09 Sep Using Curiosity to Improve Sales
Are you using curiosity to improve your sales results?
Listen to learn how to jumpstart your sales with curiosity, guest host Gail Robertson, Chief Curiosity Officer, & I for this MFG eCommerce Success show where we are talking with Wesleyne Greer about how sales leaders can develop salespeople that use curiosity in the sales process to build better relationships and generate more sales.
Wesleyne helps sales managers in the science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing fields develop comprehensive training programs and sales processes to build dynamic sales teams who easily reach their target every month. Wesleyne applies her experience as a salesperson selling complex equipment and chemicals and a chemist to give sales leaders the guidance and support necessary to hire the right people, implement sound sales processes, and lead high-performing sales teams.
Damon introduces the guest host, Gail Robertson, and Wesleyne Greer, the guest speaker, to the audience. He, then, quickly turns to ask Wesleyne to talk about the transition from being a research chemist to sales leaders training. She discloses that she was a research chemist. Her curiosity to understand more led her into sales. Since sales were her passion, she quickly made up to top global sales manager. Moreover, when she started, there was hardly any training in this sector.
Wesleyne argues that to develop our sales teams and sales organization, we have to guide salespersons on each step. It is important to develop processes and systems to cater to the needs of the business, unlike the needs of the people “currently in the seat.”
Gail praises Wesleyne for her knowledgeability. However, she brings to note a critique about “the dreaded CRM.” She says that the CRM is developed for sales, not for merely filling it out. Wesleyne explains it in general and to Gail, in particular, that salespeople usually underrate the utility of a CRM. Its usability is ensured when it is used to maintain proper notes, schedules, agendas, follow-ups, and coming projects. She asserts, “If you’re not using a CRM, you’re not honoring the process.” Similarly, she discriminates between the process and purpose of the CRM which is conversions and sales.
Gail finds Wesleyne reflections brilliant. According to her, it is curiosity. She wants all sales managers to pay heed to them. Damon thinks using a CRM can be so much more effective. Moreover, it can help one “make deeper connections with” customers. Wesleyne further adds that she is a sales consultant. Her job demands her to “take that curiosity in sales.” It can help anyone who wants “to learn and want to hear from your customers.”
Wesleyne explains that we can use the CRM in several wonderful cases. When we are in B-to-B sales, selling is complex. She describes some features of a complex sale. It has multiple decision-makers and a long sales cycle extending a couple of weeks. Likewise, in B-to-B, there is complex buying, where a lot of people are involved. The chair authorized to approve budgets might not find time to oblige. We crucially need an “internal champion” who could “bat for us.”
Damon is impressed by Wesleyne’s flawless approach and refers to absent Curt’s distinctive remarks: “Take a moment of silence there.” Wesleyne acknowledges that the C-Suite executives are busy in multiple operations that they need high-level bullet points. She elaborates on the mechanism of the buying process in a corporate organization. To consider a company to do business with, the executives are handed a bullet list, not the complete content. Then come our internal champions and a team of influencers. The influencers would not break the ice. It is always us who talk to them. So, the internal champions convince the influencer. When it comes to sales, we need to be curious about “What is our target market? Who are we talking to? Are we talking to the right people? Are we talking to the decision maker? Or are we talking to the internal champion? And then who are those influencers?”
Wesleyne shares the best recipe to enhance sales. To her, it is all about changing our mindset. She advises stepping into customers’ worlds to assess their needs; talking to them about themselves. The more knowledge we have about them, the better we sell. She recommends that the salespeople practice the art of active listening; start with a nice, open-ended question; never interrupt them; build trust, so we understand their challenges, and who can help them achieve their goals. Wesleyne sums up the most important and the biggest challenges. She teaches people by giving them the right steps and then helping them work through those challenges.
Gail aptly describes the whole talk on sales as a “meta moment.” Meanwhile, Damon invites Wesleyne’s comments on the keys to aligning sales and marketing teams. In her view, both teams are formed to achieve the same goal; sales. She indicates that lack of communication is one of the challenges. We train sales teams to manage the customer. They deal with people; they have to manage operations. They have to understand marketing. It is the responsibility of the sales team to communicate with the marketing team and inform them of feedback. This feedback is very important in devising company policy, because “everything falls into alignment.”
Gail says that he has “done both marketing and been more on the sales.” The teams must be taught why it is important. She asks Wesleyne to narrate to the audience her story “that shows maybe you know how a sales technique.” She tells that making a memorable impression is crucial. Brand awareness and recognition need a consistent marketing approach. We join pieces to form a comprehensive plan to build brand awareness and attract potential customers. This plan might bear fruit either in six months or six years. Rest assured, it works. She says that a company’s goal is to develop its sales process and define the role of every individual, so it “leads to profitability.” With this practice, management becomes relatively easy.
She clarifies one of the ambiguities in the sales process. She says that a know-it-all attitude causes more harm than any good. In her view, “breaking things down into the minutest possible way” is the best practice. If we focus on minute details, “our profitability will increase five- or ten-fold all the way up.” She shares the key to a good sales process.
To Wesleyne, breaking things down and being curious to know the whereabouts of the team’s top and bottom performers allow the sales manager to devise a better sales process. She believes that a sales manager should spend 80% of their time coaching their team. If people are unavailable in person, the managers should conduct online coaching sessions. Good sales managers are good observers. They always take notes. They decide the agenda of the meeting, ensure its best outcome, and are keen to follow up. They listen to the salespeople’s calls and try to understand their problems.
While wrapping up the entire discussion, she says that selling, being curious, asking more questions, and stepping into the customer’s world are hard nuts to crack because these things are unnatural. She says that the “small steps” she shared today, should be worked up in four weeks: her comprehensive plan is a “behavior-based skill.” Wesleyne believes the moment we “decide to change, to implement, we are going to see our sales increase.” She concludes that we have “got to change those behaviors, so we can increase sales.”
Wesleyne, an edgy sales strategist, helps sales managers in the science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing fields develop comprehensive training programs and sales processes to build dynamic sales teams who easily reach their quota each month. Wesleyne applies her experience as a salesperson selling complex equipment and chemicals and a chemist to give sales leaders the guidance and support necessary to hire the right people, implement sound sales processes, and lead high-performing sales teams.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Alcorn State University.
Gail, Chief Curiosity Officer, is the CEO and Founder of GailNow. Her curiosity led her to be a journalist. She of a keen observer who believes in curiosity which has aided her in recruiting, closing sales, and fundraising. It is also what distinguishes her as a valuable marketing strategist.
She completed her Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University.
About the Manufacturing eCommerce Succes Series
The Manufactuing eCommerce Success Series shares insight on topics from talented people in manufacturing. We highlight people and share information to help manufacturers embrace technology, complete their digital transformation, and generate sales from traditional and ecommerce channels. Curt Anderson and Damon Pistulka host the Manufacturing eCommerce Success Series Fridays at 10:32 Pacific Time.
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Using Curiosity to Improve Sales
sales, people, questions, salespeople, curiosity, crm, marketing, problem, organization, talk, kurt, meeting, sales manager, customer, person, wesleyan, process, important, challenge, champion
Damon Pistulka, Gail Robertson, Wesleyne Greer
Damon Pistulka 00:05
All right, everyone, welcome once again, it is Friday, and it is the manufacturing ecommerce success show. I am one of the CO hosts Damon Pistulka. And the other co host, the guy with the fabulous hair. Kurt Anderson is not here today. He’s traveling. So we have guest host, co host, Gail Roberson with us today. And we’re going to be talking with Wes lean rear about using curiosity in sales. So I’m happy. So Gail, how are you doing today?
Gail Robertson 00:40
I am great. I am actually house and dog sitting and I’m on the lake. So I get to go out first thing in the morning. Everybody knows how I like to have my cold shower. So instead, I do a dip in the lake. Whoo.
Wesleyne Greer 00:56
Damon Pistulka 00:57
Yeah. Yeah. I still don’t know about the cold challenge.
Gail Robertson 01:01
Yeah, life changing life changing?
Damon Pistulka 01:04
Yes. Well, I’m excited for us to have the conversation today. And it’s great to have you here today at Wesleyan. Why don’t you start off first of all, kind of given us your background. And if people don’t know, just kind of how you made the trance that made the journey from being a research chemist to a sales leader training. I don’t even know right, we’re just say it because you because you’ve done so many things, but just let us hear the journey. And then we’re gonna start talking about curiosity.
Wesleyne Greer 01:44
Awesome. And I think I’ll pick that journey off. Because I am a research chemist, I’d like to call myself a recovering chemist now. And because I was curious, and I always would be asking everyone within the organization like, why am I doing this work? What is the purpose of this? What is the bigger picture helped me understand? It really drove me to realize that my passion was not behind the bench, right? So what I wanted to do, I really wanted to understand to do more. And that’s what led me into sales. And when I got into sales, I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I loved everything about it. I love everything about sales.
And I made a really fast ascent from individual contributor to international sales manager. And I realized the gap in the marketplace that about 93% of sales training is focused on the people, the salespeople, the tactics, not the behavior change, not the managers. And so that’s what we do within my organization, really focusing specifically on these highly technical fields science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing. And helping those teams get stronger by imparting upon them behavior based sales development.
Damon Pistulka 03:01
Awesome. And, and Gail, as the guest host, and co host and the chief curiosity officer, this has got to be a conversation that you’re going to have a lot of questions and input in?
Gail Robertson 03:15
Well, I do and you know, with length has been on my show as well. And she is just a wealth of knowledge. So I invited quite a few people from my world of manufacturing to come out because, you know, it is all about being curious. And also, and I’m sure we’re gonna get into that talking about transferable skills, because I believe everyone in an organization is part of the sales process, just like everyone is a recruiter, because you are all out there representing your company at some point or another.
So and what I’d really like to know is about the process that is needed for salespeople, because we really need to dig into how process is a part of that? Because, you know, I know I do keynote talks and motivational talks, and a lot of people say, Oh, I just wing it. It’d be like going to a sales call. They’ll just get a wing it and, you know, there’s things we could talk about that process and research. So if there’s any tips, or slang that you would have around the importance of process?
Wesleyne Greer 04:20
Yeah, you know, I actually had this conversation with someone they reached out to me on LinkedIn late yesterday evening, they’re like, I’m so frustrated, these things are happening. And so peeling back the onion, what I realized is his key, the big picture guy, right, and as a big picture guy, he sees a vision, he sees the mission, but there are all these little individual steps that you have to do to get from point A to point B. And an example that I like to use is you walk out of the house in the morning, you get in the car, you know you had the back of the car in the driveway, but what’s the first thing you do?
Put your foot on the brake. If you don’t put your foot on the brake, you’re never gonna back out of the driveway and a lot of times those little things that we just start doing, like the back of our head, we forget that. And if we really want our sales teams, our sales organization to develop, we have to give them the roadmap like each individual step. So they only come to us with the high level questions, not every little thing that’s bothering them. And so really, the importance of process is to have one that is develops not based on the people who you have currently in the seat, but on the needs of the business and what it takes to get from A to B to C to Z.
Damon Pistulka 05:33
Yeah. Go ahead, Gail.
Gail Robertson 05:35
I was just gonna say, is there any, what about let’s talk about the dreaded CRM, because we always hear about that with sales and sales people hate it. And so I’d like your thoughts on you know, what do you think about CRMs? And what about salespeople who say I hate CRMs, I’m a salesperson, I should be selling, not filling out CRMs.
Wesleyne Greer 06:00
So the thing that I challenge salespeople with is when they tell me they hate CRM, I asked them a simple question. I say, Okay, tell me about your best customer. And they’ll tell me all of these amazing things about their best customer. And I’m like, Well, the last meeting you had, who was in attendance? I can’t remember, what exactly did you talk about? What were the problems they were trying to solve?
What project did they have coming up for the next six months, that’s when things start to get fuzzy, there is no way you can be a strong salesperson and remember everything like you should, your pipeline should be so full, that you know the projects you have going on, you know, your customers, you know all the deals, but you don’t know each little teeny tiny thing, because you have so much going on.
And so if you’re not using a CRM, you’re not honoring the process, because another thing that leaders should be looking at is don’t beat people over the head saying you got to make this many calls, or this many emails and have this many opportunities in what we really want to look at is the conversions. How many people are going from initial meeting to a discovery meeting? Like what is that conversion rate? Okay, that’s good. Now, in that discovery meeting, to the demo, or to the proposal, what’s that conversion rate? And that’s what we focus on, we focus on what’s broken in the process, when we know where we’re converting.
Damon Pistulka 07:26
Yeah, yeah, that conversion rate is so important, because you know, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you increase your conversion rate, you don’t have to get more customers to increase business, or potential leads and all that so
Gail Robertson 07:41
and Amen. That was just such a meta moment, I just want to go back because this is curiosity, in action. What wrestling did just now is she instead of saying, Hey, you got to use a CRM because we bought it, and we paid for it. And you know what, the salesperson won’t care about that. But what are those questions you asked?
I want any sales manager Listen, right now, that was brilliant. Because instead of saying forcing someone, you just ask the questions. And then you get deer in the headlights, right? Because if you start asking all those questions, where is it documented? We’re in. And all of those questions are so valuable to building the pipeline. So I just wanted to really highlight that because that, to me, sums up curious why curiosity and sales, they go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly.
Damon Pistulka 08:34
Wesleyne Greer 08:36
And the thing is, when you help somebody get to their own conclusion, they’re going to follow through. But if you beat them down the head and say, we spent so much money, and leadership is telling you to do this, and I got to do that like that means nothing to them, it goes straight over their head.
So you help them understand the reason why. Because once you help a salesperson, realize that the CRM is a tool to help them make money not to beat them over the head, then they will use it like top salespeople, use the CRM, top salespeople, like the CRM, because it helps them achieve their goals. Right. So we it is our job to help our salespeople understand, no matter what tool we have, what we’re using whatever it is, we need to help them realize how can help them actually get to the next level, achieve their goals make more money, whatever they’re trying to do.
Damon Pistulka 09:29
Yep. And it is so true to when you see a top salesperson using a CRM that can be so much more efficient. And it just like you said, the CRM holds these little details that make a big difference when you’re talking to a customer if you under if you wrote down the big problem they were having. And it wasn’t even a problem that you could help them with. But you wrote it down in the CRM.
When you come back and you say did you get that? Did you get that cap? little problem once you get that HR problem figured out with your, you know, your general manager, whatever the heck it was, and that stuff is so or even kids birthdays, or that their kid plays, you know, jazz band, whatever. Those kinds of things are so critical when you really want to be a good salesperson and build the best relationships. And it because going back to your question, you can’t remember everything.
Wesleyne Greer 10:25
Exactly. Yeah, like I there are some deals that we have solved. I mean, yeah, I’m a Sales Consultant. I’m a sales pro. But I’m not like a wizard. So we have some deals, and literally today, going back in the CRM to quiet Friday, going to record a couple of videos say, hey, last time we spoke, you mentioned this, this and that was going on just wanting to check in. Is that still a challenge for you? Are you still experiencing the same challenge?
Not by for me, by for me, like Gail says, Be curious, right? Like, is this challenge still something that you guys are experiencing? Is that roadblock still there? Let me help you unblock that. And when you take that curiosity in sales, and you’re not always the authority, but you actually want to learn and want to hear from your customers. That’s how you get things over the finish line.
Damon Pistulka 11:17
Yeah, yep. John bubbliness had some hear about or not, they went on vacation. That’s, that’s a great one. Because it as, as I was, he can’t tell it. But I study I did a fair amount of studying about people in interviewing and what’s effective interviewing things? Right.
One of the things they always talk about is to understand what people are passionate about, and ask them questions around that. So your CRM can help you remember that was Leanne is very passionate about her daughter’s blah, blah, or her son’s college, you know, whatever it is, and so you can make those deeper connections with those people. So go ahead,
Gail Robertson 12:04
I was just gonna say I used to work I used to be just like I was when I am a recovering journalist. And the same thing when you’re wanting to remember things. Now, this is I’ll be okay, this was someone else had this not me. But the member the Rolodex like and I just got rid of my old board that had like cards in it with people’s name, phone number.
And I went through and I had like notes in there about the various people when I talked to him. And that was the way we used to do it before you have the electronics. So and I remember some of that I work with in the newsroom. He was a wizard this he wrote down everything, including, you know, if it was the, you know, sector receptionist at a certain office, he’d have everything down.
So we’d call up and he’d say, hey, Barb, Oh, how’s your daughter, and then she’d be like, oh, and next thing he’s getting right through to the person who needed his she would put the call through. So there’s different ways of using this. Sometimes it’s not just about the sale. Sometimes it’s also about, you know, accessing people who will open a door for you. So it’s not I and so maybe you can talk about this too, in terms of the sales process. Is it always just the person you’re trying to sell to that you want to get to? This is a leading question.
Wesleyne Greer 13:17
Yes, I love this. Because when we’re in b2b sales, this is a complex sale. So what is a complex sale defined as it is, if you have multiple decision makers, or if you have a long sales cycle, which is more than a couple of weeks, I consider that a long sales cycle. So when you have this complex buying situation, and there are all of these people that are involved, a lot of people get it wrong, they want to go to the decision maker, they want to go to the one who’s signing off the check who’s approving the budget, but they don’t have time for you, like they don’t have time, like they need high level bullet point, you need to focus on your internal champion.
The internal champion is the person who speaks for you when you are not around. That is the person who goes to bat for you. They bring the right people to the room, they get the budget, like I have an internal champion in one of my companies, and she’s amazing. She will send me an email, she’ll send me a text message. I just had a 30 minute conversation with this person about your services and why they need you. She holds zero budget authority zero, she has no budget, but she knows how to go get it.
So that is also information you need in your CRM, because you need to know who was my internal champion, what do they value? What are the problems they’re having? Because that internal champion, they’re the ones who feel the burn, right? So if you’re selling, let’s say, HR software, don’t go to the VP of HR, they don’t experience any of the challenges. Go to the HR generalist who gets a phone call every five minutes about how hard it is to run payroll. Why this is. That’s who you focus on. Think about the person with the biggest problem, the biggest challenge within the organization.
Damon Pistulka 15:00
Oh, I know that’s, as Kurt was, say, let’s just take a moment of silence there. Yeah. Because the internal champion is the one or gatekeeper or what even those, those two are so key, because if you can’t get past the gatekeeper, you’re never getting anywhere. And if you don’t get the internal champion, you probably will not get your sale completed, because you need internal champions, especially in a long sales cycle.
Wesleyne Greer 15:29
Absolutely, if you don’t define that person, if you just go to that decision maker, which is a department head, the CEO, the VP of this, because he literally they need bullet points, they don’t have the content, they’re not gonna sit through a demo, they’re not gonna take your coat, they’re not gonna do any of those things, right? So refocus when you think about who is that ideal client profile, when we build out ideal client profiles, we build it around that internal champion, that’s the first one we build. And then I’m getting really into sales right now.
But then we have internal champion, we have a decision maker, and then I say, we have a team of influencers, right? And that team of influencers, those are the people who only speak when spoken to, right, so they’re not gonna go to bat for you, but they’re gonna be like, oh, yeah, that person, I read Google reviews about that company. And they’re really, really bad, we shouldn’t do business with them, or a good influencer, is a purchasing agent.
They never want to push anything through. But you don’t need to convince them, you talk to your internal champion that get them on board to do whatever needs to happen. So you have to think about all of these things in a buying situation. And so when we talk about being curious, hitting our sales quotas, doing what we need to do, the first step is to map out who is your target market? Who are we talking to? Are we talking to the right people? Am I talking to my decision maker?
Or am I talking to my Eternal Champion? And then who are those influencers? Right? Like, if you’re a manufacturer, you may need to go into the shop floor, it’s your customer and walk around, the person who’s actually running the machine running the CNC, that person is who you need to talk to, because that’s an influencer. They’re gonna go talk to the operations manager and be like, I really liked this this piece of equipment, it works well. So that was a lot, but that’s why it’s so important.
Gail Robertson 17:24
Go ahead, go. Yeah, no, I was just to say that is see I’m a visual learner. So I just see all of these people in a you know, in a visual circle, you know, where you’re going to all the various people and the spoke eventually you want to get to the actual decision maker but you as a salesperson, you don’t have to be that person on your one of your on the outer circle trying to get to the next circle.
And I often I just said this to someone recently that was I was doing some consulting with them around tradeshow, planning and, and I said, No, no, no, no, don’t reach out right away to the people, because you’ll scare them as soon as they see that you’re anything sales related, they’re gonna back off, I said, go to people in the outer circle and the marketing people marketing people like me, we’re always looking for information, you know, so educate us, opened our I have met people that I’ve actually recommend gone to my clients and said, Hey, what about this company? They have really great information.
So I’ll put a plug in for reach out to marketing people because we’re always looking for information. We’re looking for ideas. And so that’s another spoke in that we’ll,
Wesleyne Greer 18:33
John actually have a question in there.
Damon Pistulka 18:37
Yeah, I’m gonna roll down to that because I just want to first of all, take a moment to say Thanks, John. Valerie. Katie. We got fazia. Shoot, man, we got a lot of people in the room
Gail Robertson 18:49
here. Greg. Oh, great. Bonnie. Whitney nice humor.
Damon Pistulka 18:56
Yeah. And then we’ve got law and Matt? Oh, yeah. Then we got John’s got some questions down here. Greg’s back in here again. But one of the things we’ll get to this discuss keys, aligning sales and marketing. I hit that. But what was the question? You’re specifically talking about? The John had Wesleyan? I?
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And don’t think that I’ll just comment on really quickly. If, if we’re talking about curiosity, and I was setting and I was, as we’re listening to Wesleyan talk about this. Think about the questions that she was asking how these are curious questions. Who is an influencer? How does this work? How does you know? Who do we need to get on board to do this? These are all curious things that you do naturally, that some people sales leaders and sales people don’t quite understand because they’re if you try to sell too fast If you’re not going to be as effective, so one of the questions I had, how do you foster or teach people how to change their thinking about this?
Wesleyne Greer 20:12
So the one big thing that I tell people is, I’ll be nice. And I’ll say, Be quiet and listen, instead of what I wanted to say, right, but be quiet, because when you’re in a sales environment, you should be talking 20% or less, right? So why are you talking so little, because you need to be in your prospects world, you need to not be thinking about your products, your solutions, what you need to do tomorrow, or the next meeting, you need to step into their world. And so by stepping into their world, you’re asking a nice, open ended question.
And you’ve just let them talk. Because people love talking about themselves. And if you ask the right questions in the right manner, you drive all the information from them. And you know that you have achieved your goal. When you get to the end of a 30 minute conversation.
They’re like, thank you so much for helping me like you really helped me solve that problem that okay, I got another meeting, because you’re too salesy. So one of the most important things to do is practice the art of active listening. And how do you even do that? Like, Okay, listen, I know, I hear this all the time. It’s a buzzword, but you start with a nice, open ended question, when you’re opening up your meeting. So for instance, if I was going in, and I was talking to somebody, and maybe they said they have problem with their sales organization, I would ask them, Can you help me understand how your sales organization operates? Or walk me through your sales process?
That’s a whole I mean, that could be talking for days about their sales process. And then I’m not going to interrupt them. I’m just gonna listen. And then I restate what they say back to me. So what I heard you say was 123 things. And those things, those most important things are the ones that you keying in on that, you know, are big challenges that you can solve. And then you say, Well, why does this seem to present a big problem for you, you never talk about your products, you never talk about your services, you don’t talk about yourself, like it is all about them.
You nobody cares about you, we don’t need to hear about you at all. And literally at the end of a strong sales meeting, the last five minutes you reserved for man, this was really great. Based on what you said, this is how I think we can help you this is how we can get started. Can we schedule another time. So I can tell you a little bit more about how we can work together. And so again, we’re talking about the sales process now. So that was like a discovery call.
Now, the next meeting is taking their unique problems, and aligning them with your solutions. So it shouldn’t just be a boiler plate deck. We don’t do boiler plate decks, you don’t do boilerplate proposals, their problems, your solutions, it should be a one to one symbiosis, right. And that is how you develop that strong consultative view where people are like, Yeah, this is what I need. It’s not this is not a salesperson. This is somebody who understands my challenges, and who can help me achieve those goals.
Damon Pistulka 23:24
Gail Robertson 23:26
another meta moment here, both curiosity and questions, because it’s all about asking those questions. And we, you know, I often talk about this that curiosity, it’s sort of almost beaten out of us from our childhood, because we used to ask a lot more questions. And we really need to go back into that world where just like whistling said, it’s about asking, why is that? Why did that happen?
Why are you using your current provider? Why? Like we there’s a lot of wives there’s, and really try to find out? What is it that makes them tick? Because I’ve found one time when I was asking questions, this was when I was doing some fundraising sponsorship. And there was no way they were not going to sponsor but it had nothing to do with the organization I was involved with. They had a relationship based on a business post, like the plan with them. And but what he said is, you know, and I said, No problem, I gave him the information. And it was down the road, he called me when he had a problem with that business.
He wanted to then switch over so or that organization, so sometimes it’s just, you know, be there for information and not always have the goal of selling but it’s about asking questions like What’s lead said? So, again, meta moment of anybody want to go back? I think you should write down some of these questions that are being discussed, because sometimes it’s okay to do that. You know, like, go back to the show repeat. And because there’s, you ask some really good questions. What’s the especially those early ones?
Damon Pistulka 24:55
Yeah, yeah. And then Kurt’s supposed to be traveling Do you think He fooled us? And he’s probably just drinking tea listening to his son.
Gail Robertson 25:05
I think he said with his feet up somewhere laughing. A margarita.
Damon Pistulka 25:11
Yeah. Yeah, having a good time. But that’s, that is awesome. And the way that you were asking the questions, and then the because there, again, curiosity, I think can be taught. Even if it because once you learn it, you will kind of you’ll naturally do it. But like any habit, once you start to do it, because you said, the right questions, and then restating the problem, then you even went through the most important and the biggest challenges and why it’s a challenge and just keep going down that it really, I think, is something that you can teach people by giving them the right steps, and then helping them work through those.
That’s cool. So Greg had the question about aligning sales and marketing. Let’s go back to that. Because I do want you guys to cover that a little bit. Thus, discuss what your what are the keys to aligning your sales and marketing teams.
Wesleyne Greer 26:11
So you know, I just don’t understand why sales and marketing has so much fighting, right? It’s like, we all want the same thing. Right? Why do we always have to fight, but I often find with an organization, that’s what happens, the sales and marketing, they’re always butting heads. And I find that one of the challenges is lack of communication, because when we work with sales teams, we I tell them, I’m like, Yeah, okay, you have to manage your customer, you work with the person that you’re in front of, but you have to manage across to, you have to understand marketing, you have to understand operations, because marketing is in. And operations is the output, right?
So as a sales leader, as a salesperson, you really want to understand who is surrounding you, and the things that are working in or not working. So just like I talked about in that sales process, looking at the conversions, right, a lot of times in marketing, they’re looking at the open rates, they’re looking at, you know, different demographics, how things are working here and there, the responsibility of the sales team is to communicate with marketing, not just beat them up and tell them what’s not working.
Let them know what is working, say, you know, what, we just closed this deal from an inbound lead. And they said that they saw us on this social media channel, they download this white paper, they did all of these things, thank you. Like, first of all, thank people for doing good. Don’t just beat them up for not doing what you don’t want them to do. Thank them for doing it. Okay, let’s start there. And then you have conversations, and you guys should be very aligned.
So when we talk about that internal champion, that is really what I how we develop the ideal client profile in different verticals, different parts of the countries, you know, different industries. And you we want to translate that information and work with the marketing team. So they’re targeting that internal champion, maybe they’re targeting the decision makers, maybe they’re targeting the influencers, right. And so once they start speaking to the right person, everything falls into alignment. And it has to be something that we are conscious of, and the sales leader needs to help their team understand that marketing is here to work with us, not against us.
It is not okay to say oh, those marketing leads are all crap, oh, they keep doing this webinar. And it’s not converting, oh, this happens, this happens. That happens. If that’s not okay. We need to get into a room, we air all of the things that we have challenges with, we put them off to the side, and then we start working on solutions. And we have to make sure that we’re constantly continuing to chat with each other challenge each other because marketing, like sales, doesn’t know how to close these deals. Sales and Marketing gives me bad deals. Where does that come from? Miscommunication, right. So it all goes back to talking things through.
Gail Robertson 29:09
Once again, that is and you know, and I think I know where Greg also might have been coming from because we’ve had discussions about this too is like, you know, from a marketing perspective, it often has to do with we may, there’s assumptions on both sides. But I think the problem is exactly what you said wrestling, it’s about communication, but also connect what I call connecting the dots.
Because often what happens is, you know, I’ve done both I’ve done marketing and been more on the sales, you know, fundraising side of things, and you sometimes have to really draw pictures for people of what why is this important? Why is it important to do a webinar? Why is it important to have a brand identity? And then I start asking again, it goes back to curiosity, asking questions, you know, do what happens when you’re doing it. interviews of people at sales meetings, you know, did people know when you?
Because here’s the thing, when you call the people know the company, can they do a search of your company and find out that you are, you know, out on social media that you have a wet strong website. So sometimes it’s asking also questions about now, you don’t have Have you had any sales leads come in that didn’t come like what? Because sometimes there’s like, I call it the mystery. Oh, where did this person come from? Well, it didn’t just drop in from space, they found you for release and right. So asking those questions, and I’m wondering whistling if you have any examples or a story or something that shows maybe you know how a sales technique or a sales process has worked? Through a process that you’ve recommended?
Wesleyne Greer 30:49
Okay, yes, I’ll do that. I want to say something about marketing, before we wrap up and go to the next topic. So when we a lot of times, exactly what you said is so, so important. I have literally had people that have said, Wesleyan, I’ve been following you on LinkedIn for the past 18 months, I just love what you’re doing. I’m like, Who are you? I’ve never seen like, you’ve never commented on anything, never liked anything, are you even in my network?
Like, I don’t even know who you are. That’s how marketing works. You when you are doing marketing is the awareness of the brand it is awareness of the company is awareness of the products. So a lot of times, you can’t always say, oh, what’s the ROI on this? Or how did that work? Or how did that work? Because you may not see an immediate effect of it. But doing marketing, right is all about consistency. And so if you show up, as Gail says, show up and show out every day, then you know, what is it show up, show up, stood up, show up,
Gail Robertson 31:48
sign up, suit up, show up?
Wesleyne Greer 31:50
There we go, I just need to show apart, right? Well, if it’s the most important. So that’s the thing, that’s the key with marketing, right, you really have to know this is a long game. And all of the small little pieces that you’re putting out today, you may not get in return for six months for six years. But it’s working to build a brand awareness and attracting.
And so now switching over to sales processes, really the I started laying out a very nice simple sales process. And when we take our sales process, and we really break it down into those small little chunks, that’s one of the words I like to use a small little chunk, and think about what you need to do each step of the way. That’s really what sets people up for success. So our goal is to have a very process driven organization, we put the right people on the bus, we give them a process, and that leads to profitability.
as a sales leader, you’re not asking answering questions like, Oh, I just got this inquiry, how do I respond? You go and look in your process, you look in your playbook and you’re like, I got an 80% done now manager, can you help me get it to the finish line the 100% of the way. So when you lay out the process, you have to remember what it was like to not know anything. And that is one of the key things that people do wrong in defining a sales process.
They’re thinking about it at this 100,000 foot view, but they forget, like I used initially, like when you get in the car, the first thing you do is put your foot on the brake. You do it like clockwork now. But if you don’t put your foot on the brake, we’re not moving ever, right? We’re just gonna sit there. And so when I say okay, so this is the way that we set up a call, this is what we need to do to prepare for QA. Now we’re in the call, these are the things I want you to look for, these are the things you need to add. And before I even let you lose to do them yourself, you’re gonna watch someone, you’re going to shadow them, you’re going to answer questions.
So really breaking things down into the most minut possible way. And when you’re able to do that, I mean, your profitability will increase five or 10 fold all the way up. So really focus on the small itty bitty pieces. And when we work with organizations and develop the sales process down to the minutiae, the sales leader gets so much time back. And not only do they get their time back, they also see their revenue increasing without them having to touch everything. So that is really the key to a good sales process.
Damon Pistulka 34:35
No, it does, like you said, when you break it down into this, the smaller details like in our discovery call, what are the key pieces of information that we need? What are the questions we’re going to use to get that and then you go, people you get as you do those you begin to understand what are the things I need to get here and I make sure I get them you can put them on a checklist you can do whatever Want to make sure you get those? Because then you know the next step in the process is going to need that information. It’s going to use that information, how it’s going to be used. And what do I do after that? Because there’s, I mean, how many salespeople are actually high level salespeople without a process? Not very much.
Wesleyne Greer 35:22
Like, let me count. Yeah. And it’s like they have this process in their head. And so if you’re a new sales manager, that you’re coming to a team, you’re inheriting a team, you may not understand the minutiae of that organization, you know how things work in general. So you always want to kind of do a brain dump with your top performer and your bottom performer, because you want to see the things that the top performer is doing to help drive their business.
And then you want to see what the bottom performer is doing or isn’t doing, that’s not driving your business. So you can ensure you build in that’s because you build in those stop signs, like, stop, if this is happening, you’re not doing something, right. If you have zero meetings in a week, then you’re not doing something right. Like you have to put those stop gaps in and the way that you do learn that is based on the bottom performer.
So even if you’re not new into your organization, just by doing that, and asking your top salesperson a great question, I’d love to ask you tell me how you spend, tell me how you spend your day, a top salesperson is gonna go from eight to six and tell you everything they do when they travel, when they’re in the office. A bottom performance is going to be like, well, I check my emails, and I do some call, like they don’t have that frame of reference. So those little things help you get a hold of what’s happening within the organization. Oh, it goes back to curiosity, right question, because
Damon Pistulka 36:49
I’ve just like this, this has been like a drenching of curiosity, everything we’ve talked about today.
Gail Robertson 36:55
And you know, that idea of asking questions, it’s really important. We’ve talked a lot about curiosity, from a b2b for going to you know, people you’re trying to sell to, but it’s really important for your teams, for people that you’re working with, because a lot of times people have fear because they think they’re gonna get in trouble.
And I think mostly like a bottom for someone who’s not performing well, they just may need help. But they’re not asking for help. But they could be one of your top salespeople, but they’ve got stuck somewhere, right? It’s an often what happens, that’s where communication. Now I am one of the biggest advocates for communications, asking questions. So I always say it’s going to be the greatest thing you love about me or it’s going to be ah, and I’ve seen both, you know, personal and professional relationships, it matters.
Because if you’re not communicating, if you’re not getting to the point that you understand where the problems are, I will tell you, right and Wesley, I’m sure you’ll agree this that it will blow up eventually. So if you want to avoid that, ask why or what is happening, what is and this is where trust comes into. So was it is there any tips you could give to sales management, maybe listening right now as to how to approach that with their team when they maybe have to reset or do something differently? To get your sales instead of when you’re asked your sales? Well, how’s it going good. And it’s good or, and you know, it’s not good. Any tips.
Wesleyne Greer 38:27
So, a sales manager should be spending about 80% of their time coaching their team. And a part of what they should be doing when they’re in that coaching mindset is, one of the key things I tell them all to do is they need to do ride alongs zoom along, if people aren’t going in person, or if that’s not how your business is. But you really need to travel with your salespeople, and you need to go to meetings with them. And your job is to not be the sales manager, your job is to be the observer.
So you haven’t gotten notepad, your iPad, whatever. In the backend, you’re just taking notes. And you set things up. So you ask them Okay, so what’s the goal of this meeting? What are we going to do? You sit in the meeting, you take your notes, you’re the observer, and then after the meeting, you’re like, so let’s talk about what went well, what didn’t go so well. You may give them feedback then, or maybe reserve that feedback for a little bit later on. But that’s how you really find out what is happening underneath the hood. Because they’ll tell you, whatever they want to tell you.
You can listen to their calls. But until you see them in front of a customer with a customer in their element, you really don’t understand the problems. Like you might get into the meeting and be like, Oh my gosh, did they just vomit all the prominent product knowledge like in five minutes? Oh, my goodness. Now I see what the problem is. Oh, yeah. So they’re taking my advice and they’re letting the customer talk more but the customer is talking about golfing and fishing like we’re way off topic here. Not taking command of the conversation. So that’s how you know what to coach do. You kind of have to see what the problem is? So you know what to coach to do.
Gail Robertson 40:02
I love that. That’s so good.
Wesleyne Greer 40:06
Right in there.
Damon Pistulka 40:09
Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. Well, you know, guys, this is this has just been incredible. Listening to you got the both of you talking about curiosity because as we go through this, you understand how critical curiosity is to the sales process and really being effective salespeople or effective in sales, whatever you’re doing. And internally, because you got you brought it up that you know talking about working together with the departments, even within a department how it’s important to encourage curiosity to go, Well, why do we do it?
Or how do you why is that important to you? Because even in the alignment of sales and marketing, I think it’s, a lot of times, you can get departments that are siloed. And they just throw stuff over the fence one way or the other or complain about without asking, why did we do it this way? Or why are you doing it that way? And it went back and forth. Well, this created, like you said, was lean, good results. We had great results as a client that came through just like we thought it was going to be and sharing that information. After but I just any final thoughts before we wrap up today on this wonderful, sunny summer afternoon.
Gail Robertson 41:24
I just want to add one thing, just about the topic of the show is stop being the best kept secret because when you’re a salesperson and you’re curious, you can stop being the best kept secret in terms of, you know, just waiting too long. I mean, it’s important that you get out there, ask those questions. And as Kurt would say, you want to stop that you want. I mean, it’s not a badge of honor to be under the radar.
So you want to step into the spotlight and Damon, I’ll give her a shout out to that you want to be the red m&m in the bowl of green. And that can mean different things. It doesn’t mean you have a lot of people think it’s like, well, Gail, I can’t do what you do, whether it’s on Tiktok, or I’m doing something fun. That’s my way of being the red m&ms. Everybody can be their own red m&m to stop being the best kept secret. So that’s my wrap up for making sure we are curious with a goal.
Damon Pistulka 42:20
Awesome, Wesley. I would
Wesleyne Greer 42:23
say that this, the this difference in mindset in the way that we sell, being curious, asking more questions, stepping to the customer, world, all those things are hard, because it’s not natural to us. But I would encourage you to take one step, right. And so don’t try to tackle everything that I talked about today. But the one thing that stood out to you the most work on it, work on a four week work on it for two weeks or a month, when you get really good at it work on something else.
Like don’t try to bite off too much. And that one thing that you do decide to change to implement, you’re going to see your sales increase, you’re going to see the dynamic of your team change your the dynamic of your team change. So really small steps are what it’s all about. And that’s what we talked about. It’s called behavior based skills, sales skill development for a reason. We change behavior to drive sales. That is what it’s all about. You got to change those behaviors so we can increase sales.
Damon Pistulka 43:24
Boom, once again, we’re dropping the mic, moment of silence. Thanks so much. And I just want to thanks. Thank everyone for being here today. I think I’ve written them down John Val. Karissa, fazia, Greg, Bonnie Dylan, Whitney law, Christina, Matt, Katie, Bruce, Adam, Kurt, and Igor just dropped in and said hello to and I want to say Kurt, someone told Kurt and we got Steve Galleon here as well.
When Kurt stopped in Yeah, Kurt stopped in I just wanted to say, Yeah, someone told him to go enjoy your vacation. Yes, he should. But thanks so much for to have you. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you today. I just, it’s every time that we can do one of these conversations and learn. It’s incredible. I just am overwhelmed with the amount of information and the knowledge that we get to share and listen and learn to so thank you both for being here today. Thank you,
Gail Robertson 44:29
and the CRM think that was gold. So every field that is like go back. Take from what happened on this show how you can pitch CRM without pitching CRM, see, just ask questions. If that’s Sorry, that was the other highlight and I’ll shut up now.
Damon Pistulka 44:45
No, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, everyone, thanks so much for being here today. Next week, on the 29th of July we have Dorie Clark. It’s gonna be a fun show. Yeah, I don’t even know Kurt Kurt is going to Yeah, this is gonna be a good one. That it like everyone this today it was awesome that that’s gonna be awesome. We just have so much fun and appreciate everyone being here today. Go out and have a great weekend. Thanks so much everyone. Hang around guys. We’ll talk after