B2B sales is super hard right now. That's why last week's Business as Unusual webinar was a conversation with Katie Roberts, Client Development Manager at Noisy Little Monkey, who shared her tips and advice for generating new business during a pandemic.
You can watch episode 5 of the Business as Unusual webinar from Thursday 7th May, 'How To Sell When Nobody's Buying' below...
Jon Payne (00:00):
Hi, I'm Jon Payne. Welcome to Business as Unusual. This is a weekly session where we dive into how the likes of you and I as marketers, salespeople and scale up business owners can stay productive, profitable and at peace during the pandemic and whatever comes after. This week we're focusing on the sharp end - sales. Be it B2B or big ticket business to consumer, this episode should really help you out. We're joined by the wonderful Katie Roberts. Hi Katie.
Katie Roberts (00:32):
Jon Payne (00:34):
I'm amazed that we managed to find time in your diary because as my mate farmer Nige says, you're busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking competition. I want to ask you, how come you are so busy? But I guess we'll come to that. In the first instance, why don't you do the alphabet backwards?
Katie Roberts (00:55):
Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A.
Jon Payne (01:02):
Brilliant. Rounds of applause there. Can you do it forwards, Katie?
Katie Roberts (01:08):
I have to sing it, I can't do it forwards unless I sing it. And no one needs that today!
Jon Payne (01:15):
Well, I think as you can probably tell, I know Katie fairly well and I know some of her really cool tricks. She's got loads and we'll probably end up doing a few of these with Katie cause she's absolutely flipping brilliant. So we'll save up the rest of her amazing tricks. That was just a starter, and yes, Angharad, WHAT. She can do the alphabet backwards, struggles to do it forwards. Katie, let's get serious. Give us a bit of background as to your sales experience to now.
Katie Roberts (01:48):
So I've been working in sales since I was 18, so a little baby. I started off in a call centre calling people, trying to get a survey out of them, which was challenging to say the least - to put it politely! And then I went to university and started selling tickets to events, which isn't as easy as it sounds because no one has any money and the events aren't good. So that was challenging as well. Then I worked in a balloon shop as the store manager, trying to get people through the door because it was a massive balloon shop. And no one was ever in there. So I had to get people in and then upsell. And "would you like a hat with your costume sir?"
Jon Payne (02:34):
When you say massive balloon shop, was it only selling balloons with baskets underneath or it was a big store?
Katie Roberts (02:40):
Big store. Helium balloons.
Jon Payne (02:43):
Like balloon animals?
Katie Roberts (02:45):
No, but I can make balloon sculptures and arches.
Jon Payne (02:49):
Oh, that's cool. That's cool. I'll have to book you if Mrs. Payne ever needs a to find a better husband. Well, she needs to find a better husband. If she ever realises she needs to find a better husband. Okay, so then balloon shop...
Katie Roberts (03:01):
Okay. Then balloon shop. Then I fell into recruitment, the dreaded recruitment, which taught me a lot. I can say it was scary and horrible as much as the next person, but I did learn a lot from that, doing outbound sales and one of those outbound calls I did happened to be to Jon Payne and now I work at Noisy Little Monkey as the Client Development Manager. Isn't that lovely?
Jon Payne (03:27):
Yeah. Well, and what was brilliant was recruitment is easily, in my opinion, the hardest sales job there is, by the way, if you think I'm farting currently because you can hear that car bit outside it's not, it's just a bloke next door that's got one of those cars, with a massive spoiler on it, on the back, and a massive exhaust. Genuinely, Fran, I'm not breaking wind during a podcast/ webinar, I wouldn't, I'm too professional. But yeah, recruitment one of the hardest jobs, right? In sales anyway. It's not as hard as digging the roads, but it's a hard job for sales because you have to sell to the person you're trying to put in the role, then you have to sell to the client who's got the role and then you have to make sure that this person who magically suddenly now thinks that they're worth way more than they were when they were on the scrap heap, now doesn't want this job and wants you to negotiate up. So many sales techniques. In fact we employed three people from the recruitment industry in Noise Little Monkey and we're only a team of 13. So I've always thought that people who've worked in recruitment really know what hard work is when it comes to working in an office. So, and yeah, I remember that call greatly. In fact, it was a lovely day like today, wasn't it? Cause I said, why don't you F off and enjoy the sunshine? Never call me again.
Katie Roberts (04:48):
No, you didn't say never call me again. You said F off, enjoy the sunshine and come to Digital Gaggle. And I wrote on your notes on our CRM "what a legend told me to F off, but in a nice way."
Jon Payne (05:03):
That's nice because ever since we've worked together, I've told you to F off in a variety of unpleasant ways.
Katie Roberts (05:09):
Jon Payne (05:09):
So Katie, what's the, what's the trait that occurs naturally in you that makes you particularly suited to sales?
Katie Roberts (05:17):
Ooh, that's a good question. I would say empathy is quite important because as much as you really want to make that sale and close all the deals and yada, yada, you're not always at the top of somebody else's list of priorities. So, it's about understanding what other people need and how other people feel and then responding to that and being more of an advisor and a consultant than a sales person necessarily. I think it's evolved quite a lot, the industry. So I think having empathy and resilience, I suppose, are what makes me good at what I do.
Jon Payne (05:56):
Yeah. Yeah. I think we're, so when we were talking earlier I mentioned that I have a desperate craving to be validated and liked.
Katie Roberts (06:10):
I also have that!
Jon Payne (06:10):
And that's what I think drives a lot of salespeople. You've got the ones who are motivated by money and the ones who just want people to like them.
Katie Roberts (06:23):
We just want friends!
Jon Payne (06:23):
Yeah, exactly. But in future as a sales person, all friendships are transactional. That's what I find, no I don't find that at all, that's a terrible thing to say. So let's just go over what we're going to talk about, which is typical of every Business as Unusual. We focus on how to do great work when there is a great deal of uncertainty around, I've got this round the wrong way, as well as a lack of money. And then we'll approach the opportunity and today we're really gonna dive into that sales bit of that.
Jon Payne (06:58):
And I'm really glad to have Katie on cause as I say to anybody who will listen, she's absolutely fabulous at sales and teaches me every day something new. I don't think she realizes that, although I've told it to her twice now in the last couple of days preparing for this webinar. I've been doing this for like 30 years and, or over 30 years and yeah, every day Katie teaches me something new or how to see stuff from a new perspective. So yeah, it's a real honour and delight to have her on. And right now, what we do now, just before we get into the meat of what we're going to talk about, we talk about the company that the guest is representing because we wouldn't both be here if we weren't advertising something in some small way. Otherwise, why would we just be talking into the ether like we are? So Katie, why don't you tell me about the the company that I founded?
Katie Roberts (07:52):
Noisy Little Monkey was founded by Jon Payne 11 years ago.
Jon Payne (07:56):
Katie Roberts (07:56):
He was sick of SEO charlatans ripping people off and thought he could do it better.
Jon Payne (08:02):
Not rip people off better!
Katie Roberts (08:02):
Do it better for a more reasonable price. His wife, Nic, luckily helped make the company profitable and Tash came along and did some more brilliant things. And now we have a team of 13 awesome people. We're an inbound marketing agency and we specialise in SEO and HubSpot. We're a diamond HubSpot partner and these are some of the wonderful clients that we have helped grow with these things.
Jon Payne (08:36):
Things that we do. Cool, brilliant. And for those of you who don't make it all the way to the end, just going to share this before we get into our conversation, and believe me, we're getting close to starting to share stuff. We have lots of free tools that you can use for marketing during a crisis, invented because we started really in the recession of 2008. So we've got experience with this kind of stuff. This kind of stuff happens once every 10 years. Granted we are in trademark unprecedented times but you know, recessions, depressions, terrorist attacks happen with sort of sad regularity. So we've got all of these resources. I'd encourage you to use them, they're at that link there. We, because no one's got any money, we are doing free onboarding for HubSpot, new HubSpot clients, which is a deal that's kind of exclusive for us with HubSpot.
Jon Payne (09:37):
For 90 days. So if you want a single source of yes, Maggie Urving, HubSpot. Oh, I see. I see, I've caught that late in the chat. She did say HubSpot. But yeah, we're setting up free for 90 days. So that's that. What I want to do is just launch a poll to know who we're talking to, so that Katie and I can kind of modify our conversation to understand, or sorry, to make it focused on the people that we've got in the room. So if you would like to answer in that poll. Thank you, you've just started to do it, everybody. You should be able to see it flashing on your screen somewhere. The sort of business you work for and all that kind of stuff. I don't think you can see it Katie?
Katie Roberts (10:27):
I can see it, but it says panelists cannot vote, and I feel left out.
Jon Payne (10:30):
Well, sorry about that. So we've got, so you can see that we have mainly got lots of people, votes are still coming in. This is great. Good voting guys. Good voting. 80% of us voted. That's good enough for me. Keep voting. Because I'd love to know more, but 80 20 rule says that we've probably got a reasonable guesstimate now. So most people work in companies have between one and 50 people. That's quite a big spread, but we're kind of talking primarily to SMEs. There's a few people who are between jobs right now and that is good. That is fine. Glad you're here. Polishing up your skills. And then there are a few people, a hundred plus, 500 plus companies. Most people working in marketing or sales, a few, 20% of people working in sales.
Jon Payne (11:29):
That's good. A few working in operations and a few working in other. Weird. Last week we had Carrie Rose on, who does SEO via the medium of digital PR and about 80% of the people who came were in PR. They have not returned for this episode on sales. And at what level are we looking at? Oh, that's weird. How have I done that? That's cool. At what level? Most people are at a director or a manager level with the remainder falling into exec level and working for an agency. So primarily small businesses. We're primarily talking to managers and directors. Obviously everybody else, we'll try and keep you covered up, covered up? Good Lord. No, we'll keep your questions covered off. I'm going to press an end to that polling. Really grateful for you joining in on that. That makes it easier for us to tailor what we're talking about.
Jon Payne (12:22):
The... Lost my thread. Thank you so much. We're primarily SMEs. We're primarily senior level with some other people in there. So get your questions coming in the chat if you want any answered. I'll keep an eye on them as we're talking. We've also got Claire Dibben from Noisy Little Monkey. She's the Marketing Manager who's come up with a lot of the stuff that Katie and I are selling at the minute. She's from Noise Little Monkey. She'll be monitoring the chat. If I miss anything, she's gonna WhatsApp me or @ me in the chat. And we'll answer your questions as we go, but to give us some context of what we're talking about... so this is a survey run by TOPO which is a software company I think, out of the US, this was a whole month and a bit ago now, which feels like a lifetime ago.
Jon Payne (13:18):
But I was listening to another one of their webinars the other day and it looks like the actually the things that we thought. So 80% of companies expect a negative pipeline impact. This is technology sales. So it's not people selling caravans, although I suspect they're in the same boat. I dunno why I chose caravans, but, you know, insert your business there. But 80% of companies are expecting a negative impact to their pipeline. Katie, when we went through ours, can you remember what the negative impact was on ours?
Katie Roberts (13:49):
Was it like 99%?
Jon Payne (13:50):
It was 99%. We went from a quarter of a million quid new business coming in in the next three months to 1% of that, which is two and a half thousand pounds. But we closed it. Right. We did close that.
Katie Roberts (14:05):
Yeah we did.
Jon Payne (14:09):
Yeah! Come on! So hey, it'd be interesting to know if anybody has got more than that or less than that. The other thing that came out in this survey, that TOPO did, again to only a reasonably small number, I think maybe 350 companies was... Oh, and you can go and watch the webinar where they talk about this webinars.topohq.com/CV, standing for Covid, not curriculum vitae cause they're American. 47% of companies report buyers are no longer booking meetings. So, and Katie, you're more at the sharp end than I am. In fact, I'm doing so much delivery at the minute. You're the only sharp end. You are very much the tip of the spear. So what's your, what has it felt like for us? Do you think that 50% of buyers no longer booking meetings feels about right for you?
Katie Roberts (15:05):
No, I'd say I've had more meetings than usual, which is strange, I know. But they wouldn't necessarily be our ideal buyer persona. So, the types of people booking meetings have changed, but they quantity has increased, if anything. That might be partly because people just want to talk to people. Or it might be Claire's marketing, but we'll go into it more, when you ask me more questions.
Jon Payne (15:33):
We will. Thanks Joseph, I'm going to swap my webcams to the one that shows you all of my chins. How's that? That's better isn't it? Let me bring Katie down onto this screen now. Cause otherwise it looks really weird. Okay. So and excuse the bare light bulb behind me. But business is hard. No, I just picked down the big one cause it made me look like I had a halo. So, thanks, Joseph for letting me know. And Gary, interesting to hear that you're growing 16% month on month. In fact more than interesting, fantastic! If you're happy to share Gary, and please don't, if you would rather not, let us know what industry you're in. That's quite an interesting thing. So I think a lot of other people are feeling it. But I'm seeing other clients who have got stuff in high demand. Certainly the people that Katie's talking to, there are sectors that are in high demand that are seeing growth, which is absolutely brilliant. So Elliot's not prospecting at this time. That's interesting, Elliot. We'll come to maybe how you might be able to do that. I'm going to have to bring the chat down here as well because otherwise I'm just doing that the whole time.
Jon Payne (16:48):
Right, so. Let's go to the standard stuff. Right, so. No one's got any money, Katie, apparently. Apart from the people that are talking to Gary and that's fricking great.
Katie Roberts (17:05):
Gary's got loads!
Jon Payne (17:06):
Yeah Gary's got loads. Of course, the email marketing platform called Zoom Mail. Yeah, you should go check that out. If Gary's getting 16% growth month on month, he's doing something right. And he's clearly got a great product. Go check it out guys. Not while you're watching this though, try and keep us the focus of your attention, because we're important. How are you dealing with the fact that most of our... so our old clients or our old pipeline, clearly, money... money isn't necessarily an issue. Not many of them have gone bust I don't think have they? Primarily they've put stuff on pause, and discretionary budgets have been kind of wiped out, right?
Katie Roberts (17:42):
Jon Payne (17:43):
So how do you cope? How do you cope with that? How does someone in sales cope with that?
Katie Roberts (17:48):
Well, I've had to think of it in two different ways. So I've been thinking about the short term and the long term. So in terms of the short term solution to this, we have adjusted our services slightly.
Katie Roberts (18:04):
So if you can't sell your product or service at the moment, then we can offer things like online training or just teaching what you do to other people. I mean, it's important to acknowledge that we're in quite a lucky position where we can still operate because we sell what's on the internet, sort of. So that's not necessarily going to work with every industry, but you can either tailor your service, adjust your prices, or carry on as normal and identify companies that are still making money, like Gary.
Jon Payne (18:36):
Gary getting loads of calls.
Katie Roberts (18:39):
Gary's going to hate this webinar. When I say adjust your prices, I mean if you're in a position where you can do that. So, you can either offer discounts, work out what your sort of a break even point is, and then work up from there, or adjust your payment terms to suit the buyer's cashflow. Because a lot of our people have put stuff on hold, but that doesn't mean that when the economy picks back up that they're not gonna start buying from us again, hopefully.
Katie Roberts (19:08):
But yeah. And then the third thing is, as I said, carry on as normal. Obviously with a massive sense of sensitivity. But if you can identify these companies that are still making money there's no reason why you shouldn't still be of value to them. If you know what sets you apart from other companies that do what you do, you know your values and you know your ethos and what your USP is, then there's no reason that these companies who are thriving in this time shouldn't still be interested. So that's my short term solutions.
Jon Payne (19:44):
And do you have ideas on how you might be able to identify companies that are still making money?
Katie Roberts (19:49):
So I wrote a blog about this. And it's mainly just...
Jon Payne (19:54):
I really wish we'd rehearsed that, because I'd feel a lot more satisfied with the question.
Katie Roberts (19:57):
The hairflick worked though didn't it? I was actually itching my neck, but I'll pretend it was a hairflick.
Katie Roberts (20:01):
It's not like the easiest thing to do. But if you think about sort of online retailers, DIY people, they're all thriving. You can use LinkedIn, you can talk to your network and find out how people are, you don't need to be that pushy sales person. Because people are genuinely interested in how people are at the moment. So you can just check in on people. There's some websites you can use as well that I can put in the chat that I've put in the blog. And it just says kind of who's got investment at the moment. So it's a bit cheeky, but there's things like that. But I would just say be human about it. My one thing is, that I've always tried to be as sales person is, just be human. People know exactly why you're getting in touch. There's no shame in saying why you're getting in touch. You don't need to be pushy.
Jon Payne (20:55):
Yeah. Yeah. So let me just recap that. So tailoring your service. So one of the ideas that you were talking about is that you could train people to... am I sharing the chat by the way guys? No, you can't see that, good. One of the things you could do is tell people... So we're in business services. So what we're able to do is tell people how to do what it is that we do so that we can, instead of charging them a big retainer, we can train them and charge them less money for that. Tailoring your service from the point of view of someone who perhaps is in manufacturing might be a bit, it might be a lot harder than that.
Jon Payne (21:41):
So then they probably would need to sit down the scale if I'm all right kind of going over what you said. Thinking about adjusting their prices. I really like your idea of on their payment terms. So being able to give people longer terms or more imaginary pricing, imaginative pricing strategies. Yeah, exactly.
Katie Roberts (22:03):
But like, just be as helpful as you can. We're all in the same position. So, if you need to get legal people involved, that will do the wording for you then that's fine. But I just think just do what you can for people while we're all in this situation, and if that means giving them a discount or adjusting payment terms, so be it.
Jon Payne (22:25):
Yeah. The carry on as normal thing kind of works, but only if you identify companies that are still making money.
Katie Roberts (22:34):
Jon Payne (22:34):
So we'll put in that email about the link to your blog posts that you've written about the sectors that you might want to go look at. But also in the followup email to everybody that's attended, we'll link to those websites that you talk about where we can find out who's got investment.
Katie Roberts (22:52):
Jon Payne (22:52):
Cause actually, I know that there's still... I do interviews with stockbrokers, can you believe it or not, who are looking to invest in various organisations. And they interview me about the sector and they pay me stupid money for half an hour of my wittering. And there's still plenty of those calls going on to people, and people like me. So there is still plenty of people investing in different organizations. So we can still do that. Anything else that you, that you think we should cover off before we move on to how people are dealing with uncertainty?
Katie Roberts (23:31):
I think Elliot's point in the chat, he said something about not wanting...
Jon Payne (23:34):
I've just got a coffee and a biscuit.
Katie Roberts (23:36):
Go on Nic! About not wanting to prospect at this time cause it doesn't feel right. I do really agree with that. But I think this kind of leads me onto my longterm point of, if you don't feel comfortable doing prospecting right now, I don't do any outbound really.
Katie Roberts (23:55):
So it's not your classic prospecting. It's more people will enquire based on the marketing that Claire has done or based on some stupid video I've put on LinkedIn or something like that. So it's very gentle outreach. So I do really understand where you're coming from Elliot when you say that. But thinking more long term, I would say it's really good, in terms of when there's no money, it's a good time to think about your sales process as a whole. And kind of analyse your process and focus on sales enablement and think about how you can improve that to make selling easier in the future. So that's a more long term solution if you don't feel comfortable doing outreach at the moment.
Jon Payne (24:37):
Yeah. And Elliot says that he believes that how they act now will be how they're judged in the future. So they're focused on helping their existing clients. I show this, particularly for remote working, I show this book nearly every time. Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, excuse me. Really worth a read if you've got the time right now. Where he talks about system one thinking and system two thinking, Elliot, what you're talking about there is basically make sure that you're maintaining and in fact building trust with your client base so that the natural decision is to come to you when they come out of all this. Don't worry about it just now. And you know, if you can't do anything just now, I think hopefully we'll be able to give you some ideas of stuff that you might want to do.
Jon Payne (25:23):
Cool. So, in terms of uncertainty and what I wanted to, I want to come back to sales enablement and how Claire is doing marketing, those two things that drives you leads. Cause I imagine that a lot of people are struggling right now in that area. Well, I know they're struggling cause otherwise why are they picking up the phone to us? Quite agree, Damien, there's nothing to stop you selling. I think we're just conscious that we need to be doing it with empathy. So let's talk about the uncertainty bit, Katie. Oh, in fact, actually I'm talking to the empath of empaths. So tell me about how you're dealing with uncertainty and how you think we can.
Katie Roberts (26:08):
I'm just trying to be as kind as possible because you have to remember that it's not just professional uncertainty, it's people's personal lives as well. So we have to just remember to be forgiving of people. You might be trying to get somebody on the phone or close a deal or whatever we salespeople do, and they might not be being as receptive as usual. And that's really understandable, and that's fine. So what I've tried to do is just remove any friction from our sales process and just be a trusted advisor rather than a sales person. So when I say removing friction from your sales process, I mean just really simple things like instead of chasing somebody every single day, like "when can we meet?" "When can we talk?" Obviously we can't meet at the moment. "When can we do the zoom call?" We've got an integrated calendar with HubSpot, our CRM, so I can just send them a link, and they can book in when they're free. I don't need to go back and forth over email. And that sounds really simple.
Jon Payne (27:10):
The link is... they can see everything in your diary or how does that work?
Katie Roberts (27:15):
They can see when I'm free and book in a time slot. They can't see everything - "phone call with mum", no.
Jon Payne (27:23):
So the question I always get asked, how do I make it so they can't book a meeting with me on Sunday then? Cause my calendar is empty on Sunday.
Katie Roberts (27:30):
I've just got my availability as Monday to Friday. I think it's seven till seven. So you can choose. That's only on HubSpot though. I don't know what other calendar integrations there are.
Jon Payne (27:41):
I think Calendly does something similar and I think that's free for a limited usage. So you don't have to get something that you have to pay for like HubSpot calendar, we'll put that in the email.
Katie Roberts (27:48):
But that was just an example of one really simple way to remove friction and remove the kind of pushy nature of "when can we meet". Another thing is just giving as much information as possible. And as salespeople we should be doing that anyway. But because of this lack of, not lack, this abundance of uncertainty, people are feeling more secure with the more knowledge that they have. So do the classic listen salesperson thing! And respond with the stuff that they actually need rather than trying to upsell or cross sell other stuff. Just providing as much information as possible and guiding them through the process. That's what I've been trying to do anyway. And being that advisor, I like that analogy, so I always use that. .
Jon Payne (28:44):
Yeah. My old boss who I keep referring to, and he came on one of these, I don't think he's on this one, taught me the acronym SALES. S is for Smile, a is for Ask, L is for Listen, E is for Educate S is for Sell. So like your whole process, if you're thinking about following that mnemonic, is smile was basically that empathy thing, isn't it? And then the ask is you get them talking and talking about their problem, and people love to do that. Listen, that's what we do as salespeople, right? And then educate, which is where you're talking about being that trusted advisor. So you've asked and listened and asked and listened and asked and listened. And then you begin to educate and educate and educate, and it's only right at the end that you, that you sell.
Jon Payne (29:32):
And I think, and that kind of plays to Damien's point, right? That he made in the chat, that as long as you've got a valuable service, then there's nothing wrong with selling.
Katie Roberts (29:40):
Well I completely agree with that. Why would you be selling it in the first place if you don't believe in it?
Jon Payne (29:44):
Yeah. And, and, and right now if you've got valuable service that you think could be helpful, you're not just phoning people up and going "buy my thing". Hopefully you're becoming a trusted advisor, helping them understand what their problems are and giving them as much information as possible to help them through that process. I think it is, yeah, really like your thing about people being aren't as receptive. And there are other ways that you have seen your clients or yourself removing friction from the sales process.
Katie Roberts (30:24):
Oh, what other ways of removing friction? Well, I mean, you and Claire did quite a lot of that work for me before I started. Because we've got buyer personas, so I understand the challenges that our prospects are facing. And therefore our sales process is quite aligned with how they want to buy. So I think that's a really good way to remove friction. And I've done a bit of work on that. But I think that a good starting point there is aligning your sales and marketing teams, if they're not already aligned, because I know what campaigns Claire is doing and then how to react to that. So for example, somebody will go onto our website and download a guide that Claire has put up with a landing page and it will be how to implement HubSpot. So I know what challenges they're facing from what they've downloaded. And then I can send them a really helpful video saying: "Hello, it's Katie from Noisy Little Monkey. I know you've downloaded this guide. Hubspot can be a bit difficult on your own. So let me know if you need any help. Thanks. Bye." And I'm not being pushy.
Jon Payne (31:31):
Wait, so you're doing that on the phone? You said a video? So you just create a Zoom meeting?
Katie Roberts (31:38):
No, so I use Soapbox, which is a, what would you call it? Like a, it's almost like a Vime, Vidyard.
Jon Payne (31:49):
Yeah. I think it's by Wistia, isn't it? And it's a plugin for your browser. I think that's what I'd call it. But then, I'm a nerd.
Katie Roberts (31:55):
So you click the, well, you click the plugin or the extension on your browser and you can film it's half of your face and then half of your screen. So I'll normally go onto their website so that they'll see something familiar when they opened the email and it's got the thumbnail of this. Then at least it's their website as well. And then I'll just say, "Hello, it's me. How can I help? I've noticed you've downloaded this." So it's relevant to what they've asked for help with on our website. It's a face, so it's friendly. And it's not pushy at all. It's just helpful. So we're really focusing on just doing helpful, relevant outreach. And that's the only outreach I ever do.
Jon Payne (32:37):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is, and we're telling people to do it, right? So it's going to stop being different at some point, although your videos are better than pretty much all the other ones I've ever seen coming out like that. But yeah, so, okay. And, and there's a lot of people agreeing with the fact that we need to share, and be as helpful as possible, share useful information and useful insights, because it helps people understand what their problem is and whether your business can provide the right solution for it. So making that sales process a bit less salesy and pushy. And yeah, people agreeing with that. We shouldn't be generating bad will right now. Wetherspoons. We should be generating good will, Timpsons. Yeah. Good points, everybody. Good points. And great points, Katie. So, and maybe we'll have a chance to unpack some of that sales enablement thing later on, but talk to us about, if we're coping with that opportunity or sorry, that uncertainty, how do we prep ourselves to get the best from the upcoming opportunity?
Katie Roberts (34:01):
Well people like people and brands that are familiar, aren't they? So if we, we create those bonds now, then they're more likely to be able to buy and want to buy from us in the future. So for example, holding a weekly webinar.
Jon Payne (34:16):
That's a great idea.
Katie Roberts (34:20):
Great idea. Someone should start. That engaging with people that you wouldn't normally, on LinkedIn or by email. People have, well, we have more opportunity to be a bit more flexible with our time, at the moment. I've been speaking to so many people that I wouldn't normally speak to. Not for any particular reason. Just I don't have time to reach out to people who wouldn't necessarily be in our "fit matrix" of clients.
Jon Payne (34:50):
Fit matrix. Okay. Two things. Question one, LinkedIn is dog shit, right? So why are you using it? I mean it's just, it's full of boringness. I hate it!
Katie Roberts (35:00):
Honestly. I'm using it for two reasons. I'm quite funny, so I'm trying to...
Jon Payne (35:07):
And modest, let's not forget humble and modest.
Katie Roberts (35:08):
... nice content that's just like, what's the word? Not informal...
Jon Payne (35:14):
Katie Roberts (35:14):
Jon Payne (35:18):
Yeah. Oh, informing. Informative?
Katie Roberts (35:21):
Informative. Thank you. But also light hearted because I think it's really important to acknowledge the severity of the situation but also not focus on the doom and gloom, and keep people feeling like there's hope. And I'm not saying that me doing a stupid video is going to do that. But I'm saying that they'll recognise my face and one day maybe when we are allowed to see each other again, they'll recognise me or I'll become just a bit more familiar for people. And everybody, even if it is crap, people are on it, so I might as well be doing stuff on it that people are gonna see.
Katie Roberts (36:00):
I've messaged loads of people on it who, and I normally get like a 1% reply rate on LinkedIn and it's been so much more recently, and I've had more connection requests and more profile views. So I don't know what that means necessarily, but I know that it implies that more people are certainly using the platform and are on it more. Which is why I've been using it at the moment. But yes, I agree with you that it's not the best, generally, but there are some stuff, there is some stuff you can do on it.
Jon Payne (36:30):
And I, you know, I asked that as devil's advocate question cause I hate LinkedIn. I think it's a really dull platform. I think it's full of you know.
Katie Roberts (36:41):
You can't really win with it, can you? Cause if you put out just informative stuff, people are like, "oh, that's boring". But then if you put out stupid stuff, people are like "it's not Facebook", so you have to find that fine line in the middle that's both.
Jon Payne (36:55):
Yeah. And there's so many boring old white guys on it.
Katie Roberts (37:00):
Jon Payne (37:00):
Exactly! There's so much of that going on. So actually, you know. But the fact is when you look at the metrics that work for us and our other B2B clients, it's the platform on social that drives the most traffic, to their website and then therefore drives the most revenue. So as much as I malign it, it's a necessary evil, I think. Particularly in B2B. And I was just interested in your feedback, so actually you saying, you know, be informative, keep it white. Keep it white? Keep it light, while acknowledging the severities is a useful one. In terms of, you mentioned something about, we're currently talking to people who are outside of our fit matrix. What's a fit matrix?
Katie Roberts (37:52):
A fit matrix is sort of a, how would you describe it? I use it as a way to work out how similar to our buyer persona, the person I'm talking to is. So I have a list of requirements. So people who we work with have to be or ideally are in a particular sector, of a company of a particular size, have a certain revenue, are female friendly as in just not annoyed that we've got mainly females on our team. And there's just certain kind of requirements that we work best with. So it's just how we are set up to work best and make them thrive. So normally we wouldn't work with startups for example, not because we don't think that their company is great, just cause we're not set up to work well with people without a marketing team.
Katie Roberts (38:49):
But this week, well, the past few weeks I've been talking to loads of startups who have been like the loveliest people, and one of them made me cry because he was telling me this lovely story that I won't share, but Oh God. And I've just had a really nice conversation with people and I know that's not necessarily going to lead to a sale, but if one in 10 of those does, then that's a pretty good conversion rate. And it was worth it. Talking to nice people, learning more about other companies out there and how I sell, and closing potentially more business, so...
Jon Payne (39:22):
Yeah, I think there's a lot of, I think people forget that actually all of this stuff about it being informative and all of that kind of stuff really only works if you're getting the numbers through the door, right? If you didn't do those 10 calls, that you know, nine of them, in fact, all 10 of them feel like they're probably going nowhere. But you know that your close rate is one in 10 on cold inbound enquiries. You've got to cut through those nos, right.? Because that means that in the next 10 there might be two yeses, and actually at the first 10 maybe you get one yes that you can do. That was always my thing is just get through the nos, when I was doing tele sales. Bit like when you were doing recruitment, just gotta get through the hang ups and the swearing and all of that, because then out of there, then you get to one or two that are great and you make some money.
Katie Roberts (40:13):
Yeah. And even now if they're not, if they're are no, it's not an annoyed no, it's just a, "it's not the right time now" or "you're not the right agency for us" or they're not the right type of deal for us because we don't do that. That kind of outreach where it's intrusive. Claire will have created some sort of content or copy that's driven prospects to their website or to our social medias in the first place. Yeah, so it's never cold. What does HubSpot call it? I can't remember.
Jon Payne (40:45):
No, I can't remember. They've got a lot of jargon. I think what would be useful is we'll share a fit matrix. If that's okay. We'll share a blank fit matrix. Maybe we'll use ours as an example. Cause then the people on the call can use it going forward. Obviously we, as you say, we've modified ours haven't we since we've done it. But yet, you Yosef or Joseph, I'm sorry, you're spelt in the, in a really cool European manner. So I want to call you Yosef. But you're probably just Joseph. We will definitely share that. And thank you for telling my camera overheated, one, but dude, do I share your sentiment on TEDx? Oh my Lord. Have they ruined that brand or what? Sorry. It's just like TEDx.
Katie Roberts (41:28):
Jon, you hate TEDx.
Jon Payne (41:31):
I really do. Mainly because one's asked me to speak at one.
Katie Roberts (41:37):
Yeah, I think that is why.
Jon Payne (41:37):
So, so we've got, thinking about in the opportunity there's like be more helpful. Think about being helpful on different Bristols different Bristols. I've read your message Azeem, just as I said, being more helpful on different platforms. Yeah. Maybe TEDx Bristol, I'll speak at that. No, I won't. I've just told Joseph how rubbish it is. Ah no, I'm hoist by my own petard. But yeah, so think about using LinkedIn, particularly being informative, acknowledge the severity, but keep it light. Think about modifying your fit matrix or even deploying one. You've cried on a sales call last week. Do you think that's something we should all employ? I mean, was it the first call with this prospect, or?
Katie Roberts (42:25):
Jon Payne (42:29):
Katie Roberts (42:29):
Well, the reason I said that is because it's an opportunity to speak to more people that you wouldn't normally speak to. And in a human and personal way. He was just a delightful man with an amazing story. And I cried. And it's just important to remember that just because they're not in your fit matrix, I'm now giving him some free HubSpot help. So, I'm being helpful.
Jon Payne (43:01):
Did I mention you're fired?
Katie Roberts (43:01):
I'm not. So yeah, so it's about being helpful, creating those bonds now. And kind of doing a bit of future proofing. Did I mention I cried?
Jon Payne (43:10):
Yeah, you did mention you cried, you did mention you cried. I had a cry this week as well. I think everybody should cry at least once a week, particularly while we're in lockdown. Brilliant. So we've gone through and we've, ah, this has gone very, very fast. What one thing should we leave everybody with, what's your one piece of advice for continuing through lockdown? I don't think we're going to get unlocked next week, but whenever the lock lifts, what's your one piece of advice for anybody who's working in sales?
Katie Roberts (43:50):
Just remember that everybody you speak to is a human. I would say. You're going to... Just don't, don't piss people off. Don't be unreasonable. Just understand who you're speaking to and do what you say you're going to do.
Jon Payne (44:12):
The classic Katie Roberts, "do what you say you're going to do" piece of advice because so few sales teams and so few salespeople actually follow up. Pick that apart for us. Give us an example of when that doesn't happen and what happens when it does.
Katie Roberts (44:26):
Well, I just think it's really important to have integrity. I always, always go on and on about being a trusted advisor, not a sales person, even though there's no shame in being a sales person, but your job is to help them buy what they need. And that's it. So if you say you're going to send them the contract at 3:00 PM on Friday then just do it, it's not hard. And if you end up saying you're gonna do all these things and you don't do it then you just look like, I can't think of a non swearword, an idiot, so you just, you're not going to keep up that, that level of trust if you, if you don't act like they are one of your priorities. Which they should be. Yeah, because their a client, so that is just one of my, one of my pet hates is people with with no integrity, so.
Jon Payne (45:17):
Brilliant. Thank you Katie. I have launched another quick poll if you would like to talk to Katie or me but probably Katie because she's the bomb about anything we've discussed today. And would like to carry on the conversation then click yes and we'll ping you an email with probably, I suspect a link to her diary, so you can carry on that conversation. I'm going to let that roll while we talk to you about what's coming next. If you've got any questions, cause I think we're probably just going to be a bit tight on time. If you've got any questions, I think we've answered most of them as we've gone through. Claire, message me if we didn't see any. But, yeah let us know if you would like to carry on the conversation with Katie. As you hear she's giving out free advice. We're doing free HubSpot stuff, so if you need anything and you haven't got any money, it's still worth the conversation. If you have got money, then it's definitely worth conversation. If you want to ask us any questions, you can ask the chat here. Katie, Azeem has asked, how did you overcome your toughest objection?
Katie Roberts (46:33):
Oh, not at Noisy Little Monkey, I would say that would have been in recruitment. If that's still an interesting answer.
Jon Payne (46:41):
Yeah. Oh man, that's the hardest sales. What was it?
Katie Roberts (46:46):
So I was trying to... I don't know how to say this without sounding like a sleazebag.
Jon Payne (46:54):
It was previous Katie!
Katie Roberts (46:54):
So we had terms that we had to work to at recruitment company X, and you have to basically convince the client that we work to 30% terms, which we didn't. You could do 8% and we were still profitable. And it used to really annoy me that we had to try and sell the 30%. Somebody read through our contract and was like, we're not doing 30%, we're not doing 30%. So I had to basically convince them of my worth as a recruiter and sell the fact that it was worth 30% because I'm not an expert in the industry that I was recruiting for, which was defense technology, but I am an expert in recruitment and this person is so niche, you wouldn't have found them without me. So that one was more about knowing my worth, but it felt like a tough objection because I wasn't convinced that it was worth 30%, but I was convinced of my worth. So I think, I think knowing your worth is, is the best way to overcome objections and you're an expert in your field, and at the end of the day, you're probs just trying to help people. Ain't ya.
Jon Payne (48:11):
Yeah. My, my tip for handling objections, Azeem, is to... Gordon Bennet, I'm stumbling over every word today. Is to isolate. So you just go back to, you use the sales thing again and when you hear that, no, I can't do it today. And people always use prices and objection, right? That's the normal one. And then you... it's never normally price otherwise why they've been talking to you this long, they knew how much it cost. So you smile, ask, listen, educate and sell again. But you go back to the beginning, smile and then ask them, and the question is, is that the only problem that you've got or are there other ones? Cause I want to make sure that I'm getting all of this sorted for you, mr or mrs customer.
Jon Payne (48:53):
So you isolate the objection, absolutely isolate it. Get a yes that, that's the only objection. Then figure out how you can overcome it. If you can't overcome it, you've lost the deal. But if you can overcome it, they're much more likely to buy because they just told you that was the only problem. And as soon as you overcome that, their last problem, it's really difficult for someone as a human to then out themselves as a liar and go, actually, I also don't like the price. So isolate and then try and handle that objection.
Katie Roberts (49:22):
That's a great answer.
Jon Payne (49:24):
I've been around the block, I never do isolate it. That's what I try and do. And then I just fill the air with noise cause I'm an old guy. Guys, next week we have the amazing Crystal Carter coming along. Particularly for those of you in marketing it'll be useful. She is going to be talking about thinking outside the blog. Because content matters now more than ever. She's doing amazing stuff with content marketing. During Covid, in a couple of weeks we've got, I Ayat Shukairy. She is the cofounder of Invest, which is a really, really, really good conversion rate optimisation business. It's not that, that's not how she describes it. That's how I'm going to describe it to you cause that's easy for me to understand. The talk isn't "hope is not a strategy".
Jon Payne (50:13):
That's just something she said once and I thought that's the coolest thing ever, about conversion rate optimisation. We'd really like to see you there. We'd love to see you at the Carter sorry, Crystal Carter one, which is next week. You can register for that now at mnky.bz/bau. And if you think this is useful and you've enjoyed it, please tweet Noisy Little Monkey. Tell us you liked it, share it with your friends and your buds. And subscribe to the newsletter over there at Noisy Little Monkey. And we'll let you know about more of them coming up. We'll share the videos with you, and obviously since you've made it to the end, we'll share all of the resources with you as well. But we'd really like you to help us get the message out there because this is free.
Jon Payne (50:56):
We can get, I think we can get another 500 or a thousand people in this room if I up the budget again. So let's do that. Thanks ever so much for coming along. Thank you for saying "thank you", Maggie Urving, it's been nice and thanks for coming, everybody. We'll send you a link, Alex. We'll put it in the follow up so that everybody can have it. I'm going to say goodbye now. It's been really nice to have you along. Katie, thanks very much.
Katie Roberts (51:27):
Jon Payne (51:27):
You've been amazing. Goodbye.
Katie Roberts (51:31):
Jon Payne (51:32):
Katie Roberts (51:33):
Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.
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