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

Episode · 4 years ago

The Force Management Process

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Casey Jacox, Kforce President of Client Strategy & Partnerships, talks through best practices for applying Force Management methodologies in your sales organization.

Hello, thank you for joining usfor this podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller and I'm joined today by Casey Jacox. Casey is the president of Client Strategy and partnerships at K force. Casey, thanks for joining us. I am so happy to be here. Rachel, appreciate the opportunity. Casey, we've been working with K force for severalmonths now a variety of areas and today I'd like to talk to you aboutwhat it's like working with us, and you can feel free to give thegood and the bad right but also I want to get your perspective on whatit takes to make our methodology successful in an organization. So let's first tellme about your role and what you do. A K for sure, I am. I've been here almost eighteen years, which just I still can't believe that. So I'm very, very blessed to work for a company that hasa lot of tenure and we have great leadership. But my role is isgot four parts. I serve as a executive sponsor for one of our largestcustomers. That's about thirty percent. Thirty percent of my job is helping drivea similar type success at a hand selected five or six other accounts thirty percentof my job, which is really, really fun. Part I got tolead a mentorship program for our top performers and the only way you get putinto that group you have to get referred in by our region presidents and Iwork with them for between about six months and were we really drive down metricsto ensure value. And in the last ten percent, which I think islarger than ten percent, is some thought leadership work I do. I doblog articles, I do some intro speaking and then obviously the helping with I'malso a train that train of trainer, which will go onto in a second, but just driving more adoption of the force management methodology. Awesome. SoI ok. Force is a pretty strong Barand but just for everyone listening,talk about what K force does for its clients. Yeah, well, it'sfunny. If I would, if I would answer that a year ago,I would have said something completely different. It probably would have been the traditionalmarketing speel and if you asked someone in...

...a different office they might say somethingcompletely different, which is why we're talking to day. But K force reallywhere. You know, we're a large professional staffing and services firm and oneof the things we do is we solve for key problems, we help clientsacquire town more efficiently, we help provide the maxis to strategic guidance. Alot of times we ensure external compliance and internal compliants and then, lastly,we really help clients complete projects more successfully. That's great. Thanks for that backgroundyou. You've been in sales a while, like you said, almosteighteen years here at K force. I'm sure that you've been through your shareof sales methodologies, as any veteran salesperson has. I'd like to hear fromyou from your perspective. What made command in the message different as as asales methodology. I think the B it's a great question, I think.I think the biggest thing that made it different for us was it put structurearound what we you do. One of the one of the my biggest enjoymentsof working with with you guys, specifically the sales commudgeont, I mean DaveDavies. Sorry, Dave, I just ared you out there. Was Heis very communcingly sometimes. Was You know, John Kaplan told me you are thesubconsciously competent and I wasn't sure. I think that's a complant. I'mnot sure and what force management taught us is the structure, the Vye baseframework. How do I how can I teach that to a three month rapbut one day old rep a sixmonth roup it? How can I tweak athree year veteran that's been here to get them to do something differently and withoutbuying at the top from us from a leadership perspective and all in approach,it wouldn't have been successful. But I think that the tools that you guysgave us, it taught I'll taught us a lot about. You know,Tim Cato set a great the learnings in the struggle. At times it wasit was frustrating going through nothing to to the discredit of force management more aboutjust K forth. We got to get out of her own way, right. We like frustrating people sometimes, even...

...though that maintime negative. You doit well, right, but that learning really is in the struggle. Sowould you say kind of really what made command of the message different? Isthat kind of peeling back the onion a bit and and getting you to reallyfocus on what was important for for your customers and then enabling it? Yeah, I think for us, I one of my biggest concerns is one ofthe initial leadership team to kind of roll this process out was great. Who'sthese guys are in teachers about the science and it's don't you know, they'regoing to eat they're going to tell us what to say. It's going tofeel scripted and I would I'd my my defense mechanisms that I was excited togo through it, but I wasn't sure because I and one of the thingsI feel the strength of mine is the art and the science. And youknow, one of the very first kickoff the Dave Davis said to us withthat was was one of those opening lines was we're here to make sure thatyou guys have the art in the science, and the fact that showed me helistened right, which shows me, Dave Davis, as I have cellour deficit disorder. If you don't know what that is, I would researchit. But it was just a great way to ensure insure adoption by hearingit dropping from him out of the gates right. So to those points.I think you know, we always say we are not a butts and seatscompany. So if you are looking for just somebody to stand up in thebig ten at your sales kickoff that's not command in the message. So,given your perspective and just going through this, what do you think are some keythings that other sales leaders need to understand before they go down this path? I'd focus on three things. Rachel, I'm going to embarrass myself here,so those that have kids probably know who else is from frozen and thefamous song let it go. I embarrassingly embarrassingly to myself, Tim Kato andJohn Kapam maybe saying let it go, which I'm not going to do today. So don't ask me in front of a hundred of our employees. AndI joke about it. But the point is you have to go. Ifyou come into this transformation with preconceived notions...

...or judgment or walls not being ableto be coached, it's not going to work. It won't work not toyour discredit, but it's mainly to people and just like we've talked about before, sometimes you got to say no to customers. But the fact is,if you have the ability to let go, the ability to coach, the abilityto say, like Caplan says, it's okay not to know, whichis okay, not doing about it, and we had gaps and forced managedan amazing job helping us bring those gaps together. The second point I talkedabout that that we are doing now all the time, which is making usvery, very effective, is the art of practice. Practicing often role playsare now part of our every day, everyday culture, and at first peoplewere freaked out by it, like, oh my gosh, is embarrassing.But I'd rather mess up if you and I work together. I'd rather messhim for you, Rachel, then mess up from my clients, because thedays, like I mentioned before, the days of practicing on our customers isover. It's not it's unacceptable. Do you think that that practice mindset is, has been, something that's you had to do to make this methodology successful? I think yeah, I think I would. I think I would say. Well, I would't say successful, I think it. I would sayyes to drive adoption quicker, because now people are striving, people are insteadof you know, six months ago and we would ask, Hey, whowants to roll? They first. We get blank stairs, right, whichis really fun and all me right now, right, but now we have people, Hey, can I go first today? Hey, I want togo. No, I want to go, and it is so cool to seethat culture of being adopted. So really kind of to understand that whenyou go down this path is to develop that process that gives people the mechanismto continually practice, perhaps post trading. I mean we always advise that.But I think again, like you said, you don't. You never want topractice in front of your customers. Whether you're doing command of message ornot. You shouldn't be practicing in front of customers. But I use Ilove analogy. Sometimes my analogies make no...

...sense. They make sense of mymind. I like to hopefully I checked it them. Well, but ifI think about NFL football team, do they just show up on Sundays?Right? They practice? Well, some of them do. You go talkabout those teams. Okay, but Monday through Friday practicing. Baseball teams,they pray, play every day or they don't have time to practice. Knowthey do. They're in the cage before. They're watching the film pilots. Theyjust don't show up and fly and hit buttons. They go to recurrenttraining every six months. My father in law was a pilot for last airlines, for your my brother in laws, but I have friend. So whatmakes ky force special that we don't have to practice you know, you don'tjust come in at nine to five and eight to four, whatever. Youwork and check out. So I wouldn't I practice, could not be articulateand stress enough. But the last thing I'd say is which is really helpedus, is the importance of enabling frontline managers and reinforcing the importance of whatwe're doing. Is our new culture. It's expected and as a teathree ata train the trainer, we're inspecting our leaders around the company and in ourfirst run through we had a blast. Fifty eight percent of people passed andit wasn't because people did a bad job, it was because people maybe didn't prepareas well as they should have, which again is great, being greatopportunity to get coached and those people. Now we're going through it, therecertification of it, and I think it's a huge Kudo to the comment showdaved uncle Jolie, but Tory Andy Thomas in team to say hey, we'veinvested money with force management and force management. You guys have done a good jobof saying we want to be held accountable to a business metric and whatis our poses pause positive business outcome that we're going to help you achieve,and so we came up with those results together and you guys are helping Managjustice like we're helping manage you. So that's why those are some of thebiggest things I thought have been ridiculously successful for us in our partnership. Welove a metric, as you know. Yeah, what do you think thatthat mindset of really enabling the front line...

...managers? And I know it's beenbeen successful for you now, but was that something that you guys came inknowing you needed to do from the start, or is it something you saw afterroll out? I don't I think there's probably different ways to answer thatquestion. From my perspective, I don't know if it was consistent enough.I think you get different answers. I think what force management did in thetraining and a adoption and the transformation, I think it helped bring to light. You know, I fight you starbucks as an example. We wanted thecoffee to taste the same wherever you go. Right. We didn't want to makeat a taste like a bud light in Florida. Right. We wantedto be like you know, we wanted to be a consistent menu the clientsin they're getting consistent experience that they can count on in a repeatable way.HMM, I think. I think it that ability to enable front line managers, and I've written a lot of content on it. We actually have someother podcasts on enabling your frontline managers is really critical because when you're talking aboutdifferent offices, different apartments, those managers are your boots on the ground andby enabling them you can really drive the reinforcement of the behaviors that eat thatyou're looking to improve. Yep, no, exactly. One of the great piecesof advice I got my life. As you are what you allow,and again it's goes back to our leadership. We're not allowing good or JV performance. We want to be an elite sales organization and to go from goodto great to elite, the little things have to happen and we're doing thelittle things. We're inspecting what we inspect. We're not just telling people what todo. Were showing them our leaders or elbow to elbow in the battlefieldwith with their reps every single day. We do have a lot of othersales leaders listening to this podcasts who might have gone through command of the messageor just looking for ways to drive reinforcement of whatever they're doing. Maybe they'redoing it with us, maybe they're doing without it. What are the someof the things that you've done to drive reinforcement that you think is really contributedto the stickiness of the methodology and its...

...success? Yeah, I think acouple things. One I'd say, you know, I can mentioned before you, you can't practice enough, and effective practicing meaning you know, for us, you know what it was through the value drivers, through command of message. You can't just do it once. I think I've been through your guysas training eight times now as I've prepped to become a tthree, Uh Huh, the number of times I've spoken to my internal team, when I travelto other offices, the number of times I've spoken about command of the message. It's now in my own blood, you know. So I think youhave to you have to make it. You have to consistently practice the thingsthat are going to be most important to help drive it option. But acouple things that I want to hit on the for you know, for specificallypeople are listening who have been through Comount of the message or command of thesale before. Is Medic and opportunity qualifiers. That is that has been so impactfulfor us because, you know, we want to know where our gapsare and I think is as great as it is to say yes to acustomer, sometimes it's more powerful to say no. And you know, Ihave a phrase I came up with years ago. Sometimes, I say,my buddies here at work sometimes give you a hard time, but it's whenthe relationship not the deal. I even created a blogging psycle. Winning theRelationshipcom from that. That really focused on telling customers when you win, it'sgreat, but sometimes when you lose a deal, you still can win thatperson by how you respond, how you deal with defeat, how you followup. If you follow up with your customer who who chose a different competitorbefore they followed up, you win. You should different level service. Sothat the whole medical opportunity Welfer has been great for us. It just givena structure. It's given us a road map to really identify gaps, findthe holes that we have and and sure that we film and a tool thatthey can use that every deal a yeah, and we've actually put specific work criteriain place for when will do an opportunity qualifier, and you mentioned crm. We're actually that's part of our culture. Now where then, the methodology we'relearning through command of the message,...

...communt of sale, we're implementing atour new crm. So our reps they have a choice. You know,there you're kind of forcing it on, but but we're doing it a waythat they see the value out of it and we they realize that. Wow, if I follow this road map, we always kind of jokes follow theplaybook. How many NFL teams show up on Sunday without a playbook? Andplay book a reason, so you can learn, teach, repeat it,not just you break the huddle. Hey, you guys go deep and you guysblock and see what happens. Probably not going to be successful. That'sa great point. How many I knew that you? You have done alot of small things at K force to really drive reinforcement and communicating even smallersuccesses. It might not be the giant deal, but hey, doing agreat job and discovery with that specific client. How much do you think that thosesmall celebrating those small successes have contributed to the ability to reinforce it throughoutthe whole company? I think huge and I don't think we've. I thinkthe ore old culture was we would not some people wouldn't want to overcommunicate thoselike I don't know if I want to bring that up, because not thatbig a deal and for me, over communicate like even now, when wehave a good follow email that ray taught us, or like the structure ofthat what we wanted to show we listened. I'll send I'll send that email thatthe repsent and I'll send it to a and I'll copy all the leadersto say, Hey, this is the this is what we're driving adoption.I took a picture of a training we did last week and Texta to Kaplanasaid Hashtag drive an adoption. I'm not sure you HASHTAG men, but that'sall right, done. I'm sure you did. Yeah, but the goalwas we wanted to I think small store, small stories told over time and toldoften in authentic, genuine ways, creates a great, great environment fora great environment to learn, a great opportunity to grow. Yeah, andcelebrate those those Quick Win Sutla success, I think. Get back in thehuddle, call next play. That's right, that's right. You've mentioned the leadershipteam. A couple times here and...

I think that one of the thingsthat we look for in a customer that's about to go through command of themessage is do they have a strong sales leadership in place? It's going tobe able to lead from the front and that is one of the leading indicatorsof six sess and that ability to let go to your point earlier, Elsa, and really lead from the front, and that's something that you have beenable to really do here at k force across the leadership. Yeah, Ilook back Dave Dunkle, our CEO and chairman, at our kickoff with youguys as we're going through this transformation. Anytime, any time you go througha transformation, sometimes rumor bill starts. Well, what's going on? Right, and what I love that Dave did just an awesome job out of thegate. He said we are all in. I mean all in. If we'renot selling, we're not for sale. We are investing in you. We'regoing to we're going to make make us elite. We're going to investto make sure that we fix the little things if we met at ourself andand to have that sort of authentic leadership from the front, passionate leadership fromthe front to me was so inspiring and I have I have a sense ofan all respect but ownership to make sure that I owe it to him,out to Kai oute, to Joe Andy and everybody else, my peers,to to hold that level of standard and implement it and drive it in.I mean I can without without that level of support and all in I don'tthink it would it would not have been a successful as it's been and Ithink that's it's really important for command of the message and successive comand of themessage sort of what we're focusing on. But with any change initial that leadingfrom the front is pivotal success. You're not going to be successful if youdon't have the the leadership bought in. So, as we think about takingon a sales transformation or at this sales...

...change initiative, what about companies thatmight be hesitant to pull the trigger? They're sitting there, they've got lowrep productivity, they there deal size is lower than it needs to be,their reps aren't making quota. What would you say to them about taking onthis on? I'd say, you know, my first thought of Sarcasm. Doyou like the JVM? Do you understand the JV team. No,I mean in all serious I think I would just ask questions. I Ithink if any company that's struggling with consistent brand issues or messaging or, tothe point you the metric shoot talked about earlier, for us it was agreat fit. Right. I'm not saying it's going to be great fit forfor the Beta be channels that are struggling to get scale with sale per repincreased customer visibility, social media, increased leverage points, little things that justevery way you have people promoting your message, this can be a great exercise forthem. I mean, honestly, one of the things I was mostconcerned about was we start going through it. We talked about ways that you guystold us these are the problems we solve and like how the heck doyou guys know? And at my first thought was like you know, mywalls went up a little bit, but then I thought about it and Timand team said, Tim Kato said, we're going to call your customers andwe're going to interview them, not just interview, we're going to talk tohim something, most strategic ones, and then we're going to survey them andwe're going to get real results. And I know about you, but thetest I like to take, Rachel, are the ones I know the answers. Sure Right, I wasn't you know? I always used to say the Harvard, I mean central Washington, where I went, was the harbor ofthe West Coast. I'm the only one to say that. Right, ifusepeople when I say I went there. But the fact that our customers appreciatedthe vulnerability and he humility we showed by saying we want to get better andwe want we want your feedback and we've hired a third party external company tosay let's work together to solve that problem.

It did great, great things forour relationships with the customer specific get a strategic level. The ones we'rereally were long term customers. And I would just say be ready. Imean, like I mentioned before, those that if you're if you're not readyto be all in, don't commit, you waste your money. You wasteyour money. And but if you can, if you can swarm force management teamwith a group of people who are all in or committed to culture,who are committed to change the brand, not just change brand, but justcreate a more consistent message that you go to market with great things can happenin a great business outcome can happen. That's a great bottom line Casey.Thank you so much for joining us for this podcast. Thank you for yourkind words. We appreciate it. We love working with Kve force and thankyou to all of you for listening.

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