The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

Tips to Hire and Train the Best Salespeople w/ Erin Anderson


Great salespeople are made not born. You need to look at the whole training system.

To get the best sales hiring and training tips, we spoke with Erin Anderson, commercial global sales director at Egnyte, which delivers secure content collaboration, compliant data protection, and simple infrastructure modernization, all through a single SaaS solution.

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. Hey, everybody, welcome to the sales engagement podcast. It's Mark Costaglo, I'mVP of sales at outreach, and with me today I have Aaron Anderson,who's the commercial global sales director at ignite. Aaron, thanks for having our thanksfor coming on. Man, thanks for thanks for having me. Mark. It's great to talk with you. I'm not looking forward to today.Yeah, cool. So we got introduced a couple weeks ago, you know, and we had a great conversation. And whant you tell a little bitof people, a little bit about who you are what you do? Sure, absolutely so. As you mentioned, global sales director at ignite. Igniteas a software company, we are a file sharing and infrastructure in the cloudsask provider based on a mountainview California, and personally, I'm a dad.I got five kids. I love them, do everything for my kids and welive out here in spokane, Washington. WHO. So give me the agerange on the kids? Yeah, so twenty six, twenty five,twenty eighteen, just turned sixteen today. Boom. Well, happy birthday.When he listens, are she listens to this? So I have four kidsand I'm going to ask you the question. I get asked a lot and Ithink people will be interested. Now there's I think there really is likea return to this idea of life balance and like Hey, I got towork, but also like really need to be there for my family, mykids, and be a good dad and a good mom. Like, likebefore we go down to the business stuff, like just give me like your quickrundown of how you tell people you manage your busy life. Yeah,absolutely, and I agree with you. You know, for the last probablyten years I've embraced that philosophy of really focusing on work life balance. Myfeeling on it is that I get one shot to be a good dad andyou know, I can always, you know, be the you know,master of my career later on. So I want to be a great dadnow and and I treat everything that way. So I make every practice, everygame, you know, every event, and I'll work my schedule around thatto do it. So I'm a huge believer in that, not onlyfor myself but obviously with my teams as well. Yeah, it's I knowI'm a I'm not a natural early riser. I've made myself be one so Ican get home in time for that kind of stuff too. I thinkit's just important for kid to see in the stands or at the assembly orwhatever, and so are and I know for me, like you know,having myself locked down with like being a good dad, a good husband likethat makes me a better employee, a better leader at work. Like canyou talk a little bit about how you know having that stuff your personal life, like really doubt in in a way that you're happy with, makes yousuch a strong performer in the job? Yeah, I think it's everything,you know, for myself as well as for the team. You know,we try to compartmentalize and separate work from from home life, but that's justnot realistic. You know, the reality is if you have something important goingon in your personal life, it will impact positively or negatively, you know, your work life. So firm believer in being centered personally, because thatwill make you better at what you do at work and in terms of beinga father and the family. They're very similar, I have to be honestwith you. Are they're they're very similar. You know, I I solve problemsand mediate and you know, do things like that at home, makingdecisions, and it's very similar here.

Right. It may be, Hey, something's wrong with my car at home and hey, I need help withthis deal at work, but but they're very similar. Tell me, likeyour number one lesson being a dad or a parent that you've taken over inthe being a manager. Treat them like grown ups. It sales people liketo be treated like grown ups. Yeah, yeah, I mean even even whenyou think, even when you think you shouldn't treat them like grown ups. Yeah, yeah, well, Hey, we were talking in our last conversationa little bit about this transition that you're helping lead ignite through. Theybrought you in specifically to do it, to lead them into more of adirect sales outbound like, hey, we're going after accounts. I'm going tobring them in. Methodology. Why? You tell me a little bit aboutlike why you believe in direct sales. Like, for someone to like that, to bring you in, it must mean that you have an opinion,you have some expertise and some belief, and that as a methodology and asa strategy. So tell me, like, what you love about direct sales.Yeah, direct sales is the best thing that ever happened as far asI'm concerned. Just a little bit about my history, because I will putit in some context. You know, for the first ten years or soof my career I was in it. So I've done everything from, youknow, programming to running cables to running networks, the whole nine and Imade the switch and started at the bottom in sales and since that time Icannot imagine doing anything but sales. Right. So I love it to that degree, and one of the reasons that I love it is because you getthe ability to do all the things I like and you get to solve problems, you get to engage people and learn new things and, frankly, youget to make money and and with money is also respect from success, right, and those things that come along with it. So huge believer and directsales as it relates to ignite you know, just some history on a night previouslythe majority of the sales came in through sem and Seo, you know, Internet traffic and trials, and the sales team was facilitating then those trials. Right. But, as you're I'm sure you're well aware of mark,that's not a really a scalable model. There comes a point when you're spendingamount of money and you're not, you know, you don't have the lineargrowth in the sales that to equate to that. So the board and ourCEO, the Neat Jain, figured that out and they started the hunt lookingfor somebody to grow this organization. We got linked up and and you know, here we are. How did your it background like in all that technicalstuff? He used to do like make you a stronger seller and understand howto sell to people better. Yeah, it really was helpful because conceptually,you know, I can visualize what the customer has and where our solutions fitright then in my mind. And and then that's one of the harder thingsto teach to sales people if they don't have a technical background, is notjust the information in the bullet points, that's easy, but the concepts.And so once you have a fundamental know understanding of what a network looks likeor what somebody's, you know, average localaria network looks like. When theygive you parts and pieces, you can see them build in your mind andthen you understand perfectly where your solution fits in. And and obviously that's ahuge help when helping keep the sales process moving along, as well as establishingcredibility, you know, with your customers. And I'm sure, like most ofyour sellers, don't have that type of a background or expertise or experiencecoming in. Like how do you help a seller that doesn't have like thatstuff in the back of their mind and in their life, like get thosekind of skills and get that kind of experience that they can really help theircustomers? Lots of hands on one on one training. You know, enablementteam is great and they're going to do certain things that help. You know, in terms of the data, you know it does this or it lookslike this or these are the words,...

...but the best way is to spendtime with your sellers and draw it out, talk it out, role play it, write it down so you're hitting all the different types of learners andthen experience just you gotta jump into the deep end of the pool with themand let them go through it, let them hear things from customers right andyou work with them. So it's very much a hand in hand type ofapproach to get somebody there. I remember in our last conversation I asked youlike, like give me like the number one thing that you've learned or numberone tip, and it was actually this exact thing, like n ablement.You're like, listen, enablement is everything. If you do it grade, it'sgoes. Things go well, if you do poorly, they don't,and I would love to hear like as as it relates to your sellers,like how do you think of enablement, like what's your overall strategy, likewhat are your must haves and an enablement program to make it successful? Yeah, so you want, you really have to get, you know, programs, processes and systems out of your enablement team. You know, the numberone challenge in my mind when starting, you know, a direct team,is enablement. Number two, of course it's going to be the people andthe resources, like where do you find them? But if you don't yourpoint, if you don't have the enablement lockdown, you're going to be challengedand potentially fail. So you you need to be able to set up anenablement that delivers right those core things. So systems, you know, programsand processes well, like, how do you know? How do you makesure that's happening? Because you know, everybody's gone through bad sales training.Everyone a bad enablement or bad sales trainer. Guy. Everybody's had like a managerthat was like you felt way better too, but just didn't have thetime to equip view. Like how do you help your enablement people deliver?Yeah, it's a lot of time talking with them. Obviously it helps ifyour enablement, any of your enablement folks, have been sellers and and I highlyrecommend that. You know, when looking for enablement team, you're lookingfor people who have had a sales background at some point, because they comein with credibility and they understand right and a lot of the work is justget your enable team to understand what it's like to be a sales rep sothat they can relate and then deliver the information kind of through that Lens.Does that make sense? Yeah, I know for sure. I'm makes methink of another question. Know, like how do you know when they getit? Like do you see his twinkle? In their eye and a pep intheir step. Like what is the thing that says, Hey, Ithink I finally got through to this person. You mean in terms of the enabledperson getting through to the reps or me getting through to the enablement team? You, let's do both, but let's start getting through to the enablementteam. Yeah, that happens on when you're when you're sitting in on oneof the trainings, and you know my process has been. You know,we talked about some things, we put it together, the enablement team deliversit. My leadership team and I are on that training and when we getto that point where I see the team is nodding their head, they're payingattention or not on their phones right, they're not looking distracted and they're engagedand they seem to be soaking it up, that's kind of that point where Iknow that okay, the enablement team starting to get it, you know, in terms of how how to teach sales people and how the how tobring them up to speed. Well, I know part of your background,because we talked about this, is, you know, our kids both playbasketball. We but basketball. Yeah, what do you say? Difference BetweenCoaching and enablement. Yeah, I mean they're in a lot of ways they'revery, very similar, right, like, and I'll give you one one thing. So one of the things I was told my players is that,you know, the the work is done in practice, not the game.Yeah, and and that you play like you practice. So you know,if you really want to be good at a thing, there is a certainamount of time that you have to spend,... know, in a classroom orin a gym with direct instruction. But then there's a another chunk ofthe significant amount of time that you have to spend on your own. Right, that thousand jump shots a day that you have to do to be great. And I think enablement is extremely similar. You know, we can put peoplein classes for an hour, two hours a week, right, wecan send them to a boot camp, but the reality is if they reallywant to master that information and have the level of confidence that we want themto have, they're going to have to take it on themselves to drive theirown education to a certain degree. Does that make sense? makes a tonof sense. Like, I'd love I'm sure you have lots of stories,but give me a story about a rep or an initiative that you ran werereps did that, because, you know, we all talked about that. Likelisten, you gotta you can't just sit in the training session and thenyou're going to go out there and do it. You have to like practiceit. But like there's so few reps that actually do it. Like giveme a story of somebody that like really took that and figured out a wayto get it done? Yeah, I had a gentleman, I won't usehis name here just because I'm sure he'd be embarrassing for him, but youknow several years ago that he was a rep on my team and he wasa failing rep actually, and it got pretty bad to the point in thatorganization. You know, he'd been put on a performance plan and I wasa manager at that time, since quite a few years ago, and wesat down and we started talking about it and trying to get to the rootof what the issue was. And I always break things up into into twodifferent categories, possibly three, but it's either skill will or in some cases, right, it's capacity. They just don't have the ability, but usuallyit's skill and will, and I identified with him that this is definitely askill thing. Right, he didn't have the confidence around the product, toask the proper questions to get what he needed in discovery in order to movethe deal along right. So we identified these things. I put him throughsome training sessions and I gave him I get in the speech and order whatI share with you like you know, you you play like you practice right, and he took that and ran with it. And so this is athis is a gentleman who went from no technical background, really didn't know toomuch. had been a kind of faking it till he made it, youknow, type of thing. And and it severely impacted his numbers. Andover the next several weeks he was spending nights googling and watching youtube videos and, you know, browsing around the Internet, entering forums, and every couple daysyou would come talk to me and go, Hey, did you knowabout this? Did you know this was happening or this technology is coming,or I learned this new, cool thing. My point is it was fascinating tosee the way that he embraced it and it was no longer about whatI wanted him to know. It wasn't about what the company wanted him toknow. It became about his own internal desire to get better and learn,and he was having fun with it so that it was really cool. Andthat guy ended up that year being one of the top reps and I endedup promoting him several times. It promoted him two times and he works withme today. So M very cool. That's the coolest kind, isn't it? Yeah, yeah, yeah, because when you see somebody do something likethat, it impresses you, you know, and you you you grow a respectfor that person. That is unique, and so those people that you trust, those are the people that you know will bend but they won't break, and it's those folks that you want around you wherever you go in myfavorite boss used to tell me, I can't want your success more than youdo. Exactly. Sometimes we've got to wake up and the like. Ieither want to win or I don't, and I'm going to put in thework or I'm not. You know, I don't know how you get somebodyto that point, like consciously as an...

...external influence, but like when somebodygets to that point, they all of a sudden start doing what it takesto win. I think you create the environment. You know, our job, in my mind, is to create the environment for somebody to be ableto do that. But at the end of the day, the intrinsic motivationis what is going to make it or break it. At the end ofthe day, that person has to make a choice right whether whether they're goingto embrace it, they're not going to brace it, they're going to chaseit down or they're not right. All we can do is set up theenvironment for that. Yeah, so awesome, interesting stuff about enablement. So toget back to sales engagement, because this is a sales engagement podcast,but like give me like your number one like engagement tip or the number onemetric that you look at for engagement or the number one predictor of whether youbelieve a rep is going to be a great engager of prospects and customers.Like, help me understand like one thing around engagement that like people will beinterested to know about. Yeah, I could give you the metrics and kindof go down that route, but I'm sure that's something that's discussed often.You know, you you when a lot of it comes down to the typeof person you know and and, as you know, Mark, I'm surein a lot of the folks that are listening to this, is it you. Starts with the type of person you hire, and you want to hirepeople that are genuinely curious and intrinsically driven. Right now, it's easy to sayright. It's hard to extract that out of an interview process. Butyou know, it's those people, though, that it's very, very easy,even if they've never called call before, they've never, you know, beeninvolved with sales, it's very easy to get them motivated to reach outto people and connect and learn about them. Does that make sense? Oh,for sure, but it's funny. I have this like little equation thatI used it when people are like well, Hey, what do I need todo to be a great a? And I say the same equation everytime. And one of the factors in there is actually curiosity. It's effortplus curiosity, internal curiosity about your own product and your own processes, externalcuriosity about the person you're talking to, plus like making a connection, likeI got to connect what I figured out about my own product and my ownsolution to the problem that I figured out from my external curiosity with the person. So it's interesting. Curiosity, I think, is like this natural driver. How do you assess for that when you're hiring, like what markers tellyou. Hey, this is a curious person. Yeah, so the easiestway that I do it is by what questions they ask me. So inany interview that I have, usually by the time I get them, youknow, they're in their third interview or so, and I leave a lotof time for them to ask me questions. And the ones that are prepared andhave a huge list of questions or their deep questions, you know whatI mean, not just surface level, you know. So tell me alittle bit more about how you think the things are going to go in thenext five years, nothing like that, but but really penetrating questions. Ijudge it a lot off of that because you know it's most candidates don't thinkthat you're judging them based upon the questions they're asking. So you get amuch more kind of natural them in those questions. It tells you a lotabout a candidate. Yeah, I know, that's really good. Like got youhave the candidates that kind of come in with nothing, and then yougot the ones where they like literally have a printed sheet of paper where theyget all their notes and stuff, desire to win. You read you mentionedthat as the other one like that intrinsic need to be successful. How doyou like? What's your goto question or go to way of assessing that?I love former athletes. I love former athletes. I've an athlete, youknow, until my knees went out, but the majority of my life,and when you're an athlete, and especially if you've been an athlete at acertain level, that desire to win is...

...the most powerful thing in the world, right, and so I love athletes. If you play basketball or volleyball orsoccer, I don't care what you it doesn't matter to me. Butthat competitive nature, you become competitive not only with others, but you becomecompetitive with yourself, you know what I mean? The other thing that Ifind in athletes is that anybody who's played sports for a long time as sufferedsome crushing defeat, right, whether I lost it stay or something happened,and maybe even I lost a scholarship or, you know, the big game orwhatever scenario that there might be. Yet they kept playing and they keptpushing and and those are the type of people that, like I said,they've been but they don't break. So I'm very fond of athletes. Andthen, and then, second to that, and also with that military background.HMM. So I really like a military background, not only because Iappreciate what they do for a country, you know, as a proud American, but they there's a level of discipline and drive that's associated with the vastmajority of folks that are in the military. Yeah, what if if I toldyou, like I am also kind of the athlete compet internal competitiveness thing. But what I begun to notice is that, and maybe it's you know, from when you and I grew up and we would play baseball in thesummer, you know, football or something in the fall, basketball in thewinner, and now you know our kids play basketball twelve months out of yearand if you have you know making the team. You know what I mean, like you, and I don't know if it's that it's kind of transition, but what I've started to find is that there's the competitive drive to winis starting to become so good that, like the rep isn't really centered onhelping the person, they're centered on winning the deal. Like you have tokind of have both. Like I feel like one reason why people respect meas a seller and one reason I've been successful as a sellers because my intrinsicvalue really is to help the person. And then when the deal gets tothe point where like they have to pick me or pick somebody else, orwe have to negotiate or, you know, they're dragging their feet, like that'swhen I like put in a little bit of the competitive spirit to likemake sure that I can continue to help them. Like how would you balanceout someone's like super intense competitive spirit? Yeah, I'm a fan of youknow, I've always rather pull a rep back then push them forward, right. So, you know, sometimes you do have to pull some of themback a little bit and I think it's just easier, if you're going tomold somebody and you're going to coach him and teach them, to have themhave that drive and then go okay, you were you know, you wereway too forward on that one. Or you know, you're giving off thevibe that you really don't care what they're saying. You're sitting there thinking aboutwhat you're going to say instead of listening to them. Right, those things, you know, giving that coaching and coaching and making those tweaks, inmy experience, has been easier than getting somebody that has those things, butthey don't have to drive right. You know, it is some work.Sometimes you get some real alpha male and female, you know, folks andand they go hard at it. But in my experience, you know,we've been able to tamp that down enough so that they're not giving a badperception or giving our customers and prospects of bad experience. Yeah, I lovethat. It is so true. It's so much easier to dial somebody downin a turn them up. Turning them up is just so hard. Sowell, Hey, this is a great conversation, Aaron, but before wewrap it up, like if somebody wanted to contact you or get in touchwith you further the conversation or about something off you, how they how theyget in touch? Yeah, absolutely. I'll go ahead and give everybody myemail address. It is e Anderson, EA and D Er Son at ignitecom, egnytecom. Also some man will thanks... much for dropping the knowledge.Appreciate it and for everyone listening. Thanks so much for joining the sales engagementpodcast. Before we go, Aaron, what do you doing March ten throughtwelve of this year? Do you know? No clue. You know what youshould be doing? What should I be doing? We have the mostball or conference for sales engagement called on leash, in San Diego. Soyou get to get out of we get to get out of the Pacific northwestgo to the Sun. I dare you to go look at the list ofspeakers that we have and be like, I don't want to be at thatconference at dare you, but we love to have you if you can makeit, and anybody else that would love to go to a great conference andreally learn a bunch of stuff. On Leash's it's happened in March ten throughtwelve in San Diego. But thanks for coming on are and really appreciate aman. Thanks so much for having me. Mark all right, and we'll seeyou next time on the sales engagement podcast. Absolutely. Thank you.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 Oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the nextepisode.

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