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Walter Crosby, Damon Pistulka, Andrew Cross
Damon Pistulka 00:02
Well, hello, everybody. It’s Damon Pistulka with Andrew Cross here again today on the Z airway Business Roundtable. with us. We’ve got Walter Crosby from helix sales development. Welcome, author.
Walter Crosby 00:17
Thanks, gentlemen. appreciate you having me here.
Damon Pistulka 00:20
All right, well, we’re on a couple minutes late today and Andrew and I are going to try to get us over onto LinkedIn and drop the or get the links into the people on LinkedIn so they can see us live. But we’re a couple minutes late because we were actually just laughing with Walter, I hope you enjoy talking with Walter as much as we do, because Walter is a true sales professional. He’s been in this a couple of days, and we are really happy to be able to talk with him. And the thing that I think I’d like to start out with Walter, can you kind of explain to us a little bit You know, how you figured out that you wanted to be in sales, and then how you figured out that you wanted to work and help people with sales management?
Walter Crosby 01:12
To okay. Two different two different questions. So let me start with the first one, the easy one. Yeah. I got into sales the same way. A lot of other people got into sales. It was sort of just kind of tricked into it. Yeah. You know, I didn’t, I got an economics degree in college. So I didn’t go to business school. That doesn’t qualify you for corporate America. So, an economics degree allows me to read the Wall Street Journal, understand what’s going on, understand the difference in interest rates and, you know, Bond rates, how all that works together, but it doesn’t really prepare you for anything other than grad school. in sales. So I just started tripped into it, and, and just enjoyed trying to help people solve problems. And that’s really, to me, what it’s about is that, you know, whatever, whatever product or service that I’ve sold in the past, it was trying to find somebody that I could add value and help them and sort of the string that my career has gone. It’s part of the careers. You always got to try to figure out a way to help people. And if you’re doing that, then the sales process is fun and rewarding for everybody. Very cool. In terms of your second question,
I really got into sales management during my career for the same reason that a lot of sales managers become saved. Managers is that you’re a good salesperson, you’re a top salesperson. So the boss thinks that you can manage the rest of the salespeople. And sales is fun and rewarding for everybody. So terms of your second question, so getting an F I really got it was management
Walter Crosby 03:25
Damon Pistulka 03:31
alright, and did you have the they have the volume on on your LinkedIn? I think mine
There we go. We’re gonna hear me once I don’t want people to hear me twice. Yeah. So sales management I fell into that because I got promoted as your top salesperson they figure you know how to manage the rest of the salespeople. So you get promoted into that. And you know, my friends who were saying People, competitors would be like, why would you want to go manage a bunch of people like us? It’s just a bucket of headaches. And, you know, how are you going to do that? And it happened to me a couple of times in my career and I, I sort of enjoyed the challenge to to figure out how to get other salespeople to follow a process to create that accountability, all the things that sales management is, so I didn’t have a great plan coming out of college that I was going to do these just sort of tripped into it and bar for sales. pretty low. Luckily for Walter
Damon Pistulka 04:51
Go ahead, Andrew.
Andrew Cross 04:53
Did you Yeah, I think this is great because you know, we had talked with you before and if you want to get into it a little bit, you know what I think one of the biggest frustrations that we come across from our clients or even ourselves, in our careers is, is getting, you know, getting the right people in the right seats or, you know, a sales teams. It’s really a, you know, a trial and error and a lot of roadkill along the way and a lot of frustration on both sides. You know, I mean, yeah, so, you know, if you could share a little bit about, you know, how do you how do you do it? How do you find them? You know, how do you how do you find salespeople, how do you get them there? What’s the secret? Walter?
It’s hard to think that’s, that’s not a secret. It’s a difficult process. And I think the, the most challenging part of it is, is for that when a business owner believes that somebody needs to have industry experience. There’s times when that’s important when it’s a highly technical But I would argue that if somebody is in that sales role, and they’re trying to develop new business, that you can bring in somebody later that has the technical skills to help demonstrate competency for the company. It’s really about finding somebody who will sell in your marketplace to your decision makers, with your price points against your competition. And if you don’t have a strong process to get there, and you don’t have a way to evaluate the various candidates against a standard and against each other. How do you know you win? Yeah, yeah. So you know, we follow a process. When when we’re asked to help find salespeople. It’s started with writing, when it’s called the shackleford ad shackleford was a guy that he was in Britain, he was going to go explore Antarctica. And so he wrote an ad that was three or four lines long. I can’t quote it, but it was like, low pay. Very dangerous conditions may not come back alive, but great words, right? So he, he sold this position on by attracting the right people that wanted to live on the edge, they wanted to wanted some glory, and we’re willing to risk it all to get there. So you take that concept, and you write an ad for a salesperson, so that when they read that ad, it it’s describing them? Yeah, you want them to be able to say that, that’s me. I do that. Well, that I do that To this really sounds like me, maybe I should apply for this. So the idea is you’re attracting the right people to, to come towards you to come towards that role that you’re trying to build. So that’s really the first piece of it. And it’s really where a lot of companies will go wrong. Yeah, net, they write out job responsibilities and accountabilities.
Damon Pistulka 08:25
Yeah, exactly. That’s what the job that’s what a job ad is. You say, Well, this is what you’re gonna be doing. And, you know, these are your responsibilities. And you got five people that are, you know, you got 27 accounts or whatever in this region in the United States. And that, that and that, but what you’re saying is you you’re speaking to the person, so that if they, if they connect with that, then they would be more likely to respond to it is what you’re trying to do.
Yeah, we’re trying exactly what you’re trying to attract the people that you’re looking for. So that ad needs to be written. In a way that describes the individual and and what their attitude, what their behaviors with their, you know, the activities that they’re used to give me an example that you’re, it talks a little bit about the marketplace in your industry, you talk about who you’re, who that person needs to call out. So if they, they need to call on CEOs of mid market companies with employees of 10 to 200. So that’s something that, uh, that a salesperson can think, well, I, I do that. Yeah, I’m gonna read on a little bit. Mm hmm. And they’re gonna, you know, you’re gonna say, you know, we, we sell on value. We don’t sell on price. And you sort of get into the philosophy of what it is you’re looking for what it is you want them to do. And it it’s, it’s a narrative rather than a bullet points of, yeah, all this boring crap that you you’d normally see. So you stand up by looking different,
Andrew Cross 10:03
but we’ve been talking a lot with in other sessions and some of our round tables, you know, with a lot of our consultants working on, you know, core values. And, you know, deeper than and beyond the mission statement is this is you going into that kind of level, so they, you know, if we were trying to figure out, okay, what’s, you know, what’s the, what’s the role in that? To assess, you know, potential hires, you know, and, you know, sales included, it could be, you know, anybody on your team, right, so, and then really understanding your true your core values, honestly, understanding
the salesperson has to have integrity, and, and on all of those ethics,
Andrew Cross 10:47
right, that’s got to be the minimum standard. But if you’re talking about cultural fit into what you’re thinking here, you’re kind of alluding to, when you when you mentioned the fact that you know, instead of just bullets points, you know, you’re actually saying, You know what, I read this? Oh, yeah, that’s me. You know, I’m going to be that, you know, that’s a place I would I would fit. Right so what’s great it kind of brings me back to the the core values right to do we share that, you know, certainly and I, I bring this up here, you know, I’m very curious about it because I missed it so many times when
you said there’s elements of that when you’re describing what it is you’re looking for. In for a salesperson. I wrote an ad recently for for someone that you know, this salespeople had a bad reputation within the organization, right, because everybody thinks we’re lazy and you know, we just go to three hour lunches and play golf. So you know, when we do, we are still getting slapped on. The point is, is that you you need them to be team players, you need to they need to be able to bring something to the table and realize that’s an important part of the role. But it doesn’t stop there you you have to be able to fulfill the rest of the needs of the organization you got to help operations your help you know making sure marketing understands what it is that you’re you’re working with and when those leads are right and when they’re when they’re a little bit off and and how that messaging all fits with your sales collateral. But you have to be able to help finance right because you if you need purchase orders or deposits in whatever that company needs. So that teamwork aspect of it, I think is part of of the ad that your your important role, but you’re an important role within many roles, and we have to work together. I think that’s that that’s often left out where the salespeople are these little Mavericks that are running around and in There’s an element to that, right, we need to have that be willing to go out and, and in work in the world on our own, and, you know, hunt, and come back with, with, with the meat that everybody else is gonna work with. But you, but when you come back, you got to be able to help everybody else you got to make sure you give him the data, you got to make sure you’re communicating everything. And it’s it’s I think that’s part of that, and it’s part of what we put in the ads. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 13:32
Yeah. And, you know, I
Andrew Cross 13:33
thought I saw a statistic wants that to the average, you know, executive level sales person, you know, lifecycle with a with a company, at least in the job aspect was, you know, around 18 months or so. Yeah, which is a you know, and it’s even gone down, you know, or turnover for 14 months is that just because they’re getting it, they’re getting it right It’s the wrong people they don’t? Or is it? You know, what’s going on there? I mean, you know, that kind of stuff. And it seems to me if you’re really in sales, you don’t care, because you just go on to the next thing. But
well, if a VP of sales or the sales leadership role in general, there’s a different set of skills for that person than a sales manager, yeah, different set of skills from the sales rep, the sales person, the business development person, that that VP needs to be able to think more strategically, and make sure that the tactics that are are, are in alignment with that strategy, and that they’re, they’re carrying the message from the leadership team, all the way through the sales organization. And that’s different than the the sales manager who’s basically giving, taking those those orders in those tactics and making sure that They’re being executed. And they’re coaching the salespeople. And they’re making sure that that the, the role of the of the salesperson is supported. So, you know, you’re you’re looking at different sets of skills in those in those three pieces, right sales managers, sales, leadership and salespeople. They’re, they’re different, different skill sets. So I think why that the lifespan is so short, is probably a couple of things. But what would jump out at me is the, the CEOs have a very short window of you know, trying to create success. Yeah, that person is a natural, fall, fall person, right? If sales isn’t cutting it, we can get rid of this person, get a new one in and it just kind of, it doesn’t. It doesn’t connect. So there’s a connection between leadership of the organization and the sales leadership. They’re not on the same page. And they’re there, they’re hiring somebody who thinks can execute a strategy and create a strategy. And that, that that piece is missing that bridge. And it’s really important that they’re able to pull that out of the CEO. And, and understand really what the, what the mission is, and then how that strategy fulfills the mission. And then the tactics. So they really have to bridge a quite a gap on both sides, right? They’re a little island that’s trying, it’s like two sides of it. And it’s even more difficult role than sales manager.
Damon Pistulka 16:43
So do you think that they that that time frame, is because they can’t get the clear direction? Or are there some inherent leadership problems in the business itself that are overall but it’s just being manifested through sales? You know, the high level sales turnover? Because that’s a that’s a scapegoat in the whole thing.
There’s a bit of the scapegoat piece of it. But it also comes back to competency if we’re going to be candid. Sometimes those people get put into that role for political reasons, in that they’re, you know, they’re they’ve had a track record of success at a different level, not dissimilar from salespeople to sales managers, right. There are different levels of skills and competency that’s required. And if you don’t have that leadership component, and that ability to manage the managers and provide that strategy, your you’re going to fail. It’s just a shorter window. Then Then sales managers because the CEO is buffered, you know, they don’t talk to the sales managers to any significant level. Yeah. So it comes down to to competency in leadership and strength. And, you know, we’re able to help evaluate that person, see if they have those competencies, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie in that area. And the CEO is to take some responsibility to coach that person, they are assigned somebody to coach that person. Yeah. Be success. Yeah.
Andrew Cross 18:21
Because I think, you know, lack of communication, you know, it kind of interests me a little bit there too, because the sales people are talking to the customer directly, or we tell them death. Is that a strategic little fall off there? And, you know, another reason that you know, we’re not listening.
Well, salespeople may not be listening to really what’s happening, they may not be really listening to what that what that prospect or what that customer is saying. So there’s a problem there and then communicating that up to there. management level, and is that management’s not savvy enough to see that there’s some truth and some value there, then they got to be able to kick that back up, you know, so on and so forth. So, communication is always an issue doesn’t matter if you’re in business or at home or your kids doesn’t matter communication is the root of most of these problems. If somebody’s not listening and it your your point is is valid that salespeople needs to be need to be listening to that prospecting to that customer, to be able to take that intelligence, back up the food chain, and share it out and be good enough to do it.
Andrew Cross 19:49
Well, and then and also, you know, if they’re doing that it needs to be heard up there too. I think that’s one of the experiences I see quite a bit is the upper management is not listening to the customer. And that’s,
that’s that’s often the case. And sometimes the filter is the problem. But I mean, I’ve been in situations where we were rolling out a product as a salesperson, we were rolling out a product that was going to be launched in three months. And, you know, as salespeople, we were telling the r&d guys, this is close, but it’s not what they want. This is not different enough. From what we were doing. Right? This isn’t solving the real problem that we told you about. Yeah. And in that situation. The r&d guys were the smart guys, and we were just dumb salespeople. So, you know, it took a while for them. To for it, it had to fail. Yeah, they had to, they actually had to, we had to drag them out. Whatever in front of a customer and let the customer Say what we’ve been telling them for six months. Yeah. So so there’s that too, right that the filter is just not willing to hear the truth. Mm hmm.
Damon Pistulka 21:13
on it, it comes back again to what you hear day in and day out if anyone’s talking about marketing or anything, it’s really understanding and listening to your customer. I don’t care what you’re talking about, on the front end of a business but that’s the focus of everything. And and you know, it really the one of the things that that we’ve done in the last year that’s that’s really interesting is when you start to really when you think about your customer, and get very, very deep in detail and ask questions of them about challenges and different things you don’t know nearly as well as you thought you did.
It and that’s really a challenge for for salespeople is that they they do Typically will not dig deep enough. Yeah, they don’t ask enough questions, you know, ask the tough questions. And they don’t they don’t ask those those questions and make the customer feel a little bit uncomfortable. Yeah, that’s where you’re getting to the truth. And so you have to be able to go there. And then you have to be able to listen to what’s being said. Mm hmm. I always, always tell salespeople a discovery conversation with our discovery meeting with a prospect is literally a conversation with another human being, where you’re curious about what is happening with them what their problems are, in the context of what it is that you do. So if you’re if you approach it as simply a conversation, where you’re curious, it’s not any different than having you know, beer with a friend. And it’s like you did what? Would you do that? Right? It’s the words are different, but the concept is the same and it’s just getting comfortable having that meaningful, deeper conversation, like you said, so you really pull it out, and then hope that somebody else is listening to what you know, will you be able to deliver?
Andrew Cross 23:24
Yeah, yeah, it’s really hard to do. I think you know, people on you know, you after you’ve gone through it a few times, I think people under you know, just think oh, well, that’s, you know, they’re gonna be able to tell you, you know, right away and it’s, it’s really hard to a, you know, make a connection like that and really peel it back to kind of be relentless about it. You know, you get through to get really get the answer really get the true well, and
Damon Pistulka 23:51
even in our own sales process. I mean, we’ve worked on ours and Jeffrey Graham helped us in the beginning and others continue to help Let’s refine it. But when when we talk to people about our sales process, they often go, Wow, that’s a lot of time. That’s a lot of time you spend with with someone before you even give them an estimate or even tell them that we can work together. But it’s, but we’re very deliberate about asking almost too many questions about, you know, in depth things that people go, Well, why are you asking about that, but it uncover so much when you do that?
Well, in those when you get to that level of depth, you start to see how everything fits together. You see how all of these pieces are connected. And typically, if you’ve done a discovery process really well, that prospect should be viewing their problem or viewing the way they’re going about their business differently. Like They should see that this is a bigger issue than they thought if you’re doing if you’re able to help them, sometimes there’s not a fit, right? If you’re having a session and everything’s great, yeah. You can’t help them. You can’t force something onto somebody. If there’s not a problem that you can solve Next, you can’t. You can’t force that. And I think that’s where some salespeople that are inexperienced get it sideways, because they think they have to sell every, every prospect. And every prospect isn’t a customer. Right. And you, you’re looking to disqualify them as quickly as you know, it, you know, the way I was taught you, if you’re going to get a no, you want to do that at the beginning or after you’ve done a bunch of work and spent a lot of time over here. Right, right. I don’t want to do a proposal to you Get to know, I want to, I want to know over here, and then there’s no guarantee right? You could still get that No. But at least you’re understanding that everybody’s on the same page, and you’re uncovering the information. And if somebody is not willing to share what it is that you need, maybe they’re not, they’re not qualified.
Andrew Cross 26:20
Yeah. Or not ready?
Damon Pistulka 26:23
Yeah, in not ready. In our case, there’s a lot of information that we asked for, and just just in how long it takes to prepare that information and get it back to you, tells us a tremendous amount about that client and whether or not they’re going to be able to do what we want to do.
Right. Yeah. If they can’t,
if they can’t produce that document or know, relatively quickly, there that that gives you a lot of data.
Damon Pistulka 26:51
Oh, it’s huge. It’s huge, you know, in, especially if we’re doing something that’s going to be financial with them as far as well. Working with their anything financially, if it takes them forever to reduce, you know, simple financial statements, we know that there’s a lot to do under underlying to what we’re what we’re going to get ourselves into. Yeah. It sounds a lot, but that is it is, you know, sometimes people think they have to sell their stuff or whatever they’re doing, you know, but it really is uncovering the challenges. And and if your solution is a fit to it, and then talking about how the world is with your solution, or I’m not saying it right, but that was a big realization for me.
Walter Crosby 27:40
so if you’re selling a widget, right, I don’t care if the widget is a promotional products or capital equipment. It’s still a widget. Yeah. And if you think back about, you know, back in the 70s 60s and 70s. You know, the companies needed that salesperson to deliver the information. They needed to know the features and benefits. You bought a car back then right? How did you find out about the car’s features? Right? You unless you went to the dealer today, you’re all of that information is available to you on this internet thing, right? And they they’re there already. They’ve already done tons of research, they, they know a lot of information. They may think they know something that you might have to help them see from a different perspective. Yeah. And do that by asking questions not by saying I have a better widget. So, you know, it’s somewhat counterintuitive, but if you start talking about your product or you start talking about your service, your youth diminished your ability to sell value. That it?
Damon Pistulka 29:06
Yeah, you know, well, you mentioned one thing too, that that is, is really important in almost everything is building your value proposition with a potential customer. And whether it’s you’re selling a car or a widget or service, you really need to be able to, to build that value if otherwise you’re just gonna live on price. And
you have to position what you’re doing. You have to position what whatever you’re offering is in the context of that prospect in in outcomes that are meaningful to them, not about, you know, I got this cool feature. my computer’s faster than theirs, their computer doesn’t matter. What is that? What does that computer give that prospect, what is what is he or she able to do with that faster processes? Yeah. And, you know, you say this to a younger salesperson, but that that prospect doesn’t care anything about you, they don’t care anything about your product, they care about what you and that product can deliver to them. And they’ll, they’ll care about you later. And that’s why, you know, we talked about this once before, you know, if you if that if you’re a salesperson, and you need to be liked, that you’re that’s what you’re going to be worried about, and you’re not going to be able to do what needs to be done. To ask those tough questions. You’re not going to be able to position your product in terms of that prospect in a context that’s meaningful to them.
Andrew Cross 30:53
Yeah, we did talk a little bit about this before he got on the air, but maybe we can talk a little bit About the right. See and, you know, be being in this for a while, you know, and gone through this process. You know, I don’t know if we’re jaded or not, but, you know, the ability to, you know, what is Bs, you know, get seeing through the BS or being able to get rid of that. What does that do for you? for sales for
salespeople, what do we have? What’s the commodity that we have to protect is our time. And we can flitter away our time, in any number of ways. So we don’t need help from our prospects, you don’t need to be doing busy work. We don’t need to be writing proposals for people just because they ask. Yeah, hey, we, you know, we need to understand, you know, are they ready for a proposal? There’s, you know, I have it in my head. I know Say it to people, but have they earned the right for that proposal? Because that takes time. It’s information, it’s intelligence that they can go deliver, are they going to just go show their current supplier and say, Hey, Walter is going to do this for this price? What are you gonna do? Right? You know, it’s, it’s being able to, to go through that process and protect your time in the sense that you’re trying to, to provide value to them. So if somebody if they want to buy on price, you know, I mean, I learned a long time ago that had a handle that, um, it’s just one of, you know, a half a dozen objections that we hear. Yeah, they’re just packaged up differently. So you, you have to be able to protect your time and qualify these people to the best To your ability, and if you’re really looking at it as I’m trying to add value, I’m trying to help them. You know, maybe they don’t want you out. Okay? Move on. Maybe it’s not a good fit. Maybe your product isn’t a good fit. In my career, I’ve told people Hey, look, what we have. It’s overkill. You need this little thing over here and call my buddy Bob. And that that comes back to you. Yes, it does. I mean, call it karma. Call it whatever.
Walter Crosby 33:33
You’ve you’ve done the right thing. That’s what you should do. Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew Cross 33:39
So yeah. I mean, actually, you know, you’re finding out do they really need it? You know, and I, that’s honestly, you know, it’s a good question. You want to find that out? This is great. It’s really interesting, because I just went through this with the client who wanted evaluation and they, you know, I was telling them right from the beginning, you know, I was pretty sure they didn’t mean You know, it’s going to be too expensive. It wasn’t going to do what they thought it was going to do for them. You know, and I’ve had this happen before. And, and they absolutely insisted, no matter what I said, to talk them out of it. But, you know, in this case, this was the right thing to do they have
it as a professional, we need to, you know, to make sure that they understand that I and sometimes you have to really hold up the sign and say, you know, you’re making a mistake. I mean, I was in the same business for a while, and this guy wanted this massive thing on the side of his building. And he had it all pictured in his head is what he wanted, and I’m like, Yeah, I can do that. It’s gonna cost you $25,000 but I’m gonna have to charge you 50 and he was like, What are you? Why are we Would you charge me twice as much? I’m like, well, because it’s not going to work, you’re going to hate it. And you’re never going to give me any referrals. And I, I built my business on referrals, what you really need is this thing over here on the right side of your building where all the eyeballs are, and that’s going to cost you eight grand.
Walter Crosby 35:17
And I had to literally convince him to spend less money.
Because it was the right thing to do. Um, you know, we later were able to build off of that, but that guy became, you know, my referral, buddy. He kept just telling people, he taught me how to spend in $25,000. And that’s what he would that was his sales pitch for me, and I got plenty of business. Yeah, yeah. It’s really doing the right thing. Like, yeah, yeah. Well,
Damon Pistulka 35:47
you know, excuse me, that’s, yeah, you really have to do do as you said the right thing and if it’s not something that that they’re going to need or it’s going to fix there. There are solve their challenge. You know, you do have to, you want to, like you said, you want the karma to come around, right? We need to do the right thing. And now you mentioned something a little while ago that that I thought would be interesting for us to, to cover is is, you know, a good salesperson, a stellar salesperson does not always make a good sales manager. And the situation that we run into a lot of times is the sales manager is simply the salesperson that has lasted the longest. And, and, but can you just hit a couple of highlights that that go? You’re a great salesperson, but you might not be a good sales manager.
Um, it’s a good question. I mean, there’s, it’s pretty in depth below me. We’ve tried to break it down into simple there. There are simply different skill sets. Yeah, wait. You’ve been on a, as a sales manager. I’ve been on sales calls with sales, sales reps, where my job as a sales manager is to observe, maybe ask a little question here and there to kind of steer the conversation. But it’s not to do it’s not to actually make the sales for that Rep. Yeah, they don’t learn something. So that if you’re a good salesperson, your instinct is to jump in and save the day, right to be the hero. And as a sales manager, that’s not what the best thing to do is, you know, we need to debrief that salesperson, coach them on on what they should have done or what they could have done. You can you can cut some of that off at the past with a good pre call plan and what’s the outcome? What How do we know we got a win here? How do we know if we got to where we need to go? So you 50 to 60% of a sales managers time is coaching. Mm hmm. Right. I mean, I don’t care what sport you’ve, you’ve played. We’ve all been coached. Yeah. As a kid, by our, by our parents and my literal coaches. So you have to have that ability to pause and allow them a chance to learn. And sometimes, you know, maybe they lose a deal. Maybe it’s hopefully it’s not a big one, but you got to give them some some chance to, to spread their wings, make a few mistakes, and try to coach them up on that. So, you know, it’s it’s about identifying what the plan is to achieve, what what we did well, you know, a debrief is really, really simple. Important coaching tool. We’ll start with the end of the conversation. What we this is a tip for a sales manager, you debrief by telling your salesperson, okay, you want to talk about this the meeting that you had this morning. Great. What How did it end? And what’s the next step? And the salesperson in there inevitably wants to go to the beginning and tell you the fairy tale. Right. We’ve all done it. Yeah. fairy tale I want. What did you agree to do? What was that agreement that you made at the end of the call at the end of the meeting? Well, I was really wishy washy. Okay. It’s Problem number one. So we, you know, we can work backwards, you know, in that way, allow me to ask the questions to help them see it. Another tip that’s counter to what good salespeople do is somebody asks you a question as a sales manager. Don’t want to answer the question, necessarily, right? Where’s the file? You might want to answer that. But, you know, how do I do this? You ask them five, six questions to help them decide. Let them discover their the answer. Yeah. If they figure out the answer, and they walk away, like, Oh, I got it. All right, great. And they learn often, you’ve actually coached them. They’ve learned something that they figured out for themselves, rather than you just saying, put these two pieces together and you have, you know your answer.
Andrew Cross 40:36
Yeah. harpooning all our old friend Jeff Graham, you know, you can, you can either teach them to fish or you can buy them a fish, you know.
That’s, that’s literally, that that’s the mindset but when you get promoted, or you become a sales manager, I never got a book, a manager. They’re out there. There’s a couple of great ones. But, you know, those weren’t ever presented with the new business card, you know, the assumptions were made. So those skill sets are, are important for that sales manager to implement. So, I mean, 50% 60% of their time coaching, and then if they have the systems and processes in place, the accountability is the easy part. Because you’ve tied their personal goal, a metric that you want them to achieve every day, every week, every month. So they want this and I don’t care if it’s material or, you know, intrinsic, you know, they want some adulation or they want a new boat. I don’t care. It still has to be tied to that metric. Yeah, they’ve agreed to do this. So that’s the accountability piece becomes becomes simple. apart, is it some salespeople don’t belong at the company in that role. Yeah. And the sooner that’s figured out, it’s the best for the customers, the company, the individual, all of the individuals.
Damon Pistulka 42:20
Yeah. And those are those are some great I mean, I got some notes here. What we what the topic was the key was the keys to sales management. And, you know, I think you hit hit a couple of them in here. They got to be coaching, they need to be teaching and they need to there’s a lot of lot of review and feedback in the process and making sure that people have clear metrics on what they’re doing. I those are just some some key things that are really good about sales manager that you get if
you brought one up earlier, you talked about your sales process. So that’s the other thing that’s it’s critically important. If there isn’t a documented staged milestone century process, yeah, that you can follow that you can teach that becomes common language. How do you how do you do a process? Yeah.
Andrew Cross 43:15
So the manager and the sales people, I mean, on your experience who can? Is it really apples and oranges and you’re either a sales person or your sales manager? Can you be both never do the past cross? It does make a lot of people are that’s where a lot of things fall apart. Well, yeah.
Well, when you if you’re a sales manager, you’ve been, you’ve probably been a salesperson. Right, unless you’re the CEO and trying to wear a different hat. Yeah, right. That’s really, one of the terrible things that happened is, instead of promoting their best salesperson sales manager, losing all that revenue and frustrating, everybody That’s that sales, that CEO might, you know, step into the role. And they might not have any experience and they don’t have the time. So, as a sales manager, you’ve probably been a salesperson. So there should be some empathy there. But what you don’t have is that that management, coaching component, and that’s something you have to learn and you got to practice just like sales. It can work. I had to really, really work at it. Because it’s incredibly frustrating. I mean, the old joke is, it’s like, managing salespeople is like herding cats. Yeah. Um, and that’s no fun. It’s very tiring. So you have to have that system. You have to think differently as a sales manager, as opposed to salesperson.
Andrew Cross 44:51
So it can be learned.
Walter Crosby 44:53
It can be like, like most most roles have some element That is
trainable that you can learn. And you know, there’s plenty of books out there that can help you that you can still learn. You know, as an old guy like me, you can still learn and learn every day. But if so, if you get promoted to that role or something that’s been contemplated, you know, you need to you need help. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 45:26
Andrew Cross 45:28
Are we doing on time there? Amen. Are we? Oh, yeah, we’re good. We’re good.
Damon Pistulka 45:33
Couple other things. I mean, no, this is great, because we were talking about the keys in sales management, I mean, you’re hitting them, you’re hitting them. And you know, the one that you just face up on his sales process, and I didn’t realize until we started and started working with other salespeople as well as like, you need to have a process it needs to be you know, contact number one is like this contact number two is like this contact number three is like this. And and this is the Goal of each one of those stages because as you said, then I was wrapping it up with your debrief, did you do what we do on the third call? Or the third interaction? Or whatever you call it? Did you do that the two or three takeaways that you needed? Did you get that piece of information? That process is so critical to make sure that it’s consistent?
How do you know? It’s like a football field, right? Or a baseball diamond? You got to get the first base before you get the second base. You can’t just run the third and come home. Yeah, there’s a process. And you need to know where you are in the process. You need to know how many balls and strikes there are. So as to what what you’re going to do. You’re going to need to be able to you know, if you’re trying to steal second in baseball, right, there’s certain things that you have to do. Yeah, so if you don’t know what the with what success looks like, how do you know what when you get there, and then how do you know if you missed it? stuff. Yeah. And that exactly. A critical piece of a process is being able to understand the problem that they have and find that problem or pain or difficulty, whatever their issue is. But you can’t just stop there. You have to be able to figure out how that how to monetize. Yeah. If you don’t know what that problem is costing them on a monthly, quarterly annual basis. How do you leverage that later, when somebody wants to spend some time thinking about it or looking at options? It’s a, uh, you know, I was taught 25 years ago that you Your, your discovery process is like opening up the person’s chest, pulling out their heart, and showing them 16 a little valve right there. That’s not working, right. That’s kind of get fixed. What would you like to do? It’s a little it’s a little over the top. It’s a little aggressive. But it makes the point that if you don’t really help them see how important it is, whether it’s money, time or risk, one of those elements, if you can’t leverage that
Andrew Cross 48:16
probably can be successful. Well, there’s the skill. I think, too, right there. That’s the captain. See, you know, that’s really when it gets down to it. And in going back to discovery, most importantly, if you’re talking all the time, and it’s just the features and benefits, you’re not getting the information, you need to be able to connect the dots. And, you know, that’s it, you know, you’re not going to get there.
Yeah, you’re out of control. When you’re talking. You’re when you’re listening. You really have control. Yeah. And that’s why the questions are important.
Damon Pistulka 48:56
Yeah. So is there it’s You are standing back and you are going to create your setting in a company today they don’t have a sales process is do you mean you start by taking your best people and asking them what they do and how many you know how, what the steps they take or how do you? I mean, where do you start?
That’s exactly where I would start is go to the people that are being successful. developing new business, developing new business, not the people that are managing accounts, right? Yes, that’s a different animal need it. It’s important. But if you’re looking at building a process for developing new business, you got to go find the people that are and when you find him or her, you basically sit down with them and you want to suck everything out of their head. Yeah, yeah. They have a process. Yeah, they just don’t know it. Yeah. Be able to pull that out of them through a conversation. You know, that gives you the nuance. I have a I have a sales process that is is five stages that works on its own to 90%. And we fill in that nuance. Yeah, you have a little bit of a discovery piece. You have a different way to start. You have a different way to end. Right. But, but the main part of that qualification, yeah, always asking the same things and getting those answers. Yeah. If you if you find out what they’re what they’re doing on those top people what they’re doing on a on a regular basis. you’re you’re you’re you’re off to the races. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 50:46
Good. Yeah. It’s It’s important because, you know, you see this all the time. I’m sure that you go into places that have been relatively successful, and there’s no process anywhere.
Walter Crosby 50:59
Happens all the time.
Damon Pistulka 51:00
Yeah. And and they, they look at this and it’s a pretty daunting process or pretty, pretty daunting task ahead of them to some to document a process and then really, you know, start following that process and doing the sales management that they need to do. But it does, it does as, as you’ve seen improvement in a lot of the work that you do, that’s where you have to go to get to the next level of effectiveness.
Yeah, it’s really it. You can you can change revenue, increase it by
Walter Crosby 51:37
15 to 18%.
By having a staged process that follows the buyers journey, as is milestone centric, that it fits with your market that will grow revenue if you get people to change their behaviors. 15 18% If you don’t Don’t, don’t do any training work, don’t do any coaching that. And that comes from Harvard Business Review and objective Management Group statistics is Yeah, I mean, that’s so that is like, it becomes the language.
Damon Pistulka 52:16
It does. It really does. It really does. Even in our internal when we talk about our sales process, we know we’re on where we’re at our second interaction, and this is what will happen. We know this is what we do. This is what we do on the third interaction. These are the kind of questions things we’re talking about. It’s, you get to that level of detail and it makes everyone understands what what the objective is going into that meeting. And and from the sales person’s perspective, or the sales managers perspective, I would imagine that gives a lot of clarity and bulk on if I’m a sales manager with the salesperson in there. They know they both know what’s supposed to happen
and the accountability becomes you Pretty simple and the coaching becomes a little more clear. It’s like, you know, we seem to be doing a poor job of digging into why this is a problem. We’re not getting enough of that, why? We’re not understanding how much it’s costing them. Yeah, I had this conversation with a salesperson this morning, that, you know, he has trouble monetizing the problem, because he’s uncomfortable talking about money, and he has a higher need to be liked. So he doesn’t want to make that person feel uncomfortable. Yeah. So he has trouble asking those questions. When you combine those two issues. It’s a challenge. You have to really, really have to be coached around that to elevate your game.
Damon Pistulka 53:50
Yeah, yeah. So it’s good stuff.
Andrew Cross 53:53
Well, this is fantastic, Walter. So tell us a little bit. You’ve got a new brand coming out for your company. I mean, this Yeah, we’re talking about stuff that you do for clients to love to hear it. Tell us tell us how you do it and how you can help people get their processes going and, and get the people in the right seat and, you know, kind of let’s hear
that. Yeah, that’s Thank you The there’s really two. There’s two areas like I call entry points. If If a sales organization is, is having trouble retaining their salespeople, so we call it churn. Yep. So if they’ve got, you know, talk to somebody a couple of weeks ago, they had 40% churn. And that’s if you really walk them through how much that costs. Yeah. I mean, it’s terrifying, you know, and then there’s a the soft costs of what it does to your customers, when you know, they got a new guy coming in or now anyway, the business card Now I got to reteach this person or you know, it’s just it looks bad. So when that happens, that’s a place where we can help them reevaluate their hiring process. help them understand that hiring salespeople is different than hiring an engineer is different than hiring an admin. It’s different than hiring anybody else in the sales organization. Because I mean, this is an old joke, but often a salespersons best sale with the company is what happens in the interview. Because they, they know the product, and they can kind of tell the story the way they want to. And if you know the interviewers are not as well trained at interviewing the salesperson, they don’t know how to look at a resume and say, Wow, this is interesting. We were top salesperson in the Midwest region. Last year, awesome. How many salespeople in the Midwest region? Oh, it’s just you. Oh, three and I’m not making that up that actually. Yeah. Yeah. So you got to be able to call the BS weathers BS. When I look at a resume, and I’m interviewing somebody, I’ve already I’ve assessed them. I’ve had a phone conversation with them. My goal was what we teach is that that interviewing process should be a little uncomfortable for the sales candidate. Yeah, we want them to feel how the customer and the prospects are going to treat them. Professional. You know, we’re not we’re not being mean. But we’re going to be we’re going to ask tough questions. And we’re going to point things out that that may be uncomfortable for them. It’s a test every question every interaction, we’re watching what they do.
Walter Crosby 57:04
And it’s not until the last interview
where you bring in those two, three candidates that you like. And it’s, it’s a final test, right, you want to check out a couple of things. And then that’s where you sell the sizzle of the company and of the world. And that that can be wildly different. So we help them with that process to make to reduce the churn to get sales people that will sell in that role. And we have 91% accuracy. And if we recommend somebody using our assessment, that they’re going to rise to the top half of that sales team in a year. And it’s not just our tools, it’s it’s the whole process and how you write the ad. So So the other the other where we start is it If a CEO is just frustrated that the sales organizations, their pipelines or forecasts are crap, they’re just numb 20%. They’re frustrated that they can’t get the team to do the whole margins. They got a better product than their competitors. So they should be getting a better margin and the salespeople keep pushing that down. So if they’re frustrated or concerned about some aspect of that, we can, you know, I approach it as like, we want to figure out what it is they need to know. Yeah, team be more efficient than that team be more effective. Know, how much more effective can they be that group? Yes. And what resources are going to be needed to elevate them? And what’s that ROI mean? That’s our approach is to be able to answer those questions for them. So we’re looking to give them information. And then and then then a strategy. To solve the problems, and then implement it, we actually roll up our sleeves and go to work
Damon Pistulka 59:08
on that’s, that’s what I’ve always liked about talking with you all too. There’s a lot of people that have put together a good plan, but that isn’t worth shit unless you can get it implemented, you know? And it just, that’s
Walter Crosby 59:22
Yeah, it makes it a
it makes it a little bit more challenging, right, because you’re not walking away. You’re just saying, you know, let’s let’s work together. Let’s do this. Um, you know, they have to have commitment and desire to do the work. Right. If that CEO, that business owner isn’t committed to solving those problems. It’s not gonna work. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s one of the things that
Andrew Cross 59:52
that that’s, you know, yeah. And in our business as well. That’s qualification. Yeah, you Because you don’t wait
Walter Crosby 1:00:01
for if I can’t be successful
because that person isn’t committed or have the desire, then I don’t want to start because it’s not gonna work. Yeah.
Andrew Cross 1:00:15
It’s not necessarily because, you know, again, that’s back to discovery and finding what they really want. You know, but it’s really important to understand that. Yeah, I mean, theoretically, in their minds, they, you know, they want to have more sales, right, who doesn’t, you’re gonna have more sales gonna have more profit, you know, but they’re in our situation with small businesses, a lot of them. There’s a lot of risk associated with that. Now, I’m pretty comfortable going to where they’re at, you know, it is good to find that out. Right. You know, I mean, maybe and then again, it gets back to maybe you don’t need this you don’t need 20% year over year sales growth is mind boggling. What you got, all that does is create more headaches, you know, I mean, it can, you know, it certainly can and or, you know, as it grows, it gets out of control. And, you know, our clients in particular are controlling people, they like to be in control. So, you already run into that too, but that’s why we love working with with, you know, Walter, you know, fits in with the exit your way, what we’re trying to do too is, is, you know, in order it again, because they come to us and the goal is to accomplish, you know, successfully selling their business, and you know it for what they want for their business. Well, in order to do that, you got to listen to the buyer, which is now the buyer of the company, it’s not your customers, it’s not you’re not selling your product anymore. And you know, yeah, that that control you have and that kind of stuff may have worked for you but a buyer just looking at it in a different way. And We found that, you know, buyers like anybody else, buyers are going to want to come in, they want to see something they want to buy into something that’s going up.
Walter Crosby 1:02:09
They want to take off and they want to know that what you’re doing can be repeated. Exactly. scaled, in some cases. Right.
Damon Pistulka 1:02:16
And repeated and scaled both of it. Yeah.
Andrew Cross 1:02:21
Which is the same thing as being repeated, you know, so, you know, they’ll all the risks that they’re identifying and their diligence process when they’re looking under the hood before they buy a business. You know, it’s so critical because yeah, that that sales process that machine is highly valuable. Yeah, the transaction to the buyer to him. Now then.
Damon Pistulka 1:02:47
And yeah, usually I tell you this is I know that some people that listen to our videos are Go man, you guys really get in depth about some of the topics we talked about. But when me myself from running businesses before and listening to what you’re talking about, there’s a lot of good nuggets in here about sales management sales process and what you need to do that. And then when we talk about the, the, the difference in the way you hire a salesperson and your, your, your process for that, and the way that you actually qualify candidates, not only I mean, you do assessments on candidates, you do assessment on their existing sales people to make sure this whole thing works together. Because it is so critical. I think there’s a there’s a lot of good in here and and we’re we’re running out of time here and I want to just make sure that if people are trying to get ahold of you, Walter, where where are they going to do that? Where are they going to be able to find you?
Um, so we’re in the transition mode, my my new website, my new brand isn’t on on the street. So they can go to Walter Crosby calm. Okay. And there’s plenty of ways on there they can go to litigate. They can look up Walter Crosby on LinkedIn. Yeah. And it’s it really starts with a convert, like how we met. Yeah. It’s like a 15 minute conversation is to figure out if we should keep talking. That’s all Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 1:04:21
Yeah. Well, that’s great. I was I was thinking to that I was watching an Andrew with his Michigan cup there. You guys are. It was funny when when I saw that, your your Detroit guy. Both of you guys are Michigan grads. It’s interesting. You’re there at the same time. It was funny when we initially connected on LinkedIn. I don’t know how the heck I saw Michigan, but you guys were there at the same time, too.
Yeah. I probably spent more time in the library than I did.
Andrew Cross 1:04:53
Well, I don’t think so. I doubt that. Maybe Sir. I don’t know what Charlie’s. These are a good time. Charlie’s you don’t have to pull the pretzel Bell, you know?
Damon Pistulka 1:05:11
Yeah. Well, that’s great.
Walter Crosby 1:05:13
Those were all like the library. You could go there and Steve’s diner, Steve.
Damon Pistulka 1:05:20
Money, you know, you guys went to the same school when you say a name, and the other person just laughs
Walter Crosby 1:05:27
your head. It’s one of the,
like, my guys that are part of my life. You know, from 30 years ago, over 30 years ago now, and I you know, that bond is their way. And Arbor in the movie, The Big Chill. I mean, that kind of speaks to how, yeah, that place? Yeah, yeah, sure. Back then, but
Andrew Cross 1:05:57
yeah, I mean, I moved out west 20 years ago. Go, you know, into Seattle and then our alumni club out there as you know, 12,000 members in the Seattle area, so second largest, which I never did the Alumni Association lived in Michigan, you know, I didn’t need to do that. But they, when I moved out, I was like, Oh my god, I couldn’t believe it. It’s like, everywhere you go, if I,
I would I, two weeks after I graduated, I was in New York City. And that’s immediately what I gravitated to. Was the U of M club in New York, right? Yeah. Vice. I was an officer, Vice President of the club and my best friend was president and you know, we organized activities. Yeah, good time, but it was all tied around. University machine. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 1:06:44
Yeah. I got one last question. How many that’s a big football stadium. Now. How many people is that hold
Andrew Cross 1:06:51
on, though, is 112
Damon Pistulka 1:06:54
and change? Oh god that’s big.
Andrew Cross 1:06:57
In COVID is going to be exciting. In what 60 years of consecutive sellout, 100,000 plus crowds, that’s going to end this year looks,
no end, but there’ll be an asterisk because there’s no football games that are going to be played. I don’t.
Andrew Cross 1:07:16
You’re right. Right. I don’t think there’ll be any.
Damon Pistulka 1:07:19
Yeah. Good. Good stuff. Well, I just want to thank you again, Walter. For everybody that’s listening to the roundtable. We’ve got Walter Crosby here with helix sales development. If you want to get ahold of him, Walter Crosby calm. Also check out the comments. I’m gonna put a link to his profile. And reach out to me if you if you can get ahold of him because I can. So we’ll put you in touch.
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. Always love the conversations.
Damon Pistulka 1:07:55
Walter Crosby 1:07:57