Mark McInnes is author of the book Tactical Pipeline Growth: Winning the Outbound Battle for New Business. I enjoyed Mark’s book, and this conversation with him, because he’s a bit of a contrarian on the myths and bad practices that have built up around prospecting. For openers we talk about why Mark believes that it’s better to have a few too few prospects in your pipeline than a few too many.
Andy Paul: Mark. Welcome to the show.
Mark Mcinnes: Hey, Andy, thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.
Andy Paul: Oh my pleasure. You’re joining us from Australia. Where in Australia are you?
Mark Mcinnes: In downtown Sydney. So I’m lucky enough to live, one mile from the local, from the post office to Sydney. So I’m right in the heart of Sydney.
Andy Paul: In the heart. So where are you compared to the opera house?
Mark Mcinnes: Probably one miles. So back from the Harbor, if you’ve been to Sydney, you’ll notice that it’s, there’s a bit of a Hill and I’m on top of the Hill, top of the Hill. I’m just overlooking the city. So yeah. Suburb called Surrey Hills close to Kings cross Potts point.
Andy Paul: spot for nightlife and so on.
Mark Mcinnes: It’s been turned into a residential area. yeah.
Andy Paul: I went to Australia a lot in the eighties and nineties, maybe a dozen times overall. And, Yeah, I think I’ve ventured out there once, but I mostly stayed. I don’t know if it still is an Intercontinental that was right across from the Royal botanical gardens
Mark Mcinnes: Spot.
Andy Paul: And great for running. I used to swim in the Andy boy Charlton pool there and the Royal botanical garden as well, brought my goggles. So I’d go for a run. Bring my swung swimsuit under my running shorts and goggles, then go home.
Mark Mcinnes: Okay. Yep. Great. That’s what look when you’re in Sydney and you’re staying in those hotels in those locations, you really get the best piece of Sydney. Of course, most people live, 20 kilometers out of town and what on the postage stamp is not what most people get to experience of Sydney.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah, no, I noticed it was gorgeous down there. And then yeah, my running route always entailed running through the Batara park all the way down around the opera house and back up. And yeah, it was in the, usually the weather was gorgeous.
Yeah. Yeah. I had a couple massive thunderstorms when I was there on a couple occasions that were during your summer, which were fantastic, but, generally locked out.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, absolutely. Sorry. There we go.
Andy Paul: Yeah. So you’ve been in Sydney, managed to avoid COVID-19 and all those things.
Mark Mcinnes: So far, we’re pretty lucky. We have very low transmission rights here in new South Wales in our state, Australia. So Victoria at the moment has got a bit of what they’re calling a second life, but it’s really gust hundreds of cases of diets. It’s certainly not as bad as it could be.
And in new South Wales with, it’s a dozen cases a die. but mostly working from home and just being well behaved.
Andy Paul: Wearing your mask when you go outside.
Mark Mcinnes: Correct? Yep.
Andy Paul: It’s such an easy thing to do, wear a mask that defeats many people here. all right, we’re going to talk about your new book. You’ve got out called tactical pipeline growth,
Mark Mcinnes: Correct.
Andy Paul: First question, there’s a bazillion books on prospect in the veteran. So what was the impetus to write yet? Another book about prospecting.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. Okay. Thank you. I just wanted to give something to the sellers, so there’s a lot of really great books, really good books. but I send it the I’m predominantly at sales managers, sales leaders, for that transformational piece. And it talks about them, but they typically talk a lot about strategy and I wanted to write something that was a manual that people could take into their businesses and apply, Basically follow the step by step process to start being more effective in their prospecting. What I see is a lot of people tell me they just they’re not sure where to start. They don’t know what they should be doing. so this was designed at that sort of BDM, a type level. here in Australia, it’s very typical for salespeople to manage existing business and then have to build new business as well. We don’t have a lot of organizations that have that SDR function, just appointment setters. There are those, but typically most sales people have got to manage. Existing business and grow new business as well.
Andy Paul: Full cycle sellers.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. That’s exactly right. and that’s typical of a lot of our clients, so it was just a way of filling that gap. So you know what our sales people need to go and read that they can go and execute on. so that was what I thought there was a hole in the market, or at least that was what people were telling me. and I also think that there’s a lot of really good content out there that doesn’t quite hit the Mark in relation to, actionable skills for salespeople on the front line.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I think there’s small amount of good content, a lot of bad content, but, you wrote something that was interesting at the, and I can’t remember this was in the book or, cause I had it in my notes before I read the book, that you believe that. Sellers in general have too many prospects in their pipeline.
Mark Mcinnes: Yes. and so I know that’s counterintuitive, so most people will say that, salespeople, aren’t doing enough outbound activity. They’re not starting enough conversations. And I agree with that, but I think one of the biggest problems is that sales leaders. Manage their sales teams off the weight of their pipeline. So Andy, let’s say I’m a sales leader, or I come to you and say, look, we need to have three times your revenue or whatever it,
Andy Paul: SAS business, that’s five. It was like table stakes. For most of those companies.
Mark Mcinnes: Frank, let’s go with that five times, pipeline. and what that means is that salespeople put deals into the front end front of their pipeline that have actually got very low chance of closing and they conducted random acts of prospecting. So let’s say you’re my perfect client. I put you into my pipeline as a lead, I send you an email. Most businesses, most salespeople don’t have any rhythm around that outreach. then something will pop up and I’ll think, Oh, I should send to Andy. another message. So if I’m feeling brave, I might call you up and leave a voicemail, then, I’ll look through my pipeline in a month’s time ago, Andy that’s right.
I need to find something on LinkedIn or Cindy Mo an article, so these ended up being random acts of social. and so when I’m. Questioned by my sales manager, about how deliberately on prospecting to talk to Andy or say, Oh yeah, I’ll break you out. seven, eight, 10 times over the last six months.
The reality is when you look through those activities in your CRM, it’s probably really only reached out three or four times over six months. And that rhythm, that activity is not sufficient to get your interest or a prospect’s interest. So why I say they’ve got too many people in their pipeline is because.
They’re trying to keep this company, five times coverage, of leads in their pipeline. And that means that they don’t ha they don’t deliberately try and pursue a conversation with Andy, in a way that’s actually going to create enough prospecting pressure. And I mean that in a good way for me to go hang on a second.
Okay. Mark’s trying to reach out to me. He’s reaching out to me, two or three times across different platforms, in a relatively short period of time on now making. Like I can, he has my interest, I’m in a position now where I need to either engage or maybe say, Hey Mark, this is not for me.
And that gives the rip the freedom to be able to take you out of the pipeline or a bit of still have a conversation. And that’s why I think people have got too many deals in their pipeline because they’re not actually pursuing them. They think they’re pursuing them, but they’re not.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Now see, I would argue that those deals prior to having a substantive conversation, aren’t really in the pipeline. Those, so as I was reading the book, I started thinking, okay, I’ve got different frame of reference here because, Yeah. You talking about random acts of prospecting.
I think the problem is in general, and I believe that, certainly in large swath of SAS businesses, they have too many prospects on their pipeline because for most of them they just engage in random acts of selling and the consequences. Lot of prospects, low win rate, very low win rate. And I’ve just churning through all these potential opportunities, even though to your point, precisely as a lot of them may be crap, but I don’t even have the time to really surface those that are in there. So that’s why I think I agree with you it’s that there’s may for different reasons, but there’s in general, a lot of sellers have too many prospects in their pipeline and some of the reasons are not just because they aren’t sufficiently, further along in the initial engagement, but also just because once we’ve had that initial conversation, we just do a really bad job of discovery and qualification and they really don’t belong there.
Mark Mcinnes: RIght? Yep, absolutely. So it sounds like we were in agreement that you know, that if you focus on too many people, you’re going to be bad at servicing those clients needs or those prospects needs.
Andy Paul: Well, and you address us in the book is, we’re going to get to this a little bit later, but it’s for many companies, they’re basically just playing the odds. I put enough stuff into the top of my pipeline, top of the funnel, and I know through my process, I can close a relatively predictable percentage of those, even though it’s a low percentage, the way I increase my sales is putting more stuff into the top of the funnel.
Mark Mcinnes: And I’m really interested in automation, from a professional standpoint, I can make it, but you see this a lot happening on things like LinkedIn, where people just, they talk about being focused on quality on, you’ll see this everywhere. Everyone’s everyone says, we should be engaging at a high level.
We should be talking like a peer. When we have a conversation with our prospects, we should be leading with value, bring insights, and then the same people or that, or, in the same LinkedIn feed, there’s all this information about martech, sales technology, how you can automate your outreach, So that’s just another version of quality, right?
Andy Paul: My favorite saying, and I wrote a post about this on LinkedIn a few weeks ago is I called this. setting a record. Cause there were multiple oxymorons on one statement, it was talking about automated, personalized outreach at scale. And it’s okay, there’s at least two, maybe three oxymorons on that statement right there.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, exactly. if you run a and I’ve done this, if you run a webinar called you know, personalization at scale, you will get lots of people attending.
Andy Paul: Yes, you’re welcome.
Mark Mcinnes: Because everyone’s looking for this for the silver bullet, but if you sit down and say to somebody, there’s no silver bullet in sales, They’ll say, yeah, absolutely. it’s all about quality and then they go straight away to, Oh, look, there’s a, now there’s a webinar on how to scale my authenticity.
Andy Paul: That’s a good one, but that’s exactly right though, is How do we how do we break that surf cycle peoples are wanting the silver bullet, the recipe laid out step-by-step because, let me ask that question first and we’ll come back. What do you think? how do you break that cycle of people wanting the recipe?
Mark Mcinnes: I think, first of all, we need to acknowledge that what we’re doing a lot of the time now isn’t really working. Okay. and we’re not doing anybody, any favors, we’ve got sales leaders that are stressed out because they can’t see enough. There’s not enough transparency in what their sales reps are doing.
And I’ll use the term reps as in a represent, someone that represents your organization. so that’s a BDE S selling CEO, an, an account executive or whoever. so the sounds latest don’t have enough transparency to see what their sales teams are doing, or they don’t think that there’s enough outbound activity going on.
So they’re leveraging the, do more activity front on the S on the sales reps. front, they know that they wanna be seen as authentic. They know that they want to be seen as a valuable tool as part of the sales process. So they don’t want to be, sending out spammy messages or being inauthentic.
They want to be authentic. So we’ve got this mismatch happening, and so the first place to start is to get both of those. To stakeholders, to sales reps and the sales leaders aligned in their mindset. And that is to understand that quality will equal the results. as long as you give the sales reps, the spice, and if the sales and give the sales reps the right mindset to go and start those conversations. And I guess any, I ask you’re a very experienced individual. WHat’s the number one driver of success for the individuals that you’ve seen that have been very successful in sales?
Andy Paul: It’s mindset to some degree and I, but I think that in general salespeople, once they’ve been trained, Pretty similarly skilled. I see. I don’t think it’s the sales skills that make a huge difference. I think it’s perspective. I think this is the thing that is missing is, and it’s multiple perspectives.
One of them is what is my job in sales? Let’s just start there and you touch on it through the book is. Yeah. I believe that my job as a seller and for every seller is not to sell your product. That’s not your job. That’s an outcome of what you do, but your job is to help your buyers make a purchase decision. But so few sellers are armed with that perspective and you can think about, okay, if I wake up in the morning and I’m thinking about what my job is today, I’ve encountered very few that really understand and have internalized this idea is that my job is to help my buyers make a purchase decision.
Mark Mcinnes: Yes. And it seems to move quickly into a situation of manipulation. So how can I manipulate a person who’s at stage two of my pipeline to move to stage four of my pipeline. How can I manipulate Mark to go from showing some interest to saying, please send me a quote or a proposal because that’s the next step in my pipeline. And then I’ll be able to show that I’ve moved this opportunity from stage to stage two, to stage four. And that’ll give my boss off my back.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I think that with that is, again, this is another part of the mindset is. Is we train sellers to think that their job is to persuade a buyer, to agree to purchase their product. Now there’s research been done by a psychologist and research nurses, and so on that have documented this very real thing that exists called persuasion resistance.
So people. Half a natural resistance, or we call it cognitive bias or we want to being persuaded. And so it’s ironic that so much of our training of our sellers is oriented to adopt the one behavior that everybody in the world hates. And it’s what’s wrong with that picture? I think the perspective, another perspective is that your job is to influence an outcome in the differences.
if you have a, what I call it, persuasion mindset, your perspective is I know what’s right for the customer and they’re falling a persuade them to buy that as opposed to my job is to help the customer understand what’s best for them.
Mark Mcinnes: And in helping that customer understand what’s best for them, maybe my language needs to be more persuasive. And, and that is in the theory of influence as opposed to manipulation.
Andy Paul: And you talk about that, but I think that, yeah, I look at influence slightly different than like Cialdini has in his book. because I think. I think persuasion and influence are two fundamentally different behaviors and are received differently. So I try to separate them, even though he uses both in the title of his book.
But that’s a longer conversation for another day, but it’s, you have opportunities to use your curiosity to not just educate yourself, but really to educate the buyer, right? Then, it’s the questions you asked that help the buyer. Begin to develop a further understanding what is the problem they’re trying to solve and what are the available options in order to solve it?
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. and we’ve all had those experiences in life where we’ve gone to buy something and we thought we were going to buy, I’ll do a bit of bike riding, for example. And you think, so you go to your bike shop, And you think, okay, I need to buy some new, Aero handlebars, because that’s going to make me go faster and you go in there and, or new book.
Andy Paul: I was gonna say you, but you’re going for the handlebars. You’d walk out with the bike.
Mark Mcinnes: And, but if you’ve got a good store, But, he might say, you’d actually, don’t need a new bike. You actually need a set of Aero wheels. Cause I know that you’re riding around Sydney and it’s, it’s predominantly flat, blah, blah, blah, blah. So the inner wheels know going to cost you $3,000, not going to cost you $10,000 for the bike, but you’re probably going to get the same gains, And so do you feel persuaded or do you feel implicated. you leave there going, I wasn’t thinking about wheels, but now in the OEM and the truck, the trust you feel educated and what’s the what’s happened to the box. Shop owner is the trust going up and down?
Andy Paul: So I call that influence not persuasion. So they were able to have an impact on your behavior and your thought process and not by force of argument by asking your questions.
Mark Mcinnes: But demonstrating the experience. So it killed any would say when the BarkShop owner says Mach having sold lots of barks to people, just like you
Andy Paul: Social profiles.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, exactly.
Andy Paul: Yeah, he’s been on the show. We’ve talked about that, but I think that I think these, some people might call them narrow, slicing a perspective, but I think they’re hugely important and. Yeah, for me is like, when I look at, thought leadership and sales and so on is what frustrates me is that so much of, it just seems to be the same.
And it’s not that there’s an absence of value in some of that rehashing, but what we’re really need. And you and I were talking about four-star recording is we really need some serious transformation in the B2B sales space and not, the sort of fake tech driven revolution that everybody thinks was so revolutionary.
And perspective is really how we’re going to get there.
Mark Mcinnes: What do you mean? What do you mean by perspective?
Andy Paul: I said, what’s your job, right? We have to, people change people’s we talk about being buyer-centric but no one. Hardly ever does it, It works until you get in front of the customer and then they go to the persuasion toolbox, but it’s yeah, what’s my job. My job is to help the buyer make a purchases.
Full-stop well, what’s that mean for every step that we take in our sales interactions, it may or may not align. In fact, I’d say oftentimes doesn’t align with all the sales processes that the company’s put together, which are all bent on. How do I get an order? Where are you going to get an order? if you execute perspective, your process, but go ahead.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, it’s pretty hard to, manipulate people in the B2B space to buy something that they don’t need. I think these days, instead of would you agree with that or do you think that there are people that they’re buying products that they don’t need and don’t want based on them and the manipulation skills of salespeople?
Because I’ll actually, I don’t see that.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I don’t see it. I think the differences is, again, a slightly, maybe a fine difference is that I wouldn’t call it manipulation. It’s just that, Hey, this is, I’ve got this one thing to sell, and this is what I’m going to sell. And I will use whatever I can within, ethical means. So I’m saying this hypothetical that people say to sell this to you, and it may not be the best fit. And that’s, you could say, okay, someone’s just doing their job. So I think there’s some degree of that happens, but it’s not. Yeah. I don’t think it’s, it doesn’t warrant the stereotype that sellers have that all they’re trying to do is sell you something regardless of what you need.
Mark Mcinnes: Yep.
Andy Paul: It doesn’t happen that much.
Mark Mcinnes: And that’s what you might want perspective.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Start at the beginning, as it’s such a culture change up and down organizations up and down our profession. And yeah, that to me becomes the true revolution. Now it’s not driven by the technology we use. It’s driven by the mindset that people have about what they’re trying to do
Mark Mcinnes: And who they’re trying to help.
Andy Paul: Well, to who they’re trying to help, but to look at it from the buyer’s perspective as is as well as is.
Yeah. What’s the buyer trying to accomplish when they get into a, buying journey, what are they trying to accomplish in the context of that journey? Setting aside, excuse me, they’re trying to make it, achieve a certain outcome with the result of their investment, but in that process, what are they trying to achieve? and that was, yeah. The question is for me the answer to the question as well, what buyers are trying to do is buyers are trying to quickly gather information to make a good decision with the least possible investment of time, money, and resources. and yet you’d ask most sellers and they’d say, They’re trying to make the best decision that my process is geared to help this customer rank the best possible decision. And yet science is pretty clear. We talked about the whole theory of him, bounded, rationality, and satisficing decisions. Is that yeah, most people just wanna make the good enough decision. Cause they don’t have an unlimited amount of time to invest in making anyone purchase decision. and also they operate with certain constraints, information, some perfect, they’re really understand prop bottle.
But the point being is that’s another mindset difference, so that I think impairs the ability of sellers to succeed.
Mark Mcinnes: So moving to a focus on quality rather than quantity is not doing that entire piece justice, but that’s the overarching mindset behind the book is to move to. So that’s a shortcut to your very excellent explanation.
Andy Paul: No, maybe I was, but that quality was, but I think this is, yeah, this has become a passion thing for me as I get older and more experienced and so on. It’s just like true change has to be driven by yeah. By quality and. And to your point, you ain’t talked about, you have too many prospects in your pipeline and we’ve got these pipeline coverage ratios is, and I know your book is more concerned on surf.
Yeah. Top of the funnel type activities. but I think it applies throughout. It’s okay, if. If you’re seeing if you’re a CRO or sales leader of some sort, and you’ve got your team marching along at a five X pipeline coverage ratio, which is not unusual at all. I came across the company. It started this year that was talking about seven or nine X pipeline coverage ratio, which horrified me is, and they weren’t that transactional of a business either is, Yeah.
What if your CEO came to you and said, look, you got to make your number this year, but your pipeline coverage ratio can’t exceed 2.5 X. What would you do differently to hit your number?
Mark Mcinnes: Wouldn’t you get rid of all of the bottom 40% of deals straightaway.
Andy Paul: Well, potentially, But this would strike fear into the heart of most sales managers and sellers these days, but it starts speaking to what you talk about in your book is, the quality of outreach and the cadence as you focus on, which is, great practical guide in the last third of the book about putting together a cadence. It starts making a difference, In terms of being more targeted and who you’re bringing into the funnel. And again, it’s, you’re talking about a full cycle rep, but yeah, I think we’re, there are indications that a lot of companies, some number of companies I’ll qualify that went down, the SDR path are now starting to say, maybe we need to do at least some portion of our business with full cycle reps. .
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, so I, I personally think it’s very difficult for SDRs to have good quality conversations, unless it is a transactional type of,
Andy Paul: They’re not trained.
I think as part of the problem is, we take our entry-level people and expect them to have conversations that require some level of business acumen that they just don’t have the experience.
Mark Mcinnes: So if we think about that bike shop example that I used. So if I go to the box shop and Jeremy, who’s my bike shop owner, he’s got four, four or five people on the floor and they are accomplished writers and people that I know in but what do you think I do when I go to the shop? I hang around until Jeremy’s free.
Andy Paul: That’s funny you do that. I’m laughing because I started do the same thing at the bike shop. I go to.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, and it could be just him saying, th this light’s going to be better for you. IT could be something fairly transactional that one of the other guys or girls could have helped me out with. But, I want to get advice from somebody who I know and trust, but also. Somebody that I consider to be an expert. So if you take that to a database spice, if you’ve got an SDR, that’s sitting someone up and I don’t, I really struggled with the whole idea of, Hey, Andy, let’s take a meeting. Let me hand you over to Mark. Okay. just hang on a second. I was just getting to know you now, if it’s super transactional and buying a telephone plan or something like that, I get it right.
Because there’s no relationship. There at all. So I just want to put that out there, but a lot of my clients aren’t, if they’re full circle reps, then they’re holding their hand to those clients all the way through, you want to engage with the person who’s going to help you and you need to set that.
That bit of trust upfront, or prove your expertise so that if you feel safe, handing over information because as a sales person, unless you get enough information, you can’t prescribe something, that’s going to be a good fit. So if I’m nervous about sharing information with you, about how much money I’ve got to spend, what my goals are that I’m trying to achieve, any of those sorts of things, then it’s going to be really hard to provide next steps that are going to be valuable.
Andy Paul: Oh yeah, no, I agree. I think this is, I think one of the underestimated, aspects of sales that people don’t put their minds around. Is that okay? Sellers tend to think that well, if I ask them a buyer, a question, they’re going to answer it. Yeah. If it’s not, a personal question or something like that, but it’s, but trust has to exist to some degree.
Just start answering levels, or questions of, deeper complexity or more proprietary nature or whatever, is you have to earn the right to ask those questions. agree with you. I think that I agree with you that we put SDRs in the position of asking questions that in some cases, the trust hasn’t been earned to get an answer.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. Or in air quotes, they’re not qualified to ask. We’re not qualified to answer. So if you were to give the answer, does the STR is the STR the right person to be able to give you qualified information? What have I just dragged down in the CRN and pass it off to the IAA?
Andy Paul: They’re being trained to qualify someone to take a demo or to take a meeting. and the problem I think in some companies exists is that then the AEs are taking that as saying, Oh, they thus are qualified as an opportunity because they took this meeting with me and in the logic doesn’t flow.
Because that wasn’t a detailed qualification. And I think that what we find is that the level of qualification is, and discovery is. Too thin. And to your point, I think you were making earlier is that there’s a fear to go deeper because then you have to disqualify them. Yeah.
Mark Mcinnes: So it went back to, you’re better off with less people in your pipeline or the front of your pot.
Andy Paul: Yeah. that’s the way I operated for years is I wanted myself and my sellers to have just enough prospects.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. So it takes a long time to get to this point, like I’m 52 this year. I’m pretty sure on 52
It took me a long time to get to the point where, you realize that you’re better off having higher quality conversations and less of them than just trying to have as many conversations as possible.
Andy Paul: Goes against the grain that goes against the grains. you wrote in the book, you said, that not too long ago, the going wisdom was that sales is just a numbers game, but, it still is for most. And I don’t think that works any longer. And you say it doesn’t work and it’s, to me, that’s something just fundamentally needs to change is that instead of just playing the conversion game is let’s play the sales game.
Let’s start selling again.
Mark Mcinnes: Yep. It’s well, it’s a numbers game. If you’ve, if your number is zero. So if you have, if you’ve, we were doing zero meetings today, if you’re taking, making zero calls, okay, then it’s a numbers game because you’ve got to improve those numbers. But I’d be saying, let’s try and have one or two conversations with somebody who, is your perfect client.
And you can actually bring some real value to the conversation, not have five random conversations and hope that one of them is going to stick. and I think that quality. The quantity metric is what most sales leaders are measuring. Hey Mark. How many calls did you make today? How many new prospects did you talk to today?
How many opportunities did you move?
Andy Paul: How many conversations did you have?
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, not, Hey Mark. Tell me the best conversation you had today. like what was the best conversation you had that day and how did that go? Let’s run through that. So it’s a diff a different mindset and the problem is. I believe the problem is that’s a longer conversation for the sales manager, right?
So if I say Mark, how many sales, how many calls did you make today? How many conversations yet? I had 15 good stuff might go down. That’s it? that, mini coaching session and I’m laughing. Cause
Andy Paul: Air quotes, air quotes. Yes
Mark Mcinnes: If I say, Hey, Mark, what was your best conversation today? And how did that go?
I’ve got to stick around. And I’ve got to show my expertise as a sales leader and I’ve got to be engaged because then Mark’s going to go. the best conversation I had today was with Mary and it went like this, but you know what boss, when we got to the piece about, this, I didn’t know what to say.
what should have I done next? Yep.
Andy Paul: Those sales team is using, let’s say ring DNA on the conversational AI. I have to give a plug here for them. The home team is the seller say, let’s, can you listen to this call? And let’s listen to this call. And can here at the, four minutes and 22nd Mark, I had this issue.
How could you help me with that? And yeah, that takes a commitment on the part of managers is I am going to have a schedule to be listening to the calls and my seller, so I can provide that type of coaching.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. And I’m, I love the solution and how many people that you talk to, or that your team talks to are actually recording calls and checking them. I would imagine
Andy Paul: For sure.
Mark Mcinnes: The people that are in on your service are, but, what’s that as a proportion of disciples.
Andy Paul: That’s why we exist to the world safe for that. Yes. But that’s, that is, a technology that this is a case of actually have a technology that really help sellers. As opposed to just being an automated outreach at scale. it’s yeah. This is something that really improves the effectiveness of what you do, both the coaching and the subsequent production of the seller.
Mark Mcinnes: Yep. so one of the things that I see a lot on the technology space, and I’m a big fan of sales, enablement tools, sales, engagement tools, but you know what? The sales cadences that we see that come from some of those big suppliers probably based out of the U S come to Australia, the cadence that comes to us is typically, call in the morning and email in the afternoon.
Call again on day three in the morning call on the afternoon, that just doesn’t work here, which is great for me because my cadence program’s different than those people, by those enablement programs as engagement programs. And then they asked me to come and build out cadences, that have a broader tuck, and, at a more specific time for each of the buyer types.
Yeah. Sometimes just plugging that technology in a lot of the times just plugging that technology and just doesn’t simply work. Sorry.
Andy Paul: It’s that’s like a lot of things because you have to put thought into it. it’s yeah, this is out of the box. Let’s use it. It’s no, it’s who’s the Salesforce out of the box.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. That’s why there’s an entire ecosystem of people that help you build your Salesforce instance.
Andy Paul: Yeah. and that’s, I don’t know if that was deliberate on Salesforce as part, not to build that ecosystem, but yeah, it exists. And this is Mark talking to a company over a year ago. That was a good size company putting in CRM for the first time. First time it was like a company was doing close to a hundred million dollars in revenue and they were just going do a vanilla implementation.
I was like, Okay, good luck. they just couldn’t be, I wasn’t involved in selling them, but I was trying to encourage them to engage a Salesforce consulting firm to have expertise on doing that. And no, they didn’t have it in the budget. They’re just had a budget to buy Salesforce.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, but you have to start somewhere. So you’ve got to develop that pain point in the first instance.
Andy Paul: Yeah, they saw I’m sure they have, I’ve not checked back with them. I’m sure they have developed that pain.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. I’m sure they’ve got somebody in helping them out by now.
Andy Paul: So talking about cadences then, so what is the secret to a good cadence? Cause those are really the heart of your book is, you have your five steps you take with targeting and so on, but in the cadence itself, what do you see as the things that make it effective?
Mark Mcinnes: You have to start with the persona of the person. And understand how it is that they’re likely to be communicating with you. Yeah. So the good old email and telephone is pretty much on everybody’s cadence. So every sales persons. outbound methodology, the reality is, and I’ll talk specifically to Australia, that’s not going to work for a lot of buyers.
So if you’re selling tick to Hightower or to marketing, then the notorious at not picking up the telephone doesn’t mean that telephone can’t be part of a strategy, but it can’t, we can’t have 70% of air outreaches. As a telephone strategy, cause it’s just not going to work in Australia.
What happens is people flip that and they’ll have 30% telephone and 70% email. And I think that’s, clever.
Andy Paul: We’re in an omni-channel world, right? So you can’t be so focused because you have to spend time where you’re going to intersect with your buyer.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. That’s exactly right. so if you can look at their persona and understand where they’re going to spend their time and what sort of channels they’re going to be on, then we should be spreading ourselves across those channels to try and create that prospecting pressure that I spoke of before.
So that you’re basically patent interrupting, a typical outbreaks and people can go, Hey, this Sandy guy, or, is somebody different? I’ve got messages across a couple of different channels. And the messaging seems to hit me right between the eyes. it’s something that a pain point that I’m thinking about.
It’s something that I need to know about. There’s some value in that conversation. and so what that might look like would be, using email of course, using, telephone. Of course, there’s lots of conversation about whether voicemails work or not that 30% of people apparently listen to voicemail.
So I’m an advocate of leaving a voicemail, but not asking for a reply. Here in Australia, it’s easy for us to send a text message or like sending a text message with my contact card, and saying, Hey Andy, understand you. Didn’t pick up my phone calls, not answering telephone numbers that you don’t know is common.
Here’s my contact details, or be reaching out in the next couple of weeks to try and start a conversation. I find that’s a really soft way. Sometimes the text message comes back. Hey, that’s great. and you find that people are likely to communicate by text message on occasions. So you can see already, we’re starting to expand, the touch points from my typical off the shelf in Vodacom was cadence, and you’re going to be more likely to start a conversation.
Andy Paul: Yeah.
Mark Mcinnes: He’s an absolute legend. He’s got some great ideas. that helps if you’re an awesome cartoonist, but.
Andy Paul: Great ideas in the book.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, and the concepts are great, right? So all you need to do is just, the thing that you would normally send by LinkedIn, which is another great channel.
So if you would normally send an article to Andy Paul and say, Hey, Andy, here’s an article I thought was valuable for you. You could, when people are in the office, simply print that off and write a handwritten note and send that in the mail. Hey, Randy found this article. It’s right up the alley in right along the mindset of what I wanted to talk about.
He’s a really powerful part of highlighted for you in the page. Number three, here’s the part that you need to look at? I’ll be calling you in the next couple of days, have a chat about it, and stick that in the mile. It’ll cost you, in Australia, costs you a dollar to do that. It’ll arrive two days later and then calling somebody that’s got something on their desk.
I’m not sure about. The USI, he, it’s unusual for you to get some, a handwritten note date sites.
Andy Paul: Yes. Or has become unusual. Let’s say used to be, it used to be quite usual back 50 years ago.
Mark Mcinnes: So just adding those extra touches, where appropriate according to your persona, it’s gonna make a big difference. So one of my clients, for example, we were trying to engage some, Construction industry. So when we started to look at the best way to reach out to people in construction, they bought a list, that they started to build a cadence to reach out to people in construction.
What they realized was that there’s two very clear segments. There’s the small. Guys that are driving around in little delivery vans, if you’re like, air conditioning, mechanics and installers, that sort of thing. All right. And, and then, also in construction is the guys that are building roadways, so they’ve got massive, big trucks, and they leave them on the side of the road.
They’re digging up the pavement they’re line pavement. Yeah. so trying to talk to those two people, because they’re in constructing the same way is not going to work. You’re gonna, you’re gonna miss the Mark. So the guys in the vans, of course, email, text message. Telephone is going to be significantly successful.
The guys that are running the organizations or the guys that we need to talk to that are running, the big earth moving talk stuff they’re in the office. They’re basically like, an office guy will go. So just because they’re in construction, they service the construction industry.
You can’t take a single approach to those groups of individuals. You need to divide that up.
Andy Paul: And do you think that’s, that is one of the problems that you’re seeing with companies is that they’re just, they’re not, targeting specifically within, an industry, they assume that everybody’s the same.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, it’s, what’s spam. Spam is basically any message that you received. That’s not that you don’t think it’s relevant or not designed for you.
Andy Paul: Which, even the ones that supposedly are designed for me, aren’t, I was just looking at my LinkedIn messaging, which I’m sure like most everybody that’s listening to the show these days is inundated with sales pitches. And it’s the, they start falling to interesting categories, right?
So like one is, and this audience knows. And I told you before the show that, back in February, my podcast was acquired. We renamed it in April. So we’re recording this in August. So it’s been five months since we renamed and rebranded the podcast and so on. And. And I get people pitching me all the time for services for podcasters using the name, the old name of the podcast.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah,
Andy Paul: I haven’t.
Mark Mcinnes: it’s not relevant.
Andy Paul: It’s just not relevant and it’s, and they’re just spending no effort at all on this. And it’s amazing how many people still do it. And think that again, they’re playing the numbers game, if they get enough people to respond to it, it works.
And they’ll keep doing that, thinking, How can I be more targeted here? How can I get a higher conversion rate, higher win rate, all of these things by being more focused on the quality of what I’m doing as just the quantity.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, and the challenge is that the quantity play in some instances actually, Still works. so that’s the unfortunate thing. So if you’re a mortgage broker, for example, and you connect to a couple of hundred people on LinkedIn every day in your local region, that you can service and you send them a message that says, Hey, did you know that you can, save some percentage points on your mortgage?
If here’s my calendar link, knock yourself out. a percentage of people. I do that. And if you’re not worried about how you come across professionally, then I, and I’ve, I’m full, I’ve gone down that rabbit hole and I’ve called people out.
I remember one guy said to me, I’m getting 12% response rates. Which was just a spam connection, in the connection request, it was like, Hey Mark, professionals, like you often have a mortgage and I’m spending too much money. He’s a link grab, grabbed some time and I’ll show you how to save money.
And it was like, man, this is so easy. And he’s hi, it’s working. And what about your posts motivate your personal brand? He goes, I don’t care. I’m like, what can I do with that? Nothing.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I would argue that if we’re able to have a close inspection of whether that person is doing, it’s not a 12% open rate and not doing that well, but that’s just the skeptic in me.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. I agree. I’m just good at telling you exactly what he said. but most people like you and I, and most of the people listening to this podcast, cause people listening to this podcast want to be good at sales is my bit. All right. So the people that you know, that are listening to this podcast are interested in being better.
And so they’re not the people that want to be seen as unprofessional, right? so what’s the alternative. The alternative is target new audience and with a relevant message and deliver that message across a vehicle, multiple vehicles, that way they’re likely to be in a way that people are going to want me to be receptive to.
That’s the answer
Andy Paul: Yeah. you talk about that in the book is this dual motivation of personal branding and professionalism with, with sellers. but I think that, yeah, a lot of sellers get sucked into, behaviors that. They don’t. Yeah, they don’t really look at and say, okay, how’s this reflecting on me personally.
and I think that’s, it’s an issue because I know the first thing I do when I get a, either email or LinkedIn message, I don’t obviously on LinkedIn, I’ll check out somebody’s profile. If I get an email, something. Oftentimes I’ll check out profiles as well, first time. And, yeah, this is something you do have to think about as a salary, you have to be able to protect your brand because it’s something had with you throughout your entire career.
And increasingly now it’s available to everybody to see.
Mark Mcinnes: Correct. Yep. and I’ve learnt the hard way, if I send you a TZ message, Andy, when I’m starting out in sales on LinkedIn and three years later, I’ve learned all these new skills and I understand what I was doing was wrong. And I go back to him to send you a message. Guess what’s still there that missing from three or four years ago, because it’s on my profile.
So I might’ve changed jobs two or three times, but. what you’re going to do is go, Oh, here’s a message from Mark. Oh, hang on. I’m going to miss it from my accuser. It was pretty bad. and I’m going to put my hand up here, like I’ve been on LinkedIn for 10 years, some of the messages I sent 10 years ago.
Weren’t that great.
Andy Paul: Yeah, that’s a really interesting point that you’re talking about is our, our learning curve as sellers is now public record.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. I think that’s, what’s making. The challenge because styles latest assigned, do more activity and sales reps know that a lot of this stuff is attached to them. Now, it’s no longer Mark from XYZ ed, Mark from Oracle it’s Mark. And we were all told to build a personal brand that stands above Vail.
And what organization that we work for. And because we don’t work for the same organization, typically we move every couple of years, we want Mark McInnes to be a standalone expert. we’re encouraging as individuals and also as sales leaders, we’re encouraging people to build their brand outside of the logo.
whereas before, if you send a whole bunch of poorly worded or crappy spammy messages from market article, everyone just went over that’s Oracle and I’m sorry to Oracle. And just using that as an example.
Andy Paul: Yeah.
Mark Mcinnes: I’ve got some friends there. They’re very good.
Andy Paul: Reflection on Oracle, right?
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah, insert large company here. so I think that’s a real challenge, it’s, that’s stopping people from taking action. That’s stopping reps from taking action because they’re aware of the fact that this is going to reflect badly on me or might reflect badly on me. So they need that confidence to go.
How can I reach out in a way that’s going to be going to actually support my desire to be seen as a professional.
Andy Paul: And the way to do that is to buy your book and read it.
Mark Mcinnes: Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Andy Paul: I wanted to bring that up because unfortunately we’re running short on time. We’ve been having a great conversation, but didn’t get as deep into the book as we wanted, but I will tell people what is a great guide and very practical as you talk about for people, how to put together a more effective cadence.
The tools are there. We’re all using the tools. So you know how to think about it more effectively, how to again, be more. Targeted with your messaging, with your outreach and all that, yeah. So you don’t have as many wasted sales cycles dealing with prospects who are just never going to buy from you, but instead be much more effective.
Mark Mcinnes: And hopefully get in and get some, self-belief back about how good being a sales person is, as opposed to just somebody who’s trying to. Manipulate as many people as possible to get back to our very first point.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. I, yes. And I think that, using the technology more effectively in the ways that you talk about us is one way to do that and be more thoughtful. So I think for sellers, it, they have to take responsibility for their own actions you’re talking about and how they’re portrayed in the market.
Again, as you talked about building your brand, And I’ll say this to people listening. Yes. Is. Yeah. And you may have a. sales process and the company you’re working at manager wants things done a certain way and a few things it’s not the right way. You think there’s more effective way, then take a risk and do it, man.
If because ultimately it is your brand, it is your success. And if it means ultimately have to change locations, to find, a different environment where you can become the best version of yourself, then don’t spend a lot of time waiting for that.
Mark Mcinnes: Yeah. Yeah, I like that. That’s good advice.
Andy Paul: Hey, thanks. That’s why I get paid the big bucks. All right. So Mark, thank you very much.
Mark Mcinnes: Thank you very much. I really appreciate the opportunity to come on and share the story. Thank you.
Andy Paul: Yeah, that was fun. We’ll do it again.