The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 4 months ago

100th Episode

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

To celebrate our 100th episode, Brian Walsh joined us to interview Force Management Co-Founders John Kaplan and Grant Wilson. They discuss the journey from starting Force Management to celebrating nearly 20 years in business. We are joined by a special guest halfway through the episode - and he shares how John Kaplan almost quit sales for Krispy Kreme. 

Here are some additional resources

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

... kind of sit down, I'd like to talk to you. And I'm like yes, what's going on? And hand's over in the corner. She's smiling because she's not she knows what's coming. And he said, we really need you to quit this job. We really need you to quit this job, that you're in a PDC and we would like to buy you a franchise that Krispy Kream. That's a true story. That's a true story. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, I'm Rachel glip Miller with the audible ready sales podcast. To the fireworks, sound the trumpets, we are celebrating our one hundred episode and we have a great episode for you today. Our Own Brian Walsh sits down with force management's cofounders, Grant Wilson John Kaplan. They talk about the company it's road to success, how they got where. They got some great stories along the way and a special guest that surprises them. I hope you enjoy it. Here we go. Welcome everybody. Welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Brian Walsh, your host for this one hundredth anniversary podcast, is what I'm calling it, and I welcome John Kaplan and grant Wilson, the two co founders of force management. Guys, great to have you. How are you doing, Brian? I'm great, buddy. Yeah, body, you are going to good. You always try and good. Yeah, we're always listen. I have been looking more to this. When Rachel approached me on this, I was not only thrilled to get the chance to do it, but I immediately kind of put this up against, or really attached it to, the fact that the company is getting ready to start celebrating its twenty anniversary, and I know that's a little bit out but it's close enough to the one hundredth anniversary podcast that I thought we should we should kind of play with that topic a little bit. So are you guys ready to go? Yeah, but Oh yes, do it all right. So we got a few questions. You know, you guys always give us the chance to do these podcasts and webcasts etc. I thought it would be really good to start, though, by talking with where you all kind of came from as relates to force management and give people a chance to get under the hood a little bit look behind the curtain. So could you guys talk a little bit about the original intent of the company and then how force management evolved over time to what it is today? Yeah, man, so, grant, you know my I'll kick it off and then you fill in the game. So grant and I were so blessed to have worked with each other at pet EC back in the day. Yep, I actually came down to work in Charlotte, North Carolina. Grant was a regional manager and I took over one of the districts which was out of which was out of Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, maybe Tennessee, but you were working for grant as working for grant. Yeah, and and then we just really became fast friends. It was just a really, really cool situation. I learned a ton and and grant went off to Japan to take an assignment there and and work in international assignment and then a little bit after that I went off to Europe and I took an international assignment and so grant had come back was working in corporate and after he finished up his assignment and I was in in Europe, and I remember just it was really an interesting situation where people might have heard this before, I might have told this story with Rachel on one of our podcast before, but I'm sitting on an airplane and my father had just passed away a few months before and and I was really really thinking about, you know, getting back home. I wanted my children to grow up and in the US. They had a great experience in Europe, but I've been over there for five years and and I kind of sketched out the beginnings of something that could have been for wors management and on a left Hanza Napkin, I landed and I called grant and kind of shared with him the idea. I just kind of told them. I said, Ay, man, it's you know, it's time and in grant, I'll I'll just remind you and then you can tell the rest of your story. I have a dear friend of ours. His twin brother had passed away and grant had gone to the funeral and so grant was feeling this massive momentum to hey man, he was living in Boston commuting,...

I was living in Frankfurt. I wanted to come back to the US and there was this whirlwind of momentum of change and it just really presented itself in a really, really cool way. So, grant, if you remember, I called you and when I landed and then you told me about your experience that weekend. So I'll let you tell that experience. Yeah, real good. But it's funny talking about this stuff because it brings up all those memories of really literally, you know, coming up on twenty years ago, right. So it was a big deal. I mean we had we had a lot of we had we had great jobs, we worked with great people over a PTC. There was a lot of fun, but at the same time we were we were also starting to think, you know, I think I was turning forty at the time, so I think I was starting forty and starting to really think about, you know, should I be in a plane every day and how should how should I think about when do I need to be available for the family and just some other things that were going on. And I think when John and I got started we ended up back in Charlotte, John moved back, I ended up coming into the you know, starting the business together with John. We were really thinking about what the company was intended to do. We knew we could take some things that we learned from just some fantastic years of PTC and take those and turn those into something where we could help others. And we had it. We had a really going around for specific principles. Right one was. One was the family. First, we want to make sure that whenever we did we were able to be able to be present for our families. So that was one of the objectives of this, whatever the new thing was. The second thing we were focused on was really being able to make sure that we could be financially independent, that we could build a financial future and foundation for ourselves and for our families going forward. Third was, and not necessarily these things were in this order, was really be able to based on our faith, be able to tithe and return to the community and use the business to drive some of that purpose for ourselves. And then finally, and John did a better job at this than I did, it was about fitness. How are we going to stay in shape as we do all this and again, John John did better this than I did, but you know, three foot three out of four ain't bet you're still bad in seven hundred and fifty. But now I original intent was to do be able to do those things in accomplish that and be able to actually provide some valued service for people that we knew and people that we are yet to meet. Is, if you look at what the company is today and what it does for a living on a day to day basis for the clients that we serve, would you ever have is that's what you even pull it? This is closely resemble what was on the back the Lufanda Napkin or the first conversation you have or what? How did it morph? Well, to be completely transparent, we started force management in order to make a life. We knew how to make a living and we started to make a life. So it was going to be a transition for us from Corporate America. We were just looking for a way to really to replace our corporate incomes. I wanted to be present. Grant and I both wanted to be present for our families and it was just kind of a it was just kind of luck. We got phone calls immediately. Grant was getting phone calls, I was getting phone calls, and people found out that we had left PTC and they're like, Hey, you know, come be the you know, the BP sales for this company. And and we were just looking at each other and we're like, you know, hey, these are all great opportunities that are coming our way, but you do want to make a go of this? And we're like yeah, absolutely, we's mantra. Go ahead. WHAT'S THE MANTRA? But I have a question based on something you said. But what's all of us the mantra? We had this mantra that said if we can figure out a way to do this and we can help those who can't help themselves, both in the business community and that the community at large, will be really, really rich individuals, meaning fulfilled from life principle. And that's the mantra that that carried on for the last twenty years and it just, you know, we people were like hey, come be a vps sales will say, well, we're trying to build this company, but we'll help you. And so we help people and help people and help people, and then we started to get a point of view and then our products and services started to develop and and that's really how the company launched. But to say that we thought that it would be where it is today, having sold the company twice and building it for great outcome. Again, I would tell...

...you personally, and a grant says otherwise, he's lying, we had no we had no idea that it was going to turn out to be this way and that it's just been really a blessing as well. So you and grant, I'd love for you to comment on this too. But giants, you use the word or the phrase we got lucky, and I worry that if someone was listening to this that they they could miss construe that comment, because I don't think any of this has anything to do with luck and I think people have attention to use luck as a placeholder for humility, and I get that. But if someone was listening to this right now, could you define what created that luck for you guys, because it wasn't luck. Well, I I still, I would argue, I still think I'm the luckiest guy on the planet in so many different ways, and I'm not just trying to, you know, be a humble person. It's just all the things that had to come together for. You know, if we didn't have the backgrounds that we did. PTC was the fastest growing software company and you know, at the it was just an incredible execution company. Forty three straight quarters of never missing their number. Right time we left and created force management. You know, there were chief lieutenants that were out creating, you know, unbelievably rich companies, but none of those, Pete, none of those people, would have called the two of you. Yeah, that's my point if certain things were not in place that the two of you had. I mean the backgrounds were great. You know, you came out of Jerox, he came out of HP. You needed this amazing organization. But what is it that you think people saw in you or that you or that you learned from them and the interactions you had that gave them the trust to pick up the phone and say, Hey, I heard you're on your own, come talk to me. That's what I would love people to kind of gleam from this. Why they were calling grant grants, this market buying. I think they know we're going to okay, way to play that. That's why grant. Why were they calling you? I want people to take something from this. It's a building my career and my skill set. What are the things that matter? Yeah, so I a couple things, I think. I think we were fortunately surrounded by some great people and great leaders that we had a chance to learn from. Yeah, part of that, what you learned from them, is building those relationships and, in staying true to those relationships, making sure you're focused on what those are. Yeah, that you are. You do what you say you're going to do, you you provide air cover and you support one another and you just you focus on doing those right things. Yeah, and I think, you know, John John called it lock and I think I would call it also great relationships we had. We had people that were that really helped us along, but at the same time, we spend a lot of time doing all we could, you know, leaving it out there, trying to help them with what they were, their objectives were, and it's just a it's a two way street on making sure those relationships or solid and sound and based on trust. Yeah, yeah, and you know, as someone who was an outsider looking in for almost ten years before I came here, ten years or almost ten years ago, I would tell you that that's what I was trying to poke out a little bit and get you guys talk about instead of me just saying it, which is what you what you guys have created is something that's very rare, number one, but it's based on this concept that, like I had about the US and say them it's amazing how the more prepared I am, the luckier I get, and that's what you guys have created. You have created this amazing little environment where everybody is focused on the client first, right in back. I was going to go there next, and everybody knows that if we're focused on the client first, all the other right things happen, and I think that's your point about the relationship. So so let me ask you. I got a couple other questions for and then then we'll turn the subject. If you think about the history, can you give me an example, and there's probably I can't ask you to give me the biggest or the best, because that would be unfair, but give me an example of a client realization story that you just love, a story that you often think back to in terms of the types of outcomes force management has helped an organization create. What's the One? What's one that just comes straight to mind for you? Well, I'm not going to get into the names of the folks here, but I'll start you. That's we had a back in the early days, we had a customer. This particular person was the VPA sales for North America at the time and and basically went through and understood what we could bring to the table from a they were trying to figure out how to take there. They had a had a big company, wasn't quite to a billion yet and they were trying to...

...take their what they were calling the ten legged sales call, because they had so many people and stuff on that call, and Barrow it down to someone who could really be effective one on one and these in these, you know, sales processor sales calls. And when we walked through what we could do, and we were competing against a couple others as well, our champions and has been a champions of this day, actually in multiple companies. Basically, when they all were getting ready to make the decision, he was the only one because we would have been new. We were kind of new to the market place in the name, we didn't have the brand, and I remember him calling me after the meeting and I just remember standing there about how important this really is what we do and how we do really really matters to the folks that we're talking to. And I remember him saying, Hey, I just bet my job. I was the only one in the room that wanted to go with you and I was told by the president that we could go with you. He said the others are wellknown, you're just not well known, but I know you and John Well. I'm willing to bet my job on the fact that you're going to be able to deliver this for US globally, which is it was a global roll out at the time, and so and I remember just having just taken a moment after that phone call, first of all reassuring him we will crush this for you, we will do all that we can. It will be successful. But I remember hanging up that phone and thinking about how important what we're about to do is two companies, not just that one individual but also the impact it's going to have on others inside that business, and I just I've always kind of carried that with me and that in that yeah, I don't know if it's the weight of that or the opportunity of that. You probably both. Yes, I mean imagine you know again for anybody listening to this? When somebody says, and we've heard this before, I've heard it, I'm betting my job on you, like they're serious when they say that. Yeah, but even when they don't say it, they're still saying that when they pick right, when they pick us, they're expecting us to deliver. That's that's really great, John. How about you? One of my great takeaways relatively early on in the company. So we had this framework we created called the value framework and it turned into a product call command of the message, which is really the answering of the four central questions and an aligned way. What problems you solve for your customers? How specifically you solved body sew them differently or better, and we're have you done it before? So I'm sitting in the CEOS Office and Dallas technol Austin Texas, in Austin Texas and the CEO calls me into the room during a workshop that we were doing, calls Mintor's office and he says, Hey, John, I'm a little bit concerned. I just I think we don't have the right sellers. I think we need to get rid of all of our cellars. Like we they don't have enough. And this was an ad tech company. Yeah, and they were like we they need advertising experience. And there's a really, really cool moment, because I know that it's all about the playbook and Matt sank a great playbook to a great profile of a seller and actually asked the CEO. I said, Hey, who's your number one seller? I already knew the answer. This right, and people accuse me that maybe asking questions that I already know the answered the right. Some Times it's a good idea. That's right, said I said, I said, who's your number one seller? And they said, well, it's Susie and I said, no, it's not susie. Well, and I said, you know, based upon this criteria, and they're like, yeah, that's the same, greater I would use. Okay, I said it's not susie and it was like, it's not Paul, and it was, you know, let's say it was Jane. And I said it's actually Jane and he goes, Oh, you know, okay, that makes sense and and I said do you know why? It's change? And Jane had come from another company that had utilized force management before and this company did not have the answers to the for central questions. Right. But Jane was what I called back in the day the hunter versus the zoologist, and James was a hunter. Yeah, all she needed was from a company where the answers to those four such a questions. And so, for example, I said, hey, it's like the hunter and the zoologist the hunter. They just need to know where does the bear sleep? So we're hunting bears. Where does the bear sleep? When does it eat? How does it move? They don't need you to teach them how to shoot a gun or to load it with bullets or what have you. They need the answers to those four essential questions. Right. He was actually going the opposite way and and thinking that he was going to go, go get a bunch of zoologists. So people...

...had had all this advertising experience or add tech experience, where have you. And it was one of my funnest moments because we absolutely crushed that engagement. there. That CEO has hired US three or four additional times that other companies than now that he's on boards, and that is really stuck with me and it's stuck with that individual. to He is about arming the hunters with the right information, with the right playbook. You have the right people with the right playbook and you can make unbelievable things happen. And that's actually a grant. And I learned at PTC that was a combination of an effectiveness playbook, a very very effective playbook, and the very, very committed profile of outstand big well sellers. Okay, that is those are great. But being a since you brought a PGC, it's being in that. ANYTHING ABOUT PCC and they the people you've met since and these roles and where you came from, by the previous to PBC? Can you kind of give me, no names, police, give me the common characteristics of the best, probably sales leaders or just collective leaders, that you've experienced it. What does that look like? Scare you want to start with that one and I'll fill with sure, sure, so, and it's there's a number of them and some of these are sound a little obvious, but I think one of the ones, it's hard, and you really got to check himself on this one, is the courage to do the right thing, even though when it's a very, very difficult decision. Right. So it's the it's making those hard choices, because that's what people are looking for leaders to do is to make the hard choice, and so I think that's that's always something you respect when you see it, I believe in it's consistency. Right, how consistent are the decisions that they make and the communication that takes place puts that? I think it's humility, right. It's the it's the ability to really take feedback and learn from those around you and use that input to work that work it into how a decision is ultimately made and understand that you may not have all the answers and probably don't actually, and that the a lot of those things come from others and those experts, and so really being able to open up that lens of of diverse thought and bring it and so I think those are some of the just the the big ones off the top of my head. Yeah, grant, how a John, how about you? What would you add to them? Yeah, so those characteristics. I think I was thinking about this when you sent us that little prework and you're thinking about, you know, some of the great leaders that we work for. There were some common themes. For me, accountability was one of the one of the greatest things that I learned at PTC and obviously in my zerox days as well. You know, those people that helped me understand how important it is to be accountable. Authenticity is a here. Did Not just write to yourself and to the organization, right. Yeah, I mean you earned the right to build a in organization by being authentic, as an authentic leader. You earned the right for people to be accountable to an organization, not because they have to, but because they want to. And I call that the WANTA factor. Yeah, they get people to want to do things even around accountability. Yeah, they give an organization to strive to be accountable. Grant and I are very, very proud to have been a part of an organization that, you know, forty three straight quarters, ten plus years of never missing our number to Wall Street. You know, there are people that looked at that from the outside and said that was a very tough, brutal culture, hire and fire and well, you can look at things from multiple lenses, but I can tell you, being inside of that culture and working for some of the great leaders that we both work for, there was a want, a factor, and we wanted to be, yeah, you know, not just the best but the only. And you know, but that's that. That there's that's a little different in it. That's you bet, but the only I love it. And then and then, you know, I like what grant said. You know, courageous leaders that have the ability to do the tough things at the right times. Right, right. We all do tough things, but not all of us do them in the right time, which makes the right way sometimes, yeah, which makes it sometimes tougher for those involved in those decisions. And so I think account ability, authenticity and courage, yeah, I...

...think are some of the great characteristics that we experienced. So so, with that in mind, have have you guys ever listened to the podcast smart lest? It's Jason Bateman and a couple of other actors. They get together and they try heard of it? No, I I've got it. Is it good? Yeah, it's fabuless and they do something really neat every time they meet up. One of the three guys is responsible for bringing a guest that the other two guys don't know it's coming. Yes, so I thought we might do the same thing today. So I'm about to bring someone in that you had no idea was coming, because I thought would be nice to have an outside perspective about where the company started and where it's been. So it's someone who knows the company really, really well. He's highly respected in the marketplace, specifically in leadership circles, specifically technology sales as well. He's led major sales organization. Teach sat on board. He's also, most recently, I believe, and I'm just going to give them the title of best selling off of author. That's right, gentleman, the author of the qualified sales leader, John McMahon, joins the auto that's ready podcast. John. Are you there, John McMahon? Good, I had to wait till a hundred episodes to get invited on the come on, what is this all about? That's all, John, thanks for John. Thanks for joining. I'm going to I'm gonna just listen, John, I will. I'm just going to set this up and let you guys go. I as I mentioned John the other day when he and I met for the first time. I've been hearing about John McMahon for over a decade, but the at least the Deck Guy Decade I've been here force management and I was so excited to get him on. John, I would love for you to dive right in talk to these guys a little bit about your remembrances of the beginnings of the company and kind of what you've seen, and I'll let the three of you playoff of it for a bit. So well, we were going to throw a fists first here. I'm gonna a little. This is an IT. You stopped us right away middle of that. These guys talking about we. I think was about twenty years ago. We were at a restaurant of Waltam, Massachusetts. It'll Caprechio, I think, and you guys had patched the idea and we're running the idea past me, but I thought it was a great idea. Is that how you remember it? Grant that he thought it was a great idea. Did I think you remember that? Grapt yeah, yeah, Toria, what do you remember about that meeting? The John Thought it was a good idea for us, or what I think John was given us some pretty specific guidance and what to stay focused on if we're going to do this right. And so I think the the big piece on that was make sure you're driving some value around improving revenue and productivity for sellers, I remember that correctly. And how do you put that together and how do you really live up to it and how are you actually get that done? Right? But mostly we will be talking about how tough it was for you guys to be, you know, engaged in delivery of your services and then also, at the same time having to go out and sell your services. And you get them through that for for a pretty long period of time. Also, one they're only there were only two of you. For How long, right? I mean it's the least the first couple of years. Yeah, yeah, no, so I remember even I think blade logic was the first, one of the first times, or maybe the first time that you did command of the message, right, one of the first yeah, one of others it was, and the second time we did it was opswhere, but that's a whole other story that you can yeah, taking taking what you learned from me and take it. Actually, we're doing him at the same time, Johnny, do you remember what's that? We were doing them at the same time. And when Dave we were in the workshop and they found out that grant was that ops where we're trying to explain, we had a firewall upset up, you know, and and Dave Acheria was very concerned, very kids well, out of handway blot of yeah, yeah, but you try a bunch of different modules. I remember that. Yeah, like command of the plan, command of Themman to the message, command of the people. Even had a leadership one that, you know, I took a chance, son and pile the bunch of guys in a room for that. That one. That one didn't go very well, but well, yeah, that's what happened when you're doing product development on the fly. Sometimes right down right, but that's where you live and learn, right, that's what these guys are really good at. It's what I where I was going with that is that these guys you...

...know how to plan. They started to move down the plan and they found out that some things work and some things didn't work. And when things didn't work, you know, they didn't let their egos getting away and they switched really quickly to what really did work. So I got to hand it to them for for doing that and navigating their way over the last twenty years. They did a phenomenal job. And then a roll, you know, like grant, found his role navigating towards the CEO role and executing now and really stepped into that role. Had to learn a lot of new new no experiences and a lot of new things to be able to be the CEO of a company. And then John found his way. He's my world. I tell everybody, if you want the best sales present there in the entire industry, there's nobody better than John Kapit so that's amazing. Yeah, I apreciate that, John. I gotta tell you a lot of the you know, we were we had great customers, right, you being one you being one of them several times. Thank you. But the just great customers who who really work with us to not only take what we had learned and leverage you within their environment, but also helped us really fine tune our knowledge in our experience, and so we were able to figure out really or try to figure out, what works, what didn't work, and then over time changes over twenty years. What worked twenty years ago or fifteen years ago or ten years ago? He's very different today in the sales environment. Right. We've just had the chance to work for some great customers and great sales were. So we're we feel pretty fortunate on that. Ye, have debts. Again, that goes back to you guys, because you didn't take the cookie cutter approach to say this one cookie cutter approach works for everybody. You were constantly adjusting, based upon the times and the companies you were at, to adjust the way in which you took the material in and delivered the materia. Then that's that's really powerful. Not a lot of people want to do that because a lot of people don't want to change. They want to stay the same down where you got camp them. We're you going to throw something there? Look like you were about to. He's always ready to throw a bell. Yeah, grant said we were throwing hands. I would just wondering when we can stuck to that. Please have at it. Let the I'm sure the idea. Would love to hear it. We've been so blessed to you talked about earlier, John, and you'll see this probably later, but we were just talking about some of the great experiences and the things that we learned at PTC and that really rare moment in time where, you know, where you had a dominant product in the marketplace, unbelievably powerful, accountable sales culture with great sales leadership and and just that incredible momentum that got created from that. And then when we started force management. You know, most of our beginning. Customers were from that cloth. They were view at blade logic, they were cranny at ups where they were, you know, just on and on down the line and just great, great people with, you know, great experiences, and that really helped us launch. It really helped US launch the company. Is Amazing. Yeah, did you look it up for you come? Since then, he does, are known as like the number one training company in all of high technology, you know, across across the United States at least. Yeah, yeah, it's been a it's been a it's been a tremendous, tremendous run, tremendous. We thank you for that, Buddy. Thank you for an invite on the hundred episode, I mean, and just remember, John, I'm the guy that I'm the one that got you in by not these two jazz that's right, they took the guy that didn't even know you so yet. Yeah, the PODCAST. Yes, exactly. So, Hey, it's grant. I gotta know or John. Where would you guys be right now had this not come together, which I probably be in a denny's right now. Look at what's so funny, John, I probably be at a Denny's. The last time I was my interview with John McMahon was in a denny's and him looking out the w right into try Detroit and he was Leop Brian. He was looking out the window, yeah, while I was talking to him. Yeah, and I actually stopped talking to see if he would look back at me. And that was my was a real big hot shot at Zer rock selling copiers. Who I watch yourself, brother, watch yourself being careful. Be careful from another another zero rocks guy that's hurt gone. That's where John and I met. Yeah, something copiers. We had to take him into the new world selling software. Right, we were selling do actually in SOO skills. When he when the paper jams, whether...

...or not that would apply to when you sell the soft when I tell you, Brian, whoever they taught us, when the paper games, you turn around and say I'm so glad that happened, Mr Customer, because you know I would say too. Is that go ahead? John? Oh, sorry, I would say it. In all seriousness. I am it was not easy making that transition. I bad, but I am so thankful. I mean Zerox is a great a great experience for me. They taught me great focus on customer satisfaction, great focus on the art of discovery and asking great discovery questions and then just getting going to PDC, which was all about incredible qualification and being predictable and accountable. You know, putting those two worlds together it's just and just massive for me. So I can't even imagine where I would be today without that experience. I'm very, very thankful. I know where he would be, Bron. You know, he missing gained some some experience and he even be running a crispy cream franchise. He chartering the fishing boat it's on. And where were? Grant me, John, we're going to get grant. Would be my biggest cousiner and Christy greetside. But joanny, maybe you want to tell him to start the Christy Kream story. No, buddy, buddy, what Brian, what he is referring to is we were so accountable at PTC. The part that we don't underbelly, part that we don't talk about it, is, if you didn't make your number, you were out. You were out and you did. Everybody knows any about PTT knows that right. So you're out. And so I'm trying to get one of the last deals and I'd cast but the whole it the this the story, just the highlights of it. I'm trying to get this deal done with Justin and he winds up at the customers house. I can't go into detail because I'm not sure if the statue of limitations in the quarter last day of the corridor. It's a million dollar deal because from yeah before, don't get it yet, Donna Park as knuckle all that. Yeah, anyways, my father in law's there. The next day we're going to President's Club, to Hawaii, where I got a face McMahon. If I don't have the deal, it's over. Yeah, and so I'm throwing up in the trash can and my Home Office, which is a true story, and my Fatherin law started smoking again because he's going to babysit the kids and and he's here and all days and smoke. Yep, yeah, he starts smoking again. He's he's just totally freaked out. When I came out, when we finally got the deal, like thirty at night or what have you, he comes I come out and he said, Hey, I with my mother and lies like we need you to just sit down here and what you just kind of sit down. I'd like to talk to you and I'm like, Yesh, what's going on? And hand's over in the corner. She's smiling because she's knows, she knows what's coming. And he said, we really need you to quit this job. We really need you to quit this job that you're in, a PTC, and we would like to buy you a franchise that Krispy Kreme. That's a true story. That's a true story, and I can have to married about your wellbeing. I have to admit I contemplated it for just a moment because, you know, as John Knows, I am a Connoisseur of Chrisp Greens. They who doesn't love a good fresh crispy cremes? Oh my goodness. Well, grant, yeah, thanks John. We're at PTC. We're growing a hundred percent a year. Grant had somewhat of an epiphany and whole boy, Oh boy, he was gonna go sell like yellow pay just ads or Rochester telephone. Rochester telephone. Really sure we are? Grant would be right now, be working at ranches Rochester, tell green teeth and he in the Bowling League. Hey, you can still get good dollars for dial tone right now. Man, Ryan, got to let you know what kind of stress we were rubbed there occasionally. Yeah, that's great. That is just terretoring that. We've got it. We got insane. Send him down to North Carolina. That's where him and John had and yeah, rest is history. Rest is great. One of the things I want to ask you guys about the kind of came up when John was talk a little bit about two guys, specifically you, John, but both of you came from a hardware background and to make the jump to this software world and you know, for those of you listening who weren't there back then, that was a pretty big jump. I mean, if you really think about what PETC was, PTT, in my my mind, was the first big real piece of software outside of work processing ever really developed. I mean maybe that's...

...a bad analogy, but hopefully it makes sense. And that's now happening for a lot of ore. A lot of people now. A lot of people are in some role that they've been in and some some industry that's kind of started to mature a little bit and they're starting to look at a new space like Fintech, which is really taken off in the last, you know, for five years. That kind of thing what advice with the three of you guys give to somebody who's thinking about making that jump but they just they're just not quite sure. They're not they're not quite sure they can make that leap. What are the things they should think about for themselves? I know you didn't expect this question, but it was just a natural outcome of what I heard you guys talking about. I'd say the first thing is it's not going to be you know, as it is selling hardware. So if you're not going to be adaptable to learn something new, learn a new process, then you probably can fail. So you have to do that really smart right if no matter what you've been doing, some of that might translate. But right there's some massive change that you're going to be will to go through, right with soft, with hardware, because typically you know speeds and feeds or it's pretty cemented what the features are, right. Yeah, yeah, and it's pretty it seems pretty specific at customers, for certain niches of customers, for those types of capabilities in the hardware, right softwhere may have hundreds of features but they may for one customer. Five of those features are the ones that really resonate and solve pain and another different, totally different five features can solve pain for another customer. So you have to really understand what is it that the customer wants. You can't just put your product. You got to wait until you truly do a great job at discovering what is it the customer wants and how can I then take what I do and align that with the customers? Yeah, really good. Yeah, guys, how about you? You had to make that leap from one real interesting for that more mature part of a world to a brand new thing. Any thoughts for you, grant? Yeah, so from my perspective is what's the availability of the information? But John alluded to this with what he just said. How much information is there about what's going on in that customers environment and how accessible is it to me and can I learn it? Can I digest that information? Yeah, and I understand what's going on. You know, John talked about it earlier when we were talking about hunters versus zoologists. Right. You know, there's certain things that as a seller, that you need to know, you have to be able to do. I've got to be able to gather those requirements, listen really well, map a solution back to those requirements and so that the closing can be the next event in the process and natural outcome, natural outcome verse an event. Right. So, so I think it's the availability of that of the market that you're actually getting ready to go into. How quickly can you get ramped up on that? On that knowledge? It does your your kind of anivalent. It's something that I wanted to get both you and the other guy's point of view on. How critical, then, does your ability to set up differentiation and influence, some of you are both talking about, become when you think about somebody coming into your organization as a seller? From a skill perspective? Well, I think for me, like your first question on the transition, hmm, for me like it's it's it's got a matter. So in the world that we live in today, what I tell people is what you do has to matter. If it doesn't matter to you, then you're going to have a tough time getting energy from that, from that job, and I think software has just so many tentacles of attaching, Brian, to your second question, attaching to big business issues facing customers. Yeah, we struggle to do it at Zerox, but you know, we talked about the document company and critical documents inside of companies, and we pulled it off. But software, it just has a whole nother avenue of being able to attach technical capabilities to business. Outcome, outcomes him. And then if you can work for a company that you believe what you do matters, yeah, like it gives it a whole another you know, perspective. And then this addressful market. When you look at how big a market place is, how big a problem that is, how many people have that problem? It's a lot easier to make a decision. It matters. That attaches to big business issues. It's a big addressabull marketplace. One of the last things that I would say is if you can go join a company that is filled with, you know, patriots versus mercenary scenary. Yeah, that, for me is like is an emotional connection to where you can go join a culture that you're going to be fed from. It's not going to be, it's...

...not going to beleive you, it's not going to take your energy, it's going to give you energy. And then, Brian, the last thing that you said is, you know, if you're looking at a company or you looking at kind of making a transition and you can understand. This is why it's so important for a company of the answers those four central questions, especially around differentiation. If you can ask the question of how do you influence decision criteria with your differentiation? I'm interviewing for a job, I would want to understand how I can influence the technical decision criteria with our differentiation. If a company has the ability to articulate like a PTC. I wasn't so articulate when I ask that question. That John McMahon, but when he explained to me what they were doing at PTC, PTC was massively influencing decision criteria with decision, or, excuse me, with differentiation from PTC, and that became the playbook, which was wow. That was while theres not any time. I heard you say many times as well. You know I talked about this before, that idea that when you go to interview, if somebody can't start answering those questions for you, you got to ask yourself, as it's a place I haven't want to be. Yeah, right, because that's what they owe you in return for whatever you're going to bring into the him. It was Ida, I got you. Sorry and go ahead. Sorry as the beginning of command of the sale for me became from a conversation I have with John and a denny's. John mcmannon a denny's and I said so John, so what does I didn't say it this way, probably, but I said what does the sales process look like? What does the engagement process look like? And I don't know if you remember, John, but you wrote it down on a Napkin. Yeah, he's like, these are the steps that we go through, and he said pretty simple, right, and I said, yeah, simply goes. Okay, he goes. I guarantee you, if you do all of these things, you're going to he's trying to justify the fourthy fortyzero salary that he was going to pay me as a leader in the company. He said, if you go do all of these things, I promise you you'll be successful. You'll make three times the amount of money you made wherever you're coming from. But then he also said, if you don't follow this methodology, you won't make it. And so it was so simple at PTC barn it was so nice because it was like it was simple enough to be on a Napkin. You go and execute this way and you will be successful. And it was really it was really a powerful thing. So you can go to a company that has the ability to very easily articulate to you how they engage with their customers and it's not like ninety five steps of right complication him. That's powerful as well. I think the other thing would hardware. Is it's if you selling things like storage devices, he's selling routers. It's pretty easy to figure out who in that organization you sell to. Typically wear of a budget for it already, so you don't have to Wat if you're in a startup and you selling or even some the company starting to accelerate and it's selling software, it hasn't been budgeted. So you going into an organization and you trying to go steal budget from a summer other project, right, and who you call on is not so obvious. That person not labeled as the head of, you know, network engineering, let's say, if you were something right. So it's not so obvious hot who you call on. Also. So, as an example, even going back to PTC, you would think that we would call on the cat manager or the director. Some of these guys had direct or cat for big companies. Right. Think. Well, let I sell cat. I'm going to go to the director of cat. When you figured out as the cat director had no pain, right, his engineers already had cat systems. Yep, if he brings on a brand new cat system, he has to retrain everybody, has implementation problems, all that type of stuff. Now he has pain. So he's never going to buy a new, yeah, new cat system. So what you do is figure out who has the pain. It workn't so obvious. And then we what we figured out is the person happens the pain is the VP of engineering, right, the products lead to market, the cost of Enge Engineering, the cost of the product, all those types of things. That person was sitting with the pain. That's the person to get to. Yeah, I love that. That's a great reminder. Great Reminder. So I got you guys for seven minutes. I have two questions and I'm going to round robin all three of you on both of these questions. Ready. Here's the first question, and this is forced management specific. The first question is if you were about to try to do something to transform your organization and the Sales Team and the sales organization specifically and do something like what we do, what's the one piece of advice you would give to the top person in the organization, the Cro the step of sales? What's the one piece of advice you would give them if they were about to do something like this?...

John IC man, you have a first you have to go take their commander of the message product. You have to take it because it's kind of interesting. The command of the message sounds like, oh, that's just something like. You know that marketing actually right, because we hear the word messaging, but it's really about the conversation that the salesperson has with the customer across the table, and that's that's the moment that everything goes down. That's when the white hot spotlights is on the curtains of opened and here you go. And at that moment that's when you have to really engage with the customer, as I talked about before, like doing an effective discovery. That's the first part of like commands of the message. So and if you can't pull that off, nothing else is really going to work. Right. The second thing is that I didn't know it until I did command of the message on how it aligns the rest of the organization. So now marketing understands. Here's command of the message. This is the conversation that goes across the table between the sales rep and the customer. And now, as marketing, we want to give that air cover. So we want to come in with a different type of messaging to give air covered to the salespeople. Right. Second did benefit that I saw was that development now understood what our key differentiators were and how we were fighting against the competition. So now when they would say, Hey, we're going to come out with some new enhancements, it was pretty easy to say, well, does that give us a new competitive differentiator? No. Does that extend the current competitive differentiators that we have? No. Well, why are we doing it? Why? What are we invent in it? Yeah, as it can affect the customer. How's it going to keep us more competitive? And I think a lot of organizations whose sight of that, and companies that are thinking about doing command of the message had need to understand that. It rallies the rest of the organization around the salespeople and it typic. It really aligns those organizations more powerfully than I've ever seen before. I love that. I love that grant. How about you? What your one piece of advice I'd say it would be if you is to make sure that you have cross functional and John alluded to this with the alignment, but you really need to get cross functional participation in the entire process. Yeah, when you think about revenue and you thinking about getting sales really well structured to do it, it's everyone from marketing to engineering, to product development to seem to customer success, customer support. It's the whole organization. Yeah, meet participate in that transformation. You know, we get the buy in and get the commitment to support the functions that you're going to be necessary when engaging a customer from a revenue perspective actually in a sash world and now consumption based pricing world. Right, absolutely, yeah, really good. How about your Johnny Kay? Yeah, so they're both alluding to the critical component and it's it wraps around alignment, and I would just take it just one perspective over a little bit, as it's sometimes when you're talking to these great technical founders, it's not an indictment on your company if you don't if everybody isn't aligned. All right, it's one of the hardest things to do. So a lot of times we engage with companies and they're like, yeah, we should have the answers to those four essential questions. What problems we solve, how specifically we solve them, how do we solve them differently or better, and where we've done it before? And I just would just encourage everybody to check your ego at the door. It's not that you don't have the answers to these questions, but it's it, like John said, at the moment of truth, when that seller is sitting in front of a customer, how does it manifest itself? And if there's differences and silos in those answers, that creates a problem. In the last bit of advice I would say is encourage yourself to take your thinking to the next level. Most people are striving to be the best at something. With how fast everything moves today, by the time you're the best at something, somebody who was the best is even going to be better. And so at the at the same time that you're focusing on being the best, also have some type of mechanism to figure out how you can be the only. Yeah, and I really love how command of the message really kind of helps us pull that out of customers. Is We call unique differentiation when there's opportunity to capitalize right now on things that are unique and where you can be the only and it adds massive value to companies. Those are massive accelerators in value and in performance. I like being able to go last. My answer was freaking good. You had five hundred times. That's my course, because because of the length of your answer, I can't, I can now not ask you my last question. Come on. Ah, so we'll just have to wait for that. Well, just ask those birds.

Just ask those birds. The question I here's the last question. At the pace we're doing podcasts, we'll be doing our two hundred pat podcast right about the time of the company's twenty five we anniversary. What do you think we'll be talking about them? For sellers, what will be different five years from now that people should be thinking about now? Well, one is definitely consumption based complaints. That right think and price and to I think companies are already seeing this, but they're seeing more and more where the how tight the sales organization needs to be with the client success people. Yeah, right, because you're basically getting a customer in constantly trying to renew them and, especially if it's consumption basic now becomes even tighter and tighter than when it was just, you know, the renewal is always there. Yeah, well, the renewal was always there, but now somebody's even on a month to month consumption. They am the funny any time. Right, it's a daily, eating annual booking, but now they might a month to month consumption. So if you got to get tighter and tighter with client success, you need to be a like one team. It can't be two teams, as it's as it's traditionally bad. That is great advice, that connection between the two. We talked about handshakes, when we do command of the sale all the time and that moment of getting New People engaged in a way that is seamless for the customers critical. That's great advice shown. Grant. Anything else to add to that? Yeah, the old the only other thing I would add to that piece is really around. I think we're going to see the use of technology play a greater role inside how sellers are effective. Right the technology stacks are really thick now, very really deep, and there's a lot of technology that's being brought into help people sell. I think they'll be some consolidation there as to how that has to happen. Yeah, it's going to take place. There may be more companies with some consolidation around more comprehensive suites, with have a lot of a lot of capability across one set, you know, one vendor, for example. So I think we talked about that a little bit. I think they'll be a global lines will be even more transparent than they are today and the workforce will be spread out globally versus more of a regional type focus even in the sales war. Interesting. Yeah, all right, good, welcome here. Enough the LG also a lot that. Again, we'll hear what here a lot more about PLG to. Okay, can you define that? Everybody listening if they don't know, well, it's called product led growth a lot of people. If you really see the definition, it's the ability to acquire customers, you know, support customers, renew customers and upsell customers, basically, you know online. And Right now what you see is more of what I might call plg sales, where this self service, you know, for certain companies, and then the customer likes the product and then the end of price or corporate sales people come in. So yeah, kind of starting to see the beginnings of it. It's definitely not up there now, but five years from now maybe you'll you're going to be talking about that moral good gentleman, it was a pleasure. I don't know. I don't know how I got the call to lead the conversation, but it was. It was a thrill to do it. You know, for some of the thank you're almost ten years now. I I tell grant this once in a while, but the moment grant realized that he's paying me to do this as the moment I'm in trouble. I love that we do what we do and how we do it for our customers. John Mc Mahan, it was a pleasure meeting you and, more importantly, it was great avenue on the audible ready podcast. Think Bing to the invite and you bet wish my two brothers in arms are nothing but more continued success. You Bet so. Congratulations and everybody thanks. Listening to the audible ready pops a force management. We're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (165)