Sales Leaders Only – w/Jeff Goldstein

Sales Leaders Only – w/Jeff Goldstein

everybody thanks so much for tuning in to grindstone elevate this is tyser evans i’m your host today i sit down and talk to jeff goldstein who is the founder of sales leaders only and he’s the author of a newly found book winning the six-figure sale so obviously jeff and i talk about all things sales a really great conversation [Music] all right everybody thanks for joining me on grind selling elevate i’m here with jeff goldstein today jeff how are you i’m doing great thanks ty how are you doing today good thank you hey thanks for thanks for joining us so you’re the founder of the sales leaders only i love that i love the name where did this come from well you know i am i spent uh a long time in sales leadership in technology you know and after doing over 3 000 forecast calls and 200 big rock reviews i thought i would retire from the weekly forecasting business we call technology sales leadership but i’m really too young and i have too much energy to do nothing so i thought i would uh you know find a topic that interests me and really speak to an audience that i really wanted to serve that i’ve been serving for most all of my career uh called sales leaders so you know there’s a lot of things been done in sales this is a pretty narrow niche it’s sales leaders only but it really includes senior sales reps who aspire to be uh sales leaders so that’s where the name that’s where the name came from oh i mean yeah i love it so i i’ve been in um you know for me i don’t think you know this but if you go back to 2005 and i was 20 21 i guess that was the first time i got into like sales i got into the surf industry and quickly was identified as someone that people just got behind and i had good sales numbers and i was promoted three times in two years and then i graduated college in 2007 same thing happened at enterprise and so this has been a common theme over the course of my life so i’d say the last to the last 15 years probably 11 to 12 have been spent in some type of leadership capacity so this really resonates with me right and and so i want to get into a little bit why you want to hone down on this niche well you know um it’s interesting i would ask you a question which is uh of all the sales leadership training you’ve taken if it’s any you know how much of it was spent focused on helping you win the big deals that moved the forecast needle right and and i’ll let you i’ll let you take it out like i i’ll be honest with you i’ve never had any sales leadership training well and you know that’s how identified the niche you know when i when i finished with my big corporate jobs i thought i’d you know figure out what i want to do with the rest of my career and so i reached out to 40 uh senior sales leaders in canada right i’m canadian so i reached out to my community and i really asked them i i said you know what do you do for yours for your sales leaders how do you train them how do you help them win big deals you know and most of them looked at me like i had two heads and said well that’s why i hire them because they have all this experience and so my my sense is sales leaders have experience instinct and experience but no real methodology or training to help their teams win big deals they kind of either uh figure it out or they fail and most sales leaders i think your story is probably familiar you know you’re a great sales rep you get anointed handed a big shiny goal and wished good luck and you know is that different from your experience in sales leadership training no so i just took a a a job now i’m a regional vice president but really call it for what it is i’m a basically in a rep roll so i’ve gone back into the sales sales role but the reason i’m in houston texas was two years ago my prior employer said hey texas market’s been abysmal for 10 years can you go there and fix it i said sure i got here and i was expecting like hey here’s strategy here’s what we’re gonna do you know it was just it was absolutely nothing i got here they dropped me in houston they said okay good luck that was it that is it’s such a classic story and you know when i did the survey i spoke to 40 of my peers and i said you know do you have any training in this niche and they go we don’t really and so you know you learn through experience but then you try to teach new sales reps that they come up and most sales leaders have no intentional and deliberate process to help their team win big deals and if you think about the deals that move the forecast needle that make you successful they’re generally the top deals in your funnel and yet most leaders have no way to kind of systematically work through you know for many leaders it’s hey miss or miss ms’s sales rep let’s before we get on that call drop in at starbucks and have a chat about your deal and and and that’s how this goes but it turns out maybe it’s my engineering background right i said i’m an engineer by training there is a methodology there is a big deal roadmap there are certain steps in the process that if you miss a step or stakeholder you could put your deal at risk and turns out if you go to amazon and google you know and and look for books on big deal selling there’s very few of them and the ones that there are are large complex methodologies that companies need to spend you know thousands and thousands of dollars to implement but as a you know as a single leader in your business if they’re not prepared to invest you know there aren’t many books written and that’s really why i focus on this niche and that’s really why i wrote the book was to give sales leaders like you a framework to help their teams inspect assess and coach their big deals now that’s kind of where i’m focused it’s narrow but it’s really pretty deep and if you think about the impact you know think about your sales team you know if you have a sales team think about what winning one more big deal per rep each quarter could have on your sales results success and forecast accuracy it’s a pretty big impact that we really spend no no time helping sales leaders figure out right and that’s then oh yeah absolutely so it especially for my niche where i was i’m still in the same type of vertical but i basically had uh we focus on large and small deals and predominantly our niche was on the small deals because not a lot of players wanted to play there but i did have a couple guys you know whale hunters out there yeah and and like they were two people out of my 10 sales people were basically responsible for about 25 of my goal yeah and and they were really struggling and um it was a new kind of vertical for us within that industry so i wasn’t that wasn’t what i had done and so it really i felt like kind of we still were up 74 last year during covet and and grew 10 million dollars year every year which was exceptional but we could have it could have been 15 or 18 or 20 had we had a bit more so could maybe give us a high level overview i know you have a three step process to help winning more deals of kind of what that entails yeah so you know it there’s no rocket science here but it’s really a three-step and implement so really a four-step process and the first step is just inspect your funnel looking for big deals right and you know start of the quarter you’ve gotta submit a forecast to your boss and what happens is if you if you take a look at that there’s probably a small handful of big deals that represent a disproportionate size of your funnel you know in my last gig we had a combination of smb business so small to medium size commercial enterprise cloud and public sector so a real mix of sectors we did a thousand transactions in the quarter but the top 20 transactions represented 50 percent of the pipeline so think about that for a moment 20 deals of a thousand represented half the pipeline and the team you know at the beginning of the fork at the beginning of the quarter you’re under pressure to forecast the quarter and you look at you look at your big deals and you go hey i think those are going to happen but if you lose some big deals or they turn out to get deferred at the end of the quarter there’s no way you can make up big deals at the end of the quarter with lots of small deals the map just doesn’t work right and so there’s a lot even though there’s only a small number of big deals they have a disproportionate impact on your ability to be successful and what i found is in quarters that we did really well we won our unfair share of big deals and the quarters where we missed it kind of came down to a a deal or two at the end of the quarter would have a big impact on whether you’re successful and i think that’s true for most sales leaders you know 20 of their deals represent a big chunk of uh of impact on their forecast in my case it was 20 deals out of a thousand that’s a pretty extreme example because there were a lot of small cloud transactions a lot of smb transactions but i i tell folks the first step is to look at your sales funnel identify the top 10 or 20 deals this quarter and then i say take a look at the top 20 deals next quarter and everybody looks at me like i have two heads like we’re so busy with this quarter we never look out quarter but if you think about ty big deal selling those deals take months often quarters to close right and if you’re not inspecting the big deals out quarter next quarter you don’t have any impact on them think of all the resources that get spent on big deals that either get deferred or or uh end up with no decisions you know you need to look at those deals you need to identify those deals you need to inspect the funnel and then i go you need to have a quick way to assess the quality of those sales campaigns so it’s a inspect assess and then coach so those are the three steps to the sales process and most sales leaders don’t have a programmatic way to really work with their reps to ruthlessly qualify those big deals and decide whether they’re worth spending time at and then once you found a deal that yeah this looks like a real deal that’s well qualified how do you coach the team through the rest of the steps in the sales process to really help them be successful at it most people do this by instinct and experience but right you know uh i i here’s an example i use you know you get on a plane from uh what city did you say you were in houston houston you know from houston to dallas it’s what an uh half hour flight an hour flight yeah so you get you you get in the plane and there’s the silver head pilot he’s he’s entering the cockpit you know he looks at the co-pilot he says to hey you know the weather’s good i’m feeling good let’s batten down the hatches and let’s get going that’s never going to happen right but think about it the pilot’s only doing one thing he’s flying one plane at a time what he does is he goes through a manual checklist of all the steps in his pre-flight routine before he actually takes off right now you know if you lose a big deal no souls get lost in the process but if you’re a sales leader and you lose too many big deals and miss your forecast it can be pretty disastrous for you and your family because you generally don’t stick around so think about it you know a pilot who only does one thing versus a sales leader who’s doing a thousand things in a day running multiple campaigns across multiple sales people he has no he or she has no checklist to make sure that they’re on track and i think that’s a huge challenge you know and and people do this you know without my book clearly but think about how much better they could be if they had an intentional and deliberate process that they got used to running that they’d work with their sales team and actually coach them through the process of winning big deals imagine the impact that would have on sales teams and uh that’s been my experience no i love it i think that a huge takeaway and you’re right is it we’re typical and i think this is just a a problem you know i would say a pro it’s not a problem with capitalism but it’s a because we’re so fixated on the next quarter’s earnings and right in dividends that that’s just how we’ve now in business traditionally started to think as opposed to look like i just read your five next moves by patrickbetdavid right it’s like be a grand chess master how am i starting to look at my funnel for next quarter where we’re going to start the year at with what type of campaign and that’s what i’m right right now i just told you i’m in a different role right 70 of our business i’m in employee benefits is all on the 1-1 effective date i’m telling people right now start showing me your january stuff let me start getting ahead of it so i’m not i’m not you know no one’s just trying to pivot in october when everybody else is trying to make moves i’ve already done the moves through the summer right yeah see i call these again i differentiate small midsize business you know if if a sales rep can talk to you know a buyer who has discretionary ability to spend their budget that’s pretty straightforward my book is overkill for them but if you run a sales campaign where there’s multiple steps and multiple stakeholders you need to meet an influence it’s a campaign and you know i’m sure in your business as well if you’re going to go close a large fortune 500 company with a new program it’s going to take you months and you’re probably going to have to sell to more than one person right um it turns out irrespective i think of industry you know there are technical buyers and technical recommenders there’s decision makers there’s foxes that you know there’s coaches there’s lots of people you need to meet and influence and if you don’t have a process to really systematically work through that you’re really rolling the dice and just hoping you have enough activity that enough stuff sticks on the wall and and i just feel there is a better way you look at most highly successful reps they may not be quite as organized but they have a little checklist yeah i’ve covered off that base i’ve covered off that base i’ve met him i’ve met her and those are all the things that you need to in the end um complete your sales campaign and be successful with it i think especially tai in these current times where you know vps of finance are really not that keen to spend money you need to ruthlessly qualify to make sure this customer’s actually going to spend money i need to cover of all the bases because there’s less business around than there used to be in good times hopefully we’ll be back to where we were but um you know business is getting you know uh strategically relevant tactically urgent and provide rapid time to value you know those to me are the three key criteria when times get economically tough strategically relevant tactically urgent rapid time to value without those things vps of finance aren’t really that keen to release funds even if that project was in the budget right so there’s a lot of moving parts i guess is my is uh is the theme of all this and if you don’t have a way to work your way through it and get other people involved in your sales campaign you’re doing this all by yourself does that all make sense 100 and so the i see the book for the people watching on youtube will be able to see it the people listening on the podcast can’t see uh jeff’s background winning the six-figure sale and so this is your new book that you’ve released and as this is what i know you said you’re an engineer by trade so i know you said you you i read that you can read the book in about 90 minutes maybe 120 for me but for everybody else listening um and this is the book on the on the three-step process yeah yeah you know not too many sales leaders today have four and five hours to work through a book looking for that one or two new nuggets of gold so i intentionally wrote the book um i took all the fluff out really focused at sales leaders who are very busy and really just want the facts you know just the facts ma’am so it’s intentionally short um but i i tell people not to let its small size fool you because there’s a lot of you know there’s 30 plus years of sales leadership experience baked into the book and the hard part about writing the book and trying to distill all that down into you know 120 pages is you need to be very thoughtful about what stuff to include and what stuff to cut out sure and there was a fair bit of stuff on the you know on the cutting room floor my publisher said you know jeff that that’s interesting but it’s really not going to get your reader from here to there so why don’t you save that for your second book and that and and you know there may in fact be a second book but it it took a lot of energy to put the first book together oh i’m sure i’m sure that it did and you heard it here jeff’s gonna be releasing a second book yeah so well you know the the content is actually from a course so so you know the focus of my consulting practice is really to help sales leaders and what i do is i run a half-day uh course uh called winning the six-figure sale and it’s really all about inspect assess and coach and implement the steps so the book is really taken out of the course with clearly less detail than the course but again sales leaders don’t have two and three days to get out of the field to go off on training so you know i i effectively said let’s focus on this one niche uh winning big deals let’s niche down in that in that category and in a half a day i can walk people through with lots of examples through my experience how to inspect their funnel assess the quality of their sales campaigns early in the forecast process and then coach their teams through through six-figure sales and then find the time to take 10 of your time to implement the whole process now that sounds easy but i’m sure as a salesperson and sales leader you’re already pretty slammed for time so i talked about some you know some tips and tricks around how do you find 10 of your day really not even 10 of your day 10 of your quarter to focus on big deals uh and and then i say to people you know whatever other area could you take 10 percent of your time and it’s really 10 percent of time out of month one and month two because in month three you’re closing you’re not really coaching and doing all that stuff so what other things could you do with ten percent of your time in the first two months of your quarter to give you such a big impact on your success and when people think about that they kind of reflect and go yeah like tell me more i’d like to understand how to how to do that and how you think i can actually find 10 of more of my time and as we go through it there’s actually ways to cut out ten percent of the stuff that you’re doing that you probably don’t need to be doing today yeah sure like putting down your cell phone there’s your ten percent right there for anybody listening uh critical few and maintenance many you know there’s a lot of things that you do just we we used to do by by habit right that if you stop doing nothing would happen right so i talk about the critical few and the maintenance spending and the maintenance many is where you’ll find 10 of your time to focus and make big you know big big rock reviews is the process i uh i use i call it big rock review uh that that focused energy is better well spent up here than on the 80 of the stuff that if you stop doing no one would care totally one of the questions i wanted to ask with thinking about the size of sales teams and like you said so i’ve come from traditionally backgrounds where it was all activity activity activity and you know activity is going to drive results irrespective of size of deals but i understand where you’re coming from you can get a lot more bang for your buck if you work the large deals appropriately now have you seen your experience is there a capacity of which a sales team is just too big for one person to manage or does that really depend on how many deals well you know um every corporation has a different metric you know some organization if you’re leading an inside sales team you can have 20 you can have 20 reps because they’re all in the office you can put their arms around them you can go coach them you know i ran you know canada is the second largest country by land mass with the 10th the population of the us so if you run the country you’re on the airplane a lot of the time because it’s a big there’s a lot of dirt to cover so my experience is six to eight commercial slash enterprise reps is about the largest span of control you can actually manage and have an impact on now you know some people have 10 reps but typically in my experience you get to the sixth rep and by the seventh rep that stairs leader doesn’t have many cycles left and he’s not really doing or she’s not really doing a good job coaching her team which to me the biggest impact a sales leader can have is on coaching as opposed to just you know managing reports so that’s my experience six is probably a good pretty good break point some companies go bigger you know some organizations to have fewer but that’s really where um you got some geography involved and you don’t have everybody in your office kind of reporting to you know some you know in some cities you’ll have all your reps come into the office you can probably get away with more but if you’ve got to go travel and go visit those reps and help them in the field i think six to eight is about the max that a sales leader an experienced sales leader can manage my opinion i don’t disagree with that i’ve managed anywhere from five to 25 and at 25 i just want to you know say same thing i was i was managing about a thousand policies a month i was i didn’t feel like i was effective because i was just pulled and like you know i was just bouncing around even now and i had 10. the new reps that came on it was like someone was going to be sacrificed it was the new reps or it was the older reps that needed me for larger deals but i was in training with the new rep and it got to be a point where i felt inefficient because of the size of my team yeah i i you know my boss used to tell me this all the time and it’s really stuck with me he said hey jeff and i was running you know i was running the canadian subsidiary of a five billion dollar tech company and he said jeff your job as country leader is not to report the news it’s to go make the news because i can read the same reports that you are i don’t need you to you know to report the news i need you out in the field with your sellers making the news closing business generating opportunity and you know if you’re just reporting the news and you’re just working from behind your desk with a spreadsheet you can manage more reps but if you want to have an impact you want to help them grow because i’m sure as you said some reps are new some are very experienced you know some are doing really well some are not doing really well and if you have a geography if you’re geographically dispersed you’ve got to get in the field to see what’s really going on now today everybody’s on zoom so we’re not visiting customers um but you still got to go and if you want to make the news you got to get close to what’s going on and i’m sure with 25 reps that was pretty tough to do it was because we did not i did not have a any type of support typically i’ve had sales assistance or something like that that was the only position i didn’t have any of that either so i went from a team of eight and three sales assistants to a team of 25 and myself and i was like holy yeah is that this is a lot yeah that’s hard to do on a long term basis that’s for sure yeah i lasted about three years so that’s a lot yeah um now we’ve got a couple more minutes here but i want you to be able to talk about where can uh talk a little bit about we talked a little bit about the book but where can people find it and where people can connect with you to enter your half-day course and whatnot yeah so the best way to reach me and get all the assets is at my website so salesleadersonly.com forward slash elevate so i’ve created a page specifically for your audience you know what they’ll get there is uh my big deal roadmap these are a bunch of downloadable assets so the big deal roadmap a rapid assessment cheat sheet so 15 questions to help them quickly assess whether you know whether they’ve ruthlessly qualified their deal a white paper on the top 10 questions you should be asking but probably aren’t to ruthlessly qualify and win big deals i’ve got a small clip of my sales course and uh it points them to the amazon uh to amazon to actually purchase the book so sales leaders only dot com forward slash elevate is all they need to do to uh to get to my website to get these assets for your audience and uh they can reach me on email they can reach me on linkedin but that one site that one page will give them everything they need to uh to download some stuff and hopefully uh learn something new in the process yeah no i love it thanks jeff i will post that link in the show notes below along with jeff’s linkedin so anybody can scroll right down and connect with him and go there and get the free resources i absolutely will i want to know what those 10 questions are jeff so yeah um any any uh last words of advice for all the sales reps and leaders out there listening yeah you know i think the only thing i would say is um it’s certainly a journey you know i think the most successful sales reps and then sales leaders are students of the game right you’ve got to be a lifetime learner you’ve got to always be learning something new because you know i’ve been doing this for quite a while and i learned something new every day and if you’re not learning something new every day you’re probably in a rut and there are some young bucks who are going to you know get out in front and beat you to the gold right you know unlike horseshoes and hand grenades there’s no prize for second place like you know you don’t get half the commission check you know there’s no cold silver and bronze medals you either win or you lose right and the worst thing you can do is come in second place so i think lifelong learners figuring out how to kind of be a student of the game a master of your craft um will lead you to success that’s that’s really been my experience awesome jeff thanks so much for your time i’ve enjoyed the conversation and i encourage everybody to go pick up his book and check out his course especially for a lot of you that are listing i know you’re sales leaders because you reach out to me and this is the type of stuff that you need to be able to take it to the next level so jeff thank you so much for coming on the show i appreciate it hi my pleasure thanks so much and best of luck in your new gig thanks appreciate it [Music] you
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Sales Leaders Only - w/Jeff Goldstein

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