The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Why You Should Leave an Empty Seat at Every Meeting w/ Dale Zwizinski


There are robots out there working for call centers who are better at providing a stellar customer experience than some of your sales team members. Is that your team? If your customer experience isn’t a top priority for everyone in the organization then you’re not doing it right.

Dale Zwizinski is the SVP of North American Sales at SmartAction where he is crazy passionate about building a customer experience that will have people excited to speak with a bot. SmartAction is a customer experience organization with AI technology designed to make life less hard. They’re on a mission to make life less hard for those customers who have to dial into their favorite brand’s call center.

Dale is sure about one thing: the customer experience is everything. On today’s episode, we talk about how leaving an empty seat in every meeting brings this life.

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. Welcome everybody to the sales engagement podcast. It's Mark Cosaglo on the VP of sales at outreach, and joining me today I have Dale Zawinski, who's svp of sales from North America at smart action. How you doing, Dale, hi, Marc's are going? They for having me through? Hey, no problem. I hear you are down in Florida. Is that true? I am, I am. It's a little rainy today, which is not typical, but I'm enjoying it's December fourteen and I'm enjoying the the warm weather. Well, I will not hate you for complaining about rain in Florida, since I live in Seattle now, but awesome. Well, Hey, you and I were just kind of discussing things a little bit before we got the podcast started today, and you started down a van a conversation. Had to literally hit the pause button. It's Ay like we got to start recording right now because it was super interesting. But at smart action, you guys do do some customer experience stuff for call centers and that really forms a big basis around how you think about sales and sales engagement. So why don't we start that conversation up for everybody? Tell me a little bit about what you think about customer experience. Yeah, I think customer experiences everything. When I've been as you and I talked about a little bit, I've been in sales for twenty years and I've seen a lot of things, from startups to Fortune five hundreds, fortune tens, and the reality is people buy from people they trust and people buy from people that they deliver value to.

And, as I was talking about earlier, a sale is only a promise of deliver value. Then you actually have to deliver that value. And if you deliver that value, not only will they continue to buy from you. As you and I are both in the the software is a service business. That's a very important thing, but they'll also recommend you to other people. The recommend you to know their fans and family other people that are in the same lines of business, and so it's not only a incremental sale, but it's an exponential sale. MMM. So when we are discussing this little bit earlier, you kind of took me through this concept of sales is the promise to deliver value and how you kind of are setting up customer experience. It's around like if you as long as you deliver on the right experience, the money will come. Like help me understand those concepts little bit more. Yeah, so what when you think about in the sales processes, a marketing? I'll kind of put those, I'll chunk those together. And so marketing will say a lot of things to try to drive people to your website or to a Webinar or whatever it is, and you're promising something of value for the in return of their time. And then, if you get them into the funnel, you start having conversations with them and if you deliver the value you say, they're in the sales process because you have a good technology that people care about really driving business value versus just making money. I think if it's a money thing, you lose in the long run. I think if it's a business value, I want to help you deliver or fix a challenge that you have in your organization and you deliver on that, you create this trust proxy that then we'll drive the revenue. So having a better customer experience by definition, will drive your revenue for the organization. You know, when I thought it was super interesting about this is this is a sales engagement podcast.

It seems kind of weird to talk about sales engagement and customer experience, but what you're really saying is like, if we can get the experience right then we can do a we have an easier time of getting engagement with prospects and with customers. Is that kind of kind solid? So yeah, absolutely. It's funny. I've done several podcasts with a couple of other people, like will baron, and he's in the sales world and you know, he said, well, what is customer experience have to do with sales? And I said it has everything to do with sales. The reality is, if you can create that great customer experience, because people in the sales world, what they need to understand is that this is a long term strategy, it's a long tail. So if you're delivering value to your customers, the next places they go or the next place you go, because you may not always be in the same organization, you'll still always be able to call in them on those resources, as well as if you deliver the value for Xyz Organization and the vice president of operations is friends with the vice president of operations at another company ABC, then they're more likely to refer you and then you don't really even have a cost of sale. The sales engagement mechanism actually is your customer experience that you've delivered in the first world and the in the first customer. Do you think about customer experience in terms of my experience in your product or my experience with your str like getting me hooked for the first time in your marketing department and driving demand, or do you think about customer experience and like Coun the closing Acess goes. Are you? Are you? Are you talking about like literally all of it? Yes, I I think it's the entire thing. In fact, I think it's past the sales world. I think it's how they interact with your implementation team, how they interact with your customer service team, how they interact with back in your marketing team. Right it becomes this, this, this figure eight. So it's a it's an...

...ever evolving process and it doesn't ever end. So you may have ten great interactions. So I think a customer experience as every interaction somebody has, what your brands and whether that brand is through an initial conversation marketing world, on a Webinarm, through the sales process, even in the closing right. So you have interactions that are happening at the at the legal process, in the contracting process like that. Whole thing becomes a mechanism of how how easy you are to do business with, which then we'll drive from the sales engagement perspective, actually will drive easier engagement. You don't have to do so much work on the sales engagement side because by definition, you've already created the trust proxy and you've created the value, so then they trust you that you're going to deliver it. Again, have you ever met Jacob Interkush from winning by design? I've talked to him on a couple of phone calls but I don't believe I've ever met them in person. Yeah, you two are, I think, really forward thinking in this is. You know, he has a book called sales as a science and several other things. He really views the sale, the initial land as kind of like the foray or the opening of the door of the real revenue that you can get. You know, I think a lot of sales teams and sales leaders kind of lose perspective on that. You know, if I sign a hundred thousand dollar account tomorrow at outreach and we get that initially and everybody high five, you know, our boom email goes out congratulating everybody involved with the deal. But then like that, hundred thousand bucks is only ten of the value that customer if I can keep them for ten years. Because so I think a lot of people loosen and it's actually exponential from there. So the amount of value that you're getting from that one customer isn't there. It is about their returning value as renewing contracts.

But you never know who that person is talking to and I think one of the things, if you want to go into a sales engagement conversation, one of the things sales people do not do very well is once they close a deal, they don't actually go and have a conversation with the person that they've created as a coach to actually say hey, who else can I have a conversation with that may find us of value, and I think it maybe be a bit premature at contract signing, but I think once you deliver the value, then you should go back to your coach and say, look at we delivered the value. You heard a sort of process. Who else can who else would you feel comfortable introducing me to? And I think salespeople in general don't like to ask these questions because they don't want to be rejected. They like to hear yes, they have a they have a hard time of if they may find it in clinging that they may not get the answer they want. They have a hard time asking those questions. I would image one other thing that you were saying, that you talked a lot about how on the front side of the sale there's there's a bunch of work that's happening. But what you what you want to do on the on the front end of the sale is is make sure that you're delivering over delivering all the value so that on the back end that you you have some of that currency employees, if you have that interactions, so they're inevitably you'll have that interactions. It's have you created enough capital, sales capital or marketing capital, to actually overcome that process. Yes, think you explain really well, like why salespeople stink so that asking for a referrals like it's amazing, like you know they'll call up some guy and that they've done business within the past and you know when he goes to the next company and he'll happily give them business again, but they never say well, Hey, who else can I help? Like how do you get so you did a good job explaining why that is. How do you get somebody to build that muscle? Just practice. It's like any other...

...thing. I played soccer in college. You know, people talk about how you become an athlete or what you do on a daily basis. is just like anything else. You got to practice at it, you got to fail. I think people are afraid to fail and I think the failures that you execute on create a better next time. So don't think of a failure as a failure. I think about failure as you're getting closer to the next success. Yeah, I was lucky enough to start my career in a credit card telemarketing call center and I learned like every no means I'm finally closer to getting someone to say yes. And I got a ton of nose there, let me tell you, and so do a lot of people. I mean, you know, we're both in the business. You know we're in the SASS business, right, and I think people don't truly understand that in this world of Sass, if you don't create a bit a great customer experience on a daily basis, it's every opportunity for a customer to go somebody, somewhere else. And so how do you capture that person? How do you capture that attention and make sure you're driving it? So how do you think about designing a sales process or an engagement process with customer experience in mind? Like how do you roote what you're about to create in that really important aspect? Think about the customer throughout the whole process. So as you're building it, always put yourself in the customers seat or shoes. I think if you read some of what Amazon does, they leave an empty seat at every meeting. So and that MPC is meant to be the seat for the customer. And so if the customers listening in on the meeting, how would you conduct that meeting? And so I think about it the same way as I'm developing the sales process. And actually, I think this is going to sound a bit odd in a sales engagement podcast, but I actually don't believe there's really any good out outward facing sales processes anymore. I think they're really just buying processes.

And if they're in a bicycle, then you can run your sales plays on top of a bicycle, but if they're not in a bicycle, I think trying to force your sales plays on them, it's just going to create a bad customer experience which in turn will will destroy your engagement, your sales engagement. So I think a lot of people would hear that and be like, well, they all like listen, if I could catch enough bit people in the buying cycle to hit my number, that sounds awesome. But like that doesn't happen in the real world. How do you how do you know? Suppose that pipeline filled? Pipeline Great, great contacts create a network of people that you can always touch space with, have a conversation with. There's enough people in a bicycle. I just and I guess the other thing is, are you really delivering the value or delivering because if you're delivering that value and in customers and organizations are driving that value. For example, we're we're in the contact center space and we're talking about creating a better customer experience for people calling in the contact centers, plus reducing expenses. So because agents are taking calls or we're reducing handle time. So if I say that in the sales process but I'm not but customers aren't doing that, then I have a much harder time of catching people in the by process. Yeah, how did you keep me like an example of a procx sales process or sales play as opposed to one that isn't grounded in customer experience. So this kind of putting you on the spot. But, like the interesting question, I think there's a I think when so, when I talk with my sales team, we talk about three wise and it's why do anything, why do it now, and why do it with Smart Action? So in your case would be why do anything? So why would you use outreach? Why would you why do you need to do it now and why? Why is outreach better than any other platform in the market? And so I think, if you can those three...

...questions are very simple, yet they're all focus on the customer and I think too many sales processes think about our like the organizations process. So, okay, first I got to do this, then I got to get a contract, then I got to get redline. Like we're thinking about it from our perspective and I think if you put it in their perspective, on the wise and in those wise make them measurable and time bound. So the customer needs to reduce x amount of CAP x expenses within the next two years. And so now you have some stuff you can measure again, so when you do get through the sales process into implementation, then you can start measuring against it. Yeah, so you know, I've gone through a lot of exercises with wraps and when I was a wrapped and with my managers, and you ask those kind of questions and what happens is you get what the REP wants the customer to say, in that are hopes that they're saying rather than the reality of what the actual customer saying. How do you make sure that that rep understands like, listen, I don't want your answer or your interpretation of what you hope their answer is. I want to know how they're perceiving it. How do you make sure that reps aren't missing things up by doing that? I think you have to ask questions as a leader and make sure that they're I think when you ask the question or get them on the spot and make sure you're doing good coaching, that they will they will start asking the those questions in turn. This is one, once again, one of those muscle memory things where you have to continue to do it. I've gone through a lot of we call them join engagement plans, and there be things like well, why do anything? Well, we want to reduce customer expense or we want to reduce opic x expense, and and so I look at that and I'm like, okay, every every company wants to do that. But why does company ABC want to do that? Well, you know, they have a new board and the new board is looking to reduce x expenses. Okay,... they want to reduce thirty percent of the expenses. Like and what timeframe? Oh well, that's, you know, in the next eighteen months. So now you're getting to things where you can start hanging your hat on things and when the REP is having conversations with the customer and they start pushing them off. They'll start pushing them to new parts of the sales process. You can go always go back to well, we talked earlier. You said you want to do x, Y and Z within the next eighteen months. Is That's still true? And so I think it's just asking good questions and coaching the reps properly. Yeah. So one last thought kind of around this is you have a lot of control over a year part of the customer experience, but there's a whole another layer that doesn't involve you, you know, like how they experience the product during a pilot or a trial, for example, like the legal prop and redlining process, like you know. I'm sure you have a legal department or outside council that takes care of that. How do you work with others and partner with other people to make sure that that customer experience is just great all the way across and it just your part isn't great, and in that we're failing everywhere else. So that's a really good question. I think so. I first of all, I don't think CX, because we're experience isn't something that you just can do in one part of the organization. Actually is to be driven from the top down, and so the sea suite needs to be aligned with it and then it kind of has to drive into the organization versus from the bottom up. Has Really got to come from the top down and you got to build in the process. So there's no there's no destination. This is a journey that's evolving all the time and that's why organization, they are not good at it because they don't know how to they don't know how to build it out. But the answer your question specifically, I think it's just open communication. So if you know that you you kind of had challenges with legal, for example, then when you're...

...getting close to that point, I think it's it's your job as a salesperson to say, Hey, I just want to let you know, like we're we may have some challenges with the red lighting process. Let me know if I can help in the process, or or you kind of inject yourself where you think there's going to be issues so that you can kind of head it off at the past a little bit. And I think always transparency and being up front trump's everything else. So if the expectation is this may be a bit difficult than the customer has an expectation. That was maybe a little bit a little bit difficult, but we're going to get through it together. Cool. Well, Til I think this is a super interesting topic. I'd love to see what kind of questions people have around it or what kind of discussions they like to form around it. How can people get in touch with you? They would bring you into that. Yeah, so linkedin is probably the best place to kind of have certain communication twitter. I do a lot of twitter and just you people can look me up on linkedin has my email and on my contact detail. So, but I do think but if you do connect move me on Linkedin, just say that you saw the podcast or there's some kind of connection, because a lot of people will just try to connect with me without actually give me any context and I don't accept the news. Yeah, until us. What quick a little bit about what smart action does. Yeah, so we're replicating what the agents are doing, but we're doing it so a we're a customer experience organization, but we do it with Ai. So we have a I technology with natural language processing, and so as you're calling into the contact center, let's be honest, when people are calling into the contact center, most of the time that's not happiness like your you don't really want to be calling into it. So the idea for smart action is to make life less hard, like let's make customers experience customer service less hard than it has to be your calling in. One of our big customers is APAA. If you are on the side of the road, you want to just get your answer. So I think what's happening in the world is a lot of people are have different channels that they want to communicate with brands...

...and they just want to get their question answer. So we are in the process of, whether it's voice or digital, making lifeless hard when you're calling into the context center. Cool Man. Well, Hey, don't forget. This is your personal reminder about unleash. March ten through twelve are awesome conference. Would love to see their meet you in person, but thanks so much for for doing the podcast with us. Will Talk to you against see man, there's lat market. I'll give you a big plug. Unleash is a great conference, so anyone that has not been there, everybody, should go sign up for unleas because it's a incredible conference. Boom. Thanks, man. Why? Thanks for listening today. On the sales engagement podcast. We'll talk to you next time see us. 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 dioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (331)