Justin interestingly does not have direct sales experience, his background sits within operations and finance. Though as we have found out from multiple experts, sales operations experience is not actually necessary to succeeding at sales ops.
Awesome. I’m going to share the screen so everyone can see the slides, and then we will get started. There we go. Okay, fantastic. As I said, here’s the third ever Sales Ops Demystified webinar. The first one wasn’t very good, [laughs] to be completely honest, we don’t think. But the second one, it was just me and Henry chatting. A few people who registered here came and saw that, and we really enjoyed it, right?
Henry Peacock: Yes, it was very good.
Tom: We went over the basics of sales operations. Like a few people know, I’m not very experienced in sales operations, Henry is. Then, it was after last week’s, you said, “I know this guy Justin who is,” I quote, “A sales ops ninja.” [laughs] Here we have Justin.
Today, we’re going to run for between 30 and 45 minutes. We haven’t really structured the conversation too much. We’re really going to learn more about Justin, more about Merrill Corp, and more about how they run sales operations, with the goal of giving everybody here an insight into– I don’t want to say best practices, but an effective sales operations presence. Is that about right?
Henry: Yes, I think it can depend heavily on the business and what you’re selling. But yes, definitely.
Tom: Okay. Cool. We’ll just check everything’s okay with the sound and the picture. Josh, we good?
Josh: Yes, all good.
Tom: Great. If you have any questions, we have Josh here. He’s outside of the camera, who is manning comments and questions. Everything will go through him. If he sees a good question– I’m sure they’ll all be good– he’ll pass it to me and we can ask Justin.
If you have anything to add, please put it in the comments, either on Facebook if you’re watching, or on Webinar Ninja, and that will come through to us.
Here’s the core discussion points for today. I guess we’ll kick off with Justin giving a brief intro to, I guess, himself, and also Merrill Corp.
Justin Kersey: Sure.
Henry: Can I just say something?
Tom: Yes, of course, man.
Henry: Because I met Justin through the London Sales Ops Meetup. I sat up by Alex Williams and Kirsty Charlton. Those guys have been running that Sales Ops Meetup for four-
Justin: About five months now.
Henry: -five months. We also had a meetup last night. If you’re in London and you’re interested in sales ops, you should definitely come along. We’ll paste the link up for that. Yes, massive thank you for those guys for organizing that.
Tom: What time did you go home last night after the last meetup?
Henry: Very early.
Henry: Very early. Yes, over to Justin. Maybe just give yourself a quick intro.
Justin: Sure. Quick intro. Justin Kersey. I’m the VP of Sales here in London for Merrill Corporation, covering the UK and the Nordics. More recently, I was also looking after sales operations for EMEA, covering the theater from just the sales ops support perspective.
Merrill Corporation, our primary focus is due diligence in the M&A community, so we have a SAS application for due diligence. We focus heavily on the M&A ecosystem.
Tom: Is it a– correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s like a data room?
Justin: Correct. It’s a virtual data room for mergers & acquisitions. Due diligence, yes.
Tom: If I’m an investment bank, and there’s one company being sold to another company, and I feel like taking a transaction, you have this software that will help, it will share information.
Justin: To allow us to store that documentation pertaining to the asset being sold so that any interested parties could do their due diligence before potentially preparing bids and-
Tom: Because Google Drive is not good enough.
Justin: It’s not hyper-secure really- [crosstalk]
Henry: It’s hyper-secure and there could be millions of pages of documents that have to be checked by different people [unintelligible 00:03:40].
Justin: Yes, and so we can have really fine-grained user permission and so that we control who can see what and then also report on who’s looking at what throughout the course of the deal.
Tom: Great. How long have you been at Merrill Corp?
Justin: Six, coming up on seven years now.
Tom: What was your role when you came in?
Justin: When I first came in, I was I was actually looking after billing. I was doing billing for one of our legacy, I guess, parts of the business that we’ve recently divested. Through that billing lens is where I migrated into a sales operations role.
Sales management wanted to know more about the business, about the pipeline, about what we were doing in estimating and what our opportunities looked like. I migrated into a more sales operations-focused role as a result of that.
Tom: Did that sales operations group form organically, and you-
Justin: A little bit. We’re a US-based business, and so we hired someone to basically start a sales operations function in the United States. As a result of some of the work that I was doing here, I migrated into that team as a not direct report, but working alongside that were running sales operations globally from Merrill Corp.
Henry: There were established sales ops people within the business?
Justin: Not prior to me joining, but they came in whilst I’ve been here.
Henry: Do you think it’s a relatively new role that’s come on?
Justin: I think so. I’ve come into it in the last three or four years. Prior to myself coming into it, I didn’t really know much about it. I’m constantly learning every day. When you mentioned the meetup, which is a great place to learn from other sales ops experts, for me, it still feels quite new. It still feels like a bit of a buzzword for businesses that are looking to scale and grow their sales organizations. They need, I think, sales ops to help sort of guide part of that journey.
Henry: They need the expertise. It needs expertise. That’s looking after the training, the technology, everything to do with sales pretty- [crosstalk]
Henry: -reporting. Again, makes sense.
Tom: The time between when you started and when you took on that new sales ops role was how long?
Justin: Probably a couple of years.
Tom: At that [unintelligible 00:06:07]
Tom: Then for the last– Actually, you’ve now moved out of sales operations almost- [crosstalk]
Justin: Yes. Towards the tail end of last year, I’ve moved more into sales management as opposed to sales operations.
Tom: Could you share with the audience what do you think is the difference between those two things?
Justin: Yes. That’s an interesting question. I’m still learning what the differences are. I think what I bring to sales management coming from sales operations is more of a metrics-based approach to sales. I don’t have necessarily face-to-face sales experience, but what I have is the process. I have the eye for the metrics and how to drive activity in the right places and how to measure that and are we getting the results that we want to see as a result of that activity. That’s how I approach sales management, more activity and metrics-based as opposed to some of the softer skills that are involved in sales.
Tom: Cool. Which is still important, right?
Justin: I think so. Absolutely. Yes.
Tom: Which would you say that you’re best at, Henry? The softer side or the metrics?
Henry: [laughs] Probably the softer side. Probably the face-to-face stuff.
Tom: So, if I [unintelligible 00:07:13] sit next to Henry in the office at [unintelligible 00:07:15] and we have a video how you do coach– she might be watching us, neat brunette– quite effectively, I think.
Henry: You sat right next to me, so it’s easy, isn’t it?
Tom: Cool. I understand that’s over 40 salespeople in EMEA?
Justin: It’s around 40 now, yes.
Tom: That you are managing?
Justin: I’m managing around 10 folks at the moment.
Tom: In the UK?
Justin: But the wider sales team in EMEA is around 40 people.
Tom: Cool. From four years ago when they built the operations department, what’s the growth of that team look like?
Justin: It’s grown a lot. I would say, four years ago, we were probably looking at maybe half the size across EMEA. We’ve definitely had a lot of growth in the organization and, as a result, have grown as a business as well, which is great.
Henry: Do you think the business has used a wise technology? The business has been around for a long time. Do you think they embraced technology, took it on board and and value in? Because you’re crunching numbers in CRMs and using the technology to your maximum- [crosstalk]
Justin: We definitely started with a much leaner and lighter version of sales force than we have today. A lot more additional information is coming into sales force as a result of external data sources to help us give a little bit of intelligence around accounts to our reps so that they know the latest that’s been happening with those accounts.
We’ve introduced some tools around just general sales process. Quote-to-cash is a big one that we’ve implemented in the last couple of years that helps to drive some efficiencies in a sales process, but also feeds back to the organization some information that allows us to analyze how we’re quoting and where we’re successful. We can start to figure out how we’re pricing things a little more effectively.
Tom: What do you think makes you an effective sales operations professional?
Justin: Again, a great question.
Henry: Also, you can’t give your own opinion about yourself. You need someone else to give an opinion about you.
Tom: But no one here has worked. He has one of dozen salespeople, I would say. Maybe we should get him a sales [unintelligible 00:09:40].
Justin: I believe they’re all out selling.
Tom: That’s a good answer.
Justin: I think understanding that the sales organization is a client for sales operations. That is your most important customer, I think.
Tom: That’s a really interesting answer, actually.
Justin: Making sure that you’re serving him with the information that allows them to be successful It’s a real fine line between rigid and regimented process that you have to put in place in order to get the information out of the sales organization and still allowing them to be sales professionals and have the freedom to operate the way they like to operate. That balance between those two competing perspectives is important, and treating your them as a customer, I think, is big.
Tom: That’s really interesting. Were you aware of that paradigm?
Henry: I think so, we’re much small team. I’d say, we were youngest sales process. Definitely youngest sales persons. Yes, I can see how that means true.
Tom: Nice. It must really help if you’re coming to work in the morning and your clients are not necessarily after the organization, the clients are sat there across the room. That’s really good. [unintelligible 00:10:59] that take away from the session, Josh, get that done. Okay. [unintelligible 00:11:07] you’re actually looking at Merrill Corp’s sales person, and I’m not sure if you how much detail you want to go into that.
Henry: How do you do your prospecting? What kind of tools you’re using?
Justin: We use a lot of the tools that are widely available. [unintelligible 00:11:25] LinkedIn Sales Navigator, leveraging our existing database of Sales force. Understanding what the lay of the land looks like in terms of the accounts that we have available to us, what the criteria of that look like, sizes of businesses, things like that.
Henry: Who you are actually selling to? Necessary to people who are paying you money.
Justin: Predominantly we sell through a channel of the advisory community in the M&A ecosystem. Investment bankers and then lawyers, private equity houses and then some highly transactional corporates. That’s a very defined list of people that we need to-
Tom: In the regions like Manhattan.
Justin: Sort of, yes. We know who that community is, and it’s about understanding who’s in those organizations, understand how they are laid out from an organizational perspective, what teams people sit in, who they report to, who the decision-makers are, how I identify potential rising stars within those organizations because they may become a decision-maker later on down the line, and making sure that we just have a good map of who people are and what their role is in the organization, so we can follow them through their careers as our sales people grow through their careers.
Tom: Who is like– These question I ask you guys, I’m not trying to sound [unintelligible 00:12:48] when a sales corp is put with one of your salespeople and they check out the job title of that person who is the job title where thy’re most excited about having to pull it?
Justin: That’s a good question. It varies because we have people that can be more senior, these advisory firms that may or may not have a decision-making ability. But it tends to be a lot of the juniors that will sit on our services and our platform doing the work that the deal requires. So, they can also be an influence over a decision as a result of, “I prefer sitting on this platform when I’m doing my work because it makes me more efficient,” so they can leverage their seniors to help guide that decision.
Tom: Yes. Maybe the CEO, the investment bank is not that concerned about which software they usually deal [unintelligible 00:13:41]
Henry: How much are you measuring activity? So, obviously, it’s quite relationship-based, the sale. You want people to go out to dinner, a technical breakfast whatever it is you want face-to-face time, and you’re also looking at how many emails are sending, how many phone calls they’re making?
Justin: Less about emails and phone calls, but we do use that as a guide. It is more about face-to-face activity, demonstrations as well because there’s a software product, you want to make sure that we’re showing people our capabilities through the platform. We really have high importance on making sure that we demonstrate the software and then the usual opportunities we lost, that sort of thing.
Tom: We do have a question here about territories and forecasting. I would love to hear– I think it’s from Rajesh, I believe. “I would love to hear how you go up for forecasting and territory mapping. Gets complicated as it does when your account seasonality and stuff.”
Justin: Okay. I guess they’re somewhat linked. Looking at it from a territory perspective, we leverage a lot of data sources that tell us how active a community might be sources like merger market to tell us what the announced deals for a particular country or region look like. That gives us a guide of how much activity there is in that space that we have to right-size our coverage model as a result of that.
Henry: How do you do with deals that [unintelligible 00:15:21] if you think it’s happening in London but as it’s happening New York, do you have to give away to the US [unintelligible 00:15:27]?
Justin: It happens a lot and then we get into some [inaudible 00:15:30] split discussions. But yes, particularly in Europe, we have a lot of cross-border deals where an investment banker in London might be hired for a French corporate that’s trying to sell itself.
What we try and do is surround the deal by making sure that investment bank is covered. If we get access to knowing who that corporate might be then call it a local rep to make sure that they’re also speaking to the corporate to surround that deal as a whole.
Henry: Because ultimately you’re doing it to win the business. The details around the benefits from internally is not the client’s problem. [inaudible 00:16:09]
Justin: That’s right.
Henry: Do we have another question?
Tom: We do. Rajesh is back. How do you map accounts to someone who presume just to earn through sale at midway? How do you allocate accounts?
Justin: Is that about distributing-
Tom: Then the recommend itself engagement platform from Jamie.
Henry: That would be interesting.
Tom: Justin, do you get this question here?
Henry: That means someone who’s joined the team and you have to give them-
Justin: Joined my sales team? We leverage definitely LinkedIn, so we can use LinkedIn to understand who sits in what teams in different law firms investment bank. We find out what team he is in and in what level they are if they are associate up to MD. Starting there as a starting point is how we start to I guess pull the list of who we know and then it’s about those face-to-face interactions.
As I’m speaking to someone within that accounts I’m asking for introductions, I’m asking for do you have any other members of the team that I should meet with? Are there other teams that you can introduce me to and leveraging those personal connections that you built to start to map out what that organization looks like from a personal perspective.
Tom: That was something that you’re talking about the sales process here with relationship opportunities.
Henry: Yes, so that’s the last one [unintelligible 00:17:41].
Tom: Anything else, Harry, that you’re interested in sales persons?
Henry: What was your typical sales persons, how long can it take?
Justin: It’s very quick. We’re highly transactional as a result of the nature of what we do, so M&A transactions can happen spur of the moment. If we’re speaking about the advisory community, it can be as short as 30 minutes sales cycles. Somebody calls and says, “I have a deal,” and we can demonstrate in front of them, and within an hour we’ve spun up a [unintelligible 00:18:13] in our data sites.
When we’re looking at corporates who are going down a path of maybe a longer cycle of divestitures persons, then maybe we want to get in there, show them the platform, give them some certainty around a longer-term subscription model. That might be a bit longer sale cycle as we navigate through their procurement process. But certainly through the advisory community can be very very quick.
Tom: What about bout the most successful salespeople in the organisation? What are they doing differently to others?
Justin: I think it’s just diligence and having a set cadence of what you’re going to do each day. Those guys that have a plan of this is what I do and this is what I do each day and measuring themselves against what they’ve set out to do throughout the course of a week, a month, a quarter. I think that self-reflective visibility what I’ve set up to accomplish and measuring myself against it, I think that’s what it makes a really successful seller.
Tom: Because to be successful you to consistently do these things everyday.
Tom: How about it’s pretty much the same for like outside sales, if you want to like-
Justin: I think so.
Henry: Being focused and disciplined.
Tom: Yes. like Henry’s really good at cycling, right? Probably because you cycle consistently.
Henry: Yes. Most likely, yes.
Tom: Cool. We have a couple questions. Actually, one question leads very nicely on to how people train the sales team and it’s about the perfect on-boarding process. Could you elaborate?
Justin: I don’t know about that. I don’t know if we’ve perfected the onboarding process, but we what we want to obviously do is make people effective as quickly possible. The ways in which we do that is we have some online training tools, which is videos, some reading content, and then some questionnaires and tests essentially, that talk about our products, our service, who our customers are, what the buying personas are, so that people you can start to relate to who they’re going to be speaking to as a customer.
Henry: Do you use a piece of technology for that particular video and document onboarding, because there are providers out there?
Justin: We do and I’m struggling for the name at the moment, but it’s a plug-in for Salesforce. It’s a guided learning process that as a manager we can view who they are through the process, understand how complete they’ve got it and whether or not they’re answering the questions to a proficient way.
Henry: Also, you can have tests in there as well.
Justin: There’s tests in there as well to gauge their proficiency as they go through it.
Henry: How much content is that? Is that a day’s worth, a week’s worth? How much?
Justin: That is usually a couple of weeks. The first couple of weeks is a guide for how long we would expect to get through that?
Henry: They can always go back and read this at any point?
Justin: Absolutely, yes.
Tom: Okay, hold on. Whose question’s was that, who was the onboarding question?
Tom: Have we answered your question then?
Justin: After that process of some of the online learning, we also give them to our inside sales team so they can hear how they’re doing cold calling and what the spirits that they’re using with clients looks like. They send to our services teams so they can understand some the day-to-day requests that we get from clients on live transactions.
It’s really about feeling out the context of the people that we’re speaking with from a client perspective. Then we put them through a demonstration accreditation. Are they going to be proficient with how they demonstrate the product? Are they going to ask the right questions? Are they going to show the right things? Are going to use context as they demonstrate the product and useful storytelling so that they create the right impact as they show the software to prospective users?
Henry: They don’t just stand up and throw up-
Justin: This is what this button does. It’s more about telling a story so that you’re bringing the customer along for that journey. I can see why this would be an effective tool for me to use.
Tom: When you’re saying about the first seminar that we did about the demo. The one about just showing everything?
Henry: No, you got to show just a couple of things and that’s what you hope is going to go on and interest. Hopefully, give you enough to go on.
Tom: More holistically, about training. I think we just spoke about the onboarding process, but then once- what if any other training that you do before people ongoing after onboarding?
Justin: We have leveraged some external providers to come in and give us some sales training generally. Some of this sales psychology as well which is really useful so how do you understand what type of person you’re sitting across and how do I adjust my tacts to make sure that I’m delivering a message in the way that you’re going to want to receive it.
If I’m speaking to a hyper-analytical person, I probably want to use some data and some facts, whereas people in the opposite maybe I just want to use some high-level information and not get too down into the weeds when it comes to data. Just being able to identify that person that sat across from you and adjust your messaging accordingly is important.
Henry: You’re certainly dealing with the financial services world when people that are type A people, that they know what they want. So, it’s almost like give them what they want.
Tom: Another question from Oliver, average ramp time for a new SCR.
Justin: We look at about four to six weeks for an onboarding process. We’d like to get people in front of clients within their first month and a half and start getting them producing. At a junior level, we have them along for the ride with some of our senior sales reps and supporting our more senior sales rep so that they get exposure to what good looks like. They have an opportunity to take some of those tools that they’re learning just by being there and listening and observing and adapt it into their own style and come up with their own script as they go.
Henry: The accreditation process you have which is almost like a tick saying you can now present our products to-
Justin: We feel confident that you can go on your own and show our product that well.
Henry: That process is quite interesting. It’s quite a full-on process for the person going through it, would you say?
Justin: I would say so, yes.
Henry: From what you told me before, it can be quite a full-on process. But it sounds like it’s a process that it obviously works because it kind of filters out the people who aren’t really meant to be there, they maybe haven’t had enough training, whatever it is. Maybe you want to talk about how you do that.
Justin: With the demo process, it’s really put together a demonstration and give it to the rest of your peers, and your peers will give you feedback after that process. It’s a simulation of potential real deal scenario and they need to present based on that scenario and because they’re doing in front of peers, their peers who have been through this process, and know how stressful it is to present this is going to be the hardest audience that you’re going to have to please. Because after that fact, it’s just talking to customers that haven’t actually been through this process of accreditation. We think if you can get through that your colleagues have been there, done that, then that’s going to be easily the toughest audience you’re going to have.
Tom: We have the question from Sierra, actually. He asked about turn rate for the sales. Obviously, you don’t get on a Chevy now that you can go on as a Range.
Justin: I actually don’t know the term. It’s not super high. We’re quite a lucky organization, we’ve got a lot of stickiness in our sales organizations.
Tom: And really just warm up to people.
Justin: I’d say it’s around that. Yes.
Tom: Well, that’s pretty good. Nice. I guess it was great management, eh?
Justin: Something like that.
Henry: Great processes.
Tom: Do we have any other questions on training?
Henry: There was a question on any sales engagement tools. You’ve obviously got a sales force that gets you around. What are the tools are using for the sales team? Do they have a CTO in Salesforce? Do they have basically anything else plugged Salesforce that’s helping them with their process? Because I know you’re not using necessarily high-velocity sales and tools but are you using any?
Justin: We have a tool called Read Space which is plugged into the Salesforce, which just gives us a little bit more information about getting the contact for the– [crosstalk]
Henry: [unintelligible 00:27:11]
Justin: Exactly. Flushes out some of the information that we have around those records.
Tom: I know that we have [unintelligible 00:27:21] of outreach and Salesforce that empower our sales people to read more but not using this?
Justin: Our inside sales team, our BDR team are using [unintelligible 00:27:32] but that’s kind of separate from my team, so we use that as a lead generation tool, for sure.
Tom: Cool. Any more questions we got? Sweet. Anything else from training, Henry?
Henry: I think we covered it all. Yes, I think we covered it all. It was interesting before the part of the training process, you have a session of clicking buttons and saying what they do across the entire product. Quite like that as just a quick onboarding to check people’s knowledge. It’s just like a knowledge checker.
Justin: Prior to their demonstration, it is literally, “Can you show me how to do this on the platform?” It’s not a sales-polished presentation, it’s, “Can you add a user? Can you send an invite just to get a general idea? Do they understand the full functionality of the platform?” From there, take that understanding of the functionality now, “How do I become a storyteller to make this relevant and contextualize it for the audience represented?”
Henry: That makes sense. Yes. Do you have more questions?
Tom: Yes, and I’m not sure about this one. There’s a one particular mythical/unicorn metric- well, data point really, we’d love to achieve, from Oliver.
Justin: That’s a great question, actually. I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that one.
Tom: Okay. Justin will think about it and then if we get an answer, we’ll email it to you.
Justin: To achieve. Okay. That’s one to think about, for sure.
Tom: Okay. Now a different question. Cool. I think the final agenda point is about something that Henry was very impressed with.
Henry: Yes, I call it opportunity roles and it’s your selling process. I think it’s fascinating because I had not heard anyone else who does this, and it’s because it’s so relationship-based. Maybe you want to talk through– Do you have a different name for it other than opportunity roles.
Justin: We can go with that. It’s really just about grading relationship levels with contacts. We look at– and again this goes back to the mapping of accounts– understanding who is there in the universe of that account, and then having a real honest look at what myself as a seller has a relationship with those individuals. We break them from A to D.
An A relationship is someone who’s an advocate for us, who’s going to push for us to win business with them every time. Whereas a D is a detractor. They have a preference for somebody else, they don’t want to work with us. So, by mapping out those accounts and understanding all of the individuals within the accounts, and whether or not they’re an A to a D, and obviously, you have the middle ground with B and C, how do I identify those Ds are, move them to a C, move them to a B.
If I get into a sticky sales process where I need a little bit of help, then I know who my As are and I can leverage those relationships to help maybe potentially push a deal- [crosstalk]
Tom: Who judges what label they get? The salesperson themselves?
Justin: So, the salesperson themselves have to really-
Henry: Be honest.
Justin: -own that and be honest with themselves. Because when they get into a scenario where they need a little bit of help to push something over the line, they can’t have a list of names that are really Cs and not get any help from them. So, it’s really just about being honest with yourself and your relationships with your clients.
Henry: I think it’s something all salespersons use and could learn from, is that you always need a champion somewhere. It just happens that you create your champions and use them as part of the process down the line.
Justin: It’s about identifying if an A leaves an account and goes somewhere else, well then, do you have someone to backfill that role and be your champion going forward, and how do you move people that are Bs and Cs and bring them up to become A level relationships?
Henry: Why would someone be an active detractor?
Justin: Stronger relationships with a competitor; preference for a competitor’s platform; sometimes it’s just down to price, things like that. So, it’s about understanding why they are a D and trying to bring them up to a higher grade.
Tom: So, if I was a salesperson and I had like three Ds on an account, would I reach out to all of them and be like, “Should we go for dinner and cocktails?”
Justin: Yes, I don’t think entertaining them would be a bad idea necessarily, to get them out and understand why they have a preference for going elsewhere, get an opportunity to potentially show them the product as well and show them what the benefits of moving across would look like.
Yes, I think that face-to-face interaction– and it’s very much a relationship sale, so making sure you build that relationship with them is going to help guide them from a D to hopefully a C or B or A.
Tom: [unintelligible 00:32:25] Here’s a really good question: if an SDR or salesperson leaves, how do you transition relationships, say, from the SD’s to somebody else? Is there a process?
Justin: Yes. Obviously, we try and mitigate that risk by having multiple people covering accounts so that there’s a continuity of coverage if somebody does leave. Usually, we have a notice period as well, where we will ask that they start to make introductions, transition any outstanding opportunities. Things like that to help guide whoever’s going to be taking on that account into the knowledge that they’re sitting on as well.
Tom: Josh, how are we doing for time?
Josh: 35 minutes.
Tom: I do have one more question and you might have some more. Is there anyone else in the sales ops space that you like really think [unintelligible 00:33:22] learn to or look up to?
Henry: Apart from Alex Williams.
Justin: I think just Alex Williams, yes.
Tom: Maybe we should get Alex Williams on the show.
Justin: I think he’s next, yes.
Henry: Yes, I’ve got a question. What traits do you look for in a salesperson? If you’re looking to hire someone, what are you looking for?
Justin: A colleague of mine actually gave me a tip, he said, “If I can spend the next five hours in a car journey with this rep, then I think they’ll be a good rep. So, we can teach them anything that they need to know about our customers, our product, the community into which we sell.”
But they have to be personable, they have to likable. You have to want to engage with them because ours is very much a relationship-driven sale, so if I can’t build a relationship with this person, I probably won’t want to buy from them either. So, can I go on a road trip with this person and spend five hours in a car and not want to jump out.
Henry: Do you care very much if you receive someone’s CV, but they don’t have service experience? Or is that desirable? What are you looking for?
Justin: I think it helps particularly when it allows them to have some contacts around why what we do is important to the ecosystem that we serve. But it’s not essential. It’s something that can be taught. Everything about what we do, from the platform to our customers, how we engage with customers, we can teach that. But personality is not something necessarily that can be taught.
Henry: Sure. Makes sense.
Tom: Sorry to jump in. Rajesh is very enthusiastic about forecasting, he would love to know more about how you forecast. Excel has an exponentialist moving function, but I still have only about 10% data which [unintelligible 00:35:10] last sales. What is the best tool when building forecasting [unintelligible 00:35:15]?
Justin: That’s a great question. Because of the short sales cycle that we have, our forecasting is incredibly short-term, so we know what opportunities we have open in the pipe will likely close one way or another very quickly. So, as opposed to looking what’s in our pipeline to predict what our forecast is looking like, we use historical averages around what the M&A space is telling is going to happen in the month of February.
Over the last five years on average February has this number of deals in the market and that gives us an idea of based on our market share or our anticipated market share what we’re going to get out of that space.
Henry: You’ve got decade’s worth of your own data that you can also analyze.
Justin: Exactly. Then we sort of say, “We know that this is the growth great year over year. Here’s what we did last year, so this is sort of our anticipated project now.”
Tom: When you’re saying that the number of deals has kind of flat-lined, but the revenual growth from [unintelligible 00:36:17] has increased which means that you’re gaining market share.
Justin: That’s the idea, absolutely.
Tom: Fantastic. It must be down the-
Henry: Very quickly, around Brexit. Is it having any impact in the market place?
Justin: It’s certainly slowing the M&A community a little bit, but we’re still seeing people being active doing deals, which is great for us. But I think the uncertainty has lead to a little bit of a stall in kicking off new deals. Transactions are there waiting in the wings for a determination of which way Brexit’s going to go. There’s just a reluctance to kick off some of those processes until there’s a little more clarity on what’s going to happen.
Tom: Anything else you’d like to add? No more questions. Henry, final word?
Henry: Well, no more questions from me, but just thank you so much, everyone, for attending, and thanks to Justin for taking the time.
Justin: Thank you for having me.
Henry: Yes, it’s been great to have you on. Are we talking about anyone we’ve got on next week?
Tom: Yes, we do have– I don’t know, should we announce it?
Henry: It’s up to you.
Tom: So, we have Rory from Kluster who is joining us 5:00 PM, next Thursday. We’ll either be going to his office or he might do it on a call, and so we’ll be distributing a page for anybody who’s interested in attending that from next week.
Then, moving forward, we’ll probably have every week somebody come on and do a similar chat if their style of content people enjoy. So, there’s Alex, who we’re potentially going to get on.
Henry: Yes, we should probably get Alex and Kirsty on.
Tom: Did you ask Alex this question?
Henry: No, I don’t know if I should.
Tom: Come on, you can’t say that, these people want the question.
Henry: Alex’s question to you, in particular, is how can you be a sales manager with no sales experience?
Justin: That’s a great question, Alex. I think it comes back to, again, my sales operations experience of being very process-focused, analytical, looking at the metrics for success rather than– I can coach around some of the soft skills of sales because I’ve been around a sales organization for the majority of my career, just not actively selling.
So, I think I have an idea of what good looks like, but definitely leveraging the more analytical side of things, understanding what the metrics of success look like and measuring against those things I think has really helped me as a sales manager. Thanks, Alex.
Henry: You’ll have to think up some questions for Alex.
Justin: I’ll be sure to.
Tom: Okay. So, that concludes the third segment of Demystified. Justin, thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure. If anyone has any questions, if you’re in the M&A community or M&A space and you’re about to do a deal and you don’t want to use Google Drive– which you don’t– you should email Justin.
We haven’t really spoken about Ebsta, but if you want to know about Ebsta, you can email Henry on those two email addresses. So, thank you, everybody, so much, and we will see you at the same time next week.
Henry: Thanks, guys.
[00:39:29] [END OF AUDIO]