Episode 11: Sales Techniques and Technologies – Max Altschuler

Predictable Prospecting
Sales Techniques and Technologies - Max Altschuler
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All great sales professionals have one thing in common: they never stop learning. Even the most veteran leaders are looking for educational resources to help them succeed, especially in our current sales industry. How can you stay on top of your game when the sales techniques and technologies you used to trust have become obsolete? Join today’s guest, Max Altschuler, and I for a conversation on resources, sales paths, and community. Max Altschuler is a speaker, author, and the founder of Sales Hacker, Inc. an educational sales resource. Sales Hacker, Inc. produces the popular website saleshacker.com as well as events and conferences that foster community engagement. Besides his work in the sales industry, Max is also passionate about helping military veterans and animals. He is the co-organizer of PushUpCharity, which has startups competing against each other in a pushup challenge. All proceeds go to charity!
 
Max-AltschulerEpisode Highlights:

  • Sales Hacker: Max’s inspiration for creating the company
  • Who can benefit from additional training?
  • Getting the most out of new sales technology
  • Finding a customer profile & sales stacking
  • Following the proven path

Resources: Sales Hacker Follow Max on Twitter @MaxAlts Connect on LinkedIn Check out Max’s book Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High-Velocity Sales Machine, now updated & revised! As an expert in sales education, Max Altschuler mentioned a number of different books and software for the sales professional: Node.io Crystal Knows The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes Predictable Revenue by Marylou Tyler and Aaron Ross The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Episode Transcript

Marylou:    We’re here with Max. Max is actually now living in New York City, right? That’s what you said?Max:    Yup. Marylou:    What brought you to New York? Max:    Good to be back. I’m from here originally, my family is from here, my nephews are here. They’re getting to those fun ages where they can actually do things with you. That’s cool. I want to go to their basketball games. It’s just like when I was younger and I played hockey. That and my family and my games. I got a very good relationship with my nephews and my sisters. Excited to be back and be around them, and be around my family. The other thing is moved out to San Francisco for career purposes. I think I’ve gotten pretty far establishing network and can maintain that network, keep growing that network in San Francisco. But San Francisco is just one industry and really mainly start ups and growth stage  companies and I think for our business we really want to push going up stream with a little bit more to some bigger companies. I think being back in New York will help with that effort as well. Marylou:    Tell our audience when you’re in San Francisco what the main function was. A lot of people know that about Sales Hacker. Tell us more about what motivated you to get that up and running, where you see still a big gap in our knowledge of sales, sales process and how are you working towards helping people work through those gaps. Max:    Yes. On the surface, realistically, there’s I think 16.5 million people with Sales on their title on LinkedIn and maybe about 5 million with a marketing title. You can get a full degree in marketing but you can’t take one single college course in sales. There is already a problem with the education that these people are getting. Pile on top of that none of this organizations they want to grow and take one step backward to take two steps forward because they can’t miss their number or even jeopardize any kind of slow growth. They’re not really training their reps properly. They’re not really learning new things and there’s no way to do that on the fly. This is something that we were doing at YouToMe, we’re building sales process from scratch trying to figure that out on our own and always wish there was some kind of formal education. All I had was books like Predictable Revenue. Now, there’s a lot more books that are out there to help you like Trisha’s book, Mark’s book, my book. Back then, there wasn’t a lot. There was maybe the Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, The Challenger Sale. You kinda go in there just on your own or with books. We want to basically bring the community together and say what if you can tap into to Bill Binch, the SVP of Sales from Marketo who took them from zero to IPO. What if you can tap into his brain for a little bit, get a presentation on how they build up their process. We wanted to get the community together whether it’s hearing it from the VP of Sales at the largest company in the world or a practitioner like a SDR turned into Director at a super fast growth company. I think you’d get a ton of value out of it no matter what your role was, whether you were a founder starting from scratch, or a VP of sales at a post IPO company. Sales has changed more than ever before I think in the last two, three years due to the advancements of technology, the accessibility, and really cheap data and information available to sales people and to the buyer is obviously everywhere. Sales is really going through this transformation and we’d like to be the one not only to help train people and get them up to speed but evolve it. Marylou:    Okay. Are you focusing that on the entire sales pipeline from cold connection all the way to close one? Max:    Yeah. Honestly, I think customers success is the role of that also. Even after you close one, you’re looking at upsell, resale, cross sale. That’s sales, what is this? Lifetime, Marylou:    Lifetime value. Max:    Lifetime revenue per customer. Getting the afternoon trying to blank emails and it’s been a short day, I have no excuse. But you are, you want to talk your revenue per account. Marylou:    Right. Max:    You want to get that up as high as possible and that’s the sales function those customers’ success reps are selling. They’re playing the same game. I think you’re looking at core areas being sales development, the closing roles, the account executives, the customer success function and even the ops that enable function which has become so important in recent years that wasn’t really there before. Again with the advancements in technology, there’s no that kind of like Sales Force for CRM admin is now more of an operation person. Not only do the financial operations part which is CTQ like sending the proposals out, make sure the payments are done, accounts receivables but also build the sales back on top of their CRM into that system, into that process and make sure that’s efficient, optimizing, that as they go, testing and measuring and looking at the numbers and helping the VP with forecasting such as sales operations. Sales enable them to roll which is to be somewhat of a product marketing role but now supplies sales with all the collateral on what information they need to do the best job that they can. I guess that’s five different roles in a bucket that enable operations together into four but we’re there to support everyone in all those levels and all titles. Marylou:    Is it a certain company sizes or is it, if I’m starting my career in sales and I’m not really sure how and where to begin, that level. And then I mess to the level of I’m a seasoned sales professional, I’m in a larger company but I want to be more efficient and more effective in the way that I do my sales. Max:    Yeah. Marylou:    All those folks? Max:    All those folks. Marylou:    All those folks. Max:    If you look at it because of what had happened over past two, three years in sales with the advancements of technology that I was talking about, pulling the data and information. If you’re a VP of sales at SAP or GB or something like that. You’ve been in sales for fifteen, twenty years. There are processes that you’re doing that are still valuable and valid processes but there’s technology that’s out there right now that’s been created the past two, three years. They can help those processes to become maybe ten times more efficient. Imagine if you can get 15% even, or 5%, or even 1% of your sales rep’s time back just by implementing some cheap piece of technology, a relatively cheap piece of technology, that automates these mundane tasks that they do, data entry or whatever it is. 1% of your sales could that lead to 1% more revenue. If you’re that VP of sales, the SAP or GB, what is that on the bottom line if every VP of that company implemented that one piece of solution, that one piece of software. We’re there for the guy who thinks he knows everything, but hey you don’t know everything because things are changing. We’re there for the founder of a two person startup that built a really awesome piece of software but has no idea to how to sell it. He’s a technical guy, maybe came from MIT or Harvard or something like that, build this awesome product but doesn’t know what to do next. Or, you’re the first sales hire of one of these companies and you’re trying to figure out from scratch. It doesn’t matter what your experience level is, probably I think there’s always something for you. Marylou:    I think a lot of what I’ve learned over the last few years after the release of The Predictable Revenue was the focus on sales process and then sitting on top of sales process or sales skills. Now, you’re adding a Sales Stack which some people might not know that term but it’s taking these different apps and software systems that are available now and combining them into a recipe almost. Max:    Yeah. Everybody’s got a CRM, you got to attract your customer. Marylou:    Yes. Max:    Somehow the conversation happens. You consider that kind of like middle of a spoked wheel of your stack. And then you have all these other processes that go on top of that. Regeneration or data enrichment, finding new contact information, email tracking, phone support, all those different types of things are all part of your sales stack. There’s predictive software out there now. There’s account based intelligence software out there, there’s contextual software that tells you how to interact with your lead, what content they’re going to find relevant, all those different things comprise of your sales stack. If you go through the entire sales process and you’re like okay, I need to go figure it out who is my ideal customers profile, there’s tool out there now that will help you. Okay, here’s what your product does, here’s the industry that you’re looking for, here’s the title that you’re looking for, here’s the contact information, you contact that person. Here’s a technology that helps you track when you contact that person, how you contact that person, helps you optimize how you contact that person, and how you contact other people. There’s a company called Crystal Note that even tells you how that person interacts with other people. You download a browser extension and in your inbox, when you go type in somebody’s email address, it will tell you, this person is outgoing, they like the new patriots and they’re interested in whatever, now you have some things to talk about. Marylou:    Right. Max:    There’s all sort of things out there that make your job easier. Small pieces of technology, some are free, some are really cheap, that can help you infinitely and those are all part of your sales stack. Marylou:    Okay. If I were starting out then and didn’t have a sales stack, maybe I have a CRM, or maybe I have access to a marketing automation system of some sort that will help automate or some of the emails or nurture sequences that I have. Besides those two pieces of what I consider core, what’s the very next piece that you would recommend for people to get? Max:    It kind of depends on the business. Marylou:    Okay. Max:    Yeah. If you’re building your business from scratch or if you already have a business and you’re trying to make it better, either way you’re going to want to figure out what your sweet spot is. We write your customer profile is, how they like to interact with people, so whether it’s phone or email or similar ways. There’s a lot of companies there now that help you go out find your ideal customer profile. You can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, there’s Metamark, there’s Data Fox, there’s a bunch of companies that will help you find exactly who you should be targeting and what your low hanging fruit is. There’s a company called Node that’s coming out that does something in that area. Come pick sales, come pick intelligence. The next step would be to figure out how those people like to interact. You have email and you have phone. Some of these clients actually do both and optimizing emails or tracking emails. Those companies are in there. I’d say those are probably the most important things. One, getting contact, the right contact information. Two, making sure when you contact them it’s fully optimized. Marylou:    Wow. It’s funny cause I have a client that did a lot of work in IT Advisory. They’re a very large company and they’re coming out with a marketing product similar to the IT world that has all of the tools that marketers could possibly use. They’ve built this gigantic transit map so that if you’re entering from different points in the marketing funnel, there are all these tools that are set up that you can then click on the tool and then it’ll give you information about the tool, pricing range, and then who to contact. Are you developing something similar, Max? Max:    A road map? Marylou:    Yeah. Max:    Yeah. I mean, not really. Marylou:    No. Max:    It’s probably something we can tackle in the next year which would be pretty cool. I’d say it varies so much. One of the key things in sales is that we can sit here and give you all the education in the world but there’s never going to be a silver bullet. One guy’s business is different from another woman’s business. It’s all different. Even a very similar product can still have a very different sales model and both can be right. Marylou:    Yeah. Max:    I don’t know if there’s any kind of road map. There’s obviously a path that can be proven that you can build out and say hey if you follow this, or you should be following this, you should be going in a good direction. Again, like the original Predictable Revenue book, pretty much no matter what your business was if you were hunting, if you’re doing outbound, that was a relevant book. I say relevant, not like just follow this to a tee and you’ll be successful but build your process off this and you should be able to figure your process out through. Here’s a framework to work off of. I wrote my book in a similar fashion with a lot of different technologies included basically saying here’s the framework for how to get there, the concepts, and some tactical advice and technology that you can use but you got to piece it together yourself because nobody knows your business like you. Again, there’s no silver bullet. Marylou:    There’s no silver bullet but I think as you mentioned there are frameworks, systems, maps; at least a general way to get from point A to point B. Max:    Yup. Marylou:    It all comes down to understanding who your buyers are, understanding which accounts and clients are going to bring you the highest revenue potential and the highest likelihood of closing. And then also understanding how they buy. Max:    Yeah. Marylou:    And whether or not you can help to push them along and pull them through the pipeline. I heard you say you read Chet Holmes’s book. He had a lot of statistical information in his book that actually still someone applies today for the outreach, for outbound. I still use his Waterfall as a baseline starting point. Another thing you pointed out is you have to test and you have to continually iterate because there is no perfect plan. You have to be in that mindset that you’re going to continually tweak until you get to a point where you have some consistency in whatever channels you end up going after. Max:    Yup. Marylou:    Very cool. How do people keep up with you, Max? You’re all over the place. What’s the best way for us to follow you? Max:    Yeah. Twitter, I’m on Twitter. LinkedIn, I’m on LinkedIn. My book comes out at May 31st. I think it will release the second edition of the book. Marylou:    Okay. And the book’s name? Max:    Hacking Sales. Marylou:    And what’s Twitter handle? Max:    Yeah. Twitter is @maxalts, LinkedIn is Max Altschuler. We have our conference on June 15 that we’re conducting with for Sales Force called Sales Machine where we have Gary Vaynerchuk, Arianna Huffington, Fredrik Eklund from Million Dollar Listing, Billy Beane from Money Ball, Seth Godin and Simon Sinek speaking along with I think twenty or so different practitioners in sales operations enablement, customers’ success, and sales leadership. That’ll be fun with them in New York, June 15 and 16. Marylou:    Okay. That is coming up. This will actually air before that comes up. Max:    Great. Marylou:    We’ll make sure that people know where to go. Max:    I’ll give you a special code for everybody. It’s nice discount. Marylou:    That’d be great. That sounds like a great show for sure. Max:    Yeah. Let me go up. Marylou:    Well thank you Max for your time, I really appreciate it. There’s a lot of good learning right now at saleshacker.com. I think I’ve read for 300 of the blog posts that are out there. Max:    Nice. Marylou:    Good materials out there, people. Make sure you’re starting to learn. As you may have gathered from this show, it’s all about continuing your learning process, trying things out. Some may work, some may not but tracking where you’ve been so that you can continually refine and make that pipeline of yours consistent so you can scale it if you want. Thanks again Max, really appreciate your time. Max:    That’s right. Thanks for having me.

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