How To MODERNISE Your SALES CONVERSATIONS

Mario Martinez is the CEO and Founder of Vengreso. He spent 82 consecutive quarters in B2B Sales and Leadership roles growing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Mario shares why we need to start having a digital sales conversion with our customers and the step-by-step process to implement it.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Mario Martinez
Modern Sales Evangelist

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Mario:

As a seller, what you want to be focused on is understanding how you can warm up that cold call, if you would. Right? So, instead of making a cold call, you’re now making a lukewarm or potentially warm call to that specific buyer in question. Now, does that mean that you’ll never have to do that? No, of course not. There are still some buyers who are not digitally and connected, socially engaged, mobile attached and or video hungry.

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of Mario will be diving into how we can modernise our sales conversations. Very literally, modernise what we should be saying to individuals, the platforms that we should be talking to, potential buyers, on how we can use AI to fill in some of these gaps and a whole lot more. There’s a tonne of value in this episode, so let’s jump in.

 

How to Lead a Sales Conversation in The Internet Age · [00:53] 

 

Will Barron:

And let me set you up with this cliché example which will get us talking her of an individual, picks up the phone, and they say, “Hey, my name is X. I sell or work for Y company or sell Y product, and can I help you with one, two, three or X, Y, Z at the end of this?” Is this how a sales conversation in the internet age should be both led and continue, or is there perhaps a better way to go about this?

 

“As a seller, what you want to be focused on is understanding how you can warm up that cold call if you would. So, instead of making a cold call, you’re now making a lukewarm or potentially warm call to that specific buyer in question. Now, does that mean that you’ll never have to do that? No, of course not. There are still some buyers who are not digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile attached and or video hungry. So, there are still some buyers who would prefer a phone call or a cold call or who enjoy that type of engagement.” – Mario · [01:28] 

 

Mario:

That’s a great question. So, my personal perspective is hopefully you don’t have to that, what you’ve just described. As a seller, what you want to be focused on is understanding how you can warm up that cold call if you would. So, instead of making a cold call, you’re now making a lukewarm or potentially warm call to that specific buyer in question. Now, does that mean that you’ll never have to do that? No, of course not. There are still some buyers who are not digitally and connected, socially engaged, mobile attached and or video hungry.

 

“In the internet age, in the digital era, our job has gotten way more complex as sellers because now we have to think about how to engage with a buyer through the medium by which they want to engage on.” – Mario · [02:06] 

 

Mario:

So, there are still some buyers who would prefer a phone call or a cold call or who enjoy that type of engagement. But my perspective is, is that, in the internet age, in the digital era, our job has gotten way more complex as sellers. And because now we have to thinking about now how to engage with a buyer through the medium by which they want to engage on. Let me explain. So, you described the cold call, and that may be a way that we engage. I’m not saying it is dead, but I do believe that it’s dying. Yeah, so just for the record, it’s not dead, but I do believe it’s dying. And I do believe that you can use that methodology still in the cases where someone is not going to pick up, but also you can turn that cold call into a warm call. Now how do you do that?

 

Mario:

Well, you have things called social, you have things called selling with video, leveraging a personalised video. You have text messaging. You have AI. You have all these other tools that you can engage with the buyer including and not limited to, and probably arguably the best way to engage with today’s modern buyer, that is through a digital referral. And so, those are all the different ways, and our jobs as sellers quite frankly, Will, in my opinion has gotten way more complex. Because now if you’re my buyer, Will, I have to think about would you rather get a video, email, text, social engagement, cold call? What is the methodology which you will engage with me on? And then I have to look at my other buyers, whether in the same account or outside of the account, depending on I’m calling other accounts, and determine the same exact thing for each and every buyer. And that’s why our job has gotten much more complex.

 

The Dos and Don’ts of a Cold Outreach · [03:52] 

 

Will Barron:

And just to double down on this, to make it clear, because I know your answer to this question for sure, but are you saying, Mario, that perhaps we shouldn’t just be cold calling and giving that one sentence elevator pitch where I just described, We should… I’ll overemphasise this. We should be spamming it over email, we should be doing it over video, we should be doing it over social, we should be spamming this introduction everywhere, or is the entire conversation and what we should be talking about different as well?

 

“If you look at every individual medium, you’ve got key things that you have to be cognizant of. For example, on a call you’ve got 30 seconds to be able to capture someone’s attention, to get them to want to listen, continue a conversation and go to the next step. Well, the next step would be setting up a meeting in many cases, right? If you send a personalised video, did you know that you’ve got seven seconds to capture someone’s attention? Seven!” – Mario · [04:18] 

 

Mario:

Yeah, so great question. I think if you look at every individual medium, you’ve got key things that you have to be cognizant of. For example, on a call you’ve got 30 seconds to be able to capture someone’s attention to get them to want to listen and continue a conversation and go to the next step. Well, the next step would be set up a meeting in many cases, right? If you sent a personalised video, did you know that you’ve got seven seconds to capture someone’s attention. Seven. It’s called thin-slicing. If you do not capture that person’s attention within the first seven seconds, which is why I cannot stand it when people buy the applications, and there’s many applications out there from a video sales acceleration tool kit perspective, and they launch it to a sales team and say, “Now go make videos.” It’s like, wait, you forgot the most important step, which is you never put a sales rep on a phone without teaching them how to actually cold call.

 

“You never put a sales rep on a phone without teaching them how to actually cold call. So why would we think that we should throw a video tool at somebody and think that they know how to make a video call or a video message?” – Mario · [05:10] 

 

Mario:

So why would we think that we should throw a video tool at somebody and think that they know how to make a video call or a video message. So, the answer to your question is, what you should really be doing is utilising the different channels, what I call the omni-channel approach to prospecting. And you should engage with your buyers in the channels by which they want to engage on. And how do you know? You’ll figure out which one they’ll respond to and the one that’s consistent. And never spam is what I say, but here’s the thing. Think of this as a cadence programme. If you’re my prospect, Will, and I want to get a hold of you, I might do the following. First, I might follow you on LinkedIn. What does following do? Well, that actually sends you a notification that someone has followed you. What is the trigger event? The trigger event is if you’re active on a platform like LinkedIn, if you’re active, you’re likely going to look back at my profile. Ah, now I know that you’re a LinkedIn user and that you’re engaging back with me by looking at my profile.

 

“If you’re my prospect, Will, and I want to get a hold of you, I might do the following. First, I might follow you on LinkedIn. What does following do? Well, that actually sends you a notification that someone has followed you. What is the trigger event? The trigger event is if you’re active on a platform like LinkedIn, you’re likely going to look back at my profile. Ah, now I know that you’re a LinkedIn user and that you’re engaging back with me by looking at my profile. When you look at my profile, that is a right, and I’ve earned the right to reach out and now request to connect with you.” – Mario · [05:48] 

 

Mario:

When you look at my profile, that is a right, and I’ve earned the right to reach out and now request to connect with you. So I might go with that particular step. Follow, connect. The other thing that I would do is you follow somebody, if no response, you engage with their content, like, comment and or re-share and tag that individual. And then once I’ve done that, if still no response, you’ve obviously looked at their profile, or you will look at their profile, if they don’t look back at you. Now you move onto the next phase, which is I’ll send an email. If no response there, I’ll send a video message. If no response there, I’ll make a phone call. If no response there… Now by the way, that phone call, notice the six things I’ve already done prior to picking up the phone, so there should be some warm up, if you would, prior to someone just getting a cold call.

 

Mario:

And then what I will do after that particular call, we’ll call it a lukewarm call. After that particular call is, now I will reach out to connect with you on LinkedIn. The moment that I connect with you, the work doesn’t stop there. Once I’ve connected, now I’m sending you my welcome message. My welcome message usually generally includes what we’d call our PVC methodology. Personalise, value, call to action. So, it’s personalised, you’re bringing value, you’re driving to a call to action. And sometimes we teach… Not sometimes, we teach the two-part methodology, which is you can do a one-step, or you can do a two-step, and if you want to expound on that, I’m happy to expound on that.

 

Mario:

But if you notice, what I’ve just showed you, is a cadence. And that cadence has seven steps that includes an omni-channel approach to engaging with your prospect. And at all points throughout that cadence, you were trying to figure out which is the one that’s going to solicit the best response?

 

Data on Why You Need to Reach Out to Prospects on Different Mediums · [08:01] 

 

Will Barron:

I don’t want to put you on the spot here, but I’m interested, because clearly you’re super deep into the… Not the social side of this, but the omni-present approach omni-channel approach to reaching out to an individual. So, is there data that shows that this is more effective than cold calling, is there data on the cadence of this and which bit should go first, more than just gut feelings on this? Because I experiment with this all the time, but there are no real method to my madness when I’m reaching out to potential sponsors of the show or brands that we partner with the sales goal of content that we create. I just wing it. Is there a best practise for this built upon data?

 

“The average response rate to a cold outreach email is less than 3%. So if you were only using email, and you’re sending your 15 to 20 cadences of email through tools like SalesLoft or Outreach, if you’re only doing that, then you are missing 97% of the marketplace from an outreach perspective. On calling, the statistics show that you’re only going to get a less than 3% response rate of 100 from a cold call. Again, you’re missing 97%. ” – Mario · [08:53]

 

Mario:

Yeah, I’ll give you four data points here. The first one we’ve got to think about is the average response rate to a cold outreach on email is less than 3%. So if you were only using email, and you’re sending your 15 to 20 cadences of email through tools like SalesLoft or Outreach or any of those other types of tools or technology, if you’re only doing that, then you are missing 97% of the marketplace from an outreach perspective. So that’s the first one. On calling, the statistics show that you’re only going to get a less than 3% response rate of 100 from a cold call. Again, you’re missing 97%. So, the key here is, you’ve got to think about… And by the way, that statistic is, you’re going to talk to three people out of 100 essentially, is what it would translate to.

 

Mario:

And that’s pretty consistent. There is no sales person who is listening to you right now that will say, “Oh yeah, I make 100 phone calls, and I actually talk to 100 people or I even talk to 20 people.” That’s unheard of. On average, you’re going to make 100 calls, and you’re going to talk to three to 10 people at most. So if you combine email, and you combine phone calling, and say the average is 6% now combined. Just for argument’s sake. You’re still missing 94% of your market. So, you’ve got to be thinking about it from a perspective of, “Wait a minute. I as a CEO of my individual business… ” Whatever the quota is. You’ve got a $300,000 quota or you’ve got a $30 million quota. It doesn’t matter. You are the CEO of your company if you told your board, that you have no strategy to reach the other, let’s just say 90%.

 

“The 2018 state of sales report published at the end of 2018 by LinkedIn, they asked about 700 buyers, executive buyers, “what do you do when a sales rep engages with you?” And 62% said that they look back at that individual’s LinkedIn profile, if they are digitally engaging through social, through email, they’re looking back at that person’s profile to see if they want to engage.” – Mario · [11:00] 

 

Mario:

You have no strategy to reach the other 90% of your market, you’d be thrown out of the board room, your CEO role would be eliminated, you’d be fired. And that’s what sales reps need to be thinking about is, mm-hmm (affirmative), I’m not reaching the other 90% of my market in the way that they want to engage. So now let’s move on into more of the digital aspect. Last year, and just a few short months ago, and the 2018 state of sales report published at the end of 2018 by LinkedIn, they actually did or performed a study, and they asked about 700 buyers, executive buyers, when a sales rep engages with you, what percentage of the time… Sorry. What do you do when a sales rep engages with you? And the answer was 62%. That’s 62, said that they look back at that individual’s LinkedIn profile, if they are digitally engaging through social through email, they’re looking back at that person’s profile to see if they want to engage.

 

“If 62% of buyers look back at your LinkedIn profile to determine whether or not they want to have a conversation with you after you reach out to them, does your profile read as a top quarter crushing sales rep, best contract negotiator, 16 time presidents club earner or does it read as a resource to your buyers who are looking to understand if you can solve a business problem for them first, who else have you done it for, and how have you done it?” – Mario · [12:13] 

 

Mario:

Now think about it this way, Will, if you’re a seller, generally you’re going to have a professional voicemail greeting. It’s highly unlikely, especially if you’re selling B2B, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to have a voicemail greeting that says something like this, “Yo, what’s up, man? Leave a voice message if you want.” That wouldn’t happen. So you’ve professionally created your audible voice imprint so that your buyers can hear something that would perfect what would professionally attract them. Now think about your LinkedIn profile, is 62% of buyers look back at your LinkedIn profile to determine whether or not they want to have a conversation with you after you reach out to them? 62, 62%.

 

Mario:

Does your profile read as a top quarter crushing sales rep, best contract negotiator, 16 time presidents club earner or does it read as a resource to your buyers who are looking to understand if you can solve a business problem for them first, who else have you done it for? And how have you done it? And that’s super important if you think about that. So from an engagement standpoint, you’ve got those individual stats. And I said there was a fourth one and I got so excited I forgot what my fourth bullet point was.

 

Will Barron:

Don’t worry about the forth one-

 

Mario:

I know what it was. The fourth bullet point was CSO Insights published a study and it showcase that, and this is specifically on social selling, which I hate the term. I hate the term, I [crosstalk 00:13:16]. Even though we teach how to do it, I hate it because it implies something that I think is incorrect in the market. But nonetheless that’s the name, social selling. So CSO Insights in their state of sales 2019 report, they showcase that buyers who… Sorry, organisations who had an adoption rate of 25% or less of social selling core curriculum or programme that their win rates sat at about 49%. Those companies who had an adoption rate of 75% or greater of a social selling programme, a core curriculum, their win rates went up to 50% increase to… Sorry, it was 41%, excuse me, and it went up to 61% on the win rate.

 

Mario:

Sorry, I messed up those numbers. 41% was the win rate at 25% adoption and 61% on the win rate for 75% adoption. So there you have it, in terms of answering questions. Is there anecdotal evidence? Yes, there absolutely is.

 

Will Barron:

So I want to get into… Well, let’s not anecdotal as factual evidence has been studied. So I appreciate that. Because I ask some people these kind of questions, Mario, and they go, “I don’t know.” And then I have to do a tonne of research after the show to see if they were talking nonsense or not, and put it in the show notes. So I appreciate that there is evidence on this, what we’re discussing here. And I want to come on to something-

 

Mario:

Thanks for clarifying that word.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Mario:

There’s anecdotal, and there’s factual evidence, excuse me.

 

Will Barron:

And I want to come on to in a second, something that you mentioned in your… Well, I want call it a rant, because it was a rant and it’ll be caught up into multiple smaller bits of content for everyone else who didn’t tune into this episode, later on. But in your random, Mario, you mentioned something about becoming professionally attractive towards potential buyers. And we’ll touch on that in a second. But just one layer deeper on this, because this is really important when people are staunch, cold call is all I only use automation to do cold emails or… And now there’s a tonne of people just doing only video over email, which is incredibly powerful. But again, I agree it needs to go into some cadence to really maximise the effectiveness of it.

 

How to Overcome the Two Most Common Cold Outreach Challenges · [15:30]

 

Will Barron:

Is the issue with all of this? Is the issue getting through to people, essentially reaching people? Is it getting people to respond as in perhaps they’ll getting out of 52 emails, but they’re not responding to them? Is the issue underlying issue here, reaching individuals or just getting some response from them?

 

Mario:

Well, I think it’s both actually. Because as a CEO of Vengreso, I get hordes of emails from people trying to sell to me. And 99% of the time, I don’t respond. But I do save every email and I throw it into an emails that suck folder, and emails that don’t suck folder. And I gauge it based on how I as a buyer might think about that particular individual’s response. But I think I mentioned this earlier, it’s called our PVC method. Personalise, bring value, drive a call to action. And I think the number one problem that we have in a sales outreach, now this both applies to, if you’re a BDR, a hunter, or even a farmer, or a national account manager, where you’ve only got one or two or three accounts.

 

Mario:

Our job is to land and expand, and in the national accounts it is to build relationships with the seven buyers that we would have within an account. And then if you’re a pure hunter in your transactional or you’re in small business or mid-market, whatever the case might be, same exact scenario. And the problem is, is that we’ve leveraged automation to the point that we’ve taken out the personalization.

 

Mario:

And that is a serious problem, and we need to be thinking about that if you’re in sales, you need to march to your sales enablement, or operations, or marketing office, whoever’s controller of the content and the cadence programmes, and you need to say, “Stop, we need technology that is going to help me map my messaging directly to what’s important to that individual buyer.” And as an example, we need to utilise technology that basically brings in content based upon identifying what someone’s pain problem is, as associated with your individual problem. And if they have that pain, guess what, they’re going to engage.

 

“There are two problems that every CRO or CMO has. Number one, starting more conversations with, problem number two, more qualified buyers.” – Mario · [18:21] 

 

Mario:

And I think that’s really key element is, when you think about personalising, you can personalise to the individual, or you can personalise to the buyer persona. And those are the two methodologies that we teach. Personalise to the individual, of course, generally gets better response rates, because it’s very targeted. It’s one on one, I understand what your likes, your dislikes are, I understand what you’ve engaged on, I understand what the content you put out there. But if you’re building automation programme, you’ve got to, at a minimum, personalise to the buyer persona. And speak to generally… Here’s an example, generally, when I make outreach to VPs of sales, CROs, or CMOs, I’ll say generally, there are two problems that every CRO or CMO or you fill in the blank has.

 

Mario:

Number one, starting more conversations with more qualified buyers. I’m sorry, number one, excuse me, starting more conversations with problem number two, with more qualified buyers. So those are the two problems that I generally have. And that usually speaks to the buyer persona. Any VP of sales is going to say, “, I have that problem.” Yes. Now what now comes the value that you bring inside that outreach, whether it’s a cold call, whether it’s an email, whether it’s a social outreach from LinkedIn as an example, now comes the value of what content are you bringing to the table that solves that specific problem? Does that answer your question?

 

Mario’s Cold Email Response Rates at Vengreso and His Social Media Reach · [19:05] 

 

Will Barron:

That does answer my question. And if you’d be open to it, I don’t know if this number, but for context for a pro who’s crushing it and before we click record, you were just explaining the growth of Vengreso, how things are clearly going well over there. What response rates are you getting on an outreach email like that?

 

Mario:

Great question. So first, I would say, we have done something really amazing here at Vengreso. And that is, last year alone our social media reach which we measure and monitor it like a hawk, was 98 million sales and marketers. 98 million people that was our social media reach. Now compare that to the world’s largest sales, performance improvement and training company. The world’s largest, 40 plus years in business, their reach was less than four million people. So, what we do is we create a lot of visibility, leveraging the social channels by publishing content that brings value, which creates a lot of inbound traffic for us. So generally speaking, I don’t have to extend outreach to individuals because of the amount of information that we’re putting out there with our potential buyers. And sellers can do the exact same thing by leveraging their marketing content.

 

Mario:

However, to give you some perspective on a study that we did, which was a few years ago… Not a few years ago, less than a couple of years ago, we did outreach of 1,176 sales leaders to request to connect to those individuals. And we had a 76% acceptance rate by utilising the PVC methodology for extending outreach to an individual. Now, the question you may ask is, is what the heck does a connection do? The connection leads to obviously conversations. And so, from a Vengreso perspective, our next goal is to establish a welcome message. And if you look at all of our messages in terms of visibility and welcome messages, on average, we have about a 50% response rate is what we get from a Vengreso outreach perspective. That’s after we’ve warmed it up.

 

Mario:

And that’s super important you understand, we generally warm up all of our outreach, whether it’s through social, whether it’s through email, whether it’s through any of the methodologies or cadence programme that I told you earlier, video as well.

 

How to Measure if Your Cold Outreach is Bearing Fruits · [21:28] 

 

Will Barron:

So, for someone who’s listening to this and going, holy heck, if I could reach out to 1,000 people, have 500 people in conversations with me, kind of rough numbers, they would smash their quota for the next 15 years. I know I would in medical device sales if I had 500. Well, I don’t know if there is 500 urologists in the UK, so that obviously skews the numbers depending on the market that you’re going after. But is that a number that we should be aiming for? Is that attainable for a member of sales nations who are listening to the show or is there another number that we should be aiming towards? How do we know if we’re doing a good job of all of this?

 

“Even though someone says no now, it doesn’t mean no forever.” – Mario · [22:41]

 

Mario:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So, a couple of things. Number one, that 50% response rate includes people who say, “Thanks, but no thanks, I appreciate. I’ve actually watched your content, I’m not interested.” And that’s okay. Because the key here is, is you want to bring them back into your digital network, so that you can maintain and build that relationship over the course of time. Will, every single week, I get somebody who reaches out to me and says, “I’ve been following you for the last…” Whatever the number is 10 months, 20… My longest 127 months, 27 months, “I’ve been following you for the last 27 months and I’m now ready to have a conversation to see how you can help me.” So even though someone says no now, it doesn’t mean no forever.

 

Mario:

So you want to bring that person into your digital network, and still publish content that maps to the buyers journey, awareness, consideration, and purchasing pays. And they will, as a byproduct, receive that content as part of their drip inside of their social networks. That’s number one. Number two, in terms of how do you know? Look, at the end of the day, our objective at Vengreso, every time we go into train our sellers, it is one objective, one objective only. And this is how you’re going to measure it, right here, you’re ready for it?

 

Will Barron:

Go.

 

Mario:

Did I create more conversations? Period, end of discussion. And if I created more conversations, then I’m probably doing the right things. And that’s extremely important. And that’s our objective, is to help all sellers create more conversations with more qualified buyers. And same thing with sales leaders as well. So that is a benchmark. However, if you feel like you’re the type of person that needs to be able to determine whether or not you have a metric, if you want a metric that is mapping to that, only on social is this available, and there is such a thing called the LinkedIn SSI score if you type in yourssiscore.com. That’s yourssiscore.com, you’ll be able to go to your LinkedIn SSI.

 

Mario:

And that’s a quantitative measurement of how LinkedIn perceives that you’re doing just on social. It does not measure video, it does not measure email response rate, of course. And if you really want to drill down into email, then you’re going to use tools, like I mentioned earlier, tools and technologies, there’s many of them that are out there that will allow you to be able to track your responses and open rates, and click through rates. You generally want to drive that click through rate. The click through rate… I’m sorry, the open rate is extremely important, which drives the click through rate. And as a seller, you got to watch that data, you have to be a [inaudible 00:24:38] about whether or not your messaging is on point or the cadence programme for messaging is on point as well.

 

Will Barron:

So, to note some of the conversations so far, because there’s a few more things to go out here. But to sum up the data side of things, because I’m a huge data nerd, and I find that I do far better when I don’t look at all the data, and I just have one metric to look at. For the past couple of years, it’s just been monthly downloads of the podcast, and unfortunately, it’s been very difficult to do anything other than to just have a very straight line of growth, no matter what I’ve done and experimented with. With the new version of the sales score, which is coming out, which has all kinds of software and other stuff built into it. It’s going to be members of the sales score, that’ll be the next metric, because that’ll drive the revenue for everything else.

 

Mario’s Thoughts on the Benefits of Tracking the Number of Sales Conversations Created · [25:34] 

 

Will Barron:

So for… I’m going to be selling to CSOs and sales management to sales leadership as well. So I’m putting myself in the same bucket as perhaps yourself or anyone else who’s selling to that kind of audience right now who’s listening to the show. If you could only have one metric that maybe there is software to monitor this, maybe there isn’t. We can live in a dream fantasy world for a second. But if we can only have one metric, one thing that we need to hit 10 of a day or 20% of them need to be a yes. What other than winning the business? What would that one metric be?

 

Mario:

The number of conversations that you created. So I use tools like Calendly or TimeTrade, and I track how many meetings are being booked and making sure that that trend is going like this. It’s an uptrend, just like you’re doing. And that’s it. At the end of the day whatever you’re doing is that trend going up in terms of the number of meetings or at least maintaining its rate of growth at the same rate in order for you to be able to hit your quota? And that’s the end all be all for me.

 

Will Barron:

I knew you were going to say something on this line of conversations, but I didn’t know how that’d be quantified. Just number of meetings in the diary is super simple. I’ve never put two and two together. But that is perhaps something that we should be incentivized on. I don’t know. That’s a conversation-

 

Mario:

That’s exactly right.

 

Will Barron:

Is it?

 

“When I hear a sales leader say that, “we’re monitoring the number of calls that you made, or the number of emails that you sent.” It’s like, “Are you kidding me? Those aren’t the things that we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the number of conversations or meetings that we had.” Because the number of meetings and conversations equals the number of opportunities that we create, and the percentage of your win rate is the number of opportunities that you’ll close.” – Mario · [26:46] 

 

Mario:

That’s one of the things that just burns me when I hear a sales leader that we’re monitoring the number of calls that you made, or the number of emails that you sent. It’s like, “Are you kidding me? Those aren’t the things that we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the number of conversations or meetings that as you said, the number of meetings or conversations that we had.” Because that’s the direct correlation between the number of meetings and conversations equals the number of opportunities that we create, equals the big times, the percentage of your win rate is the number of opportunities that you’ll close.

 

Will Barron:

Got it. Okay, so one final thing to tap on here, which could be four episodes in its own right, I’m sure. But the people listening now to the show, Mario, will be going, “Well, but it’s fine for you because you’ve built this decent sized audience.” Viveka came on the show a while back and tore my LinkedIn profile apart, made me look like a complete fool in front of the audience. And I’ve rebuilt it from [inaudible 00:27:39] and then she said, “You probably need update it still,” but my LinkedIn profile is somewhat healthy, I draw many 1000, people follow me and there’s content on there from our best episodes and all this stuff. And it documents the growth of the podcast and there’s a lot of social proof there. Tell me yourself from starting Vengreso to where you are now clearly you’re?

 

How to Professionally Attract Individuals Using Your LinkedIn Profile and Having an Online Presence · [28:11] 

 

Will Barron:

Now, clearly you’re leading the organisation, there’s a tonne of social proof, there’s a tonne of content, and there’s a tonne of things on there that make people go, “Okay, Mario is the person I want to speak to on this topic. He has authority there.” How do we become to use, the sentence that you used earlier, Mario, how do we professionally attract individuals? I guess with our LinkedIn profile, and then off LinkedIn and just the worldwide web as well?

 

Mario:

So, I love the way you teed it up, I do want to just specify that if you compare Vengreso, which is a 30 person organisation, in comparison to the world’s largest sales, performance improvement and training company, if you compare those two companies, there are 800 employees here and there are 30 employees here. How can a 30 person company have 98 million person reach and 800 person company only have a 4 million person reach? The disparities are so great-

 

Will Barron:

Well, let me just emphasise this point for a second, because this will relate to the audience hopefully on a deeper level as well, and I appreciate what you’re saying. I am a dude in a second bedroom of a flat in Leeds who will get 700, plus 1,000 downloads a month. We just had a million views on YouTube. And I’m just recording this over Skype review on a camera, just for further context of no… We’ve got a bunch of freelancers, it wasn’t a great team, but there’s no salaried employees in our team at that level.

 

Mario:

Exactly right. So if you compare that, now, so what you’ve accomplished, by the way, I’ve got the selling with social podcast, and you crush my podcast in terms of downloads and all that great stuff. So if you think about this, though, if you think about this, what you’ve just described for salesmen podcast, and what I’ve just described for Vengreso, we’re the small fish in this very large pond. But the data proves that we’re king of the hill, in terms of at the top. And so the point, and I think we’re on the same wavelength here in terms of why you said that. The point here is, even if you’re a seller within a company, it doesn’t matter what the company is doing. Focus on you being the CEO, and you can do the things that we’re talking about right here right now.

 

“I have a saying and it says, think like a marketer, but act like a salesperson. And I truly believe that marketers market one to many, salespeople market one to one. And sellers need to start becoming marketers. We need to start thinking like marketers. Marketers are data driven individuals, totally data centric. And that’s what sellers need to be thinking about as well, is, what does the data show me in terms of how I’m engaging, prospecting, creating more conversations, and expanding within an account?” – Mario · [30:17] 

 

Mario:

I have a saying and it says, it is, think like a marketer, but act like a salesperson. And I truly believe it’s all my keynotes, everyone I give, marketers market one to many, salespeople market one to one. And sellers need to start becoming marketers. We need to start thinking like a marketer. Marketers are data driven individuals, totally data centric. And that’s what sellers need to be thinking about as well, is, what is the data, show me in terms of how I’m engaging, prospecting, creating more conversations expanding and within an account? And don’t say, “Marketing is not give me this, marketing is not giving me that.”

 

Mario:

Are you kidding me? All you have to do at a base minimum, is take a piece of content that marketing produces, and you create a one minute, just a one minute video about that content highlighting the key points, and develop the skill of speech, which is what we do every day as salespeople, and publish that on a per podcast or on a per week basis, and push that out into your network so that you can begin to build an audience or thought leadership around whatever the particular topic is, the domain expertise that you’re selling, a specific problem for your business buyers. And I don’t have much sympathy when people think otherwise that, well, you’ve got this big giant… Three years ago, I was a nothing. If you think about that, I was just a good old VP of sales. That’s all I was.

 

Mario:

Now, I leveraged an opportunity, which is speaking in front of LinkedIn and your users conference in front of thousands of their customers. But that’s what we need to be thinking about is, how to think like a marketer, but act like a salesperson. And I think if you think about your experience on the Salesman Podcast, and the Vengreso experience, and compare that to everybody else, it can be done. You just have to do it.

 

Will Barron:

And a final thing for me just to frame this up, because I’ve touched on this in the past, but the last organisation that I worked for, social selling wasn’t really a thing, there was no books on it, there wasn’t really any content on it. And it’s one of the reasons why I started the show to fill a gap in the market for sales professionals because there were no real good content for sales professionals. But before I saw that gap in the market, I wanted to create content for the surgeons that I was selling to, and the organisation that worked for, however to describe it, the super forward thinking in the medical equipments and it’s the top endoscopy company in the world, and that they basically invented a whole one side of endoscopy there. It’s an incredible family owned, multi billion dollar company.

 

Will Barron:

Well, they weren’t ready to allow me to talk to surgeons on Twitter when surgeons were tweeting my personal out well, Barron, or whatever the link is. They were tweeting me asking me, “Were you at this conference? Are you doing this?” And they just wanted to communicate over Twitter rather than corporate email for whatever reason, and they followed me on there, occasionally I’d share interesting content about the industry market. Because I enjoyed the nerd side of it. There was essentially big computer systems, we have incredible cameras, lenses and all this, and I was super into learning all about that. And it wouldn’t be all the surgeons that’d be interested in it. Some of them want to just go into work, reliable equipment and then leave, but some were really interested in the equipment they were using every day and how that could help their patients in all side of things.

 

Will Barron:

So I ended up leaving that organisation, go into another one and helping them with their marketing leveraging again an opportunity that popped up on that front. All because this organisation, I got everyone around, I got all the marketing team around a table, we discussed it. We discussed having… Even did branded LinkedIn profiles. And this was again before LinkedIn is what it is today and what it’s obviously slowly transforming into. It was still a bit more of a CV at that point or… Yeah, like a CV, one page kind of thing. And no one really listened. So I was like, “Sorry I’m going off doing this other thing and maybe I’ll come back to this in the future.”

 

Will Barron:

But the point to that story was that, I went off and did it even though I asked for permission and it didn’t work. So I won’t put words in your mouth here, Mario, but my advice in all of this is to give it a go, see if it works. If it increases your numbers, ask permission after the fact. Go for it and experiment. Try it because I know now the leverage I’ve got through the podcast, I don’t call myself an influencer but I’m regularly quoted as one and then regularly you’re asked to do roundup articles and all this nonsense that I never really engage in. But somehow, in the past three and a half years, similar timeframe to yourself, Mario, all this is coming together. So with all that said, and that rant over that we should all be doing this, regardless of whether the organisation that we work for wants us to.

 

The Estimated Time Frame Before Your Social Selling Cadence can Bear Fruits · [35:01]

 

Will Barron:

What is the timeframe for this to actually happen for most people? Bearing in mind that perhaps I’m rich or I get $700,000 a month, if you’re selling to urologists in Yorkshire, which is my territory, I only needed to reach 34 people once a week, and that would smash my target. If I could get them listening to me, rabbiting on about urology for an hour a week, and then invited me in to discuss it with their teams and their registrar’s, that’d be it. My business would be done, I’ll be over, the company will be trying to buy the podcast because they’d see the value in it. And I’d be an integral member to that organisation I used to work for if that would have happened.

 

Mario:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

So for that context of perhaps we need to reach 50 people, we need to reach 100 people, whatever it is, how long does it take? I’m rabbiting on it here. How long does it take to have any traction with this? If we have to commit to it, is it a six month commitment? Or is it a full year commitment to see the upside of all this work that we’re going to do?

 

Mario:

It could be as instant as today.

 

Will Barron:

That’s a long winded question to get an answer like that, right?

 

Mario:

Honestly, it can be as instant as today. But one of things keep in mind is, especially if you’re building a cadence programme out like where I talked about earlier, is that the things that I mentioned, engaging through text, through email, through social, through video, those are all things that we teach, in terms of digital selling skills. And so, these are all things that could be a long tail, or it could be a short tail in terms of making [crosstalk 00:36:34].

 

Will Barron:

What does that mean? So marketers listening will know exactly what that means, but perhaps sales professionals won’t.

 

Mario:

Yeah, so it might take time, especially if you focus and you say, “Hey, look, I’m just going to master the art of social engagement with my buyers.” Okay, no problem. It could be instant, meaning that you reach out to connect with somebody with a personalised value based message on a connection request, and you instantly get a connection that gives you that nice little feeling inside your gut, and you’re like, oh, wow, I got a connection. Now, the next question is, is what would you say to them once you’ve connected, and it could be instant, meaning that they have a specific need, and you get a meeting. Great, hallelujah, fine, you feel great about it. However, if you practise the methodology, the cadence programme that I mentioned earlier, which is follow then engage, like, comment, share, make a cold call, do an email, then send a video. Well, that’s a cadence program built over a two, three week period.

 

“Your real metric of success for modernising the sales conversation is how many more conversations did you create? And that’s really the real metric of success. So, if you’re creating connections, and you’re not converting them to conversations, well, then you have a problem not with connecting, you have a problem with converting.” – Mario · [38:08] 

 

Mario:

So it might not work on the first one, but it might work on the 20th one. So there’s the long tail side of things where sometimes when you’re doing social engagement, it could take longer, but the key is, is that you have to do it, and you have to figure it out, the science. Where do you put your energy at? Do I put my energy to becoming a social selling expert, selling with video expert, selling with email expert, a cold calling expert? The answer is yes. Yes to all. You have to learn how to do these types of things in order to be able to engage with your buyers. And don’t expect that you’re going to close a deal out of this, your real metric of success for modernising the sales conversation is how many more conversations did you create?

 

Mario:

And that’s really the real metric of success. So, if you’re creating connections, and you’re not converting them to conversations, well, then you have a problem not with connecting, you have a problem with converting. So figure out what that issue is, and address that with maybe my welcome message that I send somebody or my first initial outreach messages to direct. Maybe it’s not direct enough, maybe it doesn’t speak to the business problem. But if you’re having a problem with getting conversation or getting a connection started, well then obviously you can’t get to fixing the conversation piece or converting the conversation until you get to, how do I get inside these people’s offices? And that’s going to require you to be able to build out a cadence that has every component of the omni-channel prospecting experience, and that you’re doing all of them and then figuring out which one was the trigger event that actually created a response back?

 

“Understand what are the top trends that marketers are using today to market the products and services. The reason why you care about that, and why it’s so important is because marketers know what is working. At least they have a top five initiatives. And they’re going after those top five initiatives to be able to try to drum up or create more conversations, because they market one to many.” – Mario · [39:32] 

 

Mario:

So, it could be immediate, it could be long term. [inaudible 00:39:04] it is, nobody learned cold calling overnight. Nobody learned the art of selling overnight, nobody learned the art of negotiation overnight, nobody learned the art of relationship building and building trust, the art of closing, none of those things. I still I’m learning things today. It’s a strategy. There’s an art and a science. So invest your time into it. Truly think like a marketer, but act like a salesperson and understand is very important. Understand what are the top trends that marketers are using today to market the products and services? Why do you care about that? The reason why you care about that, and why it’s so important, is because marketers know what is working. At least they have a top five initiatives. And they’re going after those top five initiatives to be able to try to drum up or create more conversations, because they market one too many.

 

Mario:

So here’s the thing, If marketing knows for the last two years, that video is one of the top five initiatives to be able to engage with their buyers, Why are we as sellers trying to reinvent the wheel of making a freaking cold call? Use video, and by the way, there’s a tonne of free tools that are out there that you can go download. So, use video. Marketers know that it works, and they’ve been using it for the last two years and that’s how they’re making their numbers. Well then, we as salespeople need to be thinking the exact same thing. So that’s why I say think like a marketer act like a salesperson.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. And I will mention them. I guess this is a sponsored plug. But the Starbucks by Wistia have sponsored the podcast for the next 12 months. It’s journey… I wouldn’t have done the deal with them otherwise, but is the best I believe. You tell me why isn’t open to discuss it. But I believe is the best platform for doing quick video emails, whether it’s going through a proposal, and showing the proposal on the screen, and then you go through it, you can switch between showing the screen, your face on the screen, and go back and forth from this or whatever it is a quick outreach message to put a face to the name and build a little bit rapport with that.

 

The Future of Sales is AI · [41:43] 

 

Will Barron:

There’s a Starbucks mug on the table and adjusted all down on the video elements of this, what do you see for me in the podcast? We do the audio side of things, yeah, that’s been going for three years. Video is what we’re doubling down on is seemingly, LinkedIn algorithm loves it. Clearly, if you get traction on YouTube, YouTube can blow you up in multiple different ways to get you in front of the people that you want to be in front of. I’m video now for the rest of 2019. And on that final thing to wrap up with Mario, is there anything else other than video, I feel like we can wrap our head around that it makes sense. We’re probably consuming a lot more video than we ever have done, especially on mobile devices. Is there anything else other than video and LinkedIn that is perhaps the next trend that we should be learning now to get ahead of the competition?

 

Mario:

Well, this one is probably not directly for sellers. Well, I take that back. So, AI is the next trend for sellers, and I’ve been a big theme about this particular concept. We have AI STR enabled bot, and her name is Jenna. So if you go to vengreso.com and you download anything, guess what, you’re going to be having a conversation with Jenna. And that’s really one of the phases. But that’s more on a corporate side of things, but on the individual sales rep level there are some phenomenal tools that are out there that will create efficiency in your life as a seller, will cost you a little bit of money possibly. But as an example, I love this one, they had a big round of funding last year is a free tool that you can download, which is called Crystal Knows.

 

Mario:

And Crystal actually reads individuals LinkedIn profiles also searches on database to be able to pull up your email and look at your personality. And Crystal will tell you exactly how to speak to Will Barron if you’re trying to sell to him. What he likes, what he doesn’t like, what words you should say and [inaudible 00:43:01], when I looked her up, and I looked myself up, she nailed me, man.

 

Mario:

So as sellers, it’s a great tool. There’s the free version, and then there’s the paid for version. But that is really… It’s going to provide analytics right back into our hands. And it’s going to allow us to be able to make better decisions on how to engage. What should we say? What are the things that are going to tickle your fancy, if you would, that will create that thought provoking engagement? What are the right words? Do they like to be verbose? Do they not like to be verbose? So AI is really the next wave and there are direct seller tools out there, like the one I just mentioned. And then there’s also AI technologies that the corporation can utilise, which is what we’ve implemented as well.

 

“Data is only as good as how you’re going to use it. And so, if you’re not using the data, well, shame on you. But if you’re using the data, and it’s not helping you to improve, well, then shame on you again.” – Mario · [43:55] 

 

Mario:

So I think that’s really the next wave. The key as with anything, Will, is the data is only as good as how you’re going to use it. And so, if you’re using data to… I’m sorry, if you’re not using the data, well, then shame on you. But if you’re using the data, and it’s not helping you to improve, well, then Shame on you again. So that’s really what you want to be thinking about is, how do I become, again, a marketer, they think with data, that’s what they think like. Just like you, on your podcast, just like us and our reach, I think with data.

 

“59% of executives reported they watch one video at least weekly. And 54% of those 59% reported that they share that video with at least one person within their organisation. So, video is hot and we’ve got to be able to keep up with the trends.” Mario · [44:00]

 

Mario:

So you’ve got to think with that data, and become very data centric, and especially if you’re 40 and older, we all grew up selling in a very different way. And most of our VPs of sales and CSOs and CROs, they’re all in that 40 and older category. We did not grow up leveraging an omni-channel approach to engaging with our buyers. We did not grow up on video. That’s our children, that they grew up with video, but you got to do it, and you got to learn how to develop that skill, so that you can communicate effectively with your target buyer. Because guess what, here’s the last step for you. 59% of executives reported they watch one video at least weekly. And 54% of those 59% reported that they share that video with at least one person within their sales or within their… Not sales within their organisation. So, video is hot and we’ve got to be able to keep up with the trends.

 

Mario’s Advise to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [45:28]

 

Will Barron:

Love it, love it. Well, Mario we’ll wrap up there maybe because I’ve got another 15 questions I could ask you and we’ll do it another time on another episode. With that mate, I’ve got one final question I ask everyone that comes on the show, and that is if you could go back in time, and speak to your younger self, what would be one piece of advice you’d give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Mario:

Well, I would probably say it actually would be better at relationship building. And that would be, “Hey, slow your roll. You don’t have to steamroll everyone.” That’s my advice. If I can go back in time as a seller, my customers loved, loved me, but people internally, they had a hard time with me, because I would just steamroll if you didn’t do what the customer wanted. The reality is, is I think that’s probably the best advice I would give is that, you’ve got a lot of great ideas, and you’ve got to figure out a way to work people to the agenda, not steamroll them. So that’s probably my best advice.

 

Will Barron:

I love it. No one’s ever said that before. And that is good advice for me. When I talk about… I was trying to speak to surgeons over Twitter and I got a group together, the marketers know the people, and senior salespeople to discuss all of this. My issue it wasn’t the fact that what I was saying was incorrect, it was that I was terrible at dealing with people internally and half of the company felt that I was a bit of an asshole, because I would always say my number, but I’ll never do reporting on time. I never do my expenses on time. And it’s important for… This is a lesson I’ve learned now having worked with and having a team around me, you’ve got your internal stakeholders, you can make your life better or worse or miserable, as well as the customers and the external stakeholders. This is something that didn’t occur to me at the time, but is probably equally as important, right?

 

Mario:

Yep, exactly right. You got it.

 

Parting Thoughts · [47:07]

 

Will Barron:

Good. Well, with that and hopefully a little bit of life advice for the audience from that. Mario tell us where we can find out more about Vengreso then more about you as well, sir.

 

Mario:

Yeah. Vengreso.com, V as in Victor, E-N-G-R-E-S-O, one S, vengreso.com. And you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m extremely active on LinkedIn, Mario Martinez, Jr. Please make sure when you reach out, either follow or if you’re going to attempt to connect, make sure you say that you heard me with Will Barron on the Salesman Podcast, so that I know exactly where you’re coming from. And then on twitter @M_3jr Jr. That’s my Twitter handle. And I’m extremely active there. And Will, it’s very much a pleasure to be with you, buddy. And I so much appreciate the privilege of being on your podcast. Thank you so much.

 

Will Barron:

I appreciate some kind words, and just for the audience to wrap up, I will link to everything that we talked about in the show notes of this episode over at salesman.org. With that, Mario, again thank you for your insights. I appreciate the fact that you can come at this with facts and figures as opposed to anecdotes that’s really important for me and the audience, and I want to thank you again for joining us on the show.

 

Mario:

Yeah, man. You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me.

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