#RealTalk with Trish Bertuzzi
Trish Bertuzzi is no stranger to the fast-paced world of sales.
Founder & CEO of The Bridge Group, author of The Sales Development Playbook, and Winner of Consulting Provider of the Year for the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals for 5 years running—Trish is a force to be reckoned with. When she’s not helping B2B technology companies build world-class Inside Sales teams or penning an Amazon Sales & Selling Management Best Seller—you’ll find her sitting on the Advisory Board for the likes of Yesware and Chorus.
She’s one heck of a busy lady, but we were fortunate enough to catch up with Trish to chat all things sales in this candid, no-filter interview!
Neha: Can you give us a sneak peak into what the audience can expect from your talk at Unleash?
So what I’m going to be talking about at the conference is the hardest part of the sales process. The hardest part of the sales process is now getting to engagement; it’s getting buyers to even have a conversation with us. There are a million reasons why that’s true, but mostly, it’s our fault. We’re forwarding them banal messaging, terrible emails, outreach that doesn’t tell a story or add value, you name it. We’ve got to change what we’re doing.
The Bridge Group did research with Sales Hacker and Modern Sales Pro about sales engagement and that’s going to be the core of my presentation. What the research said to us is that it’s not good enough to build these sequences that tell a story if you’re telling the same story, in the same way, to every buyer. Rather, you need to get super specific. You still need to tell the story, you still need to add value, but now, we’re taking it to the next level and saying, you need to figure out what are the channels your buyer wants to communicate with you in. For instance, sales loves the phone; marketing loves email. If you’re going to deliver content to them, how do they want their content delivered? For instance, sales loves video; marketing loves whitepapers.
The evolution of communicating effectively with our buyers is taking us down this very, very specific and intimate path with them that says, “here’s how I want you to communicate with me and here’s how I want you to deliver me information.” That’s what I’m going to talk about!
Neha: Interesting, how do you think that has changed over the years? How marketers consume information and how salespeople consume information?
Well, has it changed? I don’t know. Video is fairly new but not all that new. I feel what has happened is when the inbound evolution took place—when Hubspot came into the scene—all everyone ever talked about was inbound. We would write a blog post, turn it into an eBook, turn it into a video—that bullshit doesn’t work anymore. No one wants 10 ways to do this, 9 ways to do that… crappy content doesn’t work! We used to say, “content is king,” no. Now, “content is spam.” You really have to think your way through what your buyer’s want to learn about and then deliver that to them. I think that part has changed.
Neha: You mentioned video just now, I’d love for you to expand your thoughts on that medium.
I actually don’t think video is the most powerful for sales development. I think that has jumped the shark. You know holding up the little whiteboard with the name… no, nobody needs to see that. Where I do think it’s powerful is in the sales process. So, in the middle, in the bottom of the funnel—that’s where I think video is powerful both for the AE to use to communicate effectively, as well as to deliver content if that is the buyer’s medium of choice.
Neha: Everyone’s always talking about accelerating “growth” within their organizations—what does that mean to you when someone says that?
It means they’re talking out of their ass. Everybody wants to grow… obviously! Talk about stating the obvious. I think it’s great to talk about growth but it’s also important to think about different ways to grow. Most people think about growth and that means new logos. I think the green field for growth is going to be within our customer bases. People who don’t figure that out sooner as opposed to later, are going to shoot themselves in the foot. I think the time’s a-comin’ where you need to figure it out.
Neha: When it comes to growth, what role do you see sales enablement playing in an organization?
I don’t know, define "sales enablement." I don’t define it, because it’s not my job to define that market. It falls into buckets. Some people talk to me about sales enablement and they straight up mean technology implementations. Some people talk to me about sales enablement and they mean onboarding and training. Those are two big buckets but there’s a small bucket that when they’re saying sales enablement, they really mean operations.
Neha: In your opinion, what are the top 3 initiatives you see sales leaders prioritizing as they kick-off the year?
There’s no such thing as having a consistent answer to that question. How do they do it? Who do they sell their solution to? There are a million variables to that question, so there’s no way in hell that I could say here are the top 3. Here are some that are consistent. I’m not saying these are the top 3 since that would be presumptive of me, but here’s what I see as consistent:
- People. Everybody’s struggling to find and keep great people. That’s across the board.
- Culture. You either have a great sales culture or you don’t. There’s rarely anything that falls in the middle as attested to by anything you read on Glassdoor.
- Revenue. Many don’t have a deep understanding of where they want their revenue to come from.
The first question I ask, is the “where do you want your revenue to come from?” The answers I get are so high-level and so horizontal that that’s why I’m in business.
Neha: How does one even begin to break down where they want their revenue to come from?
You have to be able to identify your buckets. Let’s say you have a $20 million quota. How much of that do you want out of the customer base? With which products? Is it with renewals, is it cross-selling? Upselling? How much do you want out of new logos? How much do you want out of each product? How much do you want from each market segment?
Neha: You help sales and marketing leaders make the big decisions on implementation strategy, performance improvement process, supporting technology, and metrics and measurement—what’s a common area of misalignment you witness between sales and marketing teams?
Well, it has gotten incredibly better and I will say, if there’s a misalignment, it’s usually in the fact that they’re not measured by the same stick. There should only be one stick; and that should be revenue.
Neha: Lets say your team is consulting for an organization and they call you back next quarter, but you find nothing has changed or they haven’t implemented what you mentioned in the previous quarter. Now what?
That doesn’t happen. 21 years in and that has never happened. They might not implement everything and that’s part of our plan. You can only adopt so much change at once, so part of our value lies in prioritizing what to change, when to change, and how to change it in a way that keeps the revenue wheels on the bus, but at the same time, has the most impact and leads them towards their goals.
Neha: What resources do you keep bookmarked for the latest happenings in the industry?
I live on LinkedIn. My list is endless: I love the whole Women Sales Pro group, I love Jill Konrath, I love Keenan. I love to read books. Right now I’m reading Keenan’s Gap Selling and Tiffani Bova’s Growth IQ—both of which are fabulous books. I used to follow blogs… but why? Everyone publishes to LinkedIn now!
Neha: You sit on a million and one boards, you’re an advocate for women in tech, you’re constantly giving your all to the sales community… how do you manage to pull it all off?
I’m a B-I-T-C-H when it comes to my calendar! I schedule time for selling—2 hours a day. 11am and 3pm where I do nothing but outbound selling because that’s my passion. I also think for me to be a “sales expert,” I need to be selling each and every day so I know what SDRs are facing, I know what AEs are facing, I don’t even follow-up on our inbound leads, I give those to other people. I do straight up outbound for 2 hours a day because it’s my favorite thing to do. I guard my time religiously. I’m a crazy person.
Neha: Okay #RealTalk, how do we get more badass women such as yourself into sales roles?
If you want to make a lot of money, go into sales. I think it’s the best job on the face of this planet. I got into sales because I was a waitress and I was waiting on this CEO and he told me I was rude, obnoxious, arrogant, and hungry and that I should be in sales. I told him to give me a job, so he did, and then I was just really good at it. I’ve been in sales for 38 years now!
Neha: In those 38 years, do you have a story where you just wanted to get out of sales or question why you were in the industry in the first place?
No. But it’s because I’m weird. If I’m in a sales process that isn’t going my way, no matter how bad it is, I think, “man, I have to figure this out… what am I doing wrong?” I’m the first one to ask my prospects and my clients what can I do better. I’ve learned so much from losing deals that it’s ridiculous. I’m just a weird person who never takes it personally and who never wants to get out. I want to get “out” of the situation but I don’t want to get out, if that makes sense. I get this high from figuring out challenging scenarios.