What is the four Q's framework, and how does it relate to consumer value and decision-making?
Who we serve, what we serve, who we are as an organization, and how we serve are the four quadrants that the four Q's framework takes into account when making decisions in respect to customer value (interactions required to create a customer).
How may compensation plans be changed to encourage positive behaviors and draw in ideal clients?
One strategy is to pay 100% commissions on clients who fit a certain profile and 50% on prospects, with full payment only being made after a certain metric of client success is achieved. This motivates salespeople to be more cautious and probe deeper to determine whether the client is a suitable fit.
What is the bias Anthony Condouris has repeatedly observed in corporations, and how does it affect business?
According to Anthony Condouris, customers tend to believe that features are already available, even if a company only promises them for the future. As a result, the company may make sales that are reliant on features that have not yet been priced, described, or tested. This may result in financial difficulties for the business.
What circumstances must exist for leadership to support adjustments in order to put together an effective four quadrants?
The organization should be operating for more than five years, have a turnover of 1 to 10 million pounds, and the leadership team should be exercising quadrant three by consistently reminding people of the shared beliefs and values that are consistent with the belief in order to get leadership to buy into making changes to put together an effective four quadrants.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello and welcome back once again to The Inquisitor Podcast. Today as my guest I have Anthony Condouris. Anthony is the author of Run Frictionless. He's developed the Four Q Framework and he's someone I'm excited to bring you today because we've had a few conversations around buyer safety and he's gonna put a lot of what we talk about today in the context of buyer safety.
Marcus Cauchi: Since we started talking about it, he's been applying buyer safety both as a buyer and a seller, and it's having a profound effect. So I'd love to explore what that actually means in practice as well. Anthony, welcome.
Anthony Condouris: Thank you Mr. Cauchi. Thank you for having me on the show.
Marcus Cauchi: It's a pleasure. Thank you for correcting my correctly pronouncing my name.
Marcus Cauchi: It's the third time in my entire working life.
60 seconds on your history and background
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So Anthony, would you mind giving us 60 seconds on your history and background please?
Anthony Condouris: So since 2015, I've built approximately 30 sales processes, designed them, and then built them with the applications and the words and the pictures. And I've been operating in, uh, Asia Pacific most recently in the last three years.
Anthony Condouris: I then wrote a book called Run Frictionless, how to free a founder from a sales role. And contained within the book is a framework called the Four Qs.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay, so tell me what is the Four Q Framework?
What is the Four Q Framework?
Anthony Condouris: So the four Q'S framework is a decision making framework, and there are four quadrants of which each of the quadrants delivers value directly to our customer.
Anthony Condouris: So the first quadrant, who we serve, second quadrant is what we serve. So that's the product or the service that you are selling to a customer in quadrant one. Quadrant three is who we are. Okay, so that's a little bit about the identity, the beliefs, and the values of the organization. And the last, but my favorite, uh, quadrant four is how we serve.
Anthony Condouris: So this is what it feels like to become a customer of your business. Specifically, it's the minimum number of interactions required to create a customer.
Marcus Cauchi: And, sorry, the fourth one again?
Anthony Condouris: How we serve. That's the series of interactions required to create a customer.
Frequently unasked but should be asked questions
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. That makes good sense. So in terms of frequently unasked, but should be asked questions, talk to me about some of them when it comes to running their business.
Anthony Condouris: Well, typically, one of the mistakes that a lot of organizations make when I first begin talking to them is they're obviously not really tuned into by safety because one of the, one of the answers that they'll give me is, Are we serving anyone? And, and I sort of scratch my head and go, I haven't met this fellow, call anyone.
Anthony Condouris: And in fact, when I talk to Sally, Judy, or or, or Tom, unless I speak directly to them, to them specifically, they're not convinced to buy it. And the argument that anyone can buy it is irrelevant to Tom, Sally, and Harry. So the first question I I, I want the organization, which is a really difficult question to ask yourselves, whether you're a startup organization or one that's been running for 50 years, is who do we serve today?
Anthony Condouris: So what are the specifications for the profiles that we serve today? I think that's the first question marker. So the second one would be, who do we never serve? Because the antithesis of asking yourself the question of who do we serve naturally, you begin to understand the kinds of liabilities that you have in an organization, the kinds of customers that look like assets, but in fact the liabilities are the ones which are more likely lead negative reviews, ask for discounts, ask for refunds. And so they're, they're the ones that in your heart of heart, so you know, if you try to serve them today, they're likely to leave you a negative review. And what I mean by a negative review is, is that's anything that could be written or verbalized. So that would be the second question.
Anthony Condouris: And the last question I would `say is, the big opportunity in the room is who do we serve tomorrow? So that's like, we don't have, maybe the feature, maybe that particular customer profile is a casual user. So it's not economical for us to serve them today, but there's something going on in quadrant two.
Anthony Condouris: We're changing the roadmap and maybe in six months we'll be ready to serve them. So instead of forcing the sale today and saying, "We serve you today", we just have a very honest conversation with them and say, "We're not ready to serve you today, but we think so in six months. Let's put you on a waiting list."
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Interesting.
Focusing on the right ideal customer
Marcus Cauchi: Well, I think. One of the most common problems that I see in organizations and it goes hidden for sometimes years. And there's a really good example of this, um, with one of the companies I work with, White Rabbit. And, and we are working with a training company and we've ran that ideal customer profile and it turned out for the last four years, they'd been selling to the wrong ICP. Within two and a half months, they'd grown sales 700% per month by focusing on the right ideal customer. And I think as part of quadrant one is who should we serve and when was the last time we reviewed who we serve? What evidence do we have that we actually serve those people? And who, who are the people we serve best? Which I think, again, because most people, certainly in technology, I find they're on a land grab.
Marcus Cauchi: They're after as many logos as possible. And so that taints who they look for, and as a result of that, they end up with the slew of the wrong type of customer. Which eventually starts to catch up on them in the operations side. And I, I'm curious about the importance of the boundaries that operations or customer success can establish with sales. In order to prevent that type of mistaken acquisition of a customer.
Anthony Condouris: I think White Rabbit is a, an amazing product in its own because what uh, I mean, let's say an organization didn't have White Rabbit, what would they do. Well you could go back and look at sales history. You can look at all the deals that almost got done but didn't get done.
Anthony Condouris: You can look at where you got negative reviews because negative reviews are a really good way of understanding, like reversing back out of that to understand customers that you probably shouldn't have served. So if the company's been running for a while, they normally have a lot of internal intelligence within the organization itself where they can start to build a picture of their ideal customer that they ought to serve today.
A customer out there who desperately needs you right now
Anthony Condouris: And I think your, I think your point about who they serve best, if I may rephrase, it would be right now there is a customer out there who desperately needs you right now. They actually really need you. And so there's, there's almost like a social aspect of this that we don't have time to squander that opportunity, that opportunity time, on customers who really don't need us right now.
Anthony Condouris: If I was to think about how to get a good handshake between sales and customer success, I think what we're gonna do is, is, and this has become, I think, something that Silicon Valley's been doing now for a couple of years where they're saying, look It's no longer good enough as a salesperson to make a transaction.
Anthony Condouris: What we want is T plus 30 days, or T plus 60 days.
KPIs other than the check
Anthony Condouris: We need a bunch of other KPIs other than the check in order to count them as a customer. That means that they remain a profile past the transaction and we need to hit other KPIs. And it could be things like the amount of usage that they're getting, other product, the amount of setup that they've done.
Anthony Condouris: Whatever the parameter, whatever the metric is, the salesperson needs to be understand that their commissions are gonna be paid on that. And that way when the operations team have got intelligence to give back to the group about the kinds of customers that we ought not to serve today, or maybe even customers we should never serve, they're really listening and tuning into that because it's gonna hit their pockets.
How do we modify compensation schemes to drive desirable behaviors, to attract ideal customers and only ideal customers?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So this then raises the next critical question, which is, how do we modify compensation schemes to drive desirable behaviors, to attract ideal customers and only ideal customers?
Anthony Condouris: Yeah, so when I've done this in the past, and I must, uh, I'll, I'll put it out there that I don't have the, the kind of experience doing this that a lot of your listeners have right now.
Anthony Condouris: But when I've asked to be, do this, this is what the advice I have given. I say pay 100% commissions on customers we serve today. We have an ideal specification, a profile that the organization has agreed to. We've got those profiles somewhere on a shared drive, so there that knowledge is understood. We pay 100% on those and customers we serve tomorrow, we pay 50%.
Anthony Condouris: So we pay 50% to put them into the pipe, and then once we are ready to convert them into our customer that we serve today, the balance is paid out now for both situations. The amount, the full amount should not be paid until we hit that metric. Past the transaction. So if you agree with me that customer success is about indeed buyer safety has the, has the buyer really purchased the product that's right for them.
Anthony Condouris: We need some time to evaluate that. And I think by doing that, the salespeople become more prudent and maybe even ask a few more questions at the beginning to make sure that they are the right customer going into the funnel.
Blue sky selling
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. Okay. If we think about that blue sky selling, why is it that salespeople do that and why is it tolerated?
Anthony Condouris: I think it starts with the founder and I think it's where the founder will often be caught in a situation where they're delivering the 40,000 feet pitch. Like that, elevate that that pitch,
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah
Anthony Condouris: Rah rah speech that motivates people where we talk about the future and when it, when they do it really well. What they're doing is they're tangibleize all that challenge that we have in the future, and they're bringing it into the present and they're making it palatable. They're making people feel, I can do this, I can do this for the company. So they, they deliver that and they do that very, very well. But they,
Marcus Cauchi: And that's the internal speech.
Anthony Condouris: Right?
Anthony Condouris: That's the internal at your 9:00 AM W I P, let's get everybody fired up about how great this company is. That's the 40,000 feet pitch, and all of a sudden the telephone rings. Okay, and they're now at the four feet pitch. This is like the rubber meets the road. There's a customer on the telephone, and what they begin to do is, is they, Sally those messages that they've taken from the 40,000 pitch into the pitch that now delivering to the customer.
Law of unintended consequences
Anthony Condouris: And there's a very interesting bias that I've seen time and time again where even if they try to cover their back sides by saying we have something like this coming in the future. It's not here now, but it's coming next month. That customer does not hear that. What they hear is it's here right now. When they get off the phone, they think it's here right now.
Anthony Condouris: And so what the company's just done, the founder or that salesperson is they've just made the sale contingent sale today, contingent on a feature tomorrow that hasn't been costed. Hasn't been specified, hasn't even been tested in the code base yet. And you do this enough times, right? You do it enough times in the business, your future sell enough, you're just gonna run the business into the ground because how much impact can your roadmap in quadrant two withstand if it's being hit by requests to serve specific customer features that had nothing to do with the roadmap that was intended?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. It's the law of unintended consequences, and often it stems from sellers being feature sellers as opposed to trying to understand how the customer got to where they are today, what jobs they're trying to get done, what progress they're making, what obstacles and uh, roadblocks they're hitting. And as a result, they're not really joining the dots.
Marcus Cauchi: I think an antidote to this, which is very powerful, but again, takes a lot of, uh, a big swallow is that you slow down to speed up. So for every minute you're in front of the customer, you have three minutes plus of rehearsal time. And what I found is that in the first couple of hours of rehearsal, people start picking up the obvious stuff.
Marcus Cauchi: After the first couple of hours, they start joining the dot. And they start seeing the, And then what happened, and then what happened, and then what happened. And it's there that you find the real gold in the, in your preparation. But if they've been selling blue sky and then they do, and then what happened?
Marcus Cauchi: And then what happened, they realize that they're gonna get caught in a very, very bad trap of their own making. and it takes them away from that. But the problem is that most organizations that I've dealt with, and I'm not saying it's all of them, but at the moment, only 75% of reps hitting 80% or below of their quota, which is indicative of all sorts of other problems in terms of not enough emphasis on.
Marcus Cauchi: Genuine pipeline building, pipeline nurturing. Uh, I was speaking to Jason Bay yesterday and just to get one meeting, and this is a guy who does nothing but work with SDRs. It's roughly 250 actions per meeting. Now, when you consider that to get to a second meeting takes about 3,250 actions on behalf of the sales, uh, sales, personal sales team.
Marcus Cauchi: That's a terrifyingly wasteful operation, and a lot of that can be dealt with by knowing who our actual customer is.
Marcus Cauchi: Now then we have in quadrant two what we serve. So talk to me a little bit about that in particular in the context of buyer safety again.
Anthony Condouris: You know, one of the antidotes, as you called it, um, to future sell.
Anthony Condouris: It's amazing because when I first pres put that term on the table, most CEOs or founders of companies will say, Oh, no, look, our, our people know exactly what they're selling. I take the features and they'll sit there and write the features for me. So I take those features away. So thank you very much. For me, just, uh, I'll, I'll come back to you in a week and let you know what I think.
Anthony Condouris: So I, I come back in a week. And I says to the fellow, look, we ran blind, blind tests on your, we interrogated your, um, telephonist, your online chat artists. We hit your, we hit your email customer support people, but the same sets of questions.
Anthony Condouris: And let me show you the divergence and all the answers that we get. No one in your company is selling your product in the same way. They don't know what they're selling, and it's really like manufacturing companies a long time ago got this like they release a product, it's in the warehouse. There's a, there's a number on every piece.
Anthony Condouris: Everything's labeled, all the limitations of the product are there. There's nothing hidden. And so they've realized a long time ago that you need to do this. But I think that when you're looking at software, because it's so ubiquitous and we've got software sprints happening every fortnight, people get really sloppy with documenting that, what's actually in the product right now? What is in the warehouse?
Anthony Condouris: And so what happens is instead of releasing that information to the sales and marketing people and saying, look guys, we've got a specification in quadrant two now. This is all you can sell. There's nothing else. These are the, these are the set of features that we have.
Anthony Condouris: Because they refuse to do that. The sales and marketing people end up just writing it themselves. And the best person to write that specification, not the sales and marketing people, because they tend to inject a bit more into it. Um, it would be the product manager. So if I was thinking about buyer safety, most organizations I've seen, they can't even get the features right. Okay.
Anthony Condouris: But let's just say, We get past that base and we're thinking about buyer safety. I think that quadrant two operates on three levels. I, I'll explain the first one. We've talked about features.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Getting a quadrant one-two fit is really important
Anthony Condouris: But what we also need to do is we need to map limitations and known workarounds. Let me explain why. Right.
Anthony Condouris: Customers learn as much about a product through the features as, as much as they learn about it through what it doesn't do. It's part of the education process a little bit like, a Television being shipped with a manual that says very clearly on page two. Do not operate in water. Makes bloody sense, right?
Anthony Condouris: Don't operate in water. I wonder why they put that in there. I mean, they could have tried to put it somewhere deep down in the contractual stuff where you can't find it, but they just went, nope. Let me tell you all the things it can't do. So you understand that this is actually an indoor product. It's not designed to be operated outside.
Anthony Condouris: They want you to have a good experience. They want you to write good reviews. They want to have, you know, a net promoter score that's worthy. So mapping limitations to the profiles in quadrant one, hence getting a quadrant one, two fit is really important. And if you go even further, even companies like Google who have a $1 billion market cap.
Anthony Condouris: Have work arounds. So what they do is, is that they, they acknowledge that their products have limitations, and then in the forums they talk about the known work arounds, the manual operations, the other things, other applications you can get out there via API. Hey, we'll do it for you. Maybe the organization is so, will actually offer a separate human service to overcome that friction point, that limitation, and then therefore, we offer you a workaround. The salesperson who can get a quadrant one, two fit faster, looks like they're more confident. This is not the first day they sold the product. Let me demo this for you.
Anthony Condouris: I'm on the phone, I'm imagining, Sally, okay. I've got a picture of Sally. She's, she's, she's an inbound call. This is a customer profile I serve today. I say, Hey, Sally, hang on. I'm gonna make this so easy for you. I serve you all day long. I know exactly what your limitations are. Let me tell you all the limitations of the product.
Anthony Condouris: Hang on. Here are the workarounds. I'm gonna table it in the first interaction with you. I'm not gonna leave it for you to find it. Dig it out. You come back to me later, you say, hey Tom, you didn't tell me about this limitation. You tell me now when I'm at the cash register, What are you talking about?
Anthony Condouris: That's not how we build trust. The guy or the girl that can strike that quadrant one, two, fit in the first interaction just goes straight through the limitations, and the work arounds just looks so confident because the, let's face it, right, Marcus, the smart buyers out there, they know that there's no product that can do everything.
Anthony Condouris: So if you just put it on the table quickly, they can make a buying decision.
Four levers in the trust equation
Marcus Cauchi: This is why it's so important always be rigorously authentic. That means you have to admit when there is a deficiency with the product and you do it early, and that way you can neutralize it or it becomes a condition. And a condition is something that cannot be overcome.
Marcus Cauchi: Then you can part on amicable terms quickly without incurring cost or uh, deception. And interestingly enough, tying this to Charlie Green's trust equation. A good quadrant one quadrant two fit is about creating reliability and credibility, which are the two logical levers in the formula. The third one is intimacy, and that's really understanding the other person, allowing them to lower their guard because nothing you do fires off their amygdala.
Marcus Cauchi: Everything you do is focused around helping them achieve their outcome. And this is why customer centricity is so important. And the, the fourth lever in the trust equation. So reliability plus credibility, plus intimacy over low self orientation.
Anthony Condouris: Mm.
Marcus Cauchi: So that then pushes us towards service, not trying to, uh, create an adversarial relationship but putting the customer's needs first because that's how you get your needs met. But I think in this very transactional, uh, type of sales environment, the emphasis is on new logo acquisition. It's on revenue generation with little or no thought to lifetime customer value. To how you are going to retain that customer.
Marcus Cauchi: I think, um, part of the compensation should be a big payout on the third renewal. Not the first, not the second, but the third.
Anthony Condouris: Interesting. I like your thinking. I, I, I'd really like your thinking because now what you're really doing is, is that you. You're almost now moving into quadrant three, where you're talking about shared beliefs where rather than just selling the customer on the features we have today, if we bring in customers whom we share beliefs with, that means that a, a belief is why the founder or the business owner gets out of bed every day to come to work if they didn't make a salary.
Anthony Condouris: So if you didn't make revenue, which is the byproduct of a quadrant one, two fit. If you made no revenue today, what's your reason to exist? What's the reason to come to the office? And that's your belief. And the, the most important aspect of the belief is not whether you call it a belief, a mission, a vision, but whether or not it is shared with customers, staff, and shareholders.
Anthony Condouris: And what's interesting is if you can strike a quadrant one, three, fit with a customer and you bring them into your company, you've really got somebody who's gonna be for the first sale, second sale, and the third sale, because they will accept high prices in quadrant two, less features in quadrant two because these guys get me.
Anthony Condouris: Fuck it. Okay, let me put it that in in perspective for you. Here's what it sounds like when a customer has a quadrant 1, 1 3 fit with your organization, right? They'll say something like this, "Oh my God, I've been telling people this for years, and finally you guys are doing it." You see, they feel personally gratified.
Anthony Condouris: They think that you are listening to them really deeply, and when you explain why you get up in the morning, the problem you're trying to solve and how you're solving it in quadrant two? They get really energized about that and they will forgive you for not delivering a great quadrant two, because every, every company has a bad product day.
Anthony Condouris: We have rollbacks, we have bugs, we have all sorts of problems because overall they think these guys get me. I am going to keep buying from them. Because they understand me and we, we are together, we belong.
Marcus Cauchi: And that is intimacy. That's the very definition of it. So again, a, as we think about how we build long term relationships and long term trust, and we build a mutually profitable and lucrative relationship building on our lessons from what people are unhappy about is really important as well.
Inviting conversation with critics is the quickest way to improve your product and go to market
Marcus Cauchi: And I think many organizations are very brittle when it comes to criticism. I've learned later in my life, if I'm being perfectly honest, that inviting conversation with critics, with people who are not happy is the quickest way to improve your, your product and go to market.
Marcus Cauchi: And in fact, Salesforce did a study tail end of 2020 that suggests that companies that speak to unhappy customer have a 600% faster product development cycle than companies who don't. And the one constant in all of this is the customer. And what baffles me is why customers are not involved in the design of sales training, the execution of sales training in the design and execution of, uh, compensation schemes?
Marcus Cauchi: Why are they not brought in more frequently as part of the, um, the, you know, the, the genius board to help you design your business in the right way? Because there, there is a really simple rule. Your business is perfectly designed today to deliver the results that you are getting. Now the problem is if you haven't designed it, it's still a design, and the results that you're getting are a direct byproduct of that design, whether it's being done intentionally or it's done by default, and that will be determined very often by the money behind you and the pressure they put down the chain of command, which then creates those unintended consequences.
Anthony Condouris: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think a, another major problem is that there are so many organizations, certainly in tech that are going after Unicorn status and they're on this huge land grab for growth, uh, and logo acquisition without really thinking ahead of the unintended consequences for building a strong business on, you know, firm foundations.
Marcus Cauchi: But they don't care because they're planning to be out. So that then raises some really interesting questions around culture and, uh, around the relationship that you form with your customers. So I'd be curious how the quadrants have helped create lifetime customers and ra, you know, raving fans.
Quadrant three is about long term scalability
Anthony Condouris: Yeah. The interesting part of quadrant three is operationally it's really, really difficult to pull off, and that's why when you get it right, It's so defensible.
Anthony Condouris: Um, look, you know, companies will rip off quadrant two, they'll steal all your features. They'll try and reverse engineer back out of your FAQs, quadrant two's gone. It's um, if all you do is go after a quadrant one, two fit, you are going to become a commodity. And a lot of those shareholders or those unicorn companies, that's all they care about.
Anthony Condouris: Cause the byproduct of quadrant ones who fit is just revenue. And as long as they see revenue, they think the company's healthy. They don't perceive the high churn in in staff and they don't perceive high customer churn as an issue, which is dealt with Quadrant three. Quadrant three is really about long term scalability.
It was so difficult to get things done because there was no culture, there was no common shared belief between the staff or the customers
Anthony Condouris: You can cut corners on it in the first couple of years, but you keep doing it and you're gonna burn the company to the ground. And I, in fact, there's a really good story that Tony Shay put out there in his book Delivering Happiness, he's the former CEO of Zappos. He talks about his first business. He goes, he says this.
Anthony Condouris: He says, You know what? I used to come to my own company of 120 people and I can't stand them. None of them share the same belief as me. The customers don't. The staff don't. And the the type of internal friction that he was feeling every day that it was so difficult to get things done because there was no culture, there was no common shared belief between the staff or the customers.
Anthony Condouris: All he got was push back every time he tried to make a change, what did he do? He sold it. The Microsoft. He got a healthy payout. But I think what Tony really wanted to do was he just wanted to divest himself of a company where there was no quadrant one, two fit. He was like, I'm done. We've got the 1, 2, 3, the one two fit.
Anthony Condouris: That's all Microsoft can see. That's all my shareholders can see. Fine. I'm out the door, gonna go and do another company. And culture became a very, very big part of Zappos, which was the second business that he did. Mm-hmm. . So the part that it's so hard to operationalize is it's inside out. There is no marketing organization that's out there that can help you do this.
Anthony Condouris: They cannot help with this. They'll put very nice words on the, on the wall. The CEO will get a hard on, you'll look at it every day, or she will and, and get super excited about all this stuff that they've done and nobody, the staff don't believe it. The customers call in, they're facing the same staff who had the same attitude that they had before.
Anthony Condouris: So all that public relations has been blown. They have been deceived. They've been brought in to think, Oh, we have this new quadrant one, three fit. I, I, I actually think I fit with this. I'm gonna come to this company. They're changed now. But you get inside, past the marketing veneer, right? It's all the same rubbish you had before.
Anthony Condouris: So it's really hard to operationalize this because you've gotta bring on the right staff and the right customers who share that belief. And then the third piece of the puzzle is the shareholders. Because if all they care about is making money. All they care about is a quadrant one, two fit. And, and by the way, staff and customers, they don't care about making money, right?
Anthony Condouris: Because, um, unfortunately, they're not gonna get, most of them will never actually get anything out of that unless, of course they've got, um, really good compensation plans and they're all gonna be part of that. But certainly customers are not gonna be part of that. They're gonna get burnt from that.
Customer seems to become an inconvenient, forgotten afterthought
Marcus Cauchi: Well, the customer seems to become an inconvenient, forgotten afterthought at the end of a long chain of abuse in my book.
Marcus Cauchi: And it, it's heartbreaking to see because when you calculate the hidden costs inside businesses of customer churn, now 15% is considered perfectly reasonable. But that means that well, You're, you're losing 49% your customers every three years. That creates incredible, unnecessary pressure at the top end of the funnel.
Marcus Cauchi: So just to stand still, you have to find 1/11th of your turnover every year. Now, that's a big chunk. In fact, it's not even one of the 11th. It's one seventh, one six, something like that. So you are working way harder than you need to. You have a sales and marketing process that considers it okay to bombard, you know, a hundred thousand emails or a million emails out without realizing that by and large they've been blacklisted.
Marcus Cauchi: So all that effort is wasted. They produce bland a dime content. That is all me, me, me. It's about the company, the products, the features, without putting context into it. Without building any emotion into it. It's like the product, uh, product manager wrote the ad, and that's not the purpose of that content.
Marcus Cauchi: That content is out there to educate, to raise awareness, to attract, to deliver value. Otherwise, it's just noise. I dunno how many ads we're getting exposed to nowadays, you know, under the pandemic it's probably significantly fewer than the 10,000 that we were getting before. But now we're getting it in our inbox, so, uh, either through LinkedIn or uh, email and we are just getting drowned.
Marcus Cauchi: The, the noise is drowning out the good stuff. Emails I get between 200 and 500 a day. It's ludicrous. Now, I'm pretty sure that's extreme, but filtering through all of that takes me probably about two hours. So often I just think if it's important, they'll email again. Picking up the phone. People are reluctant to pick up the phone very often because they get inundated with noise and the sales calls do not offer the promise of value. And even if they do, they often fail. So people becoming near to that. And I think as a profession, we are creating the conditions collectively, which is why now, you know, a third of B2B buyers interviewed by Gartner want a 100% seller-free buying experience.
Marcus Cauchi: And 67% of people interviewed by Salesforce in 2020 said that they consider sales and salespeople to be morally bankrupt. Now 33 and 67% makes pretty much a hundred to my mind. We have to do something as a profession, and we have to decide that we've taken a very wrong term and we need to do something about it. But by the sense of things, it's difficult work.
What conditions need to exist for someone at a leadership level to buy into making these changes to put together an effective four quadrants?
Marcus Cauchi: So what conditions need to exist, for someone at a leadership level to buy into making these changes to put together an effective four quadrants?
Anthony Condouris: Yeah. Well, I think if you are a, If you're an organization that's been running longer than five years and you're doing one to 10 million pounds in turnover, as the leadership team, you really need to be exercising quadrant three.
Anthony Condouris: If you are not making that investment every day and reminding people about what their shared beliefs are. So like, one, a really good example, I saw a CEO, he, I coached him on this. He's been doing it now for a while. He does it so well. Every second meeting, every second rah-rah meeting, uh, you'll have people there who talk about product, people there who are talking about marketing, people there are talking about, um, customer experience.
Anthony Condouris: He'll just hear one or two situations where he thought a staff member or a customer was a really good exemplification of their shared belief and he'll just explain why. So he or she will explain, this is a really classic example of where we got a really good quadrant one, three fit and how it's working for us.
Anthony Condouris: So just keeping that top of mind every day so that when we understand the beliefs, what we then have underneath beliefs. If you get the belief that one sentence correct. Once you've got that in place, you then have just two or three, two or three values, which reinforce the belief they underpin it.
Anthony Condouris: Because quite often trying to go from a belief to making a decision. Can be really difficult. So let's just say you've got an organization of a hundred people and they're making 10 decisions a day. That's a thousand decisions. It's really hard for them to make a decision in line with the belief, but if they have a serious values, which are aligned to the belief, it becomes easy for them just to say, Well, if I make this kind of decision today, I can see how it's really well aligned to one or more of these values.
Can you give an example of the belief statement and the underpinning values put it into context?
Marcus Cauchi: Can you give an example of the belief statement and the underpinning values put it into context?
Anthony Condouris: A really good example would be, let's talk about that accounting software called Xero. Okay. So Xero from the day that they were founded, their mission was to create beautiful accounting software. That's their belief. That they believe that bookkeepers and accountants should not have to look at ugly software all day. You shouldn't have to look at Excel spreadsheets. You should look at really nice, pretty numbers. Just because you're an accounter, a bookkeeper doesn't mean that numbers need to look ugly. We can make them look beautiful. If you believe, if you share this belief, come and buy Xero.
Anthony Condouris: That's a really good example of their belief here.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. And the underpinning values to that?
Anthony Condouris: Yeah, so in that organization, I haven't actually read gone In and, and actually read their, uh, annual reports to see what they're claiming to be their, their individual values. But I suspect that one of them would be minimalism.
Anthony Condouris: Okay, so what, what, what the CEO would talk about is let's discuss minimalism. What does it mean? And then if you do it really well, you take that value from quadrant three, and this is how you get your quadrant three, four fit. You go. For every value that we have, let's take the one core minimalism we need to exercise it once, demonstrate it once in quadrant four. That means those 10 or 15 interactions that we have to create a customer. So in our research, it's if you're serving small business owners, it's between 10 to 15 interactions required to create a customer. And if it's, If you're serving enterprise decision makers, it's 25 upwards, maybe 50 you are supporting.
Anthony Condouris: You need to take that value, not just talk about it and write it on the wall. You need to operationalize it. You need to prove to the company and show where the customer is going to experience minimalism, and you need to do it once at least once. Companies that do it really well will make sure that they experience that value multiple times in quadrant four.
Anthony Condouris: They'll pay the price because you can sit down and take all these values, and I can tell you unequivocally that like that value you've got there, that's gonna cost us $60,000 to operationalize. Oh, we don't need that anymore. We don't need that value. Actually, we don't need 10 values. We figured it out. We just need these three.
Anthony Condouris: Okay, fantastic. We can get rid of the other seven because they're vanity values, they're just for yourselves. And the moment you've actually gotta pay to demonstrate them, they're not important anymore or we don't have to talk about them. Fantastic. So we've got three now we need to operationalize, and that's a nice number.
Anthony Condouris: Just two or three in quadrant three is enough. Let's now take each of them, go into quadrant four and make sure that we demonstrate them at least once, they have to be felt by the customer.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay? And so this then raises the question around the, um, levels of intimacy. That the selling organization has with the buying organization because unless you've got that access, unless you have that open dialogue, unless you are co-developing the solutions, uh, with them, chances are that you're going to try and impose the square peg into the round hole.
How do you make sure that as you're building these sales systems and these sales frameworks, that element is built into these sales methodology?
Marcus Cauchi: So how do you make sure that, uh, as you're building these sales systems and these sales frameworks, um, that that element is built into these sales methodology?
Anthony Condouris: It's a good point. A buyer safety we need, we need to, we need to share that belief with customers. And I'll give you a very simple way in quadrant four that we found that we could do it.
Anthony Condouris: So, For a long time now, we've been building PowerPoint presentations, like pitch decks and that sort of business for clients. Um, let's just say you've got a a 2020 slide product pitch. What we'll typically do is, is we'll dedicate the first five slides not to product, not to quadrant two, we just dedicate the first five slides to talking about why we get up in the morning, the problem we're trying to solve, and why or how we're going about solving it, generally speaking in quadrant two.
Anthony Condouris: What we are doing here is, is during this interaction, we're looking around the room and we're making eye contact with every decision maker at the table, and we are looking for one of three responses. We're looking for head nodding. I'll come back to that one in a moment. Then we're looking for indifference, actually just don't care, or we're looking for absolute hostility.
Anthony Condouris: Any three of these in reactions are all perfectly awesome. They're all great responses. Obviously, if we're gonna be met with hostility, that's fantastic because we want them to do that right now. If they think that out, we're solving a problem that doesn't exist in a way that they think is uncharacteristic. I want to know now because I want to eject them in the early game from the sales system. I want them out of the way so I can get on with serving customers who do believe.
Anthony Condouris: We did a really interesting study. The question came up from a CEO. He said to me, can we change people's beliefs? And I said, you know what? I don't know, but I'll give it a go. Give me your two best sales people. I need, uh, 10 hours from them every week for the next six months. Let me see what I can do.
Anthony Condouris: And what we did was, first of all, the results were appalling. We only converted, we only changed the beliefs of 5% of the people we spoke to. Of the 5%, only two and a half percent could be converted in a fortnight, and the other balance took three to six months.
Anthony Condouris: So what we learned very quickly is you can't change their beliefs. So why are you serving them in quadrant four? We need to identify that they do not believe in the solution we have and they don't believe in the problem. We need to get that out of the way because they're gonna become a real problem for us later.
Anthony Condouris: Because they'll start trying to write our roadmap for us and giving us a whole bunch of intelligence that we don't wanna hear, but we've been obliged to because we served them. So on those three, right, we've got. Head nodding. That's where they're looking at you and they're going, Oh yeah, let me tell you a story.
Anthony Condouris: So what they'll do is they'll repeat the belief back in their own words.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Anthony Condouris: This is someone that you want to get, you wanna get ready to sell them. Those other 15 slides, which are gonna be on the product, they're about to buy. Those other people? You are packing up. There's no product today. You can throw all the product you like at them.
Anthony Condouris: They haven't bought into those first five slides. You are wasting your time showing them the quote, the product demonstration. You just go, You know what folks? Fantastic. Glad to meet you all. Have a great day.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay? Whilst I absolutely agree with that, people who have a weak, empty, inconsistent pipeline, people who are behind quota.
Marcus Cauchi: We'll find that a very difficult decision to make. So
Anthony Condouris: Yeah.
Lack of alignment and lack of communication across all the key revenue operations functions
Marcus Cauchi: I think that there is a really important early stage. The, the problem that you faced today is really a byproduct of the causes that you either ignored or missed yesterday. And it, it's interesting, the, the in sound they talk about, the problem the prospect brings you is never the real problem.
Marcus Cauchi: I also think that the solution that the customer has in mind is often not the right solution because very frequently what they're doing is they're seeing the problem through the symptoms they experience in their little silo. So there is a, a huge issue here, which is lack of alignment and lack of communication across all the key revenue operations functions.
Marcus Cauchi: So marketing, lead gen, sales, customer success, account growth, and then feeding back into product development, feeding back into the ancillary services like legal and finance.
I'm curious how a well oiled run-frictionless kind of business creates that alignment and communication between the silos in order to make sure that the customer is still at the heart of everything they do?
Marcus Cauchi: And I'm curious how a well oiled run-frictionless kind of business creates that alignment and communication between the silos in order to make sure that the customer is still at the heart of everything they do?
Anthony Condouris: Yeah, it's a really good question, and if you asked me 24 months ago, I wouldn't have an answer. But, um, recently in the last year there was a very interesting fellow called Tim Wegner, he's a change manager consultant in Singapore. He's adopted the four Qs framework. He uses it. He does digital transformation, he's focuses on people.
Anthony Condouris: That's he's some kind of slant. What he explained to me, he, he called me on this and he said, Look, what the four queues is gonna allow you to do is because once you, you start to just use it as a decision making tool. Are we describing a quadrant one, two fit today? Are we talking about a one three fit, a one four fit, a two three, A two, four, a 1, 2, 4?
Anthony Condouris: It's really easy now just to break through the jargon from various departments because people often talk about the same problem using different words. This will allow you to talk about a problem and narrow it because the words we are using have been standardized. And I've got that feedback from a lot of, uh, CTOs and operations people who use it, who are kind of clued onto that thought that that's quite important to them to breaking down silos.
Anthony Condouris: But what's really interesting is he showed me how you can create a virtual team or a virtual innovation team. So what we do is we organize, say the top 10 15, either by title or influence. Those people into one or more quadrants, depending on the kind of functions they perform. So which one they're most likely to align to.
Anthony Condouris: And then we make one of them, the quadrant leader, they're gonna be responsible for the specification, okay? So they're responsible for that specification. We're talking earlier about who we served today, tomorrow, never, um, features, limitations, work arounds in quadrant two. Likewise, quadrants three and four.
Anthony Condouris: And so we have different leaders and then what happens is, is that as we get intelligence coming into the organization, watching this intelligence could come from White Rabbit, could come outside the organization like White Rabbit or it could come internally from salespeople, customer care people. As this intelligence is coming in, we meet once a week and we understand, we start to build stories out of that intelligence and then we start to go, Oh my God, I can see how, um, if we make this change in quadrant one, and we just make that very, very slight change of.
Anthony Condouris: Moving someone from who we serve tomorrow to who we serve today. We've got the folks here in quadrant four who go, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on. We actually don't have a set of interactions ready to serve that profile. They're radically different. Yes. Technically it's the same product in quadrant one, but hang on man.
Anthony Condouris: Enterprise are not going to do self-service. What are you talking about? We've got a whole bunch of new experiences we need here. We need, we need budget, and we do need time. So they could make decisions and go if we've got $5 to spend this month, the intelligence is coming in. We've got five chips to put down, which quadrants are we gonna put 'em in?
Anthony Condouris: How are we gonna drive the fastest ROI we can for the company? That's how they can do it once a week. Sifting that intelligence. Then say, Here are gonna be our projects. I can see who's in all quadrants. I can see all the processes in those quadrants, and I now I know how this change is gonna impact the business and whether or not we think it will reduce friction.
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting.
Anthony Condouris: That's all Tim's work, by the way. That was Tim. He, he, he schooled me on this. He's a, he's a, he's a genius this guy.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, talent creates genius fields, so, Okay. This has been incredibly insightful. Thank you.
What first bit of advice would you whisper in idiot Anthony aged 23?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this, you, you have a golden ticket and you can go back and advise the idiot Anthony aged 23. What first bit of advice would you whisper in his ear?
Anthony Condouris: Strike a quadrant one three fit earlier. I, I think that surrounding myself personally, in my own life with more people who I belong to. Mentors, friends, even within my own family, aligning myself with the people that I feel like I belong to, who belong to me.
Anthony Condouris: If I just got that down pat earlier in my life, I would've been more successful now.
What one area that you see sales really evolving as a result of the pandemic, the speed with which technology is moving and so on?
Marcus Cauchi: Good advice. A question that I'm starting to. Ask more frequently if you were to pick one area that you see sales really evolving as a result of the pandemic, the speed with which technology is moving and so on. I'd be curious, um, to get your snapshot on the future of sales. Again, I mean, feel free to just pick one area.
Anthony Condouris: Thank you. You know, in quadrant four, one of the experiences that we've been teaching people is personalized video greetings because we've got people suffering Zoom fatigue, and there's actually a lot of friction in trying to organize a Zoom call, the whole appointment setting business, then trying to get everyone on the call, Oh, I forgot to be on the call on this.
Anthony Condouris: Oh, I got no internet. So there's all this friction surrounding that interaction. And days and days and days are just going by. Right, and the customer's expiring. So one of the ways just to short circuit that and just get quadrants two and three directly into the hands of the customer faster is through personal video.
Anthony Condouris: And personal video works really well when you know you're using applications like White Rabbit or you've got really good intel coming in and you know exactly who Sally is, you can just blow them away. Because what happens is, is you anticipate all the issues that they're gonna have, and you can address all of them in a personal video, all within the first interaction.
Anthony Condouris: And they go, Wow, that's like 90% of the stuff I needed to know. How do they even know that I had these questions? It's unbelievable.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent.
Anthony Condouris: So personal video is a really good way to do that.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, absolutely. And I think one of the problems that I see with a lot of sales people is they tend to favor one or two media and, uh, as a result, they're not necessarily adapting to how people consume content nowadays.
Marcus Cauchi: Video is absolutely key. Audio is key, voice, you know, voice activated technology is on the app. We're starting to see AI creep into pretty much everything, and the dehumanizing of the marketing and sales process, I think is a major handicap because people are sacrificing the speed and efficiency. Or rather sacrificing the humanity of it for speed and efficiency.
Marcus Cauchi: But the long term cost, I think is exceptionally high. And that's how we, and we witness it in high staff turnover, high churn, uh, of customers, uh, high levels of customer complaints.
Customer success is the final arbiter as to whether we take on a customer
Marcus Cauchi: And so one of the things that I'm, uh, building into the companies that I'm working with is that customer success is the, uh, the final arbiter as to whether we take on a customer.
Anthony Condouris: Um,
Marcus Cauchi: So sales can't get it passed, get it over the line, unless customer success gives it the green light. Now that slows things down, but it means that we have less remedial work to do later.
Anthony Condouris: Yeah, there's a really good interaction in there that I saw one company implementing quadrant four in the United Kingdom back in 2015.
Anthony Condouris: I was working, building the sales system then. I remember one of the um, one of the smartest sales people who was also, he kind of also did a lot of customer success as well. He'd been with the company a long time. His only interaction in quadrant four was to call every inbound. So once the customer, once we got all the particulars, they're about to do the transaction or they've done the transaction.
Anthony Condouris: He would call them personally and just walk 'em through and say, Look, I just wanna make sure you understood what you've bought. This is what you're getting into. This is how much time it's gonna take to do the onboarding. These are some of the consequences that we're gonna have to change in your business.
Anthony Condouris: You're okay with that, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, good. Just bang, bang, bang. Okay, good. So he would almost pre-flight it for the customer success people to make sure that the project had a very high success rate. But he was also looking after the customer to make sure the sales people did a right job. And then he would gather anything that the sales people he felt hadn't done correctly, and that would become part of the next training program to improve that piece.
Anthony Condouris: Make it a little bit better next time.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. Excellent. Yeah. Okay, Anthony, we've come to time. How can people get hold of you?
Anthony Condouris: Yeah, thank you Marcus. Uh, they can just hit, uh, runfrictionless.com or key search my name in LinkedIn, Anthony Coundouris, and either one is good for me.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Anthony Coundouris.
Marcus Cauchi: Thank you.
Anthony Condouris: Thank you very much. Nice to be on the show and look forward to continuing our discussions together.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So thank you. This is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from The Inquisitor Podcast. If you found this useful, insightful, then please like, comment, share, and subscribe and feel free to give it an honest review on Apple or Google Podcasts.
Marcus Cauchi: Um, a one star or five star, welcome all of them. In the meantime, if you wanna get a hold of me, you can email me at email@example.com or direct message me on LinkedIn and if you think you'd be a good guest or you know someone else who would, then ping me a note and let's see if we can get them on. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling Byebye.