10 Jan The Value of Sales Assessments
Are you aware of the value of sales assessment? If not, this episode is for you.
In this week’s The Faces of Business episode, our guest speaker was Ryan Wicklum. Ryan is the Director of Business Development at Change Connect. Before this, he was the Owner of Tri-Peak Solutions. Ryan helps companies figure out the current state of their sales organization and help them answer the question “What’s next?” to grow their sales effectiveness.
The conversation of the episode started with Ryan sharing how he got into sales. He said that when he started out in college, he wanted to get into hotel management. However, during college, he had a family situation which is why he had to drop out of college.
But as soon as the situation ended, Ryan started to move towards his career goals. In this transition, Ryan said that he first worked at a company where he wanted to earn to pay his bills. However, after a few years, he decided that he wanted to settle and work for something like that.
This is when he came across a startup and started working there in sales. Moving on, Ryan talked about sales and the supply chain. He said that the process of sales assessments and operations is generally the same.
Moreover, he also added this saying that over 20 years ago, the sales process was not this systematic. He said that at that time, you were either a good salesman or you were not and there was no in-between.
After this, Ryan shifted the conversation to sales assessments and their value. He said that when you have a set sales assessment plan you can accomplish a set goal in terms of your next sale. Elaborating further about the sales process, Ryan said that when a salesman goes to a company, they have already researched the competitors as well.
Therefore, these salesmen have around 20 to 30 minutes to impress the client. This is why according to Ryan sales assessments are immensely important. Additionally, he also said that during all these processes, it is very important to act as your buyer wants.
This means that you have to work on the sales process in a way that your buyer acts. Moreover, you also have to be on the kind of platforms that your buyer exists. Consequently, this is why sales assessments are so essential according to Ryan.
The conversation ended with Damon thanking Ryan for his time.
Ryan Wicklum is the Director of Business Development at Change Connect. Before this, he was the Owner of Tri-Peak Solutions. Ryan was also the Senior Program Manager at InkSmith and the Manager of Business Solutions at The Owl Solutions.
Aside from this, Ryan was also the Supply Chain Manager at Arctic Wolf Network in 2019. Moreover, he held the role of Advisory Board Member – Additive Manufacturing Advisory Board (AMAB) before this. Ryan also worked at Clearpath Inc. for over 6 years and held various roles at the place.
Additionally, he has also been an Inventory Coordinator at Green tec and a Business Analyst at MKS. In his first role, he was the Shipping Supervisor/Customer Liaison/LX Sequencing Lead Hand at Magna International.
For his education, Ryan holds a Diploma in General Business from Conestoga College.
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The Value of Sales Assessments
The Exit Your Way Business Round Table Live Stream
sales, crm, people, company, buyer, assessment, employee, salespeople, ryan, meetings, point, selling, talk, conversations, buying, information, process, alignment, customer, relationship
Ryan Wicklum 00:04
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I’ve got Ryan Wickham here with me, Ryan, thanks so much for being here. Oh, David, it’s a pleasure, man. I appreciate you having me on. Yeah, man, it’s, it’s cool, because we’re gonna be talking today about the value of sales assessments.
And I really think that this is something that I love to be able to highlight with people. And, and just talk about a few of the things that we see, as you go in and do a sales assessment and what what a business can really understand by getting them and how that can help them go on forward. So it’s gonna be fun talking about that. 100%. Let’s do this. Cool. Yeah, yeah. So, Ryan, first of all, tell me a little bit about your background. I mean, because you didn’t start out and sales. But you’ve done a lot of sales work. Going on a career. It’s, it’s funny, I actually, when I started out, I was going to university, and I wanted to get into hotel and Food Administration.
My goal was to go to Whistler. That’s my ultimate goal. I want to get into ski hill, I wanted to get, you know, getting that kind of party environment. And then I had a family situation that that took place. So I dropped out of university and came home to take care of the bills and take care of that situation. And, and four years later, when, when the situation kind of, you know, came to a head, I realized I’ve got I’ve gone from the attempt in the midnight shift, but factory, you know, punch press. Yeah, so being a manager of a shift. And in the four years, so I was knee deep in the automotive industry at that point with, with Magna International. And it got I made a decision.
I thought Katie went back to school in Whistler was still calling my name. Yeah. And I thought, No, I’m sticking with automotive, I was there 13 years, and then realized that I didn’t want to do this anymore. I didn’t want the mandatory overtime. I didn’t want the rotating shifts. Yeah, I want to start a family. So I, I transitioned and and I joined a startup. So I went from being employee 5587 a magnet to be employee seven, at this robotic startup, while I was there six years. So I kind of had the the biggest spectrum of change from established, you know, cadenced, you know, solidified processes to know processes, and establishing the supply chain within this startup.
And I did that for six years. So in the first 20 years of my business career, I had two jobs. Yeah. And in the whole time, though, I thought, I always had that, that personality or want to get out I want to explore and I wanted to do more things. And I determined that transitioning to sales was well what I wanted to do. So I kind of like went from the supply chain and operations realm into sales. And honestly, it’s been, it’s been a bit of a ride, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve made mistakes. But it’s it’s amazing how, how just how different it is. But at the same time, it’s very similar.
You know, sales is very operational. There’s a lot of process behind it. And obviously, operations and supply chain, it’s process based. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s one of the things that I think and we’ll talk about this a little bit more is your operational background really has to help in the sales setting. Because that process foundation is so important, important to get a consistent sales result. 100% And one of the things that that, you know, I try to put forth when I talk to people is that the need for a playbook of some kind of your sales playbook or a customer experience playbook or an account management playbook is so drastically important.
Because as you add salespeople, if they’re doing that, if they will have the same goal, but they’re doing things differently. You know, you don’t really know how to how to assess them. You don’t know how to, you know, what do you how do you change them? Or do you want to change them? Yeah, what’s working, what’s not working. But if it’s constantly moving, as a sales manager, you’re looking at it and it’s you almost trying to kick a field goal through goalposts are moving?
Yeah, because there is no there’s nothing static, and there’s nothing that is solidified, established, and a playbook kind of does that playbook slows down the goalpost. Yeah, that’s for sure. And you got there’s a lot in there. Let’s just back up. Let’s just back up a second because you talk about process in sales. And this is one of the things that I think a lot of manufacturers have some challenge with because Because honestly they they are still a fair amount of the manufacturing base is still using people on the road talking to customers type of sales. And that from years ago and 20 years ago when when you know how when I was selling, manufacturing products there. No one talked about a playbook.
No one talked about sales process. You just had good salespeople that could either they could sell or they weren’t. And that’s how they succeeded or failed, right. And one thing you touched on in there, that’s so important is as, as we’ve developed, the sales skill set oversaw overall and what’s successful in sales, the the need for this process, underlying process to drive consistency amongst the whole team of salespeople to be able to measure has has gone from virtually non existent to almost a barrier to entry or a, a, you needed to get in again, and event anymore. 100%?
Well, we’re used to, you know, obviously, I’ve been in business 25 years. So I remember having conversations with salespeople from Magna. And, and being on the buying side, too. I’ve seen a lot of sales people trying to sell me things. Yeah. And it used to be that, you know, there was two considerations there was, you were either selling your product, or you’re selling yourself, right, if a salesperson had that kind of charisma. And and they could they could sell and the product was good. You know, you form that relationship.
And it was a almost like a bond. And it incurs a lot of long term relationship thinking, yeah, what’s happened now is that because of the transition to virtual sales, because of the pandemic, and for other reasons, too, like I think a lot of the situation is a lot of these buyers that used to work are now either retiring, or moving on to different careers, like myself, like I did. I’ve just 20 years now I’m in sales. But what’s happening is there’s a new breed of buyer. Yeah, that is being established, and they’re younger, they’re, they’re more tech savvy, they are, they’re perfectly willing to do more research ahead of time. So sales actually gets involved later in the sales cycle.
Yeah, than it used to. It used to be the sales would get involved, you know, 40% 42%. And now I’ve, you know, the latest stats say that it’s 5060 60% of the way through, so a buyer is already doing the journey all the way up to 56 to 60%. And then they’re realizing, okay, they’re doing the research into all different potential companies to work with. Yeah, and they’re inviting salespeople to come for these 20 minute meetings stacked upon each other, and is set criteria.
And there’s and they’re assessing people, the companies based upon the presentation, but also their website, because that’s the first thing that sings out about a company. So site now. Another actually gauging, you know, your 20 minutes that you’re given is, or 30 minutes, as the case might be, is actually your your entry point, to have further discussions. Because if you don’t impress them, the in the 2030 minutes, they’ve already done research into your competitors. Yeah, these meetings are not exploratory anymore. They’re more verification meetings, because they’ve already done all the research.
Yeah, this is, I’m gonna read a couple of notes down because you you bring up the again, there are several, just stellar points that you brought up here. First of all, the new breed of buyer and I talked about this a lot. I’ve been actually it’s, it’s started a couple of years ago, I was talking about this already. Even even pre pandemic, even as I think about it, the buying age now, it’s not people our age that are typically buying anymore, it’s people that are in their 20s and 30s. Right, those people grew up with a smartphone in hand. And every time they wanted something, they just gonna, you know, get the old phone, get find it on Google and go ahead and do what you’re going to do then.
And that has replaced the vast majority of people that are buying or there’s still some obviously some older folks in there, but they’re not nearly as many. And it it has just changed the landscape. And literally to the point that you could be an uncommon supplier. Yep, great product. And if your salespeople are not adapting to the way the buyer buys, you might lose the business just because you don’t have a good website even though the you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. 100% and the actual in the next step of that kind of line of thinking is envision the tools that they have at their disposal now.
Yeah, right. It used to be that you know, when I was buying, you know, I had an Excel sheet with all of my build materials. Yeah, it had options A B and C is where I could buy them from and the different pricing and I could gauge you know who to buy from, but now they have such there’s such a vast amount of information available. That you need to not only worry about what you’re what you’re selling now, but how you sold in the past and customer reviews, and you know, and actually in how they treat employees, you being a buyer can go on glasses store, and they can check information about, you know, what the employees think about working with you.
So if there’s negative reviews on Glassdoor about, you know, Company ABC, you know, Company ABC is in trouble, because nobody’s gonna want to work with them. Yeah. Because the assumption is that if, if it’s bad to work there, it’s gonna be bad to work with. Yeah, that’s a great point. If it’s glad, if it’s bad to work there, it’s probably going to be bad to work with, right?
I gotta write that down. That is, that is so great. It’s yours, man. Yeah, thank you. Thank you, cuz that because I mean, really, it is it is a 360 degree view of companies anymore as from a new breed of buyers perspective, right? Because you can be you can not show enough community involvement, you can, or show too much community involvement, or the wrong type of involvement and stuff that is, this all makes a difference now. And they they buyers expect not they buyers expect that they can find out a lot about your company, both on your website, and they and they understand too that your website, you control the information on there, right.
So they’re going to look for third party places of verification, where you can go social media, like you said Glassdoor would be another one, you know, what kind of reviews do you have on Google? What kind of reviews do you have on if you’re on a Facebook kind of thing? What kind of interactions are you doing on your social media? Platforms? Oh, they can they can mobilize? Damon, that’s that’s the issue is that is it? You know, not only that, but they can mobilize forces so quickly, but by social media, that, you know, I could be as a seller, I could have the most pristine presentation.
And I could answer all the questions, do all my research, and give them a generally a very positive experience. But if, you know if a colleague of mine goes on social media and and says something wrong politically, and there’s no way that they’re gonna, they’re gonna buy from me. Yeah, normally, I actually you control yourself, you having to look around and making make sure that everyone else is in alignment to and it really is all the leverage has transitioned from used to be the leverage that was with a seller, because they couldn’t control the narrative. And the leverage is completely with the buyer now because they have research and money.
Yeah, right. And, and it’s amazing how you almost have to cater the delivery of the message and the cadence of the message to, to the buyer persona. And there’s a lot of, you know, a lot more impetus on finding out a buyer personas and customer avatars, all these things, because it can’t be the same messaging for every single entry point to accompany. You’re gonna have you know, you have the line between entry point executives or directors or, you know, kind of a, we call the call facing masters so to speak, but you have it’s different personalities do. Is your buyer introverted or extroverted? Are they are they very technical? Are they? Are they charismatic?
Like, you have to really cater every single message to every single persona, and do a good job of aligning, aligning the messaging with the receiver. Yeah, yeah, that’s huge. That’s huge. And because it has to speak to him, and again, it’s because they, they they hold the cards. Absolutely. Yeah. We got David Chrysler stop by for that’s Thanks, David. Great scene this afternoon. So we got just a lot in this lot in this because backing up a little bit when you were talking about these 20 minute meetings. That’s a That’s a first that I’ve heard of that. I’m not in that in that type of business anymore.
Where you’ve got multiple suppliers, usually that you’re going head to head, but man, that really changes the game. Oh, sure. That’s because you’ve transitioned, like the way that that obviously, I think we grew up doing business was more on the personality side. And, you know, if someone were to come to see me, for example, when I was buying, I’d have someone arrange a meeting, they come in, Mr. Samples, potentially, we go for lunch, we form a relationship, you know, and, and then because they’d be looking to kind of, it’s almost a sign of respect that you got, you know, out of your your seat, got on a plane or drove to my facility.
Yeah. And came to see me. And that’s kind of going away because not only is the pandemic taking away a lot of that transportation, but a lot of the buyers don’t even want that. Like then then they want you to come visit because first off, there is no office to visit a lot of cases. And secondly, they’re either working from home or they have other Things That Go and there’s so many more considerations that they have, especially from a supply chain standpoint, there’s more problems than there used to be.
Yeah, with, with, with the supply chain shortages with, you know, employment shortages, you know, in Asia and, and Europe and parts of the US and all these different obstacles that a supply chain person has to overcome, to have materials come into the facility. You had you coming in wanting to spend time with them that that isn’t necessarily conducive to getting getting a decision made?
They didn’t want that. Yeah, it almost almost become an annoyance if you if you show up. Yeah. And that, that you’re you’re 100% there because I think that as, as we’ve tried to get more efficient in our businesses, and expected more from our people just because of global competition, and the desire to run better companies that it definitely has limited the ability to take the time to build those kinds of relationships with a supplier. And don’t be don’t get me wrong, there are situations in which you need, you still need to make those relationships.
For example, if you are a, a cybersecurity company, and you are and your main relationship is AWS or Microsoft, or whoever it is that you’re using to as your cloud based support, then ultimately, you need to form a great relationship, because any any stoppage, any interruption to that service, and your company goes down. Yeah. So if your bill of materials is essentially as one, then yes, you’re going to make to take the time to point those relationships. Whereas if you’re buying 500 things, and they go into a robot or a car, or anything like that, for sure, like your you need to assess, you know, what are your strategic accounts? And what are your strategic suppliers?
And then you you know, then those people selling some those products will get more time, obviously. Yeah, because 40 interruptions. Yeah, well, and part of this, too, is, we haven’t talked about it much yet. And we’ll get into it as we talk about sales playbook, and just the sales assessments. But this really, what you’re saying what you’re talking about the buyers journey, now, the 20 minute meetings, I mean, and then you talk about the the critical nature of the component, they’re talking about how much time though they’re willing to spend with you to build a relationship. Man, when you think of that and put that together.
If I’m selling common items, like sheet metal, wood, we know bulk wood, product, fasteners, plastic, you know, anything like that, the importance of being able to sell that almost like an E commerce, I’m buying a, you know, a teddy bear off of Amazon. If they know what they want, is almost undeniable. The advantage of that? Well, you have to recognize, you know, it almost like if you don’t know your role, it’s like fasteners, and you have a great ecommerce site. And they take facile, for example, like not to say go too fast or an awkward fastball. But with fastball, there’s a great site you have every single kind of fast you could possibly want.
And they’ll come deliver it for you. Yeah, it’ll do the VMI. So when, if you but if you try to deepen that relationship, we try to talk to purchasers, and you try to think what else is there that we can get in? Ultimately, it’s just going to go against you? And eventually they’ll, they’ll go somewhere else? Yeah, right. So you kind of want to know your role and find your niche in that bill of materials. And if you can recognize that it is, you know, somewhat limited the effect that you have on them. If you had a shortage of any kind, then just understand that embrace that, get in get out, and then get that consistent delivery.
Don’t give the reason to go anywhere else. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you’re you’ve mentioned one thing, no shortage, and that’s your opportunity, your opportunities to build a relationship there to solve the problems when they have problems as a salesperson or customer service. You know what demon, I’ve always thought that sales is, as I say, it’s half doctor at half trail guide. Because ultimately, you are the first half of your your time, you’re solving problems, you take the pain away. And the second half is that you’re guiding them to a solution. Mm hmm. Right. So if you have that mindset, where you’re what role are you playing at a certain time?
Are you the doctor? Are you the shell guide? Yeah, and if you get them wrong, then you know it’s not gonna work out for you. But if you align it, and you act, the right role, the right time with the right people. It actually it actually goes really, really well. And there’s not a lot of interruptions, and it’s pretty smooth. But yeah, I think salespeople You know, standard is should you just taking pain away? Whatever pain it is, even if, if you have a sales meeting and you asking, Okay, what’s hurting right now, Ryan? And if I answer it, the person might answer. Well, I know Ryan, you want to talk about what you’re selling, but we have big problems of finance right now.
Then I’m gonna I’m gonna drop the initial inquiry of my reason for the meeting, I might help them find a finance person. Yeah, right. Or I might help get them some help. Because ultimately, that’s the quickest way to get from A to B. A is current state and B as trusted advisor. Yeah, right. Yeah. If I’m not selling a financial service, that’s okay. Because I’ve taken pain away. And, and they’ll remember that I’ve been a doctor. Yeah. Right. And I’ve been that trusted person that they can go back to for other other questions. And eventually, eventually, it’ll get around to what I sell.
Yeah, exactly. And you’ve, you’ve helped them through those problems. So it’s absolutely it’s a they remember that people remember that when you take the time to do what’s right. And, and really help them 100% Yeah. That’s awesome. So So it’s interesting to me that you wanted to go into hospitality and and be up in Whistler. Its place I love it. Yeah, one of the most fantastic places I’ve found in North America to ski even though I’ve skied a lot in Colorado, and, and other places. It’s, it’s just, of course, here in Washington, too. But that’s just a fantastic place.
And what drew you there was, so I grew up in a small town of twin 50 People in northern Ontario here in Canada, okay. And it to me, it just seemed like a place I wanted to go. And, and I think I always knew, Okay, I’m gonna make some mistakes. And I really would make him in Whistler, then, you know, north of north of Toronto. So I figured that that was the P appeal, the appeal was, I kind of want to increase my scope. Because I grew up, you know, a 20 minute bus ride from my school, and then does and then with a high school, which was across the road from a public school.
And I had the same friends since grade three. And I played, I played sports with the same same people all the time. I kind of wanted to just let loose and go somewhere where no one knew me. Mm hmm. And I could just explore it because that was, I figured one day, I was gregarious and outgoing, extroverted. And I thought maybe, you know, hospitality was the way to go. So it’s funny how, you know, that situation I referred to previously changed the trajectory of who I was, because looking at it now, you know, if I was in hospitality, where would I be? Yeah, it’d be in sales.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, you ended up kind of probably in a similar place. It’s just a little different geographical location. So you’re Are you a skier? Then? You know, it’s funny. I grew up a boat five minutes from too big for Northern Ontario snow. Yes. And I think I’ve been on skis three times. Okay. But But I just love the idea. Like, I’m a cool weather guy. You know, I love the crisp air. And, yeah, I thought maybe I’ll go out there. Me, I’ll learn to ski. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll get it for free as I Yeah.
Right. So I just love the idea. Like, I love to cook I love I love food. So it seemed like a great place to start my business career was to go out there and kind of spread my wings, so to speak. And then I ended up, you know, within, I think it was a seven day transition from being going to my second year of university in hotel and Food Administration. And then, you know, being back at being a temp in the midnight shift. Yeah, at a punch press, you know, making 850 an hour. And on a midnight shift to wasn’t even on a glorious shift was a minute shift.
So, yeah, you know, it just it’s funny how life takes you a certain path. And you just, you do it, and you learn from it, and you make your mistakes, and you you celebrate your wins, and and you move on? Oh, yeah. And I think, and I, the more people I talked to, and the more life I live, that, it just all those little things and that, you know, sometimes it’s a real pain in the butt, you know, the situations we have to go through. But when you look back at it, and you go, would I really change it?
You know, exactly. That’s the thing. And I talked to so many people and I think about that, you know, because we’ve all had bad things happen in our life as you get older. It just isn’t inevitable, right? But would you want to change them and I look back and in my life and I talked to other people and most of them say yeah, I kind of stunk, but I don’t think I’d want to change it because I wouldn’t be right here today.
Well, I think change is inevitable. And I think it’s just a matter of if it’s, you know, seismic or tectonic, right? I think it can point some change happens gradually and there’s almost like a tectonic shift. as you go, and some things are, are seismic and they happen instantaneously. Yeah, and you either, you know, so you have to kind of gradually change your path or your path blows up. And you figure out another path to Bliss, right? So, yeah, but change is inevitable, I think if, if I change, it just gets more only you almost become salmon kind of upstream, right?
Whereas if you just embrace the fact that change is gonna happen, and you kind of ride the wave or embrace the current, we’re using that analogy, I think you’ll get to the spots that you intended to be. Just keep learning, keep it keep living. And I think that eventually, the lessons that you learn will shape who you’re meant to be in the first place. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s true. And I think, I don’t know, it’s, it’s, the more I read about personal development, the more I think about I don’t get on this much, because I can go on.
And while I think that’s true, I think it’s true, I think there is there, if we, if we have a general idea of where we want to go and keep focusing on that general idea, we’re going to the path is going to change, you know, as we as we keep focusing in on where we really want to go and as we get a little older and really understand what that looks like. We do end up there in the end. Well, anyway, my father once told me said, you said, right, it’s okay to regret that’s natural, that’s human. The problem is when you dwell is when you dwell on something. That’s where you get bogged down, and the negativity kind of seeps in.
But it’s okay to think, well, you know, why wish I didn’t do that, and then move on to the next thing, right, and learn from it. Because I think mistakes. Mistakes are almost like, if you dwell in it, it stays a mistake. If you if you, if you couldn’t move on, the mistake becomes an opportunity to learn. Yeah, right. But the mistake will stick with you. And you always think, well, I shouldn’t have done that. If you keep dwelling on it, it can just kind of eats away at you. Whereas if you if you regret, you learn you move on you apologize if you need to.
And then and then that’s it. Right. Yeah. On to the next thing. Yeah, wise words, man wise words. Because it is that you know, it’s always so I because it is mistakes are gonna happen. And if they’re made, you know, made with good intentions, yeah, you just gotta learn from them. Move on, move on. So, I’m coming back again to when you started helping people with sales assessments. And this is something that I think is, is really pretty interesting in the fact that a lot of companies have not even have never considered what a sales assessment could do for them.
Right, and, and how it can help. So when, and we talked about this, I believe, before we got on, or as we started here, I don’t quite remember. But the fact that while sales is constantly changing, just like manufacturing or supply chain, or logistics, or software technology, no matter what your industry, you’re in, or medical. Yep, we often look at sales as a static thing. Yeah. And it’s like, we have salespeople, and we’re selling stuff.
How do sales assessments really help you to change your viewpoint of that? And and kind of view it as something that we’re working on, like a manufacturing process? Yeah, well, I think the reason that you would do a sales assessment is to, if you understand that you need to change. If you don’t want to change, then you’re not going to assess anything, you think everything’s cool, you’re keep the way it is. Right. And, and I think that’s a trap that some companies get into, because they, it’s doing relatively well, they don’t have too much in the way of disruption.
They’ve had some generally positive feedback from employees and from customers. So they’re kind of cool with the way they’re at and who is status quo. I think the companies that that want to almost get into this, this vibe of continuous improvement, the entire set of changes inevitable, like you said, and they’re going to, to embrace it. And I think that the if you look at the typical kind of change management process, you have you know, self assessment kind of happens in that first phase where you’re preparing your organization for change.
And you you’re the one of the biggest, you know, kind of byproducts is understanding the need for change. And the real end to really kind of back that need for change up you need to assess what current state is. Right? And then you go further you get to your you craft your vision, you plan for change your implementation plan, etc. But you need to have a good definition of what current state is first. I think that’s where asceticism really does. You know, Good job because it allows you to map out your journey and map your decision points and what resources you need, etc.
And as as, as humans who contribute, obviously to company’s success. You, we don’t we spend a lot of time focusing on what’s right. But we don’t want to face what’s wrong. Yeah, and what’s wrong is not discussed and an assessment of anything in this case, you know, a sales org, will unearth the things that are wrong. And from a from a standpoint of process or strategy or people, but also from an outlook standpoint, and oftentimes you find misalignment between what people think success is or what a sales or does, or the process involved, or, or how to do things.
And I think that, you know, if your, your frontline people think one thing, and your director thinks another thing, and your VP thinks another thing, doing a current state sales assessment, will unearth, you know, who thinks what, and why. And it kind of allows you to get, you know, unearth those things that need to get the pain, yes. Once you determine the pain points, then you can kind of use them as an opportunity to engage your employees into finding solutions. And there’s two massive benefits.
The first one is vulnerability and leadership. Because it is a pain point involved and leadership says, Yeah, you know, what, we need some help, that shows that they’re human and the distance or the perceived distance between the two positions, lessons. And the second benefit is employee empowerment, because you’re basically saying, Okay, we recognize that there’s a need for this, there’s a pain point, leadership says, Yeah, we need some help. And if you can give your employees enough enough empowerment or autonomy to help with the change, then that’s that’s a massive step. And
I think that yeah, involving them in the self assessment in the first place, shows that, you know, you give a crap about what they think. Yeah. Yeah. How many times do you go in and sales assessment and find that you get about, if you ask people what they think about, you know, the company or sales? Or that the, the answers you get are aligned? Well, how many times you come in and see that they’re aligned to all 0%? Like this, there’s always at least one thing. And usually, you know, quite a number of things that are different. And there’s many reasons why, like, ultimately, there are less situations and a lot of aspects of sales, where, say, a VP of Sales doesn’t want to show certain things.
But but if you’re if you’re doing this full, you know, pardon my phrasing, but open kimono. Oh, yeah. Assessment, then those things are unearth very quickly. Yeah. And also, and it that’s part of the vulnerability that I mentioned, if you basically selfie, if VP of sales or sales directors says, Yes, you know, we know that this is not in alignment with our stated process or our playbook, as an example. Then it shows Okay, they’re, they’re vulnerable, they admit they that they were wrong. They admit there’s a gap. And that needs to be this this kind of come together moment where they build a bridge together.
Because ultimately, it’s your frontline people that are going to be performing the process. Yeah. So they’re not there’s no full buy in, especially in today’s day and age, when you have these massive, you know, amount of open sales wrecks, and there’s there’s turnover. So, you know, sales, employee retention, and sales, employee recruitment, become become such a massive aspect of these assessments. You know, you don’t want to tick off people that are going to be performing sales, because you might not find somebody readily. Yeah. Right. So involve them, empower them, give them autonomy, listen to them.
Right. And that’s why when I do an assessment, I want everybody involved there. Because it’s not just someone throwing down some things, they think there’s an actual conversation involved. Well, David talks a little bit about David crisis here, common, again, about vulnerability and leadership is huge. And I agree 100% And when you look at companies that understand this and make that transition from top down leadership to bottom up leadership, and and really empowering those people that the changes they they can make are really pretty staggering. 100% Yeah.
And I think that one of the things that’s really important, is, understand that a sales assessment that’s done properly, is wide ranging. And it’s not just you know, it’s not just about alignment, because you’re not just saying, Hey, does our sales work align with our mission values, goals? Yeah, etc. You Looking at things and typically there’s four buckets that you’re looking at, you’re looking at strategy people process and technology. And you’re assessing all four.
And you’re assessing all like, you’re basically saying, Okay, you asked, you know, whatever questions, let’s say you have, you know, 4050 questions, and they’re separated into four categories. You’re trying to find out. Okay, what are the things that need to need to get fixed? Right now? What are phase two? What are phase three? But obviously, you probably going to nurse some pretty big fires. For example, if a company doesn’t have a, a CRM, or is using the CRM properly, then typically, you know, what you’ll find is you’ll find that there’s a bunch of information in a bunch of different places.
Yeah. And what makes it worse is when an employee might leave, and they take with them a lot of the information. Yeah, and then, you know, you go to to re up with the customer, the customer says, Well, I told that that employee six months ago that we’re moving on, and we weren’t, we’re gonna work with your company more. Well, that affects all things that affects, you know, you have perceived gap in your pipeline, because you think that that’s a, that’s recurring revenue, that’s now gone.
Yeah. Right. And it affects the person in that territory and affects people’s sales, compensation and affects operational aspects, because you have the, you know, the sales part of SEO SLP planning. If now, your pipeline says that you are now you know, 10% less, because the company dropped you, then you need 10% less resources, theoretically, which means the purchasing needs to know that or a 10%, less of something. Yeah. So it affects all the operational aspects of inventory on hand and human resources on the underside of the operations team.
Right. So effects, the sales decisions that are made, and the the holes in the sales org, or gaps that are that are there for filling, have this trickle down effect in the entire company. Yeah. And I know that people want to hear this, but everyone in the company does sales. Yeah, yes. It’s a very unpopular opinion, because they don’t think that some people have a stigma of sales that there’s, you know, the sales acts a certain way. And they, and they think certain things, but ultimately, it’s all connected. Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s for sure. And you just brought up one thing, and I want to say hello to Matthew, thanks for being here today, Matthew.
And he also says he’s not using a CRM property. It’s funny, you put a comment up about the CRM, because, right man, that is such a great example there have something that the importance of using the right technology, because and we talked about e commerce, we talked about other things earlier, but the companies that are really leveraging good technology to help their salespeople make it easier for their salespeople, and their customer service people, any customer facing people have much better higher quality conversations with their customers and prospects in my mind.
Sure. And how do you think that that that is just that simple step of having a decent CRM working, helps most companies when you when you, over your opinion, and what you’ve seen? Yeah, so I think that when assessing the viability or availability of a CRM, I think you’re looking at, you’re looking at five things, you’re looking at intelligence, enablement, engagement, analytics, and, and coaching.
Because all those things contribute to a successful use like you are Yeah, not only is a CRM can yes, they can, they can you can use them just to enable or or make a process, you know, Cadence then and consistent. But there’s many things you can do with them. You know, you can have you can store documents there, for example, yeah, and that way, they’re there right at the ready, during during a to put into a an email sequence. You can use it for email automation, you can use it for reporting, you use it for all these things, because the alternative to a CRM is, is other it’s one of two things either on this side on the it’s a part of an ERP.
Or it’s Excel. Yeah, or another database, Excel and Outlook, basically, because it’s just sitting in your email or Yeah, yeah. And if you’re doing if you’re doing if you’re using that kind of method, then it’s not live. It’s not vibrant. It has no real kind of relevance. Because, you know, you can’t really take that you can take the reporting, or the information and create a report, but it’s more of a snapshot Yeah, in time. And you can’t really use it to assess performance because So much has happened between the development of the report, and the actual meeting between a sales manager and a sales employee. Yeah, things have changed dramatically, potentially.
So to have that CRM in place and have that centralized customer database and, and, and create that engagement with, with both your your customer and with your team is really important. I think that to really, if you if you can show how valuable having a good CRM is, you’ll get a lot more buy in from your team. And they’ll they’ll put the information that you need as a manager or as a sales leader in the CRM and a lot, they’ll do a lot more updating of their Yeah, sales calls, and they’ll documents information, that if they’re not engaged, they, they just won’t do that.
And then you’ll struggle because everything becomes manual, and becomes like a very archaic and very fictional process. Yeah. And it’s you make just a plethora of great points in there because, and I was just grinning, because man, you this, that the the solid gold information is flowing from you. And I, you don’t even realize how much there’s coming out probably. But it’s cool. Because this is this is one of the things that I’ve come to realize over the last year or so talking to people about different systems around CRM kind of applications.
And they’re wide ranging, obviously, but you know, because when you look at, hey, I’m a, say, I manufacture street sweepers, I have a much different customer support and sales support requirements through my distribution channels and my repairs, compared to somebody that’s selling straight up a product. But what these systems give you is intelligence, and and in real time intelligence, because if Damon knows this customer great, but Damon gets hit by a bus or your demons off with his family doing vacation or can’t talk, someone else can answer the phone. And they can go, Ryan, I see you just placed an order with us.
Do you have a question about that order? Do you here’s this piece of are you talking about this piece of equipment you bought? How can I help you with that? Because I’ve got a manual here for it. It’s just like, man, that they when you put them together, right? It gives you such an advantage that helps your sales and your customer service team. Create that experience that that really separates you completely from your competitors. Yeah. And it’ll be perfectly frank. And I think that, you know, it’s important to kind of be, you know, full disclosure about this this point is, is that, you know, I’m in the midst of transitioning myself.
Yeah. So I’m pretty confident that you know, what I left when I kind of, you know, made my final foray into into our CRM is a good snapshot of all of the people that I was talking to, yeah, information is their opinions are there like I said, Okay, listen, this is a good, good candidate, back entity. They know what stage of the sales process that they’re in. I got as much information as I could through assessments and through discovery calls. So when someone comes in after me, and they want to talk to, you know, company, ABC, and to see the company, ABC, it’s all outlined there. 200 employees, their revenue is 10 million.
They, you know, here’s what I talked to the director of sales, here’s what he said, Here’s his pain points now. Right? It just, it’s almost like a respect that, yeah, when you do leave a company, you’re leaving it in good in good hands. And if you especially if you can make if you can make that one step further. And you can make introductions, as you as you leave a company? Or if you don’t, you know, like you mentioned about the bus number. Yeah, if I get hit by a bus, and I didn’t leave kind of, of my ebullition, then what would they do? Yeah, they have to kind of have the same conversations over because I didn’t update my CRM properly. Yeah, because I did.
They were in a good spot. And I was pretty happy that I could leave them. I mean, that’s awesome in that position, as opposed to kind of giving them an alert lurch way, when I when I resigned. And that’s, that’s a great example. It’s a great example, Ryan and David David just really reiterates what I was saying, he said, We need a bigger shovel and grab that gold. These be nice, I appreciate that. Thanks so much. And it’s funny too, because Matthew said something about his goal is to use his CRM to keep all the client info in one place. So if they can’t reach their normal point of contact, they still get help from an informed staff, man, right.
That’s what that’s what I really have seen is like, man, and you gave a great example because you’re moving on and doing something else that you know, people can just pick right up where you left off and not have those have to have all those conversations because on the customer side, it’s like, Hey, I don’t really want to have have these conversations again, I have to get my work done and get my business going just like I did the day before. Well, and it goes back to those 20 minute meetings, right? If you already have these, you know, let’s use 20 minutes as as a kind of a number that I think is relevant, but it might be 3040, whatever it is, but you have a lot less time than you used to.
So if a company that you are representing has to go back and have the same conversation, the buyer might the buyer might just say, Listen, like, I’ve already moved on. Yeah, I you know, I did the research, I bought your competitor. Yeah, right. So there’s lot of, you know, bridges burned blown away. And I think you want to be respectful when you when you do lead, and part of respecting your position as any kind of sales employee or a sales leader is updating a CRM, and it’s not just the employee. It’s also the the sales management, because feedback is given using the CRM to develop reporting. And if the reports are in there, to, to use as as learning tools, for example.
Or if if a sales leader works with the marketing team, to get a refresh of the white papers or other collateral that are in the CRM, you create more effectiveness for your team. Yeah. Right. If if a salesperson has to go through and dig through the company, artifacts, or, you know, basically the proverbial basement of a company to find white papers and case studies, and, and customer testimonials, then it becomes a lot more difficult. But if it’s in his CRM, and it’s it’s readily available, I can have a conversation with you right now. And I can bring up some white papers that I’ve yeah, I’ve established. Right.
And that, that it shows credibility, and it shows preparation. I think a lot of buyers respect that, that they’ll get the information that they requested, you know, readily as opposed to having to wait hours, days, weeks. Yeah. For that information. Yeah. Because again, it’s just like, the best. The, in these cases, many times, it’s who’s ever the most top of mind, are the people I can get, or whoever gets the answer first, obviously, is going to get the business and a lot of that plays true in almost any industry, even with terribly expensive purchases, if there’s competition and 100%. And, and it’s all about, you know, it boils down to alignment.
Everything does and not just alignment in like department alignment, where there’s more of like a vertical alignment, but the horizontal alignment between your your, you know, your process indicators, your KPIs, your financial indicators, like these are all things that are in alignment to and in the CRM or anything that any part of your tech stack, whether it be CRM, or email automation, or whatever it is, needs to, you know, submit that alignment and not fight it.
Right? Yeah. Oh, man, we could talk a long time because we just talked about a couple little topics in the whole sales assessment process. But man, it is really been great to talk to you. Just because Ryan, it’s such a wealth of knowledge in this and I’m really excited to, to get to know you more, see what’s see what’s on the next when you can, when you can announce that to us.
And also just understand more about watch how you’re going to help the next companies do what they need to do in their sales organizations. Because, man, it’s it’s very apparent listening to you that you’ve you’ve gone through a lot of these assessments and you understand how to diagnose and what pieces to to adjust in the sales organization. Right. And I encourage everybody I know that we just touched on some things and and, you know, because the conversation kind of flowed that way.
But I encourage everybody reach out on LinkedIn, I’d be happy to, to connect you for conversation. If companies if people have a question specifically about a certain, a certain part of a self assessment or you want to know more about the theory behind it or the practice. Yeah, I’d be happy to have conversations. I love people. So I’d be happy to do so. Very cool. Well, thanks, Ryan. And we got we got Matthew says says, Thanks, man. We appreciate listen. Thanks, Matt. And and it’s so awesome to have you David. Thanks for being here today. Everyone else that was listening didn’t comment.
Thanks so much for being here. Ryan. Wicklund, talking about the value of sales assessments. Thanks so much for being here, man. It’s a pleasure, man. Anytime? Yeah, awesome. Well, if someone wants to get a hold of you, Ryan, it is get a hold of you on LinkedIn reach out to connect with Ryan Ryan Whitlam wi CK Lum. Right and, and connect with him on LinkedIn and you will not be disappointed. I appreciate that. I appreciate that. David, listen, have a great one. And oh, yeah.
Anytime. You bet. Thanks so much, everyone. All right. Just hold on for a second. We’re gonna sign off for now and we’ll be back again Thursday. And man, can you believe it already? Next week is the week before Christmas are the week of Christmas isn’t it actually the 25th is on Saturday or something like it’s crazy or yeah I don’t even know it’s so crazy to me anymore but Thanks so much everyone and we’ll be back again on Thursday