Lisa Magnuson, author of The TOP Sales Leader Playbook: How to Win 5X Deals Repeatedly, joins me in this episode.
Andy Paul 0:00
Hey friends, this is Andy. Welcome to Episode 752 of accelerate the sales podcast of record as always have another excellent episode lined up for you today. Joining me this week as my guest is Lisa Magnuson. Lisa is the author of a very useful book titled sales leader playbook, how to win five x deals repeatedly. So today we’ll be talking about selling big deals, in particular, about updating your sales playbooks to enable you to identify qualified and close significantly bigger deals on a consistent basis. Among the topics Lisa and I are going to dive into today is why you have to do things differently when you’re targeting these big deals, these five x sales deals, your old sales playbook just won’t cut it anymore. Talk about why you need to learn to execute your processes more effectively to win big deals. And when you do have a trickle down effect on all the sales opportunities you’re working on, because it makes your whole sales team better. And Lisa also shares the reasons why if you plan to pursue five x deals, you first must nurture a culture of accountability within your organization. Because winning big deals is more about having the right sales structure than just having superstar sellers. So we’re getting into all that much much more. Okay, let’s jump into it. Lisa, welcome to accelerate.
Lisa Magnuson 3:01
Andy Paul 3:03
Well, it’s nice to have you joining us from where today
Lisa Magnuson 3:04
I’m joining you from the beautiful Pacific Northwest,
Andy Paul 3:40
Yeah. Yeah, I think I think the sort of food truck things are really started there I think to some degree so yeah, a beautiful place to be is a farm so we’re here to talk about big deals today.
Lisa Magnuson 3:52
Yes. You love to talk about big deals, big deals,
Andy Paul 3:55
And specifically your book the top sales leader playbook, how to win five x deals repeatedly. So what was the impetus to write this book?
Lisa Magnuson 4:06
Well, you know, I have been really spending my whole career interested in big deals and specifically as a consultant for the last 15 years. With my company top line sales. My niche is really big deals. But specifically to write the book, I went out and I interviewed 41 sales VPS. And I asked them, these were live interviews, and I asked them, you know about their goals and their priorities and about how they approach big deals and add about what they would want to see in a playbook. And it changed the book that I wrote. They had a lot to say, and some things were surprising. There were some things that I didn’t expect and so I really wrote the book that they wanted me to write.
Andy Paul 4:55
Okay, but I mean, clearly the motivation behind it was You’re looking around thinking must be a better way. Right?
Lisa Magnuson 5:04
Well, the motivation really was that that, you know, a lot of companies want to have a big deal engine, and they have pieces of it. But rarely do companies have all the components needed to just really repeatedly when those big deals, those 5X deals and so my whole impetus was to give sales leaders the plays, that they need to have all the cylinders going at the same time. So that’s so so that the result is not just one or two big banner accounts which are great, but really a sales organization that can repeatedly win those big deals. And, and so that was my impetus. And, and, and that’s when I went and sought the opinions of the people for whom I wrote the book.
Andy Paul 5:53
Okay, so tell people to 5X deals and he talks about that as order value, I assume it’s five times Normal your normal value but is it? Is it order value or serve your lifetime value of the account?
Lisa Magnuson 6:06
Yeah, that’s a great question. And actually, I get asked that question a lot. And it’s really just for people to understand that we’re talking about bigger deals. So five times your average deal size is how I defined it in the book. And the reason that’s important is because when you have a big deal, things happen differently. It’s it’s they’re not you know, your normal sales process you will use it but it is not sufficient. You have to do extra stuff you have to do extra strategy work. big deals are messy, you have to move forward and then you sometimes move back and then move forward again. So that is why I was really trained to come across the five x is that these are big, big, you know, your average deal sizes $100,000 and a bit of five x deal for you might be a half million. But more importantly than The actual value is that you really need to do things differently. When you’re talking about those big, big accounts like my my friend and colleague, Barbara Weaver Smith calls them
Andy Paul 7:10
well, Barbara’s been on the show a couple times. Well, awesome. So let’s dig into that a little bit. Because it is your thought and your experience such that you say, Okay, well, gosh, I got a lot of companies out there that are, you know, doing $100,000 deals, and the half million dollar deal. opportunity exists with those same customers they’re selling to they’re just not taking advantage of it. I mean, is that that’s sort of the thrust of the book or is it more? Yeah, you need to sort of reorient yourself, pick out a new ICP, maybe you’re not addressing right now people have higher potential or both.
Lisa Magnuson 7:47
It’s really balls because, you know, it depends on on your focus as a company a lot of companies focus, you know, on new logos, new opportunities and and and if you’re really have sort of a culture that talks about supports, you know, has a methodology around big deals, then the salespeople know how to spot them to spot those kinds of opportunities. And then that’s when they start doing things differently. But also, you could have some really big customers that have the capability to be five x what they are for your company today. And so maybe those are handled by an account manager, maybe they’re handled by the same salesperson handling both new logo and existing customer. So it’s really both. But it really starts when you sort of identify that opportunity. We think we have a big opportunity here. Why don’t we do
Andy Paul 8:40
So identifying the opportunity or in some cases need to address this in the book is, is really sort of identifying the imperative to start talking and looking for bigger deals. I mean, I think because I think a lot of companies are getting this mindset and I’ve certainly worked with some as an employee and as a consultant. Yeah, just weren’t mindful of the fact that these big opportunities exist maybe within people they’re already the company’s already talking to. And yes, I just have to have the confidence, if you will, to some degree is to say, Yeah, actually, there’s an opportunity here. And it’s we’re going to take a risk and invest in it, going after it, but it can be transformational if we get it.
Lisa Magnuson 9:23
Well, you know, I’m reminded of a story that happened early in my consulting career, and I was working with a client and one of their account executives, Christy goes on an appointment with a new prospect, big, big company, and believes that she’s identified a huge opportunity. So he comes rushing back to the office, you know, fine, you know, Burson to the VPS sales office and says, You know, I think I’ve got, you know, really big opportunity, and the VP of Sales says, Okay, and so he calls man says Lisa can kiss come in and help us just evaluate. We need to kind of make a go no go decision. And so I remember we had this meeting on a Friday, there was eight, nine people, you know, pulled together, we’re evaluating the opportunity. And that meeting ended up going into Saturday. Because it was complex. There were some real possible showstoppers. And, and but at the end of the Saturday meeting, it’s like, you know what, let’s go for this. We think we have a shot. And the team did go for it. I ended up staying with them for 18 months, all the way through the conclusion it was, when they finally closed it, it was well over a year, it was worth $20 million to their company well, and was the biggest deal of its time for the company that you’re in. This wasn’t a small company, and they still have that customer today. they’ve expanded that customer that deals with the people that were on that account team, the VP of Sales has gone on to Huge promotions, Christie where it all started the account manager, she has survived layoffs. She’s just thrived in her career. And because she stayed with it all the way through, she identified it and stayed with it. And you know, so there’s a situation where, yeah, that was transformative for even that big company. Yes. transformative for the people on the account team. And it started with just, you know, Christie going, Wow, I think this could be big, even though there were some red flags. Sure.
Andy Paul 11:32
Well, I think there always are big, big opportunities. Yeah, I think for No, I mean, I think for companies that haven’t done big deals before, and certainly for startups and smaller companies, you know, some of the things you learn from doing a big deal, which aren’t necessarily exclusive on the sell side. One is you learn how to execute on delivering a big deal. This is hugely transformative for a company right? If you understand this Suddenly, okay, we got this customer, we’ve never tackled one this size. And yeah, be careful, it doesn’t kill you right sometimes. So small companies, you have to be very careful about how you choose. But and then to your second, your point that you made earlier is then you develop these ongoing relationships with these potentially large customers that, in my experience, if they can give you a large deal once they’ll give you a large deal multiple times,
Lisa Magnuson 12:24
can you be years and years and years as customers and usually are, if you can do a good job of supporting them, like you said. And it’s interesting, because in my playbook, as you know, that includes 16 plays, every play has a sideline coach, and I kind of searched the world over for the experts that I thought would lend some good expertise to whatever particular play. And I’m thinking as you were talking about having to do things differently, I’m thinking of Brian burns, who really weighed in on On and on talking about how companies have to change when it comes to big deals. And some of the examples he gave were about the compensation structure. You know, it’s, it’s, you know, in a typical company, that compensation goes from January through December and, you know, there’s set targets, but when it comes to big deal, sometimes you have to expand those timeframes. And same with implementation, you know, companies might have guidelines around, you know, maybe, you know, a pilot project, what they’re willing to do with a pilot, but for a big deal. If your standard is a 30 day pilot, you may have to do a 120 day pilot, you really have to change as a company to both land and support these new big customers. And if you can get that right, it just opens the door to all the ones that are going to come behind that. And that’s when you have that big deal engine where you really have this culture and you have This this as a company, you know how to to support those big deals and those big deal customers?
Andy Paul 14:07
Yeah, I think that one of the interesting phenomenon around big deals for sales leaders listening and even sellers is that and this has been my experience or multiple startups, is that where we sold lots of big deals is that when you get that big deal I give example, yeah, one. And this has happened. I said multiple times one company startup VP of sales. We are at about a $7 million annual revenue rate. We got this big deal that came in 10 million bucks delivered in one year. So revenues are basically our basic business was hopping along at $7 million a year and suddenly this next year it did 17. Well, obviously, we weren’t able to go back to the board and say, Well, next year we’ll be back at so on and so forth. No, they expect the next year is gonna be in the mid 20s. Right. So what happened though, interestingly, is and again, I can’t stress it enough for you Companies that are thinking about this is that we were scared to death, the 10 million was gonna go away and oh, what’s gonna happen? We found as we got better all of our business, not just the big business, our base business actually expanded and filled that $10 million gap. And then we got new bigger deals to take us to the mid 20s where I wanted to be nice and these big deals really become step functions for growth in a company. Yes, because as you expand your capabilities to execute on bigger deals, you get better at executing everything that you’re doing.
Lisa Magnuson 15:31
Well, your stories, change your stories, the sales, people can tell the story, they can tell the story about the big customer that you got, and especially if it’s a banner name, and then you can tell the story of how you support that customer that helps for sure. Yeah, and that’s how that that’s how what you’re talking about that step up capability that
Andy Paul 15:50
I mean, our sales processes on the smaller, more routine business became more effective and more productive and we saw based on what took the capture a big deal that we didn’t really we’re making the small deals too complicated. And we found a way to accelerate those. And I said, we’ve repeated this pattern with multiple companies. It’s just Yeah, yeah. Rather than being afraid of big deals, what do you want to be? Make sure you have your ducks in a row and read your book, but it’s, it really needs to embrace the right opportunity because it’ll drive all of your business and it doesn’t mean your businesses suddenly become lumpy with big deals here and there. It’s like it’s the rising tide that literally lifts all boats.
Lisa Magnuson 16:33
Yes, yes. I actually Joe Conrad who wrote a foreword I think she used that exact analogy at the end of her forward so true and and it’s awesome that you’ve had that experience and been part of that experience with the companies that you’ve worked with, because it doesn’t always go that way. You know, if one of the things as part of my advances, which is really the account strategy work that needs to be done by the account team You know, one of the pieces is kind of actually it comes up twice in the 11 advances, which is kind of a, you know, our risk analysis, you know, can we support this sales process? Can we support this customer? You know, what are the yellow flags? What are the red flags kind of like my story about Christie who identified the big opportunity? I mean, some of the reasons why it was so hard for them to make a good decision is because they had to partner with a whole other company to deliver the services the customer described their buying process, they were going to go through an RFP and an RFP. So just from the get go, it was gonna be over a year just that was gonna happen. And, and, you know, was the team really committed to stay together and put that kind of time in for something that was going to be so hard? And so you know, identifying those things early. really helps because Then you can kind of go Okay, we can do this. Yeah, we don’t normally form partnerships to deliver our services. But we can, I think we can, you know, and
Andy Paul 18:12
So again, he spent a number of years selling very complex communication systems, multiple millions of dollars as a startup competing against big companies. And there were times he ran to customers who said, Look, the value of your proposal is about two to three x your revenues. So you need to bring a partner and who’s gonna, who’s gonna, who we’re going to sign a contract with and they’ll take the risk of dealing with you. Yeah, you have to be open and flexible to your point to do that.
Lisa Magnuson 18:45
Yeah. Yeah, you must have loved the play about competitive analysis and blocking and Christopher Ryan’s was a sideline coach on that play. And he kind of delineates the points of competition and One of his points are, you know, if you’re a small company, you sell flexibility. It’s like going with us because we’re small. If you’re a big company, you sell stability, and never want to work on this wall company. So
Andy Paul 19:14
Well, yeah. To your point precise I write about that in my second book is is or I guess my first book is, yeah, a client that was small company, and they about five $6 million in revenue, and they had an opportunity to bid on a $10 million deal to a company they’ve been dying to get in the door from. And their competition was a big company, just as you talked about it. And my advice to him was, well, what you do is break this up into 10 $1 million deals and say the first one is a proof of concept because Hey, Mr. prospect, there’s no risk in this because gotta integrate with a bunch of existing systems, not a lot of that. And as soon as I set up, the buyer went for it because the buyer, the punchy point, contacted the buyer, decision makers, like yeah, Yeah, that’s gonna reduce my risk profile. But as soon as he agreed to that, and they told the big company bidding against my client, they lost interest because they’re a big company. And they did. They needed big deals to get that deal. And they didn’t want a million dollar deal. They wanted to send a million dollar deal. And so you
Lisa Magnuson 20:17
helped your client block that I love that story. You blocked you didn’t just reduce that competitor, you blocked up.
Andy Paul 20:24
Oh, yeah, they were gone. So it’s a great opportunity for small companies. And the suspected point we’re about earlier, it’s just if you’re getting into big deals is you gotta be flexible. You got to be creative. You got to be thinking about, yeah, what is the true value that we’re bringing to this to this opportunity, and maybe express it in a way that’s a little bit different?
Lisa Magnuson 20:46
Well, and the other thing was how you helped your clients. Back then, is that you made it simple and and, you know, boy every single year, the need to make things simple for the client. reduce the risk just gets more and more and more important. I mean, with 2020 being a whole nother level of, you know, selling teams and account teams understanding that they have to only provide the information that the buying team or the buyer wants, they have to make that information completely digestible. They have to make it simple at every single turn, while adding value. I mean, it’s it’s just you know, and so you know that you did that back then. And that was the reason why you got the Yes. And then you just fully blocked that big company. That was genius.
Andy Paul 21:39
Yeah. Thank you. It’s a great story. Thank you. I’ve got others. Don’t get me started. It’s your show.
Lisa Magnuson 21:45
Andy Paul 21:47
But I remember like also this jumping on just a little bit, but you insert the word up before team and I think that, again, this is something that that plays in various different ways. And I read Brian Burns was calm about compensation. I shouldn’t tirely agreed, quite frankly, but no.
Lisa Magnuson 22:03
That’s good. I love that debate.
Andy Paul 22:05
Yeah, well, yeah, I think there’s more real world that applies to it. Because in my experience, increasingly, when you talk about team, and you really do have a team working on something, then yes, you’re talking about a whole different take on compensation. You are, you are because, you know, it’s, it’s if you bring together a team that’s got cross, you know, cross functional teams involved in marketing and engineering and so on. And everybody spends a year and a half on at the end of the year, the salesperson is the only one that walks away with a big dollars. Yeah, that problem because it’s not just a competition show. It’s a cultural issue. You’ve cultivated this team. So in some cases, you have to level load the rewards in a way that that everybody
Lisa Magnuson 22:47
and a couple of my other sideline coast coach experts sort of, you know, provide a calendar counterbalance to some of Brian’s comments like john golden, and Xena you know, and talk about the team and and how important it To to win as a team and winning means compensation, yes, and recognition. And so it’s not you know, you don’t get to the end to the of the nine months, the 12 months, 18 months, whatever it is, you know, in your world, and the salesperson is the only one standing on that stage are the only one being compensated. No. That’s not a that’s not a big deal. Culture. It’s not a bait. You’re not creating that big deal engine. Right. Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I agree. Totally. Yeah.
Andy Paul 23:30
I mean, I can rightfully claim that I’ve closed hundreds of millions of dollars and big deals, but it was all part of a team. And I mean, I couldn’t have done couldn’t have done any of it without, you know, as his history major, sort of, technically competent lay person but selling really complex technical stuff is Yeah, they would have been laughed out of some of these customers offices if I didn’t have the right resources deployed and people coming in with me on calls and helping them back in the office, all that stuff.
Lisa Magnuson 23:59
Well, and sometimes We talked about how it’s more important than ever to make things simple for the customer and for the for the buying team, all those relationships you need, you know, I think the numbers you know, somewhere between eight and 11 now and that absolutely holds true in my experience doing more work with my clients all the time.
Andy Paul 24:17
Yeah, to that point my experiences that number really isn’t dramatically different from what I experienced 10 2030 years ago selling big deals But anyway, go ahead.
Lisa Magnuson 24:24
Yeah, absolutely. And and and that number is growing but but the recognition that you need to keep things simple for them and also reduce the risk. So having a team really does that it you know, you’ve got subject matter experts on your team, which can simplify things for the customer, but also reduces the risk if the customer sees depth and experienced as part of the account team. So
Andy Paul 24:49
yeah, I think I think we really that’s a great point I it’s something I’ve been talking to a number of people about recently as is it reduces the perception of risk. The risk still exists.
Lisa Magnuson 25:01
That’s true. Good point.
Andy Paul 25:03
And I think that that’s really but it’s a critical point to make from a sales perspective as is. Yeah, we talked about we know, by free, we know, like and trust. I mean, granted, that’s sort of taking this article of faith, but the fact is, is, you know, we we don’t, we never really get to know our buyers well enough that they really trust us. They think we’re trustworthy. And that’s, that’s what we’re trying to achieve is we’re likable, but they don’t really know us well enough to like us and we’re not friends. You know, something, as Aristotle talks about, you know, is a friendship a utility as what we have with and which is what you want, right? Yes. Yeah, I think it’s but so it’s more important make sure people really understand we’re trying to do is Yeah, we’re just trying to give them not you know, to see people but we’re trying to create the perception that the risk is low. And, and that’s as long as you understand what your real motivations because you’re not really lowering the risk and sometimes you have to accept things when you’re doing big deals. Because Because the customer is saying, Yeah, except a certain level of risk. But beyond that, no. And, and to one point, I’ll get a story of one start with we close this huge deal with this company in Asia. And they said, yeah, we were competing. It’s all these big tech giants. And yeah, we’ll give you the deal. But we’re gonna put somebody in your office for the next year. This could be an on site or on site program manager for you.
Lisa Magnuson 26:28
Interesting versus the opposite. That happens frequently.
Andy Paul 26:32
Yeah. And because we’re doing a lot of development as part of the package deliverable. Yeah. And I know a lot of companies I talked to just said, there’s no way we would have done that. And, but we did, we got the deal. And it was instrumental in getting out of the future deals and so on. So this idea about being creative, but also, what we did is deliberately made the person part of the team
Lisa Magnuson 26:52
and that but that did reduce the risk for that customer. Because it’s just as if your team had put somebody on site at the color relocation, which is much more common than the customer, putting someone on site at your location, but, but those things do reduce risk, not just the perception of risk, but they actually reduce the risk. And I think having a depth of, of resources as part of the team. So, you know, the account team might include somebody from, you know, professional services, customer success, and if that person’s representing an organization that does have depth, and they can explain that to the customer. The customer is like, you know, what, we don’t have all those resources. So you’re giving us a team of, you know, 1020 100 resources, that reduces our risk of failing on this project. Yep. And, and, and so I think there is a balance there where it’s, there’s some perceived risks. You know, I was just involved with a client. Last week. I’ve been working with them for five months on an RFP for a new opportunity for them and it’s not an existing customer for them. And you know, the whole RFP was all about The wind themes, you know, making sure we’re only hitting on those things. So So we went through extraordinary measures to write the responses in that way, figure out our wins the dry responses that way we it worked, we became
Andy Paul 28:14
a explain for people that are listening when you’re when theme is unified,
Lisa Magnuson 28:17
when themes are really the intersection of your prospects, priorities and your strengths as an organization. And so what they really do is they really zero in on those areas of interest to the prospect, they get rid of all the noise. And the noise being that if you don’t have one themes, the tendency of sale salespeople, professional salespeople, it’s just to talk about all your strengths. You know, our company does this we have this we’ve gotten this awards, but when themes gets rid of all that noise, and it’s and and so you only are talking about those strengths that match with their priorities, those those points of alignment, and those are when themes and m and c So we did that, as a matter of fact, my role on the team, with the, with my client was to help them craft them. And then they wrote out the responses. They’ve got a professional, you know, group that that responds to RFPs. They wrote them out. And then I graded every single response. So I said you didn’t hit on the wind themes. You didn’t give an example, you didn’t back up your Wednesday with any evidence. And and they, they rewrote it, that response. And so we went through, they became a finalist. Last week, you know, was the finalist presentations we do for dry runs. But in preparing for the dry runs, I’m going to come back to this this whole thing of risk and preparing for the dry runs. You know, we really said it’s like our biggest competitor is not the incumbent who was strong, but our biggest competitor is that pain of change that perceived risk. And even though
Andy Paul 29:57
I think that’s all
Andy Paul 35:33
So, back to the theme we’re talking about for us importance of team and I think the strength of your book is just the process it lays out.
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s for people listening. It’s not really
in my mind, it’s not really sort of the nuts and bolts. Yeah, this is what you do when you’re sitting in front of the customer type book. It’s this is how you create a culture of accountability. within an organization which is so important to pursue these types of large opportunities and because with the structure you lay out with account quarterback and the team meetings and so on, is that that what you’re doing is is we do a couple things one is you’re really cutting down the BS that happens right? So people buy their own drink their own Kool Aid, so to speak. And and that’s very, very common and big deals and because it’s not people challenging the assumptions that are made or the information that’s gathered So, so the process I think, is quite important for that and I think you also lay out with your plays and advances and so on is is people understand that that getting big deals is really not about superstars.
Lisa Magnuson 36:47
Andy Paul 36:48
And I think that’s really important for people understand because I think we got to go and get these superstars to get these big deals. And, you know, I started selling big deals that I had never done it and I’m fortunate to have a mentor and organization like my boss who it is great experience who helped me learn serve on the job but the fact was that that you know, we didn’t have that there was almost no situations that I was in and especially when I was building the teams or do we have these what call you know, flashy superstar sales people know if you got if you got the structure in place. And yet people were definitely very competent. Don’t Don’t confuse it. But you don’t have to go out and hire these mercenaries to come in and think they’re gonna be the salvation it’s surely that your success is really the the end product of the contribution of everybody.
Lisa Magnuson 37:41
Absolutely. You know, I say when I’m doing work with clients, which I do every day or room work on big deals is the team gets it right, the account team at the end of the day, the account team gets it right especially if you’ve got that strong account quarterback. It’s back to By the leadership, the sales leadership in the company, whatever that looks like for, for the company, it could be a sales manager VPS sales, whatever it looks like, you know, those if you’ve if you’ve got that those people and the account team, and there’s an environment where the account team can disagree, they can debate, they can plan and they’re committed and they’re accountable to seeing it through they will get it right. And and that’s what I tell my clients it’s it’s you don’t need that superstar person that wants single superstar, the account team can get it done. And by the account team systematically going through all the advances and by systematically, you know, really planning for their success. Every single time they meet and do that kind of work. They’re just increasing their chances of success period. Yeah, you know, they they get together and they do relationship mapping and they talk about, you know, how Who are the people who are the people, we know who the people we don’t know, but we know we need to know, what do we know about them? Who is going to be responsible for cultivating that relationship? Who’s going to be the backup? You know, whatever that discussion is, you have those kinds of discussions and that’s just one example. You know, you’re you’re improving your chances of success, right? Because you’re not going to miss somebody or you’re not going to do not cultivate the right people. And then you move to the you know, actually building the strategy so having a strategy makes you more successful than not having a strategy
Andy Paul 39:32
Lisa Magnuson 39:33
Funny how that works. But you know, teams really, you know, the teams that I work with, they kind of appreciate that because sometimes the path between Wow, like Christy, I think I’ve got a big one. Yeah, to getting a contract a $20 million contract a 30 million or 40,000,040 is my biggest and I did I did that with a client last year. It was super fun. But but but that path is not clear to people they don’t it’s like a it’s like a void Text they don’t really know. Yeah. And and so just by showing them that path and and going it these are this is the path and and these things are all going to contribute to that success. They’re like, we can do that we can do that.
Andy Paul 40:15
Yeah. I agree and I want to Sir last points I want to make because this it was more notable to me in the book is is you didn’t refer much to serve sea level involvement maybe VPS sales but CEO and so on it and I would make the observation that for startups for small to mid sized companies if you’re an implements, you know, a large account big deal selling program is really needed a CEO needs to be involved and and in the cases where they’ve been more intimately involved, things work much better because you shouldn’t have these cross functional teams it’s very common, especially in newer companies song or political turf gets staked out. out and then bring people together sometimes be more difficult even than bigger companies. And so CEO involvement really important I’ll tell a story about that as one company I was working with, we’re selling big deals and and we had a large account management component to it is even in the presale, and because we were doing big pilots oftentimes, and in that company every Monday, the CEO ran the sales meeting best like wow. And every VP in the company was in it. And if you were an account, man, we called an account manager if you’re running your account, quarterback, if you are that person, and you know the VP is wasn’t their department wasn’t living up to their commitments. You brought it up in the meeting you had, you’re expected to bring it up. Yes. You had hell to pay if you didn’t bring it up. And then the CEO corrected the problem on the spot was up on
Lisa Magnuson 42:02
the spot what great transparency and problem solving
Andy Paul 42:06
right there is that commitment that you need to have big accounts that where it’s goes right to the top and people say okay, yes, we’re gonna we’re not gonna we’re not gonna any roadblocks and the politics and any whatever personalities interfere with getting the job done.
Lisa Magnuson 42:21
I agree Well, in that, in that kind of the culture, part of the book I, I do have a couple of plays that specific are specific to engaging executives. And, you know, one of the most popular tools is his kind of executive communication brief. There’s a sample of that in that play, but but it’s about connecting your company’s executives with your prospects, executive teams, and really what it takes to you know, to have those, those relate those meanings and those relationships, what it takes for them to be successful how they account team has to participate to set that up for success. And then I mentioned that the communication brief, there’s an example of that, that’s kind of the, you know, capitalizing on that those interactions. And actually, you know, putting that in writing and, and, and that becomes kind of a really good sales tool that can that can do a lot of things and actually work on those a lot with my clients, you know, like on an annual basis, that you know, that kind of thing, actually, executive engagement as a topic to my other book, the top seller advantage and how to engage executives over time, not just get to them, but but you’re right. It’s it’s critical, and it really that’s why I put those pieces of the culture part of the sales leader playbook, because that’s where, you know, that’s if you don’t have that in place, you aren’t going to have a big deal. Culture if the executives aren’t engaged, you know, maybe not like running the weekly sales meeting. I don’t love that, but not they’re not Well,
Andy Paul 44:01
we call it the weekly account management meeting. But that’s Yeah, yeah. But yeah, I think it’s, I think the other thing, too is, and this is, again, this point because I, you know, here what teams are doing? Yeah, with, yeah, we got our play our play at this point is, you know, our executive CEO is gonna call their CEO, blah, blah, blah, blah, is just saying reiterate, it’s so important for that C level person to be so intimately involved with the deal that they don’t need to be. They don’t need to be briefed. And I think I think in small mid sized companies starts for sure. That’s the level of attentiveness the CEO needs to have to what’s going on is they really don’t need to be briefed today. They know what’s going on. Now. They know what needs to be said. Well, as you bigger companies, obviously they’re further away from it. You got more layers, but but, you know, we have a large audience of young startup sellers that listen to this. Yeah. Yeah, if your CEOs not involved in it, make sure they get involved.
Lisa Magnuson 45:04
But so a side note to that note is you do have the situations where the CEO goes a little rogue. I believe they always need to be briefed, I believe there always needs to be that pre call plan. And Steve Hall, who’s my subject matter expert on, on, you know, he makes this point, we actually in his his expert piece that we talked about, you know, the CEO that goes rogue, you know, starts promising things that are completely inconsistent with with the strategy or the account team or talking about things that the other executive, you know, I know that pre call planning, I just want you to do that. Yeah. Yeah, I think but I understand your point. You’re saying that they know or not, they are not starting from scratch.
Andy Paul 45:47
Yeah. And I just I think that there’s this, I think there’s a lot of theology built around that. At least my experience, because again, I’ve been in this for two years, I’ve worked with tons of CEOs, startups and small companies. is
Lisa Magnuson 46:00
most aren’t going to go rogue?
Andy Paul 46:01
No. So do they want to get the deal? Right? They’re not, they’re not there to show off. They’re there to win business. So what do we need to do to build a relationship with this person? Why do we need to communicate? And yeah, you’re gonna do your pre call planning, you always do your pre call planning. But yeah, I’ve never had a an instance where I had a CEO I couldn’t trust sometimes I’ve had VPS of sales I couldn’t trust.
Lisa Magnuson 46:22
I have seen the CEO go rogue just for the record.
Andy Paul 46:25
sure that they are but I mean, maybe I’ve just been fortunate. But I said, I’m, I’m oftentimes more concerned about the VP of Sales who’s feeling this urgency to get the deal. Make the number I suppose
to Oh, yeah. Yeah. Suppose the CEO that’s like, yeah, I’m more mindful the commitments we’re making here. So I’ll be careful. Like, the bottom line.
Lisa Magnuson 46:47
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s it’s all good.
Andy Paul 46:51
All right. Well, Lisa, we’ve come to the end here. So tell people how they can find out more about your book and get in contact with you.
Lisa Magnuson 46:57
Yeah, you know, the best thing is my website. which is www top line sales comm I did another refresh. I think it’s my like, fifth one over the years I’ve been in business, I won’t be the last. No, it won’t, but did one for this new book. And so you can click through to Amazon, there’s a chapter download for people that buy the new book, which is the top sales leader playbook and save their Amazon receipt number, they can get an exclusive bonus, which is a full organizational assessment, which I use all the time with clients, clients love it. And they can get a downloadable version of that for free if if they can if they enter their receipt number. So there’s a lot of resources. I’m one of the sales experts on the brighttalk channel. And, and so they can click through to a couple of those. I’m committed to 12 webinars this year on that channel. All right, there you go, please. Yes, and of course all the topics are from my two for my two most current two books
Andy Paul 48:01
as they should be, there’s nothing wrong. Not the wrong way to sell your books.
Lisa Magnuson 48:05
Right? Well, they’re bright tech, you’re not doing a lot of selling, but you’re talking a lot about content. So that’s, that’s an educational resource. Yeah,
Andy Paul 48:12
I know. But people aren’t. People aren’t fooled. They know what
Lisa Magnuson 48:16
it’s like. Now there is this slide about the book. No doubt, but my website really has everything. The other thing is there’s a pre call Planning Guide. It’s a two page fillable. pdf. Again, super popular. I use it constantly my clients, they can get that for free on my website, too. That’s on that bottom of the homepage. Okay. Well, perfect. Well, Lisa, thank you so much for joining me.
Andy Paul 48:37
Thank you, Andy. We’ll look forward to doing this again. I still have a lot of leftover questions we could have talked about so
Lisa Magnuson 48:44
excellent. I want to hear more your stories.
Andy Paul 48:47
Yeah, don’t get me started. So all right, Lisa, thank you very much. And we’ll talk again shortly.
Okay, friends, that was accelerate for the week. First of all, as always, I want to thank you for joining me. And I want to thank my guest, Lisa Magnuson Join me again next week as my guest will be Adam install. He’s the CEO of better proposals. And Adam and I are going to talk about the role that proposals play in today’s sales environment. He’s gonna share some fascinating data driven insights about how your proposal should be structured, particular information they should contain, how long they should be, and what they should look like, all in order to convert better, so you’ll definitely want to check this out. Be sure to join me next week for this conversation. So again, thanks for joining me this week on accelerate. And until next week, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.