Episode OneHundredThirtyTwo

The 3 Ways You Need to Rethink Your Sales Team

Guest: Derek Rahn, VP of Sales at LeadGenius

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About This Episode

Marketplace noise is accelerating, products are multiplying, and attention span is weaning. All the while, sales reps are often lasting less and less time in their roles.

What’s a sales leader to do?

Ask Derek Rahn, VP of Sales at LeadGenius. His brilliance doesn’t just come from his 15 amazing years in sales, but in the way he’s able to communicate his success to his team and others. 

On a recent episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, Derek gave us 3 ways that every sales leader needs to rethink the sales function.

Here’s what we can all learn from Derek:

1: Refine your techstack

Everyone loves a shiny new tool, and we’re all guilty of diving headfirst into some new tech because it looks beautiful. But on an organizational level, this not only has immediate impact, but a company-wide polluting effect:

If one function purchases one tech for a specific issue, but it’s never shared throughout the org … the company often ends up with overlapping technologies, most of which are rarely used. The ones that are used could be providing different versions of the truth, throwing off your alignment. So, we have to remember the basics:

People, then process, then technology.

Once we have the first 2 in place, it becomes incredibly easy to say, “Hey, I know you already have a manual process for executing this task. We’d love to layer on XYZ tech to handle that process.” In that scenario, tech becomes an enhancement, not a polluter. 

When enhancing your techstack, consider the entire org

We have to move past purchasing a tech within our silo. There has to be cultural “fit” for a product for the entire organization. We must reach out to other areas, or, at least, consider those areas and how this tool could also provide visibility to their functions.

Tech does nothing without training

Here’s something else we’ve done far too often: We onboard reps, throw every tool we have at them … and then say “good luck.” As we all know, sales reps are nothing if not practical. If they don’t understand the why behind a tool, chances are, it will never get used.

This tech is table stakes for a sales team:

So, what tech do you need? These are the basic building blocks, and yes, we know, you probably already have these, but it just helps to remind ourselves sometimes:

CRM: A CRM is the foundational layer for any technological build out

Outbound playbook: On top of that CRM, you need a tool that customizes your outbound playbook. Here’s a few Derek suggested. (These really all came from him, … but there is one in particular on that list we’d love to point out. Hint: it’s in the middle.)

Data provider: Your CRM and your outbound playbook only work when there’s data actually flowing through them

2: Combine personalization with relevancy & novelty in your messaging

As Derek keenly pointed out: “There’s very few sales people who are working for a monopoly.” Assuming you fit into that category of “not working for a monopoly,” you’ll have messaging friction within the marketplace from competitors.

Originally, a tidbit like “I see you went to UCLA” was enough personalization within an email to land a meeting. Personalization on that level, or really, any level, no longer works alone. In today’s market, you must differentiate your request for a meeting not simply on “why you should give me time,” but you now have to go a step further, and challenge the status quo with personalization, relevancy, and novelty.

  • Personalization is still necessary, but it no longer stands on its own
  • Relevancy comes from the expertise of the individual sending the message. Is this information timely and relatable to the buyer? Does it show industry-specific knowledge?
  • Novelty:  In a nutshell … does this message stand out?

While personalization does not work on its own, Derek and I came up with a list of things that do work to ensure a message has the best chance at engagement:

A few ways to enhance your messaging:

  • Open up with something that shows you are a subject-matter expert
  • Be different (for ideas, check out Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow.)
  • Be where the competition isn’t
  • Use relevant language

One of Derek’s clients at LeadGenius takes takes a few of these points to scale. The client is a payments platform for just-in-time service providers, like Uber or Dash. One of the data points they always source is “What are the contractors called in this industry?” They know that each company usually has a specific name for their contractors, like “Dashers” or “drivers.”

By adding in this data point as a must-have in their process, they’ve essentially scaled personalization, and they position themselves as experts.

3: Go vertical with your reps

The future of sales is verticalization of reps. When reps become true experts, buyers think “Absolutely, yes, I’m going to take this meeting,” but that’s just the cherry on top for the buyer. What they’re really interested in is, “Everytime I take this meeting with Rob, I learn 3 new things about my industry.”

The other consequence of niching your reps to a vertical is that they stay longer with your company: When they become experts within a niche, they are willing to continue to invest because they know they will have a marketable knowledge set they can take with them when it’s time to change companies.

For more engaging sales conversations, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.


About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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