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 are producing just aren't actually getting used in the field, and the most successful sales reps are building their own marketing materials. 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. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenuw acceleration. My name is Ohnim with Ye and I'm yet today with bill by see you at boom time. How we doing to they've been doing great. Wonderful to be here with you. I like the name of the company, boom time. It's something that sounded really good. So, before we get going, and the top that we want to discuss today's is around the challenge ourselves impact is it's a topy that we love. We love the challenge or cell. It's every day ear in use at operatics. But before we get started, would you mind introducing yourself and your company, 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 no idea what I was doing. And you know, I've since gone on to found or be a principal advisor and investor and in twenty seven companies, and the reason for boom time is because of my frustration in getting great marketing for those companies. So I'm a I'm a programmer at Hart wrote the platform for that for software company and and so I tackle marketing as as a from the same 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 the thing that the really causes that frustration and marketing, which is that this is a discipline that just really resists attempts at scale and efficiency and, like you know, all the other elements in our business. And so I wanted to I wanted to change that. That makes perfect sense, that makes that fixt sense. So so be do you. You recently wrote a Nuzi quote about the challenge I set as approach. Can you took to us a little bit more about about that? That, e. coode and the steed that you would advise in implementing a successful challenge? U Sets Methodologies through day to day at walk you know. Well, we have found is that if you take the challenger sale approach and infuse it into your marketing that it really helps wherever your cells process is at. It helps you move forward. Now, ideally, of course, you really embrace the Challenger sale and you do training with your sales team and you really hire with with that mindset. But we have found 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 if that'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 a stat in there there's just astounding, which is that the vast majority of the marketing 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 you know, two to twenty million dollar your company shilling and we we see the same kind of success and in the marketing materials that companies are producing just aren't actually getting used in the field and the most successful sales reps are building their own marketing materials. You know the Challenger. The challenger Rep, as as the book defines it, typically spends a third of their time building their own marketing materials because that's what they need to do to be successful. So just imagine if the company, who's in a much better place to implement the Challenger approach, to leverage the experience of the executive team and all of the sales people, as opposed to one rep doing it one off. Not only do you give your best rep to more time to sell, but you also bring much more perspective at insight to that Challenger approach when you apply it company, you know, company wide, to your marketing. Yeah, I would agree with you. I think we've seen the challenge on mode or walking very well many times, but it's coming from the individual and I think we have all the body. I don't know, I don't believe there is a book about it, but people speak about the challenge on marketing. So I don't know if it's if it's coming from the group, some Group of people, but about that down quite a shit times. But I do believe that's most of the 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 the walk, 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 the prospect. So I guess my question to is, how can you change the mentality of a whole group? Is it should have come from from the top of the organization. Well, the only effective change I've ever I've ever seen work and a company does, does come from the the top. But the beauty of taking this approach is that if you were if your approach to attracting new prospective clients is based on the Challenger Sale, then then you're going to be setting the stage in the right way to support your sales team taking that 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 all know that the our potential clients are in such a better place in terms of access to information and they so they know so much more now and really our choices. 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 ways and do something new and innovative, then I'm arguing you've got to be part of 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 so this, you know, insight perspective driven approach to your marketing. They basically stops. Were what most companies due to the marketing on it her as a bit of a destructive question. I may shot myself in the footure as well because I will speak about some of our...

...clients, but one of our service is is around account based selling, where our clients really want us to get into large accounts and support them in engaging at the right level of personnel to start 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 create the dement. So when we walk with lot of large organization, sometimes it's a big change from a self rep that would be used to receive a qualified opportunity with a project in six months from an inside cells team in his steam that has himself been following a lead, creating by marketing to us, actually speaking to someone, creating a wonderful picture, creating the demon and then sending the cells rep to that meeting. And often what we realize? We realize that they actually that equipped to take that meeting worthy innes sence. They actually have to sell. They have to go and not just go through the usual propoint presentation, but they have to go and speak about the issues, they have to go and assess how big the issues and they have to then put the value proposition in the context of that prospect. So what I'm saying is that sometime there is a disconnect between the people at the top who are selling it 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 a Changel said. Okay, so my queshtion to you is when you've got to lodge or sense team kick, can you actually transform that sells team from your perspective, or do you believe it's about replacing that sens faust and actually bring 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 open to or doesn't have the, you know, the right foundational elements to make that jump. But I think this is one of the the areas where I don't fully agree with the Challenger sale which, you know, when you look at the sort of five archetypes of sales reps that, yeah, that they define. I what I've seen is the most successful sales rep is is a relationship builder that uses the Challenger approach and in there, you know, they really make some some some very pointed they have some really pointed data around relationship builders and I think it's very valid when you're talking about somebody who relies on the relationship to get the sale, which that used to work. That sales approach used to be very effective, and today just relying on relationship is not going to get you there. But if you combine the two, if you if 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 prospects and bring them to a new sales opportunity. That's what's most effective and so you can take and you know several of the art types are actually really good fits. So you know the lone...

...wolf is can can be a very effective challenger Rep because really they're just looking for what's successful and if you show the model and demonstrate that it works, then you may not be able to force them to do it, but they'll take you know, they'll take on the mantle and run with it. So I I think it's very reasonable to pull your sales team in that direction in giving them the right support and framework for 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 sort of all which would be from your prospective the key traits off a change all sends. It's just a mind shift. Like the each one of those has the ability to take the challenger approach as long as you're willing to overcome that slight discomfort that comes from sitting down, and so I try to explain it differently. What I want in any time that I sit down with the the cdeo of a business, for the WHO, you know, the head of marketing for a company, I want them to be better off because they talk to 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 sales mode in into you know, I'm an expert, I'm a I have deep knowledge and experience in this area and even though you might be the CEO of an incredible company, you know you're really consumed with running that company and and yet I work with hundreds of thousands of companies like yours, and so I can bring perspective and insight to you that's enormously valuable and I think just looking at it that way really helps the sales rep and make this jump. And you know just a classic stat that is is really amazing is that, you know, 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 of your career. Tremendously. Yeah, absolutely, I think, and it's also some things about the relationship building it. The change of think is a mindsets and of weakness. What a false sets. Guy was feeling the challenge up type. I think a conversation with a with a clients on next clients will 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 to build 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 time and I really appreciate that and I respect that. Is Anything that they can do 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 to start. 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 what he's doing and loves to share his consultative force, his best practices and what he loves over the years actually help that...

...same gay to build up a plan of what they should do, what they should start to the time friend behind it 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's had respectful because it's been a long term clients, and took a bit of this time to probably do something that should not have resulted, resulted in inner cell, 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 now and 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 take on the whole project with us and, if everything goes well, we would like to transform all the resources and then do it on our own. So I think that consultative approach is so important, is that passion about what you are doing and being able to give information and something not just focus on the next steps. I know it's contact productive, but I think it's very important to have a read by should fault for that concert active approach. But that's also 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's even needership approach is very successful. How best can one loan from that method? But that method? Yeah, so what? I really love your example and even if that hadn't turned into a direct sale, the referrals that would have created in the future would have been, you know, well worth tremend that the invest. Absolutely, it's about reputation and you won't those gays in your team because you are seen as a company, as a sort leader and then as a format. That specifies. I agree with you. He is God and that's really what we're what we want to do with taking this approach on our marketing, which is position the the company and particular leaders within the company as thought leaders. We do a tremendous amount of work on on Linkedin 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, the best thing you can do is is get your executive team to enlist in doing this because if, if they become thought leaders, it's going to make yourselves process that much better. It's can be that much easier for you to be a thought leader in the in the company me and, and I just want to I use that as a specific example because it really demonstrates how valuable this is. So if you go build your network on Linkedin, and and I look at Linkedin, is like the just the ideal networking event because you get to connect with exactly the people you want to connect with and you don't have to eat high calori food at the same time. But then if you take what 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've built on Linkedin. And what you're doing is you're not selling them, you're you're just sharing your expertise, you're demonstrating...

...the value, just just like in your example, but you're doing it at scale. Now what we're really doing is 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 word of mouth, and that's really what the the value that I see in the challenger sale is the ability to apply this approach. The end result is that we create more word of mouth, because what we're really doing is is creating social currency. We're giving people a reason to talk about us. That that makes perfect sense. So I'm show you you've been fermenting to the mood of the 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 part of doing this, which is that you you have to do it as a long 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 celebrate and show that you're going in the right direction, but you have to commit to this approach, to to the long term, and the end result of that is it just it just changes the whole sales culture and approach and relationship with prospective clients and instead of being in this sort of back and forth sales negotiation approach, it's it's just like your example. It becomes a partnership and a consultative approach. So if you walk into every prospect of meeting with simply the goal of making that person better off, because they met with you. Well, your your marketing needs to do the same thing. Somebody takes the time to read something that you wrote, you're you're not just given them a sales pitch, you're giving them something that it's that's really valuable, that's can be helpful in their company, their career, and so it just changes the way that 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 the data is that you can invest in long term and get and really get a return on it. Yeah, absolutely, I'll bust agree with your think it's I think one of the criterity it's also in is also important is is having no fia in a sary cycles. I think sometimes, and particular in the space we evolved into, which is technology cells, and we have a fair few clients while start up organization and start up organization your vcs, that I injecting money and when money is injecting results I expected. So you can just spend your time being consult that even having conversation with people that actually lead to nothing. You have to cross some business. You can just be a some sort of a problem solver either way, without without closing any business. But what do you think other factor that can...

...impact someone in actually putting the methodology in place properly? As a cells on marketing person, apart from the pressure that I just mentioned, the pressure of the numbels, what do you see as the excellent fact that I can impact or or interact negatively with a change just as approach? Well, what I'd like to actually just tackle what we see 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 how successful has been for other companies and then you sit down to actually do it and you know, the hardcore is staring at a blowing screen. Realize in the the only thing that makes this work is is consistency. I mean it's to be. That's The for mistake in marketing the companies make over and over 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 you have to have a regular stream of really great insight driven content, and that's very tough to do and I rarely see companies, you know, even large companies, do that successfully internally, unless they either have a lot of dedicated resources 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's so many great resources out there and and so the key is to not have not fall into the copywriter trap, which is somebody who's really good at writing but maybe last week was working on a car dealership and this week is supposed to help you with your enterprise ass company. It's just not realistic. Like you spend all your time educating them. I'd much rather find somebody who already knows that audience really well, as you know, written for the websites and industry pubs in that market and we can just, you know, brain storm with the team and you know, I can sit down with the CEO of a 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 network of three hundred subject matter experts, which is which is how we address this issue. 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 fixing it and rewriting it. Is think getting the voice rights very difficult and we have found that that having a separate editor do that is really what makes it work, because then we can focus on an expert and knows the area really well and then we can focus on someone who's really great at writing and capturing the voice and making that that little bit of twisting perspective to match with the the Voice of the company and the the maybe the CEO of the company in that particular case. So to do this well, you have to you have to put a process in place that's going to allow you to tackle that problem and run with it consistently, because it just won't work if you do it for a month or two and then things get busy and you get distracted and go off and do something else, just like it has to happen day and the day. How. Yeah, that...

...makes that makes a lot of sense to me and I appreciate your insight today, Bill, so thank you very much for out thing to the unfortunately, we getting towards the the n off the NFL conversation but if anyone wanted to get in touch Rese, you being and he's all pusher the conversation. We add all, I'll simply try to loot 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 please reach out to me as CEO at Boom Timecom. You can find this at Boom Timecom if you want to see in an example the you know, like a lot of marketing companies, we until we got serious and started treating ourselves as a client. I mean that's that's when we start eating our own dog food. It really started working for ourselves. So if you go look me up on Linkedin, you will, you will see us do a exactly the things that that I am talking about. And you know, our our version of this is to just share exactly what we've learned and say this, this is what you ought to do, because this is what we see working for, you know, hundreds of B tob companies. So please check it out and 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 again being eats episode a one off for Twelvey on the show to day. I really appreciate you having me on. Thanks. 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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