Bob Marsh Podcast Transcript
Bob Marsh joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.
Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive Podcast.
Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Bob Marsh. Keynote speaker and sales expert, Bob Marsh, spent his career in sales and sales leadership. Bob has been a sales leader and CEO at two category creating companies, has raised millions in venture capital, sold two companies, and has won and grew business from some of the top brands in the world.
In addition to professional speaking, Bob is an active Chief Revenue Officer of ImpactEleven, and he’s in the trenches of today’s business world in 2022, Bob was selected as selling powers, chief revenue officer of the year and a top 25 sales expert to learn from
Brian Thomas: Well, good afternoon, Bob, welcome to the show!
Bob Marsh: Brian, thanks so much for having me looking forward to our chat here.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely. I appreciate you making the time. I know a lot of times we stay up late or jump out of bed for the things that we do, but this is the truly the things we love to do, Bob, and we’ll get into that a little bit. But you’re out there a lot speaking with a lot of people and coaching and so forth.
So, Bob, we’re going to jump right into the questions here. We’ve got an amazing career in business and sales. You’re an entrepreneur. Keynote speaker. Now you’re the Chief Revenue Officer at ImpactEleven. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?
Bob Marsh: Sure. So, yeah, you know, it’s funny you think about, is there a secret?
I got, you know, I don’t know, probably like you, I don’t know. That there’s any special formula. I would tell you that, you know, 1 thing is to follow, follow your passions, follow kind of what it seems like the world is telling you kind of where, where you should be going. I think that that’s a really important thing.
I would tell you that, you know, through my growth and sales and leadership, and I founded a company and. And now I just, you know, continue to help other people develop, develop their sales capacity, or they’re kind of right mindset towards driving customer centricity. I, I look back and I think that the.
Probably the common theme through all of it is that I have a genuine interest in just helping people. You know, I have worked at, I’ve worked at fortune 100 companies. I’ve worked at small startups, medium sized companies all over the board, but I’ll share a story with you. As an example, my very first job in sales, I was selling retail equipment.
I was in a retail store, so I grew up playing golf competitively. I played in high school and college. And I was, I didn’t, wasn’t any unbelievable player, but like, I point is I love the game. And so, I worked in a retail store selling golf equipment. It turned out that I was the top salesperson the store had seen in 20 years in existence.
I had no idea of this. Meaning like no one ever told me like how, how good of a job I was doing. And I remember like in some of the later days, people start coming up to me and saying, hey, can you give me your tips? How are you doing this? The manager of the store? Like, you know, how are you doing this?
And I remember saying that my reaction to that was I was so surprised. Because I never felt like I was selling anybody anything. I was just helping customers figure out what they needed and that really was that simple. And so my desire and interest in like helping people figure out what’s right for them Has always been the driver for me and ultimately as you get into more progressive or larger scale sales and you know corporate b2b kind of stuff like You really got to understand your industry kind of back then in a more simple format, how I understood golf and really be an expert.
And when you’re an expert, you’re in a position to really help people make the right decisions for themselves. So, I would say that’s kind of a core drive core driver for me is helping people. I also love building things, tinkering, coming up with new product ideas, solutions, any ways to help customers that just gets my juices flowing.
Brian Thomas: I love that. And everybody has a unique story here on the podcast. And Bob, that was awesome how you kind of stumbled into sales and didn’t even know it. And that’s, what’s so cool about your story. They’re very unique and I appreciate it. So, Bob, next question for you is how can companies improve their customer experience?
Bob Marsh: So, I think that, you know, for this, people often ask me if I could wave a magic wand over the business world, like what would I wish for? And what I would wish for is a complete reset on what on the perception of what sales really means, like, we all know sales has a generally a negative connotation.
And not everyone feels that way. But like, generally, it’s a feeling of, hey, I should be where you know, look out kind of what, you know, for, for what this person’s motivations are. And I think that that’s a, that’s a shame. Although there’s plenty of people that have earned that right or earned that perception and that it’s accurate, I think that a lot of us are always trying to do the right thing.
And those perceptions are, you know, we spend far too much time trying to overcome those perceptions. And so, so what I think about when to really kind of flip the idea of, of the customer experience, I encourage people to to change their mindset from a sales process. To a buying process to just change the way you think of what customers are going through their experience with you.
And that is like, how, okay, how do we sell? What are the stages and steps we go through? What are the questions that we are trying to get out for ourselves? A great, the greatest example is in the early on, like asking qualifying questions. What’s your budget? Who’s the decision maker? What’s the process things like this?
Not that those things aren’t important, but when they, when you start asking and pummeling a customer with questions like that, they’re very. Internally focused versus externally focused. And so, what I encourage people and companies to do is to change that whole mindset to what is the buying experience.
That a customer, a typical customer goes through and you want to look at your good customers, your bad customers, the customers that you win, and the customers that you lose. And what is the buying price? What are they going through? What are all the steps that they’re going through when they’re deciding to purchase something?
I think 1 of the fastest and easiest ways to do that. Is to pull your sales team into a room and start asking them to talk about in detail some recent wins and recent losses and really dissect those and get deep with questions like on the wins. Hey, where did this come from? Where did this lead initiate?
Where did we start looking for? What are the common patterns? Why did we win it? Like, what’s your opinion on why we won this project? When did you know that we were going to win? What’s the profile of that customer, their title, the company size, what’s going on in the company? Are they growing? You know, are they in the news?
Like, what’s, what’s going on in the business? Like, really getting deep to understand the profile of that customer. And then look at some of the losses and say, where do they come from? You know, is there a common thread of when we lose? They tend to come from this, this lead source versus something else.
Maybe there’s some patterns. Why did we lose? When did you know that we were going to lose? So often. We work on a, on a sales opportunity and somewhere in the process, we were like, yeah, this one’s probably not going to happen. But then we just keep going. You wonder, like, well, why are we doing that? It’s a waste of our time and waste of the customer’s time.
And so you say, well, when did you find that out? Now, in retrospect, what could you have done differently to either reverse the course and maybe turn it into a win or to say, hey, you know what? This really isn’t a good fit for these reasons. I think that it’s best for us to back out. Now what will happen in a lot of times in those situations, if you actually build up the confidence to do it, which you should you might actually reveal the things that you need to do to put yourself in a better position.
So, so those are some suggestions that, to think about again, getting the company more customer focused, what’s the buying process and knowing that our role is to adapt to that, not to just figure out a way that to go sell as much as we possibly can. Although I would say when you’re focused on the customer that way. That’s exactly what will happen.
Brian Thomas: I love that. And I appreciate you sharing some of the things especially about debriefing at the end of the day. You know, how did that go with this customer? I know you lost a customer, gained a customer or a sale. I do really, really appreciate kind of you unpacking some of that for our audience.
And Bob, how does a company become more customer centric?
Bob Marsh: So, you know, some of the things that I just covered are an excellent start. I think that it’s you know, if I go back to that, just, just for a moment doing, having those conversations in a group setting is really important. Because everybody ends up learning from each other.
And they start self-realizing some of those again, those patterns that I talked about. So that that’s 1 thing. Another is that is to get your non sales leaders, like your maybe your CEO, CFO operations, people, project managers, whatever might be people that are. Outside of the day to day, working with customers, part of it and get them more involved with customers.
Now, they have, they have their main primary area of focus, but just every once in a while, if they’re getting more involved with customers, they’re sitting in on a. On a client meeting, they’re helping write a proposal. They’re helping craft a solution. But the more you get non sales leaders involved in that process 1, they start appreciating it more.
They also start hearing. What’s the voice of the customer? What are customers saying about our product? Our solutions? Our competitors are pricing, whatever it might be. So, then they can understand. Oh, that’s what’s going out of the marketplace. So often you see companies. And they’re, you know, people outside of the sales organization get frustrated, like, why can’t we command a higher win rate?
Why can’t we command higher, higher pricing? Why aren’t our products a fit? It must be the sales team. The sales team must not be pitching it correctly. And while that, where that could be the case, sometimes getting more people involved on the front lines with customers really makes a difference. A little, little tip that I I’ve seen a lot of impact from that I wish more companies would do is something that I call the CEO fist bump.
And this doesn’t have to be the CEO, it can be another executive, but, but here’s here, here’s the example. I, I, I’ll use an example. I worked with a I won a piece of business. From a company in the ad tech advertising technology space, they also got acquired by Amazon. And what happened was the sale is when I was running my own sales software company the salesperson was working with the customer.
They had their 1st initial meeting. I had my debrief to kind of understand how it all go. And the day to day contact that the customer gave really good responses. We looked at the company said, geez, this is a perfect fit. The certain the right number of salespeople. They were using sales forces or CRM, which is like a perfect fit for us and a number of other reasons.
But I also saw that the day-to-day contact on the customer side, you know, really wasn’t the, they were driving the process, but what we needed to do is get the, get the, the chief revenue officer, the VP of sales on board. And so. What I did as the CEO, I said, you know, let me go find out who that person is, and I’m just going to send them an email myself.
Really simple to say, hey in this case, Randy, Randy, I saw that. I think the person’s name was, was Mary. I can’t remember her last name. Mary on your team had a great conversation with Brennan and our team today. Based here’s what I learned about your company. I got to tell you; this sounds like a perfect fit.
So, I just want to reach out to open the line of communication. I’m very passionate about our business. You know, based when I learn, I’m really confident we can make a positive impact. Here’s an example of someone else that we work with. Like, you Mary’s in great hands with Brendan. But if I can help in any way, please reach out.
Now, what I was doing there is. Is I wasn’t going around. So, so Brendan, our salesperson, he didn’t have to say, Hey, who’s the decision maker? How do, how do I get ourselves a meeting with, with him or her? I just reached out as the CEO of the company to the direct kind of likely decision maker to say, hey, I’m just making myself available.
And, you know, we’re already talking to the right person and Mary, she seems great. But hey, I’m here if you need anything now. So suddenly the customer had all this confidence in, in our ability, they knew that, hey, I’ve got direct line of access to a senior executive. I got a response from that, from that that VP of sales within like 30 minutes and it instantly created a sense of relationship and trust that ultimately helped us win that customer.
So, there’s all kinds of nuances to it. I actually have a hold. Template and all the background to it on my blog but it’s an example of how you can leverage your executive team, whether it’s your CEO or CIO, whoever might be to get involved in the customers and the customer process, it can make it make a really big difference.
So, you know, then you go around things like, we talked about when loss analysis, et cetera, getting everybody to kind of share the wins where they came from involved in what what’s going on with customers is a great way to build a more customer centric culture.
Brian Thomas: Thank you again. Some great tips. That is just phenomenal for our audience.
We’ve got everybody from, like I said Bob, technologists all the way to CEOs and Chief Revenue Officers. So again, appreciate the great insights here, right? And Bob, is there a common thread you see in underperforming teams?
Bob Marsh: You know, gosh, there’s so many and there’s so many different reasons, but, you know, you often look at things like teamwork leadership.
But, of course, I’m going to focus on the customer and revenue side of things. That’s, you know, a lot of people joke and say, hey, sales, he’ll, he’ll all looms. You know, if customers don’t care what you’re doing, then, you know, then, you know, who knows what you’re doing? So, so, so really what I, the common thread I would see, I do think customer centricity, which is something we just covered.
And, you know, I speak about, you know, my keynote speeches, but what I think more clearly is, is that I see companies haven’t defined their ideal customer profile. Which just wastes a lot of time and so what I mean by that is very clearly articulating. I think of it like a bullseye, like a you know, you play darts, right?
So, you look at the dart board and define like, what is the, you know, we’re, we’re throwing, we’re throwing darts and we, we, we hope that we want to hit the center. That’s what we’re aiming for generally different games, of course, but, but stick with me. So, I’m throwing a dart. I want to hit the bullseye. I want to hit the, I want to hit the center.
Now, if I don’t hit the center. Yeah. I might hit kind of one of the outer rings and that’s okay because I’m still playing a game. I’m still accumulating my points or it might be, but really what I want to do is I want to nail that bullseye. And so, I think that looking at you, your marketplace, your base of customers in a similar way is really powerful.
And I’ll explain why. So, if you define. Who is the bullseye? What’s the size of the company? What’s the state of the company? What’s the, you know, maybe technologies that they’re, that they’re using? Who are the, are they growing? Are they adding people? Are they, are they releasing people? Are they venture capital back?
What stage are they like getting really detailed about? What is the profile of that business and the people that I’m talking to? And the idea Is that you’ll ultimately understand and find those patterns to we have an extremely high win rate, highly profitable projects, the right size with a certain type and profile of customer.
It doesn’t mean every 1 of them is going to be the same exact industry, same exact revenue size, but you’re going to see some other patterns. Maybe it’s the it’s their use case. Maybe it’s the problem that they’re facing. Maybe it’s where they are in their growth pattern. When you find those patterns, it allows you to understand the ideal customer profile so that you’re focusing more of your time and energy and investments and going and finding more customers that look like that.
And when you haven’t defined that, what happens is you’re spending marketing dollars and maybe a larger market that you’re not that some may or may not be a fit. You’re spending sales time working on opportunities that don’t necessarily have the best opportunity to win. So, when you really clearly articulate that, it makes it, it makes a really big difference.
Now, it doesn’t mean that if a customer comes to you and they’re not that perfect bullseye, of course, you’ll take that business. Of course, you’ll work on it, but we’re going to focus our time and effort marketing dollars. On that bullseye on a couple other things that I’ve seen is, is that a is that the people that are out there in front of customers aren’t actual experts in their craft and their industry, which erodes trust.
So, a customer wants to work with someone who they know a, they trust that they know that they is going to do the right thing for them, but also that they trust as an expert in what they do. I trust that they truly bring value. They know that they bring value to the table. They’re an expert in their industry and their category.
That’s what customers really want. So, the more we can do as individual sellers, or that we, as leaders can train our team members to really be students of the industries that we live in and the customer profiles that we’re selling into what are they their day to day needs and challenges. To really understand the inner workings of their business and their problems so that we can, they can be experts to them.
The last thing I would tell you is, which kind of relates to some of the things we talked about earlier is almost this, this this, this feeling that we’re selling to a customer, which is almost like this. You think of it as like, we’re doing this. It’s a, it’s an act that we’re doing to someone selling is that versus a mindset of we’re doing this with the customer.
We’re working with them to help them figure out the right solutions for themselves. And so, so I’ve got a lot of stories and examples and research about the power of options and how you guide customers. Through a process. But those are some of the things I commonly see. So, you know, again, ideal customer profile, being an expert at what you do and really understanding that we’re helping guide customers through a decision process, as opposed to selling at them, which is a little bit more.
Internally focused versus externally focused.
Brian Thomas: I’d really love that. And absolutely at the end of the day, trust trumps everything, right? And knowing that you are an expert at something will definitely help put the customer at ease and bring that trust. But I appreciate you sharing so many valuable nuggets today on this and Bob last question of the day, we are a tech podcast platform.
We ask every guest if you’re leveraging any of that new or emerging tech. In your business. And if not, maybe you found a cool tool or app that was great. You might share with us today.
Bob Marsh: Yeah, you know, I when we were talking earlier, I told you, beware, I’m not going to share anything off the charts. So, I saw 1st of all, very technically adept.
I tried multiple different technologies. I’m pretty organized the whole thing. 1 thing that I am is really important to me, and you go back and say, 1 of your early questions, like secrets to growth and success. I think that I’m pretty good. I think it’s, it’s really important for everybody to be very organized to focus, focus your time and attention in certain areas that are going to make the biggest impact.
1 of the things this goes back to, like, the really simple thing that I’ve often used is the reminders app on my phone. I know it sounds really simple, but it’s a great. It’s a simple little thing where I can say, hey, remember to do this this afternoon next week. Tomorrow. Follow up with the customer. Oh, I should go reach out to them.
We get in those situations. Oftentimes we put in our head and say, oh, yeah, I got to remember to do that. I’m sure I’ll remember. You know, I don’t worry about that. I’ll remember. And then we rarely ever do or we go right down a notebook or throw in a calendar and we get our counter gets filled with all these different things.
And it’s easy to just put those items to the side. So, I bring up that example because it helps me in my personal life, but also really helps me in business to stay organized to say, hey, at a certain time or a certain day, don’t forget to do this. It helps me stay in control, feel like I’m on top of the things that need to happen.
And also allows those to me to remove those things from my head. So, I don’t have that noise of, oh, I hope I remember that. I don’t have to deal with that. I can get it down. I can put it, you know, using technology anywhere that I am to keep me focused and organized. So, so, like I said, it’s really simple, but what I’ve often found.
But, you know, I’ve met an enormous amount of highly successful people is you know, you see the common characteristics of hard work, but also, they follow through on what they say they’re going to do, you know, their fundamentals are right. And so that’s why I like the simple app and the reminders the reminders tool, because it allows me to do the simple things with consistency and reliability.
Brian Thomas: I love that. And it’s almost like an exercise I like to do with my teams is, hey, if you were given one app, only one app on your phone to use for the rest of your life, what would it be? And I love these sorts of things. So, thank you for sharing your insights, Bob, on the technology you’re leveraging today.
And Bob, it was such a pleasure having you on today. And I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
Bob Marsh: Great. Thanks so much, Brian. Appreciate the thoughtful questions.
Brian Thomas: Bye for now.
Bob Marsh Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.