Susan Englehutt is the founder and creator of The Way Buyers Buy. She previously worked for small, medium companies and big names like Microsoft, IBM, and Dell.
She’s intuitive and knows her buyers, and she understands how to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, which traditionally causes tension in companies. Susan explains more about that and goes deeper into the three stages of the buying process.
It's the antidote to marketing bullshit.
Louis: Welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com. The podcast for people, sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I'm your host Louis Grenier. In today's episode, you'll learn how to think like a really good sales person. And my guest today is the founder and creator of The Way Buyers Buy.
She's a sales and marketing consultant. She's worked for big companies, Fortune 50 companies like Verizon. Microsoft IBM, Dell, you might have heard of those, but also small and medium companies. So I really like her perspective on a few things in particular, the intersection of sales marketing, and the buyer, like the people at the end of it which is why I'm super happy to have you Susan Englehutt on board, welcome.
Susan: Thank you, Louis.
Louis: So we started chatting a bit before that. And I told you that one thing I want to touch on pretty quickly is the tension between sales and marketing and in term of, you know functions inside of company, right? It's funny in every organization I've worked with when there is a sales function, and there is obviously a marketing function, it's always the same thing. It's they, it doesn't seem to be much respected in the two. There always seems to be a huge, you know, big silos. It's very, there's this very. You know, obvious love, hate relationship between the two. So from your experience, then where do you think it's coming from?
Like what why is that in the first place?
Susan: It's a massive question. I wish I had the silver bullet answer. Let me tell you my feelings today as a sales person. So I, like I am so close to my buyer. I imbibe them. I like, I know exactly what they're thinking and I am terrified. I am terrified of anything that would be perceived as a platitude, as something general as something that doesn't really fit them.
It's something that when they don't hear it and they don't see it, that like, it doesn't resonate with them. They don't say, how did those people know the words that are going on in my head and for me, that's the fear. So in my early career, I was actually, I think my second job in corporate American, a tech company. They set me up as the worldwide field manager.
So I actually reported to the senior vice president of marketing, but I actually worked for the senior vice president of sales. And I went back and forth between the two groups on a weekly basis, trying to figure out what is it that's missing in the gap. And I truly didn't have a clue what really might be at the bottom of it.
And until I started to understand sales methodology and started to understand how the buyer buys and when I saw that, this was before content marketing, and when I saw that it was like, Whoa, why didn't nobody tell me this 10 years ago, because that's the place where we can come together.
Louis: So just to clarify, before we go deeper into this. What type of organization usually has a sales function. And I know it sounds, maybe may sound a bit silly, but not every company has sales people. Right. So usually what other companies that tend to have them over the ones who don't.
Susan: What types of companies have a sales function worth versus what types don't.So I work with B2B companies, usually at the moment, somewhere between a million in revenue and 25 million in revenue, you can go higher than that. So they. If they're selling online 100% have gone online and it's an online sales process, click free trial, et cetera. They may not have a sales process.
It may be it may be more of a marketing process that runs that. But for me, all of my customers have a sales force that works, you know, either maybe they don't even have a marketing function at this point, but they have a sales force and there's some aspect of direct selling.
Louis: So some of them might not have a marketing function?
Susan: Not yet.
Louis: Even after you said between 10 and 25 million or between one?
Susan: Between one. Yeah. So, you know, I have a client right now and they have, and I'm not saying it's a good idea, Louie, but they have they're about. I think it's about 13 million. It's about a 20, 20 year old company, something like that, services industry, just getting into technology.
And it's only in the last six months that I've noticed that they're actually doing quote unquote marketing. They have a great reputation. They have huge brand name customers, their businesses referral, or they're prospecting. They're doing business development. They've built themselves up to 15 million that way.
Louis: I think it's fair to say that they may not have a marketing function per se, where someone is called a Marketer, but they've been doing marketing even if they didn't know they were right?
Susan: Yeah, I think that's fair. Yeah. That's fair.
Louis: So, so going back to the initial question let's go deeper into that.
Like what's the, why are they, where is their attention? You said you move between the two functions. What did you see as the biggest gap between the two then? Like what did you see that marketers are not doing? The sales people were doing and vice versa.
Susan: The biggest gap is that the marketing people didn't have an understanding of who the buyer really was and they didn't understand how the buyer really bought. And it's unfortunate. But so it, you know, what they produced came off as light and really not that useful to the sales team. That was the biggest gap.
Louis: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it happens a lot, right. Because they are removed from, process they manage the Facebook page and whatever. I mean, that's the cliche, right.
They just don't do much. And yet, yet sales people talk to customers and buyers all the time. So they have a very deep understanding of it. Any other thing that you think are kind of responsible for this tension besides this, the big ones, like the fact that [inaudible]
Susan: Just one comment on what we just talked about and it just, it isn't brain surgery for a marketer to take in some of that wonderful understanding of what, how a buyer buys and what they really need to know that it is doable.
So the other thing is, I think there's a tension between . Like as a sales person, I want to, I don't need to talk to somebody who is just ready to close. Now I know there are junior sales people and their sales team that are just push push, and that's what they want for marketing. I don't need that.
I need someone who is an ideal customer who has passed in my language, the road test and the speed test. So, they're, they've been qualified according to the ideal customer that the sales team has defined. And then I know I have the right buyer and you know what, that buyer may not buy tomorrow. They may not buy next week, next month. But if I have the right buyer in the right type of customer, in the right type of company with all these other characteristics, around them, which tell me that, wow, someday when something changes, changes and they're ready to go. That will be a wonderful customer.
That's what I need. So I'm hyper-focused on, is it an ideal customer or not? And I feel like there's a tension between sales and marketing. I want as a salesperson, I want quality doesn't mean something that's going to close tomorrow. I don't need quantity. I'd rather have quality.
Louis: So after a while, good sales people who have good experience, they are able to recognize, okay, this person is not going to get it, he's not going to get it. We've never closed a someone who's at that role in that type of company, it's very unlikely what marketers, the marketing function can say, where we spend, I don't know, $500 each like to bring all of those leads and say, you're telling me that they are not going to work.
Just try it, you know, just try it already. [inaudible]
Susan: Yeah, and you know, some of that comes down to what we've talked about before, but some of it may come also down to the difference between persona and ideal customer. So I'm owning an ideal customer with a very deep definition and many layers and levels. Like super deep versus the buyer's persona or the buying persona, which is again, it's light, it's a photograph. It's a little bit of demographics. It's a picture. It's a face with an age and a name.
Louis: That's the wrong in my, I mean, in my opinion. And then let's see what you think on this, but in my opinion, the two should be the same and buyer personas.
Susan: I agree with you.
Louis: Very a lazy way for marketers to do the job. And as you said, using demographics that are usually useless, no one cares about their age, unless it's very specific, you're sending something that is very relevant to age. But other than that, useless. And yet the two should be the same, right? It's a bit different.
Susan: They should be the same. So, if that were defined between the two teams and whenever I work with a company, it is defined.
The marketing team is always invited to every single session. And so that's defined. And then another thing, if we could have another thing to find, together, which is the sales roadmap and that, you know, a little bit different than a playbook maybe, but if we have a sales roadmap defined, which is aligned to the buying process, wow. That's super helpful. Super helpful to a marketing person.
Louis: Okay. Okay. So, so maybe we can. We can deep dive into that because what we promise and the other side of the show is we will teach marketers to think more like, and behave more like salespeople and so that they can serve the buyers at the end of the of the process.
So maybe let's take an example of you working for clients and using the process that you use with them. And obviously you don't have to use names or anything like that, but you can lean on past experiences, obviously. So, usually when you start working for a company what's the biggest problem you come in to solve? Like, why are they even, what do they need you in the first place?
Susan: So they're either in one of two states. They, they may be successful already. And then they've gotten to a point where we know we have to hire more salespeople. We know we have to do something different in order to scale this. And they may or may not use the word scale depending if they're in the tech industry.
Right. So but we need to scale this. We've tried it before. We tried to hire sales people. I'm the CEO I'm, you know, or I'm, you know, You're the first three people that sold this thing. We know how to do it, but we don't know how to transfer that to other people. So, they could be in that state or they could be in a state where something's not working.
Something's not working, we're losing a lot of these deals. People aren't resonating with what we're saying. A lot, you know there's a roadblock somewhere. There are multiple roadblocks and we just don't know what's going to happen.
Louis: And what's the most painful of those two. Do you think?
Susan: I think the former is most painful because it's also harder to construct what the answer is to the problem, the ladder when they've had some success or some, you know, even some really decent success, there's always somebody in the company that imbibes. Like, like truly lives the buyer in their body.
And so I can spot that person within minutes and or maybe there are multiple people and I go, aha, somebody here gets it. They don't know how to explain it to anybody, but they get it. And then if I can overlay the buying process and a way of thinking and sales process over that, we can take that out, put it into a sales process and we can give it to sales and give it to marketing and we can help them.
So in one, we have way more raw materials and the other one You have to make stuff up more.
Louis: So what, which one do you want to cover? I mean, I want let's dive deep into something that you said that was interesting to me, which is you can spot this person from a mile away, like very quickly, you know, you know that they get it.
So what's how do you know, like what's the process there?
Susan: Louis. I wish I knew. Let me give a stab . I'm a highly intuitive person. Not everybody has a high level of intuition. If there's a language they speak, I think that would be the first clue. And when they speak the language talking about a client or a prospect, it's a natural language that isn't their language through actually using words that a buyer uses.
And when they talk, they're talking, you know you know, if they're talking about the conversation they've had with the buyer, it's a certain level of conversation. So if you were to take sales people and divide them into two groups, 20% of them are intuitive and they know what to do, and they hardly know how to explain it.
And 80% of them need a process overlaid so that they know how to behave like that 20%. So this person that I'm swatting is in that 20%. Right. And they are, they're talking to a different person usually, and they are having a different conversation. So they're usually talking to someone higher. A higher, the conversation they're having with their customer is about a higher purpose than just the product and the features.
And then the people who don't get it, like immediately, they're saying, well, this doesn't work. That doesn't work. We need this, we need that. The price is too high. The price is too high. The price is too high. And I say the price is never the problem. Let's take a look at what's really going on here. And so there's just a very different behavior and yeah.
And the first person will have like, you know, they'll have their head lifted high-end they have they're full of hope. And then the second person is like, yeah, don't have the systems and things around me or the other part of the group. I don't have the systems. I don't have the tools. I don't have the leads.
The leads are good. We need a new brochure, the demo stinks and on.
Louis: Yeah. I was about to mention the confidence aspect. I think You can see them as well from a mile away, and when it comes to their behavior and their body language and everything, cause they have confidence in their abilities to close bigger deals.
They talk the talk, they're able to use the words, as you said, that customers use, they just, they are much more confident than the others who tend to blame, as you said everything else, but themselves in a sense, which I'm not saying they are to blame a hundred percent, but I'm saying that yeah, I can understand the difference between the two.
Okay. So you come in to fix this problem. And let's assume that yeah, we have a few people, at least one person in house who has this intuition who get the customer, the process, the objections, who can sell .What do you do next? Like how do you transform that into something that is useful for everyone?
And especially then as a marketer, like how do we get into that mix?
Susan: So I will look to you for your help to transfer that to marketing too. So the first thing I do, regardless of whether that person, that intuitive person or people are there and they are the first thing I do is I have to change the way they think.
So I spend the first half day or more with them. With the executive sales people and with the marketing team changing the way they think. So I'm overlaying, this is the way a buyer buys. This is how they act. And I want you to watch them. If they're here, what does that mean? If they're there, what does that mean?
If they do this, what does that mean? If they do that? What does that mean? So I'm giving them a mindset and changing the way they think. And often I used to time it. I don't time it anymore. Yeah. But often I used to time it and say, how long is it going to take this company to come to a major aha moment?
Like, Whoa, now we understand why this wasn't working. Whether it comes from executive sales or marketing, and sometimes it was 15 minutes. Sometimes it was 42 minutes.
Sometimes it was 23 minutes, but very early on, they had this. Wow. I didn't know that if we looked at it from this point of view, from the point of view of the buyer, how much of a difference that would make, and part of that , part of that mindset, and I think that's a big part of the first five or six steps of what I do is.
You are on a road trip with your buyer, the buyer's journey. Let's just use that. Literally. We're on a road trip with your buyer. You're in a car with them. It's a two seater car. There's just two seats in it. Nice little coop. And it's you and your buyer, which one is the driver? 75% of the people come back and they say, Oh, well, the seller is the buyer, is the driver.
The buyer is always the driver. They're the ones that are in control. They know the decision they're going to make. They know they're the ones with the money. They know how they're going to process through this. There are people, lots of secrets from you likely, and they're the one that's in control.
So then, well, what is the role of the seller? What is the well, yeah, so your copilot you're sitting in the other seat and you're you have, but you have this thing, you have a roadmap that says, this is how I get from here to the destination, which is a close deal with this prospect. If it's the right fit, if it's an ideal customer.And so you're sitting in that passenger seat and you're watching every single move they make, you're listening to the words they speak too, but words are cheap, right? It's easy to say things, but you're especially watching your behavior and saying, okay, what did they just do? Ooh, they just went off my roadmap there.
I know that if they don't do that or if they just did that, they're never going to get to the place where they can buy this. So we gently suggested, what about this? Did you think about that? How about this? What about involving that person? Did you ever have this problem and we're trying to navigate them back onto the highway that we have defined in our roadmap. Which is, this is the way people buy from us. So that's the first step.
Louis: Is it really the first step? Because it seems like you have what I mean by this is that it's you mentioned that you already have the buyer's journey in front of you in a sense you already understand how their buyers are and stuff like that.
So is it, is that really the first step?
Susan: I understand how buyers think and I overlay how buyers think to how their buyers think. Right? So there is a foundation which is common, whether I'm buying a chocolate bar, a house, or whether I'm buying a $3 million technology solution, there is a common buying process.
Louis: So what is it?
Susan: So let me , let me put it this way and then I'll share a second step of that buying process we've used. So, the buying process, I mean, it's the foundation, let's just take the HubSpot example. The buyer's journey: what are the words they use? Awareness consideration and decision, I think is what they use, right? From a marketing point of view.
Buying process is way more complicated than that, but I think that it's beautiful to simplify it into three stages because we can remember three things. Right. So When I look at the buying process, I use the language why, what and how for those three stages. So why should I change from the way I'm doing things today?
What are my options and how risky is it for me to make the decision to work with you. Now, underneath that there's all kinds of sub steps, right? But if we start with that basic concept, then then we can go then we can go to the next level. And we can say, okay. So the next step is okay. Does it make a difference where I need that buyer in their buying process?
So we have to work with the assumption that in some sales process or some buying process, there's multiple buyers, right? In some, there's just a single buyer across all those three stages. So if you draw the buyer's journey out as a rectangle, a landscape rectangle, and then divide it into three equal columns, and then you put why, what and how over those three. Then if they, if I find them in the first or if they find me when they're in the first stage of their buying process under why.
And these numbers can be very controversial, but I worked with the 80 /20 rule almost all the time. So if they find me or I find them when they're in the first stage of their buying process and why, I have about 80% chance of closing that. If they find me or I find them through SEO or they're doing a search or whatever, they find me in the, 'what' stage of their buying process.
Then I have about 20% of closing that. And really most of my customers saying really, Susan, our close rate is much lower than that. And if you're highly differentiated and a really well-oiled machine, maybe it's, maybe it is that maybe it's higher. And if they come to me and it's all, or I find them in that last part of their buying process where they're just about ready to make a decision and they're just evaluating, is it, you know, should I really go with these people? Is it risky? Then I have 0% chance of winning that effectively. Right. So I'm very interested. It's one of the first things I ask as a sales person.
One of the first things that I teach a company is Whoa, where did that buyer come from? Tell me where they came from and tell me what their title is. Tell me the questions they were asking you. Tell me the things that they asked you for and tell me the things that they looked at on your website. And I go Bing bang, bang, Bock.
And I go, ah, Yep. They're in the, what stage of the buying process. I know that buyer and that buyer is, I have 20% chance of winning this. This is highly competitive. So what do we need to do about that? So depending on how they fit my ideal client, I might just say, you know what, I'm disengaging. That's not worth my time or there's some things I have to do because it's that kind of a buyer.
Does that make sense so far?
Louis: Absolutely. No it's very interesting, which is why I didn't interrupt you. Yeah, it is simple yet. It's very powerful. The way I visualize it is I don't know if you've seen this graphic shared before around the jobs to be done methodology where you have the person that is at the bottom of the hill, they climb the hill and then they arrive at the top and so why is the bottom? It's where they are the study score, right? The accurate state they are in this situation and they are looking, they might struggle with it, but have, you know, they're just starting to think what if we do something different here, right. And think maybe of what, if we can, we do something and we fix this problem.
So that's the top of the hill. And as you said, so it's the why, what and how in that order, right?
Susan: Yes, that's right.Louis: So, what is, they're looking at alternatives and stuff like what could they do, right. But it's not necessarily, should we go for HubSpot or should they go for another CRM or another marketing solution?
It's not yet there. It's more. Should we hire a consultant first? Should we buy software. Should we hire more people?
Susan: I think that, what embodies both of those things that you just said, it embodies the actual solution we're going to buy. It also embodies doing it ourselves.
It also embodies doing nothing right. That is an option. They're all alternatives. And I could say, yeah, I could get a consultant first and then we'll go through this process. Or I could just say, Hey, could you please go and just Google this and see what you come up with. Whatever our internal due diligence processes is to find people.
Louis: It's already turned from a job to be done. They've already decided that the Status Quo is not good enough and they're moving. Right.
Susan: Absolutely right. You're absolutely right. And I've I know the job to be done methodology a bit. I've never seen that graphic. So I think I like it, so, right. So if you look at there's a transition point between.
There's a transition point as you go up your hill, or as I go down my highway through these three stages, right. There's a transition point and right, right between the what, the why and the what? There's a little river. Okay. There's a little river and there's this huge, a big river. There's a massive river actually.
And there's this huge bridge that goes over it. And the buyer goes, Oh, And maybe there's a toll at the bridge. There's definitely a toll at the bridge. And the buyer says, ah, do I really go forward or not? Do I really go forward or not, and this is so important because as you're watching a buyer and you're like, They're not going to go through this process linearly.
They're not going to go along this highway in a perfectly linear fashion. They're not going to climb your hill steadily, like somebody that's super fit and just get right to the end. Like they're going to come to that, that they're going to come to that huge bridge with the toll over the massive river.
And they're going to say. Is this still the number one problem that I should be solving right now? And if it isn't zipped back a little bit, but we go around in circles, right. We go around in circles, we do all kinds of interesting things and we may come back to it. We may not come back to it for a while.
We may never come back to it.
Louis: Yeah. You may just park your car and just leave it. And it's just exactly as you said, is it the most pressing problem? The biggest problem that I'm facing right now? Because it's going to mean time, effort. Sometimes you mentioned that this process, okay. Could be used for like, even like buying a chocolate bar or anything like that.
Now, usually for those lower purchase, lower risk things, they don't spend days and days thinking about it. They are in the supermarket, the why, the what and the how go very quickly, you know, within microseconds sometimes. Right. But for large stuff like, as you said, 2 to 3 million houses or software that costs a hundred grand a year or like just a big problem in an organization with a million people, then this usually takes longer.
So the why is, again, it's the study school are moving away from that. It's recognizing that I have a problem. I don't know how I'm going to solve it and whether or not I actually want to solve it in the first place. Right.
Susan: That is right.Louis: Then. So, what are all of the alternatives and options available to me, whatever that is. And I'm just looking at each of them, weighing them down. And the, how is once I've kind of selected one potential option. And I just decide on the actual provider or the actual thing the name of the intern or the. Is that right?
Susan: Yes, that's right. That's exactly right. Okay. So there's sorry I interrupted you.
Louis: No. That's all I had.
Susan: So there's two interesting pieces. Now let's just look at either end of that. Right. So we can use my visual or your visual. It doesn't matter. So where is the price? Price is at the very end. It appears it has a brief appearance at the very beginning, but really it's at the very end.
Okay. I'll just park that thought using that methodology. And I think the buyer may not park their car. The buyer may kick out the sales person or the sales people that will engage with right. They kicked them out, they just opened the door, pressed the eject seat, boom. Off, they go slam the door, skid around and then say, okay, this is the buying process I have to be on.
It's a different highway. Right. And they go after what they need to do. There's one thing that happens before any of this happens. And before why what or how, and that one thing that happens is there has to be a change because if there is no change, there's no buying process. And I think this is really interesting for marketers.
So you know, when did you, when did somebody last buy a house? Why did you buy the house? Why did you move from where you were? You know, there'll be lots of answers to that question. Well, we had children or, you know, we had, we increased our salary or we got a job change or there's all, there's always a change.
So from a sales person's point of view, that is so important to me because if I could be dealing with the right buyer, I could be dealing with the right problem. But if there is no change, they're never going to get in the car. They're sitting in the office and they're thinking about it, but they're never actually going to get in the car and go on a trip with me.
So I always, you know, if we want to observe the buyer, we also have to ask the buyer questions. So why now? Like, why are you doing this now? And it also tells me something testing to see if there's a change tells me, Oh, aha. I don't actually have the buyer. I've got someone who's in there, the backseat of the car.
And they opened the door for me by reaching over the front seat and they opened the door for me and they let me in, but I didn't even bother checking, but you know what, there's actually no buyer. There's no driver here. I've got somebody in the back seat and they're just running me around in circles.
But this car has no gas, no battery. It's not going in anywhere. So.Louis: Sorry. I just, that's interesting, the trigger that's a critical, like you can call it the catalyst to trigger the change. But whatever that is what transformed a job into a job to be done a thing just to go back to a job, to be done a bit.
That's exactly. That's so important. And you talked about moving house. I can give you a real example. We moved into the house with my wife a few months ago, and I think the trigger was just anticipation. Like maybe we'll have a family soon. So that was that, knowing that, but I think the biggest trigger was we were sick of the apartment we were in.
We wanted more space and I don't know, it didn't come to us. We talked about , talked about it, so it never was an active thing that we started to look into actively. But I think the day, the reason why we moved from like, we the actual catalyst to all of this was when we realized that the government who were, was giving the help to buy schemes, that allowed us to get some money back on our taxes.
If we bought by the end of the year, that was a trigger.
Susan: Yes. So there are multiple things in my language is changing your language, trigger catalyst. So there were almost multiple words there. Like it's like I use the visual. It's not very positive, but I use the visual of a bomb. I actually take styrofoam balls to workshops, little black bombs.
And I just say, you know, here, you're actually going to build a highway with a customer. You've got to blow the rock and all this stuff. So the change is what drops the bomb, you know, to insight. The buyer says, we have to move forward. So it's like your house situation. Multiple bombs were dropped, not even at the same time.
And then finally, ah, the three of them work together and it's like, Whoa, it's time to move.
Louis: So, okay. So that's a very good, I think explanation of how bias thinks in general now, how do you then take that? This intuitive understanding that you have and from your experience, years and years of doing this, and how do you translate that into the reality of a, an organization that might have, like how basically, how do you know those are the catalyst the change, like the bombs and to use your language the alternatives that they are looking into the options.
How do you make them understand it? How do you merge the knowledge that you have into something that is real for them.
Susan: So I'm going to take it once I've helped them to learn, to think like a buyer so they can now self-diagnose right. They can now go, Oh, how would Susan think? Or how would the buyer think?
Maybe that's more important if they say, how did the buyer think? But they often say, how would Susan think? So the next thing that I'm doing is I'm doing the first creating with them the first part of a sales process. So I worked with them on a three staged qualification process, which is all under the heading of ideal customers.
And they're three steps in an ideal customer road test and speed test. I do use the road trip metaphor. So an ideal customer would be, you know, the company, the type of company, the size of company The type of problem, the different roles of the buyer, and we would evaluate a whole bunch of different ones.
And usually we would settle on the ones where the problem is a higher level problem. There are four levels of problems and one of them, we cannot sell on one weekend, but it's hard. The other two are beautiful. So, so. That would be the first level. Then we start to define. Okay. But at a very detailed level, is there one thing or up to three things that you might find in a prospect or in, you know, in a prospect that is delivered to you by marketing as a lead, are there one, two or three things that if they are present, you cannot work with that company?
Because I, as a sales person, I want the sales team to qualify out. Right. I don't want them to waste their time. So we define that can be put on a lead form and we qualify out the ones that we just simply can't work with. Maybe they go into a marketing database and they're nurtured.
And then we proceed onto one of the core tools for it, for the sales team. And that's a speed test. So three columns. Not on purpose. And the first speed is maximum speed, minimum speed and scenic routes. So maximum and minimum speed, you know, does this prospect have the potential? Does this prospect have the potential to go 200 kilometers an hour? Maximum speed. And should I go 200 kilometers an hour as a sales person. Maximum speed.
Does this prospect only have the potential to go at 60 kilometers an hour? And should I therefore make it a second priority and only go at 60 kilometers an hour. And does this one on the scenic route, I'm in Nova Scotia so on a scenic route around the Bay of Fundy, along the shores of the Atlantic ocean, which is beloved to me, but we're never going to get anywhere anytime soon because we keep stopping to dip in the ocean all the time.
So you know what? They're not going to buy from me. It's not a good prospect for a sales person, but it could be for the marketing team. Please nurture them until they get to the point where they can be maximum minimum speed.
And this is super detailed. I used to try to keep it to eight things. In maximum speed and minimum speed. I just gave it, it just depends on what the company but I'm looking at like, Who is the person who's buying? What is the problem they're trying to solve? This problem is maximum speed.
That problems minimum speed, these problems are scenic routes. What is the culture and the mindset? What do they already have? How satisfied are they with what they have? What kinds of requirements do they have? Do we do it today super well, kind of. We're overhanging a bit or not on the roadmap until seven, seven weeks.
So do they think everything should be free? Are they willing to pay for the help they need or like all kinds of criteria? And so now they're starting now, they're starting not to sell to buyers who cannot buy and they're focusing a hundred percent of their attention on buyers who actually can buy. So productivity goes up.
Louis: So let's take a step back a bit because that makes all the sense in the world. But I think that the key step in between that I wonder is really how do you get all this information? And do you sit all the sales people in a room virtual or not? Do you send surveys to customers? I don't know. How'd you get that info?
Susan: I do it in three ways and you're right, it's a very important step. I use my own acumen. I use the knowledge that is in the room with a healthy dose of skepticism. I decide which resonates with a buying process and which doesn't .Which resonates with a good sales process and very important, I will often call customers or prospects and speak with them myself. And actually I was setting up some of those interviews this morning with CEOs of nonprofits. And I will call, ask for 15 minutes of their time. And I'm just trying to sit in that driver's seat. And just sit there and like, you know, how we did when we were children, you know, you see there was no key, but we tried to play at all.
Then we get in and we, you know, try to work the gears and you know, the steering wheel. So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm just saying, all I need is 15 minutes to understand what your world is like? What's on your mind, what's keeping you awake at three o'clock in the morning. What are the highest priorities?
Where does this one fit in? Like, is it even in the top three? When would it become the top three? What would need to change? And if you decided to go forward, how would you do that? And all the time that I'm having these conversations I'm listening to, what is the language of that buyer? What naturally comes out of their mouth, because then it's not business speak that is written on the website.
It's not business speak that the sales person delivers. It's not technology speak. It's the natural language that the buyer speaks. And when they hear that in first person, either through marketing or with your sales, they go, they just have this level of trust and comfort. They understand my world.
Louis: So, do you interview people who have bought recently or do you interview people who are in the process?
Susan: People who have purchased, people who are in the process and, people that don't even know the company. So I've gone out to my network in the last couple of days and said, who do you know that is a CEO of a nonprofit?
And actually I don't even care if they're interested in the product that my client sells. I just need to imbibe what is happening without a buyer in a nonprofit.Louis: So before we deep dive into that a bit more just want to come back to what you said about the skepticism when you talk to like two people in the room who know clients, I know it may be intuitive again and maybe difficult to voice out, but what are the typical things that you hear that are bullshit and that, you know, are bullshit and they're lying to themselves a bit or the ones that are actually true that you feel yeah.
Susan: The price is too high. I'm just, I'm thinking this through as I'm answering so I'll be a little slow. Jump in any time. The price is too high. We need this feature in order to sell. They didn't buy it because we didn't have X. They ghosted me. I couldn't get access to that person. I don't know who that person is.
I don't know the title of the person I was speaking with. I don't know what changed. What, and I might ask the question, you know, what problem are they trying to solve? And if I get an answer, like yeah yeah, the problem is that they need a CRM. That's a solution. What is the problem? Right. And so there, that was nine.
Louis: That's good. And talking about the problems. Give me an example of, if you can think back of clients you work with recently you said there's four types of problems. Two that are quite interesting. Like what's the difference between the two types? Should I say? Like very interesting and not interesting at all?
Like how do you know, okay, this one is good.
Susan: Let me, I'll give you the four types and then I'll give you some examples. So at the bottom nice to have. Very B to C you know, B to C companies can make billions on nice to have products, but not in the B2B world. The next level up is it solves a frustrating problem.
So put beside that cent sign, even though we don't have pennies, at least in Canada anymore. So put the cent sign beside that, like, yeah. It's frustrating. We have a workaround. We have to hire a few people to do this, that, and the other thing. And so really it's not that painful. It's not that painful.
They have a workaround, you can get them to move, but it requires very good salesmanship. The next level up is impact. Even if they don't measure it, they know intuitively that it has an impact on their organization, top line, bottom line market share profitability, revenue costs, whatever, like big costs, whatever the fourth level up, which doesn't happen very often.
It's not that many companies that sell these problems are do or die. Right. So It's not all that common in big companies say, Oh no, I saw a do or die impact, actually, no, you solve that. You solve an impact problem. So the bottom one you can't sell on and B2B. The next one is frustrating, you can, but it requires good salesmanship.
The next one up impact is beautiful. Beautiful. Now what I see, I want to just stop on that intersection between impact and frustrating. So what I see is I see a lot of frustrating problems being messaged. I see a lot of frustrating problems being targeted by and messaged and marketed and, you know, content marketing around them.
I see a lot of less successful and more junior sales people selling on frustrating problems, lower value problems, but the more seasoned sales person or the more intuitive sales person or the more confident sales person is going for the it's going for the impact. And sometimes it's the difference between this is the person I know I need to speak to, which is the person who owns the impact problem versus this is the person that's easy to get to.
Or this is the person that marketing gave me.
Louis: Yeah, there've been given the, there've been intro to this person, maybe in a scenario where the boss just say to this person, Hey, do some research. And maybe this person doing research doesn't feel the pain as much. Doesn't really care about the problem.
They're just being paid to do that. And they don't really understand the ramification potentially while the boss knows that it's an impact problem. Can you give you an example? Maybe from again, from, from one of the clients you work with recently the difference between like an impact problem versus a frustrating problem.
Susan: So a frustrating problem would be. It takes me 70 hours a week to just manage the schedule for the volunteers that I'm using for the food relief programs for the pandemic. An impact problem would be, we, there has never been a greater need in our generation for us to help other humans. And there are so many programs that we could run that fit with our mission.
So many causes that we want to help with that we just don't have the resources or time to get to them. And we need to free ourselves up to be able to do that. It's mission critical. Some of those could actually be, do or die. I'm just going through a couple, I'm just going through a couple of clients.
Okay. Here's another one. Frustrating problems would be we,you're going to notice a theme. We have to manually take the information when one of our customers orders something from us, we have to take that manually and take it from the, you know, the person who set the service up for them and manually put that in a finance system.
And it takes about three hours every week to do that. And it takes somebody who's qualified to do something else, and we really could have them doing something else. And it ends up that you know, it's about X number of hours a week. Versus an impact problem we are losing, we are leaking about. 10% of our revenue every month because of these manual transitions, not cross selling and upselling people.Not knowing that we provisioned something and we actually didn't get it in the system and didn't bill for it, but we're leaking minimum 10% of our revenue every month we need to solve that now. But that's an impact problem and different buyers are right. Often there can be different buyers.
Louis: So sometimes it sounds like at the root of it, it could be the same problem, but the understanding of the buyer is different where they've done their analysis internally.
They understand that the fact that they are each spending three hours a week on that means instead of doing something else, it's actually making them lose millions at the end of every year
Louis: Okay, and that's kind of a good salesperson would be able to do that. If you are coming in from frustrating points of view, like this type of problem, where they say, well, we are losing three hours a week or a month or day you know, it would be nice to solve it.
Maybe as an experienced buyer, you'd come in and say, Well, let's let me run that through the calculator. And actually it turns out that you should each spend three hours a week on that I mean, as you said, at the end of the year, do you know how much money you're losing and then that's when you transfer it to an impact product, right?
Susan: Yes. Yes it's hard work, but it's doable. And like often those two levels of problems are aligned with two levels of buyers, whether they're a different person or whether it's just a different ability, mindset or role. And they're often they don't have to always be, but they're often aligned with a different source.
So inbound or outbound. Right now, if you're marketing to the why buyer and you're selling to the why buyer, then it's going to be consistent. It's going to be usually an impact problem. And if you're actually really, it depends also on what business you're in. So you could have defined a business around frustrating problems.
And you just can't elevate it above it. So my recommendation often is, wow, that's going to be hard. That's going to be really hard.
Louis: Give me an example
Susan: I can think of a company, just as clear as day, and I can't remember what the frustrating problem was. Okay, let me, okay. I'll go to another one way back in my archives. The. We don't - families really should eat together more often and, you know, cook meals, but a lot of people don't know how to cook and they don't know how to buy and they don't know how to buy groceries and what to buy and what goes with what.And so we're going to create a cookbook that says here is the menu for every week and blah, blah, blah, blah. And that's a frustrating problem. Like there are so many work arounds for that. Like let's buy online. Let's get a subscription to people who deliver these gourmet ready-made meals.
It's just too much hard work to teach them something that they're not intuitively going to do. That's a frustrating problem. That business didn't go anywhere. That was actually B to C, which isn't my space, but it's what came back to me from years ago.
Louis: Yeah. And it's, I think that's a very good way to put it. And so many businesses are being launched every day on frustrating problems. Yeah. It's frustrating, but really to make them move and spend time researching and taking a decision like that, it's just incredibly difficult. It's an uphill battle. You know, they understand the problem, right?
It's not the problem is not that they don't understand. It's like I'm not waiting to solve it. They don't really have the willpower to do it because the gains don't necessarily outweigh the pain that it takes time and attention and talking to sales and what not. Okay. Last thing I wanted to ask you.
In this process, which is super interesting. Thanks for simplifying it's. It's really interesting. So once you, have you talked to customers, yourself, recent customers, people who are not even customers, you understand them, you lay that on top of your understanding or on like the, why, the, why, the what and, the how, what's the next step?
What do you like to do then? With your clients?
Susan: And then I'm going to actually map out a sales process for them. But there's a step just before that. And the step that is before that is I have now learned the good behaviors in the organization, the good sales behaviors, that match best practices that work with the way a buyer buys.
And I've also identified the poor sales practices. So, I have this list of here are the things we need to repeat doing, and here are the behaviors we need to change. And they're usually related to, you know, to individuals, they can be across the board, but there's usually pockets of these kinds of things.
So I have that list of things that we should continue doing. And so that needs to be hard-coded in the sales process. And I have this list of behaviors that need to change. I may not choose all of them at the beginning, but I need to choose at least the most important ones. And I need to hard-code that into the sales process.
So I have that list and then I go and I start creating the sales process and say, okay here's the buyer's buying process. Here are the questions we need to ask that the tools we need to do use the things we need to do. In order to truly validate that the buyer is actually in that stage of their buying process with us.
And if they're here in this stage, we need to do this to make sure we can move them here or move them back in their buying process. So, that last piece, the, you know, the activities that get lined up with pipeline stages that are in the CRM, that line up with the buying process There's one super important thing in the, in, in mapping out the sales roadmap.
And that important thing is I really don't care, salesperson, I really don't care what you just did. I don't care what you think. I don't care what you feel. I care what the buyer said, and most importantly, I care about what the buyer did because it tells me where the buyer is in their buying process. So a lot of what is embedded into the roadmap are questions and activities that will help to validate where's the buyer and their buying process because the sales person could be at 80% percent, probably closing. Right. You know, I did the discovery call. I asked those questions like rote and I gave the demo and I sent the quote it's at 80%. It's at 80% of you finished, but the buyer is actually sorry. The buyer is still back at 20%. So that's what I'm trying to accomplish in the sales roadmap is lining up the selling behaviors with the buyer.
Louis: Well, this is an absolute pleasure to talk to. I really love the way you simplify stuff for everyone to understand. Even people are not sales people. And I think at the end of the day, what matters in this exercise is that it's all about the people buying stuff, right? That's how they pay our salary and maybe to relieve the tension between marketing and sales.
As we talked at the start is to have a common understanding of that truly good understanding and being able to say, okay, how do we go in together to help them solve their problems and in the meantime also [inaudible] and make money. So yeah. Thank you very much for your time. Just have one question to ask you: Where can people ask you questions and connect with you and learn more from you?
Susan: LinkedIn? I'm the only Englehutt on the planet, at least on the LinkedIn planet. They can go to my company website the Way Buyers Buy as well. And if they click on the blog, they'll see a series in there of some of this thinking, which might be helpful.
Louis: And maybe just spell out with your last name for everyone in case they're listening in the car.
Susan: Yes. E N G L E H U T T.
Louis: Brilliant. Well, once again, Susan, you've been a pleasure. Thanks so much for sharing all your wisdom and experience working with so many people and companies.
Susan: Thank you very much.