The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode 203 · 9 months ago

Ep 198: Value-Based Selling w/ Mike Genstil

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Ep 198: Value-Based Selling w/ Mike Genstil 

Part of the TGIM (Thank God It's Monday!) series hosted by Tom Alaimo.

All Right, welcome to the pavilion podcast. This is where revenue leaders come to learn the tips, tricks and tactics they need to be successful in their roles. I'm your host, Tom Laimo, Tommy Tahoe. Thank God it's Monday. Let's get it going. I've got a great interview today Mike Gent Still. Mike is the CO founder and CEO of value core dot ai and the man has just a rap sheet of accomplishments in the sales and leadership space. He's done a lot. Sorry's career as a product manager over at at like host long time ago. was that adobe and sap in the early two thousands. Then went to you know, Anna Plan and was doing some sale strategy. Head of value realization and sale strategy at New relict. Eventually launched visualized Roi, which was really a pioneering web based value selling was included as a reference on the predictable revenue book, which was authored by Aaron Ross, which is one of the goat books in Sass and in Sass sales and has led that and and transition that company to become value core dot ai, which enables me to be sales and Marketing Crows to create and share visually compelling value props with prospects and clients. So Mike and I go deep into value selling. That's at the core and the heart of everything that he's been running and everything he's been teaching to his prospects and customers. So we get deep into that and I think you're going to enjoy this one. Before we get there, quick word from Mars Monts. This episode of the Pavilion Podcast is brought to you by six sense. Six sense, the number one account engagement platform, helps you identify accounts that are in market for your solution, prioritize your efforts, engage buyers the right way with highly relevant messaging and measure what actually...

...matters. Six sense customers report A to x increase in deal sized, ten percent improvement and opportunity conversion rates, twenty five percent reduction in deal to close time and one hundred and twenty percent improvement in revenue effectiveness. That's a lot of percentages. To learn more, you can visit them at six sensecom revenue collective. Again, I am on Linkedin. Tom Lemo can hit me out a post every single day about sales in growth mindset. Love to hear your feedback in the podcast without further ado. Let's get into today's interview. All Right, next on the pavilion podcast we have Mike Jen Still, CEO of value core dot AI. Mike, Happy Friday. How are you? Fantastic. How are you Tom Doing well, Ma'n I'm doing well. I always am curious in the in the covid world, where if you're, if you are, where your Linkedin bioses. You are are so are you in the bay or are you elsewhere? I am in the San Francis go bay area, actually East Bay, not too far from Berkeley. Okay, Nice, Nice, I'm I'm on the other side of the bay in the city. Just just mucket it out with in this with the city folks. So I'm excited to to talk with you today. Your you know, your reputation precedes you. You are one of the pioneers of value selling who, if anyone is listening to this and has been in sales for any amount of time, has heard of that. You're featured in predictable revenue in a bunch of other places. So I'd love to maybe just like before we get into what you're doing actually today with value corn, like the state of everything that's going on. Maybe you can just kind of like quickly define a value based selling for folks that maybe aren't familiar or just don't know how to exactly define sure. So value based selling is kind of a step beyond Roy calculations and Roy Quantification. The concept of Roy has been around for a long, long time and...

...sales reps and marketing leaders have been trying to help customers understand the Roi of their solutions in various in various ways. Value Base selling is really intended to align with your existing sales methodology, whether it's medic or sailor or rain group or challenger Sale. It each step in the in your customer in your sales methodology, there is a way of advancing to the next stage and if you think about most of these methodologies, will talk about pain identification, pain quantification during the first discovery call is an example. When you're doing value base selling you're actually taking the steps to understand the customers environment enough so that you can develop a back of the envelope pain statement or cut pain quantification and then, as you proceed through the rest of the customer life cycle you're refining your view of how much value you can deliver to that customer. And then, by the way, at a certain point you will come up with a price for your product. The customers say that's very interesting. What's your price? You can say well, well, my price is x, call it Fiftyzeros. But that's in the context of the two million dollars of pain that you have and we think we can save half a million dollars out of that two million dollars in pain or cost that you have. So value base selling is really establishing those those stakes in the ground all the way through the customer journey so that when you finally present your price, it's in context and the and of course, the value in the Roy flow out of that. That's helpful and as a as a brief history lesson. Did you is it fair to say that you invented or help to invent this and bring this to market, like you know, twenty or so years ago, or we're part of the group to do that? Well, I would say I wouldn't say it that way. I would say that there have been teams of people at company like sap...

...and Oracle for decades who have been focused pretty heavily on building out Roi models for their sales teams and for their customers where. What we pioneered back in two thousand and eleven and two thousand and twelve, so a little bit more than a decade ago, was a value based application that would integrate with the crm ecosystem. So back in those days, sales forcecom was just launching its APP exchange and we were one of the very first companies to launch a value based selling application. It was integrated with sales force so that you could synchronize data from the lead record, of the opportunity record, of the account record into the Roi Application and then generate a customer facing a deliverable, whether it's a powerpoint or word file, etc. So I would say we pioneered the SASS approach to value based selling. So walk me through a little bit like so that that was, you know, about a decade ago. So much has changed incess so much has changed in sales, so much has changed with how we're leveraging CRM's the types of conversations were having with customers. So, like you know, I know this is maybe a broad question, but I'd love to just hear like the story of kind of the evolution of when you first launched that ten years ago to you know, kind of where we are today and just some of the evolutions that have happened that you're seeing across, like the importance of value based selling. One of the most important evolutions is the the integration of these different components in the sales technology stack. So I would say, you know, ten years ago many companies had a crm, you know, Linkedin wasn't even something that everybody had. Now everybody's, you know, probably has linked in and there's a there's kind of more of a standard technology stack. So back in those days it was okay to kind of have one tool over here, one tool over here, and then weren't necessarily integrated. Now, with more standard approaches to sales enablement, sales ops and...

...people buying a sales technology stack, and congratulations to folks at Gong, because Gong is a, you know, a key part of many, many sales technology stacks. The call recording concept is an example. When you go to market now you have to be able to tell a VP of sales and a head of sales enablement that these are this is how your APP behaves in concert with everything else, and with that the the the the bar has been raised on usability and and visual appeal. And so, you know, maybe ten years ago it was okay to have an application that, you know, looked a little bit more elegant than a spreadsheet and it was visual that had bar charts, etc. Now the stakes are raised in your application has to be very, very elegant, very beautiful. Leverage. You're the customers existing branding standards, branding guidelines, logos, color schemes. That's or and then integrate and connect very nicely to customer facing deliverable as and assets such as powerpoint, Google slides files etc. So I would say the integration in the sales technology stack, the visual appeal and then finally, the the data. The other thing that's changed is the availability of data that sales people have before they talk to the customer through sources like the Zoom Info in data book and others. So now they're, you know, more prepared, have more access to data in the opportunity than to automate the creation of value based content is a lock rader, and so that's that's the final thing that's that's changed. So when we talk about the visualization of all this, we we chat about this briefly before, but it sounds like you know, and I can speak firsthand as a sales rep, you get some sort of some sort of methodology that comes in house. I've I've gone through a lot of different sales trainings and I...

...have to imagine that the the biggest question mark or biggest headache for vp of sales is to bring into methodology and and then the Rep stone adopt. You know, you pay five figures, six figures, whatever might be in that. The repstone adopted or you're not sure if they're adopting it right. Especially in this remote world, it's super hard to track. So I know that the visualization is part of that. I know it also speaks a little bit to the actual sales cycle with the customer, but maybe you can just double tap into like how important the visualization is here. Yeah, I think the the speed by which marketing teams are iterating and innovating on customer facing content is just going gang busers thanks to tools like Google slides instead of the the light of collaborating, iterates so quickly and now design capabilities are available and you can add really nice images and graphics into content. So so sales reps have understandably a much higher bar for what they're putting in front of customers. And the reason that customers are selecting us at value core and our application is because we can leverage the best of marketing assets and in not in not require reps to go over here to get Google slides or powerpoint files and then come over here to get in Roy, but instead we say hey, let's leverage your existing powerpoint and Google slides and then simply insert dynamically value based content, whether it's charts or a summary of disc the discovery questions or a table showing the the three year or four year that benefits in Uri, etc. So the again, the in the flow is increasingly starting in sales force, clicking on a couple of links, launching an APP, maybe doing a screen share with a customer, putting some information back into the crm system and then sending a follow up to the customer. And if we can compress that very quickly and create...

...nice visual assets each step, that's going to drive sales rep adoption and get the customer to engage with a dynamic, visually appealing asset. It feels like one of the key pieces to this is, you know, to do the right discovery, right to find, like I hear my director's voice in my head all day long. What's the quantifiable business pain? What's the quantifiable business pain on every deal? And I know if we're going to bring something to the forecast, that's going to be his first question that he asks. So I'm just curious, like from all your your background and in sales, as you know, a wrap way back in the day, to leadership, to being CEO, to seeing all these different you know, all these different organizations and how they're they're go to market runs, what's kind of your philosophy or what's your thought on like how, as a salesperson, you can get to that quantifiable business pain and how, you know leaders should be coaching their teams to do that in the most effective way. Yeah, it's a great question, Tom and that really is kind of the holy grail and I love, I love the problem that you know. Any and you're right, the sales manager will say that sales rep left to deal with it. And what what we've what we've learned and what's working for us and for our customers is to try to limit that quantifiable business pain calculation into just a few data points that are generally knowable and or estimatable by the REP and the customer. Right. So let's just take a fun example, which would be called the value of a call recording platform. Right. So if I were talking to a head of sales of a company with fifty reps, the first question I would ask is what's the quota for those fifty reps, and let's just say the answer is a million dollars per person. So we've got a fifty million dollar team quota. What the VP of sales is going to care about is what's their quote attainment and where's the opportunity to improve the improve their attainment? So let's...

...say so the the sales rep might be able to figure out that attainment is ninety percent of the fifty million bucks. So it's a forty five million attainment. There's a gap of five million dollars. So the quantifiable business pain you could quickly estimate is possibly five million dollars in potential range to close the gap. And I know that's a simple example for sales, but across industries you can get to something quickly based on one or two data points that you know the customers not going to walk in and say I've got a five million dollar problem on quote attainment. They're not going to tell you that, but you can back into well, what, what do you know? And where's where's the gap now? Then that so then, coming back to the analogy, close that gap by five million and bring everybody from ninety percent attainment two hundred percent next year. But you could say in our experience we're able to close the gap by about five percent to ten percent in the first quarter because with call recording we do so much better coaching and and and and the reps actually get better and they get to attainment and are and it. We have success stories that say that. So we would expect to take a half million dollars off that five million dollar problem in the first quarter or two in that and that's how and that's how you can get there very quickly. And whether you're selling an invoice automation platform or a call recording platform or a cyber security platform, there are ways to get to back of the envelope pain estimates very quickly. And Cyber Security, for example, let's say you've got an application that reduces the amount of times people have fishing attacks on their mobile device. Well, again, the first the question you would ask is how many employees do you have? You've got a thousand employees, how many of them have a mobile device? Call it a hundred percent is an estimate. So maybe have a thousand mobile devices. Then there's an industry standard data point that says on average and employees get fish fishing attacks one time per month. Perhaps there'll be a google there will be an analyst report that you might find on Google or some other source that would say on average it's one percent. So you would...

...say to an average company of a thousand employees, you're probably getting ten fishing attacks per month across those one thousand mobile devices. Is that reasonable? And then the question is what the cost of those fishing attacks? So you can get there very quickly, and that's what we've been training are our customers on. What are those essential questions that get you to something that's back of the envelope, that equips your sales rep and the customers advocate to go to the next stage. And if you can make it visual and then put some numbers and possible dollar signs on an image or a nice looking powerpoint. It's very powerful and it works and it's so much better than just having a verbal back and forth and, you know, having to fight, fight tooth and nail to get that next conversation. And when you talk about, you know, value based selling and like using the value based content as part of that, you know, I think obvious thing that comes to mind is what you're talking about with like you get on the the second or third or fourth call with the prospect and you're walking through hey, you know, Mike, you told me x you know, based on what we're seeing, you know, here's what you might be able to expect. But to do reps ever use that, or do leaders ever use that, like when a deal's going stale or if someone's ghosting you, and as a way to kind of resurrect because I think any salesperson or former salesperson can relate to deals that that just go dark and you don't know why and you're trying to find like a very compelling reason to bring them back to life. Yeah, it's no, and that that's a an absolutely excellent use case. And deals go dark for many, many reasons, as we all know. And when they do go dark, when you have quantified pain and come up with a and come up with a value estimate that at least one or two people the customer thinks is reasonable. That then actually serves as really valuable ammunition that you can socialize with other people at the customer organization. And so you know, if you're of close a hundred...

...thousand dollar deal and your the sales rep in your contact is a midlevel, midlevel buyer and your midlevel buyer goes dark, you can now equip your vp to go to the VP of the customer and say hey, we haven't met, but our teams have been talking and we it seems like you have a five million dollar problem, which is a five million dollar quota attainment problem. We're confident we can shave half a million dollars off that the first two quarters and that's been, you know, in early discussions. We determine that we're not quite sure what you know about this apple. You know, don't know if you know anything about it. Would be happy to explain to you why we think it's a five million dollar problem that we can we can solve. That's something that somebody's more likely to respond to then, you know, a Hail Mary. That's like hey, you know, can you hop on the phone? We haven't met. You know, love the day by what we do. So that and so, to kind of put a finer point on it, if you synchronize those data points, the five million and the half gun and savings, and put that into the crm so the VP of sales can see that handily at the opportunity record, it's a much more productive forecast call. The next steps are a lot cleaner. It's easier to coach against and you can actually now build an attack strategy with, you know, your VP, your sales manager, mapping against the custom organization with all these data points. So it's a that that is that is a great use case. So you know, I know we mentioned some of the visualization earlier. We talked a little bit about like, you know, training and the sales teams and things like that. You know any and that's a VP of sales or head of sales. It's listening to this relatively the beginning of the new year. You know you're we're in sales kickoff season. You're getting things going for the year. You have your targets. I'm curious, like any tips if they are looking to adopt as a new sales methodology. Like any tips? Are Any short falls that you typically see in terms of the actual like roll out of it and why it may or may not be successful? Yeah, so there are. There are a few best practices when rolling out an application...

...like this or a value selling methodology. So number one is to do a good job on the front end of connecting it to your sales methodology so they're not distinct but they're kind of integrated and when you when you have that powerpoint slide described in the sales methodology, have the value based components overlaid on top of it. Number two, connected to your crm so it's not having to go somewhere else. Integrate it with your single sign on system as well so the reps can find it, etcetera. But then from a usability and training it's it is important to have sales management, at least two or three sales managers committed to it and you know, probably early adopters that are facile with the value selling methodology and the questions themselves and then the output. And then what you want to do is have, you know, maybe one or two sales teams try it for a month or two, use it with a few customers, get to a level of success. So then you they can speak to how it's working, why rights work. Maybe you start having internal slack, slack channel on it and any instances of success, post those instances the visuals that went with it. So the new sales reps, you know, with so much turnover and hiring going on right now at any point in time, maybe forty percent of your team has been there less than a year. Those folks need to see examples of success and so those visuals that are posted and shared is really important. And then, frankly, doing role place. Role place go really, really well where you've got a sales rep trying it during a team call with the sales manager is the customer, and going back and forth a few times, working through the objections, working through the situations where maybe the data point isn't Super Handy. And of course, you know we can come in as a third party and facilitate those role plays or kind of be be the seller or the buyer and and that's fun and that's where it comes to life. But what you'll find is across a team of twenty reps, you'll find five that'll pick it up quickly and start to have a lot of success, and and then and then, and then, and then...

...it goes out from there once that success gets socialized, and you really just need those those hungry first adopters that you know are are, you know, excited to you know up there their sales craft, their personal development, to kind of like light the fire and get other people excited. Once they see you know, Mike selling deals, it's like, Oh, I want to do that. You know, I want to. I want to jump on board too. Well, the game changers when you record the call using some call recording platform and you watch the customers face light up with delight when they see the Roy they're like and they will say things like thank you, this is what I need to take to my boss. Now I can go sell your project internally. That's the game change. You once this. I mean the sales are for say it was awesome, but if you actually watch the customer respond, it's a game changer. I promise to the listeners this is not a pay dad for gone. This is all this is all organic. But yeah, I agree, it's good. It's it's always good to be able to actually share the clip around. All right, Mike, got one too. I want to pivot and ask you a couple rapid fire questions to get the audience to know you a little bit better. That's cool with you? Sounds good. Okay, we're big learners on the PODCAST. I'd love to hear what are any of the the top books, if you assuming you're a reader, top books, whether it's sales related, leadership related, a total other genre, if, if that's what you're into, but anything that's been really impactful on your life or even as of late. That's a great question. I'm reading traction, which is scaling startups. I'm loving that. It's it's you know, is yours. You're leading a start up and you're kind of going from phase a too, face being phase beat us face see your kind of pivoting and your inner you know how you hire, interactions with folks, etcetera. So that's that's something that I can really vouch for. It gives you kind of playbooks and stuff to think about. I like biographies and there's a there's a few I've hit over the over the over the years. I hit moneyball again recently and I am, I am absolutely convinced that...

...the teams that are that are outperforming are doing something smart with data and smart with Tech. I think the San Francisco giants is past year. We're doing some really, really savvy stuff with the data that allow them to get a hundred seven wins over the course of the year. So I'm anticipating a new a new money ball that comes back and talks about how they change, change the pitches that the guys were doing and, you know, pitching their best pitches more often, etc. Those are a couple that are inspiring me. I like it. I like it. I mean there's a lot you can apply for money ball to to a company. I mean in just trying to take that from what the Oakland as did, however many years ago. I totally agree. There are there there's always an angle, there's always a way to kind of play on the margins a little bit more intelligently in systematically than they your competitors. So yeah, I'm excited about in the next version. All right. So a couple other things. Any other ways that you like to learn whether, I don't know if you're a podcast listener, if you if you subscribe to any you know, blogs or newsletters or you know twitter linkedin falls at anything like it in the world of again, like sales or leadership or business. That like have been good resources that others might be able to take from. Yeah, I think pavilion, former revenue collective, is a really fantastic resource. I think that's what we're talking on here. It's a great place to pick up content and learn about the craft. There there's a there's an APP called Hustle that kind of gives you the latest and greatest news that I subscribe to and kind of pick up condensed content. WHO's top to the come of moment on? Okay, cool. What goes on in in Mike's Headphones when he's listening to some music? I don't know when you're driving or working out or prospected or whatever it is that you're doing, but I don't know if you're a music guy, but but what goes on in the headphones? We gotta know. The loniest monk is a jazz musician that I listened to kind of helped me get get through the treadmill and and or...

...late night dishes. So and and then maybe a little Mozart Radio on on Pandora is pretty pretty nice stuff as well. Late night eating dishes or late night cleaning dishes, cleaning, cleaning, got it, got it, got to clean the dishes before the kids wake up. Yeah, yeah, I cool. I'm curious. Anyone, who in your network would you be interested to see come on the pavilion podcast? That's a great one. That's a great one. There are sales leaders that I have lots of, lots of respect for. I did a Webinar a couple weeks ago with a guy named Mike Eck off who's been a fantastic sales leader comanies like HP and most recently he's been an armory egg plants and he's very thoughtful, very great sales leader. Craig D Martini at to Paul ty is done, they have they're there a unicorn. They're now eight billion dollars and he's he's been a leader there since the early days. He was a COOPA. So I don't these guys will say yes, but I think they're. So have a lot of a lot of respect for but any good you know, any good salesperson's always looking for referral. So I had to hit you at that. Obviously, one one thing that pavilion is really known for is is the community and, you know, the networking and mentorship and all the things that provides any networking philosophy or tips that you know have helped you throughout your career. Yeah, you know, it's at it. I like that question a lot. I what I find and I really really miss the networking events from pre you know, the pre pandemic days. I I can have a win win conversation pretty much a hundred percent of the time and and I think I think it's a combination of trying to understand, you know, what the person that you're talking to...

...is, is trying to achieve, and everybody you're talking to is either trying to recruit someone or they're trying to get a new customer themselves, or they're looking for a job or they're trying to raise money. The likelihood that you have some connection to someone that they that they that they're trying to meet or that you know is is, you know, pretty reasonable, provided you you stay connected to enough folks. So, you know, just trying to understand what people are trying to achieve and then, of course, knowing what you are trying to achieve and and you know and being being somewhat you know, forthright about it, having your ideal client profile and mind you know say, well, you know, typically I'm engaging with VP's of it, I'm typically engaging with heads of marketing and you know, and talk about people you've engaged within the last two or three four months that you know could be the kinds of person kinds of people that you'd like to meet. In mentioning those names allows people to it makes it a lot easier for someone to be helpful to you. So kind of just having that stuff ready and not viewing it is an imposition, but more just, you know, trying to keep it conversational, inserting humor, and you know you don't. You don't even get to that point the conversation until you've found some common, common point of reference, whether it's a team you share that you both like or a city you both lived in or, you know, some some performance, type of performer you like to like to watch, etc. So you establish something human that you both like to do and then kind of talk about where you're trying to go professionally or personally, and that tends to work pretty well. That's great advice. The last thing I'm going to do is maybe mildly embarrass you a little bit and give you a shout out from the link that that I see of you on the cover of top sales world magazine alongside contributors like Dave Matson and and I see Lorie Richardson on there. Think a lot of people listening to is a probably familiar with to looking fresh in that suit and talking about,...

...you know, your your career and what you're building at value core. That a sod. So what was that experience like? I just got to know. It's fantastic. Yeah, you know, that's that's a nice publication. It's a digital publication and as it's it was a really nice chance to chat with John and Farrington and get to know him and talk about how I have viewing the future of value selling and we, and we really did update our brand to value core. Value Cores intended to be more expansive than our first name, which was visualized Uri, which kind of connotes connotes Roi, but value core is intended to say value as at the core of everything and as we engage in conversations and back and forth with our customer over a three, six, twelve, eighteen month period, hitting on value points is is going to be essential, particularly when we get into a world of SASS and renewals are so important. We have to be able to communicate value at renewal time, and so our our name allows us to grow into this more expansive delivering value at every customer touch point philosophy, which is which is what we're our platform enables, and I think where we're going is increasing automation, so leveraging these data sources that we're all subscribing to and making it easier and easier for sales reps to create value based content. So almost having land in the inbox of the sales rep a some notion of value that they can kind of start to work with before they even talked to the customer. And that's I think that's that's the promised land and that's where the the aipiece is going to come in. I love it, like I appreciate you coming on educating me and educating the listeners on everything as it relates to value based selling. For we leave, could you just let us know what's the best place that folks want to reach out to you, to connect with you, learn from you, potentially learn more about Value Corp whatever it might be. What are the best places to do that. Yeah, thanks. It's a value core Nott ai...

...is our is our site and then you can reach me. A and Gen stone, first initial last name, at Value Court at AI and happy to catch up and chat and got a nice little colendar scheduling links. So happy to catch up for fifteen, twenty minutes with anybody wants talk about value. Nice and people don't abuse that email. I just don't be setting a many bad prospecting emails or anything like that. Only only the good stuff. Mike, if you've got an Roy, if you've got an Roi for your product, I'm happy to hear about it. Send me the Roifer. Yeah, you must be tough to sell to. I make it fun for both sides. Yeah, I've bet event like I appreciate you coming on. Man, this is great. Thanks time. Really enjoyed it all right, that episode was brought to you by six cents, powered by AI and predicted analytics. Six sense helps you unite your entire revenue team the shared set of data to achieve predictable revenue growth. Again, hit me up on Linkedin. My name is Toma Lemo. I work over a gong. Would love to hear your feedback and until next Monday, will be back them with another episode. Get after a Pos.

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