B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 4 years ago

19: Why Pipeline Will Cure All Your Sales Problems w/ Sally Duby

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Everybody needs a bigger pipeline.

Have you ever been in a scenario, maybe a business meeting, or a dinner with colleagues, and heard someone say, “I’ve got all the pipeline I need?”

Didn’t think so.

Every company needs a bigger pipeline, and every company is trying to do everything they can to get one, but very few are actually succeeding in acquiring it. Why? What does it take to build a quality pipeline?

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. Hello, I am already a mutier and you are listening to the bit to be a revenue acceleration podcasts. Sew from the bridge group is my guess on the show today. How you doing, sully? I'm terrific right, thanks for having me. Pleasure, pleasure. So, Sally, today we want to have a conversation with you around a toppy as is really important for us. That topic is around building a quality pipeline. But before we get started, can you please tell us a little bit more about yourself, as well as the organization that to represent? I The bridge group. Sure. So, I've been in and around sales for pretty much my entire career. I started in field sales and then I actually I got a job at oracle way way back in the beginning years of Oracle. I was very young back then and I was in the inside sales group there and it just really loved the the power and what you could do withinside sales and that I was able to have a normal life as well. So I did you know you didn't have to do all the traveling, right? Absolutely, yeah. So I fit into my lifestyle to at the I'm raising a child and everything. So I really enjoyed it and that's where I've kept my career as both in inside sales and sales development and a built many different you know, inside sales, sales development, support renewal teams, help optimize teams and got into consulting, probably you know now, for over about twenty years, with a little stint at skype in between, where I built a sales team at skype. Most recently and today I am chief sales officer at the bridge group. And at the bridge group we are consulting agency focused all around inside sales and sales development, all my passion. So we're putting too use everything that I've learned over the years and helping many other of our clients as wonderful one. Thank you very much for us very interesting backgrounds and definitely a lots of expands that you've got to a first at that. That's wonderful. You have confounded the VP of service forum. This is a platform, for my understanding, that provides VP's of sales and chief REVENU OFI. So basically anyone responsible who's got responsibility for the top line in any company to interact or a peer to peer environment in order to network, keep themselves on top of the new trends discuss best practices in order that, from your experience of running dice events and your engagement him and and I would believe your engagement is constant with VP sales...

...shift revenue of his and all those people managing the top line, what do you see as the main challenges that the those two cells, leader Ls, are facing? Yeah, so you know where. I've been doing the VPA sales form for ten years. We just celebrated our ten year anniversary this year. And Yeah, and so you know, it's been pretty amazing. But almost every single meeting we've had over the ten years we buy far get the most questions around the whole sales development space, marketing in alignment, all around the pipeline building issue. Even today, here we are and I don't know how many years, but I think it's probably been at least twenty some years that everybody's been preaching about marketing and sales online them and we still seem to have a bunch of silos and different events happening between sales and marketing, and you notice that too. You know what this is. We've had probably two US three podcasts dressed on the topic. So we've done some mainly, we seemos, while preaching the the alignment we sells, which is great, we yet to get see rows to get involved. So I'm not pointing the finger here. It's definitely a topic that that that is in the in the center of the conversation, passionate a few people we've been seking to on that podcast right right. You know, we still get questions about what's a qualified lead. You know, it's like wow, it's you know, we're still talking about that, you know. So there's a lot of confusion where obviously still kind of miss in the boat and need a lot of work in that. So we spend, you know, again, a tremendous amount of time talking about that. And then I guess I'd have to say while account based is all been great, it's also really confused the issue and everybody wants to say they're doing account base because it's the cool, latest greatest thing in pipeline development, but yet they really don't get it and they don't know what they're doing with it. So that's one here. I would say there's really a couple other areas that are emerging. One is definitely around customer success. That's another one of these areas that customer success means something different to every single company. When you ask them, you know, whether customer success team is responsible for it's you get a bunch of different answers. And then the other one is enabling frontline sales managers so that they really know and understand what their role is, what they should be doing and how to be doing the job. You know, we seem to have we always promote sales reps and a lot of times it's our best sales reps, which in many cases means they're probably not going to be the best manager. Different skills sets that you need to be a sales manager versus a lot of times being the best sales wrap. Well,...

...but yeah, you know. But then we don't give them any coaching or mentoring or training and we just say, okay, you know, yesterday you were a sales wrap and today you're a sales manager. Go to it, here's your team and we you know, and we don't even train them on you know any guidance around human resources issues? You know, how do you interview properly? What can you can't? What can you say and what can't you say in an interview you know, let alone everything else about. How do you coach a salesperson properly? How do you make that transition from being one of them to now being their boss? So so those three areas are really a lot of our key discussions that we've had in particular over the last year or so. That's wonderful. Every one question I thought we left for you. It's been of a leading question from my own experience. But you believe, based on what should just say, on what you just say, but on your experience, do you believe that the top sends people, all the tough sens guys, make the best manager, or do you believe that he's small the average but good sets gate, that makes the best manager? Yeah, you know, I think that it from what I have seen and what I've seen everybody else talk about. Is it? You know, it's not the salesperson that is always making a hundred and fifty two hundred percent quota. It's the ones that you know pretty consistently achieved a hundred percent of quota and maybe a little bit above right, but it's really all about to the skills that they show. Are they willing to help out other members of their team? Right, right, typically, that sales wrap, that your best sales wraps. That is a hundred fifty two, hundred percent quota is more often what we call the lone wolf. Right. You've been with that term, reading the challenge ourselves? Yes, we've. We've all went straight with it's a fantastic book, it is, and so you know, they they tend to have those capabilities where they just want to go out and be on their own and do their own thing and they don't want interference and they don't really want to get involved in the whole team thing either, and so that is something that, you know, you have to take into account. How are how good are they going to be at coaching somebody? If that's there? Well, absolutely, and they're grace because, well, I think you've got when you've got someone which you wander and fifty two hundred percent off quota as a general manager, it is quite frisky to remove that sort of person from actually delivering so well to put them in the management position. At me I think that performance. So it does. The reason why I was I was kind of introducing the question as a leading question. But yeah, it's I do share exactly the same the same opinion and believe it's it's really about the person. But often what the scene is that the people who are really good at setting, the people who are really consistently over delivering making lots...

...of money in cells, tend to struggle when they get into a management's role because, yeah, managing those other people is it's it's a different bunch of scales. It's probably more difficult. You need to influence and let's not forget that you need to walk down with your team, but you also need to walk up with your management. Ability to forecasts, ability to forecast for others. Yeah, it's it's a challenge all together. But while thank you very much for that, sell you that that it's been useful. So we had a conversation in the past. We met a few years back, and you stated or you mentioned something that made me smilee a pipeline cures or problems. That's so true. Right. So I'm sure that any sales person can relate to that. But we all know that it takes lots of work to build up that quality pipeline. What would be, if you are to show a few of few tips with us today? What would be the top tips that you can share with our listeners or professional sales people listening to that podcast today around building a strong pipeline? Yeah, so, you know, there's a couple things, but that is, I totally one of our sayings here heard the bridge group Ray, is that pipeline curs all sales problems. Right, and I think in all the years that I've been in sales and have been doing consulting and attack a hundreds and hundreds, you know, probably even thousands of sales leaders, I only recall three that have told me that they had enough pipeline. So you know, it's something that we're always struggling with because unfortunately, you know, we don't close a hundred percent of our pipeline right. So, yeah, it is unfortunate. I don't think ever get to that state. That would be so easy person yeah, so, you know, we need to have a lot more in there to be able to make our numbers, obviously. So you know, I think first of all pipeline building should be a multifaceted approach. In the company, and by that I mean it just shouldn't be the sales reps responsibility to build their pipeline. Here we go again with marketing alignment. It's marketing's responsibility, it's the sales development reps responsibility, it's the executive team, channel partners and actually, you know, everyone in the company. And when I say everyone in the company, I think you know over the last year's that has really become an important piece because everyone in the company can keep their network and linkedin up to date. They can be posting educational on thought leadership content to help draw in their network and they can also post about, you know, specific company milestone or successes and really helped that sales team with introduction. So if you've got somebody in operations or, you know, in human resources that is actively, you know, on Linkedin, keeping their networks up to date and helping, everybody's out there promoting the company. And then if I'm your sales rep and I go...

...in and see you have a connection at this company at a high level, you can help me get into the person that I need to and so we have the capability now, you know, because of great tools like Linkedin, to be able to do that company wide. Twenty years ago we couldn't do that right, but we can now. So so I really think that, again, it shouldn't just be the sales reps responsibility, and I think that's one of the things that we work with a lot of our clients on is understanding where can you get your pipeline from? That it's not just all coming from one source. So where where are all the contributions coming from? So we all know, like what is marketing responsible for? What are the sales development team responsible for? What's the Sales Rep responsible for? What are your channel partners responsible for? And building pipeline, so you can measure and track against that. So that's one thing, but you know there. I think the other thing that we're getting very complex now with our pipeline building and I see many companies trying their struggling with building pipeline because you're trying to one size fits all model and especially for those companies that have been in business probably more than five years there they're probably going after multiple segments, right. So it's not just we're selling to the enterprise or we're of selling to mid market. It's you may be selling to SM beat a mid market, to the enterprise and, Oh, by the way, we have some really strategic accounts that were focused on. So you have multiple markets that you're going after, you have multiple buyers that you you know, that want to buy your product, and the complexity of your products and the average deal size all play into you know, what different kind of pipeline building models should you have? So you know, to give an extreme example, let's say you're targeting a sea level executive and the average deal size is a million dollars. Your approach to building pipeline there and getting those million dollar deals is very different from someone who's selling to the S and B market, you know, or even, let's say the mid market and there's thousands of accounts there and your deal size is fiftyzero dollars. Right. You have different approaches, way different approaches, you know. And because you can get a million dollars versus fiftyzero dollars, you can afford to expand different resources and money to getting that million dollar account then you can getting a fiftyzero account. You know, we used to be I shouldn't say used to be, because there's still a lot of it today, which is fine, but it was everybody thought, you know, you needed to specialize and in bound and bound, which you do, but today it really needs to go so much further than just inbound and outbound, and you know.

So this is where I think really the account based marketing approach is really come in. And we all got enamored with Marquetto did a great job of convincing us that we needed to go into, you know, at mid market, SNB and you know, emails Fam our way in. Yeah, and you know, clearly now companies. I think it's been a really interesting change. Right, and I'm sure you guys have seen this too, is that all of a sudden all these companies in the investors and boards of companies are like, well, you know, we need to get a lot larger average deal sizes, so we need to move up market. Well, how do you move up market into the enterprise? Is, you know, again, different ways that you do that, and so this is where I think account based is really come into play. And Oh, by the way, we had the bridge group of like to call it account based revenue, not marketing than its yeah, could we could? I come bese everything there. You go to touch on it. That's that's wonderful. Yeah, so, you know, we're getting much more sophisticated and complex in our models, but you know, it does really go back to looking at who are your target accounts, who are your buyers? How did those buy? Buyers want to buy and be engaged with, what's the complexity of your product and your average deal size, and then you can figure out it is in bound, outbound account based account cent track right and apply the right methodology to that. Yeah, that's that's the day to day really here. I mean we can relate so much which what you went through. One of the other type of scenario that we we tend to see quilt a lot at the moment would be around matchure technology vendors. So A B toobe software company has been going for maybe ten years or even modern that. There is a very large one that will not mention, but we are discussing with them at the moment and they are in a situation where they are core business, what they are known for, what you would associate that brand. Wise the revenue of that copies and of dropping a little bit. Okay, so it kind of yesterday tape of solution and you know, so what they've done as a very smart management team board Exeter Tris Rice acquire some companies to make that pot for your more exciting, to make that pot for your more future proof, if you will. And and I think what they are going through, I would almost qualify it as a cells transformation, but God it's like moving mountains trying to get the cell steamed in the internal sells people. So it could be even an inside cells team up to the field cells guy. And then you've got the channel on top of that and the transformation that you need to go through. And we've seen it all, you know, like a company, a was a on premises...

...that wants to go cloud. Well, once you want to go clouds, you're going to upset your partners because your partner used to believe our services and make money out of it. So it's a channel. Is You mongers shift, and I think the shift opening more and more at the moment. And the interesting because you've got multi buying personnas and and different type of average deal value, different type of solution, and I really like the way you approach an to be fair. I mean this is the way we present our services. So I'm you know, we've got the some sort of basis. But the way everybody should look at it is who is the person I'm selling to an how much they're spending? Baised on that, you will know the complexity of the cell cycles, potentially the number of personal that will need to be involved in the cell cycles, as well as the length of the cell cycle and what's in what's in it for you at the end of it, going and creating the demons, pushing being disruptive, being a challenge or cell when you've got one hundred and fifty, two, hundred and fifty k deals at the end of it, it's was the battle, but you compactly write. If you drop to thirty, fifty K, we will be dealing with insight sales people will be dealing with channel partners will ultimately, and you can't blame them for that, but they want tactical stuff. They don't want to go and create the demon they want to collect appear in the next six months and and and that's the reason why one of the first question we ask when we get into a cell cycles to kind of draw some demography. Can Get all right or on the type of customer will speaking to, is what's your have reged in value and you can tell a lot from the average gin viewing time of what they need to do. Oh, how long they should expect to close the jus. Except try except for us. Now. I appreciate what you're saying and I think it's extremely ir relevant to today's markets and a great way to kind of dissociate the different type of cells tactics and seal strategy that you need to put in place. Yeah, you know, the other thing right that that we've seen a lot of is these smaller startup companies and they get executives in from, you know, the Oracles, the sales forces, the saps of the world, and they come into these small startups and they they just don't understand how different it has to be in building pipeline and messaging because they're used to that brand name recognition where everybody knows them and everybody knows what they do, and you go into these small stops where nobody knows you, nobody knows what you do and you can't use the same tactics. And so we see that happen a lot and it's you know, it's a big mistake that a lot of them make and they don't get traction because they don't understand again that you've got to do so much more heavy lifting and educating in your pipeline building, which is again really different than if I'm a branded sales for US calling up to try to sell you acrm. Absolutely, and this...

...is the level of maturity as well of a solution. You've got very destructive vendors. Well, you know, we've got clients coming to US and so we won't find people who have a project. So okay, but what you are saying is the equivalent of a flying car, which technically could be a plane, but let's talk about something that can beyond the road and also fly. So people will have account so they don't need another count. So you may speak to someone doesn't have any. But what you need, what you said, is a very specific alteration of something that they may have. So it's very disruptive and you can't expect people to have a budget for it, you can't expect people to have a project around it exactly. You can expect people to be interested by it and you can expect people potentially change what they are doing or prioritize their budgets or their financing in a certain way to buy what you need. But it's also setting the right expectations. But yeah, again, START UPS getting into big company or do your positios a way around a large organization buying company that is mainly being there in the core business. So when IBM started to buy lots of security companies, curate and all that lot in the market did not meet Idm was doing security where you have to go there and just educate the market and explain them the Road Map. But yeah, that's what makes, I guess, Post Your Life and now I've very exciting. Yeah, but that's also kind of leading me to my next question to you. So from your introduction you clearly have a great level of experience in a great amount of respect for that insight cells function, that that is dl Beida function, the people who are at the beginning of the funnel, the people who are prospecting, getting opportunities and you know, almost like the gay that you would see in the jungle going around with a Mashetia getting the path ready. We know that they they play an important for I mean we've got opinion because this is what we do, but from your perspect even from all listen now, yeah, today, can you tell us from you your point of view. Why do those teams? Does SDA, Beda to spipeline generation team, just eno steam or external team are playing such an important let yeah, you know, this has been one of the things that I think it's been so exciting for me to see over the years, as that fifteen, twenty years ago we were really having to sell companies on why they really needed an strner, like well, maybe, you know, maybe after six months you get them, you know, agree to try one str right. But now it's like common knowledge that every Tech Company and be the being needs an str and many of the start up out here, you know, are higher in the rest ares along with hire in their first sales people. So it's really awesome to see that we finally understand that. But you know why? Why is that happening? So your salespeople are, you're really expensive...

...resources and you really don't want them to do all the follow up work that's needed to try to reach people. So building pipeline requires persistence and a lot of multiple attempts to reach prospects. You know, even if they filled out a contact form on your website or something saying they wanted to call. When you call them back that first time, they don't answer the phone, they don't answer your email. So if you're doing outbound prospecting it's even tougher. And you know, I'm sure you guys are doing the same processes, but we really are finding that it takes typically between eight the fourteen times, maybe even sixteen eighteen times to reach most of your prospects. We know salespeople they give up after the first, maybe the second attempt and they just said it. You know. I know many sales leaders have heard their sales reps tell oh, they're not interested, they didn't return my phone call. Well, you know, how many times did you actually try to call them or email them? And it was like well, once right, so that's not enough. We know that and you know we know that. Also a sales rep are, I would say, sort of the worst of prospecting because of that. But one of the things we're paying sales people so much money for is because there really good at moving, you know, Opportunity these through the sales cycle and getting them to closed. And so when you've got that's a really different skill set. It's a tough skill set. Not Everybody can do that. So you really don't want your sales wraps spending their valuable time doing this process. That it's really it's a process. It's very methodical. It's very much the science part of it, you know, when you get somebody in the phone, there's the art part. I'm developing your messaging is the art part, but a lot of it is the science, the process that you can get, you know, less experience, less costly people to do, and so that's where it really makes sense. Get your sales team focus on what they do best, which is moving the deals through the pipeline, and offload more of that repetitive process piece. You know, the other thing that we've really seen happen is when you've got too much of your sales team developing their own pipeline, is that you really see the hockey stick of fact. You're familiar with that, right, right, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, it's okay, yeah, don't. We don't. We don't do a lot of fuck you. I'm from from whatever, but not definitely definitely on though. So much you, which you are just about to say, I think. Yeah, so, you know. So if you look at a quarter right and close the business the first month of the quarter, you're closing not a whole lot, maybe ten to fifteen percent, twenty percent. Right then the second quarter or the second month of the quarter,...

...you are closing, you know, maybe thirty percent, but the big bulk of your business, like sixty, seventy, sometimes even eighty percent of your business is coming in last month of the quarter and sometimes it's even the last day of the quarter right where you're getting that. And a lot of that is because you don't have enough in the pipeline at the beginning of the quarter and you don't have a consistent pipeline throughout the quarter so that deals are following when they naturally will close, not when we're trying to force them to close by specials, priced incentives or whatever. And so if you have a separate team that's responsible for developing a key percentage of the pipeline, you're going to have that consistent, constant flow and you can really reduce the hockey stick. Of fact, it's sort of the and so between terms very quickly. We've got we've been in the situation so many of them in conversation with we see you sitting us. Well, I've got a good quarter, then about quarter, then a good quarter, than a bad quality. It's okay, what I speak to yourself seem and then you you ask some reading question. What you're realize? You're realized it's been one quarter prospecting, one quarter closing. Yeah, and then because that closing, they are too busy closing, so they come prospect, so they've got no ball using for the next quarter. So it's it's more a mountain pegle something like this, if you will. One of them down, but you know absolutely that that's function. Does break consistency, absolutely, don't you? No, no, it's some problem. That was a great comment. You know, I think the other thing, and this is where again we get into the the marketing and sales alignment issue, is that you know your marketing team is out there spending a lot of money and doing a lot of things to bring in leads. And you know, another typical scenario we run into when there isn't a sales development team in place or the sales development team is focused on outbound and all the inbound leads go to directly to the sales team, is that the marketing team, you know, never knows what works and what the results of the campaigns are because the sales team is not following up on every inbound lead that they're getting, their cherry picking as to what they think or assume are the best leads, and that's the only ones that they follow up on. And you know, a lot of times you're just getting maybe a name and a company name, and so they're assuming that they may be the right company and the right target profile. But how do you know which ones of those really have a need unless you actually follow up with them and have a conversation with them and talk to them? So this cherry picking of fact, while the sales team loves it, is not the most efficient or effective way. And again marketing gets no insights into what's working because the sales team isn't going to convert the...

...lead properly either in the crm to show and a tribute that lead back to the marketing team. They're going to take credit for it. So you never get a closed loop marketing cycle. And Marketing again never knows if a campaign was successful or not. So they keep repeating campaigns that probably weren't successful, but they have no data and no insight. Absolutely and in the right direction. Ask You a question of Allia on about a good set of Spellson becoming a set as manage all a set of spells and engineer would becoming a set as manentia, which would be you'll take on as dl people all insight sets, people are Beda people progressing to a few sales role. That's a great question, right, and you know I think, I mean I've got conflicted views internally on this. I mean, it's a great career path, right. I have seen many, many successful people. I mean I had a guy who, actually several of them who work for me, got their start as inside sales reps and now are, you know, Cros right of large companies and, you know, make it half a million dollars a year and being extremely successful. So I know it can be done. I think that we did a research on this last year actually at the bridge group, where we show, though, you know, if you promote SDRs too early, where they haven't even learned the SDR roll and you promote them into an ae roll, that there was like something like a sixty five percent failure rate. So it counterintuitive to a lot of companies today that want to promote their SDRs in a year or less, and that's where the problem becomes, if you promote them in a year less. You had the huge failure rate. If they get promoted after I think it was like sixteen months, seventeen months was the key thing, that failure rate drops to like twenty five percent. So huge improvement because now they're learning. Also, you know, I think it depends on what kind of a e role you promote them into. And you know, if you promote them straight from an str into an ae roll that's going after one of these really large enterprise long sales cycle accounts where it's a you know, two hundred and fifty thousand dollar sailor above, that's a really tough move to make those that's such different skills that you need to know about to work those kinds of deals. Then what an SDR ever, you know, has so we are working really hard with our clients to create career paths based on the roles that make sense within the company, based on their selling motions and what makes sense. And maybe it's not, you know, an...

...ae rule doing net new business. Maybe it's an account management role right where they're working with existing customers. You know, and I think being able to put together a career progression roll that says, you know, if you were path and what you really want to do is move into sales. Then, you know, starting, you know, let's say in your fourth quarter of being an str we're going to start, you know, providing you some kind of different training on skills. You may have to take and pass a negotiation class. You may have to, you know, do some right alongs with the sales rep. You may have to help them prepare a presentation, right, and watch them give a presentation, and then you do it. So being really actually able to give them, you know, access to and see what really goes on a sales role. Because what we're also finding is that a lot of these people, once they get into a sales role, it's like, ah, this isn't really what I want to do. But yet you yeah, you know, been there, yes, exactly, and you know, I think we've all been there. And so a lot of it is because, you know, they really don't know what the Sales Rep job is. Day didn't way out. And unless they get that exposure and they really understand what it means to have to meet quote on a regular basis and be judge a meeting, that quota, you know, is different than meeting quotas and Sdr there's some similarities, absolutely but it's way different in the sales. The pressure is way different and so there's just a lot of people that that's not what they want and they don't want to travel if it's a field sales a evil right. So, you know, I think those are all things that we need to as managements to the exactly before Russian in promoting. Yeah, you know, I think I think people have hard time the add conversation with individual Damia. They've got people who are really good in David as the a team often million yours. They want to progress very quickly. If that they will. Haven't all boughtunity somewhis. You've got the recruit top playing a role as well. You know, we always trying to push people and telling them at the grass is green or somewhiles. But Yeah, look, it was very, very good to have usually today on the podcast. I really loved our conversation. I could go on fun as a couple of hours. Yeah, I need to let you go, unfortunately. Now, if anyone wants to, anyone of our listener wants to get in touch with you, wants to engage with the bridge group, to consult with you guys and use your services, what is the best way to get hold of you guys. Thanks. Right. Yeah, you know, definitely check out our bridge group website. There is a ton of research and ebooks all around sales development, inside sales, account based all of that kind of stuff, and we have a blog and it's, you know, Bridge Group inccom. You can...

...email me at Sally at Bridge Group INCCOM. You can link in with me or I'm on twitter also, both linkedin and twitter at Sally do be all one word, so feel free to look me up and connect. Would love to hear from you and, you know, everybody out there and hear about your experiences with inside sales sales development in general. Well, thank you very much. Fun that said, each was great to have you on the show today. Thank you so much. Right, it was really great to be on the show. I really appreciate it. 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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