Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 9
What can you do to help unclog the sales funnel?
Most companies focus either at the top of the funnel (leads and prospecting) or the bottom (negotiating) but the real opportunity is to break down the sales pipeline into five (5) customer-verifiable objectives and then focus on what can be done to make it easier for sellers to accomplish them.
In this episode, Brian Lambert & Scott Santucci zoom into challenges of losing to no decision. In their typical, tell it like it is style, unscripted style - the go from a scene in the movie Beaches, connect that to buyer research, and then go deep into tackling a big problem inside MOST companies - losing to no decision.
Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.
Nick Merinkers 00:02
Welcome to the inside sales enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions? The market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement professionals Scott Santucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.
Scott Santucci 00:34
Oh, I'm Scott Santucci
Brian Lambert 00:36
And I'm Brian Lambert, and we are the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to asking the big questions you should be asking if you want to be successful with sales enablement. In our podcasts, we help you rethink, reframe, and sometimes even revisit how you're going about your sales enablement role and function. In today's podcast, we're going to rethink specifically, we're going to rethink pipeline acceleration strategies. And we're going to take a double click on the buyer side of the sales conversation. In our last podcast, we talked about the five sales objectives. So that means today we're going to talk about something very specific to buyers with regard to those objectives. And Scott, why don't you frame it out for us?
Scott Santucci 01:24
Sure thing, Brian. I don't know if you know this, and I probably might lose my man card by sharing this but no boy. I know. I had the level set it that way. Actually, literally lost some credibility, but I've learned earned it back again when I've shared the story. But have you seen the movie beaches?
Brian Lambert 01:47
No. I think my mom might have tried to get me to see it. I never saw it. So why don't you tell us all about it.
Scott Santucci 01:54
Okay, well, in beaches, and for all the women out there. This is for you. In the movie beaches, Bette Midler's character is a self-absorbed actress. And she has a scene with the with the male love interest, where she's going on and on and talking about how great she is. And she says, Oh, look at me. Enough about me. Tell me what you think of me.
Brian Lambert 02:24
I love it. And I, you know, if ever if anybody wonders how scripted we are, there you go, because I had no idea what he's gonna say. And then I have to legitimately say, what the heck are you talking about? What does it have to do with sales enablement?
Scott Santucci 02:38
Authenticity. Right, Brian?
Brian Lambert 02:40
That's right. So, talk about it
Scott Santucci 02:43
What am I talking about is if we look at so one of the things that Brian and I had access to we put together this survey, and actually a bunch of interviews of executive buyers? And we did this every year for four consecutive years, when we were at Forrester, we asked executive level buyers, we had a big survey, the entire survey was mapped to all the five sales objectives that we talked about. So, we know exactly what are the techniques for each one. And the data about how well buyers thought sellers were performing is just off the charts, plural, 11% found their sales, there's their interactions with sellers valuable when they asked about sellers being prepared for calls. And maybe 67% felt that they were prepared about their products and services and then down in the 20s for about their role understood their company, things like that. But one of my favorite, my favorite question was, what's the agenda? What do you think? As a buyer, the agenda of the seller is for your first meeting.
Brian Lambert 02:48
right. I remember that.
Scott Santucci 03:56
Yeah. And the agenda is more or less 86% about the company and only 14% about the buyer.
Brian Lambert 04:07
And that in this case, it's the the seller’s company. It's all about the salesperson’s company or the seller, not the buyer.
Scott Santucci 04:16
So, for me to sum up where we are in the state of sales and buyer alignment, that beaches quote just resonates with me big time. And what we're going to do here is really zoom in on one of the biggest challenges is how would we use this information and the five sales objective information to manufacture and unclog or pipelines?
Brian Lambert 04:42
Okay, that's great. And, you know, one thing's for sure. We don't want to show up and say, you know, that's, that's it. That's enough about me, tell me how awesome I am. Right? So, we can guarantee you that's not going to be the approach here. So, when you look at the objectives, then we're This is a so let's frame this out a little bit, Scott. You know, we're not talking about specifically getting access, then this is this is a little bit more in the middle, perhaps the first meeting, creating shared vision, you know, in the center of the, the objectives here, right?
Scott Santucci 05:14
Well, what I'd like you to do, and what I'd like everybody to do is or if you're, you know, on the treadmill or in a car, something like that, I want you to have a mental picture of a funnel. Right, got that in your head a funnel? Yep. So, if we take those five sales objectives, we probably think, Oh, you know, Target, we have actual contact names of the specific people that we want to do. Oh, access, that's people that we've, you know, we've got first beginnings with and then we have successful meetings and then we have shared vision and then we have close, and it looks like nice and neat, like a nice little funnel, right? Right. That's probably what we think. Well, guess what, when you actually do the analysis and breakdown and do the four Except you will. Most b2b sales organizations pipelines do not look like funnels, they more look like bowl constrictors that've eaten a pig. And when you have when you're a salesperson, you have so many opportunities in this in those middle stages that you're talking about stuck. Throwing more opportunities at you or more leads at you just isn't going to cut it, the issue is you have to find the work to be able to do it. And in that middle zone that that pig, if you will, but the boa constrictors eaten really, what's what's happening here is a large portion of those deals are going to be lost or gonna be lost to India. I notice Asian Incorporated, that the customers just sort of timeout and it's a tremendous amount of burden. It's a trend mess, amount of waste a tremendous amount of effort on it. And that's really what we're gonna be talking about right now.
Brian Lambert 06:53
Yeah, this is great. So, you know, listeners, this is one of those things, especially today that I think Especially if you're not in a bag carrying or sales management role, you may hear this cliche sounds like a cliche Oh, we lost to no decision or, you know, no decisions a problem. But so yes, but there's a lot more to it than that I like the the analogy here of the boa constrictor. So, on this podcast, we're going to double click into that and and talk about some variables and some factors as to why this happens, what it looks like and things we can do to be successful and unclogging the boa constrictor, right. So that's that's the, we're gonna dive deep on that here and not gloss over it. So, Scott, what do you think some of the reasons are? companies are losing to MDI, no decision Incorporated.
Scott Santucci 07:48
Sure. Well, we're going to talk about is why it happens, how to prevent it, and we're going to close with some steps to fix it. But so, let's talk about why it happens at three, four, actually, for reasons or main reasons that this happens. The first part is if you think about that journey song separate ways world worlds apart, values in the eye of the beholder. We don't get to decide what a value proposition is our customers do. And when we're losing a no decision, what it is, is that we haven't really thought through all the different variables for all the different buying executives involved. Second reason is maybe keeping with the song, the song theme a little bit, you've lost that loving feeling. After that first meeting, after that first meeting, and you know, it just went really well. You were really on point delivering your your commercial insight. Your stakeholder is going to go home and they're going to start feeling uncomfortable. And the reason that they're going to start feeling uncomfortable for actually they probably don't really know why it's just in their gut. But what they're doing is they're perceiving personal risk. If you haven't given given your client a path of how this is going to go, they're starting to think through. Do I have the right political capital to do do with this? Am I really going to do it so that it starts to get fuzzy? And as it starts get fuzzy and you're not you don't have an engagement plan is saying, here's how we're going to lay it out to your different stakeholders. What happens is over time, that person just sort of fizzles out if you can't get the momentum going, the political risk and the capital that that particular executive has, has too much time. So now you're in this going dark phase. In the going dark phase, if you do the if your sales reps are doing, hey, I'm just calling to touch base. You're making the problem worse, not better. And the difficulty is those sellers know doggone well they shouldn't be doing that. They just don't have any other alternative because the company hasn't researched it or given them a mechanism to talk with other sellers for the last part then is the client can't really envision the outcome. And when I say the client, what I mean is a sponsor that you've talked with, or also the people involved in that buying decision. They just can't get their head around. How are they going to get started? What do they need to do? How are they going to get their get done? What's your role going to be? What's their role to be? So those are the four most common reasons why this unravels. And the thing that's so unfortunate is these are such easily addressable problems if you just talk about and get people to talk about it, but they just don't!
Brian Lambert 10:42
Okay yeah, I agree. So and, and I want to, I want to double click into these and, you know, spend some time here but let's, can you net out the four real quick I was I was taking mental notes here and I came up with about 20 things that we could talk about in this because there's a lot in so I want to make sure our listeners you know, who might be going through this going holy crap and thought about it this before, give us the four netted out again, just a summary and then go into
Scott Santucci 11:12
Separate ways worlds apart. Our sellers or our sales teams don't have enough empathy to understand what's going on inside our client’s business. Number two were not proactively bringing up to the, to the sponsor what their personal risk factors might be. So, when they think about it the next day and they have that pit in their stomach, and they don't know why they're feeling that way. Just seems too risky. Yep. Three, what happens when you start to go dark? Either you haven't laid out a good game plan which by the way should be done for all reps to be able to leverage not put off on the backs of salespeople to come up with what those game plans are, but they just don't have that game plan and and the only thing that they have to do is, Hey, I'm just calling to touch base. And the last one is, you have packaged up your solution in a way that's about you. Not in a way that is about your clients. So, they can't envision how they're going to be successful. You haven't packaged up their outcome for success. You passionate about what products and services you want them to buy. So yeah, difficult for them to figure out what they're going to do next.
Brian Lambert 12:33
Yep, this is great, because, you know, let me let me add some color to this because, you know, Scott, we've talked with our with our listeners about my background, and where I'm at one of the things that I want to throw in on this discussion is me being a, you know, in a fortune 50 company, I get a lot of sales calls. And I was actually running the numbers last week and I think I think because I like to take sales calls over the last four or five years I probably have done, you know, been on the the buy side or being been pitched 250 times or so. And that's not those are those are just me trying to be you know, researcher, because half the time I would have just said no or ignore them. But this idea of so number one values in the eye of the beholder. I'm in a sales enablement role, and I'm in a very specific one, my LinkedIn profile is very specific. Right now, I have no idea how anybody's hit me up with this idea of you know, lead gen and SEO website design, I don't get it. Right. So, they're completely wrong zip code. Number two, when they do talk to me, I swear it's all about them, which is your number four, but it just they slapped me in the face with my number two, they don't understand how risky would be to even bring somebody in nor the amount of paperwork it would take and the amount of political capital it would take to actually have a conversation with people, it's massive. I mean, it's, it is it is incredibly difficult for my for me to bring vendors into my company without taking political arrows, but more importantly, you know, I got a call in favors half the time to get stuff done. So that's number two. Number three is when I go dark, this idea of Hey, I'm just checking base, can you afford this email office? so and so? It's just like, you know who I'm not your secretary, I don't work for you, you know, like, help me help you, guy, and come on, man. Seriously, and no, I'm not gonna do that. So, I'm not gonna respond, because I don't want to be a jerk. And then I already talked a little bit about it, but I actually had a person last three weeks ago, and I said, you know what, I think we can probably figure this out. So, I think I could help you on your value. I think I will probably be, you know, be able to take some political risk on by having two steps because on another podcast earlier, we talked about this idea. Just what's the Next step, I said, Okay, fine, I can help them get to the next step, but I'm gonna have to work with them probably over the series of six meetings or so. And then, you know, let me engage with them proactively and, and do this. And so, I start this, let me help you process and the very first thing they hit me on is, you know how this thing integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Outlook. I'm like, I'm not what the hell I'm not even in that zip code, either implementation. Do you guys not realize what we're doing? So, on the buy side, this is just like, they're trying to do the tango. I'm trying to do the waltz. I don't know. Right? And I'm like, I actually had to say, well, you guys just do what I say. And go read my LinkedIn profile. I'm going to shut this call down. We're going to talk again, let's set it up right now. But you got to go read about my company and LinkedIn before we continue, this is a waste of my time. And so lucky, you know, they did that but it's this is a real thing. And the disconnect is massive. And I have a lot of empathy for salespeople are trying to close that gap by themselves. So, when you look at those four things Scott, what do you think, from your perspective, are some critical items that we should be considering as sales enablement, professionals?
Scott Santucci 16:13
Let's piggyback on that last element that you said about empathy for sellers and just can't Can you just do what we say? Let's talk about reducing your risk. So, the first thing that you can do, right, here's a, here's a prescription that you can do is actually organized out and anticipate that your stakeholders So going back to our five sales objectives, why is it so important that you're really clear on who you're targeting? So, Brian only cares about himself specifically, but guess what, there are other people like Brian who have similar roles. So, you can model out that and know, here are five common risk factors that he's got. One is the ability to execute and the ability to execute isn't necessarily just you it's whether he's gonna he's got enough internal Byron or or his team can can follow this through. The next one is how much political capital is he willing to spend it he actually already said that already. It can you envision the benefit realization and when when will happen? What will they be Kenny articulated to all the other people about what you know what you're going to do? What's the opportunity cost in play here? In other words, he's going to spend time with you. Or is he going to spend time doing something else? And then, you know, ultimately, what's the cultural fit, you're going to have to work with inside his company and work with a lot of different people. If you don't have that fit? It's going to be very challenging. So those are that's really the summary of reducing his personal risk. Brian, you have any comments on that?
Brian Lambert 17:50
Yeah, totally makes sense. And what I ended up having to do in this specific scenario is say, Listen, I will agree to get to the next step with you. And then that Step is actually internal to my team with this other function. That's my peer. That's all I can commit to. But we're so far apart, even me bringing you that next step is going to take a lot of work. I'm probably looking at three or four hours with you guys. And I'm willing to do that, are you? And, of course, they said yes. But I'm like, No, you guys literally have to work your asses off to get the next step. And there's not gonna be a close there. I'm just literally talking about the next step. And I don't even know what's going to happen after that. Are you sure you want to do this? But I don't know many buyers that would say that right with you.
Scott Santucci 18:36
Exactly. And they don't know because they don't know they're probably not even going to take them up on that offer so that the seller doesn't even get that chance. So that gives us the right point number two, prescription number two, help your seller communicate what's in it for him to specific groups. So, Brian, you and I both know it remember Zig Ziglar right....