How can businesses ensure that their investment decisions are supported by correct data and increase CRM hygiene?
In order to improve CRM hygiene, businesses need to know what drives their salespeople personally, ensure that they know how CRM tools may help them accomplish their objectives, and make sure that the data they use to make investment decisions is reliable.
How can businesses use social media to effectively market their goods or services?
The panelists concur that using social media to nurture leads is helpful, yet selling directly to customers through social media might create a rift with them. They advise employing a consultative sales technique and identifying leads who are prepared for a sales interaction.
What guidance would you offer to someone starting out in management whose team isn't very active on social media?
The speaker suggests putting aside preconceived conceptions about social media in favor of concentrating on comprehending clients' social media usage patterns and the objectives the business has for social media. In order to integrate social media into the sales process, he advises analyzing the effect of social media on the sales pipeline and changing company behavior as needed. Additionally, he advises hiring staff members who are exceptional content creators and enlisting the aid of marketing and branding specialists in developing a strategy.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello and welcome back once again to The Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today, I'm delighted to have as my guest Alex Low. He is somebody who really focuses on digital sales evangelism. He started a really strong background in professional services and we're gonna have a very lively discussion about the evolution of how we get to customers.
Marcus Cauchi: Alex, welcome.
Alex Low: Thank you Marcus. I'm delighted to to be on here and I'm, I'm, I'm looking forward to this one.
Marcus Cauchi: Be careful what you wish for.
60 seconds on your background
Marcus Cauchi: So, okay. Could you give 60 seconds on your background please?
Alex Low: Yeah, so, I started life out in mini 132. So those in London, know what I mean by that. I then fell into recruitment, five years at Michael Page International recruiting sales professionals into the IT and tech sector. Then moved to professional services CBD, PWC, the accounting firm, got bored of the accountants, moved to a law firm BLP where I set up their key client program towards the end of my tenure there, which is seven, eight years ago, possibly longer. Introduced to sales navigator in this concept of social selling. So been on sales navigator since year dot, then moved into commercial real estate. Led the first ever social selling program globally in the commercial real estate sector. According to LinkedIn, did half a million net new build a pipeline of 4.9 million. Brexit happened, lost my job, been consulting back into industry for the last four and a half years. Uh, helping organizations with their digital sales transformation and most recently working with lately, this social media marketing AI platform to help them scale into the enterprise.
What are the three most important unasked questions in relation to digital sales?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. So you've managed to do a state agency, legal and accounting, and you're still saying, well, maybe we'll see.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So Alex, tell me what are the three most important unasked questions in relation to digital sales?
Alex Low: How do I measure it? How do I get my people to, to do it and then who should lead it?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, so let's start with, how do I measure it.
Alex Low: The amount of times I've been asked this question by sales enablement people, which is somewhat concerning and I always go back to, well, how robust is your CRM process? By that, I mean attribution in terms of recording activity, but I don't mean going to Salesforce or Dynamics and the salesperson hitting the very first thing they can see in the dropdown menu, cold call or not adding anything.
Alex Low: Do you have a, a menu in your CRM, which says this was generated by this email campaign by cold call, by social, by this blog post, by all the little kind of touch points that, that happen. And if you don't, then fundamentally you can't prove anything works cause you're not then recording how your pipeline is being, is being generated.
Alex Low: And normally I get a pause and I get a reflection and they go, yeah, we're not doing that.
Lack of CRM hygiene
Marcus Cauchi: Right. Well, this then speaks to the third in the room, which is the total lack of CRM hygiene. Well over 80% of data in most CRMs is either useless or has faded through, inaction, inactivity or irrelevance.
Marcus Cauchi: And so what flabbergasts me is how many organizations are making and basing their decisions on what is effectively a work of fiction and hope also known as a forecast. And they're trying to make investment decisions for their future on the basis of data that is less than 20% accurate.
Alex Low: Yep and in the professional service world, it's even worse because user CRM systems are even are, are nonexistent to be as being generous with them. And well,
Marcus Cauchi: Come on, Excel is a wonderful tool.
Alex Low: Indeed, and you can slice and dice the numbers, how you, how you want to make it fit your fit, your narrative when it comes to your, your profitability conversations with your managing partner and your CFO.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. And the secondquestion was
Alex Low: I get my people to do it.
Marcus Cauchi: How do we get our people to do it?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Again, love your take on this.
Alex Low: It comes back to what's in it for me. So when I work with organizations, you have to get down to the granular individual person. And whether it's a lawyer, accountant to realtor, or even a, a sales person. If that individual does not understand what's in its for me personally, how is this gonna fundamentally help me achieve my goals which is making money primarily at the end of the, the day hitting, hitting that number. They're not going to do it. And, and the challenge with digital sales, social selling more than selling, whatever you want to call it's just sales and marketing 21st century. Let's get real.
Alex Low: Is that typically the social side, is feels like a marketing push, so it feels like to the employee. This is corporate telling me to push this bland marketing message into my network who have got no interest in what the market have got to say because they see their social network almost as their private address book.
Alex Low: So it it's mine. It's not the businesses. Therefore they're not interested in terms of what the business has got to say. Therefore, I'm not going to do it. But that also rings true. And I've been on the receiving end of this, of kind of any broader technology, you know, implementation or, or, or adoption. So we're rolling out new serum system.
Alex Low: Great. What's in it for me. Why should I change moving from my spreadsheet? Which works perfectly well for me to do something which feels like it's the corporate machine. Leveraging it from a management numbers to your earlier point, Marcus around, they just want to report up a bunch of meaningless numbers to their make decisions.
Alex Low: And it's for the corporate, rather than me, the, the, the individual and, and that's where I usually get the light bulb moments. It's the, oh, now I understand how this can benefit me from a selfish perspective that then they start to understand how that then ties back into why they're then being asked or maybe told to then do this, this thing in the digital world.
Marcus Cauchi: This, what you've just talked about, unpacks, a whole load of really excruciatingly stupid things that go on. The first thing is that according to HubSpot, salespeople who are strong social sellers have a 70% higher probability of hitting or exceeding quota. Whereas those who don't, typically come in at around 40% of quota. Now they have historically been very strong in the SME space, so it may vary. Those numbers may vary. However, what we also see is it's indicative that management is not spending anywhere near enough time talking to their individual sales people or BV people or SDRs to understand what their personal motivations are.
Alex Low: Mm-hmm.
Lack of imagination, the art of the possible
Marcus Cauchi: Because if they did, then that would allow them to frame why social selling, good CRM hygiene actually serves the individual. And then what we end up with is this plethora of, or this, um, waste in terms of time, effort, and so on. Where people are attached and tied to old traditional ways and habitual ways of doing things. And they lack the imagination of, you know, in your phraseology, the art of the possible.
What is it about human beings that makes us so bloody stupid?
Marcus Cauchi: In terms of what can be done if they were to adopt and embrace social selling, AI, CRM, automation. And they would much rather work dumber and harder instead of smarter and be significantly more productive and take home more money and suffer less of the grind. So what is it about human beings that makes us so bloody stupid?
Alex Low: I mean, I'm gonna kind of come from a recruitment background.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, I do too.
Marcus Cauchi: Selling humans is the worst possible thing on, on the thing to do because there are nice fickle creatures in, in the world. And, you know, Christ the times before we had kind of mobile devices and, you know, email 24/7, the dread of going into work on a Monday morning and, you know, firing up your, your computer to see which candidate hadn't started or which candidate had failed after three months, therefore that meant your commission was always three months behind the, behind the, the thing. Humans are, we're emotional creatures. It's all the research out there in terms of, yes, emotion is part of the process in terms of what we do the last 18 months has just ripped up the rule book in terms of around, all of this.
Marcus Cauchi: And, you know, people are people. And I think what's been interesting that I've noticed certainly online is that we're starting to see the more human aspects come out. That people have good days, bad days, they have shit happening in their lives that, at home. Whether we like it or not, that gets brought to, brought to work.
Marcus Cauchi: And if management, aren't kind of under, understanding that and, and working with that, I'm not saying going down the whole woke fluffy kind of side, of side of things. Because a job needs to be needs to be,
Marcus Cauchi: but it also has to understand that there needs to be some flexibility around this. And it's some interesting conversations I've been having with Justin, Michael and Patrick Joyce around how, if they would start all over again, they'd actually do away with the SDR, AE, marketing construct completely and almost create pods.
Marcus Cauchi: So here is your, here's your expert cold caller, here's your expert content creator, here's your expert closer, your expert numbers' person, and expert person on AI. That's your number that you have to go and hit at the end of the year. Go do it. However you want to get to that number is entirely up to you, but you figure out as your little kind of pod go and do that thing.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think that's a really fascinating way of, looking at it and trying to create that collegiate team environment that we're all in it together. And it's kind of what Michael Page did almost well, around how we were commissioned because you were commissioned as individuals, but the team had to hit his number before anybody else.
Marcus Cauchi: So even if I hit my number, if the team didn't hit the number that wouldn't necessarily trigger my personal commission. So it meant that we had to work together as a unit to bring everybody along the journey and stop doing things like we used to call top drawing candidates. So imagine you came into my, my, my inbox and Marcus was the perfect candidate for me, but I didn't have the right necessarily role.
Marcus Cauchi: But my mate Ross, who was sick next to me may have had the perfect role for Marcus. I'd be like, fuck it. I'm not gonna give it to Ross because I wanna make the commission outta Marcus, not Ross. Well, in order to counter that, it was well, if I then gave Marcus to Ross and that helped Ross and the team make its number, then we actually all move forward to, together.
Marcus Cauchi: So it's, and the other thing, there's also this and I believe that probably this is gonna be, this is changing, but then you see today on Wall Street Journal that the big titans of industry are forcing people back into the office. That the minute you cross that corporate threshold, there seems to be a switch in the head that you are now just almost the machine in the machine rather than a, a person.
The way that you did things 20 years ago, probably isn't working today
Marcus Cauchi: And I do believe some of that needs to, to change and Christ you see the research out there in terms of the churn rate of sales people is ridiculous. The churn rate of CROs is ridiculous, because guess what? The way that you did things 20 years ago, probably isn't working today.
Marcus Cauchi: In the US in April, 4 million people resigned their roles.
Marcus Cauchi: Now that's around one and a half, 2% of the working population and it looks like that trend is gonna continue something like 41% of employees in the developed world are expected to leave their company this year. Now, if you are not paying attention to the human side, then that's gonna be a real problem.
Marcus Cauchi: We're also seeing at the other end with large organizations that recruited lots of very experienced engineers or who have now become very experienced engineers, who've got great super annuity on their pensions. And they're all going to be retiring about the same time. And this then opens up a whole question around forward planning, around knowledge loss and knowledge capture.
Organizations have to get better at using technology in partnership with human beings
Marcus Cauchi: And this is why I think many organizations really have to get better at using technology in partnership with human beings.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Marcus Cauchi: And this is where I, I see so many Luddites out in the sales world. Who still think that, you know, the only thing they can do is pick up the phone. Then you've got the other school of thought, which is equally idiotic, which is that cold calling doesn't work.
Sales is a subset of marketing
Marcus Cauchi: We know that you have to meet your prospect where they are not where you want, want them to be. And if you look at the success and effectiveness of people like Justin Michael and people in his, they're using, multiple pronged approaches in a very short space of time. So they're using triples, three forms of prospecting outreach within a 92nd period. And they're calculated, they're automated, they're structured. They're booking 10 meetings in a day. As opposed to maybe two meetings in a week. Now this then raises the question because I think there's another bit that's missing, which is that sales people do not really often, do not really understand that sales is a subset of marketing.
Marcus Cauchi: Anything that touches the customer is marketing and sales is just, you know, one component of that. And if I look at David Sandler, for example, At least two thirds of his reading library was marketing books. And, you know, we, we forget that marketing is absolutely essential that it has to be done well. But the problem is that most of it is anodyne and bland.
Marcus Cauchi: And what you get is this marketing morphine outpouring from corporations. And then sales people are expected to share this drivel and then they wonder why they've got, you know, terrible response rates. On Google advertising, yeah, roughly 1.9, 1% click through rate. Facebook 1.61. And the stalker ads that follow you around open rates on emails are shoddy as shit.
Marcus Cauchi: And the purchase rates on after they've opened are terrible too. So all of this stuff just seems like a world of noise. So customers must be certainly I feel it, cause I got about 500 emails a day, most of which are unsolicited .
Marcus Cauchi: And it's interesting that, that, that the journey that I've been on in terms of becoming an, an independent is that I, back in the day, my Michael Page days, would kind of joke to joke, to marketing going you're the coloring in department and you wouldn't have a job without the sales team generating the, you know, the, the revenue of course.
Marcus Cauchi: That was back in the day when social, the social selling kind of marks on social. Wasn't really a thing cause social media did didn't didn't exist. So I, if I reflect on it, the only reason most people took my call was they hadn't heard of Alexander Low, but they'd heard of Michael Page cause actually marketing were doing a good job in terms of brand positioning of Michael Page as a, I've heard of Michael Page as a company. So, yeah, you're rep reputable. I'm going, I'm gonna give you the extra 30 seconds to do your elevator pitch on the, on, on the phone. Fast forwards to what I've had to, I've had to become a pretty average, bad average marketing person as an independence to start those conversations with people who've never heard of me. To them go okay. So you seem to know what you're talking about based on what I find, when you put you into, into Google. You, you appear, so that kind of starts to vaguely validate you as an individual. Now, I'm gonna give you some, some more time. So I completely agree with you. It is this whole, you know, for me, it's my whole vault of fact, in terms of where sales fits within, within marketing.
Marcus Cauchi: And also to your point about the, the anodyne, amount of times you work with organizations and you challenge sales leaders, partners, lawyers, and you go look fundamentally, whether it's a Deloitte, a PWC, an ANO or a Clifford Chance, or a Microsoft or a Salesforce, they don't give a shit. You're all the same and fundamentally on paper, do exactly the same thing.
Marcus Cauchi: So why is it you, the individual that is instructed on that matter or instructed on that consulting gig, or why is it you, the salesperson that is bought for your, your CRM, your SUSS product. Which to all intents purposes is no different from everybody else there. It's you, the secret source and back to our points around the human that's, that's bringing something different and we get this kind of pause and reflection and I, I then flip it and I go, okay, this is typically when I'm talking about per personal brand.
Marcus Cauchi: If I were to pick up the phone to 10 of your cus your current kind of best customers, how would they describe to me what it is you or your product or service does for them. And I guarantee you I'll get 10 different answers. That's what we need to start distilling. And that's what you need to start drawing out from a marketing perspective and the messaging actually start playing back how your current customers perceive you and describe what you do, not what you think you do for your customer, your customers.
Marcus Cauchi: This then starts to get into the really interesting stuff around. And I know there's debate in, you know, the, the Justin Michael community and your chairman. One of the businesses as well, which debate around this intent data, psycho psychographic data. And the really clever stuff that's out there to start to really help you.
Marcus Cauchi: Almost jumpstart that conversation as to who your ideal customer you should be talking to at this point in time and picking up on your most recent podcast with Simon Severino. Was it? Around total addressable market, which I thought was just such, simple way to think about it. Your town is not your town. It's your town for that week is how he described it. So website visits, downloads all that kind of data. But again, how many organizations have I talked to where they haven't even got to some vague sophistication of tracking that? Because marketing is still KPId in a way that the board want to hear about visibility, numbers, this and that.
Marcus Cauchi: And get back to my James Langel days, they did, a video around, we designed our new, office space. This is a service we provide for our clients. So we thought we'd do it ourselves. Brilliant. Did a thing on YouTube 300,000 views on, on YouTube, highest ever viewed video in the commercial real estate search on YouTube.
Marcus Cauchi: Lots of awesome. That's brilliant. It's worked. My first question was where are the leads? And Mark went, oh, we weren't doing it for that. And I went, forget my lap, forget my language. But 300,000 views is a fucking waste of time then, because if it's 300,000 irrelevant people, then it's not necessarily done.
Marcus Cauchi: What maybe it was meant to do, which is yes showcase what we're good at but, and
We exist because of the customer
Marcus Cauchi: Again, I think there's this enormously important debate which I worry that too few organizations are having. A key question is why do we exist? We exist because of the customer. And I think that's definitely been forgotten because I think most organizations, particularly where they've been funded, think they exist because of the shareholder.
Marcus Cauchi: Then we have the people within the business and actually, if you look after them, they look after your customers and you have control over how you look after them. You don't have control over where the customers buy or don't buy. You only have the control of what you can do to get them to that point.
Marcus Cauchi: And they create these atrocious cultures, which encourage massive turnover of staff, mental ill health, churn of customers. Where is it economically sensible to lose nearly half of your customers every three years and just to stand still? You have to replace them which puts enormous strain and pressure on the sales function and the marketing function to produce leads and the metrics that are go, that are people are being measured by, are lagging indicators or vanity metrics.
Marcus Cauchi: They're not things that actually drive the business forward or drive the opportunity forward. But the senior management, has reached that point where they're fat, dumb and happy. All three of those, actually. So maybe I fit the bill. But they lack the imagination. And so they don't see the reality of what impact all of this is having. Because if you have unhappy people, your share price growth is less than a third of those organizations with happy people.
What makes for a great business?
Marcus Cauchi: Profitability per employee is less than a quarter of those with highly engaged staff. Revenue per employee is about half. Productivity is about 80% and turnover is 40% higher in companies with mildly engaged and actively disengaged staff than those with highly engaged staff. So I think we really have to fuel this debate about what makes for a great business?
Marcus Cauchi: What makes for great sales people, great managers, great leaders? And I think we took a really bad wrong turn 40 years ago when Milton fucking Friedman came up with a concept that businesses exist to serve shareholder value.
Two most common reasons why people leaving their sales roles
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. I completely agree. And it's the, you know, I reflect back on my, my recruitment days. The, the two reasons, the two most common reasons why people leaving their sales roles. Where they'd been stiffed on commission packages still completely stiff in terms of, I did what you told me to do now, all of a sudden that means you gotta pay me more than potentially the CEO.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, but that's what we agreed or toxic cultures. And what's interesting, kind of fast forwarding today around the, the, the social, the social selling aspect. I hate the term now. I think it's lost all meaning. Let's get real social selling is digital prospecting, social selling is top of funnel starting, conversations.
Marcus Cauchi: Yes, it can be then used to nurture and, and maintain. Or, it's used for referral selling, but that's still prospecting in terms of how you're using social to start a business conversation. Once that business conversation has started, then you need to move into your fundamentals of a good, a good sales process.
Marcus Cauchi: But then working with sales leaders, sometimes the feedback I've got over the years has been. I don't want you to make a rockstar kind of on social, if you will, of my sales team, because what if they become, what if they're, then they're now more visible? What if they then leave? And I went, that's nothing to do with them being social humans on LinkedIn or whatever the platform the platform is because the only reason they'll be leaving there's one or two things happening. And then that's a conversation you need to have, you know, have a reflection on either with your HR team in terms of the culture of the business, or you are not coming good on your promises around what you're gonna be paying from a revenue perspective.
Marcus Cauchi: And it reflects on, I did a, with the association of professional sales, which is now I think morphed into the institute sales management. Again, a number of years ago, senior leader from Oracle was there talking about how they try to incentivize their Oracle sales teams to sell smaller deals, revenue, but higher profitability.
Marcus Cauchi: And it didn't work because the sales team or the sales people, or the salesperson, whatever, the ones that sold the massive deals were always the ones that were celebrated. You know, by, you know, Larry and, and, and whomever, even if those deals weren't profitable. But because the number was like you just sold a million dollars or something.
Marcus Cauchi: Woah. Without even thinking about how much does it cost to get to that million dollars. And is that three year, five year contract actually gonna make us any money?
Marcus Cauchi: When they were trying to push the sales people to sell stuff, which they knew was profitable, but smaller and less sexy data set, because you had the people in lights going your, your, what?
Marcus Cauchi: This is what good looks like, what do we all do? We all gravitate to what the people we wanna look like. Right?
Develop a strong personal brand
Marcus Cauchi: That whole piece around recognition is very important. But you you've touched on that whole piece around personal brand. As a salesperson, I think unless you develop that strong personal brand, you will struggle to get a decent, next role because the first place people look nowadays is LinkedIn.
Marcus Cauchi: And you need to have created a position for yourself as someone who provides timely, contextually relevant, valuable insight and content.
Marcus Cauchi: There we go.
Marcus Cauchi: And I kind of slipped into it by accident. And I'm good at cold calling. You hate it. And I found that two things worked really well for me. One was social and the other was referral. And net result of that is I get between three and 12 inbound inquiries a week.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Marcus Cauchi: As a solopreneur, well, my wife and I that's actually more than adequate. So I spend most of my time tending stuff away and referring it on. And that again is another really powerful aspect. Which is, if you become a great referral source, you start developing an emotional bank account with a lot of people who want to help you. And that's been very powerful. So one of my daily habits is to refer, to give two good referrals by 12 o'clock every day. I'm not interested in the inbound, that's happening anyway. But helping other people. And that's then led me into the whole piece around. Strategic alliances, it's not the channel per se.
Marcus Cauchi: So they, you know, they're not a channel partner. They're an ally where we naturally sell into the same target audience, but we don't compete. And what we do is complimentary and where we bring, where we come together, we offer massive incontrovertible value and competitive advantage. And I think a lot of salespeople are very selfish.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
As a buyer, do you like buying from those people?
Marcus Cauchi: Because we've learnt to recruit self starters, lone wolf, money motivated, competitive, will to win sellers. But tell me this, as a buyer, do you like buying from those people?
Marcus Cauchi: It's interesting in terms of the, and just reflecting, just back on your earlier comments around HubSpot, you know, saying that social servers outperform, you know, non non-social servers. The LinkedIn talk about the same. Pinch a salt with that as with all these, because if you kind of delve into the small print, it's social as part of their wider, good sales process, which involves probably cold calling email marketing and everything supported, around that. If you then bring in the, the social aspect, build that personal brand, bringing value, become known, yes absolutely. And in terms of kind of the, the, the selfish, the selfish salesperson, that's just because how we, that's just the nature of the beast in terms of what this industry has, has, has created. I've worked across multiple industries, internal referral schemes just don't work. Even if you incentivize me with money, it just doesn't, it doesn't work because it's either, I can't be asked, I haven't got time or the systems to say shit.
Marcus Cauchi: I can't even find who the person is that I need to, to work with. Or back to your earlier points around CRM data. I tried this once that contact was out of date, I wasted 10 minutes of my life trying to get to that referral. And it's just not, it just hasn't worked therefore I'm not going to do it again, which then comes full circle back to people, incentivizing, you know, how, how, how we need to change all of this and maybe think differently about, and again. The customer first, I mean, Christ, I was taught about 20 years ago at Michael Page.
Marcus Cauchi: When I managed big accounts, like I didn't earn my stripes to get to manage lights, accounts of BT and IBM, I remember this one, one division of B. Well, firstly, I had to, I put the CRM system cause we lived and died by it. Didn't get paid if you didn't put it in there. BT house accounts do not prospect are you do not fly in speculative CVs because that's just, we've agreed to this in terms of our SLA. Time and time again, I get a call from an HRD going, what the fuck are your team doing?
Marcus Cauchi: You know, we shouldn't be doing this. So read them the right act have you read the rules of engagement? There's just one division. BT retail as was it's HRD senior lady, and we were always told even if the sales director approached us, tell them, have you done your six week internal recruitment process before going external?
Marcus Cauchi: Cause if you haven't, I can't work with you. Even if the sales director tells you, I can't be asked, I haven't got the candidates, you have to do that. This one HRD said, call me once a quarter. That's all I want to hear from you once a quarter. So I religiously did it for a year and a half. Got nothing, all my management going, what's going on.
Marcus Cauchi: You're not growing this aspect of BT. I said, I'm just doing what I'm being told by the, by the buyer right? Out of the blue, she then emails me going right. We're building an entire, an entirely new division, I want paid in the Telegraph and the times across the UK and I single handedly want you to run this campaign for my, for Michael Page. Which meant I had to go internally to break the rules cause how it was is that each consultant individually in their territories would, would run it.
Marcus Cauchi: And so I agreed with, with, with management. Everything would funnel up through me in terms of being the, the single point of recruitment. And I broke the record for a single quarter in terms of revenue. I think that 175 grand against the 50 grand target. And for, an amazing, 10 weeks, I was, numero uno on the sales leaderboard, UK for Michael Page. Where normally it was interim that always at the top is a piece of interim, recruitment.
You're only as good as your deal
Marcus Cauchi: But the fascinating thing is the minute I was no longer number one, management weren't interested. So back to how you were being treat the minute that it was no longer, oh, there's Alex from Michael Page sales. And number one, it's back to the back to the day job. You're only as good as your, your deal.
Dynamic guided selling
Marcus Cauchi: But the reason I cite that and to your point, mark is about buy, I did what the buyer told me to do. I followed their instructions to the hilts and then that's what's happened. And Seth Mars, if you're not people, your listeners, aren't following Seth Mars from Forrester, highly recommend you do because he's crafting some really interesting research around what they're referring to as dynamic guided selling. Which is sales and marketing need to come together as one. Sales and marketing data have to now work together so that, you know, to your point, mark, stop working on historical data, start going to where the buyers are, rather than where they have been. And they either just released February, March of this year 60% of the respondents said they could now this is focused on SUSS, SUSS, and technical buyers or products and services. 60% or so of their respondents so they could short list purely on digital content alone. So they don't even need to talk to a salesperson. If you believe the Gartner research out there saying that's now for the millennial buyer. If you, if you will, one of three, don't want to talk to a salesperson at all. Now it's not saying I don't wanna talk to a human being in the sales process. I just don't wanna be sold to. So this whole dynamic is actually the buyer. And this has been talked about for years is now really starting to force the change. So organizations need to get their head around this, which fundamentally to go and talk to your customers, have a human conversation with them.
How can technology support and augment the human in all of this to give your buyer a better overall experience?
Marcus Cauchi: Then start to look at how can technology support and augment the human in all of this to give your buyer a better overall experience. Because we are moving into the experience economy. If you look at all, what consulting firms are talking about, and every organization's been given leeway over the last 15 months or so in terms of this virtual world, we now find ourselves in. But now, these kind of zoom environments, these hybrids environments, we're gonna have to move into the organizations that start to nail that experience digitally.
Marcus Cauchi: Will start to win and win big. And what I mean by that is back to your point around marketing leads sales, every time prospect customer touches an organization, digital, physical, they, they, they are feeling experiencing something. So I bank with Northwest, can't be asked to change. Wouldn't hate going into the retail environment, the physical store of, of Northwest, cause the experience sucked.
Marcus Cauchi: I just knew it was gonna be horrible. The banking app, the digital app is bloody good actually. It's really, really good experience in terms of how it works and how you can, personalize it to, to yourself. I also pay too much money for a platinum Amex card on an annual basis. The Amex experience digitally is shit.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, it's my expectation is that's costing me close to a thousand pounds a year to pay for this card.
Alex Low: Natwest isn't, but the Natwest experiences is better. So Natwest has now set that bench for me. As a consumer, as a customer of what that experience should be. We will start to see this in the digital world.
Alex Low: So if I'm following PWC, I used to work there. It's fascinating how they are now investing heavily in AR and VR to start to give their clients and graduates and onboarding a very different experience. And if they nail that, suddenly everybody else is gonna have to catch up with them because they go, well, hang on a second. If PWC can do this, why can't you do it? Or if Microsoft can do this, why can't Salesforce do this? And that's, I think we're in a, it's gonna be exciting.
Marcus Cauchi: The digital gossip is really important and I think people underestimate it .And we are social creatures and we will work on the basis of recommendations and so social proof is really important. Gathering testimonials is really key. I've won at least 12 pieces of business because of the testimonials on my LinkedIn profile. And there's an app that's being developed by Chris Williamson called . So he's from Yorkshire. What it is, is an app that you send a link before you visit the prospect and they then rate your performance as a salesperson. And that score follows you round. Whichever jobs now that's gonna be really interesting cause the, the good will rise to the top. And if you have an average or poor Ask him, score you won't be putting it on your CV and then that will raise the question why not?
Alex Low: Flip that then, if you're not getting a good score, I would then hope that leadership would try and help and coach that person to go okay what can we do to help you rather than, oh, your ship will fire you and bring another person into, you know, into fill those into fill those shoes. Cause SDR AE salespeople you, you can afford your 10 a penny.
How to measure success?
Marcus Cauchi: But Alex, this sense speaks to another fundamentally flawed problem with leadership, investors, leadership and management, which is how they measure success and how they are incentivized and how they then filter the, you know, their behavior, filters into the culture of the organization. And they then create the conditions where salespeople are forced to behave transactionaly. You spoke to something, really important with your Michael Page example with BT, you need to maintain the conversation during the fallow times.
Marcus Cauchi: Your content needs to consistently deliver value. I, I take issue with one thing that you said, which is, I think social is incredibly powerful for helping you to nurture and advance the middle and the bottom of the funnel as well. So when I, engage with the prospect, I will produce relevant content and tag them to continue the conversation online where it's asynchronous so they can look at that stuff whenever they feel the urge and that moves the conversation forward because it, speaks to a particular aspect of their pain or the better future that they're trying to achieve.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think far, far too often the management and leadership is pushing activity over meaningful action. Pushing the transaction over the relationship. And they're pushing the commission over the customer. And that's all us about face, if we did not as a profession, learn to appreciate that if you are on the receiving end of one of our touches and it makes your skin crawl and you want to wash afterwards, then all you're gonna end up with is a lot of ghosting. You're gonna have this fictional pipeline, you're going to spend 80% of your time as a seller chasing people, you sort of closed or disqualified on the last call. And 88% of meetings on average, first meetings on average, do not result in a second.
Marcus Cauchi: And if salespeople use psychographics in order to be able to rank a prospect list in terms of those most likely to engage today, they invested time in research, planning and rehearsal, and I've referred to, great example of this Bill Bain and before Bill Bain and Bain and Co would approach a customer for the first time they would put in at least a hundred hours of research. They would identify 40, 50, 60 different areas that they could help. And their opening message was Alex, we've identified 67 ways that we can help you improve your business, recognize that you don't have the time, money or resource to cover all 67. Let's have a 20 minute chat to identify the dozen or so that you can, and that's how they built their business.
Marcus Cauchi: And you've got to put in the time. I've interviewed dozens of CXOs. And without exception, when you asked them what was the best buying experience you've ever had dealing with a salesperson? Every single time they came in, they'd obviously done their research, they challenged my thinking, they helped me gain insight, which was valuable to me, and I knew that I had to invite them back. And when that I invited them back, they were equally prepared, they managed my expectations all the way through, and at the end, I got a better outcome than the one I was originally expecting. And often I didn't even need realize I needed their help.
Alex Low: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Now, sorry, go on.
They hate to be sold, they love to buy
Alex Low: No, no. I agree with you. And so into your point around, I get a bit around on, on social and digital, and I agree with you. Absolutely, a hundred percent is, is, is great for nurturing. It's more frustrations is you see too many people trying to sell over social. And that's where the kind of the, the, the disconnect is.
Alex Low: So of course those digital touch points are, are critical through maintaining when you are not, you're not, you're not in the room. But if reflect back on what you've just said around that buyer experience, there's a knowledge out there that people shouldn't feel they've been sold too. People buy it.
Marcus Cauchi: They hate to be sold. They love to buy.
Alex Low: Ex- exactly. And that's, there's a brilliant book, called Getting Naked by Marcus Chiconi. I'll share the link with the officer
Marcus Cauchi: It's it's Patrick Lencioni.
Alex Low: Patrick Lencioni. Thank you.
Alex Low: Again, a great read around how the fable of these two consulting firms and the one that basically went straight, straight in and consulted straight out the gate, rather than, you know, going in and doing the hard, the, kind of the hard pitch.
Alex Low: And it's just like, it's fascinating. And that's part of how in my style, my style of approach is going in. I've got sales navigator so I can look straight. I can already identify the problem that none of your salespeople are on social. Because I can see that. So here's some data in terms of, back, you know, backing that up.
Alex Low: And here's some data that if you do this, this and this and this, would that be helpful? Yes. Cool. Well, let's just rock and roll. See, see how that, you know, see how that, that goes. But again, that's, it, it comes back to, you know, touching on your point around the very first question that proved to me any, any of this works is that I don't want my sales team messing around on social. I don't see the value. If they're messing around on social, then they're not doing the dials or they're not doing the emails, or they're not doing the sales thing that I did 20 years ago, which was pre-social, which was what, which was all you could do.
Marcus Cauchi: Let let me just intervene at this point to back up your point. On average, today, and this is based on 40 million cold calls a year. The average dial to effective rate is 33 to one, unless you're calling senior executives in IT in which case it's 46 to one. Effectives to first meeting is 14 to one. So you get through to another human being and the only relevant one in 14 times.
Marcus Cauchi: And then this is the most depressing statistic. 88% of first meetings do not result in a second. Now you've just spent a fortune acquiring leads, having marketing go through and qualify them to marketing qualified leads standard. Then to get them to a sales qualified lead, you are talking about 350 dials. You get them to first meeting and you blow it seven out of eight times. Which means that on average, you have a 0.03% effective dial to advancement efficiency. That's 3,240 dials. Now just think about that. As a sales leader or a sales manager, you're asking your sales people to make three, three and a quarter thousand dials. To get an opportunity to second stage. Even if your numbers are one in five, one in five, one in two, it's a hideously inefficient process. And if you're not putting in the research, if you're not prioritizing to speak to those people who are open to a sales conversation and instead, you're speaking to people who are either making space for a problem or learning how, where they want to remain anonymous.
Ways to be more productive
Marcus Cauchi: All of that is dead time. And pre COVID the average first person was 25 to 35% productive in any given working day. So, three quarters to two thirds of your salary bill is wasted on unproductive activity. Surely the question going through any same manager or leader's mind is what can I do to help them be more productive? Why would I not adopt these technologies? Why would I not want them to be effective on social media?
Alex Low: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Why would I not want them to develop a systematic approach to referral? Why would I not want them to work with strategic alliance farmers who are already engaged with people we want to sell to. So instead of going from us to a cold prospect, we're going from us through a partner to a hot prospect where the conversion rate is at least three times higher. Because at the end of the day, I want to go to the bank and I wanna keep going to the bank. So why would I not then go back to my existing customers? And I see this all the time. We want hunters. Well, I want a hunter with a plow. I want someone who will sell through the idea of pods is brilliant. But again, I think compensation needs to be addressed where you make some money for winning the logo and getting the initial transaction.
Marcus Cauchi: But a lot of tech companies have built their model on consumption. So why not have consumption targets? Adoption targets? Heaven forbid that we actually deliver the result the customer wants. That's when I think you should have a really big payout. And I think on the third renewal you should have a really big payout as well.
What would be the roadmap that you would prescribe to get them started?
Marcus Cauchi: I think that should be celebrated because the customer has come back and they've come back again and again. Tell me this, cuz we're coming to the top of the hour. If you were to advise somebody who was new to a management role and their team was not heavily involved in social in any way, shape or form, what would be the roadmap that you would prescribe to get them started?
Alex Low: You need to kind of just kind of forget everything you, you think about social. And my first quarter call will be, go and talk to customers, go and understand what they do and how do they consume social. What social channels are they on? B2B primarily, it's going to be a LinkedIn and Twitter. You might get some surprises in terms of Facebook, Instagram, even TikTok.
Alex Low: It's crazy with the sort of B2B shift I'm starting to see in there more from a recruitment perspective. And then it's around understanding outcomes. So what, what is the big plan? What are you trying to achieve in terms of where do you want to go? And then it's working back through that. And then it's understanding where, where is social relevant to this, this point.
Alex Low: And then it's like pipeline. If we were able to add x onto your pipeline. Would that be a good thing to do? And the way that I do do this with this, calculation, let's say you have 10 sales people and they are each able to generate one more warm inbound lead through social over a, a 12 month period. Your just call it 10,000 pounds.
Alex Low: Your average contract value is 10,000 pounds. 10 by 10 is an extra a hundred thousand pounds worth of pipeline. On top of your existing pipeline, activity. Now, if they did that once a quarter, now, if they did that once a month, that's when people start to go, okay, then I go, okay, let's look at your entire employee base.
Alex Low: How many employees do you have on, on LinkedIn? A hundred, 500. Okay. Every single person in this company has a connection to somebody at a company. So if we were able to activate that referral network and each employee were able to generate one unique referral over a 12 month period, now let's do 500 times 10 grand in terms of pipeline, worth of, you know, warm, opportunity.
Alex Low: That's usually when they start to go. Hmm. Hadn't necessarily thought about it from that, that perspective. And then it's the, then two things need to run in parallel. Then it's the behavior change required to get you the leader and the sales team to start thinking more socially. Permission needs to be had. So that typically then we absolutely need to bring in marketing. We probably need to bring in, in brand because this isn't about broadcasting corporate. This is about broadcasting. The, this is about bringing the individual to life to your earlier point about the bringing the bringing, value piece.
Alex Low: This takes time, you might get lucky in a 24 hour period. And I have customers that have done that. It might take you a couple of, a couple of, a couple of months, and then it's starting to over time, work out. This won't be for everybody and nor should it be, but you'll have a small proportion in your team who are probably brilliant content creators, and should be allowed to flourish around that.
Alex Low: And the person that springs to mind, you know, in the UK is Tom Boston from SalesLoft in terms of the journey that he's taken as, as an SDR. Through his ability to leverage contents, leverage kind of the humor of, of sales as become of become a lead generation in, you know, engine just by himself to the point he still prospects.
Alex Low: He still does outbound, but here's the point when he does it. People have already heard of him. They already know who, who he is and, and Salesloft are. Then it's the back to our earlier point in the conversation, your, your CRM process.
Alex Low: How are you recording this? How are you recording that, that action led to that thing? That team link introduction through sales navigator did this, that person wrote a blog post that generated that, that conversation. Cause if you are then not starting to record, how will this conversation was originated then unfortunately you can't prove that any of this works, but there,
Marcus Cauchi: It can't replicate it either because if identified not only which medium generated it but you've got documentation to be able to then copy it or replicate it. Then you can't scale. What flabbergasts me is the amount of wasted energy that seems to be acceptable. I'm pretty rude in scathing about most marketing, because it is doll bland, anodyne. It's technical gobbledygook, certainly in the text phase.
Marcus Cauchi: You look at their website and you read them and you think, unless I'm an engineer, I won't understand half of this. And why would I give a that, even if I was an engineer and then you think about the way they market through until, and for their channel. That's appalling, then you've got all these people in sales using that bland, dull, and anodyne stuff. In order to develop their talk tracks and attempt to create conversations. That's why those things, those numbers that I quoted earlier are so poor. I know people who will, spend 20 minutes a day on the phone and book three meetings. They don't need more than three meetings, a, three meetings a day booked. In fact, that puts them at such a stretch that they can hardly cope.
What one choice, bit of advice would you give the idiot Alex aged 23, that he would've probably ignored?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this you've got a golden ticket and you can fly back in time and advise the idiot, Alex, age 23. What one choice, bit of advice would you give him that, you know, he would've probably ignored?
Alex Low: I, if I doubled down on LinkedIn, way back, way back when versus using it as a recruitment tool, I think that I've been a different place, a different place now, but I think in terms of something that's useful is always looked forward and don't look back. And it certainly sales is hard and sometimes in life, if it isn't for you, that's okay. And I've had this, you know, with, in my Michael Page days, there's some recruitment consultants who are bloody nice people. They just weren't good sales people just wasn't mean they're bad at sales. Go and find something that you are passionate about.
Ability to be the master of your own destiny
Alex Low: I think what's interesting today for, for sales is that you now have the ability to be the master of your own destiny because about 20 plus years ago, we didn't have what we had have now today is this access to knowledge and information and everything that can be, you know, can be done there. So you see the likes of the sales drivens appearing up. You see the likes of what Rob's doing at white, you know, white rabbit kind of popping up .All these kind of fascinating things. And yeah so it's keep on trucking really, and just keep, keep looking forward. It's never personal. If someone hangs up on you, you don't know, what's back to the human point.
Alex Low: You don't know what what's happened to that person the day they could a row with their wife, they could have had a tax bill come through. They could have had all, all sorts, all sorts of things. It's never, it's never you, 99% of the, of the time .And long answer, one thing I did learn the hard ways, manage up the skill of managing up in terms of if something's about, if something's going wrong and you can't fix it, deal with it then and go to management and go are fucked up.
Alex Low: And I think this is gonna happen. Can you help? Cause I tried to do something myself in terms of avoid the conversation, which would've meant I wouldn't hit my target. Then it all came out in the, in, in the open anyway. And it just , it wasn't a good experience for me. It, my me and my manager. So the art of managing up, if you see something's happening and it's gonna go sideways, nip it in the bud, then cause it's much better to have that conversation now than it is a week, two weeks, three months down the line when it's far, far worse.
What content would you suggest people pay attention to books, audios, podcasts?
Marcus Cauchi: Definitely don't be afraid of confrontation deal with. Yeah. Okay. So what content would you suggest people pay attention to books, audios ,podcasts?
Alex Low: Yeah. So, podcast mine, obviously Death of a Salesman. What the ones I listen to? So My First Millions actually is brilliant, which is Sean Purey and oh, the other chappy name who escape me.
Alex Low: They set up the hostel, which has just been sold to HubSpot. And it's brilliant. They get some really fascinating, you know, leaders in terms of across all industries and how they made their first, their first millions. They've got a brilliant Facebook group, which I'm a part of loads of kind of entrepreneurial people there. Just lots of ideas, kind of to, to kick around. So my first millions or MFM on all on all channels, in terms of books, Eric Siegel, Predictive Analytics is a brilliant, brilliant read. We've touched on Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni is brilliant, a brilliant read. In terms of that and read books that aren't in your industry.
Alex Low: Look outside of your industry and try and learn from what other people are doing. And the other thing, this is such an easy hack for sales people, go you know, you mentioned Bain mark is go to the big management consulting firms, go and find the partners that are the experts on the business challenges faced by the industry you sell into. You have free content and you have free ideas in terms of, I know that your industry is facing this, research from CFOs, from Bain McKinsey, say this, do you agree?
Alex Low: And then tie that into how does your products and service solve that business challenge, which has been, which has been talked about these, the, the management consultants.
Marcus Cauchi: You touched on something that's desperately deficient in sales people and in sales training, which is the whole piece around business acumen.
Marcus Cauchi: If you don't understand the implications, the jobs that they're trying to get done, they're struggling moments, then you have no business picking up the phone or emailing or inflicting your crappy content on them. You've got to put it into the context in which your customers live and breathe.
Alex Low: It's all out there, it's all on, it's all out there. You know, go adventures. The PWCs, the banks, McKinsey. It's all there.
How can people get a hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Alex, how can people get a hold of you?
Alex Low: I'm on LinkedIn, Alexander Low Twitter, @alexander_low Instagram, Facebook, TikTok I'm ashamed to say. But LinkedIn is the, probably the best place to start by.
Alex Low: Of course mention this podcast. If you've listened to it, I'm always happy to talk.
Marcus Cauchi: Fabulous. Thank you, Alexander Low.
Alex Low: My pleasure Marcus. Thank You.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent.
Marcus Cauchi: So this is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from The Inquisitor Podcast. If you found this useful, insightful, then please like, comment and share it and tag someone who would benefit from listening to it. And do subscribe if you feel the urge, go to Apple or Google podcast and give an honest review, I'd be very grateful .Now uh, if you wanna get hold of me, email@example.com.
Marcus Cauchi: In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling.
Marcus Cauchi: Bye-bye.