fbpx

How To Become A Millionaire Sales Manager

In today’s episode of the Sales Leadership Show, Kent Billingsley talks about his book From Entrepreneur to Millionaire. He answers questions about how sales leaders can become millionaires by creating value, solving customer pain points, and challenging the status quo.

You'll learn:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Kent Billingsley
Business transformation and revenue growth optimization expert

Resources:

Transcription:

Will Barron:

this episode of the show is brought to you from the salesman.org HubSpot Studio. Coming up on today’s episode of the Sales Leadership Show.

 

Kent Billingsley:

You’re in sales to first bring tremendous value to your clients, help your company shadow their numbers, and then you’re pay to fortune doing… This game is about bringing the value. You know, let me unpack that because somebody asked me a while back, well, what’s the value? The value is helping your clients solve their most complex problems without them having to spend a lot of money and time doing it. Getting outside that sales department box and looking around and saying, well, what’s the whys in how we target, how we package our services, how we do our messaging.

 

Will Barron:

Hello sales nation. My name is Will Barron. I’m the host of the Sales Leadership Show. And on today’s episode, we have the return of the legend, that is Kent Billingsley. He’s the author of From Entrepreneur to Millionaire and that’s exactly what we’re doing on today’s show. We’re answering the question of how to, in a sales management to a sales leadership role, how to become a millionaire or multimillionaire.

 

Will Barron:

Everything we talk about is available in assurance of this episode over at salesleadership.org, and so with that said, let’s jump right into it. Kent, welcome to the Sales Leadership Show.

 

Kent Billingsley:

Thank you.

 

Can Sales Leaders Become Millionaires? · [01:28]

 

Will Barron:

I’m glad to have you on mate. Okay, so to hopefully answer the question today and I’m going to do a quote tick, it’s going to be the title of the show, how to become a millionaire as a sales manager. But let me ask you this, or a sales leader. But let me ask you this, Kent, just straight up, no messing around. Is it possible to become a millionaire in either one of those roles?

 

“You should absolutely have the goals, the desire, the vision and the aspiration that you are in sales to first, bring tremendous value to your clients, help your company shutter their numbers, and then you’re paid a fortune doing it.” – Kent Billingsley · [01:38]

 

Kent Billingsley:

Not always possible. I expect you to. You should absolutely have the goals, the desire, the vision and the aspiration that you are in sales to first, bring tremendous value to your clients, help your company shadow their numbers, and then you’re paid a fortune doing it. And if you don’t think that way and in the right order, get out of sales. Get out of sales leadership, get out of sales management, go code, go programme, go work in market and go somewhere else. Because you’re in a risk reward environment to where you should be handsomely rewarded for taking big risk and putting yourself, your pride, your personality, everything about you out there for rejection.

 

“The value is helping your clients solve their most complex problems without them having to spend a lot of money and time doing it.” – Kent Billingsley · [02:30] 

 

Kent Billingsley:

And you should be paid handsomely for that if you bring the value. I can’t stress that enough, Will, this game is about bringing the value. Now, let me unpack that cause somebody asked me a while back. Well, what’s the value? The value is helping your clients solve their most complex problems without them having to spend a lot of money and time doing it. That’s the same value you bring to your company. And as the leader, not the manager, and I’ll impact that if you want, but not as the manager, but as the leader of the salesperson, helping your company dramatically scale sales, revenue and profits, using the least amount of time, money and resources doing it. That creates wealth for the company and for you. You should be rewarded for that.

 

Will Barron:

I think we’re on the same wave length today. I’ve talked about this on other podcasts. We’ve actually done episodes on this very specifically. Is it fair to say that, you mentioned risk reward there. Well, I will call some of these risks perhaps soft risks. If you get re-dated, you look stupid. It’s not the end of the world. You can pick yourself, you can crack on the things.

 

Comparing The Risks in Sales Leadership and The Risks in Entrepreneurship In Terms if Wealth Creation · [03:20]

 

Will Barron:

Is it fair to say that the risks of becoming wealthy in a management leadership role in sales are far less than the risks you’d have to take to become wealthy in a startup, as an entrepreneur, that you seemingly more traditional route that the average person would suggest that you have to go down to become wealthy?

 

Kent Billingsley:

A couple things, and lemme go back to the rejection and the risk for just a little bit, because I want to frame what the risks really are. I remember, I can’t remember the exact year, ’97, somewhere around, I was in the UK and I was working with several teams. And one of the teams I was working with was working on a particular contract. I was helping them do the strategy work. The contract was value at billion dollars.

 

Kent Billingsley:

I don’t know what that would be in pounds today. Seven, 800 pounds or 800,000. Let’s see, 800 million pounds. Gosh. I was working with it, well, they’d been working on the project for two years and it was still going to be another year for the decision. It was outsourcing part of the UK government, and the risk there is they don’t win it. And so the risk they’re taking on is they’re working for three, four years or these long complex sales cycles, which are typically a year in most cases of anything, a big value or big ticket.

 

Kent Billingsley:

The risk is they’re just making probably a base salary or a small salary for our leadership or management role, or the team, the same thing and they don’t hit it. I have a lot of stories of people being in careers where they don’t win the business. That’s the big risk. The personality stuff, you get over after a time and you realise it’s not about you either. If you don’t know that, get over that, because it’s not about you. It’s about your competencies. But the risk reward is you could put all the effort and time and energy and insights and knowledge and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t go. That’s the risk I’m talking about.

 

Kent Explains Why Sales Leadership Is The Simplest Avenue to Becoming Wealthy With Less Responsibility · [05:34]

 

Will Barron:

Sure. But that risk is different to who the risk of, an entrepreneur has to put there, the house on the line to raise capital or whatever it is. Well, I guess what I’m asking here is, because I’m wanting to sell the audience on this idea of becoming a millionaire in a sales leadership. This is the, am I wrong in saying this, it’s the least risky way to become wealthy quick?

 

Kent Billingsley:

Gosh, there’s so many ways. Where I would say this is the simplest no responsibility way. In other words, I’ve climbed through the corporate ranks, become an executive and every year, 1,000 people report to me or 5,000 people report to me and I make another 50 to $100,000. And I love people, but there’s always the percentage that work for you that you just want to run away and hide.

 

“Sales is one of the professions where you can make an embarrassing amount of money and have so little responsibility.” – Kent Billingsley · [06:09]

 

Kent Billingsley:

My point being here is, sales is one of the professions that you can make an embarrassing amount of money and have so little responsibility. That’s one of the risk side of it. Now, in many cases, the base salary side, depending, could be small or sometimes, I’ve helped salespeople get base salaries of 300,000 and sales managers, leaders, $500,000 a year base salary. So there are some big numbers out there.

 

Kent Billingsley:

But from a people responsibility standpoint, it’s really minimal compared to other types of occupations or locations inside companies. The risk around being an entrepreneur, here’s the thing I really want your audience to think of, is as a sales leader, you are an entrepreneur. You better be. But you better be entrepreneurial.

 

Kent Billingsley:

What I mean by that is not an entrepreneur that runs off and starts their own company or they start a business, an entrepreneur inside their company. I don’t mean that. What I mean is they need to think as, as a entrepreneur and be very entrepreneurial in understanding calculated risk, understanding creative problem solving, understand that most of sales is the mental game. It’s the strategy game. It’s the creation game. It’s the value proposition crafting game. That’s more the mental side than the number of calls, number of meetings, number of proposals.

 

The Roadmap to Having Success and Becoming a Millionaire in Sales Leadership · [07:38]

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. Okay. This is a massive leading question, because you used this word before we clicked record. Is there a roadmap to having success here? Is there a path, is there a strategy, is there a path that we can follow that’s previously been set out for us?

 

Kent Billingsley:

Yeah. I’ll talk about in more detail, but I want to give you some background of mine. I’ve been in the sales leadership role starting 40 years ago. I’ve come through the ranks. My last corporate role was a sales VP, a public company before I started my own company. Now, I’ve been an executive before that, I’ve helped run large corporations. But I took on a VP role because of equity and excitement of fast explosive growth startups.

 

Kent Billingsley:

The thing that I want your audience to know is the typical way that sales managers and sales leaders, and I’ll talk about the difference in a little bit as we have time, the difference is that in most cases that sales leaders, sales manager, they’re really operating in two modes. The first one is the least valuable, is they’re the process police. They look at reports and they look over their people and they helicopter them and they do all this stuff. I call that the department of redundancy department. There’s so little value because if you’ve hired the right people, you don’t need to manage them, okay? That’s the first thing.

 

Kent Billingsley:

But now the sales leadership role in too many cases is, they’re the glorified big hunter. They’re the glorified big salesperson. Well, that’s great because that’s going to help sell some deals, maybe some big ones, but two things happen. One of them is, as an individual, you can’t scale. How many big deals can the sales leader work? But even worse, the damage to the company and the damage to the team is that team never gets developed.

 

Kent Billingsley:

I’ve had many of fights in my role as the sales leader with my CEO and where they would say, “Why don’t you just go close the deal?” And I said, “Well, it’s going to take a little longer, but I’m going to teach my people how to do it.” Because if I can develop my people, I can scale this out. If I always do it, that doesn’t scale and I become the choke point or the barrier to explosive growth. If your audience can own that point I just made right there.

 

“When you are the system, you don’t scale. But when you can create the system, that’s the path, that’s the road map.” – Kent Billingsley · [09:47] 

 

Kent Billingsley:

When you are the system, you don’t scale. But when you can create the system, and that’s the path, that’s the road map. Well, what’s the system. There’s two systems that you have to worry about as age sales leader. As a sales manager, you’re probably worried about the CRM and the Salesforce automation system. That’s so tactical, that’s so down in the weeds, that’s not how you’re going to become rich and become a millionaire, multimillionaire in sales.

 

Kent Billingsley:

You step back and you say, you look at the sales organisation is a system. When I’m talking about that, you’re looking everything from culture to compensation, you’re looking from strategy to structure, you’re looking from templates and tools to technology, you’re looking from metrics to measurement, you’re looking at all the parts and how they fit together, so that’s the first thing that happens to be a whole chapter in my book.

 

“If you want your sales, your sales organisation, your team and your career to zing, you’ve got to go solve the problems that aren’t in the sales department.” – Kent Billingsley · [10:37]

 

Kent Billingsley:

But the broader thing is, you got to get outside the sales organisation. If you want your sales, your sales organisation, your team and yourself, your career to zing, you got to go solve the problems that aren’t in the sales department. If you want me to expand on that because I’ll share with that. [crosstalk [00:10:51]

 

Will Barron:

We’ll get inside in a second. There’s one thing to clarify here. Say someone is listening, so the show’s called the Sales Leadership Show. Both sales managers listen, sales leaderships listen. There’s tonnes of VPs that listen as well as, you more bog standard without offending them all sales manager.

 

The Difference Between a Sales Leader and a Sales Manager ·  [11:20] 

 

Will Barron:

If you want to become wealthy within this management role, perhaps you don’t want to… perhaps you’ve done 10 years on frontline sales. You want a new challenge. Perhaps management leadership is what you’re aiming towards. If you want the leverage to be able to earn the cash quick, or not necessarily quick, but earn more cash, do we need to skip over the management area of this quick as possible and get into that leadership role? Regardless of titles, do we need to get to a role where we’re not concerned with CRM, we’re concerned with building a machine?

 

Kent Billingsley:

What I’m proposing is skip that whole management piece completely. In other words, if you came through the ranks as an individual performer, that’s fine. I have people that come in from the outside that I can develop them as sales leaders, and they’ve never been in sales, and I don’t have to deprogram them. I don’t have to teach them how not to be a salesperson. How not to think like a salesperson, how not to act like a salesperson.

 

“In too many cases, the manager is sharing the how, and showing them how, and in many cases doing the how. The leader gives the why. This is why we act this way. This is why we behave this way. This is why we won’t work that opportunity. When you can articulate the why and get people to buy in on the why, you don’t have to manage them.” – Kent Billingsley · [12:26]

 

Kent Billingsley:

But don’t come in, don’t ever be a manager. Don’t ever be looking down, don’t ever be tactical, don’t ever be the leader of the process police. That just doesn’t help anyone at all. What’s the difference between a leader and a manager? That’s one of the big questions. And one of the things I share with teams and executives is, in too many cases, the manager is sharing the how, and showing them how, and in many cases doing the how.

 

Kent Billingsley:

The leader gives the why. This is why we act this way. This is why we behave this way. This is why we won’t work that opportunity. This is why this is the right strategy. This is why we won’t call on that particular firm. When you can articulate the why and get people to buy in on the why, you don’t have to manage them. If they never buy in on the why, you’ll be a manager for life and you and the team will never go really anywhere. It’ll be like taking a dirt road.

 

Kent Explains What He Meant By “Sales Leaders Should Think Outside the Sales Department” · [13:15]

 

Will Barron:

Okay. I think that was pretty clear. We need to get into the why, we need to get into the leadership positions, or we need to turn our management role into leadership position depending on the hierarchy of the company right. Okay, so with that said then, Kent, you mentioned thinking outside the organisation. What do you mean by that?

 

Kent Billingsley:

What’s the path that I’ve helped salespeople and sales leaders become millionaires and multi-millionaires is getting outside that sales department box and looking at around and saying, well, what’s the whys in how we target, how we package our services, how we do our messaging? What are our pricing strategies? Why do we call in certain markets and not others?

 

Kent Billingsley:

These are all those why questions and the fact that they never can answer it. Many of those are out side of the sales department. Those questions are asked and answered by leaders, they’re asked and answered by marketing. In many cases, they’re dictated by operations. The sales manager just goes, “Okay, well, that’s why we’re doing it this way. Then I’m going to let it go happen.”

 

Kent Billingsley:

I go back in my career and several when I got promoted to sales, mainly jerk, which I didn’t know at the time, but I liked that I was getting a big pay raise. The reason why was because I asked the questions. I go, I don’t think we’re targeting the right marketplace, or I think we have the wrong pricing strategies, or, you know what, I don’t want to call. I don’t want my team calling on that particular industry or something.

 

Kent Billingsley:

I was always focused on not only being more strategic than tactical, but I was also engaged in helping the organisation understand the path and position they should be on. That escalated me up to, as I’ve shared in my background, I’ve been a chief strategy officer, a chief marketing officer, a sales director of a billion dollar company, a tech services company. That was all because I got outside the box.

 

Kent Billingsley:

Now, having said that, I got to go back. I want to redress because I don’t want you to think, if you just do that, you got to be on the fast track to earning millions. I am an absolute zealot about mastering a craft of something. This is behind me, this is my one office. I have three offices in my home. This is not my library behind me. Downstairs is a study filled with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books. I’ve got another office over here that’s got bookshelves and there’s bookshelves in front of me.

 

“I’m a zealot about mastering the craft of something. Mastering the craft of complex sales. Mastering the craft of leadership. Mastering the craft of systems thinking. You must prove that you are a master of those disciplines and you continue to master them because they evolve.” – Kent Billingsley ·  [15:34]

 

Kent Billingsley:

I’m a zealot about mastering the craft of something. Mastering the craft of complex sales. Mastering the craft of leadership. Mastering the craft of systems thinking. I just want to position this properly for people to think they’re hearing me say, wow, if I don’t think sales and I get outside the box, I can go become a multi-millionaire. No, not exactly. You must prove that you are a master of those disciplines and you continue to master them because they evolve.

 

Kent Billingsley:

But then get outside your box because when you get outside the box… when I’d be pulled in the executive team meeting and I was just a sales manager and they started asking me questions, well, what’s your point about this or why do you want to do it this way? You got to back it up. You got to go into that board meeting and you’re just a manager and you got to walk the talk and say, well, let me explain why we’re going to do it this way versus this way. Here’s why this doesn’t work here. Here’s why we’ve been doing it this way in the past and here’s why it’s been failing.

 

Kent Billingsley:

You got to back it up. I never want, there’s a lot of presenters and speakers out there selling fluff and here’s the secret to becoming a millionaire. There’s not. It’s being intelligent and being more manager tactical, leadership strategic. But the next level that I want to take you to is holistic. You see the enterprise as a system, man, I’ll tell you what, if the audience gets this, they’re going to double their salary. If they can learn to apply what I’m going to give them right now, they’ll double their salary and triple their commissions.

 

“Holistic means you see the enterprise all sharing in the roles and responsibilities of creating demand, new client demand, and the enterprise works holistically as a system to help convert that demand into new contracts, clients and cash sales.” – Kent Billingsley · [17:08]

 

Kent Billingsley:

Holistic means you see the enterprise, all sharing in the roles and responsibilities of creating demand, new client demand, and the enterprise works holistically as a system to help convert that demand into new contracts, clients and cash sales. When you’ve got the whole enterprise working for you, this is how you quickly become a millionaire, multimillionaire in sales and sales leadership. This is how I have helped so many salespeople and sales leaders make huge commissions and just ridiculous amounts of money.

 

“If you’re in any job or position and you make 50 or $100,000 a year or in pounds, whatever, yeah, some year you might become a millionaire. Why 10 years or 20 years? Why don’t you focus on doing that in the next 24 months or 12 months?” – Kent Billingsley · [17:43]

 

Kent Billingsley:

Because here’s the other point. If you’re in any job or position and you make 50 or $100,000 a year or in pounds, whatever, yeah, some year you might become a millionaire. Why 10 years or 20 years? Why don’t you focus on doing that in the next 24 months or 12 months? As I shared in the last broadcast, I had multiple people working for me on teams in public companies at in sale making over a million dollars a year. I expect that, I want that, but I don’t want them to be like sales people. I want them to solve business problems. I want them to go in. I want them to help transform their clients operations through our products and services.

 

Kent Billingsley:

That’s the path. And so, let me summarise that because it’s so important. Manager is typically so tactical, a leader is more strategic, but that highest level of income and where you’re going to make a killing is when you’re more holistic and see the whole enterprise helping become part of the sales system.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Okay, so we will come back to the holistic side of things in a second and we’ll lead our way up to the practically here. One book comes to mind as you say that, Kent. Have you read the book, Outsiders?

 

Kent Billingsley:

I can’t say I have. Walk me through it. What’s the premise?

 

Will Barron:

The premise, that’s simple. It’s a lot of modern executive CEOs who have access in different industries. They are outsiders from the industry, so they come at the industry, they come at the problem with a different paradigm than what people, again, large enterprise companies, have spent just drilling in these legacy ideas over and over. I allocate assurance to this episode if anyone wants to take a look at it.

 

How Much of Kent’s Success Comes From Mastering Several Disciplines In and Out of Sales? · [19:28]

 

Will Barron:

But so with that then, how much… You give us a person anecdote of this as well. How much of your success comes from the fact that you’ve learned and mastered different disciplines, as opposed to really just focus perhaps on sales and sales leadership? How important is success in… How much more likely are you to have success in sales leadership when you have been an executive in marketing, when you have done quarter carrying sales roles in the past? How much of your success comes from having good business acumen in general, as opposed to just really specialising in one area?

 

Kent Billingsley:

It can, but then you’re going to be probably middle-aged, pretty old when you make the millions. I want you to make them early in your career, or hopefully when you’re younger and not getting into it. A couple things. One, when you talk of Outsiders, you just made me realise, that’s my day job. I bring different models into businesses. I’m bringing different paradigms and all that and in my book I explain how to do that.

 

“And I think there’s the analytical part of me that says, when something doesn’t work, I’ve got to know why. That’s not how sales people are wired. Sales people are wired, when I fail, I’ll just do it again until I succeed. It’s an absolutely flawed mental model.” – Kent Billingsley · [20:33]

 

Kent Billingsley:

You don’t need to have the experience in the other disciplines. What you really need to do is step back. And I think there’s the analytical part of me that says, when something doesn’t work, I’ve got to know why. That’s not how sales people are wired. Sales people are wired, when I fail, I’ll just do it again until I succeed. It’s an absolutely flawed mental model.

 

“Most sales leaders and their teams, they don’t need to work more deals, they need to lose less. They don’t need more leads, they need better quality leads. They don’t need more proposals going out the door, they need to win more proposals.” – Kent Billingsley · [20:54]

 

Kent Billingsley:

What I mean by that is most sales leaders and their teams, they don’t need to work more deals, they need to lose less. They don’t need more leads, they need better quality leads. They don’t need more proposals going out the door, they need to win more proposals. My brain, the way it works is, if a proposal would go out the door, we’re going to win it. We already know we’re gonna win it.

 

“My mental model is not against the competition or the market. My mental model in measurement is against perfection. Not how do I do more, how do we do less?” – Kent Billingsley · [21:50]

 

Kent Billingsley:

As a sales leader, my last corporate role in a public organisation as a sales VP over three years, this is software sales, cutthroat software sales, CABM, [CAAA [00:21:28], HP, IBM, competitors. Our win rate over three years, close to 36 months, typically the win rate’s 25, 35%. Our win rate for three years was 98%, 96%. We won 48 out of 50 contracts over a three-year period. My mental model is not against the competition or the market. My mental model in measurement is against perfection. Not how do I do more? How do we do less?

 

Kent Billingsley:

As a sales leader, you’ve got to have that mental model. You’ve got to think like that, that we don’t need to make more calls, or we don’t need more proposals going out the door, because that doesn’t scale. The classic sales and sales more for more. If you need more sales, make more calls. Those old paradigms are really stale. It’s all about ratios and conversions.

 

Kent Billingsley:

Answering your question, whenever something didn’t work would step back and go, “You know what, it wasn’t a sales failure. Marketing didn’t support us.” Or, “We didn’t bring in operations early enough.” Or, “We didn’t have the right targeting.” I didn’t need all those disciplines. I’m talking about when I was in my 20s and I had about an 85% win rate for close to five years and outsourcing and tech sales.

 

Kent Billingsley:

I always analysed said, well, what could we have done differently? What other department wasn’t included? I didn’t understand operations, I didn’t understand delivery. I didn’t understand all the services. I could barely speak tech. But I knew enough to say something was wrong. How do I go fix it? This was as an individual performer.

 

Kent Billingsley:

As a sales leader now I stepped up, and here’s the thing I want for your sales managers to become sales leaders and make a fortune, is then I looked at the whole system. And then I had the role and responsibility to go fix things in the system and say marketing, the brochures are great, I love what you written, but nobody reads it and you don’t even understand, so stop it. Here’s what we’re going to be saying, here’s what we’ve got to articulate, here’s the message that we have to craft.

 

Kent Billingsley:

By the way, if you don’t start speaking in value propositions, nothing you put in marketing has any value to me or my team. That’s the-

 

Will Barron:

Let me just interject here-

 

Kent Billingsley:

… sales leadership… Okay, go ahead.

 

How Sale Leaders Can Challenge the Status Quo and Spark Changes in an Organisation · [24:07]

 

Will Barron:

… in a second, Kent, because this brings us on to like the next thing I wanted to talk about before we get back to this holistic view of success internally and externally. I feel like you’re… I’m going to [inaudible [00:23:58] slightly. You’re clearly very intelligent. You’re clearly charismatic and charming. How without those traits naturally, or whether you develop them over time, how do we start to change the status quo?

 

Will Barron:

Because it’s one thing to say to marketing, hey, that’s bullshit. We don’t need that. Get rid of it. Give us something else. And it’s one thing for you to say and they go, okay Kent, well, what’s next mate? It’s another thing if I say and they go, get lost. Go back over to your sales office and don’t come back over here. Is there a framework? Is there a process? What do we need to do to change the status quo when we want to make these sweeping changes?

 

“Because this game is all about speed. How fast can you convert these contacts into contracts and clients?” – Kent Billingsley · [24:46]

 

Kent Billingsley:

The way to what I call optimise. You optimise your sales, your revenue, your profits using the resources you have, without hiring more sales people, without spending more time and money. Because this game is all about speed. How fast can you convert these contacts into contracts and clients? It’s a game all about speed. Well, there’s four phases I’ve identified working with clients, working with VPs of sales and transforming corporations.

 

Kent Billingsley:

That first phase is what I call revenue ready. That revenue ready is the framing of what’s you’re trying to solve in the marketplace with your company. Then the model, the business model, whichever paradigm model that you use solves the problem differently or better or faster. Then what are the revenue streams, and these can become traditional sales, organic streams or non-traditional organic streams doesn’t matter. But what are those that solve the problem to make the money? That’s revenue ready, and every company must go through that process. I don’t care if you’re a startup, you’re a multi-billion dollar firm. You got to go back, because like one in 1000 companies is revenue ready?

 

Kent Billingsley:

The next thing that you move into, now Will, let me explain how the world typically works. Once a company has a product or service and they roll out a new product or service, they just throw it over into go to market sales and market. All right, run. Here’s the phone book. Go get them tiger, and marketing just starts social mediaing everything, digital dumps.

 

“Most companies, the majority of companies and almost like 99.9% mistarget the right clients and opportunities. I call it a perfect client profile. You absolutely must know and it’s not the demographics but it’s the psychographics and the characteristics.” – Kent Billingsley · [26:22]

 

Kent Billingsley:

There’s a phase in there that everybody ships or they cheat. And this is the phase where it sets up sales and marketing for success, or it sets up sales and marketing for waste of time activities and torture. And I call this market ready. And there four really important sales principles. There’s hundreds but there’s four critical ones you have to have. The first one is you’re targeting. Most companies, majority companies and almost like 99.9% mistarget the right clients and opportunities. I call it a perfect client profile. You absolutely must know and it’s not the demographics but it’s the psychographics and the characteristics, there’s three parts to that.

 

“98% of all complex sales get smaller, lower margin and weaker at the end of the sale. Because the sales leader and the sales people and even the CEO ends up giving things away, lowering the price or weakening the terms to get the deal. They buy the business, they don’t win the business.” – Kent Billingsley · [26:53] 

 

Kent Billingsley:

You’ve got to know who you’re targeting and why, I’m back to why again. And then from the targeting is how is your company put together packages that engage early and often with your clients and get them so excited and then they buy and scale and deals get bigger. 98% of all complex sales get smaller, lower margin and weaker at the end of the sale. Because the sales leader and the sales people and even the CEO ends up giving things away, lowering the price or weakening the terms to get the deal. They buy the business, they don’t win the business.

 

Kent Billingsley:

And so now what are the packages that people aren’t going to argue with you on price, how they’ve been bundled so that people are excited and say, well I want that. I’ll pay you that price. And then number three. The third principle in there that you have to have is the messaging. There’s a lot going on in messaging. The simple way I can say it on the time we have is, you have to be able to articulate compelling value propositions, whether they’re 3.6 or 9.

 

“If you’re in B2B, you’ve got to talk in value propositions. That is the language of business.” – Kent Billingsley · [27:29]

 

Kent Billingsley:

If you’re in B2B, you’ve got to talk in value propositions. That is the language of business. And if you don’t know that language again, that’s what you’ve got to go master the craft of that language. Now there’s other things too that have to go on in your messaging. But everything from your elevator pitch to your email scripts, to your pre one pagers, your presentations, everything should be centred around that core value proposition that links back to the FMP.

 

Kent Billingsley:

All right. Now the fourth part, fourth principle and market ready now is what’s called pricing strategies. And most companies have a product or service and they have one price. That’s really a huge mistake. That’s a best practise from the 1980s. What you really should have is you should have some things you can give away free so people can test and try and engage with very little risk. Then on up through a chain or a spectrum, I call it. I call it a pricing wheel. Different price points for people to buy in for your products or services. Those are called multiple or tiered pricing strategies. Those four things make the biggest transition for sales and marketing because they turn what would normally be marketing and sales activities into marketing a sales production.

 

“67% of sales and marketing is a complete waste of time, money and resources because the company was never market-ready.” – Kent Billingsley · [28:45]

 

Kent Billingsley:

67% of sales and marketing as a complete waste of time, money and resources because the company was never market ready. The real number’s 82% but nobody believes me so I lowered the 67%, sorry. But that’s what sets up. And then when we get into marketing. Marketing is now a system within itself which is accountable for demand. Demand is now one of the things that’s so important is the number and quality elites. They’re not totally responsible but they’re accountable. Sales now becomes accountable for the conversion. They’re not totally responsible but they’re totally accountable for changing.

 

Kent Billingsley:

Two more areas in what I call go to market phase, there’s marketing sales now is your strategic partners, your alliances, your relationships, just as you and I were talking before we started this call. What’s a partnership that we could put together and bring even more value to the marketplace. Every company should have a mix of formal and informal strategic partnerships. The next one, the fourth principle. And this is the one that is just so broken in so many companies, especially if you’re in complex sales, it’s called pipeline management. That in itself is a misnomer and it’s flaw.

 

Kent Billingsley:

And so people are spending fortunes on these CRMs and investing on CRMs. I think, well I have a system that’s not a system, it’s a reporting mechanism and it’s a repository for most information about 98% is stale, historical and flaw. That’s in the CRM. And you’re going to build your company and you’re going to build your success off that. Well then why are your forecast about 90% inaccurate? Because that information is flaw. I call it pipeline acceleration.

 

“The whole focus of the pipeline should be centered around how do you go from a contact to a contract as fast as possible, bringing value at every step.” – Kent Billingsley · [30:32]

 

Kent Billingsley:

The whole focus of the pipeline should be sent around. How do you go from a contact to a contract as fast as possible, bringing value at every step. Those are the four principles sales organisation, our marketing sales, your strategic partnerships and then your pipeline management. And the last final phase to optimising sales growth and how sales leaders can become millionaires quickly and sales people, is what’s called dominate or own the market. And then own the market that’s talent, acquisition and optimization. And that as a sales leader, you must be hiring the best talent possible in sales.

 

“Talent optimization, competitive dominance, this is where you actually manage and control your competition without ever using their name or without ever bashing them.” – Kent Billingsley · [31:09]

 

Kent Billingsley:

And I’ll just say this, if you hire talent, they don’t want to be managed and they’ll turn away, you won’t keep them so that’s why management is so flawed. Talent optimization, competitive dominance, this is where you actually manage and control your competition without ever using their name or without ever bashing them. I explain how to exactly do that because your buyer needs you to, it’s counterintuitive but your buyer needs you to.

 

Kent Billingsley:

And then the third principle in that is what I call blueprinting optimization. That is where in the chapter that I talk about, how do you constantly look at evolving your business model, the FMP you’re looking for new opportunities, you’re now over time bringing more products and services, and you’re getting rid of others as over time. Two many people sit on a product and they sit on a service and they milk it for years. They never create multiple revenues strains. They never evolve their model. They stay static and then they look up one day and COVID hits and they’re out of business and that’s a disaster. That’s the roadmap. That is the roadmap to optimising growth, optimising sales and it’s not just a bigger, better contract higher margins faster it’s also this thing all about quality.

 

“The old days of starting, running, growing a business and making sales and hoping you’ll be successful someday, that’s last century, leave it, run away. If that’s how your company thinks and acts, you know what? Re-evaluate your career. Where you want to be today is on this roadmap that I’ve just shared, which is all about creating wealth for your clients, creating wealth for your company and creating wealth for your employees, including sales leaders.” – Kent Billingsley · [32:42]

 

Kent Billingsley:

How do you generate the most revenue sales possible? And so I’m hoping that your listeners, sales people, sales manager, sales leaders and even you CEOs are listening to this. That should be your construct for your company. The old days of starting running, growing a business and making sales and hoping you’ll be successful someday, that’s last century, leave it, run away. If that’s how your company thinks an act, you know what? Re-evaluate your career. Where you wan to be today is on this roadmap that I’ve just shared, which is all about creating wealth for your clients, creating wealth for your company and creating wealth for your employees, including sales leaders.

 

How to Effectively Communicate Change to People Who Are Against Change Within an Organisation · [33:07]

 

Will Barron:

Kent, you might have indirectly answered the question with that. The answer to this question might be a roadmap. How do we communicate this or how do we create that status quo change? Perhaps we’re in a large enterprise organisation, perhaps everyone has this legacy thinking they don’t want a change. Perhaps there’s some jobs worse within the organisation who just want to come to work no matter what position they are in within the hierarchy. And they just don’t want to change, they want to get their base salary and they want to leave.

 

Will Barron:

They don’t have perhaps the incentive that sales leadership, sales management have or the opportunities that these individuals have that are listening to the show. How do we communicate with these individuals that we want to change things? How do we communicate that the status quo has to shift for everyone to do better? Is the answer to come at them with a planned roadmap?

 

Kent Billingsley:

So the first thing is you bring up the point, I talk about it in the second chapter of the book. If you don’t have the will, no way matters or any roadmap will do. So, first of all you have to have the will. You have to have the will whether you’re the individual performer or you’re the leader, the sales leader or the CEO to say, you know what? We might be fine right now but if we don’t change, if we don’t transform, if we don’t have initiatives to be different and better and follow a different path, that path of run, start, run and grow a business is a failed, flawed path. There are no guarantees and the results are so poor today.

 

“Every point in time, someone in a role, in a position, or a company is going to be put out of business.” – Kent Billingsley · [34:51]

 

Kent Billingsley:

But now if you get on a path to optimising and understanding how to create wealth, that’s a different path but it’s because you have to do things that are not comfortable. And so everybody at some point in time and because I’ve had half my career last century, half this half my career this century 20 years and 20 years. Every point in time, someone in a role in a position or a company is going to be put out of business. Everybody in a title or a role or company at some point in time is going to be put out of business.

 

Kent Billingsley:

So the most important thing your audience can do is say, you know what? I need to be working on change right now. I need to be working on changing my competencies, not my skills. I need to make sure if I’m a sales manager, I’ve got to start thinking leadership, I’ve got to start I thinking strategically and holistically. I’ve got to work with my CEO and my executives to help bring transformation because this COVID and as horrific as it is and in my state, my state the Texas just announced we’re opening. No mask, business is open let’s rock and roll. Some people freaked out over that in other states that are trying to lock everything down.

 

Kent Billingsley:

But the problem with that is too many business leaders aren’t going to do anything different than they did before. The restaurants that only had walk-in traffic, they’re not going to add revenue streams. The manufacturers that only had one product and now they can sell it, they’re not going to start to look at additional revenue streams expanding their model. I want sales people, that couldn’t call on companies, that couldn’t go inside businesses they’re just going to go back to calling on businesses when they should have learned how do I make sales and I can’t go in the company?

 

“If you have the will and your company doesn’t have the will to change or transform itself, reevaluate your career, look around.” – Kent Billingsley · [36:30]

 

Kent Billingsley:

How do I make sales when I could never meet with the person face to face? That’s how you scale. That’s how you can produce 10X, 20X and generate all kinds of revenue, which hopefully then you’re compensated in commissions, that’s how you make a lot of money. So you bring up a great point. If you have the will and your company doesn’t have the will to change or transform itself, reevaluate your career, look around. And I’ve done that.

 

Kent Billingsley:

I’ve had frank talks with my executives and I said, I’ve been here, we’ve been trying this, we’re not willing to change, I’m not sure I fit anymore. Oh, no, you can’t leave, you’re our number one producer. I go, yeah but every year it gets harder. You’re not making my job easier. Well, what do we have to do? Okay. Well, if we’re willing to change, let’s talk otherwise I’m going down the road. I’m not here to make you rich, I’m here to make us all rich. Is that too frank? Is that too intense for your audience or?

 

Will Barron:

Look, I’ve been in this situation. So this is before social selling was a term. And I hate the term, even though I do a a show called the Social Selling Show. But I hate the term but it exists. People sell over LinkedIn, people get attention over that, over social media. The last medical device company I worked for, I don’t know where they are now. They were pretty backwards. They would not allow me to share a link to our even just pricing or product information, or there was loads of content that they would create amazing world class industry leading content for surgeons.

 

Will Barron:

They would not allow me to just give them the DVD with the videos and the training on. We would have to go for this long drawn out process. At which point the surgeon we go, I don’t want it. I’ll just Google it instead. So we had all this opportunity to get in front of the surgeon to have the logo of the brand and the cameras in the operating room all over the training. They would’ve been literally learning on our products and they all wanted to, everyone wanted to put down these email pay walls, and no one wanted to share shifts over social media.

 

Will Barron:

Clearly the world’s changed now. I’m not saying that I kind of ahead of the curve. But I had a few meetings with sales management, sales leadership to try and convince them otherwise to say, hey, look if we start putting this forward, everyone’s going to have to copy us anyway. And of course the pricing and that side of things, I printed off, give it to a theatre manager. Of course, they pass it around and other reps have it from over organisations. And so it was a false [inaudible [00:38:34] of all of this was working on in the first place. That it was secret and there was value in the secrecy of it.

 

Will Barron:

But I failed to change the status quo here. And so that was one of the reasons why I left the company and moved to different pastures. And so there is real value in reassessing the environment that we’re in and make sure that the environment that we’re in is going to allow us to have success. And I want to come back to one thing. We’ve got quite practical there, I want to go back to high level and perhaps high level thinking here and we’ll wrap up the show with this Kent. When we’re talking about thinking holisticically about the system that we’re building here, it’s going to make everyone wealthy and it’s going to add tonnes of value to the marketplace.

 

How To Ask The Right Questions and Keep Clear of The Wrong Questions When Challenging the Status Quo · [39:30]

 

Will Barron:

Clearly, a lot of this is the ability to ask good questions. It’s going beyond that why do we need to do things. It’s perhaps asking why three or four times to get to real the source of the issue or the source of the problem, the source of the value that we can add? How do we know whether we are asking good questions that will hopefully lead to something with some experimentation? How do we know when we’re asking bullshit questions that are just wasting everyone’s time and look all fancy and executive and corporate and leadership like, but aren’t, don’t have any real substance to them?

 

Kent Billingsley:

Yeah. The answer is, it’s so interesting you’re making me think where do those questions reside. As I wrote my book and from McGraw Hill the editors, senior editors and others they came back and go, “Man we love all the content.” “Can you put in some action plans?” “Can you put in some steps and things to take people from the theory and case studies and all that to what they could go do now.” And that’s what I put at the end of each chapter is here are the questions that that you’ve got to ask and you have to pick the subject.

 

Kent Billingsley:

So like the fundamental marketplace problem you say, okay, so what’s the fundamental marketplace problem? The first thing that’s really important and you bring up a great point. You have to understand the question. And so working with a team earlier this week, we were talking through FMP, they got their teams together, they’re all focused on this and they’re asking the question. I said, don’t start in here asking yourselves about your own fundamental marketplace problem talk through, what does that mean? What are examples of other companies out there? And then they were thinking, oh, like Google and Amazon. I said, yeah.

 

“Part of asking questions is understanding the context of the question.” – Kent Billingsley · [41:10]

 

Kent Billingsley:

Think of those companies that everybody knows and ask, what was their FMP that they were solving? What was the thing that Apple was solving? What was the FMP? So that you start to get your mind thinking in those terms. Now we’ll bring it back inside and ask ourselves, what’s the fundamental marketplace problem that we’re solving and what’s the angle that we’re bringing to it? Like how you asked that question. Part of asking questions is understanding the context of the question.

 

Kent Billingsley:

And I sit in a lot of meetings, I observe a lot of people, they feel good about the checklist and I’m going, okay, so you answered 10 questions but you don’t have any more insight. You’ve gathered a lot more debt. This is marketing. When I transform marketing departments, I hope your sales leaders appreciate this. When I go and I listen to marketing departments, I go, oh my God, it’s the Smithsonian Institute of data

 

Leveraging Data to Drive Creative Marketing Campaigns and Better Quality Products · [41:39]

 

Will Barron:

Data. But I find when I do the small amount of consulting that I do, it’s data, great. We can work with that we can see trends. And then it’s art, which has nothing. Clearly there’s a creative element which can add value to a product or service. Nike trainers are cool. And that cool factor is what sells them. But I don’t find clearly the answers in the middle, isn’t it? It’s to pull on the data and make stuff cool, exciting, valuable from that as opposed to, I find a lot of marketing VPs fancy art individual individuals who couldn’t sell anything if they had to.

 

“Instead of coming back from a sales call with all this information and data, come back with the insights. Why are they doing it that way? How have they tried to do it in the past? Why is the competitor position this way? How have things failed in the past that they’re looking today? Come back with insights versus more data and information.” – Kent Billingsley · [42:41]

 

Kent Billingsley:

Well, it’s so interesting and the real value is, so what does the data mean? Give me the insights. Because I came into sales to become a chief marketing officer, I always looked at it through how can the sales people use the data? And if I can’t answer that, I brought no value. Now having said, I’ll share with you because I’m thinking of your audience sales leaders. How do you make your sales people’s calls better? Instead of coming back from a sales call with all this information and data, come back with the insights. Why are they doing it that way? How have they tried to do it in the past? Why is the competitor position this way? How have things failed in the past that they’re looking? Come back with insights versus more data and information that’s back to CRM.

 

Kent Billingsley:

CRMs are filled with the fun facts and historical information and lots of data, but no insight. No insights around strategy, competitive positioning, all those things that are of high value. And so back to answer your question. As you’re asking these questions let’s talk about targeting. As we talk through and we have to answer for example, psychographics. A lot of people don’t know what psychographics are.

 

“As a sales leader, sales manager and marketing person you absolutely must know what psychographics are and how to use them.” – Kent Billingsley · [43:27]

 

Kent Billingsley:

As a sales leader, sales manager and marketing person you absolutely must know what psychographics are and how to use them. Your first question should be what is the number and psychographic that our perfect client profile has? What are they experiencing in their feelings that trigger certain thoughts or actions and that unleashes the easiest way to make money. Sometimes the street language is, hot buttons. I’m not sure I like that. I want to understand why buyers buy. See I’m back to the why. I’m always on the why question. And if I know the why I can figure out the how and I don’t have to worry about the what.

 

Kent Billingsley:

Sales people and so many sales managers live in the what world and then they get into the how world a little bit. You’ve got to be in the why world. But I hope that answers your question is that you’ve got to go… And I try to do this in my book at the end of each chapter. Here’s five to 10 questions that will keep you on point because you don’t need to ask a thousand questions, you need to get answers to a few. Those answers then set you up for the next step in the sequence.

 

Kent Billingsley:

And that’s the other thing about a roadmap is, it’s not okay, you do this or you do this or do this, or do this. No. It’s you do this then you do this, then you do this. That insight will lead you to the answer to the next question, that question will lead you to the next question that now you can put it all together and you can unlock the puzzle or unlock the wealth. That is how sales leaders and salespeople can become wealthiest the fastest, is they can navigate through those questions, gather insights and make fast decisions. That is so critical. I’m glad you brought that question out. That’s a great question.

 

Parting Thoughts: Kent’s Book, How to Contact Him, and The E2M Roadmap · [45:15]

 

Will Barron:

I appreciate it. A good question about asking great questions. With that Kent, I’m conscious of time here. We’ll have you back on to dive into this a little bit in more detail mate. But with that, tell us more about the book because we touched on it throughout this episode. Tell us more about the book where we can find it and where we can find more about you as well?

 

Kent Billingsley:

I don’t know if this will show up but if you can look on here, you can actually see those phases. And I go from revenue ready, to market ready, go to market the and the on the market. Amazon, this is shipping in the UK around March 6th or 9th, you can get it as Me Book, an audiobook will come out later. But this is the roadmap. And if you just take out the word entrepreneur and put sales leader or salesperson to millionaire, this is the roadmap. Because everything that I do inside companies always links back to how’s the company make money? How does it make sales? And this is it. So Amazon or your local retailers might have it.

 

Kent Billingsley:

But here’s the point I want to make is, get this, read it, take it to your CEO and then talk about how do you implement this in your company and get on, I call it a nickname, a E2M roadmap. This is how you optimise sales wealth and creating profits. Reach out to me. Go to my blogs, go to my YouTube videos but reach out and we can talk and reach, go through you. We can talk about how we can get this implemented inside their company. Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff [inaudible [00:46:31] to all that, the book of course and where we can find it over at salesleadership.org in the show notes. Tell me that Kent, I want to thank you for your time again on. I want to thank you for your expertise and all this and sharing with us. And thank you for joining us on the Sales Leadership Show.

 

Kent Billingsley:

I certainly enjoy. I hope I’ve helped a lot?

Selling Made Simple Academy™

Master-Modern-B2B-Sales-med-1-p8sixn5jkxaw8mj85nzoywkabxfxjq3l0drokw4woo

Make selling simple and win more deals or your money back.

Beat your quota every time

slsm-success 1

Want to become motivated and beat your sales quota with a simple selling tweak?

Browse by catagory:

SALESMAN WEEKLY EMAIL