B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

54: What an Agile Sales Team Looks Like at IBM w/ Ewing Gillaspy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

An agile sales team is really, uh, agile. But there’s got to be more to it than that.What’s the secret sauce that allows reps to handle 400+ accounts?

I sat down with Ewing Gillaspy, Outbound Sales Enablement Leader at IBM, to talk about what an agile sales team really is.

“It has a relentless focus on the most value added activity on that given day,” Ewing explained.

The more diverse skillset you have within your team, the more likely you have the right person executing each task. Therefore, your outputs become better.

 

You're listening to be to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on thecutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show, welcome to BTB revenue acceleration. Myname is Dan Sebrooke, and I'm here today with you in Galasbe albound sales,an abermant leader at IBM, Watson, talent, yeuing. how Ar you doing today,I'm doing great thanks for having me. No thank you for coming on the showit's great to have you on. So our topic for today is around what an ADG sells.Tam looks like at IBM, but before we go into that conversation youing, couldyou please introduce yourself to the audience and tell us a little bit moreabout yourself and also what you're doing at RBM whatson talents? Thecompany, your of course representing Dure- sure I'm a failed softwaredeveloper? That studied you know. Computer Science as a background, wasalways in love with technology. Somehow, after going to business school wanderedmy way into software procurement, so I started my career buying software, foryou know a fifty thousand person organization. Eighty deals later Itransitioned into six sigma and process designe and measurement systems, and Iended up running recruiting for Asia and somewhere along the way in thatjourney. We rebuilt the entire recruiting organization, thut leaders,the model, the partners, the technology really loved, that work and the workI'm doing now feels very similar to that work back from two thousand andtwelve. So that takes me here and I've been a head hunter in between and had acouple of roles and startups and working with different customers likeseers and expedia and teamobile, and on their different recruiting models, sovery talent acquisition focused. I always tell people if you sit down at aconference room table to buy a piece of software. You know and you look at bothsides of the table, the vendor and the client. I've done every job exceptlegle in that table, so my experience is very limited from a domainperspective, but very deep within that...

...particular duming yeah. That makessense: okay, good and youing. Our understanding is that you're of Courte,a strong advocate of using the agile framework for sales teams, shold begrated. You could share with us and our audience why you think the framework isso effective and how you're applying it or planning to apply it within yourteam at idea der sure. Well, you know this is something I just walked intoibmis all in on Agile and industry. binchmarks would tell you that roughlyeighty five to ninety percent of most agile projects are successful. Dry Utdrive a measurable improvement. Of course it came from softwareengineering from the S and what I love about it is. It has a relentless focuson the most value added activity on that given day. So that's the conceptnow, our HR organization, embrace this I'm very impressed by their work. Weare a fast follower of HR, so hr traditional in town acquisition. We hada recruiter that owned a job and t e hiring manager relationship. They drivethe whole thing there think of themout as it Salls Rop. You know they haveclosed deals. They call filled jobs having been in both worlds. Thesimilarities are Inbuss, but our town acquisition team has reinvented itselfwith the AGO methodology. They are twice as good as their former self inevery meaningful KPI that talent leayers care about, and none of themown any jobs, anymore they're in pods theyre in teams they're in spreats, andso, if you can take a recruiting organization and break down the siloaccountability, where I own an account, I own a job or a client, so to speak insales or Ian. I own the wreck, it's all up to me then, and they can becomemassively more efficient and I think the same opportunity exists in savesand just to finish, the point on why it's really because of skills, theskills needed to be successful in any...

...job is changing at a rate that we can'treally keep up with. So the more diverse the skillset Iwithin, your teamor your potter, your sprent, the more likely you have the right personexecuting each task within a continuous sprintor framework and therefore youroutputs become better yeah. That's interesting and as Eyou both know. Youmentioned about your generally following hr within Ida, a and- and there are occasions, of course,when hr can be very much compliance driven. So, as a result of that, oftenthey can be resistant to change without in mind, and if you bring that acrossto your sales team, what if any O resistance? Have you seen from yourteam to actually implement that Adol methodorigy an? If so? Why do you thinkpeople are resistant to and how do you think you can help them and to see thevalue that that you of course are experiencing? But I think it's theright question. I think that were experiencing tool overload like neverbefore, so we view the tools. So if we want to talk about technology for asecond there's only two kinds of technology, there is technology that Ihave to click to do something with and there's technology that does all theclicks for me and delivers me an outcome. So I am ridiculously focusedon the second category and this second category has almost no nay sayersyou're not going to find a sails rop. It gets upset when something likeOutbon workscom books, an appointment on your counter, and you show up andit's a great meeting, get no change management like what are you going tochange a little bit of territory, rules and some contect strategy? And maybeyou know, don't touch a certain account number times all in the back end allmanage by SALLS OPS, no change plan meetings fall from the sky, so it'sembracing that kind of a stack and really pursuing aggressively there. I'mout talking to sales, enablement leaders all across the country rightnow. I'm calling a lot of IBM alumni now that I'm in this role not near tosales, but I'm new to enablement and what I'm teasing out from theseconversations is that they're very tool...

...overloaded, but they like me, have notunlimited budget but unlimited appetite for the second category, so you'reright that changes hard, because so many of these sellers and recruiters touse the same analogy, have embraced and tried to use these interfaces that,quite frankly, most of which are just not tuitive, and so it requires a lotof failure to get to efficiency. If it's the kind that I have to click anddo everything yeah, okay, that's an interesting point: thow you're, raising,therean and in terms of ago, within a sales environment that that they areputting together in the context of Ybman, is that something that's beenrolled out. A as a companywide strategy. Is that something that's more of apilot within within the Wathton Talent Division that you of course work withinwhat what's the sort of atrastity overall at ourbm around that yeah? Soagal has beaten us to the punch in marketing right, so you're going tofind it in many different marketing organizations. It's new to sales, and-and this is a pilot so we're embracing this idea- that if town acquisition cando better work in teams, then let's, let's see if we get the same result insales and then go back and consider how to roll out further. So the first teamgoes live and in August, okay, all right! That makes sense now actuallygoing off topic again. Really, I'm sure our audience would love to hear moreabout your thoughts. An this. So I've been wathone. Talent is a reprovementplatform, that's using AI, to predict who is best suit. What is the bestcandidate for your organization? Now, there's a lot to be sill aroundautomation. Anto, your point there around the second type of technology,which involves no clicking N, Ai Automation and making the live. Easurof Humanti is Rightet a top of many organization priorties, but it's stillpals a lot to be said for that human to human interaction in both sales andreprovement and the hiring processes.

So in terms of using your solution, howhow do you think businesses can be sure that they're not missing less obviousaspects, such as a person's attitude and work ethic, when a CV Maylin can'tgive you that that that Faltol of picture or impression of each candidateexcellent question so multiple answers here, I'll give you the one that Ithink is most applicable to cross industries, and that is that we've asan industry, we focus on making the Canida experience so simple that it'seasier to apply than ever before. There are entire companies whose sole focusis to reduce the number of Clickus to apply, so we've actually gone so far.The other way that I would say to any organization, not using our technology.You are definitely missing hundreds and thousands of great personalities thatdon't even get a look and- and so when you compare that to looking at the Ppin,your populations that have the best Skillfit for the job, you still run ahuman process from there and assess personality and all kinds of culturefit, but when you lay out the math which we do, we have these, you knowlotial loains and things that we do from time to time and we takeparticipants through the math if, if I'm working, twenty eight jobs with anaverage advocant votume of a hundred and twenty five Wedo, seven interviewsper job- and you just do the time based activity analysis, half of the candidate population isnever getting a look at all, and so how much buried treasure is in that group.So the human model doesn't even have time to inspect everything in front ofyou. The machine model gives you a start. That is statisticallysignificantly more likely to be a positive outcome, and let you pickpersonalities and run your normal process from that point. That makessense absolutely now that completely makes even sense and again, I think,across industries when you look at...

...tools like automation and that RPAworld there's always that concern around. How much is that going toenable a human or how much is that taking away from a human day today, job-and I also think that carries over into things BIK AI. How much can you gatherusing technology from a person's profile versus what human can get it? Iguess is just a way that the world's moving- it's also to your point, notabout taking away from a humans job but improving heir their abilities to me tomake accurate judgment really and also making those individuals more Eficien.So that completely makes sense to me out of interest. Is that something thatyou're using has a solution yourself, internly at IBM or whats? Your? I guess your sort ofrecommended reprovement process from from that perspective is: It is atsemiar sort of combination to what you just described. Yes, we use all of theWatson solutions within our team and we really rely on them for innovation.They are way out ahead of the market in many areas and if you look at the wargoing on in cloud and you look at a little bit of length in data, it won'ttake you very long to realize that many other organizations that you've heardof the usual suspects, the high margicin companies- are hunting from us.So we've had to reinvent ourselves and we've actually been able to do it in acost efficient manner because of the combination of agile practices andframework and high automation, technologies like Watson, yeah thatmakes ense and in terms of moving forwards. Thisis, as you said, very much a pilot within within your division at themoment at Ibmn and it's impossible to forcast what the results will be andand if this becomes a wide tratgy, but of course based on what we see intechnology functions and what your collige sounds. If they're havingsuccess in the marketing department, I'm sure it will be a success in yourteam that that idea of having pods and that Agile framework from a salesperspective and Iban is that someting how much of aconcept d you think that is as a...

...concept going to translate across to toother organizations or do you still think as a from a sales perspectiveher's still this sort of rigid model which isn't necessary, evolving orother organizations, maybe aren't looking at this pot methodology. If youlike, I think the primary way to split it in your mind is: Do you have a Modowhere raps have four accounts or four hundred the closere you get to fourhundred, the more that the the adal framework is going to make a immediateand significant impact. The the closer you are to four accounts: each theeconomies of scale won't be there and, while you, you know so n moving aclothe, you know it's just a different problem. It's adifferent set of problems, and so it's organizations that really need to scaleand we've got a we've, got a certain parts of IBM that are like that o. Wehave everything right. We have the model where some people have oneaccount, and you know: We've got. We've got software groups where people haveover a hundred so and in digital it. Sometimes it can be even higher thanthat. So it's where it's, where you have that opportunity to scale intomore accounts in a defficient manner, where you're going to get this energies?Okay, interesting! So really, if you're looking at it that that Real Topan, apyramid, large enterprise, account sales rap that maybe is handling fiveten accounts, the traditional model would still still make sense as youmove for more of a transaction or high volume approach. That's when, when thereal value of agile sales as a methodology, starts to come into Blud,I think I would say it slightly nuance from that. What you said is dead on. Welook at it more in terms of the skills, so the what it's really about is what'sthe skill mix of the team in the Pod, and you know we, when you think aboutbuilding the perfect seller, t e the creative writer, the strategic thinker,the visionary, can do their own demos. Rights really well follows up.meticuously, the CRMIS beautiful. You...

...know, everything's, just perfect,there's just not that many that you can hire and they're really expensive andthey know who they are. They tend to be loane wolfs for obvious reasons. Soeven if you had four accounts, you know like Somat, oracle or sap or others.Even if you have you know four accounts, but there's there's three or four orfive state quorters that you're working with on every deal. The principles ofthe skills based approach would apply to them as well: You're not going toget as much energy from the tech side of the equation. So there's the textside of the equation and the skill side of the ocasion. They really go hand andHAP. Okay, that makes sense. That's been really youthful insights heaing.So I appreciate that so you' felt it taken time to share your thoughts withour audience, which is which must b much appreciated from our side. Ifanyone wants to connect with you to learn more about IBM, watchon talent orcontinue this conversation of flying with you directly, what's the best wayto get in touch with you yeah traditional email, my email is right onmy lintedin page, it's first top last at IBMCOM and I'm looking to engageI've written several notes, myself outbound to IBM alumni that that werein sales, eneblement here and now, ve moved on to maybe a start up, and soI'm aggressively seeking these conversations looking for others thatare disrupting their own sales model and some capacity. So I've had a bunchof very good conversations trading notes, so 'm I'm game for that. WhyOpen for that? I'm actually doing a lot of that right now. So it's good timing.Okay, wonderful well will, of course, circulate this and give you theplatform to hopefully have more of those conversations. But again manythanks for your time. Today. Youing, it's been great on you, onship awesomethings for having operadics has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing insize sales teams in househas existed for many years, companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's...

...fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales see Ow operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics. Dot Net you've been listening to be to be revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (116)