The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 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 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 and the book 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'm VP 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 thanks for 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 bit of people, a little bit about who you are what you do? Sure, absolutely so. As you mentioned, global sales director at ignite. Ignite as a software company, we are a file sharing and infrastructure in the clouds ask 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 we live out here in spokane, Washington. WHO. So give me the age range 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 kids and I'm going to ask you the question. I get asked a lot and I think people will be interested. Now there's I think there really is like a return to this idea of life balance and like Hey, I got to work, but also like really need to be there for my family, my kids, and be a good dad and a good mom. Like, like before we go down to the business stuff, like just give me like your quick rundown of how you tell people you manage your busy life. Yeah, absolutely, and I agree with you. You know, for the last probably ten years I've embraced that philosophy of really focusing on work life balance. My feeling on it is that I get one shot to be a good dad and you know, I can always, you know, be the you know, master of my career later on. So I want to be a great dad now and and I treat everything that way. So I make every practice, every game, you know, every event, and I'll work my schedule around that to do it. So I'm a huge believer in that, not only for myself but obviously with my teams as well. Yeah, it's I know I'm a I'm not a natural early riser. I've made myself be one so I can get home in time for that kind of stuff too. I think it's just important for kid to see in the stands or at the assembly or whatever, and so are and I know for me, like you know, having myself locked down with like being a good dad, a good husband like that makes me a better employee, a better leader at work. Like can you 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 you such 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 just not realistic. You know, the reality is if you have something important going on in your personal life, it will impact positively or negatively, you know, your work life. So firm believer in being centered personally, because that will make you better at what you do at work and in terms of being a father and the family. They're very similar, I have to be honest with you. Are they're they're very similar. You know, I I solve problems and mediate and you know, do things like that at home, making decisions, and it's very similar here.

Right. It may be, Hey, something's wrong with my car at home and hey, I need help with this deal at work, but but they're very similar. Tell me, like your number one lesson being a dad or a parent that you've taken over in the being a manager. Treat them like grown ups. It sales people like to be treated like grown ups. Yeah, yeah, I mean even even when you think, even when you think you shouldn't treat them like grown ups. Yeah, yeah, well, Hey, we were talking in our last conversation a little bit about this transition that you're helping lead ignite through. They brought you in specifically to do it, to lead them into more of a direct sales outbound like, hey, we're going after accounts. I'm going to bring them in. Methodology. Why? You tell me a little bit about like 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 as a strategy. So tell me, like, what you love about direct sales. Yeah, direct sales is the best thing that ever happened as far as I'm concerned. Just a little bit about my history, because I will put it in some context. You know, for the first ten years or so of my career I was in it. So I've done everything from, you know, programming to running cables to running networks, the whole nine and I made the switch and started at the bottom in sales and since that time I cannot 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 get the 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, you get 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 direct sales as it relates to ignite you know, just some history on a night previously the 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 spending amount of money and you're not, you know, you don't have the linear growth in the sales that to equate to that. So the board and our CEO, the Neat Jain, figured that out and they started the hunt looking for 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 technical stuff? He used to do like make you a stronger seller and understand how to sell to people better. Yeah, it really was helpful because conceptually, you know, I can visualize what the customer has and where our solutions fit right then in my mind. And and then that's one of the harder things to teach to sales people if they don't have a technical background, is not just 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 like or what somebody's, you know, average localaria network looks like. When they give you parts and pieces, you can see them build in your mind and then you understand perfectly where your solution fits in. And and obviously that's a huge help when helping keep the sales process moving along, as well as establishing credibility, you know, with your customers. And I'm sure, like most of your sellers, don't have that type of a background or expertise or experience coming in. Like how do you help a seller that doesn't have like that stuff in the back of their mind and in their life, like get those kind of skills and get that kind of experience that they can really help their customers? Lots of hands on one on one training. You know, enablement team 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 looks like this or these are the words,...

...but the best way is to spend time 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 and then experience just you gotta jump into the deep end of the pool with them and let them go through it, let them hear things from customers right and you work with them. So it's very much a hand in hand type of approach to get somebody there. I remember in our last conversation I asked you like, like give me like the number one thing that you've learned or number one tip, and it was actually this exact thing, like n ablement. You're like, listen, enablement is everything. If you do it grade, it's goes. 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, like what 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 number one challenge in my mind when starting, you know, a direct team, is enablement. Number two, of course it's going to be the people and the resources, like where do you find them? But if you don't your point, if you don't have the enablement lockdown, you're going to be challenged and potentially fail. So you you need to be able to set up an enablement that delivers right those core things. So systems, you know, programs and processes well, like, how do you know? How do you make sure 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 manager that was like you felt way better too, but just didn't have the time 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 if your enablement, any of your enablement folks, have been sellers and and I highly recommend that. You know, when looking for enablement team, you're looking for people who have had a sales background at some point, because they come in with credibility and they understand right and a lot of the work is just get your enable team to understand what it's like to be a sales rep so that 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 me think of another question. Know, like how do you know when they get it? Like do you see his twinkle? In their eye and a pep in their step. Like what is the thing that says, Hey, I think I finally got through to this person. You mean in terms of the enabled person 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 enablement team. Yeah, that happens on when you're when you're sitting in on one of the trainings, and you know my process has been. You know, we talked about some things, we put it together, the enablement team delivers it. My leadership team and I are on that training and when we get to that point where I see the team is nodding their head, they're paying attention or not on their phones right, they're not looking distracted and they're engaged and they seem to be soaking it up, that's kind of that point where I know that okay, the enablement team starting to get it, you know, in terms of how how to teach sales people and how the how to bring them up to speed. Well, I know part of your background, because we talked about this, is, you know, our kids both play basketball. We but basketball. Yeah, what do you say? Difference Between Coaching and enablement. Yeah, I mean they're in a lot of ways they're very, 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 certain amount of time that you have to spend,... know, in a classroom or in a gym with direct instruction. But then there's a another chunk of the 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 people in classes for an hour, two hours a week, right, we can send them to a boot camp, but the reality is if they really want to master that information and have the level of confidence that we want them to have, they're going to have to take it on themselves to drive their own education to a certain degree. Does that make sense? makes a ton of 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 were reps did that, because, you know, we all talked about that. Like listen, you gotta you can't just sit in the training session and then you're going to go out there and do it. You have to like practice it. But like there's so few reps that actually do it. Like give me a story of somebody that like really took that and figured out a way to get it done? Yeah, I had a gentleman, I won't use his name here just because I'm sure he'd be embarrassing for him, but you know several years ago that he was a rep on my team and he was a failing rep actually, and it got pretty bad to the point in that organization. You know, he'd been put on a performance plan and I was a manager at that time, since quite a few years ago, and we sat down and we started talking about it and trying to get to the root of what the issue was. And I always break things up into into two different 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 usually it's skill and will, and I identified with him that this is definitely a skill thing. Right, he didn't have the confidence around the product, to ask the proper questions to get what he needed in discovery in order to move the deal along right. So we identified these things. I put him through some training sessions and I gave him I get in the speech and order what I 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 a this is a gentleman who went from no technical background, really didn't know too much. had been a kind of faking it till he made it, you know, type of thing. And and it severely impacted his numbers. And over 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 days you would come talk to me and go, Hey, did you know about 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 to see the way that he embraced it and it was no longer about what I wanted him to know. It wasn't about what the company wanted him to know. 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. And that guy ended up that year being one of the top reps and I ended up promoting him several times. It promoted him two times and he works with me today. So M very cool. That's the coolest kind, isn't it? Yeah, yeah, yeah, because when you see somebody do something like that, it impresses you, you know, and you you you grow a respect for 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 my favorite boss used to tell me, I can't want your success more than you do. Exactly. Sometimes we've got to wake up and the like. I either want to win or I don't, and I'm going to put in the work or I'm not. You know, I don't know how you get somebody to that point, like consciously as an...

...external influence, but like when somebody gets to that point, they all of a sudden start doing what it takes to win. I think you create the environment. You know, our job, in my mind, is to create the environment for somebody to be able to do that. But at the end of the day, the intrinsic motivation is what is going to make it or break it. At the end of the day, that person has to make a choice right whether whether they're going to embrace it, they're not going to brace it, they're going to chase it down or they're not right. All we can do is set up the environment for that. Yeah, so awesome, interesting stuff about enablement. So to get 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 one metric that you look at for engagement or the number one predictor of whether you believe 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 be interested to know about. Yeah, I could give you the metrics and kind of 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 type of person you know and and, as you know, Mark, I'm sure in 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 hire people that are genuinely curious and intrinsically driven. Right now, it's easy to say right. It's hard to extract that out of an interview process. But you 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, been involved with sales, it's very easy to get them motivated to reach out to people and connect and learn about them. Does that make sense? Oh, for sure, but it's funny. I have this like little equation that I used it when people are like well, Hey, what do I need to do to be a great a? And I say the same equation every time. And one of the factors in there is actually curiosity. It's effort plus curiosity, internal curiosity about your own product and your own processes, external curiosity about the person you're talking to, plus like making a connection, like I got to connect what I figured out about my own product and my own solution 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 tell you. Hey, this is a curious person. Yeah, so the easiest way that I do it is by what questions they ask me. So in any interview that I have, usually by the time I get them, you know, they're in their third interview or so, and I leave a lot of time for them to ask me questions. And the ones that are prepared and have a huge list of questions or their deep questions, you know what I mean, not just surface level, you know. So tell me a little bit more about how you think the things are going to go in the next five years, nothing like that, but but really penetrating questions. I judge it a lot off of that because you know it's most candidates don't think that you're judging them based upon the questions they're asking. So you get a much more kind of natural them in those questions. It tells you a lot about a candidate. Yeah, I know, that's really good. Like got you have the candidates that kind of come in with nothing, and then you got the ones where they like literally have a printed sheet of paper where they get all their notes and stuff, desire to win. You read you mentioned that as the other one like that intrinsic need to be successful. How do you 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, you know, 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 a certain 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 or soccer, I don't care what you it doesn't matter to me. But that competitive nature, you become competitive not only with others, but you become competitive with yourself, you know what I mean? The other thing that I find in athletes is that anybody who's played sports for a long time as suffered some crushing defeat, right, whether I lost it stay or something happened, and maybe even I lost a scholarship or, you know, the big game or whatever scenario that there might be. Yet they kept playing and they kept pushing 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. And then, and then, second to that, and also with that military background. HMM. So I really like a military background, not only because I appreciate 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 vast majority of folks that are in the military. Yeah, what if if I told you, 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 the summer, you know, football or something in the fall, basketball in the winner, and now you know our kids play basketball twelve months out of year and 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 win is starting to become so good that, like the rep isn't really centered on helping the person, they're centered on winning the deal. Like you have to kind of have both. Like I feel like one reason why people respect me as a seller and one reason I've been successful as a sellers because my intrinsic value really is to help the person. And then when the deal gets to the point where like they have to pick me or pick somebody else, or we have to negotiate or, you know, they're dragging their feet, like that's when I like put in a little bit of the competitive spirit to like make sure that I can continue to help them. Like how would you balance out someone's like super intense competitive spirit? Yeah, I'm a fan of you know, I've always rather pull a rep back then push them forward, right. So, you know, sometimes you do have to pull some of them back a little bit and I think it's just easier, if you're going to mold somebody and you're going to coach him and teach them, to have them have that drive and then go okay, you were you know, you were way too forward on that one. Or you know, you're giving off the vibe that you really don't care what they're saying. You're sitting there thinking about what you're going to say instead of listening to them. Right, those things, you know, giving that coaching and coaching and making those tweaks, in my experience, has been easier than getting somebody that has those things, but they don't have to drive right. You know, it is some work. Sometimes you get some real alpha male and female, you know, folks and and 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 bad perception or giving our customers and prospects of bad experience. Yeah, I love that. It is so true. It's so much easier to dial somebody down in a turn them up. Turning them up is just so hard. So well, Hey, this is a great conversation, Aaron, but before we wrap it up, like if somebody wanted to contact you or get in touch with you further the conversation or about something off you, how they how they get in touch? Yeah, absolutely. I'll go ahead and give everybody my email 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 engagement podcast. Before we go, Aaron, what do you doing March ten through twelve of this year? Do you know? No clue. You know what you should be doing? What should I be doing? We have the most ball or conference for sales engagement called on leash, in San Diego. So you get to get out of we get to get out of the Pacific northwest go to the Sun. I dare you to go look at the list of speakers that we have and be like, I don't want to be at that conference at dare you, but we love to have you if you can make it, and anybody else that would love to go to a great conference and really learn a bunch of stuff. On Leash's it's happened in March ten through twelve in San Diego. But thanks for coming on are and really appreciate a man. Thanks so much for having me. Mark all right, and we'll see you next time on the sales engagement podcast. Absolutely. Thank you. 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 outreach die Oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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