Podcast

Good Question Lead to Closed Deals – Bob Marsh

“How do you show your team that you’re really listening? This week on Sales Lead Dog, host Chris Smith talks with Bob Marsh, Chief Revenue Officer at Bluewater Technologies Group, about his leadership style, and the habits and processes that he uses to really listen to his team, even as a CRO.

Bob takes a people-oriented approach to everything he does as a CRO. His 30/60/90 day plan, which he implemented when he started at Bluewater, was designed to help him make sustainable, smart changes with greater employee buy-in. His tips for success? Listen, ask great questions, and don’t be afraid to get in the weeds sometimes and really connect with direct sellers — just because you have a fancy title, doesn’t mean you have to keep your distance.

Join us this week as Bob shares his unique philosophy on what it truly means to be a leader.

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Transcript:

Wed, 1/13 2:11PM • 44:43 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS 
people, salesperson, learned, sales, customer, company, role, manage, career, big, crm, project, sales team, helped, move, business, meeting, manager, wonderful, talk 

SPEAKERS 
Bob Marsh, Christopher Smith 

Intro 
Welcome to the Sales Lead Dog Podcast hosted by CRM technology and sales process expert Christopher Smith, talking with sales leaders that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Listen to find out how the best of the best achieve success with their team and CRM technology. And remember, unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes. 

 Christopher Smith   
Welcome to Sales Lead Dog. Today, we have joining us Bob Marsh. Bob, welcome to Sales Lead Dog. 

 Bob Marsh   
Thank you very much, great to be here. Thanks for having me. 

 Christopher Smith   
Excited to talk to you, Bob. Bob, tell me about your current role and your company. 

 Bob Marsh   
Sure. So, so my current role is I’m Chief Revenue Officer for Bluewater Technologies Incorporated. So Bluewater has been around for about 30 years, well over 30 years, so family-owned business based here in metropolitan Detroit. Wonderful culture, you know great people, you know one of the things that really drew me into the company. I tell people the story like I was interviewing and talking and then I went to dinner one night with the owner who we were going through and I left and I called my wife I’m like, “I have to go work here these are just amazing, wonderful people that you don’t come across all the time,” so. So we’re in the bit, we’re largely in the audio visual business. We have four different key divisions of the company so one is audio visual integration where you permanently are installing audio visual equipment into a corporate office and conference rooms. You know today, these days, a lot of video collaboration that we’re setting up for companies for remote workers, etc. We do large scale arenas, so Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, we did a big LED wall makeover down in Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We worked with a forum or just cell phones, so you know it could be and also higher education so universities, we just did a massive upgrade at Michigan State University to allow their, their classrooms to do remote teaching, that sort of thing. Now their big division is live events. So that’s of course changing during COVID but you know normal times like big, large-scale events. Could be Walmart’s annual supplier convention with 5000 plus people down to a small little sales kickoff that has 20 to 50 people. So we’re doing all the technology, the labor, everything to kind of run that show with extremely high production value. So these days during COVID we’ve actually been doing an enormous amount of virtual events. So, we work with you know great clients like, like, like Bridgestone and then the virtual ones Ford Motor Company, Anheuser Bush, like the list goes on like doing big, large-scale virtual events online high production value using our own platform and software platform to do that. We’ve also got a retail division, fixtures, displays. We even invented a new cart cleaning system, like for shopping carts, luggage carts using you UV technology. And then we also have another studio division which is high-end fabrication, think like museum-grade corporate welcome center, that sort of thing. So, a very well-balanced company it’s almost like four different companies. I run sales, and each of them has their own sales team, and so I’m a head of revenue and sales over all those independent divisions. So you know, it’s great because we have nice balance depending on ups and downs of the market. You know, we can support people any way possible. 

 Christopher Smith   
Yeah, that’s awesome. And it is, I think what you guys are doing is really fascinating there’s a lot of really cool aspects to what you guys do. 

 Bob Marsh  
Yeah, thank you it’s, we get it we get part of some very exciting projects so big high profile things like we did for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to we do all the auto shows for all General Motors brands like you know just this big exciting stuff that people see. We did a big Call of Duty eSports project last year, we did the Sundance Film Festival like you know we do get involved in cool stuff and then really the world of audio visual integration now is getting a lot of attention because of the remote workforce and you know the importance of quality cameras and sound systems to do this all effectively and collaborate whether we’re in the same room or we’re across the country. 

 Christopher Smith  
Yeah, that’s awesome. So, thinking back over your career, which you’ve had a pretty cool career, what do you think has really contributed, what are the three things that have really contributed to your success? 

 Bob Marsh  
I would say, so it’s a great question. So one is I learned early on in my career the importance of listening. And, and I learned that from my dad especially, like he and I worked together early in my career and you know I observed him and like, he was a wonderful listener, I would say an active listener, and really asked wonderful questions. Like, that’s kind of something I think is really important to learn how to do, how do you ask great questions. You know, we used to always say that people love to talk. So help them talk. So, when you’re asking questions to allow people to talk and kind of open up and so you know I kind of learned that naturally probably since I was a kid, but especially when we worked together, so that was really important. Other stage of my career, you know, I learned the importance of being proactive. So I always kind of thought of it as like I learned to be a proactive seller, meaning that you know I wasn’t always waiting for someone to come to me with, with an idea like I was willing to go to them hey got an idea. Here’s something good for somebody else, you know, helping, I feel like the sales is about leading people through a buying process, not selling to somebody. And so, so I kind of look at as, as a salesperson your responsibility is to almost be the shepherd through this through the buying process, helps make the right decision which of course you want to be in your favor. You know, which you can’t be afraid that maybe it’s not right for you and if the customer genuinely feels that you genuinely care about them making the right decision which may be for you or a different change of the way you scope it or price it, like that goes along, that goes a long way. The, and I’d say probably probably the third thing is the importance of coaching and developing people so, you know, if you’re if you genuinely care about helping other people you know as you get into management, that you know you really care about how do I help develop other people’s skills so that I can make you know the whole organization stronger. So one of the things I think it hit me early on in my career as I observed many others and myself, and those who were successful or not successful at management is that I like to say that some people want to get into management to have power. Other people want to get into get into management to give other people power. And that’s a very clear difference and you can tell people who want one versus the other. And then who’s, who ends up being successful in doing so. 

 Christopher Smith  
Oh yeah. Yeah, it’s so true. Who is had the most impact on your career? 

 Bob Marsh  
Well, yeah. Gosh, if only I can pin it on one person so, so I’ll, let me give a couple. So my dad who I talked about, you know, big, big help kind of putting me in the right direction early on. I would say then I worked at a company called Eprize, was a wonderful, wonderful stretch there. I had a great boss, his name was Keith Simmons. And he, he helped me kind of develop myself, like he kind of I think saw some skills in me and helped, he figured out how to get them out of me I would say. So, like, he really kind of had a, made a big inflection point like he kind of gave me confidence, he pushed me, he encouraged me. And he just made a big difference and kind of, I think, getting some swagger as you like to say like kind of get some swag in your step and it makes a difference. So, that was definitely a big one. So I could go on about the amount of people that that made an impact. So, but those are a couple. 

 Christopher Smith  
That’s terrific. What part of those people that have really helped you, do you try to emulate? Do you find yourself doing that? 

 Bob Marsh  
Yeah, I do. It’s why I kind of there’s again I could go on I mean there’s, there’s a number of people that I emulate, you know, day to day I’ve learned so much from taking little bits of them so you know the another, another one who was the founder of, founder be president talk about his name’s Josh Linkner, very famed speaker, public speaker, investor, etc., and, you know, he, I’ve learned so much from him early on as one of the people just very caring, nurturing, developed a great company, wonderful salesperson, wonderful presenter, you know, and I think a lot of those things I learned I learned from him. You know, and another you know it’s funny is, is, is the person who took on his role after he left again, his name is Matt Wise, like a very logical, creative, innovative person, you know, and I saw him always kind of lead with kind of calm and strength and I learned from him. So yeah there’s an, sometimes I catch myself like, oh I’m just acting like this person or that person, you add it all up over time and just like you never want to like copy somebody, you got to be yourself, but, you know, you learn from people over time and you get little bits of what they do and they add up to who you are.  

 Christopher Smith  
Right. It sounds like you really look for opportunities to learn from others. 

 Bob Marsh  
Yeah, absolutely. I say, you know, it’s funny I sometimes think that it’s a, it’s a overall strength but sometimes a fault. You know I’m always like, trying to listen and learn and read and, you know, there’s always kind of an important balance like yes I definitely, you know, especially when I ran my own company I created a company called Level 11. I was the founder and CEO, grew that company, sold it. And we had an amazing board, I mean unbelievable people and like I was just so drawn to people to learn from them. And I learned a tremendous amount. And so what I mean by like the careful balance like you always want to be looking for guidance and insight, but also you have to learn like to trust yourself and just go with it. And so that’s something that I also learned is like you can’t always be constantly looking for what should I do, you know, what was someone’s advice, you got to be like, hey, just, you got this like, you know just trust yourself and go for it, so. 

 Christopher Smith  
Yep. So when you’re developing sales teams, how do you translate everything you’ve learned over your career, you know, how do you like to structure that and transfer that knowledge you have to your team? 

 Bob Marsh  
So I would say first, the most important thing so I’ll tell you what I did when I got here to Bluewater. So, that was a, well coming on three years ago, and I created a 30-60-90 day plan. And so it’s a it’s a radically simple concept but also incredibly difficult to stick to. Because when you come in, you’re like, oh that’s wrong I want to fix that, oh that’s wrong I want to fix that, oh I have an idea, this will work. So, and you just can’t do that. Two reasons one is like don’t give yourself so much credit like you know you’ve gotta, you gotta learn things before you really know what you’re gonna do. Second is that you know you need to make people know that you understand, you know, so, so, so what I did is the first 30 days was purely like listening, it was like my function is I’m going to, I’m going to talk to as many people as possible inside the company, outside the company, customer’s vendors, and of course team members and just listen. Like just the only purpose is ;isten, tell me about this, tell me about that, how does this work, how does that work, where do the leads come from, what’s the sales process, what happened, you know just really probing deeply. And trust me immediately you’ll have like, oh, I got an idea, oh I got ideas, like just zip it up. Just listen, listen, listen, then spend the next 30 days figuring out okay, I’m gonna take everything I learned, I’m gonna start, I’m gonna start formulating a plan for what might I want to change or adjust. I think it’s important like you can easily I’m just gonna blow this all up and start all over but like that’s the, that’ll never work. Typically, I shouldn’t say never, but start forming a plan start running it by people, you know, get their buy and get their thoughts like hey, what if we did this, what would happen like so just, I got a whole 30 days like really thinking about proposing things, getting people’s feedback, having the part of creating that, helping them jointly authored with me. And then, and the next 30 days is like okay, let’s go. So what happens is that that was a that was just a great process. So, it helped me kind of get through it. It was very visible, I told everybody this is what I’m doing, I’m spending 30 days listening, 30 days kind of orchestrating or starting to plan, 30 days implementing. And so, you realize that I saw, I’ve seen it I saw another way to do this where I kind of learned that approach, and it’s it seems like, God it takes so long like why don’t you just go move forward with what do you think we should do. The reality is that is like really fast. So, because it’s done carefully and methodically in the long run, you get so much accomplished so much faster. And so by applying that here I think it made a big difference. And so, you know, some of the main, some of the big things I think in today’s modern world of mark, sales and marketing, some of the things that we did were, you know, one is we got we created a really strong demand generation team. Like demand generation is like the new marketing, right, so it’s all about how do you like tangibly go find business and bring leads to you, you know, having a good strong measurement system and a CRM that kind of manage all your metrics, figuring out what those operating metrics of sales are and having a system to measure them. And then lastly, get the sales team aligned in terms of the way they’re organized, the support team around them, the incentive plans, like getting that all kind of organized in the right way so that’s what I did here I think it’s probably going to be, would be a common approach in other places but, you know, again every company is a little bit different but that 30-60-90 day plan was, was a great way to start and fits anywhere. 

 Christopher Smith   
And using that approach and thinking as you were talking, it’s very consultative. You’re giving people time to get used to you without just coming in and just firing from the hip,  

 Bob Marsh   
Yeah. 

 Christopher Smith   
And your not whips on people, you’re being very intentional on what’s going to move the needle. 

 Bob Marsh   
Yeah, and I think that that’s, that’s a, that’s part of it. It’s it’s really, I think it communicates that you’re a listener, it communicates that you want to do this together, it communicates that like I’m trying to learn and understand first. Then I will kind of share my opinions and what we’re going to do. So I think I think that’s important and I think that um, you know, and I’ll tell you one of the other things I actually did is, I did the opposite of that too. And I think this is, this one I learned from Josh like kinda you do then kind of try the opposite. So before I even started, I came up with what do I think I’m going to do, like, this is what I think this is what’s going to happen.  

 Christopher Smith   
Right. 

 Bob Marsh   
And really the advantage there is, and I just kept it to myself, which is like, here’s what I think I’m gonna do, I’m gonna move this here, move that there, we’re gonna change this or change that. It’s like, be it the, it’s actually very healthy because you have a clean sheet of paper, because you’re, you’re so ignorant to everything, like, what a wonderful time to take advantage of because you’re not clouded by anything.  

 Christopher Smith   
Right.  

 Bob Marsh   
So I said I’m just going to write down what I think that I’m going to do right now. And of course I’m just going to put it to the side, but at least gets me starting to think about what I might want to do but I’m not, I can’t prescribe that because I haven’t, I haven’t diagnosed anything yet. So, that was actually really helpful. I would say I would say that it, when I felt when I looked back on that, we did most of the things I thought, and it’s not to sound like arrogant or anything but like you can feel like I know we’re gonna do, I have total certainty, I know we’re gonna do, I know how we’re gonna set it up, but it’s just it’s not gonna, you’re always gonna doubt. People are gonna question you and if you can’t get everyone behind you like, it’s never gonna work, so. 

 Christopher Smith   
What are, you know for the people that are transitioning into sales leadership role for the first time, what do you think are the common mistakes that are made? 

 Bob Marsh   
I think that there, so so first of all, one of the things I mentioned earlier, right, is the thing about why are you moving into this role. Are you moving into this role because you think you deserve it? Are you moving to this role because you think you can help other people? And like, or are you moving just like, I don’t know, because I just want to progress in my career, so, isn’t being a manager, the next step from being a salesperson? Like, by the way, it’s not. Like it doesn’t need to be. So I think, so again, if you’re moving to that role like really kind of ask yourself like why, why do I want this or why am I moving into it. Am I interested in helping other people, am I trying to progress, like what’s what’s going on? So the main thing I would tell them is understand that the purpose of your role is to make other people better, and that’s that’s first of all. Second of all is, is to listen like just like I said earlier, like, make sure you really listen to understand how other people operate and how they function because the way that you tick isn’t necessarily the way that they tick. And you’ve got to understand each person’s like motivations, what drives them, and again what might seem, a lot of times people who are very strong sellers, they move into the management ranks, like they don’t realize how good they are or things they do that are natural to them that are unnatural to others. And so the more you get to know people and you learn like, geez, like the way that I prospect, the way that I write a proposal, the way that I ask questions seems so obvious to me because they’re natural, but they’re not to other people and so you have to figure out how do I attempt to like codify like my skill set, and I can teach people them, but it’s not like the Bob way is the way. Like you can’t be like my way is the way. Like everyone’s got their methods and you realize that, so I would say those are, those are a few of the, few of the main things I’d suggest. The other thing I would say is, I think, first time managers think that like I want to be very close with my team and that is important, but it’s always like trying to balance like the, you know, the, the friend versus manager relationship like you’ve got to be close but I’ve just seen so many failures of, you know, you try to be, try to really just be friends. And it just doesn’t work, and it doesn’t mean like you can have a wonderful relationship and spend time together and dine together and play golf together and hang out together, but like, there’s still got to be, there’s just a difference. I think too many people first coming into it try to be everybody’s friend, and like it just, you lose sight of things and it makes, it makes it difficult to make decisions. That was a mistake I made early on in my career where I just thought, hey I’ll be a great guy and everything’s gonna be awesome. And boom right on my face. Yeah, obviously was a very well-intentioned thing but you know. 

 Christopher Smith   
Yeah. Yep. Yeah, you have to have that line. Talk about your transition from salesperson to sales leader, and then after that, from, you know, being a CRO, it’s very different from being VP of Sales. Can you talk about that, those differences? 

 Bob Marsh   
Yeah. So, I think I kind of touched on that transition from salesperson to sales manager and then when you kind of move to the you know more of the VP and then the CRO. So, I would say, so I mean the big difference of course is like you’re, you’re helping coach and develop individual contributors, then you drop to like now you’re trying to help leaders be good managers, and then maybe you go up because now you’re trying to help leaders become leaders, you know so that’s kind of that’s kind of the difference. So I would say in particular, you know, moving into more of a managing and managing managers kind of a role, you know it’s it’s how do you, now you’re setting more of the strategy and the vision for how do I want to go to market. So when you’re managing a sales team, largely you’re doing it like okay, I’m just trying to help coach and develop these people to like make deals happen and work through the pipeline, the whole thing. When you go to the next step, which could be a VP of Sales or even a CRO level, you’re now you’re defining like how do I want to go to market. So, like, which market should we go after? What products should we be selling? How should we be positioning the company, what type of people do we want to have on our staff, what metrics are we going to use the manage the company, like how do I work directly with operations to make sure we’re all in sync about how things happen? So, so you’re just you’re taking a much wider view of the company and the market, you know, not just like I got, I’m just trying to manage a group of, a group of salespeople. So that’s kind of different and that’s hard, I mean because like you know, I struggle with it sometimes too like I just want to get in the weeds, I want to get in the middle of a project, and that’s fine. One of the things that I think can be, is a can be a slippery slope is like when you move into, like, say a VP or SE whatever level that might be, is that doesn’t mean you’re not still in the, are still in the middle of a project. Like I think a lot of times a manager moves to the manager ranks, like I miss selling, I miss being in the middle of it. It’s like well, then you’re maybe not doing it right. Because you should feel like you’re in the middle of projects like every once in a while like go to a meeting, like call a customer, sit in, you know, uncover new opportunities yourself, like like you should like, you can get in the middle of a project and really very closely like figure out how to negotiate, how to coach the salesperson, how to, how to win it, like that gets your those sales juices going, I think a lot of people moving to management feel like they miss but, like, that should not go away. Like, if the, and if it’s going away, you’re, you’re too distant. You’ve got to be, like I talked to all of our direct sales people like on a weekly basis, like, because I want to know what’s going on and sometimes I find a way that I can help them out. It’s not about going around the manager it’s like no I got to stay in touch, and sometimes I uncover something that’s like that I can go to the manager and say, “Hey, I just observed this I thought you should be aware, you know it’s something to work on with a salesperson,” or I just helped kind of eliminate an obstacle that wouldn’t have otherwise been there. 

 Christopher Smith   
Right. I think what you said that really resonates with me in terms of, I know as a vendor, you know we implement CRM. One of our keys to success, and we actually write this into our contracts, is that we want to see level participation in the project, because it’s so strategic to what companies are doing. I think a lot of people, when they get into the upper levels of management, they think I have to be hands off and let my people run everything. And I get that to a point. But you’re still, like you said, you have to be involved, you know, but that doesn’t mean you have to go in and move all the chairs around. 

 Bob Marsh   
No, you can’t. You can’t take over, you know like, so you know one of the things I tell frontline managers is to say, you know, for in certain situations with certain salespeople, like, join their sales meetings, because sometimes, like or there meetings with customers, because there’s like two different scenarios. Sometimes you’re in there to say, I’m gonna, I need to take over this meeting, like, because either the customer wants it or it’ll make them feel more valued or I just don’t think they’re doing it right, so like I’m taking over. And like, hate when that happens, but like you can’t be afraid of like sometimes that’s gonna happen. Other times, it’s you go in and like my, your only purpose there is to coach the salesperson. So I’ll very often like sit in a meeting, and, you know, the customer knows I’m there and I might, you know chime in here and there and, you know, but my, the notes that I’m taking are not about, okay how do we win this project. It’s a little bit of it, but it’s like okay, how do they open the meeting, what do they say, like, how do they look on the camera, like where are they sitting in the room, like, what quest, okay that what questions are they asking. Like I’m it’s, it’s more like I’m kind of above the room kind of analyzing like, hey, you know, and after be like, hey can I give you some feedback? Like, so my purpose in the room like, yeah I have maybe a couple little things about the project or how we pitched it, but my purpose there is to coach the pers, the salesperson, and that’s what I’m doing in the room, not like getting myself in the middle of the project.  

 Christopher Smith   
Right. That’s terrific.  

 Bob Marsh   
You have to know like what am I here for and you tell them, hey I’m gonna be on the call because the client wants to me here and we’re trying to negotiate or something or we’re trying to present, or nope, I’m just setting in to give you some coaching. 

 Christopher Smith   
Do you find it hard to stifle yourself when you’re in those meetings?  

 Bob Marsh   
Oh, um. I think I’ve learned how to do it but like I know what you mean. So, yeah, it’s like yeah for sure, I mean I you know, so again it comes back to like understanding like what your purpose is. Your purpose is there to help develop other people. So, the thing is like you got to learn how to, how to not take over and know when you have to versus like I gotta let them do it like, no, no sales leader is going to let a person just fail, and like, lose something over it, but like, you just you got to, it’s a gray line. You got to figure out how to, you know, not take over and, you know, sometimes it is good to take over and be like why here, I watch this, I’m gonna do this, okay after, what do you think, do you see what I did there, you know sometimes that’s okay, but. 

 Christopher Smith   
Do you prep, how do you prep your team for that, that where they are comfortable like, you know, how do you do that? 

 Bob Marsh   
For what, I’m sorry for which part? 

 Christopher Smith   
How do you prep for teams that hey, I’m gonna sit in on this meeting, you know, so where they feel comfortable and they’re still gonna perform? 

 Bob Marsh   
So, so that I think that the key is like the more you do it, the more comfortable they get. I mean of course the first time I sit in a meeting with someone, they’re going to be nervous. Why are you here, like what does this mean, like what’s going to happen, but the more you do it, the more comfortable they get. So, I mean the, what I do is I just you know we talk in advance like okay, we’re preparing for this meeting like what’s the goal of the meeting, what are we going to accomplish. And I’ll ask them like, what role do you want me to play? And so, you know, often I’ll tell someone’s like you’re the quarterback like you’re running this deal. I don’t run this deal, like I might have a big title but like, it’s your project, your customer, like what role do you want me to play? And so I will encourage you to like pull me in like, pull me in just even if you just want my title in the room because it’ll make the customer feel better, I’ll be there like you, you know what you’re doing as well as I do, but like sometimes it’s valuable. So we just talk, like what do you want my role to be, do you just want me, do you want me to pitch part of it, part or some of it because the customer might want to hear or maybe just think I’m really good at pitching this part of it, so take advantage of it. Great, I don’t care. Nothing against you, like it’s, that’s smart, it’s like you’re taking advantage of your resources. So, so that that’s kind of the thing and then I’ll ask him like I’ll you know, I’ll, people here like have learned like what I’ll do is I’ll, I’ll be quiet and then I will pitch in if I think something needs to be pitched in, or I’ll ask questions which is kind of where I tend to do tend to do a lot. That’s kind of the role thing, but other times, we, you know, it’s very careful like no, this is what I want your role to be specifically, and you know we just, we just work on that together. I think it’s important also to know what your strength is like, like I think I’m really good at listening, and, and, like reading between the lines. And so, and also like noticing like I don’t think we have them kind of their attention or I think something’s going on. So someone say hey you focus on your presenting. I’m gonna be looking for like people’s reactions and do I think that you’ve lost them. Do I you know so i might play that role just to keep them engaged. So a lot of times people like yeah that’s what I want you to do do here so so I can do one thing or the other. Yeah. 

 Christopher Smith   
So let’s switch and talk about CRM. When it comes to CRM, do you love it or do you hate it? 

 Bob Marsh   
I love it. I think overall it’s critical, I mean it’s, it’s, I would never say hate it, you know, just, it just, you know, it can get frustrating at times in terms of everyone using it correctly but no, I think it’s, I think it’s absolutely business critical and you just you have to have to use it, have to figure out a way to make it work. 

 Christopher Smith   
Right. What do you think, what’s been your biggest struggle with CRM over your careers. Has there been a common theme around CRM? 

 Bob Marsh   
Yeah, I’d say buy in, for, you know, an adoption, like so, you know, getting, you know, getting the salespeople to understand like the right way to use it, why they need it, you know doing it consistently. Because it becomes difficult if you’re trying to manage the business around numbers and some of the numbers aren’t there, you know that gets complicated. So and you know, know I mean I ran a business where we worked with some of the biggest companies in the world and they were dealing with adoption issues. So you know not an uncommon thing, but that’s definitely, that’s the that’s the main one. 

 Christopher Smith   
Yeah, one of the tips we provide our customers are as you know, is to have a why when you’re talking with that front end, and it could be a variety of why’s and sometimes it’s different by the individual. How do you communicate the why to your team? 

 Bob Marsh   
So, I say so well first of all, the reason that we have to have a CRM, we have to have a single system that manages all of our customer and prospect data. Like, that’s just any kind of modern company has to have it. It’s the plumbing of the sales organization and our customer and our customer. So that’s kind of the first, it’s like it’s a, it’s a, it’s a non-starter, we have to have that. The other thing is like in order to effectively manage the business, like we need metrics to manage around, understand meetings and pipeline and where the leads are coming from and how that translates to close, right, like we just needed to manage the business. When it comes to the salesperson is that is that for you like sometimes it might feel like there’s certain things that I don’t know why I’m doing this exactly, but that is if you use the CRM effectively, it will allow you to manage your business, your your business better. Your business defined, is that your territory or group of accounts. Like for example, if you don’t have a CRM system, how do you know the last time that you contacted customer 137 on your list? Like, you’re not doing it from your notebooks or your memory like I’m sorry, you’re just no one’s that smart. So, like, the ability to know like okay, here’s my accounts, how do I organize and prioritize what I want to go after, you know, how often I want to stay in touch them, having a system to kind of know have I called them, when’s the last conversation, when’s the last time I even tried to reach out to somebody, managing all that it’s just so important. So as a salesperson, if you want to effectively manage and optimize your territory, or your sales account list, whatever it might be, you have to have a system to manage that which is, here’s my accounts, here’s when I contacted them, here’s when I talked to them, here’s my opportunities, here’s what I won. Like you need a system to do that, you have to. And if you don’t like you’re just you’re gonna, you’re gonna, it’s not that you’re gonna fail as a salesperson, but you’re not optimizing what’s possible. 

 Christopher Smith   
Right, right. I think another big part of it is, when we talk with, with the frontline salespeople is looking at what you’ve lost and capturing that information then over time being able to go back and look at that and analyze those lost deals. And where are we seeing those those patterns are the commonalities between these deals we’re losing, and what can I change or adapt so that I convert those losers, those losses into wins in the future? 

 Bob Marsh   
Definitely. No doubt. 

 Christopher Smith   
What do, how do you guys, you know when you’re working with your team, what do you do to help them with the losses and learn from those losses? 

 Bob Marsh   
So one thing that I like to do is a is, win, win and loss analysis. So, you know I don’t do this regularly enough but it’s like maybe once or twice a year where we’ll sit down with either a bunch of sales people or individuals, be like okay let’s talk through like the loss, like what happened, like. So we walk through wins, like why did we win it, where to come from, you know, what was the critical inflection point that told you we won the project, like just those are the basics. But then, let’s also analyze the losses. Okay, where’d the lead come from, why like what’s your explanation for why we lost, was there a point in the sales process where your instincts told you we were going to lose it, when was that, why was that? And then in retrospect, is there anything there what, what could we have done different that would have flipped it the other way, not saying we should have or we’re going to but like, you know, what would have been the thing? And it might be like, well, yeah maybe I should have brought this person in or, you know, maybe it’s a, maybe it’s pricing, maybe it’s you know, and I, I was afraid to go around my contact to the senior contact because I thought I’d get in trouble. But I lost the deal so now like you know what, nothing to lose. So that’s, that’s kind of a process that I like, I like to follow.  

 Christopher Smith   
That’s great. And if you don’t have a CRM and you’re not capturing that information, you’re not going to have a very good retrospective. 

 Bob Marsh   
Exactly.  

 Christopher Smith   
Yeah, that’s awesome. Bob, we’re coming up on our time here on Sales Lead Dog. I really appreciate you coming on the show. If people want to reach out and connect with you, learn more about Bluewater, what’s the best way for them to do that? 

 Bob Marsh   
So, LinkedIn, of course right so you can always find me on LinkedIn, there’s LinkedIn @BobMarsh5 but you can just look me up there. And then, Bluewatertech.com is our website, you know, so reach out, you know, reach out either way. 

 Christopher Smith   
Yeah, well it’s been great talking to you. You’ve really had a great career and some terrific insight you shared with us today. I really appreciate it. 

 Bob Marsh   
Great, well thank you, Chris, appreciate the time. 

 Outro 
As we end this discussion on Sales Lead Dog, be sure to subscribe to catch all our episodes on social media. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Watch the videos on YouTube, and you can also find our episodes on our website at Empellorcrm.com/salesleaddog. Sales Lead Dog is supported by Empellor CRM, delivering objectively better CRM for business guaranteed. 

Quotes:

  • “People love to talk, so help them talk.” (7:25-7:29)
  • “Understand that the purpose of your role is to make other people better” (18:42-18:46)

Links:

Bluewater Technologies Group Website
Bob Marsh LinkedIn
Bluewater Technologies Group LinkedIn
Empellor CRM Website
If you have any question on how Empellor CRM can help you? Contact Christopher Smith

Podcast production and show notes provided by FIRESIDE Marketing