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Sales Relationships Cannot be Automated w/ Tiffani Bova [Episode 579]

Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce.com, joins me on this episode.


Tiffani says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is that the customers are far more in control and more prepared. Salespeople as a group have fatigue from all the hype. Reps need to keep engaged with customer technology.

Those most overwhelmed are the ones least engaged in learning and adaptation. Tiffani says you constantly have to be a student of your profession, include storytelling, tenacity, and being prepared. Hone in on a vertical; take a class; learn tools.

Some layers of sales are more threatened than others. SaaS SDRs could be supplanted by bots. Tiffani presents advice for SDRs to filter through their lists.

A machine can filter through the list, but the relationships cannot be automated. With a filtered list, the SDR is always working the best 250 of the list, and can build relationships with personalized messages and video.

The skills that will be most valued by employers will be involved in becoming more human in relationships and in collaboration. This can be done with 250 people. New tools will allow reps to focus more on customer needs and success.

Andy has worked at a lot of companies where the perception starts at the top that sales as a ‘necessary evil.’ The gap between marketing and sales is getting larger. Tiffani reminds us that the salesperson is who the customer calls.

Andy notes a SaaS business in the Valley who attributes more than 50% of their revenue today to Customer Success. Tiffani discusses customer experience, success, service, and sales. Experience is what the customer feels.

One problem customers perceive is inadequate alignment between sales, support, success, service, etc. If customers don’t feel unity, there will be churn. Tiffani blames it on customer-facing silos using different metrics.

Why is there competition between marketing and sales? It’s really a turf war. Let’s not fight for the steering wheel while we’re driving. There are parts of the buying journey owned by different groups, and the hand-off must be smooth.

Individual contributors need to ask what’s best for their customer. In the end it will work out. The customer watches the behavior of the reps. Have enough in the pipeline to account for slip. Don’t try to force a prospect back in.

Trust the process, and have trust in yourself as a contributor. Process and metrics do not fit every prospect. Individual contributors sometimes do not have the freedom to go outside the box. Sales managers need to use the CRM.

Managers should not manage the way they were managed. There have been too many changes in the technology and the process. Managers need to coach. Tiffani gives examples of gamified training. Sharpen your blade!