Meet Host, Mary Grothe
Mary Grothe is a former #1 MidMarket B2B Sales Rep who after selling millions and breaking multiple records, formed House of Revenue®, a Denver-based firm of fractional Revenue Leaders who currently lead the marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps departments for 10 companies nationwide. In the past year, they've helped multiple 2nd stage growth companies between $5M - $20M, on average, double their MRR within 10 months, resulting in an average ROI of 1,454% and an average annual revenue growth eclipsing $3.2 million.
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Mary Grothe: Hey everyone, this is Mary Grothe — Founder and CEO — and you're listening to the Revenue Radio® podcast brought to you by House of Revenue®. Each week, we'll talk about common revenue challenges and how to get past them, share real-world experiences, and get a glimpse into my life as a CEO scaling my own business. If you're a struggling entrepreneur, or just an entrepreneur looking to be inspired, this podcast is for you. I'll give you honest, unfiltered, and practical insights into growing your business and getting past your revenue plateau.
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I'm loving 2022, off to a great start. Everything feels so good at work with our team. It feels great at home. Everything's in line. I'm loving the start to this year. Today, I'm bringing encouragement for you around your sales process and sales playbook. Internally at House of Revenue®, we have been discussing ways to redefine and further enhance our processes for our clients in building their sales playbook.
Things have changed - buyers change, companies change, the market changes. If you're using the same sales playbook, or even the same construct of a playbook that you put in place last year, two years ago, or a decade ago, you probably need to take a look at it. Ensure that your sales team, or smaller entrepreneurs out there who are doing sales themselves like me. FYI, it's time to look at how we can sell to our buyers in 2022. I guarantee it has changed.
The market has shifted significantly. The way I used to do sales doesn't look very similar. Sure, core foundational sales principles will never change, but I'm not really talking about foundational training or sales psychology. I'm talking about tactical execution of how you show up, what the process is, and how you get it done. I'm going to share two examples today that recently stood out to me why companies need to reconsider their sales process and playbook.
I switched payroll and HR services earlier in 21. Started the process in the summer. I was flabbergasted at how segmented and fragmented the sales process was. Then, just last week, one of our new clients asked me to look at a technology provider to see if they would be a good technology to add to their tech stack. We're partners of about 10 or 12 technologies. This isn't one of them. We even looked at PEOs. We needed to have an introductory conversation. In both instances, I was shopping for a new payroll and HR company.
When I was shopping for HR and Payroll about six months ago, every one of the companies had a multi-step process that was maddening. Then just a week ago, I was looking at this new technology. I went to the website and hit demo request, request a quote, get in touch with sales, or whatever the call-to-action name is on the button. The process of having a BDR qualify the inbound lead, which was me with a generic email that was sent before we scheduled your discovery call. I need to know this basic information.
Sure, I understand that you're trying to qualify me. You need that to be a step. Fine. But on some of them, it took a day or two to get an email response. I just thought that my demo request went into a black hole. A day or two goes by. I get an email. We received your inquiry. Here's a form to fill out. I filled out the form, and then it was hit or miss. It could be another day, two days, three days before I heard a response. I filled out all sorts of information six months ago. I mean, down to the number of employees, the states that I was in, who we were currently with, the different modules or features functionality that I needed breaking it into.
I needed time tracking and benefits assistance and who my carriers were. I mean, I filled out a massive form without even talking to anybody and then waited days to hear back. It's like, "come on, company. I want to spend money." What happened to the day when a salesperson just got a lead. Pick up the phone and call them or immediately send an email saying here's my link to schedule a meeting. The amount of friction we have in that initial process on inbound leads is maddening.
Six months ago, finding the right payroll and HR provider took a while. We ended up going with a company that has great technology. I will tell you what stood out (to me) the most - the salesperson. After I went through that stupid BDR process, I waited a day or two to get the qualification. The actual AE or account executive salesperson who reached out to me to schedule the meeting was exceptional. He was so fast. His follow-through was impeccable.
Also, he didn't waste my time. He knew I used to work in the industry. He qualified that ahead of time, rather than building the standard discovery meeting process and waiting a week to schedule a demo with a sales or solutions engineer. Then wait for a proposal and close conversation, which can take four to six weeks. He knew I was a knowledgeable buyer because he researched me. He qualified that when we jumped on the call, guess what? We were able to do the discovery demo and talk about pricing in a 45-minute meeting. Three sales process steps were just done in a 45-minute meeting. That's the guy who ended up getting my business.
Yes, he was great. Yes, they are also a great company with amazing technology and the right interface, integrations, and setup we were looking for. But he was fantastic. I was coming. He was competing against another company with great technology, great integrations, and insurance plans, but the rep there was terrible. The rep took his call like many salespeople who have to sell virtually from their houses. It was a Zoom meeting. He didn't have a zoom background on. He was literally in a swinging hammock chair in his apartment with his laptop on his lap, looking up at his nostrils. I wanted to vomit from the motion of him swinging in his chair while trying to do a discovery meeting.
Two minutes, maybe five minutes into the meeting, he has to run across the room, ends up tripping because his laptop is about to die, and he needs to plug it in. At least the swinging stopped. But he went over to a coffee table again with a laptop sitting shofar low. The angle coming up at this man was the most unattractive and distracting. His filler words were terrible. The quality of questions he asked, like, what are we even doing here on this meeting, was so bad that I wanted to ask for a new sales rep. But because I have knowledge in payroll and HR, I felt educated as a buyer. I kept the process going because I really wanted to get side-by-side quotes.
The first impression of that company was absolutely terrible. Then I'm sure you can imagine how good this guy's follow-up was. It wasn't. I was chasing him down for the next steps, which is just so unprofessional. So even though both companies had that super clunky, awkward BDR process where they're just trying to qualify me and taking days to do so before I can even ever get a meeting scheduled to talk with a salesperson, one salesperson really went above and beyond. He was exceptional. We ended up doing business with him. That was six months ago.
Last week, I told you I had a client who asked me to look at technology to evaluate it before doing their kickoff. I still haven't heard back, just so we're clear. It's now been a week. I submitted a form, a demo request form online. A day and a half later, I got an email response asking me to complete the inquiry for baseline level qualification, which I did. I don't know, that was now, four or five days ago. I have nothing, nothing, people. By the way, that service is not cheap. I mean, we're talking about $15,000 to $25,000, sale and annual sale. They can't even respond.
I know that those are woes typically of larger companies. However, as a CEO or as a leader, I'm going to ask you to check what your current process is, especially on inbound leads. Do you know how hard your marketing department works for those? Then, if your reps are behaving and acting like this, it's time for a change. The other part that might be time for a change is looking back at full cycle salespeople. This fragmented approach of all these people needs to be involved and qualify the buyer. It's just super annoying, and it's taking too much time. And quite honestly, it makes me not even want to work with that company.
As we head into a new year. I am going to give you a very simplified winning formula. Of course, I say simplified. Usually, I talk too much, and I talk too fast. I put too much into what I say. So let's talk about what you can do with your own sales process and your own sales playbook. I can't say anything in a simple fashion, so I apologize in advance, but I really hope this is good.
Here's how you build a sales playbook. First, you have to go to your go-to-market strategy and brand strategy before you have any business writing a sales playbook. Why? Because you have to intimately know who your customer is. Step number one, who is the ICP, which stands for Ideal Client Profile? Within that client profile or customer profile, who are the individual buyers? So the title, the type of buyer, let me break this down. The client is the company, the buyer is the human, you should identify your top three to five ICPs, or maybe you only have one.
At House of Revenue®, we have one main ICP, but we typically serve three key industries. We probably serve 20 plus industries in our time, but we have three that are the majority of our clients. I have one ICP who's a CEO between 2 and 20 million in revenue. They're typically in professional services, SaaS or CPG, or manufacturing. Those are the three industries that we typically serve. I can put 80 plus percent of our clients in one of those three buckets, if not more, with that.
I also love that revenue marker of between 2 and 20 million because that's where we have the greatest impact. They're small enough, yet, they're big enough to accomplish what we need to. They're truly ready for scale. Those are more of the demographics, and psychographics would be the lifestyle characteristics, meaning they've hit a revenue plateau. That's something that we look for. They've hit a revenue plateau. They're struggling. They cannot figure out how to get to the next level, but they truly are ready, willing, and able to scale.
Ready, meaning they've got the mentality for it. They understand it's going to be difficult. That it's going to take time. They have to do it the right way. "Willing" means they have everybody on board. We're willing to do what it takes, meaning we're going to have to make decisions today that might be difficult, decisions that we've never been brave enough to make in the past concerning data, people, and processes. The "able" means access to capital. It means access to time, energy resources to scale. We look at ready, willing, and able to scale. That's the lifestyle characteristic of our ICP. It has to be a CEO. So, there you go. That's our ICP.
Then I can carve that into the three industries that we serve. Then, the buyer is the CEO. We only serve the buyer. The CEO is our buyer. With that, we'll talk to a CRO or Head of Sales or Head of Marketing from time to time, but it's super, super rare. We don't build any of our marketing or attraction methods, use any language that has anything to do with these other buyer ties because that's not who we want to attract into the funnel. From time to time, we do, and they're great. We talk to them and quickly get their CEO engaged in the process.
Step number one for you is the ICP - the ideal client or customer profile? That should be the company. Then who are the people that buy from you when you're selling to larger companies? If you're on the B2B side, some of you might be B2C. You should realize you have more than one buyer. So even though you have someone who signs it, who are the other people inside the company that decides.
If you're selling to a consumer, who are the other people in their lives - is it a spouse, a child, a significant other? Who else is aiding in that decision or influencing the decision? Those buyer types are humans. Then, we build a profile, a persona around that buyer. ICP, the client or the customer buyer, the type of human that they are inside of that company. If it's a B2B, then it's your buyer. This is the exercise you have to understand at the most intimate and granular level, the day in the life of that buyer.
What are their pains, problems, and challenges? What is going on in their world that they would care for one ounce of a second to meet with you? What is the pain problem or challenge they are experiencing that they are interested in solving, removing, or making better? Why would they want to, and what are their options? Who are your competitors? What are the options out there that they have? Why now? What have they done in the past to address or fix the problem or challenge? What worked and what didn't work? Who else will be a part of the process to evaluate vendors and make a decision?
You need to understand all these components of your buyer - when can you build a true buyer persona, what motivates them, the types of language and words they use, their speed tonality, their style of personality, understand everything about your buyer. From there, you can build your sales playbook. Well, these should be the first two components at the top of your sales playbook.
Once you know your ICPs and your buyer personas, you can map out profiling and prospecting. Where do we find these types of buyers? You need to map out inbound and outbound efforts. Inbound, traditionally done by your marketing team, you can look at the different attraction methods like social media, paid media, organic media, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, events, sponsorships, and traditional advertising. Those are ways to reach those buyers and pull them into your funnel.
You can also engage your customer success team for referrals so that you can create the SQL, a lead coming through customer success from a client who's referring someone else. If you're a B2C brand, you can look at ways of building customer advocacy, with hashtags, incentives, share buttons, incentivizing for reviews, or encouraging reviews. Then you can create more of that word of mouth. You can even use influencers to talk about your product. There are ways that you can draw people in from an inbound method.
From a salesperson inbound method, you could do that through networking, social media, other levels of influence, referrals from partner networks to create that steady flow of leads. When we talk about outbound, we need to do profiling before prospecting. We use LinkedIn, websites, and available information through social media and other public channels. You're learning about these people, you're acquiring information about them, then you're connecting and doing that customer outreach. What you're trying to do here is just create a conversation. You're not trying to book a meeting. "Is Tuesday or Wednesday better?" You're just asking a question to get them talking.
From there, you can move them in through the funnel. You need to have your basic payout qualifiers when you get the discovery conversation. Do they have the budget? Who's in charge of authority? Do they have a need in the timeline? Understanding basic BANT will help you in qualification. From there, you should be digging into deeper-level discovery based on each of the different ICP and unique buyer persona combinations. You should draft 10 to 15 questions per unique type of buyer questions that get the response. You need to know if you have BANT qualification, budget authority, need, timeline and can progress them and move them through to the next step.
You have to understand the pains, problems, and challenges they have and what they've done in the past to address or fix them. What worked, what didn't work, you need to know who else they're considering? Who are you competing against? You have to understand the timeline, the ability, and willingness to invest to solve the problem, not just what they spend today with the current vendor. What are they willing to spend potentially on top of that to solve the problem? What is the timeline? The timeline can dictate a lot of urgencies. A lot of reps lose out on urgency inside of their deals. Where are you creating motivation and urgency? Timeline is key.
For each buyer, you should have 10 to 15 questions built around that specific buyer. That particular use case of how your product or service solves their pains, problems, and challenges. If you ask the same 10 generic questions on every sales meeting, regardless of who that kind of buyer is, you're missing out. You're creating a generic experience for that buyer. They're not getting the warm and fuzzies you get and know about them. You're not creating that emotion and excitement in that connection that you're there to solve their pains, problems, and challenges. Unfortunately, your competition might be, and you're not going to get the business.
Then, let's go into the demo/presentation step. Solution presentation, whether you have a demo of technology or you're just articulating, whether in a PowerPoint or verbally, how you solve their problems. That solution presentation or demo step should be 100% customized and configured to that type of buyer and their specific need. Based on the ICP and buyer personas specific combo, you should have a scripted sales pitch in your playbook that you, your team, everyone can learn and memorize.
Do not read it when you're in a sales meeting, but you should have it memorized. It's stored in your long-term memory so that when you're in the hot seat or in the sales conversation, you can pull from your memory bank and say, "I know exactly how to articulate what our product or service does for this type of buyer, in a language and manner that they care about, where they won't have to do the translation." They can say, "Oh, where's this bed all my life? This is exactly what I need. That would make everything better." So how are you customizing the demo? How are you customizing the sales deck, the pitch deck, the pitch itself?
That solution presentation step should not be canned. It should not be off the shelf. It should not be generic. It should be built specifically to how you solve the pains and problems of that specific buyer. From there, you need a proposal step that is not slowing down the process. If it's a larger company, you should have sent the MSA and legal documents ahead of time so legal can get ahead of it.
When you build the proposal, do not make it a 10 or 20-page generic stupid proposal about your company and your accolades. They don't care. It needs to have an executive summary of how you're going to make their life better, with the exact dollar amount they need to be prepared to invest in solving that problem and working with you. A timeline and explanation of the onboarding or implementation process so there's no ambiguity or confusion about what they can expect once they purchase. A timeline expectation until they're fully up and running and the amount of time it's going to take on their site.
Remove the ambiguity from the explanation of the implementation and onboarding process. What happens post-purchase? Let them know, explain it. Many people base their decision on what happens after they sign the contract. What are you doing as a salesperson, CEO, or founder who sells to make that clear that the prospect feels very comfortable with what's about to happen if they drop their signature on that document? Make it simple. That is your winning sales playbook.
The last component is how do you get the information from your sales process in a smooth handoff over to your onboarding specialist? Or, if you're making a purchase, how the shipping and fulfillment look like? You must have that handoff internally smooth. Nothing is worse if the customer has a post-purchase step involving speaking with an operations counterpart inside your company. Nothing is worse than that counterpart, getting the new client and saying, "So tell me about what you do?" That kind of hurt. "Oh my gosh, don't do it."
Be there for the handoff to make it seamless for your customer. Your client experience is dependent upon that handoff. In another podcast, we'll talk about a winning playbook for customer experience and customer success. But for today, I hope that outline of a winning sales playbook was simplified and easy for you to understand. As we head into 2022, It's time to put your head down. Build it. Be real to your customer. Be present. Be in the moment. Show that you care. Build the emotional connection. Only speak to how you can make their lives better, and I promise your revenue is going to soar this year.
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Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at houseofrevenue.com or with me Mary Grothe spelled G-R-O-T-H-E on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
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