INSIDE Inside Sales

Can Evangelism Be A Sales Channel?

July 4, 2022

INSIDE Inside Sales

Tune in to INSIDE Inside Sales with Darryl Praill for actionable strategies and tactics from top sales experts to increase your sales development success. Darryl has unscripted conversations with the leading sales experts, from veteran sales pros to the newest rising stars. If you’re looking for lively debate, spirited conversations, and proven sales know-how, you’ve come to the right podcast.

Evangelism, dark social, demand generation. They're on-trend marketing terms, but what do they really mean, and why should salespeople care?

In this episode Darryl is joined by the delightful Jen Allen, Chief Evangelist at Challenger Inc. Drawing from their bulky sales experience, Jen and Darryl explore just what evangelism is, what influence it's having in selling environments, exactly how salespeople can use it to flavour your MO, the importance of persistence, and why your sights should be set higher than lead generation.


Find Jen on LinkedIn. Her podcast is Winning the Challenger Sale, and she's evangelical about Challenger Inc.

That BombBomb article Jen mentioned is here.

Connect with Darryl on LinkedIn.


Are you in sales, but you're not using a sales engagement tool? Then you're probably losing out on revenue because you are not engaging with prospects at the right time, with the right cadence, and with enough persistency. You need VanillaSoft.

INSIDE Inside Sales is now a member of the Sales IQ Network. We partner with sales pros to help them become the best they can be. Find out more by checking out our Create Pipeline Course.

Darryl Praill
Host @ INSIDE Inside Sales Podcast + CMO @ AgoraPulse
Jen Allen
Chief Evangelist @ Challenger™

[00:00:00] Darryl Praill: My name is Darryl Praill. I'm your host and you, my friend, well, you and I we're gonna go on a journey every single week, talking to the industry's most accomplished sales legends, as they share with us, their tips, their tricks, their techniques, and their tactics to becomes sales rockstars. You simply need to do what they're doing and you will achieve similar nirvana. If you like to laugh, you like to be entertained, if you'd like to go off on tangents and tell stories, you're going to love what you're going to hear next. Sit back, relax, it's going to get real.

How's everybody doing? Oh my goodness. It's another week here on the Inside Inside Sales show. I just like saying that, you know, that you've been listening for a long time. Ah, Q2, how was it for. You feeling it it's coming to the end. You done? Yes. No. I mean, of course you're done, but did you hit the numbers you wanted to hit?

Are you feeling like you're hitting your stride halfway through the year? Because if you're just hitting your stride halfway through the year, brothers and sisters, you're at least one quarter two late. Just want you to know that you want to have a nice groove going rhythm. How do you do that? That's a good question.

How do you do that? How do you get that rhythm going? Share a story. Because I'm in that boat. That's I know I . When I ask, how do you do that? I know you're expecting me to give you the answer. No, I'm genuinely asking. Tell me how do you do that? I'll share my story. So again, as you know, I, I changed gigs recently and it's, you know, how's your experience when you changed jobs, you changed.

Companies and cultures and maybe locations. It can be something for me. I went from an organization that was in the sales tech space to an organization. That's now in the marketing tech space. It's still revenue, it's all revenue. Right. And that's why the revenue part didn't scare me. I'm like, I know this space.

I know I could be successful, but it is a different. Community to different community. And I'll tell you a story I'm used to now, this is gonna sound VA. Please indulge me for a moment. I'm used to, when I were to go to an event, say, and I would land and walk into the facility, or I would join a live virtual event and maybe we're in the green room, hanging out with the other speakers.

I'm used to people. Knowing of me, let's go with that. All right. They they've heard of me. They're familiar with me. They may say nice things about me. They may say rude things about me, which are always by the way, way more fun. Cuz then you can get into a little banter, but that's what I'm used to. Why does that matter?

Besides me sounding like I'm an obnoxious, arrogant little PR because on the first day of my new job, I went to their biggest show of the year and I landed. And remember I said, it's a whole, it's the marketing community. And I landed now, if you're listening to this show, you know, the sales world is really full of men and women who for the most part are very serious about their craft.

They're disciplined. They're students of it. You know, they understand the right sales techniques. They've read the right books. They can be a little bit type a, they can be a little bit assertive, right? Sometimes there's a bro culture. You understand the dynamic I'm talking about. I walk into this large live event and everywhere I look there is marketers left, right.

And center. And as you might imagine, cuz it's a cultural thing. Again, there were more women by far than there were men. That's the first part, which in sales is often the opposite. And every single one of them. Well, , I'm now I'm totally stereotyping. Every second person had the requisite shiny individualistic piece of apparel.

With the personal, but blatantly obvious tats with the requisite nose ring or stud. So you have the hardware you gotta have. And there was a Cho just a massive on display of multiple colors in everybody's hair. So you go from having, you know, the sales uniform, whatever that might be to having the marketing uniform, I'm totally stereotyping, but you get the idea.

And then every second person. Had a gile and their camera on it, or they had like a pocket or they had like a Sony, you know, Z 10 or, you know, they had the cameras and the mics and they had the road mics and everything else. It's like every second person was a mini production crew. Now in the sales world, that's not the case.

So I could take my camera. I'm like my mic's with me. And I could interview all these people and I could build up my street cred by simply being associated with these really smart people. But I come to the marketing world and every second person. Has got a better setup than I have. And I realize I'm screwed here because what I was hoping to do was come to the new gig and take as much of the cache I had developed before in the sales side and leverage it in the marketing side.

So I can establish myself, establish the company, get reputation, and start driving the inbound. That's what I was really hoping. It turns out not only does nobody know me, it's a different audience all together and they're better equipped than I am. And I'm just a regular person again. Ugh. My ego. It fricking sucked.

So guess what? I'm learning to evangelize all over again. I'm learning to build my brand. All over again. I'm learning to build up my community to reach the people I need to reach, to hit my goals from scratch all over again. So when every single one of you come to me and say, yeah, Darryl, you did it, but that's not me.

Or you don't understand or times have changed. When it comes to your own personal brand building, when it comes to your own personal evangelism, when it comes to you being part of the conversation and making a difference and influencing the outcome and reaping the rewards that come from that I'm right there with you back at square one.

So I am totally selfish. And I said, who's the best Dan evangels. I know. And I'm thinking there's only one person. It's gotta be the chief evangelist at a challenger. Of course, you know, this wonderful person, oh, I'm not gonna tell you.

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[00:07:01] Darryl Praill: I wanna read something to you first. I wanna set the stage and then I'm gonna bring her in how's that this has nothing to do. With evangelism, but this is from this person's section on their LinkedIn profile right up. And now she's going, what did I write?

My LinkedIn profile? Here we go. It says 38% of complex B2B purchase attempts. And in no decision and involve 11 customer stakeholders, we're not losing to our competitors. We're losing the customer risk aversion. We're losing to the customer's gut feeling that no matter how much better our solution may be the road to better involves change cost productivity losses, while the team learns how to do or use something new we're losing because in an environment where uncertainty is high humans will do everything they can to avoid risk.

How are you showing your customers that the pain of same is greater than the pain of change? I am passionate about partnering with B2B sales leaders to help their teams stop losing deals to status quo price or no decision. That's a sales pro. That's also somebody who understands that if there's risk aversion, the best way to do that is to establish a relationship and a trust and a bond with them.

And that all comes back full circle. Just the same journey I'm on to evangelism, ladies and gentlemen, this is Jen. Allen, how are you doing Jen?

[00:08:31] Jen Allen: Well, Darryl, let me just adjust my headset now that my head is so big after that beautiful introduction, my man. Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here.

[00:08:41] Darryl Praill: I am so looking forward to today's conversation because everything I just shared, Jen is a thousand percent true. It was so discouraging for me to realize I'm back to being ground zero, being a nobody. In fact, funny story. And then I'll shut up and we'll talk the first week there we were at a V I P party and and so somebody, all my new employees had checked me out beforehand and some of 'em had said, oh, he's he, he's got some notoriety.

But nobody, they thought that was just BS. Nobody believed me. And then we're at this party and there was one influence there who said, what's Darryl doing here. This is a, a marketing thing. And he's a sales guy and they're like, you know, Darryl. And they looked at him and they said, you don't know Darryl.

So that was what I walked into. I'm nobody again. I gotta talked. I gotta ask you lots of questions, but let's start with your role. Let's just start with your role because it's not a common role. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What's your title? What does it involve? And I really wanna know how you got the job.

[00:09:37] Jen Allen: Yeah, it's a fun story. So my title is Chief Evangelist. I started it back in January after I brought the idea to our CEO. And the reason I brought the idea to her is I came across an article on BombBomb actually by Ethan Beute, and it was an interview with Dan Steinman, from Gainsight, with Guy Kawasaki and a couple other folks talking about this idea of evangelism.

And I think I just happened to see it in my LinkedIn feed and I start reading it and I start realizing. man, this is exactly what I love about selling. So I've been a frontline seller for 17 years. I'm one of those weirdos who never wanted to move into manager, VP, or run a sales organization, anything like that.

And I found myself in the last couple years saying, yeah, there's still some thrill, the kill. Like you love to close a deal cause you get a paycheck on the other side of it. No question. But where I found myself really getting excited is in the earlier part of the sale, where I was getting a, a sales leader to think differently about a business problem they had.

And so when I read this article, I said, man, this is the whole job of evangelism. So can I make a case? To have it at challenger. And so the kind of unique business problem we have is lots of people know the challenger sale book or the challenger customer. So few people know that challenger Inc exists.

And so it felt really, really ripe to go out and say, Hey, if I can go out and evangelize the problems that sales leaders are under appreciating, and then they click on my thing or they watch a podcast like this and it causes them to say, well, what's challenger. That's a, a big movement on a business problem. That's pretty significant for us.

So I was lucky enough to work for an organization that said crazy title. Don't know why you want that title, but let's go with it if you're confident in it.

[00:11:13] Darryl Praill: So I love that you, so basically as a sales professional, you sold. Your next role to the company

[00:11:21] Jen Allen: I did. And it was the first time I've ever done it.

And I made it in my head so much harder than it actually was. And I think part of the reason it wasn't that hard is because I didn't wait until I got the role to start doing the role. So last year, beginning of the year, we saw a dip in inbound lead and inbound leads. And so I sat there and I said like, all right, I got two choices.

I can either go back and just try to beat up marketing and say, what you need to do is more of this and more of this and more of this. Or I could sit there and say like, what do I own? What do I control? And I have this theory that there's probably a lot of sales leaders who, which is our target. Who don't love filling out lead forms because they don't wanna be thrown into somebody's buying cycle, cuz they don't want a thousand emails and a thousand like checking in, you know, phone calls and stuff like that.

So I said, what if I put out stuff that it's intentionally seated curiosity about the problem? Would that be a safer way for a chief sales officer to come in and say, I don't wanna about that. Cuz that's the problem. Not a solution. I'm not ready to talk about the solution. And what I started noticing is yeah, it was happening.

But the problem was it always, it, it was like rarely for my own deals. It, a lot of times it was for everybody else on the team. And so I said, okay, I can either, either keep being like the generous giver. Who's just like giving everybody all these leads or I can formalize it into a role for the on behalf of the company.

[00:12:38] Darryl Praill: It's so funny because that's actually, when I got to a ultz that was on unrelated note. After some, you know, quick due diligence and talking to the CEO, that's not dissimilar to the strategy that we've decided to take. So part of what I'm doing is I'm building a lead gen organization and team, and I say, lead gen, not demand gen, just for marketers out there listening, you'll understand the difference.

So they'll, you know, they'll do the content, they'll do the webinars and they'll do the trade shows and all that kind of stuff. Right. And then. We're but we're investing heavily now in a using, I'm gonna use an umbrella term here instead of, instead of using the term evangelism, I'll a slightly different term that we marketers, like we call dark social.

Right? So the whole thing about dark social for, for those sales reps, wondering what the hell is dark, social, dark, dark means I can't measure it. I don't know where this lead came from. It's it's, there's no light on it. And social meaning all is basically it's evangelism done via social. Right. And the idea is.

To your point about the community is that you're creating content. You said you're creating pieces of interest to them. That, or that, that may say that's my problem. I wanna talk about that. And it's because what's happening is they read the content because either they found it or a colleague who they had maybe bounced their ideas or problems of, of has shared this content with them.

Or a friend of our friend of our friend has referred this piece of content or this individual who seems that they know what they're talking about. And therefore that's why it's dark. I can't say you filled out a form because to your point, exactly. My executive buyers. And I try to tell this to my sales reps all the time.

We know the game, we know the game. I know when I fill the format, we know what's gonna happen. We're gonna be sequenced. We know that we know when we get an email that says challenger less than greater than a Goul we know that's a sequence. We know that's a, you know, yes. Or, or when every single email it starts with re you know, again, we know the formulas, we know the tricks and, and so we just avoid it.

And I would much rather go with something who might have trust in, even if I don't know them to say, you seem like you might be able to help me. Can we skip the form? Can we gimme the, I, I wanna skip the whole SDR process. Can I just go to you? so with that said, not everybody is Jen Allen, so help us understand.

What does it look like? Like, like talk to my audience, you know, they're sales reps, what does it mean to them? What does it look like? How can they action it? Do they need to sell it to their manager to invest time in here? As opposed to spending time on the phone? Like, how do they get started? I don't know where to go, but let's pick any of those questions I just gave you and won with.

[00:15:13] Jen Allen: Yeah. So it's a great question, cuz I'm spending a lot of time with our own team here, right? Because my ideal state is in a, not too distant future. You don't even need a chief evangelist because that's just how your sales team is showing up out where your customers go to learn. But for the time being, I think in almost every organization, there's always one front runner who's out there.

They're creating content, they're having the right conversations in the right place. And then there's a ton of people who are so scared to do it. And I do not blame them because I was terrified. To put out any sort of opinion. And I talk about this journey quite a bit, where, when I was first starting to post on LinkedIn, that's where our customers candidly usually go to learn.

When I was first starting to post everything I did was super safe. Like I was just posting, you know, here's the latest research study or here's a poll survey we did, and I get engagement and I get likes, but I never had anybody being like, man, I wanna get on the phone and talk about that. And then I had a conversation with Josh Braun.

Who's someone I really admire in the sales space. And Josh said to me, Jen, You put out good stuff. It's not an issue of quality, but you don't share anything about what Jen thinks about this. And you've been selling for 17 years. You work with a lot of companies, like why are you so scared? To say something and I reflected on it and I was like, I'm scared of trolls.

I'm scared of that person. Who's gonna come in and say, Jen, what you don't know is, and it completely paralyzed me from actually just getting out there and doing it. And so I relate a lot to any seller. Who's saying I'm just not comfortable or I'm fearful of what might happen. I will tell you. I have had two instances of absolute trolls, that's a learning lesson in and up itself.

[00:16:50] Darryl Praill: I got you beat just two. I know. Just two. I still got to beat.

[00:16:55] Jen Allen: Yeah. I mean, I probably still like skewed a, playing a little safe and as time goes on, I get more courageous in terms of what I, what I think to post. But I think for any seller who's sitting there thinking like, is it even worth the time or how do I convince my manager?

One of the pieces of advice that I share often with people on our own sales team is look, you are on the phone with customers and prospects all day long. You are constantly hearing needs problems, convers challenges. Yes. Right. And like, you have so much in your head and, and nine times outta 10, like when you sell the sales teams, you know, I don't sell the CIOs.

I don't sell CFOs, but like when you sell the sales teams, it's not like there's 4,000 problems that you have to solve. Right? Like there's a finite set of things that sales leaders are really frustrated by, you know, so much about those problems, but you tend often to jump to the solution because that's what we're wired to do.

So set that to the side and just say in the last five sales calls I've had. What's been a common theme throughout those five calls in terms of the problem that they're up against. So four months ago it could have been hiring, right? Like how do you hire and retain great talent? You know, these things, it is about taking a look at your notes or your go recording, whatever you use and saying, what can I export at scale and have a perspective on.

And posting that and recognizing not, everybody's gonna agree with you and that's okay. You don't need them to what you, what you wanna do is spark that one buyer who might be, you know, lurking on LinkedIn saying, huh, that's an interesting take on that problem, but it does rely that you, you speak about the problem and less so about the solution.

That'll get off on soapbox now.

[00:18:29] Darryl Praill: No, no. This is stay in your soapbox. Stay in your soapbox. Yeah. I'm back on I'm back on, get back on. Good. Because here's this I'm gonna get in my soapbox and we'll and that way will maybe be eye to eye. Cause I'm again, my five foot eight stature. Everybody listening. Tell me, raise your hand.

Yeah, I can't see it, but pretend raise your hand if you do, if you all, if you do not have. To do lists or system of some sort. So maybe you're using a, to do app to do a, you know, whatever it might be. Maybe you're using post-it notes. Maybe you're using pen and paper. Maybe you're using a remarkable, maybe you're using Evernote or one note.

I don't care. All right. You've all got some mechanism that when something's assigned to you, you go and you make, yeah, I gotta go and feed the dog, whatever it might be. Right. Okay. And throughout your business day, you're constantly updating it. Scratching stuff off, adding stuff on. This is what you do.

Like you're already in mode, behaviorally. You are conditioned. What Jen just said was on a second list. When you're in a meeting with a prospect and a topic comes up, you're going, oh, that's a good, how do I do this? How do I solve this problem? This is my pain. And you're writing a list. That's all you're doing.

That's all you're doing. So you never have to think about it, cuz I, I, I hear it all the time. I hear two things. I hear one, I don't know what to talk about, which is why I gave the same advice you just gave. And that's why folks you are gonna do the exact same learned behavior. Cuz I don't have second list.

And then two, I don't know what to say. So your point, they may say I've got a real problem. Here's the problem? And you realize, well, maybe that's not something that your, your solution can directly affect. Maybe it's tangentially affecting it, but they're, they've got a bigger problem than what maybe you can help 'em out with, but it's still something that you're target persona deals with.

And it's something you can speak to, to build trust and overcome risk aversion. What do you say to them? Jen, when they say, I don't know what to say, I'm not an expert.

[00:20:37] Jen Allen: So you are, you are an expert and there's like a customer who said this to us. I don't care if you've been selling for a week. There's a customer that said this to us.

When a sales rep came to an office, his office and said, You know, tell me about what you're working on. And he looked back and he said, you meet with more CIOs in a day than I meet with in a year. Like you tell me what other people are thinking about, because that's the stuff I don't have time in my day to be strategic about.

And so I think step one is, you know, more than you think you do. Piece number two is, and I love the way you say it. Like, I don't know. To say, think about the job we are. We are in sales, all we do is have conversations. And so if you are sitting there convincing yourself, you don't know what to say. You better be showing up to your sales calls, absolutely silent and just being a creep.

Right. Because you do know what to say. You say it in your calls, you have these conversations. And so I think your advice of writing it down is step one. And then the second step, which I found helps a little bit with like the fear factor. Share it with your team, right? Your team may catch a landmine that you're about to walk into and they will correct you instead of that troll on the internet.

And sometimes they'll actually share something that makes it better. As we have been, as I've been working with the team here to build up their own confidence in posting on social, what we'll do is we'll have this kind of team chat in Microsoft teams and we'll say, all right, here's an idea that I have about posting and then people will add to it.

And then I think it builds the confidence so that, you know, okay, five or six other people have looked at this and they think it's pretty cool. And any manager who sits there and. It is not worth your time. First of all, I would seriously question that. But I get it. You think about the things we also do that aren't worth our time, like making 60 cold calls and no one picks up, like, at least this you can see on LinkedIn, if that's your channel, there is a number of impressions.

There are a number of views, you know, somebody seeing it and even by virtue of just writing it out and getting more confident in the problem and how you describe it. that is a skill that lends itself so well to your sales conversation. And that's been a very unexpected benefit for me. Like I now know, because I think about my content and I write it and then I really believe it before I click post that, then I can pull that into my next, you know, customer conversation where that problem comes up to.

So it's also, if we view it as more of a skill building thing and not so much of how many calls did I schedule off the back of it? I think that's one way to reframe it with your manager.

[00:23:08] Darryl Praill: Okay. I wanna build on what Jen just said. And she actually was a phenomenal gave me a phenomenal bridge. She, she, at the end there, she said, you know, I wanna research that.

And then in my next call, I can speak to it and my next cuz I'm if I get that question or that objection once I'm gonna get it again. So when I'm hit with it, I don't know the answer. I wanna get the answer so that in my next call, I'm ready. All right. Whether it's a product. Or a service issue or it's just industrywide as a sales professional, Jen mentioned this, this is what we are supposed to do.

This is what we're driven to do. We get ticked off. We get annoyed. When we get asked stuff that we don't know, we panicked for a little bit, and then we're like, Ugh, I wasn't prepared. Why didn't I know that, Ugh. And you go back and, and you do this. Right. And, and, okay. So what do you do? You do what Jen just said, you go and talk to the other colleagues on your, in your company and it don't have to be sales colleagues.

They could be the head of sales or the head of marketing or whoever it is. You're talking to, to say, how would you answer this question? But then you do something crazy. Okay. I'm gonna, I'm gonna go real slow here. Mm-hmm I bet you, this is what you do. I bet you, you say and then you research it.

Right. Okay. So then you get the answers. This is how it all comes together. If you want to go and evangelize, make a piece of content, this is what I, but something, I didn't know, a lot around, I would say something like this. So I got asked. Why the sky is blue the other day. And I get asked this question all the time.

Now I had, you know, grade school, you know, physics and I understand the ozone and the sun and everything else. And you know, this is my first reaction. This is what I told my kid, but like you, I gotta solve the problem. So I did some research. I talked to some people and this is what John DOE and, and, and Jane Smith said, quote, quote, and this is what the stats said on this study.

So take it all the other folks. if you're trying to answer that question, this is how you should approach the problem. So you see what I just did there? I admitted, I didn't know the answer. And then I went and got some great stuff and then I shared it with them and I delivered it with a dose of humility, but with a confidence level, because I'm comfortable my own skin.

That's you don't need to have the answer right

[00:25:30] Jen Allen: That is killer.

[00:25:31] Darryl Praill: I know.

[00:25:32] Jen Allen: It's killer, man. That is the thing. I'm so glad you raised that because that's the other thing I, I noticed after I started getting more authentic with my posting is when I was vulnerable. And I, now I do this all of the time. Like I've been selling 17 years.

I've made every mistake you can make. And when I talk about it, what you find is people actually lean into. Like a perfect scenario, like you described is like, Hey, I was on the phone earlier and a customer hit me with this objection. Like, here's the thing I said now when I've had like the five minutes to catch up with the objection, here's in retrospect, what I wish I would've said and said, what do you think?

Like, what would you do differently? And people like, I will say, like, not in LinkedIn, isn't the only social channel, but like people love to lean in and. . And so that is what we are trying to foster. Right. And I love your comment about like, be vulnerable. It's okay. Talking about your weakness. It is a superpower because that's what draws people in.

What do we hate is when people talk down to us and I'm the expert and you listen to me, especially if we don't have a relationship with them,

we hate PO is obnoxious people and we hate them more when they have all the answers. Isn't that ironic. We hate them more when they have all the answers. Right.

But if you admit you don't necessarily have all the answers, but you have an informed, educated opinion and you were humble enough to go do a little research and you're gonna share it with me. I'm gonna take that at face value and just believe that what you're sharing is legit. And I'm gonna say, thank you very much, cuz you just saved me some cycles and, and maybe you should tell me more about your offering because now I'm really liking you.

So. That's the, you know, that's what it is. Right. All right. So talk to me, how do I get started?

Just it's getting over our ego. Honestly. It's like we have such big egos in sales where we think we have to know everything and have the perfect answer all the time. And I do think it contributes to the fear factor of like, well, I don't wanna post because what if, what I say is wrong, I had that feeling.

I'm sure a ton of people do, but it's, I love the way you articulated that. It's. What counts it's are you establishing a connection? Are you sparking a nerve with the topic that you're talking about with the audience you're trying to reach?

[00:27:30] Darryl Praill: I love what you said about that. Let me ask you a question. Folks.

If your work colleague came over to you and said, Hey, can I get you do me this favor? And he said, sure. And then a day later they're like, Did you do it? And they're like, oh, sorry, I forgot. Yeah, I'll get through it in the middle of the days you're working along, you still see it there sitting on your to-do list.

Right. Cuz you, you wrote it down. We have this discussion earlier and you don't do it. And the next day they come to you and say, did, did you do it? And you're like, oh God. So I'm really gonna get around to it. All right. You see where this is going? You can all relate, I assume. Or maybe it's just me. And I'm an idiot now, same scenario.

The boss comes to you and says, Hey, can you do this? And you say, yeah, sure. What do you do? You rearrange your schedule? You get that shit done because you fear the consequences of what happens if you don't. Okay. Let me piece it all together for you. How do you get started? Not only do you do what we talked about, you are the best expert on the subject because you listen and talk about it all day long and you've made notes and you've done a little research and you're kind of embellishing your, you know, the, the delivery with some storytelling.

But you actually make it happen because you prioritize it because if you don't, you should fear the consequences of what happens if you don't. You should fear the consequences of what it means for your take home, pay, what it means for career security, what it means for your opportunity, your future opportunities in the industry.

You should fear that because it's in your control and most sales reps. I know they're control freaks. So that's my think. Jen, just, you gotta do it. I know it sounds cliche. It's Nike, but we tell this to people over and over again, and they don't fear the consequences of not doing or they make excuses. Do we just move on from those people?

Jen, do we just say great. It's not, it's not for you and or, or can they be saved?

[00:29:28] Jen Allen: Everyone can be saved. Ah, we're here to save. no, here's what I will tell you. I've had. This exact instance. I was, I was talking to someone just on LinkedIn message. It didn't work for our company and they kept coming back with like, ah, I'm nervous about doing it.

And I would encourage them and I'd see them post one thing. And then I would, a couple months would go by and I'd hear from them again. And then one time they reached out to me and said, well, I got the slap. I needed my competitor. I had no idea. There was a competitor in this deal. What they were doing I found out later was they were consistently posting.

And my buyer after I looked at what my buyer ultimately valued in the solution. I could see it was shaped by that competitor. And that was the slap in the face. But the unfortunate thing is sometimes we as humans, like we make these stupid decisions until we're confronted with like, ah, that kind of instance, but we have to think like that, right?

Like what if I'm in a big deal, I'm getting, you know, a good chunk of my annual goal. If I can convert this. And what if my prospect is learning from my competi? What do I do now? Instead I'm on the defense. Like none of us in sales, to your point, if we're type a or not, none of us like to be on the defense, we like to be leading the conversation, leading the sale, leading the, the, the narrative about what that customer needs and how do you do that when you're not the one shaping it.

And so I think we all have to go into this. And I love your, your, your perspective on the accountability factor. Just believing every single deal in my pipeline. Someone else is out there trying to shape demand in their favor. This is my only opportunity to win. And I will say the last thing I will say is when we studied this at challenger and looked at like out of a buying group's time, how much time to sellers actually get engaging directly with the buying group on average, it was 17%.

and as bad as that sounds, that's all suppliers they're considering. So if we operate on like the one to three model, that means I've got five to 6% of their time directly. And the rest of the time, you know what they're doing researching independently, online meeting in the buying group, researching offline with like referrals and things like that.

So if I am not showing up there, I am literally banking on winning a deal with five or 6% of that customer's mind share. That is crazy talk.

[00:31:35] Darryl Praill: Two things I want you to think about folks. You heard Jen talk about it. I'll I've had the exact same experience when you're active evangelizing, it does develop your company.

It also develops your personal brand. Which gives you great negotiation abilities with your current employer as time progresses or with your next employer, just as a total sidebar, I can tell you that from firsthand experience. But the point being is when you do this, people will come to you, but that's only half the story.

Morgan Ingram. I overheard him here one time, what I thought was phenomenal story, and I've seen this happen over and over again. He's telling a story about this woman who he met eventually, and she shared this story with. Was getting bombarded with prospecting calls and and she ignored them all because she knew what was going on and she didn't have time, even though she had a problem.

And then on her call display, she gets a call and it says, Morgan Ingram. And she's like, is that the same Morgan Ingram? And she answers the call and it was. So what's the lesson. The first example, I said, if you do this, they'll come to you. But even if they don't come to you, because you're establishing your brand through your evangelism, they'll take your calls when you go to them.

All right. And you cuddle the middleman, you cuddle the gatekeeper and you get to the core because right away you have something to bond on and connect on, which is your content. They're gonna ask you a question, which is what Jen opened up by saying, tell me more about this when you said that that's my problem.

That's why you do it. That's what I think is the ideal outcome. But Jen, you tell me, are there other ideal outcomes?

[00:33:17] Jen Allen: That to me is the biggest one. So I'm one. I, I am. extroverted when I feel super confident and super introverted when I don't. And I think a lot of people are like that, right. Except those people that are just like, I can call anybody.

I don't care if I feel confident or not. I hate, I was never one of those people know I'm jealous of hate people. But for me, I hate cold calling. Like I will be the first to admit I love email outreach. But cold calling was a necessary evil until. I started doing this. And for me, the ideal sales job is one where I never have to make a cold call because what I'm doing is I'm baiting people to want to call me, or to your point, if I call them, I'm not this no name because the first 30 seconds of a cold call to me is so intimidating.

And it's like, I hear all these like clever tricks. And then I'm like, well, how can we quickly do those get commoditized? And is this the one that one person hates? And I get in my head. And so when I know, Hey, I've put out really thoughtful content. I've engaged in a meaningful way, not like great posts, but like provided insight and perspective on, on topics that are.

My confidence level goes through the roof. And I think there's a lot of people in sales now who aren't that typical profile of what we all believed sales was 10, 20 years ago. Like a lot of really smart, intellectually curious people. And sometimes we talk ourselves out of outbound or even just, you know, just calling active, engaged pro prospects, who we haven't heard from in a while because we tell ourselves the what if story?

And so I think anything in sales that builds our confidence and our credibility. In our own belief system that I have something valuable to say is a good thing. And you mentioned this before, but I would say the second side benefit, we haven't talked as much about, you mentioned storytelling. Yeah. So you talked about when you're writing a post, right?

You're you're using storytelling. It has been one of these single biggest benefits to my sales career, cuz I still carry a bag to learn how to become a better storyteller. And there's no better way to do. Then when, you know, you've got a short attention span, right? Cause you can take a short story and make it longer, but sometimes we only have 20 seconds, 30 seconds.

And when you write on LinkedIn, that's the same idea. And so it forces you to develop your storytelling skills, cuz guess what people don't wanna read when they're looking for entertainment or perusing, you know, a social channel, they don't wanna read a PhD like study on your product and your solution.

They wanna be, they, they are caught by story. So I love that you mentioned that because I'm a big believer in the skill build that you get as a result of, of being more consistent with it.

[00:35:44] Darryl Praill: I, you know, to me there any success I had and I've talked to a lot of people, cuz I'm insecure as hell and I'm like, what's working.

What's not please tell me You liked my content, why was two things. They liked my energy and my storytelling kind of hand in hand. And they liked my videos. Not that I'm a video producer, but you know, I, I at least make a little time involved to have a reasonably well framed in focus, you know, video, audio, quality combo.

Because, you know, some people sound stupid, folks. They're hard of hearing or, you know, they're just, they're very selective and they wanna go to, oh, I recognize that person. I recognize that framed shot. I like that guy. I can't remember his name, but I liked him. I'm gonna listen to him again. Those kind of things were really big.

So folks, you know, how you approach it, it really does matter. Storytelling is the quintessential thing last, then we'll wrap this up cause we're way over time and it's all Jen's fault. Sorry about that. talking way too long. I wanna bring it back to where we began. We talked about Jen and her title and the function, which was the word evangelism.

And I want to, I wanna focus a little bit on what, you know, the essence of that word is. And then I'm gonna let Jen elaborate, cuz she's the smart one here. Evangelism. If, if, if you're the gopher who pops his head up out of the hole to look around as he, is there a golf ball nearby that you need to worry about?

Nope, I'm good. And pops your head back down. That's not evangelism when you pop up, say one thing. And then disappear outta sight. Don't know where you are. Can't find you. If I wanted to evangelism is it's just re for lack of a better word, you're not gonna like this word folks. It's, it's a relentless presence.

Where you're constantly talking about the issues and connecting with your target audience person to person. It's not a one and done too many of you get really brave. You do one post and you say, oh, I got no engagement. I got no views. I can't do this. I'm done. I'm out. Evangelism is something that takes a long time.

When should I expect to get results? How often should I evangelize? I mean, is there a secret, is there a minimum? And I've heard lots of questions and answers on this, but I've also heard the effort involved is why most people don't even start in the first place.

[00:38:16] Jen Allen: That's a great question. View everything in sales through this lens, like could I spend eight hours writing the perfect email and send it and get no response and blame it on the email?

Could I make a thousand cold calls and reach no one it's no different, like we're all in sales. We often are all looking for this shortcut, but how often do shortcuts pay off for us? They very, very rare do and evangelism or being, you know, active in building your pro personal brand is. Different. So when I start first started doing it, I gotta lead, you know, a customer chief sales officer that reached out to me and said, Hey, I'm really curious about learning more about this.

Can you and I just talk, I got that within a couple months. Had I not even got it. I still would've kept doing it because it was making me sharper. at my sales calls I was having. So I think this notion of trying to assign a window a timeframe is not necessarily how I, I thought about it or would advise others to think about it because you could give up too soon.

And it's your one great post away from having an impact. What I would say is if you are posting a lot and seeing very little engagement, that's when I would go to someone, either on LinkedIn that you admire, that's a consistent poster or someone in your company that you trust and say, shoot me straight.

Like, is it my tone? Am I talking at people instead of with people, like, am I writing in way too long of a format? And it's something that you just don't stay interested in? Like, what is it? You gotta be humble when you're doing this. And all of us have made these mistake. Like even just the spacing of your post was something I learned mattered a lot and I wasn't used to writing like that.

So people will give you good advice, but you have to ask them and you have to be comfortable knowing you're not gonna get it right on the first time. And I think it goes back to what you said before around, like when we're type a in sales, we just want perfection. You get. Perfection by being consistent, you don't start perfect.

Or at least, I don't know anybody who feels that they did.

[00:40:08] Darryl Praill: So let's bring it back to sales. If you listen to this call, if you were sitting beside a young sales rep and that young sales rep made one call to our prospect and then bitched and moaned, but they never got back to them. what, what advice would you give that rep you would probably yell at them personally and say, are you a moron?

And then you would say, Keep on chasing you don't do it. The one call or two caller or three attempts, it's probably the biggest complaint. Sales managers have both sales reps. You have to make 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 25, 32 attempts to get ahold of them. That's evangelism right there. Folks that's evangelism.

The next thing is Genta. The bell, you know, that opening 30 seconds is so hard on the call. That opening 30 seconds is so hard on the call. Did you know, the opening line on LinkedIn before it says read more is roughly 210 characters. Do you know when a phone call you've got roughly seven seconds to establish trust?

Do you know you've got less than 210 characters to intrigue them and provoke them to click, read more. Do you see what I'm saying? Everything I'm doing here on evangelism is selling. It's just a different medium. Jennifer Allen hosts of Winning the Challenger Sale podcast, where they take a deep dive into the day to day skills and behaviors proven to win in complex selling and buyer environments.

Folks, subscribe she's kick ass. She's awesome. She's with challenger. She's already given you the website, challenger We have to work with her though on her LinkedIn URL. It is kind of lame. Jen, I gotta tell ya.

[00:41:49] Jen Allen: What's yours. I should have looked that.

[00:41:51] Darryl Praill: Mine. Mine is LinkedIn slash in whatever Darryl Praill. Your yours Jennifer Allen 1, 1, 2, 1.

[00:42:02] Jen Allen: There's a much common name, Jen Allen.

[00:42:05] Darryl Praill: I understand. I understand. You know, but you know, folks, don't be Jennifer, get a better you URL. As I give her a hard time. Did you like today's conversation? Because it's pretty awesome. And that's my friend, Jennifer follower on LinkedIn folks. We just gave it to you, Jennifer Allen, 1, 1, 2, 1, go to Challenger and most of all, subscribe to our damn podcast and make yourself better at what you do.

It's what you do every single day to provide for yourself and your family and make your life better. We wish you luck in your success and in your career. That's why you come here and listen to this show. My name's Darryl that's Jennifer. We're done for today, but we'll do it again next week. Take care. Bye-bye.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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