What suggestions would Alexine Mudawar make for businesses looking to improve their predictive hiring?
Alexine Mudawar suggests that businesses learn what qualities make a good sales candidate and what qualities do not, slow down the hiring process, and observe the top sales representatives in the organization to understand their daily routines, work ethics, and intellectual curiosity in order to hire people with similar traits.
What characteristics did the top managers Alexine Mudawar has worked with possess?
The finest managers for Alexine Mudawar are those who believe in and respect their abilities and capabilities, are ready to help them out administratively, and are willing to jump on calls to close agreements.
How should a perfect compensation plan for an SDR be created?
It's a challenging question, but one strategy is to hire SDRs and have them perform high volume interactions on a variety of accounts in order to lay a lot of touches on different accounts and increase brand awareness. Another strategy is to hyper-focus on and target a particular subset of enterprise accounts, comping them on sale.
What is Alexine Mudawar now learning and struggling with?
Due to her high ramp phase and new ideal customer profile, Alexine Mudawar is currently learning a completely new industry and getting to know her customers better.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome back to The Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today, I'm delighted to have us, my guest Alexine Mudawar. She is a major account sales executive with Displayr.
Quick introduction to your background
Marcus Cauchi: Alexine, would you mind giving us a quick introduction to your background, please?
Alexine Mudawar: Yes. Hi everyone. Um, so my name is Alexine Mudawar. I've spent the last seven plus years in enterprise sales.
I work directly with our clients to try to match them with the solutions that make the most sense for them. And I have also spent, um, much of my time the last few years outside of work, actually teaching sales related content and courses through different programs, Aspireship, Victory Lap, and Rework training.
Can you remember what it was like right at the beginning?
Marcus Cauchi: That's really helpful. Alexine, in tell me something the, the journey to go from newbie to enterprise sales people, uh, salesperson is a tough one. Can you remember what it was like right at the beginning and what was good about that and, uh, things that perhaps could have [00:01:00] been done better?
Alexine Mudawar: Absolutely.
Yeah. I mean, at the beginning I came into sales, not really knowing what tech sales was. I didn't understand what an online platform was. Or any of the sales jargon that we use today. So I think I came in very green and I think there's good with that because you're so open to learning and you're just wanting to absorb everything as quickly as possible. So there's a lot of good there, but I obviously had a huge learning curve as far as learning a lot of the terminology, understanding a sales journey and a sales process. So, yeah, so I mean, definitely at the beginning, my way into the industry was just cold calling. My rear end off until I got really comfortable having conversations with companies.
So there really wasn't any glamor behind it. We didn't have a lot of automation tools or anything along those lines. It was just really me making calls and trying to get engaged with buyers. And then learning as I went, I would hear, you know, different things and, you know, we had kind of worksheets or different resources.[00:02:00]
But what I noticed is I was hearing kind of the same, like five objections on every single cool call. They were just phrased differently. So I started to kind of create my own resources, my own library that then I worked off of, and it started to just become second nature, but it was a lot of, uh, learning on the go for sure.
What was the turnover in the sales team like?
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this, so if you look back at your early days, what was the turnover in the sales team like?
Alexine Mudawar: Uh, heavy. I think, I, I don't know that that's changed a ton either. If I'm being perfectly honest, so you know, and I think part of that was that it was a mix. I mean, we did have people that were like eight to 10 years into sales.
I, I, of course was coming basically straight out of college. So a little bit different. But you had people kind of still discovering, do I even wanna be in sales? So there was a lot of that type of turnover, which is a lot different than now, you know, seven, eight years. And you're, you know, there's less of that, but we did have a lot of turnover, you know, throughout the years, but definitely at the beginning too.
Cause I think some people were like, do I wanna do [00:03:00] customer success? I seen a lot of people that were in that first company with me, moved to CS roles, moved to solutions consulting, moved to account management. A lot of people moved to account management actually. So I think, you know, it was a, a self discovery moment for a lot of us.
And do we wanna be in this or not?
What advice would you give them in terms of becoming better at predictive hiring?
Marcus Cauchi: So if you were to go back in time and advise those companies that you worked with early in your career, what advice would you give them in terms of becoming better at predictive hiring?
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah. So, I mean, it's interesting. I think, you know, before you even think about like the individual hiring, I think one of the biggest pieces, most of the companies that I worked with all received heavy funding within those beginning years.
And so a lot of times what would happen, we'd get the funding. And then we would explode in terms of sales, hiring growth. And what happened was a lot of times that a lot of those hires didn't stick because we had kind of a hiring quota [00:04:00] that we needed to fill really quickly. So I think first and foremost, I would get really familiar with what was working as a sales candidate and what wasn't, and then, you know, kind of slow down on the hiring and be a little bit more conscientious with it.
But I know that that's not always an option. But then on the individual level, I would really study. Um, and we started to do this in the past, but I would really study some of those top sales people. What you'll realize is there are things that all the top sales people have in common, but there's things that they don't like.
We're all kind of like weird our own breed. But there are parallels between like work ethic, between the types of deals that we would focus on, the way we would prospect was different than other people. So I think I would get really, really just about getting to know maybe my top five sales people, or really sit down with them and understand what does their day to day process look like.
Do they work off of a sales methodology? Are they doing like outside learnings? You know, just try to get like a feel for them and then try to use that to, you know, hire similar, similar folks.
Marcus Cauchi: So what were the red [00:05:00] threads that ran through all the top performers?
Alexine Mudawar: I think, you know, it's varied over the years, but I think usually a lot of us were still scheduling our own meetings.
Like we were still doing kind of that full cycle sales rep. We weren't leaning on an SDR team to create our pipeline for us. And then I think outside of that, a lot of continued learners. So like folks that weren't content with just knowing, like I already sold this and I'm really good at selling. So then I don't really need to do anything else.
It was more of this, hey, I did sell this but you know, there's also this big deal that I sold and I don't totally understand, like what worked about that. So like, I'm gonna learn more about complex deal cycles or I'm gonna study more about new prospecting methodologies. So I think that there's this continued learning or this intellectual curiosity that a lot of those top sales people have.
Marcus Cauchi: So a strong self-motivated learning habit.
Alexine Mudawar: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: Process orientated? I'm guessing quite a bit of planning went into you. As you [00:06:00] became more experienced, you spent more time planning.
Alexine Mudawar: Yes. Yeah.
What were the qualities of the best managers?
Marcus Cauchi: What were the qualities of the best managers that you worked with?
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah, so I think, you know, for me, for instance, right now, my, I have a really strong manager right now. And I think what I like is a manager who trusts you and your abilities and knows that you're skilled and they know why you, they brought you into the organization, but is also ready to kind of block and tackle for you. That's my favorite type of manager is like, what is this like one admin task that's gonna take you away from doing like 20 or 30 calls today?
And then let me take that and you do your calls. Like that's the kind of manager that gets me hungry and gets me excited because I want someone that kind of will get into the come to the front lines with me or someone that's willing to jump on calls if like last minute I'm like, oh, there's, you know, this call and I have this closing call. Do you wanna get in here with, and they're like, yeah, let's do this. Let's go. So I think that's the type of manager that I get really excited about, but [00:07:00] definitely the blocking and tackling piece, I think that's such an integral piece. Like the managers that I haven't had success with in the past were ones where you know, if there was something like that and I was bringing it up in like 15 one on ones, for instance, and I'm like, there's this one admin task that's like really taking me away from my job. Is there a way that we could automate this? And if that never went anywhere, that for me was always difficult to build rapport with that manager.
So how much of your time is currently spent in coaching where you are being coached?
Marcus Cauchi: So that strikes me as a function. One of the most critical functions of management, which is coaching, not only the coaching part but the listening and taking action. So how much of your time is currently spent in coaching where you are being coached?
Alexine Mudawar: So I'm in my first quarter at my new role, um, I actually just hit my first quota. So I'm excited about that last week, but so right now there is like, definitely, probably more coaching than there will be next quarter for instance. But a lot of that is [00:08:00] more like product knowledge and like industry understanding. So right now I would say more towards like maybe 15 to 20%, but I see that dripping down to like 10 to 15% next quarter.
And then I feel like it kind of stagnates around 10% for me is like a healthy range because for me I'm very time focused. Everything in my calendar is like blocked off and very religious about how I organize my time. And so anything that kind of takes me away from that, I want it to be like a very conscientious use of time because otherwise I see it as money coming outta my pocket.
So I think you know right now we, as a team do trainings like a couple times a week. We have two team trainings. One's like more product focus, one is more like sales focused. And I really like that. I'm like, here's these two chunks of time I'm aware of they're coming up, they're in my week. And then I have my one-on-one with my manager where I know that I can make my list of to-dos.
And with that, I usually will put in like skill based stuff. Or here's a [00:09:00] competitor whose name I'm hearing come up a lot. Can we talk about throwing fun around that competitor? So there's just things like that where we it's more scheduled. So for me, I like that type of coaching where it's a little bit more regimented.
And that's what's working well for me right now.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. Well that's all great advice. Tell me this then, in terms of the planning habit, talk to me about your planning habits.
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah. I mean, I'm a little, I'm a little bit of a control freak, so preface with that. But I think for me, one of the biggest things, you know, going back to your earlier question for me, starting out in sales, I was super disorganized and my, I was using like my calendar on my computer.
I was using like paper calendars. I have like post-it notes. My whole desk was covered in post-it notes and it worked for that specific scenario. But if I would've tried to like use that for any other jobs, it would've been a nightmare. So I think for me, it was like a necessity to get time management skills and I'm still [00:10:00] working on it, you know, to this day it's not perfect, but now I'm to the point where whatever's on my calendar for the day, all of my tasks that I have set up, like I have to get through those.
And I'm also a little bit different in the sense that I don't work out of flows or automation tools for my outreach. I manually do outreach, which I realized for some people is a terrifying thought. But for me, I have a system built in, I use tasks outta Sales Force and I can move through those quickly. And I'm able to do usually a minimum of 50 touches a day between phones and emails.
So that for me works but a lot, again, a lot of it is just having, it was like a force that had to occur. I had to get organized and I had to figure out how to structure my day, because what I noticed was I'm sure you've had this too. I was losing time. So as I looked back on the day, I would like get done with the day, you know, for instance, a few years ago.
And I'm like, what did I work on between 12 to 3? What was happening during that time? So I didn't get any prospecting [00:11:00] done. I'm not sure what I was working on. And a lot of times what happened was it was like at random admin tasks and the stuff that I could have done on off hours. So I really got serious the last few years, especially, and getting that a lot more structured and organized so that I just had a, uh, a plan for the day and I knew what I had to do.
And then I also, so I'm kind of block and tackling my own calendar too, where I'm saying like, these things are not an activity due at 1:00 PM central time when that's like prime calling hours. Uh, this is something I can do at 5:00 PM or at the end of the day.
Understand the difference between pay time and no pay time
Marcus Cauchi: So, great bit of advice from Alexine here, time, block your calendar and understand the difference between pay time and no pay time. No pay time activities are things that like admin filling out the CRM, emails, that kind of stuff. Pay time is time where you can speak to real life human beings. I think, um, something that you've touched on here, which is really interesting as well, is that you take on [00:12:00] responsibility for filling your own pipeline?
I'm probably gonna get lynched for saying this, but I, I think that the automation of a lot of the outreach and the outsourcing to SDRs has either de-skilled or made people lazy. And I think to a large extent, what it's also done is dehumanized the sales process. Because if you are personalizing each touch, then you're humanizing it. And I think one of the problems is that we get so inundated with drivel in our inbox, interrupted all day. And an interruption takes seven minutes to recover your concentration from. Plus the time that it takes to deal with the interruption. So if you get 10 interruptions a day, that's 70 minutes lost on concentration recovery and 50 minutes, that's 120 minutes.
Say no to interruptions
Marcus Cauchi: You've just lost two hours of production. So get really ruthless and, and disciplined [00:13:00] in saying no to these interruptions. And strike for your time so that you can apply the relevant behavior in the time available, particularly in those precious pay time hours.
Alexine Mudawar: And one thing too, I, I saw post about this recently because I agree with the personalization piece. I think that compensation drives behavior though. So we have these SDR teams that are comped on like whatever, a hundred, 125 touches a day. Are they gonna be able to personalize every one of those? No, absolutely not. So I think like that's an interesting kind of thread to chase too, is what are, what are we doing with, you know, these folks that have these KPIs and like, how do we expect them to do this?
So I also think there's like another layer, to be honest that's which emails do I put or which outreach do I put the effort into hyper personalizing? Because sometimes it doesn't make sense. Like sometimes, like we I'm sure you know that like sometimes you have these leads and there's kind of sketchy, or you're not sure you can't find anything on LinkedIn.
I [00:14:00] can't burn through 20 minutes trying to like scrape every piece of source of the internet to find this person. Sometimes it makes more sense just to do outreach, but most of the time, to your point, it does make sense to hyperpersonalize. But I think that goes back to that compensation drives behavior piece. And what are we compensating our SDRs on and unless it's revenue, which it hardly ever is. I mean, usually there's like a kicker for revenue. Then it's gonna be difficult for us to ever get to a point where SDRs for instance, are really, really incentivized on doing some of this hyper personalized outreach.
So I am like very empathetic to KPIs and things like that cause I've been there and I've done the a hundred fifty, a hundred seventy five cold calls a day. So, so it's interesting. I kind of walk in both fields.
Never sacrifice effectiveness for efficiency
Marcus Cauchi: Well, I wanna take your point further, cause I think it's extremely valid. The first is never sacrifice effectiveness for efficiency, which is what a lot of these, uh, systems are doing.
And don't confuse [00:15:00] activity with behavior. Just be being busy and looking busy, isn't producing a result. And I think a lot of these compensation schemes in these KPIs start from the wrong premise. Which is where, where they should start is what is the outcome that we desire. What's the outcome we're trying to achieve and just throwing, forgive me, but lots of shit at the wall and hoping some of it sticks.
That's not going deliver the result, except occasionally and that's not replicable because you don't really know why it stuck. If you did fewer calls of higher quality, if you sent fewer emails of higher quality and you started out by doing your research and started out by targeting the right people in the first place, instead of anybody with a job title, then you'd end up with people who are far more engaged, who are doing more interesting work, who are more effective and who are filling the pipeline with quality prospects [00:16:00] instead of any. The three highest didn't cost in any business are wrong hires, you hire the wrong sales person in enterprise and it can cost 35 to 125 times salary.
Let that sink in for a second. Okay. 35 to 125 times salary. So high or, well, the second thing is the hidden cost of sale, hidden cost of sale. And if you think about this out of a hundred sales cycles, 60 will end up in no decision. So we need to get good at disqualifying out rather than qualifying in, because if it's gonna end up in the status quo, we really need to find out is that gonna be the case of the remaining 40%, three quarters of those, so about 29.6% go to the vendor that disrupts their current setup. So they come with a message that destabilizes their current preferences and can demonstrate the [00:17:00] cost of staying stuck over changing. Now the remaining 10.4% go to bid. Now, what that means is on average, you have a one in 38.5 chance of winning cuz you only have a one in four chance outta that 10.4, which is 2.6%. That's one in 38 and a half buying cycles that you start, uh, you start that end up closing. So ask yourself better questions is what we are doing, serving us. Is it serving our customers? Cuz if what we're doing is interrupting people constantly with stuff that is irrelevant, uh, unwelcome, then we are not gonna advance the sale. All we're doing is just, uh, racking up costs and burning through people. So tell me this. If you were to take a blank sheet of paper and design the compensation scheme in an ideal world, how would you choose to do [00:18:00] it for an SDL?
Alexine Mudawar: So I've been part of this process before, and so it's hard because you
Marcus Cauchi: Don't pay this big bucks cause it's easy.
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah, no, it's, it is a tough question. So here's the, like you take it back. So there are a few different schools of thought. It's like, you know, either you can lay a lot of touches on all of these different accounts and get your brand name out there more. Maybe it's not the way that maybe it's not perfect, but at least they're starting to hear your name. We've done that with the market and been really successful before. So that's where you get into it makes more sense to hire SDRs and have them do high volume touches. If you just wanna get the word out, you just wanna get your name out and you wanna lay touches in as many companies as possible.
That's one approach. If you wanna do more of like the account based marketing methodology, and you're really only targeting like a really specific subset of like enterprise accounts, like these fortune [00:19:00] 500 or fortune 1000 companies, and that's like, really where you wanna hyper focus, then I think you should comped them on sales or revenue. And so, but I think that's a tough one because then what are you gonna do? Are you gonna have SDRs, just sit there for a year, not getting paid on anything and tell those, cuz those enterprise deals typically take 8 to 12 months if not 12 to 24 months. So then are they just gonna do what for that two years?
You know, and then also how do you then say that, that was a successful SDR when their deals are taking, you know, when you don't know for another, for at least a year that they're even producing. So I think that I understand and empathize from the company point of view too, because I think it's hard. I think that the one thing that you can control is meeting set. So that's where I don't know if I would lean as heavily on, I think I would, what I would do is like a suggested number of touches, like some kind of like suggested threshold of touches. That's maybe 50 to 75 a [00:20:00] day would probably be my target range. And then I would have a meeting set goal. And then from there, the idea would be then the meetings that they schedule the AE can then either say yes or no to, and move it forward in the sales function and then have them be comped on. You know, maybe have two things, maybe have them be comped on what meetings are scheduled and then maybe what meetings actually moved into like sales qualified status, or maybe just the ones that moved into sales, qualified status. I don't know. So I think that's a tough one, but I think about this a lot because it's like, I don't think anybody has a winning formula yet and I've done it where we comped based on discovery calls scheduled.
I've done it where we comped on demo scheduled. The problem was when you did demo scheduled sometimes the AE, like for instance, a company wouldn't reschedule or something happened. And then the AE wouldn't like be incentivized or motivated to get the call scheduled right away. So you have all these different intricacies where the SDR loses control [00:21:00] of it.
But I guess that's, I would focus on like a suggested number of touches a day scheduled meetings and then sales qualified leads. And somehow those three, I would tie together to make a comped plan.
Marcus Cauchi: I think I would look at behavior cuz behavior is within their control. I would also look at the number of first meetings going to qualified second meeting because the research on this suggests that seven hours of eight first meetings do not result in a second meeting and what we want to quality meetings. Now, part of that needs to be coordinated, uh, with the AE and they need to be properly trained as well. I think, another element is that there's coverage because in an enterprise of over a thousand people, you can confidently expect six to seven influences at least. And the problem that I see too often is that on average, AEs cover the account with only one to two points of contact.
So there's no [00:22:00] near enough coverage there. And I think working hand in glove with the AE to look at who they need to speak to and teeing up those conversations would drive the right kind of behavior and would advance those sales significantly.
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah.
Demos are generally requested by people who have no decision making or buying power
Marcus Cauchi: I think the other thing is getting out early, not doing demos cuz uh, early in the cycle. Because demos are generally requested by people who have no decision making or buying power. More often than not a demo is requested by someone with engineer or manager in their title. But they're not the people who sign off. So if a demo is to be scheduled, then the SDR should understand why they want it.
What needs to be demonstrated by the end for it then to advance to the next stage. And that would be a much better way of qualifying those opportunities. But just doing dock sheet demos. I, I was working with one company, uh, not long ago and, and they [00:23:00] get 1200 inbound inquiries a month for demos and, uh, you know, free use of the software and they convert half a percent.
That's an inordinate waste of sales people's time. And you, you, as someone who's, uh, mildly control freaky, if someone was sucking up your time, that way you'd dig your heels in.
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah. And I think like with a model like that, for instance, where you have such an influx of inbound traffic, which I've never worked in so I can't really, I don't even know what it would be like. That would, to your point, really piss me off. If my schedule was getting inundated with stuff, that's where I would then lean on qualification and disqualification. So what I would do in that instance, if I was the account executive, if leadership allowed, I would say I'm gonna schedule discovery calls with every one of these companies.
Even if they have a demo for tomorrow, I'm gonna schedule a discovery for today and I'm gonna qualify or disqualify them. If I disqualify them and deem them not worthy of moving forward in our sales process, I'll [00:24:00] send a pre-recorded demo and then they can use that. And if for some reason they end up back in our buying process, great. But I think like that would be my way around that is, but then again, to your point, then I'm doing a lot of discoveries probably, and having to suss through that. So I guess in that case, and I know there's a local tech company that I've talked to before and they have like a similar, like heavy influx of inbound leads.
I don't know what the conversion rate is. I think it's, it's definitely higher than that, but they have like an SDR function that's just dedicated to inbound and then they suss through those. They have their checklist that they go through. They have like the yes and nos, you know, what makes sense? Do we have the key decision in some, like some places like that one I think for instance, they actually have to have certain people on the conversation in order for them to push it forward. So I think that's where you get into like a little bit more of the nitty gritty of what, what do we deem worth our time and then deciding what we wanna spend time on, but it gets, yeah, it gets interesting.
Like the more you peel back the layers, but then I have worked [00:25:00] you know, one of my first jobs, we basically were scheduling demos via phone. So we weren't scheduling discovery calls. We were scheduling demos and I closed $200,000, $300,000 accounts from those first demo. So you can't, you know, like for me, I can never totally rule it out because I closed a lot of deals that way going straight to demo.
And again, those are not small, those are like $200,000, but I was targeting specific points of contact.
Marcus Cauchi: So, what were you doing differently and who were you speaking to that was different to your peers? Cause it sounds like you were a top performer there.
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah. I mean, I was targeting, you know, to be frank, like we didn't have tool like tools back then.
So there wasn't you were calling through the main line to get to a point of contact and like LinkedIn ones and where it was. So I was doing a lot of like investigative research through different points of contact internally and building out this web. Now I could just go to zoom info and like click a button and find these same people.
But at the time, I was [00:26:00] looking through Salesforce for instance, and trying to figure out, did we ever have an old opportunity with this account and like reading through any history on it or trying to figure out who, you know, based on what colleagues I talk to like, is this someone. That typically would be in charge of this process.
And then one person says one thing and the other says another, and I'm just logging all in Salesforce until something connects. And I figure out who I'm supposed to be talking to. So I don't think there was like a, again, it wasn't like clean or pretty, but it was like a lot of investigative research. And then what happened too, as I was staying on top of those accounts.
So my largest account took me a year down to the week. Sometimes twice, sometimes three times a week touches, but at least once a week touches and it was constant. And we also, interestingly enough, had opportunities to do projects with them sooner before that bigger contract took place. And twice we punted on projects because they weren't in our, like, they weren't our best use [00:27:00] case and it wasn't gonna be a good start with that client.
And we knew there was a lot of money there. So twice we like started to get the ball rolling and I'm, you know, I'm a salesperson and we were, you know, once you hit quota, you were at 20 something percent commission. So I'm like, let's just take the project, let's just take the project, but then, you know, you learn to slow down and figure out like what actually makes sense for this client?
And if we did do that, you know, say that $30,000 or, or $50,000 project, it would, it have been a good example for them. And would they have even stayed on as a client because to this day that's still one of the largest clients for my old company. So it's just funny to you start to peel back the layers, but yeah, just super interesting as you look through some of these accounts.
How have those skills benefited you in your enterprise sales now that you mean these major accounts?
Marcus Cauchi: So, in terms of those behaviors and those habits that you've developed, so research coverage, deep and wide, regular contact, understanding that you have to slow down to speed up. Learning to say no. How have those skills [00:28:00] benefited you in your enterprise sales now that you mean these major accounts?
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah, I mean, significantly, I think, something I should be honest about is my personality is very impatient. So if I have a choice, like every time I start a new job, same thing with the company I started with this quarter, I picked up the phone right away. That's the easiest way for me to learn is to start having conversations, to hear objections, to learn about the customer from them and hear their stories that gets me, you know, started faster.
So to, to be frank, like there is a piece of me that's very impatient. I'm very phone-based. I'm not, email is my least preferred method of communication. So I always leave his phones and that's because frankly, you need the least amount of personalization via phone. I can do some research, I can look at LinkedIn, have their LinkedIn profile pulled up and be able to start a conversation with you.
I have enough right there that I can typically start a good conversation. But I think for me, you [00:29:00] know, outside of the fact that I'm impatient, a lot of this understanding of how a deal works was really helpful to me, because I think for the longest time I had hoped that we would be able to single thread a lot of these deals and we would get away with that forever.
That shifted it. It, we all got hit like four years ago with the door and we, you know, had to make that transition to multi-threading. So that has helped me understand even if I'm talking to a VP level, point of contact, like I'm not done, like there's gonna be other people I know that I need to get the users involved in the conversation so I can get them to be advocates of the software.
I know that there's a C level that's involved that I'm gonna have to somehow dig my clause into. So I think there's just that has helped me, but I think understanding like what a deal cycle actually looks like when to say no was a big lesson. I think a lot of us learned the hard way. Definitely me. I said yes to some, I said yes to, um, enterprise deals. That would've been $300,000, $400,000 [00:30:00] accounts that we killed after like 10K because we didn't, it was not our best use case and we screwed it up. And I knew when I took the deal that it may have not been the right scenario. I knew we were like, okay at it, but I, but I didn't feel like a hundred percent confident and it came and bit me multiple times.
And then I stopped doing that because I was like, I hate dealing with the conversation over my leadership. And I hate dealing with the customer pissed off, you know? Yeah. I didn't wanna be in the middle of it ever again, and I felt guilty a lot of times. So I think a lot of this just culminates to helping me understand how a deal process works. Understanding that sometimes I need a backed pedal to forward pedals.
Sometimes I need to pull in more people than I frankly want to sometimes in a conversation, but it's necessary. So I think all of it has, has helped shape me. And I'm still learning stuff every day, too. I mean, there's little ins and outs of learning, like different pieces of contract, you know, there's just always new stuff each year [00:31:00] that we have to stay fresh on and we have to learn.
So that's where I lean on like these bigger sales communities, like you know, I'm part of like RevGenius now, and Revenue Collective and Sales Assembly. And I'm like constantly going to on-going trainings and learning sessions and seminars. And I'm in taking all of this new information because our, our deal cycles are changing every single year something new happens. So I think it's just a continued education piece too.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, you've touched on so many valuable points here. So, let, let me summarize. First of all, understand that you are not an island on your own. Uh, you need other people, and that speaks to the need to move towards more team selling. You're the captain of the ship, everyone else's crew, but you do need to draw on, uh, other resources internally if you work through a partner ecosystem with your partners, uh, but also partnering with the customer.
I think, you know, you've described very eloquently. The importance of understanding the [00:32:00] mechanics of the, uh, the customer's business, understanding all these different centers of dissatisfaction and weaving them all together to make sure that when you finally come to the point of the conversation where they're making the decision, either yes or no, it's right for both sides. And you've partnered with them. You're thinking as the customer, not about the customer. And that's a really important distinction because I think too many sales people are transactional because of how they're compensated because of how they're measured and managed. They focus on just getting the deal in this month or this quarter to hit their number.
What they don't do is they don't think, am I selling for the long term here? Cause how long has your previous company had that account for now?
Alexine Mudawar: Seven years.
Marcus Cauchi: Right. Okay. So I, I interviewed Chris down
Alexine Mudawar: Six years, six years
Marcus Cauchi: OK. I, I interviewed Chris Down who was Zig Ziglar's right hand man for 30 years. And, uh, when he prospects, he's [00:33:00] prospecting for five years down the road, he's not prospecting for now.
Marcus Cauchi: He's prospecting for the lifetime relationship. And I think we've touched on something else. Which is that so many companies that, uh, receive investment from VC or private equity are driven to this land grab. They're driven to focus on logos and revenue instead of focusing on building a strong business with excellent foundations and fundamentals. And winning lifetime customers who are loyal, and whether it's expansion potential, because if we focus on just the transaction, it's very easy for us to burn our customer's fingers.
And it's very, also very easy for us to push when they're not ready. And that puts awards a resistance. So Alexine is talking about stuff that's really critical. And when you're in sales early in your career, you need to understand this is an apprenticeship. It's not gonna be easy. You do have to [00:34:00] put the hard graph in, but it's about learning how customers work, how your own organization works.
How much of the challenge is actually getting the machinery of your own business to coordinate and work in tandem?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this. I mean, how much of the challenge is actually getting the machinery of your own business to coordinate and work in tandem in order to get deals to advance? So technical people, engineers, professional services, marketing, customer success, all those guys.
Alexine Mudawar: Yeah. I think so I'm at a smaller organization my smallest organization.
Now I think if you would've asked me that question, like a few years ago, I would've said like 75% of my time. It's like trying to move all these things. I think what's happened the last few years is I've stepped into almost like a project management mindset where I feel like I am the project manager on a deal. And like, I am the whatever captain of the ship, but I'm also the project manager and I'm just like ringing in resource. So I'm back to my calendar again, like whatever I have to do with my internal, like processes, like get contract out or do proof of [00:35:00] concept, do the, like that gets back to like being heavily regimented with my scheduling and then just immediately scheduling time with the correct resource internally and getting it moving or doing a combined meeting.
If we need to pull in my leader plus marketing, I think I've really gotten to the point where I almost feel like I'm playing chess all the time. And I'm like moving chess pieces around the way that I need them to go, but that's taken a long time to get there, but I don't think there's any like shying away from the fact that we need different resources from different teams.
So I think, the other thing that I've gotten a lot better at that I wasn't good at the first year in sales for sure is getting really religious with notes and keeping like specific notes on every single meeting. So, because it does get confusing when I'm working, you know, 30 deals simultaneously, I can't always remember X, Y, Z about this deal.
So I think getting like really regimented about what notes I have, and then I think that helps other people because I'm like, hey, we had a meeting on Tuesday and we went through this proof of concept. And then we talked on Thursday and we [00:36:00] went through info sec requirements. And then on Friday we talked about their legal has to have like a meeting with us.
So let's get that schedule. So I think just keeping like really regimented notes and getting really serious about what I'm logging in Salesforce not only because this is also gets into where we're thinking future, like when an account manager is gonna take this account or, you know, and we're trying to avoid churn three years down the road when they're up for renewal. Thinking about things like that too, so that they can then take this deal that I put together, look through and reference all these things, and then it helps them navigate these internal conversations too.
So I think that all gets into, I, I think we're, we are moving towards more of this focus on. Like churn didn't really start to come up as a topic for me at a lot of my companies until like four years ago. And then I started hearing about it a lot. So I do think we're starting to move back towards like a focus on the customer and we're less like, yeah, just close, like this one deal.
And if they drop off in a year, it doesn't matter. Something like we are trying to move [00:37:00] towards us. So I think that's where having all those internal resources aligned is really important. If we are trying to keep customers on for a long time.
Marcus Cauchi: My heart soars like an eagle to hear you say that. Enterprise selling or enterprise channel sales, both are project management jobs.
It's 10% selling and 90% cat herding. You've gotta make sure the right people are having the right conversations in the right way at the right time with the right people. And you've gotta make sure that everything is coordinated and you've gotta stop thinking like a soldier in the trenches. And you gotta think more like a general you're trying to win a war.
Use the CRM properly
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, you're not trying to just make it through this, uh, the skirmish. And so it's really important that you are organized and Alexine also touched on something else. Use the CRM properly. CRM should not be a mechanism in order to provide the audit function, uh, with information. The CRM [00:38:00] is there to help salespeople, coordinate sales, advance them, or get out early when they shouldn't be in them.
And if you're looking at the lifetime customer relationship, then make sure you provide good notes. Would it surprise me if I told you that on average, only 20% of the data in a CRM is worthwhile.
Alexine Mudawar: No.
How often have you picked up someone else's accounts and the notes are shit?
Marcus Cauchi: Right. Okay. So this is, this is from an experienced battle hardened scar tissued salesperson and, and the, the, how often have you picked up someone else's accounts and the notes are shit?
Alexine Mudawar: Horrible, or you talk to like the, the client, this happens all the time.
When, like, when people leave the company, you get like an old AE book and you get this is my favorite, you get transferred like 20 opportunities and you're like, lay up I'm gonna make quota, you know, I'm gonna make quota just on these alone. Every single time I have yet to close and knock on wood for this, I, I don't think I've ever closed an account that someone has left that had an open op when they left [00:39:00] the company because they were absolute trash. But I think what happened is they didn't log any notes, so I'm like calling them and, you know, you can't be like, oh, you, we have an open opportunity in Salesforce.com.
Like they don't know what you're talking about. So I'm like, hey, it looks like we're have, you know, in conversation with you. And we have, you know, looks like we're discussing this contract for, and they're like, no, we're not like we haven't talked to you in like four months. And we told you we weren't interested, but nobody logged it in the system.
So that's why I laugh at that question because to your point, yes. I, I do believe that because I see it every day and it drives me crazy. And I'm almost, you know, it's almost to the point where when people leave, you're like, please don't pass me the opportunity. Like you, years ago it was like a gold mine and now it's like, please don't put it under my name because I know that I'm sifting. Yeah. I'm gonna be sifting or, I'm basically restarting those accounts every single time. So yeah, I mean it is crazy. And if I was a leader or if I was someone that was, you know, with the sales team, I would have a heavy focus on keeping sales [00:40:00] force clean.
I think one of the biggest things now is being kind of like a, whatever, more experienced account executive and someone that's a little bit, over organized with everything. It does drive me crazy when things aren't logged properly. Or for instance, if there's like duplicates of accounts, it gives me the most anxieties.
So I think for me as a leader, I would definitely prioritize. And if our sales force was a mess, I would hire someone whether on a contract or for an entire year, whatever it was to just manage Salesforce and keep it clean and deal with duplicates and get rid of like leads that are, that don't make sense and merge contacts and just like clean all of that up.
And then there are ways to automate some of this organization too. Like creating, we do this at my current company. We have dashboard that say like these are, you know, meetings that you don't have notes on and you need to go back and put your notes into there. And sometimes that means I have to schedule another call if I messed up and I need to go put notes back into the system.
So there are ways to automate this. So it's not like you have to [00:41:00] check every single account in Salesforce. There are ways to create dashboards that will help guide your team. And then the other thing that we do at my current company is that's part of our one on one. So for instance, if my manager saw that you have like 10 accounts that are missing notes, like what? That would be like a topic he'd be like, well, what's going on? Like, did you miss, you know what what's happening with all these accounts? So I think that those are really good ways as leaders to kind of keep the Salesforce cleanliness too, as be proactive.
CRM hygiene is essential
Marcus Cauchi: So CRM hygiene is essential, compensate properly by driving that behavior and also consequence for people not doing it. Part of the problem is that people don't, uh, have teeth in their management. Alexine, and we're coming to time. This has been really wonderful and very insightful. Thank you. Tell me this, if you had a golden ticket and you could go back five years, what would you whisper in the, uh, idiots Alexine's ear before? And it's not about regret, it's just, what one choice, bit of advice would you give her?
Look forward, stop focusing on the other people around you
Alexine Mudawar: Look [00:42:00] forward, stop focusing on the other people around you. They're you know, whether they sell or they don't sell it, doesn't matter. Just focus on your own performance and keep charging ahead.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. And what are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
Alexine Mudawar: I'm learning a brand new industry? Um, I mean, like I said, I hit my first quota, so that was exciting. But I'm still learning. And my quota, you know, I'm on a very steep REM, so it's gonna go up very quickly, you know, starting next quarter. So right now it's just all about learning an, an entirely new industry, getting to know our business even better and getting to know my customers, because this is a new ideal customer profile for me that I haven't worked before. So, uh, so not so much a struggle, just a learning curve that's ahead of me. And I'm in the thick of it right now, so
Marcus Cauchi: Fabulous,
Alexine Mudawar: You know?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
I was short on time, so we could talk about that another time. Okay. What are you reading, watching, listening to at the moment that you rate really highly, that do you think other people should?[00:43:00]
Alexine Mudawar: I have a backlog of books that I need to read. So I will be honest and say that no reading yet, because I'm deep in this, uh, ramp period. But I am attending a ton and speaking for a ton of different like podcast, different things. Jason Bay has a really good tour that he's been doing. I've been following along with a lot of those interviews.
I think those are interesting. I go to Fridays Are For Closers with sales assembly. Um, and so that's been a really cool session as well. They have habits at work. Andrew Sykes is leading those right now. So we have our last one in a couple weeks, uh, next week I believe. And then I'm doing a lot of continued learning through some of those groups like Revenue Collective and just starting to have conversations with other sales people and other sales leaders, and really talk about things like complex deal cycles. And we just have slack threads going, you know, 20 messages long where we're talking about how we're multi-threading deals. So right now I'm leaning heavily on my community more than anything to learn and get better. And I'm [00:44:00] having my learnings are from conversation for the first time this year.
Marcus Cauchi: That was one of the best lessons that I learned.
Don't ask what or why or how. Ask who, if you've got a problem who has the answer and go out there and ask. Answer that question because chances are, you'll get a result much more quickly.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Look, we've come to time. How can people get hold of you?
Alexine Mudawar: I connect with me on LinkedIn. I am a LinkedIn gal. I, uh, am constantly on there for hours at a time.
You'll probably get a message back from me at like 1:00 AM. So, uh, so be ready. But yes, connect with me on LinkedIn. I love chatting with people, answering questions and just staying connected that way.
Marcus Cauchi: Alexine Mudawar. Thank you.
Alexine Mudawar: Thank you. This was great.
Marcus Cauchi: This is Marcus Cauchi. Signing off once again from The Inquisitor Podcast.
If you've enjoyed this conversation, then please like comment, share, and subscribe. And if you'd like to get in touch with either me or Alexinine, then please do. My email address is email@example.com or [00:45:00] firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in the meantime, stay safe and happy selling.