Why is it important for vendors to make sure their strategies match those of their customers, and what tools can they use to find out more?
It's important for vendors to align their strategies with their customers' strategies because customers are getting smarter and have specific goals that need to be met, which come from leadership and innovation. Aligning with the customer's strategy makes sure that the customer's ultimate goal of success is reached, which leads to a higher customer lifetime value. For their research, vendors can use the Form 10 K, the investor portal of a publicly traded company, analyst reports, and sites.
How can vendors make the ecosystem better for their partners?
Customers are happier when their partners are happy, so vendors should focus on paying and training partners, helping them reach their business goals, and giving them access to customers and resources.
What are some lessons that Ayman Husein has taught sales teams about how to get into the mind of the customer?
Ayman Husein tells sales teams to have a "challenger mindset" and ask customers why they want to buy something instead of just focusing on what they need and how much money they have. This helps sales teams avoid "blood baths" that happen when they don't know what the customer really wants. He gives the example of a customer who said they wanted to move to the cloud but later told him that what they really wanted was to cut costs so that they could sell their business for more money.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello and welcome back to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today my guest is Ayman Husein, and Ayman is a, uh, director of Customer Success at Microsoft. Ayman.
60-second introduction to your background
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, would you mind giving us a quick 60-second introduction to your background?
Ayman Husein: Absolutely. Thank you Marcus. Uh, my name is Ayman Husein. I work from Microsoft Customer Success Director.
I live and deal with the cloud solution pro, uh, portfolio that Microsoft has. And what I do is evangelize and make sure there's customer lifetime value that comes with it. I deal with the customers every day and, uh, work around their objectives of success.
Align completely with the customer's strategy
Marcus Cauchi: I tell me this, um, uh, I'm really curious to understand how vendors need to align what they do with the customer's strategy.
Because experience has taught me that most or many salespeople are fixated on hitting their quota, uh, getting a transaction through the [00:01:00] how vendors need to align what they do with the customer's strategy. the over the line. And I, I'm interested in, uh, understanding why it's so important nowadays to align completely with the customer's strategy.
Ayman Husein: That's a great question. So one of the things we've seen in the last 10, 12 years, if you measure in the context of the evolution of industry, our customers are getting smarter.
They have outcomes that they need to achieve. Either you're a manufacturing customer or a services customer. There are goals that have to be met. These goals have innovation and a birth at a level of leadership that is beyond those middle management or buyers. They're coming from the board. They're coming from the analysts that control their stock of some level.
If you're not aligned to that strategy, what is their strategy for growth, innovation, success. You are missing a big piece of the big picture. I call them horizons. If you don't have those horizons plan 1, 2, 3, or four, depending on where they are, you're not [00:02:00] gonna have the end goal of their success in mind.
You may have success selling a widget or a gidget at that point in time through that quota that you're trying to close and retire. But you're missing the ultimate goal. And what happens is the customer lifetime value suffers. So it's important for partners and sellers to have that core focus of why you want to achieve the success.
Now, depending on who you talk to, some of them will have that answer. If you don't have that answer from that person you're talking to, it is always good to aspire to aim higher. You can read published reports. If you are traded in the US you have the 10 K reports. You can find what the board is talking about.
That is where you start. You have to understand where they're going. It's a destination for them, and that will give you the success. Well, whichever matter of selling you do.
Marcus Cauchi: So for those who are not familiar with the Form 10 K, where do you find that?
Ayman Husein: So it's very easy if you're a publicly traded company in the United States, you can go to their investor portal.
Every United States company will by law, need to have that portal for them. So if you're just [00:03:00] using the internet and doing Google Research, you can just type in a 10 K and the name of the company and you'll find amazing amount of documents that'll pop up, including some that are verified by the S E C, which is the governing organization here in the US.
If you don't have that, another way to do that is if you have any notion of the analyst that sell like Citi or Fidelity, you can go to their portals and do free searches. And according to their analysts, because they're looking at you as if someone will buy their stock and or invest with them. You will find all the recommendations that is based on analysis that these companies spend immense amount of money doing research for their anal buyers and institutional traders.
So you can find almost all those. And if you can't take the time to do that, if you are a professional seller in the context of a technology, there are websites and there are services that will give you, like d and b will give you those information as well. Who's buying, who are relevant, who are the leaders, who moved, who moved out, and that will also give you enough on that information of what the strategy aligned.
Marcus Cauchi: You've [00:04:00] hinted at something really important here, which is the critical importance of doing your research. Um, when you're operating in the enterprise space, you are talking about tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in cost of pursuit. Doing your research is not a negotiable element of your role.
So aside from looking at the Form 10 K, what other research are you advising sellers to focus?
Ayman Husein: That's another great question. So what I, I, I am fortunate to live in the internet era, right? I spend almost 90% of my time connected to the internet of some sort using search engines. What you can do is tag-based searches.
You can have a compedium of things that you wanna look for on a regular basis. Instead of you looking for it, you have them push it to you. So you can set up search profiles that says, Hey, I want to talk about Boeing plus their challenges with their new airplane that is, [00:05:00] Flight worthy. So you can create these keyword searches and what they'll do you is a digest that will send it to you.
Now, you are not, I'm not asking any of my sellers or any of my colleagues to read through pages and pages of documentation. What you want is to look at those taglines that we are benefiting of these tutor, like, uh, you know, 140 or 240 character based, uh, snaps and uh, uh, analysis back to you. So that's the way I do my research.
I don't go look for it. I say This is the book of business I need to build, or these are the customers I really need to focus for, including names of people that I need to focus on. And then I'll create my tax search, uh, using Bing or Google and any other search engine that you're care for. Has a facility and then you get emailed back to you, uh, context, either a daily digest or weekly digest.
The weekly digest can be big. So if you don't have time set at the end of your work week to go read through that, it becomes challenging. But if you have a daily digest, if you're commuting or if you're just, uh, having a cup of tea, you can just scroll through your, uh, smartphone and get an amazing amount of information.
And because we are collecting [00:06:00] intelligence, I mean, this is the Google world, right? They're collecting intelligence of what you want to read and what you're clicking on, on the hyperlinks. Guess what? Your articles in your, uh, newsfeed reader either be from Apple or from Google or any other device, it will start stacking those kind of things you're really interested in.
And it gives you the ability to not spend time researching and spend time more, uh, reading and absorbing. So it is paramount to have an idea. You can't do it all. You can't if don't research quantum computing. Because there is no sale option for it. That would be a personal innovation. That would be a personal interest.
Research that because you wanna learn about it. But don't ask a company, what are you doing with Com quantum computing with today? There's not a viable product that you can go sell, but research about what quantum computing does. Analytics, fast speed, uh, capability, secure, maybe those are things you start looking about.
Why would somebody be interested in quantum computing? Not because it's fast and amazing. They're looking for secure, they're looking for something that's fast, they're looking for something that has intelligence behind it. Those will be the key words that will give you success. [00:07:00]
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, another really useful tool is one called soundboard.social.
And it curates and collects articles that might be of interest to your customers and your prospects. And it's a widget that sits on Chrome on LinkedIn and you scroll through their profile and then you click the soundboard button and opt up a number of articles that may be of interest to your prospect.
If you can be a source of value, then you can enhance the relationship with your customers
Marcus Cauchi: Because I think one of the other aspects that many people forget is that you are dealing with human beings. And if you can be a source of value, then you can enhance the relationship with your customers. And I think it's really important to not just contact people when you're trying to pedal something to them.
Ayman Husein: Absolutely. I totally concur and agree. One of the things I've started doing in my practice is sentiment, uh, analysis. And what I mean by that, everybody has an opinion. You mark us, have opinion. I [00:08:00] have opinion, and we are the kind of people who will publish our opinions in our private blogs or some Twitter group blog post and will tag it and otherwise. There's sentiment that follows that. If you have any level of empathy to finding out what a company's doing, follow those people, follow their sentiment, and you'll get an idea of where they're going. For example, today we're. Hard press world with a, a situation that's kind of not, uh, positive in the economic sense, right?
People are getting laid off in different places and world. If you follow a sentiment of layoffs, you'll realize a lot of these leaders that are not getting laid off, but they're in the helm of making these decisions, are not having a great time having to lay off their friends and colleagues because of the economic challenges.
Their sentiment will tell you what their challenges are, and you'll get a great idea of how, if you wanted to target a services solution where you would win if you followed that empathy and sentiment. And that is always a great thing to, is follow people, not just companies and not the financial statements follow the people.
Uh, at the end of the day, the soul of a company's made of those people. You know, it [00:09:00] seems soulless when it's a thousand, a hundred thousand person company, but there is an entity behind it. And these people are those driving factors.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's fantastic advice. And, uh, to build on that, um, I, I think the superpower of, uh, many salespeople, many salespeople think superpower their superpower is storytelling.
But I believe that the real superpower is conversation. And the problem that many people have is that they don't know how to have great conversations outside of their sphere of specialty. And I think if you can engage in conversation with these human beings, uh, who are on the buyer side and also on your partner, uh, in your partners, then it opens up a different quality to the relationship they have with you over other vendors.
And if I look at the, uh, top salespeople that I know, and I've got a pretty decent [00:10:00] network, these are people who have the ability to, uh, move through different topics of conversation and to align themselves with the interests and uh, the sentiment of their customers. And all the people around them who influence the decision.
So I'd like to explore the whole area of deriving the closest relationship with both procurement and your channel, because I think those are two areas within a vendor, uh, sorry. Within a, a customer who have access to that bigger picture. Procurement sees all these points of pain from the organization and they get sent over the wall to them and they say, help us find, source a solution to solve this problem.
And they can be a really rich source of insight. Your partners as well, if they're doing their job [00:11:00] correctly, uh, will have visibility across the entire organization and as a vendor of a point solution. You are just one moving part. And you need to understand where you fit in the grand scheme of things.
As Ayman was saying earlier on, you need to understand those horizons and you need to understand where the business is headed. It's not good enough just to try and hit your quota. You need to see how what you are offering fits within the overall framework, their strategy, what you might be able to replace by bringing your proposition in.
In your experience what kind of dialogue needs to be set up and what cadence do you need to have in order to establish those kind of quality relationships with procurement and with the child?
Marcus Cauchi: Is there a way that you can help them re remove three or four competing solutions by solving this other problem? And in order to do that, you have to have those conversations with procurement and with the partners. So I'm in, in your experience, what, what kind of dialogue needs to be set up and what cadence do you need to have in order to [00:12:00] establish those kind of quality relationships with procurement and with the child?
Ayman Husein: That is a great question, right? So one of the things that I found in the world of procurement, if, if you haven't lived a life of a procurement person, you'll understand that they are measured internally for different metrics that they have to carry. Their governance may say, Hey, you need to have the, uh, the low cost provider of a services solution, or you have to have something that has an amazing amount of warranty or maintenance contracts that prevents them from having to spend, uh, on the opex side of it.
So one of the things that I do when I talk to procurement folks is to understand their history of procurement. The, uh, procurement is such a unique proposition within a larger organization or in a small organization, they have a mandate that they're gonna follow. So one of the things I do is I actually do compete research.
Now, I have been successful because I work in an industry that has a lot of compete options. Like there is challenges in some organizations, there's only one or two options and you just don't have much [00:13:00] negotiation room. But I have had the ability to research. So what I do with procurement folks is I a, it's like a job interview.
If you are not selected due to a, a job posting and an interview, one of the things I want to do is ask what could I have done before? And what is the person that got the job got it because of what skill or competency they had? If I did not appear properly, then I have to work on my apearance and polish on that.
If I had, uh, incorrect quotas or pricing or structure, or the bill of materials was not accurate, I need to work on that. So the same thing works with the procure. Buyer, uh, somebody that works in that, you ask them, how did the competition get the drop on me? And they may have a contract, couple years old, maybe you are competing for the new business.
Now what I ask is like, how did you succeed? How, how did they get the business? Did they know the right people? They the right pricing? That's a level of research and connection. I do when I, I disconnect my capability with the procurement officer, and one of the things is you have to diffuse the conversation.
What I find is immediately if I show up and I say, [00:14:00] I work for X, Y, Z, and I'm gonna show you the best thing that will solve your problem, they immediately know you're pedaling. If you have to disconnect from the pedal, you have to say that I am not here immediately win your business. I need to improve my proposition so that you are the one contacting me, not the other way around.
Right. And that is a huge proposition. I use an example for my personal life. I, I was in professional services for many years, and in professional service, you're selling people. That's your commodity. And one of the, uh, business leaders I was talking to who was a decision maker, I loved what I was proposing.
I loved everything that I was bringing to the table. Unfortunately, the banner I was under, that logo of this company that I was with was a very small, unknown entity. And after March hardship, this the buyer, the gentleman that was gonna make the decision, looked up at me and says, Jesus, Iman, I'd love to buy from you, but today I can't.
And here's why. If I buy from you and you mess up, I will get fired. He's essentially saying that there's a risk that's associated with working with me. However, he name dropped another [00:15:00] big professional services firm, one which says gigantic in the world. Uh, and, and, and he said, if I buy from them and if they mess up, I won't get fired.
Because that organization had enough hooks into the organization that you, and if you follow professional service and look it up, you'll notice some of these great implementations of S A P or E R P or government contracts always fail. And then they get sued and there's libel behind it, but they still get the next contract to get.
And then you wonder, Hey, didn't you get fired and you still got the contract like two years later? How's that work? Because those are brands that carry a level of goodwill. And so when I put propos proposition myself with a procurement officer, buyer, or somebody that's just, just gonna make a decision, I need to understand what their risk is with working with me.
Are they looking at my supply chain? Are they looking at the ability for me to deliver on the commitments I'll make? Because that is not about pricing. That's not what the value, it's not a discount play at that point. I need to know what their success is, not the success of the company's success, of how they will succeed in getting the CFO to sign off on a big bill of materials.
If you are a small vendor, does it not make sense?
Marcus Cauchi: That's [00:16:00] amazingly useful advice, and it makes me think about another question, which is, if you are a small vendor, does it not make sense? In that case, instead of going direct to go through a computer center, a Cap, Gemini and Accenture, and then use their credibility, In order to be able to win those large enterprise clients.
Ayman Husein: Absolutely. You hit it right on the nose there. So, yes. Think of the big organizations. They cannot scale. They're, they're in a, to use pun, they're like a Titanic. They won't be able to turn, turn the boat fast enough. They have rules to follow, hiring, uh, uh, resourcing. They have, uh, equality, diversity rules they have to follow.
So they can't scale up their teams if it's the professional service organization or a implementation type deal. They have to follow a lot of different things. But what they are very good at is knowing their value. Props. If I am, uh, and I use defense organizations, I know Marcus have had some experience [00:17:00] in the space defense, organizations.
Don't build a rocket ship or a missile system or a weapons technology by one company. That company hands up owning the paper. They own the contract, but underneath that is a plethora of small providers, including a one person shops that will go provide the services and value. Why do they do that? Is because that contract is held by the government or by a large buyer for the purpose of optimizing the supply chain of whatever it is.
The optimizing the one place to go to have that conversation. But underneath that, your value prop may be, uh, very unique that that organization themselves may not have it. And so if you are a small provider, you want to work with a large providers, not because you are, you are not able to scale or compete.
You have a need to deflect the things that is overhead. If you are a 10% shop and you're spending eight of those 10 people's time just trying to prospect and open doors, you are losing valuable commodity and the human resource time. Imagine if that partnership [00:18:00] with CAPS or the the Accentures or whatever these big, large providers are, they took care of that.
Now, yes, you may have a reduced ability to negotiate or have amazing ways to, uh, you ma maximize your margins, but you don't have to spend time prospecting. You don't have to spend time owning the relationship. Somebody's gonna take care of it. But what that gives you is the ability to build your goodwill.
Be ability to value, value prop. I'm very good at doing X, Y, Z. I've done it with 10 different providers or ISVs in the world, MSPs, and therefore I'm very pro proficient and pro prominent. Think of cybersecurity. There is amazing number of cybersecurity firms in the world, small, big, large, all of them. And they all work with other organizations because they're very good at penetration testing or they're very good at hacking or black hat type stuff.
But they don't go there and compete against a big cyber security organization, which they don't have to, cuz they will get that opportunity to show the value prop. And so by, by virtue of that goodwill, it takes a little bit of time. But in a couple years, especially in the [00:19:00] internet age, you can become very known and well known in that commodity space.
Marcus Cauchi: And to build on that, what we need to understand first of all is the channel is not for get out of sales free card. However, one partner can be worth 50 or a hundred end user customers. And I think an area that many vendors really need to smarten up on is treating their partners as genuine partners. We help each other get better.
Uh, we treat them as if they are our own. We train them how to sell our stuff. It's not just about giving them the product. We also need to understand how what we offer fits into their portfolio and adds value to what they're offering to their customers so that they find it, uh, they find the motivation to take you in.
If you're just another also round vendor and you're, uh, offering yet another firewall [00:20:00] and you, you're not bringing something that allows them to advance their own interests, then you are not gonna get the time of day. You know, if you're talking to, uh, a, a distributor, a distributor can have, what, 20,000 or a hundred thousand SKUs and you are just one tiny part of that.
So you need to invest the time and the effort in understanding what they are trying to achieve, what the individual salespeople are trying to achieve and help them achieve their objectives. But I, I don't see a lot of that happening. I think the very good channel managers do that and the, uh, the very good vendors do that, but the majority treat their partners like, uh, a free sales resource or, uh, a free technical implementation resource, and they don't really treat them as equals.
What's your advice to people who are in vendors and are looking to build a channel?
Marcus Cauchi: So what's your advice to people, uh, who are in vendors and are looking to build a channel?
Ayman Husein: I'm glad you bring that segue, right? I live in the wor i, I work for an [00:21:00] employer today, uh, who built the entire book of business for the last 45 years with channel partners or partners of some level. And if you think of what that they're trying to do, what we are trying to do is proximity to knowing our buyer.
At the end of the day, you have to know your buyer, whatever you're selling, if you're selling canopies in the support market, you have to know the buyer. Add that support market in your locality if that canopies makes sense. That is done through a channel that you cannot scale down to that level of distributorship to have that knowledge and analytics, even if you're in the world of internet and collecting amazing amount of data.
And the reason I feel some organizations do it well, and some don't do it well, is understanding the motivation. You had it very eloquent. If you're looking as a, a augmentation of your sales team through channel, you're missing the opportunity, right? That you cannot offset the need to have a selling team by saying, I'm gonna outsource that.
We do outsourcing on almost [00:22:00] everything and every day of our life. You cannot outsource selling. that is not gonna work. If you wanna outsource selling that, you are not going to have, you're gonna do a very business to business centric organization. You are a distributor. You are not gonna have any outward facing field sales.
You don't even need that. A great example of this in my mind is Intel. Intel makes processors, they don't have a selling team. They have people that will go talk about their product and highlight it through expositions or different ways of doing it. They, they sell exclusively through the computer manage makers cuz they realize that they cannot have a better conversation saying Buy intel versus a M d or whichever the CHE processor they're competing get.
Cuz it makes no sense. They have outsourced the selling to the distribution lines or the, the OEMs or makers. So if you think of another way of looking at that is the channel has to be created if you're, if you're an organization that needs a channel. What you, that the word channel itself describes what you're trying to do.
You're trying to find a mechanism to achieve success for your [00:23:00] outcomes of increasing revenue through sales by not investing in a competing organization that will undermine that. So when I am a smaller player, if I'm on the other side of the fence and I wanna work with a large organization, keep in mind there's a compete.
If there's a compete factor, if they're gonna compete against you, you will probably not succeed. You can't win that conversation. So I would be hesitant to partner up with an organization that's gonna try to take away my chunk of change. I use Amazon, the e-commerce retailer example. If you look at 90% of the things that are sold on Amazon is not warehouse in Amazon.
And you can tell that if you go put it in your shopping cart, it'll say distributed by our sold buy, and it'll be a different name. It won't say Amazon. When it says Amazon, you know, they're hosting it. They're, uh, carrying the cost of the E R P that they need to do it. But when it doesn't say Amazon directly, then you know they're being sold by somebody else.
Imagine what they did. They off, uh, the company that's selling the widget has outsourced their distribution ship to Amazon, and Amazon decided not to hold their product. But then look at Amazon again. In that same [00:24:00] example, they are competing, they are taking the manufacturing, uh, products away from people that.
10 years ago. Were making great money by selling for Amazon. They're building their own. I mean, I come from an oil and gas background. You can go buy Amazon branded oil for your car on their website today. Are they drilling holes and pulling oil from the ground? They're not. They actually went and got it from a distributor slapped a label that says Amazon and they're selling it.
But we imagine all those other sellers, the bps and the shelves that we're selling through their portal, amazing products to the consumer directly now has to worry about the fact that Amazon's gonna take their lunch. That's a bad channel relationship. So we always invest in channel partners and partners in the vice versa that will never compete with something that we have to offer.
Now that's very challenging. When the com, the channel partner is significantly large, in behemoth, in size, and Microsoft is a great example, also a bad example. But if you're in a small place where you don't have to compete with the selling force of an organization, you'll be successful by. Giving them the opportunity, their success, their leadership, their numbers, their codas will [00:25:00] become your goal and you will win in very nicely.
And that's the way I've, uh, talked to my sellers, talked to my peers and, and a lot of my partners that say, Hey, Iman, how can I sell more Microsoft? Well, here are the things we don't go do very well. And by the way, I don't have any people doing that. If you did that, you'll be my best friend as a channel partner.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. That's really enlightening. And, uh, I, I wanna build on this as well because I think too many people think of either the channel or partners, but actually it's channels, alliances, and partnerships that we should be thinking about. And over 70% of all products sold on the planet today are sold through Partners Alliances or the channel.
Very often direct sales are seen as the golden child, and the channel is seen as the sort of ginger head bastard, ugly stepdaughter of direct sales. And I think that's driven largely by where [00:26:00] the sales, leadership and uh, leadership of the business has come from. And the wrong kind of thinking, uh, which is, well, why should we give away our margin to a third party?
Why should we train them when they might sell someone else's or a competitor's product? But I think given the level of complexity of the IT stack at the moment, I mean just within security, you might have 20 different vendors within the MarTech or sales enablement. You might have 15, 20 different vendors.
And so you are just one small. , have you given any thought to the whole process of cooperation where vendors collaborate with their competition in areas where you don't necessarily overlap, but where you are
Ayman Husein: complimentary? Absolutely. Uh, I live that every day. Uh, I, I, again, so not to, uh, plug my own organization here, I'm gonna use an example that we recently did.
So Microsoft released a device called a Surface Do. It's a dual screen, uh, [00:27:00] phone, uh, tablet like device that you use. The operating system system that's running on it is Android. And if you think of Android, who, who is licensed behind that is Google Alphabet, the company itself. Now we are in dire straits of competition as Microsoft against Google for many different things from the product B Suite, like Gmail versus Outlook email.
We are fighting over the cloud public space, which is the Azure versus the Google, uh, compute. Uh, and so we think about it, we competing, we're competing with Google, but here we decided to have an alliance. On Android, a device, mobile, uh, uh, operating system for our smartphone. And the reason we did that is because they do it well.
They're not gonna compete with us in that space cause we don't even have an offering. We can proposition them to use something that's productive to, you've done very well in the well of market. So when I think of competition, I'm not trying to say that we do it better, therefore position my product. I'm saying it's complimentary.
It, it's similar to talking about tires in your car. Original manufacturer of a brand new car will have a [00:28:00] tire that may say Bridgestone on it, but then you can go put uh, Michelins on it. What did those people all at some level in their history do? They came up with standards, they came up with some mechanism saying attire will have a size that will work for everybody, manufacturing quality.
And the demographics will decide if how it's gonna compete and where it's gonna compete for. So when I think of competition, it is the paramount way of entering without having to cover the, uh, massive gap. If you are professional services and, and you are a product organizations, if you're selling desktops on laptops and, and you need someone to integrate it, you can find and integrated.
They also sells desktops on laptops. But what you're trying to do there is integrate the capability that you are better at managed services. Therefore, I think we need to go together in this initiative and venture, but I am better at distributorship. Maybe I am the direct seller. Maybe I am getting a large capability to save margin by saving it, giving it to my buyers or my consumers because I have a better [00:29:00] deal on that option. Think of the overseas markets. A lot of these large computer manufacturers will have to sell their distributor ships cannot sell directly because of country laws, geography laws, or just the fact that the supply chain is not predictable.
They cannot just, uh, order a thousand devices and have them show up tomorrow like we would do in the US or in the uk. So you have to have the competition. But at the same times, those organizations that are doing the distributorship at the end last mile may have competing services. They may have the ability to do certain things differently than you would.
So instead of competing that you set the ground rule up, you, you find those complimentary areas. It, it is if you want to go down to the consumer mindset, it's like pairing good food with a bottle of wine. That may not be the bottle of wine that you would choose, but you still do it because it compliments the flavors or compliments the dish you're having.
You have to have complimentary capability If you're competing on that level, you have to really make a decision like, is my solution better at my than my competitions? Honesty is important there. One of the things I live is like, we don't do everything very well there. There's if, if you drank [00:30:00] the Kool-Aid and got drunk on it, that's a problem.
And for viewers outside the US Kool-Aid is this popular kid's strength that every drink. We use that as a vernacular to say that if you're drinking something that it gives you a cult-like status and you're brainwashed and you believe it. There is the level of challenge there. You have to understand there are deficiencies in everybody's portfolio of products and services.
You have to understand your strengths and weaknesses. If you're falling on the weakness side, do not compete there. Find somebody that will cover the gap on the weakness, but if you're on the strength find, absolutely compete there.
Marcus Cauchi: I couldn't agree more. I mean, then one, one of the things that when we wrote the book Making Channel sales work was look for ways that, uh, your strengths compliment one another.
Find people whose strengths make your weaknesses irrelevant. And I think it's so important that when we are looking at the level of complexity, the strategic importance of these purchases that, uh, the end customer is [00:31:00] making, that we don't lose sight of the fact that we are in business because of the customer, not in spite of them.
And so in terms of how we compensate our salespeople, our partners, I know you've got some really interesting thoughts on this. And, um, certainly, uh, having spoken to Patsy Hatter over at, uh, Palo Alto, They grew their professional services sales by, I think it was 93% in one quarter by moving from their traditional pricing model to outcome-based pricing.
I'm curious to find your, find out your thoughts in terms of how you compensate the people who sell, the people who increase and improve utilization. The people who drive stickiness and, uh, the people who drive renewal. Because I think at the end of the day, what we really want are lifetime customers. The people who are shortsighted are focusing [00:32:00] on the transaction.
The ones who have a strategic perspective are thinking about how do we keep these as customers for life and then turn those accounts into marketplaces. So your thoughts on.
Ayman Husein: That, that I, I'm glad you segue into that. Uh, so I'll use a couple of examples here. Outcome-based selling is very new in the world of selling.
If you think about how compensation works, uh, we, we, outcome selling makes it challenging for, uh, the product that sold in Palo Alto's case, it's very relevant because Palo Alto and all sense, the purposes is creating essentially the front gate for all things internet enabled, or sometimes not even internet enabled.
They are the cusp of security for that firewall or that segregation of, uh, private traffic to public traffic. If you take that outside of focus of it, what is the outcome somebody needs in that world today? Right? If, if you look at, uh, I, I'll use a very non-technology example. Uh, there's a gentleman, the Nobel Priest Prize winner, ma Madni, who, uh, was [00:33:00] uh, the pioneer behind Michael Len lending.
He has a, a for-profit organization in his country of origin, which is Bangladesh. And what he did is he, uh, partnered with Danon, the yogurt maker. And he said, Hey, let's make yogurt and give it to the population who is, uh, not getting enough, uh, food and nutrition. But instead of using KPIs of how many cans of yogurts or little packets of yogurt we're selling, let's make the KPI p based on the amount of nutrition we're giving to the, uh, malnutrition kits.
So they put a KPI p saying, I'm not gonna count the number of boxes of yoga that left the store or the, or the factory. I'm gonna look at the health records to see how many kids are not malnutrition in a school district or otherwise. So if you think what he did there, he's saying, I'm gonna measure you on your success of preventing something which is he was passionate about is re reducing malnutrition.
So think of the, in the technology sense, if I were in the technology world, I live in the public cloud world, public cloud, while it's reliable, resilient, and great, does have [00:34:00] its problems, does of its challenges. If I want to sell an outcome to you, a buyer, say you want to put your entire e-commerce platform into the public cloud, I need to ask you what is the outcome that would be best relevant for you?
For example, uh, in the US we have, we used to have before Covid, but Black Friday event, which is a holiday, that Thanksgiving holiday, everybody goes by stuff. I think China has something equivalent where they have the singles day where they're buying amazing amount of stuff. If you're an e-commerce provider, you cannot anytime anticipate an outage.
You cannot have it. If you have an outage for more than a few seconds, you are losing millions of dollars. So I wanna focus on that. I'm gonna go to, you say, look, my technology, my solution, my services will give you an outcome of 10 nines of uptime, or five nines or four nines, whatever the SLA you want, you bind to it, and then you create a structure that says, if I meet that outcome, there will be something in return, a premium, or some kind of a service, or some kind of accelerated that I get either from my sales manager or from the vendor [00:35:00] product producer itself.
Because that person who's gonna invest in the Palo Alto or any device of that nature that gives you resilience and re reliability in the e-commerce world or the and world of internet, is looking at the bank that you will not cost them something that is irrelevant to the technology at that point. They are selling things on Singles Day or on Black Friday.
They don't care what device it was. They don't even say it's Palo Alto devices. But if that Palo Alto device fails and you had an outcome tied to it, you can make decisions based on that in the future. Either you get discounts, you have some level of structure. Now as a sales leader, someone like yourself, Markets, you'll have to actually create programs for your sellers and you have to convince your board and your organization to say, these are ways we can further compensate.
It's gonna give you two things. One, it'll give you the ability to create loyalty for the seller to stick around. If there's a pave that is going come in three years time, like, hey, if, if somebody bought 10 million of cloud compute over a period of three years, and at end of three years, if that, Used all of that 10 million commitment, but also [00:36:00] renewed for another additional 10 million because they fell in love with what you did and the service was awesome.
I'll give you an accelerator, but you have to stick around for it. You can't just sell it first year and dump and run because then you lose out on it because then you're gonna be focused on this year one sale. Let me just get the paper in the door, sign off and I get my commission and bonus. It's the same way we do stock grants in the us You, you don't give a stock grant that is immediately effective.
You give it over a period of investment of five years or six years, whatever. You do it because you want them to stick around for that value of it. We need to translate down that to the channel. We need to translate that down to the seller in the channel world. I want channel partners to say, if you help me pro put these in the marketplace and grow this line of business over a period of time, I'm gonna reward you.
Not like a bonus, but reward you with better discounts, better pricing, better premier, premier status that will give you the ability to win on those conversations previously not available.
Happy partners mean happy customers
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this then leads on to the next really important point, which is happy partners mean happy customers. [00:37:00] And again, one of the things that frustrates me is the lack of attention in the channel.
Not only in terms of how you compensate them, but also in terms of other reward. For example, training. Training them consistently, not just in product, but how to sell, helping them achieve their business objectives, helping them to grow, giving them access to resources, research, getting them access to end customers.
I think it's Ambassadors is a company that is essentially made up of X 14, 500 executive. and this kind of thing can be incredibly valuable, but very few, uh, vendors are thinking creatively in terms of how they can make the ecosystem in which their partners operate even more attractive and more useful to them.
Lessons that you've been able to impart to the sellers simply by getting exposure to the minds of the end user buyer
Marcus Cauchi: So, uh, I know that you spend a [00:38:00] lot of your time speaking to the sales teams and helping them gain insight into the customer's mind. Talk to me about a couple of the bloodbaths, first of all, and some of the, uh, lessons that you've been able to impart to the, uh, sellers, uh, simply by getting exposure to the minds of the end user buyer.
Ayman Husein: That's a great question. Right. And I, I like the way you approach it, so, uh, in, in the world of sales, and you, you're a veteran in there, so you know that methodologies have changed. One of the methodologies that I've adopted, uh, for coaching purposes with my sellers and people that are, uh, driving some level of customer interaction is the challenge challenger mindset.
Now there's an entire portfolio of challenger mindset selling. I don't care for the, the discipline of it. What I. Focus on the word challenge. You have to ask somebody why they want to do something. A sale is very easy to do if there's need and budget that the band stuff that we always talk about, you can make the sale right there, but [00:39:00] you have to ask somebody why do they want it?
And if you don't get the why, you will have an outcome that will not be favorable and, and that's one of the things that I coached, my things, the blood baths I've had to deal with are firefighters or dumpster fires, like we say in the US has been the fact that we did not ask the why. Why did you wanna do this?
I'll use this example. That is a real life example for me. Again, coming from the professional services background. I had a customer that says, Hey, I heard this cloud thing, and this is a few years ago. That's awesome. I want to go to the cloud. Take me to the cloud. I was professional service. I had architects and engineers.
We made this amazing architecture roadmap, guidance. It was flawless. And we took the man and and his organization into the journey of the cloud and we were successful. What happened at the end of the journey is the customer came back to us and said, Hey, this is great, but my cost went up by 25%. I was like, yeah, cloud costs money.
First year is usually a ramp up. And he had a look of dismay, and I was like, why? I'm like, everything's working. Your Optum's better. Your resilience is better. You, you don't have to worry about floods and [00:40:00] mitigation of hurricanes. Why? Why are you so concerned? And he looked back and said, you know what? I needed to reduce my cost.
And I'll tell you why. Because he was looking for an exit strategy. He was going to sell his company and he needed his cost for operations to come down, not go up because he wanted to look valuable. Had I asked that day one, I could have optimized their on-premise data center and services and apps to be less than 20% the way he wanted.
And in when that conversation was his why was I need to make my valuation look better because I have Myers that's gonna look at my company. I wanna merge and get out, and I needed to look better, not have a Costco up. So sometimes the need and the want has to be backed up with a why. And that's one of the blood baths I deal with all the time's.
Like, why do they want that? Why? Why? What is so important for it? If it's a me to play, and I, what I mean by me too is like, just because you sat next to somebody on a flight, it was a CEO of at a bigger company, said, I'm doing this and this is awesome. You don't come home and tell your, uh, your subordinate and uh, people under you to [00:41:00] go do that.
You have to have a why Not All good decisions and technology are based on the need of why they are great. I'm like, you score COBOL. I'm like, you're from for program language. The reason it perseveres today is because there's not a need for people to move off it. There's not a why to modernize that platform that still exists in the front works of our technology platforms and banking.
I'm like, there's a need. You have to have a need to move off. Like Y2K is a great example. Everybody jumped on their back and let's go. Go from two digits to five, four dig. There was a why there, and that's why there was a lot of innovation. But imagine having a conversation in 1980 with the technology leaders saying, Hey, you need to change your programming code to have four digit years versus two digits.
They would have no idea why you want that. And they may not even care. But come December of, uh, 1999 and people are freaking out, or 22,000, whichever way that the digital is gonna turn because they have a why. So always look for the why. Otherwise, you're gonna have a challenge for the customer. Lifetime value, that is what I really want.
I work for a brand that's [00:42:00] gonna be around for another 50 years or more, or a hundred years. I need that customer to stay there. It's like the airline industry. You could fly in an airplane that has the worst service, but if that flight attendant that served your drinks or took care of your bro, brought your pillow, had a smile and a welcoming attitude, you may actually go book the flight again on that flight and that plane, because he remembered that flight attendant that made you feel okay, took care of your need at that point.
So regardless of the brand, you will always go back to it. The customer lifetime value is very important.
Marcus Cauchi: It's really interesting. Uh, I dunno if you follow a chap called Colin Short.
Ayman Husein: I've heard of it. I haven't had a chance to follow a good recommendation.
Selling is a thinking profession
Marcus Cauchi: Colin is a, a genuine expert in, um, understanding the customer and, uh, he makes the point, don't the neuroscience backs us out, but most, many of our purchases are built around our memories.
And I think part of the problem that I see in [00:43:00] sales as a profession, and I use that term exceptionally lightly, and this is someone who loves selling and salespeople, is that we are anything but a professional. I think we're a bunch of people who wing it and who don't put the time in, who lack the intellectual curiosity to keep asking the question why and where have they come from?
What are the experiences that they have had? And there are two. Really useful points of reference. There was a book by Chris Anderson called The Long Tail, which really sparked my, uh, curiosity. He made the point that Amazon makes more profit of selling one book once than it does by selling the Harry Potter series because most of those are lost leaders or sold at very, very low margin.
And if you add up all the books that they have sold, um, they've made pot loads more money, uh, from those one-offs. Another fabulous book is called Be [00:44:00] More Pirate. Um, and unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the author, but be more pirate talks about how the pirates, they were basically 200, uh, ships populated by maybe 50 to 150, uh, sailors and these pirates all clubbed together.
And in one week they sacked Panama and took the equivalent of about 68 billion in gold. And then they dissipated. And I think. My friend Zack Self, who is just about to release his very, uh, anticipated book on the channel says it's the not the strong that devour the weak. It's the agile that devour the slow.
And in this market, in this economy, the way things are changing and read the Gartner report on, uh, the future of sales, we have to be incredibly agile. We have to think. Selling is a thinking profession. It's [00:45:00] not something you just turn up, show your products, and then Beatle off with an order. Those days are long gone.
You have to think, where do we fit? What is our customer trying to achieve? Why are they doing this? Why haven't they done it before? Why now? And you made the point about challenging people and like you, I think the concept of the challenger sale is great. Uh, unfortunately, in order to do that well, You actually have to understand the mechanics of a business.
You need to understand where they've come from, where they are, where they're headed. You need to understand all the different moving parts, how they all interrelate. And they're interdependent because just turning up and challenging someone just makes you sound rude. And I, I think we have to get away from the idea that there is an adversarial relationship with our customers.
It's not them versus us, it's we. And the analogy I like to use is that we need [00:46:00] to build enough trust and have the influence to have them step out of the goal mouth. And it's us together with their pa uh, our partners and the customer kicking into an open goal against their problem. And I, I wanna wrap up on that because that whole piece around creating a real kinship.
Between the customer, the partner, and you as a vendor requires you to think about the customer, have them front and center in everything you do. And this also relates to how the internal mechanics of your own organization work because, um, very often one of the biggest problems that vendors face is dealing with the internal obstacles.
And I think part of that has to come from leadership pushing, uh, the values of the business and being clear about what your [00:47:00] mission is and why you exist. Let's finish on that thought in terms of making sure that you have that internal alignment so that you are committed to that partnership mentality, uh, when you are, uh, going out to the market.
Ayman Husein: Absolutely. So that's a great way to wrap up. One of the things that, uh, within an organization, either be sales or manufacturing or whatever it is, that the vision makes a difference. Now I'm talk, not talking about lofty visions. Not, not we gonna be a billion dollar company by x, y, z time. It, it's the vision of what you want to achieve in that quarter, segment year.
Whatever way you measure time in the context of what you do. One of the things that I've been successful with is having that honest conversation with the business of your, whatever it is you're doing with your sales focus. Like what is the outcome you wanna achieve internally? And profit is always easy.
Growing sales is always easy if you are in the right place at the right time. But there's. An outcome that goes behind it. That [00:48:00] connection to that, that goal within the organization will now give the ability to spearhead a conversation with the, the customer. So one of the things that we lack in the it, it may be just the way the organization of sales have rose risen up, is, uh, we make connections at a personal level.
That's why salespeople, when they leave Company N, go to company B, take the relationships with you. It is a very personal entity. You have to have the relationship because they will continue to buy from the same person regardless of what you're selling. If you have made the connection that is base of a personal goal, if you are a sales.
Person, you have to have a goal. You, you have, this is not easy money. Good tenured seller search. Don't Gabe make easy money? You, you earn their key by growing into the business. So you have to have a personal mission statement of what you want to do. And if you get that, if you write it down, whatever way you motivate and selfer, you have to have that capstone available to you in your mind.
Otherwise, you're not gonna succeed. If you cannot convince yourself why you're a seller, [00:49:00] uh, you are just gonna follow the sales reports and playbooks and just throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. You have to believe in the mission. Now, if you're working on an organization where you're not passionate about the mission, because it's a product that you're not passionate about, rethink your life.
Rethink about the, the, the organization you're working for, but you have to have. Because customers can read you. They can see if you're genuine. If you have authenticity, those are not qualities you have added to your sales leadership or sales acumen. You are gonna miss a big chunk of business that you're leaving because then you're just a commodity.
They're not remembering you. They're remembering, uh, slide deck you left behind. They need to remember you, not the content that you left behind. It's easy to print and put PowerPoints on the wall. They need to say, Hey, who was that guy that showed up? Can I call him? Because he had a great idea. I don't remember what it was, but I just remember he was there.
I wanna call that person instead of, Hey, let me look through my email for that PowerPoint. I don't know who it came from. I'm just gonna look at some keyword searches. You need to kind of have that authenticity and genuine capability and be honest with yourself. Sales is not for everybody, but the ones who are [00:50:00] succeeding are not doing it because they have tricks and not they're whining and dining and golfing.
They have found a way to connect to the people and drive demand based on that authenticity of their capability.
Gartner Future of Sales Report
Marcus Cauchi: Well, and reading the Gartner Future of Sales Report, there is a really disturbing figure in there. Which is that 33% of all buyers desire a seller free experience. Now, that if that isn't a damning indictment of our profession and a reason why we need to, uh, sort ourselves out, I don't know what is, because the level of complexity that these people are, you know, that they're gonna be buying.
It really does require human to human contact. Uh, yes, AI is moving on at a pace, but that's not gonna give them the peace of mind. And we need to turn up fully prepared, well researched, and make sure that every minute that we spend in front of the customer is delivering immense [00:51:00] irrefutable value. Now, KPMG did a study last year that suggested that only six minutes in every hour did CXOs find value in a salesperson being in front of them.
Okay? So wake up. Pay attention to what we've talked about today and really take a good long, hard look in the mirror and think about your process. Are you customer-centric? Are you partner-centric? Are you fully aligned? Do you have a clear mission that is about serving the customer? Are you engaging in great conversation with them?
Are you getting ahead of their problems? Are you the tip teller? Um, so the tip teller is the small runner that turns the big rudder on a tanker. That's how you turn the tanker. By being the source of insight, by curating good material and content, and by bringing [00:52:00] fantastic, insightful question. It doesn't, uh, the, the, uh, tanker doesn't turn because you've turned up with and fired up your laptop and you've got PowerPoint, um, with a picture of your headquarters on it.
That's the kind of stuff that will get you thrown out. And seven out of eight first meetings nowadays end up in no second meeting. So if you think about the waste that that represents in terms of marketing spend and energy and effort and how much blood, sweat, and tears you have to make to prospect to get a meeting, this, I hope this has been, uh, a wake up call.
What are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
Marcus Cauchi: So, uh, I'm an, um, tell me this, what, what are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
Ayman Husein: The struggle I have with my employer and myself is impact. And what I mean by it is meaningful impact. We. A world of consumer products and enterprise products we have to drive. The impact we impact to personal self impact to society, economy, ecology, you [00:53:00] name it, sustainability, many different ways of sciences.
What I struggle with is how do I convert a gadget or a widget that I'm going to provide to a buyer to show a meaningful impact to something they do? It is very hard for me today to translate a meaningful impact when you are buried in in many layers of product or solutions that does not provide the end result.
That makes sense. It is a challenge that I'm taking on myself to get better with. So every customer that I approach, I need to understand when I finish wrapping up my sales pitch or elevator pitch or a presentation or about to give them a bill of materials, how is that gonna drive meaningful impact that I can now measure for them in a few years time?
It could be once and done sale, or it could be once in mini sale. I need to come back and talk about that impact cuz that is that, that is what I call the cost of not doing something that we often forget. Like I use the airline mechanic. An example, right? When an airplane takes soften [00:54:00] lands, you applaud the pilot.
You never go down and applaud the mechanic that made sure it was functioning. But when that same airplane crashes, the first person that calls up is a mechanic and he blame or find out what went wrong. You don't talk about the fact the pilot may have been in error too. That's where you go. Mechanical challenges.
We need to start rewarding something that did not happen. And customers want that. You reward a customer saying, Hey, listen, because you and I had a relationship, we bought something three years ago, these are the things that you did not have to deal with. I want to reward your impact of those things by making a better conversation happen.
And so that is the thing I struggle with. How do I translate that meaningful impact that I can measure and bring it back to a customer saying, this is what you alluded or went through and did not have to suffer.
Customer hero story
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, actually there is a really elegant solution to that, and that is the customer hero story.
The problem that I see is very often when case studies are [00:55:00] produced, They make the vendor or the product the hero. And, uh, I have a, a
client, a good friend of mine now, Alex Mosco, and he specializes in telling the customer hero story. And the trick to this is to go and interview customers. And, uh, in fact, I, I, I personally, I think you should speak to both ends of the spectrum.
I think you should speak to your raving fans and customers who are happy and satisfied. And you should also speak to people who loathe and despise you. So you can find out why the ones who fired you, the ones who went with another vendor, and also the people who've suddenly changed their behavior.
Either they've started or stopped doing something. But the customer hero story is really interesting. If you go and speak to the, uh, the customer and you find out about their journey in their career. So find out about them, their line of work, how long they've [00:56:00] been in the industry, what attracted them to it, their current roles and responsibilities, how long they've been doing it, how they're measured, what their objectives are, and then what they'd like to achieve in their time in the role.
Find out why it's important to them. Understand what prevents them from being successful, what they've tried to fix it, how well those uh attempts worked, why they started looking for your service. And go through that whole story so that you can start to understand why they picked you, what results they've had, how they were personally impacted.
And also when they were looking, did they consider anybody else? What was the decision making process and who was involved in making that decision? What were the other decision makers priorities? And if you do that, it's incredible just how much insight you get. I interviewed Dr. Uh, Laura Janusik, [00:57:00] and uh, she said listening is the transfer of meaning.
And I think what we really need to understand is what the customer actually mean, what their intent is. It's not just good enough to see what their intent is now, but what their intent is longer term so that we can stay ahead. And I think that's where we can do some really powerful work with our customers.
And when we're prospecting prospect two to five years ahead. Uh, you touched on it earlier on when we're talking about procurement. You know, turn up. I'm not here to sell to you now. I wanna understand the mechanics of how you work, how you measure what your criteria are, and so on. Same thing I think needs to happen.
If you're going after an enterprise account, start prospecting for it two, three years in advance. Don't just turn up and say, I wanna sell you something. Now think ahead. Does that make sense?
Ayman Husein: Absolutely. I think that's great sage advice and, uh, acumen that enhances [00:58:00] somebody who's passionate about selling and being a seller in the world of, uh, many options.
I think, uh, the, the advice you provided about prospecting and having that mindset, uh, brings proficiency. Like if you're an industry seller, uh, you're selling defense, you're selling, uh, computers, you're selling services, uh, you tend not to just diversify by jumping from industry to industry. You, you prospect because you understand.
You get to know the domain very well. I think that's very relevant in our industries and our, uh, the kind of work I do. You have to know. The book of business that you're passionate about or want to do and, uh, follow the trend, follow the history, follow the future, and have enough research. And it doesn't have to be detailed encyclopedia research.
You, you can do it in a very small amount of time. Having that vision. Think of it like one of those college papers that you have to write and assignment. You have to do your research if you wanna differentiate your thesis or your paper from the next person writing the same thing. You have to have unique insights that is personalized based cuz you're a human being and you have opinions.
And that's the way I feel you are gonna [00:59:00] be a better success as, as a seller is not look like the next seller that walked in the door because they need to know more than your fashion and your face. They need to know something that was unique about your experience.
Advice would you whisper in idiot Ayman aged 23's ear even though he might ignore you?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So cheeky question. If you had a golden ticket and you could go back, and this isn't about regret, but if you could go back and advise the idiot Ayman aged 23.
Uh, what choice bit of advice would you whisper in his ear even though he might ignore you?
Ayman Husein: That's great. You know, I've spent some time thinking about one of the advice I would have given myself at, at that early age of my life is, uh, have a healthy dose of being a rebel because I felt conformity has stifled innovation in my life.
I wanted to be long, I wanted to be like somebody, and I had to fit into that norm. I think the healthy amount of rebellion that I would've had in those early years would have made difference. And if you think of the rebels in our society today, you think of Mark Zuckerberg who created Facebook Empire. He was a rebel.
Like if you go back far enough, he was a [01:00:00] rebel. Uh, bill Gates himself was a rebel in his early days when he created Microsoft. You have to have enough rebelling in that early age. And if you look at these two gentlemen I just named, they were rebels in their years early years, not later years. And they became successful because of that.
I would want to go tell myself, Hey, have a little bit of rebellion in you. Be conform or not conforming and stifle because it's gonna stifle innovation. Cause I wanted to get to be like the others and belong. And I think that's the advice I would give anybody in any age, like have and enough of a rebel in you to not conform because you will miss some of the innovation that is otherwise uh, masked.
Marcus Cauchi: Well there there are two books, um, that, uh, your 23 year old self would've appreciated then. One I've already mentioned Be More Pirate, and that's by a guy called Sam Conniff. C O double N I double F and the other one is Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed, S Y E D. And I think the, the really important part about being rebellious is it forces you to think differently [01:01:00] and conformity.
I think one of the problems with humanity as a species is given the opportunity to be different. Uh, what we'll tend to do is do what everybody else does. It's like fashion. You joined the punk movement in the eighties because you wanted to be different and then you look like everybody else. That's the irony, and I think that you should challenge yourself and listen to, and, uh, connect with and read stuff that you find, uh, opposes your perspective.
I think one of the healthiest things that I've learned to do in the last 10 years is subscribe to feeds, uh, of people whose opinions I disagree with vehemently. Because I think if we live in a bubble, especially the way the social media algorithms work, all we get is a massive amount of confirmation bias.
And I think by being the grit in the oyster, that's where the pearl comes from. So I absolutely agree with you on that.
What would be some books or podcasts or videos that you would recommend people pay attention to?
Marcus Cauchi: What, what would be [01:02:00] some books or podcasts or videos that you would recommend people pay attention to? Because they are either inspiring or, um, they are insightful in a way that is rare.
Ayman Husein: That, that, that's great. So one of the things I do on a regular basis, I, I will, uh, search for almost anything that's TED talk oriented, regardless of topic and, uh, structure for the purpose of what I do for them. If it's a video Ted Talk, watch how people deliver messages. Somebody could sell you toilet paper for all day, you will know, but the way they deliver is important.
So when I wanna brand myself, what I wanna improve myself is how are people delivering? So TED Talks is a great way, not only get content, but also understand how deliver that message out. Uh, and, and, and that's what I, I do a lot of. So I actually have a YouTube channel of, uh, a subscriber, a subscribed content that is all about TED Talks or technology talks or any talk.
It could be astronomy for all I care. It's about how they're delivering the content. . [01:03:00] The other thing, and I I, I, I have several books I've read, but I, what I, I've decided to do because of a constraint of time, is I actually look at two journals out there on the internet, uh, to just consolidate my daily need to learn about leadership or otherwise.
Forbes is one that I subscribe to. I look at everything in Forbes. This, it's easy, it's e digestible and in the smaller accounts, and it's, uh, it's, it's, it's a synapse. It's synapse, it's not a big read, and the other one is Bus Business Insider. That's more for my day job. I do those two things on a regular basis.
I read those podcasts that are appearing there even, it's not important, like one of the reasons I cross paths with you. It's like someone recommended that, Hey, you should, uh, listen to what Marcus has to say. It, it's, it's that innovation that came from by looking at those Forbes and use Business Insider journals and the content that go with it.
I had to limit myself to those two areas because that's where I spend most of my free time is trying to gather the knowledge. . Otherwise you are overwhelmed with a lot of knowledge without the ability to act like this whole context of being a rebel. There's several books that talk about that, but if I [01:04:00] read that I'm not being rebellious in my life now, I can't go make changes cause I'm just spending time reading.
It's no different than watching TV or streaming shows, right? So I need to change that habit. And when I'm doing a digestible chunk, small chunks, curated chunks through things you have to pay for, it's not free. Sometimes you have to pay for it. It's a business insider and Forbes are the two places I spend a lot of time just to make my, uh, commercial and uh, uh, uh, work life simpler, easier, and much, uh, reasonable.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Ayman thank you so much. This has been incredibly insightful. How can people get hold of you?
Ayman Husein: That's great. So, uh, I, I live in the social media circles of LinkedIn, but if you wanted to get hold of me, you can look myself up. My name is Ayman Husein. I work at Microsoft in the US I live in the city of Houston.
Uh, and I'll provide to you privately my contact inform information you can publish as well for them to get hold of me. But if you want to find me, find me on LinkedIn. Ayman Husein A Y M A N H U S E I N I work for Microsoft. Put those two keywords together and you'll find me immediately.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Ayman Husein
thank [01:05:00] you.
Ayman Husein: Appreciate it. Thank you, Marcus. You have a good one.
Marcus Cauchi: This is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from the Inquisitor Podcast. If you found this insightful, then please get in touch either with myself or Ayman. And uh, you can get a hold of me on email@example.com and you can get a hold of me on LinkedIn as well.
Now if you think you'd be an interesting guest, then please do get in touch. Or if you know somebody who would be as well, then please connect the two of us on LinkedIn and I'll do my best to get them on. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye-bye.