S2E5 – Always Be Selling Pt 2 – A Brave New World

Watch as we switch the format today and interview Matthew Ley about the updating sales format for the continuation of Always Be Selling (pt. 2)

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Welcome to Boot Strap: Insights for the Self-Funded Entrepreneur.  My name is Matthew Ley, and today I get to be the guest on the show.  We’re going to flip it around as we talk about updating the sales process or diving in on some of the things that we talked about in “Always be Selling” last year.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, so Matt, I mean business is always evolving, and I think one of the — I think people always think well, sales is always sales, and old-school always works, and knocking on the doors and picking up the phone.  That being said, we are noticing a lot of trends, right?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  People are picking up the phone less.  People’s buying behaviors are changing.  Buyers are more educated more than they’ve ever been.  Now you’ve invested at least a couple years modernizing The Wish Group sales process.  How is that going?  Why don’t you just share some of the things that you’ve introduced?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah, you know, when — what I find when I talk to people out there is there is two schools of thought in bootstrap.  You’ve got the old-school that’s always old-school.  It’s my relationships.  It’s who I know.  It’s going to be referral-based only.  And then you’ve got the other guys, and usually they’re some of those people we talked about earlier, the funded where it’s all marketing all the time, it’s all inbound and there’s no kind of — there’s no hybrid going on.  But we had established ourselves as an organization for some seven years in a very old-school account management style.  Reps call, book meetings, marketing supports the efforts of reps, and there wasn’t a marriage there.  And so we recognized that we needed to turn that around.  And so what we did is we introduced, formalized, a BDR program.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Okay.  Now for our audience what does BDR stand for?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Oh, business development rep.  It’s also called SDR, sales development rep.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Inside sales or not quite?  Appointment setters?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah, I think back when we all started it was inside sales was what you would call it, or telesales.  And I mean their sole responsibility is to book meetings, primarily by making a heck of a lot of phone calls.  We now have more calls going out than we ever did.  But it’s also involved with a chase that includes email, phone, a number of different touch points with a prospect to get in and talk to them.  When I started in sales with you, actually, I wasn’t very good at it, and I would get on the phone.  I’d make 100 dials a day, and I would talk to 40 people giving me no’s or not right now’s.  And while they’re giving me the not right now’s they would create a bit of a relationship.  We’d know each other.  I knew a bit about their kids or when they were going on vacation, and eventually they gave me the meeting.  I just leaned on them.

Well, in this day and age when you make 100 calls — well, no one is making 100 anymore, but the numbers are 80 calls gets you 10 connects, gets you two meetings if you’re good.  You’re not creating relationships in those 70 calls that you’re not reaching someone.  So these guys are making calls.  They’re dropping voicemails and sending emails all at the same time, and so the activity within our organization has gone up drastically.  I mean there’s way more calls going out this time this year than when we started bootstrap a couple years ago because of this implementation.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  So would you — these BDRs we speak of, are these traditional salespeople?  Are they marketing?  How would you distinguish them?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Well, I think you distinguish them themselves as salespeople.  They’re people who are our promise to them, to your early point, is that they will master the front of the sales process.  If they do this job for a year and they do it well, when they go to another job in sales where they’re an account manager or in our organization, they’ll always know how to get that first step, get in the door kind of thing.  But the direction for them generally comes from our marketing side.  And so they’re selling in a campaign.  So they might one day be focusing on, you know, marketers in the legal space, and they’ll have a script, and an email, and a cadence which is backed up by marketing activities that are occurring in our social, blog, videos.  The next day they might be talking about something completely different.  Well, it’s not the next day, but the next week you know they might start a new campaign into something different.  And so they’re informed by marketing, but the individuals themselves are people who really want to get into sales but don’t have the experience to be in sales.  So that’s a steppingstone for —

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Sounds like a great [sp] boot camp.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  I mean it is, you know?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  And just something in my experience, like I was very good from an early age at the front end of the sales process, and I think that’s what helped me become good throughout the entire sales process.  Whereas some people never master that front end, I’m not so sure they become really exceptional later in the stages either.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah.  Well, I mean —

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Because it is a relationship.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah.  In ping-pong when I got into it late in life and I would lose to some guys, and I would say, you know, I feel like I’m a lot better than them, but I just keep — I’m still losing to them.  And you find out they played for 10 or 15 years.  They’ve seen a lot more balls, right?  So these guys after a year of making 500 calls a week — and some of the numbers are really high depending on the campaign we’re running — is they’re seeing a lot of objections.  They’re learning what kind of works, what level of humor versus formalness.  They get really good in both email and on phone and adapting themselves because they’re doing so much of the same thing.

And the added benefit for us, you know, as business owners when implementing this properly is that we get a lot of data, too.  So we start to know within a campaign where the drop-off is going to be, when we’re going to start getting the responses, when we should start getting most of the meetings because it’s not on the first call.  It’s rarely on the first call.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Okay, so I’ve heard you say to me, and I think we’ve got stats to back this up, is that, you know, obviously people aren’t picking up the phone anymore.  I remember in the old days when I was selling, say oh, you never leave a voicemail, you know, or don’t write an email.  If they want information don’t send it to them.  You know, are you seeing changes there?  Are you seeing the value now of a voicemail, people screening their phones that way, or are they reading emails perhaps more than they used to?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah.  Just like in the marketing world where they say, you know, a video of this size, like a 5, 6-minute video, this is for sort of a senior manager, maybe director level, a short video for the executive who’s just going to want a quick shot.  And some people like to read, and some people like long format, all of that stuff.  You get all kinds when you’re doing, when you’re going out to call.  Different personalities, different levels of seniority.  And as such different people are going to do different things.  What we have found, though, is the combination of the call, the voicemail, the email, backed up by marketing messaging, so this is always including documents, and white papers, and blog posts and that sort of thing, is what’s getting us the best success.

An interesting story.  I remember we hired these two guys on the same day, and they couldn’t be more different.  They were both around the same age.  One of them was a low-energy, analytical thinker, monotone in real life and on phone.  The other guy was high-energy, the type of person that you would say people want to buy from.  And after we flushed it out in 30 days of them running the program, and they were running the same campaigns, they had almost the exact same performance.  And it was the process, I think, as well as their adherence to it that ensured that success.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  So let me ask you one last question because I mean, even going back to my early days in sales, like you know back then we used to use the Yellow Pages.  How do these guys know who to call?

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Well, that is — I think that the first part, setting it up, the program, it’s easy.  You can Google probably how to do it.  Maybe we can link to our program on this video.  But who to call is the bigger deal, and I find that you don’t want sales reps thinking about who to call because they often make the wrong decisions, right?  Like I don’t know how many times in the past 15 or 20 years you’ve hired a salesperson who walks in your office and says I’m going to call this industry because no one has ever touched it.  And then you go that’s because they’re not going to buy our service, right?  We thought of that.  We’ve been here for 10 years.  I mean, whatever, right?  So we have to give them the names and numbers, and this is the data problem, right?  There are so many sources out there that you can get data from, but depending on where you’re trying to go, sometimes it’s harder than others.  So I’ve got certain businesses within The Wish Group I support where it’s real easy.  We’re going after B2B marketers.  They love putting their face and their email out there.  I can buy that data, or scrub the internet, or search and find that data anywhere.  And then we’ve got places where we’re talking to not-for-profits, or we’re talking to, you know, just different businesses where the information is not publicly visible, and that’s the first start.  That’s the starting point, really, is to think about where are you going to get this information.

The added value of this program as it relates to data, especially if you’re in a hard to reach market where you don’t have the names and your marketing engine isn’t giving you a bunch of people to call, which we’ve got both things going on now, is that in Canada anyways we’ve got this law called castle.  We can’t just buy information and start blasting emails to people.  And so utilizing the BDRs to ascertain the market, to get the information and to get it into your CRM —

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  So they can — they opt in, and you’re castle compliant.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  They opt in.  They’ve been talking to you.  You can start building those castle-compliant lists, or at least start communicating with them in some level of an automated fashion because you’ve spoken to them, you’ve had some dialogue, which again is why they’re part of the marketing function, right?  They’re part of this function over here that’s building database and feeling like we need to add this many people to the database.  Well, the sales leadership is always like I don’t care.  Where’s the revenue, where’s the revenue, where’s the revenue?  Well, all of it’s part of the same puzzle, if you will.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, we know you’ve had tremendous success.  Sales at The Wish Group are year-over-year 50%, and in part with these new initiatives that you’ve thoroughly researched and implemented exceptionally well.  So thanks for that.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  And thanks for that.  And so we’ll flip back.  We’re getting ready for next time.  Thanks for that, Frank.  So on our next episode of the show we are going to be talking about where you go every day to work.  Do you stay home?  I mean at home offices are easier than they’ve ever been.  Do you lease a spot, go into a shared space?  Very common.  And with that, that’s all the time we’ve got.  So like, share, tell your friends, loved ones, coworkers, maybe your boss, to watch the show, and we’ll see you next time.

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