B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

66: How a Challenger Sales Strategy Impacts Organizations w/ Bill Bice


Bill started his first company when he was 18. Since then, he’s founded and/or advised 27 different companies.

He doesn’t need a marketer to paint lipstick on his product — his experience speaks for itself. And, he’s taken that experience into action as the CEO of boomtime, a company that specializes in word-of-mouth marketing. But Bill Bice has a message for B2B sales teams: Be consultants. Use the challenger sales methodology.

And he came on this episode to tell us how to do it.

What we talked about:

  • The best sales reps are already making their own sales material
  • Who can become a challenger sales rep?
  • The 5 archetypes of sales reps:
    • The hard worker
    • The lone wolf 
    • The relationship builder
    • The challenger
    • The problem-solver
  • Position you company as an organization of consultants
  • The challenger sale is basically word-of-mouth at scale
  • The challenger sale is a long term commitment for an organization
  • Don’t use copywriters

Checkout these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

This is an interview with Bill Bice from boomtime.

To hear this interview, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

And the MARKITG materials thatcompanies are producing just aren't actually getting used in the field andthe most successful sales wraps are building their own marketing materials. 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 hi Wencome to Peter be a revenueacceleration. My name is ONAMT and I'm yere today with bill bys Co at Bom time.How are you doing to Rebil Toi great wonderful to be here with you? I, likethe name of the company boom time, something that sounds really good sobefore we get going and andthe topy that we want to discuss. Today's isaround the challenge ourselves. Impact is it's o o pe that we love. We lovethe challenge. Oursell, it's Everyday Ein, ews, atoporatics, but before weget started, would you mind introducing yourself and your company Bom Tim in MoDetails Pas Bill? So I'm a an entrepreneur hard I feel like. I wasborn that way. I started my first software company when I was eighteenand I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and you know I've since gone onto to foundor be a principal advisor investor in w twenty seven companies and the reasonfor boomtime is because of my frustration, a d getting greatmarketing for those companies. So I'm a I'm. A programmer at heart wrote theplatform for that first software company and- and so I tackle marketingas as a from the standpoint of the data and so we've taken a very you know:Data driven itoratve approach to really figure out what works and do the thingthat that really cause that frustration of marketing, which is this is adiscipline that just really resists a timpssit scale andefficiency and, like you know, all the other elements in our business, and soI wanted to. I wanted to change that. That makes perfect sense. That makesperfect sense, so so Bil Yu, you recently wrote an article about thechange ourselves approach. Can you talk to us a little bit more about aboutthat article and the state that Sye would advise in implementing asuccessful challenge Yourselvs methdologies through day today at workyou knew we have found. Is that if you take the challenger sale approach andinfuse it into your marketing that it really helps wherever your self processis at, it helps you move forward now. Ideally, of course, you really embracethe Challenger sale and you do training with Yourselvs Tea, and you really hirewith with that mindset. But we have found tremendous value for every salesteam in implementing the Challenger sale approach, because what it does isit create sales opportunities that wouldn't otherwise exist. If that's howyour marketing works, and so that's that's really. What I'm advocating I sis Reyou know, read the Challengeo sale and take you know, there's a stat inthere thare's just astounding, which is that the vast majority of the marketingmaterials that you know the challenger...

Shell comes out of large companies. Ourexperiences just taking these concepts and implemeting them more in the sortof you know two to twenty million dollar a year company Chin, and we wesee the same kind of success and and the markitg materials that companiesare producing just aren't actually getting used in the field and the mostsuccessful sales wraps are building their own marketing materials. You knowtha the challenger, the Challenger Rap, as the book defines it typically spendsa third of their time, building their own marketing materials because that'swhat they need to do to be successful. So just imagine if the company WHO's ina much better place to implement the Challenger approach to deleverage theexperience of the executive team and all of these halls people as opposed toone rep, doing it one off that. Not only do you give your best rap moretime to sell, but o also bring much more perspective at insight to thatchallenge of approach. When you apply it Coman, you know company wide to yourmarketing yeah. I would agree with you. I think we've seen to change our modelwalking very well many times, but it's coming from the individual and I thinkwe averd Ebody, I don't know, I don't believe there is a book about it, butpeople speak about the challengeor marketing. So so I don't know I if it'scoming from the groupsame group of people, but I've averd that m quite afew times, but I do believe that most of the organization that we know Arbeing successful R I've been successful in implementing the channge ourselvessear struggling to get onre persent of their walk Farse from certain marketingperspective to actually follow the model. People still like to speak aboutproduct people still like to sometime forget about the prospect. So I guessmy question to is: How can you change the mentality of a whole group? Is? Itshould have come from from the top of the organization where the onlyeffective change I've ever e ever seen. Work in a company does does come fromthe the top, but the the beauty of taking this approach is that, if youwere, if your approached to attracting new prospective clients is based on theChallenger Sale, then then you're going to be setting the stage in the rightway to support your sales team. Taking that more effective approach whenthey're working with those prospects- and you know the way that I have toexplain it, his is so we you know, we all know that that our potentialclients are in such a better place in terms ofaccess to information. I theyso they know so much more now and really ourchoices do we want to be order takers at the end of the funnel, which isgreat if you're a huge company and you own the market but EA. You know ifyou're, if you're, trying to make ways and do something new and innovative,then I'm Ar Gointo you've got to be part of the educational process and andyou've got to bring those prospects along with you and and that's reallywhat the challengeor sale is all about. And so this you know insightperspective, driven approach to your marketing, it basically flips what whatmost companies do for their marketing on its head ask Bete for destructive question. Imake it myself in the foot as well, because I will stiak about some of ourclients, but one of us, Athis is, is...

...around the Coun base selling, where ourclients really want us to get into large accounts and support them inengaging at the right level of Personat to Starl the sellish process. Okay, sothey want to start from this. They want to start from the top and they asking us to go and create the devents.So when we walks with Lok lorge organization, sometimes it's a bigchange from a sell rip that would be used to receive a quantified obortunitywith a project in six mounths from an inside Sel team in his team that hashimself been following early created by marketing to us, actually speaking tosomeone creating a wonderful picture, creating that deman and then sendingthe Seris Rit to that mitting and often with we realize w, realize that theactory that they quipped to te that meeting Wer they in essence theyactually have to sell. They have to go and not just go through the usualpopint presentation, but they have to go and speak about the issues they haveto go and assess how big the issues- and they have to then put the veryproposition in the context of that prospect. What I'm saying is thatsometimes there is a disconnect between the people at the top wire selecting ofr service seasand. So, yes,we absolutely need to do that and the actual execution on the ground wall.Sellus people are don't fey. Wa want to go through the effort, maybe of being achange of Sen. Okay, so my question Tieu is: When you've got to large oursellstin. Can you actually transform that Ser team from your perspective? Ordo you believe it's about replacing that Sellis Forsan ecturally bring yourchallenge o gain? Someone become a Chenger or you bon the Channe of sen o.You can absolutely become a challenger there's, there's probably twenty tothirty percent of the sales team that really isn't open to or doesn't have the youknow the right conditional elements to make that jump. But I think this is oneof the the areas where I don't fully agree with the challengeer sale, whichyou know when you look at the the sort of five arc types of sales reps thatyeah that they define I. What I've seen is the most successful sales rap is isa relationship builder that uses the Challenger approach and, and there youknow they really make some some some very pointed they have some reallypointed data around relationship builders, and I think it's very validwhen you're talking about somebody who relies on the relationship to get thesale which that used to work that that sales approsch used to be veryeffective and today, just relying on the relationship is not going to getyou there. But if you combine the to if you, if you really good at therelationship- and you take this, you kN W insight perspective educationalapproach. That is, that is really how you lead prospects and bring them to anew sales opportunity. That's what's most effective, and so you can take inyou know several of therart types are actually really good fits. So you knowthe the lone wolf is, can be a very...

...effective challenge or rap becausereally they're just looking for what's successful, and if you show the modeland demonstrate that it works, then you may not beable to force them to do it.But they'll take you, know, they'll, take on the mantle and and run with it,so I I think it's very reasonable to pull yourseles team in that directionand an giving them the right support and framework for doing that is is themost successful way to make that happen yeah. So speaking about the chalnge ofcers and Yesa category, but the type of the five categories which are theOutwalker, the Lon Warf, the relationship builder, the Transur, anthe problem soliver. What would be fault from your perspective, the Keatraits of of a change, our sense, it's just a mindshift like the each one ofthose has the abibility to take the challengeer approach aslong as you're willing to overcome that slight discomfort that comes fromsitting down, and so I try to explain it differently. What I want anytime,that I sit down with the the CGO of a business or the WHO you know the headof marketing for a company. I want them to be better off because they talk tome whether whether shot makes any sense for us to work together or not. If youjust take that attitude, then you move out of a sales mode and into you know,I'm an expert, I'm A. I have deep knowledge and experience in this areaand even though you might be the CEO of an incredible company, you know you'rereally consumed with running that company and and yet I work withhundreds or thousands of companies like yours, and so I can bring perspectivean insight to you. That's enormously valuable and I think just looking at itthat way really helps the sales rep make this jump, and you know just aclassic stat that is its really amazing is, is that you know consultative salesraps get three times more referrals than traditional cell trips. Just justchanging that approach that you take. It changes the tratractory of yourcareer tremendously. Absolutely, I think it's also sometimes about the relationship reading it. TheChanger, I think, is a mindset and I've witnessed one of our sellos guywas iin the chalenge up type. I think a conversation with with a client an nextclients to just move to a new company and that clients was just telling himlook. We won't be able to use your services because have been asked to bithe team, ntenely and, and what e's done is this. This is fine. You've beena crient for for out of time, and I really appreciate that and y respect.That is anything that hey can do for you and the hed Os Aron Jus say well, Idon't know, but I've never don it before. So I don't even know where tostart and that's Sasguy with, I think, he's a challenge ot but loves what he'sdoing and as very consutative way of doing what he's doing and love to Shiisconstritethe reproaches best practicesm...

...and what he learned over the yearsactually and that Sen gay to build up a plan of what they should do, or theyshould start fo the time friend behind it, and he osn't take him too much,because this is what he does for living if HEU will but het, isn't that farclient. That's he respectful because hat's been long term plient and took abit of this time to probably do something that should not have resertedresulted in a sign, but eventually did resurt yourself because t thatPrendanty boot was then presented to the cou and Thi herefore h. Thatorganization were O R, Oll clients, firm of laps clients uppen to to beworking now and they said, Look Wel love your take on it. You know weactually think we sort about, and we would like you to to take on the wholeproject with us and if everything goes, wer would like to transform all theresources and then do it on our own. So I think that comes trou. That evel forshe's so important is that passion about what you are doing and being ableto give information and sometime not just focus on the next step. I know, iscontact product ive, but I think it's very important to have a real passionfor for that consrutative approach. But that's also driting me to anotherquestion which you mentioned. You article. You mentioned that the keyinside driven approach, which intens taking a CONTRUC that even need a shipapproach, is very successful. Oh best can one long from that method thatmethod yeah so one. I really love your example and even if that had turnedinto a direct sale, the referrals that would have created in the future wouldhave beenat. You know well worth Tremendouy Ovesanso it's aboutreputation and you want those Gayes in your team, because you are seen as acompany as a sort eider and then, as for MEPE Pecipan, I agree with Youisgood. That's really what we're what we want to do with taking this approachion,our marketing, which has positioned the company and particular leaders withinthe company as thought theaters. We do a tremendous amount of work on onLinkedon and it works much better. So it's never about the company page, it'sabout the the people in the company, that's who we want to connect with, andyou know, and if, if you're in sales and a company, the best thing you cando is get your executive team to enlist in doing this, because if, if theybecome thought, theaters it's going to make youurselves process. That muchbetters can be that much easier for you to be a thought leader in the in thecompany and- and I just wantt. I use that as a specific example, because itreally demonstrates how valuable this is. So if you go build your network onLinkon and and and I look at Linkon as like the just the ideal network ANIIC,because you get to connect with exactly the people you want to connect with andyou don't have to eat high calory food at the same time. But then you cou takewhat we're talking about here and this sort of inside driven approach to yourmarketing. We regularly flow that in to this now perfect audience of prospectsthat youhave built on Linkin and what you're doing is you're, not sellingthem you'r you're, just sharing youare...

...expertise, you're demonstrating theValtou just just like in your example, but you're doing it at scale. Now. Whatwe're really doing is is creating word of mouth that scate were amples becausewe're all digitally connected. We can now amplify this effect of this reallywonderful thing, a word of mouth and that's really. What the value that I see in the Challengersale is the ability to apply this approach. The end result is that wecreate more word of mouth, because what we're really doing is is creatingsocial currency were giving people a reason to talk about us. That makes perfect sense. So I'm sureyou you've been implementing the the modal of the Chalengeof Sellat atAbo time. What sort of results have you seen out of it? So this is thechallenging part of doing this, which is that you have to do it as a longterm. Commitment you're not going to see a significant change. Thirty days,sixty days and you're you're very likely to get some early wins that thatyou celebrate and show that you're going in the right direction, but youhave to commit to this approach to to the long term and the inresult of thatis it just. It just changes the whole sales culture and approach andrelationship with prospective clients and instead of being in this sort ofback and forth sales and negotiation approach. It's it's just like yourexample. It becomes a partnership, an a consultative approach. So if you walkinto every prospective meeting with simply the goal of making that personbetter off because they met with you- well you're your marketing eeds. To dothe same thing. Somebody takes the time to read something that you wrote:You're you're, not just giving the A selles pitch you're, giving themsomething that it's that's really valuable. This can be helpful in theircompany their career, and so it just changes the the way that people thinkabout and and see your company. But you know the only downside is it does ittakes? It takes time to do it, but this is the one approach tomarketing that what I've seen in the Datas that you can invest in long termand get and really get a return on it yeah. Absolutely I hundred persot toagree with you. I think it's that I think one of the crate, its also isalso important, is, is having no heinoercycle Haing sometime anparticular in the space we evolve into, which is technology cells, and we havea fail. Few clients, Wol, START UPPORGANIZATION and start uporganization your this is at I injecting money and when mony isbjecting results I expected so you can just spend your time being concerativeand having conversation with people that actually lead to the thing youhave to chrustom business. You can just be some sort of a problem olver in a waywithout without closing any business. But what do you think othe the factor thatcan impact someone in actually putting...

...the mythte regin place property as aSersan marketing person apout from the pressure that I just mentioned, thepressure of the numbers? What do you Sey as exel on the FACTT IK, can impactor or interact negatively W H with achange of his approach? Well, what I'd like to actually just tackle what wesee as e the biggest barrier to doing this well over and over again, which isyou you can buy into the concept you can? You can see how successful it'sbeen for other companies and then you sit down to actually do it, and youknow the hard part is staring at a at a blank screen, realizing that tha. Theonly thing that makes this work is is consistency. I mean it's to me. That'sThe for mistake in marketing the companies make over and over again isnot Committeng to a strategy and executing on it consistently and- andyou just you have to do that, an then eas. You have to have a regular streamof really great inside driving content and that's very tough to do, and Irarely see companies you know. Even large companies do that successfullyinternally, unless they either have a lot of dedicated resources for it andin you know, in a smaller company or a startup. That's just not realistic, butthere are you know, there's so many great resources out there and, and sothe keys did not have not fall into the copywrighter trap, which is somebodywho's really good at writing. But maybe last week was working on a cardealership in this week is supposed to help you with your enterprise, asscompany. It's just not realistic, like you spend all your time, educating themI'd. Much rather find somebody who already knows that audience really well.Has You know written for the the websites and industry pubs in thatmarket, and we can just you know, brainstorm with the team and yo K ow. Ican sit down with the CEO of a company and in thirty minutes, get enough greatideas for a six month. Editorial calendar, it's just really difficult todo it internally. So we have a network or three hundred subject matter experts,which is, which is how we address this issue and then the the next step afteryou get your really great content that it's on target and you don't have tospend all your time fix, ind rewriting. It is then getting the voice rits verydifficult, and we have found that that having a separate editor do. That isreally what makes it work because Shen. We can focus on an expert and knows thearea really well, and then we can focus wit, someone who's really great at atright, even capturing the voice and making that that little bit twist andperspective to match with e the Voice of the company and the maybe the CEO, the company in thatparticular case. So to do this well, you have to you, have to put a processin place. That's going to allow you to tatfle that problem and run with itconsistently, because it just won't work. If you do it for a month or twoand the things get busy and you get distracted and go off and do somethingelse, just Lik. It has to happen day and the day, Ou yeah, that makes thatmakes a lot of sense to me and an...

...appreciate your insihe today bill. Soso, thank you very much for a time to the. Unfortunately, we get in towardsthe teen of GEENOPFOR conversation, but if anyone wanted to get in touchwith you bill and is a posular conversation, we had or simply try to ob nod on bom time.What's the best way to get Oll of you yea. So this is obviously a subject. Ilove so Y. Please reach out to me at CEO at boomtimecom. You can find thisAtboom Timecom. If you want to see in an example the you know like a lot ofmarketing companies, we until we got serious and started treating ourselvesas a client, I mean that's that's when we started eating our own dog food, itreally started working for ourselves is. If you go, look me up on linked in you.Will you will see us do ingt exactly the things that that I am talking about,and you know our our version of this is to just share exactly what we'velearned and say this. This is what you ought to do, because this is what wesee working for. You know hundreds of BTB companies, so please check it out,and I want to see as many businesses apply this as possible yeah, that'sthat's creat spraing the worlds. I like it Werl many things once again: beal.It was absolutely wonderful. Twarry on the Shoteday, I really appreciate youham meon thanks 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 B, to b 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.

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