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A Profit-First Approach To Growing Sales w/ Jamie Shanks [Episode 719]

Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life and author of SPEAR Selling: The ultimate Account-Based Sales guide for the modern digital sales professional, joins me on this episode.


  • In 2015, Forrester reported that 20% of B2B salespeople would have lost their jobs by 2020. Not so, it seems. Jamie discusses inside sales. Does sales growth come by adding inside reps, increasing technologies, or some other way?
  • We are seeing a decrease in the number of sellers hitting quota attainment. Win rates are also fairly low. But North American economies have been doing very well.
  • When the economy slows, companies will start thinking of increasing their bottom line with a greater return on what they have, instead of making massive investments in technology.
  • Jamie shares a case study about a company using AI to filter the leads given to reps in social selling. The number of leads was cut to 20% and the conversion doubled in 90 days. “Carpet bombing” is not an optimal process.
  • Start with your desired win rate and determine how to scale to that. Jamie says that is the part we don’t know, yet.
  • Jamie believes the weakest parts of sales enablement are at the sales manager/director level and the GM level. They’re running plays out of a 20-year-old playbook. They need to look at things differently and to coach better.
  • Jamie recommends having a profit-first mentality, as a CFO would. Work on the business, not just in it. Managers need an investor mindset. Unfortunately, a VP of Sales only lasts about 17 months, so the big picture suffers.
  • What tools are available to help sellers in the middle of the funnel? There are so many different ideas about how to move a deal forward. Processes don’t work in the absence of the necessary underlying human skills.
  • Buyers are not stage-driven. Andy cites Gartner Research on buyer enablement.
  • Jamie says the soft skills of selling are so hard to demonstrate that businesses don’t buy into them. Andy points to The Saleshouse for demonstrating human soft skills, such as EQ and learning, to sellers.
  • Jamie finished his Master’s Degree at 25 and thought he was done. At age 30, he started accumulating knowledge again and now reads a book a week. Andy reads books in a variety of fields. Jamie is trying to become a better CEO.
  • Jamie helps VPs of Sales rethink where they acquire things like budget. You can read about this on the Sales For Life blog.