Sales Philosophy (Interview)

Some questions and answers about some important B2B sales topics


I was recently interviewed by Tom Stearns, President of the Providence Chapter of AA-ISP about a wide range of sales related topics. Please find below clipped answers to some specific questions or watch the full interview in the first video box.

FULL INTERVIEW (54:39)

Tom Stearns interviews David Masover about a wide range of sales and sales management topics from tactical subjects like best practices for discovery, opening and objections to more strategic ideas like why is sales development so challenging, does sales training work and can a good rep thrive in a bad sales culture.

See the boxes below for snippets of the interview by specific question.

QUESTION:
How does good discovery help close deals faster?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
Discovery is most likely to succeed when it looks less like an interview and more like a two-way information exchange.

RUN TIME: 3:18

QUESTION:
Can a good rep succeed in a poorly run sales organization or company?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
Yes, but there is a lot of friction to slow them down, and the risk is that they will get fed up and leave - so you loose good reps who succeed in spite of you rather than help all thrive which is better for all in the long and short run.

RUN TIME: 2:47

QUESTION:
Differentiating between sales team success and sales rep success, what makes for a successful sales team?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
Sales organizations succeed when sales reps succeed, but some of the things that can have the biggest impact on rep success are deployed poorly, such as sales managers too busy to coach or CRMs that don’t reflect and support what reps actually do to get new business.

RUN TIME: 2:41

QUESTION:
Does sales training actually work?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
Yes, but as a part of a program. Sales training that is a one-off event rarely has much impact at all. What can work is if sales training comes in the middle of a larger program that includes the training to express concepts with consulting on the front end to clarify those concepts and coaching on the back end to help get them into practice.

RUN TIME: 2:56

QUESTION:
What’s the best way to teach so that the learning sticks when it comes time for real-world application in the field?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
For teaching to stick you need at least two things. First, teaching can’t be limited to skills (i.e. what to do and how), but it also needs to include why, because when reps understand why they do what they do, they don't have to remember what to do, they just need to respond to situations based on their understanding of best principles. Second, you need an infrastructure of development - it can’t be a sometimes thing, it needs to be an all the time thing on a regular basis for learning to really stick over time.

RUN TIME: 3:10

QUESTION:
Given that there is so much content about how to do sales and sales management right, why is sales and sales improvement still so challenging for so many sales organizations?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
Many sales reps, leaders and organizations as a whole think they have a solid foundation of well-understood sales principles so when they try to improve, it is at the margins, but the truth is - most have some significant deficiencies at the core, basic, fundamental level that are keeping them from proceeding. Until there is a more solid foundation, more content won’t help - you need a solid platform upon which to build up. Without that, it’s always shaky.

RUN TIME: 3:56

QUESTION:
What your best advice about how to open a call?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
There is a lot of technique and execution and vocabulary and tone and style and pacing questions that need to be answered to address how to do an opening effectively - BUT - the best openings start with a DEEP understanding of the problems you solve for prospects as THEY see and feel them. If you start there and then work on the other stuff, you are much more likely to succeed than if you don’t start there.

RUN TIME: 2:15

QUESTION:
What’s your methodology when you coach reps on how to deal with objections?

GIST OF THE ANSWER:
Questions that come before you give you offer are just questions. Questions that come after you make your offer or give your proposal are objections, so to minimize objections that come around an offer, the more questions you can answer during discovery - and before an offer or proposal is made - the fewer objections you will have.

RUN TIME: 2:43