Welcome to Sales for Founders, the podcast for founders who want to go from hating sales to making sales.
This week, your host Louis is talking to sales expert Brendan McAdams.
Brendan is the cofounder of Expertscape. He also has over two decades of experience working as a salesperson. And — last but not least — he recently released a book and runs live trainings on how to get better at sales.
In this episode, we talk about…
- ... how did Brendan make the first sales for Expertscape?
- ... what qualities does a founder need to become “good enough” at sales?
- ... how has sales changed over the past few decades?
… and much, much more!
You can find Brendan on Twitter.
And don’t forget to check out the totally free fundamentals of sales course at SalesForFounders.com--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/sales-for-founders/message
[00:00:00] brendan : [00:00:00] sure. first of all, Louis, thanks for having me, love the show. Brennan McAdams, I'm a co-founder of a company expert scape and, This is a, the tool is a, it's a website, a resource for finding medical experts in very specific conditions. And, it uses pub med to churn through, all the publications, all the medical publications on a given topic.
And then it ranks the medical experts by geography and by institution and by individual. And prior to that, I was doing a lot of enterprise sales for a number of years. Very kind of big deals in, in telecom and then, financial services and ultimately in healthcare for the last, 15 or more years.
And, and then I went out and did some, sales consulting for about the last decade. so in the myths Tibet, we started experts scape and, and that's what I'm working on right now.
louis : [00:00:55] I can't wait to dig into that. So we have, three main things we want to look at on today's episode, [00:01:00] right? We're going to start off by looking at experts scape and doing a deep dive into how you've been doing sales for that and how the process has changed. And maybe some things that you've learned along the way.
Then I know you've recently written a book on sales, and we want to dive into some of the lessons from bear that you found to be very important over the last couple of years of doing sales yourself, but also helping others to learn how to do sales. as well. And then finally, obviously were not going to let you get away, given your, long experience of sales and how sales has changed over the last 10 or 15 years or so.
without talking a bit about that and your experience as well. So why don't we dive in with experts scape then? Can you give me. a rough idea of who the customer is for this, what stage the company's at, how many of you there are, that kind of thing.
brendan : [00:01:48] Sure certainly. and give a brief explanation of how the, what the product or the service does. we spent a number of years before we actively pursued revenue. just [00:02:00] having the site out there and talking to customers for a long period of time, potential customers, users, and so forth literally for several years, probably because we had our own, we each had our own, projects and jobs going and, my partner and I.
Partly because we really didn't know what the business model was. We it's the classic example of building something without knowing who your customer is. First, this was a, it was created out of, a personal need that my business partner had and, and built it. And then we had to figure out who the customer is.
So what we've come to figure out is, the primary customers, the primary users are consumers of healthcare that are faced with a serious condition. Or referring physicians who are looking to either refer that a patient of theirs to a specialist or to consult with a patient consult with a physician, excuse me, about a patient and a particular diagnosis.
And that's the user, [00:03:00] but the. Purchaser of our services, is typically the academic medical centers in the United States who are the U S markets different than there are for your international users. The us market is different than the rest of the world, in a sense it's much more commercial and it's, it's a very much a marketing driven sort of, industry.
So hospitals compete for business and they, their reputations are really important to them. And so they promote them and we found that we're, we identify the top experts in the world. Oftentimes they don't even know who they are. And so we help them market their expertise, to the.
Out to the healthcare consumers and referring physicians.
louis : [00:03:46] Wow. Interesting. So there's a lot to unpack there. this is great stuff. That's a, it's a difficult position to be in, right when you start off and you've built something that you need yourself, but you have no idea who else needs it, why they'd need it and who they are. [00:04:00] And, if you can even find them, some position, I know a lot of people listening to this will be in as well.
And if people are just starting out and they haven't built anything at all yet, it's generally something that I think most people would. Would recommend avoiding being in that situation, because you can never be sure that you will, you will be able to even find, or even that customer does exist.
but it sounds like you've done a brilliant job of finding who that person is and who that audience is, who that customers, can we dig maybe a little bit into exactly how you did that?
brendan : [00:04:30] we spent a lot of time talking to after the product was built and was available, in the market, we spent a lot of time reaching out to the people, at the top of each list. Now you have to understand that there are literally 29,000 plus different topics that we rank, and these are all kind of medical topics.
So it'll be gout and psoriasis, but it also be, it'll be. very specific medical compounds and procedures and, hip [00:05:00] replacement and so forth. and then people publish on these various topics. And what we did was we would reach out to experts and institutions and let them know that this resource existed and let them shoot holes in it.
And what we found over time is that we were quite good at making the system quite. I use the term Bulletproof, my partner doesn't like that because it's, it's, it seems arrogant, but, it's really quite defensible. The results are quite defensible in so far as there's. There are some limitations.
And we, we mentioned those pretty, pretty adamantly and frequently. What the limitations are. You wouldn't use it for a primary to find a primary care physician. You wouldn't use it if you've got, you want a knee replacement because you really want a doc that does just does a lot of knee replacements.
And that person may not publish a lot. And we're entirely driven by what people publish on a topic. So we ended up speaking to a lot of experts in academic medical centers and tried to [00:06:00] understand how they work and think and so forth. and that kind of led us to understand that the, at least in the initially the best market for us was the academic medical center, because they're focused on burnishing their brand.
louis : [00:06:18] Okay. Awesome. So what did that look like? Were you sending out emails to people? What's the process, step-by-step, don't spare any details exactly how you went from. This thing seems cool. And we have, we've built this product and it seems great.
Now. I'd like someone to ideally pay for it all the way through to customer number one.
brendan : [00:06:36] Yeah. we had a bit of a, I dunno if it's a misstep, you would call it aura or, But we start out by generating, what we call a, a badge or, credential that's that they can, that the physician or the expert could buy and then make that available as an early product. And then would proceed to go out and sell that directly to experts.
Not that many people would buy it [00:07:00] initially. And the reason largely was. And so there's a bit of a miscalculation on our part. And that is because we were unknown brand an unknown in the marketplace. Not that many people really found that to be a compelling purchase. And so what we ended up doing is we ended up, we have access.
we email a lot of these physicians and these experts. And let them know that they're on the they're on the top of the list. you're the, one of the top people in the world in, valve replacement and, and they would find that intriguing as you might end it and a pleasant surprise.
And so it might be spam in a sense, if you were to get an email from someone that said, Hey, Louis, you're one of the best people in the world at, sales, training or our sales consultation. You wouldn't mind getting that. That email, especially if it was very highly data-driven and objective, and that's how our model works.
It's very rigorous and there's no way to game it and so forth. And so what we would do is we [00:08:00] would reach out to a lot of these physicians and we would reach out to academic medical centers. And I think the first lesson that, that I would take away from this whole experience is knowing who. Who the customer is and who the purchaser is.
And in our case, the person that wants to use this kind of recognition is the physician or the expert they want, they like the recognition. It's good for their reputation among their peers. It's good for, for, finding customers. it's good for finding a research assistance, and it just helps with their credibility.
but they, but that's not typically the purchaser in Ark, we discovered was the academic medical center. And for us, it was a two-part sale in the sense you really, it really helped. Helps us to get the academic, to get the experts, the physicians on board and aware. And if they're motivated, they would come with us to the, the marketing department [00:09:00] and, and then push and help us navigate to the marketing department to, conduct a program, do some marketing, and promotion together.
And so that was the kind of real discovery going directly to the marketing department. First, inevitably got us nowhere. And we're still at the stage where the sales are not as difficult anymore for us to make, but it still helps tremendously to have the physicians on board and bought in because if the physicians are, bought in and like it.
They're, they tend to be very rigorous and skeptical. And so if you've made them comfortable, then they have the, we found that they have the ability to help you move that, that sail along. And I think that's transferable across a lot of industries. A lot of times you'll find that the beneficiary of your product is not the person that pays for it.
And So getting them per them on board and getting them, [00:10:00] engaged and, and helping to coach you and help you navigate the internal buying processes. It was just, it was the lesson that I've learned. I've learned over and over again in my selling career. And it certainly turned out to be true with, with experts gate.
louis : [00:10:16] Yes. there's so much to unpack that. So there's the idea of, having multiple stakeholders, being aware of, that they don't all have the same, objections and goals and reasons for buying as each other. There's the idea of, that kind of bottom up, having an internal champion and having a bottom up sales process like that, Versus going top down and seeing completely different levels of success by doing that. what I'd love to do now is not let you get away with, that description of it. people that make sense to us. There are people I think, at home, Not done much sales before who are sitting there thinking, okay, this all sounds great in practice, but what does that actually mean?
So can you walk through an example sale, maybe it's number one, maybe it's sale, number three, something like that. it doesn't have to be exact, [00:11:00] but just a ballpark, something that was pretty typical
brendan : [00:11:03] sure. Yeah, absolutely. And, and so as I kinda mentioned, what we've learned is it really helps to go in with the physicians, in mind. And so I do some homework in the background first, with a given customer or a given prospect, I will look to see. who's highly ranked inside that organization.
and if there are a number of people in a given department, that's even better. So I'll do that homework beforehand. So if, if, if a, urology department is particularly has a number of highly ranked individuals, then I will look. I will identify all of those individuals by doing kind of an overlap analysis.
and then, who's in their department and who's also in our database and how are they're ranked? And then what I'll do is I will, I'll also see how they rank in, the, our kind of primary competitor, if you will, as us news and world reports does an annual ranking [00:12:00] of the top institutions in the country.
And it's. An interesting, exercise. But what I do is I then look and see how they rank relative to us news rankings. And oftentimes, they're underrated comparative to us news. we think they're underrated. And so I will make that part of the messaging. And then what I'll do is I'll figure out who these individuals are and I'll email them.
And the email will say something like. Just thought you'd like to know that your highlight your world ranked or you're in the top 1% in the world, in kidney stones or in, nephrectomy or what, whatever it happens to be. and then, and I may do that with every individual in their department.
Who's highly ranked or I'll do it with a few and I'll do it over some period of time. And then, so that might be the first email. And then a few weeks, a few days later, or whatever, I, or if they've opened the email, I will then come back [00:13:00] to them and say, okay. Oh, I thought you'd like to see here's your whole list.
And we, a lot of these people who are really talented, they'll, there'll be a number of different topics. And I guess the takeaway here is people like to hear about themselves. and if there's another lesson in all of this it's that people want to hear about themselves, they want to hear, they want their own problem solved.
They want to, their own perspective, and. And I found that, these emails have to be quite short, two or three, four sentences. These are physicians. They're very busy, but they do read their email and they do respond. And if I will, I'll get, if I sent 10 emails out to people telling me that, telling them that they're one of the top experts in the world, I will get three or four answers back.
And, I'll get a few that will be very interested. They'll thank you. I'll get a, tell me more. Can you do, run a report for my entire department and then we're off and running and then, and in some cases, people read the email, open the email, or what have you, [00:14:00] and then not do anything.
And then I will follow up. I'll put in a, a reminder to just to send them something else about them or one of their peers that's in the department. And then there'll be a follow-up email to that. And, a week or so later that might say something like we, here's what we can do. We can help you with your us news rankings, if that's important to you.
And so there's a kind of an email, exchange that goes on until there's some level of interest. and one of the points I would certainly want to make is that it's really key to do follow up and to not give up and on, just because you don't hear back from someone that's a decision-maker or in a.
Position of, influence and authority inside an organization, because in this day and age, people are getting hundreds of emails a day. and so you just, you can't give up, you have to be a certain amount of, there has to be a certain amount of tenacity. and then once the conversation gets going, what it will be is [00:15:00] there'll be a conference call.
And, and I aim for, 30 minutes at most. And I only asked for 15 to 30 minutes, here's what we do. I will send them a few slides prior to the call, a day or two prior. Here's what we're going to talk about. I don't. I don't tell them anything, everything in the call in a, before the call, but I do prep them, for the phone call and then we'll have a phone call and then I'll explain, here's what we do.
Here's how we do it. Here's how you're ranked. And then, and here's how all your expertise I did a kind of a cursory overlap analysis and here's what, here's how we can help you. And then what I, my objective is to say, Listen, you're important. You've got, you're doing surgeries and research and all these other things.
I really want to talk to someone in your marketing department and who's in charge of growing your business. And then it becomes a real, the idea is to [00:16:00] get in front of the marketing department or the communications or whomever is responsible for that person's, or that departments. Awareness campaign in the marketplace.
And then I want to get in front of those folks and talk to them and then it becomes a discovery process. And I can go into that in some detail.
louis : [00:16:21] Awesome. Yeah. there's so much to unpack that already. Of what you said about the emails. I find it fascinating that you are, you're nurturing, right? You're always providing more value than you're asking for. you're not going in with a big ask. You're starting a conversation, obviously being respectful of their time, but you're providing value from day one, which I think a mistake that a lot of people will make.
They will go in and ask for a half an hour call straight off the bat just for no good reason at all, which is rarely work. So I think that's something that a lot of. People can emulate for sure. And should listen to, I'd love to jump a bit into the discovery call and maybe just how you guide them towards then actually making the sale and, how do you [00:17:00] ask for that?
Who would you ask at what point do you feel comfortable asking for money and something? We didn't touch on the, I don't know how much you can discuss, but what ballpark are we? Are we talking here? Are we talking, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands. What's an average, kind of sale.
brendan : [00:17:14] Sure. I'll I'll first answer that question. And so our. Sales are way we construct the sale is because, academic medical centers are particularly motivated to improve their us news rankings. a, which is a status symbol in us medicine, especially among the major hospitals.
so that's their priority. There's no clear ROI for this. so it's a motivator for them to improve their rankings. And, but there's no. you can't tie that if you're in the top 10, you're going to get X percent more revenue than if you're not in the top 10, but it is so that's the challenge that we're up against is that [00:18:00] we're helping them to raise their, their, rankings.
But what we really want to do is help them with their referrals and patient awareness and rep reputation in their general markets. Those deals. Are typically a year in length. So we wanna, we w the engagements are for a year, is what we're ideally, or six months in some cases, but usually for a year.
And they're in excess of now a days, $10,000 or more for a department. To answer that question. I do want to go back and just, say that I, you asked the question about our, you've made the comment about, not asking them for sale right away. I find that I don't spend any time trying to sell people, asking them to make the purchase for a long period of time, because I'm really.
I'm really determined to, I take a very Zen approach to this and that is, I want to determine whether or not there's a fit and because this is a relationship that lasts for a [00:19:00] year and hopefully much longer than that. And so I really we're looking for customers that are very, that have the same kind of mindset.
And we've actually walked away from a number of customers because they didn't have the. The right perspective and either wanted something for free or they wanted it for free or they wanted something. They wanted to do things that we didn't feel comfortable doing. And so we really look for, a kind of, a close overlap in terms of the, the core value system that we have as, and that's one of the things we look for throughout this conversation.
louis : [00:19:36] Yeah. Great. I think that's a very smart thing as a salesperson as well. That's a real skill to develop is knowing. Okay. Yes, it's not just which customers will buy, but being able to identify customers that won't buy or that you don't want to work with early on. So especially with an involved sales process like yours, they are not spending, weeks or months in multiple meetings with them [00:20:00] only to have wasted all that time because they were never going to be able to buy or stick around for a while in the first place.
brendan : [00:20:07] Yeah, I just, I think one of the things that's really important as a salesperson is, and this is incredibly true for early stage, companies is that you want to identify who. Our good customers who good customers are because you can find yourself accepting a deal that. Proves really disadvantage a real disadvantage to the company in because it affects the trajectory of where you go, your product development, the kind of the psychic energy that you spend.
And, I really, we really try to look for customers that can operate off of a, a simple agreement and a handshake. And we try to always over-deliver, but we do so in a way that, That's consistent with our, with where we want to go as a company. and so I think that's incredibly valuable skill to learn. [00:21:00]
So getting into the discovery process, so then, we've learned a lot with the physicians, the experts, by this point, we know what's important to them and who's who they are, who they're looking to profile and what procedures and that sort of thing. And so now we're at the, we're talking to the marketing department and the marketing folks.
Inside the organization. And if the physicians are really on board, then there's a certain amount of pressure for the marketing PR department to go along and to do this. And they will then either come up with reasons why it can't be done inside the corporation and they have to be defensible.
and and in order to not choose to work with us, because we're the David to, to the U S news, Gullah, Goliath, so to speak. And so we. We have to uncover those reasons during the conversations we have with marketing. And sometimes they're [00:22:00] very legitimate. They've got legitimate reasons.
They, they don't have budget. they don't have resources, that the U us news isn't that important to them. It's whatever it might be. and or others. but during the discovery process, that's one of the things we have to figure out is what, what are the reasons that they might choose not to want to work with us?
And, but as important is that for us, and this is one of the things I find is really important in terms of stressing during the discovery process, which is an ongoing thing, with these customers, even after the sale is made, you're still learning more about how they work and what's important and w what their processes are and so forth.
But one of the kind of core elements that I've tried to work for, work towards. when talking to the customer is what are the obstacles to implementation? What are the obstacles to adoption? What are the obstacles to success? They, one of the things we found [00:23:00] is that, we will make a sale and then the customer just doesn't execute it.
Doesn't do. just doesn't follow through on their end, they're just not set up to do so they're, they're distracted by other things. And we end up with a customer that pays us and just doesn't get that much value. It doesn't happen a lot, but it has happened to us. And so I. Spend a lot of my time trying to figure out what's going to get in the way of them being successful.
And it's oftentimes stuff on their end. And one of the things we've really worked hard to do is to make it automatic for them that they almost don't have to do anything. And if there are things that they have to do that they absolutely have to do. We really outline them and, and make them clear.
And, and even if they have to do them, if we can take on some more of that responsibility, we do an example of that would be, There [00:24:00] are instances where we can create graphics and ads on their behalf. And now we're at the point now where we try and do that artwork for them. And, they'll have a, they'll have an annual report that we'll have to go out to their donors and to, or to.
To for a department or more what have you, and we'll create the page that goes into their annual report that talks about all their experts and by doing so, it just, it's not part of our contract, but we do it because it just, it, it takes all the friction out. And so I guess one of the things I would say is we spent a lot of time trying to understand where the friction is going to exist in the S in the, in not only the sale, but mostly in the, in the implementation, after the sale.
louis : [00:24:42] Yeah, when is the job of a sales person done? When it comes to the kind of sales that you're doing at what point in that kind of the customer's journey is sales over.
brendan : [00:24:55] That's an excellent question because for me, I certainly don't think the [00:25:00] sale is done. when the contract is signed and I, if there's an agreement and a check is pay, that those are meaningless to me as far as I'm concerned. They're great that they're a milestone and that's okay.
But that's really, for me where the work begins. I want, I really don't find, the sale to be successful, unless. Unless this, the customer is successful because I really want the reference that comes out of it. I want the return on investment analysis that comes from it. and because, most of my selling, or not most, a lot of my selling has been referral-based and word of mouth and, and, And reputation based kind of selling.
So we've delivered for We can deliver for you pick up the phone and call them. And so for me, I, I really, I'm really obsess over how things go post sale, the post contract, if you will. that's where I think the, I don't know if that's a [00:26:00] satisfactory answer to your question, but that's the way I think about it.
louis : [00:26:03] Yeah, that's brilliant. And it's exactly what I wanted to dive into as well, because I think most people listening to this, you have never done sales. Before proper sales. A lot of what they think of is either sell me this pen or they think of the door to door, vacuum sales person. Who's putting you under pressure.
They're never going to see you again, as soon as you give them the money that sale is done and dusted for them, but that doesn't really work for most salespeople. It's definitely not how good salespeople. Especially in software, especially if you're in the early stages would operate because of reputation because, if they don't come back after, to pay in month two, or if they don't come back after the first annual contract, then it probably wasn't worth it in the first place to sell it to them.
So I'd love to hear if you have any. Any thoughts about how to do that particularly well, things that people should watch out for maybe this is a good time to bring up the book that you've been writing and to talk about some of the lessons from there as well. And we can move into that.
there was a lot of questions at once, which is a terrible thing to do as a podcast host, but pick one of them and we [00:27:00] can pick up the rest of the second.
brendan : [00:27:02] I mentioned early on that I take a kind of a Zen approach to sales and that is, I believe that one of the best things you can learn, how to do is if you can get to the point from a mindset where you don't feel like you need the deal. If the minute you start to need the deal, I think you start to Telegraph that you need the deal.
and I find that, it's really helpful. It's healthy for both you and for the customer to go into a sale with a curiosity about how it's going to turn out. And, and I think if you can get to that mindset, you take a fair amount of pressure off yourself. And I have a. So I wrote as, thank you.
Thank you for mentioning, I wrote a book on sales, it's called sales craft, and it's really just fundamentals of sales. It's just something I've been doing for, I've been taking notes about different kind of just fundamental techniques and,
I have a chapter in the book that talks about killing your deal. And [00:28:00] at some point in the sales process and maybe multiple points in the sales process, you have to be prepared to try to kill your deal. And I don't mean to just. Just blow it up, sabotage it. But I do mean that you have to be prepared to ask the sort of questions that are going to get you to a place where you discover that it's not a good fit.
And, it's really counterintuitive. To do this because you don't want to spoil it. You don't want to, you don't want to ruin a deal that's going the right way, but you have to ask certain questions because I think that when you do that, you, the kind of unintended consequences, if you will, is it disarms the customer and it makes them feel like much more that you're in a consultant role, than you are a sales role.
And as a founder, a startup, I think this is. Invaluable because you're more, much more likely to get real answers from customers and it's those real answers and there's real [00:29:00] information and insights that I think that are, that will inform. Inform your product and your philosophy, th the kind of the users and what the benefits are.
And so I really take a kind of, I think, a Zen approach or, a willingness to not, to not make the sale, I think is a really healthy, Is a really healthy attitude. And with SAS sales, as you've mentioned in previous, in your previous podcasts, it just pays to do that because it's so easy to cancel nowadays.
It's so easy to elect pay live through it for a month and then decide you don't need it. And then, you've got this churn that just wasted cycles for you.
louis : [00:29:42] Yeah, I love that so much. I love the idea that like you touched on before as well. It's not just about making sure that you get the right feedback and the good feedback, but also making sure you avoid bad feedback from people who are completely the wrong kind of customer for you, and you don't want more of them in the first place.
I love that [00:30:00] idea. So yeah. What other things have you seen then? What are the other kind of big sales mistakes that you see or inexperienced salespeople, founders making, and you have maybe two or three that you could highlight that are things that you think are important to mention.
brendan : [00:30:17] I touched on one of them a little bit earlier, and that is, is I find that follow-up is, Is lacking in a lot of cases. It is. I think it's really important in the sales process to be careful what you promise, when you're going to do something and and then if you are going to promise something that you have to follow up on it, if you say I'm going to get you a proposal by Friday, then you really have to get them a proposal by Friday.
And these are, I know these are. Brain dead, simple sorts of things, but this is something that is so overlooked and it's so Infor it's so infrequent that people execute on follow up properly. I think also, you ought to create [00:31:00] opportunities to follow up. and that is when you close out a conversation with a customer, you should always close out that conversation with some.
Next step and there should be some thing to follow up and it should be somewhat specific. let's get together by, I'll follow up with you. We'll set up our next call now for next Thursday or we'll, or I'll get you this proposal by next Thursday or what have you. and then getting them to Agreed to some level of commitment is completely reasonable. You're doing this work for them. You're putting a proposal together. They've asked for a proposal, you understand what they need. You're going to send them a proposal. they owe you the courtesy of a response. And the nuances in how to do that without being offensive.
That's probably way more than we can cover in this time, but there are things you can do to make that completely reasonable. So that would be another one. and related to follow up [00:32:00] is I, I'm a stickler for showing up on time. you show up on time and. if you're there, if you're these things Telegraph a certain thing, I have my philosophy about sales is that I think that it's really not that hard for founders to be adequately good, effective at sales.
And I think they need to be, and I don't think it's that big a lift for them to do, to become effective. And I think there are just a number of fundamental things that if you do, you can get maybe not to be great at it, but you can certainly be a very effective at it. and so those are some of the takeaways I would, I would immediately go to.
louis : [00:32:42] that was some of the, I think the best two or three minutes of advice we've had on the podcast so far. I loved every bit of that. it's so true. It's something that people just, especially people who haven't done sales before, just find so difficult to understand that being a good, decent sales person and effective sales person, [00:33:00] it's not about being flashy or putting people under pressure or being a people person even necessarily.
It's just that boring stuff of showing up on time, following up, being structured, not letting things go down, having a process and a structure in place to follow up, but it needs to be done. It's something that. All of us can do, if we try, we put some effort into it and it's, that's so it's so valuable.
And that was really great.
brendan : [00:33:24] can I just add to that with one other kind of observation? I, for founders and early startups, startup companies, they have a certain kind of superpower in the sense that, they, they know. A lot about their product. they're experts at their product and they also have the ability to change the product.
So they have, they're where the buck stops and they have authority. They have influence inside of their company and their ability to change things on behalf, improve things on behalf of their prospective customers. so those should give them, give you as a founder of [00:34:00] a sense of confidence when you go in.
But I think then the next thing you have to do is not feel like you have to be the smartest person in the room all the time. if you can go into a conversation rather than a sales call with a cut, with a perspective customer and understand and go in with a mindset that, Oh, there are things I can learn from this person.
I may be smarter than them at certain things, but they're going to be smarter at other things. and they may have some process or workflow or obstacle that may be completely illogical. Trust me there. if it's American business, there's plenty of illogic inside the company, but they're there, but those things exist for a reason and they exist because of.
Past history or just sheer bloat inside the company or whatever, but there are reasons that these sort of obstacles sometimes exist and your job as a kind of a founder salesperson is to [00:35:00] uncover those things and to understand them and greet them with a certain curiosity. And if you can adopt that mindset and that kind of mentality, then the conversation is inevitably going to go better.
louis : [00:35:13] That was great. I can give an example of that I often use. So one of those obstacles is a technical founder will very often see. See someone in a big company, coordinating everything with a very inefficient, a terrible spreadsheets and think, wow, this is going to be an amazing product. I can sell them a software as a service product that will replace that and make it way easier.
And they are going to love this. Whereas the salesperson who, or the head of the sales experience found it, we'll see that. You can same spreadsheet and say, okay, there's an opportunity here, but there's almost guaranteed almost one person at that company. One employee whose entire job is safe based on the fact that they're the only one who knows how to operate that spreadsheet.
So they are going to fight like hell to make [00:36:00] sure that spreadsheet does not get replaced. And you're going to have to find something that's going to console them and make sure that they're comfortable. And safe in the knowledge that their job will be okay, and that they can provide more value and that they'll be around and it's going to be a win-win for them as well.
Otherwise that deal is not happening. I think that's such an interesting, two perspectives to look at that and see, okay, there's a lot more happening underneath the surface. That's negative. And just because the product might be better for the company as a whole, there's no guarantee that you're gonna be able to sell it.
brendan : [00:36:28] I totally agree. In fact, I have a series of like worksheets that I use. That, for discovery. And one of the questions is on that I always want to make sure I ask is who loses. because if a decision is made. clearly people are going to win. you've got a product or service, it delivers value.
But the, one of the questions you always have to ask is who loses in this? if you go forward who's going to come out behind, maybe it's nobody, but oftentimes to your spreadsheet example, if there's somebody who's got a vested interest in the [00:37:00] status quo, and you have to understand what that, You know what that might be.
yeah, I totally agree with that.
louis : [00:37:07] Yeah, brilliant. So , you've worked in enterprise sales in a couple of different industries over the last 10 or 15 years or so. what's a constant that say at the same through and through, and is there anything that has.
brendan : [00:37:21] I think that, I think that the trajectory, the kind of the speed at which. Customers make decisions has changed there's so much more information that's out there so that the sales role is, has become different because customers can now educate themselves much more on what the options are out there.
and make some early evaluations. And so they come to the sales process. Much more informed than they probably used to in a lot of cases. So that's one thing I think that has changed and other is that there's, there tends [00:38:00] to be tremendous choice nowadays in products and services, way more than there used to be.
So you're contending with way. With just a significant number of, competitors, if you will, compared to 10 or 20 years ago. and so the paradox of choice for customers is much greater. and so at some point you have to know more about that dilemma that customers are facing and, and navigate through that.
Those. So those things are different. I wonder about the role that AI is going to have. I don't have strong, I don't have a strong answer yet about where AI is going to affect sales, but I it's certainly going to have an effect and it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out over the decades ahead.
so those things I think are all, Are all kind of new, on the, on the other side, I think that, people still buy from people ultimately in a lot of, in many [00:39:00] cases. And, I think that, the early sales for any SAS, founder or founder, that's got a B2B solution, I think that those early conversations, those early sales, I think are still personal sales, even though you may have a really sexy, great website, but I think the first several sales you make, I think there's a fair amount of conversation and understanding that has to take place before you make those sales, because you're probably still.
Figuring out what needs to be in the product or what needs to be in the product next. and so I think those, that conversation ability and that kind of ability to have curiosity about your customers is going to remain.
louis : [00:39:42] Awesome. now, where can people go and find out more about you about your book? We'll put all this stuff in the show notes as well, obviously, but if people are interested right now, where should they head over to find out more about you and the book?
brendan : [00:39:53] w experts gape is expert scape.com. I hope you any listeners, they're going to check it [00:40:00] out just out of curiosity and not for any particular personal re reason otherwise, you can also. find me, Brendan mcadams.com that's my website.
And then, and I'm on Twitter at, at Brennan McAdams. and so yeah, those are the best ways and you can also reach me at LinkedIn. and by the way, and if you want to email me, my email address is on the website, firstname.lastname@example.org and, and I answer emails. So I'd love to, if someone has a question or wants to talk to me about something or set up a short phone call, love it.
louis : [00:40:33] is there an easy place for them to find sales craft?
brendan : [00:40:36] right now that the it's on Amazon, Brendan at a sales craft is on Amazon in my name. I can send you that link and then you can also find it from, Brendan mcadams.com and Brendan mcadams.net. So there is a book page there.
louis : [00:40:51] Okay, brilliant. I will make sure we get those links in the right order, in the show notes. Thanks for coming on Brandon. It's been great.