B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 10 months ago

98: Why We Need to Take Sales Education Seriously w/Paul Fifield

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

There are over 58 million sales people across the globe… and most of them are without formal higher education in sales.

The drive to take sales education more seriously needs to come from within the industry.

Recently on B2B Revenue Acceleration, I had a chance to discuss with Paul Fifield, CEO and Co-Founder at Sales Impact Academy, why we need to take sales education to the next level.

We talked about how to adopt a learning mindset, the prevailing need for sales education, not sales training, and what it means to educate with buzz.

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

Paul found Predictable Revenue inspiring.

Learn about sales education at salesimpact.io.

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

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for B2B Revenue Acceleration in your favorite podcast player.

You're listening to BB revenue acceleration,a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketingin their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be. To be a revenue acceleration. My name is on them with you andI'm here today. We pull fi field, CEEO and confounder of the cells ImpactAcademy. How are you today? Put it right. Yeah, howyou do? I'm great, great, great. In fact, I've beenlooking forward to doing that podcast with you. We've been chasing you down. Wecan come up with something fantastic really on views of what you've built,and today we will be speaking about yeties, of course, related to the cellsImpact Academy. Why we need to take sales education sciously. Okay,but before we go into to peak and the conversation board, can you pleasegive us a little bit of background about yourself and, most importantly, explainto us the mission that you are as impact academy, because again, thisis this is I be yeah, happy to so. Yeah, great,great, spear. So my my background is, I guess I've been sortof entrepreneur building companies for the last sort of twenty odd years. I guessin the first ten years I did it really badly and then the second tenis I condo did it all right, and the second ten let's fact someon the second time. And so you know, I I could found ofthe company in New York, Assass Company called Sarah Us, back in twothousand and eleven. We wrote we raise some bench capital from a great craftwhich is the tier one VC in New York, and built a SASS companycalled, like called Sara us, that really well. I put all thekind of cells infrastructure in. It was really my first job as a sortof revenue leader, but I have to say it was pretty scary because,you know, I didn't I'd never taken a sort of revenue leadership role ina tech company before. We just raised...

...from, you know, a prettybig, big name VC and everyone kept talking about like hey, just goingto build like a repeatable, scalable, like revenue function, right, andI'm like okay, sure, okay, I've all the repeatable skill where everyfunction like sounds easy. Obviously I wasn't thinking it sounds easy, it soundsfrightening and it's really, really hard. Anyway, I found this book predictablerevenue. A long story. Shure. I read the book. It wasamazing. I emailed the authors, I offered them a job. They bothsaid no, but this look, we were happy to kind of help youout. So what was great is the sort of seminal book in how youstructure a modern, you know, complex revenue function with the SDR and thenthe AE and and the CSM. Really it was really born, or became, came to fame off the back of that book. So what was greatis I ended up being taught in schooled if you like, by the twopeople that led that whole revolution. And then it came back to the UK. It Oh that business, by the way, that actually have an nexthit on that. Just six months ago at private actually found bought just overhalf of the business from a hundred million dollars, which is great. NotNot one of these multi billion dollar exits that we read about all the time, but still, you know, it was it was nice to nice tochalk up and exit and it's still going very, very well as as abusiness. I came back in two thousand and fifteen join a student company calledUni days and we scaled that. That went wild. But to do whathappened. The Guy Josh was running it didn't. Wasn't even looking for Croat the time. I kind of got introduced to him and I said tohim, looked, you've got such an amazing business model. If I justbuild this repeatable, scalable like revenue, like process and function, I thinkthis is going to go off like a rocket ship. And he's sort ofmy badget him and badget him, badge to him and finally relented. It'sit all right, come and be a CRRO. And it was wild andwe went from like two to forty million dollars in like three years. Ibuilt a hundred person commercial team in four different countries and it was just acrazy, crazy right. I learned a huge amount in that journey and webuilt a three hundred and fifty person company. We didn't take any external, externalfinance either, and that was a...

...wild ride. But the thing is, in in really across both those companies, what was incredibly, incredibly hard andactually made my job in the main quite miserable, if I'm to beabsolutely honest, was the fact that I didn't really know what I was doing. You know, I've got schooled by Mary an Arrow and pretty for revenue. That was great, by still that was just the top of final staff. That was really better strs. I really had no end to end understandingof what you need to know to be a modern revenue leader and having todeliver two, three hundred percent year on your growth as a revenue leader withventure capital pressure and learn the job at the same time. It was absolutelybrutal, absolutely brutal, and when I left you days in two thousand andeighteen, I was absolutely exhausted. Two pretty good successes on the my belt, but it was just just just very tired. And I start doing somevoluntary teaching and I did some teaching for the MEDS and stattional business program anddistant teaching BEWC, and that that is what I realized, that they're theseabsolutely vast, huge gaps in knowledge and understanding of how you do BETB salesand and and be to be marketing. And it was at that point Iwas like, I really want to do something to help. And that's justsays impact I Kennedy. Yes, it is. Yeah, look, sothat's the thing what to do. And the concepts of the concept is aboutend being to bridge to get in BETV series but I'll do you go aboutit. What is it? In their way? Do people should way woulda junior service person are a confirm service Beell, so I says leader,get them get themselves onto your platform and starts not belone in joining with you. Well, okay, before I kind of perhaps go into how we delveof this, I think what I what I started realizing through this kind ofvartry teaching and I'm what I now really fundamentally understand, and I don't thinkmany people think about this problem in quite this way and I think they should, which is this, if you think...

...about it right, every major professionin the world, if you think about account and accountancy, where you thinkabout law, or you think about medicine, there is hundreds and hundreds of billionsof dollars have gone into the educational infrastructure of those professions at university,like Post University, specialist schools like medical school. And then also once you'rebeyond that, once you're in work, significant infrastructure and things like continue asprofessional development. If you're in finance, you have to take a bunch ofexams over a year and study to continue to work in finance. Right.So you've got this massive infrastructure in these like mega professions of the world untilyou accept and it's not like, oh, it's just under served as a bitrubbish. It just doesn't exist. And what blows my mind as you'vegot two hundred like, according to a linkedin. You know, as you'veprobably seen in our website, sixty of million people in sales. But thenif you add, you know, customer success, if you have a betbe marketing, wouldn't be to be marketing, you od revops. You're probably talkingway about like two hundred and fifty odd million uneducated people trying to workout as a glow. And that is mind playingly crazy and insane and needsto be saw. That needs to be fast and and and that's a completelyagree with you, I think. I think there is a real importance inbridging the gap in knowledge. I think what's got to happen. There isno way it cannot happen with more and more vendors. So you go,you go, you look at big data, you look at you look at cybersecurity, you look at Mark Tech. You know, Mark Teke is agood one. Ten years ago you probably had like a very small percentageof the volume of companies will in the mark text space. Now the competitionis very, very, very very big...

...and and I guess what it means. The correlation on that is that you've got you've got more people requiring salespeople. Okay. However, there is no conveyor belt such as a university, to your point, or a school or whatever it is creating the sellspeople. And in fact we know it because we work with sells people atthe beginning of that career and we were people for Wood. They are notwhat they've done because when the irrelevant I was working in a Coptain Bar,I forget, like the song maybe for my ps VP world will sales withalso the cost of the of the podcast. Here was selling artificial grass right,full things right, and so there is no real background. Sometimes isrequired insteads I think it's really about what you learn on the job and Ithink it's interesting what you're saying, because there is always that that compel thecompany that said, well, those guys do sells people. There is alsoa conveyor belt in the life cycle of a self person. So I thinkyou junior sells guy. So you are on the food then you want toget on the film when you get on the field, you actually get decentmoney. You probably get paid not far off an engineer or your doctor,depending on what sort of doctor you if your plastic surgeon in in Miami,you probably get a lot of money. Then you know, if your plasticsurgeony in Blackpool, you but but the point here is that you you,you look at those people who can really reach very high level of earning andthen you add the stuck uption on top of that and you are all things. This is how people are desperate for good selves. People, you know, the the salary keep on raising, because finding good sells people is actuallyfunny. made a stack when the next so much money, they are gone. They won't be going stuff. They're going to be easy. They gointo some resort stuff and and, let you said, they're kind of youknow, they bomb the candor that boss d because it's tough. So,because that's not only you've got all the...

...demons, but it's also kind ofa catterpillar becoming a butterfly, and then the butterfly becomes every yeah, yeah, like you need to regenerate. That's all the time. And and here'sthe thing, and it happens on every single level. Right. I mean, good goodness knows how many. Let's just talk about beast pace as companies, and I guess there must be what, I don't know globally right now.Fiftyzero, maybe a hundred thousands as companies. I would I would again. And then this is just wildly plucking numbers out. Yet as probably maybeFivezero, maybe fivezero really amazing brilliant Cros that you could like, you cango. You know what that CRO is like. You know, incredible.They have known exactly what to do. They've got playbooks that can be dynamicto the company and not just one playbook for like they take around with them. Maybe Fivezero, and that's probably like going. That's probably too big anumber. And there are Fiftyzero or a hundred thousand like companies that are tryingto look for these five five thou. There's a really major talent problem.There's not a volume problem that she's lots and lots of people in the industrybut much as I said before, we're all out. All of us areuneducated. I am on educated right, we all are, and we're forcedto learn on the job. So how do you fix this? Right?So going back so so going to the solution and we're actually venture backs.We took a small convertible loan note and we've only been going license about October, two thousand and nineteen. But I remember a VC said something to methat I've never forgotten. I think it's just beautiful, for which is theroot solution to all problems in the world is education. And I was likeand when she said that to me I was like wow, that's a reallybig statement, but I love it, like I really love it, andI'd thought about it for weeks and weeks and I still talk about it evennow. I even like this in Google searching, thinking like is this butactually it's kind of kind of makes sense...

...that obviously governments or other worlds thentrillions combined in education. It's critical. It's critical, critical, critical.It was always going to be remote and I know from being a very highpressure environment in sales this model of like a day of teaching is just ridiculous. A human beings don't learn very well in like a full day of learningor even a half day. But more importantly than that, within a salesenvironment that's taking reps off the front line for a long time and that's justnot really workable. So we started, we started building like learning tracks andcourses and learning pathways, but we only teach. Well, we kicked offthe business teaching three hours per week, but from feedback has been two hoursis actually more optimum, not actually because we're taking time off the front line, but because the classes are so practical and people are learning stuff that've neverlearned before. People needed time to process, think about how they're going to letimplement better, discovery, calls, better, this, better, better, whatever it might be, into their working week. But but by doingthis kind of like to one our classes in a week, it also enabledwhat's called experiential learning. And what experiential learning means. It's basically a plushway of saying learn something and then apply it immediately, and that is howyou is one of the most effective ways of embedding knowledge is to learn somethingand then immediately like apply that knowledge, and that beds in that good behavior, it beds in that best practice. And the vision is one day wewill teach class sizes, because we teach live classes. That's the other bigimportant thing that we do. And you know, two weeks ago we hadour first thousand person class. We have thousand people and you imagine ray whata thousand person classroom would look like. It would be insane, like wow, okay, concert hall. But we did it. We have a thousandpeople and we taught them. It was a fantastic class. Sam Nelson,who's ahead of str outreach, may have actually took part of that session.Yeah, that was me. Was Monday,...

...that this week, but doing befar yea one day, thousand people. That's good. Didn't and it didn'tfeel like a thousand people right. It felt quite busy now, andthat's why they like about it. You know, I think. I thinkwhat's her and I think with some Nelson is important. You know, youalso have people work quite he's are disruptive, like stremely knowledge of what at aredoing. It okay, and I think that's I'd like you to speakon it a bit about that because, yeah, I think this is key. You know it in education. You are see to have someone that thepidagogy in a way. I don't know if that that makes sense, ina you know, it's kind of a French wild that lad. Yeah,theglog. You can you need more someone who's been there, who was doneit, someone who's got really explained. You've got people out have brought someof the best book I've read actually coming to teach your best room. ButI find that quite amazing. We're taking a very, very, very bestthought, leaders, thinkers, experience, people, people on the frontline stilland taking their brilliant and turning it into like courses and in very interactive highlearning design principal courses and and it's having a massive effect and as we havecompletion rates of like eighty percent plus of our courses because you're learning directly fromthese very, very, very special people. And we have people at Mark Proverge, we have yes sam Sam Sam Nelson. We're got to go calledPete Crosby, who's designing a cro course with Mandy Cole. Mandy Cole tookliving social from zero to seven hundred and fifty million in revenues to quire placeda living social. We have, at least I think she was. Shewent in a tableau of five million dollars and help them get from five milliondollars as SMO to a billion dollars in revenue. And you can get youcan learn from her. Yeah, that's what directly these are the people thatyou. Technically, Weishuld when you reach to yourself and love are you likeif I could just on the awesome when these people have done one, becausethat's a and and then you give you...

...give us your postunity to do it. And now said I mean in fact we've been I've said it many timeon podcast when I'm speaking to see our rows or people who are trying toscale businesses. It's like we need an academy. I don't know you couldit, but maybe you could have the sells impact agademy. But we doschool. An Academy are something. Yeah, that a body of some sort thatreally educate people on now to sell, but not, as you said,not a powerpoint presentation, not the box LMS platform, because I amdoing it once and I'm excited about the first being because I'm a your employee. Six months later, are you? Don't you know? You probably brewinga coffee where the training is going in the background. You take the boxat the end and I'd see it does done, sort it, and Ithink that's that's what's really important. And do you have any stats about thedifference between life classroom and a nms platform, for example, because obviously, yes, that's that's too big, that doesn't knows a way to get peopleup to speed. But you see your medium to be more impactful, moregaging. What's? Oh yeah, I mean so again in like fancy languagewithin learning. It's cool, you know, synchronous or asynchronous learning, and andSagreans just mean like. So we've always we do record everything so youcan catch up to you if you miss class. But I you know,I've heard anecdotal evidence of people that have signed up to like linkedin learning andno one uses it. And actually, if you just think about your ownexperience, what I think on demand only learning is the one of the bigproblems with it is it puts too much on us, on the learner tobe disciplined enough to actually go through it themselves. Right and, and Ican promise you, twelve hours of learning in an on demand environment feels reallyoverwhelming. Twelve hours of live learning with some of the best names in theworld. It's that sounds like fun. And we see like and it's scheduledright, so it's in your calendar.

So like, oh great, soit's for clock, it's by class with mark reverse. I've been looking forwardto this all day Bang, you're on there's one of your heroes in theindustry teaching you and you can ask questions and there's there's polls, there's quizzesthat it's an interactive environment. So the schedule piece is really, really important. The experience is just in more important. I mean just even if you seatures, think about you know, would you rather watch a live concert onTV or would you like would you rather watch it pretty like recorded, likea week later? I mean there's a line has got quite a special buzzabout. I've got that. Put word AIDS. Whence in your game,you know, because you've always get a text. You can see our team. Someone would think is not this is the buzz has gone. You knowyou I want to watch it afterwards, but the buzz has gone. Butthere's something much, much more like fundamentally important with with live in our industrywhen we're trying to teach teach lots of people at the same time, andthat is a lot of our customers have like multiple teams in different countries,right, let's the UK and us, and particularly when we're in this kindof like lockdown world, is that live means you all learn at the sametime. And what tends to happen is teams will basically schedule a break afterclass that we've taught. Will bring me into whole team back together and they'lltalk about what Sam Nelson's just been talking about with how about a great sequence, or how do you like the best modern like sales school and structure,the opening, and I'll talk about it as a team and then learning togetheras a team and then it embeds. The knowledge him gets embedded as ateam and people start like bouncing off each other. We had to sing himin our we have a course called managing the complete sales like absolutely brilliant fora eas and there's one acronym in that course which everybody loves and it's calledbad fat and it's called and it means book a meeting from a meeting right, because so many reps, you know, don't book the next meeting in thephone goes down, even after a...

...very great discovery called and they can'tget them back on and they can't get them back and all the replings nextthem always put it in, so raptus miss it. But Band Fan,honestly, when people go through our courses, bad fan becomes like then I getliterally emails and like messages on linked to people saying, dude, bandfans gone nuts in my company. It's great. Everybody's talking Bampan. Ihap want two days ago. It's changed our velocity of our deals. It'sincreasing our win rate and like well, not surprised because you're not letting youryour prospects just disappear and you can't get them back on the pool. So, but that's what happens with this learning at the same pace is you allpick up this great, you know, fairly foundational, but this great bitof best practice as a team and then you like you get better as ateam, and that you can do with live. You can't do that withon demank. You definitely can't do that with book. Yeah, yeah,so do you think the the initiative of investing in in SOS, develop inpersonal cells, training personality, serves development, is Sophie I, should be ledby the company, for they the body that kind of employ you,or the employer, or do you think you should be done by the individual? Or we're actually opening up single user pricing in a couple of months timeso people can actually access this on an individual basis. People, I thinkpeople will expense it back to the company or some people much pay for outout of their pocket. Look, and we're not. This is a littlebit of a self serving question, but everyone's going to accept that this isa major problem and and we need a skate these people. And it blowsmy mind when companies can say, yeah, we haven't really got time, havereally got time to do this? I'm like, you're just that.Is that? That's not the fire ide effective people. You have to sharpenthe soul. Go and sharpen that.

So stop going crazy at that tree. You're burning all your energy, campmer, so you increase the productivity. TakeOne our side. Do Sharper, you come back. You're going toencourage your productivity by two times. Is Life Easy? It's at that makesme crazy as well. Yeah, even sometimes I speak to clients and stuffand someone told me, I can't remember it was, he was one ofthe presidents of the United States. Is We maybe Barack Obama of job,the Bosha whatever, someone who was like President of the United States? StillReading Ninety eight book a year? Wow, nine eight book a year, right, I probably do a probably will read nine skate book in my lifetime. You know you've got that, that that appetite for learning, forknowing, is really what develops people. Will you know? It's a wholelike, yeah, learning mindset and going back something easaid about earlier on you. You can have a pretty closed mind if you think you know everything,if you think you can set through a class with Sam Nelson. He's achievewhat he's done. He's at the cutting edge of what he's doing right now. But, for example, class, I joined it just obviously experience whatit's might spare thousand person class. He was talking about look, lowcase,lowcase subject lines, based on data. Low case subject lines and prospective emailswork better, and then putting capitals in. Why they just does now like thatreally is that is that? Is that knowledge that everyone knows? Idon't think so. I hear people say this. I I really, Ireally like it. At back is like if I if I gets for anhour long interactive class and I pick up one thing, that can make adifference. But that's what I think the real story, mastering, the geniusis structurally pick up a use from mother of people. Yeah, I reallywant to be effective, you just got to learn from US als. Youknow this is very simple. You get it all on your own. Butyou know, it's and that's a question.

Maybe that that's interesting and you needto be destructive here. You know, sells. People have subcliche. Imust sells guy, I know it all. I sell stuff. Letme do it. Move Away. I can speak to people, I cancharm them. You know, I don't need your training. HMM, okay, yeah. Do you think that it's a creciate? Is True? Doyou come across that? Do you see, if you tell you byselves, guysare like that, defeated. Know at all. What's the what's thenext step? That because I as a appretient, that's probably what people thing. And there's a while we don't three o the time, while we don'tfree see the value, because our guys are only to be to our againfor your stuff. Did you know? I think the happy thing is wedon't we don't encounter that that often, which is good because, but,but, but, I think as well. I mean we actually stay away fromthe word sales training. It just conjures up so many bad connotations andif you think about like modern sales, it's not just okay, how youhow your best manager sells cycle, you know, qualified opportunities to close one. It's really complex. What okay, if someone said I think I knowall, I'd say, okay, we'll tell me exactly how you use linkedinfor like really effective selling and prospecting. Are you a master of leveraging themost powerful business network in the world? Are you probably not right? Well, my okay, you are great. So tell me next video. Doyou know everything there is to know about you effectively using video in sales andprospecting? Surely you don't so? Like there are lots of like specialists,like you know, using the direct mail channel. There's quite new. Likethese things are new, and this goes right back to the problem of whocan solve this problem. Traditional education can't, because what's happening is the pace ofchange is so fast that people can...

...barely kind of keep up. Soif you you literally say in such a fast paced industry, but you knowyou don't, you're basically not going to progress very final career. The otherthing to say is that a lot of what we're teaching as well is like, okay, now you're a great a. you've got all these great skills,you've got this great core competence now you want to move to team lead. You don't know anything about management, my friend, because you've never doneit before. So now you need to start understanding some principles around coaching.You need to understant understanding with some principles about management and the difference may betweenleadership and management, and start like that that journey, because if you wantto start moving into like team lead and managing a team was as a manager, into VP sales, into Crro, there is a lot to learn,my friend, and we help people on that, on that journey to anda look, I'll tell you another little bit of our secret source, thepeople that teach and that we have it. We have someone that's been working withus for pretty much almost from the beginning. He was the ex ViceChancellor of Cape Town University and he's a really like a real online learning goodshe's been helping us a lot with our learning design, with our pedagogy,and he said to me when he was running, you know, Kate TownUniversity, he's like the most effective professors right, not the ones with thegreatest knowledge. They were the ones that had a performance, they were theones that look command are a room, the ones that literally like he usethe word performance right, and so that's that's actually a really critical part ofthis as well. Is that actually as energy. There's there's there's there's performance, it's there's there's an entertainment twist, very subtle, there's an entertainment twistas well. So it's really really importact that that piece is a really partof important part of the the overall you know, the lives, the schedules, the big, big name. You know, the on screen presence andthe end and the Internet and the interaction...

...and the learning design all combine tocreate you know, we'd like, I say, we see so such acompletion rates. It's on it's unbelievable. Well as brand. Unfortunately, weget into the end of its pull. So what I would like you todo, I would let you to to share more details as to our peoplecan on board their team. So if you are selves director, if youI see you, if you are see our or even if you are Cemor or whoever you want to build up an a Dr Team or you wantto scale your sellers team, I would really truly encourage you to go andshake the cells impact academy. But pull, how do we find you? I'lldo we get in touch with your do people can carry on that conversation. Should get a set gate, learn developed, send more be my exertionsells leadership marks in leadership marketing Reps. if we cover the entire think revups. Yeah, so, and simple things is just go to our site. So that's sales impact dot io and you can then get in touch withus there. You can always contact me on Linkedin and just find me orfive field with pretty noisy on on Linkedin. You can't miss us. And Yeah, look, we'd love to help. I think every every beach company needsneeds to have this. It's a subscription model. It's accessible and affordableto any any company. It's kind of it's based on it's based on seats. We teach at four PM, which is also works in America. It'sa splock in the morning on the West Coast, ten OCL eleven o'clock onthe on the East Coast we are we have thutty forty employees. Now thatabout thirty five employees. Now we have twenty two courses. We're going tobe adding twenty every quarter. We're adding to the teaching roster every every almostweekly. Now you know we're scaling. We work with over, well,over a hundred companies. We have fourzero...

...leans on the platform. We expectthat to be twenty Fivezero by the end of the year. So it's it'sreally happening. It's very exciting and to think that we're having the impact thatwe're having and the case studies are fantastic and the sentiment we have with thelearners, it's just as just an amazing it's kind of overwhelming in many ways, but it's just yeah, I have to say, Rom I'm honestly havingthe time of my life. Yeah, and helping people at scale is justand just a great feeling. Basically, absolutely, that's just right down.We're look you know. As you know, we are promoting from weed in.Well big on that of the projects. So I don't make sure I don'tdo a newly promote you good sets gay that I've known managing teams,get onto your bloodform and a lot of thing up to us. Hopefully bea case to us in the next in the next two sper months. Amazing. But Yeah, the meantime, I think I think with the guys aregot is is really incredible. I think the ads, grades and I wouldlike to thank you for all the time today, because I was really lookingforward to that conversation. Thank yeah, thank you very much for inviting meon right appreciate it. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technologycompanies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhousehas 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 beenlistening 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 muchfor listening. Until next time.

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