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Sales Strategy
Sep 13, 2017 | Sales Reinvented Podcast lock
Listen to the podcast here. 

Paul Watts:
Hi, this is Paul Watts from the Sales Reinvented Podcast. Welcome to the "Best of" series brought to you by the Canadian Professional Sales Association. In today's episode we have Dan Disney, Jill Rowley and Keegan Mclaughlin.

We will be sharing some of our favorite most satisfying sales pursuits and lessons learned.

First up, Dan Disney.

Dan Disney: To me it was probably the pursuit that really transformed my sales career from being, I guess, an amateur sales person to what I like to say, a professional sales person. And it was a few years ago working in a company, mostly dealing with small companies, I took the impromptu guts to go and approach a global company that had held relatively close and managed to start a conversation up with a key decision maker there. And this was all done through social sellings, as well. It was the first time I started utilizing platforms and managed to sort of build a relationship with the decision maker. Got a meeting from that. That meeting then transformed into a really fantastic business opportunity. And it's the first time this company had gone into this area.

Now, what made it even more of a result for me was it actually at that point, I moved jobs. I moved companies. Same industry; different company. And at the time, they wanted to pursue with the company that I left. I said that's up to them. They're all on track but the people who took over that account, unfortunately, didn't do a good job and I ended up managing to bring them over to my new company and having 2, 3, 4 years of really great business with them. They were our key account. It was a relationship that grew and grew and grew to the point where I walk into the reception and they know my name. They know who I am. It became a second office, almost. So it really allowed me to grow from dealing with sales on a sort of small level to dealing with a really big, global corporate account and it allowed me to grow significantly as a professional.

Paul Watts: And it must be quite satisfying when you're able to walk into a company and as you say, treat it like a second office. Everybody knows your name. You're almost part of the team.

What was the lesson you learned from that pursuit though?

Dan Disney: I guess the biggest lesson I learned was: invest. You have to invest a lot into relationships like that. It's like a personal relationship. You have to invest a lot to make it work and it's the same with a sales relationship. You have to give a lot, so you have to earn that respect. You have to go there plenty of times. You have to listen to lots of conversations; ask lots of questions. Really get to know that company at all levels to be able to earn the right to have that sort of relationship. So it's a lot of work that goes into it but it pays off massively.

Paul Watts: Next, we have Jill Rowley.

Jill Rowley: I started my sales career at Sales Force,, in 2000. And I was there for 2 years and in that time, one of my customers was this company called Alequa and I started to use their product as an individual Alequa sales rep when the product was really for marketing. And I took the printouts, the article reprints that were printed and I put them into digital format and I started to use them in my activities. And I remember sending one to Mark Benneoff and he sent me an email back and I have the Blackberry that email was on, I still have it. And it said, "Get every sales rep using this." And fast forward to where I joined Alequa in 2002 and on August 17, 2011, after 3,321 days in the pipeline, Sales Force became an Alequa client.

And I have the email that the business sponsor at Sales Force sent to the steering committee, the seventeen people who were on this steering committee plus all of the executive's leadership team who needed to be informed of the decision. And the win in that and I'll credit Alex Shootman who was the president of Alequa at the time, he provided some guidance as we knew this deal was coming in. And he encouraged me to handle it with humility to ensure that I publicly recognized all of the people who were a part of the win. This wasn't just my win. This was our win. And that little reminder to handle myself with humility and graciousness of all the folks who were a part of that process. That was a real good learning for me and I keep that with me.

Paul Watts: And finally, we have Keegan Mclaughlin.

Keegan Mclaughlin:
There certainly is one that comes to mind. I worked on a deal back when I was still working in the software sales industry. I flew up to Brisbane on this particular day. I went around and there were 5 deals that all closed on the same day. So it was basically the best day of my sales career. At the very last meeting, the prospective client said, "Look, we're ready to sit down." We went next door to the pub because it was almost 5:00. We didn't think we would win this piece of business but that was okay because we had a really day. And he told us that we'd won and we were pretty blown away.

But I then, a couple of weeks later followed up with a client and said, "Look, would you mind doing a review with me and telling me what we did so well and why we won." And so he agreed to that. And in that review he told me, "Look, your response was the worst so we were ready to kick you out but then two other vendors self-selected themselves out so we needed to take three through to the start line. Then your demos were poor and we decided we were going to get rid of you again but then one of the other vendors shot themselves in the foot by trying to push us to close before we were ready to. So we were down to two. All of our user community picked the other solution, so you were out - hundred percent out. And then our CFO asked one question about the product roadmap for the next five years and you gave a good answer and the other vendor gave a poor answer, so we picked you."

So really what he was telling me effectively was that we were the worst all the way through and the stars had to align for us to win that piece of business. And what was so amazing about that was that if I hadn't taken the time and just decided to ask those questions, I would have walked away thinking we've done an incredibly good job. And so really, that was catalyst for me to quit the industry and launch my own business because I recognize the value of win/loss analyst and understanding why we really want to lose the deals we pitch for. We earn the right to that feedback but then we invariably leave it on the table.

Paul Watts: I think there are so many sales people out there that will be listening to the show going, "I need to call all the customers that I've ever won business with now and ask them why did we win the business." Because I think that's so many sales people out there that win the deals in spite of themselves, not because of themselves.

What a great example, Keegan. That was fantastic. What did you learn from that? What was the lesson?

Keegan Mclaughlin: Look, I learned a very simple lesson. I learned that we make assumptions in sales. We need to be able to validate those assumptions because it's actually only our customers perspective that really matters. Ultimately, they're the one that we need to invest in and too infrequently do we understand that.

It really taught me that customers would be very happy to share that feedback if we just take the time to ask.

Paul Watts: Today's podcast was produced by Rebel Soul Media, a division of Red TV Ink and with the help of our sponsors The Canadian Professional Sales Association. Visit to learn about Canada's largest sales organization dedicated to advancing sales and accelerating performance.

Thank you for listening and please join us on our next podcast if you have any comments or suggestions for the show, please go to our website Until next time, remember the A B C's of selling: Always Be Consultative. I'm Paul Watts and you've been listening to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

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