How to Optimize Your Sales Process w/ Bridget Gleason [Episode 420]

In this episode, we dive into the sales process and pitfalls that sales managers can avoid to ensure its effectiveness in their organization.

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular guest on Front Line Fridays.

Key Takeaways

  • A sales process is subject to iterative improvement. Is it scalable? Do your salespeople have, or need, the skills to handle inbound and outbound? Examine historic sales data, from lead to close. Identify where the process needs change.
  • Bridget’s team receives inbound and makes outbound calls. Outbound is tasked to reach into various departments of the prospect. SDRs help supply the inbound leads.
    A Logz.io sale usually starts with the manager of the end user, and it is critical for the account executive to involve other buyer contacts with more authority, to align the sales process with the buying process, from the beginning.
  • Bridget discusses exit criteria for each stage of the sales process. How does the salesperson shepherd the buyer along the buying process, by inviting legal, security, procurement, and budget contacts to buy in?
  • Has Logz.io settled on one sales methodology? Bridget talks about her Xerox training and SPIN Selling methodology. She also invokes Sandler training as an example.
  • What parameters influence the choice of sales methodology? Are there great differences between most sales methodologies?
  • What about compensation? How do you balance the needs of the company with motivating individuals? How does personal growth opportunity balance direct compensation?
  • Is compensation the ultimate determining factor of performance motivation? Bridget reveals her opinion.

The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul 0:35  

Hello and welcome to the Sales Enablement Podcast. You’re joining us for another edition of Frontline Friday with my very special guest Bridget Gleason. Bridget, how are you?

 

Bridget Gleason  1:07  

Andy? I’m great as usual. No complaints. 

 

Andy Paul  1:14  

What a life as usual.

 

Bridget Gleason  1:16  

I know. I’ve just led a charmed life.

 

Andy Paul  1:19  

You do, I envy you. I envy you every week. Everything is great.

 

Bridget Gleason  1:26  

I know. It’s all a state of mind. Only thing we can control is what’s in our mind. mindsets, right?

 

Andy Paul  1:33  

Yeah, I agree. So yeah, I have no complaints really, either. So last time, we talked about factor hiring for this brand new sales team. And so today we’re going to talk about building new sales teams, we’re building a new sales process and talk about sort of, you know, what’s that? You know, what are the steps that you’re going through to do that? And how you’re going to scale that or what your plans are for scaling it. So, let’s just start at the beginning. So how do you start mapping this out? If people are listening, they have totally taken responsibility. new company, new division, new responsibilities, Greenfield? Yeah, where’d you start to build your sales process?

 

Bridget Gleason  2:25  

So just sort of a point of clarification. I do have a team in Israel, a sales team in Israel. So there is and they’ve been super successful. So there’s a process that’s already started. So it’s not as if I’m starting from scratch, and just building just starting from scratch. Having said that, I’m always looking at them and I don’t want to change them. But can consistently try to iterate and improve, iterate and improve, iterate, improve. And I would say that’s the case here. Because what I think is fairly typical, we’ve been selling the company’s been really selling for the past year. We’re just seeing our first renewals now is that things are happening, but the process may not be well documented, well understood, or in a condition that you’d want to scale, what’s happening going forward, and I’ll kind of give an example of that. So we get right now, thankfully, most of our leads are inbound. We get a lot of inbound interest in our product, people signing up for free trials or just signing up for the product, or I’d like a demo. We get a lot of images so the team that we’ve had in Tel Aviv has been a great inbound team, knowing how to quickly identify which ones of these are going to convert sooner which ones aren’t. That’s great. If you can count on your inbound growing as fast as you want your revenue to grow. It’s 99% of the time not the case, that you can’t expect it to grow at the same rate. And that’s certainly the case here as you start to add salespeople. So part of what we’ve started in terms of a process is alright, if that’s, if that’s not always going to be the case. How do we think about the skill set that we need of people that can handle both inbound but also do outbound?

 

Bridget Gleason  4:58  

One of the things I leaned on heavily is what is the data telling me? What’s the data telling me in terms of leads that we’re getting that are converting to, let’s say interest that’s converting to a lead, sir marketing, qualified lead and of those marketing qualified leads, how many of those are turning into opportunities? And of the opportunities that we get how many engage with us in some way in a sales cycle? And then of the ones that engage how many do we close? And then I start to break it down to see. Okay, if that’s the case, where are we getting stuck? Do we have enough inbound interest? Do we have enough of the interest that actually is able to convert to a lead? Are we able to look and identify and qualify which of those leads are opportunities? Are we able then to run an effective process with somebody? That’s an opportunity? And is that process? Right? So that’s where it kind of breaks down. How does that look? Is it a discovery call, a demo, a POC, a pricing discussion and close? Or is there something within that process that needs to be changed or modified? And then it kind of went to what is the outcome of those? Do we win them? Do we lose them? Do we win a lot? Do we lose a lot? So you kind of break it down? It’s pretty, it’s pretty basic, in my opinion. There’s sort of a standard set of generic steps and then you modify  the steps along the way.

 

Andy Paul  6:55  

So are you finding that you know as you’re looking forward to building your US team,  you talked last week and we were talking about doing your hiring primarily account execs? Are you seeing a day where Okay, yeah, we’re gonna have to start being proactive in our outbound or do you think you’re always gonna be able to rely on the inbound?

 

Bridget Gleason  7:17  

Yeah, if I have the team now outbound I do not think we’ll always be able to rely on inbound. And part of it is to even when the bit of data that we have is our inbound feeds a certain sector of the market. Primarily these smaller deals which is great for us, but there’s also the occasional interest from bigger companies we close those we close them. So there’s but those don’t come in. Those don’t come in through outbound. They don’t come up with your outbound that often. I think the other thing about learning about outbound is you need to learn how to do outbound within let’s say if it’s a big company How do I learn how to go after other divisions in groups within a bigger company? So I do insist that reps are always doing a certain amount of outbound and we don’t just have our hands out saying marketing feed me marketing feed me and I just looking at the numbers now. And the growth that we want to achieve, we’re going to have to do some outbound may not be as heavy outbound as I’ve seen other organizations but we’ll definitely always have to do some outbound.

 

Andy Paul  8:44  

Okay, so maybe not building a huge team of SDRs to feed the hungry account execs.

 

Bridget Gleason  8:50  

Yeah, and we’re also looking at SDRs to help with the inbound and the way that I think about that is we typically collect an email address. And that’s about it. I mean, we don’t collect a lot, and that may change. But there’s a lot of research that needs to be done. And that’s typically not a great way for an account executive to spend his or her time. And so to be able to do the automated tools to do lead enrichment, don’t do the level that we need if you just have a Gmail account. So having account reps will probably start with an inbound route, so that we just are more efficient in how we process the inbound that we didn’t get.

 

Andy Paul  9:44  

Well, one of the mantras obvious is always about aligning your sales process to the buying process. Given that you’re in a relatively new company, not completely new but relatively new, relatively limited experience in the sale of the product. Do you feel like you will have a handle on what you’re buying? 

 

Bridget Gleason  10:05  

Thankfully, I came from a similar space. So I understand this market and the buyer. So it’s not brand new to me, which is helpful. So it’s not just, it’s not simply an end user, but it could be a manager who’s going to be influential, they may even have some buying authority, but as you continue to roll it out, they’ve got to take it up a level. So we found it to be a little effective to start with whoever you start with. The first thing you have to do is you’ve got to bring in other people, you have to bring in other people. And that’s like one of the critical steps that needs to be done early on, because what I found is if you wait too long, you just don’t have enough buying in the organization. 

 

Andy Paul  11:51  

So how much emphasis do you put on defining exit criteria for each stage of your process?

 

Bridget Gleason  12:00  

We just hired a full time sales operations person yesterday. Thank God, he couldn’t have come a moment too soon. And one of the things that I said is we need to have a more defined and stricter exit criteria on the sales process. We don’t have that is as much as we need to right now.

 

Andy Paul  12:24  

And what were you finding that was saying, Hey, this is a need?

 

Bridget Gleason  12:28  

What do you mean?

 

Andy Paul  12:29  

Well, in terms of, you know, what your team was doing? What was not happening was telling you that, oh, gosh, we need more watch executed.

 

Bridget Gleason  12:39  

So, for example, let’s just take the example of stakeholders. They would run a sales process all the way through to the end with a single stakeholder. Who was telling them Yeah,I got it. And, and I don’t think they were lying. I just don’t think that they were necessarily aware of their own buying process. Part of our job as sellers is to help educate and shepherd and be project managers to help them along the way as they are trying to navigate their buying process. Because a lot of times, especially on the engineering side, they don’t know what the buying process is. So we can help by saying, typically, you need to get legal, we’re going to need to talk to security, who would you talk to about procurement ? Do you know if there’s a budget approval here, and so those things have to be done earlier. And we just found that that deal would run all the way through to the end without some kind of basic blocking and tackling. And sometimes you’d win the deal, but a lot of times the deal would get stalled. Really stalled and time kills all deals, so we can’t afford to have them get stalled.

 

Andy Paul  14:07  

So, sort of the last area, you got the process going, you’re starting to define exit criteria. So, what’s your take about sales methodology? I mean, some people say that, hey, yeah, we definitely did the sales process. But the real magic happens when we have a sales methodology, you know, sort of the prescription of what we do in each step of the in each stage of a deal. Do you have a defined sales methodology?

 

Bridget Gleason  14:43  

We don’t right now, but I think it’s important. I think it’s important to have it. And I guess the reason I would say it’s important to have it may be different. Maybe you’re not different from what you’re describing. If everybody on the sales team is doing it the same way, doing things the same way, thinking about it the same way using common terminology. We just learned we learn from each other and it kind of builds. And I’m, I’m a fan of that I, early on when I was at Xerox, we, for those of you that you may or may not know, this is it we had SPIN Selling really came out of Xerox and it wasn’t the training the two week training that we would have, you know, every six to eight months. That was so amazing. But it was what happened back in the office that I could overhear people talking about it, I could observe what they were doing and how they were understanding the situation identifying the problem, figuring out what are the implications of that and then what is the final need there. I could have seen it in action. And see Oh, I know where they are. And I think that’s where the magic is, is that you don’t have a bunch of people doing it different ways. You have everybody doing it sort of an observable way. And it doesn’t always matter to me what the methodology is around a certain set that fits for your target audience, but pick a way to do it and you stick with it.

 

Andy Paul  16:25  

So would you say you’re implementing a spin methodology?

 

Bridget Gleason  16:29  

Well, I think some of them are similar to the one that I’m actually thinking about and it is Sandler. And the reason is because a lot of people here have already had Sandler Training. And I also know Sandler as well. So that when there’s already a base found there’s already a foundation and I may, again, this is still early for us, but it’s one of the things that I’m high on my agenda is Do we all? Do we all sort of just congregate around this methodology? And has this been the way that we think about it? 

 

Andy Paul  17:09  

That’s interesting, because you know, there are so many different methodologies out there.

 

Bridget Gleason  17:16  

Yeah.

 

Andy Paul  17:17  

How do you make that choice? You know, when you’re trying to build an organization? I’m asking now, this is a question for you, how do you make that choice?

 

Bridget Gleason  17:25  

Well, you know, in a previous life, I also taught sales training, and I did a lot of going in. I did a lot of acting VP of sales, but I specifically did a lot of sales training. And I’ve studied a lot of the different training methodologies. And I think there’s sort of a core set of principles and rules that are common amongst them, but I don’t get as hung up on the particular methodologies. That’s just me. I just don’t get as hung up on him.

 

Andy Paul  18:09  

I’m with you. I mean, I sort of pick and choose.

 

Bridget Gleason  18:12  

Yeah. And I feel the same way that I there’s certain things I like about each one. So I’m a bit of a pick and chooser as well.

 

Andy Paul  18:21  

Yeah, I mean, I certainly agree with the whole idea that that should have a common terminology that people understand sort of what people are, are thinking about and talking about, especially as an organization scales, a smaller team, if it’s an evergreen come big, but maybe it’s not as big of an issue. But yeah, as you get bigger. Having that sort of common sense of what you’re trying to achieve is really important

 

Bridget Gleason  18:45  

It’s super important. Yeah. 

 

Andy Paul  18:46  

It’s a hard choice, because it’s very sort of individual preference, but I don’t think there’s a huge difference between any of the major ones that are out there.

 

Bridget Gleason  18:59  

Yeah, I I feel the same way.

 

Andy Paul  19:01  

Last question as you’re building this, this team, and we’re going to come back and revisit this, obviously, as we continue our series of conversations. And four people are keeping track. I think this is our 74th time we’ve done this.

 

Bridget Gleason  19:15  

Wow.

 

Andy Paul  19:17  

Yeah. So, question about compensation. So how big of a factor is that? You know, last week you talked about recruiting? How big a factor is that in terms of getting the right people on board and keeping them focused for you at the stage you’re at?

 

Bridget Gleason  19:38  

I think it’s a factor. It’s not the only factor. In fact, on my to do list for today. I’m going to do some, you know, I am not inexperienced in terms of putting together comp plans. But I still always feel out of my league. It’s so hard to do. It’s so hard to put in the right comp plan that takes into consideration both the needs of the company, as well as how you motivate individuals. In a small company like I would say that our compensation here is good. It’s not you’re not going to come here because you think you’re going to make money on your own you’re not going to make the most money, let’s say and I don’t even know if that’s the case. You can make a lot of money here if you do well. But the real thing here is just the opportunity to be part of this great company. People are going to make their money if the company does well, and what their options are. So it’s interesting, the people who I’ve hired, you’ve got to be in the ballpark. You got to pay him well, but it’s not you don’t have to pay them. And there’s some companies because of whatever situation they’re in, but they get salespeople because they offer the highest amount. I’m not trying to have a ha, I’m not trying to have the highest amount the the most in terms of dollars. But what I commit to the people who I work with is you’re going to be what you’re going to learn and take away here is going to be as valuable, if not more to anything that you’re going to get from dollars in your pocket that year. So I guess my answer is it’s important, it’s still important. I want them to feel good about the comp they get. And so I’m always looking at it. And yet, I also recognize that there’s a lot they’re going to get from working here that is going to be it’s gonna pay off more than even the best comp plan that I could put together for them. So I’m going to still work today. To get the best comp plan, but I know some of the other things that they’re getting this early stage, the ability to help grow it influence what we’re doing, be a leader, be part of the early team on the ground. 

 

Andy Paul  22:18  

With a leader conversation we’re gonna have is, is another episode is around this idea of compensation and and really how much of an influence it really is in terms of ultimate performance on the part of the sales reps. Because, you know, the data is not clear. 

 

Bridget Gleason  22:40  

Actually, I think the data is clear. I think the data is clear that it isn’t that important. 

 

Andy Paul  22:49  

Yeah, exactly. I mean, we look at trends in the sales industry, and then sales performance across multiple sectors of b2b spaces, and so on. It is not good for my mind. It seems clear that the way we structure compensation isn’t having the impact that we want. And while it certainly is beneficial for those top 5% firmly else though, is it really that motivating factor? Is it really like me? It’s time to rethink how we do this whole thing, but we’ll save that conversation for the next time.

 

Bridget Gleason  23:24  

I can’t wait. All right. I’m always thinking about it.

 

Andy Paul  23:27  

Yeah, I’m sure you are. So Bridget, as always. First 74th time together.

 

Bridget Gleason  23:34  

I know we should just have a special episode number 75. Oh, okay. Well think about episode number 75. I think that’s kind of a hallmark thing.

 

Andy Paul  23:44  

Yeah. Well, we’ll have to have May, we’ll celebrate one of these times we’ll actually do our interviews that are not separated by thousands of miles. We’ve done that once. We’ve done that one. So let’s do it again. We’ll turn into a party coming to Boston.

 

Bridget Gleason  23:58  

Boston, I can do it in Boston. Come to Tel Aviv.

 

Andy Paul  24:03  

Send me a plane ticket.

 

Bridget Gleason  24:04  

Yeah, you know about our plane tickets, so you’re not gonna like it.

 

Andy Paul  24:10  

But I could do it once. I mean, right for you that one all right.

 

Bridget Gleason  24:14  

That’s good. I like that.

 

Andy Paul  24:16  

All right. As always

 

Bridget Gleason  24:18  

It’s always great to talk to and you also have a great, great rest of the week.

 

Andy Paul  24:23  

You too as well and friends thank you again for joining us. If you have a second please go to iTunes. Subscribe to this podcast because as you subscribe to this podcast, one of the episodes you get every Friday is Frontline Fridays with Bridget Gleason and really appreciate it. Also leave a review. Let us know what we’re doing well and what we could do better. So, Bridget, thanks again.

 

Bridget Gleason  24:44  

As always great to talk to you and friends. We’ll talk to you next week.

 

Andy Paul  24:48  

Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard, and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher for more information about today’s guest Visit my website at AndyPaul.com