Sales Intelligence from Sales Calls w/ David “Ledge” Ledgerwood

#85: Listen as David Ledgerwood, Managing Partner at Add One Zero, discusses gathering sales intelligence from the front lines in sales development.

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Check out the full transcript of this episode below:

The Sales Lift Podcast
Episode #85
Sales Intelligence from Sales Calls w/ David "Ledge" Ledgerwood
Hosted by: Tyler Lindley


[00:00:00] Tyler Lindley: Hey Sales Lift Nation it's your host, Tyler Lindley. Today I have David "Ledge" ledgerwood on the podcast. Hey Ledge how's it going? Are they

[00:00:10] David Ledgerwood: going to be here, man? I spend time

[00:00:12] Tyler Lindley: with you. Yeah. So happy to have you on ledge is the Managing Director at Add1Zero, which is a really cool company helping B to B services and helping folks build out the revenue.

The business and it's an outsource sales development. And today we're going to talk a little bit about gathering some sales intelligence from the front lines in sales development. And what does building that out look like for a lot of scale up businesses? I know you're a big proponent of gathering sales intelligence on calls.

What does good look like there for you? Our

[00:00:44] David Ledgerwood: firm will literally come in. Taking the sales calls instead of the founder, the people that take over sales, if they decide I don't want to hire, I don't want to be in the sales seat anymore, but I need a pro revenue team will come in and start taking those calls.

It behooves us to be really, really good and efficient, which calls. And how we close business. We track call the close ratio as one of our key KPIs, because if we can keep a rep from having to do a call, that's not worthwhile better filtering, better qualification, all those things. Then it saves us time and it gets more money for the client, which gets more money for us.

Ultimately, we decided to start thinking about, Hey, what if we record every call? And we pay attention to some metrics from the call, which is literally about. Did the prospect actually say, we go back and we annotate every recording. And from those recordings, we flag four different things. We flag a, need, a question, an objection, or a positive response.

And we actually record all these things into a database. And then we compress and normalize that data. So we can be like 27% of people who show up on a call, ask about when will my project kickoff once I signed. Now, if I know that or some objection might be, I need to get my marketing budget in line first or something like that.

Every single one of these things. There's 2030 sort of data points with her call gets rolled up into our intelligence database. And then we can communicate with marketing at the top of the funnel and say, listen, it's much better to give this information. Top of funnel, where we get like a thousand to one distribution instead of burning rep time on that particular question, every call, then we can start to really tune and use those content prompts from marketing.

Now we did this originally just because we wanted to save our time and be more efficient, but it turns out that marketing loved it. It was like, whoa, we never get Intel like voice of customer like this. Oh, that's interesting. Okay. And then we started saying, if we know this information, this particular data point is this best utilized top of funnel, mid funnel, bottom of funnel, maybe even post-sale CX product roadmap.

So we showed product teams and then. And they said, wow, we never knew what people actually wanted us to build. Right. The interesting thing was it became less about sales intelligence than it became. Just about if you're a lean startup advocate, you would know about customer discovery meetings, the things that you're supposed to do.

Then everybody goes, oh yeah, yeah. I asked some customers, but they really didn't and they rolled out to market quick and they figured it out as they went. Or I guess I should go back and talk to existing customers, customer audit, voice of customer, all that stuff is there. And it was disappearing because you were relying upon reps to take good notes, which we both know as reps that we probably aren't going to take good notes.

You use the CRM the right way. And through all those things like we try, but we're trying to turn and burn. We're trying to close. It allowed us to take that away from the burden of trying to figure out what does this data actually mean? Qualitatively and quantitatively. And it's been super useful and founders love it because a lot of times founders will say the only reason I kept doing sales, because I didn't want to be out of contact with the customer.

And what, if you didn't have to do that because you hate doing this, you don't like being on the calls and let's face it. You're not very good at it. And we like being closer. So what if we gave you all that information and then you could go and build and scale your team. You could do marketing, you could do product.

Wouldn't that be awesome. And you'd have real information still. Yeah. So that's how that all flowed out. And the interesting thing was you, and I know there's gong and chorus, all these

[00:04:26] Tyler Lindley: shoes. Is that what y'all are using or y'all were doing all this manually? No,

[00:04:30] David Ledgerwood: we did it our own way. It's not that we couldn't use these AI driven tools, but the nature of all these things to me in the space seems like all you hear about is coaching, coaching, coaching, coaching,

[00:04:43] Tyler Lindley: and we're going to use those calls to drive better coaching of the reps.

So we don't have to coach towards yeah,

[00:04:48] David Ledgerwood: I get that because when you are dealing with 10. 20 30, 40, you got to do something at scale. That's the nature of that tool.

[00:04:57] Tyler Lindley: It manager only has so much time

[00:04:58] David Ledgerwood: and it makes sense our world, we deal with we're the first rep. There isn't a team. There's nobody to coach the nature of that data.

I don't need that layer. What I want to do is inform and grow a business because we work with service companies, premium marketing companies, professional services, consultants, things like that. They're not SAS. This would work in SAS if people wanted to do this with the data, but our concern was always, how do we grow this company from half a million to 5 million?

That's where we live. I could pay an outrageous amount per seat to get my AI driven insights that, that scale, but that isn't a point I don't even want it or. And I also think AI just isn't at the point yet this will happen. Eventually it'll work where sentiment analysis and what did they really mean when they said that doesn't require human touch, but we're not close to that right

[00:05:49] Tyler Lindley: now in lieu of using gong or chorus or any of the existing tools out there that are meant, like you said, for larger teams to scale up their coaching really and pull out key and.

You have somebody who just manually listened to call and just tagging, Hey, here at three minutes, they said this, and that is a question, or that was an objection and it just is manually. Or any of it driven by a software.

[00:06:12] David Ledgerwood: It started ridiculously manually. And we're like, this does not scale at all, but we need it.

So let's do it. We've started to invest and put in some other tools. So we're a HubSpot shop. We help people build HubSpot in place. So we needed to say like, how will I get this information? Out of recall we were recording. I'm just like zoom calls, 60 gigabytes of video. That huge zoom file. Yeah. Somebody had to go watch them wall and analyze them.

And for a while, somebody was me because I was trying to write down, how do I know this? Because I've been doing sales for 20 years. I can sniff out. They said this, but they really meant this.

[00:06:49] Tyler Lindley: You are being that sentiment that you're just talking about, where the AI can't maybe see that you are doing that.

And is that how you came up with those four buckets? Need question. Objection, positive response. That was just from your sales experience or was that after you started listening to calls, you just noticed those are the four key

[00:07:06] David Ledgerwood: things. I want it to build a data model around this. Okay. And at first I came up with all kinds of, oh, we should flag this.

We should flag that. This is way too much. You got to simplify it. Yeah. So I did simplify it and then I came change to those four things seem to be what matter, because you'd use them for different. Places in the funnel. So going objection and generally is going to have to be handled like bottom funnel with the rep, that type of thing, but a question could be answered mid funnel or top, and that's when you

[00:07:35] Tyler Lindley: would use those questions to help inform marketing, what should we be telling them on the front end before we even have a conversation so we could qualify or disqualify.

Even the need for that conversation. Probably if

[00:07:46] David Ledgerwood: everybody wants to know this thing, let's make sure we put that front and center in front of them. Let's just tell them, or mid-funnel we deliver a video to them as part of a drip campaign, or we love to do this. And I would tell everybody, by the way, like huge sales tip, when you have inbound and you use the type of flow where it's like, somebody comes to your site, they fill out a form, they book a meeting.

Yep. When that happens, we automatically. Enroll them in a three email sequence that we just call a pre-call pre-call sequence before the meeting that they just scan for the meeting. So we'll say something like, Hey, thanks so much for getting on with us. Listen, there's three things that everybody wants to know.

And you should know prior to, to make our call really effective. So we're going to send you emails over the next couple of days before our call. And we're just going to tell you a few things. That'll help save time behind the scenes tour things. Everybody wants to know things you should be thinking about when you show up at the call and we dropped.

I swear to you. People say all the time, wow. Your email game is on point, or I really appreciated those emails. You sent me before the call. And who says that? Who says I was eager to get

[00:08:57] Tyler Lindley: your email, please send me more email ledge. God, those are great. Why do you think they think that because they like that it warms up the conversation.

It gives them a preview of what they can expect versus coming in. They don't really know what to

[00:09:09] David Ledgerwood: expect. People will say, this is the crazy thing too. I just think this is good for the brand of the company, the attentiveness, the perception that we paid attention and cared about you before we talked to you, because half the time people will say stuff.

Like I really thought those emails were great. And I know they didn't even know. Oh,

[00:09:29] Tyler Lindley: they just saw an email came from you and they just thought, oh man, he's putting in some extra effort before this call. And he doesn't even know if I'm a buyer yet. He doesn't even know if I'm a good prospect.

[00:09:40] David Ledgerwood: They're talking to 10 different companies that do what we do, because if you're shopping a premium marketing, You got referred to five or six of them, or you Googled for a list and you had your intern put out a bunch of form fills.

We know this, but it stands out because nobody else is doing it. Now, here I am giving the secret additional things. So if you're competing against us, don't do this. But if you're not, please do this for your company because it makes a tremendous difference. And the open rates on these emails, like 85.

Really, so most of them do open it. Most

[00:10:13] Tyler Lindley: of them open it. It sounds like you're running some kind of workflow that reverse engineers from the date of the meeting and backfills, or is it just like the next three days? Regardless of when that the meeting is as timing,

[00:10:22] David Ledgerwood: basically they booked two weeks out.

Then it's going to drift. Then it'll be a slow drip, six days before every other day or something like that. If it's tomorrow, we only send number one. That makes sense. But do you actually, can't auto enroll in a sequence, like I said, we use HubSpot, so you can for spam rules and whatever. So we have a sales ops team member that one of their processes is somebody submitted a form.

Did they book a meeting? If they didn't book a meeting, send them the sequence of, Hey, you should book a meeting. If they did book a meeting, enroll them in the pre-call sequence. Right. Move them

[00:10:54] Tyler Lindley: down the line. It's almost better that step maybe is done manually because then you can. On the schedule that makes the most sense because otherwise I don't even know that's possible.

I'm sure somebody could figure that out. That's awesome. Tell me a little bit more about these four buckets. So you have need question. Objection, positive response. Are you finding that calls that go well, have all of these things or. Indicators, like you said of different stages of the process after you bucket them into these different buckets.

Okay. We've got a need. Here's a positive response. What happens? The

[00:11:23] David Ledgerwood: vast number of them are need. And the question people get so obsessed about it. I was, I originally thought that we're going to classify every objection and we're gonna keep track of everything. And I started to build out, experienced my own calls.

Thank God. I could watch myself on 1.5 X because wow, this is boring. It's not, it's mostly people expressing. I came to this call because which is a need. This is what we are looking for. This is what we want. And almost every call. If you do it right. And you ask questions, you're not just talking at somebody, which is, of course what you trained the rep to.

Do. You want them to ask questions, elicit information. Almost every call is very need heavy on the front. They're going to tell you if you do it right, what they want to have happen. And then as you engage into it, the questions come up and the questions are a great opportunity to say, you can tell, are they reading off a list of, I was told when I buy thing X, that I should ask the vendors, these six questions, you get patterns out of them.

And the interesting thing there is, it'll train you on saying what are my three differentiating things that I want these people to know, because not only should I make sure that they walk away from the call with that, but I can give them and say, you're probably talking to 10 other. And you should, that's a really good business practice.

So when you talk to them, make sure these three questions are on your list. Now I have set that up so that my three things that I know are actually my differentiating points are the three questions. So that when they go to my competitor, they will ask the three questions that I know the competitor doesn't do.

And the things that I do. So

[00:13:07] Tyler Lindley: the three questions intentionally based on where, you know, you when and where maybe your competitors aren't

[00:13:12] David Ledgerwood: as strong. Sure. That the thing that I do and they don't do is the thing they get asked about on the next call,

[00:13:19] Tyler Lindley: always the same three questions. You know, this now over time where you win, where your competitors are weaker.

Essentially the same three, or do you have a list of five or 10 that you pick and choose from? It should

[00:13:29] David Ledgerwood: come down to ultimately figure it out? How am I different? Because this

[00:13:34] Tyler Lindley: is how you figure that out with these conversations.

[00:13:36] David Ledgerwood: You imagine what you think they are. And everybody comes in and they're like, we care more and everything we do.

We care about the customer or we pick the phone up and it's like, literally never any of the things that the company comes and thinks they're better at. Right. It's usually a small, weird thing. And you can also learn that. So down the line, when you mentioned something, did you get the positive response?

So what triggered the yes, the small, Ooh. And if I track them. I can know, statistically, I'm more likely to trigger a positive response by thing X than I am by saying why. And we can get better and better and better at doing that. But that's how needs questions and positive responses tend to lay out the lowest number of things.

It's usually objection, we're trained or training salespeople to be. Here's how you handle objections. Here's how you handle objections. I just don't see it. We've done thousands of these now, and that is the lowest category of thing that actually happens. And they'll shake out as timing, budget authority, pretty much that's it.

But those are easy things to not even overcome. You just be aware of, if you do all the other things.

[00:14:45] Tyler Lindley: When I think objections to our most likely, it sounds like in this case, these are typically inbound leads where they're scheduling a scheduled discovery call. I think objections are most likely to happen on a cold call where you're talking to somebody for the first time.

They don't even expecting your call or they attended a webinar a year ago and they're halfway know what you do halfway. That coach a lot of SDRs and that's where, to me, you're going to get the most objections. I don't have time. I don't have budget. Just send me some information. But once someone says, I'm willing to sit down for 30 minutes, they're willing to sit down because they probably have a need because they probably have some questions.

And because something that you did or something. Interested them, whereas objections, they might come out. But I think less frequently, the further down the funnel you get, as long as you're doing a good job of having those conversation and sussing those out. If you're getting objections throughout the process, and especially at the end, you probably did a poor job of asking some good questions to understand their situation.

And I

[00:15:37] David Ledgerwood: have meaningfully rejected cold calling from my life because I don't want to do it. So God bless all the STRs who have to smile and dial. You should hire Tyler to train you on these things. I just decided. I hate this and I'm never going to do it. So if there's any outbound work for a client that we work on, it's going to be cold email and or cold LinkedIn.

So you do everything you

[00:16:01] Tyler Lindley: can to avoid cold calls. It's like everything, but for top of the

[00:16:04] David Ledgerwood: funnel, won't touch it. My firm had one zero works, only bottom of funnel. Okay. So you have to had somebody who tried to schedule a call because I believe top of funnel. I understand outbound sales. People's like, I need more sales.

What they're really saying is I need more leads. I need more

[00:16:19] Tyler Lindley: leads. Yeah. There's a difference between I need more leads. You need more prospects to talk to. It's

[00:16:24] David Ledgerwood: not that I think SDRs are part of the marketing team, but I think of all outbound and or marketing. Efforts. If it generates a lead from a nothing.

I think of it as a channel. Just one way that things get poured in a top of the funnel. I am unconcerned with that. We're closer. All I can tell a company is you must have more things. Top of funnel here are. Approaches to do that. Some look like marketing, some look like sales. I don't care who they report to.

All I care is that there has been some kind of intent because we're closers totally. Right. I just, it's not that I would ever advocate for, oh, the SDR team should report to marketing,

[00:17:04] Tyler Lindley: but I, well, I mean, they can you see it where some sales, SDR teams are reporting to marketing because they're basically considering then Legion, which essentially is what SDRs are doing.

They're creating leads in a different way. The marketing is instead of a podcast or a blog post or a webinar, they are making cold calls and sending LinkedIn messages and sending cold emails. They're doing, I

[00:17:25] David Ledgerwood: mean, they're just awareness campaigns. Exactly. Here's a list of people that are not aware. Yeah.

Lists of people that are not aware of what we do based on what we know. They might be useful

[00:17:35] Tyler Lindley: asleep for add one zero. Somebody comes in and says, I need more leads. You can say, okay, here's some ideas, but we basically work with folks from middle bottom of the funnel. Now that's where we at.

[00:17:44] David Ledgerwood: And it, because of this thing, we have a network of top of funnel and lead gen and partner vendors who are well-built into our world.

So they also use HubSpot. They will do the. Thing. So we have our trusted providers. It essentially to our client could look like full vertical integration. I just don't want to build a, manage a team that does those things. And there are other experts that makes sense. We have bought into a trusted network of people that we go, all right, if you need this.

This is our person that we work with. And we'll either build that through or just do that introduction, right. So we can do full revenue. I think of it as build your full revenue system or build your full top to bottom commercial engine, or there's lots of words. There's a lot of talk about these really aren't separate things.

The way that we learned them to be the point is I need a human to know. We exist to understand why they might like our thing to then take an action. I don't care if I call that marketing or sales, that's the commercial revenue engine that we need to build. And you can tell which piece is missing. It doesn't matter if the car doesn't have an.

Or doesn't have wheels. You still aren't going anywhere one way or the other. You

[00:18:57] Tyler Lindley: need both, you need leads coming in and then you also need process to drive them through sales conversations, to determine whether or not they're a

[00:19:05] David Ledgerwood: good fit. And shouldn't we do that in the most effective and efficient way.

Top to bottom. Just you get any signal, do something with it. And then that's the most of the time you find people are just completely overwhelmed. Even if they have leads, they just can't follow up. Right. They can't do enough proposals. They can't get the sequences. Sales ops is 80% of them. It's not, oh, I need a closer to be on the calls.

We're the lucky ones. We get to sit out and perform on stage. The people who do all the work or the ops

[00:19:33] Tyler Lindley: team. Why do you think that is? Why do you think people think they need that closer when probably just need better organization of the process that we take prospect.

[00:19:41] David Ledgerwood: Better orchestration, better execution.

Why do people think that? I don't know. We've somehow been trained that I really need a hunter with a rider

[00:19:48] Tyler Lindley: rockstar. If I just had a rock star, we could take this thing from zero to 10 million

[00:19:52] David Ledgerwood: overnight, got used to do highbrow software development, types of staffing and stuff. And it's the same thing. I just need one engineer.

You need all kinds of things just won't happen without that. I don't know who trained us or taught us this idea that I just need one person that's going to go out and do all the things to get me some business. And it's just wrong. Yeah. It just doesn't play out. There's just literally no reason that

[00:20:16] Tyler Lindley: this shouldn't be dependent on one sale stripped for its existence.

We're going to live and die by this one. Sales rep hitting their number and having great conversations. I hope they're on their way. 365 days out of the year. You shouldn't be relying on that back to your example of having that drip campaign before the scheduled discovery call. That's not a rockstar AAE or sales rep.

That's just a smart process to do after someone books before you speak to them. It's the creation

[00:20:43] David Ledgerwood: of that process and the execution. What exactly happens based on this business trigger every single time and accurately, we build these elaborate floods. Documentation SOP, Hey, look, there's this thing that happens sometimes.

And when you draw the flow chart of that business process, you see that it's an arrow to nowhere. Yep. That means that we have an opportunity to fix it. And that's most of the work that people just want to skip and just be like, I don't know, people are going to magically show up on calls and.

[00:21:12] Tyler Lindley: We just need to make some sales.

Let's just hire somebody

[00:21:15] David Ledgerwood: when you actually stop and think logically about the business process of this stuff. It's not the ball guy on the phone slamming deals

[00:21:25] Tyler Lindley: to ball guys spoken. Yeah. Any final thoughts on rounding up our conversation, especially as it relates to gathering this business intelligence and this idea of building this process and this engine I've been talking about anything we haven't touched on ledge that you want to make sure our audience.

[00:21:41] David Ledgerwood: If you want it to build this. So I've been playing along with a tool now that I like I'll give a shout out to this thing has been really helpful. It's called fathom What is fathom do? It's a note taker kind of like Otter, but it'll sit on your zoom calls for you and record them into their cloud.

And it has a neat little app on the side that opens up where you can program your buttons. I have the four buttons. Oh, I see. Need objection, positive response. And you hit it and it like will grab that little piece and bookmark the video. And then when you go back and watch it, I'm not good at taking time notes, but conceptually you could take real time notes and write what was important about that moment.

It also does action items, action items are obviously a thing I ought to do. Interesting. Those sync back to the CRM. So you got you to do. Is it

[00:22:29] Tyler Lindley: mainly built for sales call recordings or was it built for another

[00:22:33] David Ledgerwood: purpose? They built it. I actually got onto the early beta and I'm like, this thing is awesome.

Yeah. Then we go through and watch the videos again and actually write down. This is what the question is. This is the knee, but you've got this fully annotated video and it sinks back to HubSpot or Salesforce. And it'll have a list of all the things that the person said. Then we have to manually go and have somebody copy that until

[00:22:56] Tyler Lindley: I love some automation there.

I'm sure that'll come over time, but there's a ton of tools like that, that are coming out. And it sounds like if you're trying to build your sales intelligence arm, fathom might be a tool to check out. I appreciate you bringing that up.

[00:23:08] David Ledgerwood: I know there's a million other,

[00:23:09] Tyler Lindley: there's a lot of. Fathom. There's a ton of them out there, but go and find one tool maybe that helps you figure out that data from your calls better because that can help to inform your marketing and your product prospects.

Who's our ICP. What problems are they really having? All of these. Are so important ledge. If my listeners want to find you online, how can they do so add one

[00:23:30] David Ledgerwood: that's. Add numeral one, Z E R O dot C. Oh, perfect. If you know the guy who, give him my number because we'd really like to buy it.

Yeah. And LinkedIn David bludge ledger. And also if you don't mind, yeah, go ahead and come. Listen to leaders of B2B. Awesome. Check

[00:23:50] Tyler Lindley: out the podcast. We'll link to ledges podcasts, the website and LinkedIn profiles. So if you want to learn more about what he does with add one zero, definitely hit him up online ledge.

Appreciate you coming on. Thanks for coming on.

Thank you so much for listening to today's show, you can find all the links discussed and the show That's the T H G sales S a L E S. Lift L I F have questions for me. Email We look forward to seeing you back here next week, and we hope today's show brings you the sales lift.

Your business needs. Remember ideas. Plus action equals. You've got new ideas. Now it's time to take action and the results. We'll

[00:24:43] David Ledgerwood: see you next time. .

Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:

Gathering Sales Intelligence (0:22)

David’s firm tracks the close ratio as one of their critical KPIs because it saves time and it gets more money for the client, which gets more money for them.

They pay attention to metrics from the call and annotate every recording. Those recordings flag four different things: a need, a question, an objection, or a positive response.

They record everything into a database before compressing and normalizing that data. Then communicate with marketing at the top of the funnel and give that information.

Interestingly, it became less about sales intelligence than it became about customer discovery meetings.

David wants to inform and grow a business because he works with service companies, premium marketing companies, professional services, consultants, etc. They’re not SAS. 

Being Front and Center (7:35)

If everybody wants to know something, it’s critical to put it out front and center.

Enroll prospects in an email sequence to help them get everything they should know before the call. 

Send them emails over the next few days before the call, and feed them information framed in a way to help save time behind the scenes.

If they didn’t book a meeting, send them the booking sequence, and enroll them in the pre-call sequence. 

Expanding The Four Buckets (11:19)

Know what they’re looking for and what they want in every call. If you do it right and ask the right questions, you’ll elicit information. Almost every call is very need-heavy on the front. 

There’s a difference between “I need more leads” and “I need more prospects to talk to.” 

We exist to understand why a prospect might like your product and then action. 

It doesn’t matter if you call it marketing or sales; it’s the commercial revenue engine we need to build.

David’s Bio:

Prior to starting Add1Zero, Ledge led Sales and Services for, during which time he sold and managed more than 100,000 hours of development and 10x revenues to a mid-7-figure run rate.

Ledge’s 20-year business career began in professional services at PwC where he carved out a weird niche as a Bash developer and checked the Fortune 500 box with UPS, JPMorganChase, and Aetna. If you’ve received a package or deposited a check, there’s a pretty decent chance some piece of code he wrote was somehow involved.

He moved to a major publishing company right about when Web 2.0 started to eat newspapers and periodicals for lunch, giving him a front-row seat to disruption and honing his taste for entrepreneurial pursuits while learning how Sales and Operations must gel for customer success.

In 2007 he walked out of his stable job and moved from New Jersey to Nashville to start a company, which he grew to a $500K run rate before crashing and burning in the Great Recession. Without taking a day off, he joined an EdTech firm and ran efforts to drive $2M to $20M growth. Then he took a COO role while side hustling to coach, mentor, and build his network of founders and execs.

Important Links:

David’s LinkedIn Profile

Add1Zero’s Website