CEO Sales Insights

CEO Sales Insights with Simon Tate, President APAC Adobe

September 3, 2021

CEO Sales Insights

Sales IQ Global has a worldwide audience of sales leaders and professionals operating in B2B environments. Tony Hughes is Co-Founder of Sales IQ Global and a best-selling author. He hosts a live monthly CEO conversation shared with an online audience sharing CEO insights with peers looking to drive sales, and aspiring sellers seeking to better understand how to engage a CEO.

In this episode Tony Hughes - Co-Founder and Sales Innovation Director of Sales IQ Global, talks with Simon Tate, President of Asia Pacific for Adobe.

Simon shared that he doesn't accept 99% of outreach attempts he receives from Sales people.🤯

Yes you read that right. 99%. Why do we love hearing this? 🤷🏻‍♂️ Because it's the 1% that holds the key.

Simon shared exactly what would trigger him, to take a meeting with a sales professional.

  • If the outreach was personalised
  • Shared a point of view and had a clear reason for connecting
  • Was focused on one of the two key drivers that are important to Simon
  • Top line growth or bottom line return
  • Was action based, versus information based

Then Simon would consider responding. And what was truly interesting, is that Simon said

He receives too many emails. And that no one calls him much. And if the phone rings he answers it.

Tune in to hear this incredible content.

Simon Tate:

Simon Tate currently serves as the Asia Pacific President of Adobe; the 2nd most valuable Enterprise Software Company in the world by market cap. Prior to his role leading Adobe, Simon was the SVP and COO for Salesforce Asia. Simon is a 25 year technology and business veteran who has also held senior roles at software companies’ SAP and Dell / EMC.

Simon is the creator of the Patent pending P6 Risk Management application used by Professional B2B sales people to identify and mitigate deal-related risk in high value sales pursuits.

An avid Rugby fan and enjoying his weekends boating on Sydney’s Pittwater with family and friends, Simon now calls Sydney home where he lives with his wife and 2 teenage children.

Connect with Tony

Connect with Simon

Thanks to Sales IQ Global and the Create Pipeline Program for powering this podcast!

Simon Tate
Creator, P6 Risk, and President APAC, Adobe

[00:00:00] Tony: Welcome to the CEOs sells insights podcast. I'm your host, Tony Hughes. And I am so excited to bring you real world insights from legendary CEOs on how to drive and sustain top line growth and create a customer centric culture. Whether you're an aspiring or seasoned corporate leader, you'll hear wisdom with real world application that can make a real difference in your life.

But we also provide insights here for sales professionals seeking to elevate to the C-suite. As a seller, you will better understand how a CEO actually thinks and what it really takes to own a conversation. Let's jump in with this episode's CEO.

Hi everybody. My name is Tony Hughes. I am co-founder of sales IQ global. Thanks for joining us today. I am so excited. This is the first of our CEO sales insights shows. I've got an incredible CEO. That's going to be sharing some real wisdom for people today. Just to let you know a little bit about what we're trying to do with this program is we're going to be running it once a month at the end of each month.

With a CEO from the real world, and they're going to provide us with some real world. Full leaders. So aspiring CEOs, business leaders on what it takes to drive top line revenue growth, and really create the right customer centric sales culture inside your organization, as you get huge benefit from that.

And then the other thing we're doing is we're giving sellers, people who aspire to sell to the CEO or into the C-suite some real insights in what it takes to really engage them. With people at that level the program today is going to go for 45 minutes. The plan is it's about a half hour chat, about 30 minutes with our CEO.

And then we'll go to Q and a, so we'll be monitoring questions. So please feel free to put those in we're streaming out to multiple platforms. And now we've got a lot of people that registered for this and that have also joined us with LinkedIn live. So I'll bring our guests into the studio in a moment.

But just to introduce him, we've got Simon. I've known Simon for decades. He is an amazing leader delivering incredible results. He currently serves as president of Asia Pacific for Adobe, which is the second most valuable software company in the world. If you measure it by market capitalization, prior to that Simon Ren Asia for Salesforce as both a senior vice president.

Yeah. And chief operating role. He's also held very senior roles with companies household names in the world of B2B selling SAP and Dell EMC. Simon is also the creator of a patent pending. Risk methodology for selling for enterprise selling called six. And you'll hear Simon's background a little later, but he's put a lot of time and energy into solving the problem.

How do you drive predictable forecasting for the board inside an organization? A little depressingly, he's also an avid rugby fan, which is not that great. If you're an Australian at the moment he lives, on the north shore of Sydney. His hobbies, include boating. He's got a lovely boat that he spent some time in Pittwater.

He's married with two teenage children. So there are any further ado. I'll just bring Simon into Simon. 

[00:03:35] Simon: Thank you very much, Tony appreciate the generous introduction and great to be here.. 

[00:03:39] Tony: Yeah. Thanks, mate. I'm really excited about the conversation. So Hey, why don't we just kick things off? I've just given people your formal introduction, but tell people a little bit more about your background and what your path was through into leadership in the corporate world.

[00:03:53] Simon: Yeah. Well, it, it started really in a company you and I both know very well. Back back in the day, a company called hummingbird. I made the decision very early in my career to go into your contributor into leadership. That was a difficult decision because the best time to do it. Is normally when you're at the top of your game, which I'd like to think I was but I was still fairly young.

I was 33 and at that stage, EMC, um, decided to take a punt on me and promote me into a very senior role. Without me having had a lot of prior leadership experience, in fact, I'd go as far to say that I had not. But I thought in that moment, well, if they were willing to take the punt one, I've back myself.

And so that really set a trajectory into leadership that I'll be forever grateful for. It wasn't easy by the way. I'm sure many people that are looking at making that transition or have done it would say that those first few years were really tough. But that was really the start of it. And from then went on to SAP and then into Salesforce and now obviously into Adobe.

So it's been an amazing ride and it's not over yet. I still like to think that I'm still 32. 

[00:05:11] Tony: Yeah. And you, you and I have got something in common that we both got to that sort of CEO role, you know, running the Asia APAC region through a path of selling. W w what did, what, what were the biggest transitions that you needed to make from being an individual contributor and then sales leader to general management and corporate leadership?

[00:05:30] Simon: Well, I mean, it's a, it's a shopping list of things, Tony, but, you know, I think a big part of it is. Obviously when you're an individual contributor, you're geared to being completely selfish and for good reason, it's that the job is designed for you to get the results and to do whatever you need to do to get the results.

And it's all around success through self. Of course, when you make a transition into leadership, it's all around success through others. And I think over time as the companies I've worked for have become bigger and more highly metrics and as you know, other external factors like work from home, come into play.

The ability to remind not only productive, but really buy-in to that notion of being successful is about success through others was the single biggest lesson. And then of course, there's a whole lot of things that you need to learn just by way of life, tenure, as opposed to professional tenure. And I think the older you get and the more life experience you have, those, those lessons become a little easier.

[00:06:37] Tony: Yeah. Yeah. You know, one of the things I've certainly found is that most, most problems in business are solvable. The top line revenue problems can be terminal what's, what's your advice to people on how to really drive consistent quality. Top line revenue. I guess there's the issue of retaining and growing your existing customers are one dimension and then winning new logos is kind of a key lead indicator of the real health of a business.

So what's your advice to other leaders on focusing on that element of the business? That's just so critical. 

[00:07:13] Simon: Yeah, what's interesting, Tony. I mean, obviously I've talked to a lot of executives as part of my role. You know, running Adobe for APEC. And I often asked them the question, if you could choose only one that is you can have top-line growth or you could have bottom line margin expansion or cost out which would you have?

And of course, the answer I get is, well, I want both, so I asked the question again and it always comes down. So we'll look, if I can only have one or tech total. Revenue growth. And of course that makes sense. And you know, it's, it's, it's no different in our business where we're chasing top line growth with healthy margin expansion, obviously, but top line growth is key and it's not just about top line growth with the executives that I talk to.

It's about predictable and sustainable. Top line growth because no one likes surprises. There was interesting, only this week I was to a CEO of a large bank. He said, Simon, no, one's offering free kicks because of COVID shareholders still expect top line growth. And I thought that was really interesting because there's no point turning on something that lasts a quarter.

Whatever initiatives you have in place to drive growth has to be predictable and has to be sustained. 

[00:08:35] Tony: Mike, let me, let me make a confession to you and all of those listening. I know for me in leading companies, I've, I've been out of the corporate world for nearly a decade. Now I escaped going out doing consulting in this, but I, I used to feel that at the end of most quarters, I'd sort of age a whole year of my life.

And I'm just, just going back to that comment that you made about no one likes surprises, it's all gotta to be predictable. You know, the forecast is everything for the leader, right? Th the, the, the board that the people above you at your level just expect predictable results. Ha how do you drive the risk out of delivering a predictable forecast for the board in an organization and you've, and you've got a huge span of control.

I think you've got what 5,000 staff in, in your organization. Yeah. Dozens of leaders that are reporting up into you. This you can't get across everything. So ha ha. And look, there's a really interesting comment for those listening. I was talking to Simon about five days ago just to set this up for today.

And he said, I've actually got a pretty quiet week, you know, it's the last week of the quarter. And I know. What's like, isn't this the most stressful week of the quarter and, and tell, tell people what you said to me when I made that comment. 

[00:09:51] Simon: I can't remember 

[00:09:55] Tony: you, you said it's too late for me to really have any impact now, you know, that's true.

All of the things that can be done have been done now, everybody just needs to execute. Right. So you'd work really hard in the lead up to that phone a week. 

[00:10:09] Simon: No, that's true. And, you know, back to your point about being predictable you know, that's obviously part of the, the cadence that we have in place and you know, part of the cadence operationally that's, I've championed in all of the businesses that I've worked in.

But we're especially good at it. And you know, part of that, Tony is sales process, you know, good old fashioned sales process. And you and I have spoken about this topic many times, but if, if you think of any sales process, that doesn't matter what it is being book-ended by two things on one side, you have.

The cadence, the methodology and the discipline around pipeline and park gen. So that's one bookend of a sales process at the other end. The other bookend is obviously the cadence and methodology and the process around forecasting. The means by which you construct the forecast, you call a number and you hit it.

Well, of course, everything in between, especially for enterprise B2B, salespeople is about taking risk off deals. If you think about it, a deal cycle starts in early stage with high risk. And as a progressors, there are at least if you subscribed to the PCIX methodology, there are six areas of risk in any given deal and the job of a professional sales person, sales team sales leader.

Is to progressively take risk off those big deals, such that by the time they're ready to close, they're a hundred percent predictable. And the lack of linearity in a business is not necessarily a function of getting the maths role. It's a function of those one or two big deals that if they don't have.

Makes the difference between hitting 95% of your number or 110% of your number. And so it goes to say that if you're managing risk on those big enterprise deals, by definition, you'll have a much more predictable, linear and consistent business. So that's where the P six methodology fits in terms of the sales process value chain.

But at Adobe, we use a whole lot of other tools as well. We have a. Interesting D Don model Vader operating data-driven operating model, which allows us algorithmically to get a lot more accurate in terms of our forecast and our predictability across all parts of our business, whether it be a consumer, business all the way up to enterprise.

So, you know, Tony, I think this is something that every sales leader, grapples. And it's where all of the stressors at the end of the quarter, it's always about, well, are you going to hit the number that you said. You will hit and, uh, you know, how that conversation goes. 

[00:12:57] Tony: I do. And, and, and you've typically got to nominate that number about six weeks out.

Right. And they expect you to hit it. Do you know, for me, Simon, when I was in my. Sort of early mid twenties. I went to the states, I ran it up. I set up my own company in the states for a couple of years, and I learned a really big listen, if you can't personally sell, you just know where as a business leader or an entrepreneur.

And one of the things I find especially here in Australia is so many CEOs I work with kind of look at their sales organization as this mystery black box thing that they don't really understand. And they're incredibly frustrated at the variable results and the nasty surprises. And it just amazes me how many business ladies don't really understand selling.

And if you don't understand that the, how are you going to drive it and hold people to account? Because in my view any, any sort of toe cutter or buffoon can go in and cut costs, you know, as a tactic. But it takes real strategy and smarts and grit to go and drive a sustainable growth strategy. So, you know, what, what, what's your advice to CEOs that are watching this that feel like Helicon, don't really understand this, this mystery of selling?

What, what, what, what should they do to try and get across it? Well, 

[00:14:18] Simon: well, Tony, you look, one of the lessons I learned very early and it helped me obviously, because I came. Through the sales track is I've never lost touch with the people that really matter, which is account executives. So it doesn't matter how high or how far you go.

You have to have empathy and deep connection to the people that are closest to the deals and closest to the customers. And that is the account executives. So my advice to any CEO would be spent time in the field. And of course, many CEOs that I know do exactly that. In fact, they love doing that. And it doesn't take long for them to build that same level of empathy in and trust in the sales process and the salespeople when they spend time in the field on real deals with real customers talking about real customer problems.

I think companies that get this wrong. Where the executive is so far removed from, what's actually happening at a grassroots level in the trenches. But in my experience, and certainly for the organizations that I've worked for, and especially at Adobe, that has absolutely not happened. You know, we have very strong connection into the account executives and they really, Tony are the ones that are making or breaking up.

You know, to your previous points on why it's a quiet week for me. Well, I don't want to get in anyone's way and, you know if I can't add value, then you know, I'm better off being on the sidelines and focusing on the next quarter and the quarter after that, there's no point walking around with a blowtorch and the last week, 

[00:15:59] Tony: I absolutely agree, but it doesn't stop people doing it right.

Let me change gears a little bit. You know, you've, you've had a big portion of your career especially now at Adobe working with vendors that are really transforming the world of selling and, and the whole notion of customer experience. How were you seeing selling change? Because for me if you look at the sort of three main phases of selling.

Opening the opportunity then trying to progress it. And then closing to me the most difficult and most important phases are running. It's really hard to gain access initially. And there's a lot of ticket there. That's, you know, measuring, looking for buyers, sentiments, and trying to start people on a buying journey.

To then hand off to those sellers. How are you seeing selling, changing from your point of view? 

[00:16:52] Simon: Yeah, it's an interesting question. Sorry. And look, I mean, professional selling, which you've tracked as a theme for a long time. There are so many things that will never change that are just universal when it comes to professional selling.

And there's a few that have absolutely changed. One of them. Is the quality of the outreach that has absolutely changed. You would think working from home that executives have more time on their hands. They don't, they have less time. They're more inpatients and getting to them, you would think is easier because they're not spending time on planes and the gatekeepers, their theories.

In theory should have much more access to them. That is not true. And I know this, even from my own experience, executives are harder to get through and they expect a much higher level of quality in the outreach. That for me has changed and it's changed quite markedly. I'd say Tony in the last 18 months, and maybe COVID has been an accelerant for that.

But I know even in my own experience, the. Outreach that I get people that one time on my diary and 99% of them get ignored because they haven't done the research. They haven't followed a proper channel of a warm or a hot and ideally personal introduction. The outreach has no insights and therefore offers no value.

And so you have no choice when you're a busy executive, but a stack, right. The approaches. And again, in most cases, that for me is completely outsourced to my EA as it is with many executives. So I think that's changed. And there's, there's some pressure there on professional salespeople and sales leaders to make sure that the quality of the outreach is better than it has ever been.

So that's one, another thing that I think has changed Tony and yeah. It's a subset. If you like, of the outreach is the point of view that you have to have a well-researched point of view. And that point of view in my mind has to relate to one thing which is line growth. And if it's not top line growth, then it's bottom line or cost out related benefit.

A lot of the outreach that I see in a lot of the insights that I see lacks a strong point of view. On how you can actually help organizations with their top line or their bottom line. And those two metrics ultimately is what executives care about. They care about a lot of other things, people obviously and customer support and customer satisfaction and manufacturing operations, and go to market and all of those things.

But ultimately when you talk to an executive about the two things that they care about, Growth either top line growth or bottom line margin expansion. So those two things I think for me have changed a lot. And it'd be interesting to see what the next evolution of professional selling is. But like I said, there's many things that are universal.

Those two things for me absolutely changed. 

[00:20:05] Tony: Well, there, there are great insights for people. Hey, can I just encourage everybody? I'm just having a look at the feed from LinkedIn. So in this LinkedIn live event, I can see comments here. Lots of people, Simon, that you and I've worked with in years gone past Kirstie Wilson, Lindsay, brown whale.

All of those amazing people are they're really good memories from the past. So please feel free to type in some questions. We'll have a Q and a session in, in about 10 minutes time. Simon. So let's, let's talk about sellers. What, what do you look for in a successful sales person? You know, what are the qualities and traits that you think really make, make someone successful?

[00:20:48] Simon: Yeah. And so Tony, let's talk about some of those things that are universal and haven't, haven't changed at all. And you know, they, their qualities around persistence, perseverance hustle, uh, you know, there, I think you said a long time ago that professional selling. Is not a science, it's a gift. And I still fundamentally believe that, you know, you know, a good salesperson when you see them in action and you see them in full flight and there are still a lot of very, very good professional salespeople around.

I think what has changed though, is there's been a move away from that mercenary hard hitting. Bashed through doors type sales person that you and I probably would have had something to do with back in the day. So the type of style now that has to be much more communicative, collaborative someone that has a maturity about them that they're able to not only navigate complex politics in a customer environment.

But I would say now need to be stakeholder management experts within their own organizations. Getting things done now is much harder than what it used to be. And that's not just the function of companies that we work for. Getting bigger. And more complex and more metrics it's because there's a whole lot of additional processes that we now have to deal with legal Reverek deals, desk compliance, audit, you know, everyone needs to be running their business as a clean sheet.

You can't get away with bad behaviors. And so the good salespeople for me are salespeople that not only. Engineer value lead with insights. Have a strong point of view, have strong executive connections, or at least are able to sponsor strong executive connections in their accounts and prospect base.

So those are the things that table stakes. Of equal importance though, is their ability to navigate their own internal metrics and to actually get things done. And this comes up all the time. When I talk to sales leaders and professional salespeople where they've won a deal. But it never closes, right.

It never closes in the quarter that they said it would close in. Now some of that is just poor process and risk management, which was spoken about, but some of it is because they haven't caught the gotchas in their own internal. Organization. And this I think is especially important for new people coming in Tony.

You know, I remember when you could be productive as a professional sales person or a professional sales leader in one quarter, your ramp time was considered three months. You got a free kick for one quarter, and then you're on your own. There is no way that takes three months anymore. It's six, nine in most cases, a full year.

To be productive and that's not because of a lack of market smarts. It's because the products that we're representing a generally a much more complex or more strategic and therefore much more important. And much more highly embedded into our customer's landscape. And it's because our own internal organizations have become a little more complex.

And so the internal navigation I think has slowed down or at least impacted in, in part sales process. So to answer your question, you know, if I was looking at, you know, the gold standard of salesperson or sales leader, it's someone that can play both those roles. And navigate both of those streams simultaneously.

And that's not easy one. 

[00:24:48] Tony: Yeah, because increasingly today the seller is competing for resources against the other sellers in their own organization. Right. They, they need all of this. This helped to get a deal over the line. Hey, look, let's just circle back and provide some good advice for the salespeople that are watching this.

So I've heard some really great things here. Simon, if someone wants to gain access to the C-suite, someone like you, one of the things you've said is they have to have a worthwhile point of view for you. So they needed to turn up with a point of view. And ideally that's around helping you with your highest priorities, which is typically driving top line revenue growth.

Right? There's lots of other things, but, but have a point of view about something important to the person in the C-suite. You you'd agree with that with bet being really efficient. 

[00:25:32] Simon: Yeah, absolutely. And I think you mentioned this in your book, Tony, where you say executives don't need more friends. They don't, they need people that have insights and they're going to help them.

And they will not give time to answer a whole bunch of questions for you to learn about their business. That's not what the, before I expect you to have those insights before. They bother returning your call. Now the good thing is that most insights are available and are available with doing 10 or 15 minutes worth of research.

So this is not necessarily a labor intensive part of the sales process, but it's absolutely an important part of the sales process. But again, you know, executives that I talk to will always be willing to grant a meeting. If there's a warm, ideally hot and personal introduction or referral. So that absolutely helps.

So I'm much more likely to grant a meeting or a call or just to spontaneously call someone. If someone has sent me a WhatsApp saying, Hey, Simon, I need a favor. This person's really close to me. And this is what they need. Would you mind just giving them a call for five minutes? I'm more than happy to do that.

Now that obviously requires an existing, personal relationship. And so. For a professional sales person, you need to be networked at least to the two or three degrees of separation from that executive in order to get that outcome. But then by far is the most effective tool available to us. And then second to that, you have to have an insight and you have to have a point of view.

What's interesting, Sonia is that insight and that point of view doesn't need to be bang on. It just needs to be good enough that you get the. Yeah, then you can pressure test the insight in a friendly environment. And so I looked at what we do. It works really well. There's one other trick that we use as part of our processes called exempt connect.

And this is where you can absolutely use titles. To get a meeting and get an introduction. So my team will use me to get the exact connect if they can't get to the executive, that then becomes my responsibility. So I don't divorce myself of that responsibility. It's part of the value that I should be adding.

And therefore, if we can't get to an executive in a customer or a prospect, well, that then falls on me. I then do the outreach and. The benefit is that I can use title interestingly, across APEC that works to varying degrees in Asia. It works really well because culturally, they tend to be a little more hierarchical.

In Australia it's normally the reverse but you know, it works to varying degrees, but that, that would be my tip lead with insight and have a strong point of view, use exact connect use title. Where you need to, and obviously make sure that introduction is, is warm or hot and personal. 

[00:28:48] Tony: Yeah.

I love that. And I, and I agree with you, the, the highest probability of success is a path through a trusted relationship. Absolutely. So I definitely agree with that. Mate, let's talk about channels of engagement. So you actually mentioned WhatsApp, so But maybe you don't want me to divulge this, but you kind of have.

Right. But the reality is for anyone in your inner circle, WhatsApp is the communication channel. Right? So what, what, what's your experience with communication channels? That work? Cause the thing I find and the feedback I get from other CEOs. Is hardly anybody actually funds them these days, right? Like hardly anybody worthwhile actually phones them.

And people are just doing LinkedIn and email for example. And it's just this flood of stuff there that gets ignored. So w what's your advice about best channels if you want to get through to a CEO? 

[00:29:40] Simon: Yeah. And isn't that amazing Tony? That no one uses the phone. I mean, I can't believe that the first thing I'm going to suggest is that if you're a salesperson or a sales leader, trying to Be successful without remembering how to use the phone, then the neuron slippery slope to malware pick up the phone and use it.

It is still the most effective tool. I mean, you mentioned WhatsApp. I mean, you know, people use lots of different platforms, but yeah. An interesting part of the qualifier in dealing with executives is qualifying. What their preferred means of communication is. It's not a natural qualifier that I see used often and it should be.

So if someone was to contact my EA and ask for access to me, they should say, what is Simon's preferred means of communication? She'll likely say phone or WhatsApp. We'll get too many emails, which means I miss them. And they're largely informational, not action-orientated. So I ignore them. Or it's very easy to work on the assumption that if it's really important, someone alive that email me again and again, and again and again, or they'll just call me or WhatsApp me.

So qualifying what someone's preferred platform is, is really important. But to answer your question, what works for me, WhatsApp? Yes. Because it's just easy for me. And it's also the tool that my family used to communicate with me. And in my world, there is no blurring of work and harm anymore, whereas no work work-life balance, there's just balance.

And so for me, it's one tool that I use to communicate with everyone in my life, including. People that I work with and including my customers and prospects, and it works really well. And it's a very quick visual prompts for me, whereas email is not. But the other one, Tony is, is the phone. I'm much more likely to return a phone call because I'll see the missed call.

And even though I have a very structured day there'll be 10 or 15 or 20 minutes of white space somewhere in my day. Where I will return calls. And if the outreach is a quality outreach and the voicemail has a quality point of view or insights or referral, and again, I'm much more likely to return the call.

So I'd encourage everyone listening to, to use that trick, you know, qualify what means your customers actually want to be communicated on. And at what time of the day, that's important. 

[00:32:24] Tony: Hi. So I'm just, just saying a question in here from Julie who asks what's the most unique approach you've had from a sales person?

[00:32:34] Simon: True story. So this, this particular person found my favorite record. Yeah. Now I want to tell you all what it is because I'd be giving it away. But I love my red wines and there's one in particular that I love. And that's a reasonable price. Red, uh, nothing, 

not quite. But so this person's credit, they went to. Ends of the earth to figure out what it was. And they sent me a bottle to my home with the lovely note that says that said, Simon, you don't know me. But I would be grateful to spend five minutes with you. Please call me back with a phone number.

How can I resist 

[00:33:29] Tony: and Simon. The Columbia subtext is. And given that I figured out what your favorite wine is, and I've got your home address, you know, I wouldn't ignore me. 

[00:33:38] Simon: That's wrong. Yeah. And I wouldn't recommend that for everyone. It is a little creepy and stalkerish slug. But I got words that it had the outcome.


[00:33:51] Tony: Hi, young one, one of the common things that I hear from leaders. It is, they just can't cope with wafflers, you know, people that turn up at their door till these long meandering, you know, bedtime stories that send you to sleep. And you're thinking is, is there a punchline here's somewhere? Is there a question at some stages there and ask, and it's the same?

With the sellers that, that, that spring from the bushes into their life. Right. And they have these long, you know, I'm from this company and we're the market leader. And then they have all the fake rapport building empathy stuff. I just find that they suddenly turns me off. I'm busy. I just want people to get to the point, is that your view as well?

W w w what's your comment? 

[00:34:35] Simon: Absolutely. Sonia and I think that is. The case with, with every executive, because they're just too busy. No one likes a woman. Let's be honest, get to the point, but don't be rude or abrasive or arrogance because they will have the same effects as effect muffler, so balanced.

But, you know, my view is, if you can't say what you need to say in under a minute then you need to work on your script. Now, a good friend of mine Tina, who does a lot of coaching for executive team has a program that she calls LPG 22, which is, which is fascinating. And it stands for language, presence and gravitas.

In 22 seconds. Now she's a professional newsreader. And in her research you have 22 seconds to keep me interested. And if you can't hold me for 22 seconds, it's game over. So we've rolled out some of their training to our exec team. And it's really interesting because those that are otherwise for boasts now, all of a sudden they've become quite pointed in terms of their communication style.

But no one likes to waffle house. 

[00:35:58] Tony: It's true. My life, life is way too short. Hey I got a great question here from, from Nick, Nick Lambert. Hey. Hey, Nick. Thanks for joining us. It's been a long while, mate. The question for you Simon is that you mentioned the importance of staying close to the front.

Yeah. How have you balanced your natural comfort zone of sales excellence with the wider needs of a, of a, of a business finance, corporate governance board member, investor stakeholder management role? Well, 

[00:36:27] Simon: Yeah. Hi, Nick. Good to good to see you and certainly read a long time. My friend look, Greg question, and I think this is this, this is the blessing and the curse of you know, when you move up the value chain, if you like Tony although I would invert the value chain to say that still the most important people in the sales value chain are the account executives.

Look in my role, I have. Obviously an interconnect with every function in the business, legal finance, obviously governance audit and compliance operations strategy. But when you break it all down those functions exist as support mechanisms for the sales organization. Why because the sales organization is responsible for driving top line growth in the business.

So whether you call those functions, a value added team or an integrated part of the leadership team or whatever you know, the fact is they are there to help sales teams be successful. And by the way, I think those roles have become much more strategic and value accretive over the years are remembering the day when there was the sales prevention squad inside of most organizations.

I don't see that anymore. You know, certainly every function that we have in our business is a very. Well-tuned and integrated part of the distribution organization. And by design, you can't do deals that are complex without having. Legal stamp and deals desk standard. You can't do deals without having strong corporate governance and audit.

So all of those functions, Nick, I think, are really important. For me, how do I maintain that balance? I try to spend at least 50% of my week in the field on customer related issues and really in the trenches with the salespeople and the sales leaders. And the other 50% of my week is on the things that support that 50%.

Now it may not be 50 50 every week. It's seasonal obviously this week being end of quarter for us I'm a little more focused on the cross-functional elements at our business than I am in the field because I can't add any value there in the last week. But next week that might, that might look different.

So that's the way I do it. I'm not sure whether that works for everyone, but if you try and maintain that 50 50 balance, I think that would work. 

[00:39:17] Tony: Yeah. Thanks Simon. And Nick, the thing I find is that it's often the reverse problem. Often what we've got is people that are not in a CEO role having come from a sales background.

So they're really good at the finance, the admin and all of those other things. And they struggled to actually get out of their comfort zone to add any value on the sales piece. And I just encourage any, any sales leaders that are, that are here watching this. If you don't have a sales background yourself as your path to leadership, it's really a case of knowing what questions you need to be asking your sellers.

And when you get involved in the sales process, Don't turn up and talk about us as an organization, right? So that thing of point of view is equally as important because your clients or potential customers are really interested in what others like them are doing to move the needle. And if you can bring that perspective, but I'd encouraged to ask your sellers, you know, what, why is this essential for the client?

Why should it be a priority? What will your context say to the CEO? When they're asked with, if their boss says, look, we've got, I've got 37 things on my desk. I'm being asked to approve. We can't do them all. You know why this one, if you'll still like, can articulate what our context going to say. And the other half of the sentences, you know, and it pays for itself.

So if people can explain why this should be a priority and how it funds itself, no ideals in trouble. So you can still hold your sellers to account in the questions that you ask and get them to elevate their thinking. Even if selling's not, not your core background. So, Hey, young Simon, we were just coming up on the 45 minutes.

I just want to encourage everybody. Go and check out, pay six Soma. What's the website address for them to go and have a look at that? 

[00:41:00] Simon: Yeah, you can go to piece six, or just search P six risk on the iOS, the apple app store. Android is coming. We don't have Android yet, but I always assume.

[00:41:13] Tony: And if you're, if you're running, especially a large sales organization and you're struggling with forecast accuracy in the organization through to the board absolutely have a look at P six. It's truly brilliant. Really encourage you to connect with Simon and LinkedIn. Hey Simon, I just want to wrap up with this last question.

If, if you could do a back to the future thing and go back in time. And you could meet the 25 year old. You, you could go give yourself some advice. What advice would you give yourself? 

[00:41:49] Simon: Well, I think you knew the 25 year old made Tony. So I would probably ask you look, I, I would probably say don't take yourself too seriously.

At, at 25 with, you know, filled with lots of blind ambition. I think I was a pretty intense individual, so I'd probably tell myself just to calm down a little bit. And I would also say buy houses and not cars because had I done that, I probably would have been much, you know, financial situation than I am.

[00:42:25] Tony: Well, yeah. And yeah, so I, so I, I did work with someone when I think is around that age are unbelievably successful, unbelievably driven. And, and it's really funny that you say that I've, I've waited till later in life to spend money on cars for me. So I definitely agree with you, but yeah, like I, I would, I would have said to my 25 year old self.

Like don't take yourself so seriously, and it's not all about you. We cause we tend to get very driven and selves is kind of like that. And you know, for all of us watching this selling at the end of the day and leadership is the same thing as a CEO. It's all about making a positive difference in the lives of others.

But personally and professionally, you know, that's, that's, that's what we should, we should be all about. And if we're all about that, and there's strong intrinsic value in what it is we're taking to market, then things will genuinely take care of themselves. If we, if we run a good discipline focus way of operating.

So Simon, thank you so much for joining us on the very first CEO sales insights show. I really appreciate it. Everybody, please make sure that you either follow or connect with Simon in LinkedIn. So we'll give you back a couple of minutes in your day. Also encourage you to go and visit sales IQ global, who actually brings you this show.

So we specialize in helping people solve that top of funnel. Sales pipeline problem and sales execution to go and have a look at sales IQ global as well. So, thanks. Thanks everybody. We'll see you on the next CEO sells insights show. Thanks Simon. Bye bye.

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