SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Oni Chukwu, a software executive who knows how to make the number. Today’s topic is Go-to-Market Strategy. Oni and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Access the latest Workbook to review the Corporate Strategy section. Flip to Step 5 Go-to-Market that includes Coverage and Channels as well as Pricing and Packaging phases. [p]

Our guest today is Oni Chukwu, the Chief Executive Officer of etouches, the premier leader in event management software. The event management software covers everything from venue sourcing all the way through analytics and serves over 1,500 customers in 50 countries. Oni will demonstrate how to sufficiently cover your markets by selecting and optimizing your sales channels and packaging your products correctly. 

Why this topic? Not covering your addressable market entirely will result in missed revenue opportunities. Traditional routes to market are being replaced with innovative ways to reach customers. Packaging your products the same way as your competitors results in perceived commoditization and a race to the bottom. 

Oni is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as an executive leader with an exceptional history of accomplishment in leading companies to grow faster than the industry and the competitors. Listen as Oni demonstrates how to plan your corporate strategy to: 

  • Sufficiently cover your markets.
  • Select and optimize your sales channels.
  • Price and package your products correctly. 

Category Bundling represents a company that's moving from a company that has several products, and they're bundling these products potentially up into solutions. They're presenting bundles to the customer. Oni describes his thoughts regarding product bundling:

It's an evolutionary step where you're going from the product company to a solutions company I think it serves us very well, because as a company we're on the innovative edge. We're constantly adding products, constantly innovating. Giving our customers value for what they pay us. I think it makes sense for our customers, and given that there's segments of customers and you're not serving just one industry. There's segments of customers that needs certain things, and certain solution sets that you can actually package and make it more meaningful to them.

Direct download: AP1741__etouches_18746_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Sean Cataldo, a sales effectiveness leader who knows how to enable a sales force to hit the number. Today’s topic is sales enablement. Sean and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Access the latest Workbook to review the Sales Enablement phase starting on page 367 of the Sales Strategy section. 

Our guest today is Sean Cataldo, the Senior Director of Global Sales Force Effectiveness at Veritas Technologies. Veritas helps companies manage information to harness the power of that information regardless of whether it lives on-prem, in virtual systems, or in the cloud. Sean will demonstrate how to drive revenue per sales head up and time to productivity for new sales hires down. 

Why this topic? Getting an increase in sales head count is difficult. The expense cops expect all the current sales reps to be at quota before they agree to add any new heads. And when new sales people are hired there is little patience from the executive team members, who want each to generate revenue as quickly as possible. The sales enablement function exists to onboard new sales hires and to drive revenue per sales head up. Neglect sales enablement and forgo adding head count in the future. 

Sean is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as the sales enablement leader for an enterprise software company. Listen as Sean demonstrates how to drive revenue per sales head up and time to productivity for new sales hires down.

In the first segment of the show, Sean describes the business outcomes that sales enablement is tasked to pursue.  He describes three business objectives for his sales effectiveness team:

The first is we are in fact charged with reducing time to productivity across our entire sales force. That's not just for new hires but also for existing hires and making sure that they are able execute on our new product introduction and go to market plans. The second area is around enabling our sellers and partners to consistently grow a quality pipeline. The third area is helping those sellers accelerate the velocity of that pipeline.  

To accomplish these objectives, Sean shares the strategic areas of focus to increase revenue per sales head: 

There are four strategic areas. The first is onboarding and that ties of course directly back to reducing time to productivity. We indoctrinate our new hires through a very rigorous program. It helps them understand our strategy, our vision, and how to bring value to our costumes. The second area is really ensuring that our existing sales force is able to execute on its go-to-market priorities, whether they're direct sellers, technical sellers, or in our channel. The third area has to do with our focus around sales process and tools, helping to ensure our selling motion is consistent and repeatable. The fourth area is around developing the selling skills that our teams need to be able to execute that process with world-class efficiency.

Listen to the entire podcast to drilled deep as Sean demonstrates how to executive against these areas of focus to accomplish the business outcomes. 

Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right strategies to support your revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Sales Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if: 

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job 
Direct download: AP1715_Sean_Cataldo-18602_Audio_Final_1.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 7:53am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Emily Rakowski, a marketing leader who knows how to create brand preference that attracts more deals into the funnel at a higher win rate. Today’s topic is Content Marketing and how to use content marketing to build brand preference that gives you a competitive advantage. Emily and I review emerging best practices from the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook. Turn to the Marketing Strategy section and flip to the Content Strategy and Planning phase on page 270. 

Our guest today is Emily Rakowski, the Vice President of Solution Marketing from Ellucian.  A worldwide leader, Ellucian provides software and services to the higher education market. 18 million students around the world are touched by the software tools each day.  

Our guest today is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of B2B content marketing. Emily is a B2B marketing leader who helped build the Ariba brand and later SAP’s marketing efforts as the global head of solution marketing. 

Listen as Emily demonstrates how to earn brand preference by satisfying the information needs of your target customers and prospects. This show illustrates that content marketing does more than drive leads into the funnel. Content marketing can satisfy the information needs of prospects and customers with the result of increasing brand preference.  This is a must hear interview for any executive with an organic growth strategy. 

Why this topic?  Producing and distributing content for everyone means doing it for no one. For content marketing to generate revenue you have to know exactly what your customers need, where they need it, how often they need it, and in what form they need to consume it. Miss any of these items (and others like them) and your content marketing efforts will fail to contribute to revenue growth in any meaningful way. 

In the first segment of the program is focused on assessing the audience needs of your audience.  What questions should your team ask to understand how your prospects researches solutions today, and where you must find them to cultivate latent demand.  

Segment two establishes the objectives and business reasons for why content is created.  What business objectives does content accomplish?  Listen as Emily explains her approach and you will understand that content marketing goes well beyond simply purchasing the latest analyst reports that support your business case.  

A unique discussion occurs by answering the question, what would you do with an extra $1M in marketing budget? Would you spend it on content marketing? This question unpacks the greater opportunity that eludes most companies.  

Emily describes the content marketing staff allocated to develop content.  Listen to think through how your company has allocated staff to execute your content marketing strategy. This is typically where marketing teams lack the manpower to execute the strategy. 

Listen as we discuss the tools and process required to successfully execute content marketing.  Is your team writing content without the proven tools that best in class content creation teams are leveraging?   

Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right marketing strategy to support the new revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Marketing Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if: 

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job [p]
Direct download: AP1729-Emily_Rakowski-18691.mp3
Category:Marketing Strategy -- posted at: 8:29am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Mike Dickerson, the Chief Executive Officer for ClickDimensions who knows how to make the number. Today’s topic is focused on demonstrating the corporate strategy’s competitive view.  For many companies, the CEO leaves competitive guidance up to a simple report of competitor capabilities developed by an analyst.  This represents one of the least defined areas of corporate strategy by CEO’s for their marketing and sales teams.  There is a better way to increase your team’s win rate against the competition.

Mike and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Access the latest workbook to review the Competitors phase starting on page 70 of the Corporate Strategy section dedicated to generating revenue growth. 

Mike Dickerson, the Chief Executive Officer for ClickDimensions, a SaaS-based marketing automation company with 3,000 customers. Under Mike’s leadership, the company has grown 45% in the last year with revenues of $45M. Mike will demonstrate how to define who you compete with, and how to win. 

Why this topic? Share battles often lead to below average revenue growth because the cycle of market share give-and-take rarely results in a permanent share gain for any one competitor. Sustainable revenue growth from share gain comes from changing the product or its delivery enough to create what is effectively a new product. Price wars do not result in share gain driven revenue growth because they can result in a decline in sales, and are not repeatable. This is because customers will eventually push back, thus eroding any short-term revenue growth.  

Mike is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as a CEO with a corporate strategy and planning background.  He knows the importance of setting the right corporate strategy to enable his functional leaders to be successful. [p]

In the first segment of the program Mike and I discuss his company’s unique competitive advantage. There are three broad types of competitive advantage. The first is a superior product, and that's clearly the case here with ClickDimensions, who has built their product with a UI that’s differentiated. They have a very clear competitive advantage there.

The second type of differentiation is price. The way that you can compete on price is that you have a lower cost structure than your competitors. As a result of that, you can be more competitive in pricing and offer a better value proposition.   Mike describes a very unique go to market model, with a thousand channel partners that allow him to have a lower sales and marketing costs, so he can be more competitive from a pricing perspective, which is a brilliant strategy.

The third type of competitive advantage a CEO can typically choose from is customer experience. A god example we can all relate to is the difference between a Four Seasons Hotel, as opposed to the Hilton. They both sell the same thing for the most part, but the Four Season's experience is quite a bit different, so they charge quite a bit more, even though it's the same product. That's called the customer experience.  Listen as Mike describes his customer experience advantage.  Here is a starting quote from Mike, and you’ll want to hear the full show to unpack this example and apply it to your company:

Our longer term sustainable advantage is in our distribution system. Sure, we must stay relevant in our product – The product we have today may only be a part of our portfolio tomorrow. The pace of technology changes, certainly in the marketing technology space, and I'm not sure anyone has an exactly perfect view on where that's going to be. So, we'll have to react to that. But the long-term thing that I think we can build a business on is the unique distribution model and the support that we provide in that space.

Direct download: AP1732-Mike_Dickerson-18691.m4a
Category:Corporate Strategy -- posted at: 8:31am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Chris Walter, a Vice President of Strategy who knows how to build a sales force. Today’s topic is dedicated to the topic of attracting and retaining top sales talent. Chris and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Access the latest Workbook to review the People phase starting on page 367 of the Sales Strategy section. 

Chris Walter is the Vice President of Strategy of Strategic Enterprise Services at MarketSource, a sales outsourcing firm serving both retail and commercial channels. Chris will demonstrate how to attract and retain A-Players who generate 5x more revenue than B-Players and 10x more than C-Players. 

Why this topic? Relying on the heroic efforts of a few eventually catches up with you. When 20% of the sales team produces 80% of the revenue, something is wrong. The labor expense associated with the sales team incurred by the company has to be justified, or a head count reduction is warranted. Tolerating under-performers, hiring mistakes, and very long new hire productivity cycles all lead to missed revenue targets — and job loss for the head of sales. 

Chris is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic coming from a business services firm that provides outsourced sales services. Not only is Chris a peer sales leader with a sales force of his own, but his “Product” is providing feet on the street for other companies. 

Listen as Chris demonstrates how to attract and retain A-Players who generate 5x more revenue than B-Players and 10x more than C-Players. Chris describes the level of talent required, and whether he requires an exceptional sales talent or great product/industry fit. 

In the first segment of the show, Chris describes the investments he making in sales talent to make the number.  Selecting the right talent to start with is where it all begins, and Chris shares his expertise in the evaluation criteria you should use when selecting sales talent. 

Chris describes the changing routes to market in the second segment, and the corresponding changes in sales talent required. The importance of digital marketing is shared in this quote: 

The impact of digital on the overall route to market is important. I've seen stats as high as 60-70% of the buyer's journey now is conducted digitally, so it's really important that companies adapt to that change, begin to work in both demand generation and prospecting through these digital channels, and it's important for the sellers to understand they need to prospect differently, leveraging social, being engaged in social conversations, and then really understanding the buyers are coming to them in a different mindset than they might have been 10 years ago as an example, so they really need to play more of a consultative role, more of a challenger type role because of where the buyers are at the point in time they're hitting the salesperson.

The time it takes to get a new sales rep to full productivity (100% quota) is discussed. Chris explains: 

Depending upon the mission, but we typically look for three to six months on average to get somebody productive, ramped up and productive. It'll be shorter if we're doing transactional sales engagements.  One or two call closes scenarios, obviously need to be a lot faster. If we're doing long sales cycles, complex selling, it's going to be longer, but that's the target that we shoot for on average across our various types of sales programs.

In the final segment of the program, Chris discusses how the onboarding process.  He goes deep into how to find the right blend between situational application of the knowledge and classroom study. 

Direct download: AP1727-Chris_Walter-18691.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:42pm EST

Joining us for today’s show is Natalie Fedie, a Vice President of Customer Success who knows how to grow and retain customers. Today’s topic is dedicated to the topic of Customer Success. Natalie and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Access the latest Workbook to review the Customer Success phase starting on page 411 of the Sales Strategy section. 

Natalie Fedie is the Vice President of Customer Success for Granicus, a digital engagement software company focused on the government sector.  Granicus serves over 3,000 government agencies at all levels of government, federal, state, local, and city government. Natalie will demonstrate how to grow revenues by retaining, and growing, customers by proactively managing the customer life cycle.     

Why this topic? Business models are changing from transaction-based revenue models to subscription-based revenue models. Companies dependent on recurring revenue must pay special attention to customer renewal rates, revenue retention, and customer lifetime value. As a result, reactive customer service approaches, built to lower the cost to serve, are being replaced with proactive customer success approaches, built to increase the revenue per customer. When your customer becomes more successful as a result of using your product, they buy more of it. And when your customer is unaware of how you have contributed to their success, they attrite. 

Natalie is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic having been involved in setting up customer success teams, and leading them to reach their goals of growing customer revenue.  The first segment of the program is focused on providing an overview of a highly productive Customer Success team.  Natalie speaks about the customer renewal rate and what to expect for your company. 

“We are a subscription model. We have annual contracts. Some are multi-year contracts. Our renewal rate is typically in the high 90% on average. Over half of our revenue comes from our existing customer base and that was through expansions of contracts and upsells and cross sells.”

Listen as Natalie describes where the customer success team resides in her company’s organization, who Natalie reports to in the corporate structure, and the number of reps.  Many members of the audience are weighing decisions on where customer support should reside, and listening to Natalie describe the pros and cons of different parts of the organization she’s reported will help you think through factors to inform your decision.

The second segment of the show is focused on how a customer success team gains early adoption of your products, and how to gain expanded adoption.  Natalie provides guidance for how to sell additional products to successful customers. 

Our final segment of the show explains how a veteran customer success team with a proven record of accomplishment recognizes the signs of churn before it happens.  Natalie explains the early warning signs and how her team acts.  In addition, we explore the early signs of a customer who is ready to buy more.  Just asking for more business isn’t going to do more than just capture active demand.  Listen as Natalie describes how a customer success team proactively develops latent demand and then spots trigger events to help customers solve problems.  

We wrap up the show discussing the profile of a customer success manager.  What do you look for in candidates, and how should you compensate a CSM. We dive into the major question of whether a customer success manager should carry a quota and how to structure their compensation plan. 

 

 

Direct download: AP1736__Natalie_Fedie-18733.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:16am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Loren Brockhouse, a Senior Vice President of Global Sales who knows how to Make the Number. Today’s topic is about winning more deals, winning bigger deals, and winning them faster. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors.  Loren and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions.  Access the latest Workbook to review the Sales Process phase starting on page 361 of the Sales Strategy section.

Loren Brockhouse is the Senior Vice President of Global Sales for iiPay, an international payroll provider for enterprise companies. Integrated International Payroll (iiPay) is a cloud-based global payroll solution that reduces dependence on in-country payroll processors; and provides a comprehensive view into an organization’s global payroll landscape. This show is a must watch for executives with sales teams working to disrupt the status quo. Loren will demonstrate how to win more deals, win bigger deals, and win them faster.  

To increase deal sizes, improve your win rates, and shorten your sales cycles, you need to adopt a custom, proprietary sales process/methodology. Loren is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of deploying a custom sales process, as he uses it with his sales team to disrupt the payroll industry. His reps must get the attention of enterprise buyers and convince them to do things in a different way. He’s been successful upsetting the status quo with his sales methodology, so I have brought Loren on the show to share his use-case. 

If you would prefer to watch a HD video of my interview with Loren, click here

Why this topic? Standard, one size fits all sales methodologies no longer work. Your competitors can license the same sales methodologies from the same vendors you can, so there is no competitive advantage to be had by adopting the latest sales methodology from the sales trainee industry. 

Ultimately, the reason to install a sales methodology or sales process is to improve your win rate, grow your average deal size, and shorten your sales cycle. Loren and I begin the show by discussing the iiPay proprietary sales process. Loren describes how strategic selling questions are baked in at each stage, which enables his team to differentiate his solution from the competition throughout the buying process. It allows his team to speed up the overall sales process by establishing the point of differentiation early. 

The custom sales process is empowered by clear buyer-driven definitions between the stages. The entire sales organization has the same, broadly adopted criteria  for moving opportunities from one stage to another. Ultimately, the stages drive resourcing and forecast which is extremely important to any business, but particularly an emerging one. 

Loren makes the case for why sales leaders should develop a proprietary sales process. “If you (prospects) look at the website of iiPay and our competitors', the websites look the same. The value propositions are the same. So really, the main differentiation is when you engage with the client, and that absolutely must be felt and seen as something different.” Licensing the latest sales process from a sales training company is the same process your competitors can use, and is therefore a commodity offering and experience. The result of a licensed sales process is likely sameness and an over-reliance on the persuasiveness of your sales reps. 

The question the audience should ask themselves, is whether the sales team offers a different experience versus the top three or four other players in your space. In most markets the competitors are using the same words. So how do you differentiate, right? The answer for your sales force is to use a custom sales process built for your buyers and your specific company.  

Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right product strategy to support your revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Product Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if: 

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job 

 

Direct download: AP1721__Loren_Brockhouse-18661.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:22am EST

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