Episode 101: Janice Gordon – The Scale Your Sales Framework
The Customer Growth Expert Janice Gordon is joining our hosts Brynne Tillman and Bob Woods to talk about her Scale Your Sales framework and how it has helped companies accelerate their sales by using a customer-centric approach.
Listen as Janice shares several mic drop moments about retention, productivity, and attraction, which are the three key elements of Janice’s Scale Your Sales framework.
Janice Gordon 00:00
My description of social selling is having relevant conversations with relevant people. And you can break that down when, what do we mean by relevant conversations and how does that come about? Well, it’s about the research, the firmographics, the psychographics, really understanding your buyers’ point of view, really understanding their behaviors.
So you’ve got to have a buyer’s profile, but as you know, in companies B2B is never one customer. And then understanding their perspective as well. What are their values? What are the particular bits that they’re interested in learning? What are the questions that they might have?
Bob Woods 00:43
Welcome to the Making Sales Social Podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick as they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:21
Welcome back to Making Sales Social. I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:24
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:25
Brynne, who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 01:26
Oh my gosh, so excited to have Janice B. Gordon with us. We have been kind of following each other on social for a long time. I think she originally found us from the Sales Experts Channel. I’ve been on her show and we’ve been chatting a lot and I love the magic that she brings for people that want to grow and scale their sales. So Janice, welcome to the show.
Janice Gordon 01:47
It’s an absolute pleasure to be here with you both. Love it.
Brynne Tillman 01:52
Tell everyone a little bit about you and about Scale Your Sales.
Janice Gordon 01:57
Yeah, I work with mid-cap companies, those that are in the middle. They’re often clients that have found new incumbents coming along that are beating them to what they consider to be their business. They’re competent at sales but they’re probably more traditionalist and haven’t modernized enough. So I talk to them a lot about changing their sales process to be customer-centric, to ensure that they’re enabling their buyers to buy.
So it’s really about stepping into the shoes of their buyers and understanding who are their buyers and who are their customers. So the Scale Your Sales framework has three key elements to it. I talk about retention. This is the biggest, easiest way to not only grow but accelerate your sales by looking after what you’ve already got. So there’s a whole program around retention.
Productivity is looking at really where is your sweet spot like Pareto principles, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers but if you do the 80/20, again, we’re talking about 4% of your customers that will probably give you 64% of your sales but most often companies I talked to don’t know who they are. Can you imagine? That’s crazy, you don’t know who your customer is.
Brynne Tillman 03:21
Really? Even at that size?
Janice Gordon 03:24
Yeah, even at that size.Yes. And it’s often the easiest thing is to measure it by revenue. You and I know that who are your top customers five years ago, are not your top customers today. So it’s really about looking at where you’re going and where your customer’s going, what the potential is. So there’s a whole host of ways that we apply this to our customers. And then, finally, attraction is about, it’s really the social selling. It’s a modernized way of actually growing your relationships, which grows your sales.
Bill McCormick 04:00
(Brynne: That’s great.) Love that. And speaking of that, we want to ask you the question we ask all of our guests and that is, Janice, what does making sales social mean to you?
Janice Gordon 04:09
Well, my description of social selling is having relevant conversations with relevant people. And you can break that down when, what do we mean by relevant conversations? And how does that come about? Well, it’s about the research, the firmographics, the psychographics, really understanding your buyer’s point of view, really understanding their behaviors. So you’ve got to have a buyer’s profile, but as you know, in companies, B2B, it’s never one customer. It’s often 10, 20, so it’s understanding all of those profiles of those customers for the type of product that you sell and then understanding their perspective as well. What are their values? What are the particular bits that they’re interested in learning, what are the questions that they might have? Once you’ve done all of that work, you can start to answer those questions and target the conduit between the relevant conversations and relevant people is content, as you know, you two both love content but that’s the glue between the two.
When you produce content, it’s to answer a question that a particular buyer, buyer persona might have. A CTO isn’t going to have the same questions as a CEO, or CNO. So you can have different types of content that are going to answer those implicit and explicit questions. So you want relevant conversations that the content will bring up with those relevant people because you’ve done all of that research.
Brynne Tillman 05:53
I love that. Love, love that! And you know, a lot of what…we call that as social listening, that research. So share with us a couple of insights or tips or strategies or tactics that our listeners can implement when it comes to research.
So a lot of people go, “Okay, that sounds amazing, Janice and now I’m going to go, and I need to go research, the CEO, the CTO, the CFO.” What’s the first step they should take? Or what’s a couple of steps even, that they should take when doing that?
Janice Gordon 06:24
You need to research what platforms they’re on. So, do a search for their name, Mrs. Google will provide you with so much information if you only ask her. So you know, take that individual we often think do research on a company level, that’s for your marketing department but you as a salesperson or seller, it’s B2B, it’s human to human, it is one to one. So you are having a conversation with that one person, you need to understand their perspective. So search their name, follow their content, read their content, and make note of their tone. The subjects, what are the keywords? What are the things that they’re mentioning most often? Who is in their inner circle? Who are they communicating with on a regular basis?
That gives you a big indication of what they’re interested in? Often salespeople will say to me, “Well, how do I know their perspective?” It’s all online! You know, all you need to do is go looking. So who are they closely connected with will tell you what they’re interested in, what they’re following. It’ll give you an indication of what they may be looking for, what they’re searching for. So you need to gather that information.
Of course, you’re going to understand what their position is in the company and their title but you also need to, perhaps interview at a lower level, it’s easier to get into a company at a lower level and help get that person, the person you have a relationship with, to do an organizational plan. And they get often they’re quite gossipy, they might give you a lot more information than you bargained for. And as much as it may be something, you’re the one to connect all of that up. Who do they have a closer relationship with? Who do they trust within the organization? When you look at an organizational plan from the outside, you’re just going to do all of the usual connections. When you look at it from the inside, you know who are, do they have the alliances with? So if they’re making a decision, who do they go to within the organization to confirm that decision? That is now one of your stakeholders or influences depending on what position they are in the company. Can you see how you’re beginning to plot out that organization from the inside? This is why I say you need to get to step in their shoes, understand their position. And even though you’re on the outside, it’s not so difficult to really see what’s going on inside an organization.
Brynne Tillman 09:10
I love that! (unintelligible) would call that buyer mapping. So you call them plotting them out, right? So where are they? But I just want to add, it is brilliant, love that. One of the things you can do with social is search people in past companies. So who used to work there that that’s not there now? If you want to talk about people that like to gossip, ex-employees, they’re great to have conversations with, they’ll give you the buying strategy, who’s involved? Who’s micromanaging things? Who was the one to go to that influences? You can get so much from talking to past employees.
Janice Gordon 09:48
That’s a great one, that’s a great one, Brynne!
Bill McCormick 09:51
What Janice just talked about is kind of taking social listening and social proximity and kind of putting them together. Talking about social proximity and finding all of the decision-makers, the peer people in an organization but now you’re saying social listening and finding out what they’re talking about too so you have a wider picture of the buying process and those that are buying. I love that.
I’m curious, in terms of retaining clients, you said that was the first part. What are some things that you suggest that sales reps do, specifically when we’re talking about social so that they can stay in touch with their current clients? We say there are five things we want from our current clients, we want more business. You know, we want internal introductions, we want external introductions, we want case studies and recommendations. And then finally, we want vendor introductions, what are some of the things you suggest they do?
Janice Gordon 10:49
Okay, well, in terms of retention, I think the first thing is what’s going on here? What happens is that we sell a product. And we limit ourselves, we think that’s it. We don’t think actually, this is beginning, we think that this is next year if I could only sell the same thing, but a little bit more. You know, this is the beginning of a conversation and an opportunity to be the main supplier for everything within that organization. You think, “Oh, well, that’s ridiculous.”
What I want to do is unlimit the limits we often set ourselves. Who knows, in five years time where you are going to be where the organization is going to be, and what their key product is going to be in the value of that? I mean, the world has changed so much. We need to stop limiting ourselves as to what the possibilities are because it’s unknown. And if we accept that that’s unknown, then we think, okay, whatever happens in the future, how am I going to make sure that I’m at the leading edge, I’m at the forefront of that buyer and customer’s mind.
So there are certain things that you need to do. And one of the exercises that I do with a lot of my clients is to get them to map out the value of their relationships, and there is, all of the different personas within the organization we talked about. And then actually just measuring on a point scale from one to five, really where your relationship is with those people and we’ll often find even though they may have done a big piece of business with that company, there are some major holes in their relationship quota and what you need to do in terms of the retention being forefront of the mind of the key people that are decision-makers, is you need to work over the next year or two to make sure you bring up the quota so the value of the whole relationship with the people you have in the organization.
So part of it is having a relationship with enough people and part of it is having the quality of relationship with enough of those people. So the are different things you need to work on in order to remain front of mind, in order to be that trusted advisor within the organization. So it’s all about the how to value those relationships so you can more or less guarantee, if an opportunity comes along within the customer organization, they’re looking for a supplier, if your quota is high enough, you may not do the product or the service, but they’re going to talk to you about it, you’re going to know what’s going on, you’re going to be able to refer other people in if you’re not the ideal person. You want to be that trusted advisor within the organization that only happens if you have the breadth of relationships, and those relationships are of a particular value. That’s how you can almost guarantee you’re always at the table.
Brynne Tillman 13:55
So I love that often we’ll say detach from what the prospect is worth to you and attach to what you are worth to the prospect. And I think that’s a perfect example of how to do that. Just go in there to be the best advisor to give the best advice and if you’re the right solution, it’ll happen. Yeah, so I think that’s brilliant.
Bill McCormick 14:14
And what you’re doing is not only you building relationships, you’re building credibility. (Janice: Yeah.) Credibility is really, you know, that’s the money of trust but it really, I can’t think of the way I want to say it but that’s where we really develop trust is when you have that credibility that even if they’re not sure if we can provide that product or service, they come to us because they know that we’re going to give them an honest answer and we’re going to point them in the right direction. And now we’ve gotten away from a commodity transaction and we’ve really developed that relationship and I love what you said in the beginning. You know, we’re not closing a sale or opening a relationship. And I think we have to look at each and every new client that comes in, in that way, so that we can continue those relationships, and we’re not thinking, okay, so that this time and next year, I have to do it all over again. No, you’re having a continuous relationship. So I love that.
Brynne Tillman 15:16
I’m going to take a guess, is it credibility is the currency of trust?
Bill McCormick 15:20
That’s it. Yes. Thank you. Thank you, a little more coffee.
Brynne Tillman 15:29
Love it, love it. So Janice, I mean, everything you’re saying are mic drop moments. I mean, our listeners are on the edge of their seats. I can hear them now. See them now, right? Your magic, although you have many little powers, I’m sure, is the scaling of sales, right? It’s how do I take my pretty good business right now and scale that. So how should these business owners or sales leaders start to think about their organization, when they’re preparing to scale?
Janice Gordon 16:03
You’ve got to have your systems in place. And I don’t, I’m not saying that you have to have the largest sales stack, I often go into organization and it’s just a quagmire of tools and apps and all of that. You often need, what I often do is just strip that out. We’re losing a sense of why we’re here and what we’re doing. If you’re going to scale, we need to have processes in place that are clear and as simple as possible and you just need to follow the process. The process is iterative, though, because what we did two years ago, we’re not going to do in the same way, otherwise, you’re out of business, it’s so much more online. And also from a customer point of view, I often say this, what you knew about your customer two years ago, scrap that, you need to start at the beginning again, and do that research again because they have changed in the last two years. They may be selling completely different products, (unintelligible) different people are at the table, you have to start again. So if we’re starting from today and we’re looking at scaling, I think today, a lot of companies would have stripped out and simplified, whether it’s the workforce, the products or services. So you’re kind of stripped-back already, which would be one of the things that I said that you need me to do.
The productivity aspect of scale, your sales framework, is really looking at your sweet spots, and identifying what they are. Not only on the customer side, the 20% of the 20%, which is 4%. but also on your side as well. You know, what are your best products, and best being the ones that have got legs to go forward? We’re talking about scalings, we’re looking into the future. So we need to kind of bet on those products and services that have got legs to go into the future. So you kind of need to look internally at you know, what is your platform that you’ve got. And maybe you might be changing that as well. thinking about how we’re going to go forward. You might start thinking about your selling more on, through other platforms, third-party platforms, so the way you sell may change. So when we’re talking about scaling, I never go in and talk about your sales process. I have no idea what your sales process will be in the future until I’ve understood where is your business model in the future? How is that moving? Because what I want to do is I want to create something that is going to move with the business, the business is only going to move where the customers are moving.
So again, that’s why they call me you know, the customer, the expert, everything I do is with the customer in mind, it’s with the outcome in mind the customer. I need to follow my sweet spot of customers and be able to offer them relevant products and services going forward. What is the best business model for that to happen? When I understand that, now I can start to build the modern sales process. So we’re going to move from where you are now to the sales process that’s going to allow you to scale for that unique group of customers because you’ve got the ideal product that’s not only I do now but in five years time. Can you see? It’s not just a process, it’s not just about the sales, it’s actually about the business model, where it’s going forward.
Brynne Tillman 19:44
I love it. So it’s the customer growth expert, which is kind of your moniker of sorts. What I hear you saying to bring it together is you go into an organization and you identify where is your business model and is that sustainable? And is that position to scale? Is it going to be relevant in 2, 3, 5 years? And if not, you help them to rethink that, right? But if you decide, yes, this is great. Now we put the processes around that, right. So, I think, one of the things I just want to say to our listeners, is really take a look at your products and services, and take a look at the needs of your clients today and are they aligned? And if they’re not, call Janice. Yeah, so go ahead, Bill. I see your…
Bill McCormick 20:43
So I have one question. And so many times with sales reps, they think more is more. So the more client avatars I have, I sell to everyone, the more products, and services I have, the more opportunities I have. And what you’re really saying is to focus in on those sweet spots. I’m curious that when you go into these organizations, how do you overcome that? That knee-jerk reaction that we don’t like change and know we can’t limit ourselves. We don’t want to limit ourselves, Janice, we can sell to anybody. How do you overcome that?
Janice Gordon 21:20
I love these organizations, I absolutely love them, you know, give me a challenge like that because there are many organizations, many organizations like that because what we’ve got, it’s kind of working and there’s a fear of changing it because we have, that’s the unknown again, look, let’s held our hands up the world we live in now and going forward, there’s going to be a huge element of unknowns, and uncertainty, it’s a VUCA world, we have to get used to that.
So what do I do? What we need is some quick wins. I always go into companies, I look at where am I going to get the quick wins? Where am I going to get that the customer, the unattainable customer, that they’ve lost out to new incumbents? How can I help them to win that one? Once I’ve helped them to win that one, everyone wants to listen to you. You know, it’s not that difficult because if the board of wondering how did we get this, this is made of choose, we want more of these successes.
Okay, you want more of those successes, we’re going to have to change what we’re doing internally, in order to make sure it’s really focused on your customer. And you understand the customer, suddenly, people are willing to listen to you. So it’s actually not that difficult. I just need to identify what is the kind of the knob, the thing, that’s going to open up people to change because everyone wants a success. Everyone in that company wants that success.
Brynne Tillman 22:52
Often we’ll say, you know, that’s really about teaching them something new that gets them thinking differently about their current situation, right. That is often what opens up that conversation like, “Hmm, I never thought of it that way and that would be interesting in my company.” Like when you can create those moments, those compelling moments, you get hands raised and conversations booked.
Bill McCormick 23:17
What gets them to unlimit their limits, which you said earlier, which I love.
Janice Gordon 23:23
Yeah, exactly. You know, often when I first get introduced to a company, then the sales leader will often put the most kind of difficult person next to me, by the end of the conversation, we’re getting on like a house on fire. You know, because you often use, one of my superpowers is questioning. And if the quality, even in the salesperson, the quality of your questions. And if you think there are always three questions that are going to get you to where you want to be, only three.
The difficulty is sculpturing those three questions, you spend all your time on those three questions, it opens people up, they’re going to obviously be different questions for different scenarios and outcomes but you only need three questions. So when you use analogies and metaphors, it helps people to open up because it’s not personal. It’s not a personal attack. I’m not saying anything about you but if I actually gather analogy from someone else’s experience, and use that back at them, well, you know, you’ve just said this, but you know, do you think in this scenario, and they think, well, it’s worked there and that’s worked in my life in my experience, possibly you’d, all you need to do is just open people up to the possibilities, willing to do it.
Bill McCormick 24:46
I love it and we could go on and on but unfortunately, we’re coming to the end of our time, it zoomed past. So Janice, if folks wanted to connect with you or work with you, how would they do that?
Janice Gordon 24:59
Connect with me on LinkedIn “The space Janice B Don’t forget my B. Gordon.” Scaleyoursales.co.uk is the website but please do, I’d love your listeners to come and visit us at Scale Your Sales podcast as well and you will find the lovely Brynne and Bill they’re coming up in the episode, so please do come and visit like and subscribe to the podcast as well.
Bill McCormick 25:29
Yes, I highly recommend that and so, Janice B. Gordon, Scale Your Sales. Thank you so much. (Brynne: Thank you. Thank you.) We so appreciate you. To our listeners, thanks so much for once again spending time here with us this week as you’re out and about don’t forget to make your sales social. Bye-bye, everyone.
Bob Woods 25:46
Thanks for watching, and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales training, and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Hit the Subscribe button below to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcast. Give this video a thumbs up and comment down below on what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.