BDR. Um, and if they're watching this don't, you dare start. Um, but I don't feel like I'm in an SDR mill, you know, as I call it, these companies that hire a bunch of SDRs to backfill their AEs, cause they quit or move around at the company. They've got these pre-trade people that they've lied to by saying they're going to get promoted and.

[00:08:48] Six to nine months and then the underpay them like crazy. Wow. That's mind blowing. Cause a lot of people are not doing that. No, but in those people, I firmly believe that they will not be here about much longer. I say the same thing at my first sales job outside of my restaurant career. And they're bankrupts now.

[00:09:07] So, uh, I, I can't wait to watch this same. Like apocalypse happen, um, in SAS for the companies just don't get on board. Mm. Okay. Now let's talk about, you know, product led growth. What is that like this year, following the, you know, champions, the influencers that are, that are out there on that sort of soap box, you know, what are some things that, uh, you're hearing people talk about in, in, in that, in that.

[00:09:36] Kind of broad topic. And where does reprise fit in with that? Uh, I find a lot of people that are it's just by, I'm going to use some words. My boss, Joe Caprio uses is a, the fist fight that happens in a demo, right? Because all the sales process has sales lead. Currently you got to request a demo, which is the biggest like bait and switch known to man, because you're not requesting a demo.

[00:09:56] You're getting a sales pitch for an hour with this video or slideshow go to the background. So what. Uh, product led is allowing it to actually let the product sell itself. Let the sales person guide you through that process. Um, a good way to compare it, to like buying a car, right? You want to, you want to buy the car, you walk in and you're like, I want a car that does X, Y, and Z.

[00:10:17] This is what I care about. The salesperson. If they're product led. Is going to tell you which car to go test, drive and let you test drive it without them in the car. Wait until you get back and give you your feedback. I sales lead car salesperson is going to try to sell you the best car possible in their mind, not your mind, which is going to be the most expensive or the highest commission for them.

[00:10:37] And they're going to sit in that car with you the entire fricking time. And that's how we're treating SAS right now. So when you do it the other way, which is where B to C is going, which is fueling B2B sales, then why aren't people getting onto this? Like, this has been going on I'm 26 years old. I download apps all the time to figure out that I'm going to be a customer.

[00:10:57] And then I uninstalled when I choose not to be that's product lead. Why aren't we doing that same thing in B2B? Mm. So you're like the Tesla for SAS. I've never thought of half of that, but I can see it. Yeah. Yeah. That makes total sense to me. When I go look at a new Tesla, you know, it's like, Hey, here's the cars.

[00:11:18] They'll let you drive it. I come back. And most people that come back are like, I want this fricking car. Yeah. If your product sucks. Um, or as I tell people, if you're sales lead and you're afraid to go product led, you're just telling me your product sucks. Yeah. Cause there's a lot of ways. If your product's not good, there's a lot of ways it could go wrong.

[00:11:39] Yeah. I would love to watch these sales led companies, which are product led. Some of them will succeed and some of them will fail and it's going to, they're going to the ones that will fail though. It's gonna, because their product sucks. Yeah. And it happens like you, you, you get a demo and you're like, Oh, this has.

[00:11:52] Awesome. And then you actually get sign up and start using it, like, Hey, it sucks. Yeah. Yeah. Basically. Yeah. Um, all right, so now what I'm curious, and we talked about this. Ahead of time, but I'm just going to ask it as if I don't already know you report to sales or marketing. I currently report to sales solely because we don't have marketing.

[00:12:18] So Joe and I have talked about the possibility of the team getting picked up and moved. So do we don't know what's going to happen yet? No promises, Joe, if you're listening stuff, you're listening. I promise I listened to you, but, um, Uh, I'm not trying to get you in any trouble here. I get plenty of trouble on my own.

[00:12:35] Don't worry. Um, I worked for carefree. I'll look at his posts. He gets in its own trouble all the time. And I hope you hear is that, um, but yeah, no, uh, they're in the mindset where they agree with the logic, that what I do is more of like a human extension of marketing than just an appointment setter who just goes around spamming people.

[00:12:55] Hmm. Yeah. I'm curious. Have you always thought of this role in this way or where you say a little bit more like every other SDR BDR out there that does a lot of these things that you're talking about, and if you started that way, like what changed? You know, talk, talk through a little bit of that. Yeah. So I, after retail and I worked in insurance as an insurance agent, I was doing full cycle, which is different than SAS, but the logic of prospecting was still there.

[00:13:26] But the logic of sales dev was part of the job. And. To me, it logically made sense to treat that as a, as a marketing part of my job. And then once I got the person interested in talking to me, then I was, you know, flipping hats to sales mindset. And that's how that works. That's how everybody in my office did it.

[00:13:47] That's how my boss trained me. So when I moved into an SDR role, In SAS. And I started thinking in the form of marketing and how we could use the tools we already have in a more efficient way that leaned more marketing asks, then sales ask. Um, there's a lot of friction that went on and they realized I kept getting frustrated and angry with it.

[00:14:08] And over time, as I learned about new tech, new terms alone, even, and how B2B sales worked, um, in SAS, That the reason I was frustrated was because I was getting frustrated if a system that wasn't working it, there was, I saw opportunity that no is tapping into. So over time I started to incorporate my own logic as part of, or in addition to whatever my boss is expected of me.

[00:14:32] Um, but now I'm in a role where the, in addition to is my job actually. So I feel more empowered here than I ever have before actually. And, and that's important. I mean, it sounds like you're super passionate about the product you're you sounds like you got great leadership that you, you, you love working for.

[00:14:55] How important is that for somebody in a role like yours? Uh, very much. So the two way trust, um, is super important. Um, the ability to, for lack of a better word, like have a healthy argument or debate without fear of repercussion, as long as everybody's coming to have a positive intent of wanting the team to do well.

[00:15:15] Right. Like, I don't feel like I'm talking up to Joe or staff, um, I, I, I love and listen to everything. They have to tell me because obviously they want to playing it longer than me. And two they'd know more than me on a lot of things. So. Obviously, like I respect that portion of them, but when we're in a conversation, I feel as equal still.

[00:15:34] So that is important for me in my role. Um, because I am the expert in what I'm doing and to the point earlier about the, the, the data tracking and stuff, there's a lot of trust they have to have in me. So by them trusting me, I can trust them back. Too many SDRs are in a one-way street where they're just.

[00:15:51] Being coached and talked to, they're not being mentored and led and guided and cared about like friends, which is what you should be doing in addition to the coaching. Yeah, no, and, and, and I think that there's a lot of people that, um, in a role like yours, that don't have that and probably are pretty unhappy.

[00:16:13] Yeah. That's why I'm always talking about how people mistreat, SDRs and BDRs, um, kind of even hate the R in that acronym, because it just kind of sounds like devaluing their professionals, just because most of them are like 21, 22. I call them kids because now I'm approaching 30 now. But like, they're just because they're young doesn't mean they don't.

[00:16:32] Know how to do what they're doing better than you. It was twice their age. You know what I mean? Um, so I outperformed so many people that are out there. Be careful. They're not you specifically, but watch yourself, but if the shoe fits so, so, so you're saying let's call them S D P sales development professionals.

[00:16:56] Well, yeah, cause that's what they are. Yeah. Um, all right. So, um, I'm, I'm curious, like, Uh, how a lot of times is it, is it testing new things or do you have like a process that it works and you're just sticking to it. And then also how much time per day do you spend on LinkedIn? I got to ask that question.

[00:17:16] Oh goodness. Um, so for the process, um, in my role specifically, I think I'm, I'm starting to, we're coming up with the process to be quite Frank. Um, so double whammy, right? It's a new role, right? It's a new concept of a role combined with a company that's less than a years old, developing a new industry at the same time.

[00:17:35] So there is no blueprint here, there, wherever we are writing the blueprint. So I am still working on developing that process. A lot of the many processes, I would say I've just been like built up on over the years. Refined with the coaching and guidance of Steph and Joe. Um, so I can do what I've been doing in a larger scale.

[00:17:56] Um, and then I totally forgot the second half. Oh, they'll let me out time. Yes. So, jeez, I'm not going to let you off the hook on that one. Know I wish I knew. Um, I probably spend, because my phone will tell me how much I spend on my phone on LinkedIn, but LinkedIn itself, it's probably like six to eight hours a day.

[00:18:17] I'm on LinkedIn, majority of your day is on LinkedIn. Yeah. Because they're not responding to the emails. Like the average SDR probably has our email inbox open all the time. I actually have an issue remembering now to check my email because I, I just, it's all like getting receipts of a meeting books or, um, the occasional thing that just makes more sense.

[00:18:38] Cause it's going to external email. We don't do anything internal in email, we have Slack. So I just don't check it. I don't think I've ever had more than five in a day. I think I've got like a whole week of the two versus versus the more common SDR BDR, even the, uh, just hitting refresh on, in a box. And I've been there, done that.

[00:19:00] So I'm not knocking the BDR, the SDI, you're literally just doing your job, but, and also to be Frank, I'm not the only BDR here. Right. But I'm the only BDR doing what I'm doing. There's there's more than one way to do my job. That's my other gripe of this too. I have nothing against the, like the concept of like hitting the phones and the dials.

[00:19:19] Uh, then I'm gonna start complaining about the messaging, but, um, when people eliminate social or don't see social only as an option, that's when they miss now. Yeah. I mean, it's definitely bold to go all in on one channel and there's not a lot of, there's not a lot of pills that would be confident enough to just say I'm going to go all in on one thing.

[00:19:41] But if the proof is there and it's working, why not? That might not be the same experience for everybody. I'm definitely more of a multi-channel. Approach is, is my way, like social, uh, email and phone. Uh, I like to add in phone after email and LinkedIn, um, but also work LinkedIn and email, you know, pretty much really closely together, not like spam and send a bunch of cold stuff and then connect with a bunch of people.

[00:20:05] So, um, there's definitely different approaches that can get you results, but it's, it's super bold to just go all in on one thing like you have and have that level of success. I think there's a bit of a misconception also, and it's probably my fault for always saying social only. It's not one channel from me my mind.

[00:20:23] Um, cause I am leveraging other social platforms. Um, so like I'm on Slack a lot as part of my, um, social selling, um, That's where I do most of the network building. So back to your point earlier about like taking it off of LinkedIn, it's usually it goes into like my literal phone. I'm texting her, calling people there and I'm becoming friends with them, um, literally genuinely, um, and also talking to them in DMS and Slack, you know, um, I I'll save the segue into pitch for LinkedIn because I don't want to tarnish anyone's community, but I will do the networking and relationship building on other platforms.

[00:20:58] And then if you want to look at this from like, A sales engagement platform mindset, right? Like SalesLoft or outreach. If they were to track activities, it's like social touch emails and dials. Right. So if you look at what I do, you've got connection requests. You've got notes. You've got DMS, voice memos, video messages.

[00:21:17] Follow-ups, I've got reactions to DMS reactions to the voice memos and followups. We've got reactions to the posts, comments replies my own posts. So it's, omni-channel within a channel. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not just email is one thing. LinkedIn is a whole set of channels. Notifications are the new follow-up people don't realize that I will ping your phone six times a day without you realizing it, because I don't know what your notification settings are.

[00:21:46] So I'm going to try all of them because at least one of them is going to be on guaranteed. So I will go like a post, a, like a DMU sent or I sent. I'll send you a follow-up DM. I'll send you a note. I'll go connect with a friend of yours. I'll do something on 16 different ways on the same site. At least one is going to show up in your notifications, guaranteed.

[00:22:05] Yeah, no, I love that. Thanks for clarifying that. Evan, it's been a lot of fun having you on, uh, really appreciate you breaking this down and, uh, coming on the platform any, uh, I know you have something special for folks that are listening, so I'll let you tell them about that. And, uh, anything else, any final thoughts or where they can follow some of the things that you're putting out there.

[00:22:24] Yeah. So my company over here, wherever pre's, uh, if you talk to me directly, uh, either a DM or email, um, I'll let people in me email me apparently, but, uh, we're giving free trials of what we're doing. Um, the worth about $5,000 normally. So you can play around with what you're doing, um, and it won't cost you a single penny.

[00:22:41] All I gotta do is DME. And then I guess the other thing too, if you're an SDR BDR, who's not happy where you're at. Talk to me, I'll help you figure out what's going on. I know lots of coaches out there who will help you too. Awesome. Thanks so much, Evan. If you're listening to the podcast and you enjoy today's episode rise, review, share with your friends, and we're always listening for your feed.

[00:23:00] 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 check us out. 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 collum Mitchell.

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