Episode 82: Top of the Funnel Focus – Jamie Crosbie

Predictable Prospecting
Episode 82: Top of the Funnel Focus - Jamie Crosbie
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Jamie Crosbie is here today to talk about the top of the funnel. Jamie has experience all the way through the funnel and knows a lot about the pipeline. For the show, I asked her to focus on the top of the funnel, but if you like her processes and workflows by all means get in touch with her because she has a lot to share.

Jamie has over 20 years of experience in sales leadership and the talent acquisition industry. She founded ProActivate over 13 years ago. ProActivate partners globally with forward thinking leaders of organizations to achieve their revenue goals. We provide the top-shelf sales talent you need to amplify your message, leverage your position, and expand your base. Our unique model is the next generation of sales talent acquisition. We qualify talent through an in-depth, precise methodology based on behavioral modeling, digging deep into both skill-set, mindset and simulation evaluations. This allows us to offer only the most qualified sales professionals for your continuing strong growth.

Jamie is a certified speaker in The High Performance Mindset ® system, a revolutionary model that is elevating the performance of professionals ranging from athletes to executives to sales leaders. During these trainings she shares both the science and working tools that you can use immediately to enhance performance both for yourself and your team members. It’s proven that human performance is limited not primarily by skills and knowledge, but by the nature of our thinking, our mental preparation for success and the environment within which we choose to operate.

Episode Highlights:

  • The passion behind ProActivate is to help organizations achieve revenue goals, increase productivity, and maximize talent and performance.
  • They help replace C players with A players and build talent to help organizations create a peak performance culture.
  • They mostly focus on the people piece, but skillset, mindset, and toolset enable people to be successful.
  • How mindset is a peak interest of students.
  • The importance of mindset for any industry. We have 60,000 thoughts everyday and 80% are negative. The impact on a sales person who deals with rejection is huge.
  • How engaging in higher level thinking enables us to perform at higher levels.
  • How habits are something that you do. Moving from discipline and sheer will to habits of work processes.
  • Hiring the best and upgrading the rest.
  • How the workshop has a step-by-step framework for developing mindset skills in a tangible way.
  • How rewarding it is to unleash someone’s mindset to the highest level.
  • For the next year, write down your goals and know your bigger why behind them.



Marylou: Hey everybody, it’s Marylou Tyler. I have a guest today that you guys are going to love, Jamie Crosbie. She’s the CEO and founder of a company called ProActivate. I’ll let her tell about what the company does and how they serve. But I wanted to introduce Jamie. We’re going to talk today about the top-of-funnel, although she does have experience all the way through. Unlike Marylou who only does top, she knows a lot about a lot of different things with the pipelines. I’ve asked her to focus, for our sakes, on top-of-funnel. But if you like what she’s saying, if you love the process that she uses and her workflows then by all means talk to her about the whole pipeline. Jamie, welcome to the podcast.

Jamie: Thank you so much. Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

Marylou: Tell us about ProActivate. What is ProActivate? What’s your passion around that? Who do you serve as clients?

Jamie: Absolutely. We serve VPs of sales and CEOs of sales organizations across all industries specializing specifically in sales and marketing and really supports revenue generation within an organization. The passion behind it is really helping organizations achieve revenue goals, increase productivity, and just maximize the talent among their teams and their performance to achieve peak levels of performance, and with individuals as well to help them reach their full potential within the organization.

We serve our clients by specifically finding A-players to join their team or protecting their revenue by either replacing C-players with A-players or building a funnel of talent to protect in case their top performer were unexpectedly to leave or something of that nature. Then as well, helping organizations really look at creating a peak performance culture within their company.

Marylou: Oh, wow. That’s great. If we were to look at the three-legged stool of people, process, and technology, would you say ProActivate focuses on all of those three areas or do you specialize perhaps on the people side more? How much do you do if I were to put you on that box of those three different layers?

Jamie: It’s interesting you say that because I do think when you look at someone’s success within a company, I may look at the three layers a little bit differently but it is those three layers. I would say to answer your question directly, we focus mostly on the people piece of that. As well sometimes companies need help with their sales process. When we’re looking at that people piece saying, “What does it take for people to be successful?” It’s skill set, mindset, and tool set.

The technology is the tool set of what you’re speaking about, just the tools for the company to give them a bit. Skill set and mindset are super important. 80% of skill success is about mindset. But so much we’re focused on skill set development. I would say we really help to focus in terms of development on mindset that’s getting the right people in the seats and maximizing the potential of the organization by getting great people first and foremost, finding A-players, and upgrading the team from the perspective of making sure that that’s the mindset component as well.

Marylou: I just finished teaching an MBA class here locally in Des Moine. It was very clear that mindset is an area of peaked intros among students. It’s funny because I’m coming from the process side of things. I wouldn’t consider myself a people mindset type of person. But I do know that from the process point of view, we can amplify when there’s skill set issues or mindset issues. But I’m not the person you’re going to come to to fix that or to understand what we need in order to be successful in each of the sales roles.

Tell us about the mindset piece, if you don’t mind sharing. What got you interested in that piece? What types of frameworks or systems have you put together to help companies focus on developing a higher quality mindset for each of their people in the different sales roles that are available in the company?

Jamie: Sure. That’s a great point and a great question. I think that the way you helping identify if it’s a skill set or mindset issue very important and impactful. Because it starts there, with figuring out what the true issue is. Then you can go about adding value to fix it.

How did I get into it? First of all we’ve had great people. But then a lot of times, mindset is an issue across the board for any level of leader, for any industry, whether it’s someone in sales or leadership or marketing or operations, truly no matter who it is. I started learning about mindset and just the fact that this and this alone is just eye opening. Naturally, everyday we have 60,000 thoughts. Without editing those thoughts and without being aware of mindsets and the impact of it, naturally 80% of those thoughts are negative. If you look at just that and then in of itself, the impact of that on a salesperson who’s facing rejection all the time. When you just think about especially getting appointments and all of that and trying to close deals and just how our minds can impact opportunities all of the time.

I started learning about that and how when we can engage in higher level thinking, we can perform at such optimal levels. When I say higher level thinking, I’m really referring to flipping the script on these naturally negative thoughts, learning how to conquer that and learning how to think at a higher level. Detach emotionally sometimes in scenarios you think of it a hard client situation where you may just be getting flustered. But instead of that, thinking at a higher level especially in the data at hand, quickly presenting a new solution, and you end up getting the deal.

I thought there was a huge need because a lot of us have had great skill set training. There’s a lot of great sales training. I have been through it and I’ve presented it. The mindset piece is so impactful whether you’re an athlete, so much of that is the mental preparation or you’re in sales, so much of it is the mental preparation.

We, as a company, at ProActivate for 13 years we’ve helped organizations find A-players, people who can maximize their revenue potential. But now we’re helping as well, over the past couple of years people get certified and peak performance mindset. We help to impact that by offering workshops within organizations to teach them about all the components of growing their mindset.

Marylou: Wow. It sounds like it is a framework that you’ve put together?

Jamie: Absolutely. It sounds like it’s really unclear but it’s a specific framework. There are specific actions that you can take to think about our self-talk and how to manage that self-talk. Just how to engage in no limit thinking, how to engage in higher level thinking, and just to regulate ourselves to achieve and perform at a higher level. Thinking really about our bigger why. What’s the reason we’re even doing what we’re doing? What are our specific goals? How do we structure those in our lives and write them down? There are so many components that really make a difference. There’s a framework. There’s a growth framework to look at our mindset overall.

Marylou: I know. A big part of what I preach in terms of my very limited scope of habit, mindset, discipline, is that we’re trying to really instill in business developers that a big portion of the workflow that we do is habit-based. In my simple mind, I just say things like, “Discipline is great but discipline is still something that you have to do and you muscle through it or grit, clench teeth, get it done.”

What we’re trying to get to is the habit is just something you do. The simple analogy is brushing your teeth, people brush their teeth everyday. It’s a natural occurring habit that we all do. But in the 1960s, it was not. It was definitely a disciplined type of task to get people to brush. The top-of-funnel, a lot of the workflow pieces in order to be successful, really you have to move from that discipline or sheer will or desire all the way up to habitual workflow.

Jamie: Right.

Marylou: In your mindset class, do you talk about moving from just sheer grit of getting things done to an innate process that’s in your brain? Is there a piece of that?

Jamie: Yeah.

Marylou:       Okay.

Jamie: Yes, exactly. Because it becomes innate over time. It’s a practice. It’s not anything else but it’s not natural. What’s innate right now is the natural negative thinking. That’s definitely not what we want.

Marylou: Correct.

Jamie: First, the awareness of it. But then it is learning how to just change the way you think. This is interesting. We do definitely talk about specific steps that you take over time that will retrain your brain so that it is more innate to think differently and to think at a higher level and to think as someone who has that high performance mindset.

As an example to create that awareness, one of my favorite parts, and it’s just simple. This can be a full-day workshop, a half day or a few-hour. There’s keynote as well in it. One of the things I do in the workshop is ask for a volunteer to come forward. You could have 500 people in a room, 1000 people in a room or 10 people in a room. It’s always just the same. One or two people will raise their hands and be willing to volunteer.

What’s interesting is 1 or 2 out of 500, out of 100, again it doesn’t matter. Then when someone comes up then I’ll say, “What’s your name? Okay, great. Nice to meet you. Here’s $100. You may be seated. Thank you so much.” Everyone else is like, “Oh my gosh. I totally would’ve volunteered.” I ask them just have a moment, a pause and say, “Okay. Let’s be as honest as we can be with each other. Think back to that moment when I said I need a volunteer. What thought went through your mind at that exact moment? What were you thinking?”

Marylou: Would that be in pairs?

Jamie: Yeah, exactly. There’s always one out of the crowd that’ll say, “Well, I just wanted to give other people the opportunity to go as volunteer,” which is never really true. I’m like, “Whatever.” The people who are vulnerable enough are honest. It could be a room of CEOs I’ve done it with. It could be a room of sales leaders or sales people. It does not matter. It’s the same every time.

If people are real they say, “I didn’t know what you were going to need. I was afraid I would look stupid. I have fear of rejection, fear of failure.” It’s the negative thinking. But it is very poignant in helping us become aware of what naturally happens. How many opportunities we’re missing everyday for $100, so to speak, because we just are afraid?

Marylou: Big enough.

Jamie: Yes. There’s that.

Marylou: I can totally relate to that. I think a lot of it too when we’re thinking about the top-of-funnel, we have the ability to knock on doors, virtually speaking, but we’re talking to CEOs, we’re talking to director-level people, and we may just have one or two years under our belt in sales and the skill set. There’s this natural apprehension of talking to a senior-level person when we’re the lowly business development team. It’s a very real fear on a lot of people.

Jamie: Right, absolutely.

Marylou: Your mindset training teaches us how to get rid of that and how to actually embrace those conversations as a means towards the end goal. Is that what we would come up with?

Jamie: Yes. That’s definitely a big piece of it and a component of it. We talk a lot about that rejection and how to within that negative thought, how to manage through that and to think of it differently and how to persevere and get better results. Definitely, that’s something that salespeople have to fight against.

Marylou: In your work, do you work with salespeople who actually do all roles in sales? They prospect, they close, they service. Or do you also see this movement towards business development people? That’s what they do. They open those doors when they hand off the opportunity to someone who closes deals and then someone then services once they become a client. Do you actually see those folks going through your programs or a mix? What are you seeing out there?

Jamie: I see a mix definitely. Again, it’s not even just people in sales. They’re definitely a mix. Because as we work with organizations, it also relates to finding talents or peak performance. It’s different across all industries. There are different structures. Really all types of sales roles. Again it could be sales leadership, marketing, operations. Just the C level within an organization.

You need that kind of peak performance culture within the entire organization. It does make a huge difference. People who have a positive mindset for sales specifically sell 38% more. It makes a major revenue impact within an organization. But you need that across the entire organization.

Marylou: You said that you also help companies by putting the right people in seats. What do you do with the company that’s got a mismatch of people who are not necessarily high performers but they’re employees of the company? How do you balance them all out so that everyone is performing at high peak?

Jamie: First and foremost, one of the things when we look at partnering with an organization, we’ll talk about the sales organization as a whole. When we talk about talents, we’re talking about their great opportunity in the marketplace, where they have some vulnerabilities in regards to C-players. Where their natural turnover that may just be an industry type of turnover and just an average on sales. Across all industries, there’s a 30% turnover in sales. But some industries are a lot more. We talk about all of those factors and how to proactively build a funnel of talents that matches the profile of a top performer within their organization so they can protect their revenue, for growth, for that, for any areas.

I think what you mentioned earlier is assessing to see if the skill set or mindset issue is important. If they want to be better, whether at skill set or mindset, then absolutely, the peak performance mindset workshop or any skill set training that is provided to them will make a difference. But if they don’t really care, no great leader, no one can make someone care. They’re just one person and they need to be replaced. Our tagline is, “Hire the Best, upgrade the Rest.” That covers everything we do.

Marylou: Great. Of the three: the skill set, the mindset, the tool set, is there a priority order? Or after you start having those conversations with your clients, you go down one channel versus the other? How is that normally?

Jaime: Yeah. I think the tool set piece is there internally. What’s the CRM system? What are they using? How do they help them? The skill set and the mindset, it takes either. First priority is looking at the people overall. Where do they have open seats because they’re missing revenue opportunity? That’s an urgency. Where do they have C-players that they know need to be replaced and can’t be upgraded? Let us get those right people in.

A lot of companies, they may have great training development within the company. We’ll talk about just the gap and opportunities within the organization for development and if they offer any development around peak performance, just mindset specifically or if most of their onboarding or sales process or development is focused on skill set.

It’s different for a big company connected out because they all have different challenges. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach. It really is customized based on the company’s specific goals and challenges.

Marylou: One of the other areas, I don’t know if you addressed this or if it’s even something that you have entertained doing, but a lot of times at top-of-funnel business development, the smaller companies especially seem to want to outsource that function a lot. They would have someone else journaling those appointments or those first meetings and then their internal reps would handle from a meeting down to close one or close loss.

Do you look at that as part of your assessment, whether outsourcing some of these roles would be beneficial? Or are you working with people who want to keep everything in-house and grow their teams internally?

Jamie: We have clients that do both. We definitely have clients that outsource the piece of it or some clients would just ask us who might we outsource those to. But they’re not looking to have the teams internally. Most of our clients, of course if we’re helping them find talent specifically, they’re internal teams. Some organizations have a combination of both.

Marylou: Right. I was just curious if the work that you’re doing transcends the internal organization to the outsourcer because a lot of times from the standpoint of the handoff, it’s important to have the same cultural dialogue going on between the external and the internal. There’s always a big disconnect in my eyes.

Jamie: There can be a disconnect. Yes, absolutely.

Marylou: Yeah.

Jamie: Yes, absolutely. That’s important to not have that.

Marylou: Right.

Jamie: That’s why I said earlier to your point, yes, peak performance, mindset, workshops make a huge impact on the sales organization. But if you’re going to have that culture within the entire organization, then there’s no disconnect. It helps support that and make a major impact.

Marylou: Well I tell you, I’ve been doing this now for 30 years on the process side. Without these components that you’re discussing today, the skill set, mindset, without that in balance with what you’re calling tool set which is the process itself, you’re just setting yourself up for failure in so many ways. Because if you can put the best engine in and have the best rocket fuel going in there from the lead to the prospective. But if you’re not turning those leads into qualified opportunities and if there’s stalling, the pipeline becomes a lake instead of a pipeline. That’s typically going to be skill set and mindset issues. I’ve seen it so often. It’s hard to figure out what the framework looks like for those things.

A process is brick and mortar. It’s just like A to B. It’s just not any shades of gray. It’s black and white, so to speak. But when you get into the skill set, mindset pieces, there are so many nuisances to it. It just seems very fluffy to me. I love the fact that you have a framework, step by step where people can go in, they can learn the framework. Then overtime they’re going to master the framework and see those results and more revenue.

Jamie: Yes, absolutely. I agree with you completely. It does sound  fluffy. You have to walk away with something tangible. You have to walk away with a framework. How do I fix this? I have 60,000 thoughts today. If naturally 80% of them are negative, how do I change that? I don’t really want to know that unless I can fix it.

Marylou: Exactly. What’s also beautiful about what you do too is this is not just for sales. This goes into your life. These are life lessons. If you’re trying to become an athlete or healthy or eat better, it’s all in the mind just to how you go about improving upon your behaviors.

Jamie: Right.

Marylou: Yeah. It really touches so many different areas. I’m sure you have just fabulous conversations with your folks at the end of these workshops where they’re heading. From a follow-up perspective, where they were, how they’re growing, and where they’re going to get to. It must be very rewarding for you.

Jamie: It really is. I think when you can unleash someone’s mindset to the highest level and just helping people become who they were fully created to be, that’s what I love about the peak performance piece of our business. It just raises the quality of someone’s life overall. When companies do this within their organizations, people feel like they’ve been personally poured into. It’s different than anything they’ve ever gotten. They walk away knowing their dreams so clearly, their goals so clearly in business, which is highly impactful for the company, but personally as well. Why they’re really there personally, which motivates them so much more.

People walk away feeling like, “Oh my gosh.” That is how I ultimately got into it. I was having a conversation about this and learning more about it. I thought, “This is life changing, whether it’s in business or not.” This will change businesses but this will change lives within the people and businesses. It’s just truly impactful.

Marylou: I think it’s a wonderful gift that organizations can give to their employees, colleagues. Tell us how we can get ahold of you to find out more, inquire about your services? Any recommendations you have as we move into, this is being taped for the end of 2017. We’re starting to move into a new year, new goal. There’s a lot of fun planning ahead of us. First and foremost, let us know how we can get ahold of you. Secondly if there’s any documentation you want to include on your page for planning for 2018, let us know about that too.

Jamie: First of all, I can be contacted at jcrosbie@proactivate.net. Not proactive but proactivate, I have to specify. Then in 214-720-9922. In regards to just getting ahead for next year, I would say first and foremost write down your goals, whether you like to prospect, you want to get in where your top target companies. When I say write down your goals, it’s not just business goals. I know we’re talking business but I learned at the age of 18 from my mom, or probably 16, to write down goals.

I write them down for professional goals, for financial goals, for community service goals, for family wellness goals, relational goals, physical goals, financial goals. Every category in your life that’s important to you. Know your bigger why. The bigger the why, the bigger the try, and the better the half. Write down specific goals and know the why behind them. What do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish it? How will you go about accomplishing it? What are the specific, measurable steps?

If I could only say one thing that would make for a greater 2018, it would be that. Just to have very clear, measurable goals that you look back at. At the beginning of every month, I will look at the goals that I have set out and plan and schedule time for each of those things into my calendar. If I said I’m going to work out five times a week then I will write down my workout into my calendar, whatever it is.

We want to have a plan of action. We want to live on purpose with a purpose and be intentional. Studies said that people who write down their goals are much more successful and have a higher, greater chance of achieving what they set out to achieve. We don’t want to just get through the year. We want to make things happen in the year. That would be my biggest piece of advice.

Marylou: Perfect. The other thing I’ll add to that, I think people know my goal for 2018, I’m turning 60 in May.

Jamie: Oh my gosh. You do not look like it. I’m sorry I’m interfering you but you do not look like it at all.

Marylou: Thank you. I have a 60-second handstand goal. I want to hold the handstand for 60 seconds on my birthday. Everybody knows that. The story here is write your goals down as Jamie said. But also make them public. Let your colleagues know, share with your friends and your family what your goals are. The ones you want to share. Don’t share everything. But share the ones that you think are good to share with the public. That also motivates you internally, it’s just fulfilling, and your behavior does start changing towards the goal.

Jamie: Right.

Marylou: I’m taking one of my classes in Aerial with my daughter to strengthen my upper body. All because I told everyone I’m doing the 60-second handstand goal in May.

Jamie: Yes. Because when you tell people, you definitely want to make it happen.

Marylou: Exactly. Jamie, thank you so much for your time. I so enjoyed that conversation. I will put all of Jamie’s information and contact for you guys on her page. That way you can start 2018 or anytime you’re ready to start the planning process and changing your mindset. It’s not a yearly thing. It’s something that we really complement. Everything that we worked so hard for in getting the process in place and all of our tools and understanding metrics, those are all great things.

If you don’t have the mindset and really to get started and then work on your skills in addition to all of these, you’re never going to meet those goals that you have set for yourself. Give yourself a present. Really look Jamie up and see what she has to offer. Thanks again, Jamie. I really appreciate your time.

Jamie: Thank you, my pleasure.