Digital Sales Rooms: The Future Of B2B Sales?

George Donovan is the Chief Revenue Officer of Allego, where he’s responsible for achieving the company’s customer acquisition and sales goals. In this episode of the Salesman Podcast, George explains what “digital sales rooms” are and how B2B salespeople can use them to influence their buyers’ journeys.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:
Free SalesCode assessment
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Taken by over 10,000+ of your competitors. Don't get left behind.

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - George Donovan
Chief Revenue Officer of Allego

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Hi, my name is Will, and welcome to the Salesman Podcast. On today’s episode, we’re answering the question, what is a digital sales room and how can we use them to win more sales? Today’s guest is George Donovan. He is a Chief Revenue Officer over Allego.com. He has 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and operations. And with that, George, welcome to the show.

 

George Donovan:

Thank you, Will. Thrilled to be here.

 

What is a Digital Sales Room? · [00:30] 

 

Will Barron:

I’m excited to have you on mate. So, I’m somewhat familiar with this, but I want to pitch this conversation, especially at the beginning of things, to a place and perhaps position ourselves as the audience who are unfamiliar with this idea of a digital sales room, perhaps it’s a knuckle dragging caveman-esque sales person who’s only just been pulled away from spamming people on cold calls and is just coming into this idea of content can be really helpful for sales people. So with that, can you give us a brief overview of what a digital sales room is? Then we can dive into the ins and outs of it and perhaps sell the audience on the fact that maybe this is the future of sales.

 

George Donovan:

Right, sure. I think of it as a great way, a technology and a process, that helps close the gap between, and we’ve heard a lot about this, the buyer’s journey versus the seller’s process. And how do you map these together and have the prospect feel good about the buying experience and not feel like they’re being dragged along by that caveman salesperson, as you say. And I think digital sales rooms are a great way to do that. And what they are is they’re a virtual space, it’s technology, it’s a virtual space that allows customers and salespeople to interact. So, customers can access all the content that they need to provide comfort for them through their buying journey.

 

George Donovan:

It’s one place that they can go to for all the exchanges that have happened between the salesperson and the prospect. It could be history of emails, it could be video recordings if you had a recording with the prospect, it could be proposals, spreadsheets, you name it. Anything could be in this digital sales room that customers need along their buying journey. And the nice thing for the customer is they can share it with other people. They can bring other folks on their buying committee into the room, into the digital sales room, to access this content. And then the benefit for the salesperson is they can see the engagement. So they know who’s in the sales room, what they’re doing, what content is hot and what content is not.

 

Understanding Digital Sales Rooms From Both the Buyer’s and Seller’s Perspective · [02:30] 

 

Will Barron:

What does it look like for someone who’s unfamiliar? And perhaps we can throw in some screenshots and a link to product demos and stuff in the [inaudible 00:02:43] to this episode over at salesman.org as well. But what does it look like on a screen? Is this a live Zoom kind of chat room? Or is this a series of content that outlines the buyer’s journey? What does this look like, I guess, from the seller’s perspective and what does it look from the buyer’s perspective as well?

 

George Donovan:

Yeah, good question. It looks the same, Will. It looks the same from the buyer and the seller’s perspective. And it’s probably not that much different from a B2C buying journey that you’ve had, where certain B2C companies start to know your preferences. They know what you like, what you might be interested in. So, it’s literally a room, a virtual digital room that you go into and there is nice, structured, organised content, and it can be completely customised by the salesperson based on the customer’s needs, wants, past behaviour, predicted future behaviour. So it’s very, very customizable by the sales person to give the customer what they want.

 

Can the Digital Sales Rooms Lead to Laziness From the Part of the Salesperson? · [03:46] 

 

Will Barron:

And I’m playing devils advocate here slightly, because we’re both on the same wave length of all this, and it’s going to be a boring conversation otherwise, but is this an opportunity for sales people to be super lazy and just go, “Here you go, customer,” or potential customer, “here’s a bunch of stuff that you probably need, go through it yourself. I’ll spy on you from my side. If you get stuck, I’ll cold call you and jump into this.” Or is this something that has real value for the buyer and perhaps even gives them more control over their own buying journey?

 

“Gartner did a study about a year ago and I think it said that 45, 50% of B2B buyers, not B2C buyers, but B2B buyers preferred a rep-less buying experience. Rep-less. That’s stunning. Bain & Company just did one as well. Their numbers were even higher. I think they were at 90%. So people know that reps aren’t going away, but our time is shrinking. So when we have that time, we have to maximise it and we have to drive value.” – George Donovan · [04:27] 

 

George Donovan:

Yeah, both. I would say it’s a little bit of both. We hope that salespeople don’t get lazy, they just have to change their selling process a little bit. You’ve read recent studies, Gartner, the tech analyst company. They did a study earlier last year, about a year ago now, I think it said that 50%, 45, 50% of B2B buyers, not B2C buyers, but B2B buyers preferred a rep-less buying experience. Rep-less. That’s stunning. Bain & Company, a consulting firm, they just did one as well. Their numbers were even higher. Now, I think they were at 90%. So people know that reps aren’t going away, but our time is shrinking. Our time is shrinking face-to-face or belly-to-belly or ear-to-ear with customers. So when we have that time, we have to maximise it and we have to drive value.

 

George Donovan:

And how we can do that if we’re not face-to-face is through these technologies like digital sales rooms, by making sure that we’re getting the customer the right content at the right time based on their needs.

 

The Value You Should Expect From Using Digital Sales Rooms · [05:25] 

 

Will Barron:

So, just so I can clarify this for myself and the audience as well. We’re not trying to do this purely on the basis of rather than doing three calls throughout the buyer’s journey where I explain this in person, we’re not just trying to use content so that I can scale my calls to a thousand people in a thousand rooms. And I drop in occasionally and touch on them. We’re still doing the, I hate the cliche, this human-to-human kind of sales process. But we’re just, and again, I hate this term also, because we use it all… You use this as well, I’m sure, we’re enabling the buyer to do some of the work. Not some of the work, we’re enabling them to do what they want to do and have a buying process that they feel is appropriate rather than the stereotype of the used car salesperson of dragging the person in and not letting them go until they made a decision.

 

George Donovan:

You’ve got it. You’ve got it. And this is more about when they’re at the point where they want to engage. That’s the real value of digital sales rooms. So, this isn’t replacing sales engagement platforms that help automate messaging and cold calling and email outreach to customers. It’s not that. This is, you’ve gone through that, and a prospect says, “Okay, I want to engage. I to have a conversation.”

 

George Donovan:

Now, what we’ve all learned, especially folks who did a lot of face-to-face selling in the past, is that you have to change your process. As this trend of less seller engagement continues to happen and with the fact that many of us are virtual and will stay virtual, salespeople have really had to take a step back and think about how do I change my selling manner? How do I change my motion to include more of this virtual selling methodology, if you will? And also appreciate that customers don’t want to engage with me as much because, like us, Will, most of our customers are back-to-back on calls like this and they don’t have a lot of time to engage with sales people.

 

Why Buyers Don’t Want to Engage with Salespeople · [07:25] 

 

Will Barron:

Is that because we just suck as sales people? If we were doing a better job, would buyers want to spend more time? I know this is kind of paradoxical, for example, if I was buying your product, the organisation you work for at Allego, and I got the opportunity to speak with yourself as a CRO, I’d be going, right, I’m going to take that call. I don’t want some sales room because George is going to have way more impactful insights and knowledge and he’s going to save… Getting on a call with you for half an hour is going to save me 10 hours of researching and the buyer process.

 

Will Barron:

Now this is an extreme example, because you are an executive in a high flying tech company, but if sales people were thought leaders and were experts, true experts in their space, would this be turned on its head slightly in that buyers may proactively want to speak with them? Or do you think buyers still don’t want to speak to anyone? They’re just so focused on solving the problem, they want to get their head down and just get it done.

 

George Donovan:

I think a little bit of both, I really do. Again, the intent is not to replace sales people. And as a buyer, I’m a buyer too, I do like to talk to sales people. Especially when I feel like they understand my world. But we all know, again, more studies, lots of these have validated that most B2B buyers are 60, 70, 80% of the way through their buying journey before they ever engage with a salesperson. So, with a lot of other technologies, not Allego, but other technologies, you can track how many times have they hit your website? What are they looking at? Obviously we can look at them on social media. So, we’re collecting all these bits and bites of information to help us understand this persona. What does George Donovan want? What is he looking at? What does he care about? What are his pain points?

 

George Donovan:

And now, when I have a chance to engage with George, I’m engaging live, and I’m also engaging in this digital sales room to make it really easy for George to continue his journey and pull other people into the buying process. I’ll give you a real quick example if I may, Will, just to bring it to life. You’re selling to me, you learn a little bit about me through my activity online, and then you come at me with a real customised message. And I say, “Will, let’s talk.” Great. Now, you and I are going to have our first meeting coming up. Part of virtual selling, you may send me a video ahead of time that says, “Hey, George. It’s, Will, just wanted to propose an agenda for our first call, based on what I know about you. Feel free to tell me if you want to do something differently, but here’s what we’re doing.”

 

George Donovan:

Now, the reason for this is twofold. One is, it’s nice to come to a meeting with an agenda and a plan, and two, it’s personalising who you are. You’re introducing yourself to me, because one of the things that we’ve found is with the condensed timeframe, a lot of sales calls are half an hour now when you’re on a Zoom call, and you don’t have that time to do bonding and rapport, you don’t have time to learn as much about the salesperson or the customer. People want to get right down to business, especially in the tech world. And so using an introductory video is a nice way to bridge that gap. Now that video can go sit in the digital sales room, that’s the first piece of content.

 

George Donovan:

So you and I have our initial call, I get your video, we have our initial call, now you’re going to tell me, you’re going to say, “George, I’m going to start something called a digital sales room for you and this is a place for all of our exchanges to be in one spot.” And you can explain the benefits to me. And now we’re off. Everything you share with me, proposal, goes in the digital sales room, a PowerPoint deck goes in the digital sales room, the recording of our first call goes in the digital sales room. So you have memorialised this entire sales process to help the buyer go back to it and access content when they need it.

 

The Future of Sales in this Fast Moving Digital Environment · [11:20] 

 

Will Barron:

I want to come back to making this practical and real for the audience in the session, but I’d be totally amiss here of all this hype around Facebook’s metaverse and NVidia have just come out with their version of the future of virtual reality and augmented reality. Could we get to a position or how far away from a position are we where we jump into a 3D Zoom call? Maybe we don’t even do that, I don’t even know where I’m going with this question. I’m kind of pulling this together as I go along with, but it seems like sales, virtual selling, being able to meet people in person via virtual means in this metaverse seems like the next step of an actual room with actual virtual paperwork or screens on the walls.

 

Will Barron:

Is that the future that sales is heading to? Where there will be, whether it’s even an avatar, it’s just an AI who’s guiding the buyer through the buying process until they need to speak to an actual human. Is that where we’re moving to with all of this in the next five to 10, 50 years?

 

George Donovan:

Yes, absolutely. I think we are. And we’re halfway there. I think we’re halfway there already. You do need the intelligence of a salesperson to problem solve and put the right content in the digital sales room and facilitate the whole process, but you still need the person, but eventually AI is going to get smart enough, machine learning is getting smart enough to understand and to start to populate. Even today in digital sales rooms, while it’s not alive, we’re not face-to-face in a digital sales room, there is chat capabilities where you’re reviewing some content, you have a question, I’m going to get a notification that you have a question on that and we can go back and forth. So we’re heading in that direction and imagine replacing me to answering that question with some sort of an AI bot, very, very doable today.

 

How Long Before Salespeople Become Obsolete? ·  [13:17] 

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll come back to 2022 in a second. I love this topic because clearly this is where a lot of the less complex B2B, if you’re signing up for an app, a SaaS software service, something like that, I think avatars and AI is going to solve a lot of sales pain and buyer journey problems for buyers in the future. How far away are we? Let’s talk about a product. I don’t know, we’ll talk about a… Maybe not a CRM, because that’d be complicated. Some kind of software product, how far away do you think we are of combining of multiple AIs or APIs to integrate with different organisations and different softwares and tools, where the buyer doesn’t need a salesperson? Just doesn’t need one. All the question’s been answered.

 

Will Barron:

Perhaps we’ve got now five years of data of sales people having, well, maybe in five years time, we’ll have the real time data of sales people, creating content, sharing it within digital sales rooms, knowing what makes a buyer put their hand up, knowing the response that the salesperson has to give to them.

 

Will Barron:

So we’re not just imagining a scenario where an all-knowing AI comes along and just solves all issues, because we’re all knackered at that point. That’s a conversation for another time. We’re verging into Terminator territory there, but let’s assume that we’ve got data on real life activities from real interactions and we can use machine learning and other techniques to leverage some of that. How far are we from taking all that data and creating an avatar for an organisation that can just nudge the buyer along the buying process, help them along, give them the insights, give them the content without a salesperson being involved for a, I don’t know, like a mid-size B2B deal?

 

George Donovan:

Yeah. That last point that you added, the mid-size B2B deal. I think that’s the key. I can certainly envision a reckless B2B buying process for smaller deals, SMB, smaller deals, 5,000, 10,000, maybe even 15,000. I think people are comfortable going forward and buying that, if it’s not new technology. New technology, they need to do a lot more exploration, understanding, a lot more questions. But if this is a, I’m replacing what I have with something new that’s just a little bit better based on peer reviews, and the price is about the same and I don’t need to get anybody else involved. They’re going to do it.

 

George Donovan:

That capability is going to be there in the not too distant future. It may even be happening today, Will. I think where it starts to get interesting is if it’s a, two things, a new technology, again, a lot more questions that have to be answered from a live person. And then if it gets above a certain dollar threshold, I don’t know what that dollar threshold is, but there’s certainly a dollar threshold where human behaviour, people will get uncomfortable without engaging with a human to make a purchase.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. I know for us, it’s an N equals one experiment, since data doesn’t mean to anything in the grand scheme of things, but we, this year moving forward of our training programme, which the audience can find over at salesman.org, for years, and we were ahead of the curve, I want to say I was some visionary in the world of sales training, George, not really. I just didn’t want to have a team of sales trainers. So we did all our training online and we pushed people to go for our online training rather than in-person workshops. I didn’t want to travel around the world doing in-person training. And so we lead into that, we built data on it, and I don’t want to bore the audience because they know all about it at this point. What we did in December moving forward though, was we… We’ve had a couple of new team members, and I do some of it as well, we’ve now added a mentoring element to the product.

 

Will Barron:

So the price has gone up substantially because of that and we’ve found we’re doing way more revenue, people are way more excited and it’s because the differentiator now, everyone having gone virtual and all sales training companies got on this bandwagon that I’ve been banging the drum of, of online training when they were pushing for in-person training before COVID in the pandemic. Now that we are doing more one-on-one interactions, more mentoring, more group training, people are loving and happy to pay extra for that human touch.

 

Will Barron:

So, it’s interesting to me of your cut off there of, if you’ve got a product, and you mentioned peer reviews, which are going to become clearly massive over time, if not, they’re already massive at the moment. But having peer reviews from colleagues, from people in the same or similar industries, going from one price point to a similar price point, changing on features or benefits or new innovations, I totally agree that all that is just… That market for sales people’s just going to be wiped out. That’s just going to be customer service people managing those calls, answering questions, or even being pushed into customer success of just get people on, this is likely going to be a subscription service and we can deal with issues as we go along.

 

How to Build an Effective Digital Sales Room · [18:12] 

 

Will Barron:

So, with all that said, let’s imagine a scenario now where we’re doing mid to high deal sizes. So, 50 to a million, a quarter a year, it’s a complex product. We need an engineer in there, we need an on-site visit. We need something else going on. There’s going to be a barrier to people just signing up and using AI chat bots, stuff like that. What do we need to do to make an effective digital sales room? Is the starting point to map out the customer’s buying cycle? Or is it to look at our typical sales cycle that we take people through and map the experience in the digital sales room there? Do we start with what the buyer wants, which may be right or wrong, or do we start with what we know gets people to make purchases?

 

George Donovan:

A little bit of both. In Allego’s digital sales rooms for example, we have templates, we work with our customers to build up templates. So if you know that you’re selling to this persona, with these interests, in this industry, the digital sales room can be pre-populated in seconds by a salesperson with some content that we believe might be of interest to this persona. Or you can completely allow the salesperson to customise the digital sales room with hand-picked content because they do know more about the buyers interests and where they are in their buying journey.

 

George Donovan:

So you’ve got flexibility to do both. And I think most of them do start with some pieces of content that you know are in the general area of interest based on the engagement of that prospect, to date. But where it changes is once you start to engage and you talk to that person and you are asking the right questions and you’re hearing more about what’s of interest to them and where they are in that journey, as you say, and where they need to go next, and you’re helping to facilitate. It might be white papers. It might be ROI analysis, whatever it is that’s important to that prospect. That’s the stuff that’s going in the digital sales room because they access that repetitively.

 

George Donovan:

That’s what we have seen. Customers just don’t look at these things once, they go in and they look at it three, four times and that’s a hot piece of content. And then all of a sudden you see they invited someone else. I’m going to invite, Will in here now. And Will comes in, Will starts heat seeking to that same content. What does that tell you? Well, as a salesperson you start saying, “Okay, they’re really interested in,” if they’re looking at that ROI, Return on Investment content, that would probably tell me that they’re interested and they’re trying to think of a way to cost justify it or trying to think of a way to go get the budget. So, as a salesperson, you might put two and two together and say, “Hmm, maybe I might want to add a white paper in here on return on investment from some of our other customers that might be helpful.”

 

George Donovan:

So now as a seller, you make an educated guess, you put a little piece of content in there that’s a case study from another customer on ROI. And you see if that content lights up, meaning, all the people in digital sales rooms start accessing it. Now you’re onto something. If it goes cold and nobody touches it, maybe you’re off direction, and you’ve got to go back to them and ask more questions. So that’s why I say it’s a little bit of a new selling process. Sellers have to think about things differently than the way they did when they were always communicating face-to-face or over the phone.

 

How to Gauge the Effectiveness of a Digital Sales Room · [21:46] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. How do we know? And I’m coming from this from the perspective of, I am just a knuckle dragging salesperson, I think I probably know better than what I actually do. So, knowing the people and have data that people have clicked on this, they haven’t clicked on this, clearly that’s going to be very valuable. Especially if you’ve got a team of a hundred sales reps, a marked some kind of data scientist will be able to pick up on some of this. The platform itself can hopefully give us some insights as well.

 

Will Barron:

But is there all… Where I’m going with this is, is this just an experiment for six months on hunches and best guesses? Because if I put this together now for my customers, I think I would know what I was doing, but being honest, I’d be blagging a lot of it and I’d be hoping for some kind of insights on the back end. Is this something that we’ve got to use the scientific method of making a hypothesis, testing it, then refining our hypothesis until we get as close to the results as we possibly can? Is this something that we need to just accept that’s part of the process and can refine it over time?

 

George Donovan:

Yeah. I think it’s easy. I think it’s easier than that. I think it’s common sense. A lot of it is just common sense. We’ve been studying this now. So, you have some customers, don’t ever go in there. They don’t go into the digital sales room, they’d rather email back and forth when they need something. Even if they need something three or four times, they’ll keep asking for it rather than going back to one place. So, take them aside.

 

George Donovan:

And then you have other people who just spend so much time in there and you can clearly see patterns. And another thing we can layer in is Allego also has a module for conversational intelligence where we’re recording calls and AI analysis on the transcripts of those calls. So now you’re starting to combine what the customer is saying with what they’re doing in the digital sales room to give sales people a real good picture of where they are in that buying journey and how you can help facilitate with the proper content or commentary to help them get to close.

 

Are You Procrastinating By Hiding Behind Digital Sales Rooms? · [23:48] 

 

Will Barron:

What I want to get out of you, George, is how much of this… A lot of salespeople in my experience will use a tool like, not necessarily Allego, and there’s other tools in the marketplace, we’ll talk about the product you represent towards the end of the show. They hide behind some of this and people are hiding behind social selling right now. This is the key one of people will ping someone on LinkedIn and comment on their post for four years before they’ll pick up the phone and ask them if they’re actually interested in engaging with them, because it seems nice and it seems you can automate some of it, and it seems like you could drop a few emails in a cadence, you’re going to be rocking and rolling.

 

Will Barron:

But then the reality is, for a lot of people, that it takes years of learning how to copyright for these emails, it takes years of data collection within the organisation you work for to pinpoint as we’re discussing here, some of the right content at the right time. Some of it is common sense, a lot of it’s common sense, some of it is gut feeling, which is obviously not very scalable if we’re talking from a leadership perspective. How do we know whether we are procrastinating by going here’s another piece of content, here’s another piece of content? When some of this could be solved by just picking up the phone, if the buyer is willing, and having an actual one-on-one conversation with them. How do we bridge the gap between in this is tonnes of valuable content, this allows the buyer to go at their own pace, but also I’ve got a quota to hit and really, if a couple conversations can solve these issues in real time, maybe I should be doing that as well? How do we balance out between the two, if there is a way?

 

George Donovan:

Absolutely there is a way. And that’s what we, at Allego, that’s what we teach people to do. Our co-founders wrote a book last year called Mastering Virtual Selling. We obviously have the technology around virtual selling and there really isn’t a canned methodology for virtual selling. So we wanted to try to create one, and to your point, Will, we’ve got this concept of the salesperson is a maestro, okay. And there is front stage work, which is live with the customer that’s very important. And what are all the things that you do when you’re on stage, you’re in performance? How do you master that? And then when you’re backstage, as all of us who have ever been to a concert or participating in a concert, you know there’s a lot of work that goes on backstage to make that concert, that front stage performance, successful.

 

How to Create Presence in Your Absence Using Digital Sales Rooms · [24:40]

 

George Donovan:

So, what are all the things that sellers should be doing on the back end, which is including things like managing a digital sales room, but it doesn’t take away the importance of that front stage activity. It’s a way to balance the two; front stage and backstage. And we have a term in the book called creating presence in your absence. Creating presence in your absence. So we all have live calls, and then what happens? Couple of weeks until you can get the customer back on the phone, maybe a month between calls, how do you create presence in your absence with smart content that’s adding value to the customer’s buying journey? And that’s what digital sales rooms are all about.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. We talk about a similar concept all the time and I pinched this from, who did I pinch it from? I can’t who it is, but this idea of building trust at distance. Similar kind of thing. If you can keep adding insights, adding value over time, you inadvertently build trust. You have kind of a following going on LinkedIn and stuff. So do I. I find this all the time. I speak to people, I’ve never spoken to them before. They’ve listened to 400 episodes of the podcast. They know everything about me, my dog, my life, and I’ve built that trust at a distance. So I feel like that’s what we’re kind of doing on a smaller scale on a one-to-one level here with digital sales rooms and sharing content.

 

Should Salespeople Be Creating Content or They Simply Need to Curate Relevant Content for Their Buyers? · [27:42] 

 

Will Barron:

Let me ask you this, because this was a contentious issue maybe like two or three years ago, but I feel it’s less contentious now, should sales people be purely curating content or should there be an element of them creating content for the buyers? And the line is a little bit blurred as we talk about digital sales rooms because I guess what I’m asking is, I’m not saying a sales person should probably write an ebook on the problems that their buyers have. That’s going to be a waste of time unless they want to build that thought leadership and perhaps take their career on a slightly different level, on a different angle. But should sales people be in a digital sales room going through the content? Whether this is possible or not, but highlighting things or say, “Go to this page in this PDF.” And really drilling things down and making things simple for the buyer. Or is that the job on marketers to create amazing content that salespeople are really proud to give to their potential customers?

 

“You have to be relevant. And that is the key today because nobody has time to just go through a boring generic sales process.” – George Donovan · [29:00] 

 

George Donovan:

I think it’s a bit of both. I do believe it’s marketing’s job to come up with real relevant and good content based again, the more finite we can get based on industry, persona, size of business, interests, past buying behaviour, purchasing behaviour, the better off we can be. We want to be relevant. And that is the key today because nobody has time to just go through a boring generic sales process. You just don’t, no matter what business you’re in. So yes, a lot of it is on marketing, but a lot of it is on the salesperson too, again, to think differently and really maximise those, how do I maximise my digital sales room? And then how do I maximise proving value and helping the customer solve problems while I’m having that short window of opportunity to speak to them live? So I think it’s a bit of both, Will.

 

The Primary Role of a Digital Sales Room and How to Get the Most Out of It · [29:40] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes sense. So George, we can wrap up, a few more questions now. Let’s say Sam the salesperson wants to sell to you, George. I’m sure you’ve got some decent size budgets in your organisation. They want to suck some of that cash from your back pocket. They want to convince you, they know the value of a digital sales room, you know the value of a digital sales room, but you’re freaking busy. Maybe you don’t want to commit to jumping in here. You know that once you get in, you’re going to get sucked into it. There’s going to be loads of content. You’re probably going to have a great time. You’re going to learn a load, but you’ve got your own quotas and targets to hit in the meantime. What would be the process of Sam the salesperson from cold outreach, whether they call, email, LinkedIn, whatever it is, what steps would they have to go through to get you into a digital sales room?

 

George Donovan:

Ooh, that’s a tough question. Did you say a Sandler salesperson? Is that the word you used?

 

Will Barron:

Sam the salesperson. Sam’s just a generic gender-neutral name value. [crosstalk 00:30:31]. Sam the salesperson.

 

George Donovan:

Oh, that is a tough question. Let me think about this one. Again, the primary intent of digital sales rooms are to be used once I’m engaged. Once we’ve had some form of hello. It’s not to pursue me through a sales engagement platform. That’s not what it is. So, let’s assume you’ve got my attention. The salesperson got my attention, and now we’re having a conversation, I have some sort of a need. The reason I personally love digital sales rooms, and I’ve heard other VPs of Sales, CROs say the same thing, is because if I’m buying something, Will, and I have a need, I have an interest, it’s not about sparking that interest. It’s about, I know I have something I want to look at buying or I know I’m going to buy it.

 

George Donovan:

Now, I might talk to two or three vendors. And I’ve got two or three vendors sending me follow up emails. I’ve got two or three vendors sending me PowerPoint decks, proposals, white papers, pricing spreadsheets, changes to their pricing spreadsheets. I don’t know about you, but for years I’ve faced the challenge of not being able to find that content. I’m searching through my email, who sent that? Who sent this? How is this different?

 

George Donovan:

But with a digital sales room as a buyer, how my life gets easier, I just go to one click, one link, for Allego in this case let’s say, and there it is, it’s all right there. And I can see all the exchanges and all of the content in one place. So, it’s a lot about convenience for the buyers as well as that ability, as I said, to bring in others. So if I want to bring in my VPs of Sales into the digital sales room to be part of that buying committee, it’s easy to do. I would sell it as convenience, and one-stop shopping for the buyer. That alone is a benefit.

 

How to Subtly Nudge Executives Into Your Digital Sales Room Without Being a Little Too Salesy · [32:33] 

 

Will Barron:

So, what I’m hearing is that what we want to do is rather than just pitch George on getting into our digital sales room at all costs, we could not possibly do a deal unless you’re in our digital sales room, everything’s in there, George, you’re a sucker if you don’t join us. Perhaps what we should be doing is saying, “Hey, the meeting notes of what we just discussed and the content follow up, rather than emailing you, I’ve put it in the digital sales room. Here’s the link. View the digital sales room, everything’s in there and it’s all tracked. And we can add stuff to it over time so you can keep track of everything.”

 

Will Barron:

Then the next meeting, “Hey, well, you asked for this, this and this. Here’s the features and benefits, the specifications list, the PDF of this, PDF that. It’s in the digital sales room. Check it out when you need access to this.” Is that the approach to get an executive like yourself to buy into it? As opposed to saying, “We could not possibly do any business with you, unless you suck it up and join our sales process.”

 

George Donovan:

You got it. That’s the approach, soft-handed. They quickly see the benefits even if it’s just to place to put the call recording so other people who might have missed the meeting, we hear that a lot. “My right hand person missed the meeting. Can I get that call recording?” “Sure, it’ll be in the digital sales room.” And then they love the ability to invite others in as they go. It could be IT people, lawyers, you name it, but having that one place for everything is really a benefit to them and they get it pretty quickly, but you don’t want to be heavy-handed with it.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. It makes total sense. It’s almost like Dropbox for a deal. Is that a fair way to describe it?

 

George Donovan:

That’s right. Dropbox for a deal. You’ve got it. With a little more intelligence and tracking and communication capability, but you’ve got it.

 

Parting Thoughts · [34:23] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Amazing stuff. We’ll wrap up with that. George, tell us more about Allego and how this relates to the discussion today and where we can find out more about you as well.

 

George Donovan:

Yeah, sure. Allego is a sales learning and enablement platform. We work with customers all around the world, large and small, to help move the needle sales. That’s really what we’re all about. Whether it’s training, coaching, collaboration, conversational intelligence, anything that’s going to help a seller, in the flow of work, get information that they need to be able to advance their knowledge and add more value to customer engagement, that’s what we’re all about. You can reach me, George Donovan on LinkedIn with Allego. Please say hello anytime you’d like.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. We’ll link to that and anything else that we talked about on this show in the [inaudible 00:35:09] episode over at salesman.org. And with that, George, I appreciate your time, your insights on this and for joining us on the Salesman Podcast.

 

George Donovan:

Thank you, Will, likewise.

 

Table of contents
100% Free sales assessment:
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sellers?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Don't get left behind.
22_LINKEDIN SUCCESS FRAMEWORK (3) 1
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sales people?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Taken by over 10,000+ of your competitors. Don't get left behind.
22_LINKEDIN SUCCESS FRAMEWORK (3) 1