Trish Bertuzzi, President of The Bridge Group, author of the Amazon #1 bestselling book, The Sales Development Playbook: How to Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth With Inside Sales, joins me again on this episode. Today’s show unveils the right steps to take with account-based strategies, whether sales or marketing focused.
Listen to my previous conversation with Trish on Episode #77 here.
The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.
Andy Paul 0:35
Hello and welcome to the Sales Enablement Podcast. Welcome back to the show again today Trish Bertuzzi, president of The Bridge Group, author of the Amazon number one best selling book, the sales development playbook, built a repeatable pipeline and accelerated growth within sales and widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on inside sales. Trish, welcome back.
Trish Bertuzzi 1:18
I’m excited to be back. Thank you.
Andy Paul 1:20
So maybe for people that didn’t hear your first episode, Episode Number 77. Or we should go back and listen to that because we had a great talk about your book. But take a minute, maybe Introduce yourself.
Trish Bertuzzi 1:32
Sure. So as Andy said, my name is Trish Bertuzzi. I’m the founder of The Bridge Group, which is an inside sales consulting implementation firm, focused on the b2b primarily, though, not exclusively tech space. We’ve been in business since 1998. worked with over 300 different companies. And if you’re thinking about inside sales and not talking to us, what are you doing?
Andy Paul 2:04
Usually we leave the sales pitch at the end, but the front is a great place to do it.
Trish Bertuzzi 2:07
Yeah. Well, I have their attention.
Andy Paul 2:10
Well, I’ve only appropriate I agree. Third thing, but inside sales, I should be talking to you. So let’s talk about that as the topic. First is, you’ve published your book a year ago, roughly. Right. And this is a fantastic book. So what’s changed since then? So in the year, so this is rough in the beginning of 2017.
Trish Bertuzzi 2:37
So I think what’s changed? There’s actually two things that I think have changed. One, I think there is finally the industry. The selling industry has woken up to the fact that we’re boring the absolute crap out of our buyers and they’ve stopped listening to us. Mm hmm. So I think people Have a friendly, yeah, people have finally figured out that those ridiculous email templates that they’ve been using, that the lazy sales approaches we’ve been taking, and the fact that we’ve invested no time whatsoever, and educating ourselves in our buyers, industry marketing challenges has come around to bite us in the butt.
Andy Paul 3:22
And that’s evidenced by what?
Trish Bertuzzi 3:26
So, you used to be able to publish a white paper and get x percentage of new names downloading your white paper that’s dramatically decreased. White Papers, webinars, you name it, we have created so much content, there’s a sea of content out there, and maybe 2% of it has any value whatsoever. So our buyers have finally figured out you know what, there’s got to be a different way I can get my information that doesn’t involve me filling out a webform and being harassed by an SDR. And I’m going to figure out what it is.
Trish Bertuzzi 4:12
And so what do you think they’re doing?
Trish Bertuzzi 4:14
I’m seeing the rise in more and more forums and groups that are focused on peer to peer. And I think they’re really starting to talk to each other. And I also think that sites like trust radius G2 crowd, even Glassdoor to some extent, are actually being used as a way to vet companies and products.
Andy Paul 4:42
What I find that the problem extends not just to the content, but I hear this a lot from people I speak to six days a week and talk to a lot of sales experts, people sales leaders, is that also they’re finding that when they actually get the chance to talk to with a prospect is that they’re also not able to successfully engage them.
Trish Bertuzzi 5:05
Well, that’s because we’re immersed in us. Right? We’re all about, this is what I do, here’s my features, here’s my benefits. Here’s my sales process, when the buyer is like, well, that doesn’t really have anything to do with me and my issues and my challenges and what I care about, so I’m not going to listen to you anymore.
Andy Paul 5:28
Yes, I mean, this is not a new problem in sales. I mean, this goes back as long as I’ve been a salesperson.
Trish Bertuzzi 5:37
But we haven’t really found a solution yet.
Andy Paul 5:40
And how do we know how and when we start socializing people, even before they come to salespeople about being, you know, how centric if you will, as opposed to being self centered?
Trish Bertuzzi 5:56
I’m not sure you can do it even before they become sales. Because we are like, have raised the most selfish generation on the face of the planet, right? So I mean, I mean, just look at selfies. I mean, just the word selfie, right? Kind of says at all. So what we have to do is say to people to be successful if you’re going to enter the sales game, there’s one thing you need to be. And that’s curious. You need to be curious about your buyer, what they do for a living, how they’re measured. What are their challenges, how are they currently addressing those challenges? What are they reading? Where are they hanging out? What do they care about? How are they measured? If you’re not curious about all that, you’re never going to be a great salesperson. But if you are curious about that, and you educate yourself, and maybe God forbid you’re lucky enough to be educated on those issues by the company you work for, and then you can have a conversation with your buyers about the Things to develop a relationship and empathy. And then the holy grail, you can actually tie the benefits of your solution to what they’re trying to accomplish. Boom, you’re in. But it all starts with them.
Andy Paul 7:16
Yeah, it has to. So how do we teach people to be curious? Let’s say, you know, how yours hires them as part of your onboarding process. You know, hopefully, you’ve done some sort of, you know, assessment during the interview process, trying to screen out people you think, maybe aren’t inherently curious, but, you know, given what you’ve been hired as is what’s your advice for how do you how do you stimulate that in people?
Trish Bertuzzi 7:36
Well, you have to have a learning culture, right? So people aren’t little baby robots that you plug into your process, and then kind of oil the machine and off they go every day. You know, putting Part A and slot B, you have to have a learning culture. You have to constantly challenge your people. You’ve got to have a way for them to be tested and certified. And rewarded for continuing to be curious for continuing their own self education. And you need a way to stimulate people that has nothing to do with their compensation plan and has everything to do with their brain. And those people, the people that figured out how to create a learning culture are the people that are hiring the A players nowadays.
Andy Paul 8:26
So when you think about this idea of certification as sort of industry wide, I’m not just, you know, company by company, but some sort of, you know, like, doctors and lawyers and so on. Is that a step too far? Or is that something you think that could be a good idea?
Trish Bertuzzi 8:43
I think it’s an intriguing idea. I know that the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals does have a certification process, but it’s not on skills. It’s more on. I don’t know, do you have the basic components that would enable you to do this job, I think it would be a challenge to do certification. I mean, we’re still challenged. Even with all the data that’s been out for so long now on the growth of inside sales as a career, we’re still challenged to get it offered as a major in colleges. So until we start digging deeper there, and there are the beginnings of schools that are acknowledging that I think certification will be a challenge. I mean, it’s not like we were taking people’s lives in our hands.
Andy Paul 9:33
No, no. But actually, only the certifying people that do your hair. I mean, they’re not. Maybe you’re taking your social life in your hands, but not your actual life. So all right, well, we can come back to that topic. So the second trend line you said the first one is we’re inundating people with crap. What’s the second trend though, that you’ve seen?
Trish Bertuzzi 9:51
It’s this whole movement around account based strategies. So I’ve heard a lot about ABM. Yep, so I came up with my own, and I call it ABR. It’s account based revenue. The reason I’m adamant about it is because I don’t care about marketing. I don’t care about everything. I don’t care about sales development, I care about one thing, and that one thing is revenue. So why don’t we just call it what it is and get everybody focused there. So we are working with our clients to implement ABR strategies.
Andy Paul 10:29
And let’s define that for you before we jump into that as people know about being account centric, and they’re selling but account based is different.
Trish Bertuzzi 10:46
Account centric, like when I’ll say people are you account based during a company’s marketing? What are you doing? They’re like, absolutely. I’m like, Okay, tell me what you’re doing that like we’ve identified a set of accounts and we are focusing our efforts there. And we’re having our sales development people call multiple people in those accounts. And I say, congratulations and welcome to the early 90s, you finally figured out right, you finally figured out how to do good, good outbound, right? account based is something else account based is when the entire organization, Board of Directors, executive management, sales and marketing executives, salespeople, marketing people, you name it, everyone says, we’re going to get revenue from this finite set of accounts. And the way we’re going to do it, is we’re going to surround them to capture their attention. We’re going to use every resource at our disposal to get to engagement and getting to engagement is the hardest part of the sales process nowadays. So we’re going to use everything at our disposal to get to engagement and we’re going to do things that are different. We’re going to hold events, we’re going to figure out who we want to get in front of and then put ads in front of them. We’re going to do executive briefings, we’re going to have our CEO called their CEO, we’re going to have our VP of products called their VP, whatever the case is, it’s a unified strategy that you go after the account. And it’s a different story. So let me explain that a little bit. Up until now, people have been talking about buyer personas and they’re critical. Like if you’re selling to multiple buyer personas, you have to have a relevant story to tell each of those buyer personas on how you can help them build a better business. Now with account based strategies, you also need that account story to tell. So let’s say you’re going after HBO and Comcast and a number of other companies in that entertainment vertical, right? Well, you need a story to tell that says, look, we know what’s going on in the entertainment industry, streaming is eating your revenues or streaming is pumping up your revenues. You know, there were other first mover advantages you need to be aware of. There’s other technologies that are starting to come into play, you need to have an account story, as well as buyer persona stories. That’s why it’s not just about drawing a box around a set of accounts, and then executing your old demand generation strategies against it. It’s doing something very different, very specific, and very well thought out.
Andy Paul 13:40
Right. So you’d written an article about this recently, I thought was a great a great article about the difference between the two and you quote john Miller from engag Oh, who’s been a guest on the show, is saying this you know, the goal of account based revenue we’ll call it is to serve a quota paraphrases, optimize your sales and marketing resources by focusing on the accounts most likely to drive big revenue. But as you said, it’s not just sales marketing can go beyond that as well.
Trish Bertuzzi 14:06
Andy Paul 14:08
Isn’t one thing that perhaps comes out of this push for account based revenue is that we start changing the definition of roles within the organization. I mean, it seems like they’re really sort of two primary functions you have, you know, you have an acquisition function and a retention function. And whether somebody sits in a marketing silo maybe is not relevant anymore, because they’re in an acquisition function. And maybe, you know, part of that marketing function or marketing silo goes to the retention function. And he’s just said it’s unified around that goal as opposed to traditional responsibilities.
Trish Bertuzzi 14:46
I could not have said that better myself.
Andy Paul 14:50
Well, thank you. I’m sitting there writing this down as I talked about, this brainstorm. So yeah, it seems to be happening. So you very clearly laid out one, as you’re doing this with an account based revenue approach with a finite number of accounts. I’ve talked to companies, lots of companies think, oh, yeah, we’re doing account based, as you said, we’re doing this for all of our accounts, and that it’s too resource intensive to be able to do that anyway.
Trish Bertuzzi 15:21
Correct. So you have to get super focused more than ever before. It’s about understanding where your sweet spot lies.
Andy Paul 15:30
As you said, you could have a different story for the entertainment industry, and maybe you’re focusing on some accounts on another parallel industry. It’s not the same story.
Trish Bertuzzi 15:43
It’s not the same story. That’s why it’s almost you ease your way into an account based strategy. You don’t fling yourself there. Because it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of coordination. It’s a lot of message development. It’s ensuring sales and marketing. Do you want to talk about alignment? We’re talking to schmell nevermind alignment, they’re melded, right, you know, no longer to sales, just sit there and wait for marketing to hand them leads, I mean, they are proactively communicating and sharing information and brainstorming on how to get into these accounts.
Andy Paul 16:19
Well starts the beginning, like sitting down together and choosing the accounts are gonna focus on.
Trish Bertuzzi 16:24
You would hope they did that. And you would hope that they used some scientific approach to doing so as opposed to what I see some people do and say, here’s a list of 50 accounts we could never get into. Let’s do a BM against them. And I’m like, you couldn’t get into them in the last 10 years. Maybe you want to put them at the bottom of the list.
Andy Paul 16:46
Yeah, look at the data. Unless they fundamentally changed organization in the timeframe. So let’s talk about this issue about sales marketing alignment, because this is really as you said, is really at the heart of it. And, again, as I have guests on the show, and we talked about this topic, it’s interesting to sort of press about, okay, what are some of the steps they need to do? Discrete steps have to take to make this alignment start happening. And, yeah, a lot. I’m not really good at the answers behind that. I mean, have you seen a good process, one of your clients is used to implement this.
Trish Bertuzzi 17:26
I actually have a visual arm, which obviously your audience can’t see right now. I call it the ABR Pentagon. And it has the five sides of what people need to get ready to do to execute on an AVR strategy.
Andy Paul 17:46
Well, we can make that a download on the show notes page.
Trish Bertuzzi 17:49
Well, there you go. Okay, let’s do that. Excellent. I will send that to you.
Andy Paul 17:54
Okay, so what’s on the five sides?
Trish Bertuzzi 17:57
So the five sides are all about the different things that you have to be prepared to do to get ready for ABR, and you do have to get ready for a bear. So we have this Pentagon, five sites The major categories are strategy and alignment, account selection, players in positions, account insights and plays, and then tools and measures. And under each of those categories, there’s different things you need to have completed before you move on to the next or before you start to execute. Let me just give you a couple of specific examples. So under strategy and alignment, you need to know what your mission is, and who’s your executive sponsor, and who your champions are, and how are you going to measure success? Okay, if you haven’t thought about that, yet, you’re not ready.
Andy Paul 19:01
And you move away from that, so measures of success, right? Not necessarily different.
Trish Bertuzzi 19:08
Right. So let me give you an example there. So I have a client we’re working with, that their entire universe is 400 accounts that they can sell to, obviously perfect for this right? And how they’re measuring success and compensating their salespeople I might add is based on acquisition of new logos, not revenue. So it’s a totally different way to think about it, because that’s the strategy. Getting that account to become a customer is the end game, right? The revenue follows. So something very different
Andy Paul 19:47
Triggers interesting thoughts. Do you think the dollar quote is even relevant?
Trish Bertuzzi 19:55
I think the answer is it depends. So I started. I think it depends on the size of the deal. The length of the sales process, your own where you are in your acquisition of goals, whether you’re going after new logos or doing cross sell and upsell with ABR strategies. So I think it depends.
Andy Paul 20:27
So that was the strategy in the alignment example.
Trish Bertuzzi 20:33
People are really good at picking their target accounts. And then when I say to them, okay, great. We’ve picked them on a scale of one to four with four being excellent. Tell me how good your data is in your CRM on those accounts.
Andy Paul 21:11
Okay. So when people are one, let’s say they answer your question, who are they trying to help them develop the data on the count?
Trish Bertuzzi 21:18
Oh, I mean, there’s a million data providers. So, they’re all doing great. And a lot of them are actually now positioning themselves in the A B category. But, you know, it depends. Do you want traditional data? Or do you want deeper data? You know, some people are looking for those titles that are hard to find, or not only does the account have to have a specific name, they have to have certain components, whether it’s technology installed, or whatever the case may be. So you can either go to traditional data providers or you can go to custom data providers.
Andy Paul 21:53
Yeah, no, I agree. I’ve interviewed CMOS for several of the data providers. Now they’re jumping in with both feet. The company’s revenue.
Trish Bertuzzi 22:05
Okay, so that’s two sides then, players in positions. Like Who does what? What’s marketing doing? What’s the AV doing? What’s the SDR doing? What role does your CEO play? What role does your CMO play VP of products, roles and responsibilities for everyone involved so that everyone understands who’s doing what and when to call in another resource. The A E is definitely the quarterback calling in the other resources but the other resources have to understand what their role is when they are called upon. So that gets defined right up front.
Andy Paul 22:44
Okay. Yeah, just sort of thinking this. What the responsibilities somebody is within an ABR strategy. It’s not gonna be the same as it was during their account centric selling.
Trish Bertuzzi 23:19
That is correct.
Andy Paul 23:21
Yeah, so an important thing for listeners to really understand is change. You have some it’s still titled SDR. But their focus has to be purely within a small range of accounts.
Trish Bertuzzi 23:32
And maybe their focus is different. You know, SDRs, usually set introductory meetings or qualified opportunities. Maybe in your ABR strategy, maybe their job is to call mid level to low in the organization, in complete an account profile. So we know what the current state looks like. So that then the messaging that marketing and sales go in with is very custom could be different.
Andy Paul 24:01
Sure. Well, yes. Certainly at certain stages a cycle. Absolutely.
Trish Bertuzzi 24:04
Andy Paul 24:06
So why aren’t we the players in positions now? We’re talking about plays?
Trish Bertuzzi 24:11
Yeah. So account insights in place. We’ve already talked a little bit about that you’ve got to have a messaging matrix. And different plays that tell a different story. It’s got to be an account based story. And there might be plays that are focused on top of the funnel, and there might be plays that are focused on okay, we’ve had a couple conversations with you now we’re going to continue to educate you. So different ways to communicate with your buyers depending on where they are in the process.
Andy Paul 24:46
And the word plays. I know that, you know, people talk about playbooks and the terms you’ve probably used pretty loosely. Yeah, but when you’re in an account based revenue situation for using certain tool sets, I like the engage eo tool or some and others. Is your defining actual plays almost like a football play? There are people who have multiple responsibilities working in tandem to achieve a certain outcome as part of the process. And so, yeah, somebody who typically has the responsibility for defining the plays.
Trish Bertuzzi 25:19
The plays are created between sales and marketing. Because the plays like I work with this amazing company called inverter on my ABR strategy, and they know more about how to put plays together for account based strategies than anyone I’ve ever met. And when they work on a play with our clients, because we go in, I go in on the sales side, they go in on the marketing side, on the plays are articulating, not just what marketing’s going to do through every step of the process. That would be an old fashioned campaign, but what sales is going to do in each of those steps in the process. So it really is like a football play, like you defined it really is something like that we’re all the players on the field completely understand what happens, what happened before them what their job then is and what’s coming after them.
Andy Paul 26:16
Yeah, and you may define a play, let’s say, two points you made earlier, it’s downtime at this time in the process for our CEO to reach out to their CEO. Yep. And that will be a play to find out the steps that because the CEO isn’t just gonna call him out of the blue, they call his counterpart on the blue that’s gonna be arranged certain people have to arrange, there might be certain preceding things that need to happen in terms of educating the receiving CEO about, you know, where they are, what they need to what they’re going to talk about agenda. That also could be part defined as part of a play, because that would require three or four calls that say, You are 100%, courteous level, so I want people to get a sense of those who are listening that these plays are defined. That’s why I think football play is actually a very apt analogy because coaches draw them out. Each player knows exactly how many steps are gonna take and what direction what they got to do and they get there. If it’s the receiver, how many yards earn out before they make their cut on the route, all that stuff laid out in intricate detail all happening at one time.
Trish Bertuzzi 27:17
You got it.
Andy Paul 27:18
So it takes work. I think that’s what we’re trying to talk about. You just can’t jump into this. That takes some real preparation.
Trish Bertuzzi 27:26
It does. I mean, undoubtedly.
Andy Paul 27:27
The plays will evolve as you see how they’re effective there and so on, but you need to go in with an idea of what it is you need to do to make it happen.
Trish Bertuzzi 27:49
So, we recommend that you look at your metrics differently. It’s not about how many leads you created. All the old metrics don’t work. It’s about how we are getting coverage? What are we getting for engagement? And what are we getting for results? And that’s a little challenging to measure and just a regular old CRM, which is why companies, you know, engage you and Terminus and like, there’s some great companies out there that are starting to build solutions for this particular problem. And I think we’re going to see them take an even bigger spotlight on the stage in 2017.
Andy Paul 28:37
So you give an example in your article of a client you worked with that was planning to sort of scale up from 10 mil to 100. mil.
Trish Bertuzzi 29:21
Well, what we said to them was, we knew that it was viable for them to go up the food chain, right, we knew they could sell to bigger companies with larger size deals, because they did it, they just hadn’t focused on it before. You know, they got to 10 million pretty quickly by selling into the mid market as most people do. their product was fantastic and was well received in the enterprise space. And so what we did was go through some exercises with them that just said, Look, you can either keep chasing the mid market and having to close three times the deals that you’ve you know, done before, which means more marketing. More salespeople, you name it. Or you could come up with a really smart strategy that gets you into bigger accounts, quadruple your deal size and close fewer deals. Those are your two scenarios. What do you think is the easiest way for you to achieve your goals? And they went with the account based strategy?
Andy Paul 30:20
Yeah, I mean, it didn’t mean they still weren’t selling some of the mid market. But so salutely No, it was just a reallocation of resources. That’s the thing. I think that that’s important for you to understand is that you’re not going to go all in.
Trish Bertuzzi 30:37
Andy, thank you for stating that. So many people think it’s all or nothing. It’s not.
Andy Paul 30:43
No, it’s just for your major accounts.
Trish Bertuzzi 30:46
And not everybody has major accounts. And you know what? It’s okay. If you don’t, don’t feel bad, don’t feel ABR shame.
Andy Paul 31:02
So what do you think is the cutoff point just so people sort of understand, you know, from a product standpoint, what do you have an opinion?
Trish Bertuzzi 31:09
Yeah, it’s not an informed opinion. It’s not a validated opinion. It’s a gut opinion in my mind is 50k?
Andy Paul 31:38
That’s injuries one. If you assume an average life of what was that six years? Remember what that netstat was, I saw it but something like that. I mean, if you’re gonna get a $3,000 account, you’re gonna spend that type of resources. That’s, probably gonna be a good return for you.
Trish Bertuzzi 31:55
That’s what I’m thinking. Very interesting.
Andy Paul 31:58
All right. So as it did last time, we got some standard questions we asked at the end of the round off the end of the episode. So I’ve got a different set than the ones you answered last time.
Trish Bertuzzi 32:08
Why is it that these questions are the ones that make me nervous?
Andy Paul 32:12
But shouldn’t? Okay, these are even easier than last time. Okay, so the first one is, in your mind, is it easier to teach a technical person how to sell or teach a salesperson how to sell a technical product?
Trish Bertuzzi 32:28
I think it’s easier how to teach a salesperson how to sell a technical product. If they’re a good salesperson, they’re not selling the product. So they don’t have to know that much. And if they’re really smart, they’re selling the business outcomes. They still don’t have to know that much. And if they’re really smart, they have an se that they call in when they need
Andy Paul 35:33
Excellent. Okay, great. All right. So sort of along the same lines, perhaps. So if you could change one thing about your business self, what would it be?
Trish Bertuzzi 35:43
I wish I had written a book A long time ago and loved it so much that I wanted to write another.
Andy Paul 36:19
Yeah. All right. So last question. So do you have a favorite quotation or words of wisdom that you live by?
Trish Bertuzzi 36:33
I kind of live by it is what it is. I don’t go insane about things I can’t change because it is what it is. It could be good. It could be bad. It could be indifferent, but it is what it is.
Andy Paul 36:54
Yeah, sir. Like the short version of the Serenity Prayer.
Trish Bertuzzi 36:58
Andy Paul 37:00
All right, well, good. Well, Trish, thanks for joining me again. And so tell people how they can find out more about you and connect with you.
Trish Bertuzzi 37:08
Sure, so people can follow me on Twitter. I’m at Bridge Group, Inc. Or they can email me or connect with me on Linkedin.
Andy Paul 37:31
So again, Trish, thank you and friends, thank you for spending time with us. Remember, make it part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success and easily do that as well as join my conversations with top business experts like my guest today Trish Bertuzzi, who shared her expertise now 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 liked what you heard, and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher for more information about today’s guests, visit my website at AndyPaul.com