SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Jason Close, a key member of the team working behind the scenes of the successful Global Payments growth story.  Global Payments literally doubled their revenue growth in a short period of time.  Jason is here to share the story of how the sales leadership team made that happen.  Jason has a unique approach to enabling the sales team to outpace the competition. Jason shares his story by answering questions from the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to share emerging best practices. Access the latest Workbook to review the Sales Enablement phase starting on page 407 of the Sales Strategy section. [p]

Our guest today is Jason Close, the Senior Vice President of Global Sales Excellence for Global Payments. The leader in merchant credit card processing, Global Payments is a technology-driven company serving business owners. Jason 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. 

Jason is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as the sales enablement leader for a highly successful growth company. Listen as Jason 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, Jason describes the business outcomes he strives to accomplish with sales enablement.  He then ladders this down to the strategic focus areas of the sales enablement team to accomplish the business outcomes.  And to give you context, Jason describes his sales enablement team and the relationship with the overall sales force.  Jason shares below:

As my team starts, we step into each of these regions, it's an assessment period of three to four months. We're looking at a myriad of different areas like their current sales processes, methodologies. Do they have a methodology? Quota setting, channel optimization, buyer segmentation, market segmentation, six or seven others. 

We're approaching this from as much of a holistic standpoint as we can. And we're looking for, where are we thriving? Where are we strong? Where do we have gaps? Where are we starting from scratch? And with that assessment period, we're going to be looking for those initiatives that are going to help us, again, really start piling on with the organic revenue growth. 

At the end of the assessment, we end up with 10 or 15 different initiatives. And we're going to whittle that down and hopefully create a two, three, four, five-year trajectory. So, are of the two or three things that we need to start today? What might we stagger to the beginning of next year and the year after that? But again, we're looking for that steady, upward climb as we develop more scalable systems. 

Jason starts with an assessment to understand what everybody's doing.  This helps the corporate office make sure not to miss pockets of excellence and understand what everybody's doing in the field and across the company. 

In the next segment of the show, Jason describes how he leverages a custom sales process to help his sales team win more deals, faster, and at a higher close rate. 

Jason describes the sales process in detail, and this quote stands out: 

The sales process allowed me to focus on a couple of basic things. And the first one that we stumbled upon was, the most important thing that we could focus on is, how many first-time appointments are our salespeople getting in front of on a weekly basis? Not monthly, but every single week. What would it look like if, based on each person's personal goals and what they needed to hit?  That's key, focusing on their personal goals. I've never put together a business plan for a rep where it didn't far surpass whatever minimum standard that I had for them to keep their job. We help them identify their number, then, based on their own numbers and metrics, how many new people do you need to meet with on a weekly basis? And once we find that number, it's just about asking permission, can I hold you accountable to your personal goals? We've identified what the metric is, what it's going to take for you to do that, and I want to make sure that you are not only hitting but you're surpassing those personal goals. 

Jason summarizes the show by sharing his onboarding program.  Listen as Jason describes how he takes a brand-new rep and brings them to full productivity.  You will want to take notes as professional sales development programs are discussed, including the content required to enable the sales team.

Direct download: AP1739__Jason_Close-18733.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:33am EST

Joining us for today’s show is David Ciccarelli, the CEO of, who specializes in content marketing. This is an area David has developed deep expertise in, so his business is fueled with great content. David answers questions from the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook, to access emerging best practices for content marketing. Turn to the Marketing Strategy section and flip to the Content Strategy and Planning phase on page 270. Today we're going to be discussing how to earn brand preference by satisfying the information needs of your target customers and prospects. 

Why this topic? Producing and distributing content for everyone means you're really 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. 

David is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as a CEO who understands the power of content marketing to drive his corporate growth strategy. Listen as David illustrates how to manage your content marketing team to maximize your business’s productivity and increase its profit. 

If you'd prefer to watch a full video of the interview, click here. 

In your business, what reasons do you have for creating content and how does it help your business?

Well I think one of the first things every executive needs to consider is really the buying cycle that a prospect will go through. We've all probably heard the times where a customer would say to us after they've made a purchase, “I wish I knew about you five years ago!” So, really the disconnect there is that there is no awareness. They may not have even known that your company existed. The first phase of that buying cycle is generating awareness, and content feeds right into that. From there, you're moving to the acquisition of a lead and the conversion of that lead into a customer. 

Direct download: AP1738__David_Ciccarelli-18733.mp3
Category:Marketing Strategy -- posted at: 7:56am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Todd Jones, an executive sales operations leader who knows how to support aggressive revenue growth. Today’s topic is focused on how Sales Operations improves the efficiency of the sales force.  During our discussion, Todd and I leverage our workbook, so flip to the Sales Operations phase on page 314 of the PDF to follow along. [p]

Our guest today is Todd Jones, the Vice President of Sales Operations and Enablement at Renaissance Learning. Renaissance is the leader in the education software space, a SaaS based offering, providing a learning assessment and development platform to the K-12 market education market. Todd is going to demonstrate how to improve the efficiency of the sales team. [p]

Todd is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of sales operations.  His background spans all aspects of sales, sales operations, enablement, and business management. Todd has more than 25 years of experience in sales operation leadership positions from marquee names within the technology space such as NetApp, QLogic, Symantec and now Renaissance Learning.

Why this topic on this day? Sales ops has become a catch all phrase. The sales ops leader gets assigned all the work no one else wants to do. Often underfunded and understaffed, sales operations leaders fail to deliver a meaningful revenue contribution. Yet, the best growth executives understand that sales ops is the most strategic sales function in the entire company. They understand that when deployed correctly, sales ops can impact revenue growth in a very meaningful way. Do not starve this vital department. If you do you're going to miss your revenue goal. [p]

Listen as Todd demonstrates how to improve the efficiency of the sales team.  We begin the show discussing the business outcomes a sales operation team needs to deliver.  Todd describes top-line growth and profitability as the number one priorities both within sales operations and the organization at large. The primary objective within sales operations is focusing on the skills development, the sales effectiveness, and ultimately driving the productivity and capacity of selling resources.

Todd shares, “Sales operations often can be what I would categorize as the dumping ground for all things that need to be addressed, or challenges within the organization. As I entered the function here at Renaissance, I think as important as it is to understand what we will do, equally important to understand what we will not do to avoid becoming that dumping ground.” The strategic areas of focus for any best-in-class sales operations organization are really quite simple.

  • Focus on the re-engineering alignment design of core sales processes, the system capabilities, and automation tools that align in support of those processes.
  • Define a clear business management process and operational cadence that supports the objectives of the organization. The business management process covers how we operate, how we function as a sales organization, how we lead, inspect, and deliver on those commitments to the company.
  • Ensure the coverage model and compensation plan for the sellers to take to market and manage their book of business are clear, well-defined, and aligned across the company.

Listen as Todd describes his forecasting process.  It’s tight and stage-gated. If you're struggling with forecasting accuracy, make sure to take notes while you listen to what Todd shares about his process and you'll receive tremendous value.


Direct download: AP1707-Todd_Jones-18546.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Bill Griffin, an Executive 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. Bill uses the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions.  Leverage the latest Workbook to review the Sales Process phase starting on page 361 of the Sales Strategy section. 

Our guest today is Bill Griffin, the Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Services for Aspen Technology. Aspen is the leader in process optimization software, primarily for the process industries, which include oil, gas, and chemical customers. This show is a can’t miss episode for executives who want to yield more deals, bigger deals, and greater success in making your number.  

Today’s focus on sales process has an emphasis on pipeline velocity and pipeline cleanliness. To increase deal sizes, improve your win rates, and shorten your sales cycles, you need to adopt a custom, proprietary sales process/methodology. Bill is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of deploying a custom sales process, as he came up through the ranks of Xerox and Autodesk, and has guided his sales teams to win more deals, win bigger deals, and win them faster.    

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.

Listen to the interview with Bill from May, 2017 that demonstrates how to win more deals, win bigger deals, and win them faster.  

We begin the show by providing an overview of how Bill uses sales process to help buyers make purchase decisions.  He describes the sales methodology and the resources the sales team needs to execute the sales process.  Bill describes how to use the sales process to trigger access to higher end sales resources. 

We do that by making sure we're giving the customer the right resources they need at the right phase. What is important is that those stages trigger certain activities from your sales organization. I would not send out a pre-sales application engineer or solution engineer - we call it a business consultant at Aspen Technology - unless we've reached a certain stage in the process because it would be inappropriate. Just like throwing a quote out to the customer, doing a deep dive custom demo. You need to make sure you reach a certain stage in the process. By having those stage gates, you can make sure you are applying the right resources because your resources are expensive and limited in a global organization, at the right time in the sales cycle. 

In the second segment of the show Bill explains how a custom sales process shortens the sales cycle length, increases win rate, and improves the deal size.  Bill’s straightforward answer provides a sound guide to how this can pay off for you: 

You allocate your limited resources on deals that a higher likelihood that are actually going to be closed. And by doing that you're able to grow the deal because you're not wasting your time chasing deals that aren't going to follow through.

Bill provides an insight into how to track the right metrics that indicate success of a sales process. What are the leading indicators and ultimately the lagging indicators to show success.  

Direct download: AP1737__Bill_Griffin-18733.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:10am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Amir Wain, a Chief Executive Officer who knows how to commercialize technical innovation. This show suggests ways to generate revenue from new product introductions. Amir and I answered questions from the new How to Your Number in 2018 Workbook to demonstrate generating revenue from product introductions by leveraging emerging best practices. 

Joining us today is Amir Wain, the CEO and of i2c, a payment technology company. I2c provides the infrastructure to enable companies to address the needs of the next generation of payments and commerce with personalized payment solutions.  Watch as Amir demonstrates how to commercialize technical innovation. 

Why this topic?  Technology companies are pouring millions of dollars into product development and many of these innovations are not generating enough revenue. Building cool new products is exciting, but unless they are bought at scale by prospects and customers, it's really not worth it. 

Amir is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic. Amir has pioneered many industry firsts, and has cracked the code on converting product development dollars into scalable revenue streams. If you plan to launch new products and need to get prospects to buy them at scale, you're going to get a lot out of today's show. 

In today’s show, we begin by discussing by determining which problems that are worth solving through product development. Customers have many problems, but you can't solve everything. Amir explains how to select the problems that matter to go after. Amir explains: 

Every month people from customer success, compliance, engineering, service delivery, and customer service come prepared with a sequential list of items that they want the company to spend resources on in terms of product development. Each advocate their case as to why their suggestion is important, and the others get to question and challenge.  Together they determine where the resources must be deployed for that month. The monthly cycle is important, because if your assessment was wrong, then you can quickly adjust and correct course.   

Amir’s description relies on agility to provide the courage and the capability to pivot to the next thing and keeping these cycles down to monthly sprints to keep product development pointed in the right direction.  We then discuss how to fit your product to a growing market and how to do that at scale. 

Watch as Amir advises how to develop a strong product to market fit, as he begins to explain:  

I think one thing to keep in mind is to distinguish between invention and innovation. A lot of times engineering and product teams get into the invention business, and it's cool that I've come up with this really. That's good. But can I monetize that? Can I commercialize it? That's the innovation piece. 

Skip to the 9-minute mark of the video to for Amir to describe the difference of invention and innovation.  It’s great advice on how to stress test whether a buyer is going to write a check for it or not, and that's the ultimate proof of product market fit. 

We discuss in detail how to think through the market plan and select the right routes to market.  Amir begins with this quote: 

The innovation adoption curve and the model of early adopters shows how people who would buy or not buy, no matter how good the product is, and what all it can mean to them unless they have validation and customer references. Depending on where you are in your product life cycle, I think recognizing it and making sure you keep adjusting and making changes to support, that is important. People who you would initially go after may not be a good fit for you later in the cycle, so the whole organization realizing that, and being prepared across your company is extremely important.

Watch Amir describe the product life cycle and how to think about where the product is in its life cycle.  Using that as an input, determine which products to sell, to which customers and through which channel.

A fascinating discussion involves how to validate value propositions for your product, and how competitive positioning fits. Amir and I discuss how to validate whether or not differentiation is real or false. From there, you have a superior product, and have the opportunity to receive a price premium. 

Direct download: AP1742_Amir_Wain_18790.m4a
Category:Corporate Strategy -- posted at: 8:15am EST