B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 3 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 revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Welcome to be tob revenue acceleration. My name is Dane Seebrook, and how I'm here today with Joe Passon, head of global sales at Bremery Joel Hi. How are you? I'm aready. It's great to be here. Yes, very good. Thank you, very good in date. Thanks for taking a time to join us today. A pleasure. So, Joe, the top eight for today's episode is selling high tech solutions to a non technology audience. But before we go into the conversation, it would be really good if you could give us a bit of a background on yourself, your company and, I guess, the the space that you're sitting in. Yeah, absolutely, again, I appreciate. Appreciate being here. I I look after global sales at a company called be Marie and we provide our customers with talent, crm and marketing solutions. And so, for folks that aren't in the HR technology or talent technology landscape, you can think of the product that we offer the market as sort of a combination of both sales force and Marquetto but for recruiting your talent 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 capital arm and worked a a large global HCM provider. And I actually have a global 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 throughout North America and course sales all reports to me and also we have a business development team or sales development team that reports to be as well. Okay, interesting, thanks for that. So Joe be me Opoly is operating, as you said, within the HR and recruitment technology space which, from our perspective and from what we've seen across our client base, seems to be going through a massive disruption and invasion with the advance...

...of that favorite buzz word at the moment, which is machine learning and ai and and you know, analytics at that, providing in the automation at providing. It seems to be growing massively year on year and and really disrupting many industries. But of course recruitment and the 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 overview or an opinion of the current state of the HR and recruitment technology world and how you see that evolving? And when I say when, how I see that evolving, is whether you see there's a place for the future where by actually HR and recruitment technology could replace people all together. It should be good to 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 unpack with 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 text and talent acquisition sector, and so it's actually quite noisy and I think there's a reason for that. And frankly, if the kind of use a bit of 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 get people, you know, talking about their people first or second every time. So managing and enterprise is number one or number two asset. Their people is not a bad space to be in and obviously there's been money flowing into this space. 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 we see, and I think the reason for a lot of this investment, is that innovative employers are really moving away from a reactive approach to recruiting. So if you think about days of your you had a job opening, you walked it down to your recruiting department or HR, they published or posted or advertised a job and you wait to see what comes in and maybe the recruiter goes through their network and, you know,...

...gets you some people that perhaps they've had some relationships with, and that's really a reactive maturity model. And what we're seeing today is that companies are realizing that transform their labor forces over the next several years and we know that the service economy, and we'll talk about ai and a second everything's evolving. So companies really have to be more proactive when they think about talent and go out and really kind of use, and I think this is really relevant for your audience, they really have to use sales and marketing techniques. So talent acquisition is really sort of a sales and marketing 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 of pointed at that direction. In terms of again at large, and you talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence. I believe that this is my personal belief and 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 the trend is not necessarily just to use artificial intelligence, but I think it actually pivots from this concept of automating a job role to understanding how we augment jobs and up skill those roles. So, in short, or in Layman speak, how do we make people more efficient and better at their jobs rather than replacing their jobs? And then I think that we're going to see a new generation of analytics out of this too. So some folks are already calling this telemetry, other folks are calling this augmented analytics and really, regardless of the name, you're going to see on demand actionable explanations of what's going on with your 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 about how we can make a pivot in real time. That's a trend. And then the final thing that I think you'll see is that h are if they have obskilled workers and they have augmented analytics,...

...then I think we're going to see the HR function and recruiting functions move from essentially a less judgment driven environment to a more data driven environment, much like we'd see with finance, sales and marketing, procurement other business functions within an organization. So I think these you 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 a bit 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 a chat Bot. People met, some people made dispute, whether they like it or 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 the day to day mundated and also of sifting through CV for example, and actually having more data their fingertips is probably something they is a concept they'll have to get their head around, but in the future, to your point is should allow them to to do more with less in some respects, with with the automation. That brings one of the points that you made that was quite interesting for me is giving the giving organizations, with your solution in particular, if we talk about that for now, giving organizations the ability to rather than reactively recruit individuals based on when a job may come up, to actually proactively always is 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 all in 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 bay are specific to technology, both from a sales and marked inspective and from a technical perspective. With something like you're offering, how would you help a business with that? Yeah, let me give you an example, a real world example. We have a client that replaced essentially blockbuster. I won't name the clients 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 in that industry are in very, very high...

...demand, and so you can post jobs for them in the reactive model and, quite frankly, you're not going to get much. You can send recruiters after him, like we do in Bedr, to send them after prospects. If you think about recruiting being the analog being the recruiting is very much like sales. Think about it, and that Lens for the for our listeners. So we can send recruiters and sorcers after people and we know that that's going to be moderately effective and we've been doing that for years in recruiting. But what if I told you that we could, just like in professional be to be marketing? We could go out and understand prospects behaviors and market to them and build a community, a long tail community of people that when they are ready to search for a job or they are, they've you know, they are thinking about new opportunities outside of wherever they're at, that I could make you the employer of choice for when they wake up in the morning and decide that maybe they'll look around. We've been in their ear and their inbox and their tax messages, in whatever channel that they're getting information, building that awareness along the way and making it easy for them to join a community. That adds value, just like we do with content marketing. That adds value. That brings them into the organization over time. 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, but with 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 technology company. I guess you could get really into in the weight of what your solution 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 are selling to HR functions for the most part, if I'm not mistaken, and for the most part hl profession was aren't necessarily coming to come into the workforce with computer science degrees. So they're not really that technical audience. So how do you, as a technology company,...

...go about selling to a less technical audience? 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 were selling into a non technical audience in another line of business, and there are still 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 is look for former practitioners. So my best, most accomplished sellers and the ones that climb the enablement curve, you know, the the ramp curve faster than anyone else in our organization are people that have, number one, been in some sort of recruiting capacity in their life, and so I think you could extrapolate this back to any industry. Higher out of that industry of people that perhaps have done that job in some way, shape or form or been around it and they're going to obviously understand the challenges of those end users and ultimately buyers better than anyone else. So I look for people that have been practitioners in the past, maybe early in their career, and then have become accomplished sellers in the space over time. So I want my sellers to empathize with the buyers firsthand. I want them to feel their pain and this also again serves to reduce our ramp times. So that's that's sort of the number one strategy. Number two is we tend to shape our sales process less of this sort of prescribed you know, here is a demo, here's what you have to do next, MR and Mrs Customer. We actually say hey, this is an education process. So we don't run a traditional sales process. Our focus is really and helping our champions and influencers develop a strong, wrong internal business case for how we can benefit the organization and then taking that and helping them package it to go and sell higher up a power line, if you will. So we support the process with content and collateral that's really designed from you know, for a variety of different stakeholders, including the IT teams and the 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 and we bring our salespeople, oftentimes on site with our customers and walk them through these various use cases, setting up our product along the way to show them how we can take them from being a reactive talent organization and mature them into being a proactive talent organization along the way. We create their own narrative within our product and that's been really powerful. That makes sense. And just on that sort of line of question, I guess, and you mentioned earlier on in the conversation, that there seems to being around, you know, five billion dollar investment or they've seen the market, the HR tech markets worth around five billion dollars. I think the approach to you've just described with regards to your sales process in particular, where it's very much an education process, where you're you're engaging in multiple different personas and you have a value to each of those 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 inundated with solutions that, I guess, could be seen to be offering any similar message to a him, to value to your solution? How do you how do you differentiate such a noisy, crowded malcular that? I think there's three things and and let me let me focus on two of them. But the differentiation process is, I think, especially in this as companies, product driven. So for us, and I have to speak to this specifically in our industry, which is talent crm and talent marketing, you know, it's a it's a product that sits on top of essentially, if you think about a sales funnel, we are the very top of the funnel, getting our customers more prospects to market to to ultimately convert them into candidates. So that's the framework that we use. We have to have a meaningful, unique and differentiated solution to cut through the noise and that needs to meet the markets needs and really be prescriptive to this proactive process...

...that we create for people. So instead of using big words, we have to have an innovative product and that's that'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 noises you just suggest in number two. You have to operationalize how you distribute that product and out operationalize your competitors, and that's something that we continue to build at beamery as a good market strategy. So have a better product and be more operationally sound and than your peers, and that's a winning solution in any market. It's specifically in a noisy one like tea technology that makes sense and I think as well that's is it? What you just described around having a yes, a great product, but the second piece around being more operationally effective is even more relevant to you as a business because it's a bit of an interesting background in that, you know, a US software company coming out of sale of combatty. You're actually a British company that is gone the other way and actually entered North America. So and honest, slightly different tactually as as a UK founding business. What would a challenges that you faced when expanded to North America and have you seen any differences between the sale process and how you go about selling in North America versus what you really started as a business in a 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 found that large US based employers in our target market, North American employer for that matter, generally more progressive from a recruiting standpoint. In as you point out from your own experiences in the in the bay area, there's a big supply demand problem. So essentially we're selling a product that people need in a variety of theaters. Because we're addressing, and this was at the top of the podcast, one of the things that's really exciting about our space is there there literally is a supply and demand problem. We're not creating more stem graduates necessarily at the rate that the market needs them. So breaking into a market and having people 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 months ago, what they learned was that the procurement process and sort of the ways of doing businesses, the nuances might be a bit different than perhaps starting in the 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 this or maybe the differences to the second part of your question are Amia prospects and customers tend to have a more, I'd say, formal evaluation process. They're more organized, there's more of a consensus building, a formality around the consensus building. So, for example, in that we see more steering committees, more formal RFP's, more request for tenders, things that are more of this sort of formalized, step based process to get through procurement. The communications are more formal, the meetings are more formal. Finance it and procurement are more out in front earlier, in our our perspective, evaluation processes outside of North America, and I attribute that to there's a cultural difference. On the flip side, in North America we see more at hoc processes. We see less executive buying earlier in the early stages of a project until we get maybe through the 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, to get experienced or more senior DM's decision makers involved, so our observation, in short, 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 put more 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 then there's some little differences and how we communicate sort of tactical things that you'll see absolutely and I think to your point around the tactical difference, it's that that just comes down to a coach with Ain, I mean we see uk us slightly more cynical markets, if you like, whereas if you go into Spain or front or Italy you must need to start wanting and dining prospect so it's that 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 look at 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 seen it trend for four quarters now. Is Interesting. I've no I was expecting to say Italy, O, Spain or something, so that that's very true. 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 the audience today. Yes, the last point is, if anyone wants to connect with you to learn more about beamery or continue this conversation offline, what would be 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 Joel passing, and then my email address is very simple. It's Joel at BEA MARIECOM and I have to put a plug in and tell you that we're always looking for a talented sales folks and talented marketing people, both in the United States and in London. So I appreciate your time and I appreciate you having me. Thanks a lot once again, Joe. was great having you on the show. And then we appreciate so very good. 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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