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Have salespeople become lazy?
Today’s reliance on Sales Engagement Platforms and an inherent fear of making phone calls has changed the way XDRs do their jobs.
Is it laziness? Is it generational differences? Is it because of the change in today’s economy?
This controversial topic is tackled by RevOps Therapist, owner, and CEO of Greaser Consulting, Jordan Greaser, and Senior Director of Sales Program Strategy at SAP, Eddie Ham.
Listen in, and let us know your thoughts!
Hey crew, this is Jordan, the owner and CEO of Greaser Consulting. On today’s episode, we’ve got Eddie. Eddie worked with me at Outreach. He was one of the early SDR hires that I had the privilege of managing; Eddie was, you’ll hear this in the podcast, he was an okay SDR, but he was a really good AE. So when he got out of that SDR zone and into AE land, I mean, it was like, right fit, right personality. And I beat on him a little bit about the SDR days; he hit the number, he hit quota. But my point is, he was a top of top performers whenever he got into that AE seat. And he’s been spending some time recently on more of the enablement side of the house, specifically as an Outreach program manager. So this is a really interesting episode to listen in to. If you want to think a little bit about sequencing, a little bit about enablement, a little bit about Eddie’s thoughts on whether or not salespeople are lazy. Uh oh, watch out. You hear about automation fatigue and everything else in between. So I appreciate everybody listening in. And we’re going to take it over to the podcast. Thanks.
Say you want some clarity in sales and marketing and SEP? Well, we have just the remedy: our podcast, RevOps Therapy. Yeah.
Hey, crew, I’ve got my friend Eddie with me on the line today. Eddie, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself?
Hey, what’s going on Jordan? Long time, no talk. Hello, everybody. My name is Eddie. I am a seller. I’ve been a seller for about 20 years, various positions, anywhere from telemarketing, SDR, inside sales, full-cycle sales, Senior Account Executive. I’ve done it all, been to the President’s Club, Champion’s Club, and all that other fun stuff. Now currently doing strategic enablement and content, mainly around Outreach at SAP, and having fun doing it.
So Eddie, you… I don’t know if you’re gonna be happy with me about this, or you’re gonna learn this, and you’re gonna come punch me in the face; I don’t know. But whenever people talk about the SDR/AE motion and how they’re different. You don’t know this, but I’ve long since used you as the example. So let me, let me tell you what I’m talking about. When you were an SDR, Eddie, you were okay. All right. I’m just being honest. You were okay. But as soon as you got into an AE role, you were fantastic. And so I always use that, kind of, as the example of how it’s a little bit of a different skill set. It’s a little bit of a different way of operating. And it’s not necessarily “oh, you got a killer SDR, so now you’re gonna have a killer AE.” Like you can have a pretty good SDR that actually makes for a better AE. You know what I mean? You’re not buying it. You’re not buying it at all.
No, I agree. No. I felt like when I was… it was fun because you gave me the opportunity to be an SDR; I learned a lot. And actually, my sales skills improved being an SDR because it gave me better understanding of like, like, what is it called? I guess… Demand Generation for myself: looking to find clients, the right type of clients. But I felt like it was, like, a cap of my, like, my skill set when I was an SDR because I could do so much as a sales rep because what I did before, but yeah, it’s totally different positions. But yeah, I agree with what you said.
Let’s talk about this. I know the topic of today is like how it seems like that sales role is changing, or, or how folks are sort of behaving a little bit differently. Like, yeah, you worked as an SDR with me for a while. And the name of the game at that time was like “let’s hit 100 dials a day. Let’s see what we can do”. And it’s always interesting when economies get tight and things; all of a sudden, AEs are tasked with prospecting again. And it’s like, “Hey, you got to start hitting those dials again.” So like, just in your experience, I know you’re, you’re sort of more in that programmatic enablement type of role. Have you seen any big shifts recently with like, how folks are treating the phone? Or how they’re handling their workflows, thinking a little differently?
Yeah. A lot of the salespeople have moved away from trying to call; that’s why, when you see people in sequence, it’s always been a fact ever since I was an SDR; they’re usually stalled at the manual tasks like a phone call task and the LinkedIn tasks. But as you said, like as the economy fluctuates; people don’t want to do as much of their own demand gen. They want to pass it off to like the SDRs or they call DMEs or whatever they call them right now. So I think that affects salespeople because I love calling; I love cold calling. I love when people say no; it just, just gives me a challenge of how to flip them to say yes, and it feels so much better when you close that deal. The guy goes, “no, no, wait, what did you say? Hold on, maybe I should think about it.”
So you’re talking about cold call hesitancy. Do you think that’s just kind of a universal? Or is that like Gen Z is entering the workforce? Or the millennials are now in charge? Is it a generational difference that you see? Or is it like, this is a blanket statement? It just seems like everyone’s a little bit afraid to do some of that.
It’s a weird combination of the industry changing, like how other companies are doing things, right? But at the same time, generational difference, because they’re being trained to do that. Like, it’s… before it was cutthroat, right? Like when I was at CDW, here’s a Yellow Pages phonebook; you call and you make your your make your accounts, right? Now, they’re like, “Oh, we want to give you the accounts, or make sure that you know, you don’t do too much,” like that kind of thing. Right? So it’s like, the, the environment has changed in sales, where it’s a lot less sensitive, more uncertain, more sensitive, from where that cutthroat approach makes you into a better salesperson, if that makes sense. But, but yeah, it’s a combination of society, the type of leadership that’s hired to train these people, and a lack of training too, like, and I’m in my enablement sessions, I’m enabling people how to use Outreach, right, but I’m training them in sales half the time. “How do I, how do I respond to this objection? Like, how would you approach this client? Like, would you call first, would you email first?” I always call first; you got to get the lay of the land. Like if I want to try to talk to Jordan, I need to find out who Jordan’s secretary is, when’s Jordan’s best time to call, hopefully sneak out a cell phone number and things like that; you can’t get that by an email. Because it’s deleting emails, right?
So let’s talk about just deleting emails. I’ve heard some people say recently that the age of the sequence has come and gone. And what I mean by that is that sort of old school approach of, “I’m going to email and then I’m also going to just like hit the dials, I’m going to chase it down,” or whatever. You know, now is the era of build your personal brand, do memes on LinkedIn, you know what I’m saying? Try to, try to get people to, like, follow your audience. And like, that’s how you’re going to build your book of business. And so I’m curious to get your take, because you’re kind of programmatically the guy that’s saying, “listen, Outreach is the way; let’s get into there with the sequences. Let’s make those phone calls.” So you… do you think it’s an either/or both/and? Is it like “Jordan, I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous statement”?
I will… I’ve seen that sort of around in social media, but not in the sales play, like sales environment that I’ve been in. I think the, the way a sequence is created and the way people think about what a sequence is is two different things. I teach sequences as basically a roadmap on how to get a meeting, right? Or get that contact with a person. Emails and social touches are just like when you play volleyball, like a bump and set, right? They’re setting you up for the phone call. And that’s the phone call is where you get the spike, where you get to get the communication with the person to close the deal, or at least get some type of response. “I’m not interested.” You can find out why. But in my opinion, emails… Let’s say there’s 100%, right Jordan? Emails are 10%; LinkedIn is maybe 5%. And then 85% is phone call. That’s the way I look at sequences. So to answer your question, social media, maybe texting is probably… because the decision-makers are generally older. So I don’t know, depending on if it’s a startup or not right? But I don’t think they’re following memes and stuff on LinkedIn. They, maybe they’re looking to hire people on LinkedIn. But if you’re asked as a meme on LinkedIn, I don’t know if they’re gonna hire you.
But so the question becomes though, if phone really is king, okay, at least in your book, we’re going to use phone. That’s the number one thing. Do you need a sequencing tool? Or do you need a power dialer? We’re just going to put you into a Connect and Sell or an Orum or, you know, something of that nature? What’s the purpose of having, well, an email to go out if you think it’s just gonna get deleted or a LinkedIn task to be completed if it’s just a bump and set? Why don’t we just crank it into the power dialer and go?
Because there’s no set way to approach a client, right? Everybody’s different. And you know what, you know, Jordan, as you know, it’s… half of its luck. You can get that guy to answer the phone by accident, because the… maybe the local dial, local presence with Outreach works, right? Are you going to local presence? I don’t think hammering people with 50 million phone calls is going to work. I think it’s more of a strategy, personal approach. Like the brainstorming sessions we had at Outreach as SDRs. And the brainstorming sessions we had at Zillow, like instead of like, how can we get better? What can we do, like, like outside of phone calls? Like, if I sent you, Jordan, like a sock, like a Pittsburgh Steelers socks, right? And I’d love to warm up with you on a phone call and order some coffee or something. I just sent it to you randomly. Like “what the hell is this?” You’re gonne be like “Eddie…” And it’s sort of like, if you think about what a sequence is, it’s like a marketing program. Eddie email, Eddie voicemail, Eddie LinkedIn, Eddie voicemail, Eddie email, right? To the point where it’s like, “gah, who is this Eddie guy,” right? And then at least when you call by the fifth time like, “oh, yeah, hey, I got your voicemail.” Maybe the chance of that is higher, like it’s not guaranteed, right? But I had something like that with a client of mine at Zillow, where I ping them emails, voicemails, emails, voicemails repeatedly, right, never got a response back. So I wasn’t… I was in… I was in field sales too. It’s like full, like inside, outside. And I didn’t have SDRs; I booked my meetings. I went and flew to meet my clients to close deals. I go to the office to drop off bagels, and I’m sitting in the lobby waiting. The secretary’s like “Oh, the owner is not…he’s busy in a meeting, right?” And I’m like, “Oh, okay, I just want to drop off some bagels and stuff.” But then the owner walks by… older gentleman, and he heard my name. “Are you Eddie?” “Yeah.” “I got all your emails and your phone calls,” right? “Hey, I’ll give you five minutes to talk.” Everybody is… every owner is a salesperson, right? Everybody’s a salesperson, so they can appreciate your persistence, as long as it’s professional, consistent, right? So I got 10, 15 minutes. Did my pitch, was able to get some quotes out to them. They didn’t have the budget for it. But they opened up that meeting mainly because this persistence, right? And like when you go back to it, what are you writing in those emails, right? If you’re just copying and pasting somebody’s email, it’s not gonna work. If you personalize it a little bit, do some homework. Yeah, you know, breaking news, actually do a little bit of research before you call. And when you leave a voicemail, don’t leave a generic one. Don’t leave a 30-minute story. Let me like a 5, 10-second blurb like “Hey, Jordan saw your LinkedIn profile, love your podcast, I’d love to talk to you more about what my product has to do with… what would benefit your, your company, right? All I’m asking for is 10 minutes; I’d love to talk to you.” Like something that…
I want to hit on the one thing you said though, is, well, it’s not going to work unless you personalize or unless you write the content, whatever. The thing that’s interesting about that is you’re, you’re program manager now right over at SAP, and I don’t want you to divulge company secret, whatever. But by and large, the larger the organization is, this is my experience doing consulting on the Outreach side of things… The larger the organization is, the less control the rep has of their own message. Okay. And by and large, somewhere along the line, as the team start to get better, bigger, best practice becomes to shut off like full-scale content creation of sequences and templates, and whatever for reps because then the whole thing just becomes this, like, maze and zoo; you don’t know what’s really working. So how do you marry that concept of, well, hey, let’s give the rep the ability to have some personality do some good things, but like as an organization, we’re still sort of controlling the message?
That’s a good point that you’re bringing up. With SAP, they’re pretty cool about leaving that Edit button in Outreach. They can edit the template if they want. The false… salespeople are just lazy. They just want to put a million people in sequence, and they think it’s going to work by itself. And they think robots are going to call people. Like, “Get off your… Man, stop being lazy; be a salesperson,” right? If you’re gonna personalize, put your touch in to it; that’s fine.” But they’re like, yeah, salespeople, they’ve gotten lazy.
Eddie, listen… half the people just listening: You’ve just been canceled. They’re blocking you on LinkedIn. I think they just called you “Boomer”. I’m not sure what just happened. Oh, but tell me what you mean by that? What do you mean they’ve gotten lazier? Because like this is the proverbial, each generation goes by and they say, “Well, back in my day, I walked, you know, 15 miles uphill both ways to school in the snow, right? And this next generation, they’re now lazy.” I mean, you hear that all the way down through. Are we actually getting lazier as we’re going, Eddie? Like, is that really a thing? Or is it just each generation thinking they did it right? And now the tips tricks and techniques for the new generation are just wrong?
Well, that’s a good question. I think Outreach is a great tool, but at the same time, it’s made people lazy. Well, if there was no Outreach tool, then we would still be hitting the Yellow Pages, right, or hitting up Google, calling people and just doing it that way. But I think Outreach sort of made people lazy to expect that they had to do less, like the automated side of the sequences. But at the same time, it’s, it’s how you use the product, like what I teach Outreach is like getting from point A to point B the fastest. How can you use Outreach to make your day faster? I call it a task management, task efficiency tool, right? So people are like, “Oh, sequences!” Sequences are like 20%. 80% of it’s how you manage your day. Like, how do I put, remind myself to do this? How do I have to use Excel? What, like OneNote? Appointment reminders? How can I use this whole platform to manage my day? That’s sort of how I used to… going back to the lazy part, I think, I’m not saying all these salespeople, because the top salespeople, if they have Outreach, they’re using Outreach. Why? Because they can do their job in half the time and still make the money that they’re making now. Right? Why… that’s what’s… really, people that have that urge to be number one or the top salesperson, they want to learn about products like Outreach, because it makes their job easier. I’m still gonna make millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars hitting my quota, just in half the time because this product makes it easy for me to do stuff. So I think the lazy part is just the people that are maybe the lower part of the totem pole to the midway, that don’t understand how this tool works, or just how their sales processes is. It’s not, maybe that’s not their fault, they just don’t understand what the hard parts of sales is, I guess; they don’t want experience that part. But yeah, I love getting hang-ups. I love getting those… maybe it’s just the mindset. Maybe I’m just crazy. But it’s fun for me.
So Eddie, it’s… I gotta, I gotta ask you if you love getting no’s and you love getting hang-ups, why are you on the enablement side and not still in sales?
That’s a good question. Because I don’t know, maybe I’ll go back. But for now, I’ve just been doing it for so long. Like, I actually, it’s… when I got to Zillow, the transitions, the joy of closing the deal as the joy of helping that rep from getting from like, huh, to closing deals. And that satisfaction when the light goes off is this is a lot more satisfying for me right now. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m getting old. It could be the maturation of my thought process. But I like teaching people; I like helping people. Yeah.
So how do you push… you’re in this environment where you’re saying, “Well, I feel like we have…” the phrase I use is automation fatigue. Okay, is… the automation makes a ton of sense, but to your point, you can get automation fatigue in the sense that you stop thinking, okay, yeah, you’re like, “well, it’s just gonna do it for me,” and you think well, hold on a second, think a little bit critically here; you might actually want to take a different step, because you know, this trigger went off; you saw this insight. So now actually, let’s take that motion, as opposed to just some automated thing. But you can forget, or your muscles get a little bit tired; they atrophy if the automation is just doing all the thinking for you. And that’s that concept of automation fatigue. That being said, is you’re working with folks on your teams or teams in the past, whatever. And you’re thinking, “hey, we don’t want to run away from the automation, but I want you to keep being a good salesperson and have automation.” How are you training that into people? How are you getting that message across? I know you’re saying the top folks use it. But how do you actually enable it?
Yeah, so I teach. So the way I teach it is, the sequences are different steps, like I said earlier, like it’s like a bump, set, spike approach. So the automation portion is just there just, it’s like a nudge, right, it’s gonna take enough nudges just for you to get in contact with somebody. That’s where the, the manual tasks become important, right? If you’re going to write a letter, if you’re going to send something of a message on LinkedIn; it’s not going to be a copy and paste when the, when the manual actions that you’re doing actually took some time to do so. I’m not going to just call you and leave the same message over and over; I’ll throw some different messages in, like doing some inserts that up their life, maybe even talk about a voicemail with nothing to do business. “Hey, saw that you’re, like you’re a Cowboys fan. Sorry that your team lost or Jerry sucks,” right? I’m not a Cowboys fan. But yeah, something like that. Rub it in and say, “love to hear your thoughts. Give me a call back.” Change it up, like do… I definitely tell people to just change it up to what other people doing, keep your tasks going. You can’t blame Outreach, if it doesn’t work, if you’re not doing the tasks on the day that they’re due. Right? So that’s why I say, manage how many sequences you do a day, right? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Make sure your task screens are zero. And then just look for different ways to use this platform just to become…
So the top prospect, number one person in your patch… Are you putting them in a sequence? Are you handling that all manually? Let’s say it’s cool, like it’s cold. You don’t have a referral in; you don’t have whatever, but you know, like I know Eddie is my point of contact. I absolutely know that; I’ve got scoop on the company. Am I doing a sequence, or am I, like, manually trying to find my way through?
I’m always gonna do a sequence; I’m going to customize the sequence though with manual emails, action items where I need to write a letter or drop off stuff at their office. It’s gonna be a more advanced sequence that would involve a lot more manual tasks, as opposed to automation, but some email, emails, like the intro email, the follow-up email, things like that, that’ll definitely be automated. But there’ll be a lot more manual actions on my part, like, I think in-person visits are the best for some clients like that.
So what’s the, what’s the ideal? Like, tell me the ideal sequence? Everybody’s heard the phrase Agoge. Are you an Agoge guy or are you, like, or is there, is there a Ham sequence that now everybody needs to know? What’s, what’s the ideal sequence for a top prospect?
It depends what kind of rep you are. If you’re an inside sales rep, I think anywhere from 10 to… 10 to 12 steps. I would say at least three to four phone calls, emails, stick top of the inbox reminders, do two or three. Do LinkedIn. It’s just like, it was the basic approach; it’s nothing’s different. It’s just making sure that you’re on the tasks that they need to do and you’re making, like, meaningful approach. Like one thing, Jordan, that the salespeople don’t have these days… understand, that some of them do: Gatekeepers are diamonds in the rough. If you can build that relationship with the gatekeeper, that’s, that’s your… just your head in to people like at C-level, right? We’re just working with, asking them questions, getting to know, getting to know who you are, like you like letting them know you know what, Jordan, you work hard, you know, getting all these… Let me send you some gift cards with Starbucks, you know, you deserve some caffeine, take a break. Right? They’re “Well, Eddie, thank you so much.” You know, give them a gift here and there… holidays. Sales is not like a one-step process, right? You have to plant your seeds. You also have to figure out ways around it like who the decision-maker speaks with to get their decisions, maybe their VPs under there, getting to know them. So just because the guy at the top says no. And everybody around them says yes, then that can change the decision, if that makes sense. So to answer your question, long-winded: 10 to 12 steps, nothing crazy. Intro emails, follow-up emails, three to four phone calls, I love making phone calls. And in those calls, not just the voicemails, sort of getting the lay of the land, who makes the decisions? When is he in the office? Gatekeeper’s name, what kind of dog they have? And then just some other stuff.
So do you believe in like a multithread sequence approach? And what I mean by that is, there’s some folks that will like, they’ll go in, and they’ll boom ZoomInfo, I get a list of names. It’s a list of names, drop them in sequence, see you later. There’s other folks that their big plan is, let’s say, let’s say, Eddie, you’re the CEO, okay? Bob’s the CFO, you know, whatever; Amy’s the VP of sales, what they’re gonna do is they’re gonna say, “Listen, I’m gonna run three different sequences at the same time; I’m going to capture all three of these folks, these different personalities at the same time. And I’m actually going to have the messaging run in a way to try to spark a conversation between these three folks.” Like, do you think about that at all and trying to run that type of play? Or is it, is it simply, hey, it’s a name? It’s a sequence? It’s a name, it’s a sequence? Even if it’s customization. The point is, it runs in its own silo.
Interesting. So would you have the other people CC’d on those emails?
So there’s two ways to do it. Way number one is, you actually put two or three people on a thread and you sequence them through the same thing, and they’re CC’d, and you say, “Hey, listen, between the two or three of you, what do you think?” and you can do that. The second way is they’re on separate sequences. Okay. But you’re running them at the same time, but they’re sort of talking in a way to try to get you to talk to each other.
Yeah, like I’ve left John, a voicemail about a discussion here. And I think it’d be great to have you both on the phone. That’s interesting. I never thought about that kind of approach. Might be a little bit hectic to handle. But I can see that.
Yeah, I see that mostly in the enterprise space, by the way.
Yeah, that’s actually, that’s really, you know, another way to do it is if you’re trying to get in touch with the VP of Sales, maybe get some of your managers that “hey, are you cool if I tell your VP I talked to you?” “Yeah, sure.” Then throw them into sequence and say “I spoke with Jonathan here,” and CC that email. And you’re saying “I thought it’d be great to talk with you about this, this this” right? You know, obviously remember, like the referral sequence we name dropped in the subject title?
Yeah, that’s a good way too. It is such a good way in. Yeah. If I get an email that says, “hey, Eddie said we should talk.” I mean, okay, Eddie said we should talk. I gotta go like, let’s let’s chat about… Yeah, it’s hard. That’s hard to say no.
Yeah, sales is sales dude; it’s… nothing’s really changed. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. It’s just hard work. Doing some research and calling people and talking to them and getting to know… dude, like, I think every salesperson knows this: the product that you sell is pretty much similar to everything else on the market, right? Except for maybe tweak here and there. The reason why they buy is because they liked salesperson, right? That’s why it’s such sale. If you talk to see a top salespeople differently, like half of them are like politician wannabes, right? Like get you to buy a broken car. But it’s just the personality and you just get to like who they are. So half of its sequencing, half of… like part of it’s sequencing, part of it is approach, part of it is personality too like, people buy from you because they like you. Right? But also the approach to getting that meeting is you have to be persistent. You can’t just give up after one try. Because Jordan, remember you, you would lead us and then we like have I have people like that… four or five times, they eventually would break, right? So everybody’s timeline is different.
I like how you said “Eventually, they’ll break.” Well, Eddie, we’re running. We’re running up on time. So is there any last piece of advice or two cents? You know, you’re listening, one of the one of those lazy, you know, salespeople that just doesn’t want to do anything? What are you saying to them today?
Yeah, you got to, gotta put in the work because the amount of work you put in is the result that you’re gonna get. It’s just because it cliche, right. But it’s, it’s it works, right? It’s… somebody’s gonna, somebody’s gonna sell this person a product, might as well be you. Right, they’re gonna buy; they have the budget; they’re gonna choose to do it, might as well be you. And the only person that wins the marathon is the person that finishes the marathon, right? And they’re not going to just sprint two lines and then stop; the guy that continuously goes and goes and goes to the crack the account. And that’s one way to be creative, too. So hopefully, that helps.
Like I said, after you called them lazy, they may have already hopped off, but if you hung in there, you got wise words of advice. Eddie, thanks for coming on today. And for those of you that were tuning in and listening, always appreciate you all popping in. If you have any questions, let us know. And we look forward to the next episode. Bye, Eddie.
Yes, thanks so much.
Hot dog. That was a great episode. Thanks for listening. If you want to learn more about Greaser Consulting or any information you heard on today’s episode, visit us online at www.greaserconsulting.com. Be sure to click the Follow button and the bell icon to be notified on the latest here at RevOps Therapy. Thanks and see you real soon.