The Daily Briefing - May 26, 2020 - Embrace Leadership Behavior to Win and Advance Your Career
On today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Lauren Bailey, Founder of Factor8 and #GirlsClub. Before diving into the data, they discussed a passion they share: people development. Chorus is a proud sponsor of #GirlsClub, helping to empower female reps and managers to become future sales leaders. Lauren says it comes down to confidence and exposure. “A lot of women have to go outside of company walls to find role models and mentors in leadership,” she said. Her biggest surprise after launching #GirlsClub has been the enthusiastic success of each member. “How quickly these women take off! It’s a bit like pulling teeth to get women to ask for funding and time from their managers,” she said. “But once they get it, they take off like rockets. They're dipping their toes into leadership. We’ve got a 70-80% promotion rate. And that’s just when they’re in the program.” Leaders have a responsibility to empower their reps, and reps have a responsibility to raise their hands. Now that we are remote, and that sales leaders are joining more of their reps calls, there’s more opportunity to mentor and coach the future leaders of sales. *The new deal structure for CFOs* We have been sharing data that shows that buying-side leadership participation in sales calls has been significantly on the rise since COVID-19. Today we shared a secondary metric, going deeper into this data. CFOs are joining meetings at an alarming rate. There has been a 91% increase in CFO meeting participation since pre-COVID. Sales leaders have intuitively picked up on this shift. It is startling so see the numbers. “The world has changed,” said Jim. “Look at this increase.” But how should sales teams alter their approach to address the needs and concerns of a level-ed up meeting with a different economic buyer? “I think we’re used to asking our youngest members to follow their script and run through the demo,” said Lauren, “and that’s just not going to work anymore.” *What would make for a successful outcome for CFOs* We have to rethink the structure of our meetings, Lauren says. “It’s not a standard pitch, it’s not a list of features and benefits, and it’s not a demo. You’re not selling the tool anymore, you’re selling the decision.” Jim does prefer a more visual approach, but agrees that it can be overdone. “I think they’re not looking for a canned deck,” he said. “I do think ROI calculators that are customized are important.” “Exactly,” Lauren agreed. “Show the trends. Give them custom data. Not the features and benefits demo. They are asking, ‘Why am I buying this now?’ It’s not just return on investment, it’s also the speed of that investment.” CFOs, and indeed other leaders, need to be convinced that your product is business critical. “You’re jockeying for limited spend,” said Lauren. “It has to do with risk. It’s risk mitigation. Is this going to save me from something else, is it going to help me pivot, is it going to help me reduce spend… These are the things they care about.” “What opening question would you ask a CFO?” Jim asked. “Frankly, I would flip it around,” Lauren said. “Instead of trying to control that call and lead the narrative, I’d stop the call and say: You’re joining this call because you have questions you need answered. Let’s put them on the table and make sure we address them.” And it’s not just about hearing the questions that are top of mind for them. It is also how you answer their questions. “I love selling to sales leaders because they love the pitch. The CFO has no tolerance for that. Answer their questions directly. They’re not going to go on the long winding journey with you.” *People-focused leadership* As we have reported, sales leaders are continuing to join their sellers on calls. To that, Lauren has some advice: don’t take over. “If you’re joining your sellers on the call. Resist the temptation to jump in and take over. It’s not ripping the headset off and taking over. This is what prevents us from being coaches. It’s doing it, not teaching it.” A leader is at their best when they are helping to add weight to their side of the table while also helping to grow and train their rep. Lauren gives us three reasons why leaders are joining meetings: 1. Reduced spending 2. Making strategic pivots 3. More time, not stuck in bs meetings pulled into This leads to a hyper-focus on people and morale. Making sure your calls are successful takes preparation. “You have to take it up a level,” she said. “We used to have a given formula for our reps. But our conversations have changed. You have to ask more strategic questions. You have to understand what is happening in their business and what that means for them; why they are looking at these tools right now, especially with a restricted budget.” Jim said, “If execs are joining calls, they’re reviewing the deals. It has to spread beyond the inbox.” He asked Lauren if she knew of any tactics that are working to help up-level the deal.