#66: Listen as Amanda Sleger, Sales & Marketing Director at Lone Fir Creative, guest interviews The Sales Lift host, Tyler Lindley, about building a sales operating system. They discuss how having a system impacts the bottom line, how businesses can go about developing one, and best practices for getting started.
Listen to the episode by clicking play below OR search “the sales lift” wherever you get podcasts.
The Sales Lift Podcast
Building A Sales Operating System w/ Tyler Lindley & Amanda Sleger
Hosted by: Tyler Lindley
[00:00:00] Tyler: Hey, Sales Lift Nation it's your host. Tyler Lindley. Today, we are doing a special collaboration with Lone Fir Creative. I've got Amanda Sleger on the show. Hey Amanda, how you doing? Hey, Tyler and great. It's good to see you today. Yeah. Good to see you, Amanda. Introduce yourself so our audience can get to know you a little bit more.
[00:00:23] Amanda Segler: That means that I help people become our customers, but I also work with our marketing director to drum up good content to watch and listen to you and read, and I can turn
[00:00:35] Tyler: a lot of nice, nice. That's awesome. How long have you been there? I'm going up on a
[00:00:39] Amanda Segler: year doing selection my
[00:00:41] Tyler: year anniversary.
Congratulations. And I'm Tyler Lindley for those of you don't know. I am the Founder and Head Sales Coach of The Sales Lift and the sales of podcast. And today we're going to be chatting sales and marketing. Amanda, what are we discussing today?
[00:00:55] Amanda Segler: We were talking earlier. And one of the things that you mentioned is making sure that you have a sales operating system and my interest is super peaked by that.
I think because I love the word operating system. I want to talk a little bit more about that diamond it a little bit more understanding really what it is, why it's important. What's at risk. If you don't have. A lot of times they think of people listen to podcasts or watch videos. They're like, oh my goodness, I have to do this thing that it's so overwhelming.
[00:01:19] Tyler: how do you get from zero to one? Yeah, for sure. Lots of impact there at first off, just to find what is a sales operating system. To me, there's five key elements and I'll try to keep it as simple as possible and not overwhelming, but it's really just five words. Those things are processed.
Method message technology and training. So to me, those are the five things that you should be focused on with a sales operating system process is just the steps that your sales team should take from prospecting to closing method is what are those tactics, those behaviors, those best practices to turn prospects into buyers.
Message is what are we saying? What's our ideas. What's our value prop. What materials do we have to support the sales team throughout that buyer's journey? As they talk to prospects, technology, pretty straightforward CRM, your sales engagement tool. What are you using technology wise to gather good data have actionable data for your team.
Keep everything at work. And then training is how are you identifying gaps, skill gaps in the process where you need to level up your team, make sure that you're doing that either with onboarding, with one-on-ones, with coaching, those are the five key elements of a sales operating. I love that.
[00:02:25] Amanda Segler: That is a lot about that.
It's very holistic in your approach to it. And this might even sound like a dumb question because everything you just said, I'm like, yeah, yeah, we need that. That's really important. Why would you say it's super important to have an operating system like that? What's the value that it can bring to an
[00:02:39] Tyler: army?
One is organized like at the end of the night, me and my wife clean up the kitchen because nobody wants to wake up to a dirty kitchen. Just having organization around your sales system, your process. I think that just allows everybody to take that breath of fresh air. It's a little bit simpler and it's organized.
And I think that can allow people to grasp onto it easier from growth perspective, from a training perspective, you're bringing new people into the sales organization. If you put that in front of them and you like, Hey, here's our playbook, here's this operating system we thought about these things versus that living inside of the founder's head or living inside of that one sales leader's head.
And then they're trying to communicate all these different things at once. I think it's just easier for growth, easier for bringing on new people. And it just allows you, I think, to rest a little bit easier, knowing that you've got a process and a system in place that you can plug and play people like. I really love
[00:03:29] Amanda Segler: that when I first started in sales many moons ago, thinking about processing, I bristled, I don't want to have a process.
I don't need somebody to tell me what to do, but really when you think about having a process, it's so important because as salespeople, we are driven by closing revenue and by relationships, that communication, but we are not perfect. And we forget things and things drop off, learn from the experience of other people.
So you don't have to learn it yourself. I really have come to that. You not just as somebody who's been in sales for a while, when I walked in at first, there was tons of process and I was like, whoa, usually a CEO doesn't have a process, but when, when Tyler from loan for I handed my role over to me, it was.
Super buttoned up and organized. And it was really refreshing to be able to walk into a sales role and bring my talent and my skill set instead of trying to have to figure everything
[00:04:21] Tyler: else out. Right. I totally agree what a gift that Tyler from my great name, by the way I learned from lone for gave you just because that allowed you to come in and start to immediately focus on.
Executing that playbook getting up to speed on what had already been established, getting know the prospects, getting to know the process, what loan for brought to the market. And I probably made that first 90 days a lot simpler for you so much easier.
[00:04:45] Amanda Segler: I'm hiring BDRs. Sales team under me having that button up, but then also learning from 7, 8, 9 months of selling to be able to have that more buttoned up, then a little bit more clear has really helpful processes or just good to have, even if you're a person that isn't into it.
[00:05:01] Tyler: I think it's just really important. Yeah, I totally agree. That leads me
[00:05:04] Amanda Segler: into my next question for you. When I first heard the word processor, I was like, but what happens if somebody doesn't have a sales operating system or doesn't have a process behind their sales activities?
[00:05:16] Tyler: Yeah, I think the first thing that happens is you have a tough time adding people to the sales team and then retaining those people you walked in.
And that first impression you got was that your boss, Tyler had his ducks in a row. He had things organized. He had these processes and playbooks written down for you. So I think that had a great first impression on you and that you were joining a small growing organization, but they had their stuff together.
I think that's the first thing hiring and retaining good talent. There's so much turnover. When you have a small sales organization, you're adding people. There's so much turnover. So I think anything you can do to alleviate that is helpful. And I think that's probably the first thing. The next thing is you end up wasting a lot of time and resources.
You end up wasting a lot of effort. If you just are trying to tell someone what your process is versus having that written down, having a playbook and then teaching them towards it. I think it's just a lot of wasted effort. And if you think about how many people you have in that room, 2, 3, 4 people in there they're integral to the organized.
Those are expensive meetings. So I think you should try to create as much as you can, that someone can take in asynchronously. They can take it on their own. Here's the playbook, here's the process. Here's what the steps are. Here's what that looks like. And then let's zero in on issues. Like areas of opportunity where you're struggling.
In a live meeting, just because our time is so valuable. And especially if you start pulling in multiple people in the organization and the CEO is the sales leader and all these people, those are expensive meetings. So we just want to make sure that you're using that time efficiently and you're not wasting.
And I would say the last thing is just making sure that your marketing efforts, your sales efforts are aligned. And what is that go to market message. What is that strategy? What are we communicating to our prospects? Ideally sales is saying the same thing marketing is, and it's just one cohesive message.
I think if you don't have a system in place, it's more likely that the sales team's going rogue. And they're just saying whatever the hell comes to their mind versus having a message that marketing started sales picked up, and then it continues on with customer success or account managers. Whenever clients come on board.
I think everyone across the revenue organization should be speaking the same language, saying the same things and touting. This is what loan for does. This is what our company does, and it should be the same throughout the process.
[00:07:24] Amanda Segler: Yeah, 100%. I agree. I feel like I resonate with everything that you said first and foremost, and you're talking about having asynchronous training and being able to get people onboarded more quickly.
We're looking at over 30% year over year growth, which is crazy. That's fantastic. But if you're trying to train somebody to take on a sales role and you're treating them for 3, 4, 6 months, your sales efforts are going to be hurting. That onboarding process actually takes away from your sales process.
It takes away from yourself. And so the more you can shorten that time and insulate the impact that it's going to have, that is super important. And also going back to what you're talking about with making sure that the messaging and communication is consistent across the entire customer experience. I love that our sales marketing team is one team.
And I think for agencies, that's not super unique, but we're starting to see that happen. Even in the SaaS space where a sales and marketing is combined into one department, marketers are starting to have similar metrics, as well as salespeople, where they have leads. They need to bring in that need to close at a certain rate.
They need to do certain things. And so it's really important that that is a consistent experience for a Muser because if it's disjointed, both teams are going to suffer and the organizations in the targets, they're not going to have as many new customers. So,
[00:08:30] Tyler: absolutely. Yeah. I totally agree. And it's interesting because.
Marketing and sales goes, lines are definitely starting to blur more and more every day. And if you think about if a company has a sales development program, or if they're building one that kind of lives right in between to me, marketing and sales development is just top of the funnel. It's just prospects that are early on in their buyer's journey.
And they're just getting to know you and understand you. You're trying to drive awareness. And then to me, sales account executives or their sales. Or just working things once they're a little bit further along in the process, they're just in that middle or bottom of the funnel, and it's just a different stage of the journey, but everyone is a part of that journey and even customer success or account management afterwards, they're a part of that journey too.
They're just after the sale been made, all of those pieces are important. And I think we have to think of that as we have to stop looking at them as silos, it is just one cohesive experience for the buyer and the more we can make our process buyer centric, I think the more effective it can. A hundred
[00:09:24] Amanda Segler: percent.
And one of the things too, that I think we're starting to see more and more of the market is that customers are educating themselves. It used to be, oh, they didn't know 70% of men. It was 80% onto the who they're going to work with. And now they're even seeing 90%, I think shifting so much to a virtual selling space, people are consuming a lot more information about a brand before they decide to move forward with it.
And so marketing is the team that provides that information. That's usually not. And so if sales knows what a buyer needs are consumed before they become a customer, well, then marketing needs to be putting it out there and there needs to be communication because so much of that is happening before they ever
[00:09:58] Tyler: talk to a salesperson.
Yup. Yup. I totally agree. And a sales development rep has really our BDR SDR, whatever you want to call them is really just that first human extension, but they're really just delivering marketing messaging. It's just a human. On marketing messaging. And I think that if you have an STR program, they should be in lockstep with marketing.
And a lot of folks have those folks will roll up to marketing or they just roll up to the same leader. And I totally agree. I think they should. I think that drives more alignment. It drives more cohesive targeting and messaging. I think it drives a better experience for your buyers, which ends up driving more revenue, a
[00:10:30] Amanda Segler: hundred percent.
I feel like we've talked about a lot of really powerful things that are obviously super important. And most organizations probably have some semblance of pieces of these throughout their sales process or throughout their sales team. But what would you say is the most important thing that people should do to get.
[00:10:48] Tyler: Yeah, that's a great question. First off, depends on what stage of growth you're in. If you've started your business already and you have at least one client, I think you have to audit what you've done to that point. How did you get that first client? What is your process look like already? Who's involved.
What are those five things? You've probably got a process roughly that you're following. You've got a method. This is what we do messaging. This is what we say. This is what our cold emails say. This is what all of our marketing materials say. And then we've got a tech stack. CRM over here. What do I do in there?
And then training, if you don't have a team, you may not be doing a ton of that. But if you were to add somebody to start thinking about that, so I think you have to audit, what are you doing in those five areas? And then from there, it's about deciding, okay, cool. If it's a founder led sales organization, how do I add that next person?
Who am I adding? Am I doing that? In-house am I bringing in somebody from the. But you have to have someone that's going to facilitate you getting out of that sales process. If it was a founder led sales org, but you need an owner, you need a facilitator, a driver. So it sounds like it loan for that would be you like bringing in someone who can drive that part of the organization, drive the entire sales operating system and then add.
People the right next people to join SDRs marketers, AEs success rep whoever it might be, you add the right pieces as you scale. So I think those are important things. And really it's about getting it down on paper. We talked about being able to do things asynchronously. What does that playbook look like?
What are those documents look like? That are going to bring those new employees up to speed as quickly as possible? I think the more that you can give to brand new employees joining the revenue organization, The easier their onboarding is the less friction there is in that process, the more efficient, the faster they can ramp and just probably the faster that they are making an impact on your prospects and your buyers, which at the end of the day, is what we're trying to do.
We're trying to scale organizations efficiently and effectively, and think a lot of those things would be helpful on the front end to really thinking about how do you get started with a sales operating system. I
[00:12:43] Amanda Segler: love that I'm going to go on a little tangent here. That's kind of off topic, but auditions people hired a salesperson because there are slip talker because they present really well.
And while good communication is super important, having that ambition and that self motivation to learn and to understand things, if there is a process in place is more important than somebody that's a smooth talker, you need somebody that's going to dive in and. And of course they need to communicate well and they need to understand what you're selling and all that, but that they're ambitious and hungry to learn more.
That is the kind of person you want on your team. More than someone who just says nice things.
[00:13:16] Tyler: Exactly. Yeah. I think saying nice things is great. I like to consider myself somewhat of a slick talker, but I think it's more about, are they curious? Are they eager to learn? Are they coachable? Coachability and curiosity to me are like the two keys.
And I think those are things you can try to find on the front end, put that in your job description, ask questions in the interview process. Tell me about a time in your life when you've been curious, tell me about a time in your life when you failed and you had to go through some coaching and what you learned.
Tell me about that experience, or just put them through an exercise. Write me a cold email. I'm going to rip it into, and then I want you to write me a second cold email where you open to that coaching. Did you give me a lot of pushback? We can identify these things on the front end, but I think a lot of companies get lazy in their interview process.
They do a couple of conversations. This person they're curious. I think they're go doable. Are they really? You can ask these things. And I like those behavior related questions. Tell me about a time or just do this exercise and we're going to see. Are you that way? For sure. Awesome. Well, Amanda, anything else that you would want either of our audiences to know or think about as they're thinking about you're in such an interesting spot there at lone for, it sounds like creating a brand new organization and really driving a lot of growth 30% year over year growth.
Anything else we haven't talked about that you think will be relevant for audiences?
[00:14:31] Amanda Segler: I guess one of the things that I've noticed in the role that I'm in now is people sometimes think sales is a slimy job and we get a bad rap, but it's not real selling consultant selling is helping people solve a problem.
You don't go to the grocery store, doubting that I buy this bag of lettuce. Is it going to hurt me? You go because you need that. It's for something you have to eat it or whatever. Sales people aren't explain me. And what we're doing is really helping people, but we just have to ask them for money. And that's where it gets uncomfortable and talking about process and how to do things to me is awesome because it takes the mystery out of it.
It's not like you have to be this super special person or really slimy person. You work, somebody through a process to understand that you can help them or not. Right. And that's what I really liked about what we talked about today
[00:15:15] Tyler: is that it's, it is, I agree. Talking about money is uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for everybody because we're talking to strangers that we just met a few days or weeks ago about money.
But if you build that into your process, and if you build that into your training and your coaching, and that's a part of your method, we're going to talk about money at this stage of the process. But before we go any further, then it becomes a lot of. And you just have to enable your sales reps to have that open and honest conversation.
So I love that you brought that up for sure. Awesome. Well, Amanda, this has been a blast. We're going to have to do another collaboration at some point soon, but thanks so much for joining. I really appreciate you hopping on hope. You have a great rest of your day. All right. See ya.
Thank you so much for listening to today's. You can find all the links discussed and the show firstname.lastname@example.org. That's T H E sales, S a L E S. Lift L I F t.com. Have questions for me, email email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you back here next week, and we hope today's show brings you the sales lift, your business needs.
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Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:
Why Systems Matter (0:55)
The five things a sales operating system should focus on are process, method, message, technology, and training.
The process is the steps that your sales team should take from prospecting to closing. The method is those tactics, behaviors, and best practices to turn prospects into buyers. The message is your ideas, value prop, and anything else about what your brand is saying.
Next are the materials you have to support your sales team throughout the buyer’s journey and how you use technology to gather actionable data for your team. Finally, training looks at how you identify skill gaps in the process and level up your team through onboarding, one-on-ones, and coaching.
Having organization around your sales system and process allows everyone to grasp it easier from a growth and training perspective as you bring new people into the sales organization.
As salespeople, we are driven by closing revenue, relationships, and communication, but we are not perfect. We forget things, things drop off, and that’s why having a tried-and-true system in place is so beneficial.
Developing A Sales Process (5:06)
The first thing that happens is that you have a tough time adding people to the sales team and then retaining those you walked in. So you want your first impression as a boss is that you have everything you need to have together.
Hiring and maintaining good talent is critical because there is so much turnover in this industry. Anything you can do to alleviate the chaos of onboarding helps.
Creating a playbook allows sales reps to take it with them and make it their own. Lastly, make sure your marketing and sales efforts are aligned.
Without a sales system in place, your sales team likely goes rogue. Everyone across the revenue organization should be speaking the same language, or else all sides suffer.
Where to Start (9:30)
It depends on what stage of growth you’re in. If you’ve started your business already and you have at least one client, you have to audit what you’ve done to that point.
If you don’t have a team, you may not be doing a lot of training and onboarding. First, you have to audit to see what you are doing in the five areas? From there, it’s about deciding how to add your next person.
The next people to join should be SDRs, marketers, AEs, and success reps added as you scale. The more you give to brand new employees joining the revenue organization, the easier their onboarding is and the faster they impact your prospects and buyers.
Good communication, coachability, and curiosity are all very important. These are all things you can vet for during the application and interview process.
Tyler Lindley’s Bio:
Tyler is a Sales Professional living in Metro Atlanta, GA. In his early 30’s, Tyler has spent his entire career selling something- from pitching his own eligibility as a catch to his wife in college to catering services and billion-dollar software brands, Tyler has always had a knack for sales.
Tyler is passionate about helping sales professionals build and implement their own Sales Operating Systems with his proven methodology.
Outside of work Tyler enjoys Clemson Football, spending time with his (2) kids, and making his wife watch TV shows that make her cringe.
Amanda Kleger’s Bio:
Amanda is a sales and marketing veteran with over 15 years of expertise in a diverse range of industries. From construction to print media to ambulatory healthcare, she has used the full spectrum of marketing and sales strategies to help brands succeed. Amanda is known for her ability to think creatively and find solutions that serve the unique needs of clients’ brands.