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The Big Picture, with Sangram Vajre [Episode 816]

Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus and host of the FlipMyFunnel podcast. This is such a fun conversation. Sangram is big thinker. We talk about fine tuning your message. We get into one of Sangram’s current passions: being intentional and creating community. We also get into personal improvement and leadership’s role in motivating people to invest in themselves. Plus, we also talk about why CEOs need to have experience selling their own products.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: Welcome back to the show.

Sangram Vajre: Andy, so good to be here with you, man. Long time.

Andy Paul: A long time. I don’t think we’ve actually seen each other since we spoke at an event almost a year ago

Sangram Vajre: Oh, wow. Now like, yeah, Durham. Right? And like that was,

Andy Paul: North Carolina. That was fun.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah, that was, that was a fun event. Fun location as well.

Andy Paul: Yeah. So, yeah, well back when we could travel.

Sangram Vajre: The good old days.

Andy Paul: And remember when we could travel.

Sangram Vajre: I feel like I went through this time of the first week was like, Oh, this is weird second week. Oh, this is great. I’m spending time with my family. We’re going biking at 3:00 PM, you know, a month later, oh my God, get me out of here. Like said I think we’re all I’ve gone through, like this phrase, like I need a break to go to work so I can actually need a break do and work. So-

Andy Paul: Well, I feel like most people just need a break from work. Right. Because work has expanded first for almost everybody. I know, like including me. That’s like, yeah, no, I would just keep working. What else we’re going to, you know, I’ve seen everything on TV and so, yeah. Yeah. So you’re in Atlanta, right?

Sangram Vajre: Yes, sir.

Andy Paul: So they’re not doing too badly there from a COVID standpoint.

Sangram Vajre: I’ve stopped looking at anything right now, it is what it is. The good news is we have a huge tennis community. So like my son gets to be in the tennis camp, which is like the furthest, you can be from another person

Andy Paul: That’s true. You’re very socially distanced playing tennis. That’s right.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. And he, and I ended up playing almost every day in the evening. So it’s like, it’s fun.

Andy Paul: Well, that’s not bad. That’s not bad. So school’s over for them for the summer.

Sangram Vajre: I think the school has been over for like six months now. Right? Like in some ways is the longest summer. They will remember it forever.

Andy Paul: Yeah. And it may bleed into the fall.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah.

Andy Paul: Yeah. I think an open question, whether Kids are going back on the fall. So, so I I’ve kinda, sir, tough question for you up front here. So a couple weeks ago on LinkedIn, I ran this contest as asked people in five words or less, tell me what you sell and it’s not just a product, but it’s a five words that are telling you what the value is for the buyer as well.

Sangram Vajre: I’ll just give you one word. I could go almost two different ways to one word would be like Revenue, right. We literally help our customers generate revenue. Like period. So it might sound generic. So the other way is that, you know, um, I would say is like we sell, um, people, the ability to have digital billboards, you know, to think about it. Right now, when you think about that, a lot of people have digital billboards. Like what is that? Imagine having a digital billboard in front of your house or your company or anything, anywhere you go just right in front of you, you walk out to the house and you look at that and you, you know, you’re, you’re just look out the window. You look at that. That’s kind of what we do is surround our customers, our future customers with your message anywhere they go online. So it’s almost like a digital billboard for them anywhere they go.

Andy Paul: Yeah, omnipresent digital billboard.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. Yes.

Andy Paul: Could be a better way of saying that, but I like that. I like the digital billboard. I try to think of the words we could use to.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah.

Andy Paul: All right. Well, think about that as we’re, as we’re talking, but that that’s good. I like that. It’s a good image. That’s really what we’re trying to say is, every company, every seller needs to feel comfortable that if a customer asks him what they sell, they could tell them in five words or less in a way that the customer could go. Of course, I get it right. Just like that. I get it. And their mind fills in the rest of it. Cause that’s really what they want. That’s the effect of storytelling, you know, give it that bit. And then you, you fill in the blanks.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. You know, what’s interesting is you probably have heard about this. That’s literally on my desk, StoryBrand. Donald Miller a book and there’s literally here because at rest do it on a regular basis. And I love the way he would always talk about like the problem, talk about the problem as you go into it and talk about their problems. And they say, Oh yeah, that’s my problem. Tell me how to solve this. Like, so it’s almost, in our case, like the way I have codified for us or deep for us, it’s like, well, less than 1% of the leads that most marketing and sales teams generate turn into revenue. And you know, if you are the CEO or a market, I’m like, yeah, that’s actually right. I have a problem with my marketing and sales organization. And I think once you say that, Oh, I am that person that feels that pain. Then the secondary, the third statement do that as you add, dude is like, well, you know, we just help you have the guide you’re not the hero. Is such a critical part of the whole equation that we don’t have. We are not, you are the hero, we’re the guide to help you address that, change that equation. I think it, it resonated quite a bit.

Andy Paul: Well, that’s an important distinction, right? Is yeah sellers don’t often think to make sure that they’re not the hero of the story, which is interesting. I was reading a book about listening. This last weekend. And there are further some studies about, you know, when you’re listening to someone is, is you can have one of two responses.

One was called a shift response, and one was called a support response. And the shift responses, which is very common with sales is, you know, customer says, well, maybe it’s not customer, let’s say you’re having a conversation with somebody. And they said, yeah, I just recovered from having a serious illness and shift response is okay. Yeah. You know, I,I, I was sick. Yeah. Last year too. Yeah. It wasn’t that tough. Right. And it’s like, you’ve shifted the story to look you as the focus suddenly it’s not about them where the support responses. Well, that must’ve been really hard. How, how long did it take to get over it? Or, you know, how are you feeling now? And a sellers. I see people do that all the time. You know, a customer, you know, they ask a question, customer gives a response and then they, they think they’re. Building rapport by relating it to themselves. What they’re really doing is taking the focus and putting it on themselves.

Sangram Vajre: That is true. That is so interesting. You say, and I think it’s so different than in parenting. Like I got two kids, like Chris. My son he’s nine. My daughter is Yara. She’s five when they’re, when Chris has a bad game, like yeah if I say to him like, Hey, you know, Oh man, that, you know that that was a bad game. I know how it feels. He’s like you have no idea how it feels! The good thing about kids is that they will tell you how bad of a salesperson we are. So, so he would give you that feedback. Uh, you have no idea Dad like I really went, it was really bad. I’m like, Oh, okay. Yeah, you’re right. I don’t know. I think it’s a really interesting way to look at

Andy Paul: Yeah, so shift versus support. Okay. So one of the things that your community movement, you’re your building is this idea about being intentional. So tell us about that because this is, I think it’s very, very interesting.

Sangram Vajre: It has been a phenomenal journey in the last five years as a cofounder of Terminus, you know, being been in those shoes for five years. I think I learned this one thing, which is being intentional is more important than being brilliant.

Andy Paul: So define intentional though, for us. So people understand.

Sangram Vajre: Totally. So let me repeat that. Like being intentional is way more important than being brilliant. What I mean by that is all around, like, I feel like from day one, when we started the company to day now I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s still the same. It’s literally the same. And it might feel like, Oh no, you must have people say, can you run our mastermind? Can you come and help us? How did you grow like this fast? It’d be amazing. Like, you know, because we went from a million in revenue for the first year to five, the second year to 15, the third year. So in many ways I should be like, Oh, I know it, but I know the truth is I had no idea. And none of us had idea and I still don’t like, I still, I keep going back and seeing what worked there’s something that works and I’m trying to figure out.

But the part that worked, I feel like if I have to really boil it down to the most important part of it that I don’t want me to write off and for people to not lose sight of is that, that we were intentional about building a community. And meaning that we made sure that we are never, never the focus of attention. So for example, when we did the Flip my Funnel community, we still, today we have done 10 plus conferences. We still don’t have a product vision statement or anything like that. My keynote doesn’t even talk about Terminus, their booth, like everybody else, even today. So it’s like, we were intentional about the fact that we want to truly become a community centric, create an industry centric conference and things.

And for individual, for me, I realized that I think one thing I did, and I think one thing, a lot of people in the early days and throughout them is that every week, every week, I think he became somewhat one percent better than the last week. And very, very incrementally thinking about it. Not exponentially, nothing happened overnight, even though now it might look like, no. It was literally every week. We’re just trying to figure out, Oh, this is how the sales comp work. This is how the sales people are incentivezed. This is how a customer is buying. This is the message you’re resonating. Yeah. And never be, be okay. Like we got it. We never said that.

I still don’t think we can say that. So it’s a matter of being very intentional about learning and growing every single week by 1% or around that. And if I can go back and say, you know what. Yup. I learned something. We grew a percent personally, mentally, emotionally, then I can actually grow the organization that way I’m not growing. I cannot grow the organization that way, like do add on like, just another quick point on that is when we hire people, this is another big pain point I realized is that some people stayed in the company and some didn’t and when I look at the people who didn’t make through the transition of like, you know, from a million to a 5 million to 15 to all the, or wherever we are now is that they did not grow as quickly with the same amount of percentage as the company was growing. So some of you are going a hundred percent. Each one of the person in the company needs to grow a hundred percent in their way of leading. And that’s extremely hard. Like I don’t fault anybody for that.

Andy Paul: Well, but it’s, it’s so funny you bring that up. Cause it’s very similar to something that I’ve been talking about recently too, which is, is that, uh, but mostly specifically about sales now, the company, but it applies to a company, is that as a profession in sales, we spend all this time saying, well, you know, salespeople are failing. Right. Not enough for hitting quota and salespeople don’t learn fast enough. They don’t take to the training. They don’t onboard fast enough. It’s always, if you look at the literature on LinkedIn every day, it’s about basically about how salespeople are failing And when you really think about it though, is you say, okay, well look at the process of improvement to your 0.1% a day, whatever that that aggregate number is not a huge believer of that sort of aggregation of marginal gains. I think it’s a hugely important concept, but I feel sales performance improvement on an individual level is a process. You know, every process has a rate determining step. And I think for sellers, I’m interested in your opinion on this. The rate determining step is the rate at which their managers improve. I don’t think sellers can improve their performance faster than the rate at which their managers improve their performance.

Sangram Vajre: This hits right through the core of a lot of, a lot of the sales teams, don’t hit a cumulative quota, whatever that is they have as a commercial sales, as a, um, as an enterprise sales reps and all that stuff, is there their ability, their leadership ability to, to challenge them, to train them and so on. I know here’s something I’ve also found. Along those lines is there’s not enough investment made on, in the, on the sales team to improve. Meaning like a lot of times, even in our, like we started doing this now a lot more than we did before, which is like, all right, some of them are new salespeople.

Some of them are tenured salespeople, and they both have the same quota and we expect both of them to do at the same level. No, they’re not. A manager was like, he’s an incredible, or she’s an incredible manager, now we’re expecting her, we just gave her commercial as well as enterprise. And now she has completely different sets of people and different motions that she has to run. But she has never done that before. And we have never invested to give her like, alright, hire somebody, hire a coach, hiring, have mentors. He has money and funding for it. We never did those things in the early days. And I think man, we, we missed on some of the key people because they got burnt out, um, by just doing and learning on the job, everything, we burned some of the people too. So I agree with you a hundred percent.

Andy Paul: Yeah, because I think I take it a step further and I know people listen to the show a lot hear me talk about this increasingly, but as is, yeah. The numbers thrown out as we spend $20 billion a year on sales training in the United States. When I go through and ask people how they learned how to sell the primary answer, I get back as well through a boss or a coach. You know, it wasn’t my training. It was watching somebody, it could have been a peer but, you know, anecdotally, because everybody’s got their own recollections, but in my case, I asked him that about yeah, 60, 65% of what I’ve feel I learned from my coach or boss at some point in my career.

Um, and that’s sort of consistent with, with, and so training always our falls at the bottom. And so I said, okay, well, if the coach is so important, if we’re spending $20 billion a year on the US on sales training, of which 95% of it goes to train sellers, why don’t we just flip that balance? Why don’t we make 95% of that investment on training managers, how to coach and manage to your point, equip the people that are, are the most instrumental in helping sellers learn how to sell, actually help them learn.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. It’s I think it, it comes to the leadership level and understanding of it. Classic example, you and I have talk about account based marketing account based selling and all that stuff previously, as well. Most people would probably listening to have heard about it and familiar with those phrases.

What’s interesting is that I still, I was literally on the call at lunch today. If you know, Yeah, multibillion dollar well known organization. And I was having call, which is super Q&A around what is account based marketing. And I’m like, it baffles me, like I have to like go through them. Okay. Explain to us what account is marketing is. And this is a multibillion dollar organization. There are a hundred plus people in that, on that marketing team, and I’m explaining, I have to like go back, like take a few steps back physically, emotionally, mentally, and, and go back to like, Well, the account based marketing means you’re focusing on accounts and targeting the right.

You know, like that, that part, it kind of kills me, but it also opens up this idea that, Oh my God, even right now, people are still wondering what that is. People are still not thinking that targeting the right accounts as they must like, literally the step number one, if you, if you don’t, we have targeting. So all that to say is that you’re right but that the caveat to all this is that the leadership is not there in these organizations. A lot of times to actually get people to invest in and even recognize that that’s the problem.

Andy Paul: Well, and too, my point is, is if frontline managers are the rate determining step of the rate of improvement of sellers. The rate determining step for their improvement with the sales managers is the directors. And then the sales leaders, you know, it all starts at the top. Absolutely. I agree. A hundred percent. Yeah, it’s just there. It seems to even some of these big companies is there’s this sort of acceptance that, yeah, this is the way sales is.

Sangram Vajre: They get, what is the stats? You know, the stats better than that. Like, you know, like it is expected for like what, how, what percentage of the sales teams are expected to not meet there quota.

Andy Paul: Half, roughly as though what the studies are showing. Yeah.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. And I look at that and I hear that and I hear from ops sometimes he just show him like, that is bonkers. Like why would we, why would we set people for failure? It almost seems like missing people from failure stuff. Like I’m going to flip the mic on you. I was like, why is that? Why, what can founders like me? And what can people do to change that?

Andy Paul: Well, yeah, there’s no, no easy answer to that, but I mean, it is, it is a cultural thing, I think. I mean, you think about it. I urge sales managers to sort of think like they’re a product manager and the product they’re putting out is a sales person. Okay. So would you put out a product that only works 50% of the time?

Sangram Vajre: That’s a good way to put it. I love that.

Andy Paul: course you wouldn’t right. He wouldn’t even begin to think about it. So, you know, this obviously has impact on hiring and onboarding and, and how, how you teach people how to sell. Right. It’s everybody defaults to training, but what if it’s not training? Right. What if the way people learning is really by watching you Sangram sell?

I mean, I go back to my own experience. I, I learned through bosses and oftentimes observing them, right. I had no training as selling large complex sales or enterprise sales. And yet you end up selling deals worth tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s like I learned by what other people were doing. It wasn’t sitting in a classroom. I mean, in over 40 years of sales, I’ve had eight weeks of training and all came in the first year.

Sangram Vajre: Wow. That’s profound. That’s profound. Well,

Andy Paul: and, and also I had a guest on the show recently, a guy named Peter Economy, a book author, and wrote this book about first, first time managers. And, and he’s a columnist, an Inc Magazine people can read there. And he does found some research that said that the average managers in their job, 10 years before they get trained the first time.

Sangram Vajre: In spite of all the investment that you just talked about of billions of dollars that’s that’s

Andy Paul: Well, not sales managers. This was, this was first time managers in general, but it’s no different in sales, right?

Sangram Vajre: That’s crazy.

Andy Paul: average, the average age 42, when someone gets their first management training.

Sangram Vajre: No wonder we got problems.

Andy Paul: Yeah, we’re just, well, I think it’s, it’s just time to rethink right? What we’re doing, because why are we accepting that this is the way it is. And at the same time accepting, this is the way it has to be.

Sangram Vajre: Well, let me, let me maybe share, um, my first sale at Terminus. Did I ever tell you that story?

Andy Paul: No, no, no, go ahead.

Sangram Vajre: Okay. So, you know, like I’m a marketer. So like that’s kinda my default state, apparently marketing and sales is one in the same thing. You learn it and go. It was like, you can’t be good at one and bad at others. Like you typically are actually either good at both or neither. A big lesson, big lesson, anybody in sales. They got to know marketing and they got to know copywriting. They got to understand messaging. They got to understand emotions, the story frame for the story. If people think that that is a marketing thing to do wake up, like I’d say people should, so pick up the Donald Miller and really big do go and do some copywriting classes. I think it’s super helpful other than anything.

Okay. So that’s just an aside. I remember, uh, when we started, uh, co-founded Terminus, my co-founder said, well, you know, you gotta, you know, we all gotta sell. I’m like, yay. We all gotta sell you sell. We all gotta sell. I’m like what? My job, I’m a marketer. And he’s like, yeah, we all got to sell.

And that was the first time I really started sweating because I realized I got to sell. And I think the sales empathy truly, truly profusely came out of my sweat during that call, but I remember the first call, like several calls to the first deal that we closed. Um, and. It was with me, Eric, my co-founder, and Amanda, who was one of the early interns, was helping set up some of these calls.

So we set up the call and did the demo so pumped up, so fired up. If you think I’m normally fired up, that time, I was like jumping out of my skin and then getting through the zoom. Like this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Great. And at the end of the call, she said, and her name was Gretchen. She’s still our customer. And Gretchen would say, oh Sangram this is good. Okay. This is good. Uh, how much is it for? And we never talked about it internally. So I had to put her on mute.

Andy Paul: How much do we charge for this?

Sangram Vajre: Like what, what is he like? You’re the marketing you come up with? I’m like, okay. How about $250 bucks a month. She’s like, yeah. Sounds great. Unmute. Uh, how about $250? I mean, that’s the worst right, HOW ABOUT.

Andy Paul: Not that you’re open to negotiation, but just.

Sangram Vajre: Yes. We can do it for zero, but how about 250 bucks a month? And she was like, okay, great. Send me the order form. Oh, or invoice I’m like, okay, great. Awesome. Put the phone down, Googled what is an order form and an invoice look like, right? I’ve learned that, you know, it was really interesting and I understood like how hard it is to sell. And I ask every marketer, every founder, every like, be part of the sales process, be listening to those calls because that’s how you learn what’s going on. So even today, every week, I’ll at least listen in one or two calls or do Q&A at least one or two times, because it keeps me close to the ground.

Andy Paul: So essential. I mean, for founders, I mean, they have to know how to sell the product. Right. I mean, that’s, that’s like a, uh, yeah, lesson number one. But I mean, I agree with you for, for marketers is they have to know how to sell and it could be because like a situation like yours, where everybody has to sell, um, I’ve been in those situations with small companies where turn to marketing people and say, okay, we all got to sell now. And, uh, it’s, it’s a small company would like two salespeople and three marketing people. And then the

Sangram Vajre: Oh, wow. That’s a flipped number. I don’t typically see marketing bigger than sales.

Andy Paul: Well, they were sort of sales engineers as well as the marketing guys. And, but yeah, the company, sortn of hit a rough spot and I would, I’d been at different part of the company, and I was brought back into to sort of turn this one around and yeah, said, “Hey, everybody’s got to sell.”

And what’s interesting is of the five people, four walked pretty quickly. Marketing guys stayed, the head marketing guy stayed, and turned into a killer salesperson. He just, he just crushed it. Um, partially because he was so angry that he thought that, you know, we sort of assumed he didn’t know how to sell, but yeah, he just, yeah. Guy went and closed millions of dollars of business in the space of 12 months. It was like, yeah, just a little motivation.

Now, speaking of marketing, you have this interesting survey that you put up a poll that you put up on LinkedIn. Just this week, right? I think of the week we’re recording. It was just the last week of June. About the five skills or what are the skills, the number one skill. What is the number one skill that makes a good CMO? Choice being PR communications, one demand gen slash operations and other sales partnership, uh, is one and the brand and product marketing the other. So what are the early results saying?

Sangram Vajre: Alright, so, so glad you brought that up because it pissed me off. It literally pissed me off beyond, like it almost didn’t wait and convinced me that this is why so few people have a shot to become a CMO. They don’t even have a shot to become a CMO. It pissed me off really bad anyway.

Um, or 500 people responded to that. So it’s, it’s statistically significant, uh, the number of people, if you think about it that way. And I on purpose put in sales as part of it. Because I learned this through maybe after 10 years of therapy as a marketer that, you know, you did the number one job as a marketer is to either incrementally or exponentially grow sales. Period. If you don’t do that, you should be fired or you shouldn’t have that job. Like you don’t understand what you did, especially if you’re in B2B. With that  being said, so, but mostly marketers come into one of these three roles, they either are in Demand Gen, or they’re in the brand category, PR communications, or just something like that. So I asked, okay, well that’s the question. That’s how people come in, but I wanted, I hope people would say that the number one skill that you need is sales partnership. The relationship. I really expected-  that was the lowest. Demand gen was number one. I think number two was Brand and PR I’m like good luck. And then, you know, number three was like operations. So I think that just shows the, that there exist in the market, mine of what their role is and why they are there. And so it pissed me off. I’m like, this is crazy.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Well, not really surprised, I guess. I mean, I’d like, you you’d think it’d be different, but I mean, you and I talked about this last time you’re on is, is one of, sort of the challenges with ABM is, is, does, uh, do you need alignment before you can successfully have an ABM campaign or does alignment come as a result of executing an ABM strategy? Um, but it’s gotta happen at some point.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. Well, I mean, The thing, like let’s, I’ll give you another example. I did. I mean, that poll pissed me off. So I put in another poll, that’s what a good marketer does. It puts another poll, uh, but this was around, like okay. What is your top account based marketing strategy right now? Like, you know, wanting to see and I put in, again, the standard: is it demand generation? Is it pipeline velocity? Is it expansion? Is it retention? Especially right now, which one of these that was the other difficult for things you demand gen, pipeline velocity, expansion and retention, same results. Like I feel like, what’s wrong. Maybe I need to find out if I have the right people following me or responding to them.

Andy Paul: So what was number one on your.

Sangram Vajre: Number one was demand generation. And, um, I’m looking at this and saying, okay, do we all not realize that we are in a time where your net new accounts revenue are not going to grow at the same. Yes, your title is demand gen manager, but you can create demand with existing pipe that is stuck. Do we not realize now that retention is the new acquisition. Let’s move from that. None of these customers should go away, retain them, figure it out. If you have more than one products, should we not focus on expansion? So I was expecting retention, pipeline, velocity expansion, and then demand generation. Exact opposite of that. Like exact opposite.

Andy Paul: Well, the thing is so interesting because at the same time on the sales side and, you know, in early March and through sort of mid April, you know, there’s this influx of, you know, the online people on LinkedIn saying you got to double down on your prospecting, right? Now’s the time we’ve got double down on, you know, everybody don’t want to lead with empathy. It’s like, come on. Why aren’t you leading with empathy before?

Sangram Vajre: Yeah.

Andy Paul: You always want to lead with empathy, but it’s like, It seemed like self-defeating strategies is him suddenly this whole echo chamber of people saying, yeah, things really haven’t changed. Right. I mean, you really need to keep up the call volume and yeah, there are opportunities out there, but to your point, the opportunities are in retention and expansion.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. I mean, that’s where money is. I think, I think this is a fundamental challenge that most organizations are facing. That I think it really is like renewing the minds of the CEO and the CFOs, in some ways I feel like. If as a CEO or a CFO, if they are giving their marketing and sales to different numbers, that’s a problem.

That’s when the riffraff happens. Right? Number two, I feel like, well, even if they have the same number, but you’re overly focused on top of the pipe, as opposed to looking at the money, the color of the money is too green, no matter where it comes from, and recognizing that the break business as a founder now, with over a thousand customers, they have raised a good amount of money. So what I’ve realized really big time is that, gosh, I would have less at the top. But I will, if I can have better gross margin and greater retention, that’s a healthier, stronger business. Greater valuation for the business. More money in the pocket for everybody, the organization, more value for the equity.

I did not have this thought process at all. I always thought the more customers the better. Wrong answer. Right? So some of these things, I was like, I think there needs to be this education of SaaS businesses internally. So one of the things we have done and do across the organization is like, here is how a good SaaS business look like.

So our CFO and VP of Finance ran that with our CEO, like we just, we just, I had them run it like, okay. A SAS business is not a good business when we have a leaky bucket. It’s not a good business if we have less retention. If retention is over 80%, here’s what  the valuation could look like as opposed to 70 with a higher top line.

People’s mind, but exploded. And we realized that this is something that we need to now continually do, because there’s an education gap that exists between what is the right business thing. But it really starts with the CEO and CFO really opening up and sharing that.

Andy Paul: Well, and I started talking about that at that event in North Carolina, is that we were so focused on what’s happening at the top of the funnel that not enough attention is paid on. How do we actually win a higher fraction of these deals? How do we get better deals into the pipeline and how do we win a higher fraction of them? As opposed to saying, look, if we want to double sales or gross sales, 50% this year, then we need to put X percent more than the top of the funnel and we’ll play the odds and assume we’re going to get this one or more out.

Sangram Vajre: I think Iquote you a lot because I remember in that conversation and I don’t know if it wasn’t that talkj, but it’s seasonal. Well, the conversation you have had where you said. Good. Ma’am this, maybe I’m not quoting you, right?

Andy Paul: Take credit for it, but go ahead.

Sangram Vajre: You said hey look, you know that right now we have about 5-7X pipeline coverage. And in like 10 years, 15 years ago, that wasn’t the case. It was 1.5X in coverage. It just means that we have more shit in the funnel right now. That’s the problem. We need to fix that. And I don’t know how we went from having 1.5X pipeline, which is a very tight process to now having 5X pipe in order to get to the numbers. It’s insane.

Andy Paul: Well, because I think it got easier to get things into the top of the pipe.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah.

Andy Paul: And we now have all these great tools and technology to be able to automate calls and emails and our sales engagement, sales enablement platforms is get more stuff into the funnel, but there’s a price you pay when you have that much in is that you pay attention to it and you have less time to spend on the good ones. So if you have a 5X pipeline coverage, your win rate is going to be the reciprocal of whatever your pipeline coverage rate is.

Sangram Vajre: It is.

Andy Paul: the math is. It’s brutal.

Sangram Vajre: Brutal. And I feel like it has made sales process almost weaker, as well, an organization. It can have almost systemic challenge. It feels like with like, okay, we are already expecting a lower cost quality conversion rate. That’s going to lower quality communication. That’s going to really to a lower quality quota attainment. That’s going to lead to a lower quality- that, it’s almost feels like we already surrendering do any it’s all the same thing, like less than 1% of the leads turn into customers. So guess what, what, what are we going to do? We’re going to get more leads.

Andy Paul: Right, exactly. That’s my whole point. And it’s like, so I think one of the lessons we haven’t learned about how to use. You know, all this great technology we have. Is that just because we can use it in a certain way doesn’t mean that we should, you should use it that way. And I think this is the disconnect we’re still dealing with is yeah, we can task our SDRs to make 50 calls a day and to send out 30 emails a day and you know 10 social touches a day, but should we?

Sangram Vajre: Yeah. Yep.

Andy Paul: So, alright, Sangram. We’ve run out of time, but, uh, am I, I didn’t ask any other questions, really headlined a basket, but that’s the perfect, the perfect conversation. So, uh, if people want to learn more about what you’re doing, connect with you, how can they do that?

Sangram Vajre: You know where I am on LinkedIn. Uh, that’s where I am. The becoming intentional newsletter is also one of the LinkedIn newsletter. They’re about, it’s so interesting. There are over 17,000 people signed up for that newsletter. So that’s fun. So people get subscribed to that, but yeah, please reach out to me. I’ll add, I know one thing for sure that one of the hardest jobs in, in SaasS, in the business that we are all in right now is sales. I’ve learned that as a marketer, I feel like that is the number one skill as a marketer to have a sales empathy. So if you have a marketer that you think they don’t have that send them this podcast episode, and they will probably recognize that man, you better have that.

Andy Paul: Absolutely. And for people listening. Yeah. Follow Sangram on LinkedIn and so on. It’s a good, good, good content posted there. I always always get a chance to read it everyday. So it’s great to see you again. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Sangram Vajre: Sounds good, man. Good seeing you. Thank you.