Episode 67: Behind the Book Lightning Sales Ops – Matt Bertuzzi

Predictable Prospecting
Episode 67: Behind the Book Lightning Sales Ops - Matt Bertuzzi
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As much as every SDR loves using technology and programs to help them connect with prospects, no one likes to spend valuable time filling out endless online forms and getting crushed by an avalanche of pre-set tasks.

Our guest today is Matt Bertuzzi, VP of Sales and Marketing Operations at The Bridge Group and author of Lighting SalesOps, a book about how to make SalesForce work for you. We’re talking all about the top issues SDRs and managers face when using CRMs like SalesForce, and how you can tweak small points of conflict in the pipeline to reduce friction and close deals.

Episode Highlights:

  • What inspired Matt Bertuzzi to write Lightning Sales Ops
  • The issue every CRM faces
  • Encouraging leaders to lean into new tools and thought processes
  • Breaking down the concept of leads versus context and accounts
  • How to reduce the amount of effort and friction in the pipeline while maximizing impact
  • Eliminating “clicks” and letting the system do the work



Episode Transcript

Marylou: Hello everybody, it’s Marylou Tyler. Today, I have a guest who I’ve been trying to get on this podcast forever. He’s so busy. His name is Matt Bertuzzi. He is the Sales and Marketing Operations Guru, VP Executive extraordinaire over at The Bridge Group.

The Bridge Group, if you don’t know, is a fabulous group of folks. They’re expanding out probably all the way down to pipeline but I first came in contact with them through that SDR role. They do a lot with playbooks and there’s some books out there by the team on those topics.

Today, we have Matt. Matt is one of us. He’s the sales ops guy. He’s the guy who makes sure everything is put together properly. He’s written a book. I will put the book in the show notes so you guys can go out and grab it. It’s available on Kindle and paperback.

Today, we’re going to talk about the why behind the book. I want Matt to tell us what really got him excited about doing this book for us and the types of things that we can learn from the book. Also, if there’s some one or two actionable things, I’m going to ask him to tell us when we hang up this phone call that we can do today in order to start building a pipeline that is just high velocity, that gets us to where we want to go with opportunities and then over to the close.

        Welcome, Matt, to the podcast.

Matt: Marylou, thank you so much for having me.

Marylou: This has been just an amazing experience. This book, as a systems engineer type, I love what you’ve done with this book so let’s start right away. There’s a lot of books out there, not a lot going on on the ops side and what I consider the actual tool sets of building this beautiful pipeline. What got you interested in taking this this to this level to help us really get a handle on our pipelines?

Matt: Like many people, there’s a talk, or a slide deck, or a story that you tell over and over year after year. For me, it has always been how to make SalesForce work for sales development teams, SDRs, LDRs, ADRs, whatever you call them. If you or your listeners imagine, it’s 2002, you’re a brand new SDR and you login to SalesForce or it’s 2016 and you’re a brand new SDR and you login to SalesForce. They look the same, the processes, the pages. The steps really haven’t advanced that much in a decade and a half.

                    I’ve been trying and failing, honestly, to try to bring the ops community to say, “Hey, still a development rep, building pipeline, or doing an important job that’s hard work?” Let’s make the system they work in day after day as pleasant and as enabling as possible. Really, you’d imagine, I did a user group talk with SalesForce and then I presented on this at Dreamforce.

                    People kept asking me, “Do you have that written down anywhere? That thing you talked about with screenshots?” I say, “No. I don’t have an ebook. There’s no webinar. It’s just the deck I’ve been working on for 10 years.” I decided to sit down and put it on paper and I wanted it to be more than just a bunch of screenshots, formulas, and process stuff. I wanted to tell stories behind it.

                    I interviewed a bunch of sales leaders, admins, ops people, actual SDRs themselves, and tried to lay out what I think is a framework for building SalesForce for sales development teams. A way that makes them more productive, happier, and at a minimum, makes them not dread when they find out the company they just joined uses SalesForce, if that makes any sense.

Marylou: It certainly does. The book is written for SalesForce and you’re an MVP for this type of application. Before we get started, I don’t want people to tune out now thinking, “Oh well, I don’t use SalesForce.” Can we take some of the concepts from this book and apply towards our XYZ CRM or is it really dedicated to the SalesForce app, the SalesForce engine, in your opinion?

Matt: That’s a good question. Honestly, I haven’t given it much thought but the way I organized the book was in five parts, thinking about the flow of a sales development rep and those are pretty system agnostic. Regardless of the CRM, you have to get the leads to the rep. They have to do their research. They have to conduct outreach and then you have to measure it. Those are CRM agnostic so those steps in the stories from the people who I interviewed in the book, they’re at the business layer, they don’t get into technology layer.

                    Each chapter is part lab which nerdy stuff and then part lecture which is more of the philosophy and the success stories. Those are CRM agnostic. And then, the screenshots, they’re obviously SalesForce specific but the concepts can apply to any CRM that has customization, that allows for customization, and is built for salespeople.

Marylou: Okay, for those listening, what Matt just said is there are screenshots that are specific to SalesForce but the overall architecture, workflow, and methodology of creating a scalable, lighting fast as his book has called, lightning sales ops teams, and the actual methods and systems underneath it are in that book for you to really take a look at and compare against what you’re doing now to get some improvement.

Matt: A lot of the issue, at least the issue I’ve experienced with teams is they use SalesForce how SalesForce is built. It’s like why do you do it this way? The answer is because that’s the way the demo works. You never want the process to be too prescriptive. That’s an issue with any CRM. Most people, there’s not an ops person when the company is founded. There’s definitely not an ops person by the time there’s one or two sales reps. The systems calcifies because there’s no one there to change it.

                    And then when they’re ready to have an ops person, then they’re like, “This is the way we do things because this is the way we did things.”

Marylou: Right. Last night, I went and had beers with a friend of mine who’s a CRM SalesForce guy. He came in and his shoulders were drooping. I’m like, “What happened to you today?” He said, “I am just having such a hard time getting these folks to adopt the system.” Adoption is I’m sure result of poorly configured CRMs but what you’re working on, Matt, do you think people taking a look and taking the stuff in and really understanding what it can do for them, does the adoption and does the actual compliance go up as a result of really looking at their workflows?

Matt: I have two thoughts on that. One, at the SDR role, those folks are generally so new to sales and junior that it’s all stick, there’s such little carrot. But then the AEs or more to the point field reps, remote reps. It just doesn’t work. You’re not going to get compliance. There’s little things you can do that are nudges.

                    But traditionally, I’d like to see if you agree, my philosophy is that sales for CRM has always been built for leaders on the back of reps. This is the tool you use because I want you to. The carrot piece is this is the tool that will make your life easier and unbeknown to you, without you taking extra steps, by virtue of you using the system, it’s going to throw off data that I will use to make management decisions. Versus you do these things so that I can manage you, you do you and the data will be created by virtue of your actions and I will report on that.

Marylou: Right. I’m a database programmer. That’s what I was formally trained as. When I started working with SalesForce and other CRMs, my immediate I hate it monitor went off in my head because I couldn’t get the workflow to go the way I wanted it to for the system I designed and planned out. I felt like I was the work around queen trying to get stuff done with the native way it was done.

                    One of the biggest problems we’ve always experienced and I’m sure that there’s a workaround now for that that you could tell us about is this whole concept of leads versus context and accounts. Do I create an opportunity first? Have you solved that for us, Matt? Please tell us.

Matt: It actually has two full chapters in my book where I talked about this. No, to be fully frank, I have solved it by saying #neverleads. This is a problem, don’t use leads. What I mean by don’t use leads is don’t have reps taking actions in the leads table of the database.

Marylou: Okay.

Matt: Let marketing use it but the system with logic, with code, with third party apps serve up accounting context to reps because like you know, that’s how any human thinks. You don’t think about the people at a company as a bunch of plat, non related business cards. You think of them as departments. That’s why the account in contact model makes so much sense.

                    The leads database is a technology decision that was made far before all of us were asked. My general philosophy is use technology to patch that. Do what makes sense for everyone and let the coders, let the admins, let the developers deal with the technology piece.

Marylou: We talked about this in Predictable Revenue, in the book. Aaron was just adamant that contacts and accounts but a lot of times, with the engines for marketing automation, they serve up the leads. Like you said, it’s like having houses on the street and all the people in those houses are all individuals and you can’t connect them together to living in the same house. It’s crazy and it’s stressful.

Matt: Here’s something I talked about in the book. Not to pinch it but just conceptually see if it makes sense. Let’s say President Obama and Vice President Biden. You are prospecting Vice President Joe Biden. A week later, President Obama comes inbound on your website. The way the technology works and the way teams are structured is you and the outbound rep, because you’re better at sales than I am, wouldn’t know that I, the inbound rep, just got a “lead” from the White House, the same organization.

                    The solution that most ops people say is, “I expect my inbound rep to search it.” Which is the absolute worst. Anything that requires someone to eat their vegetables, we should already know that’s not workable.

Marylou: Right.

Matt: You’re a technical person, I am not. I am a button click admin, if we probably say. I have built automation in SalesForce. If I can build it, anybody can do it. That essentially says, “Hey, Joe Biden’s email ends in whitehouse.gov, President Obama’s email ends in whitehouse.gov. We can have the system in one millisecond figure out that Marylou was already calling someone at the White House and present me, as the inbound rep, a visual flag that says do not go. Do not touch. Let Marylou know.

It doesn’t require me to eat my vegetables, to go searching, to do any database archaeology, to figure out who’s talked to this people. There are little things we can do since we know human nature is the path of least resistance. Never expect reps to do the hard work of searching and sorting for you but the system do the heavy lifting and reps just get warned or alerted.

                    The worst thing imaginable is calling the CEO of your biggest customer and saying, “Hey, have you ever heard of us?” They laugh at your face. That’s not good for anyone.

Marylou: No. That’s a great teaching point right there. Let’s pause for a moment so that everybody can absorb what we just heard because I see this in probably 90% of my accounts where they’re still asking the reps to search and see if there’s an activity on a particular record.

You just heard it from Matt that there’s a way that a non programmer, I’m going to call you that right now just because I don’t know what else to say, a person who is not necessarily in the weeds programmer can create a actual workflow that does this task which is a repeatable task. It’s done more than once. Therefore, in my world, if you do something more than once, it should be programmed.

Matt: Exactly.

Marylou: Good.

Matt: The reps appreciate it because no inbound rep wants to pass a meeting that they’re not going to get credit for. No AE wants the brand new rep to step on their account. No customer success manager wants to not know that leads are coming in or new contacts are being created. It’s about what we want everyone to do if they were all good and virtuous and time wasn’t a constraint and everyone gets everything. Great!

How do we do that without requiring people? Just like you said, happened multiple times. We make the systems do the virtuous things and let the people do what they’re best at.

Marylou: Yeah. Hypothetically, I can feel people listening to this saying, “Alright, we need to really look at this and figure this stuff out because we are wasting time and admin. There have been so many studies posted lately. This is an ongoing problem that existed back in the dark ages when I started about admin overshadowing the actual productivity so the return on effort numbers are off the charts. Where should I begin, as a team, looking at my pipeline and looking for areas where I can reduce the amount of effort but get a high impact?

Matt: For me, the biggest thing I hear is if they’re field reps, or AEs, if they’re inside reps, they’re not logging the activities and we need to see the activities to know who’s doing their job, the pre pipeline. What are the steps for pipeline? Or if they’re SDRs, measuring activities is quality conversations, whatever it is.

                    For me, the first piece of logic is how do we take out friction. If you want me to log my calls, how do I, as the admin, reduce friction so that you will log your calls? Everyone conceptually agrees with that but as soon as you say, “Will you show me how to log a call?” It’s 15 clicks. Let’s say it’s 10 times a day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month. That’s crazy. If 90% of the information is the same, why can’t I log that 90% case with 2 clicks?

                    It maybe takes me 15 to do the edge cases but if I can hit the bulk with 2 clicks, let’s do it. Let’s automate this. Let’s use logic or prefilled. Even if it’s bringing in developers, let’s do the things that are going to be done the most often, make it with the fewest clicks. Honestly, that’s going to be used as a system. You don’t pay them more. You don’t yell at them. You take away the 100,000 paper cuts and it’s better than buying them steak and lobster every night if they update their pipeline. Just take away the paper cuts and that’s how you drive adoption.

Marylou: This is great. I remember back when I ran a call center. I had 250 agents. We didn’t have a mouse at the time. This is pre internet. We used to figure out the way to reduce the number of hitting the tab key.

Matt: Genius.

Marylou: We would basically serve up, at the time. We would try to streamline the data entry process so that the wrap up, what we called wrap up is when they finished the call, hung it up. In the call center world, when you hang up a phone, you have to be able to file a call. It has to go somewhere. In SalesForce, you can be really bad about not really closing out a call. With dialers and stuff, you had to do that.

We really worked on what we call wrap up and trying to get that wrap up from a minute down to 30 seconds down to 15 seconds so that we could handle more calls. We did exactly what you’re talking about. We eliminated the number of tab keys that the reps had to do by combining keystrokes, essentially, in an app so they really hit like the number one and it would do five things and that would be it. We loved it. This can be done with native SalesForce coding.

Matt: Absolutely. You made me think of another thing. Let’s say you’re an AE, your AE closes a deal or they have the contract signed and now they have to close it in SalesForce. The thing I see most often is reps, if they’re at a high, “I just closed a deal. It’s great. Maybe it’s starting my quarter off or I just hit my number for the quarter.” They go to SalesForce and it’s like 15 required fields. No, you can’t save it. You forgot to do this. No, you don’t have a competitor. It doesn’t matter if you won. The moment of their high, the system is grinding the joy out of winning the deal.

Marylou: That’s very sad but true. It sounds like what I’m hearing from you is trying to eliminate clicks/in my world, it used to be called just the number of keystrokes, to create a qualified call wrap up. Wrap up, for the audience, for me, means we are able to track the sentiment of the call, or the transaction, or whatever. We’re able to track any new keywords or any new phrases we hear from our prospect that we think would be helpful for marketing so that marketing can incorporate the new language into the content assets that we use as we are marching people down the pipeline.

                    And then of course, we want to be able to close out that call and file it. Either it’s going to stay in the active pipeline because we haven’t finished our task that are meaningful or it exits out and goes some place for the next either long term follow up or do not call, whatever it is. That’s step number one. Like you said, trying to reduce the number of keystrokes, reduce the number of clicks and essentially capturing the bulk of information with the fewest number of keystrokes really will help a lot in adoption.

Matt: Absolutely. The moment your decision, you, as the manager, is getting the most value without lowering the friction. If you want to balance those.

                    The other piece that came to mind, that I talked about, and a lot of people have trouble adopting is the concept of you’re a rep, you can track your task, your specific actions, who do I have to call today, as defined by who do I have open tasks for today, or the concept I try to talk about is you track people, or accounts, or leads, or whatever your thing is.

                    Rather than having these tasks with reminders, don’t use tasks as your to-do, use leads or use opportunities. You’re working your list, your pipeline, whatever it is, and the tasks are being automatically created behind the scene so reporting an intelligence but you’re tracking open prospects not open tasks because it’s very easy and easier out there for me to log fake tasks, fake activity dates, put in 100 keystrokes a day just so people leave me alone. It’s much harder for that to be have I touched 100 prospects this week, this quarter, whatever that number is.

Marylou: Right.

Matt: That adds value to the rep. If I want to know which in my cadences, let’s say the other day and today is Tuesday so I want that prospect to disappear from my view because I just left the call. In two days, which would be Thursday, I want it to reappear. I don’t have to think about tasks and due dates. Let the system decide. This is a priority today. Once I call, it disappears from my list. I come in Thursday morning, it reappears. That’s what makes sense for reps. Who do I have to call today, not what tasks do I have to set. That’s kind of like a proxy that we use to remind ourselves but there’s other ways to do it.

Marylou: Right. Death by task. That’s a term I use all the time.

Matt: Anyone who has ever inherited a territory, I’m sure you have to. There’s nothing worse than your first login with someone else’s 800 avalanche of tasks over the past 18 months.

Marylou: I’m with you on that one, 100% agreement. I think tasks should be used for scheduled events that are meaningful, once again. Let’s take the SDR role and you made me your junior SDR, and you’re setting appointments, the actual appointment date and notes regarding that first appointment, same thing if you set a discovery call, you’re working further into the pipeline and are working on gathering stakeholders for a multi stakeholder discovery/discussion call, then that is a good thing to put into task because that also tells us relative position in the pipeline, where your prospects are.

Matt: Yup.

Marylou: The other thing I like is once again borrowing from the contact center, creating what I call cues, which sounds very similar to what you’re talking about in that. Basically, you come in and there’s a URL that’s a view. These are the accounts that are in my working status. These are the accounts that are in the qualification status. You basically work URLs and you start at the top, work it down based on the criteria of sort that the system is telling you. It could be last activity date. It could be most important, highest impact, lowest effort are first but that is a way to then come in and actually see your call log. I’ve seen your called cue of what you need to do that day. You just start at the top, break your way down.

Matt: Yes. A super simple example that our platinum prospects, we want to call them everyday, our gold prospects is every other, our bronze is I don’t know, twice a week. The expectation with most SDR managers is the rep knows these three cadences and is logging, closing activities, and scheduling future ones based on the cadence.

                    If it’s all problematic, why don’t you have the system do all of it so the rep is just working, as you said, I’m working the cue. It comes back tomorrow because it’s platinum. If it’s gold, it wouldn’t show up tomorrow. It would show up the day after. Let the system do this thinking and the date pushing and then you, as the manager, can report on all that stuff. Great! Who’s behind in their cadences?

Marylou: Right.

Matt: Who needs more leads? Who’s doing this and that? Who’s got a better connect rate, a better working rate? Let the system do the boring, problematic, clicky pieces on the backend and let the reps just say, who do I need to call, how do I customize my message and how am I doing the goal? Let that be their preview, not what’s the process and when is this due date, this is the sixth touch, I skipped forward. Don’t make them worry about that stuff.

Marylou: You’re saying that this can all be programmed or facilitated within native SalesForce.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I am not a rocket science. I’m not a fan of any kind. I’ve figured out how to engineer these types of processes. Not to say they aren’t amazing tools, they’re amazing, what I call cadence tools: phone, email, intelligence, and recording tools. SalesLock is one I’m a huge fan of. I think what they do is great. I cannot figure out how to make SalesForce as good as Sales Lock or what Sales Lock does but I can get pretty close.

Marylou: Right.

Matt: 70% or 80% of the way there.

Marylou: For those of you who are doing the math here, you got to think about the cost of the stack. When you start adding all this apps on top SalesForce engine, the cost per rep, monthly cost for doing business goes up dramatically. If you can get a good jump on some of these strategies and prove the concept using native, why not?

Matt: I’m stealing from someone. If they’re listening, I’m sorry. I forgot who you are. Feel free to reach out and let me know. This is the smartest idea I’ve ever heard. When a rep starts at their company, they want the rep 100% focused on giving the best message and executing the process. They don’t give them the automation and acceleration tools day one. Once they’ve hit 60 days, quota for 2 months or finishing their ramp, then they assume the rep knows how to execute the process, knows the business, knows the market, knows, the buyer profiles, knows the message, and then they get automation.

                    I’m sure you see it too. You have a rep 10 days into their job emailing 1,000 people a day. That doesn’t make any sense to me because you can’t be good at it after 10 days.

Marylou: No. That’s why we see all of those emails that people yell and scream about that are spam. It’s all about me. It’s all about me. I want 5 minutes. I want 10 minutes. I want 15 minutes. That is the work of someone who doesn’t really understand the importance of buyer intent and what people need to hear in terms of making a decision like this and respecting their time. That, you learn, like you said, you go through the sales messaging, figure out what makes your prospect tick. You’re in their shoes, sitting across the table belly to belly from them, really understanding what it is that they’re challenged with and what will transform their business if you were able to help them.

Matt: Absolutely. My sports analogy is a very football, soccer centric. I was like well, except for tennis, I think every sport you learn on a smaller pitch with a smaller net. You’re not shooting hoops in an NBA court. You start at a smaller place with a lower net and then that’s how you learn. Maybe don’t give people the nuclear codes, the email world in their first quarter at your company.

Marylou: Right. I love that advice. This is great, Matt. We’re nearing the end of our conversation. I want to be respectful for the time of our folks because they’re all pretty busy and have priorities today. We can get your book online at Amazon. I’ll go ahead and put all the links for that so people can go and get that book. I really suggest anyone, whether you’re SalesForce or not, the biggest boost to production is to really look at the sales process, plan it out, assess it, be sure you can draw it out.

A lot of people can’t even draw out how the process works or where the leads are coming from so step one is to do that and then overlay this book with these great, great stories and actionable teachings on how to get your stuff up to date and then explore the notion of the stack and whether you really need to put them on these Ferrari type apps right away or for Volkswagen, it’s okay.

Matt, how do we get a hold of you to have further discussions about this great topic of yours?

Matt: If you are a salesperson like I am, I am always on the Success Community, the ButtonClick Admins group, or the Lightning Now group where I hang out the most. For not nerds, for normal business people, probably Twitter is the most fun and easiest and it’s @mattbertuzzi.

Marylou: Okay, great. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate the work that you’re doing for our community. We’re trying to get everybody one step closer to really focusing on what matters which is the messages that we share with our customers and getting more of those guys lined up with our wonderful products and services. Thanks again, Matt.

Matt: Thank you, Marylou. Thank you so much.