Welcome to Let's Talk sales. This is the podcast for anyone who's interested in growing sales. Today's episode of Let's Talk sales is brought to you by our ebook, building a sales process for repeatable success. In it, you'll discover a nine step process to build your sales process and measure its effectiveness. As well as best practices for reviewing and revising your process over time. Make sure to download a copy today. You can find it in the notes for today's show at criteria for success comm slash pod 331. This is Elizabeth Frederick and I am really excited to speak with today's guest, I say this with only the the highest of complements, he might be even more of a process nerd than I am. So we are two people really excited about improving process speaking together, which should be a lot of fun. He is the founder and CEO of fathom, which is an app for zoom that allows you to record highlights of your zoom meetings in real time, and use them for various purposes that we will be talking about. And he is actually a serial entrepreneur. He's developed and launched several successful apps and platforms, including user voice, which innovated that little feedback button that you see on some websites on the right hand side of the screen. And he is based in San Francisco, California. So welcome to the show, Richard White.
Hello, thank you.
I am so glad you could join me today. I just shared a little bit of your bio, but could you introduce yourself to our listeners?
Sure. Yeah. So you know, it's a shoe on sales podcast, because I've run a sales team for a minute of my life. But most of my life has been focused on as you mentioned, how to process and workflow optimization. I'm originally kind of a computer nerd at heart, computer science, and all that. And then early my career, I transitioned over to basically what we call a user experience or user interface design. So I actually worked on an online calendaring solution, which is before a pre Google Calendar, I'm going to date myself a little bit here, kind of like one of the top only counters for Google Calendar. And then I went from there to actually built a time tracking application for freelancers. And then from there to user voice, which, as you mentioned, was kind of our kind of our claim to fame was these little feedback tabs inside websites. But we really want the first people to really build a product for how do you listen to 1000s of customers at once and gather their feedback and kind of a sane way. And customers like Microsoft and Yahoo, StackOverflow, Adobe, you name it. And then more recently, with fattens up video, which is, you know, really for anyone who's a power user of zoom, but obviously, especially for people in customer calls, sales success, you name it. So yeah, that kind of the thread between all of those is they all with the exception of the calendaring products, they all kind of scratch an itch that I had, right a problem that I had. Because we built the calendar thing, I think it was like 25, I didn't actually need a calendar. But you know, they've all been kind of workflow optimization. And so you know, either knowing your workflow and and well, because my own or like, without the video, a little bit of scratch my own itch and a little bit of really, yep, shadowing a bunch of smart people for a while to figure out what inefficiencies there are in their daily was.
Definitely I personally found myself in operations just because I love to look at things that could work better, and figure out how I can make them work better. And that's something that I can really see as a through line through the various things that you've done over the course of your career.
It's yeah, I feel like a certain phone is somewhat naturally, it's a blessing and a curse, though, you know, in every airport I'm in I'm like, why is this design this way? Yeah, every website I use, like this could be better. Right? So it's, you know, it's a it's a blessing and a curse? For sure.
Definitely. Well, I know that you have spent some time, as you mentioned, in sales and in sales, leadership roles and discovered some of those inefficiencies in those areas for improvement for yourself. And then obviously running businesses, you see where the sales process could work better, or be more efficient. So what are some of the areas where you see especially on sales, the most common inefficiencies?
Yeah, I mean, I think the one that that I've now had the most experience with, is this kind of like note taking, or really like, how do we share experiences from customer conversations. And I've seen that, you know, from both directions, I'll tell you kind of my experience almost as like as an Icee, or as almost as a salesperson, you know, early last year, pre pandemic, I was kind of working on another project working on their product. And I kind of end up in a place where I was doing 300 Zoom calls in six weeks, which, you know, I don't think I did Friday, so the average out to be like 12 calls a day with customers and prospects. That's a few that was a decent amount. I'm not sure why I opted into doing that. But I did. And in doing that, you know, I was very much I got very well acquainted with how painful it is to try to talk to someone I have a you know, I've got a set amount of time 15 To 30 minutes at someone, I've got to get a lot of information out of them. And at the same time, I'm trying to like hurriedly, pick out some notes right in my Google Doc, so that I remember all these nuggets of wisdom, right? And then, you know, after the call ends, I have probably 10 minutes to, like, clean that up into something that's intelligible. Right, so that I can refer back to it later. And I, you know, pretty diligent person is, I think I did a pretty good job at note taking. And even I would come back to it two weeks later and be like, I don't remember the important nuance of how they said this thing, or what I meant by this, this comment, right? And probably even more tragically, you know, a lot of it, I try to share with our team, hey, here's the insights in what I've learned. And I try to share it with my team and fall flat, right? You know, if I'm on a call with a customer, and they're like, this is awesome, this is amazing. And then I try to go tell our team, they said it was awesome and amazing. It's not the same, you know, as humans, we really, we need to see the face, we need to hear the tone, all that sort of stuff, right? Yeah. It's that that workflow, I just like, there's got to be a better way to do this. And that was part of the genesis for some stuff we're doing with them.
Absolutely. I feel like note taking seems like such a basic thing, right? We're all like, you take notes, you write things down or type them up while you're talking. And yet, as you said, there's there's different purposes for note taking. And there are different challenges when it comes to notetaking. I know one thing that I've always done over the course of my careers, when I'm in person meeting with somebody, I find it pretty easy to have a notepad and just take some some quick notes. If you're on Zoom, and you look away from the screen to take your notes, you can be missing the look on people's faces. If you don't explain what you're doing in advance, I think you're looking at your phone, because that's what most people are doing when they look at the screen. And so even just the way it's perceived to people has really changed over the last couple of years.
Yeah, 100%. And I, you know, I think I'm a relatively, you know, reasonably sharp person, but even I can't multitask at all right, I can talk to you. And then I feel like I basically go silent and stare at like the Google Doc for a minute and write up my notes, right? So it's very jarring, right? So someone having a conversation with me, it's actually to the same problem I've seen from the other direction, from, you know, as a sales manager, you know, it's funny, when I kind of ran our sales team at user voice for about a year. It wasn't a big team, it was like a seven person team. And it's funny, I try to kind of run it like an engineer, which you're probably for better or worse, mostly for the worse. But one of the things I was really kind of like staggered by was the variance in note taking from my team, right? I had some people who would write almost nothing into the CRM, right, like about a call. And I'd have some people who almost it was like a transcript. And I was like, Okay, well, how are you even having conversation? You it notes are so detailed, right? It's a transcript, and some people are in between. But the other thing is even kind of like my promise, and I see even the best written notes that balance, you know, struck that balance between enough detail, not too much detail. Still, the number one thing I'd asked my reps all the time of pipeline interviews would be like, Yes, but what did they really say? Right? Like, oh, they push back on pricing? Oh, they push back on timeline? Yes. But like, what were the exact words they used? What was the tone they used it with? Right. And I mean, I'm sure you know, it's like, you know, pulling up the call recording and finding where they said that and be able to listen to it gives me a lot more information than even the best written notes, right. And so part of what we've done with Fathom is to try to, we still kind of enable you to take notes. Now we need to do after the call, but what we're doing is we're recording the entire call, transcribing the entire call. But most importantly, allowing you as a rep to basically say, highlight, like, oh, this light, here's objection, that's important. Here's a pricing session that's important, and kind of highlight the noteworthy parts of a call. So that's the call, you can write your notes with the benefit of like, having the full transcript or a lot of people don't even write notes. Now with our product, they just, you know, I'd have a call with you, I highlight the moments of matter, we have a follow up call to two weeks later, I just review that, you know, those moments that mattered, right, and what we found so far is only about 15% of calls are noteworthy. According to our users, which kind of makes sense why? Well, you know, I don't want to rewatch an entire call, right? That's not efficient, right. And no one wants to hear themselves talk and all that sort of fun stuff. But if you get if you can take a 30 minute call on our on call, and you can give me you know, the five minute highlight reel for myself, so I can remember and sound smart on the next call. And for my manager who wants to double click on what it sounds like, you know, what am I pricing discussion sound like, right, that I think reduces a lot of these kind of like, really kind of emotionally challenging to like, inefficiencies, right.
Absolutely. And you've touched on you know, a lot of the a lot of the reasons that we ask salespeople to take notes, you know, there's the, there's the behavior that you need to do for yourself. And that's just that none of us remember as much as we think we remember. And I think a lot of us are or, you know, could be at least somewhat self aware that I was I actually just dealt with this earlier today. I thought back to a client that I had a meeting with last Thursday, we're recording on a Tuesday. And I know that there are a few action items that they agreed to and emailed over follow up. But there was a, there was something about the call that I remembered there was something that stood out, but I don't remember what it is. And then you look through your notes. And it's like, it's not in my notes, because you don't write down, you know, he smiled this way, or he seemed really interested in this one thing. And it's, it's really challenging, just as an individual to be able to, to follow up. But then, as you were saying, it's so incredibly important for leadership to be able to follow up. And whether it's your actual manager, or whether it's, you know, the CEO who's looking at just overall pipeline, there's there's real interest in being able to get a sense of what are you actually hearing from clients. And that's not even getting into if you've got a marketing team, or a product team or somebody else who has to be involved in the sales process, being able to see it. So there's a lot of, you know, there's just a lot of different reasons that that good Note taking is important, even though it's again, something that people aren't really trained on how to take notes.
Right? Yeah, it's actually I think, I do think the future of this is, you know, that we're really in some ways I look at note taking filling in, you know, auto fill in your CRM with an auto generate summary of the call. Right. And it's always I feel like that is the Netflix sending you DVDs kind of era, right? Because I do think the future is, you know, one of the things I try, I tried to coach some of my guys to take better notes or, you know, and it's just really hard, right? It's really hard to teach that kind of diligence, that kind of process. And again, even when I found that done, well, it's still paled in comparison to just having the highlight reel. So I think in a lot of ways, what we're what we're starting to see is people were my manager. Now, you know, maybe there is an abstract for this section explains in a sentence, here's what their pain point was, or here's what their objection was, but I can always double click on it and watch the 22nd clip of it. Right now, I've got the best of both worlds sort of thing. i It's funny, one of my other guiding lights in product development and design, is to make sure I've designed products that don't require diligence on the part of the user. Right? Yeah, I those products are just really tough, right? Because our level of diligence varies from person to person and from a purse person, but like from task to task, right? So,
it is amazing to me how many things that you see that seem like they were developed for the absolute best case scenario, right? So if you got all the sleep you needed the night before, and you had a perfectly pleasant morning, and you ate a good healthy breakfast and did all the things that your doctor wants you to do. And then you encounter the system, you will have a great experience. But I don't even want to think about what percentage of my days that would have versus, you know, running from one thing to the next. And, you know, just all the different things we have going on in life. It's, it's good to have that that just kind of philosophy. And I do think that's a a best practice anybody that's thinking about your system and process, whether you're using a tool like Fathom or not, do you have the the ability to to have people using that system when they are not their best selves? And if that's not the case, you're you're potentially opening yourself up to a lot of risk. That's,
That's a great way to put it right? Like how do you stress test your system for the worst case scenario, right? Like even go back to like, when I did note taking by hand, if I didn't, like clean up my notes right after the call, like, like, Oh, something came up? Well, gosh, I lost like, 80% of the value, right? Because like I like, I wouldn't remember it. Right. So that system fails, you're testing a lot of ways of like, you know, when I'm at my best, it's it's, you know, 70% solution, right versus 10% solution. Right?
Definitely. And, and again, we can all think of parts of the process, whether it's, you know, we're being very specific here to sales, because obviously, that's our audience, but just in your in your day to day workflow, thinking through the the systems and the tools that you're using, where do you have those, those areas of just potential friction, and where you're consistently seeing errors pop up, and it's not maybe a really, really high error rate. But when there are errors, they're always right there, that can be a really good sign that you've got, you've got some issues with, with the process in that way. And I've seen so many times organizations really stick for a long time to a system just because it's the way they've done things and not really think about the potential for change. 100% So, when it comes to a sales kind of leadership role, and and the the efficiencies that you're kind of looking for there. I know that's more that's more of a role that you found yourself in over the course of your career. So what are you seeing in terms of whether it's the communication from the sales managers to the people they're managing, or from sales managers to their peers, or the people above them? What are some areas that you've seen, for improvement? And in communicating this important information?
Yeah, I can think of three or four here. So, you know, we'll kind of bridge off the last topic, right? So the other half of this note taking thing is obviously coaching. Right? And, you know, it's always, I feel like, this is the diligence side of management, like finding time to listen to the call recordings and coach your, your reps, right? You know, how to ask better questions, how to, like, talk less, all these sort of things. And I, you know, I think there's kind of this is one of apps out there that like, recorder, like, record all the calls, but you know, at any size team that very quickly becomes overwhelming amount. And I know, I found myself struggling to, you know, listen to calls on the way to work and stuff like that. But, you know, it's hard to it's hard to interact with them when I'm running between between tasks, right, again. So I think one of those things is how do we find a way where management gets visibility into the calls, without having to listen to that 85% of calls that aren't maybe that unique? Right? Or pretty wrote? The other part of that is, is you know, I think also with our shift to, you know, I guess it most folks never fully remote or even hybrid or whatnot, right? We don't have the Salesforce where we can kind of Ambit like used to be, you could kind of if you didn't listen to every call, go back and listen on the call recordings, you always have the ambient awareness of like your sales for right here, or hearing people's openings over here, they close calls. And, you know, by and large, I don't think any of us have that anymore, right. And so, one of the things we started doing is because we're recording these calls in real time, and we've got kind of these annotations that are happening real time, right, here's objection, here's the pain point, we're actually shipping that stuff to slack in real time. So as a sales manager, I can say, Gosh, I want to subscribe to get updated, like every objection that comes up, right. And rather than having to feel like I've got this backlog of them, I'm getting real time awareness of what's happening on my sales calls, which also feels like the other product problem, which is a lot of this coaching stuff. tends to you know, we remediated A week later, right? We Okay, cool. Week, after the call, we're gonna sit down and review some calls. Let's talk about what happened a week ago. Well, the time to really like have the biggest impact is when it's happening, right, and be able to Slack the person back there, hey, don't forget this point, right. Or, don't forget this, you know, don't forget this takedown sheet or something like that. So, so some of it a lot of this is like coaching, I think that's one of the big things, right. And so it makes it easier for managers to get better awareness of the moments, to not have to wade through the entirety of calls. And also to do some of the coaching automatically. One of the things we built in the product recently is, there's a lot of, there's a lot of products out there that will tell you like, you know, talk time percentage, you know, you've monologue too much, you're talking too fast. We've built a lot of things in our product. So our product base will tell you if you start monologuing like I am right now, for more than nine seconds, it'll tell you hey, your monologue for nine seconds, maybe, you know, Chef reminder, and they'll tell me every five minutes, what percentage of my talk time is. And so we're trying to piece out? How do we give the managers just the stuff they need? So they can do stuff that they're uniquely qualified to do? And and then how do we augment them with, you know, AI that can in the moment, help them help coach reps to be to have a better conversation?
Absolutely, I think that, you know, one of the most important points that you just made that I want to that I want to really emphasize is, if you're coaching a week later, or even a few days later, you've lost a significant opportunity. Because whether you can do live coaching in the moment, which can be helpful, you know, I heard you say something, and I need you to remember to say this, or whether you're coaching right after the call, if you think of how many times you might have gone on a joint call, where the manager was doing a ride along, back in the day when we had impressive. As you're walking out you you kind of coach each other. Oh, hey, I heard you ask that question. That was a really great question. I never thought to ask that before. But did you notice that when they mentioned this, you didn't really follow through on it, I had to kind of jump in and rescue it. And it would have been great if you had kind of had your ears perk up when that happened, whatever it might be, that that coaching that happens right in the moment, in most situations is going to be more impactful, because it's tied to the immediate memories of the experience that was had, as opposed to trying to think back. Yeah, there was that call that I had last Tuesday. And I'm not really sure what what we're talking about here. So again, it's just one of those best practices when it comes to a process if you've got any sort of a review process, making sure that it's not significantly delayed. And technology obviously is a great way to enable it to be a little bit more synchronous than otherwise.
I you know, I'm always a fan of like, I'd rather have a lightweight process that, again, doesn't require as much diligence and can happen faster than a very heavyweight process. It's much more thorough but like at the core, you know, at a much higher cost requires diligence, right? Like, I'd almost rather get some real time snippets of what's happening on this call, so that I can just do your point, follow either during rafta, call me that was great. Or maybe try this next time sort of thing as opposed to heavyweight process, which is two weeks later, we review the entire thing. Right? One of these is much more sustainable for all involved. And as you pointed out, yeah, more likely to stick in our, in our, you know, mushy brains, right.
Definitely. Now, you mentioned and all the examples that you've given show that you you're really innovating, whether it's new features within your current offering, or whether it's coming up with a whole new idea. Based on areas where you're seeing room for improvement. Are there any that you that you're running into now that you feel like you're looking for a solution, whether it's something that you're going to build or something you're going to, to seek? What are what are the kind of areas of frustration that you've got right now in the areas of sales leadership?
Yeah, I mean, I think they're, a lot of the stuff that we're doing is, you know, kind of what I call like, AI assisted, right, like the computer is, you tell the computer, this is a, this is a pain point, they're giving me a pain point, answer this objection. And then the computers go back and figure out when is part of the conversation start? When did it end? Kind of like create a video clip out of it? But it's aI assisted? Right. I think, if you look forward, probably your two will see more, the AI assistants becoming more robust, right, where it can start saying, Ah, it sounds like this is, you know, or actually working right now. Like, it sounds like they just mentioned a competitor. It sounds like this objection, right. Like, and it can automatically flag some of these things. But, you know, there's some systems that have attempted to do like automatic action detection, right. With those systems today, is there about 85% accurate? And, you know, it comes to actions. I don't want to I don't know about you, but I don't want to trust any systems only if it's gonna miss like, one out of six. Right? Like, that's not, that's bad. That's bad sales, hygiene. Right there. Right. So, but I do think there's, it's still problematic, right? Yeah, you know, a boss, I got 85% of them. So I do think that stuff will get better over time, right, especially as we get more data into systems like fathom, and we can start automatically inferring these things. One other workflow thing that I meant to mention that we'll come back to real quickly, before we move off, that is the other workflow that I've seen, you know, so I just talk about coaches, you talk about, like ride alongs, which is what made me think of this is for people that have technical products, right? Well, how do you handle technical questions in the sales process? And, you know, the current strategy is, well, gosh, at some stage in the sales process, I have a, you know, technical resource and se or someone that just rides along the entire demo with me. Right. And there's two problems I've seen with this right. One is that SCS expensive, and, you know, limited resource. And, you know, they probably aren't needed that for that entire one hour demo, or 30 minute demo, right. The other problem I've seen is, you know, like it or not, sometimes prospects don't save all their technical questions for the demo call or for the like, imputation call, right? Sometimes you get on the intro call, like, Yeah, but can it do this? does it integrate with this? Or this? And oh, yeah, it does. Well, how does it right? And so, you know, there's this very nasty game of telephone that happens where, okay, the rep takes some notes. We've lost a little data in the notes, and then hands it off to the sales engineer who asked him for questions, who then asked to get this prospect back on the wine. But you're very familiar with this. I'm sure all your listeners are too. So in the same way we've thought about, you know, we're shipping certain coaching moments to managers, we're now shipping technical questions to a Slack room of technical resources. So I'm on a call, it could be intro call, it could be a petition. It could be you know, whatever late stage call any call, I hear a technical question. I click a button within 20 seconds, literally, that customer asking questions in front of my engineers. And they're either slacking back answer the jumping on the call and answering it. Right. And so that kind of like Time Compression, right, like be able to shorten sales cycle by getting people answers when they like, right in the moment, is, I think, also a huge opportunity for folks.
Definitely, I can think of, you know, as you said, there's either bad information that's given, or there's the well, I'll check with my team and get back to you. Right. And that's not a great experience for the client. Now, if, you know, that's better than lying or coming up with something fake. But, as you said, one thing that often happens is, if if you're talking, for example, to the head of it, and they've got a question, and you know, enough to sell, but not all of the details, you might not even understand their question correctly. So if you're taking notes on what you think they're asking, it might not be what they're actually asking about. Whereas if you if you're able to provide, you know, the recording whether you're able to provide access to that person to join the call, in the moment, it's much more likely to be a successful interaction. Then when you're playing that nasty game of telephone of I'm translating what I think they're saying, and then I'm going to communicate it to you and you're going to hear your version of what I It's my version of what they said. And it's amazing how even just over like, through through one different middleman of communication, Things can really change. In terms of accuracy.
Yeah, it's even worse, they gave me a telephone we played as kids, right? You know where this also I see this happen to so my previous company user voice, again, we're platform for like product feedback. And so we primarily sold to and worked with product management teams. And, you know, talking about where the game of telephone really breaks down is, you know, sales is always trying to influence product, right? I think survey after survey is like one of the number one things that almost everyone in the org wants to do, right? Success sales, you name it, everyone's influence product. And remember, we did a survey of PMs and said, you know, which department? Which departments feedback, do you find the most credible, or believable? And I'll let you guess, who is very, very, very far down at the bottom of that list. It was the sales department. Right? And, you know, support we trust really highly successful highly. And then it was like a big gap. And it was like sales. And I think some of this translation problem, right? It's like, you know, you're hearing legitimate concerns on the call, but maybe, you know, don't know enough about the product, or there isn't, you know, maybe you want to look at it. And so by the time the game of telephone gets played, it gets the product in there like, this isn't making sense, wouldn't believe it, right. And so the other thing that giving you a system where you can share out moments from these calls, or a group of moments calls, right, here's all the feedback, we've heard product feedback for this this week. It's really hard for product teams to refute that, right? When they hear a customer in their own words, explaining it, it becomes much more credible. And then you don't have to make you know, the number of salespeople I talk to sales managers I talk to you they're like, how do I lobby products? Right? You you work in products, you work around things? How do I love your product? This I love your products, right? You don't lobby them, you let the users do it for you. Right. And so that's the other thing where I think, you know, this game of telephone really hurts organizations and hurts collaboration across departments.
Absolutely. Because, you know, you hear from sales teams, and obviously, I'm talking a lot more to sales teams and product teams, and their level of frustration. They're like, I am the one who is talking to customers, I know more than anybody else in the organization, what customers need. And yet, as you said, that is not the perception of most of the rest of the organization. And, you know, I don't want to say they're, they're right, or they're wrong, because they are the ones who are having the most FaceTime, typically, with buyers. And so they're hearing a lot of useful information. But it is that translation issue, it's the prioritization issue. It's, you know, yes, maybe all of your customers in this region are really concerned about that. But overall, that's not a good idea for us, you know, as a company, or maybe it is a version that we're going to develop and release to just a small audience. And so it's easy for things to be not just kind of miss translated because of the technical difficulty. But the perception of importance is really off, you know, you meet with somebody who's just really mad, and
well, and that's the challenge product has, right? So the, the challenge product, the input challenge is, how does the product team get a clean input of like, okay, this is credible, you know, primary source information, right, that isn't run through a game of telephone of someone who's maybe not as technical as we would like, to, to kind of validate that this and then the product manager challenge the output to the rest of the organization. That's the challenge is like, how do we explain which of these things might be the most important thing or SMB leaders, hearing sales leaders hearing, but not the most important thing overall, when we, you know, basically balanced by revenue? Right? Okay, well, there's some big things and really move on to enterprise deals, honestly, you should go the other direction, right? Usually, it's like, these big enterprise deals tend to outweigh all these, like, you know, plg driven SMB deals. And that was actually probably the number one use case we were solving it user voice was helping product teams push back on sales teams and say, Actually, your SNP folks have five features that would, you know, actually unlock more revenue than building this one integration for the Enterprise Client. But that's it a whole other, the whole nother podcast in and of itself?
Definitely, but I can really see how again, it's that it's that consistent through line around just improving communication, making sure the right information is getting to the right people, so that they can make decisions based on accurate data as opposed to our own impressions. And, you know, when when you look at even just communication, the the studies that have been done, I'm not going to quote the numbers accurately off the top of my head because again, human memory is not perfect. But such a small amount is the words that are said so much is about, you know, facial expression and body language. And if I'm just focused on capturing some words in notes, I'm not going to even be able to maybe pay as much attention to the other ways that you're communicating. And yeah, that's a big area for improving it is,
even when I was in the early two is a fathom, we had a very Alpha sample, I remember like, I would still take notes. And then we were just recording and doing, like, real time annotation in real time recording. But I would even then take some notes in the back, this was a great call. And I go back and watch that call later and be like, Oh, no, they're actually not that excited. Right? Like, I thought they were because you're right, I was listening to the words, but I go back and actually watch them without the benefit of trying to take notes on I was like, Oh, wait, they're, they're kind of placating me. Right. And so it's, it is interesting how the human mind kind of plays tricks on you a little bit in some of these conversations. And it's so fun. This whole space, kind of really interesting, right? It's a really high pressure environment, right? Like, it's a real time environment, right? You've got 30 minutes with this person, and you may never get to, you may, you know, it goes poorly, you may never get talked to them again, right. And you got to do a lot inside of that 30 minutes to be successful, which I find, which I find it so gratifying to build a product they're like, you know, we get so many folks that said, Five back to back calls today. If it wasn't for your app, I wouldn't I don't remember the first three, right? Like,
definitely, it really is a fun space. Anytime I'm talking to really, really busy salespeople, I love to hear their perspective, because they are working harder than a lot of people might recognize, and, and really have a lot of insight typically into where there's room for improvement. So I know you touched on AI earlier. And I definitely feel like that's something that I'm hearing a lot from sales leaders, they want to use AI to respond to customer questions they want to use AI to, like you said, analyze conversations and and either provide coaching or note taking or advice. Are there other trends that you're seeing, coming up in specifically sales workflow that you're keeping an eye on?
I mean, I can think of two. The, the biggest one is I think you're seeing new tools come out like ours, which are freemium tools that have very short setup times, if measured in minutes on hours. You know, they can be adopted by individual reps or by a team, right, they're not the traditional a top down type of sale thing. But all these products are coming out also now not only have kind of a really low friction almost consumer like process, but they also integrate with a lot of things out of the box, and not just Salesforce, I feel like used to be had all these integrations, because you just got everything was inside the Salesforce ecosystem. But now we see a lot of people using you know, HubSpot, using close using pipe drive using different CRMs and still having a great experience, because all these products now are coming out and being very, kinda like ours, kind of Gus clickup, Sunoco example, this a lot of products that are very like, integrations first, right? And so it plugs into everything you need to do it plugs into your slack, it plugs into your to your task manager pokes in your CRM, it plugs into your recording solution plugs in all these sorts of things. So I think that's one of the things like, you know, tools can be adopted by reps, put that plug into your existing ecosystem. And then the other side of that, you know, you know, we're, there's more tools that have kind of that PLT, or product led growth kind of motion like we have, which means I think there's more teams that are starting to, you know, we, we have a small kind of like, it's kind of a sales team, kind of a success team, right? It's kind of this, you know, plg sales motion, where we get users using the product first. And then sales comes in after that to, you know, again, it's kind of blurring the lines between customer success and sales. So I think there's a lot of interesting things happening there from from a workflow perspective and from snow, like, how do we think about the role of sales in these like product lead growth companies?
Definitely, I do feel like a lot of that that whole thing you mentioned in terms of, you know, it's kind of rep first and user first, as opposed to organization top down, as well as the integrations. One thing that I've been hearing from sales leaders and salespeople for the last few years, a lot more than I did before. It's just platform fatigue, I have too many things that I have to log into. And then each one is presenting the data in a different way. And I'm trying to be like, the manual integration between these different systems. And so that that seamless integration is, is something that people are really looking for, and and really care about more than they did even I think a year ago, as people are just adding more and more and more sales enablement tools. But each one if it's not integrated with the others, is a whole new thing that your salespeople need to kind of figure out
100% Yeah, there's, there's a previous generation of kind of like these kind of like, your recording analysis solution that we're competing with that are top down sale, that are primarily focused on the manager, they don't have a ton of day to day usefulness for the rep. And they have, you know, in there kind of an island, right where they don't, they probably have some integration in some of these tools, but they don't generally have a good one, right? Like we did, you can kind of check the box sort of thing, right? And so I do think when I talk to managers Now everyone, to your point, right, like, we want less tools, and we certainly want to make sure our reps get as much value out of it as we do as managers. There's
definitely and when it comes to driving adoption, you are not going to see high levels of adoption. If people feel like this is a tool that manager has implemented so that they can get the information that they need. You're gonna see people checking the box. And it is amazing how often, one thing that we always do with our clients is an exploration process at the beginning. And in a survey that we typically ask people, What are some of your areas of pain and frustration when it comes to the systems that we're using, and we give them some prompts. But the one of the number one things as it relates to CRM is, I feel like I'm putting data in the system. But it's not useful for me, it doesn't help me do my job. And also Leadership isn't using the data. So it's like, they're just asking me to put it in for no reason at all. And so anything that you can do as a leader, when you're thinking about implementing these tools, to help make sure that you're picking a process or a tool or function that that actually does serve the team that is going to pay off more than more than you might recognize. Yeah, it's
so tragic. When it's like, you know, I need you to fill out these eight fields to advance the option next stage. And oh, by the way, I barely, I barely remember to look at these right, and you don't use they're not useful to you as a rep. Right? It's just, you know, talk about soul sucking, right. It's jobs hard enough as it is.
Definitely, you know, when you're when you're making 300 calls, and a week, you learn pretty quickly, the parts that are that are especially soul sucking. Yeah,
exactly. It's like, we won't do the least amount possible that is effective, and just cut out all the rest.
Yeah, I had, I had one client, this was years and years ago, but I always remember it, when I'm talking about CRM, they had not even exaggerating, it was 40 Plus required fields to enter a lead. And it was like, wow, that's, that's a lot. And you literally could not save it until you entered all of those. Each one at the time it was added seemed really important. And there was somebody who really cared about it. But nobody had taken that kind of holistic look to see, does this really make sense?
So it's always much easier, it's so much easier for you to be like, let's add this one extra thing, then let's remove this thing, right, adding these easy removing things, you have to go around to everyone, does anyone need this thing. And so, you know, you kind of just get this proliferation of fields, and I'm sure it's not a Salesforce instance, on the world that doesn't have this kind of creep, right, that's gonna we call scope, creep and product.
Absolutely. And it's, it's really easy to do something that I think a lot of sales leaders should be thinking about is if you don't have anybody who is kind of looking at your your sales stack, with that strategic point of view, and as looking at how things are integrating with each other. And as is thinking from this process mindset, that's a potential hire, or that's maybe an area of focus that you should be that you should be taking on yourself, because it's, it's really easy, you know, we're talking about adding fields to a CRM system, it's also really easy to say, oh, we need a data platform, let's just get this one here, oh, we need an email platform, let's just get this one here. And you start to build up this list of platforms and tools and resources for your team, the each one independently is probably really useful. But I can almost guarantee you, there's not a single person on the team that knows all of the things that they that they could be doing with these platforms, and that is using them, you're gonna have one person that uses one thing really well, somebody else uses a completely different one. And you're really not getting the benefit of your investment.
It's also this mindset, difference between a mindset and this is honestly, this is mindset I originally had when I got into sales management, because I was thinking about this like engineering task, I was like, okay, my goal is to control the output. My goal is to like, you know, make sure I get a, you know, a repeatable output, and I need to put all the controls in place on the humans in the process, right? As opposed to this more like enablement mindset, right? Which is like, what can I do? Let me assume that I've got good folks and train them. Well, what can I do to it, to make them make their lives easier? It's funny, I bow late to the game on this, but I just heard watching the show the title so show, have you watched that at all?
I have not, but everybody that I know loves that. So it's,
it's really wholesome. But it's actually like, I actually think I'm gonna make it manager, like required watching managers, because he's actually just a fantastic manager when the first thing he does when it comes to the soccer team doesn't know anything about soccer. It's where it's right. It's like, it's like me and engineer walk into a sales team. First thing you did is you said, Here's a comment box, like tell me all the things that suck, right? The food in the cafeteria, the you know, and someone says like, oh, the water pressure in the showers is not very good. And he goes in and checks things like oh, yeah, it's really terrible. And like, one of the episodes and kind of give it away. It's not a big pop point. It's like, he fixes the water pressure and seems like oh, wow, they like they care about art. The my boss cares about my experience. And I'm just like, wow, this is like such. This is exactly what I've tried to teach every manager we've had had for the last 10 years, right? It's not about you, keeping a lead away on the kettle, right. So steam is about it's about you making sure that everyone on your team That's exactly what they need. And you're out there blocking and tackling and getting all the nonsense of noise out of their way. So they can have five to 10 good, productive calls a day.
Definitely, definitely. It's amazing to me how often you have organizations who say we want your feedback. And then people give their feedback, and they don't do anything with it. And there's, that's more demoralizing than ever asking for the feedback in the first place. Because you're actually making somebody think about the things that frustrate them. And they might have pushed it to the back of their mind. And and you're bringing it up for them. They're getting more frustrated, they're getting annoyed, and then nothing happens. And so, lastly, you want to do as a leader is, you know, put out that suggestion box and then ignore what it says,
Well, yeah, my last couple years, all we did was coach people on how to like, handle feedback, right? So in our, in the beginning, we were just focused on workflow to get feedback in but we spent most of last probably five to 10 years focused on how to coach teams on what to do with feedback. And I think there is, I think everyone thought the worst thing you could do with feedback and say no to it, but actually, the worst thing you could do with it is just ignore it. Right? People actually wish it did a lot of studies that found that people liked you saying no, almost as much as they like you saying, yes, absolutely. As I told them, as long as you told them why we're not doing this, because this right, and this is what we always had to coach product teams to tell sales teams, hey, look, we're not doing this. Because here's the day we've run into, you know, it's just kinds of people want to be heard and know that they're understood, not just ignored. It's so funny. It's just somewhat counterintuitive that people trip over all the time.
Absolutely. Well, I think that that kind of closes a loop in the conversation that we're having today, this this just consistent focus on the experience that people are having, and really informing it by data. And not just intuition. And whether that's actual recordings of conversations or whether that's the studies that you've done on on the experience that users are having, in forming process improvement by data, always a always a smart thing to do. So, the question, I always like to ask our guests, as we as we wind down the conversation is, do you have any resources that you would recommend for our listeners, that could be books, it could be blogs, it could be apps, whatever it is that that you would recommend? Yeah,
I mean, I think going back to my point about plg, sales motions, laborious success in sales, or teams and reading product, lead onboarding, by rumley, John, which is pretty good, right? Again, I think if you're in sales, you're like, Okay, you want to think about kind of maybe what's coming down the pipe in terms of process. And then I'll throw you a couple that are like my personal favorites that are not related to sales at all, but they're just about kind of process design. One is the Design of Everyday Things, which is a book by Don Norman, it's kind of we were talking about earlier about, like, you know, why is the airport this way? Why is my coffee pot this way? Really fun book that kind of just tears down and talks about, like, why certain things are designed the way they are in which things work with things don't? Gentlemen, don't make me think, by Steve Krug, which is a book about specifically, it's kind of like, how to design good, you know, originally web apps and interfaces. But now I think it's probably relevant to anyone building in an operations role building processes, right? You know, it's equally applicable if you're building out, you know, your, your, your theme by putting 40 fields into your Salesforce opportunities, making the required. And then if you like, visualizations, or like, kind of graphing and information display, anything by Edward Tufte, TT you FTE is fantastic. And this is one of the few books that say like, that's a book you should buy, because it's just like this big, beautiful book with these all these illustrations about how to visualize data. And I do think that's also one place where I see I see a lot of bad sales dashboards, right? That are kind of misleading, and I think there's a lot of innovation coming in that space, too. But Tufty is just they're visually Yeah, if you like, if you are somewhat of a graph nerd, this is this is the the God Emperor of graph nerds. So it's just a, it's just a fun kind of coffee table book.
Definitely. And to what you just said, you know, we a lot of people talk about data, I was just talking about data, but you can use data to lie to yourself very easily, and to mislead yourself very easily. And so the way you're, you're organizing and presenting it is, is incredibly important. I love that that mix of recommendations. All right, if listeners want to learn more about you, where should they go?
Sure. Yeah, if you I'm on LinkedIn, mostly, I'm not much of a Twitter person. So find me on LinkedIn, send me a message. Also, if you want check out the products completely free it's Fathom dot video. And actually we have a we have a thing going to be a five minute video slash pod. You can basically you can get access product not only for free, but you can skip the waitlist. So we've got a decently long wait list at this point. So if you go that link, you'll immediately skip to the front of that. Yeah, and and ping me on LinkedIn and tell me what you think of the product or what you thought of what we talked about today. I kind of love any of these workflow optimization topics.
Absolutely. Well, thank you so, so much for speaking with me today. Richard, I really enjoyed our conversation.
Thank you so much. It's been fun.
And thank you to all of our listeners for tuning into today's show. You can find the notes and resources for everything we've been talking about today. At criteria for success comm slash pod 331. As a reminder, if you subscribe to the show, you get every new episode as soon as it's posted. And you can subscribe for free wherever you're listening right now. If you enjoyed the show today, please recommend us to a friend that is the best way to help more people discover it. And we'd love feedback. You can leave us ratings and reviews and whatever your podcast platform of choice is where you can email us if you've got feedback questions, suggested guests podcast criteria for success.com. Make sure to follow us on Twitter at CFS playbook and the blog at criteria for success.com/insights. Let's talk sales is a production of criteria for success. Happy Selling