Podcast

Customers Have A Thirst For Value – Dave Sandhoefner

“Passion is a skill,” says Dave Sandhoefner, CRO at Delaget. And so is sales. In this episode of Sales Lead Dog, Dave talks with host Chris Smith about how to bring value to both your customers and your staff by continually working to understand what they need, and what you can offer them.

Dave began his career in video production, and though he loved his job, the meager salary just wasn’t going to cut it long-term. He moved to the sales team at IBM, and though he wasn’t a “natural” at sales, he discovered that learning on the job and developing his passion transformed him into a top performer and leader. During that process, Dave solidified his idea that we can’t just develop relationships – we always need to bring value.

Now Dave is the CRO at Delaget, an analytics company that services the restaurant industry, including big names like Taco Bell and KFC. In his work as CRO, Dave focuses on bringing value to customers and employees alike, with a focus on lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial. Tune in this week to hear Dave’s perspective on how to maximize value for everyone, both on your team and in your CRM.

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Transcript:

Wed, 1/27 12:59PM • 41:34 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS 
sales, people, crm, struggle, focus, customers, ibm, big, understand, sales team, salesperson, opportunity, company, team, pipeline, success, organizations, management, manage, restaurants 

SPEAKERS 
Dave Sandhoefner, 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 Dave Sandhoefner. Dave, welcome to Sales Lead Dog. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Thanks, Chris. Nice to, nice to be here. 

Christopher Smith   
Oh, we’re excited to have you, Dave, tell us a little bit about your current role and your company. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Absolutely. So I’m the Chief Revenue Officer at Delaget. I’m responsible for sales, account management, marketing, product marketing, really all our go to market exercises, been with the company for four years. What Delaget does is we service the restaurant space by helping them manage their data, really focused on the operational side of data management to help restaurants run more profitable businesses and make growth faster. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s awesome.  

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah. And we we work with some of the biggest restaurants out there, a lot of multi-unit operators, both at the corporate level and the franchisee level, Taco Bell, KFC, you see some of our customers represented behind me, but we’re really all across the restaurant space. 

Christopher Smith   
Good, I’m glad you, I was gonna ask you to drop some names so thank you. That’s terrific. So Dave, when you think back over your career, what are the three things that have really contributed to your success? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah. I think the number one thing is being focused on value, and really value for any of the constituents, you know obviously from a sales capacity, it’s customer value, understanding what’s important to them and trying to match your solutions with that. If you don’t have a matching value you can have the greatest relationship but it’s probably not not necessarily a valuable relationship or one that works for your customer. But then that that also translates to the employees as well. They have to be getting value, so they need to be hitting quota so that they can make their mortgage payment. They have to have opportunities for development and growth, so that they, they can really achieve their career goals so value, value is really at the core of kind of where I try and start all relationships. Beyond that, very focused on team development, both from a skill standpoint, and then also from a community standpoint, really developing a team with a character, a team with an identity, a team that’s, that knows where they’re going and can go, go and attack it. And then, I think finally, loving what you do would be the would be the final one. I, I feel like passion is a skill, passion for what you do is something that you learn, keeping positive, surrounding yourself with the right people, looking at challenges as opportunities. Having passion, being positive about your job and the people you work with and the customers that you serve. You know, sometimes you’re fortunate enough for that just to be a natural occurrence based on your situation. But if you’re dependent on the situation to make you happy, then, and be passionate, it’s hard to find that match. So I think it’s really important to develop that skill and always be focused on it. 

Christopher Smith   
Oh, I think that’s great advice. It’s so important to have that inner fortitude. You know, to, to, and it is a choice I think. You have to choose to be passionate, you know it’s not something that happens. That’s great. Tell me about how you got your start in sales. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
So, I probably changed my major in college three or four times, which probably could hear from many, many sales salespeople sales leaders, and I ended up in mass communications. I like PR, I like crafting messages, and my first job was in marketing, and it was a long time ago, but wasn’t a lot of money then, I made $23,000 a year and worked, 50, 60, sometimes more hours a week. And, you know, things went well, I liked what I did, it was interesting, I got to shoot a commercial with Kevin Garnett and Kirby Puckett, I’m dating myself a little bit, but did some pretty neat things and at the end of my first year I remember I was, I was struggling financially, I had student loans, a new car payment. And I was excited for my first review and my first raise and got a good review and got a I guess a standard 3% raise, which that $600 wasn’t going to go real far in helping me achieve my financial goals. And I had some friends that were in sales that were doing real well financially and really that’s what drew it to me initially. So after I got my review, I went home and thought about it, the next day, I put in my notice, and two weeks later I was on the road to Arizona where I had a had a friend that was selling for IBM and I jumped on there. 

Christopher Smith   
Well, that’s awesome. That’s a great company to start selling with, too.  

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah, it was. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s pretty cool. Did you get great sales training at IBM? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
The division I worked for was I wouldn’t say part of the mothership at IBM, it was a newer division that was built to sale, to sell hardware to small and medium sized businesses in response to Dell direct, and so they didn’t have the infrastructure the rest of IBM had. Certainly got a lot of good training, it was a good culture to be a part of, but I wouldn’t say it’s what you think of when you think of IBM sales.  

Christopher Smith   
Right, okay. Yeah. How has that that start and those experiences impacted the rest of your career? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Well, being there with a new division and some of the infrastructure wasn’t there, I had to learn a lot on my own, and frankly, I struggled. I don’t think I was a natural salesperson. And it really over time made me a student of the game. It was it was a skill, just like I referenced earlier on the passion sides, sales I see as a skill. You certainly have a lot of people that are natural communicators, naturally engaging, and certainly had parts of that but where my skills developed were around the process, around engaging customers and understanding their problems and I always, I always think about it in terms of, you know, baseball players. They say that the the stars don’t make the best coaches. A lot of times they’re, they’re naturals and they don’t understand the nuance and all the intricacies of it and you take a maybe a utility player that’s had to work their way through the league and really spend time in the bench and understand things, they become great coaches. And I think it really helped me develop a skill set I could leverage throughout my career but then also made me a much stronger manager because I had to, I had to understand how to work through that struggle and become a strong performer. 

Christopher Smith   
Sounds like you also developed quite a bit of empathy through that. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Ah, yeah, you know I think some people were gonna would argue that, but no I, I certainly appreciate the struggle that goes goes into sales and and you know it’s to me a role that’s something that’s, I don’t know, I used to say it’s, it’s like a religion, you have to be completely bought into it for it to be effective and to be good at it. And I guess I still, I still believe that today and some people just aren’t, aren’t ready to really fully commit themselves to it and they struggle and tend to get frustrated and, and will often move on to something else. 

Christopher Smith   
Right, right. Do you remember the first big sale you ever closed? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
I remember, different parts of different sales. I don’t know if I remember the first big one that I closed. 

Christopher Smith   
Right, no that’s fine, that’s fine. Let’s talk about your transition from salesperson to sales leader. What was the impetus behind that transition? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
So, I was working at Thomson Reuters and in, in a division similar to IBM and that was new and a different way for them to sell, and so they started with just a small group of us, two from the outside, outside of the company, I was one of them, and two that transferred in from other sales roles. And it was, it was, we all struggled initially as we figured out how to sell, and again that that made me a student of the game because we really had to figure it out and we did it as a group and then we expanded to 12 people. And at that point, they they elevated a couple of us into team leads, and I really enjoyed the, the pieces of figuring out how to do it, and then also really enjoyed the training piece because that was a big part of that role was helping new people come in and understand the process and how we were approaching it. And then as we expanded again and there was a management opportunity it was, it just seemed like a natural fit. I really enjoyed that part of the job and, and moved into sales management from there. 

Christopher Smith   
What do you think they saw on you that said Dave’s, that’s who we want for this role? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
I was, I was performing at a real high level. I was the President’s club winner from our team. So I think that was a big part of it and if I get asked from a salesperson that’s looking to move into management, that’s always my first piece of advice. Be great at your current role before you start to look at the at the next horizon, and that was, that was a spot that I was, I was fortunate to be in. Also I was, I was very committed to hitting my number and really passionate about doing it every single month and maximizing where I came in and then certainly I think I had proven myself from a training and mentoring standpoint, because I was such a big part of what we were doing to get that team built up, then obviously as a manager that’s a big part of what you do. 

Christopher Smith   
Yeah. So, thinking back to that first leadership role, what did you think you knew then that was spot on that you now know was just flat out wrong? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
I would say, I don’t know, I want to make sure I put this right. I probably put whether they were customers or internal employees, executives really kind of on a pedestal. Like wow these guys, they know something I don’t. They’ve got it figured out and, you know, I think that probably prevented me from engaging customers at the executive level initially the way I should have or could have, and then maybe engaging executives at my organization as I’ve gone through. People are people, right, they’re all struggling, they’re all trying to figure it out, they’re all trying to be passionate about their job, and that was something I think I had to be exposed to more people at more organizations to really kind of understand that no matter where you’re at in your career, where you’re at in your role, everybody’s kind of struggling with the same things, and. And so, however you can help them get through those struggles, they’re gonna appreciate you 

Christopher Smith   
Oh yeah. I tell my team all the time, look, you may think I have all the answers. I guarantee I have few, but I’m more than willing to make a decision and move forward. You know, so which a lot of times I think that’s what it comes down to. What’s something that, you know someone that is considering that sales leadership role, besides, you know, being really really good at what they’re doing now, what should they be thinking about or doing to prepare for that sales leadership role? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
So, certainly being good at what they’re doing now, but doing som or to build on that, doing so in a scalable, repeatable way, right. If you’re successful, but you can’t break it down and understand why you’re successful, what are the, what are the steps, what are the components to that success that you can then replicate or help somebody else figure out their path to doing so, I think you’re going to really struggle. And, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard the adage that great salespeople don’t always make great sales managers or great sales leaders. I, going back to that student of the game, the utility player in the baseball field, If you don’t understand why you’re good at something, it’s hard to help somebody else be good at it.  

Christopher Smith   
Right. When you take a new role, like for example at your current position, What’s the first thing you try to do? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
The absolute first thing is engage the team, develop those relationships, understand what people care about, understand what they’re good at, understand what they’re struggling with. At the core of success for any sales team is, is the team. It’s the people, and it’s, it’s treating them each as an individual and understanding what’s important to them and really getting getting aligned with that, and then helping them get to where they want to go. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. What attracted you to this role at this company? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
A couple things. So we’re a small organization, I like smaller companies. And the reason for that is, as I’ve worked for bigger companies, IBM or Thomson, you get a lot of really good quality people, but you are often disconnected from the results of the business because your, your, your contribution is such a small drop in such a big bucket. And with smaller organizations, you really feel the impact and I feel and feeling that impact creates more of a team mentality and more of a focus on results and, and kind of more of that excitement, more of that passion that it’s, I think so critical to success and drives me. So one was the size. Two, the business had been around for a long time, and had grown really organically and without a lot of sales and marketing effort, and so the business is ready to go to the next phase with new investors, and with more of a intentional focus on on growth. And so I liked a lot of the a lot of the data I could see around customer retention. Clearly there was value around the growth that was happening on its own, so really just putting some structure behind that, saw a lot of opportunity for growth. And it was in a market that felt very disjointed so a lot opportunity to really kind of take the niche value that Delaget was providing in a couple of these brands and bring it across all restaurants. And so we’re well on our way or well on that journey. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s awesome. Yeah, I agree with you, I like the small companies too for a lot of the same reasons. If you were the CEO of a company and, and you’re, I need a new person to lead my sales team, what are you looking for? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
I’m focused on being great at what I’m doing right now. Maybe a cop out answer. But I’ve certainly hired sales leaders at different levels. I think some of the things that we talked about earlier somebody that really cares about their team and is committed to them, somebody that is very focused on a repeatable structure, so critical for scale and you know I’m much more interested in being in organizations that are that are focused on rapid growth and so the only way you can do that is by having a repeatable process and a system that you can bring people in, a system that works that you know as you bring more people in, then this is going to be the output. So, I think somebody that values those things or it would be an important part of any sales leader that I, that I evaluated. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s awesome. What trips up sales leaders to where they they fail? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Lots of things. I. To me, the absolute foundation for sales leadership is consistent pipeline management. That is just the meat and potatoes, the table stakes of sales leadership and it’s something that can get challenging, you know, the, the you’re doing planning for next year, you’re doing budgets, you’re trying to get big sales in for the end of the quarter, whatever it might be, there’s always some fire or something, something big, that you need to focus on, but consistently sitting down with the sales team, working through what opportunities are there, making sure that they’re being managed properly and consistently with the sales process, ensuring that new pipelines being brought in that opportunity for real time coaching, all those things happen at that one on one, that pipeline review. And when I see people drift away or lose focus on that, that’s when I see I see them really challenged.  

Christopher Smith   
Right. What do you do to cultivate candidates for sales leadership. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Back to be great at where you’re at. Two is I want somebody that tells me that they’re interested in it. So I’m certainly always looking but I rarely tap people on the shoulder that haven’t expressed some sort of interest, because it’s it’s a different game, you know, many cases sales leaders will get, you know, the top performing sales rep will get paid more than a sales manager or sales leader, and they’re also, become more of a servant to other people. Their success is dependent on the action of others so you have to have some patience, acceptance you’re, you’re playing a longer game and. So, somebody needs to really want to do it. If they say they want to do it, all the things that we talked about earlier, the things that I focus on is, you know, understanding a system, developing something that’s repeatable, being great at what you’re doing right now, understanding value, all those things go into it.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah, I think you may have touched upon some of these points of this next question, but beyond just revenue, what other measures of success do you have for yourself and your team? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
So for me, I want to know that my customers are getting value. So, from an organizational standpoint, I try and focus on that from a product standpoint, I don’t own our products, but certainly have a close partnership with the folks that do, and constantly providing feedback and really trying to work to satisfy the needs of what our clients are asking for but then also what they’re looking for. What might not be on their radar. Also, a service, focus, making sure that we’re servicing them and they’re getting the maximum benefit from the solutions that we offer. And then I want to make sure that I’m always managing usage. How much is our product getting used, and if it’s not getting used, why not?  

Christopher Smith   
Right. Right. That’s great. Do you have any daily success habits are things that you do every day that really I think have contributed to your success? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah, so my big goal setter, I usually about once a year, maybe twice a year I’ll update kind of my, my five year goal. And then every year, I’ll plan annual goals, I’ll update that quarterly, and then I break it down to weekly and daily goals. So every day I’m usually driving it two or three things that are the, if you’re familiar with the 20, 20 mile march from Jim Collins, that that’s a concept I really try and apply to my day, like what are the little things that I need to do today to move the ball forward to, to make those bigger accomplishments. On the flip side of that, I don’t want to be too hyper focused on that. So I try and bring some balance. I try and meditate and exercise every day, if I don’t do that, I find I’m far less productive and usually a lot more stressed out.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah, I love meditation, it’s, it’s become an important part of my routine as well, I advise that to anyone who’s listening. Great way to create some balance in your life.  

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah, especially now.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah, oh yeah. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Like working, I don’t know if you’re working from home, but working from home not, I use that as my transition from my work to my personal life. Otherwise I walk downstairs and it’s just a jumbled mess.  

Christopher Smith   
Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about rejection, which is a big part of any sales process. Do you have a story around like the deal that you lost, you thought you had and you lost and it just really hurt? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
There’s not a particular story that sticks out, but I mean it’s, it’s a regular occurrence, right, it’s part of the job. And you know what, what I focus on when I think of the rejection piece, whether that rejection is cold calling, somebody hanging up on you or yelling at you, I’ve had it all, as I’m sure many people listening to this have as well. Or it’s a deal that I’ve been working on for nine months and we get a no at the end of it is every no you get every rejection you get is narrowing your focus on the people that might say yes. So it allows you to move on from some folks and move, move forward with the ones that actually might be interested or might get value from what you’re offering. When you gets to certainly on on that the the earlier stages in the sales process, there’s going to be opportunities to learn from it, and, and refining that best practice and figuring out the thing that works. 1.5 times out of 100 versus one times out of 100 is just a critical refinement of that repeatable scalable process. But then on the larger deals that you’re further into, it’s an opportunity to learn with every single one of those. And so when you lose, if you lose and walk away and just move on to the next one without processing it, then you really lost. If you lose, and you take something from it, then you’ve gotten stronger and you’ve, you’ve narrowed your market to somebody that might buy. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s awesome, let’s transition to CRM. Do you love it, or do you hate it? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
I love it. I’m a CRM guy. I, and in fact I actually for our products I use the analogy of of CRM. Because I remember the days before I had a CRM and that was right when I got into sales management and I was managing 30 spreadsheets and didn’t know my employee or my team’s pipeline. Didn’t know what customers to call. It, it was a rough world, I was accessing 20 different things at all times and didn’t have, didn’t have one stop for all my information. 

Christopher Smith   
Right. Why do you think so many firms struggle with CRM? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
It’s got to be a consistent discipline from top to bottom. I, I remember again when CRMs became kind of the the flavor or the what what was assumed there was a flavor of the day and I think it was just that kind of lack of buy in, but I don’t feel like I see struggle as much these days or at least most of the organizations that I’ve been involved with over the last 10 years have really, have really adopted and, and CRM has become part of the culture and just how they operate.  

Christopher Smith   
That’s good. That’s great. Have you ever, it sounds like you’ve had really positive relationships with CRM. What do you think about your, you know, the last 10 years? What were those companies doing to be successful with CRM, was there a consistent theme? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah, I think the consistent theme was the regular pipeline reviews. That, that was again another opportunity to reinforce the importance of having that CRM updated. Having all the opportunities at the appropriate stage, capturing contact information. As people, as it becomes cultural and part of what people do, they see the value in it, and. But if you know it’s it’s like a garden, if you’re if you’re not, if you’re not weeding on a regular basis, if you’re not taking care of it, it’s gonna get out of control. And if you’re not managing the CRM on a regular basis, people aren’t using it, then, then it’s gonna get sloppy and people aren’t gonna keep it up to date and it’s going to become less valuable so it’ll kind of spin out of control. I think you were gonna ask if I have a bad experience. When I was at Thomson Reuters, they didn’t have a CRM when I started, and I think I can say this because I don’t know that they’re around as much anymore but they bought Siebel for quite a bit of money and our president’s club trip was the same spot that the Oracle president’s club Siebel trip was. And the sales rep was there, and I think a number of people went over and talked to him because they’d spent a lot of money and never really achieved value. That was on prem, that was early days of CRM, so I think Thompson as well as Oracle evolve all the way that they, they manage that over the years, but certainly saw some challenges with that and. But yeah, over the last 10 years I feel like it’s been well received everywhere I’ve been. 

Christopher Smith   
That’s great. That’s great. There’s always a lot of attention and discussion when we engage with clients around user adoption. Do you have some tips for listeners on how to really engage the team, like you were saying, and making sure that they are not just using it but embracing it? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah, I think it’s got a, it’s got to provide value for them. And that’s, you know, it’s certainly you can, you can use the stick to manage and that’s, that’s a, that’s an option but not a, not a really effective long term option. So making sure that the CRM assists them in doing their job and, you know, the organization can do things to help with that, making sure that as it’s capturing information, that information is clean, deduped, and before it’s put into the CRM so they trust the information to use it as your foundation for your regular conversations, your pipeline management, just really your daily interaction. And then three, some of the most successful sales organizations I’ve been at have really focused on capturing that next level piece of information with their customers and prospects and really invested in it, profiling prospects, and then use the CRM to mine that data to point them at the right spot.  

Christopher Smith   
Right. Oh, I couldn’t agree more. That, that is really good advice and that’s something I try to tell people all the time, that there are some great data sources out there that you can use to augment your data. Use them. There’s value there, and it really will pay dividends with your sales team to give them access to that kind of data. It’s, yeah, that’s great advice. Dave, we’re on coming up here on our time here on Sales Lead Dog. If people want to reach out and connect with you, learn more about you and your company, what’s the best way for them to do that? 

Dave Sandhoefner   
They can reach out to me via LinkedIn, look us up at Delaget.com. Happy to help any way I can, whether it’s somebody that’s looking for advice on getting into management or certainly anybody that needs help running the restaurant, so I’m here to help in any way. 

Christopher Smith   
Especially the people that need help running the restaurants, we want to hear from them. 

Dave Sandhoefner   
Absolutely. 

Christopher Smith   
Well thank you so much for coming on Sales Lead Dog, it’s been terrific talking with you.  

Dave Sandhoefner   
Yeah, you too I appreciate it, Chris, thanks for the opportunity and happy, happy to have been here. 

Christopher Smith   
Awesome. 

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:

  • “Value, at its core, is where I try to start all relationships.” (8:20-8:25)
  • “It’s customer value, understanding what’s important to them and trying to match your solutions with that. If you don’t have a matching value you can have the greatest relationship but it’s not necessarily a valuable relationship or one that works for your customer.” (7:48-8:03)

Links:

Delaget Website
Dave Sandhoefner 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