When to Ignore the Data and Trust Your Gut

B2BLG-max2

Three time author and two time unicorn king Max Altshuler has perfected the art and science of finding customers who are ready to buy.

The reason it’s not all science is because account sourcing requires finding the middle ground between data and gut instinct.

Max has played a key role building demand and nurturing leads at Udemy (I teach there) and Outreach, where he works now as vp marketing. And he founded Sales Hacker (and I’ve written for them).

Udemy and Outreach are startups that grew to unicorn status. He sold Sales Hacker to Outreach before he joined them. Outreach is a sales engagement platform that makes it easier to build custom sales sequences that reps can use to prospect and qualify leads.

According to Max, it all starts by building ideal customer profiles that can be used to to help companies target the right buyers. Successful ICP strategies target the right customer, in the right place at the right time.

For his example, Max says it’s going to be easier to sell Girl Scout cookies in front of a marijuana dispensary then a gluten-free restaurant.

After you build an ICP, it’s time to develop persona buckets for the c-suite, managers and frontline employees because everyone has different pains and responds to different messages. You’re selling to pain points.

Max has perfected outbound selling sequences that optimize the conversion of sales accepted leads. He’s figured out how many times to call, email and tweet a prospect to convert them to a sale. And he’s built a state-of-the-art sales tech stack which he walked us through in detail.

He also explains why marketing qualified leads don’t matter and why sales accepted leads do. But he takes attribution models with a grain of salt and warns marketers against relying too heavily on correlating metrics where causation is unproven.

If you want to come up to speed on where sales engagement is and where it’s heading, and you’re not necessarily knowledgable about this space, this 30-minute Master Class is for you.

All these skills are transferable to marketing and public relations. So give it a listen and tweet me and Max and let us know how you’re implementing demand-generation and lead conversion at your organization.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

ES: Now, before we get into Outreach and your book, because I want to talk about both of those, let’s talk for a moment about Sales Hacker. So, how did you wind up building a 100,000+ membership community for salespeople online?

MA: I was working at Udemy, which is an online education marketplace, small startup back in 2011, 2012. And they had entrusted me with building out the sales side of the marketplace, the supply side, which was getting instructors to teach courses. And I looked at it with a fresh pair of eyes: what if the normal sales process had never existed before? What would I do right now? I had a blank canvas and I started reading a lot of books and learning some of the best practices and layering on certain things that typically work, but then challenging the status quo on things that might have been a little more manual than they should be. So I ended up hiring a team of virtual assistants in the Philippines to do a lot of sales development work and go out and get a lot of our leads. I used Python, which is a programming language, to scrape information off sites to fill out our databases and build some of our intent, which led to the copy that we created for these instructors in our emails and phone calls. And then I used an early sales engagement platform called ToutApp. I was one of their first customers to send all these emails and make these phone calls and things like that. So I pretty much built a reputation for leveraging technology and modern workflows in the sales process, or at least hacky workflows, which is why we call it sales hacking. And that led to me starting a meetup, which led to a conference, which led to the blog, which led to meetups in 32 cities globally, which led to a joint conference with Salesforce called Sales Machine, which then eventually led to the acquisition. During that time I also wrote a book called Hacking Sales, which at this point I probably need a volume two for because so much technology has changed, but that was about 2015. So even a lot’s changed in five years. It’s been a pretty incredible run. Obviously, the good times that we’ve had in the 2010s decade of VC money pouring into technology, but a lot of that money pouring into sales technology. So, that’s been pretty cool.

ES: It’s interesting, you know, you switched gears just at the right time because originally we all thought edgy tech was going to be such a hot category and that kind of sputtered.

MA: Yeah, I know, a lot of that has sputtered, but Udemy just raised [money] at a $2 billion valuation, so I guess they’re doing okay. I think the ed tech stuff that’s sputtered is not exactly the same stuff. But, you know, Linda sold to LinkedIn, which was nice. I think a lot of the continuing education stuff is what has really worked, and still continues to work.

ES: So Udemy is doing well, huh? You look at the courses that they have — I mean, there’s such a gap in quality, you know?

MA: Yeah, yeah. Udemy is doing well. And I think a big thing about what they’ve done well and has driven them is not only is it direct to consumer, but now they have Udemy for Business. So there’s a B2B area of their business now, where I think they’re doing somewhere between 50 and 100 million annual recurring revenue. It’s a very fast growing business and that spun up towards the end of my tenure there. So, that worked really well for them.

ES: So we’re coming out of this decade of massive corporate growth, right. And one of the arrows in the growth quiver is your product outreach. Talk to us about the PR tech stack and how you wound up at Outreach, and what some of the other arrows in the quiver are, and how you establish and build out a PR tech stack.

MA: Yeah, so it’s PR tech, recruiting tech, sales tech — a lot of these things look very similar because they have very similar workflows. So you’ve got your system of record, which is your CRM. In some cases that’s Salesforce, in other cases it could be a variety of different other solutions that are made tailored for PR, recruiting, or whatever it is. Then, on top of that, you’ve got wherever you get your data from, your LinkedIn, so that’s where you find contact info. And then from there, you have your sales engagement platform, which for us is mission-critical. So if you have people emailing, you have people making phone calls and have people reaching out in any capacity, you need something, you need a platform that’s your system of action. You need a place where you can do all those activities where it’s going to be tracked, measured, analyzed. One for management purposes, so they can see that the reps are doing the right things. But two, you can A/B test and optimize the things that you’re saying, things that you’re doing, the way that you’re doing it. And three, even adding a level of automation to it. So we have what we call sequences, where you can set up automated sequences that have personalized content in it, or value drivers like ebooks, things like that, that automatically go out. So on day one, connect with them on LinkedIn, send them an email in the afternoon, make a phone call, leave a voicemail. On day two, follow up with a LinkedIn message and another phone call. On day three, send them another email. On day four, so on and so on. You could do a 21-day sequence, or something like that, to contact them, and it’s semi-automated or fully automated, however you want to do it. And it allows your reps to do the right things at the right time, every time.

So we’re building that with Outreach, and there are a lot of new solutions that attach on to that. So you have your system of record, your CRM, you’ve got your data, you’ve got outreach, and then the other solutions that come after that are, I’d say, less mission-critical, but still really interesting, like conversation intelligence space, which allows you to see inside of the phone calls and emails and get some of that information intelligence that comes from that. So there’s Gong and Chorus there, there’s chat, like Drift and Intercom, which allows you to interact with people on a web form instead of a lead form, but interact with them on a chat right on the side of your site. And that really, I think, increases conversions. And these are things that at Outreach we have really deep integrations with, and it’s really important that your stack is tightly integrated, so that you don’t have any lag time on your SLA from in-bound leads — your speed to lead is really important. Other technologies, let’s see… Intent data. So, account prioritization and timing is really interesting. Bombora. There’s Sixth Sense, Terminist, those types of companies. And then, let’s see, what else is interesting? There’s the Vidyards and the Looms that do video embedded into email. That’s another interesting one. And then there’s direct mail, which is part of sequences these days, something kind-of old that now is new, and works really well, breaks through the noise. So you can add in a direct mail task in your sequence so that on day five, it triggers and you send a package to the person on the other end, and when they get that package, you get notified and it automatically triggers the next step, which would be an email or a phone call as soon as they get the package delivered. So that works really well for us. So, again, this is semi-automating best practices, integrating a lot of different elements of your tech stack. But the ROI on productivity, but also effectiveness, is fairly high. So if you can master that, then you’re really on the right track.

ES: So I want to talk to you about the 13 elements of a successful cross-org alignment strategy from the book. But before I do, this episode of the B2B Lead Gen podcast is brought to you by the 2020 Media Monitoring Buyer’s Guide, the most comprehensive current analysis of media monitoring available. This is a vendor-neutral guide with all sorts of useful information about how to choose the right social and traditional media monitoring platform, and you can download The 2020 Media Monitoring Buyer’s Guide for free at ericschwartzman.com/monitoring

So let’s start with this idea of killing the marketing qualified lead. Why and how do we do this?

MA: Yeah, so it’s really all about integrating sales and marketing. It’s not about alignment anymore, it’s about that integration. So if marketing is comped differently than sales, if marketing has different success metrics than sales, you’re always going to be off and marketing is going to think that they’re winning and sales is going to be like, well, we’re still waiting for things that are going to close. And I think that the stat or the saying is, the death of the CMO is an unhappy CRO, you know, right? So it’s like if the revenue’s not coming in, there’s finger-pointing that’s happening. Now I’m on team “sales development should be under marketing, not sales”. But people have different lines of thought there. But I think that pipeline generation is all one motion. Whether it’s inbound or outbound, it’s all one motion. So, you know, putting that on one team makes a lot of sense, but if they’re not going to be on one team, then it needs to be deeply integrated. And your SLA needs to be clearly outlined to what a sales-accepted lead actually is versus having all these other definitions for MQLs, SQLs, etc., etc. And marketing getting compensated on something that isn’t necessarily going to close or isn’t necessarily a good lead. So we set up a whole lot of nurture campaigns at Outreach, and we make sure that we only really count something when it’s a sales-accepted lead.

ES: So are the sales development reps at Outreach reporting to marketing?

MA: No, not here. I personally believe that, but this was all set up before I got here and I’ve only been here a year and a half and that’s not a change that we made. But we are very tightly integrated, alignment between sales and marketing isn’t just a meeting once a week. It is shared goals. It is, obviously, a shared way of doing things and an understanding that we are here to support revenue.

ES: What are the common KPIs?

MA: SQLs, SALs are the two main ones. And then net new logo, so revenue from that new logo, and then expansion.

ES: Net new logo?

MA: Net new logo is prospects, new customers. So what revenue did we get or what pipeline did we generate from new customers?

ES: So pipeline revenue, projected revenue, not actual revenue?

MA: Both. Yeah.

ES: And how do we get to a reliable attribution model?

MA: Ah man, if I knew that, I don’t know, I’d make a lot of money off it. It’s hard. It’s really hard. There are certain things you just can’t measure. And you almost have to build a buffer for that. And I think in your marketing budget, you have to build a buffer for things that you can’t measure, things that you know you have to do, things that are gut-driven. And I think in your attribution line, you have to do the same thing. You’re not gonna be able to understand 5, 10, 20% of what’s working. So I think that’s okay. Not everything should and can be measured that you do in marketing.

ES: When you look at these tools like TopSpot where you can see who’s downloading what document…

MA: Yeah, we use visible… Yeah, we have attribution, your set up and all that.

ES: But do you buy into it? Because you could say, “Oh, well, you know, it’s the people who download this deck and use this deck in their pitch meetings that close the most deals,” but it might just be that they’re better salespeople.

MA: Yeah, and there’s other things that you need to triangulate along with attribution on things like that. It could just be that the rep is better. If that’s the case, then look at their, you know, for us, we drink our own champagne, we use our own product, but we can see into how the rep is doing, if the rep is doing the right things at the right time to get the deal done. And if not, why not? And are they doing that consistently? And so who are our best reps, what are our lowest performing reps, and what are the reps not doing? Is it number of activities? Is it what the training is or what those activities consist of that needs fixing? So we’ve got ways to fix that too. But we use Bizible for attribution for us. You know, it’s never perfect, though. So there’s always going to be a delta, there’s always going to be a gap, you kind of have to roll with that. You want to get as close as you can on the things that you know you can do a good job on, anything that’s linked, right, downloadable assets. And then there’s the things that you can’t get it on. Like, we have communities that we’re in. Somebody will answer a question and a lead will come in from that community. We won’t know that it came from that community. But it came from a community post. Somebody really liked Outreach, they posted about it. That person saw it, came in — we might never find out. So, you still want to sponsor the community though cos you’re getting value out of it, right? Sometimes it’s just a gut thing. I think some organizations are really adamant on measuring everything, getting attribution for everything. And all the time you waste trying to do that on some things, and initiatives that you don’t end up doing, I think it could be detrimental.

ES: I apologize for jumping around here, but as you’re talking, things are popping into my mind here, and I’m thinking about account sourcing. And I’m thinking about for you guys, account sourcing is pretty straightforward, because if I’m a Salesforce customer, I’m fair game. But you think about so many of these other companies that maybe don’t have a full stack yet, they’re just getting started, they’re legacy, they’re on some old system and they’re trying to get moved over. For other companies that aren’t necessarily in tech, they’re looking at CRM, looking at Outreach, and looking at some of these other tools, with the prospect of building a sales tech stack, when you talk to them about account sourcing — what should they be looking for to figure out who should be plugged in as an account into their database?

MA: Yeah, so, most tech companies have a sales ops or rev ops that’s doing that work for them. If you’re not in a business where that work is done for you and you have to go source your own accounts, I think you can do a couple things. And it’s all about ICP (ideal customer profile). You will not be successful if you’re not speaking to the right people. The right people at the right time with the right message is a key to winning. There’s a story that I used to do in my presentations when I was doing keynotes and stuff like that to that audience about cross-selling Girl Scout cookies. And so if you’re a girl selling Girl Scout cookies, what’s the best place to go sell your cookies? So I read an article once about this girl who went and she set up shop right outside of a cannabis dispensary. And she sold her cookies in record time and she won a trophy for most boxes sold. Because, you know, you’re there and these people are going to be having the munchies later. So they’re going to buy a bunch of cookies.

ES: You’re shooting fish in a barrel!

MA: Yeah, if you set up shop with Girl Scout cookies in front of a gluten-free restaurant, you’re probably not going to sell a lot of cookies.

ES: Or in front of the supermarket.

MA: Yeah, because they already got their stuff. And they don’t eat the cookies to begin with, right? None of these are gluten free, you’re not going to sell any cookies. So it’s really just about making sure you’re in front of the right customer and having the right ICP.

ES: And the right chaperone, of course!

MA: There you go. Exactly. When you’re thinking about sourcing your accounts it’s really important that they’re in your ICP, so where can you go to find companies that are competitors to you? Who are they going after? Companies that are complementary to you, who are they going after? Can you go to their websites and see what customers they have? Is it something where you can go on Craigslist? There are a bunch of businesses that are built off Craigslist. So Airbnb, for example, Airbnb built their business off going on Craigslist and paying people that were renting out their apartments on Craigslist to rent it out on Airbnb instead. Udemy, for example, we had to have people create video courses. So we would go to places where video courses lived, and we would contact those people. But then also we would go to places where books were, we’d go to Amazon, we’d find authors and we’d say, “Hey, I saw you write a book on X, Y and Z. Would you want to create a video course for that? You can get extra revenue out of it.” You know, people sometimes want to read a book, people also sometimes want to watch a video course. So we were just trying to figure out where are our ideal personas or ideal audiences. So I think it really depends on your business. But complementary products, competing products, are really good ways to figure out where your customers can come from, your current book of business. So go out and do data lookalike on what your current book of business looks like. That’s another great way to do it. Sometimes it’s straightforward, and sometimes it’s a little harder, but once you start closing let’s say five or ten unaffiliated customers, then you know that there’s something there.

ES: So in your book, Sales Engagement, you write about detailing personas and buckets that reps can use to become experts at knowing where and how to identify a company that has a problem they can solve. So when you’re building these buckets, what information about prospective customers do you wind up using most?

MA: Well, there are a lot of different pieces of an ICP. So you’ve got an ideal customer at a company level. Actually you’ve got a couple. Industry, company, all the way down to the type of person internally at that company. It’s all about creating that story eventually. So blah, blah, blah works in healthcare at XYZ Company. She’s the Senior Director of Sales Operations. This is the pain that she has. If you can create that customer story, then you can extrapolate out or actually you typically use all the things you’ve learned to create that customer storybook. Coming backwards you can say, “Okay, this is their pain, because this is what she has. This is the ideal title. This is an ideal company. And this is an ideal industry.” So you can look at segments, you can look at, say, our ideal customer is 10,000 employees plus. So, enterprise. Our ideal customer is typically in an industry that does X, Y, and Z. So you could say manufacturing, and also shipping logistics. Because of that you can go on LinkedIn and find all the companies that are over 10,000 employees in those two areas pretty quickly. Or you can use some platforms like HD Data or Datanyze, things like that, through Zoom Info, to go out and find those companies. Then you understand, who cares about this? Who is there? Who are the people with the pain? What are the stakeholders? You can almost do an account map of what that looks like. So you have the person with the pain, the end user, the signer-stakeholder — there’s a bunch of different levels that you’re going to have to speak at.

So, for us, I can tell you about Outreach, our end user is typically the rep, an account executive or a sales development rep. The person with the pain is usually their manager, or direct report, or the person who runs sales operations who’s asked to deal with the tech stack and the data. And then the signer and the approver is the VP of Sales or the CRL. So, for us, we have to make sure that when we build our ICP, we’re taking into account the industries we’re going into, the size of the companies that we’re going into, the actual companies that we want to contact. But then, in those companies, we have to develop champions at the end-user level. We have to engage their boss and make sure that they have the buy-in. And then we also have to engage sales operations, who’s going to be doing the actual implementation work. And then we have to engage the executives who are going to be opening their wallets and approving budget. And you actually — and this is a step past your question — you actually have to develop different pitches in a lot of occasions. So once you drill down into ICP, and you really understand that, then there’s different pitches that you need to provide to each level.

There’s actually a book by Miller called Above and Below the Line Selling, where he goes into how they all speak a different language. So for us, the Sales Manager speaks Greek, the salesperson speak Spanish, and the VP of Sales or CRO speaks French or whatever it is, Russian, let’s say, so they’re very different. And the pitch that you create or tailor for each one has to be different, because if you speak Greek to the guy who speaks Russian, they’re not going to understand what you’re saying. So if my pitch to a VP of Sales is, “You’re going to be able to streamline your activities in your workflow,” well, that’s a pitch that I would give to a rep. A VP of Sales isn’t gonna get it, it’s not gonna resonate. The VP of Sales cares that their team is going to hit their number, not this quarter, not next quarter, but Q3, Q4, Q1, Q2 next year — that’s what they get graded on. So you have to have a completely different pitch for the VP of Sales versus the person on the front lines or the end user. So it’s not just about understanding your ICP, and drilling into those different buckets, but it’s about telling your message even beyond that. Once you have your ICP, there’s the ICP at the company level. So 10,000 employees, these different industries, these types of companies. And then at the employee level, here are the three key stakeholders or ten key stakeholders I’m going to need to engage with at that company to get a deal done.

ES: Sometimes if I’m boning up on an industry for a client and I’m at a trade show, I’ll just go around to different booths and talk to reps. And sometimes I’ll be really shocked at the lack of industry knowledge that the reps will have. They may know their product really well, but maybe they don’t know the competition, or they don’t know some of the bigger trends in the industry. And so when I read your book, and when I listen to you, and then I see these fast-growing companies that use this technology — I guess my question is, are those companies that are killing it with Outreach and Chorus.ai and Gong and TopSpot and all these different full tech stack, sales tech stack, products? Or do they basically just have the best salespeople that really care and go the extra mile? Is everyone really parting with discretionary effort to make sure they know the industry inside out? Are they really using the buckets? What’s your experience there? Is it an even application of the tools? Or do some people use them, some people not?

MA: Yeah, I think there’s always an uneven. I think there’s always, with any technology, some people that are resistant, some people that are harder to adopt. I think you want to typically have adoption above 75%, 80%, around that to have a lot of success. And it’s even hard to get there. It depends what the solution is, though. If it’s a departmental tool, your adoption should be much higher. If it’s an organization-transforming platform, or something like that, and there’s a fair amount of change management involved, the adoption is going to be lower and the companies have to do more to force that adoption. And it goes through waves. Like when Salesforce started, or the first online CRM started, that was probably hard for people to adopt that were used to a Rolodex at their desk. But, you know, you eventually adopt it. Now I don’t know a lot of people who use Rolodexes, it’s gone out the window. And I was on a podcast actually earlier today, and we were talking about some of this need-to-have versus nice-to-have technology. And one of the things that he mentioned was, he sees that having technology like Outreach, Gong, Chorus, you name it, at a company is like when college athletes go to visit colleges and they get the tour, and they go to the gym and the facilities and they see all the nice weights and stuff like that that they have, and they’re able to recruit the best talent because they have the nicest facilities. He sees it as the same thing. I want to have our team set up on a really nice tech stack. So they come in here and they have all the tools at their disposal to do their best and there’s no excuses.

ES: That’s a great analogy.

MA: And I thought that was really interesting because it really is a game changer. And you also end up bringing in the best talent. There’s only so much that the best salesman in the world can do. At a certain point, they’re at a huge disadvantage. So once upon a time, door-to-door sales existed and nothing else, and then the phone would have been ended. So if you were the best salesman in the whole world — amazing, you know, whatever — but you didn’t embrace the phone, you were at a significant disadvantage. The only people you could sell were the people in your couple block radius, but the person with the phone could sell anybody. And then when the computer was invented, and WiFi and email were invented, if you didn’t embrace that, then you were still at a significant disadvantage. So right now, if you put the best salesman in the world out there and you say, “Okay, you can only do door-to-door sales” and you put them up against an average salesman who has all these other things at their fingertips, I still think the average salesman is gonna blow him out of the water, because there’s only so much they can do, right?

ES: Max, in your book, you write that seller-focused content is destined to lose. And when you’re developing customer-centric content, there’s a lot of stuff you can write about, a lot of content you can create. So how do you decide what information is most important to the customers so that you can deliver information that satisfies their needs? And specifically, what data in particular are you looking at as a measure of what customers are interested in and what they need to advance for the customer journey?

MA: Yeah, so we use a lot of outward-facing blog posts on sales-enablement content, so we’re able to see how many people are viewing that and use that as a key measurement.

ES: Just views? What else are you looking for?

MA: Views, CTAs on emails that we send. Views would be on blog posts. CTAs and response rates on emails or newsletters, things like that, really matter.

ES: You’re not looking at bounce rate or time on page, just views?

MA: We might be looking at time on page, I’m not sure how much we’re looking at bounce rate. No, we try not to overcomplicate it too much. We’re also talking to a lot of customers at this point. I’d say it’s different for earlier stage companies. They need to be a little bit more granular to get off the ground. We sort-of know what’s resonating or what customers want to hear. We’ve had enough of them now where they come to us and say, “We want more about X, Y and Z.” And if we hear that enough, we’ll create the content. And typically we’re pretty good at giving our customers what they want, but also giving our sales reps what they need. And while it’s not seller-focused, our sales reps are our frontline. So they hear what the customers and prospects want, and they relay that back to us. That’s why I think it’s really important that your SDRs and marketing need to be very, very closely aligned.

ES: When you were in your early days at Sales Hacker, how did you decide what information, what stories to write, what content to generate?

MA: That was less data-driven, honestly. In the early days it was, you know, here’s what I would want to hear about. All our stuff was practitioner-led. It’s like, here’s somebody I would want to hear from and here’s something that they’ve been wanting to talk about for a while. Let’s give them a stage to do it on. One of the reasons why Sales Hacker was so successful is it was all practitioner-led content. So it was the people that are doing the work, that are in the weeds right now, at the same types of companies that our readers are at. And nobody ever had a platform to do that before. If you’re a VP of Sales and you have something to say, your options were to write it on LinkedIn, write it on your personal blog, or write it on your company blog. If you write on your personal blog, you get like five views cos nobody’s going to that. Write it on your LinkedIn, you get like 20, because articles don’t get a lot of love. And you’re not gonna write on your company blog, because if you’re working for a BI company, they’re not going to post about something in the sales process. So we gave them an audience, we gave them a platform with a built-in audience, so to speak. So we cared about making a living, breathing sales encyclopedia, and letting the best and brightest write about whatever it is that they wanted to write on. We weren’t so data driven until, let’s say, three years in, when we started understanding growth was the name of the game and SEO was the key thing that mattered. And that’s when we started getting really data driven, and we let the data from what people were searching for on Google decide what we needed more content around. So sales development best practices — if that was one of the huge keywords, we would develop more content around sales development best practices, and so on and so on. And that’s when we really started to get data driven.

ES: Talk to us about the number of touches it takes to get a response, because I think for a lot of us who are not in sales, I know I get skittish about reaching out to somebody too many times. If I’m booking them for a podcast, I don’t want to piss them off. What’s acceptable? And particularly in this environment, the one we’re in now, with the pandemic, how do you adjust your approach? How many times can you make an excuse to contact somebody?

MA: I’m a big fan of six or seven — seems like a good number. And then give it a rest for a little while. I do six or seven in a short period of time, maybe over ten days to two weeks, and then you give it a rest for a little while, and then so on and so on. Now, I don’t do a lot of prospecting from an SDR standpoint. I don’t have a book of like 200 accounts that I’m doing, but I do prospecting one-to-one quite a bit. So I will reach out on a lot of different mediums. And that actually spreads out the abusive feeling from the buyer, I think. So if you’re making a call, leaving a voice message, sending an email, sending a LinkedIn connection, sending a LinkedIn message, following them on Twitter, there’s a lot of different avenues where it doesn’t feel like bombarding all at one place. But at the same time there’s a lot of different ways that you can almost add value at scale, where it doesn’t feel like selling. Like I’m not pitching you, I’m connecting with you, I’m helping you, I’m sending you some stuff. And then eventually I earn the right to pitch. But I say this all the time to salespeople. Your job on a first conversation is not to close the deal. Your job on the first conversation is to get the second conversation. And then the second conversation is to get the third conversation. A lot of times this isn’t a one-call-and-close-type situation. So I think if you know that and you believe that and you send your emails and make your phone calls or touch points or whatever they are, with that in mind, you’re going to be a lot more successful than if you’re like, “I’m going to send the whole pitch on this one email.” Then you’re bombarding people with a bunch of pitches, and that’s not gonna work.

ES: His book is Sales Engagement: How the World’s Fastest-Growing Companies are Modernizing Sales Through Humanization at Scale. Max, thanks for doing this.

MA: Thanks for having me.

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