Samantha Mckenna & Amy Volas | A Masterclass In Modern Sales

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Amy Volas:

Amy Volas is the Founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners. In her 20-year career, she’s closed over $100 million in sales serving in various sales roles —from spearheading national accounts for ZipRecruiter, Gild, Indeed and Yahoo! to exceeding expectations at Jacobson and DataTrend. Today, she applies her vast sales experience helping other startups scale their sales teams.

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Samantha McKenna:

Samantha McKenna is an aggressive sales leader with endless energy and optimism; always putting her team first and still crushing the sales goals put before her. She is the creator of eight different programs such as a structured mentorship program, sales culture initiative and executive social selling power hours.

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Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.








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sales, people, leaders, LinkedIn, customer, hire, company, sell, Amy, person, Sam, enterprise, lead, business, build, big, disqualify, thinking, Scott, brand


Scott, Samantha Mckenna, Scott D Clary, Amy Volas


Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Thanks again for joining me today I am sitting down with two individuals, you’re going to get a masterclass in sales. I’m very excited to be sitting down with Amy Volas and Samantha McKenna. Now Amy is the founder and CEO of Avenue talent partners with more than 100 million in revenue sold and name sales hackers most dynamic woman in sales. Amy is a fanatic turned entrepreneur, sales fanatic turned entrepreneur. I’m sorry, Amy. Oh, she she worked in various sales roles. She was bitten by the startup bug many moons ago and couldn’t manage spending her time anywhere else. She created Avenue talent partners to help with the tremendous task of growing startups through some of the most valuable assets, executive sales leaders, sales leaders and enterprise salespeople. And then we also have on the call Samantha McKenna and Samantha is the CEO of Sam sales. So Samantha McKenna has been an enterprise executive for over a decade for companies like on 24 and most recently LinkedIn and is the founder of is it hashtag Sam sales? Or is it Sam sales, hashtag Sam sales consulting, which helps organizations operationalize sales and also allows companies to outsource their BDR efforts using the approved hashtag Sam sales methodology and I just keep dropping the hashtag Sam sales. I think if you go and look it up, you’re gonna have to use that. Is that the is that the actual name, Sam, tell me more about, about, you know what you’ve done. And and what you’re doing now? Yeah,


Samantha Mckenna  02:10

I know that that is the actual name. And people miss it all the time, or they capitalize the yeses everywhere. And they have no idea how to do it, but it’s all good. The the hashtag where that came into play was to the sales hacker point for me, then voting her such a phenomenal female. About five years ago, I decided that I was going to share my sales tips on LinkedIn. And every single time I would talk to my colleagues and peers and reports about my sales tips, they would think, Oh, my never thought to do it that way. I’d like that’s a great idea. I’m going to go do it. And then it proved successful. So I said, I’m just going to share it with the world. I’m going to post on LinkedIn, and I’m going to see what happens. And a wise friend said, You should attach a hashtag to it if you’re going to post a lot. So I did and I just thought Sam sales sounds cute. I’m gonna use that. And that’s where that was born. Actually, the very first post I made sales hacker reached out and said, Hey, we love this piece, would you write for us? And I said, Yeah, sure. And so then they came and said, Here are six bullets, we’d love for you to write on pick one. And I’m like, Alright, aisle six. And they were like, easy peasy Tiger. Like, let’s see how how you do with the first one. And I was like, all right. Um, but that’s where that was born. So over the years, I’ve posted almost daily content without hashtag. And if you are looking for truly tangible things that you can use to execute your sales game better, I hopefully you’ll find some value in there. And you can you can look up five, five or so years of work so far.


Scott D Clary  03:33

So tell me because I want to get just a breakdown of each of your careers and why you’ve moved into you know, for I guess, for lack of a better term to sales consulting. And if that’s not the way you want to classify yourself or if you have like a certain niche that you drill into let me let me know but Sam, for you, you had a great roles at 24. And like I think your role at LinkedIn if I if I saw before you were like head of enterprise for I think New York or some regional some very high up position at LinkedIn. Those are great positions. What made you want to move into your own thing?


Samantha Mckenna  04:09

Yeah, I think after after getting to spend some time at LinkedIn, what was wonderful is that I got to now move into an ambassador role for LinkedIn. So I’m one of their brand ambassadors to talk about navigator and what the company does in general. But I think starting my own consultancy was just something probably just like Amy you know, wanting to own your own thing and be able to impact more businesses than just one that you use, supported and worked under. And it was really born through wanting to take one a little bit of time off, but then a bunch of my own clients saying, we always get into this predicament and we think what would Sam do, which is so humbling and wonderful to hear and just getting to go down that path and being able to operationalize sales, marketing demand gen, their finances was incredible. And then I think what, what was really born out of this whole initiative after that was the idea of how do we Get More pipeline, how do we get more meetings? How do we get more outreach and our word out about us. And instead of just doing marketing or hiring a salesperson, we said, let’s look at your business development representatives. Let’s plug the SAM sales messaging methodology in cadences. And what we do in the process of when we get you know, objection or when we got a I’d love to meet been off for three months. Let’s put that into play with our team. And so this was built in December, we officially launched it in March of this year. And as of Monday, this week, we had 112 113 days, we signed our 18th client for it. So yeah. Thanks. I think it just sounds a good gap. You know, a lot of organizations know they want more pipeline, but they don’t know how to do it. They don’t know how to write their messaging, they, you know, they need some guidance. So we’re here for you.


Scott D Clary  05:50

I feel that Okay, so there’s a lot of there’s a lot of points we can speak about, about, you know, what’s what’s broken and sales, why why people or why organizations are having such a hard time. But let’s, let’s get over to Amy, Amy, I want to hear your story. Because I think that after we tee up your story, then a lot of the stuff that we can talk about is you know, we’ll just have a conversation with everybody. But I don’t want to I don’t want to leave you out and go too far without getting you know, your background and why again, you also had a similar career path, not identical, but you came from large enterprise as well as some variety of different sales, leadership roles over your career, and then you moved into your own thing. And you know, when we spoke before, I love the way you put it, because it’s something that I felt in like my own career, when you’re just, I’ll let you phrase it your own way. But when you just you just want to do your own thing. But speak to me about why you became you know, a sales consultant. And what you’re doing now with, like with your company,


Amy Volas  06:47

Yeah, so I should probably clarify, I’m not, I’m multiple things. Consulting is one of those things, but I own a sales recruiting firm. So it’s like, one part recruiting one part HR, one part consulting, one part selling one part therapy, one part coach, one part lawyer, like, and the list goes on, and on and on. And so depending on like, what’s happening that day, I am wearing all those hats daily, but it just depends on what goes on. But you know, for I think anybody listening to this. For me, I was thrown into enterprise sales back in the day back in 2001, I was doing something very different. The market had fallen apart after 911. I loved this company, I love the CEO, some of my dearest friends came from that experience. And we would have taken a bullet for the company for the CEO. And I learned a really valuable lesson early on that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. And that’s exactly what we had done and the company was hemorrhaging. And I remember a sit down with the CEO that again, like we just adored and admired and respected and genuinely really liked. And he was like, guess what, there’s really nothing for you to work on. And if you want to stay here, the only thing that you have room to do is to get in and to start selling. I’m like what? I’m sorry, what, what was that? And so I mean, it was like big stuff. It was going after, at the time, MCI and Walgreens, McDonald’s, I’m a Chicago Girl by trade and all those big brands. And here I am a puppy not having any idea what I’m doing no training, no resources. And I fell in love. And the rest is history. So throughout my career, I’ve worked for big companies like Yahoo, and always in enterprise sales, always in in around the HR tech recruiting landscape. And both in sales, leadership and enterprise sales, individual contribution. Here’s the thing, though. You start a company for one of two reasons. So I come from like a long lineage of sales folk as well as entrepreneurs. And I think it’s just in my DNA. And I knew that I always wanted to do something on my own terms, and the way that I saw fit that would be really productive and helpful. And I think people start companies for one or two reasons. They’re either like Steve Jobs, and I’m not that smart. I will never be that smart, where it’s like, oh, well, we’re going to change the way something is done and the way people use these things, or they’re going to be using something brand new that they never even imagined that would change the face of the world. Yes. So that’s not me. And I apologize. There’s a sea plane taking off as we’re talking. So it’s my seaplane no worries.


Scott D Clary  09:30

Just a disclaimer, you were trying to do this last week, but Amy’s that a beautiful cottage that you showed me the view and I don’t feel bad for her at all, because it is 100% I would rather be


Amy Volas  09:44

if you’re going to be locked down, you got to be by water.


Scott D Clary  09:46

100% agree. Yeah.


Amy Volas  09:49

So So I think then the other side to why people start companies is they’ve been around the block for a long time. And they care deeply about their marketplace, about the ecosystem that they’re part of and They want to make it better, or they’ve had done identified bits and pieces of something to make better or to solve real problems. That’s totally me. And so for me, I identify, I think less with sales recruiting firm owner and more like, my enterprise sales chops come through where I’ve identified problems that I want to solve, and they need to be solved. And in my world, the status quo is not okay, it’s begging for an overhaul. And I feel like thanks seaplane for flying, doing a drive by sea planes like going to go. Um, but I really feel like I was put on this planet to do this, because recruiting, especially for startups, which is my second business love, if you don’t get it, right, it’s really, really painful. And I’m proud to say I’ve cracked the code of how to do that, well, to reduce that margin for error. So that’s me. And that’s why I think I wear all those hats, so I know how to sell, I care about the buyer journey. I care about fixing the broken bits and pieces of sales, recruiting, I care about startups. And then just by the way of the work that I do, all those things come through. And then some think that


Samantha Mckenna  11:09

that’s, that’s where you and I are also so like cut from the same cloth, right? Like the impact that we want to make to the sales profession in general, however way we get there. And I think that that’s, that’s really what is missing, right? We know that the sales profession is broken, we know that there’s so much that needs to be done. I also identify with your your therapist line there, right? Because I just got off the phone today with a CEO. We lost a pretty massive deal yesterday for a client and he was like, say, lovey on to the next. And I’m like, wow, I was like, we don’t want to one, we don’t want your team to think that and then to you know, here’s why. Here’s what we really need to do in terms of emotions and leadership and things like that. So sometimes it’s just therapy and running through what they’re thinking and kind of guiding them in a different way.


Amy Volas  11:54

Well, we’re in the business, right? So like you are, and I am as well. And I think anytime you’re dealing with people, no one person and no one business is created equal. And I think that’s part of the problem is, especially with sales, it’s like, well, let me jam you into my 89 point, cadence of outreach that has nothing to do with anything and it has everything to do with me. And let me get grab 15 minutes of your time. Here’s my calendar link. Here’s why I’m awesome. Don’t you want to talk? And the answer is no, I don’t, though. No, I think for both of us the common ground and like, seriously, Scott, you’re a gem for being open to having both of us talk because like you get us together. And we just geek out on this stuff.


Scott D Clary  12:36

But I can see, but I love it though it shows the passion.


Amy Volas  12:40

Well, I think for both of us, we want to leave the community better than when we came into it. At least for me. I can say that. Sam, I know you well. And I think that you would agree with that. But that’s that’s the jam here.


Scott D Clary  12:51

All right, can I tee up, I wanted to have something because there’s a common thread in this. And I understand like, you know, you’re both you’re both very, like highly ambitious. Like you’re you’re really motivated individuals. And when you work in a business unit sales, within a company that you find is very latent in their thinking and a lot of commitment. A lot of ways a lot of sales leaders don’t think the way you do I think the the whole business unit is evolving, but it hasn’t gotten to where it should be in terms of other other you know, you look at marketing, you look at finance, you’ve got HR, there’s a lot of processes, a lot of education in place, if you look at sales, a lot of that stuff is evolving now, but hasn’t been for the longest time. And I think that there’s people like yourself are sort of like leading the way in terms of making sales better. And you know, even like you look at people like Mark are bearish and whatnot, but really redefined what sales is, um, and I guess my question or my comment, and just what is Why is sales still broken? Because if you’re if you’re a highly entrepreneurial individual in an organization, like both of you are, and you’re trying to make a difference, and your your traditional sales manager is not going to hear it. They’re not they’re gonna be very old school in their thinking. So why is sales like that? And how do we fix it?


Samantha Mckenna  14:04

I think this is what we can talk about for the next like 90 minutes.


Scott D Clary  14:07

Yeah, I know. I know. We can see it up.


Samantha Mckenna  14:11

Um, so a couple a couple of thoughts. Amy passed you. I think one of the things, you know, I realized this in my line of thinking as of late that when I talk about sales, and kind of my, my, I’m the least defensible person on the planet. But I do get a tiny bit offended when somebody says like sales, how hard can it be? And for those of us who have been in and who have been in enterprise sales who’ve just been in sales in general and done it really well. Holy moly, is a complex right. And there are 1000 different decisions that you make every day, the impact your make or break, right how you write an email, how you structure something, how you actually sell when you’re presenting a proposal, all that goes into it. I think one of the reasons that sales is broken is because people think I can do it, anyone can do it. And to be fair, anyone can do it. You can learn how to do sales, there’s not a whole certification. You Don’t go to med school for it, you can fall into it and take your innate qualities. But I think that we also think that anybody can do it. So then we don’t know how to do it correctly, we learned from, you know, plenty of leaders who have been promoted incorrectly. And gosh, Amy, you can probably talk about that forever. A little Peter Principle there, but we follow leaders that also don’t know how to do it. And so we’ve got that first starter, I think the other thing where things are really broken, and where I love to focus, a lot of my time is the foundations of selling, we don’t really think about Let’s make sure we’ve got our organizational house in order, before we start to think about, you know, we’re gonna bring in 17 different technologies and build this incredible tech stack. And, you know, do all the latest hacks and tricks and things like that and go into enterprise selling for the first time. So your role and really think about? Do you have your foundations in place? Do you have a sales process identified? Do you know what the script is? So to speak, on your very first call? Do we know what happens after you send out a proposal? Do you have these things identified? First and foremost? And are you coaching your reps to really be human to be authentic salespeople? Do they know how to write a great email? Do they know what to say correctly and an objection? Make sure that at the most basic level, you’ve got this and then you build, I think that the best analogy I can give to this, its sales leaders are like we’re gonna renovate our master bath on the second floor, and you’re like, that’s amazing. Your foundation is cracked, and your home is sinking? And they’re like, Okay, we’ll renovate anyway. And you’re like, Okay, so I fix the foundation, let’s make sure that the house is standing and is in good shape. And then let’s build upon that.


Scott D Clary  16:37

Go ahead. I mean, I wanted to get your opinion on this as well, because I think it’s a huge, huge pain point in the industry.


Amy Volas  16:44

I would agree. And I think with, as with anything, so we’re talking about the foundation, but then I think bigger than that it starts from the top down and expectations and leadership. And what I noticed is, so I’ll give you a perfect example. Not all businesses, not all people are created equal, yet, we’re treating it as such, and sales and recruiting, I believe it, I firmly believe it starts always with the people that you bring on and the expectations and how you enable them and support them. But beyond that, it’s like in my mind, when I think about this, it’s it’s not a one size fits all, it’s not one dimensional, but yet we treat it this way, in so many people. So like for me for years, people I’ve been in sales leadership, and I’ve been an individual contribution, I made the conscious decision. And more than one occasion, I did not want to be a leader for that company. I just didn’t. And it was like, Well, what do we do with you? Because when you’re really good at what you do, it’s like, well, what’s next. And I think that people are just thrown into sales leadership that have no business, being in leadership, that don’t really want to be a leader. They like the ego, they like the accolades, they like the title, but the fundamental piece about leadership in my mind is all about your people. And those are the folks that tend to just regurgitate crap, or what worked for me as a seller should automatically work for everybody else. And I’m going to disrupt the entire team to put together some sort of expectation, or this is how it needs to be done, because it’s my way, these are the broken bits and pieces. And so I think it comes down to leadership, I think that there is this world that we’re living in, where, and I don’t have any beef with them whatsoever. But when Predictable Revenue was written, people have taken that model, and they’ve totally bastardized it, the fundamentals of what Predictable Revenue was all about, I totally get that I’m down with it, I support it. But now you’ve got this, like, ripped off, plug in play, over segmentation of sales. And it has nothing to do with the buyer journey or the customer. And I like to remind people this all the time, the customer holds the keys, always. They’re the ones that write the checks, and they’re the ones that fuel everything else that happens. But yet we put together this thing that’s all about us and what we want in our process and our motion and has very little to do with them. And especially when you’re going after money, it’s like now you’re in some multiplier of some expectation of someone else’s dime. And it’s promoting all the wrong behavior. And so I think all of those things in combination, coupled with everything that Sam just said, and I agree it is foundational, if you don’t have that, nothing else really sticks for the long haul. So it’s expectations. It’s stop it with the hacking the shortcuts, the one size fits all mentality, especially for my folks that are like, we crushed it with this high velocity, SMB sales model. That’s awesome. That’s how you entered the market. But just because you did that and just because your product is ready for that and Sam and I were on a different conversation doesn’t mean that you’re enterprise ready just because you One inbound lead from an enterprise customer. How do you know that that’s not one of their franchise owners that has nothing to do with the big decisions made at corporate, there’s so much misconception. And especially from a sales leadership perspective, people are hired for the, for the shiny objects like oh, you, your team, more than 70% of your team hit, you went to President’s Club eight times in a row, you grew the business 200% year over year for four years, you’re the sales leader that I want? Well, if I’m running enterprise sales, and you did that, and it was highly transactional, SMB, that sales leader is going to have no idea how to lead what I need to do, and the wrong expectations are going to happen. And therein lies the problems like read, rinse, repeat, read, rinse, repeat. And the minute that we stop reading, rinsing and repeating, the minute that we start seeing some of these problems get fixed. And that’s one of the big things that I encourage my clients when we’re going through kickoff and discovery, and I’m talking to them about what they need and why they need it. I am amazed at how many people aren’t thinking through these things. And that’s the work that I crave to do. It’s like, Wait, there’s let me get let me help you get out of your own way, I can see this disaster coming from a mile away, let me help you. So that’s a lot that I just unloaded. But all of that plus Sam plus so much more that’s gonna come up I’m sure here, as


Samantha Mckenna  21:22

well. And I think you you bring up to two good points, too, right? And I think, Amy, you’re in the same boat from a recruitment perspective of how hard can it be? I’ve interviewed people before I’ve hired people before I know what I’m looking for. Why is it that I need an expert? Why is it that I need to outsource this, right and pay a fee to find somebody. But I think it’s again, just taking that shift and thinking that there are experts out there who have this figured out down to a science because this is their core competency. And this is what they do day in and day out. So before you think about hiring somebody on your own looking maybe for completely misalignment in terms of qualifications to your exact point there, think about how do you bring in an expert to help you and make sure that you don’t make the terribly expensive mistake of hiring the wrong talent, disrupting your team costing yourself revenue, etc. I think the other thing and this was an expensive mistake that I learned by myself, exactly your point of hiring the wrong caliber person for what you’re doing. So I when I was searching for one of my enterprise leaders, at one point, I ended up hiring an individual who was a kind of VP of Sales for a ton of startups, and just incredibly well known in the space in New York, like very big brand. And so I hired her and what was what was so shocking to me, and such a great learning experience was that I was taking somebody who was accustomed to having the world as their territory and saying here 40 accounts go make it happen. And there was no maybe a little bit nicer, more nicely than that. But there’s no idea of like, how do I nurture leads? How do I map out an account? How do I build an account plan? How do I start at the top and weave my way in and multithread because before, it’s just like, Hey, everybody, we’re new, and we can do something. And now it’s everybody knows our brand, but you need to figure it out with these 40 accounts and make or break. So I think expensive lesson for me to learn as a sales leader and for the organization and what we could have avoided with having proper talent. So again, just a good thing for our sales leaders to consider.


Amy Volas  23:19

When it goes back to that one size fits all I am not to pick on your alma mater, and I don’t know where it was that this was, but I know that you worked at LinkedIn, and I have this conversation a lot. I go back to HR tech as well, where it’ll be an HR tech startup. And they’re like, We want somebody from LinkedIn, because look at their culture and look at their playbooks. And I’m like, Do you realize that their playbooks have been set in stone for a really long time and the person that you’re going to take out of that, if they’ve never created that playbook before they know how to manage that playbook, they don’t know how to create it. So the work that needs to be done at different stages of companies, different kinds of companies, different sizes of teams, right? Like so you could be in a small company, but the team’s really big, or the reverse of that. Or you could be at a LinkedIn or a Yahoo or whatever it might be, the work is different. And so there’s this lack of understanding of the nuances and the complexities of sales. It isn’t just this plug and play thing of here’s your patch. Here’s I mean, I remember when I first served as like, here’s the Yellow Pages, I’m like, okay, you know, and yes, I go that far back, but it’s like, just go up and do it. And it’s like, I and luckily I did. And I stumbled a lot. But I learned. It doesn’t have to be that difficult. And what I find is people aren’t listening for the differences. And so it’s like, well, this is our way of doing it. This is what we know and what people aren’t understanding as well. You’re treating your prospects horribly. Yes. Your force feeding business in what does your churn look like? What does that look like? And by the way, how many lost opportunities do you have throughout the process? People just want to look at the new logo. In, but there’s a whole ecosystem of stuff that’s happening, that’s hurting your business that people aren’t thinking of. And the right leaders for your business are thinking about all of that. Not just a little bit of, well, we got funding, and now we have to throw up 50 new logos, but we’ll treat them horribly shove them in, we’re gonna turn them in less than 12 months, because we don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t have a customer success motion. It is an ecosystem. And all these things are part of it. And sales isn’t something that you just do, it affects your buyer. And it sets the stone the stage and tone for what happens next. So sorry, Scott, on question.


Scott D Clary  25:40

Glass. It’s good. It’s very good. So So I was actually originally going to ask a sales sales question in MBSS. But I want to actually, I want to actually ask people question, because I think as we’re sort of unpacking this, a lot of this is not so surprisingly, driven by the people that you hire the people that you bring in. So when you when you are, you know, everything you’re saying makes sense about how it’s not a one size fits all, how you have to find the right type of leader, how the leader has not just maybe the operational experience, but actually conceptualizing and ideating. And building out that playbook and then maybe running with it, depending on what their background is like. And there’s all these different nuances. So is it finding the right person with the right experience? Or is it finding the right person with the right personality traits? Because not everything can always be found and experience? Because believe it or it’s very difficult to find somebody who scaled a startup from 10 to 50 million, and then built that playbook successfully. And then that’s the perfect time for that person to pivot into a new role. And the company is doing the exact same thing. Is that an easy person to find? Or can it be substituted with some level of competency plus some personality traits that can allow them to understand and build that out? Even if they haven’t done it before? To the same level? Or the exact same nuances? What you’re hiring it?


Amy Volas  26:55

Yeah, so for me, it goes back to that it’s not a one size fits all. And so that’s where my enterprise selling chops come through a discovery. And I think both of those things are important. So like, what are the DNA traits that this person inherently needs to bring to the table? You can’t teach somebody to care? Right? Like, either they do? Or they don’t? What do they care about, though? It’s what they care about, and why they care about it that I’m especially interested in and I need to listen to my clients have. Have we taken the intentional approach to understand why are we hiring? Right? Why? Why is it time now. And if it’s in one of the things that I do the most of is, is cleaning up, right? They they’ve gotten it wrong, they’re feeling the pain, their recruiting process isn’t working, they’re suffering from all the horrible effects of Miss hiring. There are lots of lessons to learn there, let’s not repeat those, let’s take a moment and figure that out and connect some of those dots. So a lot of that is going to be well, why? Why do you think that this, this is a good time to hire? Why this role? Sometimes I have to tell people like you want a VP, you’re so early stage, don’t do that. Right? That’s gonna hurt you. So it’s, it’s understanding the why and then the what? And really diagnosing there’s two different buckets there? What are the things that the person who absolutely has to be has to embody has to believe in and then on the flip side? What are the things that characteristics of the work that they need to do the work that they’ve done? how that translates? So I had this conversation with early stage companies all the time you were there, like, I want a sales leader that has taken a company from zero to 50,000,010 times and like, That person doesn’t exist? And if they did, they’re working for themselves now consulting making a boatload of cash, they don’t have to take this role. The work is a grind, and they don’t want to go through that. So let’s talk about your stage. Right? What’s the work at your stage, because chances are the person that can get you from zero to perhaps five to 10 million, that’s a very, very different leader than the leader that’s at 100 million. And it’s okay to hire over them. If they can’t rise to the occasion, but give them an opportunity. These are the things to think about. People aren’t thinking like that. So I always tie it back, Scott to what is the actual work and then all the other things that you’re talking about sort of shakeout I’m a huge fan of the scorecard. And using all of that, to map it out as to all this carries weight. Let’s think about what weight it carries. And let’s use this as our guiding force, so that we do get it right together so that it’s not just making assumptions, or not knowing you’ve got this heavy hair in front of you. You don’t know how to talk to them. You don’t know how to ask them questions, and you read some stupid thing online about these are the top 10 Questions to Ask a sales leader. You have no idea why you’re asking it. You have no idea what they’re answering, but it sounds good. So I’m going to hire them. Stop. Stop it right now. And if you are doing that with peace and love Please call me because I will help you.


Samantha Mckenna  30:02

I think you, you talked about a good word earlier ecosystem. And I want to, I think, want to say something using your terminology. Also, Scott that I think tends to be a shocker for a lot of business owners, and even senior leaders, you one size fits all doesn’t exist. You also have two types of sales leaders, you have true sales leaders who have been individual contributors. So they’re the they Amy and Sam’s of the world who have been there and done that been in the trenches and grinded it out and can actually tell you how to do it. And then you’ve got operational leaders who probably have sold maybe for a year or two warm, super successful, but knew all the mechanics and the math of it, and could map out a process for how you should, you know, look at your tableau reports and your Microsoft v eyes and all that and figure out exactly what you need in order to be successful. You need both kinds of leaders in your organization, right? Because you’re going to need someone who’s going to be able to go to the table with your your clients build rapport, know how to start the call, know how to work the room, know what actually sell what it is that you’re doing. And then you’re going to need your operational leaders, right, you can get that in sales operations. But you can also just get that and operational leadership by having that at a different level of the organization to I think people focus, one don’t have a viewpoint for that. And then to a lot of people get really excited about the operational people because I’m like, oh, data, data, big data. That’s exciting. That is exciting. And that’s wonderful. But you also need, especially as frontline managers, that people who are working in coaching your reps, you need leaders who are going to be able to say, this is how you do it, restructure this email this way, restructure this proposal this way, let’s do a prep call and dry run before you go and you know, possibly botch it in front of one of our biggest opportunities ever. So you’ve got to look for that across the board. And I think that the, again, the focus on data and operations is great and as important but again, making sure that you have a balance between your leaders who can fill the certain gaps for you. It’s like building a baseball team, you’re not going to everybody’s a baseball player, everybody says VP of sales or whatever. But you’ve got, you know, your umpires, your batters, your third baseman, etc. Everybody has a little bit of a different role and a strength that they bring. If you only brought one of those and built your entire team based on that you wouldn’t be successful. Right? I hate sports analogies. And great that I just gave you one.


Scott D Clary  32:16

But that’s a good analogy. I liked it. I never heard that. It’s a good one. Yeah, yeah, very good. Baseball player, you got to find the right position.


Samantha Mckenna  32:21

Right. What do you think, Scott? what’s your what’s your take?


Scott D Clary  32:25

I think that the biggest issue that I’ve seen, like over my career is that you have individuals like yourself that are very forward thinking in the way that they want to do things, and they go into a consultancy agreement with an organization. But then the CEO has always done sales one way and the sales leader has always done sales one way and then the efficacy of the consultant is now diminished, because they’re paying somebody to figure out how to get a decision, like a decision maker on the phone, elegant, the very, like tactical consultancy as opposed to the you’re almost like revamping the entire the entire commercial organization, that’s a lot to ask from somebody who’s just looking to, you know, hit their q2 number. Right. And I think that that’s, so I don’t, I guess that’s what I’ve seen. And, and in when when I’ve managed sales teams, in my past, I’ve hired consultants I’ve been, so I’ve been told to go hire this consultant from the CEO. And then I look to people that I sort of want to emulate and consultants that have sort of modern sales methodologies, and, and just basically everything that you’re saying other other sort of consultants like that, but then it always goes back to the CEO, or the executive who doesn’t really know much about sales, or the decision maker within the company, who just wants to buy the thing that’s going to get more deals, or close more deals, or this the very transactional sales. So how do you find either how do you find the right company as a consultant to work with? As obviously you want to audit your customers? Or? Or how do you? How do you sell your services? Because I know that you’re thinking the right way, but I know that your customers are not most likely.


Samantha Mckenna  34:06

Well, and I think, you know, again, Amy, you’re you’re gonna have a good perspective on this. And this is your your bread and butter, one of the things that I was going to say to his earlier point real quick, but think about too, oh, my gosh, You’ve completely lost my train of thought, the things that can and cannot be taught, right. So to the point of we cannot teach somebody to care, right? like Amy said, We cannot teach somebody how to, we can but not in the same way to authentically build rapport. Also look for those things like what does your organization truly need and leadership right now? Is it you know, do you have more leads in your command engineering somebody really strong in front of your customers? Or do you have absolutely no idea how to bring any of them in or maybe you need a little bit of operational first and then later on a sales leader who can truly sell and I think for us as consultants, it’s also really important for us to know exactly what our core competency is what we bring to the table and to like anything disqualify opportunities. So Are Amy and I are two people who are incredibly protective of our brand. And the last thing we ever want to do is to engage with the client and have them say that was not at all what I expected, right? I would rather disqualify an opportunity and say, hey, it sounds like you need somebody that can help you with Power BI, not really my strength, here’s somebody who would be awesome for you. Okay, it sounds like you need help with recruiting, I’m could do it, but Amy can do it better. Here’s this person that I can refer to you right, and to disqualify those opportunities for yourself so that you don’t do what every other consultant does, which has signed an agreement with a client not be effective for them and continue to dilute our value as consultants. I think the other thing is just again, understanding where they are possibly even giving them a little bit of advice. And again, saying, you know, I’d be a great fit for you, because here are the core competencies, or I can fill gaps for you, or I can help you here, but you’re going to need 90% more than I can give you. And here’s the direction that you should go in. Um, anyway, what do you what do you think?


Amy Volas  35:55

So I’m super grateful. Back from my startup days of being an enterprise sales, I was hired at a company that thought that this is just what you would do. And you know, sometimes private companies, you don’t even know you’re peeling back the layers, you’re asking the questions you don’t, they don’t tell you what sometimes they don’t want to tell you. And this wasn’t an enterprise ready, solution. And I remember the CMO that I was really good friends with, or he became a big ally of mine, and helped me told me to read this book called Crossing the Chasm. And I have talked about this book a ton. You have different kinds of people in their evolution of buying and what Sam and I are trying to do, is really taking an old methodology and flipping the script on it and modernizing it because of what what works, right and what the marketplace is truly demanding and fixing problems for that. And so, to your point, Sam, I agree. I say no, and I’m not trying to sound like a jerk at all. I wish I was saying yes, more than I was saying, No, I say no more opportunities that come my way than I say yes. Because I know who my ideal customers, I know the work that we do. And I know it’s not for everyone. And so if somebody comes it comes to my comes to my comes my way comes to my way that’s nice


Samantha Mckenna  37:21

to me my way


Amy Volas  37:23

for these lovely gems that come my way that need help, and they really want help. But it is that mentality that you’re talking about Scott, where it’s like, I’ve always done it this way. And they approached me like I’m just taking an order. And this is a button a seat, I can’t help and it’s going to be a disaster. I’m talking about people’s lives and their livelihood. And not that I’m, you know, Mother Teresa over here. But I know the brand that I want to create, I know the work that I’m trying to do. And I’m a huge Simon Sinek fan of why I have all of that why I can’t in good faith, just do something for the sake of turning a buck. It’ll blow up. I hear about the nightmare stories every day. So I think I’m in the early adoption realm of Crossing the Chasm, right? And I’m going to read your text. I just got it yesterday from a client. So I’ve spoken with a couple of recruiters lately and none of them remotely compared to your process professionalism or awesomeness. FYI not for people were hiring, but then reaching out to me because she knew I probably like what I’m seriously you should be absolutely dominating this market. Why aren’t you the first person that everybody works with? I’ve been thinking about it for two days. And I just don’t get why you’re not running the world. I love her right. I


Scott D Clary  38:37

was on a website, by the way you think


Amy Volas  38:40

LinkedIn? Like, can you just talk about that. But I responded back to her and said, because I’m asking people to think differently, because I’m challenging the status quo. And that’s not for everybody. And Scott, to your point, when it’s the we’ve always done what we need to do. There’s another book that I read that was like, what got you here doesn’t get you there. And I’m probably I mix up titles, especially like, on the spot, kind of that book. Um, but, you know, that had an indelible impression on me, just because I’ve always done something like the way that I sold back in the day is not what I’m doing today, I’ve had to adjust, there are certain things that I will never not do. But I’ve had to twist and turn them a little bit because of the buyer journey because of the ecosystem that I’m a part of because of what needs to happen. Because the marketplace speaks louder than I ever could and I just have to listen to it. And so that’s the whole thing with this. I am not going to be for the company that comes my way that says we’re working with 50 recruiters, we have horrible retention rates. We just need butts and seats. I’ve got to fill a class. I’m not really going to communicate with you. I don’t really care about candidate experience. Like I can’t do that in good faith. I also talk about it all the time to fix it, how hypocritical I’d be if I started doing that business. Just a turn a quick buck. So I think it’s like, understanding that book Crossing the Chasm should be required reading for everyone because it saves you so much angst of trying to put square pegs in round holes. It’s okay that not everybody wants to work with me, I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with his, um, people that, that think that it’s one way, right and trying to work in another way, like, self awareness is really big. So when I do talk to clients, and they’re like, yes, we are ready for your therapy session, we are ready for your consulting, we are ready for your recruiting methodology, we do know that it works, you got referred to us on a silver platter by this other company that we trust, and old habits die hard. I can’t it’s that whole adage, Scott, back to your point. And Sam your point too, I can lead the horse to water but I can’t make them drink. And the only time anything changes is when you make it change, and you want it to and so back to sales, because sales recruiting, not dissimilar. I’m not in the business of convincing anybody to do anything. I never will. I didn’t in my sales career, and I’m not about to do it here. If I have to convince you that you should hire this person, if I have to convince you that you should work with me, if I have to convince you to sign my deal. That’s a big problem, stop convincing, either the value is there, or it’s not. And maybe there’s some work that still needs to be done to determine that. But I can’t make you change your mind. If you don’t want to change it. It’s like every relationship in the world. I can’t make you do something unless you’re ready, willing and able and wanting to do that.


Scott  41:44

So I want to I want to point out something because you just spoke about something you spoke about how you sell yourself to customers. And I want to highlight that because your sales consultants and I think the way that you sell is the way that a lot of people should be selling but they don’t. And let me explain by let me explain what I mean. So when you say that you sell and You disqualify certain customers, and you can’t force something on somebody if they’re not ready, and you say no to a lot of customers, these are things this is a good sales strategy, but it’s not taught and not for sales reps. Because if I’m a sales rep, and every job I’ve ever worked in, the general consensus is, you know, if it breeze go sell to it. And I think that that mentality of literally close everything, close it as quick as possible. You know, there’s nuances depending on whether or not you’re like, you know, b2c, SMB all the way through to enterprise, but the general mantra is, you need to go sell. And I think that if you focus on retention, if you focus on churn, if you focus on disqualifying customers, you will find that the end result is actually not less sales, maybe in the short term, but not less sales, long term, long term vision, you are going to have reps that are focusing on the right thing, they’re focusing on the right customer that are focusing on the right, you know, buyer persona, target customer profile, these things that kind of go out the window, the second you are forced, or, you know, there’s a lot of pressure to sell the clothes and to disqualify a customer to say no, to keep them out of the pipeline is something that I don’t think is trained over enough. But I think is one of the most useful strategies to not only keep your sanity, but also to sell effectively, to the right person, deliver the right products at the right expectations to the customers happy, you’re happy, everyone’s happy, you’re not wasting your time with customers that shouldn’t be buying from you. And at the end of the day, it’s just a more positive and healthy sales culture.


Samantha Mckenna  43:40

Well, I was gonna say to you, I think one of the the unseen values here is the trust that it builds builds with those prospective customers, right? So a really short story. There’s I live just outside DC, and there’s a mechanic here called Auto Scandia for anybody else who lives in DC. And I took my car there for the first time forever ago. And one of the things that they came back to me and said, they said, Okay, where do we even begin with the work that your card is? And I’m like, Oh, God, let me pour myself a bourbon. It’s 9am. And what was great about them, though, is that they went through the lesson and they said, there’s also all this other stuff that we can fix. But FYI, there’s some actually callbacks and lawsuits going on with BMW right now that if you take it to the dealership, I bet you can convince them to fix it for free. Oh, my God. And that was $3,600 of work. In the end, which most of it I did end up getting for free just by saying like I know about your lawsuits. Think about this too, right? And I talked about this and just in the sales process, whether you’re selling or whether you’re a consultant outside, but if you can disqualify an opportunity and say, I probably could do this for you, but we’re not the right fit or weak, our platform sort of desktop, and it can do it in a bandaid way. But if you actually go to this place, while you know I’m not a fan of recommending a competitor, they’ll do this for yourself. Purpose. Just think about somebody basically gave you advice and hurt them financially. Right. But they did it because it was the right thing to do. And because they had integrity and because they assessed your problem correctly, and now you that’s trust built in them, right? And to go back and say, Okay, now we need this like wood, can you can you do this for us or now I can recommend somebody for you because I really trust you. And I trust your opinion. And I think the other thing to think about is one of the most beautiful parts about Amy and I being Consultants is we get to choose what we work on, right? Like, there’s all kinds of lows with being a consultant to write that come with it. But we get to choose the work that we work on. And the reason that we’re Consultants is because we want to do the work that we’re most passionate about. So for instance, somebody well known in the tech space recommended a client to me the other day, and the client said, we’d love to talk about messaging with you. And we need help with messaging. And I was like, Oh, my God, I cannot wait, I’m salivating. Let’s rewrite all the things and get excited. And when they came up for the meeting, they said, what we really need is a Marketo. Expert. So we need somebody that can write all of our marketing campaigns in Marketo, tell us about a performance. I don’t do that I can sort of spell Marketo. I know Marketo. But I don’t know well, and I’m certainly not the right person. But if I was in desperate situation, I could be like, yeah, sure, I’ll do it. And then I would hear so google how to do this, and then kind of do it, I would also hate the work, I would hate the work, it would take me away from doing all the other work. And I wouldn’t build a good brand with this client. Because they would see that basically, I’m a fraud. And I kind of conned them into doing this. The other thing is, I want to do work that I’m really talented at, that’s going to get people to say this rocked my world, and I’m going to refer you to somebody else. Same thing in sales, right? You want to do the work that’s really meaningful, you want to do the work that builds a better brand for you, that will get referrals for you to keep doing that work. I want to write messaging all day long. I want to empower your videos and you to get pipeline all day long. I want to help you get your company off the ground all day long. I don’t want to do Marketo campaigns for anyone that’s listening that does that I believe for you. But it’s it’s important to disqualify that because it’s just not the work that I want to do. Again, granted, Amy and I are in good situations where we built our businesses and you know, maybe don’t have to be desperate for the work. But if you can afford to, I would really advocate that you do that.


Amy Volas  47:12

Well, in to that point, you bring up an excellent point of that is one of the reasons why I’m self employed. Right? I wanted to do it my way. Because I knew that I tapped into something, one of the biggest fights I had, of working for others was fighting for my customer. Right? And being like, No, we cannot, and taking financial hits for it, by the way. And my customer wasn’t like I call them like yeah, so you know, this is the pain that I felt, but it was right. And I knew, especially in enterprise sales, these were relationships that I’d had that were repeated. This was my, this was my brand. This was my integrity this was. And so I tell people, especially in enterprise sales, and in any, in any role, you never know where the paths cross again, if it feels icky, you probably shouldn’t do it. If you have to think twice, you probably shouldn’t do it. But what happens to those people that are working for that tyrannical boss, that’s just like, a version of the boiler room. That’s like, I don’t care how you feel, I don’t care how the customer feels, here’s your number, or you have this incredible pressure over you. And the fix for that is your pipeline trumps all right, when you do the right work with the right people consistently, you can have more powerful conversations to say no versus jamming things through. But more most importantly, it ties back to the hiring process. I’m doing this thing called Thursday night sales where we have hundreds of people join us. And the conversation that we have has been so enlightening for me and for many others. People are afraid to ask questions in the interview process, it goes back to that hiring motion of this is your career, this is the job that you have to do every day, if you don’t understand what the day to day really looks like. Right? Like what is expected of me? Do I have the threshold of if it doesn’t make sense? Who are the partners that you refer business to? Right? Or what does that look like? And if they’re like, Hell, no, we don’t do that we win. Like maybe you want to know that that’s not good for you. And so this goes back to that fundamental piece of intentionality on both sides. I have this manifesto that I live by, I can’t care more about your growing your business than you do. And I can’t care more about your career than you do. And if I do, we have a real big problem. You can’t back seat approach, your business, your people, your career, etc, etc. And so when I think about that, just pause for a second and again, there’s a scorecard methodology in place for people looking for jobs. The things that are really important to you and if this is really important to you, and I sure hope it is if you’re in sales, and you want a long term career. It is incredibly scary the first time you do it the first many times that you do it but it is incredibly powerful. And I can’t tell you some of the biggest knows that I’ve that I’ve had to say that are painful that suck. Right? Like even though I do it, I still want, you know, it still would be great to do that. And it’s hard to say no, have come back tenfold whether it’s referrals, whether it’s coming back to me with the right opportunity, because they heard me and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to somebody and I’m like, I’m not the right person. I’ve heard what you said, these are the things that I heard. Did I get that right? Yes, you got that, right. Here’s why I’m not the right person for you. Here are the things that you need to think about. Here’s some of the work that you might want to do before you engage with someone and pay a lot of money. And I can’t tell you how many people are like, it’s they’re like stunned. That’s just happened, where they’re like, wait, what? Thank you, thank honest, thank you. Wait, you could have just taken my money like thing. I get a lot of gratitude. And Sam, one of the things that you say all the time, and I love you for this and this needs to be your next hashtag is being a gracious loser. Whether I say no, or it’s said to me, how I act in that moment, determines what happens in the future. And Scott, I think you said it earlier. We’re so short sighted or I think but all of us have said it in one degree or the other. But I think you said it as well. Think about the big picture. Right? Just because it’s a no today doesn’t mean that it’s no forever. And somebody recently challenged me and they’re like, How dare you say? Because I said on the LinkedIn post, it’s disgusting. When you try to force feed a no. Into a yes. And I got a lot of flack from this particular individual in this particular individual’s like, it’s disgusting, if you don’t seek to understand to turn the no around into Yes. And I’m like, no, no, I’m not seeking to try to turn anything into anything besides having business conversations and connecting the dots, confirming denying that I can do that. And if I can’t, I’m not here to convince you. And that is the problem. And that person that chimed in, is a very big voice on LinkedIn that has a lot of advice that a lot of people follow. So that’s the other thing too this, so many people were in this like cluttered space, everyone’s talking about content. I’m on it myself. But the way that I use my voice, I genuinely tried to help people through the things that I know to be true with the results that I’ve seen, you’ve got a lot of people are jumping into content pack, because that’s what you do. And that’s that’s what you should be doing. Well, not everybody should be I hate to say that outlet. I’m going to be the unpopular opinion here to say this, but not everybody should be and if you’re following advice, from big influencers, and I, that term makes me kind of cringe, consider the source and look at the influencers. What do they talk about through the collective course of time? Is it out every side of their mouth just to get engagement? Or is it that they’re the expert in that and they talk about that because they care deeply because they have the results and body of work and experience to back it up. So much bad advice that people are finding glad that you brought up Mark rubbers, he is like the OG of really thinking about sales in such a different way. And anybody Me included that have read his book? They’re like, hell yeah, like this. Yes, all of this. And there’s a reason why we all reference that. Those that aren’t. And not that Mark is like the be all and end all. But like those that are just putting their spin to something, and there’s no basis for it. That’s a problem. But if you’ve got a big following, they’re influencing our craft, the things that we’re talking about today, to care about an influencing it in a really icky way. Like it just that’s, that’s why I use my voice every single day is to try to settle the score a little bit and to say, slow down to go fast. Think about these things. So sorry, I’m on a tangent, I’m going to like myself often, like the blood pressure’s up on a Friday. I don’t even know what’s happening here. So


Scott D Clary  53:59

that’s why we only get you at the cottage. I don’t want to see you in the city.


Amy Volas  54:02

Why do you think I moved away from Chicago? Let’s be real.


Scott D Clary  54:07

And one thing I want to do as you know, we went through a ton of really, really good stuff. One thing I wanted to pull out and just ask both of you would we be able to just do like, a rapid fire list of like the worst practices, the worst things you see in sales or sales leadership, because as people are listening this listening to this, they’re gonna say, like, oh shit, I do that or Oh, I do that. And I just want it from both of you could be something that you do as an individual, as an individual contributor, or like a sales leadership like worst practices in the industry. I’d love to sort of just run through, run through a list rapid fire


Amy Volas  54:43

and I wrote notes, so I will I will not give any examples. I’ll just do rapid fire Sam, you first.


Samantha Mckenna  54:48

Okay, I’m gonna I’m going to give you some one liners to what I see that is just icky. So here’s, here’s my first one. Hey, it’s the first email I’ve ever sent you. Here’s my Calendly link so you can schedule time with me. Hey, No, don’t do it. What’s yours? Weaver Nice.



Pink partner. There are no hacks


Samantha Mckenna  55:10

I’m discounting is our strategy.


Amy Volas  55:13

Oh my gosh.


Samantha Mckenna  55:17

I’ve got another one. Do you have 15 to 20 minutes for me to tell you about my solution today? Hey, Sam, I wanted to connect with you on LinkedIn. Our product is the leading SaaS platform for it clewd cloud solutions, which you as a, you know, three and a half percent size company definitely need. Are you open to connecting? No, dude,


Amy Volas  55:36

how about this, I just want to talk to you, I just want to I just, I just I just I just and by the way, there is a Chrome extension a fix for this. That’s called just not sorry. Anytime you use any one of those words, it, it takes it out. It’s awesome. So that the one size fits all, we said that stop treating it as such, use a scorecard a training onboard and enable that there’s a big lack for that, of that I should say. Remember that the customer holds the keys always. Not all sales leaders are created equal. expectations from the top down starts in the interview, understand what you’re really stepping into not just what people are telling you don’t get caught up in the shiny objects. Those are some of the things on my list.


Samantha Mckenna  56:28

Thanks for getting on this discovery call for some I’ve ever spoken to you. I’m going to tell you about me for 28 minutes. And then you tell me if you want to buy me. I’m not being a gracious loser. So losing a deal and it never responding or being a source board about it. urgency, lack of urgency, I’m really quick story there once handed a lead to a rep and a VP of sales a man think I told you the story. And it took them 11 days, 11 days to respond. Oh, my God, um, no personalization and your outreach? Yes, we want to scale and yes, we want to do that. And yes, there are platforms to do that you have to personalize your content. The higher you go, the more important it is. And if you don’t think it’s important, and you just want to spray, spray and pray, which is my least favorite term, then you’re just never going to be predictably successful. What else is


Amy Volas  57:25

just including that we went to the same college together? Of the pipeline is fierce. So thinking about that pipeline for the short short term, near term and long term? Right? Work with the right people consistently? That’s when you can say no. So that was the other thing is the power of no is fierce? And just because it’s a no today doesn’t mean that it’s a no forever. Think about the big picture. The other thing is your customer Trump’s all and I know I said this before, but I said I saw this newsletter that came my way that was like retention is the new growth. No, no. Retention has always been important. So it’s not just what you’re getting in for the new logo. It’s everything that happens up to that point. And after that point. I think also


Samantha Mckenna  58:13

for the for rubs, broken in sales is I’m not putting not keeping our foot in the gas on the gas, and we have decent pipeline. So I think this is really what separates the greats from the the average performers is that the way that I always talk about it is once you have pipeline, you need to constantly keep the lens on the fact operate as if you have zero pipeline, keep going, keep going, keep going keep your foot on the gas, right. And what will happen is you’re still attacking your territory with the same amount of aggressiveness that you would if you have not none of your deals, and that pipeline will continue to grow. And it’s so easy to see reps to do a roller coaster, they have a ton of pipelines, so they don’t focus on building it. And then they close those deals. And then they have no pipeline. So then next quarter is terrible exporters great exporters terrible to keep your keep your foot on the gas. I think the other thing is not knowing how to nurture your leads properly is is a huge roken thing in sales, right? We send a proposal out and we don’t keep in touch, we just wait and hopefully the best or we get a not now but in 90 days and we say sounds good. And we put a task in Salesforce and for 89 days, and then we’re like is no good time to chat. And they’re like who are you again, and not using technology to help scale and I don’t mean by sending out 1000s of emails. I mean, thinking of technologies like LinkedIn Sales Navigator that you can use that will just turn leads to you on a daily basis and just pump them out where you can use meaningful leads meaningful insights and actually keep in touch in a meaningful way or go after new leads and close those deals in less time. I think also just the act of not digitally selling is hugely broken right now that we’re in a pandemic. I don’t know if any of you have noticed. But the amount of outreach that I got from organizations. They just signed an enormous financial organization that I’m training them their entire Salesforce on how to digitally sell it to 1000 sales reps and sales leaders who have virtually no presence on LinkedIn, they have no idea how to replace, you know, a handshake with a zoom. They don’t know, do I post content? Do I talk people, they have no idea. This is this isn’t social selling, it’s not modern selling, it’s selling today, it’s an expectation. These are table stakes right now. So if you don’t already have a strategy for that, and implementation for it, make sure you know how to digitally sell how to connect right how to how to actually leverage content on LinkedIn. What else? What are we missing? Scott, what’s on your list?


Scott D Clary  1:00:33

Yeah, so I’d say there’s two things, and you and you have a great list. And we went through a whole bunch of them. But I’m gonna, I’m going to highlight two more, that I think are super important. And I really sort of, I really try to evangelize these as much as possible. So the first one is sales and marketing alignment. So messaging across both of your commercial organizations, essentially, you know, we’re all aware of the buyers journey is no longer linear, it’s changed a lot. Since, you know, your, what we what we knew sales to be in the past and history, the buyer just doesn’t, you know, it’s not just they submit a lead, or they submit their name, and they become a lead. And then it goes through that buyers journey to get contacted by an inside sales rep who gets in, they get passed over to an account executive, they do a demo call, and then eventually on the go all the way through to the closing that deal, and the company wins the business, the buyers journey is not that simple anymore. So now the buyer goes on social media, and they go on a website, and then they contact the company and they contact somebody who they know use the company, they check it out on LinkedIn, who are their peers who are following the company, they contact, the the SDR, the sales, the inside sales rep, they book a call, they get on that call now that SDR moves that customer over to an account executive for for a demo call after the discovery. And now the customer has, you know, looked on social within the website spoken to one person spoken to a friend spoken to the account executive, they’re going to go back on social, they’re going to go on the website. And they’re doing this constantly. And they’re constantly going through all these different outlets. And they’re checking all these different resources and all the different mediums where the company puts out their marketing material, wherever the company puts out a marketing campaign, whatever it may be. And as they go through all these different, all these different avenues, and all these different mediums have, and all these different ways to interact with the company. They’re getting messaging, they’re getting messaging from the marketing campaigns are getting messaging from the sales reps. And the issue that comes with not aligning that commercials, like the marketing and the sales messaging and having that sales and marketing alignment is that when they go on social media, or when they get an email or when they go on the website, it’s a different message than when they speak to a sales rep. And when you have that misalignment, it’s harder to build trust. So the first one Yeah, for sure is sales and marketing alignment, I think needs a lot of work across a lot of different organizations. And the second one has more to do with startups. So one thing that I try and preach a little bit is for founders to not hire sales, or VP sales until they’ve sold their own product. So how do you bring a product to market at an early stage? And what’s the mistake that’s made? Well, I think the mistake is made is that a founder hires a VP sales too soon to go sell the product for the founder, when the founder can’t sell the product himself, or they don’t have the confidence to go sell it, what I think they should do, and I’ve heard this, this is sort of an idea that I’ve internalized myself, but I did hear it from someone else originally, was that how you take a product to market is the founder go sells 50 of the widget or the product. Once you’ve sold those 50 of that widget, now you’ve understood who your buyer is, you can develop a buyer persona, you can develop an ideal customer profile and ICP. And then once you have that, then you give that to somebody to develop demand. So you can give it to somebody who can create more demand, because now you have a model to emulate who that target customer is. And once you have so much demand coming in that the CEO can’t handle all the leads, that’s when you go and build your sales organization, you can hire that head of sales or whatever. But to just add just to go hire a head of sales, if you’ve never sold your product, or you’re expecting them to sell the product. That’s not the best way to do it. And also a VP sales is not going to be like you know, you mentioned before fitting people into certain slots of VP sales, who’s going to be able to win business over at an early stage if you really want to do an outbound focused approach is going to be much different. And somebody who is very exceptional at building out, in most cases, very exceptional at building out a large commercial organization understanding the right talent to hire because those are two different types of people person who’s just a glorified inside sales rep who’s you know, hitting the pavement, dialing dialing for dollars and that’s what they’re really good at and that’s what they want to do. You know, day in, day out. Maybe Some, maybe some VP sales probably came from that. But if you have a really good tactical VP sales that can build out a strong commercial organization, they probably left that role a long time ago, and they don’t feel the need to go back. But anyway, those are my two points, that you know, other outside all the other really good ones that you met,


Samantha Mckenna  1:05:15

couldn’t agree with you more. And I think that that’s also where, you know, the the aspect of Sam sales BDR came into play, because I was working with so many early stage companies that said, Okay, we want to hire a sales rep now, right? Or we want to hire a head of sales. And we don’t know how to do that. How do we read the job rack? How do we do all that? And I was like, great. Why do you want to do that? They’re like, well, we need leads, we need to be able to bring in business. And it’s to your point, exactly, Scott, you need somebody that is less expensive, but can also help bring in the leads and drive demand. So then you get to a point where you’re like, I can’t do this anymore, I need to hire a sales rep that can actually effectively close take these over for us. So I think it’s great if you have somebody like from a BDR perspective that knows how to do the messaging that can do all the cadences that can start to reach out, right versus a sales rep or sales leader, that’s going to be two or three times the cost and go after it. And I think your your other point, too, just in terms of bringing, bringing that that team on early stage, and not knowing how to sell their product is also something I see working with how to marketing working with the CEO and like what’s your value proposition? Why do people buy you? And they’re like, well, and I’m like, oh, and then I’m like, who’s your buyer? What’s your key buyer persona? What’s your droolworthy buyers? What I always say, Right? Where lead comes in from this person? And you’re like, Oh, my God, what is that? And they’re like, Well, I mean, a lot of people buy us and I’m like, Okay, so there’s a lot of discovery work that needs to be done to make sure that you know why, why your product is better, why your company is better than somebody else. And you know who it is that would buy it in an ultimate form. So love, love your points?


Scott D Clary  1:06:47

Yeah, those were the two that I wanted to drive home. I really think you nailed the rest of them. Um, I don’t have anything else. I think we’ve covered a ton of stuff. I have some life lesson inside questions, I want to ask rapid fire. But before I go into that, is there anything that we didn’t cover that you wanted to bring up,


Amy Volas  1:07:02

I just would say there’s two things that I want to add to that list that I think both of you will agree with. And I love the last point that all the points but really the last point that you made of founder led selling and perception versus reality. And I think sometimes when you’re so close to it, and that’s your baby, and you think it’s great, and you’re wicked smart. And everybody’s telling you how great it is doesn’t mean that your client is and if you don’t know who your client is, that’s a problem. So I love that. But here’s the here’s the last few things that I would say. In the world that we live in, even with SMB, the buyer journey is multi threaded, it’s not just singular with one person. So embracing that, and understanding that and figuring out what that looks like and staying close to all the people involved, especially inside of a pandemic right now. Right where maybe the buyer team, maybe it was cut by half, maybe a quarter of that team is gone. That makes you start the work all over again. And so the more that you understand, and you’re rooted in lots of different people that are part of that buying motion, the better it is. And the other thing is, and I live and die by this and every part of my life, what you put into something is what you get out of it, and your sales career and your business. And if you’re a founder, I don’t care what it is, what you put in is what you get out. And if you take a backseat approach to it, or you just go plug and play because you read some article online that you think is cool, and it has nothing to do with your business. It’s going to hurt you.


Samantha Mckenna  1:08:34

I think so. Yeah. To that point with Amy. And something maybe touched on earlier that I think was important was what do you do when you’re working for that that boss that doesn’t care about disqualifying opportunities, and just wants you to bring everything, what you put into your career is what you get out. And if you work for an organization that’s like that, that says just go and make it happen, no matter what you’ve got to think about your own personal brand, and how that’s going to take you long throughout your career. Especially if you’re working, you know that you want to work in the same space, right? If you’re in pharma sales, and you know, you want to get to SAS like, okay, maybe a little bit less, because you’re probably going to get to different buyers in the end. But if you’re in SAS, like Amy and I have been basically for our entire careers and you know, you’re gonna keep building this or you’re in a particular vertical. And you know, this is probably going to be your career forever. Because you’ve already invested a decade, you need to think about what your brand is every day, not only from the product that you sell, but how you guys sell it to what you put into it in order to get the right things out of it. i And I’ll share just a quick story. It was really young in my career just a few years after, in fact, being in new enterprise sales are my company was a champion was resold another product so we were channel partner to a larger organization. And we terminated that relationship with that that channel partner because they were expensive. We went with a far less expensive product. And we had to turn that over and all of the things that were built on that product in about 10 days. And after that started it was one thing that failed after another and require We’re getting so upset. And I said, I don’t have another job lined up. But I cannot connect myself with this product because I will lose all the relationships that I just spent the last four or five years of my life building. So just think about that, too, right? If you’re in that boat, is this impacting your own personal brand? And when you eventually move? Well, will this be an issue for you? Will people then want to still work with you? And if not, if you continue supporting this?


Scott D Clary  1:10:23

Alright, I’m gonna feel like an asshole asking this question. It’s a tough question, but I’m gonna ask it anyways. People have built people have homes, people have, you know, kids, people have all these things that they have to pay for. So if somebody’s stuck in a situation where they are in less than ideal circumstances with their work, perhaps like you mentioned, like they’re, they feel like they’re hurting their own professional profile or their own professional persona. What would you recommend they do when times are tough like this right now, when unemployment is at an all time high, it may not be that easy to just get another job. I’m curious to know what you what you would recommend.


Samantha Mckenna  1:11:03

I guess my my feedback would be one, make sure that you’re doing the foundational, again, things that you need to do to set yourself up for a better job. So if you’re thinking, I’ve got to separate myself, what do I do now in order to make that happen in 90 days, think about the basics, right? LinkedIn profile, we know that that’s where we go first and foremost, to check people out, make sure that is checked out through and through it, there’s hundreds of resources to help you. And you can also come over to my LinkedIn profile. And there’s an article that I wrote all about recommendations, it’s called recommendations of do I have to, which is something pretty much how we feel about it. Yeah, you have to, if you want to get hired, you have to so there’s a whole script and all that stuff, go feel, feel free to grab it. So make sure you’re doing those things, first and foremost, to get set up to be in a good in good shape. When people look at you. I think the other thing, and this will probably be really unpopular advice that I’m going to get a lot of eyebrow raises. I say yes to my leader, and then I do my own thing. So I one of my former companies, I had a leader who was like discount discount discount, and I was like, right on top of that rose. And we never did. And we just didn’t, because it wasn’t the right thing to do for our reps. It hurt their quotas. Personally, it slashed our value with our customers. No, no way in hell, I’m not attaching my brand to it. So I managed that correctly. And I was like, and then I did our own thing. And we were unbelievably successful as a team. Why? Because I probably concededly knew that I knew better. And I did my own thing. So figure out how you can balance right? Especially if you’re starting to look for another job, how can you balance that, right, giving the right the right perspective to your customers while managing up and kind of keeping those things at bay.


Amy Volas  1:12:46

I think it goes back to like control what you can control, right and if it ever is felt achy, or if it ever has, if you have to second guess it. I just I’m one of those people that’s like to your points and like sure, and then doing what I feel is right, unless you’re being micromanaged, where your leaders involved in every single call, and I’ve had that before, I find that buyers are hip to that anyway, and they’re gonna know that it’s not you and that it’s done. And if you’re talking about not wanting to be aligned with a brand, it’s okay to temper your voice on LinkedIn to talk about things that you want to talk about right that are still germane to your buyer that still speak to the things that you find are important for them. And it’s not going against your company and it’s still relevant to your company, it just changes the tone, you know, so it’s like if you want to change what’s being discussed, change the conversation and I’m a real big fan of that. The other thing that I would say is get yourself a scorecard understand why the thing is broken. And use that as your guiding force to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes when you get the next job.


Scott D Clary  1:13:53

Very good advice. Very good advice. Okay. To wrap up some rapid fire one one life lesson that you would tell your younger self.


Amy Volas  1:14:03

Me you prefer it Yeah, thanks. It’s still a lesson that I struggle with to this day. But embrace the shades of gray. Not everything is black and white. I’m very much sort of a black and white person and I like to know and understand and if I don’t then I understand that too. And there’s a lot of gray area and it’s uncomfortable that’s usually where it’s the most uncomfortable learning how to celebrate the shades of gray. I do a better job now. As a as a younger person I did not do a great job of that.


Samantha Mckenna  1:14:41

I think my I love that. I think minus is probably come as a shock to you guys. But invest in your invest in your brand right for your brand is who you are consistently for better or worse. And I think that you think about that both externally to what the world can see and internally to how you engage with your You’re cross functional partners and with your teams, I think one of the lessons I love about that, too, in terms of the brand is to always do the right thing. And I know that’s like, oh, wow, riveting, but I think this was a good leadership lesson for me as well. One of my leaders said, you know, sometimes I’m going to be in tough positions. And I want to, I want to do the good thing for the right for both people. But doing what’s right, like, What’s black and white, right is not something you can argue with. So if you know a lead comes in, and I had just transferred the account to somebody else, and that person comes to the old person comes back and says, Oh, hey, we that was my lead never worked on it for so long, like black and white, that account is in somebody else’s name. And yeah, really sucks. But the right thing to do is to leave it with the new owner, which can stay but I think it was good perspective. Again, the brand piece is so so important. And I think about it for me, like I invested in my brand, if people knowing that I was learning that I was a sales expert, right by by going out on LinkedIn, I invest in my brand, by always doing the right thing by what I knew was going to be consistent in my life, which was my clients, not always my, my company, right to the point of saying we’re discounting and then not discounting, I invest in my brand of doing right by the people, the cross functional partners that I worked with, so that when they moved, they might want to recruit me, or when they move, they might want to hire me and can recommend me as well. So that would be the biggest thing if you were not doing that and thinking how do I want to be perceived what’s being said about me when I’m not in the room? Again, hopefully in a positive way. That that is a lesson I wish I had known more more younger when I was younger in my life.


Scott D Clary  1:16:32

Very good advice. Very good. And then the last question is one resource, it could be a podcast, it could be an audible it could be could be a person could be a book, what’s one thing that you would recommend somebody go check out to go learn


Amy Volas  1:16:47

for me? i All you go, it starts it always goes back to the why Simon Sinek the minute that I stumbled upon him, and I’ve read all of his books, and I pay close attention to what he’s saying. I just I can’t disagree with any of it and it really like it’s nothing that you didn’t realize before it’s just how you realize it and when you realize it and how you apply it that matters. Totally, I think the


Samantha Mckenna  1:17:14

for just a couple of different resources quickly so I love marker bearishness sales acceleration formula. I just love the the math behind it. So if you’re a rapper, leader, I think it’s great. If you’re a leader, Super recommend HBr women at work, even if you’re a guy, I think it’s great to listen to and get perspective on on the women’s experience, woman’s experience from leadership. And I would also recommend Adam Grant and basically everything that he’s written, but he’s got great behavioral psychology and his podcast. And then final one I would recommend is radical candor. If you’re a leader, or aspiring leader, yeah, learn, learn how to do it right before you mess it all up.


Scott D Clary  1:17:53

And and obviously most important, where do people go to find out more about you,


Samantha Mckenna  1:17:58

and I’m on LinkedIn, as always. So finally, they’re working on my website. But in the meantime, pop over to LinkedIn and find me. You’ll find them super responsive as well. I get a lot of requests, but feel free to hit me up if I can be of help to


Amy Volas  1:18:10

you. And for me, I like to live out loud, as I like to say, and you can find all the things that we’ve talked about plus so much more. LinkedIn, any bolus, I think I’m the only Amy bolus on LinkedIn, but also for my company Avenue talent partners. And it’s Avenue Tom


Scott D Clary  1:18:29

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcasts and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast signing off

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