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

Episode · 2 years ago

11. Scaling Sales: How to Sell As Well as your Founder w/ John Kaplan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Growing companies are often challenged with translating the founder’s vision and story into sales conversations that highlight the value and differentiation of the solution. 

In many of these companies, no one can sell as well as the founder. 

In this podcast, John Kaplan talks through key steps companies take to scale that message and get an entire sales organization equipped to sell as well as the founder, including: 

  • The key questions every person needs to answer the same in your company
  • The test you can run right now in your own company to start building alignment
  • How Force Management ensures they have a great pipeline of proof points. 

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

One thing that all elite organizations have done is found a way to get all the wonderful knowledge and experience out of the minds of the founders and into the minds and miles, if you will, of the sales organization. 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 Bob sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Club Miller with force management. John Kaplan is here with me today. John, welcome. Hi, Rachel, great to be here as always. Yes, John, today is going to be a great discussion for some of the people out there who are selling in companies that maybe had new solutions to the market. Maybe they're trying to be disruptors or take on an established organization with a new way of doing things. Yeah, I love the topic today because I think you know,...

...we're going to talk about translating the founder's vision into that fire conversation. Yeah, we talked about this a lot, because there are companies out there, and you have may have worked for some of them yourself, where the founder has to be on every sales call to get that job done, because the founder is the old person who can tell a compelling story that moves that bired action. So the end goal for a lot of these growing companies is to translate that story into key value and differentiation points that are meaningful to your buyer. Yeah, that's a great point. I mean we see it all the time and it's one of the number one reasons that start ups with great technology have trouble scaling. If you're if you're a regular listener, you've heard US speak about elite organizations and one thing that all elite organizations have done is found a way to get all of the wonderful knowledge and experience out of the minds of the founders and into the minds and miles, if you will, of...

...the sales organization. So you know, elite companies bucket this founder knowledge into what we call the for a sense of questions. What problems do you solve for your customers? How specifically do you solve those problems? How do you solve them differently or better than your competitors. And where have you done it before? But I know we say this a lot. You need to be a line on what those answers to those questions are. And if your founder it's successfully selling for your organization, if when he or she is on those calls, those deals get done, he or she should be able to answer these questions for your company. But it's not only having one person be able to answer, it's making sure everybody is a line on the answers to those essential questions. Yeah, I mean one of the things that should give you a stomach ache as when you hear if a founder selling for your company, that's ultimately going to cause you a problem. And I don't mean it's a negative I mean I love when founders can sell, but it's really, really tough to scale the company and so you know, all companies need founders to...

...be working on the business more than they're working in the business. But let me hit on that topic of alignment quickly. So if you're a founder or part of an executive team, I'd love you to try this exercise to test for alignment in your next executive meeting. Ask All your participants to write the answers to those four sunchral questions on a piece of paper without discussing them. So go around the room and have each executive give their answers to those essential questions. But make sure the founder goes last. It's really, really important because you don't want him or her to influence the others in the room. So when we do this with companies that we engage with Rachel, it's a hundred percent of the time that this highlights an alignment issue. The answers are never the same, feared and discussions or disagreements break out and we always say the same thing during the exercise. You know, we have the best and brightest minds and the company in this room and we don't have agreement on the...

...answers to these essential questions. So if we don't have alignment in here, imagine what's going on for the men and women and your organization who are out in the marketplace having conversations with customers and prospects. Right, they do sound so simple. I sometimes are am challenge when I'm writing about this central questions because I write them and I think, do people even see the power of these or the sounds so downb like what problems to do you solve, but that's the point. There are simple and if you can't answer them consistently as a company, it really enlightens the problem that that you have with alignment and just again put yourself in the shoes of those salespeople that are trying to articulate the problems you solve and how you do it differently every every day with buyers. Yeah, I think when we're specifically talking about these startup organizations who are trying to get what's in the mind of the founder out into us the minds of the salespeople, you really need to make sure that those sales people have the art, the ability to articulate that value differentiation in a way that has...

...meaning to the buyer and what we're really talking about and what we drive with our customers and those who of you have worked to US know it's really about repeatability and consistency and when you have that consistency you can coach and you can better diagnose challenges when they when they come up. Yeah, that's such a great point. It's you know, this is not only a must within your organization. You know it's now a minimum expectation from your customers. So you know they expect your entire company to be aligned around those answers. If your product teams, marketing teams, sales teams, customer success teams, consulting teams, etc. Are Not Aligned behind the answers to the four central questions, you know it'll be pretty evident to your customers and prospects. So some companies work a lot on sales messaging only to realize that the value they talk about...

...creating for the customer cannot be delivered by the company. So that's the kiss of death. The opposite of that is when a customer realizes that the company that they're working with or thinking about working with is aligned at all levels and completely focused on the customer from the outside in. Yeah, that buyer focus so important if you are going to run a successful organization and if you're going to scale. You have to be focused on the buyer. That question of you can say what you do as an organization, but can you deliver on it? That is critically important and that's why that last essential question. It is one that you can't circumvent. What's your proof? Where have you done it before? You know all thee companies have proof points and they're nothing more than case studies and testimonials that prove your value and help tell the entire story of where you have the liver, the ultimate answers to the essential questions.

And you know they're they're critical for sellers to have. So I tell companies all the time that the most elite sellers that I see today are the ones who can tell stories. And I'm not just talking about telling stories personal stories would have you, but if it's about telling the story of the problems you solve, how specifically you solve them, how you solve them differently or better than anybody else, and then telling a story about where you've done it before. So I see a lot of companies that got these slides with, you know, brand names all over them and that kind of it's great that you do business with the top fortune five hundred or whatever it is, but tell me the story of what happened there in that when you tell that story with emotion and conviction, it'll enter the hearts and minds of everybody who hear it. Yeah, it proves that you can deliver on the value that you promise, which is why they're so critical in a sales process and then when you're scaling an organization. So we're talking a lot of a lot of companies who...

...are having difficulty translating that founder vision into something sales people can articulate and something that you can scale. There they can tend to be on this the smaller side of the spectrum. So you may be listening out there saying, Oh, we don't have a proof point. So the people we sell who won't come out and say what they did. There's a lot of ways that you can get around it and I know one of the things that we even do at force management, is part of our sales process, is we ask up front, if we do this deal with you and Xyz happens, will you become the testimonial and we put it in the contract? And I would think John, I know you have experience with this. I love to get your perspective on this. This would be a great way to put some teeth in your proofpoint process and ensure you're getting those for the sales people, because it's one one thing to be able to articulate the proof points, but you need a process around gathering them. Yeah, it's such a great point. I mean we do it all the time it worts management, where we know we're negotiating with customers, what have you, and we come to a point where we say hey, you know, in order to concede on this, if...

...we can see that on this, what we'd like in return is a proofpoint. We get into the details of their like. So you know what we want us to say? Well, all we're going to want you to to say is that this was the problem you were experiencing, this is how you chose to solve that working with us. Here's how you solved that differently or better than anybody else that could have done it, and here were the results. And when our customers look at that, they're like, so, wait a second. So basically, the only way that you're going to want me to do that is that we had great success here, you know, with your goods and services, and it's a simple conversation. Our customers raise their hands all the time ago that's done so that it's easy to do. You know, all I'm going to be talking about is something great that happened to us with your with your help, and it really really kind of gets to the point. The other thing, Rachel, I'd like to just highlight this. I think people they overcomplicate this concept of proof points and they can't get a customer to talk about this or they have a policy, and I understand all of that, but let me just simplify it for you. What I...

...think about is there's three buckets I'm trying to fill up all the time when I'm calling on customers or prospects. Positive Business Outcomes require capabilities and metrics, and it's the metrics point where I really understand that today's work is going to be tomorrow success for me, and a metric is nothing more than how a customers going to measure success in every seller listening out there knows that every time you're dealing with a customer and you're positioning your goods and services, you must know how they're going to measure success in the thing that I always think about is when I work with sellers, and including myself, to hold myself accountable. Today's metrics are tomorrow's proof points. So it's simple. How's the customer going to measure success? When they hit that success, all you're going to ask them to do is to talk about it. So don't overcomplicate things. Today's metrics are tomorrow's proof points. Right, and we like proof points because...

...they're grave for sales reps to use and the best sells reps are audible, ready to articulate them at any moment's notice. I know even as a marketing person, I can rattle ours off at the drop of a hat. But so the essential questions. What problems do you solve? How do you solve those problems? How do you do it better or differently than the competition? And where's your proof? The answer to those critically important to get alignment on across your organization. And if the founder is the only one who knows that, you've got to figure out how to get that knowledge into the sales organization. And really we talked about repeatability, we talked about consistency, and how you get that is making it practical for the Reps. and we have this term called sales consumability, and that's all about making sure that reps can execute these essential the answers to these questions. Yeah, that's exactly why we came up with the four center questions. It has to be consumable for both your...

...sellers and what we say consumable, it's got to be easy to do so. It's got to be consumable for the sellers. It's got to be consumable for your customers. It's got to be consumable for marketing and products and man when you break it down and when the founder really realize it's that. Okay, all of my company is involved in the answers to those four cents of questions. Let me put it in a language, a common language that will allow in what we call the three foot conversation, that closed conversation, whether it's on the foam or it's, you know, in front of a customer. The dialog and Common Language from an aligned company around the answers to those four cents of questions is the difference between good and elite. That's what we're trying to get to. Thank you so much, John, great great points today. As always, you got it all right. Thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready podcast. We have a ton of...

...content on essential questions. I'm going to link a bunch of those resources in the show notes, so look for those. Thanks for listening. At 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,.

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