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Marketing Into the Sales Funnel, with Matt Heinz [Episode 335]

Joining me for the second time is Matt Heinz. Matt is Founder and CEO of Heinz Marketing, and the author of Full Funnel Marketing: How to Embrace Revenue Responsibility & Increase Marketing’s Influence On Pipeline Growth & Closed Deals. Among the many topics that Matt and I discuss are how Full Funnel Marketing is a challenge to marketers; how to measure Marketing’s contribution to the pipeline; the challenges for integrating Marketing and Sales; and why so many sales reps have trouble selling the outcome vs their product.

Key Takeaways

  • Matt, self-proclaimed B2B marketing geek, founded Heinz Marketing to help companies build and manage sales pipeline.
  • His book, Full Funnel Marketing, challenges marketers to think beyond traditional metrics, and to put their activities in line with the numbers the organization cares most about.
  • How can an organization measure Marketing’s contribution to pipeline?
  • What is the importance of understanding the buying committee? What does the buying committee care about at the earliest stage of the buying journey?
  • Why does Matt blur the line between Sales and Marketing?
  • Andy and Matt consider the ideal coordination of Sales and Marketing within an organization.
  • To integrate Marketing with Sales, there needs to be a common set of objectives, and a common set of definitions.
  • What training and knowledge should an SDR have about the industry into which they sell?
  • How much time do sales reps spend repurposing marketing content for their customer? How can this be fixed?
  • What ratio shows sales productivity?
  • What is the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today?

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: It’s time to accelerate. Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe can help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business, and most importantly, you. Hello and welcome to Accelerate. I’m looking forward to talking to my guest today. Joining me again for the second time, Matt Heinz. Matt is founder, CEO of Heinz Marketing, author of a number of books, and we’re going to talk about one of those today, Full Funnel Marketing, his most recent book. So Matt, welcome to Accelerate.


Matt Heinz: Hey, thanks so much for having me.


Andy Paul: So, yeah. You are a repeat offender on the show. So maybe just take a minute to introduce yourself for people who didn’t hear the first episode.


Matt Heinz: Sure, yeah. My name is Matt Heinz, I founded Heinz Marketing about eight years ago, and I’m just a B2B marketing geek. We focus on helping companies build and manage sales pipeline, mostly on the B2B side, and just have a ton of fun doing it.


Andy Paul: So you help companies build pipeline. So do you work primarily on the marketing side or primarily on the sales side?


Matt Heinz: I mean most of our work is on the marketing side. 90% of the time we’re brought in by a CMO or a VP of marketing, or in some cases a CEO that knows the marketing team needs some help just sort of raising their game a little bit, but everything we do is really focused on sales pipeline contribution. I don’t care as much about traffic and even leads, what I really care about is marketing contribution to pipelining closed deals. So it’s a challenge, and it becomes sort of a stake in the ground with a lot of clients that say, “Hey, listen, you know, measuring email open rates isn’t going to cut it. Measuring purely marketing qualified leads isn’t going to cut it.” We need to be focused on the numbers that matter, which are really the same numbers that matter to marketing. That’s really where the topic of full funnel marketing came in, where the title of the book came in. It’s really challenging marketers to think beyond traditional activity-based marketing metrics and put their scorecards, as well as more importantly their actions and priorities, in line with the numbers the organization cares the most about.


Andy Paul: Yeah, I think the gauntlet was sort of thrown down by The Challenger Customer, that book from CEB about where they put a lot of onus on marketing. If customers aren’t engaging with sales until they’re 57% of the way through their buying process, who’s influencing them on that first 57%? And that’s really marketing.


Matt Heinz: It is. I mean it can be sales as well, but I think the lines continue to be blurred between sales and marketing. And I think that the organizations where marketing is still treating itself like a cost center, where they continue to earn the moniker of the arts and crafts department, I think those days are waning for marketers that really want to continue to have an impact in their careers.


Andy Paul: The arts and crafts department? Well, yeah, I mean you could make that argument. I’ve seen this in some companies already that their proactive outbound calling teams and their BDR is their SDR. So we’re going to call that, in some cases, they’re part of marketing. And you could look at that legitimately and say, “Well yeah, that really is creating awareness more than anything else. It’s not really selling, it’s creating awareness. Maybe, hey, that appropriately belongs in marketing.”


Matt Heinz: Yeah, I can make that argument in a way. And I think in really well integrated organizations, it’s not a turf battle. It’s one contiguous process. If marketing owns the inside sales function, then I think it’s a great thing because now marketing doesn’t just own the marketing qualified lead, maybe they then own the sales qualified lead. The farther into the pipeline marketing owns, the better decisions they’re making, the more revenue responsibilities that they are embracing and actually have.


Andy Paul: Or the share they have.


Matt Heinz: Exactly. Yeah, I mean, it’s funny I was at an event last week, and we were talking about attribution and what works and what doesn’t. Someone raised the question of saying: “In an ideal scenario where sales and marketing are fully integrated, does attribution matter?” If everyone’s focused on the same outcome, why worry about who gets marketing versus sales? Because sales doesn’t worry about that, right? I mean, in a specialized world you’ve got the BDR, you’ve got the field sales teams. They’re not worried about saying, “Well, here’s how much the BDR has contributed, here’s how much field contributed.” No, they’re just interested in closed deals. So it’s interesting. I don’t know that I would go that far looking at marketing and sales and their sort of distinct responsibilities, even as part of an integrated process. But it’s an interesting thing to think about, just in terms of aligning both groups around the same objectives.


Andy Paul: Well, yeah. So think about a future scenario where you have the team’s really fully and effectively integrated. Do you still pay commission to salespeople?


Matt Heinz: Yeah, I think you do. But I also think that the marketers should be paid on performance as well. I don’t think that marketers necessarily need to be paid on commission. But I think their bonuses should be tied to pipeline impact.


Andy Paul: And measuring pipeline impact ultimately by revenue though?


Matt Heinz: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, in some organizations it’s a nice stepping stone to say, “Listen, we’re ultimately moving you towards being responsible for closed deals but simply measuring marketing contribution to pipeline.” I mean, I was at a conference last week, and I was delighted and also pleasantly surprised when I asked multiple marketers what their primary metric was. It wasn’t MQL’s, it wasn’t traffic. It was a percent of the pipeline goal attributed to marketing. You know, that may not be the perfect metric, but man, is it a step in the right direction.


Andy Paul: And how are they measuring the attribution?


Matt Heinz: Well, in some cases, they’re just looking at lead sources. In other cases, they’re using tools like BrightFunnel, Visible, Full Circle Insights, FunnelWise and others to sort of look at what’s happening across campaigns and look at the weighted contribution of everything from events to content to Demand Generation programs to nurture programs. What did people interact with? And what’s the causality between that and someone’s movement into a more active state?


Andy Paul: So you’re more of a marketing guy, at least by the description you said up front. So what do you think about this whole thing that’s in The Challenger Customer? Customers are 57% of the way through their buying process before they engage with sales for the first time, at least in the complex B2B sphere.


Matt Heinz: Well, yeah. So here’s the way I think about that. I don’t really care about that statistic. Because what really is happening is your buyer is beginning their process at 0%, right? So what are they looking for? What information are they seeking to educate themselves? And why can’t that be content from your company? Why can’t your marketing team create content that becomes a core part of the educational process? Why can’t your company position your sales reps as experts, as consultants, as people that can guide those early stages? So, you know, left to their own devices, buyers are waiting for the majority of the process to get done before they feel like they need to engage sales, in part because that’s how long it takes for them to say, “Okay, I finally figured it out enough that I want to talk to someone about a product. I want to talk to someone about solutions that exist.” What if you could have the pre-solution conversation? You could have it from marketing, you could have it from sales, you can have it from both sides. So those numbers, those percentages are meaningless to me for an organization that embraces the idea that they can earn attention and engagement as early in the process as they want.


Andy Paul: But is that through a cold call?


Matt Heinz: Can be, sure. I actually think the channels are sort of secondary to how well you understand the different personalities, the different personas in the buying committee internally. What are the messages or themes that they care about when they’re sort of at that first ‘challenging the status quo’ stage of the buying journey? It could be a cold call, if you’ve got the right message and the right approach. It could be an email, it could be an event. The channels and tactics are secondary to being precise around the persona and the specific content tied to the stage they’re at in the buyer journey.


Andy Paul: So what was the impetus to create your new book?


Matt Heinz: You know, we’ve had a pretty robust content strategy for our business for eight plus years. Just to start with, we didn’t have a marketing budget. We needed to generate business, and so we started just using the free tools we had, which was a WordPress account and social media channels. The last three or four books that I’ve published have been basically curated sets of blog posts in a particular order for a particular reason. There is something to be said about a full book format that actually gets people’s attention, that actually is able to drive leads for us. It also helps us tell a broader story. I think we’re particularly proud of this full funnel marketing angle because it allows us to really evangelize that broader opportunity for marketers to embrace the entire funnel, not just their traditional top half.


Andy Paul: Mhm, at the same time, there is a lot of sales content in it.


Matt Heinz: There is, yeah. Again, like I said, we will blur that line. I run a weekly radio show now called “Sales Pipeline Radio”, and we feature far more sales professionals than we do marketing professionals. I think for those marketers that haven’t carried a number themselves and haven’t been in sales, which is the majority of them, you have to immerse yourself in the sales world. The more you can understand the perspective of the sales organization, the better off you’re going to be, the more effective your marketing is going to be. Especially when it comes to sales enablement, especially when it comes to really integrating operationally the work you’re doing as a marketer with the sales organization. So we tried to sort of cover both of those. Sales enablement for me traditionally has been a sales-driven, tactical administrative role. I think sales enablement is one of the most important marketing functions of B2B organizations today. Marketers who embrace the opportunity to make their sales team more effective, to make them more efficient, to help them increase conversion of opportunities and to close deals. That is a brave new world well beyond just throwing some collateral over the wall. But I’m excited to see the impact that marketers are having on that realm.


Andy Paul: Okay, but in that your sales enable lifetime sales operations responsibility.


Matt Heinz: Yeah, it’s interesting. The answer is yes, you’re right. But I don’t think sales operations have traditionally been a very strategic function either. I think a lot of sales operations teams are really another word for sales administration. You’ve got people in more of an administrator reactive function that are supporting the sales team with whatever sales asked them for. I don’t believe sales enablement is simply just a ticketing system, where whatever sales asks for they create. Sales enablement is looking at how sales operates, observing where the bottlenecks are, identifying what content gaps exist and being more strategic about filling those gaps in, and addressing the most egregious bottlenecks in the process to increase your yield.


Andy Paul: So, from your perspective what does the appropriate alignment of sales and marketing look like? You know, giving samples or organization, we’ve seen it work really well. How do they build this relation? It’s funny, when you’re talking about how marketing needs to be able to put themselves in sales’ shoes and so on, you’re basically talking like a sales guy, right? They’ve got to develop empathy for their internal clients if they feel for sales. So how have you seen it work most effectively? Give an example of where this alignment is occurring.


Matt Heinz: In the best examples I’ve seen, it starts with a common set of objectives. And very literally, I mean, one spreadsheet. A spreadsheet that says, “Here are the deals we need to close. Here’s the pipeline we need to get there, and here are the leads we need to get there.” Right? You have one common lead to opportunity conversion rate and a single opportunity to close conversion rate. And so marketing is no longer off on their own with their own set of goals, with their own math, with their own understanding of what they think their lead goal is (which may have nothing to do with the sales pipeline requirements of the organization or the sales team). So that single set of objectives is critical.


Andy Paul: I was just going to interject, but it’s not like sales is always right, correct? I mean, how does marketing get their input, so they’re not just following sales’ order, but they’re saying, “Look, we need a discussion about what’s the most effective way to approach these accounts,”


Matt Heinz: Yeah, well, that’s the second part, right? I think as I said, you have got a common set of objectives. Now we need a common set of definitions. If we think we’re going to get 25% conversion of opportunities into closed deals, what does that imply about what a qualified opportunity is? What is the makeup of a qualified opportunity? If you have not done this work with sales before or if your sales or marketing teams have not done this level of integration, this is not a half hour conversation. This may be a ‘go off to a retreat somewhere with padded walls, so you can get in the octagon and wrestle it down’ but come out of there with both sides enthusiastically supporting the single goal and the single attack plan moving forward.


Andy Paul: I mean, yeah, you need to do that. But you also have to do it on a weekly basis at a minimum to keep that conversation evolving and growing.


Matt Heinz: Well, you do, but that foundation of asking, what are our numbers? What are our definitions of opportunities and leads? Those should not be changing every week. Now, you may go and execute one week and say, “Okay, that didn’t work the way we thought it would. You know, that marketing campaign didn’t work, that sales outreach didn’t work, our approach to appointment setting isn’t working the way we want to.” That’s going to happen, to your point, on a weekly basis. But you bounce that back up against “Okay, here are our goals, here’s our approach. Here are the things that we know to be fairly constant,” and you work from there.


Andy Paul: Okay. So let’s jump into your book a little bit. So, that’s our take about one chapter you had, about several chapters, actually. But the first one surges into a little bit of what we were just talking about: the seven reasons why your SDR’s aren’t making quota. I just wanted to sort of go through that, because I think it’s good, common basic sense that you talk about it, and a lot of the time people overlook some of these. So, the first one you talk about is that they lack discipline. So, I think where many managers get confused is they have activities, they try to lay down the law, but they’re not instilling discipline. So how do you instill the discipline?


Matt Heinz:  Well, this is hard. It’s hard for anybody, it’s hard for me, you know. I’ve got a pretty defined disciplined to-do list every given day. And to stick with that, especially the things that take a little more work, it’s difficult to be consistent about that. There are a lot of different ways different people are motivated. I’ve seen some SDR’s, there is one I’ll never forget. Her goal was to make 20 calls by 9 o’clock in the morning. If she did that, she actually would place a piece of Dove chocolate on top of one of her monitors, and she stared at it until she made 20 calls and then she could eat it, you know?


Andy Paul: I love it!


Matt Heinz: Yeah. So it sounds kind of parochial, but well, that worked, right? Or you know what, I’m going to turn off all my distractions, and I’m going to sit down. I’m going to make calls for 45 minutes. When I finish 45 minutes, I can go up and get an extra cup of coffee, because I really need another cup of coffee, but I’m not going to do it until I do things. Sometimes, it’s just the structure, right? It’s the environment you come into. What do you need to actually be focused? Turn off your distractions. Don’t turn on CRM until you’ve made X number of calls, avoid your email, whatever it is. But it’s also just a mental construct of being able to sort of put blinders on and get the work done. You know, if you don’t have that mental discipline, your mind, and your body, and your attention will gravitate towards any number of things that might feel more interesting,


Andy Paul: Right. But you’re talking about solutions on sort of an individual level. I mean, have you seen any sort of process oriented, systematic way that people coach or can help their teams with this?


Matt Heinz: Well, there are a couple things. One is just time management, right? I mean, if your day is littered with meetings, then you’re not able to really get any kind of momentum. So really setting up chunks of time where you are going to be able to focus, that’s something you can set up in advance and something that could be scaled across teams. You know, I also think that there are some tools that are really built to provide this kind of structure that can kind of keep you disciplined. Whether you’re doing Insidesales.com, or Velocify, or SalesLoft, or Outreach, different tools are right for different organizations and their cultures. But these tools are meant to be better rep-oriented overlays to CRM that, if nothing else, just tell you what to do next. And honestly, I think when you talk about productivity for anybody, including myself, it’s like, “Okay, I’m sitting here, it’s 2:30 on a Monday, what do I do now?” Right? And if you can answer that question for anybody, but especially if you can answer that question for inside sales where you’re repeating your activities on a pretty frequent basis with different prospects, that process and those tools can be really, really key to performance.


Andy Paul: Alright, so that’s a good answer. So the second factor you had brought up was that SDR’s don’t understand customers or industry. And again, here it seems to be sort of bifurcation because a lot of companies quite honestly really don’t ask their SDR’s about the customers or the industry. They’re trying to sell that meeting or that demo. So what’s the mix ideally that people should be looking for? I mean, and I know this is a moving boundary. I see it all the time in companies, the handoff point between SDR’s and account execs is evolving, and SDR’s are sticking with it longer and longer. So yeah, what do companies need to do to onboard their people and make sure they’re really getting the training they need?


Matt Heinz: Well I mean training is a key part of this, right? I mean, very rarely do we see a consistent part of training and understanding of who your customers are in the industry they exist in. And there is a macro and a micro element of this, you know. One is if you’re selling to residential real estate brokers, you’ve got to help people understand what’s the landscape? Who are their competitors? What are the roles people play? What do the politics look like in organizations? You know, there is a foundation that’s going to be similar for most of the people you’re selling into that you can use as a basis to start that conversation. I say macro because every industry has its own little nuances, and you sort of make one mistake, and you can look like an outsider. I use real estate as an example again, in the residential real estate space, realtor is a trademarked proper noun. So what the National Association of Realtors would like you to do is spell it in all caps and put a circle R at the end. Now that isn’t something that people always do, but at a minimum, they want you to at least capitalize the R at the beginning of realtor. If you write copy or if you send an email to someone in the industry and you lowercase the R, you are screaming from the highest mountain that you don’t understand their industry, and that you don’t respect their industry. Right or wrong, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had arguments with people about AP style that say “I cannot capitalize R.” Then listen, if you don’t want to do it then you’re going to look bad, right? So, not only understanding your customer and understanding the persona of who you’re calling into, but those little things, and that can sometimes make a big difference.


Andy Paul: So, I know there are some apps coming out of the store, and maybe you have recommendations for people listening, that help companies test and assess the sales readiness of their SDR’s.


Matt Heinz: I mean, there are some really good tools; Hirevue is one, SalesHood is another, that aren’t just testing reps’ readiness for getting into the field and getting into the calls, but also our ongoing training tools and finding ongoing training and ongoing interactive content that gets reps engaged. I mean, I think the key is to make sure that you’re not just doing a quick, informal 10 minutes in a sales stand up and hoping that that does it. It’s not documented, it’s not reinforced. Anyone who missed the meeting or wasn’t hired yet for that meeting is going to miss that content. So having a platform, whether it’s a shared drive or a SharePoint somewhere, or using a tool like Hirevue or SalesHood can really make a difference.


Andy Paul: So, SalesHood and Hirevue have sort of ongoing digital training.


Matt Heinz: It’s a platform for it, sure. I mean, you’ve got to create the training for yourself and put it into context. But I think the idea is it’s a platform for ongoing training, ongoing new training content, as well as a quick and easy repository to find past content that you may need, either for a refresher for yourself or to bone up on if you’re new to the organization and want to catch up on what everyone else already knows.


Andy Paul: Alright, so the next issue that you listed, which gets back to sales marketing alignment, is just say that SDR’s lists suck.


Matt Heinz: They do!


Andy Paul: So who’s responsible? Because it’s not clear cut, right?


Matt Heinz: It’s not.


Andy Paul: In some companies the reps have to build other cases marketing’s providing.


Matt Heinz: Well, now we’re back to the question of attribution: whose fault is this? And someone’s got to own it. I don’t really care who, but someone at the beginning needs to say, “Listen.” You know, I’ve had some sales organizations say, “We own prospecting. We own pipeline creation. We own the list.” And so in many more organizations, you’ve got marketing that knows that the solution is not that different, no matter who does it. You know, who’s your target? Do you have the right person? Do you have correct contact information? If you’ve got old lists where all the phone numbers don’t work, well, that just doesn’t work period. So you know, someone’s got to go fix that, finger pointing doesn’t help.


Andy Paul: So where are you seeing, because you know companies run into this all the time, as a recommendation in terms of list management and list hygiene, who should own that? In your recommendation, who should own that?


Matt Heinz: I think marketing owns that. I think marketing owns the list. It’s the same list that you’re doing outbound marketing to, you’re doing email, you’re doing drip campaigns. That list is maintained, and it should be maintained in the same systems that sales is accessing as well. So I think marketing has a responsibility, from a context standpoint, to make sure that it’s as accurate and as up-to-date and comprehensive as possible, so that you can do segmentation, so that the sales team can quickly learn about someone before they make a call, and make sure that when they do make that call, they reach the right person.


Andy Paul: Okay. So, the next one on your list was their pitch sucks. And I guess a lot of people will say, “So why are they pitching?” Right? Why aren’t they asking a great question to start with? So when you’re saying their pitch sucks, what are you defining that as?


Matt Heinz: Well you sort of alluded to it there, right? A lot of organizations will tell the SDR’s “Your job is to set an appointment.” So they will immediately do whatever they have to do to get the appointment. There is not really any patience built in to try and build a foundation of need. When we work with inside sales teams, we often say, “When you’re following up with the lead in that first call, I don’t want you to bring up the product or service at all. Don’t talk about it. If they ask you a question specifically about your service, you can answer it, but I don’t want you to bring it up.” I want you to have a conversation that is a guided needs discovery call that uncovers the objectives the organization has, the gaps between their objectives and their execution and realization of those objectives, and identifies an opportunity cost of either achieving or not achieving those objectives. Basically in that first call, I want you to challenge the status quo. I want you to give them something to think about, so all of a sudden what was “nice to have” or “I didn’t think about it” is now something to either address or resolve.


Andy Paul: Okay, so back to sales market alignment, again. In your mind and your recommendation, who comes up with those questions? Is that marketing or is that sales?


Matt Heinz: That’s sales enablement, which I think is marketing. I’m not saying marketing, because I want marketing to do this. This isn’t a power play, right.


Andy Paul: No, no, I know you’re not. Because we’re talking about integration, where attribution is not important.


Matt Heinz: This is the core, for me, of full funnel marketing. This is marketing stepping up to the plate and becoming a more strategic player in the revenue performance of the company, right? If all marketing is doing is making sure that the business cards look pretty and that the tradeshow booth looks nice, that’s interesting but not sufficient. This is why I look at marketing and say, “Hey listen, you find the places you can provide value in the organization, in the sales process, and you fill those gaps.” Now that may shift how people think of marketing, but if it’s words coming out of sales reps mouths, if it’s contacts that we’re calling. I mean, stripped down to their fundamentals, call lists, contact lists, copy, these are marketing’s responsibility. If they can impact the efficacy of those efforts in front of the sales team, I think that’s a huge win for marketing in the organization.


Andy Paul: Yeah, I mean, efficacy for the customer absolutely, right? Well, there is a stat that came out. Somebody did a study on sales about a year ago, saying that sales reps spend 37% of their time repurposing marketing content to provide to customers.


Matt Heinz:  Yeah.


Andy Paul: So think about that, a third of their time. Whereas they would work more hand in hand with marketing and set aside the territoriality and work together to come up with something that works for the customer. This would be a huge effectiveness increase.


Matt Heinz: I agree, yeah. Look, certainly marketing or sales organizations can do this for themselves. I just really like the idea of marketing doing it on behalf of the entire organization.


Andy Paul: Yeah, well, I do too. I think the prerequisite though is that they have to get out.  They’ve got to talk to customers, got to meet the customers. They’ve got to talk more to sales to understand what they’re learning from the customers. I think part of the issue is sales. There are too many salespeople that are still suspicious of marketing generated leads, you know. They have that same suspicion of marketing generated content, if you will, that they apply to their customers. We need to get to a point where that barrier disappears.


Matt Heinz: I agree. I totally agree.


Andy Paul: All right. So we started touching this next point that they push prospects too far, too fast. But it seems like we have these too often. We still have these sort of perverse incentives set up within SDR teams, as we talked about before. It’s just getting the meetings, just getting the demo, and it’s not very measured in the approach.


Matt Heinz: It’s not. I think that we all want deals to close faster. We all want the sales cycle to shorten, but very few of us actually have any control over when the deal closes. Just because you want to move the prospect from first call into qualification doesn’t mean the prospect’s going to be at all ready to do or at all willing to do that. So, part of your job as an organization is to understand the buying process, understand the steps people go through, and build some fundamental value in demand and need up front and then execute on that.


Andy Paul: So, the last point you have is lack of empathy, this is pervasive. You know, we have a lot of talk now about emotional intelligence and EQ and so on in sales. But I guess I haven’t seen anybody really do a great job of training reps and becoming more empathetic. So in your experience, what have you seen as some keys that maybe work that you can give to the people listening


Matt Heinz: You know, I hate to be a broken record, but you go back to your understanding of your audience. You develop personas in turn, no matter what format that takes to understand what keeps people up at night? I mean, I know that’s sort of a proverbial question. But if you actually have the answers, if you actually know what the two or three most common things are that are the pain points for your audience, you can ask questions around that. You can say, “How’s that going?” You could let people talk about and qualify for themselves the challenges around those things. So sometimes simply actively listening is a form of empathy. I see way too many sales reps that will ask a question, let the prospects start answering, and they’re not listening to the answer, right? They’re trying to figure out what their next question is. And so, even when they get a buying signal within that answer, they didn’t listen, they didn’t hear it. They’re moving on to the next question, so they totally missed an opportunity to create a connection that isn’t about selling. It’s about finding common ground to your mutual benefit. So, there are a variety of ways to execute on empathy, but it is all rooted in how well you understand your target audience.


Andy Paul: Yeah, I think that part of that too is, I think we talked about this earlier a little bit, but you have to start with a service perspective, right? As a salesperson, you’re providing a service.


Matt Heinz: Yeah.


Andy Paul: And if you do that, and, as you said, have the right questions then to me that is really the key. So if you can train your salespeople to lead with questions, they are going to go a long way towards developing that capacity for empathy in the sales reps themselves. A couple more questions sort of related to the book. You had a great article in there about measuring selling time; this is one of my passions, measuring selling time, and you give a nice plug for an application called Rescue Time which helps that. But talk a little bit about the importance of measuring selling time


Matt Heinz: Well I think very few companies understand what percent of their sales reps’ time is spent actively selling. If you not only understand what percent that is but also what makes up the non-selling time, you can start to chip away at things that really should not be keeping your reps off the phones. You know, there is always going to be time spent not selling, right? There is always time spent learning and training and practicing, preparing to sell, preparing to talk to your prospects. But you mentioned earlier the incredible amount of time that sales reps spend looking for content, creating and customizing content. The top three wastes of time that we’ve seen pretty consistently for sales reps is creating content, looking for content, and just spending time updating CRM. You’re not going to eliminate all three of those, but there are a number of things you could do to dramatically decrease the investment in time reps spend with those. And look, if the average rep is spending 25% of their time actively selling, even if you can’t get it to 80% what if you can get it to 35% or 40%? I mean across an entire sales floor, that’s an enormous gain in productivity.


Andy Paul: Well, it’s an enormous gain in potential productivity, right?


Matt Heinz: That’s true.


Andy Paul: So yeah, it gives you the opportunity that you didn’t have before to sell more.


Matt Heinz: That’s right.


Andy Paul: Yeah, part of the thing that people need to really start keeping in mind, because this is something that there has been more conversation about in the industry and this focus on selling time really begins to put you in a position where you can think about this: the ultimate measure of productivity and sales is the amount of revenue produced per hour of selling time.


Matt Heinz: True, yeah. That’s absolutely true.


Andy Paul: I can guarantee almost no one looks at it that way. There are some people that do. I worked for years in an environment where we were commercial companies but we had some work we were doing for the DOD, Department of Defense, and so we had to track everybody’s hours, including sales. We had to track the projects they were working on. So every time we had a new prospect, it was a project that had a number. So I knew down to the half hour what projects people were working on and what prospects and customers. It gives you an insight into what true productivity is. So, I think this is for people thinking “Gosh, how do we recover lost selling time?” It’s an important first step, if you really want to increase your productivity, to be able to do that. So that was a very effective chapter. I liked that. So let’s just sort of wrap up with some basic questions. Gosh, you talk to a lot of people, you’re out there in the industry, you’ve got huge social followings. What’s your take? What’s the single biggest challenge that is facing sales professionals today?


Matt Heinz: Yeah, I was at a CEB meeting last week, and this question came up. And there was a debate over whether the single biggest challenge is the external selling environment or the internal selling environment. And what they meant by that is, CEB has always said there are 5.4% people on average involved.


Andy Paul: They’ve just updated it, 6.8% now.


Matt Heinz: Yeah, so it’s almost seven now, right? And so, the selling environment within the selling organization continues to become more complex. I think you were finding that buyers are becoming more risk averse, and so the bar to get something that they actually are willing to take a risk on is getting higher. But there was equal argument that the biggest challenge for sales reps is their internal selling environment. You know, what do you have to do internally to get a deal done? To get it through your own legal review? To find the information you need to customize a solution for your prospects? You know, the research from CEB made it clear and quite painful that many reps consider their own organizations the largest impediment to success. Obviously unwittingly, I don’t think any organization wants to do that. But I think the purchase path, if I were to summarize those two together externally and internally, path to purchase and eliminating roadblocks and obstacles is going to continue to be a high focus area as the selling environments continue to just get more complex.


Andy Paul: Yeah, it’s an interesting perspective. And my take on that is, again based on my own experience working with lots of companies, is that those using CEB’s terminologies, those reps who are best suited to be challenger reps also work internally best as well. So, all right, that’s good. So, if you could give a single piece of advice to a salesperson today, what would that be?


Matt Heinz: You know, I think it would be to sell the hole, not the drill. Find what your customers really care about and sell that as the outcome. Your solution, your product is a means to an end. And when you sell that, that is when you get a commission check. But you will not get a commitment from a prospect to actually move forward to your product or service unless they believe in the outcome that your product and service represents. So find that outcome, find that need, find that commitment that they’ll make on their own behalf. That’s going to be the foundation for getting yourself far more deals across the line.


Andy Paul: So let me ask a follow up question to that, because this is one that somebody had posed to me yesterday, while interviewing somebody else. And their question was: why? Because you pose the eternal question, you know. Selling the hole, not the drill, why? Why are we still talking about that? I mean, the need has been known about that for forever  in sales, right? So why is it that there is no sort of continuity of knowledge about that? Or why haven’t we been more successful as an industry in inculcating our basic perspective into our sales reps?


Matt Heinz: I think we can probably spend a whole nother hour talking about that. You know.


Andy Paul: I’ll have you back on!


Matt Heinz: Yeah, so I’ll be like Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live. I just show up every season.


Andy Paul: In setting the record for appearances, Matt Heinz.


Matt Heinz: So, I think there are a lot of answers to that. I think one that I have been seeing more often is that people think they’re doing it. They legitimately think that they’re pitching sort of an outcome orientation, when in fact, they’re still doing a product pitch. I think a lot of organizations are really having a hard time differentiating between the two. I did a workshop with a client about a month ago, and we encouraged them to sort of use the challenger model and apply it to a couple of their deals and create that upfront ‘challenge the status quo business case’. Literally half the team had a really hard time making the case without bringing up their features. I mean, they kept talking about their features and their product as part of the pitch. And you shouldn’t have to do this. Your features are simply a means of doing what the customer should already care about doing. So put it in those terms, put it in their terms. And so, even though we believe it, even though I think everyone should say, “Yeah, I sell the hole not the drill. It makes a lot of sense.” I don’t think everyone has been successful and built the rhythm and built the muscle to be able to actually put that in practice on a consistent basis.


Andy Paul: Yeah, I had a talk recently with Brent Adamson of CEB who co-authored The Challenger Sale and The Challenger Customer. He said that they’ve found that, really as a core thing, you need to be able to understand what it is that your customers don’t know about their business but should. But that seems like that’s a bridge too far for salespeople to sort of come up with. I think it gets back to the topic we started off the conversation with, about how marketing and sales have to align and become part of your corporate id, if you will. This is the question that you’re trying to solve for your prospects. Then, perhaps you get some continuity in this. I don’t have the answer, I love talking about this, because it’s a challenge that we all have.


Matt Heinz: Well, if there was a definitive answer, we’d probably as an industry have made more progress on this, right? I think the answer is different for different companies depending on their culture and the way they’re set up and the history of how they’ve done sales and marketing in the past. I think it is clear that this is not something that we have really solved effectively. It’s clearly something we are still struggling with. It’s clear that too many organizations still very much drink their own Kool Aid and assume that prospects have already made the leap in understanding that organizations have done themselves over and over and over and over again.


Andy Paul: Interesting. Well, Matt, thanks so much for joining me today. Tell folks how to find out more about you.


Matt Heinz: Sure, just everything circles around Heinz Marketing. Heinz, like the ketchup, Marketing. We’re just at Heinzmarketing.com. Our Twitter is @Heinzmarketing and you can reach me at Matt@heinzmarketing.com.


Andy Paul: Excellent. Well, again, thanks for being on the show today. And remember friends, make it a part of your day everyday to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is to make this podcast, Accelerate, a part of your daily routine. Whether you listen and commute, in the gym, or make it part of your morning sales meeting. That way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Matt Hines, who shared his expertise on how to accelerate the growth of your business. So thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone. Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at AndyPaul.com.