CRO Spotlight

Leading Change as a CRO, With John Smibert

July 14, 2022

CRO Spotlight

A B2B podcast for current and aspiring CROs, CEOs and other leaders. In each episode revenue experts Warren Zenna and Lupe Feld are joined by a guest as they set out to explore every last area of a business that you can leverage to generate revenue and drive meaningful change. Warren and Lupe speak your language - join their revenue crew.

In a sales career spanning 5 decades you see a lot change, and a lot stay the same. Get ready to hear the most important parts of both.

In this episode Lupe is joined by John Smibert, co-author of The Wentworth Prospect. In this episode Lupe and John talk about revenue operation in the pre-CRO days, the role of culture in change, what both sides of the table must consider when filling the CRO seat, plus the power of storytelling and selling the outcome.


Connect with John on LinkedIn.

His book is called The Wentworth Prospect and you'll find it on Amazon here.

Find Lupe on LinkedIn.  

Empower your sales pros transform their sales. Find out more about the Create Pipeline course from Sales IQ here.

Lupe Feld
Co-Host, CRO Spotlight Podcast
John Smibert
Co-author of The Wentworth Prospect

[00:00:00] Warren Zenna: Hi and welcome to the CRO Spotlight podcast. I'm Warren Zenna from the CRO collective and I'm here with my co-host Lupe Feld. Hey Lupe.

[00:00:15] Lupe Feld: Hey Warren. This is Lupe Feld, and I'm glad to be here with you.

[00:00:19] Warren Zenna: So this podcast is really for aspiring CROs and CEOs and current CROs whom are interested in learning from not only us, but the great guests that we're going to have.

[00:00:28] Lupe Feld: We're here to tell you that there is other areas of the business that can drive revenue and we're going to look and inspect and come up with some great ideas for us to bring in as much revenue as we can, and drive some meaningful change for the business.

[00:00:41] Warren Zenna: So tune in, we have some exciting opportunities coming up for a really amazing conversations and any B2B leaders I think you're really going to enjoy it. So thanks for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you.

[00:00:58] Lupe Feld: Hi, this is Lupe Feld, and I'm delighted to be here with you today. Welcome to the CRO spotlight. I have a wonderful guest with us today. John Smibert is here with us. And let me tell you a little bit about John. John is an Australian, which one? One of my favorite countries that I yet to visit. So is on my bucket list.

He spent several decades as a sales leader across the US Japan, Australia with many it corporations and over the last 20 years or so, he has helped B2B organizations transform the way that they sell. And so he is passionate about in enhancing the professionalism of sales people, he has founded sales leader, forums and sales masterminds, and he is also the creator of a authentic selling method called at Advance. And that sales model is what underpins the Wentworth project. So with that I welcome you, John. Thank you for joining us.

[00:02:02] John Smibert: Thank you very much Lupe and delighted to be with you too.

[00:02:05] Lupe Feld: Great. Great. Well, this is the CRO Spotlight and part of what we do here is we dig deep into the CRO. And it's a fairly new role. It's, it's been in effect for about 10 years. And I'm sure in your more current practices, you spend a lot of times with CROs. So tell me a little bit about your experience with CROs and maybe take a stab at what you see done, right. And what you, you know, see as an opportunity.

[00:02:31] John Smibert: Okay. Well, that's a very broad question to start with, so that gives me lots of license, right?

[00:02:36] Lupe Feld: Exactly.

[00:02:37] John Smibert: I've. I've been working, my history is large B2B typically large organizations, but the emphasis more on large transaction size typically and, and large relationships with clients and customers.

So. If I look at that for a long, long time I grappled with the whole issue of having silos in big organizations. You've got sales, you've got marketing, you've, you've got product development, product management, and you've got back in my day. There's nothing like a customer experience VP or whatever.

And so I grappled with this silo mentality and the impact it had on how we related to our clients and the engagement the relationship with clients was just jeopardized the whole time. And so I was always, and, you know, I think Warren talks about the CRO roles being about 10 years old. Whether we called it CRO or not, there's been a lot of activity prior, prior to 10 years to, to right pull those silos together and put it all under one leader, sometimes the CEO, but obviously that's too big, a too big, a role for CEO, and we need customer relationship manager to really drive the, the whole understanding across the organization of how to engage with the.

Effectively, essentially now my background sales and B2B sales. So I really understand the sales side of that. And I also understand the issues with not having. Sales and marketing aligned big, big issue. So I've been working more recently with some fairly mature startups and trying to build in the CRO role very early in the process as they develop as an organization. And, and it's really interesting to see the outcomes and the results of that process.

[00:04:17] Lupe Feld: That's great. That's great. I think it's it's exciting to see a lot of the walls being taken down, you know, from the silos that existed, you know, years ago. And as you think about the whole customer journey, it's so important that the customer is taking care of along the way and every, and every facet of the business cycle that they're in, whether it's, you know, when they're being.

You know, groomed to be a customer, to being acquired as a customer, to being transitioned and retained as a customer. And I think sometimes with the silos, it was very difficult to do that and having, you know a person so to speak at the helm. That kind of organizes all of that makes it a little bit easier.

[00:04:56] John Smibert: Well, well, we've gotta be really careful that we don't point identify that we do have a silo type mentality and put somebody in charge of, you know, the key ones, which essentially sales, marketing, and customer experience and say you now are the COO address this issue we've got and lead these these sorts of silos forward.

And of course, unless we drive a change in mentality, a cultural change in the organization, it doesn't matter whether we, that we put somebody at the head called CRO and have those three areas reporting into them. You're not gonna change the culture of the organization unless you actually do something significant to do that.

And, and of course, culture changes a journey, not a destination. So. Step by step. How do we actually en engage sales, marketing customer experience to work together for the betterment of the client, betterment of the customer. And that's, that's what it's all about. It's not putting a person in, in, in the lead saying you are now a COO, that's not gonna fix the problem.

[00:05:54] Lupe Feld: So true. So true. So often CROs are added into organizations as kind of like that magic bullet. That's gonna change everything. I'm sure you've seen it in your work consulting with B2B businesses and helping to organize their sales and their. Their business to really make an effort into changing the culture.

And that's a great point. I mean, that, that starts, I would say at the CEO level, but it extends to the whole executive team to really embrace the concept and make sure that they're on board to do that. That's really, really important. And I think that's something that Warren talks about all the time. He talks about, you know, the, the intent versus the result.

And what the job is supposed to be doing. And, and I think everybody needs to be aligned to that vision early on.

[00:06:44] John Smibert: And the center of it is, is what you mentioned earlier. It's a customer journey. It it's, you know, we talk about the customer buying journey. Well, that's just buying the single. Process of buying something.

But it's a customer journey overall, how we can engage and work with and help that customer as they progress through their journey. And, and, and as an organization, how do we know? Not, not just sales, not just, you know, customer experience, not just marketing. How do we do it together? And in helping that journey and that means, you know, knocking our heads together.

And it means talking to the customers a lot, really getting down and understanding what their journeys are all about and how we can align with those journeys as an organization, not just as the sales people or the marketing people.

[00:07:30] Lupe Feld: That's a great insight. So in your work I'm sure you deal with a lot CEOs as well as CROs. What advice would you give to a CEO if they were looking to. A CRO in place, if they were looking for a CRO, any, any tips that you might wanna offer to a CEO?

[00:07:48] John Smibert: Well, the thing I say to most CRO CEOs that are talking about, you know, we need to address this, should I put a CRO in? My say is, prepare the organization first.

Now sometimes you can bring a CRO in when you've got the organization already siloed and so on and get the COO to drive, drive that, but you've gotta. The mentality of the executive of the organization. You've gotta get the vision in place. You've gotta visualize what the organization's gonna be, look, look like and how they're gonna be operating with their customers and start putting all that in place so that you can define for your organization, what that COO role and, and the C operations going to be.

You. Yeah. The advice I give to CEOs is you're not gonna fix it by just going out and hiring somebody. Here's, here's a role description CEO we're gonna knock all all these silos together and put 'em all under one leader, but not think about how the operation will, will work, how will integrate and align with customers.

So bottom line is don't go and hire a CR and think you're gonna fix the problems. Put the vision in place, identify how you're gonna do it, and then get a C CRO that suits your organization and suits the sort of people you've got that can come in and help you deliver that vision.

[00:09:03] Lupe Feld: That's great. I love that. And flipping that coin to the other side, if you are a CRO applying or looking to find a. Any advice for a CRO, some questions they should ask and you know, some tips .

[00:09:19] John Smibert: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you'd be familiar with I'm sure a lot of CROs would be familiar now I've just been hired into a role and I can't make it happen.

And so the, the advice is ask all the right questions to really understand. Is there. The, the absolute commitment to the change that's necessary in the organization for not just the CEO. Sometimes you get CEOs, that've got great drive and vision, but somehow they can't drive the leadership for change in the organization.

So you need to need to judge, is this organization ready for change? Will they support it from top down. And, and have they got, I mean, you obviously need to ask also all the questions about have, have they got a competitive position in the marketplace? Are they doing a good job of, of staying ahead of the, the competition in terms of bringing, you know, really good solutions to the table for their client base, all that sort of stuff, but it's more around. Is this organization ready for change and will they support me in that change role?

[00:10:19] Lupe Feld: That's great advice. Great advice. You know, as I think about The responsibility of a CRO, you are an expert in, in the sales arena. And I know that you've recently written a book and, and talk about a little bit about the book.

[00:10:35] John Smibert: Well, let's go back one step before I actually talk about the book when we are talking about. Driving change in an organization. You need to think about how that's gonna look, what's that gonna look like and what sort of framework do we need to put in place to support all the people to behave the way we want them to behave.

So I'm, I'm, I'm very focused on putting framework together, you know, good business framework that that is focused on helping the customer through the journey, whether it's a single buying journey or whether it's. The longer term journey, a client going through. So with that in mind I've been working for, for some years now on, on how do we do that?

What sort of frameworks do we put in place? How do we drive change? Cultural change, particularly in organizations, which is not easy. It's, it's really, really tough. And, and, you know, we do, we do need to think about it being a journey. So what are the steps in the journey over the next five, 10 years?

And, and. These sort of journeys take that long. So So, yeah, I put a lot of work into how all that's going to work. Then I brought it back to very simply what is the client journey and particularly in attaining that very first order in an organization, how to marketing and sales work together and ultimately customer experience to, to help the customer in that journey and lay the foundation for the longer term journey.

So we I've been running, working with a framework with a lot of my clients. It's called advance. I think you mentioned before ed V a N C E. And that's, that's got both pro process and methodology. And how parts of the organization work together to engage properly with the client? So how do we get that message across?

Well, one of the things we decided is. If, if people love stories and really good stories that they can gauge with, they can work you know, they, they can get emotionally connected with and so on. So we ended up saying we were on a novel which is a brave thing to do with, with you know, originally two me and my partner.

Business partner, both decided we'd write a novel and neither us had a novel novelist type experience. And we ultimately brought a third person in another business person had turned novelist and the three of us end up writing. What I think is a. And the feedback we're getting is it's a page turning novel, sits up there amongst, you know, some of the better novels that, that you could read, but it's all about doing business, engaging with clients and how you go about that and cuts and thrust.

You know, we, it is a novel, so, you know, person being killed in the second chapter of the, the novel and so on. So it's a very readable novel, but We think we get the message over. Now, the basic message is engaging in this case. It's a mature startup, engaging with a large financial institution and the whole novels about that process and that journey.

[00:13:20] Lupe Feld: Lot of fun, lot of fun. Well, that's, that's amazing. That's wonderful. You know, I think about the fact that you linked your process and your framework. To a story and it's so appropriate as you think about, you know, the people that run and function in a business, whether it's marketing, whether it's sales with their customer success, product, whatever the function is in the business.

They do that for a period of time during a day, but then they go home, they're human and they have a life and they have their own story. And part of what they do during the work hours is what funds their story. And so I think it's really appropriate to combine the two. I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that done before.

I know I've had a lot of sales books. and that I've read that had a, a lot of humor built into it. You know, a lot of different things into a lot of stories, a lot of stories and some of the best sales people that I know. And I've, you know, had the pleasure of leading have been phenomenal storytellers. And so I love that approach of turning the process and the concept of running a business and the whole customer journey into a novel. I'm excited to. I'm excited to read it.

[00:14:38] John Smibert: Yeah. Next thing is we'll put a movie movie together about it. That'll be wonderful. Wouldn't it? And the issue is, or the op the, the very positive thing is that business people relate to the book. We are talking about their environment. A novel. So lots of cut and thrust and, and, you know, issues and challenges and, and, and the hero and being knocked down and then pick yourself up again and all sorts of things like that.

However, it's a business book and people can relate to the business that's occurring and the relationships between people inside your own organization. And we we've got the. We've got the heroin. We've got people that support the heroin. And we we've got the, the counter characters in the book, the one sales manager, for example, that everybody will relate to that.

You know, I, everybody will get his, I used to work for that guy once. So. It's fun, but you you're right. It it's a story that people can relate to. And, and at the end of the book, they sit back and say, okay, I can understand now how this organization needs to work and how we need to engage with clients and how we need to go through that journey.

And, and I'm one of these people and get a lot of pushback on this. When you're, when you're going through a journey with a client it's not about your product or service, Yeah, that's, that's almost incidental. So the way we engage with clients, we are there to help them through a journey. We're there to help them think about the challenges they've got, the, the implications of those challenges, what all the sorts of things associated with the current situation, and then help them.

Go through a thinking journey to a new way of thinking to, to, to, and, and that's what selling's all about. It's not about bringing your product in and saying feature, function benefit. So those people that read the book will see that our hero and hardly ever talks about the product.

[00:16:21] Lupe Feld: You bring a great point you know, some of the best leaders that I have had the pleasure to work with and some of our guests in the podcast here as well have talked.

The, the purpose of their product and service. And it's not necessarily what the features and benefits are. It's more along the lines of what problem does the business have and how do I help the business solve that problem or make that problem better or ease the burden of that situation. Or and that to me is the, the key to success.

[00:17:01] John Smibert: It is. And I'll take it one step further. It's there, we, we are there to help the customer achieve an outcome of value. Now the customer often doesn't know exactly what that outcome of value is gonna look like. And so we're there to help them on a thinking journey. And the outcome of value again, is not as directly associated with the product. Let me, do you mind if I tell you a story? just

[00:17:22] Lupe Feld: absolutely. Yeah. I love stories. I love stories. I knew, I knew I would get one from you today. So, absolutely.

[00:17:28] John Smibert: And, and this is an ancient story for a lot of your, your listeners. But it, it really illustrates the point years ago, I was selling manufacturing solutions, software.

Based manufacturing solutions. When I say years ago, this is 19 mid 1980s. And, and I was a back then. I'm, I'm a great believer that the people that are talking to your client must be domain experts in the CU client environment, right? They're not experts in your product. They've gotta be experts in the client domain.

And I, I was quite. Back in those days, an expert in manufacturing. And so I'd do the tours around the manufacturing plant with a manufacturing manager and, and the CFO. And I'd be able to ask all the right questions and I could illustrate that I really understood their business and the challenges they've gotten.

So on. In this particular organization, a lighting manufacturing, the light fittings you see in, in houses and so on, they manufactured those. And so I went in and they had major issues with product, you know, big queues in front of each workstation. The time it took to get from beginning to end in the whole manufacturing process, they were being outstripped by the man by their competitors.

Sorry, I talked about closed loop manufacturing just in time and all that sort of stuff. Put a proposal on the table, they loved it and they. But we gotta have a look at the software. And I hated demonstrating software because software gets down to feature function, and feature function is not what they need, but it diverts them away from the outcome they're looking for.

But I, I agreed. We, we come into the, the office would do a demonstration. This is the days of, you know, old green screens. Yeah. Nothing like a PC or a laptop or a, a mobile phone or whatever, to engage with your system. So put up two. Green screens, big whiteboard in the middle. And I started and we started talking about all the issues.

They got manufacturing, close loop and how to solve the problems with how you sh do the scheduling, the just in time and close loop manufacturing, all that sort of stuff. The end of the day they'd invited. There's 12 of them in there and they invited the CEO. Hadn't been involved in the process up till then.

And the CEO just had questioned enough to question it, lapped it up at the end of, he said, hour and a half into it. He said, wow, this has been wonderful, but I've gotta go. I've got another commitment. Come on, guys. I've seen enough. And the little nerdy tech guy out the back said, but we haven't seen the software yet.

The CEO said, oh, software, look, look, I've seen enough. This is, this is the sort of thing we need to do and let they all left. Three weeks later, I was out, we got the contract three weeks later, I'm out there talking to them about where they're gonna put the computer. Because back in those days, you needed a computer room, air conditioning and all that sort of stuff.

And by the way, the computer is primarily what we wanted to sell, but that's where all our margin was the hardware back in those days, not the software. So talking with the, the it manager and the, and the CFO and looking at where we might put this computer or the air conditioned room and the CEO walked past and he said, good.

Hey, John, good to see you here. What are you doing here? Said we're working out where we're gonna put the computer. Absolute blank. Look came over his face, the computer, does the computer come with this? he had bought the outcome this whole Rewa. Yeah. Thinking about how they're gonna change the way they manage their manufacturing and get better response to their customers and lower inventory costs and all that sort of stuff. Never dawned on him. Our computer came, I was selling a computer. He was buying an outcome.

[00:20:41] Lupe Feld: That's you know, essentially what. A lot of great sales people do. And some of them do it through a process of just habit and learning from their success and their you know, their opportunity or failure. But very few people are able to put that into a method or a framework that they can kind of rinse and repeat and do it over again.

And that's a phenomenal story because. When you can get your prospect, your customer, so bought in and so engaged and on the journey with you to that. Anything's possible anything. And, but getting that that buy in is key

[00:21:25] John Smibert: And it doesn't take one person, it takes a team and that's, and it takes a team across the organization these days.

Yeah. Particularly when you get to larger B2B and your larger transactions, you're selling to, there's typically you know, sometimes 10, 12, 15 people that are involved in making that decision and are decision makers, all of. And when you look at that and look at all the teamwork we as an organization need to do to help them through their buying journey and help them through their overall business journey.

It's a massive team effort and we need some sort of model and framework and we need that helps us do that. But also we need to make a, have a framework that aligns with the customer journey that that actually is designed to help the customer. And too often the old traditional sales processes were there to manipulate the customer.

Not so much help the customer, but force the customer through a decision process that really wasn't conducive to good value for the customer or for us as an organization in the end.

[00:22:25] Lupe Feld: Yeah. And I think you just hit on something that's really important as I think about what the CROs responsibility is, it's really owning that customer journey and that customer satisfaction and making sure that every, every aspect of that relationship or that journey is serving the customer and when it sits under different leadership and when everybody's out to drive their own agenda or their own, you know, outcome, then the customer end of it falls short sometimes.

And so that is to me...

[00:23:01] John Smibert: Fall short, and we destroy our as an organization.

[00:23:04] Lupe Feld: Exactly.

[00:23:04] John Smibert: There's a lack of trust between the two organizations, you know, because we got conflicting behavior happening in our own organization. The customer sees it. How can you have faith in an organization when you see that happening?

[00:23:15] Lupe Feld: Exactly. Exactly. Well, you just hit another favorite topic of mine, which is trust. And, you know, building trust is at the core of every successful business, every successful customer relationship, every successful employee, you know, what are some tips on, on building trust? That you can share with us.

[00:23:34] John Smibert: Sometimes I take the word building trust out on out and, and that's, it's, it's really a, a, a process of developing trust. And you don't deliberately go into build trust, but you need to understand that that the trust requires a number of things. But the key bottom line is we have to. In everything we do, it has to be part of our being that, that we are there for the customer.

And then that drives the right behavior. And, and that's what builds trust because they see the reliability, they see the commitment to the, to their own outcome, not to us. And we're not about getting business and getting an order. Yeah, sure. That's going to happen, but that'll happen through reciprocity and yes, I, when I, I know we have to manage reciprocity but if our whole being and focus is on being there to help the customer achieve their outcomes.

But knowing also we can influence those outcomes because we can help the customer. Think through what they're doing and, and, and then visualize a better way of doing it that they may not have, you know, we help the customers think outside the nine dots. If we're doing it properly outside their paradigm, they need that, you know, I use the word disruption quite a bit.

Our job is to disrupt the customer's thinking. Now we probably don't go in and tell the customer that, but why do we want to disrupt the customer's thinking? Because the, we think we can help the customer achieve a much better and much more value, valuable outcome for their business. Now, every customer worth their salt that I've ever spoken to wants their, their thinking disrupted.

They want to think out the nine dots. They get stuck, stuck in their own paradigm. They're working in every day and they, and, and that's very hard for them to get outside that para. Our job is to help them do that as an organization. And I'm not, not talking about an individual salesperson I'm talking about as an organization, we're bringing in marketing's job is very much this helping bring thought to the table and bringing thought leadership and, and helping the, but knowing the customer really well and where their current situation is and what the current problems and implications are.

And then bringing thought leadership to the table that takes the, the customer to a new way of thinking, and then helps. A achieve that new way, that new vision. But it's all about the customer. It's not about us. We'll get our return through reciprocity.

[00:25:49] Lupe Feld: Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. You're so right on that. And, and it's not just about finding Problems are, are fixing things that are pain points. There's so much opportunity sometimes in the marketplace that a particular customer might be missing and it's really opening up their eyes to those opportunities. And that's really an incredible way to, to build that trust.

And, and so often, you know I, I, I remember reading this in a book in order to get trust. You have to give. And, and that to me was really powerful because we often want something that we're very reluctant to give. And as an organization, you have to really trust your customers, listen to your customers, and then build around that knowledge and information.

So I, I love, I love. our conversation. It's really engaging. It's at the core of everything that I love and believe. And it's amazing to me. I'm, I'm eager to go find your novel and, and read it. So tell us the name of the book. Tell us where we can find it.

[00:26:53] John Smibert: Well, it's called the Wentworth prospect. Three authors and a six year project, massive project. If, if I'd known how much it was gonna take to, to get the book to the table, it probably would never would've started. But of course, very gratified now we have a book on the table that we think we can really help. Change the thinking of organizations and the way they gain engage with customers will help drive cultural change.

We get a lot of I get a lot of people writing to me say, thank you for this book CEOs. A lot of CEOs are reading this book now. And I say, I read this book. I've given to every person, the organization and we're working through a plan now to change our culture. It's, it's what it's all about. So it's an exciting exciting journey.

[00:27:31] Lupe Feld: Well, that is amazing.

[00:27:32] John Smibert: I keep using that word journey. Don't I it's, it's all about the journey. It's not about the destination.

[00:27:36] Lupe Feld: Well, it's so true. It's so true. I don't think it's a, as a customer, you ever stop being a customer, you know, even, you know, things that are transactional, that it's one and done.

Eventually in your lifetime, you'll buy again, whether it's a car, whether it's a house, whether it's, you know, something that you think is kind of a lifetime purchase, but there's so many businesses that continue to get our business for different reasons. And it's kind of digging deep into the reasons why people continue to do business with businesses.

And some of 'em are not very glamorous. Some of them are just convenience. and some of them are, you know, not necessarily what you would put as like best practices either.

[00:28:17] John Smibert: yeah. When you say not glamorous, it just, it reminds me of, of one of uh, my clients a while ago as an organization, one of the Bosch companies and they sold, I, I said they sold sandpaper.

Right. Basically they sell sandpaper, they call it abrasives and it's industrial abrasives, but it's sandpaper. So it's not very glamorous. Right. So we did some work with them and it was really interesting. They one young sales lady I was brought in by a sales brand, new sales leader in there that said, you know, we we're transactional people.

We, we walk into the, a factory and say, look how you know, I'm, I'm here again this month. How many, how many bits of sand paper and which ones do you want this month? Take the order and walk out. And that was it. We got a couple of new sandpaper products you might wanna look at here. Here's some test ones you can test.

And that was basically all they did. I had one young lady in this program said my territory is the Eastern sea board of Australia. And I want one of my key loves the surfboard manufac. I said, okay, how do you go about selling? Well, it's just what I just said. You know, I go to all the surf mill manufacturing, how are you going?

How's our sandpaper going? And what do you want this month? You using competitor sandpaper, let's talk, you know, all that sort of stuff. We changed her thinking. And so she said, well, I'm, I'm a domain expert in surfboard manufacturing. I didn't understand how to get the finish. So dialogue from then on, was all about talking to the surfboard manufacturers about the finish show, getting and whether it was exactly what they wanted and bringing to the table.

Some thinking and other people are getting this sort of finished by doing it slightly differently. And what would that work for you? And so on, she became the consultant in the industry. I never talked about sand PA sandpaper anymore just came. Right. So, and, and she went, she went from having 20% of the, the market share in that market to about 70% in three years.

[00:30:05] Lupe Feld: Wow. That's amazing. But it is around your positioning. And so that is a great, great point of view to always keep in front of you that. Your features and benefits are just that they're features and benefits. It's the outcomes that people are most passionate about, and they can really kind of form an anchor and, and a passion towards

[00:30:26] John Smibert: We train our people and our products so much, you know, I've just been working with a, a reseller of plant equipment and a resell and equipment, no re resale American manufactured plant equipment.

And we, I was talking with the CEO. And the CRO, which they're now trying to put in place about the level of training they've given to their people over the last two or three years. And it was all product, all product and I, and bottom line is, well, if you're gonna train them the product, what, what's a message you're gonna, yeah.

Obviously need some training on the product, but what's a message you're going to give them the message is you go to talk to your customer about the products because you are the product. It it's, we've gotta be training them on how to engage with clients as a, as a team, what all their roles are, what the process and framework is and how you can drive value in thinking to clients.

It's not about product, you know, at the end of the day, when the client. Says, you know, you've painted a great vision. I agree with this. I can, I can visualize, and I can verbalize the, the value we are going to get outta this. We want to take this direction, then we can say, okay, well, let me let let's look at how we can help you get to that vision.

You know, we can bring this product and this service to the table, and maybe as a third party we can bring in and so on and pull it together. But only when that vision is solid, when the value in the main mind of the client is well perceived and well, well thought through and well, well, verbalized

[00:31:44] Lupe Feld: That's great. That's great. You just reminded me of a, a, a year, a leader I had years ago and every new employee that would join, he would make a point to get in front of them, eyeball to eyeball and say, we don't show up and throw up. We engage with customers and, you know, and help them make a decision. And sometimes it's not us.

And sometimes it, it might be that we don't offer anything that they need, but we've made the connection and maybe next time we'll be of service to them. And I always love that saying, showing up and throwing up because we do arm sales people and sales leaders, and even marketing. Well, marketing will talk you know, spin a long tail around the features, the benefits, everything about a product. But really it falls off, you know, the the view of the customers and it's MIS missing the Mark A. Little bit.

[00:32:35] John Smibert: Marketing have, should have a very significant role in the, in the buying journey. And you know, we, we really need, particularly for larger customers. We really need to very clearly define and agree and, and work with marketing on every opportu.

Because they're in they're they should be. Yeah. We should understand where that customer's at in their thinking where we are thinking of helping them go through all that dialogue and marketing should be producing the material. But also engaging with the number of people in that client organization over a period of time as they're going through that journey.

And, and it's a, it's a, an account strategy that marketing have a role. And, you know, as, as we, as we develop our relationship with customers and are providing services and so on, you know, the customer experience people have, have just a fully integrated role with that whole relationship and we all need to be working together on it.

Bring your own role and skills to the table within the framework.

[00:33:32] Lupe Feld: Well, I could talk to you all day. And I I'm sure we wouldn't run out of things to, to talk about. So again, it's been a great pleasure to have you on you have enlightened us with a lot of tips and, and information more importantly, I'm excited to read your book.

I think you know, as, as I mentioned, it's on my next reading list. I can't wait to get dig into it. And I, I have a, a funny suspicion that it will be on a lot of people's summer reading list, especially people who are CROs and C CEOs really need to kind of take a look at this and think about how it'll impact the whole organization, the culture, the framework, and, and essentially the outcomes of the business. So thank you so much.

[00:34:15] John Smibert: It's a winter, winter reading book list down here. Of course. And we've, we've just been told we've had the coldest week in Brisbane in in the, in the last since 1,905. So we've, we're freezing down here.

[00:34:28] Lupe Feld: That's funny. It's Well we're Fahrenheit, but it it's 115 where I am is the high for the week. So we're, we're in the middle of a heat wave. Not everybody in the us is going through that, but I'm in Arizona. So we have beautiful winters and very, very hot summers. So I thank you again for the time. I appreciate it. And I wish you well with your book. And again, thank you for being our guest today.

[00:34:49] John Smibert: Anybody that reads it wants to engage, just get me on LinkedIn and very happy to take a message and have a. Thank you very much.

[00:34:56] Lupe Feld: Thank you.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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