How to Create a Sales Process w/ Craig Rosenberg [Episode 316]

Among the many topics that Craig and I discuss are the current state of the sales process; how to build a sales process that supports the needs of you, the seller, and the buyer; how to relate and engage with your customer throughout their buying journey and the value of human selling vs automation.

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Craig Rosenberg. Craig is Co-founder and Chief Analyst at TOPO, a sales research and advisory firm. He’s also the founder of the Funnelholic blog.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Mouse that Roared, by Leonard Wibberley, is an inspiration to small enterprises. (And one of my favorite books and movie.)

Craig started teaching, and coaching water polo, straight out of college. All his friends were happy working at Oracle or Sun; his teacher colleagues were unhappy. So, he tried sales.

What is the purpose of creating methodology for a step-by-step sales process?

When the process is in place, what steps come next?

Between Andy’s and Craig’s observations, what is it that 68-to-72% of companies do not have?

What are exit criteria, and when should they be applied?

Why you can’t just copy the sales process from a successful company like Salesforce.

Is it easy for an established and successful sales rep to transfer from one sales environment and process, to another?

What are uniquely human sales skills?

How can we engage more and better with our prospects? Is there an app for that?

What kind of help does a prospect really want, on their buying journey?

MORE ABOUT CRAIG ROSENBERG

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Discovery.

Who is your sales role model?

The actor, Vince Vaughn.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

Sales Mastery: A Novel, by Barry Trailer, or any Andy Paul book.

What music is on your playlist right now?

Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop.

Episode Transcript:

Andy Paul 0:35

It’s time to accelerate! Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe to help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you. 

 

Hello, and welcome to Accelerate! I am really looking forward to talking with my guest today. Joining me is Craig Rosenberg. Craig is co-founder and chief analyst at TOPO. It’s a research and advisory firm that helps companies grow faster. He’s also the founder of the funnelholic blog. I’m sure many of you have read that. Craig, welcome to Accelerate.

 

Craig Rosenberg 1:17

Thanks for having me, Andy. I’m excited. I’ve watched you for years. So it’s one of those things, you know? And we we meet here on Skype,

 

Andy Paul 1:25

So we meet here on Skype. So I usually have people introduce themselves, and I’ll have you do that. But I was gonna say that this connection we have, I haven’t seen this for a long time. But you’re a fan of one of my favorite authors growing up, Leonard Wimberly, The Mouse That Roared. And I thought that was a great movie with Peter Sellers. I love the books and I actually read the whole series of books. So like I said, I haven’t found anybody for a long time that was such a big fan as I am.

 

Craig Rosenberg 1:57

Yeah. Well, now that we sort of merge our business and personal nonfiction and fiction lives, I bring that book up or the movie for some younger folks. Because it’s relevant when you’re talking about – especially for these young companies. And pardon my wording here, but the weaponry at your disposal, the ability to drive growth is there for you. And mouses certainly can roar, and it’s such a good book. 

 

And anyway, I just like to equate it to what’s happening today in business. And it’s also, as you said, it’s just an incredibly well written book and a great read. So that’s funny.

 

Andy Paul 2:54

Yeah. For people that don’t understand, the precept behind the book, the premise behind the book is that the small country of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick somewhere in your quote unquote “Europe” declares war on the US in order to get financial aid after they lose the war. So small country declaring war and the big guy. So great book. I really urge people if it’s available somewhere, I don’t know if it’s available, pick it up or rent the movie with Peter Sellers. So, anyway, now we know about the literary interests. Maybe tell us how you got your start in sales.

 

Craig Rosenberg 3:28

Yeah, actually, I was a teacher out of college and coach.

 

Andy Paul 3:37

What’d you coach?

 

Craig Rosenberg

Water polo.

 

Andy Paul

Okay.

 

Craig Rosenberg 3:39

Yeah, and so it was nothing special, the transition into sales. It’s like all my friends were either working at Oracle or some X Oracle sales team. It’s so funny how these things change. Like up here now it’s like everything’s hiring a salesforce person. Back then it was hiring an Oracle person. And so I just needed to transition, because when I was in teaching it was wonderful working with the kids. But then you went in the teacher’s lounge and these people hated their lives. I mean, it was just depressing. 

 

And so I said, well, I still think I could do this. But do I need to do it now? And will I be like these guys in the teacher’s lounge 40 years from now? I just got to make sure and try some other stuff. And the route into sales was easy. And so it was able to go do that. 

 

Andy Paul 4:40

Very Interesting. Because it’s not an unusual path that people take, the people I’ve interviewed now 300 plus people now. Good fortune, they started as teachers and then moved into sales. 

 

Craig Rosenberg 4:55

I definitely have seen it now more often than not. We have a secret handshake that nobody knows about.

 

Andy Paul 5:03

And I was just thinking about water polo. We just got our– The Olympics were just on. For many of us that don’t live in California all the time, we still get our every four year fix of water polo.

 

Craig Rosenberg 5:13

Yeah, it’s the time you get to see them on TV. The women actually are a dominant force. And actually one of my best friends wrote a book on that. 2000 was the first year they had it in the Olympics. 

 

For women, right? 

 

Yeah. It’s the first Olympic team sport on the men’s side. On the women’s side, it was 2000. And he writes about how the team started, and got together, and how they built it. And they took the silver in 2000 when the sport was launched, and they’ve been a dominant medaling team ever since. So it’s pretty cool. 

 

It was great to be involved in it. It’s certainly a niche sport. And it was something that I played growing up, but I just love teamwork. You know what I mean? Even if water polo wouldn’t have had me at least at some point, it was cool to be involved in a team sport to just be involved in team building and all the things that go along with it. And it’s funny because I worked with a couple really great coaches. And I’ve taken a lot of what I learned from them into the business world.

 

Andy Paul 6:27

So what particular lessons have you taken?

 

Craig Rosenberg 6:30

Well, one is just preparation. These guys, we just don’t see it. We yell at the TV on the weekends at the guys for the one coaching move. But the amount of preparation that goes into building the team, and I don’t just mean for a game, right? I worked for a guy named John Tanner who’s at Stanford, and he’s brilliant. He’s one of the few coaches at Stanford who went to Stanford. He’s just so smart. 

 

And it’s like 365. He’s thinking about the construct of the season months ahead of the season. He’s thinking about how he’s going to prepare them. He’s got a playing system that’s basically infused in these players’ brains from the minute they get on campus. Everything is systematic and planned.

 

I’m envious. Still, I tell him all the time– he always wants to know what’s happening in business. I’m like, if business people could see the amount of preparation you guys put into the team, okay? I don’t even want to say season. I don’t even want to say game. You know what I mean? The smart ones just think at scale. They think about the entire organization over a long period of time and their strategy. And it was so good to see. 

 

And he would always challenge me. I’d say, well, what about this place? That’s fine, but how does it fit into our overall strategy and plan? And it was a real learning, and so it’s funny. Everyone always wants to know, you know or thinks that I’m going to tell them some story about how we won some game at the last second. And these good coaches, they lift themselves up above that single game. And they’re thinking about the biggest picture ever. 

 

And I’m not saying they don’t pay attention to details. I think we all know that the great coaches pay attention to details. But they think about the system, and they think about the strategy and all these things. And they think about it 365 days a year. The water polo season for women starts in, what, December. The end of the season before is when he starts planning for December. It’s just impressive.

 

Andy Paul 8:54

So, obviously, I think you’ve probably seen some people carry that over into the business world. I mean, you look at pro sports, certainly the teams that seem to excel year after year are the ones that have this really established, well thought out process. And they seem to have the ability to take any player and plug them into that process and still succeed. Like Belichick has reputation in New England doing that. 

 

Do you have examples that you see in the sales world that people are doing the same thing that they’ve got this standardized process that just increases predictability regardless of who’s plugged in? 

 

Craig Rosenberg 9:30

Totally. Next man up, right? Or let’s say next person up. Yeah, that is your goal is that you’ve created a process, a step by step process and methodology. And if you take that example we just went through and you’re looking at how it is that individual reps can take someone from zero to sale and what those steps are. How they move people through micro steps in the sales process one step at a time. And it’s all very thoughtful, and it’s all very enabled so that it’s just a matter of plopping the right people into the seats. 

 

Now, it’s like sports in that you have to get good players. But if you take that Belichick mentality and think about some of the fastest growing companies in the world, and I just made a comment about Salesforce. But, look, Salesforce has a repetitive process that they know works that they expect and force everyone to do. And they can predictably say– 

 

There’s a famous story about Benioff when he saw that ZenDesk was coming up, and he wanted more customer service revenue. What did he say to the team? He said, I want you to hire 50 engineers and 50 salespeople. And here’s what we’re going to get for 50 salespeople. Because they could tell you exactly what revenue they would get for 50. salespeople, how many leads that person would need. And it was just a matter of, at that point, hiring the heads.

 

Because we always joke from our point of view at TOPO, we want to help you build a process so that’s not just about getting heads, right? But actually, the cool thing is once you have the process in then it is about just getting– because you know, hey, if I put these people in and they come in and play for me, it’s the right person to come in and walk through this process, they will be successful and they will deliver me this type of revenue. 

 

But that takes real enablement. It takes an understanding of the steps that it takes to go from 0 to 100 and more, to give them the power to be able to handle those steps.Whether that’s a PowerPoint deck, a specific methodology, objection handling. Also content, everyone talks about content, but they don’t tell sales when to use it, why, and how it will help them.

 

Andy Paul 12:17

Let’s talk you have these five key conditions for a standardized process. So I thought it would be really useful to go through them. And the first one is predictability. So you say know where sales is and what will happen next. So what did you mean by that?

 

Craig Rosenberg 12:30

So if you understand your sales process, and we’re all using it, and we have this terminology, this understanding of what the steps look like, and we’re tracking that, then we will know where sales actually is in a deal and what will happen next in that deal. So just to give big examples here, we can continue with Salesforce. 

 

So Salesforce, the first step is they do this heavy discovery call. And they know from that discovery call, then the person will go into a demo/presentation from there, okay? It was just taking those two steps. So if they see that the rep has X amount in the demo, it’s either in or out. And that in means that they’re going to go to the prese/demo next because they all follow this path, right? 

 

And by doing that, a manager, a salesperson, the organization, everyone knows where they are and what will happen next. And in some cases, when you’re really scalable, they can tell how many of those next steps will actually turn into business, but that’s a different story. So that’s the idea, right? 

 

So the sales team will say, hey, there’s seven steps to winning a sales deal. And if he or she’s at step one, then we know exactly what they’re doing and we know where they need to go, which is step two. And this is what it looks like. So that’s the idea is we’re predictable. We know where we are and what will happen next in the sales process. 

 

It’s not hero selling, right? It’s not oh my god, did you see what so and so did? Although, while that happens we know at scale, at mass, if they’re at two, they’re going to move to step three. And now if we know the percentage of those that happen, we know exactly– it’s very predictable based on where sales is and what happens next.

 

Andy Paul 14:33

And so then a precondition to that is optimizing your process to finding it. And this is the problem I see. I did a survey of 300 companies, and 72% had no defined sales process. So I’m sure you see that all the time.

 

Craig Rosenberg 14:48

Hey, Andy, that’s so funny. I think I came in at 68%. So I think I’m verifying your data, yeah. And did you ask sales leaders?

 

Andy Paul 15:01

Yeah, they primarily were sales leaders, right.

 

Craig Rosenberg 15:02

It’s funny, huh? Because they’ll admit, they know they need it. They know how important it is. Then they admit to us three out of four admit it.

 

Andy Paul 15:14

In mine, about 40% said they were just basically making it up as they went along. So you have to be able to have a defined process. It’s one of the key conditions for having predictability.

 

Craig Rosenberg 15:26

Yeah, common terminology, defined terminology defined process steps that you can’t optimize. I have this example, you got me on the sports theme. One thing I learned when I was coaching, as I mentioned, I worked for this guy, John Tanner, who had all the coaches. I was just doing the high school, the club team. But all the coaches had to use the same terminology and train the fundamentals the same way. 

 

And we would have a famous player come in and do a quick clinic. And it confused the players. Because even though it was a really good technique, it changed the terminology. It didn’t help. It was really interesting to see them not do it. Because they understand the context when we define everything, they understand the context of what we’re trying to optimize. And when we bring in a new person who’s got a different terminology, a different point of view, you can’t optimize. And I always think of that, that it was a learning from the days of sports. It’s the same thing in your sales process. If we’re not looking at the same thing, then it’s really hard to optimize.

 

Andy Paul 16:43

With the same understanding in mind.

 

Craig Rosenberg 16:44

Right! You can’t talk about it. It’s just too hard.

 

Andy Paul 16:47

And the next step to that, you talk about a key condition as onboarding. You need to then – which is the part that kills me because companies don’t do it – train your reps to the process.

 

Craig Rosenberg 16:58

It’s good for you and I. We get business. But we believe in process driven enablement for all the reasons you and I have just talked about. Having the context of when you’re going to apply a methodology or a tactic, and why, and where it gets you is, in our opinion, more effective than bringing guys like us in to help them see the world in a different way. Although that’s not unhelpful. I actually think it’s helpful. 

 

But they get really good when we think of each step in the sales process and what goes into it and how they need to be successful. And when you onboard and train them against the process, we find that it’s a better way to onboard reps. And understanding the process is often glossed over. I’m sure you see this where even companies that have a defined process, it’s kind of in the back of the book or it’s a Salesforce exercise, CRM exercise. And I just don’t believe that. 

 

Andy Paul 18:10

Well, it’s defined by the stages they have in their forecast model, right? That’s their process.

 

Craig Rosenberg 18:17

The good news is, and I’ve seen the great companies do this, and the process is as important as anything. And to train them on it and against it will actually make all of your other training more successful as a result as well. But to the point of this is if you create a sales process, you train them on it, you onboard them against the process so that they’re running it from day one.

 

Andy Paul 18:44

Right. And I think one of the real key elements of that that you dig down into further then is under your enablement condition is defining what a stage is. And then you have four elements of a stage, the last one of which I think is perhaps missing most often. So four elements you add to the stage, action, plays, context, and exit criteria. And I think that exit criteria is so critical. Because too often, people don’t understand. They just think, well, we’re at that next stage, because we took this action, but it didn’t correlate to anything from the customer’s perspective.

 

Craig Rosenberg 19:21

Right, exit criteria. You’re a smart guy, I can tell. And it’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s so important to the process to understand what that criteria is to get this stage done and move on to the next step. Well, none of this is often defined. 

 

Andy Paul 19:50

So we were just talking about exit criteria. And one of the things that I really liked when I heard you talk about that, and that’s something that I talk about in my books, you say the science of how people make decisions is there’s– one school of research has found that at each step of each stage of making a decision, customers have certain criteria that need to be met, we’ll say, in the form of information. They’re not going to move to the next stage until those information requirements are met. 

 

So often what you see is sales say, okay, I gave them a proposal so they’re now at this stage. It’s like, but they’re still waiting for you back here at the previous stage. Because you didn’t give them the information they needed to make that mental jump to the next one. And if you’re wondering why they’re not responding to the proposal, that’s why.

 

Craig Rosenberg 20:40

Yeah, totally. You said it better than me. That’s right. And one of the things that we do see that’s a different problem, and it sort of speaks to the point you just made which is– so where I am in Silicon Valley, everyone wants to hire someone at Salesforce. So I was just complimenting Salesforce on how great their sales process is. You can’t plop it in to everywhere because the buyers and what they need in their process are different.

 

For example, at Salesforce, the brand certainly changes the reactions buyers have in the sales process. They’re much farther along in their thought process. And if you plop that process into, let’s say, an evangelistic sale where there’s no market yet, you have to really evangelize the problem, not just the solution. And that process may not work. As you said, the buyer has requirements to move to the next step. 

 

And so it’s a different problem than what we were talking about before, which is many people don’t have it defined. Also if you do hire someone who’s defined it before, they can’t just take the exact blueprint of what they did before and then plop it into this new situation for exactly what you said. Which is we’ve got to understand the buyers and the market and what they’re going to need for us to help them advance to the next step and document that and make sure they get that as part of the exit criteria. 

 

And look, as you know, there’s a lot of standardization against that we see enough. There’s a lot of things that are the same, but there’s also enough that’s different that it’s important to really understand what your buyer is going to need to move to the next step and what their checklist is, as you said. And then make that as part of your specific sales process definition and the exit criteria and all the plays etc. that go along with it.

 

Andy Paul 22:51

Well, yeah, and to digress a little bit from what you had said, another message in there for people that are listening is saying, okay, we’re serving the situation. We’re going to be a startup. We’re looking at building out our team. You also have to be careful who you hire into this. Because you may reach out to the big successful company like a Salesforce. But the people don’t always translate back into your environment, because some people are a product of the process they use.

 

Craig Rosenberg 23:18

Totally. Isn’t that interesting? I remember Tim McAdam, who was our VC at a company we founded called TipIt. And we were looking at sales leaders, and we’d sent him one. He was our lead VC. And he came in and we said, well, what’s your feedback? He said, where you guys are right now, you need what he called knife fighters. 

 

He’s like, you need a knife fighter for this. He’s like, you’re not in a scenario yet where you’ve got someone who’s used to the brand, who’s used to working with people from RFPM. You need someone who’s willing to dig in and knife fight for the lack of a– he probably doesn’t use that term anymore.

 

Andy Paul 24:09

Maybe not politically correct, right?

 

Craig Rosenberg 24:10

Right. It’s exactly what you just said, which was it was a learning and certainly something I’ve never forgot. It’s intuitive, but often people learn when it’s too late, right? But he was basically saying,he got teams their number, led world class sales teams. But is he the right person right now as you guys start this business and the things that you’re going to need right now to be successful? He was right. 

 

But it fits exactly what you just said, which is, we’ve got to make sure that it’s not just– certainly we all like validated backgrounds. Like we need to feel good about that. But that background and the DNA and the experience that this person has has to fit where we are as a company and where the market is in general. And that’s really important.

 

Andy Paul 25:12

Yeah, there’s a story I tell and I’m sure people on the show have heard me tell it before, this is a story that was told on a Harvard Business Review article about sales a number of years ago about how you should hire your sales leader. And the story was about this landscape architect that was hired to create this green space at this university. And he comes in, brings in the plows and the tractors, and they move everything around. 

 

And the day comes for the big unveil with the administration. And they look at this big, beautiful green space, and one of the administrators says, well, where are the sidewalks? And he says, well, we’re gonna wait for a year and see where people walk and then put the sidewalks there. And I thought, that tells you you’ve got to have some sense of what you need in terms of the person you hire. There’s this temptation always with start ups saying, let’s go hire somebody to lead sales as opposed to, let’s go sell something first and then hire somebody to lead sales.

 

Craig Rosenberg 26:11

Man, I love that. I’m not gonna use it, because it sounds like you use it all the time.

 

Andy Paul 26:16

So there’s a comment that your co-founder and CEO of TOPO used during the conference that I thought was really interesting. And I don’t know if you had heard him say it. He talked about uniquely human sales skills. And I thought that was really interesting, because at the conference there was a lot of talk about automation. At all sales conferences these days, there’s a lot of talk about automation and technologies and so on. 

 

But there are these sets, I believe, of uniquely human sales skills that aren’t gonna be replaced. But it seems like there’s much less focus on them these days. So what’s your take on that? And what do you see as the implications for automation for the long term development of sales profession.

 

Craig Rosenberg 27:02

Yeah, so what a catch, huh? You can tell he’s smarter than me. That’s why I’ve founded a couple companies with him. You can see why I follow him. That’s just a really incredible set of words or phrase, the uniquely human skills. Here’s what I’m seeing, Andy. I think automation is the talk. And we’ve seen some companies come up in the Valley really successfully with poor selling skills, but highly automated, low selling price, but a hot SaaS product, low selling skills. And one thing it’s been really good for our businesses, a number of companies are bringing in real chief revenue officers and folks that have a little gray hair. And those guys always bring us in. And they say exactly what you just brought up. 

 

They’re actually not tech focused. They’re engagement focused. How can we engage better and more with our prospects? We just did a mini survey where the data is not released,but  I can just tell you that it was about tech. And what we learned was, and we went to the top, instead of sales ops, sales ops dominate the blogosphere and the talk. It’s hard to get a CRO to come speak, right? That person’s out there trying to get business. 

 

And so we wanted to talk to them about their views on tech. And what they said was, no, if you want to sell me tech or sell my organization tech, that’s fine. But all I care about is how we engage with our customers and can we engage with more customers. And is it valuable? And so you can see that there’s a mini mentality change in many of the companies that we’re working with where they came up quickly without thinking the world can be automated, thinking salespeople can be totally commoditized. 

 

And they bring in a CRO who says, well, how are we engaging with them? Is it valuable? How are we connecting with them? Are we building real relationships? And so I don’t think I’ve seen a full switch. But one of the triggers in our business is when they bring in someone who’s been in sales for a long time, and they’re saying, we’ve been so focused on automating everything, but we haven’t focused on what we say to customers, how we say it, how we connect with them. How does the relationship end up? 

 

And so that’s been refreshing. And I’m going to go out on a limb and call that a trend as we start to see the the data from the actual sales leaders. Where to them, the tech out there if you’re going to use tech, then the reason we’re going to use it is because it’s going to allow my salespeople to drive better engagement with our prospects and with our buyers. 

 

And it’s one of those things where a lot of the companies up here in the Bay Area are very automation centric, and they have a sales ops tech bent to them. They have lots of applications now. And then they say, well, what can we do better? And how do we drive better engagement is often the answer. It’s just really important. 

 

So anyway, net net, I feel like we thought we were going to commoditize. There’s all these stupid quotes about how sales is going to in 2000-whatever– 

 

Andy Paul 31:14

2020! A million B2B sales jobs disappearing.

 

Craig Rosenberg 31:16

It’s so stupid. I mean, it’s unbelievable. And not because I’m a fan of the space, but everyone says, oh, because the buyer wants to buy online. I’m like, no, no. If they get a great salesperson, they become partners. They love it. And we see it still to this day, it’s so important that they create– the salesperson is that bridge between the organization and the customer. And when done right, it’s so valuable to the buyer. I mean, you know this.

 

Andy Paul 31:56

My first book was all about that. Products become commoditized. The salesperson becomes the first line of differentiation.

 

Craig Rosenberg 32:05

Absolutely. How amazing is this? Because I live in tech where I’ll go in and I’ll say, well, how do you differentiate from your competitors? The development cycles are so fast right now. It’s such a fine line, it’s incredible, right? If you have 6 to 20 competitors in the market, man, it is pretty close, right?

 

Andy Paul 32:32

If you don’t have 6, you will soon. Because the barrier of entry is so low that anybody can do it.

 

Craig Rosenberg 32:37

And you’re right, the salesperson and how they partner with the buyer is the differentiator. And it’s not going to die. Actually, it’ll be an advantage to the people that realize how critical it is and enable their reps to build real relationships. It’ll be their competitive advantage/ The uniquely human sales skills, that will never die. It just won’t. Because if you’re gonna buy something, having a real partner in that versus just a piece of tech or a piece of machinery or whatever it is that you sell, the customer is looking for a real business partner. And that’s the salesperson’s job and that just won’t go away.

 

Andy Paul 33:25

Okay, Craig, we’re gonna move into the last segment of the show where I’ve got some standard questions I ask all my guests. And the first one is a hypothetical scenario where you, Craig, have just been hired as VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled out. And the CEO is anxious to get things unstuck and turned around. So what two things could you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?

 

Craig Rosenberg 33:49

Man, you did warn me you were gonna make me think. So as we talked about mixing old school and new school, my favorite story is – and I keep using Salesforce. It’s an accident. It’s not because I’m obsessed with them. But my favorite was Jim Steele. He’s the famous co-president there. It was his first week on the job, and he was in there, and he was in his office. And Benioff walked in and said, what are you doing here? And the guy said, oh, I’m just trying to get my feet wet and understand what’s going on. 

 

And he said, hey man, I’m gonna pay you a lot of money to go meet every customer you can. So I don’t want to see you in the office for a while. And I just love that story because they’ve just been such a huge success. And I do believe that step one to really understand what’s going on is to not just get a lay of the land on what’s happening with sales, but is to go set a quantifiable number of prospects and customers that you will meet in that first week or two. 

 

And the reason why it’s a double whammy in my opinion is because, as you know, often there’s all this hidden goal than just a different or better conversation with people. So there’s probably upside to the pipeline in those conversations. But more importantly, as we just said, if you’re going to go and lay down a process, it’s important to understand what the buyers do. And I think sales leaders often pay guys like us to go figure that out. 

 

But there’s nothing more valuable than going, engaging with them yourself, and looking them in the eye and understanding how they came to talk to us, what their perception is, what they thought we could do better, how they would buy our products, and those things. So I feel like that’s a double whammy for upside. I do see that as a huge first thing you go do. And you earn the respect of the sales reps out of the gate. You show that you’re focused on engagement. 

 

And so that that would be number one, absolutely, positively number one. And then from that, I would start to sketch what I believe to be the early steps of the process. And the reason why– people always go, well, don’t you want to gather information? I always say, well, everyone thinks detectives go and investigate to figure out the truth. But they’re actually going in there to figure out whether you’re guilty or not. 

 

And with that context, they can be faster. And so if you have an idea of where you want to take it and you’re focused on laying out the process out of the gate instead of going in and Colombo-ing and looking for those little nuggets, it takes too long. Instead, you want to come in and say, what should I be looking at? 

 

And once you do that and you can lay that out, I’ll go in and say, let me see what’s happening in the pipeline today. But if you don’t think about it in terms of where you want to go, it’s actually not– it’s valuable. But it’s more valuable if you’re thinking about everything in the context of building that plan. 

 

Andy Paul 37:21

Okay, excellent answer. All right. So some rapid fire questions. You can give me one word answers if you want. The first one is when you, Craig, are out selling TOPO’s services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute?

 

Craig Rosenberg 37:31

Discovery.

 

Andy Paul 37:33

Who’s your sales role model?

 

Craig Rosenberg 37:40

I’ll give you a random one. Vince Vaughn, the actor, if you watch him in his movies, he’s the ultimate buyer centric salesperson,

 

Andy Paul 37:52

That’s great. He was in Old School, the electronics store, right?

 

Craig Rosenberg 38:01

The one I love is in that Google movie. If you watch the scene in the pizza parlor, they transformed it to this is a uniquely human skills or what was missing in that sales process. 

 

Andy Paul 38:16

All right. Well, I’ll have to go back and look at that one again. So one book every salesperson should read.

 

Craig Rosenberg 38:22

Sales Mastery by Barry Trailer or any book you’ve written.

 

Andy Paul 38:25

All right, thank you. And what’s on your playlist these days? What music are you listening to?

 

Craig Rosenberg 38:32

Well, now look, I came up in the hardcore West coast gangster rap era. And as I am that 44 year old man driving the kids to school, listening to Tupac and Dr. Dre and Snoop and those guys, and I still do. So I’m that guy.

 

Andy Paul 38:48

You’re that guy with the loud bass in the car. The kids are wearing headphones so they can ride.

 

Craig Rosenberg 38:55

Pull up to the private school with that.

 

Andy Paul 38:57

All right. Good. Well, Craig, thanks for joining me. Tell folks how they can find out more about you and TOPO.

 

Craig Rosenberg 39:04

Yeah, so you can go to TOPOHQ.com to learn more about TOPO. That’s the best place frankly. And then for me, I think the best thing is to just follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. But my Twitter handle is Funnelholic, so @FunnelHolic. And with that is the Funnelholic.com blog, but I don’t update it as much, Andy. So that’s why I push people more to the TOPO HQ where I’m spending more of my time.

 

Andy Paul 39:31

All right, good. Well, thanks. And remember, friends, make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is to make this podcast, Accelerate, a part of your daily routine. Listen on your commute, in the gym, or make it part of your morning sales meeting. That way, you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Craig Rosenberg, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your sales. So thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling, everyone.