B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year 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 marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be. To be a revenue acceleration. My name is on them with you and I'm here today. We pull fi field, CEEO and confounder of the cells Impact Academy. How are you today? Put it right. Yeah, how you do? I'm great, great, great. In fact, I've been looking forward to doing that podcast with you. We've been chasing you down. We can 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 cells Impact Academy. Why we need to take sales education sciously. Okay, but before we go into to peak and the conversation board, can you please give us a little bit of background about yourself and, most importantly, explain to us the mission that you are as impact academy, because again, this is this is I be yeah, happy to so. Yeah, great, great, spear. So my my background is, I guess I've been sort of entrepreneur building companies for the last sort of twenty odd years. I guess in the first ten years I did it really badly and then the second ten is I condo did it all right, and the second ten let's fact some on the second time. And so you know, I I could found of the company in New York, Assass Company called Sarah Us, back in two thousand and eleven. We wrote we raise some bench capital from a great craft which is the tier one VC in New York, and built a SASS company called, like called Sara us, that really well. I put all the kind of cells infrastructure in. It was really my first job as a sort of 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 in a tech company before. We just raised...

...from, you know, a pretty big, big name VC and everyone kept talking about like hey, just going to build like a repeatable, scalable, like revenue function, right, and I'm like okay, sure, okay, I've all the repeatable skill where every function like sounds easy. Obviously I wasn't thinking it sounds easy, it sounds frightening and it's really, really hard. Anyway, I found this book predictable revenue. A long story. Shure. I read the book. It was amazing. I emailed the authors, I offered them a job. They both said no, but this look, we were happy to kind of help you out. So what was great is the sort of seminal book in how you structure a modern, you know, complex revenue function with the SDR and then the AE and and the CSM. Really it was really born, or became, came to fame off the back of that book. So what was great is I ended up being taught in schooled if you like, by the two people that led that whole revolution. And then it came back to the UK. It Oh that business, by the way, that actually have an next hit on that. Just six months ago at private actually found bought just over half of the business from a hundred million dollars, which is great. Not Not 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 to chalk up and exit and it's still going very, very well as as a business. I came back in two thousand and fifteen join a student company called Uni days and we scaled that. That went wild. But to do what happened. The Guy Josh was running it didn't. Wasn't even looking for Cro at the time. I kind of got introduced to him and I said to him, looked, you've got such an amazing business model. If I just build this repeatable, scalable like revenue, like process and function, I think this is going to go off like a rocket ship. And he's sort of my badget him and badget him, badge to him and finally relented. It's it all right, come and be a CRRO. And it was wild and we went from like two to forty million dollars in like three years. I built a hundred person commercial team in four different countries and it was just a crazy, crazy right. I learned a huge amount in that journey and we built a three hundred and fifty person company. We didn't take any external, external finance either, and that was a...

...wild ride. But the thing is, in in really across both those companies, what was incredibly, incredibly hard and actually made my job in the main quite miserable, if I'm to be absolutely 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 understanding of what you need to know to be a modern revenue leader and having to deliver two, three hundred percent year on your growth as a revenue leader with venture capital pressure and learn the job at the same time. It was absolutely brutal, absolutely brutal, and when I left you days in two thousand and eighteen, I was absolutely exhausted. Two pretty good successes on the my belt, but it was just just just very tired. And I start doing some voluntary teaching and I did some teaching for the MEDS and stattional business program and distant teaching BEWC, and that that is what I realized, that they're these absolutely vast, huge gaps in knowledge and understanding of how you do BETB sales and and and be to be marketing. And it was at that point I was like, I really want to do something to help. And that's just says impact I Kennedy. Yes, it is. Yeah, look, so that's the thing what to do. And the concepts of the concept is about end being to bridge to get in BETV series but I'll do you go about it. What is it? In their way? Do people should way would a 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 delve of this, I think what I what I started realizing through this kind of vartry teaching and I'm what I now really fundamentally understand, and I don't think many 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 profession in the world, if you think about account and accountancy, where you think about law, or you think about medicine, there is hundreds and hundreds of billions of 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're beyond that, once you're in work, significant infrastructure and things like continue as professional development. If you're in finance, you have to take a bunch of exams 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 until you accept and it's not like, oh, it's just under served as a bit rubbish. It just doesn't exist. And what blows my mind as you've got two hundred like, according to a linkedin. You know, as you've probably seen in our website, sixty of million people in sales. But then if you add, you know, customer success, if you have a bet be marketing, wouldn't be to be marketing, you od revops. You're probably talking way about like two hundred and fifty odd million uneducated people trying to work out as a glow. And that is mind playingly crazy and insane and needs to be saw. That needs to be fast and and and that's a completely agree with you, I think. I think there is a real importance in bridging the gap in knowledge. I think what's got to happen. There is no 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 cyber security, you look at Mark Tech. You know, Mark Teke is a good one. Ten years ago you probably had like a very small percentage of the volume of companies will in the mark text space. Now the competition is 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 sales people. Okay. However, there is no conveyor belt such as a university, to your point, or a school or whatever it is creating the sells people. And in fact we know it because we work with sells people at the beginning of that career and we were people for Wood. They are not what 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 with also the cost of the of the podcast. Here was selling artificial grass right, full things right, and so there is no real background. Sometimes is required insteads I think it's really about what you learn on the job and I think it's interesting what you're saying, because there is always that that compel the company that said, well, those guys do sells people. There is also a conveyor belt in the life cycle of a self person. So I think you junior sells guy. So you are on the food then you want to get on the film when you get on the field, you actually get decent money. 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 plastic surgeony 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 and then 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 actually funny. 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 go into some resort stuff and and, let you said, they're kind of you know, 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 of a 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's the 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 maybe Fivezero, maybe fivezero really amazing brilliant Cros that you could like, you can go. You know what that CRO is like. You know, incredible. They have known exactly what to do. They've got playbooks that can be dynamic to 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 a number. And there are Fiftyzero or a hundred thousand like companies that are trying to 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 industry but much as I said before, we're all out. All of us are uneducated. I am on educated right, we all are, and we're forced to 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 me that I've never forgotten. I think it's just beautiful, for which is the root solution to all problems in the world is education. And I was like and when she said that to me I was like wow, that's a really big statement, but I love it, like I really love it, and I'd thought about it for weeks and weeks and I still talk about it even now. I even like this in Google searching, thinking like is this but actually it's kind of kind of makes sense...

...that obviously governments or other worlds then trillions 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 high pressure 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 learning or even a half day. But more importantly than that, within a sales environment that's taking reps off the front line for a long time and that's just not really workable. So we started, we started building like learning tracks and courses and learning pathways, but we only teach. Well, we kicked off the business teaching three hours per week, but from feedback has been two hours is 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 never learned before. People needed time to process, think about how they're going to let implement better, discovery, calls, better, this, better, better, whatever it might be, into their working week. But but by doing this kind of like to one our classes in a week, it also enabled what's called experiential learning. And what experiential learning means. It's basically a plush way of saying learn something and then apply it immediately, and that is how you is one of the most effective ways of embedding knowledge is to learn something and 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 we will teach class sizes, because we teach live classes. That's the other big important thing that we do. And you know, two weeks ago we had our first thousand person class. We have thousand people and you imagine ray what a thousand person classroom would look like. It would be insane, like wow, okay, concert hall. But we did it. We have a thousand people 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 be far yea one day, thousand people. That's good. Didn't and it didn't feel like a thousand people right. It felt quite busy now, and that's why they like about it. You know, I think. I think what's her and I think with some Nelson is important. You know, you also have people work quite he's are disruptive, like stremely knowledge of what at are doing. It okay, and I think that's I'd like you to speak on it a bit about that because, yeah, I think this is key. You know it in education. You are see to have someone that the pidagogy in a way. I don't know if that that makes sense, in a 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 done it, someone who's got really explained. You've got people out have brought some of the best book I've read actually coming to teach your best room. But I find that quite amazing. We're taking a very, very, very best thought, leaders, thinkers, experience, people, people on the frontline still and taking their brilliant and turning it into like courses and in very interactive high learning design principal courses and and it's having a massive effect and as we have completion rates of like eighty percent plus of our courses because you're learning directly from these very, very, very special people. And we have people at Mark Proverge, we have yes sam Sam Sam Nelson. We're got to go called Pete Crosby, who's designing a cro course with Mandy Cole. Mandy Cole took living social from zero to seven hundred and fifty million in revenues to quire placed a living social. We have, at least I think she was. She went in a tableau of five million dollars and help them get from five million dollars as SMO to a billion dollars in revenue. And you can get you can learn from her. Yeah, that's what directly these are the people that you. Technically, Weishuld when you reach to yourself and love are you like if I could just on the awesome when these people have done one, because that'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 time on podcast when I'm speaking to see our rows or people who are trying to scale businesses. It's like we need an academy. I don't know you could it, but maybe you could have the sells impact agademy. But we do school. An Academy are something. Yeah, that a body of some sort that really educate people on now to sell, but not, as you said, not a powerpoint presentation, not the box LMS platform, because I am doing 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 brewing a coffee where the training is going in the background. You take the box at the end and I'd see it does done, sort it, and I think that's that's what's really important. And do you have any stats about the difference 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 people up to speed. But you see your medium to be more impactful, more gaging. What's? Oh yeah, I mean so again in like fancy language within learning. It's cool, you know, synchronous or asynchronous learning, and and Sagreans just mean like. So we've always we do record everything so you can 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 and no one uses it. And actually, if you just think about your own experience, what I think on demand only learning is the one of the big problems with it is it puts too much on us, on the learner to be disciplined enough to actually go through it themselves. Right and, and I can promise you, twelve hours of learning in an on demand environment feels really overwhelming. Twelve hours of live learning with some of the best names in the world. It's that sounds like fun. And we see like and it's scheduled right, so it's in your calendar.

So like, oh great, so it's for clock, it's by class with mark reverse. I've been looking forward to this all day Bang, you're on there's one of your heroes in the industry teaching you and you can ask questions and there's there's polls, there's quizzes that 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 on TV or would you like would you rather watch it pretty like recorded, like a week later? I mean there's a line has got quite a special buzz about. 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 know you I want to watch it afterwards, but the buzz has gone. But there's something much, much more like fundamentally important with with live in our industry when we're trying to teach teach lots of people at the same time, and that 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 kind of like lockdown world, is that live means you all learn at the same time. And what tends to happen is teams will basically schedule a break after class that we've taught. Will bring me into whole team back together and they'll talk 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 together as a team and then it embeds. The knowledge him gets embedded as a team and people start like bouncing off each other. We had to sing him in our we have a course called managing the complete sales like absolutely brilliant for a eas and there's one acronym in that course which everybody loves and it's called bad 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 the phone goes down, even after a...

...very great discovery called and they can't get them back on and they can't get them back and all the replings next them always put it in, so raptus miss it. But Band Fan, honestly, when people go through our courses, bad fan becomes like then I get literally emails and like messages on linked to people saying, dude, band fans gone nuts in my company. It's great. Everybody's talking Bampan. I hap want two days ago. It's changed our velocity of our deals. It's increasing our win rate and like well, not surprised because you're not letting your your 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 all pick up this great, you know, fairly foundational, but this great bit of best practice as a team and then you like you get better as a team, and that you can do with live. You can't do that with on demank. You definitely can't do that with book. Yeah, yeah, so do you think the the initiative of investing in in SOS, develop in personal cells, training personality, serves development, is Sophie I, should be led by 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 time so people can actually access this on an individual basis. People, I think people will expense it back to the company or some people much pay for out out of their pocket. Look, and we're not. This is a little bit of a self serving question, but everyone's going to accept that this is a major problem and and we need a skate these people. And it blows my mind when companies can say, yeah, we haven't really got time, have really 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 sharpen the soul. Go and sharpen that.

So stop going crazy at that tree. You're burning all your energy, campmer, so you increase the productivity. Take One our side. Do Sharper, you come back. You're going to encourage your productivity by two times. Is Life Easy? It's at that makes me crazy as well. Yeah, even sometimes I speak to clients and stuff and someone told me, I can't remember it was, he was one of the presidents of the United States. Is We maybe Barack Obama of job, the Bosha whatever, someone who was like President of the United States? Still Reading Ninety eight book a year? Wow, nine eight book a year, right, I probably do a probably will read nine skate book in my life time. You know you've got that, that that appetite for learning, for knowing, is really what develops people. Will you know? It's a whole like, 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 achieve what 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 what it's might spare thousand person class. He was talking about look, lowcase, lowcase subject lines, based on data. Low case subject lines and prospective emails work better, and then putting capitals in. Why they just does now like that really is that is that? Is that knowledge that everyone knows? I don't think so. I hear people say this. I I really, I really like it. At back is like if I if I gets for an hour long interactive class and I pick up one thing, that can make a difference. But that's what I think the real story, mastering, the genius is structurally pick up a use from mother of people. Yeah, I really want to be effective, you just got to learn from US als. You know this is very simple. You get it all on your own. But you know, it's and that's a question.

Maybe that that's interesting and you need to be destructive here. You know, sells. People have subcliche. I must sells guy, I know it all. I sell stuff. Let me do it. Move Away. I can speak to people, I can charm them. You know, I don't need your training. HMM, okay, yeah. Do you think that it's a creciate? Is True? Do you come across that? Do you see, if you tell you byselves, guys are like that, defeated. Know at all. What's the what's the next 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't free see the value, because our guys are only to be to our again for your stuff. Did you know? I think the happy thing is we don'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 from the word sales training. It just conjures up so many bad connotations and if you think about like modern sales, it's not just okay, how you how your best manager sells cycle, you know, qualified opportunities to close one. It's really complex. What okay, if someone said I think I know all, I'd say, okay, we'll tell me exactly how you use linkedin for like really effective selling and prospecting. Are you a master of leveraging the most powerful business network in the world? Are you probably not right? Well, my okay, you are great. So tell me next video. Do you know everything there is to know about you effectively using video in sales and prospecting? Surely you don't so? Like there are lots of like specialists, like you know, using the direct mail channel. There's quite new. Like these things are new, and this goes right back to the problem of who can solve this problem. Traditional education can't, because what's happening is the pace of change is so fast that people can...

...barely kind of keep up. So if you you literally say in such a fast paced industry, but you know you don't, you're basically not going to progress very final career. The other thing 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 done it 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 between leadership and management, and start like that that journey, because if you want to 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 and a look, I'll tell you another little bit of our secret source, the people that teach and that we have it. We have someone that's been working with us for pretty much almost from the beginning. He was the ex Vice Chancellor of Cape Town University and he's a really like a real online learning goods he'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 Town University, he's like the most effective professors right, not the ones with the greatest knowledge. They were the ones that had a performance, they were the ones that look command are a room, the ones that literally like he use the word performance right, and so that's that's actually a really critical part of this 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 twist as well. So it's really really importact that that piece is a really part of important part of the the overall you know, the lives, the schedules, the big, big name. You know, the on screen presence and the end and the Internet and the interaction...

...and the learning design all combine to create you know, we'd like, I say, we see so such a completion rates. It's on it's unbelievable. Well as brand. Unfortunately, we get into the end of its pull. So what I would like you to do, I would let you to to share more details as to our people can on board their team. So if you are selves director, if you I see you, if you are see our or even if you are Cem or or whoever you want to build up an a Dr Team or you want to scale your sellers team, I would really truly encourage you to go and shake the cells impact academy. But pull, how do we find you? I'll do we get in touch with your do people can carry on that conversation. Should get a set gate, learn developed, send more be my exertion sells leadership marks in leadership marketing Reps. if we cover the entire think rev ups. 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 with us there. You can always contact me on Linkedin and just find me or five 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 needs needs to have this. It's a subscription model. It's accessible and affordable to 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's a splock in the morning on the West Coast, ten OCL eleven o'clock on the on the East Coast we are we have thutty forty employees. Now that about thirty five employees. Now we have twenty two courses. We're going to be adding twenty every quarter. We're adding to the teaching roster every every almost weekly. Now you know we're scaling. We work with over, well, over a hundred companies. We have fourzero...

...leans on the platform. We expect that to be twenty Fivezero by the end of the year. So it's it's really happening. It's very exciting and to think that we're having the impact that we're having and the case studies are fantastic and the sentiment we have with the learners, 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 having the time of my life. Yeah, and helping people at scale is just and 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't do 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 be a case to us in the next in the next two sper months. Amazing. But Yeah, the meantime, I think I think with the guys are got is is really incredible. I think the ads, grades and I would like to thank you for all the time today, because I was really looking forward to that conversation. Thank yeah, thank you very much for inviting me on right appreciate it. 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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