The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 5 months ago

Ep 96: The Simple Fundamentals of Selling w/ Tonni Bennett

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Ep 96: The Simple Fundamentals of Selling w/ Tonni Bennett

Part of the "Is This a Good Time?" series, hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to therevenue collected podcast. I am your host brand of art and you're listeningto Is this a good time the show where I asked revenue Collective members somebasic questions. They answer them. We have fun. It's a short 15 minuteconversation, Tuesdays and Thursdays show. Come now. Hit subscribe. Don'tmiss an episode. Our guest today is Tony Bennett, she is the director ofsales at Twilio and we talk about the simple fundamentals of selling. Thisepisode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use driftto grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift, helpstheir customers align sales and marketing on a single platform todeliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have aconversation with businesses at any time on their terms, learn more atdrift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 40 we got here folks, Is this agood time? Alright, so excited to have Tony Bennett here she is, the directorof sales at Twilio based in the Atlanta area. Tony great to have you. Thanksfor having me. I'm excited to be here. Thank you so much. You have such akiller career. I really enjoyed kind of learning more about it. Why don't yougo ahead and start? You know, we jump right in all meat. No fillers start bytelling us about Twilio and then you know, how did you get into this role? Absolutely. So Twilio, where experts indigital communication and what we do can be kind of hard to explain, but weenable companies to build communication channels like SMS or voice into theirapplications via a Pc. So if you've ever texted your Uber driver or calledan agent through truly is app or even if you've written a lime scooter,you've used Twilio embedded into one of our customers applications. I'm like,I'm like a three time company user of Twilio or obviously I'm not on the techside but super easy to set up and like really valuable to be able to build anentire like text messaging framework,...

...whatever. I'm just plug in your owncompany. Yeah. What we do is really cool and it's certainly a project for alot of other channels to, we're powering contact centers, a lot ofdisruptive businesses and the old school businesses, everything frombanks to tech companies and all between south. It's pretty cool, cool. How dowe land there? How did he get there twists and turns? I think the way likegenerally speaking, I think the way that I got to where I am now is by nothaving a specific plan or outcome in mind, it just sort of working hard andtrying to be really good at what I was doing and opportunities have sort oftaken me to the next place. Even as soon as a couple years ago, I wouldhave never anticipated being here. I was in tech for a while, I started intech with a company called part dot, which was a fast growing marketingautomation platform here in Atlanta. And the success that I had there reallyafforded me some cool opportunity to stay in the Atlanta startup ecosystemand work for some other fast growing companies and to be acquired bySalesforce. But I think most importantly, when I got to terminus,that's what I grew a sales organization for abs 0 to 20 million as a head ofsales. That was an intense, intense journey of sprinting for four years andworking a tremendous amount of hours. And when I had my daughter 2.5 yearsago I took that mat leave, I didn't end up going back to terminus and it was aweird time for me to figure out what I was going to do next. And I ended uptaking a year off to do some consulting and it ended up being the mostincredible thing I could have done because I was still working on reallyhard solving really hard problems for my clients. But I had more time tofigure out what is this new phase of life going to mean and what's importantto me all that sad the way I got the Twilio. I realized it had a lot of whatI loved about startups, that same energy and really fast exciting growthpath and the opportunity to help build in this case, submit them in marketsegment, which was new for us. But it...

...had a lot more of a stability andsanity that I needed for this thing. Yeah, for sure. I mean I think this istotally under under talked about frankly the, I mean, and it certainlyis slightly more amongst the female and professionals that I know, but ingeneral, having kids and trying to have a really fast accelerated career isnear impossible to do both of those things. If you want to spend time withyour kids, let's just put it that way. So I think that's pretty cool to takethat time off and figure out what that next step is as it relates to yourentire life, not only your career and like to say, hey, I'm a director ofsales at Twilio and can have a little bit more that work life balance. I putthose words in your mouth and I don't know if that's entirely what you'resaying, but like that's pretty cool. Well I found that so I'm actuallyresponsible for about the same amount of revenue in my role even though Ihave a lower title than I had before. But and I think truly a really expectsa lot of leaders. So I'm actually learning a lot of skills and thingsthat I didn't learn that other setting. I'm seeing scale in a totally differentway. So I'm still very much being challenged. It's a, the time consumingjob. I'm not, you know, uh laid back. Not at all, but certainly it's a morereasonable pace and just like the work life balance of the understanding. Wehave such a mature executive leadership team who truly means that when they saythey want us to bring our whole self to work and to have work life balance. AndI think they do a pretty good job of trying to put us in that boat. So it'sstill an intense sort of job, but I think it's more reasonable with a childthan startup land. Yeah. Those of us in the world of startups are alwayslooking over the fence that those really awesome stable product marketfit is their money's in the bank, their jobs and going that would be nicesomeday. So that's that's great. Now. I always like to think that, you know,you said you took an untraditional path. Always like to think that it's bothhard work and luck that get you to...

...where you are. So give an example ofeither one or both or whatever is to how that might have influenced yourcareer. I think I have an example of both. I have heard a lot of otherguests on the show talk about this. I think this topic is really interestingand it's probably impossible to say what balance is attributed to one orthe other. But early on I I think I got lucky in ways that I didn't realize,but when I got lucky, hard work kicked in and then I think when I've hadphases of my career later on where I was less lucky, that's what kept megoing and eventually got me back into the kind of place that I wanted to be.So I definitely think the mix is key and is important, but hard work isreally, really important. Um so I think the way I got to part on is a goodexample of this. About a year after college I moved to Atlanta with myhusband. I was working for a company that was not doing well, was strugglingand I got the opportunity to interview at part of I really didn't qualify forthe job. I should have gotten the job. And I somehow convinced the salesleader has remained a mentor of mine, Derek Grant to give me a shot eventhough I didn't really qualify for it. And he basically said, look, I'll giveyou the job, but you're on a short leash if you don't make it in the firstfew months, like you're out. So I came in, I realized quickly I was weighingover my head, I did not know what I was doing. My previous skills that had notprepared me for this type of sale. I didn't know that buyer the lingo,anything about how to do this job. So I just worked insane hours. I just pouredeverything into this. I spent a lot of time practicing pitches. I spent timeon the weekends, you know, researching accounts. I did a ton of ton, a ton ofprospecting, watching college football games on the weekends and just reallydedicated to like I'm going to figure this out. I was super determined withina few months, improved significantly, ended up becoming one of the topperformers there. Every quarter had a really good run. I came from a veryblue collar family and all of a sudden I was making more money than I realizedsomeone could make at this age and was...

...like, oh shit, sales is awesome, I'mgoing to do this forever. And it was so fun. They're like, we were selling thiscutting edge tech, we were helping companies is very consultative sale andso there was a lot of hard work, but I do think I got lucky and getting thatopportunity and furthermore part ended up selling to Salesforce, our founderended up becoming like the godfather of the Atlanta tech scene and has investedin and created an accelerator that's invested in the greater community. Sothere have been tons of tech companies now that have come out of thisecosystem where I know have really strong relationships. So every job I'vehad from, there has all been from relationships that I made essentiallyfrom those days and the connections from there. So I think I just got luckythat I was in Atlanta at the right time, got to detect at the right time whenall of this was happening. Yeah, that's and that's, and that's like a, that's anice like general, you know, did you really know that when you were movingto Atlanta, I'm going to go there because this is going to be a startuphotbed or like of course not, that's like the big overarching luck part, Ihonestly think my next podcast that I start will be something like alumni orlike I think there's always these companies that sprout 10 amazingcompanies out of them and it's really like a family tree that you know, abusiness family tree, if you will, I mean in my industry, in the world ofrestaurants, you know, in the 2000, it was anybody who worked with Danny meyerin new york and there's people in Atlanta who run restaurants now thatare all part of the Union Square cafe Tabla, 11 Madison park, gramercy tavernfamily, that's that's very cool and I'm sure those relationships are so active,like incredibly great today because you can reach out for any of the questionsthat you have on things and I love that. So apart from that, of course, I alwaystry to ask everyone what is the best tactic secret, whatever it is that theycan share with us, that people can...

...actually start to use tomorrow. Give uslike your best skill. I hope this isn't a let down because I think this isbasic, but I see across the companies I've worked at this being missing ornot as well developed as I think it should be in sales. So I think thething people forget so much is that the formula for what a sale is is actuallyquite basic. It's really just what is the person trying to solve or whetherit's a problem? We're trying to solve an opportunity. They're trying to takeadvantage of how can you inform them on how you can help them do that betterthan any other option to solve that problem. Better than any other optionout there and that there is an R. O. I. To do so with you. And I thinkespecially with text sales, people get so caught up in the demo and showingthings they're trying to get someone excited about their company and howmuch funding they've taken that we're not sticking to the basics and justtalking about, here's how I can solve the problem. Here's the impact thatwill make on your business. And so like I think at Twilio, since we don't havea demo, everything is a P. I it has to be built. My reps don't have thatcrutch, which I think is positive and negative, but they really have to getto business reasons. But even with our team, I still see often there's uh, thecustomer has a problem that we can solve and they've confirmed that andthey want to run with it and we've got to slow down and really understandanything to tell you that we build takes time, effort and money. So is itworth it? Is that build worth the outcome? And so I think the key adviceand for sales people, you have to answer this question for your customerand make it very easy for them. Don't assume they're following you. You needto spell it out. And the only way you can do that is by really understandingthe why behind their project. What is the outcome they're trying to achieve?How and why is it important to the business? And can you put a metric orimprovement on it? You can always do that. But for example you would saysomething like It's my understanding that you want to build an app forappointment reminders. This should help you to improve appointment. Show ratesby at least 30%. Based on the estimate...

...you gave me about the cost of a missappointment. It should increase revenue by X percent. Is this right? Is this inline with what you're looking for valuable like something like that andif you can't get there I think the likelihood of you getting a sale goesdown. Yeah. So so often that reps will bring you to the water but not forceyou to drink and you really have to spell out what the specific revenue forthat ri or just like the revenue generation or cost savings or whateverit is for that specific use case. Like I think it's so important. I was on ameeting myself earlier this week and then I had a follow up today and theperson really smart, incredibly intelligent got everything wrong in themeeting that I said and I said it 1000 times. I know I said it right but likeyou can't repeat those things enough. I also have a great way to kind of saywhat you're saying here in on in terms of what sales is. A friend of mine saidhaber shoutout set always says sales is pretty simple, find out what they want,tell them that is what you have, that's the whole thing. You have to prove itthen. But I like your idea right then you have to like you know get out thereand do it. Which I love that ad and then prove it. But like they wantsomething tell them you have it. How do you do that? Well, are you are youexpanding your team? Are you hiring at all? We are always hiring Twilio for bySoutheast region specifically. I don't, I just hired two so I don't have openheadcount. But well again, the biggest thing we need right now are essays. Wereally need great solutions, engineers in the southeast. Great, perfect. Wewill, we will get the message out and maybe send them over to you. It'sWilliam. I bet you have position is incredibly important because it is sucha fail. It's a fun one. It's a pretty hard one. I think it's a challengingplace to be in sc because again, everything is what are you trying tobuild? What's the after the vision and a lot of what we're doing isbrainstorming and architect ng things...

...with customers. So rss you have to bepretty adept at the tech and be able to really understand that customer needand on the fly start to recommend an architect, we do some demoing but againa lot less demoing and more architecture models and things likethat on how you could build ups with Twilio and at the end of the day, ifthe customer doesn't build, they're not going to buy anything. Everything withus is usage based. So we really have to get them bought into. I can build this.I can wrap my head around this. So it's a very, very important role. Love it.Love it. All right, we'll give some shout outs either you know, folks whofollow for content or up and comers who or maybe you know, who's in youratlantic crew. When I was reading this question, I don't know if you wantedmore of the specific content pieces or for people. So one thing I was gonna,well, one thing I was going to shout out as a book I haven't been listeningto as many podcasts lately and the ones I have been a more for fun, like smartlists with Jason Bateman, which is really funny. But I'm reading this bookLeadership in turbulent times. It has the most boring cover. It's very long.But it is a really excellent books. I was a history major and it is DorisKearns Goodwin has written and she wanted Pulitzer Prize. Anyway shewrites about four American presidents. This is really nerdy but she goesthrough their early life and a lot of traits about them that really made themand then how they actually use some of their leadership skills during somepretty insane periods of time like Abraham Lincoln in America and goingthrough Covid and dealing with a lot of the people related challenges that Ifaced. I found that book really valuable. So it's a long read but it'sreally good for anybody who wants to get into that. Um a american historydoesn't rarely makes its point on the R. C. Podcast, but here we go. There we go.And then in terms of people, I mean I think I'm like very much living intwilio world right now. But I think the...

...entire Twilio sales leadership team,we've got a lot of really really excellent talented, smart people. Iwork with a lot of really great women, some great women on my team, daisy pena,uh Melissa smith Greta for kelly and Courtney pecora are all for reallyincredible female leaders at tulio. But I think similar to what we said before,this company is putting out a strong group of people who are going tocontinue to uh the executives and other companies in the future. Very cool.Maybe you've gone from one to another. That's very cool. And look all thisother stuff is for everyone else. This last one for me, where should I go eat?Give me some spots for a spot. So I live indicator which is a little biteast of Atlanta and there's a lot of cool spots on the east side. So oneplace that I really love is 246, it's a four dry restaurant. If you're familiar,you've got a number of incredible restaurants in Atlanta. That one isitalian ask, that one is delicious. Also if you like mexican, there is anincredible mexican place, it's pretty authentic but really fresh ingredientscalled El Tesoro and Kirk web that I have been going to. A lot of mypregnancy cravings have me craving it all the time. So I've actually beengoing there like weekly. Alright, awesome. Well when I get down therewe're going we have a couple of team members of my team members from the byteam in the Atlanta area so it's a place I got to and we have some greatcustomers out there as well. So shout out to you thank you so much. I reallyappreciate you coming on and joining us and good luck with all that to come inthe next couple of months as you. I think you played your 2nd 2nd baby.Pretty exciting times. Get all the travel and now because you don't,you're gonna forget how badly no sleep thing is. Yes, I've already forgotten.Thank you. Thanks Tony. Sure. All right, that is our show. Thank you so much forlistening. If you love the show, please write review in the Apple podcasts orSpotify app, send it to some friends and make sure to smash that subscribebutton. A reminder. This episode is...

...brought to you by drift the new waybusinesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get your conversationstarted at drip dot com. I had fun today. Hope you did too. Now go crushthose numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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