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The Power of Listening and Asking The Right Questions in Sales (Episode 135)

Kevin Snow is the Founder and CEO of Time On Target. He’s also an army veteran, an entrepreneur, a sales expert and a serious technology geek. 

Text Sell Smarter to 612 429 4298 to receive a list of questions you can use to map out your client’s buying process as well as a free guide to what content is most effective for each step in the sales process.

Kevin’s expertise is helping businesses take their sales and marketing automation processes to the next level. His knowledge, skills and understanding of communication and technology are getting real results for the businesses he partners with. 

Kevin knows how to integrate digital technology with your sales process in an authentic, professional way. He’ll show you what you’ve been missing when creating an effective system of outreach and trust-building with customers.

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Bonus resources

What you will learn

  • How Kevin discovered his passion for sales
  • The power of listening and asking the right questions in sales
  • Why Kevin shifted his business model and removed himself as the ‘product’ of his business
  • The important role content plays in building trust and credibility with customers
  • Kevin shares his top tips on mapping out the buyer journey process
  • How you can use sales automation software to boost your revenue and free up time
  • Discover how the sales process has become more technology-rich (no more door-knocking!)
  • Plus loads more!

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:00:05 - 00:00:54

Hi everyone and welcome to the Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me, Kevin Snow. Now, Kevin is the Founder and CEO of Time On Target, an army veteran, an entrepreneur, a sales expert and a serious technology geek and we're gonna try and work out and connect all those dots. His expertise is helping businesses take their sales and marketing automation processes to a higher level. His knowledge, skills and understanding of communication and technology are getting real results for the businesses he works with. Kevin knows that in great detail tech with your sales process in an authentic professional way, we'll show you what's been missing in terms of ensuring an effective system of outreach and trust building. And we'll be touching on sales processes as well because sales is basically an art and a science.

So welcome to the show, Kevin.

Kevin Snow

00:00:55 - 00:00:58

Thanks Jeff. It's really awesome to be here today.

Jeff Bullas

00:00:58 - 00:01:16

Now I was reading the profile that you sent through to me and one of your interests is Jackrabbit Wrestling and I was a little bit disturbed by that. But what is Jackrabbit Wrestling? It's not you taking on a small ferry animal and bringing a snack or anything, are you?

Kevin Snow

00:01:16 - 00:01:33

No, definitely not. So when I was in college back in the mid nineties, I wrestled for South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota and our mascot was a Jackrabbit. So, I now followed Jackrabbit Wrestling as one of my interests.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:33 - 00:01:51

Alright, cool. And you're also a staff officer in the US Army and have been doing that for quite a long time. And you said that's interesting in its own way. But it's essentially, I suppose, in common language is more reservists type of role, isn't it?

Kevin Snow

00:01:52 - 00:02:25

So yeah, technically we're considered the strategic reserve for the US Army but we do deploy on a regular basis so normally we'll have in Minnesota, we’lll have at least one or two of our units deployed overseas supporting one operation or another. I've been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait and also got to spend a little time in Afghanistan at that same deployment. So yeah I got to visit all the really cool vacation spots.

Jeff Bullas

00:02:25 - 00:02:28

So what are the beaches and resorts there? Are they good?

Kevin Snow

00:02:29 - 00:03:02

I can tell you though in Afghanistan the food was amazing. We had an Afghan restaurant on the base I was at for the month I was there and I literally didn't go to the chow hall other than for breakfast because I would go to their restaurant for dinner each night just because it was authentic Afghan food. It was just really good. So yeah I would definitely recommend any of that type of food. But that's I'm kind of into the Middle Eastern Indian Pakistani stuff food.

Jeff Bullas

00:03:02 - 00:03:06

Yeah. Some of their spices are pretty cool, aren’t they?

Kevin Snow

00:03:06 - 00:03:27

Yeah it's totally how, you know, things that they do like cinnamon, they use a savory foods and for us that is a sweet thing and that's a dessert spice, but they throw it in with their meats and stuff and it's just adds a really cool dimension. So it's really kind of fun to experience those different cultures and you know what is just normal for them that we think it's just exotic.

Jeff Bullas

00:03:27 - 00:03:32

Yeah. Okay. And it almost sounds like you could have gone down to a food guru and become a chef or something.

Kevin Snow

00:03:32 - 00:04:13

I totally love cooking and that is like one of my favorite hobbies. That's one of the ways I relax. I will make like this huge meal on the weekend that then feeds me during the week. So you know, I love trying all the different, different things. You know, my weekends, if I'm not working on stuff, will be watching the Food Network and watching people cook and learning new ways to do stuff. So yeah, I love the cooking. I don't know if I want to do it in a restaurant though because that is a whole different level of pressure and stress and stuff. But yeah, I think it's really fun to explore and it's a way for me to be creative that I don't normally get to do.

Jeff Bullas

00:04:13 - 00:04:22

Yeah, I do like a strategy of cook once, eat many times. That sounds like a big cook up on the weekend and yeah, I like that strategy. It's very efficient.

Kevin Snow

00:04:22 - 00:04:27

Less dishes that I have to do every night and all kinds of benefits.

Jeff Bullas

00:04:27 - 00:04:59

So cool. So let's get back to university days and you weren't wrestling Jackrabbits but with the Jackrabbit Wrestling team. Okay. And you basically wrestled against the Coyotes. So now you went to uni and in stalking you and checking you out and then I noticed that you did Agriculture in secondary Bachelor of Science.

Kevin Snow

00:04:59 - 00:05:07

Yes. I am supposed to be a high school AG teacher and wrestling coach. That is, that's what I went to school to be.

Jeff Bullas

00:05:07 - 00:05:11

Right. So something happened on the ranch that stop you doing that.

Kevin Snow

00:05:11 - 00:06:15

Yeah, I started interviewing for jobs and realized that teachers didn't get paid anything and I was a single guy who was, that I knew he had school loans coming up that he was gonna have to pay for and you know, rent and all this stuff. And I got offered a job with Frontier Communications doing a hybrid sales role where I was supporting existing accounts and then doing up sales and add on services and expanding our market share with those clients that was going to pay me, you know, the teaching gig that I got offered was USD$19,000 a year. The sales gig had a base of USD$39k plus bonuses. So I'm like, I was a 23 year old kid, I'm like that's double plus, there's gonna be more coming in, I can actually like buy something other than ramen to eat. So I jumped and I went into the technology world doing telecom sales and going through their training program and everything.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:15 - 00:06:42

Yeah. Well that's very interesting because my background was, I was a high school teacher for about six years and guess what? I did a sales job side hustle at night and I realized exactly what you said, you said I'm getting paid diddly squat as a teacher and I go, oh, why are all the teachers leaving? It's not rocket science.

Kevin Snow

00:06:42 - 00:06:48

It’s stressful. They don't get a ton of support and they have to pay bills.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:48 - 00:06:48

Exactly.

Kevin Snow

00:06:48 - 00:06:57

And take care of their families. So yeah, it's a pretty obvious pour mixture of things to keep people around.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:57 - 00:07:48

Exactly, you know, I made more money in two nights selling than I did an entire week of being a teacher. So that was not a hard moment for me and then I leapt into technology sales as well. So almost a very similar background in one sense but I totally get it. I’ve been there and done that. So you got this aha moment sales and so okay, so like this call which is basically about, I can make more money, I can have a better life. So you've been running Time On Target. So you've sort of had this call to go into sales and it's not hard to make that decision. So what happened from there, like you got into telecommunications sales, so what happened from there and what you want?

Kevin Snow

00:07:48 - 00:10:59

So that first job, I was horrible. I literally got fired in under a year. I didn't have any idea about how to prioritize my work to support the selling and the customer support stuff. And it was, yeah, it was just not a pleasant experience for the company or for me. So you know, I got let go probably about 10 months in which was okay.

I wasn't overly crushed by that, but it allowed me to get into a new company that was launching in our market and they have been launching in markets all over the United States, Nextell, they were the walkie talkie phone guys. And that was really cool because I got to go through their training and I started out with them. But that was where I actually had my ah-ha about how I needed to be selling products in a B2B market. And that was where I did that whole pitch deck concept of, you know, here's your three ring binder and when you go in, you're gonna flip through and you're gonna talk about all these things and they ask questions, you'll flip to another page, I got, I completely got rid of that and I realized that based on my personality type and I'm a high C on the DISC profile. So I'm all about details and questions and I'm a listener and I wanna know why things work and how things do what they do and I want all that stuff. You know, I could ask really good questions And get really cool answers from my prospects and then be able to actually provide them a solution. So instead of coming in and trying to sell companies cell phones and say, hey, I can save you $50 a month on your cell phone bill. I could come in and say, hey, we can do this and we can actually increase the number of jobs your drivers do on a daily basis. You know, what would it mean if your driver each had one more drop off and pick up a day. You know what if you could decrease the miles, your cruiser driving by 20% a month, what would that mean for your business? So it became, I made this huge shift from transactional sales, which is what pretty much all the old style sales trainers taught it was, you know, the Ben Franklin close and the takeaway close and you know, if you buy by Friday, I can give you this free thing and we shifted into the solution selling concept where I was really going in and doing a deep dive into my clients and really figuring out what was going on in their world. So that instead of just trying to pawn off a product to them, I was actually providing them a solution that made their world better and that they were excited to be working with us for and that they saw well we can do more and then continually working with them to how do we do more for you? What else can we do? How do we leverage this technology to make your business even stronger and to differentiate you from your competition? And that's really where I figured out that the sales thing is really kind of fun and I really enjoy doing it and I was good at it, but it took me failing and you know, losing a job and then having to really look at how I was doing stuff to figure that out.

Jeff Bullas

00:11:00 - 00:11:41

Yeah. What one point that you made, which I think is really important and I highlight to our users is that you discover the power of listening and questions rather than telling. And that for me was an aha moment. I did a six month course in communications which is very much about being self aware and also being aware of others and the core skill in that is active listening. So you obviously started using questions more and listening to the customer and work out with their problems. They wanted you to help them solve by what your problem, your product delivered, is that correct?

Kevin Snow

00:11:42 - 00:11:43

Yes.

Jeff Bullas

00:11:45 - 00:12:02

Yeah. So you get this training, your whole sales strategy changes, you're going from pitch deck to a different type of sales approach. So that's sort of like yeah, aha moment you're in the industry, but now you're okay. This makes sense now, is that right?

Kevin Snow

00:12:02 - 00:14:55

Yeah. And it was for me and I had to, it took me a while to really comprehend out what I was doing and how to do it. So, you know when I got rid of the pitch deck and started doing the questioning, I had to script out my questions. So, I had figured out, alright, so there are different levels of questioning based on how intimate you're gonna get with that answer. So at the beginning it was really a lot of, alright, so how many locations do you have? How many employees and you know really really basic stuff that if I researched on the internet I could find but I wanted them to you know, be answering so they we could build that trust and then working down through operational stuff too at the bottom where you know the most guarded information was all the financial stuff and the, you know the impact and quality of life questions about, you know what if this happened, you know, if we're able to do this, you know, what impact did that have on your business and we're now getting into the really the stuff that you wouldn't normally ask someone on on the first time you meet them.

But for me that was really important because being that detailed person, I need to be able to go through and understand how I was doing it and learn how to ask the questions and then I figured out, alright, so they're giving me answers out of orders I can fill in. Now. I don't need to answer that question. And I could start now when I do, you know when I do client calls for Time On Target. We don't always necessarily start with those high level questions. I start with hey, all right. So tell me your story. How did you get into this? And I go pull pieces out of that too. Now fill in my puzzle so that I could start putting stuff together and that questioning skill was really important to learn because that's what set the stage up for me to be able to do what I do now. The funny thing is once I got to a point where I had been doing that for a long time with Nextel. I thought I knew what all my clients wanted. So I was skipping it. I was jumping right into the, hey, I know all about your business already and here's the thing and that didn't work so well.

I had to reteach myself that even though I think I know the answers, I still have to ask all the questions. I need to have that person verbalizing the things that are going on and me saying, oh wow, tell me about this. Alright, so you said this and does that mean this? And we can having all that conversations because it helped them moved through the process as well. It wasn't just about me getting information, it's really about them understanding what was going on in their business and the options that were out there and the impacts of the status quo if they chose that route. So I had to reteach myself to go back and even though I knew I was going into a construction company and I knew what their issue was gonna be and what my solution was gonna be, I had to go through the actions because it was important for them. It wasn't just about me.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:56 - 00:15:22

And I think as you were mentioning, your process and how you went back to the basics again in that active listening is not parenting back there. Question their answer, it's restating in other words and get them to say, does that make sense? Or is that what I'm hearing and when I say absolutely, you know that you have heard them because as humans we actually don't listen very well on average.

Kevin Snow

00:15:22 - 00:15:24

No, definitely not.

Jeff Bullas

00:15:25 - 00:15:45

And I think what you've mentioned you do is incredibly powerful. I've discovered that over the years that if you can get them to explain to you and you then hear them and then you feed back to them that you have heard them, then they feel like they're actually proposing the answer as well and they own it.

Kevin Snow

00:15:45 - 00:16:42

Yeah. And that was a huge part. If they tell me that if they don't make any changes, they're potentially gonna lose their business because of X. That carries a completely different amount of weight. Then if I say, you know if you don't do this, you're gonna lose your business, who are you telling me that I'm gonna lose my business? But you know if they say it's like wow, really? You can lose your business, no way. And you can now do the empathize with them and build that relationship. But let's figure out how that doesn't happen. You know if I can show you how to do this so you don't have to worry about your business losing is you know, should we keep talking? Yeah, let's keep talking. Perfect. Now I can come in and teach a solution that will get them all excited for them to say, alright, so how do we start, how do we get going? How do we start doing this? And I've never had to do an actual closing move.

Jeff Bullas

00:16:42 - 00:16:44

Yeah. And it doesn’t sound fake, isn’t?

Kevin Snow

00:16:44 - 00:17:06

And it never sounds right when I say it. You know, there are people who can go through the, you know, the Glengarry Glen Ross type closes. I can't do those. They don't, they sound horrible. They sound like a really bad auto sales guy saying, when I try them. Yeah, so totally not my personality.

Jeff Bullas

00:17:06 - 00:17:30

And that's part of the process of learning too is actually gonna work out how, what works for you. It's not one size fits all. So you're doing these sales jobs. When was the next step into Time On Target where you started to, looks like you blended technology with sales and an added process? When did that happen?

Kevin Snow

00:17:30 - 00:24:40

So, I left Nextell and I actually started working at one of their independent distributors. So an authorized agent started selling for them, started managing a sub dealer network. So a bunch of the independents who were too small to work directly with Nextel got rolled up under us. So I was managing them and training in a distribution channel, which was really interesting. It was a whole new thing I hadn't done before. So I got to really kind of start figuring, alright, so how do I train these people to sell? How do I keep them motivated? How do I support them? And I learned a ton, but then I was getting, during that period I was getting really active in a networking organization and I became a chapter president and then I got on to the regional team supporting chapters and then eventually I became an area director where I was actually launching groups and I spent a few years where I was actually doing that full time. I was, you know, launching groups really good at it and people around the world started knowing who I was and you know how my process worked. And they started asking me, hey can you come in and train my team, you know, the region across the country, hey can you teach my team how to launch chapters? Like yeah totally, that'd be really cool. They're like, yeah we'll fly you in, we'll put you up in a hotel and like sweet awesome and we'll give you money and we'll pay you. Oh really, you're gonna pay me too? I was just excited to go to Houston or Florida and not have to pay for the trip. I'm like, alright sweet. So I actually started Time On Target because they wanted to pay me to train their team how to do stuff. There was no expectation that, you know, everyone's like, oh you started Time On Target with this cool idea, you know, it was literally, I had to have a tax ID number so people could give me money to come speak and so I kept doing the networking thing but then I also started speaking at different conferences, chambers, organizations, companies would hire me to come in and train sales and networking and all that stuff, it was really fun but then I deployed and so like in 2006 I got this wild hair as a 34 year old, me and my best friend at the time that we should enlist and join the army. So we went off to basic training as 34 year olds and then went through commissioning and came back and then I had to deploy in 2011.

So I came back from that and I realized I had no speaking gigs and I had nothing in my pipeline and I had that oh shit moment of now what do I do? And I had to figure out if I am going to restart and do speaking stuff again, am I going to do a big pivot with the company, am I gonna go get a job? That one got thrown out really quickly but we did a huge pivot with the business. I realized that I had really just created a really cool job not something that was scalable into a business and I needed something that I could scale and have people doing things because there's a high chance that I was gonna end up having to deploy again, this was in 2012, so this is right after the search, we've literally just gotten out of Iraq. Afghanistan was still going on. There's all kinds of opportunities for Kevin to go overseas. So I needed something different. So I restructured the company and we shifted from me being the product of me being on stage to that being a business development tool and really focusing on going into emerging businesses, specifically tech firms and helping them figure out, alright, so we've been growing, we've had success, how do we actually bring on a sales team now so we can take that next big growth step. They've usually already had their first big growth spurt, they hit their first plateau and now they're trying to take that next step to spur more growth. So we come in and we teach them all the stuff, we teach them how to write a good sales job description, how to do the interviewing process that would help them design, training, we'd map their sales process out, we teach them how to manage sales people because managing a salesperson is completely different than managing a software developer. So we teach them all that type of stuff and by the end of the six month engagement, they'd have a sales team and it was really, it was a lot of fun. I was basically a sales manager for hire for a couple of years. And we, I discovered while I was doing it while I was really enjoying it and having fun and making decent money. I discovered there are parts of it that I really absolutely hated and I realized really quickly that they weren't scalable. So one of them was the interview process. So if you're gonna hire two or three sales people at a time, You're doing probably 40 initial interviews, that's a lot of man time, man hours to get through that in a week or two. So I realized I couldn't have other clients going through those that stage at the same time. So we got rid of the hiring process piece and then I discovered, you know, I didn't want to do the training stuff anymore because training development is cool but it wasn't what I really geeked out on. So we got rid of that. We got rid of the management piece and we narrowed it down to where we were really focusing on just how do you sell, how do your buyers make decisions and how do you make sure those two processes are lined up, so they're flowing at the same rate and at the same point in time and that was awesome. And then I had my next big aha moment with Time On Target and it was the old, you're an idiot Kevin moment and that was when I realized that I was giving away thousands of dollars because I was bringing in other people to do the sales technology piece. I wanted to be that really good out of, you know, the really good consultant that would come in and say no let's figure out the best system for you. And then we look at multiple things and I'd recommend one and you know, being completely agnostic and I realized that's dumb, it's costing me money but it's not actually serving my client because they, my job is to come in and tell them what they need and be able to say you need this system because here's what it can do and to be able to understand that system in and out to be able to take care of it for them. So I immediately brought on two or three email partners, two or three CRM partners, a couple other partners that did some of the auxiliary things for sales, like proposals and calendars, tools and all that type of stuff and added that in. So now, not only did we do the process development and process mapping, we would now figure out, alright, how do we integrate the tech in here. How are we gonna do email marketing for an outside sales process? How are you going to utilize your CRM? How does it configure all that stuff and now that's really our focus is on how you integrate tech into your sales process and that's what we do for the bulk of our clients.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:41 - 00:24:48

And I did notice in the notes too that Hubspot is maybe your tool of choice to handle?

Kevin Snow

00:24:48 - 00:26:13

I am Hubspot certified on a lot of their courses and they are really cool tool. The one I tend to use for most of my clients is a system called Entreport and I use them because they have all the really cool features. They're way less expensive for a small business and Hubspot is and they have this one really cool feature that is key. If you are an outside sales team where you actually have someone talking to a client, they allow when I do an automation campaign, I can insert triggers from the sales team so I can make a salesperson have to complete something before we send out an email or before something happens in that automation, which is key if you want to keep your automation is running in sync with how your, how a client is moving through a sales process. You know a lot of the systems like a male chamber constant contact or all time based, wait three days, send an email, wait two days, send an email and that doesn't work, especially in a B2B sales situation where people are moving forward and back in the sales cycle all the time based on what information they're getting and how the market shifts. So having that behavioral piece where I could tie in the sales team is key and when I saw that I'm like, yep, this is my system of choice and we've been running with that now for you know, probably seven years as our main partner.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:14 - 00:26:57

And for me realizing you couldn't scale without and and realizing that technology could help you scale was a wake up moment for me and that even happened with social media marketing. So yeah, and I remember I automated building my Twitter followers and I was accused of being not loyal to the philosophy of social media, which is about humans connecting with humans. And I have given a hard time back in 2011 about automating Twitter to generate leads and followers. So, but guess what we do today? Everyone uses social media marketing and email marketing automation all the time.

Kevin Snow

00:26:57 - 00:27:35

So yeah, me and my business partner now, we play a game with our LinkedIn connections whenever someone sends us a connection, it's like, alright, is this a, you know, is this a real person or is this a bat? And if I hit yes, how soon till they're pitching? So you know, that's the game now we play with social media instead of saying, oh this is a really cool connection, I can't wait to talk to him, like are they gonna sell me, are they not gonna sell me? And that's really kind of sad because it's kind of, you know, lost the meaning behind it. Especially with something like LinkedIn where it's really designed for business people to have really cool conversations.

Jeff Bullas

00:27:36 - 00:27:45

So that raises another question about building trust and credibility and where does content play in that piece for you?

Kevin Snow

00:27:46 - 00:29:17

I think content is really key because it is a signal for marketing and sales as to where a prospect is and their decision making process. It's an indicator on, you know, here's what we're doing or where we're trying to get to right now. But then it's also that piece that's gonna free up time for your sales team if you have it automated and you understand that alright, so we just finished the technical site visit for this IT cut over. We now need to send this specific piece of content to support the move into the next stage of the sales process. So you need to have mapped out really well what's going through your prospects mind during their decision making and what their different stages are. So that you can then pull the content and say, alright so at this point we need case studies because they're just trying to figure out if they actually have an issue that they need to spend time and effort on resolving. At the other end of the funnel, you know they need checklists to make sure to reinforce that they're making the right choice and then they can feel confident in the decision they're about to make. So it's understanding those content needs, which is really gonna set you apart from your competition, which will send out stuff, but then they're gonna use it as a pitch as opposed to as an actual learning opportunity for the client.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:18 - 00:29:49

And it's, you know, the numbers that have tossed around in the marketing industry and content marketing is that 60-70% of the customer journey is done before they even send you an email or pick up the phone. And the way that is done is they've checked out your website, they may be subscribed your email list, they've got content and that process is one of building incredibly entrust to a point where they're going, these guys are good at what they do, yep, let's engage.

Kevin Snow

00:29:50 - 00:31:06

Yeah. And one of the key points and when you're mapping out a client's buyer journey is understanding where in that process they're actually ready to engage because if you, if someone downloads a case study, you're like, oh my God, they downloaded a case study, give it to sales, a sales go call this person and they engage too quickly. You just annoy the client. You know, there is one system that has really great content and I love reading their stuff because I always get really cool ideas when I'm trying to figure stuff out. So I'll go download stuff or I'll read a blog and within like five minutes I'll get the email. Hey, I saw you're checking this blog out. Here's some other things you might want to read. Like, well that's cool. I like that. But then five minutes later, I get a phone call from the rep who's trying to get me to be a partner and I'm like, I was just looking at stuff. I am not at the buying stage where I'm ready to talk to you. You know, you need to re-examine your buyer journey. So you know, and that can just turn them off because now you're that slimy sales guy who's just trying to get a sale, trying to get a commission as opposed to someone who's really understands how your clients are doing things and you want to support their process.

Jeff Bullas

00:31:07 - 00:31:23

The other thing that is tossed around all the time is the sales funnel is seen as this linear journey. And, sales people know that it's not, it's much messier than that. It's like a matrix.

Kevin Snow

00:31:23 - 00:32:54

It used to be really linear. You know, when I started sales back in the 90s, you know, we would start at the top of the funnel and we'd get in front of someone and we would have to show them, hey, you have a problem, we would be the person who would convince them that hey, you have a problem. Let's look at solutions and then teach them about the solutions and we would basically hold their hand through the entire process. Well now there's so much, you know, especially with larger companies, there's so many people influencing the decision, there's so much information out there. They may read something say, oh my God, this is a horrible problem. We need to fix us now, jump ahead to a next stage and then get some input from somewhere else. Hey, you need to slow down a bit. You're getting a little too fast with this process, we're not ready to make a decision. So now they go backwards again and they start doing more research or they see a news article that talks about something and now they're, you know, they're got the squirrel thing going on now they're looking over here and it's, it's, you have to be able to track those and understand how people are moving so that you can adjust your sales process to match where they're at because if the client is at this point in the process and the sales person wants to be here and now they're now trying to pull this person along with them. It doesn't, it screws up the experience for the client. It's gonna be much harder to get them to say yes and actually become a client. If you're forcing them to move at a speed, they're not ready to move that.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:55 - 00:33:11

So one of your big learnings in listening to is that you discovered that sales is very process driven and can be enabled by technology. Can you tell us very simply what that process looks like if that's possible?

Kevin Snow

00:33:12 - 00:34:58

Sure. So when we go in and we work with the client, you know, we start with looking at the buyer process and then the sales process and making sure those are in sync. But then we start looking at, for the automation piece, trying to find the steps in the sales process that are labor intensive for the salesperson or are redundant. And you know, there's something that they have to do the exact same thing all the time for every client. And those are the first things that we're going to try and automate and move out of the salespersons purview. Because automation, the number one goal for automation is to free up time for your sales team so that they can spend more time doing revenue generating activities and being face to face with the client. So first thing we're gonna do is free up time so they can add to their pipeline. They can support more of prospects in their funnel. And then we're gonna start looking at the details for that process. So we're gonna start looking at the time that they prospect sales spends in each sales cycle. And they're also going to look at the percentage of clients that close when they reach a certain stage. So stage three, there might be a 50% close rate. And then, but at stage four, it's an 80% close rate. So we're gonna try and figure out what's causing people to drop out of the funnel at those stages So that we can now make that 50% into a 60%, you know, is there a piece of content we can send that's going to get them to say let's get to this point and continue the conversation. So that's really the two things we look at in order is how do we free up time then how do we collapse the cycle time and make it smaller.

Jeff Bullas

00:34:59 - 00:35:30

So those people are notoriously bad at detail, you're a bit of a different animal because you have that attention to detail. So, and that's a challenge with sales people, they love the human interaction. They tend to be a bit messier and they like the fun of the conversation and engagement and, but they're usually bad at the detailed piece. So what you're saying is you really use tech to help fill in the gaps that sales people traditionally bad at?

Kevin Snow

00:35:31 - 00:36:34

Yeah, it's really to, you know, for me, we didn't have all this when I was doing the corporate sales thing at Nextel. So on Friday mornings, one of my tasks would be to look at all of my appointments from the few days prior and then send out the email like Hey, it was great to meet with you on Tuesday or Wednesday and you know, talk about your business and blah blah blah. Well I would not be paying attention to it because it was such a redundant task and repetitive that I would cut and paste from my word document into my email and I would forget to change your name. So I would send Jeff an email that started off with Hey Patty, it was great to meet you. And then I sent it, I'm like, oh my God, what did I just do? So automation is really designed to get rid of stuff like that, you know those repetitive tasks that take up time, data entry, all the things that salespeople hate and give them time to do the stuff that they want to do which is the prospecting, the talking to clients, the engagement stuff where they actually make money for the company.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:35 - 00:36:45

And that's what's good about tech is it can be just like flying planes, planes are much safer now because they're landed by computers.

Kevin Snow

00:36:46 - 00:36:47

Yeah, exactly.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:47 - 00:37:25

Yeah and a lot of people don't realize that I think the only manual process the pilot does now is actually on takeoff because of a bird strike. So now you've had the aha moment about processes. What are some of the top things you've learnt as sales have become more technology rich and enabled? What are the top two or three things you'd recommend to people? And you're concentrating more on the B2B sales space, aren't you? What are the top 2 to 3 things that we could leave with our listeners that you think are really, really important that you discovered in your 16 years?

Kevin Snow

00:37:26 - 00:40:53

Sure. So two big things that we work with all our clients on is when we're writing the content for the emails that we always and sometimes it's, you know, like we have to force their marketing team to do this, but we need to have them written from the tone and voice of the salesperson. So the marketing team has to understand how the sales team is actually talking about stuff and what phrases they're using when they're in front of the client. Marketing likes to use all the value propositions and all the marking phrases they came up with, that they've tested and that they really like. But as sales people, we really don't ever use those when we're actually in front of the client. We found ways to communicate them that get the client to say, oh yeah, totally. I completely get that. Get them to be nodding along with us and marketing needs to understand those types of phrasing so that they can use those in the email. You know, one of my clients and he's not my business partner. We, when we do automated emails for him, we would leave out commas because he was horrible at putting commas when he wrote and I would usually leave like at least one misspelled word. And it would be funny because his grammar is atrocious and he knows it but it would be funny cause then I'd have marketing people who are on our list who would reach out to me, it's like you have a misspelled word, I'm like, I know it's this one, I did it on purpose, and there's also three commas missing and it was just completely drive them nuts. But it sounded like Donny and we would have people who would hit reply on the emails because it sounded like him and they would do stuff because they thought they were communicating with Donny. And that's the purpose of these emails, is to get them to engage. So if you're going to do sales automation, it's gotta sound like it's coming from your salesperson or your sales team and it has to be segmented out so that if I'm working with Jeff and Jeff's my sales guy trying to sell me stuff, the email I get says from Jeff as from that [email protected], and it's his email editors that it's getting sent from. So it looks like I'm getting it from my sales guy and I'm not getting confused because why am I getting an email from Jackie, who's this Jackie person?

So that is really key. It's got to be tone and voice for the salesperson and then your automation tool has to be tracking your clients, your prospects behavior. You need to be able to show their clicking on this stuff. They are, they're clicking through this email, they’re visiting these websites because that is key information to share with your team. You know, if I'm working with a client and I think we're still in kind of the needs analysis situation and I get notified that hey, they're checking out our pricing page.

They're actually looking and they've been at this plan, this plan page three times in the last week. That's really a big signal for me that they've jumped ahead and I need to reach out to them. So you know that is really, you need to be tracking that and have some sort of notifications set up so that you can let the salesperson, hey number one client in your funnel visited these pages in the last week and they visited this page three times. So this, you know, you, this might be someone you want to talk to and reach out to and see what's going on and then that allows them to have that authentic engagement with them and kind of have some visibility into what they're doing when they're not in front of them.

Jeff Bullas

00:40:54 - 00:41:00

So in other words it's you're using the data to actually make informed decisions in terms of the sales process.

Kevin Snow

00:41:00 - 00:41:03

Exactly, exactly.

Jeff Bullas

00:41:03 - 00:41:14

So just wrapping up, Kevin, how do people contact you and the team? And is there any final tip you'd like to leave for our listeners and viewers?

Kevin Snow

00:41:14 - 00:42:09

So I actually have a gift for your visitors. It's the easiest way to get into my world. If they text the words Sell Smarter to +16124294298, I will actually send them a guide that they can use that is filled with questions that they can ask their clients to figure out how their clients make purchasing decisions as well as a chart that breaks out the different types of content based on sales stage. And that's something that the tool they can use to really figure out how they're selling and how it maps with their clients. And once they get that they'll get a few other texts from me where they'll get invited into my sales automation group on Facebook and they'll be invited to follow and listen to me on Growth Mode, our podcast. So then they'll have access, they can ask me all kinds of questions and pick my brain and get all kinds of automation ideas from me.

Jeff Bullas

00:42:10 - 00:42:38

What we'll do is we'll maybe include that in the show notes at the beginning and so that people can actually copy text and put it in. So that would be great. Thank you very much for that gift to our readers and viewers. Thank you very much, Kevin. It's been an absolute pleasure having you on the show and great to hear your journey and discover those ah ha moments along the way, and that's what life's about, it’s about learning, isn't it?

Kevin Snow

00:42:38 - 00:42:43

It totally is. And thank you so much for having me on, Jeff. This has been a really cool conversation. I've really enjoyed it.

Jeff Bullas

00:42:43 - 00:42:47

Great! Thanks, Kevin. Look forward to catching up maybe in the States someday.

Kevin Snow

00:42:48 - 00:42:50

I would love that.