AI For Sales Compensation And The Impact Of COVID On Compensation With Michelle Seger
Without a doubt, 2020 has been a year of pivoting, abandonment, and flexibility for most entrepreneurs. Chad Burmeister talks with Michelle Seger of SalesGlobe about where AI for Sales is being leveraged in the sales process after collaborating with hundreds of sales leaders. They also discuss how AI is being used in sales compensation, the compensation philosophy, the impact of COVID on the growth inside sales, and how technology must be integrated into various business strategies. They also put on their predictive glasses to talk about what 2021 could have in store for everyone, particularly in leveraging social media to empower marketing tactics, the shift of most businesses to actually help customers with their problems, and the importance of meaningful conversations in connecting with the target market.
Listen to the podcast here:
AI For Sales Compensation And The Impact Of COVID On Compensation With Michelle Seger
I've got a special guest with me, Michelle Seger, who I met in Miami. I'm excited to be able to drill down around AI augmentation as well as AI, the Artificial Intelligence side, and all kinds of things. Michelle, welcome.
Thanks for having me, Chad.
Michelle is with SalesGlobe. She's been there for many years. Prior to that, she had some interesting experience where she did twelve years in retail and ran into some other pandemic kinds of things called 9/11 at the time. She has had a very fun and interesting career. We're going to get into that. When we talked in Miami on the stage there at that conference, you shared a lot about your passions in life and how you came about becoming the person that you are. What was that little thing that you used to ride when you were a kid called?
Riding my big wheel.
You're having a book that's about to come out on that topic.
I've got a podcast that's launching around riding the big wheel. Riding The Big Wheel is about women in leadership. When we talk about riding the big wheel, what that meant for me, you asked me a question is, what happened? You put me on the spot and I agreed. You brought up all these things about my past, which were the reasons that I went through years of therapy. I didn't but before you brought up stuff. You asked me what my favorite childhood memory was, and riding my big wheel popped into my head. As we looked at the podcast, we struggled with the name for months. I called up my production manager and said, “This is it, Riding The Big Wheel.”
He’s like, “What does that mean?” Here's what it's like. When I rode my big wheel, it was fun but exhilarating. It was a little bit scary. I used to ride down this hill that I think I might have told you. It felt like this big hill and the gravel would be hitting my face. It felt dangerous. I look back now when I go back home and it was barely a hill. It was very tamed. As an adult, I'm thinking, “Why would my mom let me ride down that hill?” It was not really a hill. It was scary and exhilarating, but I had fun. It was challenging. You never knew what was coming up next. That's like a woman in leadership. When you take that risk and that big job, it's scary and exhilarating. You're always learning something new. It's a little scary. You might not know what's around that next turn.
It gave me the perfect name and people are resonating with it. I did the podcast for these women because I consult with sales organizations and global companies every day. We meet a lot of women in leadership. It's interesting to me that the women say that the higher up they go in rank, it gets a little layer for them. They have less peer-to-peer conversations with other women. They can have peer-to-peer conversations with men and have no problems with that. Sometimes the challenges or the things that they might be thinking about might be a little bit different.
It doesn't matter what your position in a business is. It is valuable to understand what's going on in the world.
I walked away from a global job. It was a big and cool job. I walked away from it because I made a choice to be home with my children for a short period of time. It was a little more than a year. I knew that I needed that time to do that. Not to say that a man would make that choice, but those are the types of things that women talk about. They've got wonderful stories of resilience, success, and overcoming rough things. We hear all this stuff about all these negative things that happen to women all the time, but they're powerful. They've got a lot of cool great stories out there. I want to share them with other women and inspire them to keep going.
What's their big wheel? I'm sure everyone has a big wheel. For me, it was a rope climb in elementary school from 1st to 6th grade. I'm thinking of a new book and I haven't figured out the second part, but the name of it is going to be Frictionless. It's lining your life up to your passions and the steps to doing so. In your story of riding the big wheel, you said it was the red, blue, and yellow kind, not the green.
That's my logo. It is a big wheel. We sent all these ideas for a logo and everybody resoundingly came back with that big wheel. You rode the same color of the big wheel that I did.
I found the picture while I was going through some boxes looking for things. That’s interesting how that aligns and that you can think of that, riding down the street with the gravel kicking back in your hair and your face. That's the adventure that you chose. You said you went to foreign countries, in Europe, traveled the world, and you like that feeling.
One thing about COVID is this was the year to take the kids to Morocco. I'm fortunate we can do that. In 2019, I took them to Scotland and Ireland, which I've been there before. I keynoted there but I love international travel. Ideally, I could bring them back to India with me and take them out in the desert. I want to do the desert in India and do some elephant riding. We'll see what that looks like now with travel, but I suspect we'll get back to it. How many people do you know that would go away? I never thought about myself as being adventurous because you won't see me jumping out of airplanes for example, but I did go to Italy. I took my husband on a trip for his birthday at a cooking school. I saw this product line many times and ended up negotiating with the franchisor to bring the product to the United States. That was risky and adventurous. I spent a lot of time over there so it was fun. Big challenges are exciting. When I can do something like what we're doing here at SalesGlobe, and also change our client's lives as well as the people that work for our company, that's the pinnacle for me which makes it all worth it.
There are a lot of challenges right now because of the last two-quarters of people locked down for travel. Business models are changing. Field salespeople are becoming inside salespeople. I'm sure compensation plans are having to be looked at. I know your business partner, Mark Donnolo is one of the foremost thought leaders around compensation plans. You guys do a lot of reporting in this area. What have you found from a comp perspective? I remember 9/11 and being with the company that said, “Good news. We reset the plan downwards for the second half of the year.” It was fabulous. It caused us as sellers to be excited to work there like, “They get it.” I heard of other companies that said, “We've got to make it up in Q4.” It's like, “You need me to sell three quarters of my year in one quarter?” What are you seeing out there? Are people making the adjustment or are they adding more top of the funnel? What's going on with compensation now?
Every single day, we are on the phone with executives figuring out what's going on and asking them questions. Let me back up and tell you a couple of stats which is interesting. There was a survey that was done by Fortune. Over 90% of Fortune 500 participated in it. We're constantly watching surveys that are bigger than the ones that we're doing, including the ones that we're doing. It said that 35% of companies are expecting that they'll return to work in some capacity by the end of Q1 in 2021. That means that over half of companies are still not going to be open for business, meaning back in an office, and 26% of those companies at the end of September 2020 said, “We don't even have a timeline for opening.” You see how that is impacting B2B sales. It’s not only, “How do I connect with my buyer?” It’s also, if I was selling a product or service that enabled people in the workplace, I might be a little screwed.
It's been a challenge. What we found is that companies are taking three positions, but then I'll be specific with what they're doing. It all comes down to when we consult, we say, “Let's not talk about what you want to do. Let's talk about your comp philosophy first. How do you want to be seen coming out of this?” This pertains to both corporate, as well as selling roles, even though the salespeople with their incentive have got a lot more pay at risk. It's the first one, which we're going to suck it up. Me as the company, we're not going to have you take any type of hit at all. We're going to absorb it. We've been physically responsible and sound.
Those same companies, before they had touched comp, they are the same one that said, “We're going to start with layoffs because of cost requirements,” and they look at their bottom 10%. That's what they've been doing. They've been laying off people first and they're not touching comp. There's the middle of the road that says, “We're going to do something in the middle.” That first scenario, which also could apply in the second and third scenario I'm giving you, if the team is saying, “I'll take the hit.” They're either taking a reduced salary. In some cases, we have some that are taking no salary or giving up their incentive. The second one is like, “Let's have a give and take here. We're going to have to make some change, but not all the change.”
The third is we have some companies that for 2021 have said, “We're not even going to have quotas. We're just going to pay commission.” It's like all over. You may or may not know this, we did a survey with WorldatWork on this as well, and said, “What are you doing with your comp and your quotas?” At the end of Q2 in June 2020, it was still wait and see. Even now, it’s a little wait and see. We'll talk about quotas first because that directly impacts comp. As we're now getting ready for 2021, what we're finding on quotas is instead of setting a year-long quota because of not being able to look and say, “Your quota is the way you did before.” History is history. Don't even think about looking at 2020.
It’s almost like setting a quarterly plan or maybe a half-year plan.
That’s what they are looking at. Quarterly is the most popular and some are doing discrete quota periods that’s the resetting or cumulative, but they're still adjusting. We're finding that. We have been surprised that two Fortune 500 companies said no quotas in 2021.
I remember Chris Biel always said, “Why do companies have quotas in the first place?” There are mixed feelings on all of that. His view was always, “Let's focus on the activities and drive whatever the outcome can be had, versus setting some randomized outcome.” What do you think will happen as a result of not setting quotas? I've seen it a little more when I lived in North Carolina. There were 4 or 5 companies that would come to my AISP meetings and say, “We don't have a quota. We sell whatever we can sell, and we get paid a commission on it.” What's the pro and con to that?
The pro and con is that it motivates people. They've got limitless capability to earn, but with quotas you do too if you don't cap your plan. We don't do that. The tough part is it's hard to manage your cost of sales. Secondly, if you don't manage, some people will be motivated to earn and some people won't be as motivated to earn. Some will be a good seller and they're happy, then they're done. The con is that it doesn't allow you to manage or grow a territory consistently. If you have a little bit of discipline around, what's my sales capacity and what percentage of time do I expect people to sell? How do I want to grow in a certain territory? If you set a quota, it helps you manage your cost to sales as well as manage your people appropriately when you're aligning them with opportunities in areas, and you expect them to hit or reach for a certain goal.
The pros of having a commission plan with a new business is you don't know what you're going to sell. If you know that the opportunity is equal across your entire territory, that commission plan is fair. When it becomes unfair is, let's assume Andalusia, Alabama. It’s got a low population, and compare that to a Metro area like Atlanta. My downtown Atlanta area person, if he or she has a quota, which would be higher naturally in Andalusia, Alabama. Andalusia, Alabama would still be that person where you want to grow. He or she would still be given a quota and pay that is fair and equal to the Atlanta person who may have a higher quota though, but you just rate it differently. Quotas help you normalize the opportunity.
One person might make 14%, another might make 4%.
COVID-19 drove a strong desire for people to take advantage of inside sales.
What are we seeing as we head into 2021, because of long gated sales cycles we know are happening, deals are taking longer to close and buyers are more hesitant. Their budgets aren't the same size as what they had. They're only buying which is completely necessary. What we're finding is that people are making part of their plans. If they paid on revenue, they're starting to pay a portion on bookings. We can work with you. We do this all day long with you. You don't overpay on bookings. You can manage your cost of sale on that. You're not clawing it back, which we don't like to take money back which we give. That's a bad practice.
We are finding bookings are starting to be a piece of the measure to help people continue to be motivated to close that deal that might take longer. We're also starting to look at some activities that push something though. It's got to have a customer response. We always say customer response is required. It's a tangible proof source that is pushing it along the funnel. We're starting to see those types of changes in plans, more like quarterly and discrete quota periods that are being set for 2021. A couple that said no quota in 2021. That's where things are headed.
I sent out a Fortune or a Forbes article on compensation in April or May timeframe. I got an interesting response from SVP of Sales from a technology company that said, “This is interesting. Let's talk about it.” I don't claim to be the compensation expert, but by providing that level of context, they came back to us and said, “I'm taking the sales development team from marketing, putting it in sales, and I'm taking marketing and putting it under my role as CRO. I now care about compensation, but I also care about the top of funnel pipeline generation.”
That's why he was interested in having a conversation because after he saw that study that we provided, he reached out and wanted to talk about, “Now that I understand that we're going to have a problem, how can you help?” The point is, if you haven't attended one of the SalesGlobe meetings that you guys are running every Friday that I've seen, they're fabulous because whether you're a vendor and trying to reach out to prospects, or an SVP of Sales, a CMO or a CEO, it doesn't matter. On both sides of the equation, it's valuable to understand what's going on in the world as it relates to things like sales compensation.
What we're doing is every single day, we are on the phone with Fortune 1000 company leaders, finding out what it is they're doing and then how to best respond. The one thing that we know is that it's changing almost daily. It's crazy how things are changing. I am writing a book on inside sales. On the inside sales you said, “Field sales are selling from the inside.” I'd love to talk to you about this because you are also an inside salesperson, and then we need to talk about AI. On our Round Table, we did something about inside sales, the evolution of it, and what is happening as a result of COVID.
We already knew companies were interested in inside sales and having more interest in it because of things like the age of information in the hand of buyers, and unified communications like what we're on now. It’s becoming more ubiquitous, which has changed with COVID. Companies are needing to be more efficient as they scale, globalization, and the ability to be where your client needs to when he or she needs you. Those things and COVID drove this desire for inside sales. Just because you're selling remotely from your home, that doesn't mean you're an inside salesperson.
That's an interesting concept because what you don't want to do is become the high transactional rep selling 70% of the deals that are under $5,000. That would be a bad idea for a field rep that sells $100,000 deals to hit the $1 million quota. You still have a need for the high velocity inside salesperson. I would amend my statement to say that you're using some of the tools and technologies that an inside salesperson uses on a day-to-day basis. The population had to move up quickly.
You are not incorrect with what you said. They are selling inside. What we're trying to help people understand because leaders are saying, “Should we turn them all into inside sales?” The answer is no. Now maybe titles change because one of the models that we see that’s pre-COVID. There were two different partnering models that we were seeing a lot where an inside sales role was either assisting, almost pulling a lot of the administrative burden away from the field salesperson, to a partnership where one is selling maybe more of those transactional products, services, renewals, and handling contracts, and the field person was the one onsite. If I tell you my take on the future salesperson and the future of the field role, whether he or she is selling from a Zoom platform and sometimes onsite, I do believe onsite hasn't gone away 100%.
I do believe that the role is changing. This goes right into AI where what I do believe is that you've got this inside transactional sellers, whether they're individuals that are conducting demos, but I see this higher-skilled role evolving. We've been saying it's been coming, but what we call ourselves are data-driven creative problem solvers. We believe that especially as the buyers are home, they need information. They want information. Me as a seller, it would be great if I could start providing step like you. You don't sell comp, but you provided something of value out to the marketplace, meaning you don't consult in comp out to the marketplace that was interesting, they needed it, and they responded to that.
It's about getting intelligent conversations that will resonate with your buyer. Sellers have to be more savvy about who their buyers are and how the market is changing, and how the buyer's needs have changed because now they're selling from potentially their living room. That might be going on for 2021. How have their pain points changed and their needs changed? I believe that you're going to still have teamed roles too, whether they're inside or outside or field. I want to caution everyone. I keep stepping out there and saying, “Just because you're remote and working from home, that's not inside sales.”
That's well put because I've seen some companies like you've heard the term for 25 years or however long you've been in this world selling, “Marketing is the first to go.” The second to go is SDRs and BDRs that I've seen or ISR, Inside Sales Reps that overlay to a quota-carrying field teller. That's not always the best thing to do because now you've cut off a very important part of their toolsets. Let's pivot then into the role of AI in this because it feels to me that some of the lower-end work calling into a switchboard and navigating a phone tree, or writing an email that's customized to a specific buyer type or personality for that matter. It seems to me that the line will be moving up of what AI can or can't handle. The shift of a lot of people being let go from the middle SDR and BDR role, at least we've seen a double in business in the last 90 to 100 days. Because we don't have those people anymore, can we use technology in place of some of that? Are you seeing that in the market and how?
In the market now, we haven't seen a lot of inside salespeople being terminated. What we see is that sales is the last place that they're going. What we also see is that they're starting with the bottom 10th percentile, and then maybe going up to the 20th percentile. We see that people are trying to figure it out, “What can we do?” Here's what's going on. I'm going to pick on a particular industry where it's a little bit crazy, and then we'll talk about what AI is doing. Let's talk about a big cable company, for example. The inside sales is traditionally handling residential. The residential business has tripled and is carrying these companies. We know this. The high-end field sales rep was doing all the B2B. All the networking and these big businesses. The buildings are empty and there's no one to visit. They're like sucking wind.
That's almost a reverse in that when they're going, “We're not getting rid of our highly skilled field salespeople, but we're trying to figure out what to do with them.” Our sellers are at home. What they're finding are these centers of excellence that they had before. We see inside sales as a center of excellence. I'm sure that you do as well when people are together. They've got the leader boards and they can leverage what other people are doing. They're not doing that as much. What we see is that they're looking at employing technology that's helping them understand what people's activities are. It’s not like Big Brother, but what are they doing?
Email and CRM activity, and then taking that information and understanding what the bestsellers are doing, and having managers coach to that. As far as the elimination of SDR and BDR, I can tell you that what we see is that technology is being leveraged at the top of the funnel to automate those activities so that these guys can take. What we see is not eliminating their role, but allowing them to hit a bigger mass. It seems that they need to hit a bigger mass because there are fewer opportunities in particular regions than they had before. I see that and I'm continuing to use it. I know this company that’s called ScaleX. I'm not trying to promote it, but it's a simple and easy to use tool. Our colleagues are asking us about it. We talked to them about you a little bit, but it's smart. You didn't eliminate people, but you could do 1 or 2 things. You can eliminate people and put them into higher-order work which is the idea, but also it allows you to hit the scale and the mass that they need to see. We see a lot of that.
I remember you had someone doing copying and pasting work for several hours a day. I was like, “Do you know, since we met at the conference, that there's a tool for that and it automates everything?”
That's also to talk about what we do here.
Starting intelligent conversations that will resonate with your buyers is key in garnering their trust.
It’s not intuitive. If you don't know it doesn't exist, then how can you?
We're joking, but here's what it did. I don't have an SDR and a BDR. That's my marketing team that helps us. We get the word out there about the Round Table and other things that we're doing here at SalesGlobe to help companies. That's the other thing that I think AI can do. I believe that as we get into 2021, we saw this shift of sellers from selling to helping customers with the problems that they have now. I do believe that AI can help them with that.
How does it help a seller? First of all, you can leverage AI by understanding your buyer more through LinkedIn and leveraging this type of technology to help you understand who your buyer is and the attributes of your buyer. You can also use it to help you understand the pain points and what's going on in the industry. I use Google Alerts to find out certain things. I'm always looking at women in leadership, mergers and acquisitions, what's happening in certain areas. They can target and get information right at their fingertips. That was so difficult. Sometimes I marvel at how much has happened in the past many years.
I remember when we were at the conference, we talked about Crystal Knows that plugs in your LinkedIn. It tells you beyond a reasonable doubt more about you than you know about yourself.
You used it on me or against me.
There's a new one that I ran into called BANK. You can take it and it only takes five minutes to fill out the form. It tells you, “Are you NKAB or BANK?” Depending on what your personality is, it tells you how to talk to people that have similar or different types of personalities. The CEO of this company was invited into the UN, and she is a powerful person. She goes, “I've been using this type of approach for 30 years. Now, I've been asked to put it into technology and that's what they've been doing.” If you're sending an email, leaving a voicemail, doing a sales call, it doesn't matter. It almost makes me think of biblical terms of speaking in tongues. Think about talking to your children, your wife, your husband. Having that level of understanding can make you so much more impactful in what it is.
I love communications. I like communicating with people, learning about other cultures and people, and connecting. I love nothing more than when I'm on a difficult tough project that's hard to change. We know it needs to happen. When they get it, when we finally get there, I love that. I'm going to go out to BANK.
It's something else. I attended one of their webinars. You never know what you're going to get when you get there. I was impressed by it.
If you've heard of HBDI, that's one of the things that we use here. We have a couple of different assessment tools that we use to help people understand the talent that they have but in thinking styles. That's the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. It tells you if you're more analytical, are you more creative, or are you more feeling? It tells you under normal situations and then under stressful situations how you communicate and how you receive. It's interesting. It's spot-on as far as thinking styles. I like it because when I took it, it told me a little bit more about myself than I even knew. It made me aware and helped me understand how I might want to pivot some things, especially under stress when I'm talking to my kids, for example.
I met a guy in Utah. It was my first big travel to a CEO. It was called the Brilliant Minds Group and this lady, Sandra Fan. I was one of the only non-Mormons in the room. I met a guy who created a $1 billion business in rental cars, high-end like Ferraris and Rolls-Royces. He turned 30 on the day of the event. Many years ago, he was a manager at a cell phone store in China. He had a translator with him. He showed me his Rolls-Royce at lunch, and he pulled an umbrella out of the car door. He goes, “Look at this.” He said that's $3,000 for that umbrella. The most expensive umbrella you can buy.
You and I are going to have to discuss this because I want to know how we become this brilliant mind.
There are many people who are creative and fabulous that you have to spend the time and invest in having conversations. When you have someone like Sandra who can put the tables together, one time you're either a 6 of spades or 7, 8, 9, 10. You get to mix up that way or you're a dinosaur. It was all random setups of who gets to meet who at what table, and then they run an exercise for 30 to 45 minutes. It was all day of that.
This was meeting, greeting, and getting to know these people, what they did and how they did it. My partner and I are always talking about how we are most creative and come up with the best ideas when we make the time to think and to connect. It's like when you're just working, it doesn't work. You've got to step back and talk to other people, open your mind, spend time taking in, and then spending time thinking. Thinking is not like researching and working. It's thinking.
Let me give you one big takeaway. You’re going to appreciate this because her name was Michelle. On the second day, we did a race at the second biggest racetrack on a go-kart track in the country. It's called The Grid. Michelle and I were walking in at the same time and you can tell she's a competitor. We walk in and they checked her in and there were about three of us out of a group of 70. They go, “Are you here to race?” She goes, “No, I'm here to win.” Me and this other guy were like, “Interesting.” That's the perspective. She is there to win. It's a mindset. I'm like, “Michelle, I've been through a lot of things. Don't get your hopes up too high because I get it. You're about 110 pounds and I'm 210 pounds. You might have a little advantage.”
I didn't say this to her, but that's what I was thinking. On the first round, she beat me by 0.46 seconds. I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” I couldn't believe it. She was 10 feet away from me. I went to the guy and I said, “How do I gain one second on the next race?” He goes, “Don't break.” She heard it and she followed the same rule because we shaved off four seconds, but she shaved off four of her original time, and she beat me again. I gave up and I was like, “I'm going to go hang out because I get a little dizzy from these things.” She kept going and she ended up being number 3 out of 60 to 70 people. There are two other people who won. My point of that story was I have a mindset of, “Michelle can't beat me.” I was impressed. Women in sales, give everyone a chance, especially if their name is Michelle.
Let’s talk about women in sales and remote selling inside. We're talking about every week on the Round Table, “What are the things that are making the difference?” We talked about the ability to be able to analyze data, go out there and, and use information. It's also being able to understand the story of your client or your customer. It’s not just, “They can't pay for this invoice now. These orders are being delayed,” but the story behind it. When you understand the story, you can diagnose what the real issue is and how you might be able to be the one to solve it. A lot of the studies I've done in HBDI is holding out true too, but women seem to be more comfortable understanding the story and asking those questions.
As the world changes and we have more conversations, you can't just connect at the surface. You have to understand the why beneath the why.
I would even relate it a little bit to emotional intelligence. We're generalizing. We're painting a broad brush, but I get it. I'm the same way. I tend to be very analytical. It took a long time for me to build the muscle to understand what's the emotion that this causes, and what need attaches to that emotion. My wife has a general better ability to understand certain situations. If she was in sales, which she's in commercial property management, but she has an advantage there. As this world changes and we have more conversations, you can't just connect at the surface. You have to truly understand what's the why beneath the why.
My husband ran a business unit at Georgia-Pacific for years. That would be sales, marketing, and customer service. He ran it all and yet he came home and one of his biggest clients had had their first grandchild. This man had stayed at our house. We met him in New York several times. I knew this person well. My husband came home and he said to me, “Ron said they had their first grandbaby.” I said, “What was the baby's name?” He said, “I don't know. I didn't ask him.” I said, “Was it a boy or a girl?” He said, “I didn't get that detail. They had the baby.” I didn't know the story. I didn’t know anything. They tend to be naturally are more inquisitive. My husband could have told you some analytical fact around, “How long was the woman in labor?” No, that's not true.
Getting an emotional intelligence level is powerful and important these days. Have you ever heard of someone named Merit Kahn? She's in Colorado, National Speakers Association. She's doing a partnership with Julie Holmes. They put a podcast together. Holmes talks about the technology side and Merit talks about the in-person human connection side. She was starting to get a feeling and coming on my webinar that day, she thought, “Technology is taking over. What I do that teach people how to have an emotional connection, that’s going to be lower and less important.” She starts feeling become irrelevant in that area. After our conversation, she was like, “I didn't even think about the conversation we're having now that says no. It's more important than ever before.” Don't let all the technology run away with the show because that's the piece that gets you more at-bats. If you want more at-bats, you need to be able to have good at-bats.
You’ve got to be able to leverage that stuff. Don't be afraid of it, embrace it, and make it your friend so that you can do the things that matter which is solving your customer's problems and being there when they need you.
I met with a company and it was a referral from another customer. This other customer spent $40,000, the first time, and $35,000 the second time through a full outbound campaign. He had that understanding that's what the cost was going to be. I went in and diagnosed the problem and it was a $6,850 problem. It wasn't a $40,000 problem. He was like, “I had the budget and was ready to spend $30,000 to $40,000.” I'm like, “I don't care about what your budget was. I care about what you need and want to map the solution, then you're going to come back to me again, and you're going to tell your friends because I didn't come in and overcharge you $35,000.” Where other sellers, “What budget are you looking at, $250,000? Awesome.” I've seen it happen right in front of my eyes and it frustrates me.
Our clients, we want them for life. Every engagement, I look at it like, “How do I want to be treated?” That's what we do.
What’s your business problem? Sometimes, I don't know how to solve it. I’m going to say, “Have you talked to definitive healthcare? This one company sells to healthcare.” I'm like, “You should call definitive healthcare. They're good.” He’s like, “Three people told me that.” I'm like, “Then they're right.”
That's the other thing. If you are good at your craft and at what you do, then you confidently refer people to other people, and don't worry about that. What we say is that, “In our own business, we're consultants. At the end of the day, we're selling consulting services.” It's what can we solve for, and if we can't, admit it and be good about what's out there. There are some things I've got our consultants doing. Quarterly, we take them through Salesforce. We'll give a demo on what are the latest and greatest things that are happening in CRM.
We have SPM providers that come in and it's like, “What are your latest features and functionality?” We work very hard to understand things like your product set and things like other products that are out there that can enable our clients. We don't have that solution, but we want our consultants to be able to talk about that so that when people have questions around technology enablement and what works and what doesn't, we understand, and we can help them and guide them along their journey of doing business themselves. We want to be there when you need us and think about us when you don't.
I'll leave you with one. Hyperise is cool. It's $99 a month and they can completely customize either your website and landing page experience so that when someone comes in, it knows their IP address. It can say, “Michelle, welcome back. How is SalesGlobe?” It can even have your logo in a YouTube video. They showed someone holding a book or an iPad, and it moves around with the SalesGlobe logo on it. That’s where we are going, hyperpersonalization. People can't get their arms around that many data records of around what AI can look at. It lets a normal human being who can only process a certain number of transactions in your mind become a human calculator. Now you've access at your fingertips to these tools and technology. It's going to be an interesting world. I hope the ethical side of it is going to be interesting. They need to have an oversight committee because when you have this much power at your fingertips, if you're doing something that's not good, then that's not a good thing.
I think about the younger generations like my kids. I’ll say, “What about your privacy?” They are like, “I don't have any privacy, mom. I don't have it. It doesn't matter.” I’m like, “Really?” It's interesting. I don't know what that's going to mean.
Henry Schuck did a good interview with Dave Elkington at the ChatFunnels Demand Gen Summit. There were like 2,000 people. Henry said, “The government gives us certain requirements around what you should or shouldn't do with privacy. What you need to do as a good company is take it to the next level.” What we did is when they started coming out with the California Law, we went out to every single person in our entire network and said, “Michelle, you're in our dataset for Zoom/Discover. Is that okay? We have information on you.” If you saw The Social Experiment on Netflix, they admitted it. “You are the product. Are you okay with that? Here's the level of information that we have.” That's where it gets to where it's like, “In this part of your website, I'm okay with exposing it to you, but in this other part of your website, no. That's private.” It gets to a level where there's got to be some level of exposure because it's valuable for me, but at the same time, I don't want you to mind control me either.
I'm different. I'm constantly yelling at my high schooler. This is what I look like when I go home from work. In the evening I put my sweats on, I'm pulling my hair back, that's when my kid wants to like, “Hey, mom,” and she's asking me these questions. She's recording me and putting me on Snapchat or something. I'm like, “Stop. You're not allowed to do that. This is my privacy.” She’s like, “Mom, who cares?” I’m like, “It's my right. Not yours. It's constant.”
This has been a fabulous conversation. SalesGlobe.com. If you haven't checked out one of the Round Tables, I highly encourage it. If you don't know Mark Donnolo, you should. He is the thought leader expert in the world on compensation and Michelle is putting out a podcast momentarily. If you want to ride the big wheel, then you know where to go to have a conversation. If you're a woman in sales, a woman in leadership, I highly encourage you to have a conversation with Michelle if you have the opportunity.
Thank you, Chad. It's been a real pleasure talking to you as usual. I'm sure we will see you again. We'll be getting together I'm sure.
Everybody, thank you for joining. We will catch you on the flip side.
- Michelle Seger
- Riding The Big Wheel
- Crystal Knows
- Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument
- Demand Gen Summit
About Michelle Seger
Michelle is Partner with SalesGlobe. She works with leadership teams to transform their sales organizations, improve sales productivity, and increase return on the organization’s investment in sales from sales strategy to sales organization, to sales compensation. She has a concentration on global harmonization for multinational organizations and implementing change within diverse organizations. Considered an expert in her field, Michelle is a keynote and conference speaker and is frequently quoted in the national business and trade media on current and changing business trends that impact people, shape behaviors and drive performance and culture
Michelle has over twenty years of industry experience that includes technology, financial services, manufacturing, business services, consumer products, retail and hospitality. Prior to SalesGlobe, Michelle held leadership positions with US Bank, Accenture, Georgia-Pacific, and owned an international Italian franchise.
Michelle holds an MBA Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, with a concentration in Global Business Management, and a BA in Spanish from Siena College. Michelle is a competitive triathlete and a multilingual enthusiast who enjoys international travel and spending time with her family sharing unique cultural experiences.