INSIDE Inside Sales

Matching Experience To Journey

April 24, 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.

It's possible you're leaving an important first step out of your sales process, risking the effectiveness of everything that comes after it. It's checking where your buyer is on the customer journey.

In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl welcomes John Richardson, Founder and CEO at ExP. Cracking this topic open in a podcast-first, they talk the journey stages,  how to identify them, how and what to adapt based on the stage, and why this such an important way to deepen your understanding of your customer beyond their persona.


Connect with John on LinkedIn or at the ExP website.

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. Find out more about what Sales IQ can do to fuel the fire of your career by checking out our Create Pipeline Course.

Darryl Praill
Host @ INSIDE Inside Sales Podcast + CMO @ AgoraPulse
John Richardson
Founder and CEO @ ExP

[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 today? Funny. I I've been getting some outreach. I wanted to share a story about the outreach I've been getting lately. It's the reason I'm hesitating it's because the outreach has CA it's been, it's been different. It's been all over the board and I'm, I mean, outreach, I'm talking about sales reps calling or reaching out or pitching me, and that could be on a phone call.

It could be an email, it could be social, it could be whatever, right. A video, you get the idea, but here's the point. I'm getting outreach that. Is completely across the board. I'll have some reps who will come to me and not tell me anything about what they do. And they'll tell me in their various. About their product, their wiz-bang product that does a, B and C.

And then of course there's a call to action to meet or download or watch a cool video demo. And I'm left. Wondering, what do I care? I don't know you from Adam, I don't and everything you're talking about as a feature pitch. So you're kind of forcing me to take those features and say, do I think any of those features that person's mentioned.

I can help my process issues or my problems or my pain points, because I don't really understand how maybe all those features would be utilized or applied. So I can't get, I could guess that maybe that might help me, but I don't really know. So that's one scenario and if you're already feeling uncomfortable, you're not alone.

So many of you do it. I get other ones who come to me. And they nail it. They're like, boom, Daryl. We understand where you are, weakness in the pain you exist in your role. You know, you've got problem 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and you're probably feeling this on a daily basis. And you know, your employees are probably ticking you off because they do, you know, a, B and C, and you're probably getting heat from above and performance expectations that are misaligned.

And we hear you. And there's no call to action here other than, Hey, we want you to know that you're not alone. And if you're curious, we do have this cool piece of content the how company, a and company B company C dealt with it. I'm going to share it to you now. Here's here it is. And I'll get back to you if you want to drill down on any of that stuff.

Let me know. So you see, those are two very different messages, and then I'll get something in between where they'll say, can you do. We want to talk to you about driving demand. Do you know what we mean by demand? Which is like, they're treating me. They can absolutely more. I know I became a C-level officer because I have no idea what demand is.

Thank you for using conversation and assuming that you're selling to somebody who's fresh out of school and brand new to the job and truly is learning the job. Maybe you haven't seen my white hair. That's prevalent on my LinkedIn profile. Does that sound obnoxious folks? What you're seeing is this.

Couple of symptoms here. You're seeing the fact that sometimes the you're approaching me unsolicited, which means I am at the very beginning of my sales journey. Maybe I do want what you want. Maybe I do. I told to do, I just don't know it and you're bringing it to my attention, but I'm at the beginning, other times, some of these interactions that are happening are literally when I've reached out to them.

I'm thinking your problem can help me. And then they want to, you know, assume I'm a moron and I'm like, no, wait a minute. You can see everything about me. You can see that. I Googled you. You can see what keywords I clicked on. Those are intense signals. You can see that I spend time on your website. You can see the content I download it.

Cause you cookied me. All right. You know that I've scored 4,000 on your scoring index and then I've proactively reached out to you. I am well down the funnel and you're treating me like an absolute moron. Like I'm a newb, like you've cold called me. Those are what I'm trying to convey is I'm in some of the one example, I am the very beginning of my journey, my buying journey and the other example, I am way down my buying journey.

All right. And what you folks need to do, and you don't do a great job on, and I say that I know I'm generalizing. So for those, you do a good job on this. Just, you know, hit fast forward on the app. Go ahead a minute or two or five, but most of you, you don't do a great job on is, is adapting your message and adapting your technique and adapting your engagement and adapting your approach to where I am in my buyer.

Based on the experience that would make most sense for me so that we can then progress and you can take my money and you can ring the gong and you can go to president's club because you adapt it to my buying experience. That's that's one way of putting it. All right. You're just treating me like a transaction, like everybody else and not actually tailoring it to me.

Okay. Because we've talked about. To the persona, but I'm talking about tailoring it to the buying experience and you got to do both. They do go together.

[00:06:13] Sponsor: 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. Go to

[00:06:29] Darryl Praill: Who's really good at talking about. Well, you know, it's clearly not me. Otherwise I would just talk at length and fix it. And we've never talked about this before, but it's so true. I'm going to guess. You've probably never thought about where your prospect is in their buying journey and how their experience with you needs to adapt accordingly.

That's huge. So who's the guy, who's the expert in this one, boys and girls, everybody from all walks and races across this grand globe of ours. Let me introduce to you my good friend, John Richardson, John. He's a bit of a, well, you know, he's British, so, all right. So right away. He uses the letter Zed and said a Z.

Okay. And, but I do too. And he also understands that there is the letter U in neighbor and in candor because dammit, the U belongs in that word. He's British a little more background beyond his national. He ran sales development for new voice media before a $350 million exit, the bond, which that was back in 2018.

But in the process, he was really always frustrated with the experience of using recruiters who didn't understand the inside sales world and provide a training that wasn't relevant. This kind of sound like how I open up this whole show. So that's when John went and started ExP, and I'm going to ask him what his ExP stands for, cause it's gotta be a definition there.

I already, because if you look at it on the website, the X is lower case, but the E and the P are upper case. And, you know, the branding people here know that means something. And the whole point of ExP is to help software businesses. So he's already known as ICP it's software businesses, fine training, coach SDRs, account executives, and customer success managers across the.

I'm going to get this though. He's done it all. He sold by knocking on doors by cold calling and street contacting. And he's super passionate about call coaching, John ExP you find an enable salespeople. Talk to me, brother. Talk to me about the whole buying experience. Talk to me about. Your experience going to $350 million exit.

Talk to me about ExP what does the ExP stand for? I have so many questions for you.

[00:08:53] John Richardson: Yeah. Where, where do you want me to start? The the XPS?

[00:08:57] Darryl Praill: Just pick one. Anyone.

[00:08:58] John Richardson: So I, I, yeah, I remember right when I graduated uni, I was applying for sales jobs because I liked talking to people. I think. That sales might be a place that I, I could find my home.

And I I got on a train from the north of England down to London. I sat through an assessment day, waited for a few hours for my interview at the end of the day, and got told that I didn't have enough commitment to show that I wanted a career in sales. For me, it's always been about finding that exceptional potential in people.

And so the ExP is that exceptional potential that, that we help find on the recruitment side and uncover and help to nurture and grow on the training and coaching side. So, yeah, that's, that's kind of the, the founding story. If you like, of, of where the idea for ExP came from.

[00:09:46] Darryl Praill: I love it. Exceptional Potential .ExP folks, if you're multitasking and like I often do, check them out.

All right. John, I was talking about buying experiences, then anything I say resonate with you I've I've told them all, but you're the expert and you're going to help fix them. So don't make me look bad here, brother.

[00:10:07] John Richardson: Absolutely. Well, it's just so important to understand that whether people know it or not, they're always in a buying journey. Most of them will end up without making a purchase. But that journey starts with that recognition. That there's a problem that needs to be investigated. And sometimes for our prospects, that happens when something happens, right. They have a conversation like you shared, right? Your, your team does something, someone in your team makes a mistake or isn't able to achieve something that you've set as an expectation for them.

And you're frustrated. You're complaining about it. When you, when you're talking to your partner, you're complaining about it to your peers and this, this cloud is starting to brew in your mind that there's a problem that you need to investigate, or alternatively, sometimes you might not start to even think about it, but you know, you're going through those frustrations and those problems day in, day out.

And it's when you get a question asked of you that suddenly the penny drops. You're like, why have I not thought about this before? Why have I not been looking for a solution to this problem? And that has experience is something that we go through when we're buying as consumers. Right. We recognize that there's something that we need to spend time investigating.

I remember at the start of the pandemic sitting at my work from home desk that I hadn't used so much prior to needing to, and starting to feel discomfort in my back because it was a children's desk and a kitchen table and kitchen table chair just wasn't set up for working from home.

It wasn't set up for me to spend eight hours a day or more at. And so this cloud started to grow this, this feeling started to grow that I needed to look at some options and without understanding that experience and the, for our inbound leads, we have to treat them as if they may have had that experience and to work out when they had experienced that experience and how they're experiencing that.

And then for outbound reps to be trying to craft that experience. We're on a one way street to creating some of those experiences for our prospects, that you felt that frustration, that you're saving terrible leads or terrible outreach. So moving on from that once, once someone's had that experience, they need to decide to do something about it and make a commitment to act.

That doesn't mean that they've decided what they're going to do and what that solution is. But it's that realization that this problem is significant enough that I need to take action. To change it because letting the status quo stay the same is not going to help me. And it's not going to be enough.

And that I can't deal with that pain in a way without changing something. And then the final experience is deciding who you're going to do it with and what you're going to do to solve that.

[00:12:57] Darryl Praill: Okay. So what does this mean for us as a sales professional, knowing that our buyer is coming in at different places in their journey.

[00:13:11] John Richardson: Yeah, I think, I think it depends on what our role is, right? If we're a, if we're an outbound rep, everything we do has to be about crafting that experience for our prospects. It's true that sometimes we can go in head on and expect that people are committing already to investigate solving that problem questions.

Like, are you looking for a solution to this problem or are you. I find that looking for ways to improve your sales team, or when we give these positive head on questions, we run the risk of our prospect saying, no, I'm not actively looking for that solution. So we've got to start earlier. Isn't that boundary.

And we've got to ask some of those experiential questions. Are you frustrated with your reps not doing what you expect them to do? Are you ever concerned or uncomfortable about. X situation in your organization to try and provoke and uncover some of those feelings that our prospect might have had. And some of those emotions that they may have had that they've not brought to front of mind yet.

They've not decided to act on yet, but th they're they're thinking about for inbound leads, it's about recognizing that they, they may or may not have had that experience yet. And so our questions have to be driven to understand where someone's at in that process. So asking questions, like what, what do you want our solution to do for you is fine, but that doesn't work.

When a prospect hasn't had that experience. We need to understand what their experience was that led them to be an art path. What is it that they're going through on a day-to-day basis, that's causing them enough frustration to end up on our website.

[00:15:00] Darryl Praill: So what I'm hearing you say. In a nutshell, whether we're handling an inbound lead coming to us, that we're trying to qualify and determine next steps, or we're actively prospecting outbound activity, Reno people maybe who have not reached out to us is that when we get them on a call or maybe it's an email exchange, who knows, but regardless when we're in a dialogue with them part before we go into our song and dance, where we're other there pitching what we do, we're doing a qualification.

There's kind of a preamble that many of us miss, which is doing some initial poking, prodding asking questions to see, are they on a journey? You know, are, are, if the answer is no, because you cold called them and they hadn't even thought about it. Okay. Then there are the very beginning and I need to kind of orient myself that way or they are on a journey.

But maybe they just don't realize that there could be a happy ending to this story. So maybe they're in the. Of their journey or, yeah, they're on a journey and they're living in, and it's frustrating as hell and we've evaluated AB and C and that hasn't worked. So you had something for me. So they're there coming to that bottom of the funnel process, if you will.

And once we understand that, then we can instantly adapt to our qualification or our education or storytelling to base on that, which will engage them better and not annoy them, not push them away, not treat them like imbeciles. And I think even more important. You're not making assumptions that will bite you in the ass later on, because maybe you're going to, maybe today you're guilty of making assumptions that they have pain and they know they have pain because they have a senior title.

I then when you go down the road and then don't buy your product because you're too expensive and you realize, ah, I didn't confirm they had pain and therefore this, yeah, this is expensive. Where if they had pain, then I would have hammered that home. And the price point would have been an easy resolution to making that pain go away.

It's really about understanding right away, the person you're talking to, where they're at in their process before you started doing your thing. Did I get that right?

[00:17:00] John Richardson: Yeah, absolutely. And I think th the key is that our prospects will tell us if we let them, if we ask questions that invite them to tell us.

So if you imagine that you get a cold call Daryl. Yeah. Your pitched a product. You don't have time to process that you don't have the energy to process that. And so you're going to, you're going to reject that out of hand, but if, if I come in and ask you about experiences, that I know that CMOs a fast-growing software businesses have and ask you about things that you're uncomfortable about as you think about the future and things.

Causing you frustration about what the future looks like and what your current team looks like and what your potential processes look like. You're going to tell me if you're already in a buying journey, you're going to say, yeah, I've been really frustrated about that for a long time, and I'm actually looking at vendors to help me solve that problem.

What have you got so straight away, I'm going to know that you've had that experience and actually you've already committed. To do something about it because you're investigating options. However, if you haven't had that second experience yet, you're going to say yes. I sometimes I'm frustrated with my current team.

Why do you ask? Which tells me that you haven't had experienced to yet, but you're ready to have that, that gap widened and that frustration explored and that there might be something for us to spend some more time on.

[00:18:31] Darryl Praill: So, this is interesting. I mean, I, I'm all about process or process depending on where you are in the world. So the question I have for you is this is it. I like it. Like we talked about, I use the example of somebody who's at the very, very beginning of their buying experience. Somebody who's kind of in the middle example, you, you know that they know one, but not two was the example you were referencing or they're well down the pipeline and they're evaluating and they're anxious and they're hungry to fix this damn problem.

You know, in my mind, that's kind of top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel, as far as where they are on their journey. And I know I'm generalizing and maybe that's about analogy, but it helps me orient myself about the questions. I start asking the technology. I'm sorry, the techniques I start using the content I start sharing in the process, is that, am I getting that right?

Or, and in. What is the, I mean, I shared my frustration. What's the consequences of us not doing that. And you made reference to it a little bit. Like if you know, I, I I'm guessing the consequences were going to scare them away when they might've been a viable prospect, they just needed a little more work. I don't know. You tell me.

[00:19:43] John Richardson: Yeah, absolutely. I think especially without bound, right? You've got to assume that if someone is not on your website, They haven't recognized that they need to solve the problem that you can solve. Now, obviously, depending on the size of your organization and the marketing cloud that you have as an organization, that's going to vary a lot, whether someone could even find your website, but if they're not actively searching for what you do, then they haven't had that realization yet.

So if you come in with content that tells them about your product, about what your product does about the features of your product, Even, even case studies about how great your product is and references about how wonderful your product is, unless that is so square on the nose. All you're going to do is be shouting into the wind because you've got to help get them over the precipice of yes, there's something going on in the back of my mind, but actually I need to spend time thinking about this.

And so I think the consequences is that we can spin our wheels, sharing content that gets some responses because there will be some people who do happen to be looking for what you offer and have already recognized and gone through some of those experiences. But actually they're false positives. It's a false positive for somebody to respond to an email that is a product pitch saying, yes, I'm looking for something like that.

If they're not Googling you, they're probably not looking for it yet, but that doesn't mean that they haven't started to have experiences that are making them frustrated in comfortable, concerned that by using that emotive language and just focusing on that, that first experience. We'll catch her anyway.

[00:21:35] Darryl Praill: It's interesting because we talked about there's different ways you can do this. One way. The John's brought up is that we can ask questions that we'll quickly orient ourselves. So where we are in the buying experience, where the buyer is, the prospect is in the buying experience. Now I've seen it done different ways.

And John made an interesting point that if you're outbound, you may not have that exact same chance cause it's completely cold. And what I've seen done there, and John would love your take on this. And this is a bit of a technique. Some people like it, some people don't which is the classic you know, I called John, John answers the phone and I say, Hey, John is sterile, full disclosure.

This is a cold call. Can I have 30 seconds of your time? And John was, are they going to say yes or no? But usually they're going to give you 30 seconds. Cause they already answered the call knowing that you were a random stranger and they did not recognize the number on the call display. So going to say fine, you have 36.

And then you can say, you know John I represent a service or a product that most people will take advantage of if they suffer problem a, B, C, or D. Now I'm assuming you probably don't have the, any of those problems, but, you know, I don't want to make any false assumptions. Does any of that resonate with you?

And so right away, you've not actually asked. Qualifying questions. You've simply described how, where people are scenarios, storytelling where they might be evaluating a solution like yours, and then you let them respond. And they're going to say, well, yeah, no, I definitely have a problem with a and C for sure.

Now you can start orienting at that point in time with the questions they just gave you permission, or you can stop because I used the 32nd. You can say, well, it's my 30 seconds. Do you mind if I indulge you a little more to explore and see, or, or is that not on your radar at all right now? So again, yes, sir.

You have two more minutes go. Now you can start asking them, are they questions that would denote if they're early in their experience midway or they're way down the pipeline and you're just sneaking in under the wire and then you can adapt accordingly. What I like about that, John, as the buyer. I feel like you're not wasting my time.

You, the sales professional, I'd like you, I feel like you get me. I feel like you're respecting me. And right away you go to the top of my list on the solutions I'm looking at. Cause I feel like I can do business with you. That sounds stupid. But if you're a solution, there's a lot of commodities in our offering and our world folks, you know, a and B and C I'll kind of do the exact same thing.

The price is all kind of similar. So what's the differentiator. If you're selling a product that is a commodity take I'll use Johnny's example. John is not the only sales trainer in the world. So what makes John stand out? If I like John, because he's shown me that respect of my time and my title and where I am and my journey and my experience.

I got time for John and all things being equal. I'm going to give the business to John and, and isn't that the purpose that we do this for is to try to stack the odds in our favor as much as possible by asking qualifying questions, by giving a great experience by being prompt, by being very intentional, by sharing our sales process with them, by connecting with the persona, and most importantly, understanding where they are in their buying experience.

How'd I do John.

[00:24:55] John Richardson: Yeah. Yeah. I think really great. And I think you've, you've touched on. Something that is absolutely key in all of this, that, that for us as salespeople, it is all about that buying experience and helping people to have buying experiences, because if the product can do it itself, then we're not needed.

[00:25:15] Darryl Praill: Yeah.

[00:25:16] John Richardson: And so the reason we exist is to help people go through those processes. So if, if you're cold call, if you're email outreach, if you're LinkedIn messages, if you're anything is a description of your. Let marketing write it because you're not needed going get another job, go and do something else.

Your job is to understand what your personas are likely to be experiencing and to help them move from. I'm not looking at solving a problem because I don't know if I have a problem to actually yeah, I think I have got this problem. I need to validate that I've got this problem to have this problem and I need to solve it.

What are my options? To actually, this is the option that I'd like to take. And it's the questions we ask is the way that we make them think and feel through that process that earns as our commission checks, that earns our place in the team and, and protects us against technologies that kills sales people, because that's what it takes.

Right. It takes helping somebody to have that experience that makes them want to do something. And provokes them to have those experiences, rather than that product looks cool. I'll pick it, which is fine. And there's a place for that, but we're salespeople. So we've got to do that intentionally.

[00:26:44] Darryl Praill: So if you're listening to John right now and you're thinking to yourself, yeah, that's cool, John, I guess.

But, you know, I already do that. I already do that. You know, like, yeah, I hear you, but you know, I'm fine. I'm not going to change because what, what I'm doing works for me, I'm going to use a real word analogy and I'm going to try to convince you otherwise. So John would love your feedback on my analogy. I think we've all been through this most of us in this situation, which is we go to buy a car.

All right now there's kind of two buyers of cars. There's the one that is completely overwhelmed by the options and goes in and it's like help. Here's my budget. Other than that, I don't know. What's a good fit for me. There's that buyer, right? That would probably be my wife, my wife, a car is just a tool, right?

It doesn't have any care about, you know, maybe she might worry about safety, you know, and of course it's gotta, it's gotta become. But that's it. Here's my budget. Is it safe? I do. I do. I think it's cute. Don't ask her a brand or a model she doesn't know. Right. But there's one more thing about my wife. This is my money.

Treat me with respect. And then there was something like me who does all the research. All right. I know exactly, exactly what it is and I'm going in there and I'm like saying, do you have this, make this model, this color, this engine side. In stock and how much is it? And that's me. Okay. If you can relate to this scenario, you know, that you can buy that vehicle from different places.

So where do you, if you're me, if you're me, where do I choose to buy it from? Well, I'm going to probably buy it from somebody who understands the best price and maybe the best service, the best customers, you know, after sales service, that kind of stuff. If you're my wife in the UK, show her five different models that all are.

And are within our budget and are comfortable and are safe. So who she going to buy it from? She's going to buy it from the one who she trusts the most, who walked her through the buying journey and, and didn't make her feel stupid. Didn't try to take advantage of her because she's a woman, you know, but you know the stereotype.

All right, I'm not trying to pick on women. That's this, that's the stereotype I'm playing on here. They respected her as a person. Very different sales. So, where are you in the buying experience? That's why this matters. That's the difference between being invited to bid on the business and being dismissed?

That's the difference between actually forecasting the sale and, and never even getting, you know, a kick of the can I'm telling you that's how important. I understanding the buyer experience is we've never talked about it and it blows me away. And I felt like a moron, which is why brought John here.

John, what's the best way for my amazing posse of listeners to reach out to you. We've already given the web. We know that your acts, that you have exceptional potential, what's the best way for them to get ahold of you to learn more about your services, which of course our sales, recruitment, hot topic, these days, sales training, always great. And sales coaching much. Like we talked about today, where my friend,

[00:30:12] John Richardson: Yeah, John Richardson on LinkedIn easiest way and a nice and easy name to search.

It is a nice and easy name and I got it right. John, thank you so much.

I had a lot of fun today in the meantime folks if you like the show. The inside inside sales, show it to me. Two things, one, tell somebody about it can have hooked up two, tell them about John. John's pretty cool, John. Thank you so much friends. We shall see you next week right here. Same bat time, same bat channel.

And if you don't know what I'm talking about with the word bat, you're just way too young. I'll talk to you guys later. Bye. Bye.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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