By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Thank you to all our many followers of Sales Pipeline Radio. Whether you join us live every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific or listen later. We’re glad you’re joining us! The 30 minutes goes quickly as it is fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.
I, along with our guests, cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities. You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.
We were thrilled this last time, in an episode called, Lessons From the Sales 1%: How They Do It (and How You Can Too)
Scott Ingram of Relationship One is our guest for Sales Pipeline Radio. Ingram is the author of the recently published book “Sales Success Stories: 60 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals.” Host Matt Heinz asks Scott what he learned about being a successful sales professional from the those he interviewed for his book. They discussed:
- How to work the mental game of sales: the importance of mindset
- How the top sales producers get to the top and the skills required to stay there
- Relationship-building methods to help you win and keep customers
- Why it comes down to momentum!
- How humility and caring linked with confidence determines the top one percent in sales
- How to avoid the ego/arrogance trap
- How Scott’s Inspired Marketing Podcast has helped Scott develop relationships
- What Scott is doing to setup a Successful 2019
About the Book: Sales Success Stories: 60 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals
Want to learn the insider secrets of the top 1% sales achievers? Discover the inspiring techniques of 20 sales VIPs so you can climb the ranks and bring in the biggest commissions of your career.
Fed up with the same old sales results? Tired of advice from so-called sales gurus who don’t actually sell for a living? Want to learn closing techniques from real-world doers? Account director, podcast host, and top 1% achiever Scott Ingram has spent his whole life obsessed with sales. With nearly two decades of sales experience under his belt, he’s ready to share 60 inspiring stories to help you finally sell like a heavy hitter.
Sales Success Stories – 60 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals is a powerful collection of the tales of triumph—and failure—from 20 amazing sales MVPs. Divided into four motivating sections covering mindset, relationships, sales careers, and sales processes, this book will show you how high achievers sustain stellar results on a daily basis. If you’re an ambitious and dedicated professional ready to climb the ladder to the top, then you need this road map to career victory!
Matt: Welcome to, as Paul said, another year of Sales Pipeline Radio. Very excited to have you joining us. If you’re joining live on the Funnel Media Radio network, listening at work today, happy new year, I hope the year is off to a great start. It is the second work day of the year and hopefully you are already focused on the goals you need to achieve. If you’re joining us from the podcast, thank you so much for subscribing. Our numbers continue to be very humbling as they grow, so thank you very much for everyone who subscribes to Sales Pipeline Radio through the iTunes store, through Google Play, through Stitcher, and all the great places the podcasts are available.
And every episode, Sales Pipeline Radio is always available. Past, present, and future at salespipelineradio.com. We are featuring every week some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing, and B2B today is absolutely no different. Very, very excited to have with us, very first episode of 2019 Scott. We’ve got Scott Ingram, he is a long time B2B sales professional, some highly successful in a number of companies in his career in marketing technology. Currently an account director at Relationship One. Also the author of the fairly new book, well, published in October of 2018, ‘Sales Success Stories: 60 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals‘. Scott, how you doing?
Scott: I’m great, Matt. You guys usually talk about sports and I was going to revel in my Longhorns taking down Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, but I didn’t get the opportunity.
Paul: Well, you know why we can’t go there is because the engineer who usually starts the conversation is in deep mourning for the Minnesota Vikings, who didn’t even make the playoffs this year after going to the championship game last year. And my Michigan Wolverines who continued to explode in the big games here. That’s why we’re in a way from sports here this time.
Matt: I thought Texas, Georgia. That was thorough and consistent beating of what could have been the playoff team in Georgia, so your Longhorns did very well. My Huskies unfortunately decided to only play the second half of the fourth quarter in the Rose Bowl. And I think if they would’ve had literally like four and a half more minutes, they might’ve been a little closer to winning that game.
But, yeah, it’s been fun the last month or so to watch the college football games and at least our Seahawks are still in the playoffs. We got a big game coming up this weekend, the wild-card weekend. But Scott, so as a sales professional as someone who has been involved in selling for a very long time successfully in a number of different companies. What does new year mean to you? What does January 3rd mean to you as a sales professional. And what are you doing and focused on to set up a successful year for yourself?
Scott: Well, and unfortunately for all of us in sales, January 3rd means my number is zero.
Scott: There’s always the reset of the clock, but with that comes the fresh start. I’m in a really fortunate position here where I’ve been in the same role for the last three years, working on a pretty consistent set of account. My work for 2019 began a couple of months ago. But you know like everybody, right, it’s refreshing those relationships. This is a very interesting transition week, because a lot of folks still aren’t back. I’ve been kind of feeling people out just to see if they’ve even made it into the office yet.
Matt: It is interesting. I mean, I thinking for those of that are looking for a sort of a fast start to the year, it’s January 3rd, there are some people still at work. There are some offices that I think are still closed this entire week. I’m sitting here in San Diego, my kids are off school until next Monday. I think a lot of people are taking advantage of that. There’s nothing much you can do about that though, right? I mean, I feel like this happens a lot during the second half of January. December, it happens at the end of November depending on when Thanksgiving lands and you may lose a number of selling days just based on when the calendar lines at. I mean as a sales professional, that doesn’t change your number though, right? I mean you still have to hit your number. It just may take you a couple more days to get going. How do you mentally sort of adjust for that? How do you figure out how to get yourself on track when people do start showing up?
Scott: Well, I think you just have to recognize that it’s going to happen. It’s part of the natural business cycle. The summer tends to slow down as well and you reach out and you have conversations where you can. I mean this has been a really productive week for me so far, because the folks that are in the office are really dialed in, right? I mean they’re ready to go, it’s the beginning of their year too. There’s a lot of great conversations that can happen this time of year as we start to think about, what are we going to do together in 2019 and those types of conversations. And then when it doesn’t work, and the guy you really need to talk to isn’t going to be here until next week, then you know you work on the planning, and you work on the goal setting, and you work on really laying that foundation, and coming up with the plan that’s going to help you get to the end of the year in the place that you really want to end up.
Matt: Well, as you and I both know, there’s always some reason why you’re not able to hit your number, right? There’s always going to be an excuse. Either like people aren’t back in the office, or nobody answers their phone anymore, or it’s August and everyone is on vacation. I mean, there isn’t a perfect selling environment. I think some of this is having a proactive plan. Some this is just managing through what is just sort of the adversity that often comes with selling, knowing that the majority of people you talk to aren’t going to buy. The majority of people you call aren’t going to answer their phone.
And it really kind of gets me back to sort of the mental game of sales. I mean it’s not just making more phone calls, it’s the mental game of knowing what it takes to get through some of those quote unquote excuses other people make. What have you seen in your time? And you’ve spent a lot of time in this book, and really even before this book with your podcast, and with your some of your other content, talking to some of the most successful salespeople. What are some of the common mental best practices they bring that helped them overcome some of the excuses other people bring to the table?
Scott: Yeah. Good question. And one of the things that happened with the book is as I asked folks for these stories, initially we tried to figure out a framework and decide, okay, what are the most important topics that we need to make sure we cover, and how are we going to organize this and structure this? At a certain point I just sort of gave up and said, “Look, forget about that. Write the stories about the things that are most important and most impactful for you, and I’ll figure out how to organize them.” And the organization ended up being four main sections. And it’s no accident that the first section is a little over a dozen stories on mindset. The mindset is so, so critical and important. And at the end of the day it just becomes having a practice around it, and being mindful of your mindset. Going into this and having some intention and being thoughtful about, how am I coming across? How am I feeling?
What can I do to shore that up? And so much of this, like sales to me feels like a game of momentum in so many ways. I think it’s really important to find whatever ways you can, and you have to do it in ways that you fully control, right? That aren’t dependent on the outcome of somebody else doing something, or not doing something. Things that you can control that are going to make you feel like, “Look, I’m winning, I’m making a difference. I have this momentum.” And it gives you that confidence. And I love the word swagger too, right? Like when you’re winning and you see, I mean, we’re into the playoffs with football and we’re in the bowl season with college football, you can see it. Like when guys are on the field, and they have that swagger, and they have that confidence, nine times out of 10 that team is going to win. You got to find a way to get that for yourselves.
Matt: Is there a difference between swagger and arrogance? Not only in terms of how you manage yourself as a professional, how you manage yourself amongst your peers, and how you approach your prospects. Look, I completely agree with you. I think your attitude and your confidence, and just and to a certain extent, your swagger it reflects externally on people’s perception of you in a positive way. If you do it well, it also helps you manage your game. But I mean, we both have probably seen people that may take it a little too far. Where’s the line and how do you manifest that in a productive way?
Scott: Here’s the thing to me that was really the most surprising, and Matt let me give it just a little bit of context sort of around the podcast and the book. I started the Sales Success Stories podcast coming up on two and a half years ago, and I felt like there was just sort of a gap in the marketplace. There’s a kind of sales content out there, but none of it was coming from top salespeople who are at the top of the game today. And you and I talk a lot about just how sales is evolving. It’s a different world than it was five, 10 and 15 years ago. Right? The idea was to really talk to the best of the best, and find out what are you actually doing that is proving to be successful in today’s environment. And I’ve been doing the show for a while, and then last year we hosted the first Sales Success Summit.
And that was the point that I got it. Because what the experience that we all had in that event, and everybody that presented is somebody that’s literally number one in their sales organization, or in the top one percent, and has been on the podcast. And you felt this sense of humility, this care about client outcomes. And it was really stereotype busting even for me, right? Because I’ve been in sales a long time, I’ve seen a lot of salespeople, and what I realized was, our perception, what we think is driving the best salespeople, and what the best sales people are doing is really, really wrong. And usually based on really stupid movies. The core of it is that humility and that caring. And if you combine that with the confidence and the swagger, then you’re going to end up in a good place, and you’re not going to end up in this ego, arrogance sort of trap.
Matt: Talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Scott Ingram, who has written the new book ‘Sales Success Stories: 60 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals‘. And you can certainly find this book anywhere fine books are sold as well as amazon.com and others. And now before we take a quick break here, Scott, what compelled you to want to put all this together? I think like it’s been fascinating to me to watch your career not only as a successful sales rep, but also someone who is invested a lot of time creating content to give back to the industry. I think some of this, because you sell into Martech, I imagine that some of this probably has a material impact on your own pipeline from a network standpoint. But where does the passion come from to put this together?
Scott: Yeah. Well, we touched on the first one, right? Which to me was just sort of a missing voice in the marketplace, right? What are the sales people actually doing. In a lot of ways, this is a very, very selfish project for me though, right? I’ve always, my entire career, I’ve heard the Jim Rohn quote that says ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. But I never really intentionally acted on that until I started this show. And just by nature of, I mean podcasting is such an incredible platform because it’s about dialogue. It’s about conversation and you build relationships through it. I’m up to 58, 59 episodes at this point. And that’s 58, 59 relationships that I’ve built and 59 mentors that I have developed. And the material impact on my own results is more because of that. It’s just because I’m able to surround myself with the best people, and be able to ask them questions. And then again, through the podcast, and through the book, and through the summit, I’m able to share those mentors a little bit more broadly and a little bit more publicly.
Matt: Love it. We’re going to have to take a quick break, pay some bills. We’ll be right back with more with Scott Ingram where we talk more about some of the success stories and best practices from the best sales professionals. Also, the impact they can have, and the lessons it has for B2B marketers as well. We’ll be right back. You’re listening to Sales Pipeline Radio.
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All right, back to Matt and his guest as they talk about the relationships they’ve built from their different podcasts here.
Matt: Yeah, it’s interesting to hear Scott talk about that Paul because the way he’s using it is not only to create content but also to meet people he wants to meet, to spend time with people he wants to meet. We’re three plus years into doing the Sales Pipeline Radio and not only has it been a fun way to invite people into a value added conversation where we learn from them. I get to spend time with someone that I may not otherwise have known. But the more readers we get and the more listeners we get, the more people come and say they want to be on this show as well. You end up sort of having this exponential impact on people that you meet stories you hear, content you’re exposed to, and as a social writer it’s great for us.
And if you’re a sales professional trying to build a pipeline in the market, your ability to have more of those conversations is instrumental. It’s no surprise that Scott Ingram, our guest today on Sales Pipeline Radio has been so successful in his career in selling, as part of this as well. And Scott, I think we’ve been talking about lessons for salespeople. I want to spend a little more time talking about that. But why should it B2B marketers read this book as well? What’s in it for them? And what should everyone have on their reading list at the beginning of 2019?
Scott: Yeah, I love that you’re thinking about that, Matt. I mean, one of the things I straddle those two worlds, right? I am a seller, I have been a seller the whole of my career. But the majority of my career I have worked with marketers. And for me, I feel, and see, and experience the sales and marketing divide acutely, and it pains me. And at the end of the day, I think that there is, going back to stereotypes, right, there is a misunderstanding on both sides about what the other side does. Right? And there’s a lot of blame and everything else. I think the value of this book to a marketer is getting inside the head, and understanding how are great sales people really thinking. And I hope that they come away with sort of the same experience that I did, that is, “Wow, these people are actually nothing like what I thought they were. These aren’t people who are going to run over their own grandmother in the name of a commission check. They really do fundamentally care.”
Matt: I think that, that relationship between sales and marketing is important, the empathy is important. I look at some of the things that are making sales people successful, and some of the things we’ve talked about in terms of maybe not, well, I guess I was going to say maybe not swagger, but I think about some of the best B2B marketers and demand generation professionals that are partnered with salespeople that you and I both get to work with at this industry. I mean there are people that have, not an ego but a level of confidence. They have a level of resilience. They’re not sort of always running a fire drill to make the next campaign sort of beyond all.
Or less in the hacking business and more in the systems scalability business. And I think that it’s a different mentality and it takes a little bit of thinking through the long play. Right? I mean, you’d have to have a plan for what you’re going to do today, but I know just even reading your book and hearing the secrets of people. A lot of your best salespeople aren’t just worried about making their $40 today. They’re knowing that some days you do it, some days you don’t. Some days you hit your lead numbers, some days you don’t. But the long play is what most people are after, and that’s where most people ended up seeing their success.
Scott: Well absolutely and I think the difference in a lot of this, for both sides, comes down to the difference between tactics and process. And there’s so much focus on the nitty gritty of the tactics and they’re like, what subject line are you going to use and that kind of stuff. But you know what, if you’ve got a really solid process, whether you’re a marketer or you’re a seller, you’re going to be more successful, right? And that ended up being the last biggest section of the book was just a round sales process. Because what I’ve found is that the most consistently successful, that’s the other thing I really qualify on is, I’m not really interested in interviewing folks that won the sales lottery, right? And just sort of walked into a mega deal and look like heroes when they really didn’t do the work, it was probably a marketer.
They did that work and pulled that opportunity in. But instead they have figured out who they are, what makes them tick, what their unique skills and capabilities are, and they’ve really treated sales as a craft, and created a process that they can consistently repeat. And again, I think understanding what those processes often look like for the marketer is going to be really valuable as well. Because if we can tie those two things together, if you can tie the marketing process together with the sales process, and had real alignment there and do that through conversation, you’re going to have better outcomes.
Everybody is going to do this better. And I mean, this is always a fun project for me because it gives me a great deal of empathy, trying to market a podcast and a book and some of the other things that I do, and man this stuff is hard, Matt.
Matt: Yeah. I mean, I get to look at if it was easier there’d be a lot more people doing it, right. I think there’d be a lot more people that would be doing it consistently as opposed to starting something, and not necessarily sticking through it. And speaking of the long play and sort of the fundamentals, one of the things that I’ve also noticed in your book, in your writings, as well as in your podcasts, and the secret to sales success you promote is, there aren’t a lot of shiny new objects there. There isn’t a lot of flavors of the month. I don’t see you talking deeply about sort of the social selling flavor of the month. You talk a lot about mindset, you talk a lot about approach, you talk about a lot about relationship building. I’ve imagined that’s not an accident that you’re really noticing that the long-term sustainable, repeatable success stories in sales are based on the fundamentals that have been around for a while and they’re probably going to be around for a while longer.
Scott: For sure, right. And the core of this, and again, it’s the same in marketing too, right? While there has been this huge sea of technological change, and I think marketing in that sense is probably further ahead than sales is. I feel like, and I’ve been watching the marketing see change that than, and hell, I’ve been a part of it for the last 10 years or so. I think sales is, I don’t know, maybe at year four or five in that same journey. But the core fundamentals, right? Like engaging with people, and caring about them, and having a differentiated message that is about them, and has value to it, it’s all the same stuff.
And so , again, I’m going to come back to developing that process that works, right? It’s about fundamental things. The icing on the cake is all of the shiny objects and new things that we can try, and maybe that gives us opportunities to enhance things. I think there’s absolutely value in being aware of those components, but they really, at the end of the day, shouldn’t make up more than, I don’t know, five, 10, 15% of what’s going on the core. The foundation has to be solid before you’re going and playing with all that stuff.
Matt: To wrap up here in a couple of minutes with Scott Ingram. He is the author of the new book Sales Success Stories. You can certainly find and buy a copy on amazon.com. Scott, I mean now clearly you are a very curious person. You spent a lot of time trying to learn. Who are some of the other people in your career that have been really instrumental in helping you get to where you are today? They can be mentors, they can be authors, they can be alive or dead, but who are some other people that you might want to recognize and that you want recommend other people seek out to learn from as well?
Scott: Gosh, that’s a huge question, Matt. And at one point I made that list and it was incredibly long. I treat almost every interaction as an opportunity to learn. Anytime that you get to have that conversation, and I think you caught the key word in all of this is curiosity, right? Just in asking questions, being curious, digging into whether I’m talking to my clients and prospects, and trying to understand what they’re trying to achieve, and what’s driving that, and what organizationally they’re trying to achieve, but also personally what they’re trying to achieve and what that means. And then all of the people that I have worked with. One person that I will call out that I know you know, Matt, when I joined Eloqua, our Chief Revenue Officer was Alex Shootman, and Alex is now the CEO of Workfront. I learned a ton from Alex. And one of his fellow leaders at Eloqua who’d been with him for a while, once described him as a leader savant.
And I think that’s a pretty accurate description. It was very, very simple things. He had this like core playbook and approach, and he explained it so simply, it didn’t change radically. And it allowed us to always really be on the same page. And one of the stories that I wrote for the book is about a process that Alex really brought to the sales team, but became pervasive through the organization, that was about getting it done and doing it right. That model is really game changing and I think particularly to a sales organization. Because I talk about that really being the formula to eliminate the toxic sales culture, because those do exist.
Matt: Well, I’ll tell you what, I can’t tell you how many times, and we should probably, Paul at some point we asked this question a lot. We should keep track other bring up and Alex has come up quite a bit and that specific story of, hitting your number and doing it the right way has come up in various ways as well. The impact that guy has had in Martech especially, pretty significant. Well, we are unfortunately out of time. I want to thank our guest again, Scott Ingram. He is the account director at Relationship One and the author of the new book Sales Success Stories. Make sure you check it out on Amazon, get a copy and check out and learn more about the top1.fm. We are out of time. We’ll be here again next week. We got a huge, huge agenda of great speakers, and participants coming up the next few weeks here in the beginning of 2019 on Sales Pipeline Radio. But for today, on behalf of my great producer Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for listening to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.
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