B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years 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 market materials the companies areproducing just aren't actually getting used in the field, and the most successful salesreps are building their own marketing materials. 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. Hi,welcome to be to be a revenuw acceleration. My name is Ohnim with Ye andI'm yet today with bill by see you at boom time. How wedoing to they've been doing great. Wonderful to be here with you. Ilike the name of the company, boom time. It's something that sounded reallygood. So, before we get going, and the top that we want todiscuss today's is around the challenge ourselves impact is it's a topy that welove. We love the challenge or cell. It's every day ear in use atoperatics. But before we get started, would you mind introducing yourself and yourcompany, boom time, in more details, please, Bill. Yeah, so I'm a an entrepreneur hard I feel like I was born that way. Started by first software company when I was eighteen and I had absolutely noidea what I was doing. And you know, I've since gone on tofound or be a principal advisor and investor and in twenty seven companies, andthe reason for boom time is because of my frustration in getting great marketing forthose companies. So I'm a I'm a programmer at Hart wrote the platform forthat for software company and and so I tackle marketing as as a from thesame point of the data and so we've taken a very, you know,data driven, it orative approach to really figure out what works and do thething that the really causes that frustration and marketing, which is that this isa discipline that just really resists attempts at scale and efficiency and, like youknow, all the other elements in our business. And so I wanted toI wanted to change that. That makes perfect sense, that makes that fixtsense. So so be do you. You recently wrote a Nuzi quote aboutthe challenge I set as approach. Can you took to us a little bitmore about about that? That, e. coode and the steed that you wouldadvise in implementing a successful challenge? U Sets Methodologies through day to dayat walk you know. Well, we have found is that if you takethe challenger sale approach and infuse it into your marketing that it really helps whereveryour cells process is at. It helps you move forward. Now, ideally, of course, you really embrace the Challenger sale and you do training withyour sales team and you really hire with with that mindset. But we havefound tremendous value it in for every sales team in implementing the Challenger sale approach, because what it does is it create sales opportunities it wouldn't otherwise exist ifthat's how your marketing works. And so that's that's really what I'm advocating is, you know, read the Challenger Sale and take you know, there's astat in there there's just astounding, which is that the vast majority of themarketing materials that you know, the challenge sale comes out of large companies.Are Experiences is taking these concepts and implementing...

...them more and the sort of youknow, two to twenty million dollar your company shilling and we we see thesame kind of success and in the marketing materials that companies are producing just aren'tactually getting used in the field and the most successful sales reps are building theirown marketing materials. You know the Challenger. The challenger Rep, as as thebook defines it, typically spends a third of their time building their ownmarketing materials because that's what they need to do to be successful. So justimagine if the company, who's in a much better place to implement the Challengerapproach, to leverage the experience of the executive team and all of the salespeople, as opposed to one rep doing it one off. Not only doyou give your best rep to more time to sell, but you also bringmuch more perspective at insight to that Challenger approach when you apply it company,you know, company wide, to your marketing. Yeah, I would agreewith you. I think we've seen the challenge on mode or walking very wellmany times, but it's coming from the individual and I think we have allthe body. I don't know, I don't believe there is a book aboutit, but people speak about the challenge on marketing. So I don't knowif it's if it's coming from the group, some Group of people, but aboutthat down quite a shit times. But I do believe that's most ofthe organization at we know all being successful I've been successful in implementing the challenge. I'll, says, see it all struggling to get on represent of thewalk, false from a sets and marketing perspective, to actually follow the model. People still like to speak about product, people still like something forget about theprospect. So I guess my question to is, how can you changethe mentality of a whole group? Is it should have come from from thetop of the organization. Well, the only effective change I've ever I've everseen work and a company does, does come from the the top. Butthe beauty of taking this approach is that if you were if your approach toattracting new prospective clients is based on the Challenger Sale, then then you're goingto be setting the stage in the right way to support your sales team takingthat more effective approach when they're working with those prospects. And you know,the way that I often explain it is so we you know, we allknow that the our potential clients are in such a better place in terms ofaccess to information and they so they know so much more now and really ourchoices. Do we want to be order takers at the end of the funnel, which is great if you're a huge company and you own the market,but you are, you know, if you're if you're trying to make waysand do something new and innovative, then I'm arguing you've got to be partof the educational process and you've got to bring those prospects along with you.And and that's really what the Challenger sale is is all about. And sothis, you know, insight perspective driven approach to your marketing. They basicallystops. Were what most companies due to the marketing on it her as abit of a destructive question. I may shot myself in the footure as wellbecause I will speak about some of our...

...clients, but one of our serviceis is around account based selling, where our clients really want us to getinto large accounts and support them in engaging at the right level of personnel tostart the cells process. Okay, so they want to start from this,they want to start from the top and the asking us to go and createthe dement. So when we walk with lot of large organization, sometimes it'sa big change from a self rep that would be used to receive a qualifiedopportunity with a project in six months from an inside cells team in his steamthat has himself been following a lead, creating by marketing to us, actuallyspeaking to someone, creating a wonderful picture, creating the demon and then sending thecells rep to that meeting. And often what we realize? We realizethat they actually that equipped to take that meeting worthy innes sence. They actuallyhave to sell. They have to go and not just go through the usualpropoint presentation, but they have to go and speak about the issues, theyhave to go and assess how big the issues and they have to then putthe value proposition in the context of that prospect. So what I'm saying isthat sometime there is a disconnect between the people at the top who are sellingit sing all suvy season. So yes, we absolutely need to do that,and yet should execution on the ground. Will sends. People are don't,really won't, won't to go stroe, the I thought maybe of being aChangel said. Okay, so my queshtion to you is when you've gotto lodge or sense team kick, can you actually transform that sells team fromyour perspective, or do you believe it's about replacing that sens faust and actuallybring a challenge. Also, again, someone become a channger. All,you bomb the Challengel send oh I, you could absolutely become a challenger.There's there's probably twenty to thirty percent of the sales team that really isn't opento or doesn't have the, you know, the right foundational elements to make thatjump. But I think this is one of the the areas where Idon't fully agree with the Challenger sale which, you know, when you look atthe sort of five archetypes of sales reps that, yeah, that theydefine. I what I've seen is the most successful sales rep is is arelationship builder that uses the Challenger approach and in there, you know, theyreally make some some some very pointed they have some really pointed data around relationshipbuilders and I think it's very valid when you're talking about somebody who relies onthe relationship to get the sale, which that used to work. That salesapproach used to be very effective, and today just relying on relationship is notgoing to get you there. But if you combine the two, if youif you really good it at the relationship and you take this you know,insight perspective, educational approach, that is. That is really how you lead prospectsand bring them to a new sales opportunity. That's what's most effective andso you can take and you know several of the art types are actually reallygood fits. So you know the lone...

...wolf is can can be a veryeffective challenger Rep because really they're just looking for what's successful and if you showthe model and demonstrate that it works, then you may not be able toforce them to do it, but they'll take you know, they'll take onthe mantle and run with it. So I I think it's very reasonable topull your sales team in that direction in giving them the right support and frameworkfor doing that. Is is the most successful way to make that happen.Yeah, so speaking about the the challenge off sids and deals like antgory,but the type of the fife categories we shop, the old walk out,the Lone Wolf, the relationship build, all that trends on the problem sortof all which would be from your prospective the key traits off a change allsends. It's just a mind shift. Like the each one of those hasthe ability to take the challenger approach as long as you're willing to overcome thatslight discomfort that comes from sitting down, and so I try to explain itdifferently. What I want in any time that I sit down with the thecdeo of a business, for the WHO, you know, the head of marketingfor a company, I want them to be better off because they talkto me, whether show makes any sense for us to work together or not. If you just take that attitude, then you move out of a salesmode in into you know, I'm an expert, I'm a I have deepknowledge and experience in this area and even though you might be the CEO ofan incredible company, you know you're really consumed with running that company and andyet I work with hundreds of thousands of companies like yours, and so Ican bring perspective and insight to you that's enormously valuable and I think just lookingat it that way really helps the sales rep and make this jump. Andyou know just a classic stat that is is really amazing is that, youknow, Consultative Sales Reps get three times more referrals than traditional sales reps.just just changing that approach that you take, you know, changes the trajectory ofyour career. Tremendously. Yeah, absolutely, I think, and it'salso some things about the relationship building it. The change of think is a mindsetsand of weakness. What a false sets. Guy was feeling the challengeup type. I think a conversation with a with a clients on next clientswill just moved to a new company and that clients was just setting in.Look, we won't be able to use yourselvices because we have been asked tobuild the team. Tell that he and and what he's done is this.Look, this is fine. You've been a client for for out of timeand I really appreciate that and I respect that. Is Anything that they cando for you and they head yours around just a well, I don't know, but I've never done it before, so I don't even know what tostart. And that sells guy with I think, is a challenge at all, but loves what he's doing and as a very consultative way of doing whathe's doing and loves to share his consultative force, his best practices and whathe loves over the years actually help that...

...same gay to build up a planof what they should do, what they should start to the time friend behindit and you didn't take him too much because it is what he does,for leaving, if you will. But he did that for a client that'shad respectful because it's been a long term clients, and took a bit ofthis time to probably do something that should not have resulted, resulted in innercell, but eventually did result in yourself, because that, that planet he built, was then presented to the CEO and the CFO of that that organization, where our old clients, of laps clients, happened to be walking nowand they said, look, we love your take on it. You know, we actually think we've sought aboudy and we would like you to to takeon the whole project with us and, if everything goes well, we wouldlike to transform all the resources and then do it on our own. SoI think that consultative approach is so important, is that passion about what you aredoing and being able to give information and something not just focus on thenext steps. I know it's contact productive, but I think it's very important tohave a read by should fault for that concert active approach. But that'salso driving me to another question which you mentioned the in new Arti Code.You mentioned that the key inside driven approach, which and takes taking a concert that'seven needership approach is very successful. How best can one loan from thatmethod? But that method? Yeah, so what? I really love yourexample and even if that hadn't turned into a direct sale, the referrals thatwould have created in the future would have been, you know, well worthtremend that the invest. Absolutely, it's about reputation and you won't those gaysin your team because you are seen as a company, as a sort leaderand then as a format. That specifies. I agree with you. He isGod and that's really what we're what we want to do with taking thisapproach on our marketing, which is position the the company and particular leaders withinthe company as thought leaders. We do a tremendous amount of work on onLinkedin and it works much better. So it's never about the company page,it's about the people in the company. That's who we want to connect with. And you know, and if you're in sales and a company, thebest thing you can do is is get your executive team to enlist in doingthis because if, if they become thought leaders, it's going to make yourselvesprocess that much better. It's can be that much easier for you to bea thought leader in the in the company me and, and I just wantto I use that as a specific example because it really demonstrates how valuable thisis. So if you go build your network on Linkedin, and and Ilook at Linkedin, is like the just the ideal networking event because you getto connect with exactly the people you want to connect with and you don't haveto eat high calori food at the same time. But then if you takewhat we're talking about here and this sort of insight driven approach to your marketing, you regularly flow that in to this now perfect audience of prospects that who'vebuilt on Linkedin. And what you're doing is you're not selling them, you'reyou're just sharing your expertise, you're demonstrating...

...the value, just just like inyour example, but you're doing it at scale. Now what we're really doingis is creating word of mouth at scale. We're ample because we're all digitally connected. We can now amplify this effect of this really wonderful thing of wordof mouth, and that's really what the the value that I see in thechallenger sale is the ability to apply this approach. The end result is thatwe create more word of mouth, because what we're really doing is is creatingsocial currency. We're giving people a reason to talk about us. That thatmakes perfect sense. So I'm show you you've been fermenting to the mood ofthe change. I'll set at a boom time. What's that? The resarts. Have you seen out that? It's so this is the the challenging partof doing this, which is that you you have to do it as along term commitment. You're not going to see a significant change thirty days,sixty days and your you're very likely to get some early wins that you celebrateand show that you're going in the right direction, but you have to committo this approach, to to the long term, and the end result ofthat is it just it just changes the whole sales culture and approach and relationshipwith prospective clients and instead of being in this sort of back and forth salesnegotiation approach, it's it's just like your example. It becomes a partnership anda consultative approach. So if you walk into every prospect of meeting with simplythe goal of making that person better off, because they met with you. Well, your your marketing needs to do the same thing. Somebody takes thetime to read something that you wrote, you're you're not just given them asales pitch, you're giving them something that it's that's really valuable, that's canbe helpful in their company, their career, and so it just changes the waythat people think about and and see your company. But you know,the only downside is it does it takes it takes time to do it,but this is the one approach to marketing that that what I've seen in thedata is that you can invest in long term and get and really get areturn on it. Yeah, absolutely, I'll bust agree with your think it'sI think one of the criterity it's also in is also important is is havingno fia in a sary cycles. I think sometimes, and particular in thespace we evolved into, which is technology cells, and we have a fairfew clients while start up organization and start up organization your vcs, that Iinjecting money and when money is injecting results I expected. So you can justspend your time being consult that even having conversation with people that actually lead tonothing. You have to cross some business. You can just be a some sortof a problem solver either way, without without closing any business. Butwhat do you think other factor that can...

...impact someone in actually putting the methodologyin place properly? As a cells on marketing person, apart from the pressurethat I just mentioned, the pressure of the numbels, what do you seeas the excellent fact that I can impact or or interact negatively with a changejust as approach? Well, what I'd like to actually just tackle what wesee as the biggest barrier to do in this well over and over again,which is you can buy into the concept, you can, you can see howsuccessful has been for other companies and then you sit down to actually doit and you know, the hardcore is staring at a blowing screen. Realizein the the only thing that makes this work is is consistency. I meanit's to be. That's The for mistake in marketing the companies make over andover again, as is not committing to a strategy and executing on it consistently. And and you just you have to do that. And that means youhave to have a regular stream of really great insight driven content, and that'svery tough to do and I rarely see companies, you know, even largecompanies, do that successfully internally, unless they either have a lot of dedicatedresources for it and in a you know, on a smaller company or a startup. That's just not realistic. But there are, you know, there'sso many great resources out there and and so the key is to not havenot fall into the copywriter trap, which is somebody who's really good at writingbut maybe last week was working on a car dealership and this week is supposedto help you with your enterprise ass company. It's just not realistic. Like youspend all your time educating them. I'd much rather find somebody who alreadyknows that audience really well, as you know, written for the websites andindustry pubs in that market and we can just, you know, brain stormwith the team and you know, I can sit down with the CEO ofa company and in thirty minutes get enough great ideas for a sixmonth editorial calendar. It's just really difficult to do it internally. So we have a networkof three hundred subject matter experts, which is which is how we address thisissue. And then the next step, after you get your really great content, that's it's on target and you don't have to spend all your time fixingit and rewriting it. Is think getting the voice rights very difficult and wehave found that that having a separate editor do that is really what makes itwork, because then we can focus on an expert and knows the area reallywell and then we can focus on someone who's really great at writing and capturingthe voice and making that that little bit of twisting perspective to match with thethe Voice of the company and the the maybe the CEO of the company inthat particular case. So to do this well, you have to you haveto put a process in place that's going to allow you to tackle that problemand run with it consistently, because it just won't work if you do itfor a month or two and then things get busy and you get distracted andgo off and do something else, just like it has to happen day andthe day. How. Yeah, that...

...makes that makes a lot of senseto me and I appreciate your insight today, Bill, so thank you very muchfor out thing to the unfortunately, we getting towards the the n offthe NFL conversation but if anyone wanted to get in touch Rese, you beingand he's all pusher the conversation. We add all, I'll simply try toloot mobile boom date. What's the best way to get to one of you? Yeah, so this is obviously a subject I love, so you pleasereach out to me as CEO at Boom Timecom. You can find this atBoom Timecom if you want to see in an example the you know, likea lot of marketing companies, we until we got serious and started treating ourselvesas a client. I mean that's that's when we start eating our own dogfood. It really started working for ourselves. So if you go look me upon Linkedin, you will, you will see us do a exactly thethings that that I am talking about. And you know, our our versionof this is to just share exactly what we've learned and say this, thisis what you ought to do, because this is what we see working for, you know, hundreds of B tob companies. So please check it outand I want to see as many business as apply this as possible. Yeah, that's that's right. Spreading to worlds Ik's well, many things once againbeing eats episode a one off for Twelvey on the show to day. Ireally appreciate you having me on. Thanks. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenuegeneration for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managinginside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with alack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world ofenterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operaticsdotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that younever 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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