The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

The 15-Minute Sales Cycle: A Success Story


No more hour-long meetings, either internally or with prospects. Welcome to the world of the 15-minute sales cycle, where you spend two minutes explaining what you do and the rest of the call focusing on making your prospect’s time productive.

In this episode, I interview Lee West , Managing Director at M-Brain Global , about the sales crisis that precipitated the adoption of the 15-minute sales cycle.

Join us as we discuss:

- The origins of the theory for the 15-minute model

- Asking directly why your prospect took the meeting

- Moving from 50 to 200 meetings per month

- When to spend longer than 15 minutes

- Obstacles to letting go of the hour-long meeting

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch 

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

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Sales Engagement

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Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach dooh on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. All right, thanks so much for joining us today. Lee, super excited to have you on the sales engagement podcast. For those of you who do not know me, I am the cohost the Sales Gagement podcast, Caitlin Kelly here, and also senior manager of sales development for the Emma region at outreach. Today we have Lee West, managing director at M brain global. Lee, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and exactly what embrain is? Okays and yes, more times lead West on, the manager director of and BRD, Middle East, UK and then bright is a colloible walk into the Times Company. So all might I to keep it really simple. It is to Plod in solids information and had a it's to our clients use a combination of lace, Ao Technology and, you know, experts on the ground. I'll human intelligence as well. So High Bred Company. Okay, fantastic. So for today's conversation, I'm super excited. Is Super excited to take a deeper dive here. Lee. A couple weeks back we were chatting about the fifteen minute sales cycle that you had recently implemented over at your over at em brain with your team. So I'm excited to kind of UNWRAP this little bit more and talk about the impact this has been able to have for your wraps. Can you kind of tell us a little bit more about what is the fifteen minute sales cycle? Yeah, this is a new way of looking as sales interactions of your clients. So it's a new way of approach initial first meetings, which enables you to uplife productivity, you know, which then in turn up this growth without compromising you know your clients needs and expectation or yours. So it's just looking at what we've done before. I'm rubbling it and look at how we can do it better, bring it into the year two thousand and twenty one. All right, fantastic. And I know a lot of us are really conscious of our time and how much money or how much time we are spending on zooms. The word money so lived in there because you know, time is money and so it's important that we we utilize it. What really truer to you to kind of take like that initial meeting that your team was doing prior to the pandemic and kind of converted into this fifteen minute power session? Yeah, so, from from my side, I think we've the term or we've had over the last two years. It frows into an unknown situation right every we knew before had changed and the way in which...

...the world now communicates totally different. As you just mentioned zoom teams. It's all interactive, it's fast paced. You know, the days of an hour long seem to have gone, you know, and if you live in any research that I checked out, most people's attention span tend to eighteen minutes before they check out. They gone all right, so that fifteen minutes as an ideal window in when it comes to your mind, you are up for it, you've prepared, you're fully focus for fifteen minutes, so you have a window, an opportunity to engage of c level providers. So, as a managing director of a global company, you know, I realize very quickly that I had sales managers, account managers in all of a sudden there are now home schooling in between trying to manage their job from home. You know, how they spent their time was critical and in return, if we were doing that, then our potential clients were doing exactly the same right. So we're all in the same boat for once. We're all in that same boat now. So I started to look at how we could increase sales from the team with less time and increase targets and the world to change. So I came up in process that allowed me to be able to cut all our meetings down from an hour to fifteen minutes. You know, every interaction with every CEO, CTO MD sales director a short and to fifteen minutes. You know, and if you ask yourself the question, has a CEO got time to sit down for our meetings nine ten hours a day probably hasn't right. That's the truth. But if you ask him to see for fifteen minutes, or he or sheep for fifteen minutes, can't as are you need to get that time in the diary because it's to the point. And as well as the attention span of ten to fifteen minutes, when it comes to listening, it's called was called a cognitive blacklock. So if you listen for too long it becomes exhausting. It comes tiring just as much if you're speaking for an hour. So as to reverse cycle. So, as I said, the decision makers always meeting. We're in the same boat. They're at home, the home schooling. Do they really want to sit and listen for an hour, of which forty four, forty five minutes of that hour is probably irrelevant to them and what they do? You know, you think about it. We've always been taught, you know, you must present a presentation. Yeah, right now, but I'm sure in that presentation that everything's going to be viable for everybody. But there may be something that's drawn their attention to take that meeting. M You know, the days of the hour long meeting has change you know, and as we're coming out of the Cobra Comb were looking at the practices and how they're communicating. For I've noticed is everything shifted. How we sold to a corporate a year or two ago just asn't working in the same way. Now we stick to what we did two years ago. In the current market it's not fishing. You know, we're about to shift, we're about to move in our model, move our practices and live, you know, with the world. And you know time is currency. If you go back ten years ago, you know five pound hours were fifty pound today and an hour ten years ago is about fifteen minutes now. The world is fast paced, it's quick, it's to the point and seem to have the time. And you know, I'd a key problem. Literally a sales team that...

...time in half. They've got young children. Very difficult for them to be able to work full time. Try to work eight to twelve hours a day plus home schooling was near impossible. It's just you know what we will add. A lot of people had that problem. I mean no way I could expect him to do that. Nor what I put the pressure on them. So I started to look at what I could do how I could run numbers, how I could deliver what's required in less time but deliver more. So we started to look at okay, what can we do? Let's get to the point of the fifteen fifteen minutes. You know, if we see in one appointment and hour, we can now see for an hour. My sales team could see, you know, eight in two hours. The dominant would normally see four to five. So we have in the time deliver what's required and still give them time to everything else that was going on at the time. So did this is a situation we were we were thrown into and obviously this is how it will start to burn out. This is why we start to grow the model and really started testing that theory. Is this what people wanted? Yeah, what's how that's how we came to the fifteen minutes sound strategy. Yeah, I like that. I think it's so. You mentioned a couple things there and it's so important that if you continue to do exactly what you were doing, you're never you're going to almost like you're going to be irrelevant. You need to evolve as exactly how like the landskeepers evolving. You'd mentioned two things there that were interesting to me. One of them was you took an hour in crunch that into fifteen minutes and we're focused on the important stuff. What would you say within the forty five minutes? If there's other leaders out are looking to mimic this, what were the biggest things that you need? Sure we're covered in that fifteen minutes sales cycle. And what was the stuff that you're like, let's cut the FLAFF, this isn't dreaming value. So I spend time analyzing appointments, not just in my sector. I've managed the whole host of sales appointments across different industries. But yeah, and how they approached it. And when you look at the first twenty minutes, people will spending twenty minutes just to explain what they do. I'm a big believe if you can't explain what you do within two minutes, you don't know what you do and how we reply. So you know, I have whig twenty minutes just to set the company and set the picture. HMM, you were CEO at that time. You've checked out. Okay, I've phones going, they've got emails, you know, different all these things going on. So there's twenty minutes of just that's great, but what does it mean to ourk like nothing, and we can cover that later time. And then I looked at it on the other perspective, which was why did they, why did this sea level provide take time out for fifteen minutes? HMM, you know, and not be scared to get straight to the point. If you're talking to a CEO, any C level or director, you know, can I just ask why you took this meeting? What was it within the correspondence that caught your attention? Without, you know, without getting too heavy into fact finding already they're going to either they're going to take you down a certain path. Even something there's got their attention. Was this, we want to know more. Great, they spend this fifteen minutes talking about that. So we get value out of your time. I appreciate you're a busy person, all right. Or you know, it were different roads. So it was cutting out the noise and getting to the point, and some people find...

...that really hard, but I think when you're when you're starting talking to other people in the same position, fifteen minutes and being to the point is very niche very relevant, time consuming and allows them to be have gone on their day. While covering the basis. Yeah, I would say like being direct and having that brevity is like such a skill that needs to be developed. So kind of having watching your team go through this transition and wanting to implement the change. What we're some of the some of the the maybe tools are processes that you kind of introduced to them to make sure that this change was successful. So I think for the first you know, for the first free to four, three to six months, I was running this model on my own, HMM, because obviously I was trying to find what it work. You know, I didn't want to AB certainly wouldn't want to lead something if I hadn't tried it, tested it and could prove the numbers from every point, from book to said, what did it lead to? You know, doing it this way? Did it increase? Did it not? So, from my side it was taking my team through the last six months. Now they see my dashboard, you know they are. Everyone has their dashboards, everything is measured and monitored. All of a sudden you could see mine. You know, I was averaging, you know, to two hundred pointments a month compared to the nearest consultant that was averaging maybe fifty. And then when you take it from there and look, you look at what that knocked onto level of business. It took me to versus, you know, sales consulting, and that's their job. Their job is to do nothing by up new business. As an MDI have lots of things spinning, lots of different plates. HMM. I was able to do my role just as effective, without dropping anything and still deliver that. So it was about taking him through that journey. It was about understanding. You know that. It was that initial getting to the point was the hard part. They've always been taught like robots from every job they've been in. No, no, you must tell what we do, you must show a presentation, you must show every slide in detail, and it took about a month or so of them listening to me, me listening to them, you know, looking at the numbers, getting them to change their habits and behaviors, to, you know, buy the bullet, to say okay, just beat to the point. And once they do that and they realize that actually, they could miss out twenty minutes and they can get to the juicy part of the conversation. You know, why were they there? What was their common ground? Is Their as sinity to move this to the next level. Yes or no, and there's a low one with it. So No. But if we hear you know, so there's a synergy and were straight to the point. They realized that actually, this was fifteen minutes well invested. We've got something here. We can now move into the next level. So there was lots of show and tell, lots of working together, lots of observations, but to begin with very difficult because it's always what they've known. An hour and hour, an hour hmm. Must, must show a presentation, must go for every slide wherever the client wants to or not. Yeah, you know, and it's that on the clients agender. You know, I kept saying being the client shoes. What does does that you know, strategy director really want to sit here for an hour hmm or no? And it was like that constinent, especially,... know, I'm kind of like bringing it down to having a direct and just getting straight to the point with it. Did you notice that this impacted potentially the apport that was being built? They just jumping straight into the numbers, or did you feel like it was received well from the other end? So for me it was received well so, because the feedback I have from many of the seed of provisors was that was straight to the point. Great, we know exactly what we want to do, we know the next steps are. Let's crack on with that, let's move forward. So from that side I didn't there wasn't a lot of pushback at all. You know, is when you when you're saying it's gonna be a fifteen minute meeting, you put in the calendar, they're already aways fifteen minutes and if they want more than obviously they would say. They said actually, one half an hour. My question be great. What would you like to go through that? We could always make sure the time was spent well needed and that's I don't get me wrong. I did, I did. I explained the company, yes, but I into you two minutes to introduced and while we were here, and then it was a case of great, a quick indduction for them. But actually, why were they here? You know why think you want the time. It is always about why were they on this Chot? And once you ask that question, see level provis man aren't scared to give you the answer. They'll tell you that's great, I've gotten work from that. Lets make this a productive fifteen minutes of your time. Why were that bad conversation? That's fantastic. Now I love the sounds of this as you have a kind of launched this. Did you see this impact any other part of the sales cycle or any other parts of the org as it customer would do that. Our prospect went through the journey with you. So the only, the only noticeable impact from it was because every where we measured on Cape Your Eyes, all of a sudden, hmm, when we were doing the shorter meetings, we were getting a partly to urpeas in for business, a lot quicker. So we were speeding at the process. All of a sudden it to drupled the normal amount of proposals we would do. Okay. So then that impacts obviously off a resource and issue. But in return it then, you know, two, three hundred percent growth month on month. So I only had positives for from we come from a growth perspective. It only had positives. Yes, did we. You know where we seeing? You know some stages? I was seen on average fifteen to twenty appointments a day, wow, which were put a lot of people go about, you know. But then when they sat with me. It was quick, it was to the point. It was, you know, very easy to run because you get into that mode with the clients and you know there's twenty pointment as you realize that actually, for have a genuinecinity or five that we're going to be following forward in tens of fifteen. It was nice to introduce, but at this stage, not right now. So we just getting to the point quickly, cutting out the noise. You know, and when you're a business and you looking to grow, do you really want your sales to spend an hours and hours going nowhere, or would you like them to spend fifteen minutes going somewhere? There's a big difference. People think that I must spend seven hours on the phone do seven appointments. Okay, why? Why do you have to do that? You know, when you could do more and get more productivity,...

...see more and be more productive. You don't need an hour to do that. Yeah, I think one of the biggest changes that I'm noticing throughout the environment is that people are looking to find ways to be more efficient. How can you do more with less, essentially, and kind of drive revenue without adding more headcount? And you know, you'd mentioned your team and got cut in half. So how are they going to still meet the expectation that you had in place for them? And then this is part of this is a fantastic way to do it. Run more meetings in the fifteen minutes he brief into the point. And there's our efficiency. And we create virtual sales teams. So about cost perspective, you know, ideally I would be great to have four more sales fte but actually, when we run the numbers and when we looked at the overall numbers each month, it worked out that if you looked at two years ago, that would quite for extra Fte that we'd have to pay for. So we had virtual sales we we we create a team of four extra sales people with no cost that we didn't have a space, just few to the numbers we run. So when you do that, cross the group, all of a sudden you know there's world wide. You can create fifty additional sales people just through pushing that numbers. A big impact. Yeah, if it's run correctly, that is that's amazing. And so, based on the results, so your team has been able to drive would you see is this something that embrine is looking to launch globally. So we we have been testing it in different from different regions, so, you know, Central Europe. They been really impressive. So if I look at my colleagues over in Germany and France, they have been running probably not as high as the UK, but it's very similar. They even increased dramatically from what they were doing two years ago, seven or eight times more. And again they are delivering really strong results and they go from the same process. So they're seeing more, they're delivering more and you know, I think the sounds toom a lot happy because they're busy day in, day out and they're doing what they've been asked to do, which is talked to clients. That's their job right to to introduce and talk and obviously if they can do three times in that in one day in a good seller, the numbers would stack up. So we're very lucky. We have good service. So yeah, it works well. Yeah, no, for sure, Asia as well. Apack very similar with the US close bind oh right, awesome. Yeah, I was going to say do you feel that possibly, if you guys are global country and different cultures, do you feel like this would be received well? Or is there? If a leader was looking to implement the strategy, is there any obstacles they should we meet? Maybe planning for so obviously we I tried in the Middle East. So I look after midlely sers. You could imagine that and that's a really different culture. Yeah, all from all about right, but they embraced it. I mean the found the really this was never a problem there. They like it. They do the same models you work within. there. They're very they want fifteen twenty minute meetings and they'd run will. So this process would was great. But yeah, some cultures maybe it could be cultural different. The obstacles, I guess they're the main...

...obstacles internally will be management and sales teams, because a lot of the managers I speak to still believe that, you know, you have to spend an hour and it's ingrained in them. So their sales team think that. They think they need to prep for an hour and then do an our meeting. You know, how can you? How can you spend an hour prepping for me and you have no idea what we're going to discuss? You're trying to psidekick it and, you know, trying to overthink what they're going to come up with rather than use that time. To be honest to say, what would you like to talk about? How can we make this engaging happen? We make this apposite fifteen minutes. It's just the opposite approach and people hide behind their presentations. So yeah, I think one thing that I do love about this approach is everything you've been seeing saying today is keeping it all about the prospect or the customer. Has Nothing to do with we your product or what you have to offer. There's no slide Dag. It's all about why are they here and what are they show up to learn about, like, what are their pains? So I love this aspect. Shortly down to the fifteen minute, draining the results, you know, as you guys continue to do this, would you say, with this work for full cycle, full cycle sellers as well. So I think the the fifteen, the fifteen minute cycle is if you look at the initial first meetings, this is what we wanted to put then st down. Yeah, I will be really clear. So the initial first meetings was was all about impact, was all about strengths. To point now, once we go from that full cycle, once we then go into high level now. Would I'd be able to present a proposal to a client fifteen minutes? Absolutely not. That wouldn't be the right time right because at that time you know they've got a whole team involved, Q and a. They want to dissect the proposal. So that's when you would you know we're going to sale socle. That's when you do need to invest quality time with the right people. But that initial approach where you could be swallowed up you know so much as a team and you lose all your time there and then it doesn't really create much on sale cycle. So we shorten that down to give you more time when the time is right. So when you start getting onto the proposal, you've got that time. When you start getting onto the closing part, finishing, you have that time. So we've just shorten the cycle down at the first stage. So a hundred percent. Does it work? You know, I would be very surprised if I could do a proposal fifteen minutes and convince somebody to trust what we do at our knowledge expert that's that. That's different. But on the initial stage, a hundred percent. Yeah, get a thing. It may be taff especially on the proposal stage. Giving that a lot of people are buying communities now. It's hard to kind of be able to communicate to everyone and get everyone's needs met in that conversation there. So be s o our conversation conversation today. Love the in say that you've been able to provide. I think the fifty minute sales or initial meeting is such a good idea. Kind of just be brief, get to the point, get the information you need move on. You did go over it a little bit, but even if it is a no after that, that's okay. Having the ability to qualify out quickly is just as good as a great thing as moving them along to the next that happen seen in value and the conversation and that was my biggest pain, watching people struggle for our's appointment, which we're going there, but they felt that...

...had to know why spend that extra forty minutes of someone that's going nowhere when you can invest it in three appointments that actually one or two of those are going to lead to a further, better conversation with a wide team because they're now engagement what you can do and how you can help them. So you kind of just summarize that exactly perfect for me because that is the my biggest you know, really struggle when I see that the sales teams. It's like, come on, you know, save your time, usual time, more wisely and qualify out. So, yeah, absolutely good summary. Yeah, that is a common pain across other sales scenes, being able to identify the rape ones. So you know, lastly, if you were, as a kind of wrap up to these conversation, if you do, to recommend a book that had the biggest impact and her professional development, what book would that be or would you want to share with us? So that would be a book called from the Gut by Jack Welsh, which is an American CEO who took over to e back in the S and turned it into a multi billion dollar company. Yeah, he dared to be different, right. So when you read his leadership book, the first thing he did when he took over was fire the top twenty percent of sales people in the company. Wow, because we do everything for themselves and not for the Clyde not for the company, and they would always be successful with the company wouldn't write. So he he redefined sales processes and the way in which they did it and the people they brought him. So you know, it went against the grand of what was being thought at the time. Yeah, that's results. You know, he was a number one s biggest company. So that was my bigga. Same thing. Thus, reading from him, that's what's thought the leadership journey a twenty years ago. Okay, fantastic. I'M gonna have to look that one up from the gut. So great, awesomely, thank you so much for sharing your insight on the fifteen minute sales meeting. Super Exciting to see how the impact how this is impacting other companies as well. If anyone comes for that is looking to implement this into their strategy. Where is the best place for people to reach out to you if they want to connect a bit more? So they could even reach me on linkedin through probate message him. Try that way probably than just destroy main box. But yeah, but I didn't just reach out on Linkedin, but happy to talk to anybody on the dayper ones standing of the process. All right, fantastic. Will you heard it here? First we have Lee West and myself. Thanks for joining today on the sales engagement podcast. This was another episode of the Sales Engagement podcast to help this get in front of more eyes and ears. Please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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