The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Know When to Listen, Coach, or Fix w/ Roderick Jefferson


What do you tell a sales leader who just wants the team to do what they say?

“I say 1) You’re not a leader. And 2) Get ready for attrition.”

Roderick Jefferson is the CEO of Roderick Jefferson & Associates a sales enablement consultant that focuses on driving growth in small/mid-size and Fortune 500 companies.

With over 20 years in sales enablement, Roderick has gained a lot of practical insight on the tools and strategies sales leaders use to foster growth in their teams.

Roderick believes that one of the most powerful things a sales leader can do is learn to listen to their subordinates and demonstrate that they value the needs of their team over the things that they want to say. On this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, Roderick explains a 3 part conversation framework that will help any person in a leadership position to become not just a sales manager, but a leader growing leaders.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot ioh, the leading sales engagement platform helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged with buyers and customers in the modern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes resources in the book on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode here everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the sales engagement podcast. I am your host, Joe Vignolo, senior content managing editor over at outreach, and today we are joined by Roderick Jefferson, CEO of rodert Jefferson Associates twenty years. Twenty years in sales and sales enablement. Highly reguarded professional in the sales enablement space, one multiple awards. I feel like I'm stealing a thunder. I'm going toss it on over to Roderick, who can introduce himself tell us about his background and what he's doing these days. Roderick, it's an honor to have you on the show today. First of all, show the honors, allline. I really appreciate you having me. I know we've been kind of kicking this around and and talking about it, and I had a chance to listen to a few and I feel like I am stepping in with giants speed. So I want to make sure that I can keep the bar the level in which you said it. A little bit about myself. I first and foremost, I'm a sales got started as a BDR, moved up into an a year rol, did a little sales leadership and did really well. Did the Presidents Club a couple of times and it realized something really odd for sellers. I didn't really like selling. I enjoyed the process of selling, but I didn't get jazzed over, you know, taking down big deals and taking in Wales. But I had a process. Mine made sense, on how to teach others. So then from there I went into way back when, and it's actually twenty five years Joe, I'm older than I look. I just don't Tam. So I jumped into the cells training space and I was fortunate enough to land intech and at Sebel Systems,... a matter of fact, way back when when they were just kind of getting started and kicked off. And from there I have run enablement, either grass rooted or continued a program at Sebel network, appliance business objects, Ebay, HP Oracle sells force in Marquetto a couple of those are going to catch on to be big one day. Not It? It sounds like you've been around the block a few times. I have, and then you know, it's been a pleasure. The great thing about those, though, who is I actually started with each of those when they were somewhat small, although they're great logos. To an example, let's see why. I think we were about a thousand people when I came in. I came in this tells forth through a little tiny company called Jigsaw, way back when that was inquired. We became Datacom and then got morphed in. Came into Oracle by a little known startup called Oracle Marketing Cloud at the time and I looked at us as the most well funded start up on the planet, thanks to Uncle Larry. But it was great because we were really an encapsulated business for the first time an Oracle and allowed to do our own thing. They had our own marketing, own and Ablem the product marketing, et Cetera. So we are essentially a start up. So cut my teeth there and absolutely love that. SMB to mid market space where you're starting to figure things out and need to help move to that next level, and that's why I started my company, to kind of focus there, but it seems to have blossom more into the enterprise space as well. Now who am I to stop them from being happy? If they want to pull us up string, I'm all for it. And so you. Since you've finished so many different companies, you've seen a lot of different approaches and I'm sure that plays into how you've built out your sales enablement approach. Absolutely, it really has. And you know, the one thing I've learned is that sometimes one way does not fit, and I'll say most times. And what I mean by that is I go by a three part question approach to every conversation that I start, whether it's with leaders,...

...whether it's with Mente's also whether it's with my team when I was incorporate or now with my partners, and it goes this way. Do you want me to listen, do you want me to coach or do you want me to fix? Now, if you really think about those, what it does is gives you an opportunity, one to give the other person the lead on the conversation and get what they want out of the conversation and equally is important, it gives you an opportunity to then put the right set of ears on so that you are completely focused on that individual or that group as you're going forward in the conversation. And this obviously applies to any sort of conversation you're having, whether that's with an internal coworker or subordinate, whether that's what the prospect what do you think the benefits are of the person on the other end, other than getting what they want? Well, it's really threefold. Because of the question. Now, let's say you come back and say I just want you to listen. Says to me you've got some things in your head that you really need to get out and just kind of sound board, if you will, and bounce it off me. Okay, great, with the experience, I probably dealt with the situation then, so I'm going to sit back and let that get out. Now when it comes to hey, I really want you to coach, it's I have tried to do some things. I've gone and maybe did some crowd story and will my peers or I've given some things a shot. Hey, it's not really getting the mark. How would you go about this or how have you see it work and not? Then there's the fixed piece. Look, I've done everything that I know how to do. Just tell me what I need to go and do from your experience. Right. And the issue with most leaders, regardless of what line of business therein, we are natural fixers. That's what made US leaders right. We found a problem, we were able to solve it and we're able to build out a scalable and repeatable peace to that. News Flash. Two sellers at also, specifically to sales leaders, fixes rarely the first place to start. MMM, because you've got a preconcern, see notion, you've got your personal experience and or you've got enough ten year now that you've seen what... and what doesn't. I always tend to listen to that or lean towards the let me hear first. Next, let me hear, and also then tell me what you've tried and then get to the fixed piece. It's funny, you you sound like my wife. Where try that at home with your wife, because I've thought that it did not work out well for me. Well, I'm a natural fixer. I like to identify the problem and identify the solution and then do it right. But sometimes the most effective way to handle any sort of conversation is to just hear the person out. Yes, how do you see that benefiting? Still People? So they hop on a call, they have a demo call and they have these these three options in their head. You know, how do you see that playing out during a conversation like that? Great Question. First of all, to me, one of the most important pieces is the coaching piece that comes along as a frontline manager to their subordinates. And the way I see it is you are now modeling for your sellers exactly what you want them to do with your clients in your prospects, and what I mean is go in with one mouth and two ears right understand, ask questions so that you can now either discover and qualify in or out, because we'll both agree, I would assume that it's equally important. But as you're doing these conversations with sales folks, start modeling the behavior that you want them to follow, because the old adage is what's important to the manager is now imperative to their subordinate. So if they see you doing it and they want to get to where you are, what's the natural reaction to emulate what they're learning from you. So it's a great modeling piece and it's also a great opportunity to say that, regardless of what you want to talk about, it's not nearly as important as what's important to your prospect... go in and find out what the problem is and don't go in and start messaging and positioning right away. And the way that I always describe it as this start having conversations and stop giving presentations. I think that could be a slogan on a t shirt right there. I A it started here. I'm taking it. If I see you in that Teaser, Joe, we may have a problem. Let's jump way back here. What sort of situations brought you to this three part approach to any conversation? What were the experiences? They kind of shape you building this out? Here's where I get to tell where I failed, and I think there's some great lessons in here. At one point in my career, early on, I was all about the fixed piece and what I found out when I was doing the annual and the quarterly reviews with my teams is you never give us an opportunity to grow and spread our wings because you give us your experience. Your experience is great, but sometimes we need to go and slip and fall, because it's some of the best lessons come from skin, knees and elbows. If I bubble wrap them, which I found out I was doing, I was not giving them an opportunity to, one grow, second, build on their personal ability to strategize and thirdly, I wasn't, in all honesty, I wasn't finding out what their capabilities, in their strengths were. I was giving them what I thought that they were capable of doing, and that doesn't help them grow as a leader. Now, what would you say to a sales managers like I can't take that time, I can't risk those resources and and benefits of giving them the best practices and just telling them what to do. I can't risk them making mistakes. What would you tell a sales manager if they had that that view point, like I just want to tell them what to do and I just want him to do it. I run into that a lot in consulting and I always say then hear me on two points. One, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, but in all honesty, you're a manager, not a leader, because managers tell and leaders model. HMM, something to...

...think about. And the second pieces that I hope you were prepared to start opening more rex because it's going to lead to attrition. Interesting. Yeah, I mean, I come from a journalism background and I remember being, I hope he's not listening, yelled at by my news director, because I'm not. I wasn't following each step of of some process the exact way they he would do it. I was finding my own way. It was working, but it wasn't the exact way that he would do it and therefore it was wrong, and that I mean it. It's going to immediate weight on your shoulders. You feel burned out. What would you tell a seller right now who is dealing with a manager like that, like Hey, I just want to learn, I'm getting better. I don't want to have to be put into a, you know, a round peg into a square whole kind of thing? Well, again, two pieces. One is that growth and innovation has never come from doing things the same way one and second it's really about the approach that you have to your sales later, as opposed to hey, you're always telling us what to do and so we never get a chance to do things. Come in and say, Hey, I understand why we do things this way. Have we thought about or have we tried it, and then infuse your innovative idea that way and because it doesn't become adversarial, it really becomes hey, I validate your opinion and your processes. However, as we're growing, we've got different experience. Have you thought about it or tried this way or seeing this way and, if so, how that work? Yeah, that's that's good stuff for all the sellers out there listening and how to kind of manage up when you feel feel stuck in a Rut with a certain process or strategy. so that that's fantastic. Let's jump back to the three part the way that you start every meeting with three or three kind of decisions that you make. I'm what is the most popular one that you see? What you know? I think you mentioned listen, but can we go...

...into that? Why? Maybe listen is is is what most people want when going into a conversation. Well, again, let's go back to the two pieces. One is I need to get this out of my head and see if it's just something that sounds good inside with the walls of me, and and second is my opinion matters as much as yours does. I'm coming to you because I need your help. I'm not coming so that you will preach at me or top at me. I'm coming again to have that conversation, not have you give me a presentation of how you personally have seen it or made it work. Now, how do you transition from that type of conversation into now, let's look at our product, or here's the solution, you know. How do you make that? It's got to be subtle, right, because you don't want to ruin the repre that you've built using this amazing approach. But Yeah, how do you make that move back to modeling again? So now we've talked this through, I've heard what you said and now it's my turn as a leader to say, okay, in regards to the specific prospect or specific customer, here's what I would recommend or here's what I've seen work. Have you tried this? Yes or no? No, well, give it a shot and then let's circle back and see how that goes and where that leads. But at the same time it's an opportunity for that leader to also infuse a little bit of why you're a leader and that is because you have experience, because you have tenure and because you've probably seen this situation before. So it's an opportunity to speak to that seller and say, Hey, I love where you're going, but if you do that, I've seen this happen before or I've seen this workout or you know what, give that a shot and if it works out well, here's a true leader of moment right here. If it works out well, why don't we get that as a best practice? And haven't you share that with the rest of the team as your idea now like that? That's good. What what type of...

...results of you seen? When you come into a company, they bring you on as a consultant, you say, all right, let's let's start at the beginning. Here's the best way to talk to your employees, here's the best way to talk to prospects. What kind of results of you seen, or feedback that you received when implementing this process? It's interesting because, as I'm talking to leaders, not just sales leaders, we're talking about the various lines of business, to marketing, the product marketing, etc. Most people don't think about approaching a situation with that three part question. And so what I do is I have them going actually use that in a few meetings and I say, let's circle back and how did your team, your employees, respond to that? And what I generally am getting back is thank you, because it opened up a completely different level and type of dialog with them and also showed that they were of high value. And I'm thinking through a situation where, if someone wasn't to or didn't employ this approach right, sales manager may be thinking I'm doing great the people coming to me with problems, I'm fixing them, but yet they still seem to burn out. I'm still losing people to attrition. Like, what's going on? I can see that epiphany happening when I'm coming to tell them this. So this is where the sale guide becomes in and I say, all right, well, let's look at that approach as enablement and let's talk about the other approach as training. Right, and let me give you an example. So when something is broken, the first thing you want to do is throw training at it. We're not getting enough pipeline, throw training at it. We're not getting enough at Bots, throw training at it. We've got a problem with messaging and positioning, throw training at it. So I always ask that sales leader, how well does that work out for you? Not Well, because either it doesn't go anywhere or I wind up losing people. We have to do it over again. I said. So then get away from that and try one time a different approach. If it doesn't work for you, don't keep it, but if it doesn't work for you, I will be surprised. And most of the time they come back and said and I then get trust me, it's...

...not every single person that wants to go this route right, because that's why we have leaders and managers, but the people that are really interested in grooming their folks, in driving adoption execution and in building more effective leaders that will follow them. I have yet for anyone to come back and say it hasn't worked for and I think for some managers and leaders out there who are listening, this might be a little bit of a gut check episode and say, you know, you might want to look at how you're talking to your employees and how you're modeling that behavior so that they can go and take that to the prospects. Well, I take that a step further to to I would also say to the sales leaders and the sales managers out there. How are your people perceiving you? Do they feel like you care about them? Do you value that, you value their opinions and their thoughts and their input, or are they just someone that you are going to guide through a program or a process to get to an in state because you know it's going to work, but only only the way that you know it's going to work right where you know how to really it's at the close minded way of looking at a process. Their well, don't do that. Listen to Roderick here. Roderick, if, if there were there was one takeaway from this episode for our listeners, what would that be? On a single takeaway, I would say, if you want to have your team feel valued and also become a true leader, ask that three part question and ask it sincerely, and then stop and sit back and take a moment to truly listen to what your people are saying. And let's hear that question one more time so it really drives it home. Do you want me to listen? Do you want me to coach or do you want me to fix? Well, my answer to that would be I want everyone to listen to Rodrick here, so and I want them to be able to find out more information about Roderick. So how can people get Ahold you, rudder? Sure you can find me on Linkedin at Roderick...

Jefferson. You can find me on twitter at the Voice of Rod and then the same on facebook as well. Fantastic. I want to thank you at it for being on the show today. I think we're going to have you back for another episode. I think we got some more to talk about. I love that I walcome the opportunity to talk again and ask. Yeah, well, you know, within the next couple weeks or so we'll have you back on. But everyone, I encourage you to reach out to roderick to learn more about what he's doing here, more about his incredible background. And maybe you know keep your ears peel do? Is that how you did keep your ears feel to any voiceover work you may hear out there, because I hear Roderick's got a side gig going to a little known little know. One thing I forgot to ask, the important piece. Check out Roderick Jeffersoncom if there are some things on there whereby you think we could help you out, we would welcome the opportunity. Awesome, go do that, and come back next time for another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Thank you, everybody. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at sales engagementcom 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 check out our reach die Oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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