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

Episode · 2 years ago

Leveraging the Technical Mind w/ John Kaplan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Being able to align the technical capabilities of a solution with the business outcomes that solution can provide is a key attribute of elite sellers. Conversations around technical requirements and decision criteria can either propel a deal forward or cause big problems that are difficult to overcome.

 

John Kaplan covers the ways elite sellers leverage the technical mind. He’ll share:

 

- Where the technical and business worlds intersect

 

- How elite sellers leverage the technical mind to progress their deals at high values

 

- What needs to be in place for salespeople to connect features and functions to real business problems and solutions

 

- How Segment shifted their mindset

 

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

 

Here are some additional resources on technical buyers

 

- Segment’s Webinar on Aligning Product With Sales

https://bit.ly/2JAs0el

- Maximize the Effectiveness of Proof Points [Podcast]

https://apple.co/3iEMrTa

The most elite sellers on the planet do a great job of connecting the technical world to the business world, and that's so critical. 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 at force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Club Miller. Today we are going to talk about a topic that I know many of you will find interesting. It's about bringing that technical expertise into your sales conversation. John Kaplan is on with me now. Hello John, Hey Rachel, I really, really like this topic. I think you picked the great one. Yeah, I because a technical conversation is critical to our moving deals forward. It's often a...

...key component to aligning the required capabilities to your solution. It's also the point when often the customer can see that future state and buys into the solution actually getting them to those pedios that they've identified, and it's also when deals can go horribly wrong. Yeah, I think those are such such great and important points. I you know, the most elite sellers on the planet do a great job of connecting the technical world to the business world, and that's so critical. And if you only focus on the technical world, you miss your opportunity to attach to big business issues where you know, urgency and funding are created. And if you only focus on the business world, you'll miss your opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition. So, you know, the technical mind concept is the realization that you have to create an intersection where these two...

...worlds come together for both you and the customer. But you know, we often talk about in command of message. When we're teaching command a message, we tell our sales people to focus on the value of your solution, the Pedos, the outcomes that you can get them there get them to and to not only talk about features and functions, but there is a point when those features and functions, the required capabilities, the differentiations that you have in those features and functions, need to come into the sales conversation. And to your point, it's that intersect and the the sales people that can make that intersect happen in a way that the customer can see the entire picture. Sure are the ones that are the most successful. Yeah, I think, and I don't think we can just put the burden on the you know seller. We're also going to talk about the you know, technical minds inside of the selling community, but the company really has to put forth the effort to say,...

Hey, look, where did I mean the selling company? Where do these two worlds come together? Where does the technical world in the business world come together? And therefore I need to help my selling entity really position themselves to do that by helping them understand the intersection between positive business outcomes and technical require capabilities. Right, the success of your sales people being able to take full advantage of that socalled technical mind that you're talking about requires some consistency around a few things. Common language, as you said, so in everybody across the company looks at a deal, they know what they're looking at and what those key components are. Yeah, that's it. You have to create a language that exists in both worlds. You know. For example, you know positive business outcomes and require capabilities. We've been talking about that. So positive business outcomes are the business implications of the technical requirements, and this is the most...

...important connection for the seller. You know, it's where that business and the technical communities come together. I also say it's incredibly important for the buying entity because if the buying entity who you're selling to is more technical in nature, they themselves have to connect themselves to the positive business outcomes as well. So creating language like require capabilities and metrics and positive business outcomes and differentiation and value drivers and those kind of things, we have found has been the great connection between the selling community in the buying community. Yeah, I know point on the differentiation. We can know what makes our solution different in the market place, the how we do it, the how we do it better and are differently than the competition. We can understand that as a salesperson. But to your point, in the sales process we need to know what that differentiation is...

...that's meaningful to the buyer, because it might not be all your differentiators. So it could be one thing that's really important and you, as a selling organization, needed to have a way to get that information into the minds of the technical people who are joining you for the calls so they can focus on what's relevant to the buyer. I mean that's why I like our framework so much because we, you know, we have stated positive business outcomes and require capabilities and metrics and then we follow up with kind of how we do that, how we do it differently or better and where we've done it before. So people that work with us they build those frameworks, and why that's so important is that I should be able to look at those required capabilities just as they stand on their own. They should be valuable to the customer. They should be connected to solving positive business outcomes. Are Getting positive business outcomes and it should also be very clear how it is influenced by our differentiation, and I think that's really, really important. It has to be that simple for...

...both sides. It has to be simple for the selling entity, it has to be that simple for the buying entity. Yeah, and we too often we treat those components. It's just something we need to understand as salespeople. And I'm going to throw quick plug to that conversation that you had with segment CTO and founder Calvin French Owen, where he talked about the importance he saw from having consistent language across the whole product and technical part of his of his companies. This mutual understanding that of it from everybody who touches the customer, and that's the difference between a good organization and a great one. Yeah, I mean that's such a great example. In that case at segment you're talking about an individual that's a technical founder of a company which, by the way, they just had a great billion dollar outcome, so we'll give them let's give them a great plug. Yes, yeah, congratulations and it's really really awesome. Some but I remember doing that podcast with him and Calvin was talking...

...about the realization that how all of that comes together and how sometimes, even he being a great executive for that company, his was really really focused on technical outcomes and thinking about the technical capabilities of their company. But the minute they kind of open the aperture and he knew how critically important it was for the sellers inside of the organization that did not have the same technical competence as the you know, the technical founders, it became a way for them to attach themselves to what was critically important from a business perspective for their customers and where those two worlds came together. And you just look at their results. I mean you look at the where those two worlds came together, the success of the sales organization and the customers that they were selling to just massively, massively accelerated. Yeah, and so, you know, we talked about the message and important to have consistent language that everybody knows the components of a deal.

But the second part of leveraging that technical minds, so to speak, is to really define who's doing what when throughout this throughout the sales process. Yeah, you know, it's the mantra of do your job, and I really, really like that much. When you think about a sales process and you map out all the people that are involved in touching the customer, there's a lot more than just the typical kind of salesperson, if you will. So just because we're talking about here that you have to be both technically oriented and business oriented, it does not mean that you don't leverage resources around you. You know, for example, when I was selling, I had a natural orientation towards the business community, the inside of my customers, and but I leveraged great technical minds and resources around me. So most of us have...

...heard about and or use medic medpick or what have you, and many of our listeners here are our command of the message customers as well. But you know, I really as a seller, I really felt like I owned the process, but I used my application engineers and systems engineers to make sure that the decision criteria and the required capabilities were appropriate, that they were highly differentiated for us. And in fact, when I became a sales manager, I would do a forecast call and I would not just have sellers on the forecast call, I always had the essays attend the forecast calls and I was always asking them in the end to validate and confirm the decision criteria that require capabilities and the metrics. And in fact, one of my favorite things that I did back in the day was I created a metric contest, and at PTC...

...we had some of the most phenomenal proof points on the planet, and it's here that I realized that today's metrics, where how we were going to be measured on our technical capability, became tomorrow's proof point. And so what I did is what I created these contests where our seas would have the ability to be aligned with the best metrics and therefore proof points for our customers. And so we had a quarterly proofpoint contest and it was just fantastic. It was amazing to me because the technical communities inside of our customers were really keen on making sure that their application engineers and their systems engineers had a chance at winning these contests. So you would not believe the power of the great proof points which, again we're just the story behind US successfully achieving the required capabilities by...

...being measured. And so the reason why I'm telling you that story is everybody in the process us has to know their role and everybody has a role. No, I'm not expecting the systems engineers to sell and close deals and those types of things, but I do expect them to be highly, highly influential in the technical aspects of the deal, specifically around the required capability decision criteria and making sure that it's most favorable for us. Yeah, I think that's that's a great point. Also a good idea for some of you listening out their leading teams and proofpoint contest to get the engines going there. Yeah, and even if the sellers have to kick in, like there's normally a big difference between how much a seller makes on a deal and how much you know how much in an a e or an se makes on a deal, and I've seen some sellers that will like create their own contest and take some of their own commission and get creative out there, get people involved, and I...

...think great things, great things, will happen. Yeah, and it's important to remember that this whole idea of leveraging the technical mind, getting people on the same page from a language standpoint, but then also getting them connected to the customer and knowing, knowing your role and who does what win doesn't stop when an initial deal is signed. That tarticle mind needs to be transferred to the implementation and the customer success. Yeah, I think right. So you're bringing such a great point of here and it's kind of like going full circle. So let's put this all kind of back together. So if, if you have an understand so you have them and you understand them, the positive business outcomes and the required capabilities and metrics, this will be what I called the gift that keeps on giving. So not only will it help you get the deal, it will help you and the customers stay focused on success. And again, today's metrics become tomorrow's proof points. So we find that companies...

...who commit to establishing a common language around these components have not only great customer acquisition numbers, but the best land and expand results as well. And then, finally, they also have the lowest churn rates and we all trying to lower lower those. So leveraging the technical mind, John, what is the bottom line when we're thinking about this topic? Yeah, so your job as a selling entity is to create an intersection between the technical world and the business world. Companies owe it to their sellers to create a common language that facilitates that process. So that's what I love about command of the message and Medpick and medic it's that that we have been doing this for our customers for years, and I'm you know, I very rarely do this, but I'm going to do it now. Come join us if you're if you're suffering from any...

...of these challenges that we talked about today, we have some great, great solutions around them. Yes, and yes, we do, and there's nothing wrong with withs houting that value that we can provide as a relates to this arena. Amen. All right, thank you, John. John is staying with me here, where you are going to shift into another topic, where we're going to talk about the demo. When you talk about leveraging the touchicle, mind that demo is a crucial part to many of the sales process of those of you listening. So that is going to be our next podcast that we're going to publish it next Tuesday, so be sure to check out part two of this conversation. Thank you 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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