B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 3 years ago

17: Here is One "Low Tech" Factor That Will Allow You To Dominate Your Competition w/ Chris Orlob

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What you need to remember in today’s world is that having a unique product is only a ticket to play the game.  

 

It’s not going to help you win the differentiation battle.”

 

That’s what Chris Orlob, the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Gong.io, believes about differentiating yourself in the marketplace.  He understands that it is not your technology that will set you apart from your competitors.  

 

It’s all about setting your company up as a strategic partner immediately in sales conversations that will lead to you dominating the marketplace.

You were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenue acceleration. My name is Adi am with you and I'm here today with Chris Hall up from Gonk. Are You doing today, Chris? I'm doing great, very happy to be here, excited to talk affect. So today, Chris, all conversation will be about low tech factor that will dominate your competition. Okay, it's based on the analyticore that you recently wrote. But before we dive into the topic, then you please tell us a little bit more about yourself, your role at Gong and also what the what going do as a business? Sure so, my name's press. I've been running product marketing over here at Gong for about the last two years or so, and before that, funny enough, I was actually the CO founder of a small SASS company that competed with film. was called conversature, and we were just three kids. Who Did you know? We didn't really know what we were doing. We didn't have the credibility with the BC community to actually raise a substantial amount of money and so we boot traps this startup for pretty close to two years. I think it was supposed to abound eighteen months, and we eventually just ran out of money and we ended up smating forces with going and it was the happiest failure I've ever had in my career. I've had had more fun working with the team Atcong that I've ever had in my career. But before that my background was in sales management and sales, as original sales manager over at a company called inside salescom out of prove Provo, Utah, and that's where most of my career has been sales sales management, and I spent a lot of time on product marketing injury and our start up, which is what led me to running product marketing over here at Gong and having an absolute last excellent and and what did that? You do exactly at going. Yes, so're going...

...is it's creating a new category. We're about two years into it. So we're the number one conversation intelligence platform for sales and what that means is we help sales teams have better sales conversations and generate more revenue by capturing in analyzing their calls, not just their calls but their conversations, email communications included. We analyze those with Ai. So you can increase close rates, you can dominate your competition, you can gram new sellers faster. So that's kind of the long wind of pitch, short winded pitches. We analyze your sales conversation so you can sell that well. Let's beautiful because as bringing right into to pick up today. So that's a beauty from bridge between. Going to my next question, you recently wrote an ultiqure. That quote add attention and probably one of the reason why we reach out to you to discuss fos or, to be honest with you, in that sequel you you quote and and you're truly a right about the fact that the market is is becoming more and more crowded with new technology vendor that often really on the product differentiation, on their speck or on their features, shall I say. And we know that the volume of the volume of the to s vendors, it is growing over the other. I think you've got a you've got an example actually in the article. While you look at the mark, take the mark, take landscape, and I think you are taking five hundred vendors or even less than that in two thousand and eleven, and now we are looking at over five thousands, or the numbers are quite crazy. So obviously there is lots of competitions, lots of people with lots of boot product. I'm share, but everybody seems to be leading on feat shows and then you come with them. That concept, I think, is is great and what we talked about in Lens just before this podcast, around the fight that's really to get to two fights or to be on the battle growner, to be strong on the battle ground of competitive differentiation. With what company should do is to drive or move the move...

...away from product cell to having the right type of cells conversation. Okay, so before we get into that, to pick and and some of the examples that you use and dive into the details, can you please tell audience little bit more about that concept of driving the conversation, driving the differentiation through sales conversation rather than features and products. We do you think about differentiation? The average person is going to think about product uniqueness, and that's right. Like you should strive to have a very unique value proposition for your market and have a unique feature set but what you need to remember in today's world is that having a unique product is only a ticket to play the game. It's not going to help you win the differentiation battle. Instead, the battleground for differentiation has shifted from having a unique product to having related sales conversations. And so the argument I make in the article is that what your sellers say, do and right during the sales process is where the perception of difference is created. And the reason I can make this play with any sort of player credibility is the exact trends that you just out blind a couple minutes. There's an explosion of competition and every v TOB category. MARTEC, like you said, is the perfect example. Just to use it to illustrate. In Two Thousand and eleven that were a hundred and fifty Martech vendors and today I think the number. I've heard two things. They're see the five thousand vendors or they're sevenzero vendors, but the point is that's astronomical. There's a ton of competition in every category and you cannot rely on a unique product to cut through that noise. And here's the last thing, not the last thing, but the last thing on this riff I'm going on I'll say about having unique product is if you compete in a competitive space and you think you have a unique product, you the people at Your Company, your employees, your sales people, your...

...marketers, those are probably some of the only people in the world who really understand the uniqueness of your product because they live and read your product. They know everything about it. That's different from your competitors. They probably know your competitors products inside and now they're spending their lives with the product. But when you introduce a buyer to your product for the first time, you know they're just taking a look at it. They can't tell the difference is so easy. It's it's kind of like telling the differences between twins. If you're a parent, you spend your life with your children, if you have twins, and eventually you can tell the difference is very easily. But people who are just meeting your twin children, they can't tell the differences is easily. It's going to take them a long time to be able to easily discern the differences. And the same thing happens when you lead with your product to differentiate especially and be to be and especially in be to be technology today. Yeah, I love the twin energy. I must sell. So I love the little pig shell that you put on the on the Linkedin Utquali. It to twins with a number on. Yet this is quite fun. But and I actually have two of my best friends out twins, the two ladies, the identical twins, and I remember when I felt met them, I could not tell the difference. And then, obviously, as the spend more time with them, and you know, did you get my best friend? I was I could not one thought that people couldn't not tell the difference. And it's so true that you know, when you look at it with with an an expert, I you can't truly tell. You just like this, this looks similar to me, but then when you get involved on the dead day today, it's you almost feel offended people don't see the difference. You like, come on, this is obvious. So that's that's probably telling a squad a lot. But that analogy is great in term of the more you spend time, the more you are involving too something, the less what maybe, which you make prcive, as perceive as obvious, is obvious to the rest of the world and and I think that's a very strong statement and a very strong analogy. So in the article there is also something that caught my attention. You...

...speak about the different way to differentiate yourself in the market. Use the Amazon example, with a ton of volumes and and very low margin, but they absolutely obviously doing extremely well as a business. You have the niche which other people probably get stuck into, being a small business, extra extra right now. Again, very interesting to see the different angles you are using and the categories. But moving down the article, you speak about dominating your competition and I guess when you speak about that you mean that the ultimate objective is for your prospect to see you as being unique and not even take the time or take the opportunity to compare you to someone else or to put you in a category. Okay, and we know that, particularly when you deal with large organization, were large proclament team or processes around the proclament team, categories are really important for those gates they like to put between the books. Anyway, coming back to my question, Oh, can you make shure that's your prospect disqualify your competitors untirely and see your company as a strategic Bot. Now from the sales conversation. Well, I think that can make a few podcast episodes in itself, but I think we can definitely touch on them. Ye, here. I think the first thing you need to realize is, if you could sum up everything we've talked about so far, so far it is how you sell is just as important as what you sell. Maybe it's even how you sell is more important than what you sell. became it because, again, the perception of difference in your buyers mind is going to be created during sales conversations, and sales communications not necessarily just having a raw, unique product and hoping they discover that uniqueness on themselves. But if you're sold on the idea that how you sell is more important than what you sell, then there are a few things you can do during your sales conversations to really box out of your competitors right out of the gate and get your buyer to not even see them in the pack of category, as you know. And I would say the first one is you need to tell a story about your customer,...

...not your product, in such a way that threatens the stability of their status. Well, so perfect. And that's when that there are a few things working here. First of all, you're talking about your customer, not your problems. Another being attention. Second of all, you're talking about a problem that's relevant to them, so another extra pay attention. And third, if you can tell a story that threatens that their status quote, it's going to trigger what we call loss of version. And loss of version, in short, is when it's the economic, behavioral, economic principle that people are twice as hard to work to avoid something and they are to gain something. And when you can tell a story in this way, now you've gotten a seed at the executive table. You've become much more strategic, while your competitors are tactical and pushing product features blow in the organization. So I'll give you like a one very short example of how to craft a story like this. Let's say you sell formaldehyde free furniture. So, for the unfamiliar, Formaldehyde is like this weird chemical that used to be built in the furnitures and it created all sorts of sicknesses and it was actually very common, and today still is common, for furniture to have formaldehyde. So a bad pitch, not a bad pitch, but a media or pitch if you're telling formaldehyde free furniture to retailers is you say, Hey, we provide formaldehyde free furniture. It's green, it's healthy, your customers are going to love it, you're going to make more money. That's focused on your features and, to some extent, its, but just focused on your benefits. If that customer is already totally sold on the idea of having formaldehyde free, free furniture, than it might work, but if they are not, that pitch is going to fall flat. So here's an example of the pitch you can tell. That tells US story about the customer and threatens their status quote. And by the way, never use the words threatened status quote when you're on a sales called. People will not react all to that. This is probably a past line we're talking about, not without further do. Here's an example story you could tell.

Just to come in quickly. I mean this is so true. We see that on a daily basis. So yeah, too, paractis really a focuses in the beginning of the conversation and the storytelling, and we've got a great episode that we recorded with with a gentleman actually also based in the bay area, called can Red Ski, around around telling stories and now do you go and he's got a layout, cake methodology be I did, which key it wills all about it. So I thought that was great. But the story is really key and I think I agree with you're saying. You can't trually tell people that you will, you will threaten them. But I think people enjoy being challenged and I think it's quite enjoyable to be in a cell speech, but when I need the cell speech, are really enjoy challenging preconservate this. Okay, so people may associate something with something else and there is non spoken objections, etc. Etc. But coming back to the first point that you made, I think if you are able to speak to a prospect, almost put yourself at their level by understanding what's happening in their function, what the challenge is on a day to day basis. Are. Obviously you don't want to make some statement that are too bold and maybe a little bit too risky for you, but kind of almost emphasize, with what they are going through as a prospect, what they are potentially but the vertical, because we took about the function, but it could be it could be the the industry. You know, you could be looking at don't you know what's up penning in that industry, etc. But relating to that in a cell speech as well as challenging what they are doing at the moment and then telling a little bit like what we discuss with that new story, about what could happen when it is executive properly. I think you become the first point of coal when there is an issue on the subject matter and they want your opinion. And as in a self speech or in a in a account management position, it's a beautiful position to be when you are the first person that your prospect or your clients will call to get information, to validate something or to discuss a pain point. I guess that's job done from a self perspective. You really...

...managed to get that confidence on track. And when there is confidence in the sells process, people trust you. Then obviously the product needs to deliver, but what a beautiful step it is to get the conversation going and put all the chances on your side to actually get a deal. Yeah, and there's actually I have a specific tipt that you can use to put yourself on a position like that, and this reks very well off of how you box out your competitors kind of ut the beginning, at the sales process, and a very simple thing that I see very few people doing is hie your products value proposition to a more strategic problem. That will elevate your strategic value in the buying organization. So here's an example. We do at call. One of the key use cases of gone is coaching. But when you talk about coaching and you use that as your value proposition, a lot of the Times you're going to get kicked down to frontline sales managers or sales enablement or great folks, but don't necessarily always have buying power because you've talked about a very tactical value proposition. Versus what we do now, and we still talk about coaching, but one of the angles we take with enterprise customers is instead of time going to coaching, we tie on to competitive selling, which is why we're having this conversation right now. And when young tie on to hey going is a tool that's going to help you win more competitive feels, differentiate from your comp competition and ultimately dominate your market. Now the C suite or VP of sales, those people high up in the organization are going to see you as much more strategically important. Like you said, they're going to see you as a confidant if you've position to yourself correctly, and they're not going to be very likely to kick you down to lower levels in the organization. And, by the way, while you're while all of this is happening, what's most likely happening with your competitor is they're talking about something tactical, something product related, and they're struggling to get above the mid level range in the buying organization,...

...while you have a seat at the executive table. So that kind of summary Takeaway there is figure out a business problem or strategic initiative, hopefully a repeatable strategic inefficiative that you can tie your value proposition to instead of like a low level pack of one. Okay, well, that's bringing him a question to my minding them of a how would you run the first meeting with a prospect? Let's say is the first ever meeting age you've got with a prospect? Obviously it's a prospective organization. So as a selfs person, you want to engage with that person. So you've got the right accounts. You know that that accounts should do business with you. They may or may not using one of your competitor and you are discussing, you about to discuss with someone. We've got authority. How do you advise your customer to lead the first conversation? Would you say, okay, do a poot point presentation, or would you actually just go there, tonder lat off and have a conversation with the person, have a business conversation with them around the challenges that you believe they have? Then the challenge is the actually of and then how you could potentially led them to to to some of these changes out. I would you advise your clients to lead that first kind of row high level decision maker conversation? Well, the first thing I would say is if it's your first meeting with an account in your meeting with somebody who's very senior, you probably missed the vote in the sense that you should have spend time with lower level people, doing some discovery research throughout your organization so that when you get this meeting with the senior buyer you are very well versed in the challenge is that that organization is basic. So the first thing I would say is spend some time researching the account talk to people within the account. Even lower level decision makers and influencers get time on their calendar so that when you get this initial meeting with a senior level by senior level I mean somebody you know who's at the sea level, vpsvp level. Now, assuming you've done that, when you...

...go into a meeting with this person, I would plan probably no more than two or three well thought through diagnostic questions to validate some of the challenges you've heard other parts in the organization, and then I would use that to spur the rest of the conversation, which should be an educational story about the problem that they're facing, that you've learned their facing, why their status close being threatened and why they need to move. As far as addressing your question about like would you do you know, a discovery call, power point or just have a conversation? My favorite thing to do is whiteboarding. I like to have whiteboard conversations with buyers where we're like illustrating things with markers kind of on the fly. A power point is sometimes a little too rigid. I don't necessarily I don't hate power point. I think a lot of sales and marketing people really hate powerpoint and I actually think it can be useful, but if you're well versed enough in the buyers problems, then I would stick with having a white boarding conversation. And to finally put you know, the last answer to your question is I would not have a discovery call. What these types of people. You're probably going to get kicked into the teeth if you're having very asking them very generic questions, which is why I recommended you should go ask those questions to people who have a little more time and patients than they do. But that said, you should still kick off the conversation by asking you validating questions to make sure conversations going to be pointed at great auction. Absolutely, and from my perspective, the good news with the White Bird is when you're done with the meeting and you see the prospect standing up, taking the phone out and taking a picture of the white bomb, always a good indicator something went well in the process. I've also got another question that is coming from from from what you just mentioned in the the previous response, but the one before that. Previously in our conversation to the I mentioned procurement process, Etcetri set right. Reading your article about features and differentiation, differentiations sorry, you made a good point at some points. I think there is also a visual in the article about people building up spreadsheet to compile your features are...

...centers of feature. Okay, I've done that recently. You know, I've got I've got a baby and baby boy and obviously I want to get the best from the guests to push share possible for that baby. So you know, when you look at push, I'm just built up an excel spreadsheet and my wife is a finance director, so she's used. We are that sort of fakes. We work together. I do. Well, wait, how begging with be can we put it in the car, because you look good, you know, and then we had to like create all that. So it was we build up that spreadshet. So coming back to my question. So when we know that, when you get to procurement, it's actually quite difficult that, I find it in my experience, to sell the value to proclament because you are already bugged down into the features, you are boling into pricing and they just want I mean, we probably have some procomming people listening to that. PUSS guests will get me a wrong go. Don't take it the wrong way, but it does upon pricing a either bit right. So at what stage of the decision making process do you advise your clients to stop that differentiating sets conversation? Well, you need to do it right out of the gate. You need to approach. It's not a conversation, it's a differentiation happens throughout the entire sales process. So it needs to happen on your first meeting and if you're getting so I'm not unrealistic enough to know that we're all going to have to deal with procurement. But I will say this. You can avoid procurement a lot more if you're doing things correctly upstream and the sales cycle. So if you're having conversations that are tied to a strategic initiative and your building urgency by telling a story that introduces loss of version and you've really gotten on the top one, two or three priorities of the C suitee or BP level priority list, they're only going to kick you down to procurement when they're absolutely ready to buy. They've better everything in the sales process and they're just telling percurement, hey, we want this, here's the value.

Just go get this contract sign now. Of course, Percureman is compensated in some cases on negotiating and trying to reduce prices as much as they can. So again, what you're going to have to do is not only are you going to have to sell your champion buyers on the value, in our why, of your platform, arm or solution, but you're also going to have to equip them to have that same conversation internally. You have to arm your buyers to be able to justify why your price is higher than your editors and justify the value. So buying today. That's that could make a whole other podcast episode it self. Buying today happens so much more internally in the buying organization then you see it when it was like, you know, the only time people make decisions. Was One of our facetoface with the cellar. Now there are so many behind the scenes conversations going on in the buying organization and that's really where sales people have to up their game and get help from product marketing to do what I call fire enable we're all familiar with sales enablement, to equipping sellers with the right tools, collateral and processes get feels across the finish line. You also have to provide buyer enablement, which is how do we enable the fortified decision makers in the buying organization to really come to consensus and buy and go through their internal processes smoothly? Okay, so I've you seen a love you have a weakness of you ELP the clients when the conversation, it's already is already bug down in what I would called the naty gritty, to feature the details the product that give sense, bridget, or that I've viewing, will see in witness or add someone to actually turn that back around, to elevate the conversation back to okay, let's lead with differentiate ourselves, differentiate us. I think that's get. May maybe be what you just mentioned about giving the bayous almost like I was all dimensioned. Do Look at Outos, a way to loo get things on those all way to have invate things. But have you ever seen that in practice, changing a decision when...

...the cycle was already well on the way? And announcer prevention is worth a pound of here. Yeah, the the question. I'm asking the question because I know when you already dip. Yeah, and I'm not going to Shir get that's but that definitely needs to be stat like what you do early in the sales process really sets the trajectory for your deal. But if you do find yourself in this precarious situation where the buyers pigeon hold you on to spreadsheet and comparing you to three other competitors and they're playing the SPEC war and they're granting you all down on price because you guys are pretty much at parody with the other at least from their perspective, what you need to do, your only chance of hell at turning that situation around without really dropping your pants on price, is educating, getting your buyers take a step back, get them on a meeting and say hey, I want to kind of press the reset on. I think there are some things that I have not told you during the sales process that I probably should have told you, and I think it's very important for me to tell you these things and if you get them on the calendar, if you get that opportunity, that platform to tell them something new, now it is your time to UN teach them about everything they can learned throughout the sales process. And where I would start, as I would think about what is your winning differentiator and what kind of Edgy cation can you give them to value that? That been beyond everything they're looking at in terms of a spreadsheet? So I'll give you an example. One of our differentiators at gone, what of our like product level differentiators, is we can analyze to a tee what your best sales people are saying and doing on their sales calls different but if I just tell a liar that's our differentiator and they don't necessarily value that, then they don't care. They're just flapping that on their spreadsheet. It's another row on specially and they're comparing you. But if I take a step back and I first educate them about the problem that feature solves and why it's important, and I say something like Hey, I want to tell you a story about this performance that that this bell curve we see in...

...sales and just about every sales leaders familiar with it. You know you've got ten or twenty percent of your sales force attaining a hundred and fifty percent of quota and it feels so amazing to see that. But it's so frustrating is that everybody else on your sales force, the other eighty percent of your wraps, they're a little bit below quota and they are canceling out the overachievement of your best Reps. so this next feature I'm about to introduce you to is position to solve that problem. It's position to close this Delta between your best trips and everybody else. And let me demonstrate for that or demonstrate that for you. So I guess if you listen to the story I just hold, I lit differentiation on its head. Instead of leading with my differentiating feature, I led to do that feature and I started with the problem that it solves and I made sure the customer value back. Introduce the different here, and that is going to change their perspective on Tom parrying all these products together do not make sense. That was like a very long winded way he explain. Yeah, I think it makes perfect sense to me. I mean the I hadn't know, like example, I read. I was just thinking about it actually, as well as you answering my question, there is a great book that is college challenge or sell and that's from the I think it's from the consultancy Boston Group, and we love that methodology. is about taking the control of the cell cycle, challenging the preconceivate these or the prospect but also teaching them something or educating them, because teaching me sound a little bit, little bit too much. And and in that book they've got an example of I believe it was a ladium. May Be paraphrasing a little bit the story here, because he was a while back since I read that story. But she just lost a deal, or company lost a deal, and what that company was doing was off his funiture and they just lasted into a competitor. They receive the goal thing. Look, we won't walk with you. We've been all of your furniture. Someone else is coming. We've got the plan with them, etc. Etc. We moving forward with this, guys. So she just pick up diffront to the clients and say well, you've been a...

...clients for I don't know how many else. What I would like to do is to give you a certain minutes of my time, one off my times for free, where I can't come down look at what does suggesting, because I know you and I know you're on it's were talking about something slightly different here. We talking maybe about a and like saving an account rather than acquiring a new account. But basically the story goes that. She goes there and she looked at the suggestion from the other companions. Look, what I would suggest you do is as them to do that, as them to do that. If I was in your shoes, we see that open space increase of productivity by approximatively celty person. So really, for that team in that part of your office, you should not have partitioning, but you should have some sort of that space in that space, maybe you should have like a lounge type of area somewhere what people can relax or have a bit more of a laidback meeting, etc. Etc. Basically, by doing that, the story goes that she get the business back because she inspired the clients with IDs, with what's happening, with stats of what she's seen in the market and by giving those almost this this advice as a gesture of good will for saying Good Bay to a customer, the customer realized that actually they could have much better management from that person and went back to and she got the business back. So I think, I think there is. There is lots of way to go around things, but it's about sometimes it's also about the selfs person doing the Extremiz. You know, we often see sells people that wants to get very, very late in the self process. Other the individual in seller tell you came. I want a very well qualified opportunity to walk on. I think that's all good, but the later you get to the game, the less you can influence the game from from from our perspective, and I'd like to my final question to you. I'd like to just get your sorts on that very briefly. Well, first of all, I agree with your influence in the sale cycle happens at the beginning and maybe the middle of not so much the end. Things start to really crystallize toward the end and what you...

...do early on really sets the trajectory. But I do want to refer on what you said a minute ago about that story you told. If you think about what that lady was selling, it was completely different than what her competitors were selling. So her competitors were selling what she was selling was productivity, in creativity for her, for the workforce and the something of the clients and on the standing of what team is doing what, because she is she was on the sounding the clients, or she was also a bull to provide this advice. But yeah, absolutely, and also those can be applied at any part of the sale cycle. That's not just an account saving technique. Had she led with that story, she probably wouldn't have to add to go save the accounts begin with. But that's a traummendous way to differentiate. I love that story. Good what thanks for that, Chris. The conversation today was really in safe for any really interesting. We always ask at this stage of the podcast our guests to give our audience a few ways to get in touch with them. So what we would like to understand crisis. What is the best way to get hold of Chris ad gone if someone wants to take the conversation at we had today away with you, or of that one one interaction with you to carry on the conversation we had to day? Definitely linkedin. I spend more time than I should on Linkedin, so you can just find me. I think I'm the only Chris Wor lab on Linkedin's pretty weird unique name, but you need the spelling. It's CHR I guess our loo be as a boy. So just pop those letters into the search box. Send of your request. I'm happy to all the conversation start right what it was great having you to them to podcast. Chris, many things for you all time, and a those you're mentioning a couple of times, I could doing those. All podcaster are on this. We could do on those. Up pudcasts are on that. So clearly you want to receive our fellow Zo invitation, which we would make sure you're doing the new Fud show right. Yeah, this was an absolute last thank you so much for having me on. Thank you, Chris. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology...

...companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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