B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

39: Selling High Tech Solutions to Non-Tech Buyers w/ Joel Passen

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Are you attempting to sell a technical product to a non-technical crowd? If so, we’d love to introduce you to Joel Passen, Head of Global Sales at Beamery.

His company sells HR and talent acquisition products, or what they call a “recruiting CRM and marketing software.” But not all their buyers have an extensive technical background.

So, Joel’s uncovered firsthand how to sell a highly technical product to a variety of buyers, many of whom are non-technical.

On this episode, he gives us 3 ways we can sell our products to non-technical buyers.

You were listening to be tob revenueacceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge ofsales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Welcome tobe tob revenue acceleration. My name is Dane Seebrook, and how I'm heretoday with Joe Passon, head of global sales at Bremery Joel Hi. Howare you? I'm aready. It's great to be here. Yes, verygood. Thank you, very good in date. Thanks for taking a timeto join us today. A pleasure. So, Joe, the top eightfor today's episode is selling high tech solutions to a non technology audience. Butbefore we go into the conversation, it would be really good if you couldgive us a bit of a background on yourself, your company and, Iguess, the the space that you're sitting in. Yeah, absolutely, again, I appreciate. Appreciate being here. I I look after global sales ata company called be Marie and we provide our customers with talent, crm andmarketing solutions. And so, for folks that aren't in the HR technology ortalent technology landscape, you can think of the product that we offer the marketas sort of a combination of both sales force and Marquetto but for recruiting yourtalent acquisition, and so just a logistically you know, obviously we're well,perhaps not obviously we are as Sass company where venture backed. In know,just completed our series B last year and has strategic investments from Microsoft's venture capitalarm and worked a a large global HCM provider. And I actually have aglobal sales for us with offices were headquartered in London actually, but North America, split between San Francisco and Austin, and then I have field sellers throughoutNorth America and course sales all reports to me and also we have a businessdevelopment team or sales development team that reports to be as well. Okay,interesting, thanks for that. So Joe be me Opoly is operating, asyou said, within the HR and recruitment technology space which, from our perspectiveand from what we've seen across our client base, seems to be going througha massive disruption and invasion with the advance...

...of that favorite buzz word at themoment, which is machine learning and ai and and you know, analytics atthat, providing in the automation at providing. It seems to be growing massively yearon year and and really disrupting many industries. But of course recruitment andthe HR piece around automation seemed to be seeing seen in a particularly big way. Could you give us a from your perspective, a bit of an overviewor an opinion of the current state of the HR and recruitment technology world andhow you see that evolving? And when I say when, how I seethat evolving, is whether you see there's a place for the future where byactually HR and recruitment technology could replace people all together. It should be goodto get all your thoughts because obviously that's a much debated topic at the moment. Yeah, absolutely so. Thank you. There's all there's a lot to unpackwith what you just ask, but you're right in what you're you're seeing. Ivo Is lie and you folks are a good parameter of the market.There's been about five billion dollars of investment that's been made in the HR textand talent acquisition sector, and so it's actually quite noisy and I think there'sa reason for that. And frankly, if the kind of use a bitof an anecdote, you think about the next time you talk to us CEO, ask her to name the most important business assets and you're going to getpeople, you know, talking about their people first or second every time.So managing and enterprise is number one or number two asset. Their people isnot a bad space to be in and obviously there's been money flowing into thisspace. In terms of and I think again sort of unpacking your question,in terms of trendspotting and the HR text space, the first thing that wesee, and I think the reason for a lot of this investment, isthat innovative employers are really moving away from a reactive approach to recruiting. Soif you think about days of your you had a job opening, you walkedit down to your recruiting department or HR, they published or posted or advertised ajob and you wait to see what comes in and maybe the recruiter goesthrough their network and, you know,...

...gets you some people that perhaps they'vehad some relationships with, and that's really a reactive maturity model. And whatwe're seeing today is that companies are realizing that transform their labor forces over thenext several years and we know that the service economy, and we'll talk aboutai and a second everything's evolving. So companies really have to be more proactivewhen they think about talent and go out and really kind of use, andI think this is really relevant for your audience, they really have to usesales and marketing techniques. So talent acquisition is really sort of a sales andmarketing game and that means building awareness with the right people at the right time. So that's one big trend that we see and obviously Beamri is sort ofpointed at that direction. In terms of again at large, and you talkabout machine learning and artificial intelligence. I believe that this is my personal beliefand I think beamery again at large, shares some of these philosophies or concepts. But artificial intelligence is really noisy right now and that I think that thetrend is not necessarily just to use artificial intelligence, but I think it actuallypivots from this concept of automating a job role to understanding how we augment jobsand up skill those roles. So, in short, or in Layman speak, how do we make people more efficient and better at their jobs rather thanreplacing their jobs? And then I think that we're going to see a newgeneration of analytics out of this too. So some folks are already calling thistelemetry, other folks are calling this augmented analytics and really, regardless of thename, you're going to see on demand actionable explanations of what's going on withyour workforce. So it's the old instead of just giving me realport. Okay, insights are nice, but now really give me actionable insights on demand abouthow we can make a pivot in real time. That's a trend. Andthen the final thing that I think you'll see is that h are if theyhave obskilled workers and they have augmented analytics,...

...then I think we're going to seethe HR function and recruiting functions move from essentially a less judgment driven environmentto a more data driven environment, much like we'd see with finance, salesand marketing, procurement other business functions within an organization. So I think theseyou can sort of all meld together. Yeah, that's an interesting perspective.Thanks for that and I think it's kind of, I guess, taking abit of getting used to for a lot of people out there as well.And to your point, in in functions like finance and sales and marketing.You know, we're used to now going on a website and talking to achat Bot. People met, some people made dispute, whether they like itor not, but I think that's becoming more and more of a reality.Actually almost giving HR professionals the ability to step away a little bit from theday to day mundated and also of sifting through CV for example, and actuallyhaving more data their fingertips is probably something they is a concept they'll have toget their head around, but in the future, to your point is shouldallow them to to do more with less in some respects, with with theautomation. That brings one of the points that you made that was quite interestingfor me is giving the giving organizations, with your solution in particular, ifwe talk about that for now, giving organizations the ability to rather than reactivelyrecruit individuals based on when a job may come up, to actually proactively alwaysis identifying maybe the passive market that isn't quite read isn't necessarily looking for what, but they're out there and fin look at the market that we're we're allin here with, and let's focus for a second specifically on the bay area. From from what we see, that's a massive skill shortage in the bayare specific to technology, both from a sales and marked inspective and from atechnical perspective. With something like you're offering, how would you help a business withthat? Yeah, let me give you an example, a real worldexample. We have a client that replaced essentially blockbuster. I won't name theclients name, but they have very hard to find creatives, production studio folks. They produce television shows for the most part on demand and the folks inthat industry are in very, very high...

...demand, and so you can postjobs for them in the reactive model and, quite frankly, you're not going toget much. You can send recruiters after him, like we do inBedr, to send them after prospects. If you think about recruiting being theanalog being the recruiting is very much like sales. Think about it, andthat Lens for the for our listeners. So we can send recruiters and sorcersafter people and we know that that's going to be moderately effective and we've beendoing that for years in recruiting. But what if I told you that wecould, just like in professional be to be marketing? We could go outand understand prospects behaviors and market to them and build a community, a longtail community of people that when they are ready to search for a job orthey are, they've you know, they are thinking about new opportunities outside ofwherever they're at, that I could make you the employer of choice for whenthey wake up in the morning and decide that maybe they'll look around. We'vebeen in their ear and their inbox and their tax messages, in whatever channelthat they're getting information, building that awareness along the way and making it easyfor them to join a community. That adds value, just like we dowith content marketing. That adds value. That brings them into the organization overtime. Same thing with campus and getting people when they're graduating from school.So starting those relationships early with think about it kind of like consumers, butwith candidates and prospects. That's really what our company is focused on doing.That makes sense? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So,and that kind of segues nicely into the next point, which is your technologycompany. I guess you could get really into in the weight of what yoursolution is and how it works and the technical boats and whistles of it.But but ultimately, as we've spoken a lot about a lot, you areselling to HR functions for the most part, if I'm not mistaken, and forthe most part hl profession was aren't necessarily coming to come into the workforcewith computer science degrees. So they're not really that technical audience. So howdo you, as a technology company,...

...go about selling to a less technicalaudience? If what's your process for doing so in our space? Specifically,and I think this would go in line with this question, if we wereselling into a non technical audience in another line of business, and there arestill a couple of lines of business left that, as you put it,don't necessarily have an extensive technology background. And what I tend to do islook for former practitioners. So my best, most accomplished sellers and the ones thatclimb the enablement curve, you know, the the ramp curve faster than anyoneelse in our organization are people that have, number one, been insome sort of recruiting capacity in their life, and so I think you could extrapolatethis back to any industry. Higher out of that industry of people thatperhaps have done that job in some way, shape or form or been around itand they're going to obviously understand the challenges of those end users and ultimatelybuyers better than anyone else. So I look for people that have been practitionersin the past, maybe early in their career, and then have become accomplishedsellers in the space over time. So I want my sellers to empathize withthe buyers firsthand. I want them to feel their pain and this also againserves to reduce our ramp times. So that's that's sort of the number onestrategy. Number two is we tend to shape our sales process less of thissort of prescribed you know, here is a demo, here's what you haveto do next, MR and Mrs Customer. We actually say hey, this isan education process. So we don't run a traditional sales process. Ourfocus is really and helping our champions and influencers develop a strong, wrong internalbusiness case for how we can benefit the organization and then taking that and helpingthem package it to go and sell higher up a power line, if youwill. So we support the process with content and collateral that's really designed fromyou know, for a variety of different stakeholders, including the IT teams andthe procurement and finance teams. So that's the second strategy that we use.And then the third one is we really...

...let our product tell the narrative andwe bring our salespeople, oftentimes on site with our customers and walk them throughthese various use cases, setting up our product along the way to show themhow we can take them from being a reactive talent organization and mature them intobeing a proactive talent organization along the way. We create their own narrative within ourproduct and that's been really powerful. That makes sense. And just onthat sort of line of question, I guess, and you mentioned earlier onin the conversation, that there seems to being around, you know, fivebillion dollar investment or they've seen the market, the HR tech markets worth around fivebillion dollars. I think the approach to you've just described with regards toyour sales process in particular, where it's very much an education process, whereyou're you're engaging in multiple different personas and you have a value to each ofthose different personas you touch, how would you in in a noisy market,what could be seen as a complicated market, where HL professionals must be absolutely inundatedwith solutions that, I guess, could be seen to be offering anysimilar message to a him, to value to your solution? How do youhow do you differentiate such a noisy, crowded malcular that? I think there'sthree things and and let me let me focus on two of them. Butthe differentiation process is, I think, especially in this as companies, productdriven. So for us, and I have to speak to this specifically inour industry, which is talent crm and talent marketing, you know, it'sa it's a product that sits on top of essentially, if you think abouta sales funnel, we are the very top of the funnel, getting ourcustomers more prospects to market to to ultimately convert them into candidates. So that'sthe framework that we use. We have to have a meaningful, unique anddifferentiated solution to cut through the noise and that needs to meet the markets needsand really be prescriptive to this proactive process...

...that we create for people. Soinstead of using big words, we have to have an innovative product and that'sthat's part of winning SASS game. Is, I think, to fold number one, you have to have an innovative product that does cut through the noisesyou just suggest in number two. You have to operationalize how you distribute thatproduct and out operationalize your competitors, and that's something that we continue to buildat beamery as a good market strategy. So have a better product and bemore operationally sound and than your peers, and that's a winning solution in anymarket. It's specifically in a noisy one like tea technology that makes sense andI think as well that's is it? What you just described around having ayes, a great product, but the second piece around being more operationally effectiveis even more relevant to you as a business because it's a bit of aninteresting background in that, you know, a US software company coming out ofsale of combatty. You're actually a British company that is gone the other wayand actually entered North America. So and honest, slightly different tactually as asa UK founding business. What would a challenges that you faced when expanded toNorth America and have you seen any differences between the sale process and how yougo about selling in North America versus what you really started as a business ina meal? Yeah, that's IT'S A it's a great question. And frankly, breaking the US market in our business wasn't the biggest challenge. We foundthat large US based employers in our target market, North American employer for thatmatter, generally more progressive from a recruiting standpoint. In as you point outfrom your own experiences in the in the bay area, there's a big supplydemand problem. So essentially we're selling a product that people need in a varietyof theaters. Because we're addressing, and this was at the top of thepodcast, one of the things that's really exciting about our space is there thereliterally is a supply and demand problem. We're not creating more stem graduates necessarilyat the rate that the market needs them. So breaking into a market and havingpeople being interested in the things that...

...we're saying wasn't necessarily our issue.I think that the founders of beam re prior to my joining about six monthsago, what they learned was that the procurement process and sort of the waysof doing businesses, the nuances might be a bit different than perhaps starting inthe UK and Continental Europe for that for that matter. So are you at? I'll give you an example of I'll give you actually two examples of thisor maybe the differences to the second part of your question are Amia prospects andcustomers tend to have a more, I'd say, formal evaluation process. They'remore organized, there's more of a consensus building, a formality around the consensusbuilding. So, for example, in that we see more steering committees,more formal RFP's, more request for tenders, things that are more of this sortof formalized, step based process to get through procurement. The communications aremore formal, the meetings are more formal. Finance it and procurement are more outin front earlier, in our our perspective, evaluation processes outside of NorthAmerica, and I attribute that to there's a cultural difference. On the flipside, in North America we see more at hoc processes. We see lessexecutive buying earlier in the early stages of a project until we get maybe throughthe middle of the project where we have to, as I mentioned before,take our folks that are lower on the power line, our champions and influencers, and build them into people that are ultimately developing our value proposition, toget experienced or more senior DM's decision makers involved, so our observation, inshort, is that US companies are more comfortable with buying technology in general,but the processes are looser, they're more informal. We have to actually putmore inertia into the meetings to get into...

...the decision makers lexicon of decisionmaking,and that's been the biggest sort of eye opening thing for us. And thenthere's some little differences and how we communicate sort of tactical things that you'll seeabsolutely and I think to your point around the tactical difference, it's that thatjust comes down to a coach with Ain, I mean we see uk us slightlymore cynical markets, if you like, whereas if you go into Spain orfront or Italy you must need to start wanting and dining prospect so it'sthat can be completely different in side processes are entertainment budget. You know,when we look at just line item budgets for travel and entertainment and you lookat the region in the world that accumulates proportionally anyway, the most spend,it's the nordics. I don't know why, maybe it's cultural, but I've seenit trend for four quarters now. Is Interesting. I've no I wasexpecting to say Italy, O, Spain or something, so that that's verytrue. So, Joe, the the insights have been really and intriguing.So I really appreciate that you've taken the time to share your thoughts with theaudience today. Yes, the last point is, if anyone wants to connectwith you to learn more about beamery or continue this conversation offline, what wouldbe the best way to get in touch with you and the and the business? Absolutely, I'm easy to find, so I'm on Linkedin. It's Joelpassing, and then my email address is very simple. It's Joel at BEAMARIECOM and I have to put a plug in and tell you that we're alwayslooking for a talented sales folks and talented marketing people, both in the UnitedStates and in London. So I appreciate your time and I appreciate you havingme. Thanks a lot once again, Joe. was great having you onthe show. And then we appreciate so very good. operatics has redefined themeaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building andmanaging inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are strugglingwith a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complexworld of enterprise technology sales. See How...

...operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensurethat you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcastplayer. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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