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

Episode · 2 years ago

23. Virtual Sales Initiatives: How to Get Results w/ Dave Davies & Brian Walsh


Many sales leaders are moving forward with their sales transformation initiatives, virtually. They’ve come to an understanding that they don’t have time to wait.


We sat down with Force Management's Chief Operating Officer Dave Davies and Brian Walsh, Managing Director of Facilitation and Delivery, to discuss how sales organizations are moving forward right now in a remote environment. They cover:



The benefits of moving forward with your initiative virtually 


The process that drives the most impact virtually


The results they’ve seen companies have from moving forward


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


Here are some additional resources focused on virtual sales initiatives: 


Our Virtual Delivery Offering

How to achieve results with virtual sales training

How we achieve results for our clients, virtually

It's not the training mode or medium that matters. It's what the leadership does on the front end and, more importantly, on the back end to make the training stick and become a part of the DNA. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth presented by the team if force management a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Clad Miller with force management. Today we're going to have a discussion on the power of a virtual sales engagement achieving outcomes and hitting benchmarks. We're going to talk about these virtual sales initiatives. Joining me today is Brian Walsh, are managing director of facilitation and delivery. Hello, Brian, Hey, good morning. Yes, good morning, and Dave Davies, are chief operating officer. Hello, Dave, always a players. Are Rachel so. A lot of our sale are customers have sales initiatives planned. They've put them on hold. They're trying to figure out what they're going to do, when they're going to move forward, whether it be with a sales kickoff or just a sales initiative, and they're trying to figure out how to get them going again, and we've seen a lot of companies have success with moving forward with virtual initiatives. To today we're going to talk about how we work with those companies to make them successful. So, Dave, let's let's start with you. You Talk to a lot of our customers, even in the sales process. What is the trigger that often has them new forward? Well, right now, what happened is, if you see, you know, the trend that that's going out there over the the past few weeks, whenever the change, you know first the curred, everybody went into like survived mode. They were trying to figure out what to do, which actually cause them to really halt the brakes and a lot of sales enablement efforts that there were going on. We just saw that immediately, you know, just kind of dropped off because they were in survival mode, right and they have a reaction. They had to adapt to it and which was the second stage. Really, let me adapt to what's happening in the mid term here figure things out. And then a lot of them are coming out of that right now and we're thinking, okay, how am I going to thrive in the back end? Right. So they went through this survived, adapt, thrive kind of the mindset. And you know, some are still hung in adapt, but some are moving on. And I think the realization was I can't wait. Right. You know, I was going to do a live event. You know, live. That's what I know and that's that's all I know. And if anything short alive is going to be an effect of you had a few people that were on the leading edge and said I can't wait. And so take this for an example, my sales message right, getting the sales conversation. The things that were driving value for their buy or ors before may not be driving value for their buyers now. Right. So if you think about the what drives value, it tends to be revenue, risk or cost, right. And so if I think about the value drivers, whom my customers, maybe revenue was topping line, but as soon as I hit that survival mode, that went to cost the rest. Yet we have an organization. It was messaging primarily to revenue, and so they were out of touch with what their customers were experiencing. And so what we found was is that people realize I got to turn the ship on a dime, right, I can't keep going the way I'm going. I need to get everybody thinking in a different direction and I can't wait. I can't wait because they're out of same with what's going on in the market and the rapid change is occurring more so than it has before. And so what I have to do is I have to enable the organization to speak a different way and act a different way. I can't wait, I can't go live. So virtue is my option. So you have a few brave souls who were who when first ...

...and what they found was it is, as a fact of if not more effective than live right, and so you see some momentum going in that direction, because the pain of staying, the saying, was greater than the pain the change. Right. That's the equation that, you know, a lot of them figured out and I think probably, as you're talking, a lot of people watching as a video can relate to that. They find themselves in the same situation. And, Brian, I know we have the conversation many times that when you think of the sales initiative. The sales initiative is just one or the training is just one part of the entire initiative. Yeah, I mean it's funny, either having been in sales leadership or a sales rep or now in this role with helping organizations and those two groups of folks, I think people have a tendency to think, oh, it's sales training, it's like that moment, right and, as you said, the training is strictly just one moment in time. So, as an example, I'm launching the training with a client Monday. We're doing a couple of groups over the next couple of weeks. So I've been spending some time with their managers in the last couple of weeks and I said to them yesterday the training moment next week is nothing more than the end of the beginning. Right. And and the medium that you use, in the mode that you used to deliver that training, doesn't change the outcome. The outcome is based on the leadership, their willingness to act, their willingness to lead, their willingness to move their skill set to become great coaches. The training in itself is one smaller portion of a much larger hole. So it's not about whether or not you get people in the room for two days right and make them, you know, go all in on some training. If you leave that room and do nothing with it, what was the point? So virtual training versus live training in with everybody in a room. I mean virtual training still live number one, right. I mean I got multiple screens and seeing multiple people and I'm engaging with them just like I would if they were sitting at a table and I was standing ten feet away. So it's not the training mode or medium that matters. It's what the leadership does on the front end and, more importantly, on the back end to make the training stick and become a part of the DNA. We think about this like the current state of many of the sales organizations out there. The truth of the matter is there's probably some downtime with your reps right now. Oh Yeah, Oh, there's no question about it. I mean reps will tell you that. They'll tell you that some people are not only harder to get ahold of, but you just can't get ahold of them. Right, organizations are going through change. Lots of organizations have either unfortunately had to take people out of the business or move people to new roles. So I was talking to a rep just a couple days ago who had both a champion, a clear champion, identified in an opportunity who had done business with them in the past and access to the economic buyer who was brought in. And both of those people have been moved to new roles inside of their company, fortunately for them, but they're out of this decision. So all of a sudden we're trying to get our arms around all of these changes and you can't even get ahold of people, let alone move feals forward. In some cases this is the perfect time to get people focused on take a little bit of that time that you've now got available to sharpen the or create new skill whenever the right tracious right. Yeah, and there are. David, love to hear you coming on that. And I know that when we're talking about virtual versus live and trying to figure out what you want to do with your sales organization, there are some some ways that virtual can even make a better medium to move your initiative forward. Oh yeah, definitely. I mean we've done over thirty virtual events just in this inner and period, right, and so everybody focuses in on the disadvantages of virtual right, but there are significant advantages. First of all, when we're in a workshop in setting and we're trying to put something together, right, we're either trying... pull content together for the sales message or the sales process or what have you. There aren't any physical limitations to the space. Right. When you get together live, you have to plan it with a certain group of people in a certain physical space and sometimes that can strains being able to call an audible in the moment. Right when it's virtual, you don't have those limitations. You can spin up and spin down different breakout groups at will and pull people in right. And the other thing too, is it because of that the geographical boundaries go away. Right I can be more inclusive in how I bring in geographically dispersed areas into the experience, whereas before I may have had to make a compromise, right, because that was harder. The other thing too, we found is that because I can focus in on all these thumbnail pictures of people, I can actually read the room better than live. So say I'm live and I mean the room and there's, you know, a hundred or so people out there. What I can see is what's right in front of me as I move around. So I may be seeing like four or five or six people at a time, and then what about the people in the back right, what are they doing? When I have the thumbnails and like videos on, everybody's engaged, I can just see more people with a glance and once I get used to it, I can root read the room really well. The other thing that happens too that's interesting is the people who, in the live setting would have sidebar conversations just like you and me. Right here they're doing it over chat, right, and so what we can do is we can monitor the chat and we get a better feel for what people were thinking, like whether they're getting stuck a point it could be emphasized. So we have people monitoring the reactions and the chat and all the difference electronic sidebars where we can actually change what we're saying on the fly and incorporate what's really important in this moment, and that's wanting to do live. You know, then it was the obvious benefits of lower tne right, massively lower TNA and time out of the field, because you know you can't just deliver the virtual the same way you do in person, right, you just can't go ripping through one or two days straight. I mean people just couldn't handle that. So what you end up doing is you break it up into small bits, right, which is better for an adult learning model where they're learning from each other and you know, because people learn better in small bites rather than big daults, and virtual just really lends itself to that. And the other thing too, is because you're spacing it out over time, you can do a debrief at the end of one day and call an audible for what you're going to do the next day, and that's a lot easier because you get a little bit of head space to regrow, as opposed to like it's happening in five minutes. It's just I don't have as much time to react. So we still love live. Live is great and you know, eventually we'll get back more to do and why, but right now people are loving virtually. Yeah, I think to Brian, we talked about with the way that it's set up, and Dave, you mentioned this very digestible format that you have this in the minimized time out of the field. You have this setup where you're learning and then you're going back to making calls that day? Are you going back to sales calls? Yeah, it's it really drives this engagement mode. Eight drives, I think, more immediate apple location. I mean I've been in live rooms for a few days before where you'll hear anecdotal stories, for somebody will come back from break or come back the next day and say, Hey, I actually took something in the moment from today, I applied it and it made an impact. But when you are doing...

...this and and you're doing something over the course of a couple of days and after the first session, somebody can has got five or six hours left in their day and part of that go forward commitment to action or next step is go apply this to your most critical opportunity which you've already brought into the room to begin with. Right people are literally making an impact on live opportunities or live conversation immediately, in that very moment. They're not waiting three days or till they get back from the trip to wherever they all were for kickoff and then hope that they remember. It's that idea of learning and applying right away I think has a significant impact on people's ability to not only remember it, but get more comfortable and executing it right now. So that's that's I think that's what you're alluding to and I we're already starting to see that. I mean, I don't know if you want me to reference the deal qualification conversations we had last week and this week or if you want to wait. Yeah, no, go for it. So we had we you know, as you know, we have a client that put about six hundred people worldwide, wraps, solutions, architects, CS, customer success people, managers, managers and managers, everybody, through this and we did five sessions of about a hundred or so and every single person brought a distinct opportunity into the room. So a REP brought a deal in, the essay brought a different deal in. Their manager brought a different dealing. They were all vetted by leadership. So they were live, active deals, they were qualifying and trying to move forward sixty six million dollars worth of opportunity in those sessions and they're going to track them through. But the content of the feedback we've got, as I've shared with you both through email and linkedin from individual participants, was actually one of the most overwhelming pieces of feedback I've gotten in the seven years of doing this, live or virtual, because of the immediacy of the impact on live deals. That was the over overwhelming piece of content that this is making an impact, this is how this made an impact or this is making an impact on the opportunity I brought into the room and how we're talking to each other about it as well. That's I think that's where the proof is right the people are actually seeing it. Moved the deal or move the needle on the deal immediately. Yeah, and for so many companies right now every dollar count. So when you're talking about sixty six million dollars a deal of de hosts in the room that you're working on, you want to make sure that you are setting that up to be successful. And what was great in that moment to was that sixty six million dollars was made up of deals as small as I remember talking to a guy who's working on the thirtyzero dollar opportun unity and for him that was a big deal because of the role that he's in in the space. And there was a lady in Germany who was working on a hundred forty thousand our opportunity. So it wasn't. They weren't all million dollar deals. In fact, there might have a couple seven figure deals, right, but most of those deals were very normal, right, they weren't these big elephants that people are out hunting those kinds of things. To make those as we've said, to make these sessions virtually successful, we have to drive engagement and Davids, we talked about there's this difference between learning virtually where you have people just watching youtube videos or, yeah, consuming content, and participating, actually participating in sessions led by instructors. Yeah, and what we find is the best instructional design is when there's a blend of modes. So, if you think about why, what happens? Everybody you know gets on a plane, they go somewhere, the thing kicks off and we're live. And so if I'm going to, you know, teach you something and you're going to learn something, that the flow is typically I give you the concept live, right, and then we practice it, we do some exercise around it, we debrief, rins and repeat, right, and that's kind of how you go through it. When you're in a virtual mode, it's a little...

...bit more efficient than that, because what happens is offline. There's a prework that I do on my own right. There's some original teach around us, you know, some topic like asking great discovery questions or influencing the decision criteria, and so that original burst of content and skills based teachings comes at me on my own time right and in the form of prework. And so what that does is is that freeze me up so that when I go into the live session right, these bitesize pieces of a live session, I can use that full time for engagement and in application right. And so the facilitator, instead of having to do an original teach, what they're doing is they're immediately extending the concepts. Like, you know, how do I tell a coach from a champion? You know, whatever the concept is, they're extending it from the baseline teach, applying it using wide deals, getting people to teach each other in the breakouts and then doing a debrief and then summarizing with the original learning. So it's a much more efficient, more application oriented mode that that this allows you to do. Now, if you're going to pull that off, there's a couple of things that have to happen right. I mean everybody has to do their prework, because we can have people with different levels, and so what that means is leaders need to lead right. Leaders need to lead from the front, make sure that everybody has done their pre work, make sure that videos are on and make sure people were paying attention and engaging. So you know, it's harder in that Regor, but it's just basical leadership type things. Right then it's if that leadership isn't present, it extensorates the bear. You know, if I can jump in on this, just yesterday and this management call for the client that's kicking their training off Monday, this Cup topic came up. There are thirty or so managers on the call and one of the manager said in the right spirit, he said, you know, what I realized in doing the pre work and thinking about my people and all of this was that this is really hard. The reason a lot of organizations don't succeed at things like this is because you're asking me to take my eye off the forecast. This is exactly what he said, and focus on, you know, people doing their pre work in those kinds of things. And he said, I want to make sure you're hearing me. I know we need to do it. I know it's the right thing to do, but it's hard to do. And another manager jumped in and duvetailed on it and said you're absolutely right. Isn't it sad that as leaders we forget that it's those things that really make the thing we're talking about right now, that those are the things that actually make an impact on somebody's ability to be better at forecasting deals right? We have a tendency to focus on the endpoint, not whether or not we're on the right road to get to the endpoint. And people wonder why they never get to the finish line. Well, it's because they were never on the right road to begin with, or they somehow got off on a country road two miles into a five hundre your mild journey. And that's the the the the topics come up yesterday and today's point and this this concept of accountability, as I was thinking about this client last night after the call, but I realized in that moment is what we're doing is we're actually also helping the organization drive, but I'll call organizational business maturity like you're actually helping the organization, at a minimum, at least initially, identify who were your people that are willing to do the hard work right when you make it available to them. It's not like they have to go out and find it and figure out what to do with it. It's all right there, it's ready to go. So you're driving organizational maturity when you do something like this as well, whether it happens to be your sales force or any other part of the organization that you're trying to teach and develop skill in. So it's not just about some facilitator showing up with some new piece of content and spoon feeding it today's point. You've got this journey that you're...

...on with multiple points where some of it is I have a responsibility to do something, to be ready for everybody to help each other out, because that's the other thing gave said, and I've seen this a lot in a way, almost even more so in these virtual settings, the concept of people teaching each other because it's live, everybody's in the room, people are coming off view, the chat is going on, the stuff that's going on in the chat is amazing. We're actually taking those and publishing them out so everybody can see, because you can't get everything sometimes. I had a room yesterday where there a couple days ago. o The chat was just flying and people are just sharing great ideas with each other, and then you get the breakout rooms and the debris and before you know it you've got I mean, think about it. You got an organization with a hundred people. You got some really good people. There's no question about it. You don't need one person, whether it's a facilitator or the CEO or the CRO leading and being the experted everything. That's not the intent. It's the intendance. Everybody's making everybody that much better. So I had to jump in there on Dave's common yeah, you also have a another concept that you use when talking about engaging the room, Brian, and in getting these organizations to the outcomes and all these things contribute. But there's also this concept, you said, of involuntary engagement. I know, and I first brought it up. I was like volunteery engagement. You said no, it's involuntary there. Yeah, and in fact the client that just did the five sessions with us, after the first session, the HEB sales for the America set in on all three of the America's session and after the first session he kind of knew how we do things but wasn't really a hundred percent sure. He got on the next two calls. He told everybody. He said listen everybody, you better keep your head on a swivel because Brian can see all of you, which is true. I've got multiple screens in my in my TV studio office right now. I can see everybody and, to what they said earlier, the body linuage just POPs out. You can see when some of these wheels are turning or when somebody's questioning something, that kind of thing, and so I just what I do on the front end is I work with the sales leadership to identify a few folks, but then I just go through the list and I'm specifically. I'm specifically thinking, Hey, I want to engage more of a solution's architect or product specialist here, I want to engage a front, front of the or tip of the spear seller here. So I literally prep with named ahead of time. I know exactly where I'm going to go, but I'm also looking at the screen. So I make I'm planning on going to Dave David's at one point. I already have his name. I don't know you know who he is. I don't care because everybody in the rooms that active participant. I grabbed a but I also notice something named Rachel. I could just see your headtel thing or she's leaning in it something, so I'll pull her in. Everybody's getting engaged in some former fashion and anybody who knows this knows we're doing that never to embarrass somebody. We are doing it to make somebody in the room take whatever we're talking about and apply it to a live conversation or a live opportunity with the intent to celebrate the good. And if the guy call on Dave is struggling, I look for other people to pull in to help him. So right. So it's never to make somebody look bad. It's to help the help one person apply and help them the whole organization apply as a result, and that really works well here, really well. I'll take whatever hell I can get, Brian, and all of these inputs involuntary engagement, accountability, leveraging what you know works and just basic instructor led principles application, being flexible is really about getting the organization to the right outcomes because, as yeah, at the top by and it's not. It's more than the training right which we're doing this for a reason. We've got sixty six million dollars or the deals that we need to close. Yeah, and I it's funny part of me as I think about this phrase instructor led. This is instructor led. It's just done over TV instead of at the theater. I mean, if you really think about it, it's live TV instead of being in the theater. But it's just as interactive, it's just as applicable and...'s just as valuable. I mean, I mean I had a referm San Francisco shoot me and out the other day. carries a six hundred thousand dollar a year quota. He's a he's a SMB commercial rep sign a one point four million dollar deal and he did it in a virtual environment and he did it as a result of applying what we were doing in the room with him a couple of months ago. So virtual is not a negative substitute, because we can all get together right now. I'd like to wrap up here with some final points. As a great success story that you just shared, Brian Dave, you mentioned leading from the front and I think ultimately, as I said, these initiatives are about driving the business outcomes, and I know it did. You have a concept of launch, pivot and grow, and that's something that applies to a lot of leaders out there who are watching this. Yeah, is you see the progressive of our customers and our customers, customers, as they're moving through those three steps of survive, adapt and thrive, they're reacting in different ways, and strategically, I mean typically it falls into three buckets in my experience. I mean they're launching something new because there's a market opportunity that allowed that to occur. I'm pivoting to something else, right, like in our case it was we pivoted from all live to all virtual and then eventually will go hybrid. Right, that's a pivot. or I'm growing something that's already there and it continues to work. And so if your customers, customers, as they go through the cycle will survive, adapt and thrive, are pivoting their strategic initiatives between launch, pivot or grow, you have to stay in touch with that and you have to, for instance, message to that in align the way you sell to the way they want to buy to that. And you can't keep pace with your customers if you are not enabling people to do that, and so that's the don't wait message. I think that underlies all of this, because if you wait you will just give hung in that survived and adapt mode, while other people who aren't waiting are going to move on the thrive. That's what the thrivers are doing right. They're enabling in a different way because as the customers, customers, have moved right, they don't. He who hesitates is lost. Brilliant run Brollier. I was my father who stole it from some writer somewhere along, probably all the way back to the Greek philosophers, but it's true. Right, you know, take action, you keep this is no time to wait. By the way, the jobs numbers just came out. They're better than anybody would have predicted. I'm not saying that everything's over. It's not, but the point is people are moving forward. So this is your opportunity. You can sit back and wait, you will be lost. That's what's going to happen. Don't wait, don't hesitate, lead from the front. What a great conversation, gentleman. Thank you so much day. Thank you, Brian. Thank you for this talk. You Bet. 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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