What's the deal with the Wentworth Prospect?
In the novel The Wentworth Prospect, Sue, a cybersecurity software saleswoman, strikes a significant deal with a merchant bank and employs the sophisticated sales methodology created by the authors. The book discusses leadership, relationships, and people mapping while highlighting the various personalities and politics present in sales. A ghost character who served as the main protagonist's mentor before his passing provides guidance to her along the process. The purpose of the book is to demonstrate that the process of selling is not linear and to emphasize the significance of a positive sales culture.
What difference does a coaching management style make in sales compared to a command and control management style?
Using a coaching management style in sales, where managers offer support and assistance rather than control, improves sales performance and fosters a happy environment without punishing failure and resulting in burnout, employee turnover, and customer churn.
What other means did the leader employ to foster growth, and what did the budgeting procedure entail?
The team was encouraged by the leader to concentrate on increasing revenue, and the budgeting procedure took into consideration anticipated revenue churn and new business opportunities. They collaborated as a team to meet the budget and built trusting connections with clients to discuss account strategies and look for expansion prospects. Making sales and ensuring long-term customer value required engagement with customers and many organizational levels.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello and welcome back once again to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today my guest is Wayne Moloney. He is the co-author of the Wentworth Prospect, and it's a really interesting book. It's novel, it's Yoda in na narration, and it opens your eyes to maybe a better way. So Wayne, welcome.
Wayne Moloney: Thanks, Marcus.
I've been looking forward to this. It's, uh, it's been a while since we've spoken. And, um, yeah, looking forward to a chat.
Marcus Cauchi: Today we're gonna explore a number of, uh, areas. Obviously we're gonna, uh, explore the book and what it's all about. Um, but we're also gonna look at some of the blind spots. Um, why is it leadership is failing to create a culture that creates enough appeal
for people to want to stay? We are seeing this great resignation. We're seeing, uh, the great retirement in, uh, it, we are seeing, uh, talent, [00:01:00] LMS, uh, saying that 72% of technology staff will be looking for a new job and possibly even leaving the industry this year. So that's an indication that there is something very rotten at the top.
Um, why if it sales doesn't adapt? How can we stop the losses and waste? How can we use technology to enable effective sales and stop playing the game of the silver bullet? And, um, how do we make sure that we understand that tech is a tool and the hard work has to go into the whole revenue operation? And why is it so important that we create alignment and eliminate friction?
60 seconds on your history
Marcus Cauchi: So Wayne, first of all, would you mind giving us 60 seconds on your history please?
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. Look, I, I, I started out life as a mechanical engineer and, uh, thanks to the owner of the business that I was working with at the time, having a bad day. And he and I having a, a, a disagreement, he suggested it might be better if I [00:02:00] found a career elsewhere.
And, um, I, I fell into sales. A good friend of mine's father was a sales manager of an organization and he said to me, why don't you come along and, and have a go at this? And, and that was it. And I moved into it still selling engineering products. So I had a background in engineering. Then, you know, one of those sliding door moments.
I also ran a series of martial arts schools and one of my students was a sales and marketing manager for a startup IT company or a data comms company in those days. And he knew my background in business development and he offered me the gig and I jumped in. And that was then that I realized that knowing the product and knowing the technology is not as important as knowing the business applications and the limitations of what you're selling. So I, I was great. I went into that literally without knowing what a modem was back in those days. And I, you know, and people looked at me when I joined and, uh, I still remember, and I won't use the exact terminology, but the managing [00:03:00] director used the terminology, the fact that I was a hydraulics engineer, he said, we're, we're employing bloody plumbers. And, um, I just became very successful and I think I became successful because I didn't know the technology. , but I knew the limitations of the technology and I knew what it could do for a business. And that's how I approached it. And I've done that ever since.
And I've been very, very focused on business outcomes, positive business outcomes for organizations rather than trying to go in and sell a product or a specific technology. And, um, I think that that's one of the areas that we need to focus on as, as sales managers, sales leaders, sales consultants, that we need to work on that and make sure that people are looking at a business outcome rather than just trying to sell a product or a service or implement a piece of technology.
The Wentworth Prospect
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So let, let's start with, uh, the Wentworth Prospect. Give us a quick overview of the story.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. Okay. We [00:04:00] approached the John Smibert, a good friend of mine, and a guy that I'd done some work with in developing a, uh, a sales process that John had been working on. And John had written the forward to my last book.
So I approached him about sell, uh, writing a book on strategic selling, complex selling, because that's really where my passion is. And John suggested that, why don't we do something very different and we write it as a novel? And, uh, I walked at the idea, but John was really dead set. That was the direction that he wanted to go.
So after a couple of false starts, we realized that uh, we weren't really novelists. We might be good sales consultants, but, uh, we weren't all sales coaches, but we weren't good novelists. So we tried a couple of, uh, of ghost writers and that didn't work. And I had a very good friend of mine who came out of, uh, advertising copywriting.
He was a director of one of, of a couple of the major, uh, advertising agency in Asia. And [00:05:00] he gave, he was mentoring me through the process and he said, look, why don't you give it to me? And he went away and he wrote two chapters and he gave them to us literally overnight. And John and I looked at each other and said, he just gets it.
So he brought Jeff Culo in and Jeff became the novelist. And John and I were, I guess for one of a better term, almost the technical advisors to, to Jeff. So what we did is we had a main protagonist, uh, a girl called Sue, and she was starting out in business. And, uh, she was selling cybersecurity software and she went through and was working in closing a major deal with a merchant bank, and we talk about the trigger event that set her off in getting through to that.
So we start right at the front end of it. Then we use the advanced process that John developed and I'd helped him through with, on walking her through that step. What we did at the start, without giving too much away. Her mentor is killed in the [00:06:00] first chapter and he leaves her a manuscript, which actually walks her through and he becomes almost the ghost, if you like, behind the scenes, giving her the guidance along the way through the manuscript.
And she encounters. And one of the reasons we wrote it as a novel is if we don't know, we should all know that sales is not a linear process. You need to have a process that you follow within an organization, but as you work that deal, things are happening in parallel. They're not happening in serial form.
So you've also got the politics and the pitfalls. And the various interactions of individuals and personalities. And if you just write a book, like a textbook or a hand handbook, you can't bring that into it. And that's so important in understanding how to sell these days is very much about understanding the people that you meet along the way.
And how do you address those. So we introduced, uh, archetypes [00:07:00] that, uh, she has to identify. We talk about the different archetypes and personalities and we talk about people mapping and how you build those relationships that you sideline those that are going to be very negative to you. And Sue does this all the way through.
And we also look at leadership, which is a huge issue. And we highlight right at the start, great leadership through her mentor, her sales manager, that that passed on. And we then highlight through the person that replaces him. The very bad leadership or sales management because as you and I have spoken about before, it's a new hi intimated in the introduction there.
Unless you've got a good culture within your sales organization, you are not gonna retain staff and people are going to move on. And you need to have a supportive culture and a culture of development, not just a culture that's out there to go and fill that pipeline and close the next door.
Marcus Cauchi: Oh, come on Wayne, your head's in the [00:08:00] clouds.
It'll never work. We're not running a bloody holiday camp. Yeah. Work.
Wayne Moloney: I'm not suggesting that you don't have targets that you've gotta go out and get, but how many sales, how many sales managers out there, Marcus, are actually helping develop and coach their people to go out and win that business? Um,
Marcus Cauchi: You've got, you've got to fail to learn and you've gotta learn to fail.
Wayne Moloney: Um, exactly. But if we're, if the average tenure of a salesperson out there at the moment is about, what, 12 to 15 months? It's reducing. It was 15 months. The last states that I saw, how many of those are actually going to go out there and win large complex deals, which have got a timeframe of 12 to 24 months and it, it's not gonna happen.
Marcus Cauchi: Then, you know, we at sales management can step in and be the heroes and claim the glory. So yeah. There, there, there's a selfish advantage to encouraging that kind of turnover, especially if people are getting too [00:09:00] big for their boots.
Wayne Moloney: Do you really see that as a sustainable way of growing a business and, and growing?
Marcus Cauchi: That's the mindset how, I mean, how many times have you heard that shit from leadership?
Wayne Moloney: Yeah, absolutely.
Marcus Cauchi: Terrifying. That's, that's the prevalent, that's the dominant belief system.
Wayne Moloney: But Marcus, I think to me, you, you spoke about blind spots earlier and, and I, I'll call it the weakest link. I think the weakest link in the revenue stream of an organization is sales management because we, we just don't
Marcus Cauchi: A hundred percent.
But the problem is it's not their fault that they, they are responsible, but they are not culpable. And the problem is that leadership hired them into those roles with no runway. The majority of people are, about 50% of management are accidental managers. They woke up one morning, tapped on the shoulder and told Wayne, you are the manager now.
Off you go. And the, these were the people who were your [00:10:00] peers a minute ago. Or people like them. And now you go into your first sales management job with never having interviewed, never having run a sales meeting, no idea how to run forecast, no idea how to deal with difficult people, no idea how to handle someone whose mother's internal stages and, um, their performance is down and you don't know anything about them.
Wayne Moloney: Marcus, I was promo promoted into my first sales management role many, many years ago. I think I was 23, 24. And I was that role because I was such a great salesperson. And I went from being the golden head boy of salespeople within the organization to being an absolute shy sales manager. I, I had no idea.
I thought people just, sorry?
Marcus Cauchi: A double whammy.
Wayne Moloney: Oh, absolutely. And I was really fortunate that the general manager who promoted me into that position saw [00:11:00] that I was struggling, and rather than react in a negative way and try and push me, he actually stepped back and he coached me through what was ne what was needed.
And he became a mentor of mine. Even when I left that organization, he still mentored me. And I was really fortunate because my career without him could have taken a very, very different direction, Marcus, but oh, you know, I had, I had no idea moving into the sales management role, what sales management was about, exactly as you just listed, those issues.
How good could it get if we create an environment where middle management in sales, is actually equipped, trained, enabled, empowered?
Marcus Cauchi: So let's let, let, let's try and to paint a more positive picture here, because I tend to be a bit of a curmudgeon. How good could it get if we create an environment where middle management in sales, Is actually equipped, trained, enabled, empowered? And instead of having a command and control management style, they have an operational [00:12:00] coaching management style.
Where in the moment when someone needs help, they stop, they think, they ask a question that's insightful, and then they agree some outcomes that the other person is then takes away and is responsible for. Now, imagine how good that could get.
Wayne Moloney: Oh, I don't have to imagine it. I, I, I had two roles. One, as a managing director of, uh, New York Stocker Book Exchange value added telco in Hong Kong, and another as a sales manager within Optus, who was our, um, second carrier here in Australia.
And in both of those organizations, the regional managing director was exactly that. That's how he worked with me. And he coached me in certain areas. He was Asian, uh, he was a Malay Chinese. I thought I knew the Asian mentality very well from my experience in martial arts, but it was very different once you actually [00:13:00] live there and you are, you are working with it.
So he stepped back and he helped coach me through that as a managing director on the culture. So that was one experience. There was a guy that I worked for at, um, Optus, who just empowered his, his subordinates and I learnt so much from him. He just, uh, and I was fairway into my career at that point, but he really built on my understanding of sales.
And I've actually, you mentioned empowerment and control. I've actually got a note here that's just stuck to the bottom of my computer because I was only talking to someone about it today and they were asking me about, salespeople and clients. And I said, these days both salespeople and clients want to be empowered.
They don't want to be controlled. And that's, you know, where good salespeople and good sales managers come in, they empower people to perform. And as you, you said earlier, people need to fail to learn [00:14:00] and they learn when they fail. And in those sort of situations, the sales manager that's coaching can step in and guide them through and take 'em on those next steps.
He doesn't step in and make the sale. He steps in to assist them, make the sale. And that may mean them getting more directly involved than they normally would, but they've got to be prepared to step back and let that person make some mistakes so they can learn along the way.
Marcus Cauchi: The rule is let the, uh, the salesperson fail. Don't let the business fail.
Wayne Moloney: Exactly.
Marcus Cauchi: And create a culture where you don't punish failure. You punish hiding it.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: That's really important because too often we're encouraged through our compensation, through the management culture, through the way we're compensated, uh, into unintended consequences for the business and for the customer and for the individual.
So you end up creating needless friction. You create, you create the [00:15:00] conditions for turnover within the sales team. You create burnout, you create the conditions for customer churn. That adds a tariff downstream for new business because now you have to replace customers that you could have kept and made a lot of profit from over their lifetime.
That that mean the insanity of the way, uh, business is set up at the moment.
So tell me this, what was the impact on the results, the intended outcome for the business of having managers like that in terms of the performance of the sales team and the renewal rates and adoption rates of the customers?
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this, what was the impact on the results, the intended outcome for the business of having managers like that in terms of the performance of the sales team and the renewal rates and adoption rates of the customers?
Wayne Moloney: We had in the, in the team that we were in, we always had a couple of guys that wouldn't make target, but we always had the highest percentage of people make target.
And we had the highest overachievement of target among those people within the entire organization. And it was purely came down to, I put it down just to the, to personality and the approach [00:16:00] that this person took. He didn't try and take over. He actually mentored and coached you through that process. And look, everyone was looking to work for him in the organization because he was, he had a great reputation for that.
Who, who carried the growth target in that organization?
Marcus Cauchi: Who, who carried the growth target in that organization?
Wayne Moloney: Each individual.
How did the leader encourage growth rather than just new revenue acquisition?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So, um, how did the leader encourage growth rather than just new revenue acquisition?
Wayne Moloney: We were actually incentivized or in centered on a revenue growth. Now, if you lost revenue out of your customer base, it was up to you to go out there and and refill that.
So when we, when we sat down and we did our budgeting at the start of the year, we looked at where we thought churn would be. We looked at what we needed to do to retain the business. We budgeted for a certain amount that we knew was going to happen or we expected would happen, and then we built our new business around that to fill the void as [00:17:00] well as add to the top line.
Marcus Cauchi: Now, what's really exciting is there are some technologies in the stacks that I'm building that have the ability to give you that insight. As a manager or a leader without having to rely on the fiction that is the forecast. Yeah. Um, cause I think forecasting is just mythical.
Wayne Moloney: It is.
Marcus Cauchi: It's a horrific experience for everyone involved.
Wayne Moloney: I, I mentioned the guy that was the regional manager, regional managing director for the company I was with. I had, uh, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, who was a guy that had greater China. There was another guy had Japan, guy that had Australia and New Zealand. I think the hardest we worked was in our budgeting at the, there, a couple of months up to a quarter before we actually had to submit our budgets because we would all work together to actually see that the team achieved the budget rather than just each individual. And we would move figures around, we'd move opportunities around so that [00:18:00] each got there. But as you said, the individual could file but not the business.
So therefore, that was what we were looking at and that was the hardest we worked in putting those budgets together. We didn't have the technology that you are talking about back then, if we did it would've been probably easier. But in calculating that and going back to our long-term clients, that we could sit down with them and, and share account plans with.
Look at where we saw the opportunities. Did they agree? Where did they see they were going to minimize? Cause in those days we were talking a a lot of telco services that we're reducing in cost each year. So where were we going to find those value added services that were going to replace that and be there longer term?
So if you've got the relationships, and this is another thing we're talking about blind spots. So many people say relationships selling is dead. And I, yeah, I don't believe that at all. You still need really strong relationships and we [00:19:00] proved that by going out, talking to our individual customers and sharing with them the account plans we had and seeing where they thought we might be missing something, or where they saw opportunities that was built on the trust that we'd built up with those clients.
Marcus Cauchi: And again, it's really important that people start to, uh, realize that engagement is the single biggest defining factor.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: As to whether or not the deals are going over the line. There's a wonderful pair of reports that have come out from EBSTA, E B S T A, and it's the B2B Sales Benchmark Report, 2021 and the 22 one is coming out soon.
And, uh, they have insight into a billion dollars worth of pipeline. And it's just the most insightful report. Uh, looking at the impact it has on sales cycle length, conversion rates, lifetime customer value, the average deal size. And if you stop relying on the [00:20:00] rubbish that's in your CRM, because if you look at the CRM, it should make you weep because it will be full of stuff like left voicemail, call back in three weeks, no response, sent email, chased again, none of which is of any use. 88% of the information contained in CRM on average is utterly useless. And this is meant to be the single source of truth that businesses are basing their investment decisions on, their hiring decisions on. So you need to know what's really going on in terms of engagement.
And what's really key is are you maintaining engagement with the poor bugs. Have to use your products and the financial buyer because if you're gonna do a drive by three, they're shooting every three years to come and pick up a renewal check. You're gonna be very disappointed.
Wayne Moloney: You are, but again, this comes down to, in making those sales, you've gotta engage at different levels within the organization.
And that's one of the things that we speak about in, in the Wentworth Prospect. When we wrote that. [00:21:00] We, we looked at that as the Wentworth Bank basically thought they needed, uh, a new security system because they'd been hacked. But when Sue went in there and did her research around the organization, she learned that one of the biggest problems that the bank had was that the firewall system that they were using at the time was prohibiting their customer service people really understand how they were engaging with customers. So by I implementing the system that they had, which was cloud-based, they could get much greater visibility of what was happening with customers. The dropouts, where they were, where there was a whole heap of things they weren't seeing just on a firewall base.
Cause all they were interested in is keeping the black hats out.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wayne Moloney: So in making that sale, she engaged with the finance people, she engaged with customer support, she engaged with marketing, and she understood what each of those org, those areas of the business was struggling with and where what [00:22:00] she was developing as far as a, an offering was concerned, a value proposition could address that.
So you're absolutely right. Finance guys have gotta be involved, but so have a lot of other areas of an organization. The bigger that you get and the, the bigger the organization and the bigger the deal you're working with.
Marcus Cauchi: And it's really important to understand that there are different role functions within the buying com, uh, community.
So you have authority or power. You have decision makers, but you also have sub decision makers because they may be responsible for different elements of it. You then have influencers, recommenders, specifies technical buyers, user bias, financial bias and mobilizers are the ones that are so often forgotten.
Everyone talk about champions, but very often you need to find the the axle greaser to get stuff done, and often that person is hidden. Years ago I worked for a company and unless Dr. Jim White was involved in the decision, not even a paperclip would be bought, [00:23:00] but he appeared on no organizational chart.
No one even knew he existed, but the ceo, Sean would bring him in for every important decision and if it didn't pass the gym test, nothing went.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah, I'm, I'm unfortunately working with a, a startup organization at the moment. Well, not so much a startup, but they're, they've been around for a little while, but they're just going through that, that change period where they're, they've got to start to delegate more and they've got to start to put more processes in place and the owner of the business just won't step back.
He wants to be involved in every little decision that's made.
Marcus Cauchi: The VP of everything.
Individuals in the Wentworth Project
Wayne Moloney: Oh, absolutely and it's a problem. It's interesting you talk about, you know, champions and. I spoke about the importance of understanding the individuals and what we've done in the Wentworth prospect. We've actually broken it up, broken people up into six different archetypes, and we've broken those archetypes into two sections.
We've got the change agents and we've got the advocates. And what we look at [00:24:00] as we look at mapping those people against relationship and influence. And you identify, you know, we, we talk about, and in fact we actually put together a set of cards that, uh, that talk about each of them. And in the change agents, they're the people who've got the power and the personality to make something happen.
And we talk about the inquisitor. And the inquisitor is the person that is really looking at interrogating every proposal that comes through. We talk about the sage, and they're the ones that are going to be communicating the ideas. And then we talk about the champion, and that's the person that you really need to be able to get to and get on side and, and they're the ones that are interested in getting the job done.
In the advocates. We talk about the mercenary and uh, I think we've all seen the mercenary. They're more interested in what's in it for them than they are for what's in it for the business. And we talk about the accomplice, and they're the ones. I've got you on side, but they don't have the power to be able to make [00:25:00] decisions internally.
But they've got the personality and they've got the contacts to introduce you to the right people. And we talk about the messenger and the messengers. The person that likes the gossip that like you, stands around the, the old us saying, you know, stands around the water cooler and disputes the information.
And that's the person that can provide you with information or can put information back into the right people for you. So we work, we spend a lot of time in the book talking about how you get to those people, how you identify them, how you map them, and how you need to build them up. Those that are high Iinfluence, you need to build them up into high relationship. And, uh, you know, that's very important. You use the term champion and we have to have one of those to win major deals.
Marcus Cauchi: And again, this is really interesting because it, I would've killed to have this kind of tech, um, back in the day. But now my salespeople are able to identify the path [00:26:00] of least resistance within an enterprise account before they've lifted a finger to type an email or pick up the phone.
And we can do that not only within the account, but within their ecosystem. So it could be via suppliers, customers, alumni. and that that sort of stuff was never available before. Now it is. And it, it seems that there are so many people that have fixated on brute force rather than intelligent use of technology.
So let's address that issue because I know it pisses you off and it really inflames me.
The hidden decision makers
Wayne Moloney: Yeah, and the one thing you've, that you've gotta think about with that, and you and I spoke about it earlier, and that's identifying the dec, the hidden decision makers in there because, you know, we can do a lot of research, but we will find what's, what's overt.
We won't necessarily find what's covert. So you've got to understand and find those hidden decision makers as you work within the organization. And I spoke to you earlier about, [00:27:00] you know, my involvement in, in Asia and one of the, one of the biggest issues you've got up there is in, uh, you know, in Chinese culture, largely the quietest person is the one that's got the most power.
And you really need to be careful of how you work in that. And I had a, a situation where one of my, one of my directors from the US came in and he thought he could, uh, he could show myself and my sales managers how to crack a deal. And he went in and uh, he walked out and he said to me, see that's how it's done.
And by the time we got back to the office, we had a phone message left with my sec with my PA saying that the deal was off.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Wayne Moloney: And, uh, he just had no idea.
Marcus Cauchi: Again, two other fabulous examples of leadership idiocy. My pal, Zack Seltz working in India, tried to brief his, uh, US VP of sales and on culture in whatever.
Anyway, [00:28:00] uh, said, no, I think I know what I'm doing, and turned up and then gave away 30 million over the next 10 years. Then another one, uh, one of my clients, after 10,000 deals, they closed last year. The only deal that they discounted on was the one where the sales manager insisted on coming in to show them how to do it.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. And, and yeah, and we even talk about that in the book, and we give a great example of the, the sales manager walking in with Sue and saying, this is how it's done. Puts the brochure down, talks about the brochure, and says, now I can give you a 20% discount if you're close today. You know, there's, there's, that's not leadership and that's not good selling.
Marcus Cauchi: Jason Jordan's book on sales idiocy is brilliant. Definitely. I've read that one. And Mark Boundy is, uh, writing a series, uh, by Mediocrities, the ancient Greek philosopher. Yeah, . So I'm writing a chapter for that at the notes. Yeah,
Wayne Moloney: I've got a, uh, [00:29:00] I've got a mediocrity t-shirt actually.
Nowadays salespeople have to be marketers, marketers have to be salespeople
Marcus Cauchi: Um, I, I, I, I've got a t-shirt that, uh, or I've ordered t-shirt that says something along the lines of Dystopia- I'd just like to, uh, I'd like to get back to some fiction given the nature of way things are at the moment. Yeah, yeah. Okay, so tell me this, cuz it, I'd love to explore how your boss managed collaboration across the revenue operation with marketing, with CS operations, account growth because, and one things that I feel is sadly lacking because of the business model that has created this terminal culture where there is this division of labor and se you know, I think nowadays salespeople have to be marketers, marketers have to be salespeople. And we need to create as much collaboration and reduce as much [00:30:00] friction in the buyer's journey, as possible. But the way things are set up currently, it creates friction at every possible term and it makes the customer a forgotten afterthought, which is destabilizing for the salespeople.
Wayne Moloney: When did that happen, Marcus? I mean, you, you go
Marcus Cauchi: Four years ago when Milton Friedman said that we all should be worshiping at the altar of shareholder value. And then people didn't read the end of Adam Smith's book, Wealth of Nations that said it dehumanizes people.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. We started out with sales and marketing.
You go back and, and you look at it, I held the roles myself as sales and marketing manager and they were, they were under the one control and then they split and they got further and further and apart. And a lot of that came down to the implementation of technology when things like email and broadcast and, uh, you know, the internet and everything came out there.
And people started using that as their marketing tools rather than the, the broadcast tools that we had previously then became much more [00:31:00] personalized in the way of individual individualized rather than personalized, I'd say. And uh, and that created a lot of. Yeah, exactly. And, you know, and I think at the moment, one of the problems is that, and I don't like necessarily the term KPIs, but the measurements are very different.
Marketing are looking at marketing qualified leads. And when they're passed on, and you and I spoke about it right at the start, what, uh, it might have even been before we started the, the, uh, recording, we spoke about the need to have well qualified opportunities, not just fill the pipeline continually with marketing qualified leads or suspects, but we need opportunities that are in there that are well qualified and are going to need the most attention to get the most return.
If you just continue to fill it with, with, I won't say rubbish, but not well qualified opportunities, not [00:32:00] opportunities that are necessarily your ICP, just ones that may have responded to, uh, some sort of lead general, lead magnet that might have been put out there. Sales are gonna waste their time on that and they're not gonna do it. And that creates friction.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's basically comes down to them not working towards common purpose.
Wayne Moloney: Absolutely.
Selling should be the most noble thing we do in our business
Marcus Cauchi: The emphasis is in the wrong place. The emphasis is on trying to drive top line revenue growth, new logo acquisition, and build a fictional pipeline in order to drive valuation. And what that does is it takes everyone's eye off the customer and you know, selling should be the most noble thing we do in our business. Because selling in its rawest form is helping a customer reach the best decision for them, whether it involves us or not.
And that's a noble act. That's an act of service and it's one that engenders and builds trust [00:33:00] and builds credibility. But it also requires a bit of savvy because you need to avoid being taken advantage of. So you need to establish clear boundaries and you have to, uh, understand that you have rights. But that stuff seems to have gone by the wayside in favor of having, um, you know, putting in another pile of scripts and another sequence of emails.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah, I had a great example of that many years ago. I took over a divi, I set up a division of a company in, uh, Queensland, uh, state, Northern, Northern Australia. And, um, I won the business of the largest insurance company in Queensland, became the largest insurance company in Australia. And I got to a point where the relationship with the general manager, I'd actually walked away from a couple of opportunities and he then asked me, why are you doing that?
And I said, well, because I can't match the sort of opportunity or the sort of outcome that's been put forward for you, that is a better solution than [00:34:00] what I'm able to put forward. He got to the point, then whenever a competitor walked in, as soon as they leave, he would pick the phone up and call me and said, so-and-so's just been in, they're offering this, what do you think?
And I built that level of trust with him that I could, I was his, I hate the term trusted advisor, but that's what we got. I basically became his consultant and we had that trust.
Marcus Cauchi: You think of yourself as a partner.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: That, that, and that's really important because I, what we've forgotten is that we need to be collaborating with our customers because they are our best teachers.
They inform us of the kind of products that we need to develop, and in fact, our unhappy customers will inform us more, uh, or honestly than, uh, even our happy ones.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. Bill Gates. Bill Gates. Bill Gates said that, uh, you learn, yeah, you learn the most from your dissatisfied customer. Um, he must have learned a lot, but, uh,
Marcus Cauchi: And well, uh, Salesforce did a study at the beginning of [00:35:00] 2020, um, and it said that you get a 600% faster product development cycle.
If you speak to your, uh, unhappy customers, speak to them, yeah. Go and take a beating for the sake of improving your product, and then going back and selling it to the people who are pissed off.
Wayne Moloney: There's another question about leadership and about management. How many organizations actually go back and talk to opportunities that have been lost and understand why they lost them and what they could have done better?
My friend, Keir McLaughlin down here, he, he does a lot of work in that area, and he wrote, actually wrote something up on LinkedIn today where he was saying it's, it, so much of it comes down to the one percenters that if they'd just done, you know, focused on some of the finer details of what they were doing with a client, they would've won the business.
But people don't know that because they don't go back and go. They've lost that deal. I'll put it in the outro. Where's the next one? Let's move on.
Marcus Cauchi: There. There's a wonderful tactic as well, which is a, a really [00:36:00] powerful way of building credibility, which is you go back to them and say, Wayne, did he manage to solve your problem with X yet?
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: And if they come back and say, yes, great. Who did he go with? Congratulations. Good company. If they say, no, I know that you didn't feel that we were right, but may I introduce you to my closest competitor. I think what we were lacking, they have, and I think, uh, they'd be a really good fit.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah, but how many sales managers and how many financial controllers and how many CEOs are going to look at it that way and not say, why didn't you close the deal?
Because they're looking at that short term revenue. They don't understand the sales side of things.
Marcus Cauchi: There's some really interesting research that came out Gartner recently, which is that about 43% of people who have bought on a marketplace without involving a salesperson end up churning. [00:37:00]
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: All you're doing is you're buying a problem down the line.
And this is where I think a lot of sales leadership needs to open their eyes because the problem with sales is not a problem. And it's not a series of point problems. It's a connection of complex, interdependent interrelated causes that create this tsunami of downstream symptoms, which is why you end up with high turnover, you end up with churn on the customer base, you end up with a discounting habit.
You end up with people pillaging pipeline at the end of the quarter to uh, make up this quarter's number, which creates an a knock on tariff cuz you have to replace all those dials and emails and spams and digital adverts. It's expensive and you need to look upstream and think bigger.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. And look, my, I, I didn't have that, that research figure of 43%, but the anecdotal evidence that I've got from, uh, you know, 15 years of consulting now and, uh, [00:38:00] you know, a lot of years before that in sales and sales management told me that that was the, that was happening.
When I say earlier, it was where people would make a decision based on just basic advertising or something of that nature, and they'd come in and they, they would make a decision on that. It's got worse as people are now, or, or buyers are now feeling much more empowered that they're able to make decisions without a salesperson because of the amount of information that's out there for them.
And that's a challenge for salespeople is how do they get in front of those people and work with them to help them make, as you said, the best decision to give them the best outcome for their business without just saying, oh no, I've got all that information. I don't need you involved.
Marcus Cauchi: This is where we have to get away from being transactional sellers.
Wayne Moloney: Absolutely.
Marcus Cauchi: If we're operating in this B2B complex enterprise space, because first of all, on average you are talking anywhere between eight to 12 key [00:39:00] influencers will me, uh, impact whether or not a deal gets over the line and any one of them can veto, probably, or block it. The level of complexity in your space has probably meant that your customers are suffering from information overload.
They will have done a lot of research over time because their problems started months or years before they even realized and uh, before they even knew you existed. And as a result of that, most vendor organizations and most leadership fixates on this quarter. My obsession is through two to six quarters out.
Yeah, I want my people prospecting that far out. Yes, at the moment we've gotta, you know, look after, uh, getting cash in through the door and whatever, but I want that focus on the medium to long term pipeline so they can get the coverage. They can understand where the buyer is in their journey, what the jobs they're trying to [00:40:00] get done are where their struggling moments are, so they can turn up and be relevant and timely.
Wayne Moloney: It's interesting. I used to say to my sales guys, look, I, I want you to be looking and working towards that waterfront holiday home that you want, but you've gotta feed your kids and family along the way. So, you know, yes, work on those opportunities out there, but you've got to be making the deals along the way to be able to feed the beast.
And, uh, you know, you've gotta be prospecting that far out. So the, I always encourage my salespeople and the clients that I work with to have a really good mix of short and long-term opportunity. And of course, that mix of clients. I, I worked with one organization when I went in there, 73% of their revenue was coming from one client. And
Marcus Cauchi: When I was in recruitment, 76% from Intel in one week, we went from 146 vacancies exclusively to us, to seven for all of their recruiters across all of Europe. And that [00:41:00] was it. And we were screwed. Luckily, I saw it coming.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that this organization wouldn't take the advice and unfortunately they went under about 12 months later because the organization that was giving them all the money, they had a restructure and that was it.
They didn't need their services the way they were in previously. So that, that's critical. But, you know, it, it's, that's gotta come from the top as well, that people, that the sales manager needs to get the support or the sales leader needs to get the support from his peers within the organization. And he must help them understand that.
So one of the, one of the roles of good sales leadership and good sales management is that up and down communication, they need to filter information down to the salespeople and give it to them in a way that's not going to demotivate them. And they need to be able to influence the people above them to understand what sales is all about and why it's not just a short-term gain. But make the, make the current numbers, [00:42:00] but also be planning future out. And if you're gonna miss a couple of quarters, have a good reason for it and, and be able to back that up with a sound strategy for why.
Marcus Cauchi: But it takes a brave leader to tell your investment. Absolutely. You're gonna have a couple of bad quarters.
So again, this speaks to how important it is to make sure that if you are getting in bed with the devil, that you're getting in bed with the right type of money. So there is good money, there is bad money, and there is dumb money. And bad money is often dressed up as good money. So you're often better off with dumb money.
With that all they're giving you is the cash. And then you've gotta worry about whether or not they're gonna start trying to influence your focus because the minute the money comes in from outside, and I have a real issue with, uh, young founders thinking that raising lots and lots of money in funding is a victory actually for many of them it's their death war.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. And a lot of that then comes down to, you know, not, not [00:43:00] necessarily with startups that are raising money like that, but you look at other organizations that are, you know, CEOs and the C-Suite are being rewarded for short-term performance. Yeah. And that, to me is where one of the biggest problem, one of the biggest challenges is, is how do you change that mindset because they're being rewarded for short-term performance because the shareholders, and a lot of it would be the public shareholders are looking for, you know, that gain, that, that capital gain in the investment that they've made in an organization.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, a again, thi this speaks to the blindness. One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes is, your eyes won't see when your imagination is outta focus. Yeah. And the way the markets are set up, they're fueling, uh, the behavior that drives scale and rampant growth. Without necessarily creating the sustainable, uh, business behind it and building [00:44:00] the, uh, solid relationships with customers so that you've got that steady stream.
So you've got a regular cash flow. You, you can depend on 80% of your revenue. And then, you know, you are, you are encouraged to innovate with those customers. But far, far too few organizations think like that because they're worried about next quarter's, uh, or this quarter's number, and they may be looking a year out.
Possibly they'll have a strategy, but none of them are actually paying any attention to working towards it together. And you only have to look at the 40% burnout rate of senior hires. You know, they failed within a year, 40%. So that's 40% of the CEO's vision that's off track or behind.
Wayne Moloney: Unfortunately, Marcus, all leadership is being, is, is in that sort of situation.
Now we talk about our, our politicians, they're in the same thing. They're, they're managing from one election cycle to the next and there's no long-term thinking there that's being [00:45:00] implemented.
Marcus Cauchi: This is why I think there is an enormous, enormous opportunity for people like us, cause that system is predicated on being publicly listed or having investment.
Chris Anderson wrote a book about 15 years ago called The Long Tail, and his prediction was that the long tail would outperform the major corporations because I, in Amazon's case, you know, they sell more one copies of one copy of a book than they do best. and they make, that's where they make their money when they're selling books.
It's all the other stuff as well. So if we refer to the, the long tail, if we think of the long tail, that's a lot of a players clubbing together and working towards common purpose. And I think it might be possible because of the demographic shift, because 30% of the employees coming into workforce this year are Gen Z.
60% of managers are already millennial. Um, so they have a very different set of values and [00:46:00] uh, they're looking for purpose to attract the top talent. If you don't, uh, have that message and you don't live that culture, then you're gonna struggle. And I think a lot of those large companies will have their market share ripped from under them.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. Because the, the, those coming in are looking, as you say, for purpose and culture, much more than they're looking at for, you know, the, the next dollar that they're going to make.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, absolutely. But then working collaboratively together, so finding adjacent providers. So even when you don't have something to sell, you can bring value by being a source of innovation.
That's pretty, very powerful.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah, it's interesting to say that the area that I live in, I'm in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and, uh, we've got a lot of tree changes up here and we've got a lot of artistic people. Creative people, and I was a director of the economic enterprise for the, for the region for a number of years, and we had a great deal of success.
By pulling together clusters of like-minded people. We had a cluster [00:47:00] of beverage makers because up here we had wine makers, gin makers, cider makers. We had craft breweries and we pulled them together and they started working together, most of them young people. And uh, they started working together and the level of success they got was great.
What they needed was for someone. A bit older and a bit more experienced to be able to show them the way and for them then to get together and build the trust with each other to be able to do it. We did exactly the same with filmmaking, and we've had, you know, some of the, the actual blockbuster films that have been out there have been all the creative work, all of the, uh, computer graphics and that have been done up here in the Blue Mountains because we pulled these areas together and it's had an enormous effect on the region from an economic perspective.
So, you know, we're not as reliant now on tourism, which we were previously. We've now got growth areas in, uh, you know, in in the arts. We've got growth areas in filmmaking. We've got [00:48:00] growth areas in beverage. So, you know, it's been, it's been great.
Marcus Cauchi: That's wonderful. Wonderful to hear because I, I, I, I think that the future.
Our success in the future will be determined by our ability to collaborate. Yeah. And I'm seeing it more and more with the ecosystems that I'm, uh, working within and helping to build. It's really interesting. So we, we can resolve any problem at the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel. And I've got a players, all of whom I know I can depend on to deliver.
And I, I see my role as being a conduit. Um, you know, it, it's, uh, being a, a talent, uh, pipeline for my, uh, my clients and building that ecosystem, building that marketplace. We create an internal referral marketplace. And, you know, we know that the conversion rate is 14 to 18 times higher when you get a warm introduction by someone who is trusted by both parties.
The average order value, the initial order value is higher. [00:49:00] The lifetime value of that customer is higher, the retention rate is higher, the employee engagement rates are higher. And again, when you're thinking about trying to build value for shareholders, if you have highly engaged employees with enabled managers who are coaching instead of being directive, then they're not being a bottleneck.
They're actually releasing the creative capability of every employee. Yeah. Now that's the kind of company that I would want to work for and I would be terrified to compete against.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. And, and look, you know, I think it was Richard Branson that said, you know, I surround myself with people smarter the self than get out of the way and let them do their job.
And, you know, I, I think that's one of the things that, that we need to do. I know in my roles in general management and and managing director, one of the things that I've really. I worked really hard to do was to get great operations manager, a great financial controller and a great CIO. The sales side of things.[00:50:00]
I could coach the sales managers that I had, but I, if I needed to churn those other three positions to get the right people in place, I had to do that. And I then just relied on them to give me the information that I needed to run that business. And if you had the right people in place, they could get out there, do what was needed.
You bring them in and trust them as part of that, that that planning process that you've put in place, and then let them do their job. And that was one of the things that the guy that I was talking about, as long as I, as long as I hit my top and bottom line, and what I did was legal, moral, and ethical, it got outta my way. When I started missing numbers.
You know, he'd be on the phone and, well, I spoke to him, you know, regularly anyhow. But it would be, okay, what do we need to do together to make this happen? What, where have we got this wrong? It was never, where have you got it wrong? Where have we got this wrong? Because we worked on it together as a team.
And, um, and that was great. You know, it, it never saw, you never felt under threat.
Marcus Cauchi: So this [00:51:00] then raises another really interesting question, cuz I, I have a dilemma because I, I do like my luxuries, don't get me wrong. And I, you know, I, I like to have money to spend. But experience tells me that the way commission plans are designed creates an awful lot of friction and resentment and it doesn't actually drive the right kind of behavior.
So my thinking is that commissions should be revamped and we should be compensating the team for milestones that the customer accomplishes. So when adoption and consumption rates, uh, hit a certain level, heaven forbid the customer actually achieves the outcome that they want, they intended from the investment.
That's a big payout. On the third renewal, there is a huge payout because that tells me that you've done your job and you've looked after them, and then, you know, the third and sixth and then ninth three rule, they buy you a house, whatever it happens to be. But I think compensation needs to be focused not on the short-term frontend top of the [00:52:00] funnel.
And we've got to stop, uh, using the CRM to refocus people from top to bottom of the funnel. Then ignore the middle.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. It's interesting you'd say that I took over an organization that had a, that salespeople were paid. An ongoing percentage of revenue on everything they sold. And these were organizations that had high recurring revenues.
That meant that the guys that were in early got extremely good salary packages. The guys that came in later struggled because a lot of the top fruit was, uh, was, well, sorry, bottom fruit was already picked. But, you know, they, they'd got the best peaches and off they were, and they were doing it. So I tried to, to make change and, you know, you asked me earlier if I've ever been blindsided.
Well, this one caught me right out of left field and I started to implement this change, but I didn't know that these guys that had been there longer were very well connected with some of the, uh, the people that I reported to. And they undermined me. [00:53:00] They blindsided me by going above my head to say that if that was implemented, they were leaving.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Wayne Moloney: And, uh, that caught me right out. And I, I couldn't implement it. It had to be done, but I couldn't do it. It was done later. Because these people eventually did leave and that gave the, the person that replaced me the opportunity to do something like that. I just couldn't do it. I just didn't have the leverage to be able to make that happen.
I agree with you. There's a, a guy down here in Australia that, um, that I know quite well, Graham Hawkins, and he's argued for a long time that, you know, we should do away with commissions. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I think we need to restructure it so that there's more team payment. As well as, uh, a reward to the salesperson that's putting a lot on the line.
Marcus Cauchi: love to talk to Graham.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. I I can, I can introduce you.
Marcus Cauchi: Thank you. Excellent.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Wayne, we've come to time, so, uh, this is whiz by. Thank you. Tell me this, you've got a golden ticket and you can go back and [00:54:00] whisper in the e ear of the idiot way in aged 23, what one choice bit of advice would you have given him?
Presumably that would've been your first sales job, uh, sales management job?
Wayne Moloney: Well, my first sales manager role, I, I guess there'd be two things. The first thing would've been don't take the sales manager's role until I knew a lot more about what sales managers.
Marcus Cauchi: It's not fair on the people you'll be managing.
Wayne Moloney: I've, I've had, in fact, I've been going through a similar discussion with my son at the moment who's just, uh, he's studying environmental management and he is, uh, working for an air conditioning company in, uh, service management role with them as he's going through.
And we only sat down the other night and, and I, and he's 24, so not far off. And I said, when I was your age, I didn't have a career plan. And I look back now and I regret that. I looked at job to job rather than sitting there and having a plan of really where I wanted to go in my [00:55:00] career. And that made me make a couple of bad decisions in my career.
And if you have a look through my, my resume, there's a few ones, holes. They, they're there, but they're definitely not the right decisions that I made at the time because I didn't have that, that plan of where I wanted to be and when I wanted to be there.
Marcus Cauchi: So that very good advice.
Wayne Moloney: That would be the advice
Marcus Cauchi: In fact. When I recruit, one of the first things that I do is I ask a candidate what their next job will be. Yep. Um, cause uh, from day one, I want to be grooming them into that role. Yeah. I want them to have a 12 to 24 month runway.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: To move into it. Ideally I'd like them to stay in the sales role for at least three and a half, four years, cause that's when they really hit their stride.
But after that, what comes next? I want them prepared. I don't want 'em walking into it and then ruining the lives of five to seven other salespeople.
Wayne Moloney: Yep. Exactly.
Marcus Cauchi: And losing all those customers. The cost of a wrong enterprise hire is 35 to a hundred and twenty five five salary [00:56:00] incre. You can multiply that by the number of salespeople for a wrong hiring in sales management and enterprise.
Wayne Moloney: Yeah. That to me, if I had my time again and look now, my father had passed away by, by the time I was starting to, to, to build a career. So I didn't really have a mentor there that could, that could guide me. And, um, yeah, that'd be the thing is it'd be have that career plan, know where you want to be and, and what you've gotta do to get there.
Marcus Cauchi: And I would add to that, ask people to mentor you. There's a wonderful tactic that I've taught people to do, and it's you write an InMail to them, Wayne Cheeky ask, um, I'm looking for a mentor. Your history looks like my future. Would you be willing to spend 20 minutes a month with me? I will always bring you a problem that I can't solve myself, and the three things I've tried to fix it and why they didn't work.
And then I'll take your guidance and anytime I show up unprepared, you can fire me. And people are getting lots and lots of mentors. You know, I've got people who get a dozen mentors that way.
Wayne Moloney: Marcus, [00:57:00] I've still got a mentor. I'm 68 and I've got a mentor who's 61, extremely successful guy who was a self-made multimillionaire at 40.
And, um, I, I ride motorbikes with him, so, you know, we've got a passion, uh, that we share. But he's a very, very successful businessman and a guy that I, I lean on very regularly. And, um, you know, I, I'd encourage anyone, as you said, to have a mentor as well.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. I've got six coaches on the go, all for different things, and they're invaluable. Yeah. Excellent. Wayne, what would you recommend people read apart from obviously the Wentworth Prospect?
Wayne Moloney: Look, I, I, it was interesting you, you asked that. I've got, I've gotta reach over the back here. There's one that I, I mentioned earlier, and in fact there's two and the first one is a book called Sensemaking, and you can't really see it if it's upheld up there, but Sensemaking and it's written by, I think he's Norwegian Christian [00:58:00] Madsbjerg, and it's M A D S B J E R G.
And um, it talks about what I've been talking about, that sense making and the importance of really being able to make sense of things. And he also talks about the qualities of great leaders and, um, I think that's very important. The other one is story by a book by a guy down here called Mike Adams.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wayne Moloney: And the seven stories that every salesperson must tell. And there's a couple of backup books for that. One called A Thousand Brains. And, uh, that is, uh, A Thousand Brains by Jeff Hawkins. And that talks about the theory of intelligence, which I think is extremely important to salespeople and business leaders as to understand.
Oh, definitely. So they're the three books that I would recommend anyone pick up and read, apart from, of course, as I said, the Wentworth
Marcus Cauchi: Prospect. Excellent. And you've written other books, haven't you?
Wayne Moloney: What do they have? [00:59:00] A couple of books, but they're more handbooks. The first one I wrote was on sales management, and I wrote that it's a, Your Roadmap To Sales Management Success, and it's a handbook written because of my failure as a sales manager.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Wayne Moloney: And it covers, it doesn't break any new ground. It's the basics. Anyone going into sales management, it covers those basics and your roadmap to achieving B2B sales success, again, is exactly the same because I believe that so much of the foundation in sales is overlooked in people's training and development.
Again, that's a handbook. It doesn't break new ground. It covers all of the basics that I think salespeople need to understand. So yeah, they're the, they're the two that I've got out there that have handbooks. You can pick them up, join in wherever you want, and pick out the pieces that you need. But then the Wentworth Prospect covers complex sales.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Wayne, how can people get hold of you?
Wayne Moloney: Connect with me on LinkedIn. Uh, send me a, a, a message on LinkedIn. That's Wayne Moloney, M O L O N E Y, [01:00:00] or they can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and my website is waynemaloney.com.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Wayne Maloney. Thank you.
Wayne Moloney: My pleasure, Marcus. It's been a, been an enormous amount of fun.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. This is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from the Inquisitor Podcast. If you've enjoyed this, then please like, comment, share, and tag someone, tell them about the interview and maybe, uh, give them some reasons to, uh, subscribe to the Insta Podcast. If you think you'd be a good guest, then please do drop me a line.
If you know someone or you think you'd like me to interview someone, then please drop me their details or connect us on LinkedIn as well. And if you wanna get a hold of me, email@example.com. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye-bye.