Top tips from Simon Carstens.
1. Sales Process.
Nobody likes the word process. But ultimately, we’re talking about everything from generating leads, how do I find the prospective customers all the way through to close? Let’s analyze it. And I guarantee if you sat down with a team of five and ask them what their sales processes individually, they will have a different idea. Yes. So actually, what do you do today? And analyzing each step that they take and working out? What would work really well? And it’s when you chunk things down, make them simple that you do you start to realize where the opportunities for improvement.
2. Capability of the team.
I think really understanding the capability of the team that required capability, a lot of people probably don’t spend enough time looking at the actual skills required within the role, because every sales role is different. You know, so they’ll, they’ll hire on the other companies that work for generalized skills, but really being specific at the hiring stage about the type or the persona, or salesperson that you’re looking for is really, really important
3. Making sure you’ve got the culture.
Last but not least, in fact, this is the number one thing is making sure you’ve got the culture. Right. Okay. You know, culture is really about how things look around here. What’s the level of accountability? How high performing is the team? Yeah, you know, what do we really need to do you have all the great skills and capabilities in the world, but if they’re not activated, happy and engaged, then your results are going to be lackluster. So as far as actually designing that, you know, using your team to help with that, what are some words you’d use to describe our team? Or you aspirationally? How we want our team to be you want to be fun, hard working accountable. Auditors accountable mean? Yeah, well, don’t let us off the hook. Yeah, it means if we do something, we say, we’re going to do something, we’re gonna do it, there might be consequences.
work, people, sales, business, call, crm, sales process, opportunity, client, salespeople, salesperson, team, selling, new zealand, playbook, role, create, company, process, making
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:00
Welcome to the Better Business better life Show. I’m your podcast host, Debra Chantry-Taylor. In this podcast, I interview business owners, iOS implementers, and business experts who share with you their experiences, tips and tools to help you create not only a better business, but also a better life. At the end of each show, you will have three tips or tools that our guest share that you can implement immediately into your life. If you want more information or want to get in contact, you can visit my website, Debra dot coach. That’s D B R A dot Coach, please enjoy the show. And today I’m joined by Simon Karstens, who’s a sales performance expert. Is that right? That’s right, excellent. I’m looking forward to hear more about that. So Simon, I actually met through a networking and community group that I’m part of called Connected Communities. And I guess we’ve got to know each other over time. And I’d love to hear some of the things that Simon has to say on the podcast, as I’m sure you’ll get huge value from it, too. So Simon, welcome to Studio. Thanks very much. Love to hear your story of how you got to be a sales performance expert.
Simon Carstens 01:02
Right? Yeah, absolutely. Well, it goes way back to the 1990s. Actually, I was at university studying business degree. And one of the school holidays or the breaks, I looked on the student job search board, and there was a role offering commission only sales roles. I thought I’ll give that a go. It sounds really interesting.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 01:18
So pretty brave commission only.
Simon Carstens 01:21
Myself, and it was probably for a bit of experience as well as money. And so I bought myself my first briefcase turned up to this new job. And they gave me Yellow Pages and said Go for it. That was told me about the product. Yeah. And there was a guy at the time who talked me through the sale process. But it was incredibly difficult. Going through the Yellow Pages, looking for businesses, finding the right person booking meetings, turning up presenting, dealing with objections and closing. And it was very difficult to this day, I think it’s probably the most difficult job I ever had. What I really loved it and I thrived on the excitement. So I decided that’s what I wanted to do for a career.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 01:57
So did that mean you finish the degree though? I did. Because I switched off midway through a degree in kind of like, this is not what I want to do and went off to do something else.
Simon Carstens 02:06
But really know what they want to do until they come out of their degree. But I knew at that point, so I got my first sales job. And I got a couple of sales jobs after that, which were very similar actually having to go out there and find business and enclosed and I love the thrill of the chase. Yep, to do with that. So I earned my stripes and New Zealand at the end of the 1990s. I did my IV went to London, and where I worked for a number of telecommunications companies. Okay, so that was fantastic training for me. I’ve worked for telecom New Zealand before I left and with that experience was able to work for a couple of telcos, my first one was welcome. Oh, yeah. During, yeah, so I went through the good times, and the bad for them, it was great. Starting with them, they gave me a lot of formal sales training. It was it was a pretty disciplined and high performing sales environment, you could be really successful, and then great money if you succeeded. But you should probably be walked out the door if you didn’t. So a lot of pressure, a lot of awards, and a lot of success financially and otherwise. So that was great. Went through those great times with them. And then they became bankrupt probably heard the story. And so the economy was starting to suffer at that point. And so the economy started declining, they went bankrupt. So I saw the boom and the bust. And what’s really interesting working for companies in those two modes, was very different modes. Most everything’s great going on trips, a lot of enjoyment made some great friends through those times of austerity, we’re paying for our mobiles. And we’re totally grateful to have job, you just knuckle down and you got on with it. And then I got my first leadership role, working for a comfortable global crossing at the time, which was a company coming out of bankruptcy. So I had the opportunity to build teams, it was my first leadership role. So I had to learn how to lead through others, as opposed to carrying the bag and selling myself, which is my first big Leadership Challenge. Fantastic. So that was great. For me, I studied, did my MBA concurrently, he was working in studying at the same time I’ve done that it’s hard. It’s very difficult, every every minute counts, quite accountable. But I had the opportunity to build teams. In particular, this this team build European sales team, pick people work out what they need in terms of capabilities, where we’re trying to get to strategically with a company and build some quite high performing teams, they’re moving to a corporate part of the same organization and did the same that was a lot more cutthroat, a lot of hiring a lot of firing a lot of pressure turning up to work in the morning with a knot in your stomach wondering what’s going to happen today. Who’s gonna get fired, and it was pretty, it was pretty grueling, but I think it taught me the basics, you know, in terms of what real selling is like, and that part environment? Yep, I was able to hone my craft and be quite successful at it. So that was the that was my UK experience, if you like developing the skills, came back to New Zealand around 2009 and worked for a couple of telcos here in sales leadership roles, so very much same story. The scam sparked Look, I’m at the time was was suffering from intense competition. So that was very that environment where you had to get your team up to speed and learn how to compete in an environment where they never had competition before. And then I worked for an IT company for a while where I was selling again, as you’re leading a sales team hardware software or but it was outsourced services. Okay. That organization has, whether it be servers databases, yep. And then I got my first exec role working for a company at the time called Pay mark, which is now called Word learn how yep, yep. So that was another great opportunity of completely transforming the sales team, from where they were to where the company was heading, which was to build world leading products and services, where it’s a pretty much an incumbent before they didn’t have anything to sell. So another opportunity for me to work out the capability we need the culture, we need, and develop a team and and build into high performance. So that’s what I’ve done all my career. And that’s what I love the most and most, where you left
Debra Chantry-Taylor 05:56
It didn’t you want to work for yourself? Your own company,
Simon Carstens 05:59
It’s really interesting. So how that all happened, it was it was a collision of a number of things. I my last job was for a very large corporation, and was huge team about 150 people. It was the first role I’ve had that it was, it was incredibly difficult on many levels. Culturally, it was very hard to be successful, and I just didn’t enjoy it. So I was forced to question my own ability, the company, I was working for the culture and decided what I really wanted to do, plus a few personal challenges I had, so it was a chance for me to take a step back, I did a lot of work, working through my purpose, what I really loved about the roles, what I loved about what I do, I’m passionate about and what I’m great at. And that were those three, three things, I decided I wanted to build a company that aligns with that. Because if you’ve got your purpose aligned, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s heavy, you enjoy what you do. And you’ve got the experience, you’re great at it. So that comes with confidence. So that’s when I decided to set up my own sales consulting practice.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:55
It’s actually really interesting. I was actually at the Family Business Association conference yesterday, and one of the family business owners very large family business, both Australia and New Zealand made the point that you know, your children shouldn’t necessarily work in the business and why this is relevant is because he said that, if it’s not their passion, if it’s not what they love, it’s not that what they want to do, they’re not going to add value to the business. And I think that happens with all of us, we actually have to question, you know, what is our purpose? What do we love? What do we want to do, and ensure that we are aligned with that, because that’s when you get the most value, whether it’s for your own business or working for somebody else.
Simon Carstens 07:26
Couldn’t agree more? Yeah. And for me, at the time, I was chasing the dollar chasing the role, the title, the hierarchy, and I realized that wasn’t important to me.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 07:35
It’s funny how we get to a certain age, I remember back in the early days of my career, having the title, having the car, having whatever kind of car it was, was really important, what your title was as important. What level of frequent flyer status you were at all that stuff was important. And these days, you really couldn’t give a toss about it.
Simon Carstens 07:52
It’s been the most leveling experience for me, because then a senior role people want you, they want to make contact with you, they want to do business with you, you feel important, and it’s very, you have the power. Whereas here I am, on my own. Yep, trying to do exactly what they’re trying to do, which is get appointments, build business, establish credibility, brand, all that sort of thing. So it’s a very humbling
Debra Chantry-Taylor 08:13
Experience for them. You’ve got to watch what was the terminology you use? You’ve got to drink your own champagne champagne? Well, that feels like medicine. Okay, yeah.
Simon Carstens 08:23
So that’s probably been the biggest learning for me actually, is having to carry the bag again, as I call it, which is actually sell myself as opposed to leading teams who sell okay. And so it’s been quite a challenge, actually, actually getting out there working through the formula for success. Yep. How do I go about things? How do I do things, and I’m lucky enough to partner up with Sandler sales training, and they have a very well established what they call a gate selling process. So I’ve gone through all the sales training with them, and know how to sell their services in the way that they’ve refined over the years and years. In fact, they’ve been around 60 years. So I’ve been able to sort of get support and hone my own sales process down to make sure it’s as effective as possible, which has been really helpful.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:04
Yeah. So obviously, that’s a big switch, going from leading a whole team of people who do a lot of the work for you to actually go back into your own business. What do you think the biggest challenge has been?
Simon Carstens 09:14
Oh, there’s two for me. Yeah, one’s mindset. Okay. It’s really important. And a lot of the businesses idea within individuals as well, it’s probably the thing that holds us back the most. You know, it’s self limiting beliefs. It’s the head trash, as we call it. It’s all the stuff going around in your head. Yep. So when you’ve got a list of people, you need to call yes, you’re looking for an excuse not to call.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:33
I was I was just sitting here giggling to myself, because I actually, it’s not just the not calling them but then you’ve kind of fall into this hole. I’m no good at selling. I don’t like selling and I find myself doing that regularly and then have to say, actually, you’ve got to reposition that. Because if you keep saying that, you just actually create that reality, don’t you?
Simon Carstens 09:49
100%. Yeah, it’s about the self limiting beliefs and the more you tell yourself that and the more you believe them, and when you pick up the phone and make the call, guess what, you’re not going to do a great job.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:59
I believe in myself. How can you possibly lever me? That’s right, yeah,
Simon Carstens 10:01
Waiting for the No, or give them a reasoning upon you. So you’ve got to have the confidence and, and the one thing I’ve learned is that it’s about the behaviors. You know, if if we, if we go about these cold calls, and we know we’ve got to do them, then the behavior drives the attitude. People think you gotta get the head, right, gotta get there, right before you do with these things. But actually, booking time in your diary, I’m going to make my calls on Monday morning from 10 to 12. Because that’s what I’m freshest. And that’s when I’m going to have the most chance. And I’m going to book it in. And I’m going to make the calls. Yep. And I’m going to hold myself accountable for them. Yeah, that’s probably the biggest lesson, I think, for businesses. And one thing I’ve learned as you’ve just, you’ve got to do it. And you’ve got to set up a process to do that. Yes. And the second thing is accountability, right? Which isn’t, which is the tail end of that, which is how do I hold myself to account in a business? You know, you’ve got bosses, you’ve got shareholders, you’ve got boards, you’ve got someone else to be accountable to, and you’ve got your own reputation, which drives you when you’re a one man band, or even a small company. You’ve got no one checking in on you. Yeah. So what we often do at Sandler and I do with my clients is saying, what are all the things that stand in the way of your success? And you’ll go through and say, what gets in the way of your average day, like, I get phone calls from people, great. You know, I go make a coffee I had look at the internet, I look at Instagram. And if you calculate all the minutes, adding up to hours of things that are unproductive time, there’s a lot of ways to track. What I do is I booked time in my diary on a Friday afternoon. Yep. And I plan my next week, I put the times in my diary for things that I need to do making calls following up and I plan my week to be as productive as possible. Yep. And then I review that a review the previous week and go, What do I achieve? What didn’t I achieve? And why?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 11:41
Yeah, what’s working, what’s not working? I think also, we talk about it with a bigger business or work with having a scorecard to actually measure things, I think you still need that even as a one or a two man band, because again, it gives us some accountability, you can’t keep looking at a scorecard every single week, and the numbers being read and not be forced to do something about it. Whereas if you’re not actually writing it down, if you’re not looking at it on a regular basis, then it’s very easy to kind of go Oh, yeah, I didn’t do it. But I’ll get around to it next week. All right. You know, procrastination is a is a killer.
Simon Carstens 12:08
That’s right. And what I’ve done personally, because this is what I need, everyone might be slightly different in terms of accountability and driving their behavior is I have a call with somebody every Friday, for half an hour. Yeah. And we say, Great. I’m asked, Hey, Simon, what are you going to do next week? What What have you committed to doing? And I’ll go, Well, I’m doing XYZ, they’ll do the same to me. And I know that I’ve got that call. And yeah, so they’ll find that really effective.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 12:30
Yeah, I actually did it with one of my EOS colleagues over in Sydney, and we just used to text each other on a Friday. And it was literally no, so we agreed to do a certain number of what we call Vth calls, which is our sales calls. And we’d actually ask each other how have we gone? Have we achieved our target or not? And even just knowing that that text message is going to come through and that you had to answer it gave you that momentum to kind of keep things going. So it’s important, yeah, cannibal is important. And I always liken it to, it’s like having a personal trainer right at the gym for many, many years. I paid for gym memberships, and would never go because there was always a reason not too soon as I started paying somebody to actually hold me accountable. And they go three times a week, they’re expecting me, I’ve paid for it. Guess what I’m very, very rarely ever miss a PT session. Yeah,
Simon Carstens 13:10
Forming those habits probably over time, you may not need the personal trainer anymore. So I think it’s getting to a point where it’s sustainable. I might
Debra Chantry-Taylor 13:18
Be a little bit unique in that respect. Okay, great. So yes, so having to go back to those basics and doing some of the stuff that you’re actually helping other people to do. It really is an eye opener. And because I know when I started my business, which was what, 20 odd years ago now, yes, I’d always been in other people’s businesses always running large teams had lots of people to do stuff for me, too. And all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, I’m on my own, I have to do this all myself or I have to find other people to do it and working out, you know, who you employ when you employ them what they’re going to do? Or becomes part of that forming a business?
Simon Carstens 13:48
No, exactly. I mean, there’s a couple of things on that. Firstly, we like to put together for our clients call a cookbook, Oh, yeah. Which is take you through a process of saying, Well, what’s your goal, then it could be a revenue goal, let’s say 100,000. And you say, Well, what do I need to do to to reach that in terms of the number of opportunities in the pipeline based on my conversions, all the way through to how many conversations do I need to even how many dials do I need to make to get through to someone to have the conversation to have the meeting? So it’s a really sort of scientific way of going, this is my activity plan. This is what I need to do to be successful. Yep. And the other thing, which is really eye opening for everyone, when I take them through this as we look at the working hours in a year, yes. If you think about working days, less public holidays, or holidays, plus leave days plus whatever else you need to do in your life. Yep. And what how many hours? Or how many days? That translates to? It’s quite
Debra Chantry-Taylor 14:41
Scary. Yeah. How
Simon Carstens 14:43
Much money in that length of time and all of a sudden, there’s this compelling reason to and when I do that sums myself at equals four days a week. So you’ve got 20% of your week, is an effective potentially you don’t have to make the calls to generate the opportunities to Close the business, I need to cram in a four day week into a five day week. Yep. Yeah, no,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 15:05
That’s cool. And it’s interesting to me, obviously, we’ve established businesses and even business have been around for a long, long time, often haven’t got that cookbook or that recipe sorted. And it’s one of the things we talk about is like, you know, do you know, I mean, I’ve got a very simple funnel, with the with the consulting business in terms of I know that I send out 10 traction books to target market audiences, I get for initial phone calls, I can then have a conversation with about that there’s some value there for them to have those will book into a more comprehensive, sort of meeting around what the tools are, and then when will become a client. So that’s pretty simple maths, once you know that you can go right, if I want one client per month, what do I have to do the leading indicators, 10 books going at a target market audience. And you if you don’t do that, you’re never gonna get to the one client. So, but it’s amazing how many businesses haven’t actually worked through that there. I remember when I first came to New Zealand, I worked for it an engineering firm, and all the sales reps out on the road where we’re going out visiting people day in day out, and I tell them, so what was the purpose of the call? What did you need to get from that? What is your funnel look like? How are you making sure you get the results? And they just didn’t have it? They were just literally wandering around and was having chats to people how was the has the rugby has weather, you know, but they didn’t have that purpose in mind. Once you get that kind of level of clarity, it becomes easier, I would say not easy, but easier. Absolutely.
Simon Carstens 16:17
And I call this a playbook. Or you think about a recipe. So you go to a restaurant, you have a lovely meal, you think I’ll go home and try to recreate that. And no matter what you do, it may it tastes okay. But it’s not the same. Yep. Yeah, no, it’s not a mouth watering success, like what how they do that. And if you think about sales, it’s the same if everyone, every salesperson goes into their sales process with a different formula, there’s got to be a huge amount of variability. So you might have one, but you extrapolate that out to teams, and then multiple teams, there’s, it’s obvious why teams is over performance and under performance, right. So to create that playbook, to create the whole sales stage, right from how we generate leads to how we get meetings to, to what we do in the meeting, what the objectives are, how we handle that all the way through, is essential. So what we’re saying is have a recipe for success, a playbook. That doesn’t mean people become robots, that means they apply their own skills and abilities to that process to become successful. But it narrows down the variability and creates that recipe for success. So what I always say to businesses, individuals is, if you have a playbook and someone comes into your organization, could they learn that quickly repeat it and get up to speed really quickly and become effective? A lot of businesses go, Hey, we’ve hired you, they might go through rudimentary sales interview process, here’s your phone, here’s your laptop,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:36
I figure here’s your yellow pages
Simon Carstens 17:39
With someone or in a ride shotgun with other salespeople, but that’s just not enough. Yeah. And so the learning curve is much longer and steeper, rather than the sort of that intensive, right, we’re gonna put you through this induction program, we’re going to get you up to speed, we’re going to make sure at the right level, and we follow this process, and we’ve got the KPIs to track you along the way. So that’s that’s an area I think businesses could do a lot better. And
Debra Chantry-Taylor 18:00
Yeah, I think if you think about the US model, it’s one of our core components, we’ve got six key components. One is process. And we say it’s your core processes. There’s not every single process and like you said, we don’t want to create robots. So it’s not actually step by step by step down to the minut detail, but it is the core process. It’s the key of that core process. What are the main steps you have to take? What does that look like? And then that gives the people the chance to, to know what needs to be done, but they still have the opportunity to humanize that potential. So they can still put bring their own flavor to it, but they’ve got that recipe to follow. And, and I think one of my I love one of my clients. And they said to me, it’s a little bit like, you know, when you’re following a recipe to create a pavlova, right, I don’t bake particularly well. But if you follow the recipe for pavlova, it’s quite specific, you’ve got ingredients, certain way of doing things a certain way, whisking it, and you put in the oven and rara and if you change any of those things on the recipe, you will get something but it’s probably not going to be a public. And I thought that’s so true of business, right? It’s like it’s the rest. No, it means that you can obviously add extra things to it, you can add some, some strawberries and some blueberries and things at the end to make it your own and make it quite, you know, quite unique. However, you’ve got to follow that core recipe to get that core pavlova that you can then work with.
Simon Carstens 19:07
Yeah, that’s right. And there’s a really common trend. I think it’s a New Zealand more than I’ve seen globally. But the view of management as I hire expensive salespeople, they should know how to do their job. And they might in certain environments in the way that they’ve been trained, which is distinctly different depending on where you’ve come from what you do. I come from a very formalized training background, I’ve been through probably three or four major sales methodologies. And I’m analytical, so but we’re some people, they’ll shoot from the hip and they’re really good. They’ve got the gift of the gab. They know how to deal with people. They can read them really well. But those aren’t necessarily replicable. Yep. And so by creating that playbook, it says, Great. Here’s the way we do things. It’s kind of like McDonald’s is the robot this we know this is really successful. Yeah, but by the way, if you can do better feedback into the process, we can improve that or you’ve got a different way. If you’re meeting your numbers and they’re meeting theirs in a different way. That’s fine. But here’s what we think is the best way to go. about that,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:00
And like you said, that will leave in at some of those, you know, real high performance and not underperformance. But I suppose it also gives a chance. Because if you’ve got all that in place, and somebody’s still not performing, so you’ve got that plus your scorecard KPIs, and they’re still performing, then it gives you an opportunity to deal with that in whatever is the best way, right?
Simon Carstens 20:16
Yeah, absolutely. So you’ve got a few different things, you’ve got the capability of the salesperson. Yep. So before you hire them, you should be really understanding what capability you need, depending on your product industry, the role in how you need the sales processes, you know, it could be a long sales process selling software, there could be a you need someone who’s a real strategic salesperson, solution, salesperson versus someone who’s a commodity salesperson, somewhere where exactly demand exists, might be selling food products into a supermarket, for example. Yep. So you’ve got to understand what you’re looking for, give them the training relevant to what they’re doing, and make sure that standardized Yep. And bring everyone up to the same kind of capability level, and then the ability to apply that to your sales process to be successful. Yep. So you’ve got unlocking the potential of the the individuals Yeah. And then you’ve got how that translate to having the right systems and processes in the background to enable those salespeople to be effective. You know, some research recently from HubSpot said that salespeople only spend around 30% of their time selling. And the rest of the time is internal stuff. Admin, it’s ineffective CRM is if you’ve got one, there’s a there’s a whole lot of stuff in the background that’s keeping them from having either finding customers, or developing opportunities, closing deals.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 21:29
Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting point. I know when I first came to New Zealand, many, many, many years ago, one of my first roles was Sales and Marketing for the engineering firm. And I had come from the pharmaceutical industry. So even in my very, very early days, when laptops were really only just kind of coming out, we had dial up internet, we actually had a CRM system was really powerful. And I loved it as a salesperson, I loved it, because it actually enabled me to to plan my day properly, do all the right things. And all the follow up. For me, it was really, really great. And so I’ve always been used to working in that environment. I came over here. So I did work in the engineering firm. And I said to them, you know, how do you keep track of what you’ve just said in that meeting with that client? They’re like, ah, what do you mean? I said, Well, where do you keep track all this information? Well, I don’t, how do you know what you’re gonna do? When you wake up in the morning? How do you know what you know what your plan is, and they really had no systems. And I’ve what I’ve learned is that a lot of people think that CRM is actually a disabling is the right word. It’s like, yeah, for salespeople, but if it’s used correctly, it can be really powerful. I think,
Simon Carstens 22:26
Admins the most common word for it, I have to fill in all this admin, but actually, when you unlock the capability of a good CRM, you know, all your emails should be synchronized. So when you send an email, from your email, from your outlook, for example, that should be tracked within the CRM. And so every piece of correspondence is tracked. And, you know, I follow the adage, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. And if you don’t know, activity, for example, how many calls are we making? How successful are those calls, if you can’t track into that you can’t work out the variability and therefore improve things. So there’s a real shift to making sure we got everything tracked in a centralized way, which tends to be the CRM. So you got all emails or correspondences, all opportunities, you’ve got your KPIs in there,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 23:08
Your tasks, your next things to do. Next, you’re hiding. And in
Simon Carstens 23:11
My experience, it’s a cultural issue, who got a company who’s done things the same way, without that level of accountability? Moving there is a real challenge, because they know that there’s nowhere to hide, right? Yeah, you know, where you know how many calls you’ve made, you know how successful those calls are moving to meetings, blah, blah,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 23:25
Yeah. But it gives you such insight, right minutes that the data is can be data can be really helpful, and really not helpful. But if you actually have the right data, you’re looking at it, you can start to see like nice, very simple funnel, you can start to see if you’re sending out 10 books and the 10, four to one, if any of those variables start to change, you have to go. Okay, so what’s happening? And what do I need to do to address that? Because that means something is going wrong somewhere. And that’s what data gives you I think,
Simon Carstens 23:50
Yeah, example of that the client who I worked with it last year, they installed a new CRM, and we worked out some KPIs, and we started getting them to track all their information. And we worked out that one salesperson had a 5% conversion rate from having a lead to arranging a meeting, which was the next part of their sales process. The next person was 35%, who
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:09
Say five minutes is really low.
Simon Carstens 24:12
So when, when that when that comes up every week, and the salesman has a goal, you know, how’s how’s that going? And what the hell is working out for you? And we’ll go this person, how do you do it? And we’ll say, well actually unpack it. Yep. You know, what, how do you make the call who you’re trying to get ahold of, what’s your call script? How do you deal with objections, you know, what are you actually going into their meeting trying to achieve? Whereas this other person was doing everything wrong? Yep. And so I was like, great, we can bring up to speed. Here’s an example of that. We can get you on a call. There’s it so it helps with the training consistency about it. And there’s always an opportunity,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:42
Rght? You’re being monitored by Big Brother, but in actual fact, if you’re using it well, it gives you opportunity to see where you can improve learn new things. But also, like I said, with with me, it meant that I could actually much better organize my day, my week I knew what I was doing and that that made my wholesale job a whole lot easier. So I think getting
Simon Carstens 25:01
People to use a CRM is a sale in itself. Again, especially with entrenched views about some salespeople just want to be left alone. And anything you do is micromanagement. Yeah. But there’s a lot of benefits of using that can really help them as you say, manage tasks and manage what they do. And an easy way,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:17
You can’t lose track of things when it comes to CRM, when it says the next action for this client is this and it reminds you on the day, is that oh, yeah, that’s right, we’re gonna call that person.
Simon Carstens 25:23
Yeah, I think we’re at that stage at the moment within New Zealand, as people are starting to move towards high quality CRM systems that fully integrate. But that’s a big job, if you make it work properly, because there’s, there’s gates in there, there’s workflow, yep, get to this point need to send that off required or approval. So there’s quite often a lot of work to do in the background to get it working effectively.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:42
And I think that’s probably the challenge is I think a lot people have gone, okay, we’ll get a CRM and they pick one off the shelf, they just pop it in there. And they haven’t thought about what is actually what they wanted to use it for, and how do they use it the best advantage so in my opinion, I would in order to install a CRM effectively, is to actually think about your entire process, think about how it’s gonna support you through that and then start to build it around that playbook.
Simon Carstens 26:04
Some some some real challenges with that a lot of people just sign up to the cheapest CRM or one that meets the needs now, and the pricing model will go from here stepping up to something ridiculously expensive. So they sort of suck you into getting the basic functionality, in some cases is really good. But you haven’t considered marketing? What are you doing with lead? Gen? How does that fit? And how do we track leads? How do we lead score? How do we develop quotes? How do we send those quotes out and get you can have those DocuSign and put back into the CRM, if there’s so much technology you can have that integrates doesn’t have an app, what happens? What’s that user experience? We might we might reps out in front of the customer? Do we want to have pricing and everything linking back to the CRM. So it’s, it’s sort of looking at I’ve done this recently, it’s looking at the world of opportunity, and narrowing that back down to reality, you know, what’s really effective, and making sure there’s an ROI, not just it’s nice to have, but this is an essential part of what we do, because it adds value to our customers to our team. And it’s affordable.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:00
Yeah. And sometimes your that our whole ROI, because I have been I can’t do this a lot. We’ve all say, oh, but this is gonna cost X amount of money. And you know, yeah, but What time will it save you. And if you put a value on your time, what you’ll find is that sometimes what looks like a significant cost can actually end up being a cost saving. So it is really important look at the whole picture and go Well what real value does is add? Not a nice to have. But if it adds real value and takes away time from you, you know, what do you value your hourly rate at? And so if this can take even an hour away of your week, every week, then what does that look like in terms of saving for the company? I think that’s where people often don’t think about? Well, that’s a great
Simon Carstens 27:35
Point. I see that with small businesses in particular, because it’s all about cost cost costs. Yes, people don’t look at what that return could be. And back to that cookbook, actually, if you if you define it down, it works out what your hourly rate is. I’m with $200 an hour, you know that Instagram posts, I’ve just read, that’s five minutes out of my day or half an hour, I’ve just cost myself and opportunity cost that much money. So that’s back to the accountability. But yeah, just trying to get especially small business owners to see that value. We haven’t rather seeing it a cost to see it as an investment and what you can get back on it. Yeah, fantastic.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 28:07
And so for larger companies, there’s also that I think I’ve seen this when I’ve worked in corporate strike, there is also that thing to go and buy the biggest bells and whistles everything there and then they don’t use it too. So that you can go either way, can’t you you can actually go and buy. I remember, I’ve gone through many Salesforce implementations, and also HubSpot as well. And it’s like their bike has got all the bells and whistles, but then then we’re not using even a fraction of what they can actually do. So you need to be careful that you actually are fit for purpose, I suppose is the word I would use?
Simon Carstens 28:32
Yes. Yeah. I mean, we know it failures. It’s not not down to the usability of it’s down to uptake. Yes, no difference will CRM. So one thing getting an installed, you’ve got to create the momentum for change, where does it change project, you’ve got to get people on board, but it needs the sales leaders, the management to make sure that compliance is there, that it’s used, you know that that people being followed up on things that need to be followed up on? And once people get used to it, it tends to gain momentum, but if you just install it, leave it chances are it could be a failure.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 29:00
Yeah, I think you made a really good point earlier on about you know, when you bring people on board, it is your responsibility as a leader to actually give them the right training to manage them on on what we talked about delivering, like, my math isn’t working today been traveling too much delegate an elevator, which is where you’re looking at, you know, what do you need to get rid of, so you can elevate yourself to the highest thing. And some people sort of think that delegate means that you can just abdicate, because abdicate is like, I don’t want to do that, hey, hey, you go ahead and do that and just just get on with it. Whereas when you really truly delegate, you’re actually you know, you’re working out exactly what it is that you want, what the outcomes are that you want from that. You’re going to be helping them with the training, you’re going to spend time with them to make sure they understand what needs to be done. So how do you help with that?
Simon Carstens 29:42
Yeah, I mean, when it comes to hiring, what I really respect about people I’m interviewing is the masking about that what support will I get when I when I want to get what I promote with my clients is having a really robust onboarding process and so that it will be three to six months depending on the client but It will be very robust. So it’ll be detailed about who they who they’re teaming up with. It’ll be internal meetings, it’ll be understanding the proposition, it’ll be the basics for month one and month two, it’ll be getting down to the detail, right? What’s our elevator pitch, what’s yours put in your own language, you’re gonna be shadowing someone, you’re going to be making calls, you’re gonna be going along to meetings, and it all all builds to, I’m starting to build and build up the pipeline, because what tends to happen in a lot of companies is they leave everyone up to their own devices, and then three to six months later, they’re looking at the sales results going, we’ve paid all this money, and we’ve got no results, yet, we’ve got a problem here. And the gap between where they are or where they need to be is so wide, a lot of those people just end up failing, they leave or they get performance managed out. So making sure that there’s a robust plan that’s progressive, with KPIs along the way is really, really important. You know, at this point, we think, in your role, you should have a pipeline of X, then you should be closing why Yep. And within six months, we expect you to be delivering this number based on the training support we’re giving along the way. And there’s accountability to the sales leaders for for not helping them with that. Yeah. And if they if they’re not performing, it’s a matter of what we need to do and help. And then if it comes a point of which you know, that there’s a performance management issue, then that’s another area
Debra Chantry-Taylor 31:11
Of tension. I always say that when we have a thing called a people analyzer, and a people analyzer is all about, you know, identifying those areas where there are weaknesses. And our role as leaders is to absolutely help that person to get back up to being what we would call a plus a plus on that people analyzer. And that’s our first, you know, that’s our first thing as leaders, we’re there to actually help them get there. If after you’ve given them all the help or the training or the support, that they’re not achieving it, then it’s time to actually do some performance management. But we’ve got to take that first step. And I think I see with a lot of people that I work with, they instead they bring on a salesperson, and they’ve always invested all this money, we’re paying all this money for this person, they’re not doing what they want. And you have a chance to ask the question, how have you supported them to get there. So what you’re suggesting is that you actually help them to put together a plan for that first three to six months, they know exactly what the sort of KPIs are, they have to achieve and where they would benchmark of where they would expect to be in the organization.
Simon Carstens 32:00
Going back to that sort of cultural norm, we have about high ranges, leaving them to it. Yep, a lot of sales leaders that I see don’t feel they’ve either earned the right or it’s their role to coach. And that is the most important thing you can do as a sales leader. And to do that you need to be present, you need to be alongside them, you need to be evaluating, you need to be showing them and guiding them towards what they need to be doing. And so what often happens is salespeople after month two, three, where they’re not being successful, they start to feel stress, and they behave in certain ways. And that could be hiding. It could be, you know, it could be number of things that are unhealthy. And so but but every month where you’re guiding them, you’re making sure you’re benchmarking them against those KPIs, and you’re helping supporting them get to where they need to be, then that reduces that tendency, a heck of a lot. But it really is the role of a leader to ensure the salespeople are where they need to be, rather than sort of, as you said, before abdicating responsibility.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 32:52
Yeah, I’ve been guilty of that myself, sadly. Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about you know, that, yeah, the sales process, or the cookbook playbook, we’re gonna call it we’ve talked about making sure we actually support people and bring them on board, and that we’re actually coaching them and leading them to success, as opposed as leaving them to towards it sink or swim, or be the kind of that so if somebody’s listening to this, and they’re going, Hey, how do I even get started? You know, I know that maybe my salary was performing as well as it should do. Or we’ve suddenly had, particularly New Zealand, a bit of a slowing off because of what’s going on? What what will be the first steps they would take how, what are the three kind of top tips or things you could advocate for?
Simon Carstens 33:25
Yeah, I think people can do well by looking at their sales process. And nobody likes the word process. But ultimately, we’re talking about everything from generating leads, how do I find the prospective customers all the way through to close? Let’s analyze it. And I guarantee if you sat down with a team of five and ask them what their sales processes individually, they will have a different idea. Yes. So actually, what do you do today? And analyzing each step that they take and working out? What would work really well? And it’s when you chunk things down, make them simple that you do you start to realize where the opportunities for improvement. So example of that small business I’m dealing with at the moment had a 30% close rate, which actually sounds pretty good. But when we went through the way he sold, you know, from generating leads through how does he convert that lead to a conversation, conversation to a meeting, you know, is he dealing with the right people as the decision maker? Do they have the authority to buy? Do they have a budget? Often budgets left till right at the end to talk about? How does the witness’s proposal have a lot of people give a poser right up front? And they wonder why they get ghosted? Yeah, it’s that classic I’m busy call me back never never happens, right? So what we’re able to do is actually just work through each of those stages, call it the gate selling and say what needs to happen there. What’s an optimal process? What are the outcomes you’re looking for? You know, when it comes to questioning, how do we question properly, deep questions, surface pain, you know, what’s going on in the business, what it means financially, commercially, but what it means to that individual. So once we really understand that we know the questions, we know the process, we can build a picture of what’s going on and build that ROI model. Fill the budget step and make sure we understand that they’ve got the right amount of money and that we’re talking the right language before we move into the decision making process. So what I find is a lot of small businesses in particular, they will spend a lot of time with a prospect loosely, someone who’s inquiring. And they will start talking, they will talk for a length of time trying to demonstrate credibility in the process, giving a lot of free information away. Now, if you think about every 10 inquiries, you probably only got one or two that are genuinely interested, the rest of them are, you know, they’re tire kicking, they’re looking for pricing options to make sure they’re competitive. So a small businesses don’t have the time to wellness. So when they when they look at that sale process and asking the right questions up front, you know, some of the this to me, when I was building my website, they first question they asked us, what’s your budget? And they said, We don’t deal with any clients under $30,000. Right? And they’re like, well, that’s not me. So that quick,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 35:53
Getting to know early is actually really good. I think isn’t it horrifying? The
Simon Carstens 35:57
Ones out that are never going to buy? Are you generally interested in buying? Or are you inquiring, are you a competitive? So we’re actually looking at that sales process? Really importantly, and refining that to make sure all the tough questions that no one likes talking about money? We’ve even got to ask the question, what were you thinking in terms of price? What sort of budgets? In fact, you don’t even use that word, but you know, what sort of money would you have to spend? What’s your, what are you thinking in terms of how much this is worth to you? And once you can qualify those people out really quickly and only deal with the ones that are likely to buy? Yeah, and you
Debra Chantry-Taylor 36:26
Gave me a really nice tip before we came into the podcast, you know, sometimes it’s actually okay to give them out as well. Because I think particularly New Zealanders, but it’s been my experience, I’ve worked between New Zealand and Australia. They’re very, very different personalities. Ours is a pretty much up front what you get what they say is what you get. And so they’re quite happy to say not not interested, that’s fine. Whereas I find kiwis and British people like myself a very much more wanting to keep everybody happy. And so they’ll quite happily, you know, say yes. When deep down. They’re not they’re not really thinking yes. So actually being able to give them an opportunity to say, hey, look, it’s okay to say no. And I’d much rather know that then then, you know, get into the tangle of months and months of communication, non communication, ghosting all the things that go on to get to a note.
Simon Carstens 37:04
Yeah, that’s right. I work on this principle. If you feel it, say it, you know, it feels like they’re palming you off, or creating, creating a reason not to do business and just say, quite often with clients, so people I talk to, they often say, hey, let’s talk again later. But what they really mean is, they’re not interested. Yeah. And that’s okay. Yeah. Is that the case? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Cuz he called me up. To give me an out here. Yeah, it’s a means how you haven’t wasted a whole lot of your time and energy and probably hope that this opportunity may arise and helps them out as well.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 37:32
Yeah, that’s great. Okay, so process one, the most important things, what are the other two things that they should look at?
Simon Carstens 37:38
I think really understanding the capability of the team that required capability, a lot of people probably don’t spend enough time looking at the actual skills required within the role, because every sales role is different. You know, so they’ll, they’ll hire on the other companies that work for generalized skills, but really being specific at the hiring stage about the type or the persona, or salesperson that you’re looking for is really, really important. Because once they’re in this, as we said before, it’s very hard to get them out again. So making sure we’ve got the right skills and capability
Debra Chantry-Taylor 38:06
So that they meet the values of the company as well, of course, they’re actually part of the actual family. Okay.
Simon Carstens 38:10
Last but not least, in fact, this is the number one thing is making sure you’ve got the culture. Right. Okay. You know, culture is really about how things look around here. What’s the level of accountability? How high performing is the team? Yeah, you know, what do we really need to do you have all the great skills and capabilities in the world, but if they’re not activated, happy and engaged, then your results are going to be lackluster. So as far as actually designing that, you know, using your team to help with that, what are some words you’d use to describe our team? Or you aspirationally? How we want our team to be you want to be fun, hard working accountable. Auditors accountable mean? Yeah, well, don’t let us off the hook. Yeah, it means if we do something, we say, we’re going to do something, we’re gonna do it, there might be consequences. And so really define in your organization, what that culture should be what you want it to be how it aligns with your values, and create that rather than that it happened organically. We’ve all worked or worked in teams, and I’ve worked in some, it’s just amazing. It’s magic. You know, it works really well. But it’s not designed that way. It’s just a whole bunch of people colliding, coming together, create that, then you change a person, you bring someone else in the culture changes, you bring a new leader and the culture changes. So it’s, you know, having a well architected culture that drives high performance. Yeah, fantastic.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 39:15
Okay, so you work with businesses of all shapes and sizes, don’t you? What’s your kind of your ideal client look like?
Simon Carstens 39:23
Yes. I’m spending a lot of time in the small to medium space at the moment. Yep. We’ve definitely through through Sandler, we can we can deal with small, medium, large, because sales, you know, b2b type sales can apply to any industry. And so we can apply the methodology and framework in the uniqueness that they pick the clients have. So we’ll look at their unique business and their market and apply the same framework to their organization. So right right across the board and any vertical either, so it’s right across the board.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 39:50
Okay, perfect. And if they want to get in contact with you, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?
Simon Carstens 39:54
Probably take a look at my website. Yep. Elevate sales.co.nz
Debra Chantry-Taylor 39:58
Okay, hello. It sounds okay to Perfect, we’ll make sure that’s in the link down below as well. And I’ve got an interesting question for me person anyway, this whole commission only sales person, I think, because I know that, particularly in that small, medium sized business, people kind of go, I don’t want to pay a huge salary for a salesperson. And I’ve even heard people who want to cap commission that that does my headings, I kind of go, why would you kept commission? But at the end of the day, if they’re bringing in more sales for you, then as long as it’s profitable, then it makes sense to continue to pay them the commission. But some people believe that, you know, commission only sales is the way to go, because that way, if they don’t work, we don’t pay for them. What’s your view on that?
Simon Carstens 40:32
Oh, my gosh, I’ve worked with designed I’ve been involved in commission plans for years and years. And you have professors that design that are really behaviors. Yeah, but no two commission plans are the same as the first point. Right. So you’re looking at a broad spectrum of commission only through to zero Commission. They work for took away commissions. Banks have taken away commissions recently. So there’s definitely a move towards Commission’s is a dirty word, right. But essentially, you need to look at the strategy and what what you’re trying to drive, what are the objectives you’re trying to drive? And how do you how do you model the behavior? In other words, how much base salary do you have versus the as the component? And yes, there are some roles, you know, when you’re selling a one off thing, it’s a churn and burn. Like if you’ve got to churn and burn product, you’re selling a widget you need to cope with that people need to call that out and move on. commission only is fantastic, right? Where you’ve got a more strategic sale that’s longer, you want a more customer into the relationship where they’re invested in the client and the outcome on a long term basis. You don’t want that. Because you’re gonna get someone who’s going to just destroy you. They’re gonna do whatever they can stamp on whoever they’re, like I’m exaggerating. Here, though, like, probably bad for culture in the organization as well. That’s where salespeople get a bad rep. So you’ve got to look at where you are on that continuum, and what’s going to work best for you in the customer.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 41:49
That makes perfect sense. And then the last question is around Hunter versus gatherer, you know, the whole can you get both in one person? Are they quite distinct? Absolutely.
Simon Carstens 41:58
A lot of people talk about them being separate. Yeah. Like to talk about hunting with a shotgun. Yep. Sorry, farming with a shot. Okay. Right. Yeah. So you’re great at nurturing accounts and getting the best, but you also need to be looking for opportunities in those. So yes, I think you absolutely can get those skills. But it’s a matter of, again, working out the capabilities you need, if you’ve got a large strategic account, you should have the ability to manage accounts and spend a lot of your time nurturing those and making sure that customer satisfaction is there, and there’s a partnership, but you also need to be looking for opportunities as well, and hopefully got the capabilities to retire those in terms of process. Some bigger organizations will you will hand that across to somebody else for business development,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 42:38
particularly if the if it’s a very technical kind of business as well. It makes sense to have somebody who really is the technical expert who can then actually nurture that relationship and farm it moving forward. But the hunter goes out and creates opportunity. So but that can’t happen coming back. Okay, that’s really cool. Awesome. Some really some real golden there. My mouth is not working well today, but I appreciate you sticking with me. And yeah, thank you so much. Yeah, and at the same point to get in contact with us is elevate sales.co dot and Zed. And we can also find you on LinkedIn, I guess under Simon Karstens. Yep. Perfect. Thank you for your time. Thanks for listening to the podcast show better business better life. My name is Debra Chantry-Taylor. I’m an EOS implementer family business advisor, business and leadership coach podcaster and speaker. However, I’m also a business owner with several current business interests. I’m fortunate to have live the high life with all the lifestyle, the toys, you name it, and then I’ve lost it all. Not only once, but twice in two spectacular train wrecks. I know what it’s like to experience the highs and lows. I came across EOS when they launched into New Zealand using my entrepreneurs playground at an event center in Parnell Auckland. I love the simplicity of the tools and their philosophies fitted my personal brand statement perfectly. The brilliance is in the simplicity. I’ve always been passionate about seeing entrepreneurs live the life they love. And now I help them live that EOS life doing what they love with people they love making a huge difference in the world being compensated appropriately and with time to pursue other passions. If you want more information or want to get in contact about using EOS in your business, you can visit my website at Deb Debra dot coach that’s dub dub dub Debra D B ra dot coach. Thanks for listening.
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