Patience and diligence are valuable attributes. We know they're essential to pass between generations but, are they something we apply enough in our careers day to day? Slow and steady may not be thrilling but let it in and, like the tortoise, it can win you the race.
In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl welcomes Mike Simmons, Founder at Catalyst Sale. Join them as they explore the temptation to skip process, how to build a winning structure from scratch, and the common risks lurking in the swamps of both speed and stagnation.
Connect with Darryl on LinkedIn.
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How's everybody doing today. It is a another episode, my friends of the Inside Inside Sales Show. And I am so glad to be back. We're getting back into our groove, our rhythm you know, the shows are posting and we had a couple of weeks there where we're down, where we, the transition from one network to the next we're now part of the Sales IQ Global podcast network.
I'm so excited. Be hanging out with the cool kids like Luigi Prestinenzi, and Tony Hughes and all the rest check out their shows if you haven't already. And I want to give a shout out to Stephan who does a lot of the video editing and whatnot. It makes me look and sound great. And to Victoria, who does all that justice behind the scenes, that's what happens. Folks. When you go to a new team, you got to make sure that you thank them and cherish them cause they control your success.
It's funny because I share a story. I was reminiscing with my wife and kids the other day, because. You know, we're about to come upon hockey playoffs and my guest today, big hockey fan. So what is hockey playoffs have to do with sales? That's a great question. So, you know, the hockey playoffs as a point of reference, right? It's these teams have played what? 84 games, I think in the regular season, I can't recall, but it gets put in.
All year long, there's 31 32 teams now. And I've which I think the top 16 or so get into the bracket and then away we go. So the really, you kind of got a 50, 50 chance of making it to the playoffs, which is actually as a whole pretty good player, pretty good percentages. And, and now. Important. It's the people who make it this far, or to get to the NHL.
You're already the best of the best. Now they make the playoffs. You're like the best of the best of the best of the best. And so we're talking about that, just having a family chat, getting excited, trying to figure out who we're going to put in our hockey pool, trying to schedule time for the various hockey pools, how much we're gonna wager.
Not that we wait your money, cause that would be illegal. But if we did, that's what we, we do. And we were reminiscing about my two kids and Ken number one was very methodical. You know, they're both in hockey growing up. Right. Number one was very methodical. Very even keeled, you know? Yes. Learning to skate would fall, get back up, try it again, learning to Kashat would fall get back up, try to get.
So on and so forth, kid number two little bit different kid. Number two, get on the ice and fall and throw a temper tantrum would take a slapshot and fall and throw a temper tantrum. And then when they got a little better they would take a shot on net, not score and throw their stick and take a temper tantrum.
And the point being was that kid number one. Understood at a young age, maybe it was intuitively. Maybe it's just how they're wired. Who knows is it nature versus nurture? I'm not going to get into it, but they understood that there was a process. And when you start at the beginning, it's going to be rough and you get better, but there's a sequence of steps you go through to get to where you want to be, which is obviously a good hockey player.
Ken number two, thought they were weighing Gretzky out of the gate. And when they didn't hit, you know, 50 goals in like 40 games or something, they were frankly pissed off and didn't want to play anymore. And they want to take their ball and stick and go home. And it wasn't just hockey, that same thing in soccer and all the other sports.
So as you might imagine, kid number two, didn't last so long, first sports that wasn't their thing. They weren't a success in sport. Now can number two, regrets that today, and they've matured as an adult. They've understood. That was a behavior they had to change. That was definitely a nature versus they had to nurture what was nature.
They wanted to get to the glory right away. And it's fun. Because we see that with our sales reps all the time. It's the whole idea of understanding the process. There's a methodology. And sometimes you're trying to do too much. You're trying to go faster than you're capable of doing. You're trying to achieve more than you're ready to, or are able to achieve.
And frankly, if you just simplified the process and understood what you were trying to do and follow the plan. You would be way more successful with your pipeline, with the conversion ratios and you would probably enjoy your job more. And this is one of the things you have to train over and over again.[: [:
Mike is a big hockey fan. He's an Islanders fan. So right away, you need to show him compassion because you know, the Islanders don't even know where they're going to play half the time and what building they're in. And they have a bit of a legacy, but I'm an audible senators fan.
So I'm in no position to offer him, you know, too much grief. So we basically take shots at each other on Twitter, thanking each other for the victories that we have that often at the end of the season. It's still doesn't get us into that top 16 bracket. Now, Mike still has a chance mathematically I'm gone.
So right now he's, he's the, he's the right guy. He's the expert on sales and clearly the expert on hockey. Mike, welcome to the show, my friend.[:
And I was fortunate enough to be in and around the island or is in the eighties when, as a team, the Islanders won four cups in a row. So there was a time in place where we have union Dale was where championships. We're one, you'd go into the barn and it would be loud and just a raucous place to play.
Then we went through this spirit of do they belong in Uniondale? Are they playing in a basketball arena in Brooklyn or are we changing the logo? And now they actually have a new home which opened later. Yeah, good. The hockey season starts every year around the same time. Yeah. We knew when it was going to start the building wasn't ready.
And the Islander started the year with 15 games on the road or 15 games on the road. So anyhow, but yes, there was still a chance and I am hopeful. And if any Pittsburgh penguin fans or Washington capital fans could do something out there to help their teams lose over the course of the next two. I would be really excited and it would make not only my day, but my 19 year olds.[:
If I recall, Clark Gillies recently died and he was on that winning team and he was approaching 70. So I'm thinking. You're living on borrowed time with that ode to the past and your I'm nurse fame. I'm not, you know, I'm not judging your brother. I love your passion. Now with that said I've trashed Hotch I've given you a hard time.
I still love you, even though your team does better than mine. Let's talk about simplifying the process. I know this is near and dear to your heart. So why is this particular habit and your attribute something you're passionate about? What do you see? And then, and where do we start? How do we know if that's a problem we have?
So I've asked you 50 questions. I'll shut up. I'll let you[:
Well, we try doing a bunch of things. You know, we, you know, organize our feet. We grab onto the side of the boards. We try to push ourselves up. And ultimately what we've got to do is we've got to get comfortable in our own skin. We've got to be comfortable with the process of this skates or an extension of our body.
And once we do that, Then we're going to be in a position where we can actually start to move. So the challenge, I think most of us run into when it comes to process and execution related stuff is we keep trying so many new things rather than just focus on the first thing, which is, Hey, let's learn how to skate before we learn how to stick, handle, and shoot.
Let's learn how to escape before we start stick handling and shooting.[:
You know, people's. You're throwing everything under the sun at me, trying to get me Donnie to be compelled and to respond, but to basically close the deal in one fell swoop. That's the first part. That's it. Next I see. When you, in your sales cycle, you try to do everything at once. So you get a lead and you get them on the phone and you want to jump right in.
You want to jump right to demo, even though the demo is a feature. And when you do the demo, by the way, it's a feature pitch. As opposed to saying no, no, no, no. We're not gonna do a demo. We're going to do a needs analysis. It's going to qualify you further on due to discovery. All right. And we're going to follow up process and we're going to understand truly what it is you're trying to achieve.
So I can determine if I can help you. And then I'm going to schedule another meeting in the future. You may not show up for you, make host me where I'm going to show you a demo. That's customized to everything you just showed me in the discovery, or you, you, you do the discovery and you accept that the demo is going to be in the future.
But. Maybe you're doing a med pick qualification and you ask like three questions because that's, that's enough time on discovery and you just want to get to the next step. And then later on, when you go to Ashley, you know, pitch the price and they walk away from you because it's way too much it's because you realize.
Early on when you're doing that discovery, you didn't do a good enough job quantifying the pain and the cost of no decision and what it means to them. So then you get to start all over again. I could go on, these are some symptoms I'm seeing where reps try to take shortcuts. They tried to hit a home run like kid number two.
We Wayne Gretzky, as opposed to saying baby steps, you know, I'm just the purpose of this. And this is the, one of the things I see over and over again is people don't seem to really fully embrace our, understand that the sole purpose of this. It's to get the next meeting. If I do that, I've moved the ice a little, the puck, a little down the ice, and I'm that much closer to being able to take a shot on that.
So that's what I see. Am I, is that what you're thinking? Is there other symptoms or[:
And what they forget is there's a, there's a relationship that's been established. There's some learning that's happening. If I jump from a to Z, I'm taking on a lot of risks and you know what? I might get lucky once. I've got a CA I've got a kid, my second kid in our household. He thinks he is the most amazing three point shooter when it comes to basket.
It was amazing. Okay. Why he remembers all of the three point shots he's hit. He doesn't remember any of the ones that he's missed. And then when we look at those reps around and we start talking about success, breeds success, and who can we learn from? We go and we S we hear the one hit wonder, and we keep trying to repeat that.
What about if we just follow a defined process that we designed and we can learn from things like. Climbing to the top of Everest. There's a reason that base camps exist. Your body needs to acclimate. Everybody needs to learn. You know, you, we focus so much on how we sell. We forget to remember that the people who are buying have their own products.
They've got a way that they need to buy. They've got a way that they need to go through a decision making process. Know we want to force our process down their throat because I'm going to go through what I'm going to ask my three questions. And when I find that you answered one of them properly, I'm going to jump in on that.
And I have got to sell the crap out of this cool thing, because it will solve everything that you ever wanted to solve. And I completely missed. The detailed behind and I start pitching without context, and it is a nightmare. It's it's it is something it's moved from a pandemic to endemic it's out there and it will, and it continues to persist.
We pitch without context because this is how we get coached. And this is how we're. Guided and directed inside organizations and we're distracted. So there's a number of different reasons, but, but Darryl, you you definitely struck a chord with me. So thank you.[:
I've been there on way too many occasions. Okay. This you're not alone. I want to be clear on this. Right. And if you can relate to this you're on the call with the prospect. And, and they ask you something or they give you an answer that you don't want to hear and you like panic and inside you're hyperventilating.
And you're like, I knew this was going to come up and that's when you're saying, and I could have prevented this. If I would have done a, B or C, you know, two calls ago. And now before I could have set the stage for this and I jumped a step and that's really a big, important thing here is there is a big picture in, or you made a really interesting.
You talked about effortless. So the climber, the climber in I'm going to run a little bit here and they say the climber is the sales rep, right? So the climber in the com if I want to tackle Everest, they know I have to do this with certain. Method. There's going to be rests, you know, base camp, et cetera, all these different camps.
There's certain gear. I need to equip myself with. If I don't have enough oxygen, can, you know, canisters, I will not make the top. Right. I need to pace myself because my body can only handle so much and I'm not a climber, but you get the idea. They know going in. If they want to reach that pinnacle, they have to follow the process because they've seen too many climbers, physically die.
Who didn't do it. Right? So that's you the sales rep, but Mike, you made a profound statement. You said the buyer's got a way they need to buy. There's a sales process there. And by the way, something like a med pick or any kind of discovery is designed to uncover that. Right. And if you try to fit your shortcuts, so your impatience around that buyer is going to bite you in the ass.
So you truly need to understand the big pitch. So, you know, when to apply the individual steps. If you don't understand the big picture, you understand your sales methodology, you don't understand your ideal customer profile. You don't understand your buyer. You don't understand how they buy you're screwed from the get-go.
Is that a fair statement?[:
But we, we know what we want. We come into the, into their operating environment. The, the store is designed to support that purchase. And as I go through my process to get the coffee, I have opportunities to pick up other pickup, other things. There's somebody on the other end who will ask me some questions.
So this can happen in a very, very short, small, compact environment, or it can be a long 18 month sales cycle. The thing that we need to do. A better job with as professionals, as leaders, as experts in our craft is designed with intention so that we can design our approach to align with the customers approach and create.
Something I'd like to call power up tight moves. Where if you ever had one of those hot wheels, racetracks, it had a battery operated. We all that the car would go through. And then all of a sudden the car would speed up. Or if you play Mario kart and you go over the blue, the purple diagrams that would give you a boost, how can we create boost?
Where we meet our customers, where they all. And help them get over the next obstacle, getting back to the EverString, this would be the guide or the Sherpa that's out there on the mountain. That's helping people move, helping people move along because your customer many times it's the first time they're buying a solution like yours.
So they need some guidance. And on our side, We've had an opportunity to work with a lot of customers like them, so we can help provide that guidance. We can design for each of these things, and it doesn't need to be complicated. The reason why we fail as sales professionals and sales leaders is because we focus too much on ourselves.
We get ourselves caught in emotions and we just keep going and going and going and doing rather than. Pausing taking some time to think, assess the situation and then start moving forward. Okay.[:
And they say, these are the steps that will follow them. So clearly, if you don't follow the steps, you don't have the in you're running into the challenges that we talked about here. Like kid number two your, to blame that let's just own it. All right. The steps are their own, your. You can always fix it, but not everybody has access to that.
So how do we understand the steps that are involved? How do we determine that Mike?[:
And I'm going to start to create my own process. You can create your own process in the absence of your organization, providing guidance and direction and leadership. Now, the thing about the processes, it should be repeatable. You should have steps that you're are. To go through the reason why it needs to be it's important that it's repeatable is because if things don't work the way you expect them to now you've got a point that you can reflect against to determine what changed is it?
Because I wasn't following my process that I created or is it because something has shifted inside the market, take the data that you've captured from each of the customer engaged. And start looking at it in the context of binary statements. When I ask this question, do I get the response I expected?
If yes, let's keep asking those kinds of questions. If no, let's shift the question. So go through and just. Kind of technically people would talk about codifying the, the process, codify your process based on the data. The only way that you'll be able to do this well is if you document things and then you look back at what you've documented and you absorb the information and then start going out and testing something different in the same way that you would test.
You're driving a manual transmission car, you know, the first time you drove that manual transmission car, I'm sure that you stalled. If your deals are gonna stall it's okay. Make sure that you're learning from each of those situations and then start putting the things in place to help you get from step one, to step two.
So a to B to C, rather than trying to jump from a to let's get married and move all the way over to Z Darryl.[:
You're not going to get all those steps determined, resolved, and figured out on your first sales conversation you have with a prospect. So give yourself permission the mindset again, right? To physically understand that you're going to have failures, you're going to have issues. You're gonna hit roadblocks.
You're gonna run into the wall. You're gonna fall on your ass in the ice, whatever it is, but he made a big point in there. He said at that point in time, you need to determine. No, did I do something wrong or did the process change? Do I need to adapt? And so that's where the iteration comes in and you're going to find out sometimes you did something wrong and sometimes something new happened that you've never experienced before.
And now you might need to add in an extra step to preempt that in future sales cycles. And what's really important, but what Mike just said, he a, he was being intentional too. He was B he was telling you, it's gonna take time. Three. He was telling you, you had the right mindset. Give yourself permission for who was telling you to be aware so you can determine constantly what's changed.
What's changed. Do I need to modify my process, that everything he just told you applies to, whether you're creating your own process or you're building upon the process that your management has. Because when management gives you a process, it is a somewhat, you know, customized to what you sell, but it's still a somewhat generic offering.
Everybody sells a little bit differently. So you, you have to iterate on both of those things. Now I am kind of seeing one thing here over and over again, Mike, which is call it speed. Call it impatience, call it maybe anxiety. I don't know. Call it. A lack of confidence in yourself and your own abilities, but that seems to be what's undoing most of us.
Is that a fair statement? Yeah, I[:
But we're usually what ends up happening is the ball gets moved and then everybody runs to where the ball is. And then the ball gets moving. Everybody runs to where the ball. There everybody's moving really, really fast, but they might be going in directions that are not in alignment with scoring the goal.
If we focus more on speed to impact impact from a to B impact from B to C impact from C to D we will. Better at solving for the challenges that we're looking for. And here's where it reveals itself as a sales leader. This is when things would, would go, would get, would get nasties. You, you get toward the end of the quarter.
And all of a sudden my problem becomes. The customer's problem or to get toward the end of the year. And now there's this level of urgency that we have on our side. So how can we create urgency on the client side? I don't think you can create it. I think you can reveal it. You can reveal it. And if you do the right things early on in your process, the likelihood of you landing those deals at the right time and right place will increase.
And you'll see that in the way that you forecast from a revenue perspective. And forecasts from a timing perspective. So the way that I would look at that, just to recap that is go through and not fall into the trap of running really fast to the next thing, to the next thing, to the next thing, designed with intention, evaluate where you are so that you.
Observe whether or not you're getting closer to the goal or further away, because speed to impact is greater than going. Fast.[:
We have all had the book, the tortoise and a. Read to us, by somebody in our life. We're familiar with the expression. How do you eat an elephant one bite at a time? The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. You see what's going on here. It's being intentional. And it's understanding that there's a process and there is a whole bunch of steps.
And if you. Are the tortoise. You can easily surpass the hair simply by following the methodology. Mike, let me close by saying this. What are somethings I can do right now? I can apply immediately to take away after listening to you to help me down this road of being more intentional of being the tortoise, rather than, than that.
Of making sure speed is not going to kill me.[:
And what we, what we find. We're not really erasing on our process. We're iterating on the number of elephants that were biting. And before you know it, you're going to irritate those elephants and you might be caught up in a stampede. So be careful. Number one, am I attempting to buy too many elephants or am I focused on the single elephant biting one bite at a time and constantly learning as I move through within that process, that that's number one.
Number two. Look at. The last, let's say three deals that you won what happened right before closed one. What happened right before that? What happened right before that? And go back as many steps as you can. Where do you document what happened across three deals? Just do it for three. And then when you compare them either on a whiteboard or on a piece of paper, look to see what the pattern is.
Are there some consistencies in those things, is there an opportunity to accelerate speed, to impact where some of their stages, can you find those power ups that will help accelerate things? If you can start testing those and use that to start iterating on your process, use a pen and a piece of paper or a.
Dry erase, marker, and a whiteboard and map this out, do it for three customers. If you don't identify patterns, extend that out to five. If you still don't identify patterns, lean on other people inside your organization to start figuring some things out, because you might be just chasing Baltimore elephants.
And before, you know, you're going to be caught in the stampede or something else will happen.[:
Yes, I do. Great. Thank you. I will make sure that we get you out of here within the hour. As discussed in the email, I already sent you, these are the talking points I want to cover off today, which builds upon what we've already previously talked about. Do you agree with these points? And as in the ounce, you want to add?
So yeah, I had one or two more things. Great. Noted. I've got this white, I got this parking lot. I'm going to take notes on and if there's anything I can't answer for you today, I will get you answers. I'm just going to keep this over here. I'll do my best to get you all the answers. But if I don't, I am capturing them.
Is that acceptable to you? Yeah, that's great. Thank you. So my goal is today is to answer a, B and C. And if we do this and I answer all your questions, then I'm going to ask your permission to enter this call, to continue a dialogue, you know, for next logical steps. Is that reasonable to you? That's reasonable to me.
Great. Thank you. Let's get into it. That's music because you're respecting my calendar. You're making it very clear. What's going on? And you're guiding me through the process. No surprises. I feel like I'm in control because I gave you permission. You asked me, I gave it to you, but the reality was you effectively set the agenda.
That's what we're talking about here. Folks. It's a process. That's Mike Simmons. He's pretty cool. A, even though he's an Islanders fan, he is the host of the find mind catalyst podcast. Check it out. He's pretty cool. He's epic on that whiteboard behind them. If you're listening to the audio, Mike is in front of a very cool whiteboard.
He uses it non stop. So follow him on LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter. LinkedIn, he is literally linkedin.com/ Mike Simmons to him. One N Simmons plural. So there we go. Mike, best way to get ahold of you. LinkedIn elsewise, the website is catalyst sale.com. Did I miss anything?[: [:
Shall you take care? We'll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
This episode was digitally transcribed.