Mark Gibson: Better B2B Sales

B2B sales is hard and in a recession it gets harder. Over 70% of buyers think that sales people bring zero value to their buying process.

In this session, Mark explains why sales can be such a challenge for software companies, why a recession can make it even harder and what you can do to change the narrative. He shares tried and trusted steps to help you, your product and your sales team stand out from the crowd so your buyers value your product and the help you can give them.

Slides

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Transcript

Mark Littlewood 

I would like to hand over now. And please give a nice little round of virtual applause to Mark Gibson, who’s going to explain his accent first of all?

Mark Gibson 

Thank you, Mark. Well, yes, good call on the accent, as anyone want to guess, where the accent comes from, you can put that guest in the chat.

I’m Mark Gibson, and I started selling in Adelaide in South Australia. At the end of the mainframe era, in 1981, I worked for control data, and it was a dinosaur in the death throes. And the only good thing I can say about my first year in sales, where I finished, minus $50,000, was that I got a world class sales education. And companies stopped training salespeople about 1520 years ago. Now salespeople show up and they’re expected to know how to sell and any of you that have done any hiring will know that that is actually not the case at all. So Mark discussed this workshop today, a couple of months ago, and I thought about it. And as I was preparing for this, this meeting, I tried to think of the questions you might have for me, and I thought one of those questions might be what’s going on in selling b2b selling today?

What can we do about what’s going on? And I thought the third question might be, you know, how can we get help? Where can we go? What resources have you got to recommend? So that, in fact, is my opening position? And I wonder if anyone’s got any other questions that you’d like to put on the table up front?

Wow. No questions.

I don’t think there are a moment. But I would say that, I mean, and I, we’ve talked about this before, so I’m not blindsiding you. If you do have questions, as you’re, as you’re talking, please throw them into the chat. Or if there’s something that you want kind of clarified straight away, just take yourself off, mute, and ask away, Mark won’t be offended, I think, or throw? Absolutely. So yeah, Mark reminded me that this is not a webinar. It’s more of a more of a chat. And so we will, we’ll definitely, I will try not to use my sales presentation, Speaker voice, but my Fireside Chat voice. So let’s get started.

And this is really a specifically a talk about b2b SaaS, because I think most software companies have made the transition to the recurring revenue model now. And in a b2b sales has been hard for the last five to seven years. And it’s getting a lot harder, and it’s going to be a lot harder this year. And I think what we’ve seen out there today in normal times, is that the SAS model has attracted a tonne of money.

Because interest rates have been so low, the SaaS model is attractive money, where the growth of the business has been the key goal of the investors. And it has been Grow, grow grow at the expense of cost, and it was like a giant land grab.

Today, we’re in a recession. And I think we’re going to see sustainable growth being a model for SaaS companies going forward.

And given the wave transition from a period of velocity, to sustainable growth, that’s going to impact a lot of companies. And in addition, the SaaS bubble that we’ve seen as a result of COVID is also going to change a lot of a lot of things out there in terms of valuation and, and funding. And that’s going to cause a whole lot of side effects in the marketplace over the next couple of years. So this is a chart from SaaS capital. And this is the pure b2b SaaS business no be the season here. And it’s the annual recurring revenue for the current year. And what you can clearly see here is the impact of Clomid and the Zoomification of software. And all of a sudden 10s of 1000s hundreds of 1000s of companies were forced to take their applications to the web, that a cloud and we saw salespeople and customer success and service people working from home. And we saw a huge explosion in the zoom, Zil ification of software and working from home. So we’re in the we’re on the other side of this has a SaaS bubble burst, I would say, most certainly it has. But that doesn’t mean that the SaaS model itself isn’t isn’t really, really attractive and very sound. And I just like to ask anyone in the chat to, to, to tell us if you’ve seen any adverse effects this year. Sorry, in calendar year 2022. What adverse effects did you see in your revenue or in the deal sizes or in the deal duration or the number of people getting involved in deals, anything you can report that might be out of the ordinary?

Nothing in the chat. Okay. We’ll move on. So my three questions that I thought you might have, what, what’s going on, what to do about it, and how to change.

So what’s going on, and we’ve seen that SaaS has been overbought. And I think that as a result of that, and as a result of the recession, I think a lot of renewables out there are going to be at risk, and a lot of deals that have been forecast, where upsells were the idea for this year, I think you’re going to be at risk. So if you’re a mature, growth stage SaaS company, you might want to do some analysis on your, on your upsells and your renewals, because I think some of those can be at risk. I think that the second thing that I’ve certainly seen since going back to the UK, and having had three years working on the other side of the table, as a practitioner, to Centrify, I ran sales enablement for three years, I’m back consulting now is that buying behaviour is changing faster than SAS companies can adapt. And I’ve got I’ve got some ideas that I can share with you around how to how to catch up.

I think this is one of the most important findings of the last four months was the actual analysis of a very large number of sales calls to come up with a finding that 50% of forecast deals ended no decision. And the majority of those deals end in no decision. Because companies cannot decide which vendor to go for. They are in analysis paralysis, so they ended up doing nothing. It’s not that the status quo is preferred. That’s definitely one of the causes of the no decision outcome. The status quo is preferred over change. But the other one is, companies just cannot reach a decision.

And I think as we look at 2023, I think the majority of salespeople are going to struggle, the quota in 2023. In a downturn, we are certainly in a downturn in the UK. And it’s the analysts are predicting that the US will enter a downturn at sometime this year. And those downturns tend to last for three years.

So what can you do about salespeople? upskilling your salespeople to hit quota in 2023? I’ll address that as well.

So here’s here’s a couple of things that are that have happened in the last five to seven years. So we’ve seen win rates. Now when I talk about win rate, I’m talking about an opportunity that is qualified, that we put into the pipeline. And what we’ve seen now is that win rates on those qualified opportunities have dropped from 46 to 26%, nearly in half. And on the other hand, what we’ve seen is that deals last from no decision have doubled in the last five to seven years. So that is a significant problem in in most companies and I think this is this these averages universal obviously, may not be the case at your place, but it’s pretty VA to me that with 50% of deals closing in, for with no decision that the place to focus our sales effort now management time is on the bottom of the funnel.

So let’s talk now that SAS being overbought, there’s no doubt that the SAS model is a wonderful model. And the incremental improvement in the selling process across each of the transitions in the sales process, enable can combine with with upsell and with with renewals is create a wonderful, not exponential, but pulling in growth loop. That is still a fundamentally sound model. And with with companies that are into sustainable growth, it’s a great business model. But there will be winners and there will be losers, as we saw in the slowdown around the global financial crisis, there are going to be winners and there are going to be losers and the adapters. Indeed, that’s what we saw. In the GFC, the adapters emerged stronger. Now, incidentally, there was only one category of salespeople that did well in the global financial crisis. And they were the challenges salespeople now some of you may have already heard of that. But what what the corporate executive for Board found was that challenges salespeople were the only salespeople that could succeed in an environment where budgets were constrained, where people will be laid off, where expenditure for everything other than essential projects was cut. So we are going to have to learn those lessons and repeat what was done there in in that GFC. We have to we have to do that again now. And that is our sales teams need to be challenging the status quo. And asking the question of the buyer answering the question of the buyer, why change and why change now.

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So I talked about buyer behaviour changing. And it’s this is a HubSpot stat from a couple of years ago, only 29% of buyers want to speak to salespeople, I suspect that’s under 25%. Now, and the reason for that is that nine out of 10 initial sales conversations with buyers, they rate as a waste of their time because the salesperson didn’t bring anything new to the table. And there are probably 50% of salespeople in the world today are trained to sell products that they know their products. That’s what they lead with. And buyers are not interested in product pitches or product sales. What buyers are really interested in is inside what what the salesperson knows about their marketplace, what’s going on in the marketplace, and who’s doing things in the marketplace that they should be looking at and should be copying. So that’s a big problem that marketing needs to address and I’ll get to that shortly, is that we really don’t, you know, we haven’t done ourselves as a sales professional. We haven’t done our profession. Any, any justice by showing up at pitchy products, or asking buyers to sit down and play 20 questions as in a solution sale.

The other things we’re seeing in cycle times are blowing up more than 50% of deals, b2b complex deals now take seven months to close. And that is increasing. Its it takes an average of 27 touches to close a deal now from first call to a transaction. And some of those are marketing touches. And some of them are sales touches and some of my customer success touches. But more people are getting involved in the deal. And deals are taking longer. And they’re getting much more complex.

When everyone subscribed to that, is that what you’ve seen today with the deals that you’re working on and the sales that you’ve closed? Think that’s like a general sense. Although I think it’d be really interesting to pick up on Martin Milliken comment in a little while where he’s saying that he’s which he put into the chat, but maybe we can come back to that where he’s not seeing much difference. Okay, very good.

So I want to take a couple of minutes to talk about the buying process because I think most most of the analysts and most of the surveys I’ve seen Have a vendor centric view of what’s going on. And as they map out the buyers journey, but this is actually what’s really going on from a, an initial idea to a transaction. So the buying process starts with an idea. And that idea can be as a result of a senior executive attending a conference, meeting with a consultant, playing golf with a buddy who’s shares an idea, but shares what they have written, recently done and to achieve better results. And that idea, sparks an opportunity to actually improve performance. And that idea, well, then, the senior executive will appoint a mentor, to run with that idea to scope out the possibilities to understand what the software vendor is bringing to the table, maybe run some proof of concept, certainly get demos, find out how much it’s going to cost. And that opportunity, that initiative will then be positioned as an initiative inside the organisation. If it gets through a position, and I’ll talk a bit more about position in a moment, if it gets through position, there’ll be an assessment of the pros and cons of the idea. There’ll be a business case to study the ROI to make sure the investment a good investment. And finally, there’ll be a transaction. Now, that’s that is what happens in a b2b sale with or without a salesperson.

And this I’ve superimposed This is a hypothetical sparkline, where we’ve got four vendors involved and vendor a, in this case, maybe the maybe they’re placed in an industry article, a thought leading article into an industry journal, and senior executive picked up on it. Or perhaps it was a sales call where consultative salesperson got through to a senior executive on the phone, and implanted an idea that that executive wants to exploit. So what you see here is that vendor a, in fact, has 27 touches. So this is to scale, right? I’ve drawn this to scale. Vendor a has got 27 touches through from the first call to a transaction. And what we’re seeing here is that about 6060 odd percent of the way through the through the buying process, there will be a after the after the IRS got through position, there’ll be the need to go out there and get three bids. Okay, who else is in the market, we know vendor is really good with, we really like what they’re doing. But because of our purchasing rules, we’re going to need to go and get three bids. Vendor B is involved, just before position, because they want to make sure that the vendor isn’t the only game in town. But then you’ll see vendor C and vendor D. So what’s happening in this buying process is that vendor a at the outset, finds the deal develops, the relationship develops the need in the organisation, they have an 80% chance of winning, and then a B, C and D, probably 5% chance of winning at best. So when you want you get the inbound lead, at position where vendor see is on this chart, when you get the inbound lead with a request for a demo, and a request for pricing. And it’s a short fuse, you know that you’re what we call Colin fodder, because then Ray’s making the running. And they need two or three other vendors in their spreadsheet, so that they can say that they’ve done the due diligence and correctly followed purchasing procedures. So buyers spent a total of 70% of their time in a buying process with all of the vendors combined. And this as I said this, this sparkline is to scale. So if you collapsed all those, that’d be about 70% of the total time, which means that we as vendors, we don’t get a lot of time to make an impact. So we call these opportunities is the these are moments, moments that matter in front of buyers, and we want to make sure that our sales teams are absolutely they’re there. They’re loaded, their lips are loaded with the right conversations to have. And this is all about conversations. And that’s what differentiates salespeople today, not the products. It’s the conversations that salespeople have and the insights that they bring during this buying process.

I said and this is a book written by a couple of Englishmen, Dominic Rasul and Ian. Got this was written in about 2008 is still current, very good book or why killer products don’t sell. Now, the point where deals die is acquisition. And, you know, an industry leader, a visionary in an organisation, appoints a mentor, run with the idea, build a building, build a business case, so that I can take this initiative to the executive team. Now, my initiative a is up against opportunity b Development Project C system, upgrade D and the new office II. And this is what’s happening in the market today, assess spending is being prioritised against all of the other opportunities to spend organisational or departmental funds, so that this opportunity that we we are forecasting needs executive sponsorship at this position, the initiative is discussed. And if the if the initiative comes out with the consensus, yes, it’s a good idea. resources will be made available.

It’ll become public in the organisations. And a funding funding will be advanced to go through the due diligence of purchase. Now, at this point, it’s highly political is emotionally charged, because it’s a change initiative. And this is where a lot of us are going to go to die. And the questions as salespeople need to answer is the why change question. But more importantly, and this is really an important question now in in a downturn, which is why change now, if you can’t, if the buyer, your your executive sponsor for the idea can’t answer those two questions for the executive team, then you’re not going to get through position. So our job as salespeople is to help our our executives to answer those questions. And the other questions are going to come up. Why can’t we use a useless thing technology? And what evidence do we have that this financial investment is actually going to prove a bring an ROI and create value for the company. So that’s a little bit about the buying process, but it’s going to come up and it’s going to come up more as we go through this conversation today.

Now, the buying process, as we all know is anything but linear. And those gates you do have to go through but there will be loops and in fact, the buying process looks more like a game of snakes and ladders than it does a linear process from A to B to C to D has anyone seen this book? Has anyone read this book this year? Mark Littlewood, Haskins I gave him one.

Okay, this is this is the jolt effect. And this is a must read for executives for sales leaders, and CXOs. And research conducted across 2.5 million sales calls across inbound outbound or b2b calls and b2c research over 2.5 million calls, found that between 40 to 60% of deals end in notices. Now, up until this research, people didn’t really know why very few people could answer the question. Why are we getting 50% of deals in the no decision? Now, I said before about 46% of the time. Buyers prefer the status quo to change. But the 50 54% of the time, they actually can’t get to a decision. And what is analysis did was they found that there was moderate to high indecision on 87% of the deals. Now they build a AI model and they trained that model, and it was able to predict the outcome of deals with 85% accuracy.

And analysing all of those sales calls and across all of those digitised conversations, they were able to determine the reasons for no decision. And in 54% of sales calls ended in no decision the problem was the fear of messing up by fear fear that they would lose their job fear that company wouldn’t get the ROI. I fear that they, there was too much risk for them personally. And they were also drowning information. So one of the real challenges out there today as a as a vendor is that there’s a lot of high quality information this is so that we have to help our executives sponsoring our initiative to, to actually make sense of what’s coming in, because there is so much so much information out there. So deals ending and no decision. This is a place to focus your management effort and your think time, because this is a huge leak in your pipeline.

But what what we also found was that we have to have two playbooks, not just one playbook, we need a playbook to overcome the status quo. And we need a playbook to overcome the indecision and the different playbooks. The overcome the status quo playbook is about why change, and why change now to defeat the status quo. But when you get objections, defending this, you know, attacking this status quo will sink your deal. Absolutely straightaway. So we need to have this strategy for overcoming indecision, so that we can get to a purchase in a purchase decision. And the job effect lays out those strategies, and they’re fundamentally teachable. And the results from working on those Saturdays are quite remarkable. So this, this link in the bottom of the funnel can be plugged.

Another issue we talked about was salespeople not making quota. And I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve trained a lot of salespeople in my life. And what I’ve seen is that salespeople are trained on the product, they have very little understanding of the problems that the products designed to solve. And they have very little understanding of the risks involved in implementing the product. And that I think, is one of the reasons why salespeople struggle to create credibility in front of buyers, and why buyers rate sales calls as not worth their time and why salespeople are being disenfranchised out of the out of the buying conversation. And, and that one of the things that really means is the marketing needs to step up, step up with insight to be able to fill the gaps, because sales, salespeople are being squeezed out of the buying process. And I think the reason for that is that really product selling and solution selling approaches, and if you don’t know solution selling, it’s probably 2530 years old. Now, Mike Bosworth developed it. And it was a work on the back of SPIN Selling. And the solution selling approach. Really, it starts with 20 questions for the buyer. And buyers don’t want to sit through 20 questions. They want insight from salespeople, and they want salespeople to bring the knowledge of the marketplace, the knowledge of their industry, and to be able to communicate what changes are going on in the marketplace they’re in so that they become aware, and they can take action.

I don’t know whether I who isn’t going to put their hand up on this one. Not enough good leads. Doesn’t matter what company you work with, you hear the complaints that we don’t have enough good leads. And it’s definitely a problem in a downturn in a market downturn where funding is cut, where inbound lead flow chokes off. And it’s very difficult for salespeople to get in contact with with with buyers. Another big issue is we conversions from first to second meetings. And I think I’ve really hit on that now. Because the reason why we get weak conversions from first and second meetings is because we don’t bring any value to the conversation nine out of 10 times. So that’s why that that initial conversation is actually a real point of focus for for sales, performance improvement.

Another easily fixed simple piece of sales process that overcomes weak qualification, which is which is a common problem in in a majority of companies where salespeople are wasting time on deals that won’t close where the buyer can’t make the decision and where the executive team isn’t engaged. And where there’s only a single buyers. They’re single threaded, they’re going to they’re going to waste a lot of time and resources and those deals are going to slip and never close in the forecast. And then finally, certainly this has been the what I’ve seen in the UK most salespeople are under skilled and under coached. Now the SaaS model is softened the automation and the artificial intelligence and the tools that were thing that we’ve built into this tool stack that we’ve deployed in b2b sales have enabled a lot of under skilled people to be able to drive the machine. But what we’re seeing now is in a downturn, those people are being found out. So we have a crisis in the competence of the skills of our sales team. And we have a crisis in the quality of coaching that salespeople are getting more about that in a moment.

So what to do? What are we going to do? We’ve talked about four major problems. And now I want to give you some ideas. First of all, before I move on, does anyone else have any comments, any other any, any questions or issues? Or would you like to take issue with any of the statements that I’ve made? I’d love to be challenged. That Wow, listening, very beat. And you’re like, very unlike you, there’s no nothing in there. We’ll keep going.

So what to do, and SAS model is a fundamentally sound model. But a lot of companies still haven’t developed a reliable revenue model. In fact, there are a number of models that you’re going to need to build a go to market model and a business model. And the reason I’ve got an asterisk alongside that is, if you don’t have a good set of revenue models today, you can actually download open source revenue models, which which have been put into the public domain by winning by design at the science of soft science of revenue.com. So there’s a website, the science of revenue from those revenue models are readily available. And I strongly recommend that you take a look. And if they’re better than than what you’re using, then take a download them and implement them. So what we need to be doing, of course, as SAS companies is tracking and measuring performance, lifetime value to CAC, we all know that one, rule of 40, magic number, triple, triple, double, double, double. These are all metrics that I think are really focused on valuation and an acquisition. Whereas I think, as a sales practitioner, I’m really an a business leader, I’m really looking for leading indicators of performance. And I’m looking for opportunity, how many new opportunities are being created? How many first or second meetings have we had this week? Because that’s a critical conversion that we can actually focus on and create massive improvement in results. How is our pipeline built? And what sort of pipeline cover do we have? These are leading performance indicators? Also, today, have a look at your churn risk, don’t assume that some of those big contracts are going to renew, get the salesperson involved, get the customer success, person involved, and have a huddle and figure out what risks are likely how much of the product are they using? How much of the value that we promised? Are they getting? Are we are we delivering monthly value reports on the impact of our software.

And then finally, the dumbest thing you can do in a SaaS business is discount your software. So instead of in fact, there’s ample evidence to suggest that discounting in a SaaS model actually reduces your win rate. So instead of discounting, start small, take the risk off the table. If the buying team absolutely insists on a discount, then trade a discount for something of value to you, high value to you. And that is a video testimonial. That’s about as high a value as you can get. And that would be a trade that you would make in return for any discounting. Most salespeople today in the marketplace will discount without even being asked. But in a SaaS business, you’re shooting yourself in the head, stop discounting it’s a cultural thing and we’ve as a sales professional, it it really is an embarrassment that you know, 50 years of prior history of condition buyers to expect discount and to and to bend the arm over at the end of the quarter. In in, in most cases because they know that that’s when they can get the best deal. we’ve conditioned buyers over 50 years buying behaviour is changing faster than companies can adapt. What’s the miracle of what’s the rule of thought? 40 Mark the rule of 40.

Yes, the rule of 40 I’ll come back to it, I’ll come back to the the buying behaviour is changing faster than the loan companies can adapt. And sales and marketing alignment isn’t new. But what is new is the actual getting the two organisations together hand in glove and starting to work as a as a team on Account Based Marketing, so that marketing and sales, inter interact. And, and we have different communication with with buying organisations as we go across the buying process. So it might be salespeople starting the conversation, it might be a marketing, conference speaker that starts the conversation, and then sales or get involved in in marketing is going to be involved. But this requires sales and marketing to sit out work together and figure out how they can cover the changes in buying behaviour.

Now, if you’re using salesforce.com, you’ve probably got 11 steps in your buying process, because that’s how it comes instrumented out of the box. And we in fact, would like to get to a situation where we’ve got a much simpler, auditable sales process that’s aligned with how customers buy. So auditable being How do you know a deal is qualified? Well, if you put a deal on the forecast, you’ve said it’s qualified. But unless the buyer tells you that it’s qualified, and they agree to next steps to explore what you’re offering in more depth, then you don’t have a qualified deal. And it’s a simplest piece of sales process to implement. But it’s very seldom done. Cause level value messaging, or what Corporate Executive Board calls commercial insight, is something that most sales teams lack. Most sales teams are out there messaging to the problem, their messaging products at the problem. What we as, as, as salespeople and marketers have thought leaders need to do is we need to get to the working with the customer, get to the underlying causes of the problem that our that our products can address, and then understanding what the impact is of the causes. Now, I had a CMO at Centrify, who said, I bought a look, we’ve got to do commercial ends up we’ve got to get to the cause level of what’s going on in the organisation. And she said, No, we don’t have time, I don’t know the resources, it takes too long. And I don’t have budget to hire anyone. Anyone bugged me to do this. So we didn’t do it, we kept doing what we were doing the best we could. But what we do when we get to the cause levels, we understand the impact of the organisation or changes that are product impact on the organisation that are that our product or solution can bring. And then we can develop commercial insight and develop a cup of solution approach. And the capabilities that are required to solve the problem that enables us to message in a differentiated way because we’re messaging directly to the cause of that problem. Now, if you haven’t added up those that have read the challenge your customer, I’m moving at the moment. Otherwise, I’d flash up a copy of the book because one of the books on my bookshelf that I refer to all the time, the challenge of customer is an extremely important book for marketers, and sales leaders because it really goes into the into the way that commercial insight is developed. And it incorporates all of the ideas of the Challenger sale in that book. It’s a wonderful book, it’s still it’s still very relevant even though it’s been out for about seven or eight years now.

So of course level value messaging is super important. And then finally, certify everyone in the new value message. If you’ve got a new venue messaging you and you differentiate from how your how your salespeople are having conversations from from your competitors, then you want everyone on the organisation customer success, pre sales resources, inbound break fix people, you want everybody to have that new message on the tip of their tongue. And in most organisations today, if you ask somebody, how do you create value, you’ll get as many different answers as there are salespeople because they haven’t bothered certifying the sales team.

So thing about deals ending in no decision is you’ve got to recognise that it’s happening to you. And to have you where I was interim head of sales over the last 12 months, it was more than 50% of deals, ending in no decision. Some of those were, we prefer the status quo, we’re not going to change. Others were they just couldn’t make a decision because it was too difficult. So the way to understand and record and enter, take action is to record and analyse sales calls. Now, listen for the indecision. Now, if you’re not recording sales calls today, then you’re you’re actually doing your sales team a disservice. Because there is no faster way to ramp new salespeople than to have them listen to the core of successful salespeople. And it’s an essential coaching aid. And if you can’t, if you don’t record an analyse your sales team you won’t pick up, you won’t be able to solve this problem. But by listening to keywords, looking for digitised keywords, we can actually see signs of indecision. And the action items here are to help buyers make sense of the information that’s coming at them recognising that they’re drowning in a sea of high quality information. make recommendations and make recommendations based on your experience as an industry expert, having helped dozens or hundreds of other companies change whether the results as of as as an outcome of using your product.

And then to spell out the ROI, spell out what they can expect in terms of outcomes from using your product. And then finally, take risk off the table. Start small and offer guarantees to get buyers over that fear of failure. So the jolt effect stands for it’s an acronym it stands for judge that it’s happening. offer recommendations based on experience. limit further exploration by spilling out the ROI. The reason why buyers go and do more exploration is because they don’t feel confident that they can get the ROI the outcomes that they’re looking for from us. So they they keep looking in an analysis paralysis. And then finally the T stands for take risk off the table. So that’s the job. In fact, it’s probably the one of the most important books I’ve read last year.

Salespeople missing quota, well, I’ve already talked about this focus on the bottom of the funnel.

It’s it’s it’s a no brainer, that’s worth a lot of money. And you can change your results by doing that. The second issue I think is that everyone’s going to be has to be responsible for lead generation today. You know, we’re in a recession, and lead funnels and dried up, outsourced lead generation where you can and record all sales calls. So salespeople are never going to improve. Unless they record their calls, and listen to their calls and get critiqued by their sales management team and their peers. It’s super important from you know, these tools like Gong and chorus, and executive vision. These tools are actually the only tools in the whole sales enablement tool stack that go viral, because by salespeople want them, they want to hear what the top salespeople in the company is saying.

It’s easy to say build a learning organisation. But today changes happening so faster us and and salespeople, as I said are being squeezed into the into seven 8% of or a fraction of 70% of a buying process. They have to make the moments that make the best of the moments that matter. And that means they have to be really, really good and the only way to do that is to actually build an organisation that is a learning machine. And that takes a top down commitment to elevating skills and to implementing regular training, coaching feedback and, and taking half a day off a week to critique to learn and to grow is a very important idea, and it requires a sea level commitment to make it happen.

A recession is a wonderful time to upgrade your sales organisation. And today, recruiting is so difficult that we want to use science to actually help us find the right candidates hire the right candidates. And with a high degree of success, when we hire them, we know they’re going to be successful. And then get those new hires onboard in the next 90 days. Get those hires on boarded ramped up so that they can actually be effective inside 90 days. Today, ramp times for sales effectiveness are between nine to 14 months, nine to 14 months to get a sales team to be fully productive. We want our sales team productive in the second quarter, and starting to hit quarterly quotas in third quarter. Managers have to go first. So whatever you’re asking your sales team to do to learn the skill to develop, sales managers have to go first and they have to be responsible. And we have to measure and manage their effectiveness at coaching their sales team.

In terms of elevating the skills, consultative selling is the name of the game, modern selling approaches. Today, we’re salespeople are going to be involved. They require salespeople to be consultative, to be good listeners to be good communicators and to be empathic in the way that they communicate with buyers. And there’s a lot of skill and there’s a lot of technique that has to be learned. So we want to put salespeople into a consultative selling skills curriculum. At the end of that curriculum, we want to certify them that they are both competent and confident in articulating the value message and the why change message for the organisation. And overcoming objections and not overcoming in resolving objections, you can’t overcome objections, you can only resolve them.

And as a sales enablement practitioner, pick one skill a month for your sales team to work on and have everybody work on it and measure the improvement. Because as I said, even a SaaS model, if we can get incremental improvement, if we can get salespeople 5% Better, is making a cold call. If we can get 5% better in doing a demo, if we can get 5% better in doing discovery. If we get 5% better in qualification, if we can get 5% better in engaging buying teams, we can actually double our win rate in a year. So these things are really, really important. Pick one skill and work on it and measure the performance improvement.

And we’ve had nearly an hour I haven’t had too many questions, but I will open it to questions in a moment. So the third question is how do you go about changing?

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Well, my experience is that it’s very hard to change internally. You have to unless you hire a very experienced sales, startup sales executive who’s actually got startup experience and knows how to scale and grow or knows how to go to market. You might need some help from external resources. And the question is why change now? Now in good times, this is what the SAS model look like, looks like it’s a polynomial polynomial curve. And it really it really is a wonderful model, because incremental improvement across the system drive utilisation, increasing and increase seats provides this beautiful model where years 456 And seven year in pure profit.

However, we’re not in normal times, we’re in a downturn, and the US is definitely going to well may head into one. But what we’re going to see is reduced lead flow, declining conversions across the buying process and lower win rate. And for some reason, need to increase discount because of the environment we’re in. And we will see increased churn licence, seat cancellations and slower growth. So what we need to be very aware of is that this curve for a company for a fairly young company three

For years out of the gate, this is a very distinct possibility. And we need to manage our way around it. That’s why we need to get started now, because this is this is starting to the changes are starting to occur this quarter. So, I’ve worked with these elite firms, these are thought leaders, and they do a lot of research and publish a lot of thought leading analysis. And winning by design is a global organisation. The Challenger Inc, is the people that wrote the original challenger sale book. Now, I think that went to Gartner. And then there were then sold off. And corporate visions, I’ve worked with corporate visions, and I’ve competed against corporate visions. And they do, they do excellent work, they are not inexpensive. However, in terms of value selling consultants, that is consultants that could come in help you develop a value causal value model that will resonate with buyers, and then train your sales team in consultative selling inflection point, CPV consulting in my own consulting business, we can actually help you change as well.

Now, these, this page, these couple of pages are stacked with links. But these are books that these are must read books for sales leaders and for CEOs. Especially I’ve talked about the jolt effect, this one. This one from Anthony Annarino, is called elite sales strategies. And this is truly one of the best books I’ve read as a sales professional in my whole career. I’ve just worked through the I listen to all my books on audible. But some of these are important that I buy them. And the workbook that I just went through the workbook that comes with this. And it is it is truly an exceptional piece of insight. By the way, Anthony Annarino is probably the most learned of all of the sales consultants that I’ve ever met. The jobs in fact, that’s a must read consists so much money at risk. And here’s another one from Tim Riester. From corporate visions. This is the expansion sale. And this is really, really important when our renewals and our upsells are at risk in our SaaS model.

And now, the rule of 40 I, I’m afraid I’m having a senior moment. I’m in the middle of moving in. I knew what the rule of 40 was before I started, but I can’t do that right now. Mark, have you got that? You’re on mute, Mark. You’re on mute?

Mark Littlewood 

Yeah. Sorry. I know it. But Martin looked it up. And has it summarised very succinctly. Software companies combined revenue growth rate, and profit margins would equal or exceed 40%. Companies above that generally making profit and companies that a below that tend to run into challenges.

Mark Gibson 

Excellent. Thank you. That’s, that’s that.

Mark Littlewood 

But thank you. Thank you very much, Mark. There were a couple of couple of kinds of comments in the chat as you were going through and I wanted to, to pick up on, Martin, are you dressed now? I say in the nicest possible way. You will get unmute. And there we go.

Audience Member 

Can you see me now?

Mark Littlewood 

Oh, well, you’ve got your clothes on. Fantastic. So I think you’re an interesting and interesting case. And a particularly because at the beginning of this, you said that you hadn’t really seen very much change in your sales. Can you just explain or tell us a little bit about what you’re what you’re selling and who you’re selling to?

Audience Member 

So the product is it’s it’s basically email marketing, recognising that I mean, the very nature of the product name email marketing means that it’s for marketers, but the truth is, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of users that are really what you might call what we call anyway communicators. I’m not sure if that’s actually the right term. I don’t know if that’s actually voice a customer or not. But this these are typically people with communications in their title versus sales and marketing in their title is a sort of a simple rule of thumb that we’ve discovered. And what they what they don’t want is a lot of clutter with marketing functions that don’t make any sense to them. And then there’s a set of features that that, you know, either enhanced features from marketing. But anyway, I mean, I could ramble on the point is that just targeting marketers and just saying even when we’re doing the sales call, one of the things we say is we divide the market broadly into sales and marketing. Sorry, communicators and marketers and have, you know, we don’t we always ask, like, where would you put yourself in this? Which side? Are you? And? And if we can get oh, yeah, I’m definitely on the communication side, we’ve moved the sale forward a lot more, because now, they feel like we’re speaking to them, instead of, you know, this sort of repurpose thing. Now. I think the reason we haven’t seen a change to answer the more directly the question is, because we’re dealing with a lot of organisations, not exclusively non commercial, but a lot of non commercial organisations that are not, you know, where the budgets have not been so affected, especially in this core area. At least that’s my theory. So there you go. Excellent. Answer the question.

Mark Littlewood 

Yeah. And you made a couple of other comments. One was around changing your approach to outbound. Maybe you can kind of explain a little bit about this. Well, I mean, whether you were looking for different ways of doing things, or

Audience Member 

Yeah, I was just looking for any any comment market specifically about about outbound? You know, I mean, inboxes

Audience Member 

she’s me, I finally got COVID, about a week and a half ago, I’m not quite the well, it was inevitable, wasn’t it? I mean, but yeah, just sending out bound doing cold, cold emails, you know, getting the right names, doing cold phone calls. I mean, we’re doing all of this, we’re having a degree of success with it. But man, it’s a grind, as everybody knows, and I just wondered if Mark had any particular insights around that, or I suspect it’s just, you know, carry on more of the same but but, you know, anyway, that’s my, that’s my question, if he notes notices any.

Mark Gibson 

So I do have a, I’ve got a couple of ideas. And I don’t know whether you’re all sick of getting spammed on LinkedIn yet by people who want to connect with you. And then you know that five minutes later, they send you a pitch. But that’s a lot of that’s a bot, running a whole set, I’ve used three or four different bots now on LinkedIn, to do outreach, and they’ve been successful to, some have been successful, some have been terrible, and some of them have just been completely spam. But that same bot technology using AI and targeting is actually proving to be very effective in using email today. And there’s, I don’t have the, there’s two firms I can think of right now that have approached me over the last couple of months. With, with this technology. And and I believe that, you know, lead generation, if you can, outsource it, because if you’ve got somebody that’s got a process, and that technique, and they’re getting results, then use it because it can be the biggest sink of time in your in your sales arsenal. A couple of other things about lead generation that are really, really difficult is number one.

Mark Gibson 

It’s takes, on average, eight touches, before you get a buyer to take an initial call to see most salespeople give after or give up after one. So that’s one of the problems with lead generation takes average eight call eight calls, eight attempts, eight emails, eight, LinkedIn, whatever you name it are a mixture of all three before you to get somebody to take a call, but most salespeople give up after one. The other thing is that in terms of referrals, you know, I would say if a cold call has a unit of one is value of one, a referral from a trusted colleague is worth 1000 an inbound lead is worth 100 cold calls with one referrals worth 1000. Now 90% of buyers that are satisfied with their product are willing to give referrals and to give introductions to their colleagues and their former colleagues. But only 10% of salespeople ask for referrals. So there’s some magic for you and I will I will send you the two names. I wouldn’t recommend that he LinkedIn bots. But I do have a couple of email bots that I think could be worth your time to explore especially if you’re in Europe, even you’re in a marketplace where we have effectively identified a niche, it’s a tuned into your message. I hope I answered that question.

Audience Member 

Well, then does that mean that so what is your perspective on LinkedIn then? I mean, we talked about the bots, how do you approach LinkedIn? Then? We’ll sponsor out you just

Mark Gibson 

No, no, I think I think LinkedIn, I think LinkedIn, LinkedIn bots are useful. But he gets about a bout of, you’ve got to create a value message. And it’s not about how you didn’t read my last, my last post, he just keep posting different ideas and different value until you get somebody to respond. And the other thing, of course, is trying to get people to connect with people, once they’ve connected with you get them to follow you so that they can see the content that you’re producing. So this is all it’s a high quality content play. And I’ve seen chat GPT, I’ve actually generated an article which I posted a couple of weeks ago. It’s got to be well written. Because we’re drowning, we’re drowning in stuff on on LinkedIn, there’s so much to see so much to learn so much to know. So it’s got to be high quality, it’s got to be insightful, and it’s got to be on the money in terms of how you create value.

Mark Littlewood 

Yeah, I might take issue with that using bots are good. I don’t think using bots are good. If you just expect to find a bot and get it to go off and do stuff. It’s a where they become useful is if you have high quality content. And I think you know, there’s a, you know, I get a huge amount of kind of inbound connection requests and all sorts of things as I’m sure you. You all do. And they’re really easy to ignore. And to be honest, I think a lot of marketing automation software is super annoying, and super irritating. But that’s mainly because most people use it really badly.

So I think this kind of whole thing with sales marketing, there’s there’s things that you can do that automate, there are things that you can do that automate the processes of annoying people. And more and more.

Audience Member 

We’ve all had those kind of email sequences. Right, you know, bubbling this up? Yes. Just bubbling it up. Yes.

You know, and they just sort of stand out. So I think, you know, under no question, LinkedIn has some really quality content, but also 90% of the content there is pretty bad. You know, good news is I don’t think it’s too difficult to stand out if you’re starting to do interesting stuff. But yeah, I mean, Martin, how do you find people at the moment? What’s your, uh, you’ve identified your audience, Who who are you going after? And how you’re going off?

Audience Member 

Well, I mean, actually are, we were, we were hedging our bets for a very long time, because we had about 30% commercial or marketing from our history, and we only just doubled down on peer communication in the last month towards the end of 2022. We’re actually in the process of redoing our content and redoing our positioning, it’s not really redoing it, it’s just finally doing what we’ve been working towards.

Audience Member 

It’s really been, you know, classic stuff. We’ve been doing outbound emails, trying different approaches we’ve been using, we’ve used seamless that AI we’ve used, we use outreach, we buy directories, we you know, it’s all pretty, you know, I guess you could call it brute force.

Audience Member 

I would say that the the one channel we have I’ve done, we’ve done a very poor job of, of course, content, publishing content, we’ve got some content, but definitely generate some inbound leads. And that’s arguably one of our best, we just see more traffic. And I think that LinkedIn is where we have really failed, and have not at mostly just by not spending the time with a small team. But we’re working on changing that now. So, yeah, that’s timely. And I mean, you know, I kind of knew the cold call inbound referral, but that’s a very, that’s a very timely reminder. Mark, I think, again, done a very poor job of not recognising. There’s lots of companies that we could call and get referrals from and I’m just not doing it. So that might be the number one thing I take away from today. So there you go.

Mark Littlewood 

That’s, that’s not a that’s not a bad place to start. And I guess you’re probably so I mean, we’ve had some some other talks about this. Asia. Mattis did a really interesting talk About the Deadly Sins of marketing and one of those sins is that I don’t use this. So my customers don’t use this and she actually used I think that the example of LinkedIn, some people use it, some people don’t, it’s very easy to under value things that you’re not personally using.

And I think, you know, our experiences. I mean, I’ve been on LinkedIn for years and years and years. And it’s, it’s changed over the years. And what I would say was true 10 years ago, wasn’t isn’t true five years ago and isn’t isn’t true Today, I think if you’re doing paid advertising and things on LinkedIn, it’s very expensive and the return is super low.

I think there are two areas that it seems to work quite well. On moment. One is one is building up a an audience of people that are interested in your content, and that’s, it’s maybe not, it’s sort of more top of the funnel than down the bottom. And then there’s the kind of one to one interactions. Mark, you were talking about focusing on bottom of the funnel, not top of the funnel in this situation, what are your thoughts on LinkedIn and top and bottom.

Mark Gibson 

So I’ve had two years worth of experience in using three or four different bots now. And a couple of I’ve actually got a couple of deals out of out of those connections. So it hasn’t been bad. One of them was terrible, and it just filled up, my CRM was spam. And we just had to take so much time getting rhythm, because what what you do when you pay for a subscription is you’re, you’re actually harvesting connections into your CRM. So I do believe in in bots, but you’ve got to get a good one, you got to get people that actually know what they’re doing, that will guarantee results. And that’s extremely hard to do, because they all say, oh, yeah, we’re going to give you 70% connections, you’re gonna have 10 meetings a week, which, of course, is the pitch. But in reality, you there is a lot of, unless you’ve been very, very closely targeted, the buyers you’re looking for, in the industry segments that you’re looking for, you will end up with a lot of spam and waste a lot of time. But LinkedIn, top of the funnel a great way. And you’ve got to make everyone on the all of the thought leaders in your company, you need to be publishing regularly on LinkedIn, you almost got to make it an MBO. You got to publish, if you’re, if you’re a sales leader, you got to publish something once a week, if you’re an analyst, you got to publish something once a week, you want that LinkedIn channel every day with some thought leading content or some content that’s going to resonate with your buyers. And, and it’s all about why change and the problems and the problems that your buyers are struggling with and, and how they’ve changed and, and the struggle to change. And these are things that buyers really key into what do you do when you’re not smart enough to come up with a thought leadership position on it once a week, as well as myself? And my follow up question is what about trade shows. So there are trade shows a great trade shows, it’s still a wonderful way of generating leads and connections. And, you know, I was at a trade show in Birmingham earlier this year, or sorry, late last year, extremely successful. And we got a lot of leads off the stand, it depends on what you’re selling. But yeah, trade shows are still a great way of getting conversations with buyers, just walking the halls sitting down next to somebody having a coffee. They’re there, they’re great ways to meet people. So I agree, trade shows a very good bottom of the funnel. That’s where to focus. And I think you can publish a lot of different content on LinkedIn, that’s going to be hot top of the funnel content, as well as bottom of the funnel content. So your content into what’s the bottom of the funnel content will probably case studies is more bottom of the funnel content than top of the funnel. But I think as a, as a marketer, you’ve got to have all of these things working for you. And you know, you you’re gonna get help. And velocity Partners is a top marketing agency here in the UK. And I know that they do really good work that I don’t know how much they charge, but that’s, I would look at outsourcing some of this stuff.

Mark Gibson 

And if you’ve if there’s plenty of really smart people out there that can actually help you generate content. That doesn’t sound like it’s written by Chet GPT.

Mark Littlewood 

And I think so If Stephen Keller, you said you tried paid LinkedIn complete fail, I couldn’t agree more, I think you know, there is a sort of a piece of that that unless you understand what channels are working for you organically, which means that you start to understand who your buyers are, where your potential customers are and how they engage. And you know where you are in the, in the in the buying process, which is something that April Dunford and Bob Moesta have done some really interesting talks on recently, any, any paid activity is going to struggle, and maybe there’s a piece there’s a piece of this, which is to actually do the work. That means that you look at your existing customers and understand who those who those great customers are, and start to think about how you how you go off and find more of those things. And my, my suggestion would be if you don’t, if you don’t, if you haven’t done that first bit, and you haven’t done the second bit, which is actually do some one to one thoughtful tests and experiments where you’re not using bots, you’re you’re doing some things yourselves to find out what is working and what isn’t in any any kind of automated activity or paid activity or whatever is really going to kind of struggle to give you the return.

Mark Gibson 

I’ve been using LinkedIn navigator on and off for the last few years. And I’ve found that to be an extremely valuable tool, especially, especially for selecting the slice of the audience that you want to go after. And taking that and then exporting that into a some sort of campaign, whether you do a campaign on LinkedIn, or whether you take that campaign offline. It’s been very powerful and and worth the money with the money.

Mark Littlewood 

Okay, so first, I’m going to say you drop me an email and sort of talking about one of your challenges work, which I think is pretty relevant to this, you kind of framed it as a marketing thing, but I’m wondering whether it’s the sales thing. Do you say you were talking about getting your mindset back to marketing, and networking for your projects?

You call up marketing? I think that sales isn’t

Audience Member 

its sales? I guess. So yeah. So sales?

Mark Gibson 

Can you can you give us a bit more background on your question investment?

Audience Member 

Um, I don’t, it’s not really even a question. It’s just stuff that I’m just trying to get my head back in, because I’ve been working with a client very engrained in the last year. So I’ve stopped kind of working on the business, and it’s been going fine, but I need to get things ramped up right now and get back to talking to people, and networking, and just getting some projects for some of our contractors.

Mark Littlewood 

It’s not really a little flavour of what you do.

Audience Member 

Yeah. So I’m, uh, I mean, QA software testing. Sorry, I’ve got live birds in the background chat now.

Mark Littlewood 

Which is alive.

Audience Member 

All right. So software testing, mostly for startups and small businesses. And I’ve been doing this for 33 years, but we’ve been doing this kind of consulting thing since 2009. And typically, once I get in to the mindset, I’m fine. But the first couple of days or first week or so of getting back into trying to network and trying to do this are always a struggle for me mentally. And I don’t know I’m the only one doing it. We’re small, we’re under 20 people and it’s basically reaching out to my network like you said, and you know, seeing if anybody needs help or if anybody has referrals or stuff like that, but but also I wouldn’t mind trying to get some new players

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Mark Littlewood 

was weird because I think you are unique that there isn’t it? Nobody struggles with this at all. Except no,

Audience Member 

I know, right?

Mark Littlewood 

Yeah, I got an email talking about resilience and that restart thing and you know, what are that there’s a lot of, you know, really kind of core things around sales. Let’s let’s have some some sort of professional thinking here.

Mark Gibson 

So the place to start the place to start any sales performance improvement campaign or initiative or skill upgrade is with mindset. And I finally got it. I got an InMail this morning on LinkedIn. And the title of the InMail was second week blues question mark. Which I think is exactly what you’re, you’re suggesting. And I thought to myself, No, I replied, straight back. No moving blues. It’s tough. It’s tough to get restarted. But, hey, we don’t have to do it. But yeah, mindset super important.

Mark Littlewood 

Because I want to, I want you to put the fastener on a little programme here, a little micro sprint of re restarting. How do you go about that? But there’s no, you speak?

Audience Member 

Oh, yeah, I was also going to ask, you know, LinkedIn worked for me for for years. And now I’m just I’m working with younger and younger people and younger and younger startups. And I find that they don’t use it as much. And I am finding more connections and networking happening on large kind of business and leadership slack groups instead.

So that’s been working, and I use LinkedIn more for referrals. And, you know, keeping up with people, that kind of thing, rather than reaching out and getting new people. So just kind of giving you that. But that’s just been my perspective, from what I’ve been seeing.

Mark Gibson 

That’s wonderful, wonderful input actually 100 fold of the industry slack group, so it’s a great way to work. Yeah, and discord probably too, but I haven’t, whatever, you know, use it, use whatever works, and if that’s working, terrific.

Mark Littlewood 

So what’s our programme for Vezina mark?

Mark Gibson 

Well, I think there’s knows exactly what she needs to do, and how to go about it. I just think she needs to get on with the work. Just do the work.

Mark Littlewood 

Is that fair? Werner?

Audience Member 

Yes, yes, absolutely.

Mark Littlewood 

Right. So here’s, here’s the way this is gonna work, I want you to write down a very short form, what you need to do. Okay, and then send it over here or share it somewhere with us. And someone’s going to give you a poke in two weeks time to hold you or to hold you to account.

Audience Member 

Okay, awesome.

Mark Littlewood 

So what are you gonna do in the next two weeks? To get going?

Audience Member 

Okay.

Mark Littlewood 

Question.

Mark Gibson 

I think that applies to everybody, Mark, because I think we’ve all got a bit of second week blues, what do we need to do to get God?

Audience Member 

Well, since I wrote that, I think I got a contract yesterday and a second potential one this morning that came in so it’s actually been going well, my first week back, because I’ve been I also had COVID. So since I wrote that to you, it’s actually spiked. Excellent. Do you want me to write it? Here?

Mark Littlewood 

Write it, write it down, send it over, and we will share it with with people Martin? What, what what, what, what’s your plan? What do you said you were taking away or find referrals?

Audience Member 

Well, I think referrals on LinkedIn, that’ll that’ll keep me going and coming up with the I actually am in the process of have hired some, some outside people too. Because by switching the focus or or narrowing the focus of what we’re, how we’re positioning ourselves as this email communication, it gives us an opportunity to sort of pick up what we’ve learned and write some content around that specifically. So we do have a fairly decent vein to mine in terms of content. So, you know, just being a little facetious when I said, you know, how do you how are you smart enough to do it once a week? I’m not entirely though because that’s a torrid pace. If you asked me, but, or for me, I should say, as you know, me and my other guy that does that, with these outside services, we’ll be able to do that fairly quickly. I mean, fairly well over the next three months. After that we’ll have to see but content, applying building content, playing it for LinkedIn, building it up on the website, changing the positioning, and I think really already planned to do that the referrals is the new thing that I think I just got to start

Mark Littlewood 

so what do you what what do you understand by referrals?

Audience Member 

Calling up calling up customers that are really happy asking them about how happy they are and saying hey, you got any other people you know that are They’re in a similar position colleagues that I can call and present this to rocket science.

Mark Gibson 

No, that’s not rocket science. But you know, what LinkedIn does is it actually tells you who their peers are, you can find out who their peers are. And instead of instead of asking for anyone, you know, you can say specifically, do you know, how well Dino’s answer? Would you be comfortable giving me a referral? That is about a great idea, then you get a 10x return on your requests? Right that way?

Audience Member 

That’s great idea. Yeah. And it takes my referral to LinkedIn and crosses them connects them to doesn’t that that’s great.

Mark Gibson 

Yes, yes. And as you know, referrals are in fact, I’ve got a call after this one, which is a result of referral from a former CEO, to a CEO, a fellow CEO and his forum. And that’s called, you know, these things really are worth 1000 words, equals worth one. Yep.

Mark Littlewood 

Yeah, if I tell people how great BoS is it’s advertising, if you will go and tell people it’s, it’s endorsement. So the other slightly softer piece on referrals are endorsements, I guess, how many of your existing customers have said something that they’re prepared to put down that you can use as a change my business life and my normal life? And now I’m king of the world and, or whatever.

Audience Member 

But we’ve been pretty successful at getting logos and testimonials. We haven’t done any video testimonials yet? I don’t know. Maybe I should be bolder about that. But it seems like a big ask. I think the market is very is the market I’m in then this could be my own perception. But it’s about I don’t know, we haven’t even asked so. I don’t know.

Mark Littlewood 

Do you remember the talk that rule the horse gave on product market fit? And the questions that he asked his superhuman users?

Audience Member 

No.

Mark Littlewood 

this was back in 2017. If someone can share it in that link be really interesting. So this was this was something that was super helpful in the process of working out who that who their real customers are, and lots of people use things like net promoter score as a way of understanding their way or any good or not. And quite often, net promoter scores are pretty useless. But they went to their customers. And they asked some very simple questions, you know, along the lines of one if one if, if we didn’t have this product, would you be very disappointed, disappointed or not that bothered? And what that does is help you understand who your real power users are?

In a second question was, who you Who do you think this product is most valuable for? And that’s helpful for your super users. Because your super users are saying, well, I’m an X. And I think it’s also really good for these other types of axes. But, you know, maybe also the y’s and Zeds if there are people that are less bothered, if they can’t have it, they may have thoughts on where in the organisation, it would be really valuable. So there’s some really, I mean, there’s some sort of super, super interesting insights, you can you can get back and there’s a there’s a, there’s a few more bits in the in the talk that linked to the transcript and the videos in the in the chat, but there’s a really interesting way of connecting with a decent number of people within your customer base. And you can also then off or suggest that you’d like to talk to some people, a portion of your users would like to be heard and will have ideas for your product and so actually just kind of getting them into getting in touch with them setting up a conversation on Zoom or or whatever you can even in that conversation, ask them if that uh, you can record a little testimonial as part of that process. So there’s quite a few different things you could potentially do there.

Some that one to many and some that one to one, but all all useful. So put a number on your referrals. Martin, if you’re going to if this is important, and you’re going to get go Hang on, how many people do you think you’ll get to speak to in two weeks time? He’s run away

Mark Gibson 

I have to dash to market I’ve got Okay, coming up.

Mark Littlewood 

Oh, gosh, we are we are wrapping up. I do. Do Apollo’s Okay. Marty.

Audience Member 

My brother called me right when you were in there? I don’t actually I don’t have a referral number. I don’t know. It’s that 1010 a month. Yeah. Kind of month. It’s good.

Mark Littlewood 

Welcome back to it. Mark. Thanks so much. We are pretty much at the end of the session. So really, some great, some great ideas there real interesting update on where we are on in the, in the world, I think for a lot of people. 2023 is going to be challenging, but I hope you’ve got some thoughts there that you can put into action that will make a difference. Do you have a you’ve got your LinkedIn. Can’t remember what you are on LinkedIn? Mark, I’m gonna share it in the chat.

Mark Gibson 

Sure.

Mark Littlewood 

Pretty sure.

Mark Gibson 

And it’s it’s Mark Gibson, Mark Gibson, I think it is on LinkedIn. Okay.

Audience Member 

Are we going to post or whether you’re going to post any of the doc the presentation documents, I’m just thinking about Mark’s extensive list watch list.

Mark Littlewood 

Yeah. So we are absolutely going to share that I have also pulled out the URLs and things. So it is you can find it here. But well, we’ll write everything up and share it. And, Mark if you can send over the most up to date deck that will be super helpful as well. But that’s links to the sales on the reading.

Mark Gibson 

And Mark, I’m gonna send you the links to those two new email companies that contacted me with a getting much, much better results than standard email. That’ll be amazing. Okay, Mark, thanks so much. Really appreciate it. Really interesting, interesting conversation, and we’ll see you again soon. Thanks, everybody. Have a great day. Thank you, Mark.


Mark Gibson Better B2B Sales

Mark Gibson

Founder, Why Change Selling?

Mark is an experienced sales leader and sales performance consultant, with more than 40 years’ experience in sales, marketing and sales enablement in Australia, Silicon Valley and the UK.

He’s worked for Prime Computer, Sun Microsystems, Informix, & MicroStrategy where he closed a $27.M OEM deal that drove the stock price to an all-time high. For the past ten years he’s worked with Zeus, Craneware, Centrify, Cloudview, Enqii and Aveva in the UK, Magic Software and Superderivatives in Israel, Vico Software, Amberoon, Trustwrx, Assemble Systems and Fortinet in the US.

Married and living in London he enjoys wine-tasting, golf and travel and is passionate about helping salespeople engage in personal development and lifelong learning.


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