Bloobirds Country Manager Italo Maddalozzo and Optiks Head of Demand Generation Veronica Milla welcomed Michael Hanson, founder of Growth Genie and enMotion, for an insightful webinar. He answered questions from the audience about how to structure the perfect outbound sales cadence.
Michael Hanson | Founder of Growth Genie and enMotion
Veronica Miller | Head of Demand Generation at Optiks
Italo Maddalozzo | Country Manager at Bloobirds
Below, is the full transcript from Bloobirds’ webinar with Michael Hanson. Keep reading or check out the full video here.
V: Hello, everyone! Welcome to the webinar with Michael Hanson, Michael is the founder of Growth Genie and enMotion. We’re super happy to have you today. Thank you so much for coming over to the office.
Michael: Great to be here! This is the first time I’ve actually done a webinar in person.
V: Well, I thought about starting off today by asking you a bit about your experience and how you got to the point of founding Growth Genie, which is your own consultancy firm. And, perhaps you could let us know a bit more about enMotion, that is, what you do and where you get the energy to manage both.
Michael: Sure. I think I’ll start with enMotion. One of the things that I had noticed is that a lot of people in Africa have access to a mobile phone but not to electricity at home. They would walk maybe one hour to go to the market, pay 5p to have someone charge their phones. So I kind of credit this life mission of mine to give people electricity who live off-grid.
I was in the research and development phase for a long time until we finally got two core products. One is effectively a power bank. It has four solar panels on it that fold, which is almost no weight on top of the power bank. So for those who don’t have electricity at home, but live in a sunny place, they can basically recharge their phone there. It also has a light.
The other product is an irrigation system using solar power. Farmers are currently experiencing a significant drought in South Africa but can use this product to bring water to their lands. You effectively pump water from the ground using solar power. So, that’s enMotion. We just recently released the products in the last few months and we’re looking now for resellers, particularly in countries where there are problems with electricity or blackouts… So do feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn if you’re someone who can help sell this product.
And this now brings me quite nicely to sales… as you’ll remember, I’m a salesperson. So, I worked for a company called CloudTask, focusing on outsourcing sales and customer service. Part of my strategy for CloudTask was posting a lot on LinkedIn and gradually building up a massive following. I had a lot of requests of people reaching out to me, asking for tips about sales, how to use LinkedIn, how to book meetings. So, I just decided to monetize it.
I’m still posting a lot on LinkedIn, but you’ll notice that the posts are never really promoting Growth Genie; it’s just giving advice about marketing or sales. And, in terms of balancing the two, it’s been tough, to be honest. But it’s one of those things that when you become an entrepreneur, you control your own schedules … but that may be reworking your schedule a bit, so you end up perhaps working a weekend or during a holiday. I guess that’s kind of the nature of the game.
I had a lot of requests of people reaching out to me, asking for tips about sales, how to use LinkedIn, how to book meetings. So, I just decided to monetize it.Michael Hanson
V: Right. You need to handle several things all at once. This brings me to the next question: During your time as VP of Growth CloudTask, you were managing both the marketing and sales department. How do you see or navigate success at the intersection of these two departments?
Michael: So I think if you’re not aligning sales and marketing in 2020, it’s complete madness. So, what we did at CloudTask was the following: we had a meeting every morning. It was all the marketing and sales teams. Sometimes it was quick, and other times, it would take longer if there was a particular topic. We also had a content library that would send out an alert if new content was added, so that the sales team was in the loop and could use it for prospecting. The sales team could go into the library and see the content that was working and go from there. That was really important.
The other aspect is making sure that we were running together as one function. For example, if the marketing team were doing a campaign, we’d tell the sales team. This is important to take into account in bigger companies, given that the more you grow, the higher the tendency for these departments to diverge from one another.
Let’s imagine that the sales team gets leads from a marketing campaign, but those salespeople were not aware of the campaign. It can result in a less satisfying customer experience. So, having regular meetings and touching base often can be quite helpful. Also, one last piece of advice would be that marketing teams have weekly meetings about the common themes that salespeople have heard on calls. Salespeople are on the front line and can feed the messaging back to the marketing department.
I think if you’re not aligning sales and marketing in 2020, it’s complete madness.Michael Hanson
V: So that the marketing team can actually tailor content to help address….
Michael: And there’s one more thing… when sales run a call, maybe you have a lead from the website, but you don’t know where it came from. So it’s also important that sales actively asks where those leads came from to help the marketing department track that as well.
V: Within the sales training that you organize with different clients, what does the best cadence look like?
Michael: I actually did a post on LinkedIn, but this post was unique because it gained 6 to 7 times more traction than other posts. I also launched Growth Genie so it all kind of overwhelmed me. But it showed that salespeople and sales leaders out there are really thinking about cadence. Basically what I found is that high volume works well, as long as you have the right messaging or personalizing it. Some people like to be contacted on LinkedIn, or email, or by phone. The 30-touchpoint cadence uses all of those channels.
Michael: If you work out that someone responds to an email, use that. Anyone who wants to see the cadence, feel free to reach out to me. With the call, the goal is always to get a meeting. But often, even if it’s a sales message or LinkedIn message, you don’t always need to have a CTA. I know it’s controversial in sales, but I think that you can just ask some questions. As much as you would ask discovery questions on a call, why not do the same here?
I: I think salespeople are learning that they have to earn the right to ask for more (time, demo, etc.). But Mike, I’m curious. How did you come up with this precise 30-touchpoint cadence? Did you measure the different channels? I like this approach because you’re learning about what channels prospects lean towards.
Michael: Yes, so I think it’s mainly just from practice. There was one Linkedin cadence that I was sending myself. I remember that people at CloudTask thought that I was crazy because it was like ten touches. The first three touches were just sharing content. Touches 4 and 5 were just asking questions. Touches 6 and 7 were sharing case studies and offering solutions. And I got like five meetings at around the 9th touchpoint with very qualified companies.
I also noticed that the average connect rate on calls is so low now. You could still cold call people, but they’re less likely to pick up their phones. They’re more involved in other channels. So you have to dial them a lot of times, and I noticed that people were booking meetings around the 20th touchpoint they’d call someone. As long as you’re giving the right messaging…So that’s pretty much how I came up with it [30-touchpoint cadence].
Some people like to be contacted on LinkedIn, or email, or by phone. The 30-touchpoint cadence uses all of those channels.Michael Hanson
I: And in your experience of training SDRs and business development teams, where do you see people making their biggest mistakes?
Michael: I think one of the big mistakes that I have seen with managers and sales leaders who are training their SDRs is that they may give one or two training/coaching sessions and then wipe their hands of the task. And then the managers come to me, and they don’t understand why their SDRs are not learning… and the thing is that you have to reinforce. If you just coach someone once or twice, two weeks later, they are going to forget. You have to be very hands-on. So that’s one thing that I think managers and sales can do better at, that is, reinforcing what’s being learned.
I: And in your experience, who do you feel are the hardest people to train?
Michael: People who don’t listen. [chuckles] And funny enough, that’s the biggest mistake that salespeople make, which is not listening. So there’s a guy named Dan Tyre, who was one of the first salespeople at Hubspot, and with whom I did a podcast. And he was actually saying how salespeople are becoming more introverted, and introverted people can become successful at sales because they can listen. Those who are listening and taking a real interest are re-establishing the reputation of a salesperson, which before was considered as sleazy. It’s that aspect of listening, which can help you to understand what that prospect needs.
I: Do you feel that it’s harder to train people with more experience?
Michael: So I think that the #1 thing–and I should have mentioned that before–is attitude. The best salespeople out there are those who are still learning every day, regardless of experience… listening to podcasts, reading. Think that sales is constantly evolving, so if you’re not learning, that will really make you suffer.
I: This connects to the next question. Who are the people who come to you the most for help? Do they do it proactively or do they wait until the pain is too big when it’s already too late?
Michael: Unfortunately, the majority of people wait until the pain is too big. That tends to be the #1 issue of the reps – not being proactive. If anyone’s listening to this and they’re an SDR, or new to sales, if you’ve got a problem, go find your manager. It’s their job to help you. There is so much advice out there. If you’re not getting success, change something.
When I hear salespeople give up, thinking that sales is not for them, it really is more of a matter of changing something or getting advice to improve the situation. And even in the case if you don’t have a sales manager, then speak to customer success or lead operations. Customer success is even more on the frontline because instead of talking with prospects, they’re speaking with actual customers. Get help really, from whatever part of the business–that’s really important.
When I hear salespeople give up, thinking that sales isn’t for them, it’s usually just a matter of changing something or getting advice to improve the situation.Michael Hanson
V: What are the most common mistakes that happen after consultancy takes place? And at the same time, how do you deal with that type of situation?
Michael: I try to develop long-term relationships to be able to provide better support. So, I’m quite different from other trainers, in that after I do a workshop or session, I make follow-up calls to see if the reps are actually influencing. And in the case that I’m not able to do that, I’ll say to the VP of Sales – whoever that is – “you need to be following up/speaking with your reps every day because if you’re not doing that, they’re going to forget [the lessons learned].” It’s having those sessions every day to make sure that your team is aligned. Not just concerning goals, but also understanding that there is no one boss per se. We’re all moving towards the same objective and need one another to do so.
V: Speaking about BDRs and SDRs, how long do you think that their onboarding should last for? What is the ramp-up time after onboarding?
Michael: I typically do two weeks, and this is something they do at CloudTask as well. And I think after two weeks, the SDR is going to be ready [100%], but I think you also learn on the job to some extent. Two weeks is enough to learn about the business. And I think one of the problems that happens with onboarding is that it is very much product- and feature-focused, when in reality, with an SDR, it should be customer-focused. Who’s your ideal customer profile? What are their challenges and pains? And how does your product overcome those challenges, and what are the results that it can achieve? So that’s typically what I’m looking at.
Michael: And then during weeks 3 and 4 (the ramp-up time), you have to be very hands-on with coaching. It’s going to be difficult for them at the start, but I do think that sales is one of those things that you do learn on the job. And in terms of ramp-up time, I think it also depends on the complexity of what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. Enterprise sales are much harder than SME sales; enterprise people are harder to get on the phone. But it could be that after one month, you’re getting excellent results: you have a fantastic product, it’s easy to understand, you’re selling to small businesses. With enterprise, it could take six months. So it really just depends.
I think one of the problems that happens with SDR onboarding is that it is very much product- and feature-focused, when in reality, with an SDR, it should be customer-focused.Michael Hanson
I: So you mentioned something quite interesting, which I’m not sure if everyone is taking advantage of, that is, product vs. problem training for SDRs. Our approach at Bloobirds is to ensure that our SDRs really understand the specific microtasks that each of their ICPs performs to be able to speak their language and reach a good consideration of their pain points. We don’t do product training, but do you think that knowing about the product is important for the SDR?
Michael: Actually I don’t. It’s good to have an understanding… it should definitely be covered in onboarding. However, it should not be the main focus. I think the customers and their needs should be the main focus. The purpose of an SDR is to book a meeting with an expert. It’s the expert who will talk about the solution. The SDR should be focusing on the pain points. Indeed, i think this is a common mistake.
I: Absolutely. At Bloobirds, we are trying to sell the meeting… or rather, the curiosity for them to want to have the meeting. Now, we have touched upon some of the challenges in the industry. What would you say is the biggest one for companies doing prospecting in 2020?
Michael: The biggest challenge I hear at the moment is data, actually. Data varies massively from one industry to the next. I think that’s something companies are really struggling with.
V: So we have just a couple of minutes left, and I would like to jump into some questions here. Where do they find those cadences? Should they write you on LinkedIn?
Michael: They can either find me on LinkedIn. If you type in “Michael Hanson – Growth Genie or enMotion”. Or, you can email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
V: How do you set up multiple cadences to fill in the gaps for multiple days or is this used for prep work for follow-up steps?
Michael: That’s a very good question. I would say that for the quantity approach or the quality approach. The quality approach could help you to take those days, like Day 2, to research and really make sure that your messaging is right. It really just depends.
V: With so many touch points in cadence, how do you know it’s not too much for the recipient?
Michael: If your messaging is good and you’re genuinely helping someone, people aren’t going to be bothered by it. In the first two or three touches, you’re making deposits, where you’re actually giving to people instead of making withdrawals. And then, regardless, you’re always going to get people who click on Unsubscribe. But that’s the nature of sales.
In regards to outreach – if your messaging is good and you’re genuinely helping someone, people aren’t going to be bothered by it.Michael Hanson
V: Would you start a cadence with a cold call, or would you start warming up the lead to position yourself as an expert to gain trust before making the first call?
Michael: In the cadence, I’m talking about, I usually connect on Linkedin, send an awareness email, and make a call. I still always recommend making a call on Day 1. With all the information available on the internet, you can actually warm up a call a bit, because you will have learned a bit more about the company, the client, etc. But just make sure you have that element of personalization. One, understand their pain points and two, have information about the company.
V: How many prospects would you add to a 30-touchpoint sales cadence per day? And what percentage of touchpoints are personalized to non-personalized?
Michael: You want to always try to make it seem personalized. So like I do an 8-touch mail sequence, maybe half and half. Four emails seem personalized using tags, and the other four emails take more time for me to look at the LinkedIn profile and company. Then, in terms of leads, I know that the CloudTask team – when they’re onboarding BDRs – they try to do about 600 a month. So per day, it could range from 30-100. The cadence that I share is really just a template, so bear in mind, it needs to be dynamic.
I: Could you go more in-depth about the LinkedIn sequence? What content do you share and when? What type of questions do you ask? Do you still keep on shooting messages if you don’t get a response after the 10th touchpoint?
Michael: So after the 10th, I tend to leave it. I do give up at some point. But if you work with a great marketing team, you can put them in a lead nurturing campaign where they can receive one email a week, and maybe three months later they receive a call. Then generally, in the beginning, when I’m not asking for a CTA, it’s a piece of content that addresses solving a pain that the prospect is facing. Around the 3rd touchpoint, I tend to ask the discovery questions. Once you’re into that, ideally, they would reply to that.
I: So, give and then ask.
V: All right. That’s all for questions.
Michael: Thanks a lot for hosting me. I hope you found some value. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m one of those people who accepts anyone. Thank you.
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