The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

3 Destructive Sales Mistakes and Ways to Avoid Them w/ Amy Volas

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

You’ve mastered your pitch but what about active listening or taking the focus off yourself?

We’ve all experienced cringeworthy sales behavior. And many, if we’re honest, have practiced it.

Cringe-inducing tactics make prospects want to get away. And the salespeople who practice them get burned out. Why? Well for one, they don’t understand their why.

And as Amy Volas joined me on this episode of the Sales Engagement Podcast to point out, they display 3 highly destructive sales mistakes.

Amy is the Founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners a zero-cringe recruiting company dedicated to helping businesses hire proven sales performers.

Sales has always been Amy’s first love, and there is no one better to highlight the traits that make the meaningful connections needed to close deals.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast.This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot ioh, the leading sales engagementplatform helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged with buyers and customers in themodern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources and thebook on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode. Heyeveryone, thanks for joining us again on these sales engagement podcast. I'm yourhost, Joe Vignolo, senior content managing editor over at outreach, and wehave a fantastic moment on the show today. We have ammy Volas, CEO andfounder of Avenue Talent partners. She's going to be talking about some ofthe mistakes or errors salespeople make that blow deals, just make them implode rightright there on the spot. She's gonna lay down the law for us.But before we get into that, I'm going to toss it on over toyou, amy, who can't introduce ourselves, tell us a little bit about herbackground and what she doing over at how a new talent partners amy,they should be on the show today. Thank you, Joe, and thanksfor the opportunity. Like we're just talking about you and I go way backbefore outreach days, so it's lovely to be able to talk about this stuff. So for me, I like to say this because it's the easiest wayto describe it. Sales is my first business love. I've been doing itsince I started working, always enterprise sales. I go way back, act beforethe segmentation of sales happened. So I've been my own Syar, I'vebeen my own account manager, I have led teams and mostly enter price sales, and that led me into the startup world, which is my second businesslove, and I've been part of startups where I've always been the Guinea pigor the first enterprise sell or the first person to do whatever. And throughthat I have been part of startups that did something really big, that Unicornstatus, and some that didn't go so well. And so all of that, spent a lot of my time in...

...the HR tech and recruitment industry andlots of common themes about quantity versus quality, if I'm a hiring manager, andhow do I get it right and how do I spend my time wisely, and that was always a common theme, regardless of industry. Or startup orbig company or whatever it was that had a major impression on me.And then the flip side of that is really around candidate experience and me beingpersonally approached by a key recruiters, internal and external, mind you. Andif I was going to do something that it would need to fix something ormake it better, and that was really my mission for when I started thisthree years ago. So I work with startups, Duh, shockingly, tohelp build their sales teams. And Yeah, that's that's our mission here at ATP. That's awesome that you've been on both sides right. So you've beenthe seller and now you're helping hire good sales people for companies, especially startups, and so I think that's a fantastic life mission of yours and I can, I'm sure that our listeners can agree to both of your first and secondloves, because that's kind of our wheelhouse audience here. So you said somethingabout the kind of pricked my interest or piqued my interest about Ikey, ikeyrecruiters. What are some of like the really terrible things you've seen recruiters do? Some of like the just like, Oh, you want to take ashower? After you get a message from them. It's funny. I seeit all the time one of my clients, I've been working with him for ayear and a half. He will forward me all their messages. He'slike please, don't ever leave me just the same stuff that we see insales of just pitching, of just like this a key. It doesn't eat. I see that your hiring engineers and my guy is over sales, right, because like this has nothing to do with me, or sending blind resumesof people that have nothing to do with their business or their early stage startup in this person has worked at Oracle...

...their entire career. Just the thingsthat don't make sense and it's like if I throw enough at something, it'sa numbers game and something will stick. That's really the just ikey behavior ofit's like it's all about me, it's what I want. I'm just lookingat this as a quick fix, commission check, and I act that wayvery similarly to what I see in terms of what we're going to talk about, the bad sales behavior that happens. So it's very synonymous to both bothbuckets. Well, let's hop in to those bad sales behaviors that you've seen. We've talked previously and you have three kind of core things that you've seensales people do that just destroy ideals. Can you walk us through those?Yes, and since I think we talked about it, there's so there's justso many. So top of mind for me. I think I'm a bigbeliever of what you put into something is what you get out of it.And it's very, very obvious to a buyer when you have not done anywork up front to understand why you're coming down their street and you're just pitchingor you're just emailing or you're just talking at them. So first and foremostit's understanding who is your buyer? Why are you going down their street doingsome of that homework and being able to connect the dots. That's one.The other is it's all about you and nothing about them, and it's veryclear that when you're communicating with them, you could care less about anything thatthey have going on because you just want to get them through your own process. And I think the third is you don't listen everything that they're telling you. Right it just sort of goes in one year and out the other andyou're so hell bent on getting through what your pitch is, what your scriptis, what you're there to do, that you've lost this amazing opportunity toreally make a meaningful connection. Well, let's talk about that first one aboutcan you doing your homework and finding that relevant research to kind of improve thechances of making connection? What are some...

...of the things you see are verysuccessful that really build that bond quickly? And then where can you find theinformation? How can you apply it? Yeah, so I don't think ithas to be that you have to have a full annual report on the personthat you know like the back of your hand. But the best sellers thatI see stay on top of the overall market place. So they've done areally good job before they even get into the tactical outreach. No Pun intendedof things, but they know who their buyer is, they know the marketplace that they live and they know what's happening in that market place and it'sjust sort of second nature because they're curious about what's happening in their world.So most sales teams have things segmented out, whether it be by vertical or bywhatever the case may be, and that helps you really be able tobe prepared in a better way of staying on top of things. How youcan do that linkedin navigator. Big Fan of it. You can set upall sorts of things with save leads. They've saved accounts and get notifications onwhat's happening. I'm a huge fan of nudge. I have lists set upwhere, for the people that I'm really trying to pay attention to the most, it helps me, what, understand what's happening in their social feeds,what's happening with their companies. There's other tools out there, like with discoverorgan such, where you can really map out an organization and get notifications onif they get fonding, if something's happening, if there's a move, if there'sleadership changes. All of those triggers are what the best sellers look forin terms of is there an event that's happening that inspires conversation? That,coupled with for your key accounts that you want to go after, the peoplethat you're trying to engage with, what are they talking about? What's thecontent that they're consuming and sharing? Is Their content that they may not evenbe thinking about, that maybe their biggest competitor that you're doing business with issimming and talking about and being able to share that in a really meaningful waythat's about them, to help them, not about you. I think that'sgreat way. We did something similar. I wasn't always a content marketer.I was in journalism for a long time...

...and you know, you always there'salways this massive story of the day, the big headline, and then youfind kind of little answillary you news Jack on the on the national story,you find like a local angle on stuff like that. So I think it'svery similar. It's you kind of having the pulse of the industry that you'retrying to sell into, just being knowledgeable and finding ways to kind of connectthe dots. So I think that's that's a great advice. How much doesempathy play a role in avoiding some of these mistakes? I know you havea strong opinion on can we're empathy plays in the selling process. Empathy playsa huge part in it right. So I think it's about making human connectionsand as much as I love technology and as much as I think that it'shere to enable us to create efficiency it, it's not there to replace the humanconnection and the best way to do that is to have empathy is torealize that I'm dealing with a human that I really want to do business with. And I think it goes back foundationally, Joe, to the fact of thematter of why am I working for this company right, like, doI really believe in what I'm doing, because if I do, I'm goingto be able to exude that sort of human connection of I care, likewhat I'm doing actually can help you. But before you even get to thatpoint, what's important to you? I really want to get to know youown appeal back those layers. I want to understand the how's, the whyis, the what's of what. It's not always the pain, but it'swhat's important to you. Right, what's going on in your world? Ithink when you lead with that foot of genuine curiosity of what do you careabout? What is happening? What is on your task list? What areyour priorities? What are you charged with? Where is the visibility in the Organizationfor you? If I can pinpoint those things back to you, thenreally talk about that, like so, Hey, active listening. I heardthat you said this and it's funny because, you know what, I just hadthat conversation five minutes ago and here's how they're solving for it. Whatdo you think about that? And then you shut up, you listen andthen you really hear what they're going through...

...and be able to acknowledge that inembrace that and have that is fuel for your fire as you go through thebuyer journey. That's gold. That's like when it it's as good as it'llever be. So yes, empathy like number one. Check, check,check, check, check. Love it. So I love it too. Ilove the fact that you're advising the people make these real meaningful connections andfind things that are actually relevant to talk about. But then the other sideof me is like, okay, this sounds like it would work pretty welland you could scale it somewhat for enterprise sales. You know where you aregoing, after these massive whales that you know it's going to take a longtime to land, and you really want to get in and build relationships withthese people. What about these smaller startups, maybe Sass, that just want needto like turn and burn? How can they kind of balance that thattime commitment, that that is needed to build a meaningful connection with kind oftheir numbers that they just have to hit yeah, so I think that thatgoes back to a different element of when you're setting up your sales team andyou're incentivising them. Right, I'm a big fan of whatever it is thatyou're trying to do in the way that you pay somebody's to incentivize the behaviorthat you want to see. I think that we're getting it wrong, alittle bit of putting the pressure cooker on for activities that promotes a lot ofthat just bicky stuff. And I don't care if it's a start up orif it's a huge ender price company. And yes, I skewed to enterprise, so people are going to give me flak for this. Bring it on. You can still do this in a much more transactional SMB way. Maybeit's not the super high touch. I read this thing, you said,this thing, you did, this thing, you're doing this thing. It couldbe much more about what's happening in their market place and these are thethings that are going on, and is this keeping you up at night?So less about just we're awesome and we have this accolate and we are onthe magic heart quadrant for Gartner, whatever it might be, it can bea simple is this a priority for you...

...because this is what's happening in themarket place and here's how we're helping solve this. Should be a chat,as simple as that. You can put that into a cadence and you canpersonalize it a little bit more than that, but it's not the heavy lifting thatmaybe I do in my enterprise sales career that you have to do toreally stand out. You can still do it, and so if you kindof nail down some good messaging that applies to an industry as a whole,you can probably reuse that that for multiple contact within an account. You can. Yeah, absolutely, you just need to make sure that it's sticky.It's like content right, like let's let's reverse it around, the content thatdoes the best, that has the most reach, where you see thousands oflikes and it goes viral. That's reaching the masses, but it pulls onthe strings internally of what speaks to me, of what I can identify with.And so if you're reversing that and thinking about because an emails content,right, it's just a different kind of content. If you're thinking about itthat way, it's like, what are the things if I were receiving thisemail. Would it pull me? Would it moved me? Would it makeme want to take some sort of action, or is it the slimy, snoozefestright to spam? Here's who I am, my name is this.How are you to day like all that just fluffy, gross stuff, getto the heart of the matter of what's happening in their world? If youthink about it, less mean more them. That's a really good guide as you'rewriting an email of why they would take action, to be compelling tothem, and this kind of seguages nicely. And do my next question. Youalso talked a lot about integrity. Yes, how does that play arole in all of this? Well, I think you either have a moralcompass or you don't. Write. There are lots of people that take lotsof shortcuts and it ultimately if you want to do things in a shady,bad way. I'm a big believer that it always comes back and it'll biteyou. It's like a boomerang. So...

I think if you're really trying tobe in sales for the long haul and you don't want just to burn out, as they say, it's the golden rule and I live by that everythingthat I do. When I go to bed at night, I feel goodabout what I've done. Maybe I push the envelope, maybe I have atough conversation. I did a podcast with someone that I know personally really,really well and he described me as your really hardcore and it as you seeit, and I'm like I do. But I always disclaim that and itcomes from a loving place and I think anybody that knows me knows that Ireally care. And then I will never cut corners to take a short cutfor my own benefit, just to pad my wallet. I've been incredibly successfulin my own sales career and even at ATP because I want to do theright thing and I lead with that foot in the success will always follow.And so I think it's about reverse engineering. If I were on the other sideof things, how would I want to be treated? What would Ilike? What would I gravitate towards? What would turn me off? Imean I always think about what what makes me of that cringe factor where I'mlike, I don't want to be that person. So I think when itcomes to integrity, ask yourself those questions. Do you want to be that person? What does that person look like when it's happened to you. Whatdid you like, what didn't you like, and model yourself after that. Andobviously this is a trait that you do find in successful sales people thatyou place a companies. What are some of the other things that tail peoplecan work on the make them stand out, that make them good candidates for salesjobs? Just high level, just a few things people can be like. All right, if I work on that today, I make myself moremarketable. Yep, I think being able to tell your own story and avery succinct and specific way. Lots of sales people, even the most seasonpeople, people that I've worked with that kill it, don't know how totell their story. They don't know how to connect the dots, they don'tknow the specifics of their numbers and that...

...it's not just about the numbers,it's how did you do that right? So you've got to think about thehow's, the wise the W's and be able to sound bite that in areally dynamic way. So that's one. The other is if you really payattention to the person that's interviewing you and it's a good interview in terms ofit's a person that cares about what's happening and they're telling you about their businessand you just lays over. You don't do anything with that information to weaveit in through the interview of why you're interested, what you can do.You're doing yourself a disservice and chances are you're not going to get the job. And the other thing is it is every single this is the number onepiece of advice that I cannot emphasize enough to anybody that's listening to this.Please everyone, listen up. This is important and every single step of theinterview, phone, video, in person, email, whatever it may be,the number one thing that my clients think of. There's two things behindthe scenes. Do I like this person? Do I want them on the team? And two, can I put them in front of my customer andwhether they disarm you, make you feel super comfortable or whatever the case maybe. They're always thinking that and people get really comfortable and they say anddo things that are crazy that you've never do in front of a client.You've got to remember that. They're always evaluating how you're writing your follow upemails, what you're doing to prepare for that presentation, how you're preparing forthe interview in general and if you just skate it and wing it and justsort of like do it without any sort of thought or paying attention to thedetails, it comes through and you'll get yourself knocked right out of the processthere. And that's a masterful takeaway there, and it maybe me immediately start thinkingabout people that I've worked with in the past. Mean, like,I don't know how this person ever got hired, you know, like theydo something crazy in the office but then like, you know, somehow puton a mask and become like this model employee, but but like the thatintegrity is missing. You know, they're...

...just winging it essentially. So Ithink that's that's a fantastic takeaway. Ay, if people wanted to get a holdyou learn more about you or ATP how can they do that? Bestfor do that my website, so avenue Tom Partnerscom. I am also allover Linkedin, as you know, Joe, all the time look up Amy Bullis. I think I'm the only one, and all my contact information is thereas well. Fantastic. Thank you so much for me on the showtoday. Amy. Welcome. Thanks, Joe. This was awesome. Thankyou so much. Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in onceagain, and we will see you next time on the sales engagement podcast.This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at sales engagementcomfor new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon. Toget the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check outoutreach die I oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on thenext episode.

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