The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 the revenue collected podcast. I am your host brand of art and you're listening to Is this a good time the show where I asked revenue Collective members some basic questions. They answer them. We have fun. It's a short 15 minute conversation, Tuesdays and Thursdays show. Come now. Hit subscribe. Don't miss an episode. Our guest today is Tony Bennett, she is the director of sales at Twilio and we talk about the simple fundamentals of selling. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers align sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with businesses at any time on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 40 we got here folks, Is this a good time? Alright, so excited to have Tony Bennett here she is, the director of sales at Twilio based in the Atlanta area. Tony great to have you. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. Thank you so much. You have such a killer career. I really enjoyed kind of learning more about it. Why don't you go ahead and start? You know, we jump right in all meat. No fillers start by telling us about Twilio and then you know, how did you get into this role? Absolutely. So Twilio, where experts in digital communication and what we do can be kind of hard to explain, but we enable companies to build communication channels like SMS or voice into their applications via a Pc. So if you've ever texted your Uber driver or called an 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 tech side but super easy to set up and like really valuable to be able to build an entire like text messaging framework,...

...whatever. I'm just plug in your own company. Yeah. What we do is really cool and it's certainly a project for a lot of other channels to, we're powering contact centers, a lot of disruptive businesses and the old school businesses, everything from banks to tech companies and all between south. It's pretty cool, cool. How do we land there? How did he get there twists and turns? I think the way like generally speaking, I think the way that I got to where I am now is by not having a specific plan or outcome in mind, it just sort of working hard and trying to be really good at what I was doing and opportunities have sort of taken me to the next place. Even as soon as a couple years ago, I would have never anticipated being here. I was in tech for a while, I started in tech with a company called part dot, which was a fast growing marketing automation platform here in Atlanta. And the success that I had there really afforded me some cool opportunity to stay in the Atlanta startup ecosystem and work for some other fast growing companies and to be acquired by Salesforce. 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 of sales. That was an intense, intense journey of sprinting for four years and working a tremendous amount of hours. And when I had my daughter 2.5 years ago I took that mat leave, I didn't end up going back to terminus and it was a weird time for me to figure out what I was going to do next. And I ended up taking a year off to do some consulting and it ended up being the most incredible thing I could have done because I was still working on really hard solving really hard problems for my clients. But I had more time to figure out what is this new phase of life going to mean and what's important to me all that sad the way I got the Twilio. I realized it had a lot of what I loved about startups, that same energy and really fast exciting growth path and the opportunity to help build in this case, submit them in market segment, which was new for us. But it...

...had a lot more of a stability and sanity that I needed for this thing. Yeah, for sure. I mean I think this is totally under under talked about frankly the, I mean, and it certainly is slightly more amongst the female and professionals that I know, but in general, having kids and trying to have a really fast accelerated career is near impossible to do both of those things. If you want to spend time with your kids, let's just put it that way. So I think that's pretty cool to take that time off and figure out what that next step is as it relates to your entire life, not only your career and like to say, hey, I'm a director of sales at Twilio and can have a little bit more that work life balance. I put those words in your mouth and I don't know if that's entirely what you're saying, but like that's pretty cool. Well I found that so I'm actually responsible for about the same amount of revenue in my role even though I have a lower title than I had before. But and I think truly a really expects a lot of leaders. So I'm actually learning a lot of skills and things that I didn't learn that other setting. I'm seeing scale in a totally different way. So I'm still very much being challenged. It's a, the time consuming job. I'm not, you know, uh laid back. Not at all, but certainly it's a more reasonable pace and just like the work life balance of the understanding. We have such a mature executive leadership team who truly means that when they say they want us to bring our whole self to work and to have work life balance. And I think they do a pretty good job of trying to put us in that boat. So it's still an intense sort of job, but I think it's more reasonable with a child than startup land. Yeah. Those of us in the world of startups are always looking over the fence that those really awesome stable product market fit is their money's in the bank, their jobs and going that would be nice someday. 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 both hard work and luck that get you to...

...where you are. So give an example of either one or both or whatever is to how that might have influenced your career. I think I have an example of both. I have heard a lot of other guests on the show talk about this. I think this topic is really interesting and it's probably impossible to say what balance is attributed to one or the 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 had phases of my career later on where I was less lucky, that's what kept me going 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 is really, really important. Um so I think the way I got to part on is a good example of this. About a year after college I moved to Atlanta with my husband. I was working for a company that was not doing well, was struggling and I got the opportunity to interview at part of I really didn't qualify for the job. I should have gotten the job. And I somehow convinced the sales leader has remained a mentor of mine, Derek Grant to give me a shot even though I didn't really qualify for it. And he basically said, look, I'll give you the job, but you're on a short leash if you don't make it in the first few months, like you're out. So I came in, I realized quickly I was weighing over my head, I did not know what I was doing. My previous skills that had not prepared 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 poured everything into this. I spent a lot of time practicing pitches. I spent time on the weekends, you know, researching accounts. I did a ton of ton, a ton of prospecting, watching college football games on the weekends and just really dedicated to like I'm going to figure this out. I was super determined within a few months, improved significantly, ended up becoming one of the top performers there. Every quarter had a really good run. I came from a very blue collar family and all of a sudden I was making more money than I realized someone could make at this age and was...

...like, oh shit, sales is awesome, I'm going to do this forever. And it was so fun. They're like, we were selling this cutting edge tech, we were helping companies is very consultative sale and so there was a lot of hard work, but I do think I got lucky and getting that opportunity and furthermore part ended up selling to Salesforce, our founder ended up becoming like the godfather of the Atlanta tech scene and has invested in and created an accelerator that's invested in the greater community. So there have been tons of tech companies now that have come out of this ecosystem where I know have really strong relationships. So every job I've had from, there has all been from relationships that I made essentially from those days and the connections from there. So I think I just got lucky that I was in Atlanta at the right time, got to detect at the right time when all of this was happening. Yeah, that's and that's, and that's like a, that's a nice like general, you know, did you really know that when you were moving to Atlanta, I'm going to go there because this is going to be a startup hotbed or like of course not, that's like the big overarching luck part, I honestly think my next podcast that I start will be something like alumni or like I think there's always these companies that sprout 10 amazing companies out of them and it's really like a family tree that you know, a business family tree, if you will, I mean in my industry, in the world of restaurants, you know, in the 2000, it was anybody who worked with Danny meyer in new york and there's people in Atlanta who run restaurants now that are all part of the Union Square cafe Tabla, 11 Madison park, gramercy tavern family, 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 questions that you have on things and I love that. So apart from that, of course, I always try to ask everyone what is the best tactic secret, whatever it is that they can share with us, that people can...

...actually start to use tomorrow. Give us like your best skill. I hope this isn't a let down because I think this is basic, but I see across the companies I've worked at this being missing or not as well developed as I think it should be in sales. So I think the thing people forget so much is that the formula for what a sale is is actually quite basic. It's really just what is the person trying to solve or whether it's a problem? We're trying to solve an opportunity. They're trying to take advantage of how can you inform them on how you can help them do that better than any other option to solve that problem. Better than any other option out there and that there is an R. O. I. To do so with you. And I think especially with text sales, people get so caught up in the demo and showing things they're trying to get someone excited about their company and how much funding they've taken that we're not sticking to the basics and just talking about, here's how I can solve the problem. Here's the impact that will make on your business. And so like I think at Twilio, since we don't have a demo, everything is a P. I it has to be built. My reps don't have that crutch, which I think is positive and negative, but they really have to get to business reasons. But even with our team, I still see often there's uh, the customer has a problem that we can solve and they've confirmed that and they want to run with it and we've got to slow down and really understand anything to tell you that we build takes time, effort and money. So is it worth it? Is that build worth the outcome? And so I think the key advice and for sales people, you have to answer this question for your customer and make it very easy for them. Don't assume they're following you. You need to spell it out. And the only way you can do that is by really understanding the 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 or improvement on it? You can always do that. But for example you would say something like It's my understanding that you want to build an app for appointment reminders. This should help you to improve appointment. Show rates by at least 30%. Based on the estimate...

...you gave me about the cost of a miss appointment. It should increase revenue by X percent. Is this right? Is this in line with what you're looking for valuable like something like that and if you can't get there I think the likelihood of you getting a sale goes down. Yeah. So so often that reps will bring you to the water but not force you to drink and you really have to spell out what the specific revenue for that ri or just like the revenue generation or cost savings or whatever it is for that specific use case. Like I think it's so important. I was on a meeting myself earlier this week and then I had a follow up today and the person really smart, incredibly intelligent got everything wrong in the meeting that I said and I said it 1000 times. I know I said it right but like you can't repeat those things enough. I also have a great way to kind of say what you're saying here in on in terms of what sales is. A friend of mine said haber 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 it then. But I like your idea right then you have to like you know get out there and do it. Which I love that ad and then prove it. But like they want something tell them you have it. How do you do that? Well, are you are you expanding your team? Are you hiring at all? We are always hiring Twilio for by Southeast region specifically. I don't, I just hired two so I don't have open headcount. But well again, the biggest thing we need right now are essays. We really need great solutions, engineers in the southeast. Great, perfect. We will, we will get the message out and maybe send them over to you. It's William. I bet you have position is incredibly important because it is such a fail. It's a fun one. It's a pretty hard one. I think it's a challenging place to be in sc because again, everything is what are you trying to build? What's the after the vision and a lot of what we're doing is brainstorming and architect ng things...

...with customers. So rss you have to be pretty adept at the tech and be able to really understand that customer need and on the fly start to recommend an architect, we do some demoing but again a lot less demoing and more architecture models and things like that on how you could build ups with Twilio and at the end of the day, if the customer doesn't build, they're not going to buy anything. Everything with us 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 who follow for content or up and comers who or maybe you know, who's in your atlantic crew. When I was reading this question, I don't know if you wanted more 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 listening to as many podcasts lately and the ones I have been a more for fun, like smart lists with Jason Bateman, which is really funny. But I'm reading this book Leadership 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 Doris Kearns Goodwin has written and she wanted Pulitzer Prize. Anyway she writes about four American presidents. This is really nerdy but she goes through their early life and a lot of traits about them that really made them and then how they actually use some of their leadership skills during some pretty insane periods of time like Abraham Lincoln in America and going through Covid and dealing with a lot of the people related challenges that I faced. I found that book really valuable. So it's a long read but it's really good for anybody who wants to get into that. Um a american history doesn'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 in twilio world right now. But I think the...

...entire Twilio sales leadership team, we've got a lot of really really excellent talented, smart people. I work 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 really incredible 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 to continue 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 this other 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 bit east of Atlanta and there's a lot of cool spots on the east side. So one place 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 is italian ask, that one is delicious. Also if you like mexican, there is an incredible mexican place, it's pretty authentic but really fresh ingredients called El Tesoro and Kirk web that I have been going to. A lot of my pregnancy cravings have me craving it all the time. So I've actually been going there like weekly. Alright, awesome. Well when I get down there we're going we have a couple of team members of my team members from the by team in the Atlanta area so it's a place I got to and we have some great customers out there as well. So shout out to you thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming on and joining us and good luck with all that to come in the 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 for listening. If you love the show, please write review in the Apple podcasts or Spotify app, send it to some friends and make sure to smash that subscribe button. A reminder. This episode is...

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

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