fbpx

How To EXPLODE Your B2B Sales In The Next 90 Days

Patrick Thorp is a seasoned business development and leadership professional boasting over 10 years of B2B sales experience.

In today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast, Patrick explains how you can blow up your sales results by hitting the reset button and planning out the next 90 days.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:
Win More Deals Or Your Money Back.
Selling Made Simple Academy: The proven way to improve sales results. Trusted by 2,000+ students.

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Patrick Thorp
Business Development and Leadership Specialist

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

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

 

Patrick Thorp:

I would say, firstly, in your first week, first two weeks of being an AE, it’s understanding what are we selling? Who are we selling to? What is the problem that we are fixing? Why can we fix it better or more efficiently than our competitors? Why do people buy from us?

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation. My name is Will Barron and I’m the host of The Salesman Podcast. The world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, we have Patrick Thorp. He’s a legend. I really enjoy chatting with him. He is the head of delivery over at Sales For Startups, which you can find over at salesforstartups.co.uk. And on this episode, we’re getting into how you can have the biggest amount of impact both internally, externally, on your bank balance as well over the next 90 days, whether you’re starting a brand new sales job or if you’re hitting the big reset button and you want the next 90 days of your current sales job to be phenomenal. Everything that we talk about in this episode is available in the show notes over at salesman.org. And with that said, let’s jump right into it.

 

What Does “Making an Impact” Actually Mean in the Real World? · [01:29] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’re going to talk about the impact that salespeople can have particularly within perhaps the first 90 days of joining a new company. And we can probably progress as further and wide the audience of this of if we want to hit a big restart button, what can we do in the next 90 days to have an impact on the marketplace, on our coworkers, on everyone else that’s involved, but let’s get things started today, Patrick. What does making an impact actually mean in the real world, in your opinion?

 

“If you are a new salesperson in a new job or you just landed your new dream role as an account exec or something like that. You are going to be faced with so many different challenges in terms of what do I do in my first week, my first two weeks, my first month and things like that. And often a good way of thinking about this is within the first 90 days, what can I actually do? And to be honest, the thing that is going to get you recognised are the deals that are already in your CRM. Can you help pull those across the line?” – Patrick Thorp · [01:37] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

Yeah. In my view, if you are a new salesperson in a new job or you just landed your new dream role as an account exec or something like that. You are going to be faced with so many different challenges in terms of what do I do in my first week, my first two weeks, my first month and things like that. And often a good way of thinking about this is within the first 90 days, what can I actually do? And to be honest, the thing that is going to get you recognised are the deals that are already in your CRM. Can you help pull those across the line? Or what net new conversations can you introduce into the pipeline? Or can you help facilitate maybe some more senior people who are a little bit more wary or understand your product that they can help pull over the line as well?

 

Patrick Thorp:

But the actual source of business development has been something that you have been able to affect. So my advice would be certainly within the first 90 days to look at where you can start generating demand for your product. And there’s some techniques that you can utilise to do that and there’s some different ways which we come on to. But to sort of answer your question directly, what does it mean to make an impact? It means that you can start to bring in net new conversations or move deals along the pipeline and you can say that is only moved or that’s come into the pipeline because of me directly.

 

How to Get Noticed as a Hard Worker by Your Colleagues and the Office Management Within the First 90 Days of a New Sales Role · [03:32] 

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll split the conversation into two halves here, Patrick, of new conversations that were generated and how we can document that and show it to people, so they know that we’re having success and then pulling deals over the line. But just something I hear, because I’ve felt short on this before. I’ve performed well, but people haven’t talked about moving their accounts. I perhaps haven’t blown my own trumpet maybe as enough as what I should’ve done. Or I didn’t do it at all and I expected all of this praise to come down on me. And then you get a pat on the back once a year when you hit your target. So within that first 90 days, is there anything on top of the… What we’re going to talk about in this show of new conversations and getting business brought in. Is there anything that we should be doing to make sure that the hard work that we actually do and the hours that we put in actually get noticed by the management and the people around us?

 

“In the first 90 days, if you can become proficient at using the internal sales process and outlining that you have followed the steps that have been outlined probably by your superiors and using different methodologies that the company may have introduced as the preferred methodology, then that’s the way that you can start to outline your adherence to the process.” – Patrick Thorp · [04:01] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

Often with a slightly bigger company, there’s going to be some semblance of a sales process. And in the first 90 days, if you can become proficient at using the internal sales process and outlining that you have followed the steps that have been outlined probably by your superiors, given your VP or your SVP have probably created this sales process and using different methodologies that the company may have introduced as the preferred methodology. Then that’s the way that you can start to outline your adherence to the process. So for example, I mean, you’ve given… I don’t know how many episodes of this podcast I’ve listened to over the years, but it’s often talked about different methodologies and you might talk about SPIN selling, SNAP, challenger, BANT, MEDDIC, things like that, right?

 

Patrick Thorp:

If the company, for example, utilises the MEDDIC methodology, then you want to be able to see in these net new conversations, I can outline to you what the metrics are of this particular company, the map of the economic buyer, the decision process, the decision criteria. You understand what I’m saying. So it means that you are not only bringing in those types of companies that fit your buying criteria and your buyer persona, but also they’re ones that you have followed the process to ensure that they are the right fit for the company and you can outline the conviction, why they are important for your company and why it is a good deal, why you’re going to win, what are chances of winning. All those kind of things.

 

Setting the Right Sales Expectations at the Beginning of the First 90 Days · [05:26] 

 

Will Barron:

Got it. Got it. Should we come to the table within our first 90 days, again, whether it’s a new job or if we’ve clicked reset during the middle of a pandemic, is not a bad time to do that. Should we come to the table at the beginning of this 90 day period with here’s what I want to achieve and do you agree that if it’s achieved, is a good result? Is that a conversation we should be having?

 

Patrick Thorp:

With your manager, you mean?

 

Will Barron:

Uh-huh (affirmative). Yep.

 

Patrick Thorp:

Or with ourselves?

 

Will Barron:

Well, let’s take it for granted that we want to achieve and want to have success because we want that big fact commission check at the end of the quarter. But what I’m trying to get at is, Patrick, before we get into the technicals and the, again, practical of all of this. How do we know if what we’re planning is the right plan?

 

Patrick Thorp:

Yeah. No. It’s a good point. I think the best way of understanding this is understanding what are the company goals? So in terms of revenue, where does the company want to get to? And what difference is that going to make to the company? Where is it now? Where does it want to get to? What’s the Delta? How can [inaudible [00:06:30] work backwards from there? And of what you’re selling, whether it be a consultative sell or a product sale or a solution sale, how many deals is that going to require for me to get there? And therefore my quota, how many deals am I going to need in order to hit my quota? And then working backwards from understanding, okay, if I need to hit four deals or six deals or something in the quota, how many demos am I going to need do? How many discovery calls am I going to need to do? And based on other activities from other salespeople who are doing particularly well, what are they doing?

 

Patrick Thorp:

So what we’re trying to do here is reverse engineer it backwards, from this is where the goal, this is where we want to get to, and my plan, how does that link to those two? So it’s kind of like this idea, and I’m going way back in time here. I mean, thankfully it’s before I was born. But when Andy Grove brought in the OKR structure at Intel, so I’m going to say sort of mid ’70s, maybe something like that. But the idea being is you’ve got the objective at the top. And the way that you determine whether this objective has been achieved is by the key results. And the key results of the people above you become your objectives and it sort of cascades down.

 

“Using reverse engineering, you’re thinking if that’s the goal, how do I work backward? How does my next 90 day, 12 week, three-month plan look? If you reverse engineer it, no manager or no person looking at this plan is going to have anything other than saying, “Yeah. That seems like a good plan because I can see how it’s inextricably linked with what we’re trying to do as a company.” – Patrick Thorpe · [07:54] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

So being able to take that particular, very simple principle, but then using reverse engineering and you’re thinking if that’s the goal, how do I work backwards? How does my next 90 day, 12 week, three month plan look? If you reverse engineer it, no manager or no person looking at this plan is going to have anything other than saying, “Yeah. That seems like a good plan because I can see how it’s inextricably linked with what we’re trying to do as a company.”

 

The Things you Should Pay Most Attention To in a New Sales Job · [08:22] 

 

Will Barron:

Yep. That makes all sense. Total agreement. I really appreciate that, Patrick. Okay. So we’ve now got our goals in place and they are undeniable because if a manager turned around and say, “Well, you didn’t do enough of this, this and this, but you achieve the goals.” You just say, “Well, I was only working to what the company was working towards.” So we’ve got that. We’re in the right playing field to use a sports analogy where we’re on the pitch right now. If we split this into then new conversations and then perhaps going after the low hanging fruit, the deals already have momentum. Let’s focus on the momentum deals first. How do we uncover what deals are the lowest hanging fruit, what we should be spending our time on versus, obviously, of a new sales job, especially if it’s a new company, a new product, new industry, you could spend a lot of time running around like a headless chicken than actually getting stuff done. So how do we prioritise who we should be spending time with?

 

“In your first week, the first two weeks of being an AE, it’s understanding what are we selling? Who are we selling to? What is the problem that we are fixing? Why can we fix it better or more efficiently than our competitors? Why do people buy from us? I think those kinds of questions to ask your manager or your other team members. They need to be asked and you need to have succinct answers for them because if you don’t, it actually starts to unravel something a little bit more worrying, which is one of your colleagues don’t actually know what they’re selling either.” – Patrick Thorp · [09:19] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

So I think it all depends on the buyer persona of the company. Or the buyer personas of the company because obviously there’ll be different amounts. So I think well within, I would say, firstly in your first week, the first two weeks of being an AE, it’s understanding what are we selling? Who are we selling to? What is the problem that we are fixing? Why can we fix it better or more efficiently than our competitors? Why do people buy from us? I think those kind of questions to ask your manager or your other team members, they need to be asked and you need to have succinct answers for them. Because if you don’t, it actually starts to unravel something a little bit more worrying, which is one of your colleagues don’t actually know what they’re selling either. But if you are the person that can say, “Well, this is what all these deals in the last month bought from us,” then we can start to understand, okay, those deals that might be at demo stage, for example, the priority would be okay, what can we do with that?

 

Patrick Thorp:

They’re a little bit further down the pipe. What can we do? Do we understand who’s going to sign us off? Do we understand who the champion is? Have we actually asked the question, which is as an aside for any account exec who’s in the enterprise space, you have to ask this question to your potential champion. Conceptually, are you happy to recommend us as a vendor? That specific question needs to be asked of your champion because if they turn around and go, “Yeah, absolutely. Sounds good.” You know you’ve got someone internally. But if you’ve got someone that’s saying, “Oh, I’m not sure.” Then you have to go back to the drawing board. That’s a kind of slight kind of tactical thing as a side.

 

Patrick Thorp:

But to come back to your question, how do we prioritise? I would look at the sales stages and I would look at where those particular businesses are, but then I’d understand which one of these businesses align closely with our buyer persona, what their challenges are, have we outlined them? Are we able to demonstrate what the solutions are for them? And then work backwards. So again, it’s that reverse engineering type methodology. So you might go from demo and then you might go backwards to discovery call, then you might go backwards to SQL then MQL, depending on how your pipeline is set up.

 

Patrick Thorp:

But that would be how I’d do it. I would look at where the close dates were of these part particular businesses. If they’re within the quarter, right, what can I do there? Let me have a look at the call recordings. Let me have a look at the meeting notes. If you’re lucky enough to be a business that records their calls, then that is going to be a 100% effective way of you getting upscaled very, very quickly.

 

Patrick Reveals the Percentage of Organisations That Have Robust CRM Systems That Contain Insights on What New Salespeople Should Go After · [12:05] 

 

Will Barron:

I know you typically deal with more startups here in the UK, Patrick. And I know you don’t know this number off the top of your head. But to give us a general idea, what percentage of organisations out there have everything that you just outlined. Want colleagues that can give you insights on ideal buyer personas, who should buy, who shouldn’t buy and all that kind of stuff. And then two, what percent of organisations have a CRM system robust enough to contain all of this information that’s been updated by sales people who aren’t complete numpties who neglect it 99% of the time.

 

Patrick Thorp:

How many? I would say that under 10% have what I’ve just said in the startup world.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Patrick Thorp:

So being able to map your buyer persona and exactly what you sell, who you sell to, how you sell it, and why you do what you do. I’ve just rattled those four questions off. Very, very simple questions to ask, very difficult questions to answer. And often the work that we do in the startup world is trying to figure out those questions. So really understanding what is the unique value that is brought to the market and how do we communicate that. And that actually is a topic that we’ll come onto in terms of how, as a new account exec, you can start to make an impact. There’s a tactical thing which we can sort of come onto. In terms of robustness of a CRM system, I mean, there’s standard best practises that I think people should employ as businesses, but often smaller businesses don’t know what they are.

 

Patrick Thorp:

And that’s no disrespect to them, it’s just that they’ve never seen it before. And it requires somebody like myself or someone far better to come in and say, “This is how you do it. This is how you set them up with entry and exit criteria and things like this. And this is how it all stitches together from marketing to sales, to customer success, that whole kind of revenue operations piece, which is such a growing area in this country.

 

CRM Cleanliness and Hygiene · [14:01]

 

Will Barron:

Got it. The reason I ask, Patrick, is I didn’t want to leave anyone behind who didn’t have access to all of this because I went from one medical device company, it was very Kaizen, it was a Japanese company, a very Japanese way of doing businesses to track everything and everything is systematised. You’d literally get a phone call from the sales manager, director of sales, if you left a hospital, selling medical devices, and you hadn’t filled in the CRM system in the car park. So I went from that organisation to the biggest competitor, a multi-billion dollar privately owned company that basically invented endoscopic surgery, which is what the products are selling, who had no CRM. They have literally nothing. Everyone was just on a quarterly spreadsheet that you’d share with your sales manager. And don’t get me wrong, I only had, say, 60 customers.

 

Will Barron:

So I knew them all by name. They all knew me by name and I could ring people up and get updates. It wasn’t a more complex widget sale that I was selling to thousands of potential buyers. I had a very specific geographic region. So that’s why perhaps they didn’t push on the CRM system as much as what they could. But when I jumped into that role, I was then working on hearsay of the people that had worked in the role prior to me. And so I just wanted to paint that bit of a picture of anyone who didn’t have access to all of the obvious questions that we should know and should be given to us when we jump into a new sales role.

 

“CRM cleanliness and hygiene is something that you, as an account exec, are in 100% control of.” – Patrick Thorp · [15:30] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

But do you know what’s interesting is CRM cleanliness and hygiene is something that you, as an account exec are in 100% control of. And one of my points that I’ll often make to new sales people, a lot of whom I’ve hired and coached and onboarded and ramped up is by saying, worry about the things that you can control. To use a topical example, you cannot control the R number, right? For the big C right now. But what you can control are the activities that you do on a daily basis. Maybe the amount of emails or maybe the amount of phone calls, the amount of videos that you send out as part your prospect initiatives. 

 

“Make a name for yourself that you’re the person who’s not that rather old-fashioned salesperson, which is like, “Oh, I’m not very good at admin. I’m just really good with people.” That is unacceptable now. It’s absolutely unacceptable, especially that we are going to a more remote way.” – Patrick Thorp · [16:25] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

And you can also ensure that next steps are put into HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, whatever you use. Worry about those things. Make a name for yourself that you’re the person who’s not that rather old fashioned salesperson, which is like, “Oh, I’m not very good at admin. I’m just really good with people.” That is unacceptable now. It’s absolutely unacceptable. Especially that we are going to a more remote way.

 

Patrick Thorp:

And everything’s cloud based, especially with all the major CRMs as well. The idea of joining a new business and an existing salesperson sort of tapping their head and going all the information’s up here, it’s just fundamentally broken if that still happens. It happened when I started my sales career in sort of mid 2000s, but that’s because, I think, Salesforce had just been conceived in The Bay and HubSpot was 10 year or… No, I think HubSpot had just started in Boston. So you didn’t have that idea, but that excuse is no longer allowed.

 

Will Barron:

Good. Fine. Well, that was a definitive amount of clarification there. I appreciate that, Patrick. And look, I’m the same. I run the sales here at salesman.org for our training and the ad space that we sell on the podcast. I’m directly involved in all of this. I get free access to all the CRMs because they all want me to use the platform, so I talk about them on the show. But even I, it’s a pain in the ass for me. I’m not wired to sit down and fill in the information, but a month later, obviously, I’m always glad and grateful that I managed to rack my brains and make it happen because that’s… I like the word you used there of hygiene. For sales, it’s just like brushing your teeth, right? You’ve got to get it done, otherwise you’re going to have bigger problems further down the line.

 

How to Gather Momentum and Start New Sales Conversations in Your First 90 Days in an Organisation · [18:22] 

 

Will Barron:

So with that Patrick, I think we painted a good picture here of finding the low hanging fruit and how we can attack it and hopefully bring some of these deals over the line, so our first quarter, our first 90 days looks good in the mind of both the customers, the buyers, the management to everyone else. What should we be doing with regards to generating new conversations? Should we be focusing on perhaps… And this is how I’ve always done it. I’ve always gone after one or two massive accounts that probably never going to come in in a million years, but just so it looks like I’m growing things. Or should we be focused on deals that are more realistic?

 

Patrick Thorp:

Yeah. That’s good. It’s a good point. I think it’s run rate versus whale, right? In your portfolio. Okay. So the first thing I would say is just kind of take one step back, which is, let’s assume that we have had it altered to us. These are our bio personas. We filled out, these are the actual A4 type sheets that we’ve got in terms of roles, responsibilities, where these people hang out, what their pains are, what their gains will be, what their issues are, work arounds, all that. Let’s say we’ve got that. The thing that I would really recommend any exec to do, account executives, is to look at your products or service and create a use case inventory and an outcome inventory. And if you can imagine having a piece of A4 held up in front of you in portrait, split it down the middle. On one side, on the left hand side, these are all use cases for my product. This isn’t specific to FS or legal or healthcare utilities, whatever. It is all the use cases. And you might have 12 or 15. Something like that.

 

“You’ve got outcomes, and what I’m saying here is that this isn’t talking about our particular product does this, this, this because that’s features and that’s benefits. What I’m talking about is what is the state of mind that these buyers are now in having bought your product or service?” – Patrick Thorp · [19:50] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

And then on the right hand side, you’ve got outcomes. And what I’m saying here is that this isn’t talking about our particular product does this, this, this because that’s features and that’s benefits. What I’m talking about is what is the state of mind that these buyers are now in having bought your product or service. And so what we’re looking to do is bring to market not only our unique value, but being outcome based sales process, right? So if you have a use case inventory and an outcome inventory, it sets you up with a particular sales aid that is incredibly impactful and that helps you come to market. Now in terms of the net new conversations, as you say, I like the approach of having a couple of big whales.

 

Patrick Thorp:

So let’s say that you’re in FS and your… Or financial services, I should say. And you are selling to major banks and on your wishlist, you might have bulge bracket, American banks, right? You’ve got Goldman’s, you’ve got JP and you’ve got Morgan Stanley, let’s say. But for some of the other customers, something you could do is look at all the customers that this company has at the moment. And let’s say they’ve got a hundred and you have a particular contact at those hundred customers. What you could do is you could look at those individuals, go onto their LinkedIn and look at all of the old companies that individual used to work at. And then you’ve got a reason to go to those companies and say, “We’ve got an old colleague of yours who bought our product. He thinks it’s brilliant. How about we have a conversation?”

 

Patrick Thorp:

So what you could do potentially is from a hundred customers, you’ve suddenly built a pipe of three or 400 potential people you could go after and it’s kind of a LinkedIn viral effect. And what this enables you to do is it very quickly gets you conversations in the door. The initial part of the lead funnel in terms of the awareness piece is something that you are able to then communicate to your manager. Right. In the first hundred or within the first four weeks, what I’ve done is, this was my strategy, I’ve found these 200 people, I’ve done a sequence for them, it’s an eight touch sequence, I’ve got a couple of emails and I’ve got a call, then I’ve got a video, then I’ve done this, then I’ve done this, then I’ve done this. I’ve done this all in the first four weeks.

 

Patrick Thorp:

A manager is going to look at you and go, “Okay. That’s what I’m talking about when we talk about activity.” I can already see 200, 400 new leads have gone onto our CRM system. I can see that they’re all linked to our buyer persona. Every single one of them. I understand where they come. That’s a level of activity, which if you do that as an account exec, it’s going to quickly get you that sort of run rate business we talk about and then you’ve got a few whales in there that should they come in, they’re going to get you that whatever material possessional sales people want to have a part of their commission.

 

Will Barron:

The Nissan GTR that’s on the desk, right?

 

Patrick Thorp:

The Nissan GTR. Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. So I think that in terms of a net new conversation, there’s a blend. You’ve got low hanging fruit, which is potentially using that LinkedIn tactic I just talked about, balance that with a couple of whales in there as well, which are always going to take longer because if you’ve never to a bank before and even if you get a conversation going, you’re looking at another 12, 18 months. And in the first 90 days, you need to show a little bit more traction than that.

 

How to Build a Sales Pipeline From Scratch · [23:35] 

 

Will Barron:

Yep. Got it. Well, with that then Patrick, what do we do if we are… It’s not a good time to be graduating from uni and trying to get a sales job right now with everything going on. So I feel really bad for all the graduates, right? But let’s say we are a graduate. We just got our first sales job, it’s a BTB sales job, selling software, whatever it is. What happens if we don’t know anyone in the industry? I’m trying to paint worst case scenario here. Well, let me put it this way. Perhaps it’s a startup, so we don’t have good track records and CRM entries on who our ideal customers are or people have bought from us in the past who have changed companies and these points. And this is probably a question we could talk over a few whiskeys and converse over it for the next five hours. But what do we do if we’re starting from absolute scratch? We’ve got absolutely nothing, Patrick. How do we go about drumming up those first 10 conversations? Nevermind getting hundreds into the pipeline.

 

“You being able to communicate with conviction what your company does, why it does it and how it does it, is more material than you’re ever going to need because you could be competing with people who have a great sales process and they’ve mapped it out incredibly well, but they’ve put no data through it, but they can’t actually communicate their value. That’s the thing to get very, very comfortable with.” – Patrick Thorpe · [24:55] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

Yeah. I think the first thing to do is really understanding what the value proposition is of this business. I don’t want this to sound like a bit of a cop out answer, but I’ll try and explain myself. So from my experience and the consultancy that we created a few years ago has helped over 60 businesses now. And every single one of them without fail you have to have a very strong value proposition because it all starts with that. And as a new graduate, you might come into an account exec role or you might have come in as an SDR role or something like that. You being able to communicate with conviction what your company does, why it does it and how it does it, is more material than you’re ever going to need because you could be competing with people who have a great sales process and they’ve mapped it out incredibly well, but they’ve put no data through it, but they can’t actually communicate their value. That’s the thing to get very, very comfortable with.

 

Patrick Thorp:

So if you are then comfortable with your value, then that’s the kind of thing which you can start as a individual start posting, for example, on LinkedIn, as a resource, because then what this is going to do is you are able to then generate conversations, which starts to create an inbound strategy as well as your outbound strategy as well. You need to have these two things concurrently running. And so if you are someone who is posting interesting industry content, it’s kind of irrelevant to what you have done because… Or what you haven’t done, rather. Because then people will start to recognise you as somebody who’s got a little bit of an opinion, got a bit of an idea, and actually you can help them get the result they’re looking for. If you know your niche, you know your offer, and you get them the results, that’s something that you can affect.

 

“Niche x offer = result.” – Patrick Thorpe · [26:28] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

And so the way that I would think about it to make it really, really clear is a very simple formula, which is simply niche x offer = result. So to kind of plug the variables in, you could say something like we help founders of B2B tech businesses achieve forecastable revenue through installing a system or creating an evironment that reflects this. So something like that. So what you’ve put in is we help founders, we help them achieve forecastable revenue, and we do this through this system. So straight away, you started to communicate your value to the market and that’s where the first beta customers are going to come from.

 

Focus on the Things you Can Control Rather Than the Things Out of Your Control · [27:05] 

 

Will Barron:

I Love it. It’s going back to what you said earlier on, right Patrick? Of focusing on what you can control, rather than the things that you can’t.

 

“As a salesperson, you are in control of the activities that you do and the processes that you follow.” – Patrick Thorp · [27:25] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

A hundred percent. A hundred percent. Yeah. As a salesperson, you are in control of the activities that you do and the processes that you follow. And the way in which you structure this can actually be directly applicable to a business as well. And whether you are a sales guy who’s running their own P&L, you could be a VP of sales, but it is also a quota carrying as well. The interesting thing is here is you are going to be targeted with revenue as most sales people are, but you can can’t directly manage revenue. So some people might say, “Well, that sounds a bit counterintuitive.” And I’d say, okay, well, if you’ve got… Well, hopefully people have got a bit more than this, but let’s say you’ve got 10 pounds in your bank. You could look at your bank statement and go, “I’m wishing that to go up.” It’s never going to. So what do you do? You look at what’s core… And we’re going to bring in this reverse engineering. I know if you’ve got an engineer as a background, so you’ll like this.

 

“It’s the simple relationship between cause and effect. If you are doing everything that you can and following the right process and doing the right activities, the revenue is going to go up because there is no way that it can’t.” – Patrick Thorp · [28:38] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

So this framework of having revenue, but then you think, “Okay. What objectives can I set myself that are going to impact that revenue?” And there might be four or five different objectives. It could be increased brand awareness or whatever it could be. And then you go back one step further and go, “What activities can I do on a daily basis that if executed appropriately and consistently are going to hit those objectives, which in turn are going to hit the revenue?” Because it is the simple relationship between cause and effect. If you are doing everything that you can and following the right process and doing the right activities, the revenue is going to go up because there is no way that it can’t. And that is the point to get across.

 

“As a salesperson, you have a quota, the only way you’re going to do this is ensuring that you are mapping out the objectives and the activities that you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis to keep you accountable.” – Patrick Thorpe · [28:52]

 

Patrick Thorp:

As a salesperson, you have a quota, the only way you’re going to do this is ensuring that you are mapping out the objectives and the activities that you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis to keep you accountable. And it’s that activity, objective revenue framework, that AOR framework, which is incredibly powerful. And that can be applied from SDR all the way up through to SVP.

 

Creating a Sales Calendar, Pre-Call Planning, and Setting 90-day Sales Goals · [29:38] 

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Love it. Well, Patrick, we’re touching on almost the mindset element of sales now and how to feel in control when seemingly a revenue number that you don’t get to add to directly is out of your control. So I love this. And we’ll wrap up the show with this Patrick. With that in mind, what else should people be doing other than sales activities in that first 90 days to have an impact and to have success? Is there any resources you recommend? Any non-sale books? Content? What should they be doing to up their game to allow them to do the activities and be successful at them?

 

Patrick Thorp:

So I was thinking about this one and I was thinking, oh, there could be a book I could recommend or it could be another great podcast, for example. Do you know what the best resource, I think, is your calendar. And this might sound a bit of a lame answer, but sort of humour me just for a moment. The idea is that with a calendar you can bring in this idea of compartmentalising. And to explain this, what I mean is that if you start the week with a blank calendar and you put in your calendar everything that you know of that needs to happen. And these are non-negotiables. And I’m talking about if you train in the morning, if you run, if you cycle, if you’ve got dinner with friends, if you’ve got lunch or whatever it is, but every single thing in that you know is going to exist.

 

Patrick Thorp:

Then what you do is you see how much white space do I actually have on this calendar? Where can I actually improve my output? Where are some of the areas which I notice actually are taking up a little bit too much time when I could reduce that as well. So it might be that 45 minute meeting either doesn’t need to be in there or it could be 15 minutes, for example. And then you start to think, “Okay. What additional things could I do?” And then you start to look at, okay. I’ve actually got some time on Friday, for example, between [3:00] and [5:00], that’s going to be the time where I could do a couple of things. That could be my content production window of two hours.

 

Patrick Thorp:

And that’s where I’m actually outlining what for the next week I’m going to do in terms of my posts from Tuesday or Friday or LinkedIn or something like that. Or it could be some ways in which I could understand or get demos of new pieces of cool sales technology that I could potentially use to get me ahead. And I have a particular window between [3:00] and [5:00] on a Friday, for example, where I ask to have demos of technology. And so the calendar is the number one resource.

 

The Benefits of Scheduling Tasks and blocking Time in your Calendar · [31:51]

 

Will Barron:

I totally agree in this, Patrick. Let me just ask you this, mate, because I know my weeks are the most productive when I do exactly what you’re describing. I time block the time that I have, it shows me the time that I don’t, and there’s always far more to do than what can physically fit in the calendar, so it helps me prioritise my week. Both from creating content, doing sales calls and everything else that I do and managing the team and all that good stuff. But it’s always a struggle for me to do this. And I guess people are wired different ways. But for anyone who’s listening Patrick, right now and who’s going, “Oh, but I like going with the flow. I need to be creative,” people who see sales as more of an art than a science. How do you convince those individuals to at least try this, if not commit to doing it for the next 90 days?

 

“The question of whether sales is an art or science, it’s a scientific discipline with an overarching artistic paradigm. So the point being that you do the basics well and you make sure that the process is followed and then there’s a little bit of artistic flair, in terms of the human element. ” – Patrick Thorp · [32:42] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

So the question of whether sales is an art or science, it’s a scientific discipline with an overarching artistic paradigm. For me personally, that’s my view. So the point being that you do the basics well and you make sure that the process is followed and then there’s a little bit of artistic flare, right? In terms of the human element. But I think that I’m someone who ensures that any decision that you make, strategic or otherwise needs to have some sort of data underpin. And so if you are saying, “Oh, that doesn’t work or the calendar doesn’t work.” Do it for two weeks, then the next two weeks do it, and then outline the results to me. Demonstrate to me that actually the way of being creative and being quite nebulous in your approach and, “I’ll just do things because infinite possibilities.” Sure. If the results are better do that.

 

Patrick Thorp:

But if it’s not and you can get more things done with a calendar and you’re more structured, then do it that way. I mean, for me personally, I do that because when I’m not doing all the sales stuff, I am heavily involved in the health and fitness industry. And so that regimen and that ability to compartmentalise everything. So not just from your training, but from all your meal preparation and all that kind of stuff that directly feeds into this area of sales. And so these transferable skills I can leverage off.

 

Will Barron:

So do you know the starting strength programme? If you’re from the fitness world.

 

Patrick Thorp:

I don’t know personally. No.

 

Develop Self Discipline Through Lifting Weights · [34:18] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So it’s just a very simple barbell lifting programme. There are four lifts split over kind of AB workouts over the course of a week. And you’re just basically squatting heavy and deadlifting, bench pressing, and overhead pressing. Dead simple. This is now the second time I’ve tried to do this because I’ve just been skinny as heck the whole of my life. And now that there’s no jujitsu because we can’t get sweaty and roll on top of each other and not pass on COVID, I need something else to do. So this is the second attempt to doing this now. And I’ve put on six kilos over the past kind of six, seven weeks now.

 

Will Barron:

Obviously, the strengths going up, deadlifts gone up by 30 odd kilos in that period. And everything’s going up and the numbers are doing well, but what I’ve noticed, which is more dramatic than any of that because I’m still skinny and I probably always will be no matter kind of how much I’m lifting, right? My discipline at work has dramatically changed and shifted because lifting heavy three times a week for an hour and a half, however long it takes. That’s way harder than selling and creating content doing the podcast. So once I get that done, it’s almost that everything else just happens. Does that make sense?

 

“If you need to uplift your revenue by a hundred percent, that’s a really, really scary number. But if you break that down and understand, okay, well, if there are ways that I can increase traffic to my website by 10%, if I can increase my decent conversations by 10%, if I can increase my conversion by 5%, the compound effect of all those small changes has a geometric effect on the bottom right-hand figure.” – Patrick Thorp · [36:12] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

That makes total sense. And actually I would say the lifting element is easier, but you’re absolutely right because you’ve set yourself a goal and you’ve understood, okay, I want to be lifting X in six weeks time. What do I need to do to get that? I need to ensure that every week I’m putting an extra five kilos on my lift or something like that. And then you start to look back and you just go, okay, well the small increments that I’ve made of the marginal gains, to steal a phrase from Dave Brailsford, have the compound effect of that is absolutely huge. And that’s the mindset that sales people need to get in. It’s just like if you needing to uplift your revenue by a hundred percent, that’s a really, really scary number.

 

Grow your Sales Career by Recognising Leaders in your Space and Understanding Why They Are Good and How They Do It · [37:17] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

But if you break that down and understand, okay, well, if there are ways that I can increase traffic to my website by 10%, if I can increase my decent conversations by 10%, if I can increase my conversion by 5%, the compound effect of all those small changes has a geometric effect on the bottom right-hand figure. If you will look at your P&L and your balance sheet. Which to be honest, the bottom right hand figure is the only one that we really care about.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. And you were spot on. The whole plan is just adding five kilos on squat or two and a half kilos on bench and [inaudible [00:36:53] press. And that’s just it. It’s just mind numbingly simple. And as I said, genuinely transformative benefits from it from a work perspective, maybe I’m just a wuss of all the lifting, but it absolutely crushes my soul every time I kind of squat and deadlift on the same day. And as I said, it’s just a massive, massive difference. So it’s probably a conversation for another time, Patrick. But I’ll kind of repose you the question again of other than the calendar, is there anything else that people who are perhaps brand new to a sales role that they should be buying, doing, or implementing other than what we’ve talked about so far?

 

Patrick Thorp:

Yeah. I think that a great place to start is to understand who are some of the leaders in the space. And so I don’t mean just kind of influences in terms of these sales gurus because I don’t think there is such a thing as that. I’m talking about, not just the people who are quite vocal on socials, but also the people in your company, for example, who have done particularly well. And I’ll give you sort of two examples. If you’re working for a big company, there could be account exec salespeople who’ve been through the ranks and they know how to do this stuff. You spend a lot of time with them and you understand why they are good. And if they say, “Oh, it’s just natural. It’s not necessarily natural.” There’s going to be things that they do that if you emulate those, you’re probably going to be successful.

 

Patrick Thorp:

But if you are just starting with a startup business, maybe as the first salesperson or VP or whoever it might be. The person that would’ve done the sales to date would be the founder. Now moving from a founder-led sales organisation to a sales team-led sales organisation is exactly what we consult on as our day to day job, but really trying to suck up all of the information from a founder and understand what the story is and really grill them on their why, that’s what you need to do as a salesperson. So if you’re new to the game, then spending as much time as you can with people you’ve been in it a little bit longer. A calendar’s incredibly important, and for those people as an aside as well.

 

“A piece of advice that I would thoroughly recommend you to do is across your sales career, have a document which outlines the following bits of information of every single deal that you’ve done. Have written down the company name, the amount, the sales cycle in days, if you know it, the problem, the solution, and the results. Now the reason this is important is because when you start to develop this, you are able to then answer the question in interviews, who have you sold to? How much was it for? What was the problem? What was the solution? How did you impact it?” – Patrick Thorp · [39:11] 

 

Patrick Thorp:

For those sales people who’ve been in the space you might be looking to change roles, a piece of advice that I would thoroughly recommend you to do is across your sales career, have a document which outlines the following bits of information of every single deal that you’ve done, have written down the company name, the amount, the sales cycle in days, if you know it, the problem, the solution, and the results. Now the reason this is important is because when you start to develop this, you are able to then answer the question in interviews, who have you sold to? How much was it for? What was the problem? What was the solution? How did you impact it?

 

Patrick Thorp:

And it might seem a little bit admin for admin’s sake, but in terms of a document, when you start to get two, three, four pages and it’s deal after deal after deal, you can then look back and just go, “Right. Over 10 years, I can count it all up, and I’ve sold over a hundred million dollars worth of software,” for example. Having that document is incredibly important. For anyone who’s just starting out, I would say get that document started, get it done and get in the habit of filling it out because it will reap massive dividends.

 

The Benefits of Documenting Successful Deals Throughout your Sales Career · [40:22] 

 

Will Barron:

No one’s ever mentioned anything like that on the show before, Patrick. Is this your invention?

 

Patrick Thorp:

It’s a bastardization for a few different things. But I think it’s because in an interview process, I don’t know how many salespeople I’ve interviewed, let alone hired. But you’re always interested in who have you sold to, tell me about a deal, walk me through from lead to close. Tell me something about that. How many meetings was it? Who were the people? If I spoke to them about their involvement, what would they say about you? What testimonials do you have? And whatever anybody’s interested in it’s always going to be, how much was it for? What was the problem? What was the solution and what was the result of you installing that solution? Because if you can’t define what the problem statement is and then you can’t define how you actually fixed it, then that to me doesn’t really sound like a particularly useful sale to have made. And it’s a very simple document and it’s incredibly powerful. So yeah. Well, actually I could just lie and go, “No, it’s completely my creation. You’re absolutely right. [crosstalk [00:41:34].

 

Will Barron:

You should say that.

 

Patrick Thorp:

[inaudible [00:41:34] go trademark it right now.

 

Parting Thoughts · [42:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Because the reason I ask is no one’s ever mentioned this before. It makes total sense, right? And if you’re interviewing someone, the gap between these two people are massive. Of the person who comes in with a document or can at least tell you these numbers, right? Versus the questions you just outlined there, Patrick, you ask those questions and so on, and you can just see them bullshitting immediately. You can just see them going… And just the cogs turning in their head. I can visualise it, I can imagine it. I’ve probably been there myself, of not necessarily even bullshitting, but trying to create a story rather than show a document. I think those are just worlds apart and I think that’s really valuable for the audience. And we’ll wrap up with that Patrick. Honestly, I think that is absolutely genius, mate. So with that, Patrick. Tell us where we can find out more about you and what you’re doing over at Sales For Startups as well.

 

Patrick Thorp:

Yeah. Of course. So I’m very active on LinkedIn, so for anyone listening, if they do fancy connecting and chatting they can just find me Patrick Thorp on LinkedIn. Salesforstartups.code.uk is the sales consultancy that I’m head of delivery for. And what we do is we help founders of B2B tech businesses in the startup space instal their own unique sales machines. And for those people who aren’t necessarily in leadership positions, but are in direct contributor, quota carrying roles. A lot of resources that I personally write are all housed on our website. So talking about sales technologies or talking about mindset tricks or talking about, again, first 90 days and how you can break it down into sprints and things like that. That’s all there. So I would encourage people to head on over to our website and find the different resources there because there’s lots of them.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I’ll link to all that in the show note of this episode over at salesman.org. Well no, Patrick, I want to thank you for your time, your insights in all this. I appreciate it, mate. And for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Patrick Thorp:

Great stuff. Thanks, Will.

SALESMAN WEEKLY EMAIL