The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

How to Close Sales Faster with a Question Library w/ Dom Atkatz

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Train your sales team with these six Ps:

  • Persona
  • Plan
  • Probe
  • Prepare
  • Prequalify
  • Post-mortem

This is how Dominic Atkatz, Sales Development Manager at FLEXE.com, does it.

FLEXE is behind the world's first collaborative warehousing platform and networks over 1,000 warehouses around the country. They help companies that have ever-changing warehousing needs connect with companies that are seeking to maximize the utility of their warehouse space and labor.

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 in the bookon sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode. Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of these sales engagement podcast. I am yourhost, joving all, senior content managing editor over an outreach, and weare joined today by dom at cats. He's the STR and bedr manager overat flex. He is here to talk about selling customers on what someone sayis a disruptive product. How do you break through the status quote? Howdo you convince them to be interested? How do you convietits them to switchthings up? But I before we get into that, I want toss iton over to dom, who can introduce himself tell us a little bit aboutflex and what he's doing over there. Dumb, thank you so much forbeing on the show today. Thanks, Joe. Really appreciate it. So, yeah, Dod right anywhere. I had up the sales development team hereat flex. What we are ultimately responsible at doing is taking our current clientsand the use cases that we most commonly support and understanding the outward facing characteristicsof those clients and identifying those characteristics or attributes with other companies or quote unquote, accounts that we should retarget. Once we do that, we understand whothe best people are to get in touch with, the most applicable to,of course, our model and are buying processed and we get in touch withthem and then we introduce them to this disruptive idea that we got. Goingon, a little bit of background about me. I went to school ata place called Middlebury College. I kind of me entered my way back outwest. Along the way I worked in the food and beverage business, which, in short, had supply chain, is plays a big, key componentto the success of those businesses, particularly in the natural foods business, where, if you want to have a nationwide presence to sell your product, youbasically need a supply chain setup to support that without your products perishing. Andso as I move back up to Seattle, I wanted to grow my career tothe text space and I came across flax, which is essentially the world'sfirst collaborative warehouse platform, and so we help companies that have ever so changingwarehousing meets connect with companies that are seeking to maximize utility of their warehouse spaceand labor. And being in Celo kind in the backyard of a major warehouseplayer, aren't you, you can say that you know the first letter startisn't a last letters and man, and that's what really riving a major componentof our model. To give you, I think, a brief story ofhow we started. Our Co founders were at a dinner party about six yearsago at a buddy's house who, this buddy owns and operates a wine andbeer accessories business out of out of opera or the Kent Auburn area, andthe nature of wine and beer accessories is that they sell relatively seasonally and inturn, your inventory levels throughout the year are going to have major spikes andmajor peaks and major valleys. And he was complaining to our co founders,Gosh, you know, I have a warehouse that is literally packed to thebrand to the point where it's dangerous for about three months out of the year, but the remaining nine months out of the year it's kind of like cricketsand I'm just Gosh, I'm underutilizing my...

...lease here, them up or apain for something that I'm not using to its full extent. And in themeantime I got this guy across the street with a warehouse. I'm in anindustrial warehousing park and I know there's this guy across the street who has acountercyclical business to mine and he's bursting at the scenes when I'm just trying tofigure out something to do with my warehouse labor and vice versa. It wouldbe really cool if we could share our subsequent space and labor with each otherin the Times that we needed it and we could have a symbiotic relationship,and so that's what's really was the genesis of the flex idea. Now,tying it back to what's just be a little bit more supposit here. Forthose who don't know who Amazon is, you know, Amazon is totally changethe game and ways in which customer buying habits are changing and at the rateof which they're changing, and companies are struggling to either keep up with thebreadth of their distribution network or even the strategies to try to be as nimbleas what they're doing, and so taking that step from sharing seasonal inventory spikeswith counter seasonal space, so to speak. We're applying this to okay, distributionmodels. How can I, if you know, have a distribution networkthat meets my customer buying habits today and tomorrow and the next day as theycontinue to change, without having the to have mass of capital expenditures and spendinga ton of time setting up a setting up that infrastructure? And so that'skind of led us to where we are to day. We have a twomajor segments in our model. Once, you know, classic full Palid infull palied out inventory overflow. And the second is, okay, how doI get my products closer to my end customer? And so the way youdescribe it to me right then, I can immediately see the benefits to tosomeone who has a lot, a lot of inventory that needs to be stored. So where you're paying for warehouse space. But I think that initial hurdle isright. It is kind of a different model than what people are usedto, what people have been doing for a hundred years. So what isyour first step when you do finally land that meeting with someone who needs this, this service. What is your first step to convincing them that they havea problem? Sure, so, it depends on the prospect. In certaincases you have somebody WHO's willing to give information, somewhat willingly, and otherinstances you have people who are relatively guarded. So there's two major approaches that welike to employ when we when we go out and speak with the customeroverall. All in all, the ultimate goal is to understand the assumptions thatthey have, that they from the traditional solution that they are now applying towhat they think are solution. Is the way in which you do that is, you know, if you you ever if you're talking to somebody who issomewhat guarded and doesn't have that absolute trust in you just yet or hasn't hadthe time to fully process the messaging that caught their eye in the first placeabout who you are, you need to tell a story, you need totell a narrative as to why you exist and have that narrative be something thatties to everyone involved. And you know, for us that narrative is ever changing, ever changing customer buying habits and everybody, everybody experiences the impacts ofthat in who's selling a physical good. The second way you go about sellingthis effectively, or introducing this model effectively rather, is asking the right questionsand understanding. Hey, you've incurred this...

...problem in the past. Correct,yes, well, so how tell me a little bit more about how you'vesolved for this problem? From there, it's all about asking the right followup questions and identifying. Okay, Hey, they're solving it this way. That'syou know, is this something that we can tie back to a valueproblem that flex offers right, where they doing something inefficiently, that they haveit that that they may not even deem as an efficient today. And sothat's how we generally get the get the conversation started. And so how doyou prepare your reps to do that? That sort of investigation any like avery non interrogation way? Right, you want to be able to have likea natural conversation. What types of training and coaching are you giving your repsso that they may do this in like a very natural way? Sure,so, I'm try. You know, there's so many places where I canstart here, but the the key thing is, as when we hire andWean, it all starts with hiring, right it's just this ability to havesomeone who one totally believes in our model and too, is genuinely curious aboutthe things that they know and not shameful when they and not shable to askabout the things that they don't and that you know. That goes back totying around like okay, assumptions and and all that. But once we hirethose types of employees, people who really believe in our model, who aregenuinely inquisitive, who had this genuine desire to learn versus to tell right,that is kind of like the key foundation that we look for. We employa milestone on boarding project for you. Have a series of tasks that basicallytie back to your ability to perform on the phone. We we can basicallyscale up all of our messaging that we send over email or link ten relativelyeasy. I mean we could have any relatively anyone do that, but wecan't. But we can't control all the time, is the way, what'scoming out of people's mouths when they're talking to our to our prospects, andso that's where we spend a ton of our time on boarding our employees.One thing that we do is we stick them on the INBOW call line immediately. I mean you're not here for more than really ten days before you're manningthe phones and basically taking in bown calls and kind of mapping out your waythrough these conversations in a relatively low risk setting. Of course we vet who'scalling in and we know who's calling him when they're calling in, so wecan divert certain leads to certain certain strs. So we are only setting up thenew strs with the less risky or lower stake scenarios. From there,we do we put a lot of stress on reviewing our calls and finding away for recording our calls and annotating them on a basically on a weekly basis. I mean some really promote for the STRS. It's a daily basis forthem. And then we have a we have a weekly sync where we allgo over together, we ask about hey, we have this moment here where wedid something really good or there's something where the prospect changed their mind abouthow they are thinking about us, or maybe the prospect just didn't realize thevalue US and they're asking about price right, and so you know, what wereyou thinking of that moment? Understanding, like you know what was going onin your head to act the way that you acted, and so it'sa two way street, right like we we develop basically the answers that weneed to know as we qualify a prospect through our sales model, and weleave it up to our reps to decide...

...how they want to ask the questionsto get there. Now there's, you know, I'll be able with certaincodes that we have or mindset that we have when we ask questions. Right, like, very rarely you ask a close ended question, you know,especially when I do of a call, unless you know the answer for certainis going to be yes. But really we've designed kind of a series,you know, a question library as well, and we've prioritized those so that whensomeone jumps in the Callrec okay, this is these are the things thatI need to get out of the way first and then I can worry aboutthe secondary stuff later. The other thing that we do is, prior toa call, to read a lot of communication between our SC arts and ouraccount executives who take a lot of calls together, and that includes precall outlinesor templates where we talked about, okay, Hey, this is the information thatwe know these are the the foreseeable pain points that they have, theseare the foreseeable use cases that they would be interested in learning about, soclient case studies that we can talk to them about, and then these arethe questions that we need to go ask right. So that's we do alot of strategizing in front so that we can come into a call with,you know, something in our head of what we're going to do next andhow we're going to do it. A couple fall up questions. Yeah,talk a while. There none, no worries. Going back to a newREP is ten days in and they're manning the inbound call. Yeah, yousaid you can bet the inbound calls kind of in real time and route themto maybe more senior Rep. if this is a big account coming in,how are you doing that? How are you vetting that right away? Andthen second is this rep sitting like on the floor when they're at taking theseabound calls? Is all the other reps around are using that as kind ofa training opportunity? That's exactly right. I mean it's it may not beas sophisticated as people are envisioning, but really it's all of us are onthe floor and the key thing is is that I've identified it's the key thingis with any team is to identify who you're who your sub leaders are.And you know, as you saigment, your team's out and we have twomajor segments. So we try to identify, okay, who are subleaders within eachteam and when the phone rings, everybody has call Id, at leastfor us, and we can see who companies call it and if we don'tit will give it to the new new hire. But the new high I'llbe AK. I got this for sifive hundred company online. I don't thinkI'm ready for this. And then we'll pass them on to pay a moreseat. Your Person Right. But if it's you see the caller ID,hey, it's nobody, okay, give it to give it to new hirethree weeks, in two weeks and whatever it may be. So that's kindof how we go about it but that doesn't work without having sub leaders whoyou know are your most believable people at the company, are early sentner teamthat can help leave that charge and distribute appropriately. And then you mentioned kindof a repository of questions or like a library of question is that a livingdocument is that? Is that a Google dot do you share or you havesome sort of internal tool that you've built? Yeah, yeah, so we basically, and this is actually I'm happy you ask this, because we havethis thing called the Mbat doc and it started in Google sheets. So whatit basically does is it? It basically starts with strategic high level questions justto kind of get to paint the landscape of the client, who's calling him, of the prospect who's calling rather, and then at you know, basedon we have a lot of if then then if the answer is this,then you respond on with that. And it's not that complicated. I meaninkthere's only three if then mend's in in our imbaunt dog and I would encouragemost people to keep it blow to simplify things. But based on that you'dlike, okay, if this, then...

...that, if this, then proceedor deal't proceed at all. But basically we start with the strategic questions first, get that high level qualifications and then we talk more about tactical stuff,right, tactical details of the project and whether or not we can actually doit. The reason why we do it that way versus starting with the tacticalquestions first and then going into strategy, is that we don't want to quicklyDQ somebody or have them or DQ ourselves. Rather, when somebody comes to USthinking that a need to have or that a nice to have in ourmodel is a need to have for themselves, if that makes sense. So,because we've kind of redefined the way in which companies engage and disengage withoutside warehousing providers, a once traditional need to have becomes a nice to havewith our model. I mean, I think that's one super useful for allof our listeners to think about creating something like this for their own team,almost like a I don't know if it's the right word, flow chart orI mean it makes me think of when I took a c plus plus codingclass. Right, you have like these the paths that go down and andyou know kind of what to what to do and how to execute depending onthe response that you're getting. So I think that's that's super helpful. Yeah, sorry to interrupt, but we've we've evolved from the Google sheet to andI'm going to pitch this APP. So they better yeah, listen up,whatever name of APP that's coming up, listen up. Yeah, so thisAPP is called duly and it's a note taking APP that's linked to the salesforce and you really cool thing about it is that I just imported our,you know, inbound doc questions into this APP. And what happens is this. It's a note taking template that when it sees that you're typing something out, like a detail out or a keyword that's a prospect says, it POPsup cards for objection handling. So when a prospect asks about availability too earlyor they ask about price too early, we have cards that, you know, objection handling cards that pop up in their note taking template. So thes USCR doesn't have to like go to another page, you know, ontheir computer or other APP and their computer to figure out, okay, howdo I respond to this, you know, and not sound like I don't knowwhat I'm talking about? And so it just keeps everybody on track andin the right place. And then also, I think the inherent, theherent benefitis that it automatically links the contact to the account in sales force andjust sends the note straight to the sales horse so that we don't lose notes. I mean that was a big issue for us for a while, whichwas we were we were gathering all these notes, but we weren't being disciplinedat putting them all on one spot. And so that's what we're really tryingto work course, is that, okay, the next time this prospect calls in, I'm going to get I'm going to be able to see all thesenotes very quickly and act accordingly. And so that's why we use this APPcalled Dully, and there's there's a lot of there's a two other benefits inthere too, but I think I just highlighted the main ones that we're seeing. If it's from so listeners out there check out duly, don't it?Do you have any other kind of hacks or tricks that you have your repsdo to really kind of convince? I don't know that convinced, but itillustrate the value of your, you know, relatively destructive model. Is there?Is there something that you that maybe novel that you're that you're teaching yourreps? Yeah, definitely. I mean I you know, I think there'sa few things and I don't know if they're the most revolutionary ideas out there, but the most important thing is is that you are super connected to understanding, okay, who your active clients are today and how we support them.I think one of the things that strs or new SDRs, when they firstcome in or just super super what they...

...care about the most. I gotto win my first deal, I got to work my first call, andsometimes they overlook, okay, what are the what do I need to do? What do I need to do to do that? They just want togo, go, go, go, go, and so for us it'slike we need to be able to enable them to access the key information thathelps us win in the way that we win, which is telling stories thatare client stories and categorizing those stories in a way in which relates back to, okay, what your three core value props, or or maybe your fivecore value props are, whatever they are. That needs to be a short listof value props, but you can always tie back to specific scenarios andin very easily searchable way, so that okay, Hey, this client justtalked about this issue that I know we can support. I just got toquickly find which client we currently support today that's handling that. We help handlethat issue. So does that? Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. And how do you enable your ups to do that very quickly as welike. They're on a call, they know they have they have that socialproof somewhere. Yeah, you know. How do they find that and useit right away? Yeah, so we have a dog. I mean it'sa dog. It's actually now evolving in to more of a spreadsheet where youcan start categorizing the type of conversation station of the type of client that you'retalking to. So we have two major segments here flex, once enterprise,once digital native. So, for example, I'm talking to a digital native companythat is concerned about operational performance, I can filter that out in thespreadsheet. That will show clients that all the clients that bought flex for thatexact reason or for that priority reason, and then the realized benefits as aresult of that and attached to that client. So it's really just organizing your clientevidence program and a way, in a way, in one place andconstantly maintaining that. And so that's that's one way that we that we reallyhelp them, that they can quickly access. Sobo. I'll pause there and seeif you have any other questions around that. You know that that's created. there. Are there any other ways that you. You do that.So we have the other thing we do, and I don't know if I mentionedit in this in this earlier in this call, but we have anote taking templet that we actually run through duly where we go through and wetalked about can't. So most companies talk about bands, which is budget,authority needs and timeline. With us, with flex, there's always a budgetfor what we're doing. Right. So what we've adjusted that to is thecost of the alternative versus flex. So that's what's what we have to see. Everything else remains the same. Authority needs, timeline. So this notetaking temple basically says, okay, Hey, here are the strategic parts of informationthat we need to know before this deal gets qualified, and here arethe tactical buckets that you need to know in order for this deal to bequalified. You cannot pass this deal to the account executive without all these fieldscomplete. And so that's we kind of like submit cards with qualification feels completedin order to eliminate any unpredictability or uncertainty on whether or not you had agood call or not. Like do you know in the prospect size whether ornot you know what what they prioritize in our value props, right. So, like we talked about that in are note taking temple. Like can youprioritize, in the eyes of the prospect, the value props of flex and thenyou have all the you know, and and the other thing. Imean, you can go down each list right with authority. It's like,okay, this prospect is on the call to do this. Is this thisprimary role or is this something that it is, you know, is itis a secondary role? As the other key stakeholders that care about this,or what do they care about? Right?...

I mean there's just as you cango on and on and on about what questions you need to ask,but unless you kind of organize them in a way that makes sense for yourreps and drive consistency throughout the process, it's really hard to scale. Andso that's kind of the whole purpose of like what we call this quote unquote, note taking template. Yeah, I mean, and it sets your youraccount executive up support success. Right. You have all the information that theyneed to to push the deal along. So I think that's that's fantastic.And then everyone listening should be implementing something like this, whether that's you know, a card system not taking system or or, in this episode, turnedout to be a pitchure duly. So everyone check out duly. Don't ifthere was a quick takeaway for our listeners, maybe they zoned out the entire time. What would that be? Oh Gosh. So my we can justtalk about the three key success on a call. So because we've been talkinga lot about calls. But it's really asking the right questions, telling theright story, that it relates back to an active client. And the thirdone is closing and setting expectations right, getting that feedback from the client.Hey, what are your key takeaways from the call to day right, like, why are you interested in flex, or why were you interested in flexwhen you first join this call, and what are you interested in flex tocontinue the conversation? Just level setting on those expectations is super, super important. At the end of the day, it's all about eliminating on certainty andsaving time for us as we try to grow, you know, at areally quick clip. Right. So that's that's really the most those the keytakeaways for us as far as calls. I of that question the you know, how did you feel coming into call? What were you thinking and then howdo you feel about flex now? I think that's that's really good becausethat that will show that kind of gap and and the journey that has happenedon that call. So I think that's that's fantastic. Dominic, if ifpeople wanted to get ahold of you learn more about flex, how can theydo that? Probably Linkedin. I could give you my cell phone number,but I don't know, I don't know. Don't do that. Yeah, no, no, it's good. You can email flex general line at anytime and it's going to end up falling in my lap anyway because we stour team handles most of the in bounding crease. So yeah, Blake deadand just hitting US up directly. Have flexcom. Awesome. Thank you somuch for me on the show. When to thank our listeners for tuning inonce again. GO CHECK OUT FLEX, go check out duly, apparently,and we will see you next time on the sales engagement podcast. Thank you. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at salesengagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon.To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to checkout outreach die I oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you onthe next episode.

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