Stop Killing Deals, with George Brontén [Episode 770]

On today’s episode, my guest is George Brontén. He’s the founder and CEO of Membrain, based out of Stockholm, Sweden. And he’s the author of a brand new book titled, Stop Killing Deals.  You gotta love that title. Short and to the point. Join us as we explore the sales behaviors (both conscious and subconscious) of managers and individual sellers that kill deals.

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Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: George, welcome back to the show.

George Bronten: Thank you very much, Andy. Nice to be back.

Andy Paul: Always a pleasure.

George Bronten: am from Stockholm and my little man cave basement here. Yeah, it depends on who you ask. We’ve been working from home now, the entire company for about four weeks. So yeah, we, we do, uh, we do the social distancing thing, but, uh, we haven’t closed everything down, like in many other countries have,

Andy Paul: Yeah,

which is the right way to go.

George Bronten: yeah. Hard to tell him, we’ll see you in a, in a year or so.

Andy Paul: one of the few things, probably the political conservatives in America, agree with Sweden. This is not going to total shutdown, but anyway, we won’t get into that. so again, welcome back. Hey, just by way of background. So tell us how you got your start in sales.

George Bronten: Wow. That’s always an interesting question where to where to start. Uh, I think I was settling already as a, as a young kid on the block, uh, calling, uh, my friends and everyone knew I could fix the bikes in the area against a small fee. Uh, but I, I guess professionally, my first sort of career job was selling loudspeakers.

In a store where they had sort of an Ikea approach to two loudspeakers where you could build your own. Yeah. So that was cool. That was sort of my, my big passion in life as a, as a teenager. So I thought that was a very cool job. Well, in my man cave, yes. That’s where they were allowed. Yeah. So from speakers, yeah. I went to actually selling books, you know, the, the for dummies series. Uh, yeah, I was, uh, I was selling those here in, in Sweden. So I was traveling around the country, visiting computer stores and, and bookstores and sold them the concept of dummies. So that was kind of fun. And after that I started my.

My first company, which was a portal for dentists, which was a complete, stupid thing to do. Uh, no market research there. I just did it because I believed in the internet. This was maybe 92, 93, very early, uh, Yeah, exactly. It was 10 years old. Yeah. Thanks. Maybe I need to update my profile picture. Yeah. So, uh, that, wasn’t very good from a business stand point, but of course I learned a lot.

And after that I founded a company called upstream and upstream in the beginning we were doing. Basically, we were doing websites for companies and that transformed into software. We sold software and I, and the idea was basically to find sort of the golden nuggets out there that nobody knew about and take those pieces of software to Scandinavia as the region we were representing and then sell those through a network of resellers.

And that led later to, to me starting the, my current baby, which is membrane, where we build. Software for salespeople.

Andy Paul: Who’s your biggest influence?

George Bronten: Yeah, that’s a good question. I guess I would have to maybe ask the customers, um, Trying to really, I mean, selling is, is from my perspective, at least it’s about helping someone to get to a better place, um, th that they want to go to, or that they might not know yet that they want to go to, but you can help them get there. Uh, so I think selling, I mean, there was, I’ve not gone through any, any kind of professional sales training in my, in my career. So it was, I had of course colleagues at the different.

Andy Paul: by the way.

George Bronten: Yeah, I didn’t go to any, any trainings that taught me how to do a close yeah. That’s that might be true. But, um, so I learned from colleagues and I learned from, especially being very curious about, about the customers.

I mean, what, what, what do they need, Y Y how can I help, uh, how can I be creative in solving their problems? So, so I think I’ve, I’ve been studying people a lot. Um, Just how people were, how people think we’ll make decisions. Um, so I think that’s also what intrigues me about this profession. It is. So, um, it’s so compelling to, to find out more about the mind and how people engage.

Andy Paul: Right. So if you had to say, okay, here, this is my sales of super power. What’s your sales super power.

George Bronten: Yeah, I would probably say curiosity combined with business acumen. Um, so to really try to understand, uh, the customer or the potential customer and, and then, uh, use. My business acumen to come up with solutions on how to help them solve that in the way that, that of course everyone benefits from

Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, knowing you as much as I do. Um, yeah, I probably would have said similar thing. Um, good answer for you. So we’re going to talk about your new book. You’ve written called stop killing deals and very concise title. So who’d you run? Who did you write the book for? Who’s the intended audience.

George Bronten: Uh, sales leaders and company leaders is the, uh, the primary, uh, reader, uh, that I wrote it for. Cause the, the, the whole idea about stop killing deals is that I think there is so much so many mistakes being made in selling that are a result of. Just making wrong assumptions about things. Uh, so that’s sort of the, the pillar on which the book is written and how some of these are, should be pretty simple to fix.

Um, Which is the reason for the title. Like if you just stop doing some of the stupid, but thanks, uh, we all might be doing and many more than others that can take us very far. And I’m also a bit, I’m a bit irritated by the snake, old oil being peddled. In my space in particular, in the, in the tech space. I mean, there is also, there’s always a tool to fix your problem.

Um, but you can’t have a tool for every problem. Uh, and yes. And that’s strange. It’s weird. Yeah. So I am kind of annoyed with that. And this whole in AI and artificial intelligence and everyone is using the latest buzz words to sell. Something. Um, whereas I think we just need to get, sort of get our head head straight on what we’re actually trying to do.

Andy Paul: Well, I mean, one thing that’s very clear in the book, you’re talking about sort of three primary supplementing or limiting beliefs. And as you go through it, and you said the on this book is written for managers and leaders and so on. Yeah. Is I’ve, I’ve got sort of this beef witches that I, you know, I think that most sales issues that we’re confronting today are really the fault of management. And yet that’s not a very popular thing. When you look online and you see what people write on LinkedIn and all these other places, it’s all about, you know, sales, people’s limiting beliefs, but I think that’s more important. We talk about management’s limiting beliefs.

George Bronten: I do agree. I mean, it’s always, um, isn’t it always the leaderships fault in the end that they’re the ones coming up with the strategy. Um, and, and the sales people are executing that, but oftentimes there is no strategy. And, and, uh, you’re just, you’re just hoping that you find salespeople that somehow will, we’ll do some magic tricks and sell whatever you’ve produced.

Uh, and that’s just not a good leadership. Uh, strategy. So I agree. It’s it’s uh, and also the, I guess that’s a good thing because I think if we could have help managers, sales, man, frontline sales managers, I think there’s a huge leverage there. Um, they’re they’re under, uh, they have too little resources.

They’re getting too little attention. They’re bogged down with too much. Crap to do actually, and they’re not being given the right type of training and, and, and, uh, and they’re being screamed at a lot and it’s just not a fair, fair game for sales managers, which is also the fault of the, the leaders, the higher ups, of course.

Andy Paul: sure. Well, when you, you make the statement later in the book, um, it wasn’t about, this is your per se, but I mean, obviously this is the, so she was just say quote, at the root of this problem is the fact that sales as a profession hasn’t been taking bear, hasn’t been taken very seriously for most of its history.

And I would. Have added to that by management, you know, sales is not taken seriously by, I mean, the fact of selling has taken serious, so we need revenue, but sellers themselves and what they need and what sales managers need has not been taken seriously.

George Bronten: Yeah, I think that’s of course a generalization, but, but that’s what I’m seeing. And, and especially in, in companies led by engineers or finance people who haven’t. Been selling themselves and haven’t really been studying the field of sales. So that’s why they’re making all these assumptions. Right. So, and I see a lot of toxic cultures in, in companies that are sort of product led or engineer led.

And there’s such a huge gap between those beliefs and, and what happens on the sales floor. So that there’s a lot of friction going on.

Andy Paul: Yeah, but I think this should, in terms of trying to know, we’re talking about enabling sellers, right? And so let’s use that as sort of the catch phrase for improving performance of is for me, as I experienced with decades doing this and sales management and leading sales teams, as well as. During this podcast, I’m talking about hundreds upon hundreds of sales leaders is it is a prompt for me, is that management plays to the lowest common denominator, right?

Let’s start a site. Yeah. We’re going to hire a team. And I know that 80% of them. Yeah, probably on gonna be good enough. And, and I accept that as just the fact. And so everything’s sort of organized around that sort of organizing principle that yeah. Half of my team or more just doesn’t be very good. And I’m going to take steps that just sort of reinforce that because I’ll give the good leads to the people I think are better.

I’ll give more resources with people I think are better. And we just see this repeated time and time again, and managers don’t really seem to, but aren’t equipped for the most part to say, well, how do I make somebody better?

George Bronten: Yeah, no, I would agree with that. I think I spoke to a, uh, okay. A founder of a tech company and they were selling a tool with AI and it was looking into the CRM and trying to find out if the deals in there in the pipeline were for real, or if there was a lot of just fluff in there. And then the interesting part of that story was that they, they, they finally had to, to.

Put the company down so that they, they did not succeed looking back at it. And the reflections made where we were selling to sales, uh, directors, and they loved the idea, but when they saw the, the product in action, every everything became very transparent for them, but also for the leadership. Right. So it became pretty apparent that they weren’t.

Really doing their job very well,

then they didn’t want to buy it. Right. So, and that’s also very interesting. So yeah. It just becomes a very bad the series of events. If the leaders don’t trust the would just assume that the sales director will, will know what to do. And the sales director is not, does not have the resources or maybe creates the right plan.

And there, the managers are not equipped correctly or not hired directly are not promoted correctly, et cetera, et cetera. And everyone tries to hide it that they’re doing something wrong. That’s a very bad, bad culture that that gets created. I’m not saying that’s the case everywhere, but. It’s it’s quite often, that’s the case and that’s very sad.

I mean, we should, should all be looking at, at like the Toyota way. Like what, how do we, how do we improve everything? I know we ask five why’s to come up with a, the root of the problem and fix that and improve continuously. Cause nothing is, I mean, nothing is. There’s no right answer that that solves everything.

It’s iteration, it’s being agile, listening to customers. And I work a lot with sales process design. I mean, that’s what, what the product then puts into and brings into life. And I see that a lot as well that people want to create this person perfect process. We’re going to create this process going to be fantastic.

And they just over-engineer it to death. Uh, and just. Miss things like we can’t have one process. I mean, it’s very different selling a high value, high tech, highly transactional product to the SMB than trying to sell a very enterprise software complex software. And those are two different things and need two different processes and maybe multiple processes within each of those segments, because we have.

Yeah, different regions and cultures, et cetera. So there’s so much complexity and selling, which I think also is why a lot of people just give up and say, well, you know, it’s either you find the right people, it works or you don’t, and you just have to keep looking for those top performers.

Andy Paul: Well, and that’s, that’s a point you’re making the books are a central point, which is part of the reason there’s this management in the tension to development of individuals is the, yeah. They spend their time thinking. I need to hire people that are set to go as opposed to them hiring. Potential one of the limiting beliefs, you see organizations having.

George Bronten: And then you have buyers. I mean, buyers, that’s another assumption I talk about in the book that we, we sort of think that buyers are a rational and if we just prove them in ROI and, and demo our, our solution, they’ll just say hallelujah and buy it. I mean, it’s much more complex than that. So we need to wrap our head around that as well.

And they’re more stakeholders, everyone is saying these things, but actually doing the right things to embrace the complexity is, is, is different from just yeah. Understanding that that is complex.

Andy Paul: Right. So I think before we move on to the next topic and just to finish on this one, because again, the focus has to be as how do we enable people to achieve, how do we enable people to perform at higher levels? And, and I think you’re talking about in your book, and I certainly agree is the limiting factor is Israeli management.

And, and I think one of the issues that we have to confront as a profession, if we really want to enable our sellers to achieve is that we serve need to blow up the way we manage sales right now. I mean, you look at, and I’ve, you know, gotten on my soap box many times about this, on this program. But, but if you look at how professional sports teams have completely changed, how they manage performance, these are performance.

Yeah, performance organizations, right? The whole goal is just like sales. How do we get top professionals to perform to the top of their potential? Is they don’t presume. Yeah. They don’t have a coaching staff of one, like we oftentimes seven in sales. Right. You might have a CRO, a VP. And then, yeah, a couple depending how big organizations you might have, you know, a director, maybe a manager, but yeah, you get into sports.

I’ve got these people that are specialists in performance improvement. No, they’ve got data analysts. They’ve got, well, you know, I’ve given this example on the show before, as you know, Liverpool was mine, my soccer team. I think they have three coaches in there just on the first team squat with the word performance in their title.

Yeah. So we’ve kept become very specialized in those professions, much like we’ve done in the sales. Yeah. Now we’ve got specialized sales roles, SDR, BDRs, AEs account managers, you know, so on. But we fundamentally are managing sales the same way we did 120 years ago. We expect that that, that CRO expect that sales leader to know all of this, to be an expert on performance and mindset and motivation and all these things that the world of star said, well, no, you really gotta hire specialists are good at that.

George Bronten: Yeah. And I know you mentioned the data analysts and that’s an interesting topic as well, because that’s something I see a lot of. Sales managers and sales directors not being very good at it. Yeah. But it’s a very important piece, uh, of, of being able to, to manage and know who to coach about what, and when is to really know the numbers and understand how to read what is going on through the numbers.

And that’s that say scale that I think a lot of sales leaders are lacking and not just a skill. Maybe not just the scale, but actually the raw data, because the data in the systems are, are inaccurate, oftentimes because of different factors system, not being used. The process consisting of a few stagers and no depth, no, no milestones.

And there are a bunch of things that make this. Just the KPIs coming out of these reports, the reporting systems are not, not really of any use, um, to, to a coach. So you have to have, I mean, all that stuff needs to just be. Designed in a way that a coach can look at the numbers and in a structured format that, that allows that person to see who needs to be, uh, helped with what and what is it a people problem?

Is it a skills problem? Is it a, is it a strategy problem? Is it a product problem? I mean, you have to know that by looking at the data. And I see that that’s a challenge for a lot of, a lot of sales organizations.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I think that’s a challenge in society at large these days is that we increasingly rely on data to communicate something and we see it on the internet. You know, the press uses more graphics, fewer words. Um, Yeah, I think we struggle with data literacy just because we have the data to your point. It doesn’t mean we understand what it means.

We don’t, we don’t know how to look at data and say, well, what’s, what’s missing where where’s the context here. Right? What’s a missing variable. That’s having an impact on what these results are telling me. And I think that, again, this starts with management. I’m not faulting them, but is we need to be training managers.

Leaders in how to look at data, how to understand data. And I don’t hold myself out as an expert. I’m reading as much as I can about it, because this is a problem. And we see it, you know, online again on LinkedIn, where somebody will publish an article saying, you know, we’ve analyzed all these calls and this is what it means.

And it doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean that at all.

George Bronten: Oh, yeah, no, no. I hate those.

Andy Paul: just wrong and we’re misleading people. You can’t take a brute force approach to that. And so yeah, with this broad brush, because anytime we see that, that type of stuff online, it’s like, that’s not the picture. Right. And yet people, because they’re not. Accustomed to dealing with data yet is they don’t question it. And, and this has happened. This happened a lot more micro level with managers and the data they’re getting from all their tools.

George Bronten: Yeah. And, and, and comparing data. Also. I think that a lot, if you look at a number, uh, you, you want, and it’s in your space, you, of course, it’s a natural thing to compare that with your, your numbers. Uh, the problem in the selling is that there is no standard. So if someone says we have a win rate of X. You can’t really know what that means unless you actually ask them.

Okay. How do you measure your rates were where is it from the start of an opportunity until the time you you win it, they lose it or does it start when you make first contact? I mean, early prospecting and people have these all mixed up, even within organizations. So. So that makes it really, really hard also too, to start comparing, and especially those kind of, you know, marketing stats that are thrown around.

Like if you ask the customer X within the first 3.3 minutes and 12 seconds, you’ll get, Y it’s like, come on. That’s what I mean was selling peddling, snake, all that. That’s just, that’s just annoying to me.

Andy Paul: Oh, yeah, I’m the first one to get annoyed at that. Yeah, cause we can, we’re doing a disservice to the people that want easy answers and we’re not business where there’s really a lot of easy answers to be had.

George Bronten: Not if you’re in a complex B2B sale. I mean, if sure if you’re in, if you’re an Amazon on your E commerce, um, I’m sure you can go really, really deep on, on algorithms and, and, uh, and everything that we’re doing to, to, to transactional lies sales and, and. Squeeze out more and more numbers by changing prices, like a 10th of a dollar or whatever it may be.

But in a complex B2B sales, multiple months of sales cycles, multiple people involved. I mean, that, that just goes away. I mean, it’s a whole different ball game.

Andy Paul: Yeah, well, moving on. I mean, and nothing you’d write about is which has always sort of one of my topics. I tried talking about us. Yeah, the damage done by managers for creating what you call it, an needlessly stressful work environment. So tell us what you meant about that.

George Bronten: yeah, there are many, many aspects of that, but I think there is this belief that if we just do more. We’ll we will improve performance. Um, so I see a lot of focus on, do more, send more emails, do more phone calls, and we’ll all close better, or get more people to the proof of concept and we’ll sell more.

And, uh, the problem with, with that kind of activity led efficiency focused approach is that unless you’re doing the right things, It doesn’t help that you just do more of it? Uh,

Andy Paul: at some point

into a game of chance at that point,

George Bronten: yeah. Yeah, of course. And I think also what’s important to say in that, on that topic is if you’re a startup from, I mean, you’re in this from Silicon Valley, $10 million in the bank, you can sell the product to anyone who’s alive, any company. I mean, maybe it makes sense for you to spray and pray like crazy for the first three years. And it doesn’t matter if you upset a few people along the way. So maybe that’s an okay tactic, although I kind of dislike it anyway, but that’s that, that can get you to the next it’s level. Whereas if you’re a manufacturing company and you have 432 potential clients worldwide, that will be an awful tactic to take.

Andy Paul: Roughly 200 customers worldwide.

George Bronten: Yeah. And you don’t want to mess those relationships up by spamming people. So yeah, I think you have to know what’s right for the type of selling environment you’re in and not listen to the advice of, of. Companies and leaders and product pushers that are active in a completely different type of sales environment.

Andy Paul: Yeah.

Again, as is caused by managers,

George Bronten: Yeah.

Andy Paul: who make this assumption that people basically know how to perform. And, and that’s also fear-based as well, right? Because oftentimes the managers dealing with their own sets of insecurities because they haven’t been trained. to your point earlier is all they know is perhaps well let’s do more of something, but they don’t necessarily have the resources to say, well, how do we do this before?

I think I said, before, we can do more. You can learn how to do better. And then once you learn how to do better, you can do more better.

George Bronten: Yeah, exactly. No, absolutely. I agree. And I think the formula that I’ve learned for productivity is effectiveness times efficiency. Um, so if you’re being effective and you’re doing all the right things, then of course you’ll improve performance. If you also increase efficiency, but if you’re multiplying by zero or 0.1, you can run very fast without actually getting anywhere because you’re running in circles. Yeah, but stressful environment, I think also is managers. We were talking about those. I think managers are, are often in a very stressful position because they’re pulled in different directions and they’re asked to do different reports and they’re not, they’re not, there’s no real understanding about what they, their work should be about from manager, their managers.

And maybe sometimes not even. It’s not, they might not even, and know themselves what they ought to be doing because they haven’t been managers in the past. And they were, they were promoted because they were a good salesperson. I’m sure you’ve talked about this many times on the show. So. They, they, um, become kind of reactive.

Uh, but they’re being directed by people who don’t know what they really should be doing and spending that time on. So it’s a very, yeah, it’s a hard and tough job to be a

Andy Paul: Oh, yeah, so many environments. So how do we, how do we turn that? Right?

George Bronten: Yeah. And I think people don’t don’t change unless they have to, unfortunately, most of the times, so people come to a point in time where, where their margins are eroding and, and, um, their competitors are eating their lunch. That’s when it becomes. A burning platform and they have to do something, unfortunately, that’s what we’re seeing.

Uh, but, but sorry.

Andy Paul: Well, I was gonna say we were, if you look at the industry reports for serving this downward trend, if not spiral, in terms of sales, performance, CSO, insights, reports, other reports out there. So, I mean, it’s not that it was necessarily rigorous studies, but you know, data points saying, yeah, we’ve, we’re in the golden age where you’ve got all this great sales technology to, to invest in and apply to the process.

And yet.

George Bronten: Yeah, but I don’t know if it is because as you mentioned previously, they’ve sort of. They’ve just sort of accepted the fact that, okay, 80% of my salespeople will not perform. I go, I have to go recruit the 20% that can perform. And, uh, I’ll just have this constant churn and rotation of people. And some, somehow that’s become the norm.

So I just. Unfortunately, I see a lot of leaders out there. They’re not striving for excellence. They’ve sort of gotten into this mode that this is the way it is. So I guess they need just to be. Awaken. And usually they are by, by competitors who get it and start running very fast and they’re being out competed and that’s when they sort of wake up.

So, Oh crap, there’s a better way to do it. What are we going to do? Who can we imitate? I’m being a bit harsh, but, uh, I think that’s how human beings usually work. We don’t, I mean, we, we love the status quo. We hate change for the most part. We just change when we really have to this whole situation we’re in now.

Is telling, uh, I mean, Corona and COVID-19 is, is it’s a really scary, scary virus. And we, we see some causes that increase our. Uh, sort of risk factors to it. Um, we, you should be doing some, some stuff to, to reduce that, but we still don’t. So even in the face of death, we, we sometimes just prefer the status quo.

So people have a very hard time changing. That’s that’s, uh, that’s just the way it is, unfortunately, but, but those who want those who haven’t Bishan I mean, those are the front runners, uh, And, and they, I think from my perspective, selling just has to become more of a profession. Um, we have to realize that selling is it’s a super interesting profession.

Uh, w we’re working with people, uh, we’re we’re helping, um, we’re not. Just trying to, I mean, we have to get away from this perception that selling is something that we do onto people that we try to just sell stuff to make money. I mean, that’s not what, what professional selling is all is about. So there’s a perception thing that we need to work on.

Um, but then just structure sales and stop just chasing these shortcuts for everything. Uh, I think we have to look at it as building a house. You have to sort of, you can’t start by building the roof. You have to build a foundation and the walls, and then you can, can build the roof. But a lot of people just try to take shortcuts and say, Oh, if we just buy this latest, coolest tool, or we send the sales people to do this new, really hot methodology that came out, that’s going to solve everything.

So no, it’s not going to solve everything. Just do you have a strategy? Do you have a process? Do you have the right skills? Are you coaching or your coaching even more and more and more? Do you understand the data? Do you know the data? Do you know what your KPIs, I mean, all of these basic things, it should seem like are not in place.

Andy Paul: When we’re talking about them. There’s all this focus in this profession on how do we enable sellers to perform? And the biggest obstacle to it is sitting right there in plain view. And I contend management that hasn’t the way we manage sales has not fundamentally changed in plus a century. And until we’re willing to tackle that.

And so we’re willing to take it seriously enough, to your point in your book, that the leaders just don’t take sales seriously enough. I mean again, they take, they take revenue seriously, but you know, we’ve structured sales in such a way that by and large in most companies, it’s just like, yeah, this is sort of a necessary evil.

We’ll do it. And when you’re a fetus, just enough to serve, get what you want out of it. But we’re just sort of muddling along from year to year to year.

George Bronten: The good thing about that. There’s I think there, there are some, some simple mistakes that keep on being made in, in selling that we could fix easily.

Andy Paul: Okay, give us an example.

George Bronten: Yeah. So in, in my previous company, uh, the, the main problem was that we did not engage all the right stakeholders. And I would argue that is the number one problem in a complex sale.

We, we just. If we, if we’ve primarily talked to a few stakeholders that engage with us, I mean, reactively, I mean, we look at the, all the inbound and, and, and that whole spiel, uh, and, and we don’t find out how they will have to make a decision, how we, how their organization works, uh, et cetera, et cetera. We just tried to push the product in there.

It’s not gonna work. So just by identifying. Who need to be involved to make a decision about this? Why would they even buy something? At all. And how does that compare to all the other stuff? Because that’s another problem. I think that we make in selling, we’re so concerned about the competitors to our product, but usually we don’t lose because they buy another product, but is because they prioritize another project.

Uh, or they, they D or yeah, or they de prioritize the project that you could be helping them with. But I think a lot of times we, we sort of don’t take, we don’t look at status quo as, as the main competitor, whereas might actually be, instead we look at the competitor competition to our product as, as, as the main competitor, which it might not be.

So just. Going back to the simple product I’m making this complex now, but knowing who needs to be involved, it is if we can nail that. If we gonna just focus on that for a year, I’m certain that’s going to really move the needle for most sales teams.

Andy Paul: Well, I think it’s,

which is identify the stakeholders who are going to do what, right. I don’t think this is, I think, where we miss increasingly in sales and you talked about, cause we’re there. Seller’s going to push the product well, they’re pushing the product when the customer hasn’t really decided, Hey, what their problem is and B how they want to solve it. So I haven’t defined the solution. So as a sellers, you should be focused on identifying the stakeholders who are responsible for defining how they’re going to solve, ultimately how they’re gonna solve the problem

George Bronten: Yeah, exactly.

Andy Paul: focus, your effort. There. Because that’s a process all the time and makers have to go through, right.

They have to identify the problem, come up with the solutions they can choose from options they can choose from and choose one of the options that they want to proceed with, who they, who they chooses a vendor to help them implement that option. That’s the last thing that happens. Yeah. That seems to be where most people are focused on a sales standpoint and we’ve got to. Is that to your point earlier about that’s when you do that, when you focus on that end point, that’s selling to someone as opposed to working collaboratively with them to help them solve the problem.

George Bronten: Yeah, you phrase that much better than I did, but I have complete agreement with you on that. Yeah, because they’re making a they’re, they’re gonna make it  about improving something. Uh, and, and if you’re going to be involved or, or not, that’s gonna be a result of if, if they define the problem or how they define the problem, uh, in the

Andy Paul: Well, yeah, well, I mean, and you touch on this a little bit in the book. When you talk about checklists and nude, I love the fact you embrace a tool DeWanda and the checklist manifesto, but I think every sales person, every sales manager or sales leader should be reading that book if they haven’t already.

Um, but one of the things that sort of interesting though, is. I love the idea of checklists, but I think we also have to caution against becoming too prescriptive in our sales process to this point, because we want to route, we’ve got the Zealand service, I think consider inflexible sales processes that many companies put together and they don’t align with the buying experience of the buyer, you know, how they’re going through their process.

And I think that becomes one of our big challenges. In search of the discussion we just had about helping define what their solution should be and who those stakeholders are involved in. That that’s not a linear process at all. No, that’s not a stage based process. That’s requires a lot of flexibility.

Um, so how do we reconcile that, you know, having a process with a customer that really has no process.

George Bronten: Yeah. It’s, uh, I it’s, it’s true. And I think it’s, um, It’s difficult to from now. I’m, I’m, I’m in my head. The technology is spinning, right? When I’m, I’m seeing the screens, uh, and it’s hard to have a nonlinear, uh, workflow, but I think the way we’ve seen. Customers approach it is, is looking at more of a milestone approach. Uh, and that a milestone that you complete can also be uncompleted. I mean, sometimes you have to go back, uh, because you, you didn’t have all the stakeholders to really get to it. At that point. You had one person that made him go to that. So we have to build. Yeah, we have, we have our own it team. We can do this on our own, on our own. Yeah. So of course, yeah, I agree. So you have to design the process with, of course, with a buyer in mind, and that’s not super simple either because. All buyers are not the same. Um, but I think we have, I have to sort of find the common denominators on, on a milestone basis.

And there are different approaches. I mean, Gardner is talking about their work to be done, and there’s some methodologies around that. So you can define that. Have we, have we helped them do this part of their decision making journey? Yes, or what steps do we need to take there? And we’re now we’re building some, some cool stuff where, where we were actually the dynamically changing the process based on strengths and weaknesses of each individual sales person.

Because, yeah, because a very senior experienced person who knows the customers inside out the industry and the products, he might not need the same kind of enablement, uh, that, uh, a new person that we’re just onboarding, uh, would need. So I also. Like the way that we can, we need to make these processes much more dynamic and agile and, and, and, and change based on who you are as a salesperson, but also who’s the customer, what’s the industry.

All of these things need to come together in a nice way.

Andy Paul: Very interesting. Well, thank you for joining us

George Bronten: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Andy Paul: and your book.

George Bronten: Yeah, so I’m active on LinkedIn. So find me there, George Braunton connect with me and a membrane.com. If you want to learn more about that and the book has a cool URL, it stopped dot, killing.deals. Yeah. Nice. Thanks Andy.