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E159 | How to Improve your Sales Organisation with Justin Roff Marsh, David Davies & Jamal Reimer

Dom has spent most of his life in sales. He was a good sales guy, a terrible sales manager, a better sales director. When he got to the point where he knew he was playing to his strengths, it was because he’d spent years dialling 300+ times per day, he’d accrued 10,000 hours in sales. 

Today, he often helps clients think about or fix their sales organisation, particularly technology led businesses where the founder doesn’t come from sales, and needs help understanding what  their sales function might look like. From helping clients hire their first salesperson through to thinking about what the structure of sales looks like, to what their sales and marketing organisation might look like. 

And so in this special podcast episode, we’ve pulled together a podcast of three sales experts (all the links to their individual episodes are in the show notes). We’ve got Jamal Reimer, who only ever wanted to be the sales guy who does multi million dollar deals, never a sales manager; David Davies, a Sandler trainer; and Justin Roff Marsh, who believes that sales people should just sell, nothing else. 

We’ve taken the best sales advice from all three episodes and strung it together to highlight the nuggets that were really, really interesting, to challenge you when thinking about your sales organisation. These are three great conversations, turned into one.

On today’s podcast:

  • The value of rapport
  • Sales is not about personal relationships
  • Account managers are order takers
  • Don’t make your best salespeople managers 
  • The low benchmark for sales
  • The value of saying no


Improving your Sales Function with Justin Roff Marsh, David Davis & Jamal Reimer 

In this incredibly special podcast episode we have not one, but three sales experts sharing their thoughts on how to improve your sales function. 

We’ve got Jamal Reimer, who only ever wanted to be the sales guy who does multi million dollar deals, never a sales manager; David Davies, a Sandler trainer; and Justin Roff Marsh, who believes that sales people should just sell, nothing else.

The value of rapport

For David Davies, rapport building is really critical at the beginning of building a relationship with a prospective client or in a sales situation. What’s been tough over the last year is trying to build rapport when you can’t shake hands or hug people, or laugh together. So how do you build rapport?

David says:

“It’s all about the art of a great conversation, at least two people agreeing that there is a problem that’s worth solving. And the solution that’s worth having. Everything else is peddling.”

Always get clarity at the end of the conversation about what the next steps are, and get a clear timeline of how they’re going to buy with you, and what’s involved. Set dates and times, advises David. 

“If it’s not a yes, be brave enough as a salesperson to walk away, not sit there trying to work out how you can twist this individual who doesn’t want what you do, into buying off you.”

Sales is not about personal relationships

We’ve spoken about it before, but should you trust your salespeople to own the relationship with clients? Because these people might leave and take the customer with them. So how do you handle that worry? What can you do differently?

Justin Roff Marsh says don’t be worried about this:

“The reality is most people purchase because of the commercial relationship they have or think they’re going to have with the organisation, or even the personal benefit that the purchase might bring to the purchaser. Which is a function of the commercial relationship, not the personal relationship.”

How many of your sales people have left and taken your customers with them? One if that? It’s a non fear. 

“The sort of lazy assumption is if we hire a competitor salesperson, they’ll bring their whole book of business with them. But it never works like that.”

That’s not to say that personal relationships have no value, they do. What we need to recognise is that a personal relationship adds value, and salespeople make sales in spite of their personal relationship, not because of it. 

Account managers are order takers

In organisations that have an account manager, they call them a salesperson, but, says Justin, these people are glorified order takers / project managers. They know how to process an order within an organisation, they don’t make a sale. 

However, if our role as sellers is to manipulate conversation for commercial gain, and we’re good at it, why don’t we spend most of our time doing it?

Herein lies the problem, says Justin, because the salespeople don’t have a support staff that enables them to do the one thing they’re good at. They’re expected to do everything in pursuit of net business, not just close sales, nothing else. No solution design, no project management, no prospecting, no customer service, nothing.

In order to enable that, you need to reengineer your other departments. I.e. you need to rebuild and enlarge your customer service team. Next you need to get support for sales from engineering so that any technical questions can get redirected ASAP. The last thing is to build a much more robust marketing department, splitting it in two – comms and marketing, people whose sole purpose is to replenish sales people’s opportunities every day.

Don’t make your best salespeople managers. 

There’s a common theme in business that all people want to climb the greasy pole, but that isn’t true. And besides, why would you want to take your best salespeople and make them manage people? There should be a way to allow these excellent people to continue to flourish in the role they were born to do. 

Jamal Reimer is one such person who is a self titled intentional individual contributor. He has never had a desire to go into management. But often salespeople feel that their only way to get promoted is to become a manager. 

“For me, I just really enjoyed working with the customers every day and establishing those long lasting relationships. That was something that I was good at and I really enjoyed. So I stayed.”

The low benchmark for sales

“Having ‘salesperson’ on your business card does not make you a professional salesperson,” says David.

There is a common misconception that all salespeople are motivated by money, but that simply isn’t true. A Harvard Business Review article from 2016 found that only 20% of high performing sales people were motivated by money, the rest were intrinsically motivated. 

“The question to ask to find an intrinsically motivated salesperson is this: tell me about your best deal. The money motivated ones will tell you about how much they earned, and the intrinsically motivated ones are likely to tell you a story about the impact they had on a customer.”

So how do you attract salespeople to the role if you don’t pay them commission?

Easy, says Justin, pay them their market value and provide them opportunities to shine. 

The value of saying no

Salespeople shouldn’t be afraid of prospects saying no. A no is nearly as good as a yes. If you haven’t created enough value to get someone to say yes, you’re almost onto a winner, because if they say no, there’s no uncertainty. You simply add value and try again. 

If someone is unsure, it’s because they don’t understand what you can offer them. And forcing people who don’t know what you can offer, or don’t understand what you’re selling, won’t make great prospects. 

David says:

“Train the prospect to be more on this in the sense of the more honest you are, the closer you now get to really solving the problems that you’ve got. If you don’t tell me what’s going on. Any solution I’m going to offer you next is going to be half baked or get completely off the mark.”

Justin adds:

“If tomorrow you double the number of salespeople in your sales function, do you believe you will double your revenue?”

If you can’t answer yes to that, you don’t have a sales process, and that will limit your growth. 

Finally, if you want to hear Justin talk about how you can double your sales function to double your revenue, get a ticket to come and hear him talk on the farm on the 15th September.

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