Wondering How to improve your SaaS Sales ? Well, In this episode, Joran interviews Kevin Dorsey, the Senior President of Sales and Partnerships at Bench, discussing the strategies and processes for successful SaaS sales. Kevin’s experience and expertise in sales leadership make him a valuable guest for this episode. Kevin Dorsey, known as KD and the Father of Modern Sales Leadership, has an impressive background in sales, having worked with over 400 sales organizations and achieved success in different industry verticals. His expertise and experience make him a valuable resource for discussing SaaS sales strategies.
What is SaaS Sales Excellence?
Kevin defines SaaS excellence as a higher standard of execution and expectations in sales, product development, customer success, and marketing. He emphasizes the importance of consistently holding oneself to a bar of excellence and delivering value.
Key to SaaS Excellence
According to Kevin, achieving SaaS excellence involves repeatability at a high standard, focusing on problem-solving, understanding customer needs, and striving for continuous improvement. He emphasizes the habit of operating with the intention to achieve excellence.
The common mistakes companies make while doing sales
Kevin highlights typical mistakes made in SaaS sales, including focusing solely on the product rather than the problem it solves, neglecting proper discovery, and failing to establish the impact and value of the solution.
The ideal processes or strategies recommended for setting up a sales process
Kevin emphasizes the importance of prospect knowledge, customer interviews, and prospect interviews to understand the market and develop effective messaging. He highlights the need for continuous practice and skill development to excel in SaaS sales.
The four D’s That define a sales process
Kevin advocates for the four Ds ie. defining, documenting, demonstrating, and deliberately practicing sales processes as a critical approach to scaling SaaS sales. He emphasizes the need to consolidate information, record customer interactions, and establish a foundation of content to scale effectively.
How to scale to 10K Monthly Recurring Revenue
Kevin advises massive outbound action and consistent engagement with ideal prospects for startups aiming to reach 10K monthly recurring revenue (MRR). He stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to get the product in front of potential customers.
How to scale to 10 Million Annual Revenue
As companies grow from 10K Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) to 10M Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), Kevin emphasizes defining, documenting, demonstrating, and deliberately practicing sales processes. He highlights the importance of repeatability and skill development to scale effectively.
General Advice for SaaS Founders
Kevin’s general advice for SaaS founders includes understanding the prospect’s world, defining, documenting, practicing sales processes, and focusing on continuous improvement. He stresses the significance of mastering foundational principles for success.
Reflection on Past Learnings
Reflecting on his own journey, Kevin shares that he wishes he had better understood the importance of connecting with individuals’ goals and motivations. He emphasizes the need for founders and leaders to recognize that everyone operates differently and to lead with empathy and understanding.
- (0:40) Show and guest intro
- (1:50) Why you should listen to Kevin
- (2:39) What is SaaS excellence?
- (4:55) Why is WHY a very loaded question?
- (7:35)The most common mistakes companies make while doing sales
- (10:37) The ideal processes or strategies recommended to set up a sales process
- (14:20) The four D’s That define a sales process
- (16:44) The best practices for a successful sales proccess
- (21:00) Challenges faced while implementing sales process
- (23:43) KD’s mentorship advice
- (28:20) How to grow towards 10K MRR
- (29:56) How to grow towards 10 million ARR
- (33:51) Kevin’s crucial advice to SaaS founders
- (35:46) What Kevin wishes he knew 10 years ago
[00:00:00.350] – Intro
Welcome back to the Grow Your B2B SaaS Podcast. In this podcast, we cover all topics related to growing a B2B SaaS, no matter in which stage you’re in. I’m Joran Hofman, the host of the show and the founder of Reditus, which is a B2B SaaS that helps other B2B SaaS companies to set up, manage and grow an affiliate program. Being a founder myself means that I’m going through the exact same journey as you are, experiencing the same issues and having the same questions. And this is the reason why I started a podcast, getting advice from industry experts on a specific topic. If you like this content, make sure to follow, subscribe, review the show so we can help as much founders as possible. Let’s dive in.
[00:00:40.570] – Joran
In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to do SaaS sales the right way. My cast is Kevin Dorsey, also known as KD and the Father of Modern Sales Leadership. Kevin is the Senior Vice President, Sales and Partnerships of a SaaS called Bench. He’s a mentor at 500 Startups, an advisor at Worklifes, Sandoso, and Reggie AI and runs his own podcast, Live Better, Sell Better. He calls himself a builder and a scaler.
[00:01:06.010] – Joran
He has two unicorns under his belt, over 400-plus sales organizations in his career with no industry overlap, which he’s really proud of what we’re going to talk in a while back. He created playbooks and mythologies, which he now also teaches to others via his courses, coaching, and his podcast. One thing I learned to quote, Kevin, when he started selling by literally knocking on doors, selling kitchen knives. He basically sucked at sales as he didn’t had any training or coaching. This is why he’s so passionate about learning, coaching, and overall sharing his knowledge. I’m really happy to have him on the show. Welcome to the show, Kevin.
[00:01:40.960] – Kevin
Appreciate you having me, man. Appreciate it. Looking forward to diving in with you.
[00:01:44.700] – Joran
Nice. I’m going to ask a really Dutch-blunt question. People are not convinced after this intro. Why should people listen to you today?
[00:01:53.440] – Kevin
I’m going to speak from experience. I’m going to speak from the mistakes that I’ve made and the learnings that I’ve had. I’m going to let the content speak for itself and then people can go from there. There are not many people that have done some of the things that I’ve done in this industry across different verticals, different products. I have to earn that right on this call, on this session, and I’m going to drop as much value as I can so people at the end are like, I’m glad I listened to him.
[00:02:20.420] – Joran
Let’s just dive right in. We’re going to talk about how to do SaaS sales the right way. You can also call it SaaS excellence. What does that mean for you? What does SaaS excellence for you?
[00:02:30.790] – Kevin
What it means to me is just a higher standard of execution and a higher standard of expectations of how this should be done. Too often in SaaS and I’ll say in sales, but also in product, in CS, in marketing, people do a lot of stuff, but not excellent. Even that word. I love words. I love the origin of words and meanings of them. People listening right now, I really want you to think, Am I holding myself to a bar of excellence or am I just trying to get things done? Am I just trying to ship fast? Am I just trying to run demos? Even just holding yourself to a standard of excellence is rare nowadays. And so when I think excellence, man, I think of a higher standard that they go truly holding yourself and others to a bar that delivers on what it is you’re supposed to deliver on whether that is a product, whether that is a result to your customers, whether that is revenue coming through the door. Because then excellence is a habit. It’s a habit that you get into and try to operate from. That’s what it means to me, man, is it’s repeatability at a high bar that you really try to live up to.
[00:03:38.810] – Joran
I don’t think it is true excellence is a habit. I think at one point you build your process, you build your habit, I guess you’re going to keep yourself to it. Because I do think a lot of founders do things because they need to. You’re going to do the demo, you’re going to follow up. But at one point, you drop excellence if you don’t have created the habit for it.
[00:03:57.820] – Kevin
It’s just checking in. Am I striving towards excellence right now? I don’t challenge anybody listening right now. Ask yourself that question. When you’re going into that one-on-one, you’re hopping on a call, you’re doing a roadmap session. Are we striving for excellence right now or are we striving for completion? It will change how you behave. It’ll change how you act because, again, too often we’re just coasted. My favorite word in the English language is intention. It’s my favorite word, intention. And most of us are not working, living, loving with intention. We are going through it, but we don’t have the true intention. I’m like, Why am I doing this right now? And what is the intention behind it? And so if more people focused on that, excellence does become a habit.
[00:04:41.900] – Joran
Yeah, that’s really nice. It’s like having the goal, like what is indeed you want to get out of it. Maybe one basic question before we really dive into the topic, I follow you on LinkedIn, so I guess if people are listening, definitely do so as well. One of your posts basically was, don’t ask why during the sales process, or why is why a very loaded question. Can you tell a bit more about that?
[00:05:03.370] – Kevin
When you ask someone why, it can come across a lot of ways. It can come across accusatory, someone like, I really want this feature. Why do you want that? It can come across the accusatory or doubting of like, Why would you want it? If that’s a problem. Two, it’s a very challenging question to answer because it can go so many directions in terms of what’s the meaning behind that question? I do this with my managers and my reps all the time. If someone asks a why question or they ask a loaded question, my response back almost all the time is, What’s the question behind the question? Don’t ask me why we did this. What’s the question behind the question? What are you actually wondering here? It’s a very loaded question and doesn’t guide them. But also two, in sales and I’ll say as founders, if someone says they want something or someone says they are trying to achieve something and the question is why, it also can come across at a certain level of incompetence, because you don’t know why I would want that thing. How well do you actually know my world, my environment, the problems that I’m dealing with?
[00:06:08.410] – Kevin
It also can come across in a way of the answer to that question should be obvious. You need to flip it. If it’s like, Oh, I want to start a podcast. They’re like, Oh, why do you want to start a podcast? It’s like, Loaded question or whatever. I want to start a podcast. Oh, cool. Is it for reach? Is it for brand? Are you trying to generate revenue from it? What’s behind the podcast? It shows that you know what you’re talking about. Whereas, Y can come across very like, Really, dude? I won’t name the company, but there’s a very popular company now that worked with me. This was six, seven years ago when they were just coming up. I tell this story often because they were trying to sell and they were in the deal process with me and I was asking some questions on if it could do this and if it could do that. Their lead co-founder was like, Why would you even want it to do that? I was like, You’re not ready for me. The fact you’d even asked that question lets me know you’re not ready for me. You don’t understand what I do and what I’m building.
[00:07:01.800] – Kevin
Come back to me when you are ready for what I do. Because that question was, it was like, then you just don’t get it. The fact that you’re even asking me why I want that means you don’t understand my world at all. And so, funnily enough, they did come back a couple of months ago. They apologized for it. They came on site. They worked with my team, taught a lot of things around it. Now I should have got some equity for that, to be honest. I really should have. That was an example of the why I proved they didn’t get me because they didn’t get what I did. There was no relationship there.
[00:07:29.980] – Joran
It’s true. I think this is one of the most common mistakes you can make while doing sales, probably. Are there any other common mistakes companies make while doing sales?
[00:07:39.070] – Kevin
Oh, jeez. How much time do we have on this? That could be the whole episode. Focusing on the product, not on the problems, focusing on pain, not on the better future, not doing proper discovery, not connecting the dots back to discovery throughout the sales process, not establishing impact of pain, impact of better future, not getting multithreaded, not making it easy to buy, talking about features that don’t matter, only talking about features like not getting to third level whys behind things, justifying the price, taking risk off the table. I can go all day on the things that companies do wrong with sales. It’s a shame. I think there are actually a lot of good products that just never make it to market because early founders don’t know how to sell it. We’re like, It was a good product, but they never learned how to sell it. Because they never learned how to sell it, they just hit that ceiling. Because a lot of your founders are early stage. You get a few of those first customers, either from your network, from people that you know. You’re getting that homey hookup and discount there a little bit.
[00:08:41.550] – Kevin
I think they’ve got something. They never learned how to sell it. Now they get stuck when they go to that place. There’s a lot of places that sellers and founders go wrong early and often. It’s typically where I spend a lot of my time with my own team and other companies is trying to help correct.
[00:08:56.760] – Joran
Those things. Many of the things you mentioned, and you mentioned a lot indeed, but most of them were product-related, like focusing on the feature, focusing on product, but not focusing on the value the product actually delivers and focus on that instead of just trying to sell features in your product. Maybe if we summarize one big problem, is that real common mistake?
[00:09:16.010] – Kevin
It is. But above that is even knowing what value they want from it. Like coming from discovery. Most founders and sellers, funny enough, I asked this question and most of them get it wrong where I say, What problem does your product solve? What problem does your product solve? I ask that question and all the time founders and sellers get that wrong. They’re like, Oh, we save you time. We make you more money. We streamline your data. Da da da. Those are benefits. What problem does your product solve? Most people don’t actually know the answer to that question. Right now, the problem tends to be the opposite of the benefits, but you have to focus on that more. Because if you only focus on the benefits early on, people can’t relate to that. If I hit you up and say, Hey, Jordan, I can 5x your pipeline. You can’t relate to that. You can’t understand that. You don’t believe that. Versus if I reach out, she’d say, Hey, pipeline getting harder to generate right now. Have you noticed that connect rates are down? Email response rates are down? Are you getting more pushback? Are you seeing that too?
[00:10:16.490] – Kevin
We might be able to help you. Would you be open to a convo? It starts there and then discover we got to pull out the problem even more. What are you seeing? How much? What is that cost you? Where is that going? Where would you like to go? Then in the demo, connecting it back to that. That’s where most sellers and truthfully founders don’t always really understand the problem that they solve. Because of that, there’s always going to be a missing link in the process.
[00:10:36.660] – Joran
You worked, I guess, way to my next question as in regarding strategies, processes, I think you teach them now quite a lot to companies how to do sales better. I think it all starts with which problem are you trying to solve? You already mentioned going to discovery, going to demo, and then probably going to closing. Is that a process you would recommend to others? Or can you dive deeper on strategies and processes?
[00:10:59.900] – Kevin
It starts with prospect knowledge. How well do you understand the prospect? That begins with either customer interviews or with prospect interviews. That’s the first place I start in any industry if I don’t know it well. Funny enough, actually going to bench with small business accounting and bookkeeping and taxes. I know that space because I’ve run small businesses, I run my own small business. I know what it’s like to have to try to do the books and get the taxes ready and figure out deductions. I could already resonate with that market very well. And all the other industries I’ve sold to, I wasn’t a doctor, I wasn’t a plumber, I wasn’t a VP of HR, I wasn’t a school principal, I wasn’t an owner of a hotel or a GM or a hospital. I had to learn the markets very well. It starts with customer interviews or prospect interviews. You need to nail the language there. If you have enough customers in place, so if you’re early and you have even 20 customers, you need to interview all 20 customers and ask these six questions: why did you buy? What problem were you hoping to solve?
[00:12:03.510] – Kevin
What were you afraid of before buying? What do you like the most about the product? What’s changed the most since you’ve got the product? And how would you describe what we do to somebody else? If you go get those answers from 20 people, your messaging is about to get a lot better. Your outbound is about to get a lot better, your website, your pitch, all of that. That’s if you have customers. If you don’t have customers, you need to do like 30-50 prospect interviews where you are reaching out to your ideal prospective. But it sounds like this, Adrian, I’m getting ready to bring something to the market and I would just actually love your feedback on the problem we think it solves. I won’t tell you what the product is. I won’t pitch you. I won’t ask you to buy. I just have five questions I’d love to ask to better understand this space. Would you be open to that conversation? You got to reach out to 100, 200 prospects. Would you get your 30 to 50 to go, Sure, go for it. And then it is same idea. How do you think about this problem?
[00:12:55.410] – Kevin
What have you done to try to solve this problem in the past? How big of a problem is this for you? What’s the impact of this problem? What does this problem cause? And if you could design a perfect solution, what would it look like? Now I’m going to get that prospect knowledge in. Because there’s problems and I know it because I’ve lived it, I’ve done it myself too. I’ve built things on the side where I’m like, Oh, my God. People are going to love this. And then you bring it to market and people are like, Yeah, it was cool. It’s not that big of a problem, but cool. Good job, Katie. So you have to be the prospect knowledge. Do they even think this is a problem? Have they ever tried to solve it before? This is one of the keys. If people have not tried to solve the problem you solved before, it is going to be a very hard go-to-market process because they’ve never even tried to solve it before. When that’s the case, there’s never been a behavior around it, so that’s hard. That’s the first step, is understand the prospect or your customer.
[00:13:46.940] – Kevin
Then that’s what leads to your messaging as you’re going outbound. That’s how then you craft your discovery questions. You know what questions to ask to pull some of that information out. I’ll pause there. But that’s where it all starts is really good prospect knowledge. Because too often founders, and especially sellers, most sellers don’t even use the product that they sell. They don’t even use the product that they sell. And it’s okay, how on earth are they really actually supposed to understand and communicate it to a VP of Engineering or a CFO when they don’t actually even use it. They need to understand the prospect better.
[00:14:19.920] – Joran
Yeah. Once you did this, do you turn it into a real clear ICP and buyer persona and you make sure that everybody in the company knows it? What is the next.
[00:14:28.710] – Kevin
Step after this? So it’s the four Ds, my friend, the four Ds. So you define it, document it, demonstrate it, deliberately practice it. And this applies to all processes, all systems. Once you know what it looks like, so what I call it is the WIGGLE. So the WIGGLE is W-G-L-L, and it stands for What Good Looks Like. So once you know what good looks like, you have to define it, document it, demonstrate it, and deliberately practice it. So this should be a part of your onboarding. By the way, all these customer interviews should be recorded. So any founder that’s just getting started and you don’t have the resources to onboard somebody, record all 20, 25 of these interviews, that’s your onboarding. You have those new reps watch those videos five, six times each, transcribe them like you drill in that prospect knowledge and they will ramp significantly faster. You have to define, document, demonstrate, deliberately practice it, then you move to the next thing. Now we know the persona. Now we need to know, okay, what are the questions we need to ask for that persona? Define, document, demonstrate delivery practice. Okay, now we have to run a demo for that persona.
[00:15:34.470] – Kevin
Define, document, demonstrate delivery practice. This is how I scale teams, right? That is what I do, is I scale teams because I’m able to define, document, demonstrate delivery practice what good looks like step by step, stage by stage, and consistently update that over time because it never stops. That’s the key to scale.
[00:15:53.520] – Joran
Yeah, indeed, the key to scale is definitely going to be the documentation because, as you mentioned, if you want to scale and you get new people in, you want to make sure that they can just watch things themselves. I scaled a CS team where we just recorded customer demos, customer interviews, similar, where we just had an Excel file where they can just go in and watch certain recordings based on certain topics. Make sure you record everything. This podcast episode is sponsored by Reditus. Reditus helps B2B SaaS companies to set up, manage, and grow an affiliate program. In short, it means you’re asking other people, affiliates, to promote your SaaS. You would only pay the affiliates a kickback fee when they deliver you paid clients, making it a very cost-effective and scalable way to grow your MRR. See more at getreaditas. Com. We started with, I guess, mistakes. Definitely a good process to follow for companies here. If we turn it around and we look at some companies you work with which did really well, they already have the 3Ds in place, probably already have in place what good looks like, any other best practices they did here?
[00:17:02.160] – Kevin
Not nearly as many have it as you would think. Most of the what good looks like lives in people’s heads. It’s not documented a lot of places, and if it’s documented, it’s in a playbook that no one looks at. That is a problem. But the one that truly makes the biggest difference in orgs that I work at, work with, and go into is that last D, which is deliberate practice. Are you practicing the things that you need to get good at? Too often, sellers, people in CS, they’re practicing with the prospect. Actually, funnily enough, what you’re just describing, they go listen to a call, but then where are they going to go practice that skill? With the prospect. That’s not how you get good at something, right? Did you play any sports or music or art growing up?
[00:17:47.090] – Joran
Yeah, soccer or something. I can.
[00:17:49.220] – Kevin
Call it. Yeah. Perfect. Soccer, football. Okay, first question on football. Soccer. Did you spend more time playing the game or practicing?
[00:17:55.600] – Joran
[00:17:56.230] – Kevin
How much difference? If you think you have 100 % of time, how much time we spent practicing versus playing the actual game?
[00:18:02.740] – Joran
I think 80 % practice, maybe even more.
[00:18:06.060] – Kevin
Easy, right? How long the soccer matched? 90 minutes with some extra time. How long were your practices?
[00:18:12.300] – Joran
One and a half hours twice a week.
[00:18:14.480] – Kevin
Okay, so we already have that ratio there. So now how long would it take for me to get good at soccer, at football? If all I did was play that 90 minute game.
[00:18:23.120] – Joran
It’s going to take a long time.
[00:18:24.700] – Kevin
Long time. I may never actually get good, especially if I’m going up against people that are really good. That we would never fly anywhere else but in sales and CS, it happens every single day where we try to teach them something and then we put them into the game, then we wonder why they can’t pull it off. So it’s that deliberate practice, right? How do you develop skill in anything? Where it’s sports, music, singing, art, sales, you have to practice it. And similarly, back to soccer, back to football, you didn’t practice the game. What did you practice?
[00:18:58.300] – Joran
Yeah, I get what you’re doing. You’re practicing the steps, you’re practicing the skills, you’re practicing how to actually play the game.
[00:19:06.050] – Kevin
Right. You were practicing footwork, one touch, right? Headers, tackles, left foot, right foot, hook, shut. You were practicing the skills and drills to set up the game. That’s not how a lot of people practice, is they try to practice the game, right? So we got managers out there trying to do the full call on us. No, drill that objection until they can just do it with their eyes closed, then move to the next one, then move to the next one. That’s the other best practice that a lot of companies miss on, is practice is not built into their day to day and their culture. My team is practicing daily, if not every other day. My manager is it is part of their schedule to have at least 30 minutes with every single rep every single week dedicated just to practice because that’s where the skill development shows up. I don’t care if they’re SMB reps or enterprise reps. That’s always my favorite thing is when people are like, Oh, we sell enterprise. Okay, so the $5 million dollar deals are easier to close. That makes sense. Yeah, we shouldn’t practice there at because those are the easy ones.
[00:20:01.590] – Kevin
It’s only the smaller. No, you need it even more then to really be prepared for every situation. So that’s the key.
[00:20:08.870] – Joran
Yeah, and I think you hit a nail on the head here. I think once you get to a certain level, people stop thinking they need practice, right? They think like, Oh, I already closed so many deals. I’m already doing enterprise. I’m already doing X. Why should I keep practicing? But you’re basically saying always follow that third D.
[00:20:25.200] – Kevin
What other industry would allow that? Football. I think Messi just stopped practicing eight years ago. Renalda just stopped practicing. Like, I’ve already made it. I’ve already got a couple of balloons. They practiced to the very, very end of their careers. Sales. Oh, I’m already an enterprise. I don’t need to practice. It’s silly.
[00:20:43.110] – Joran
Just silly. Yeah. And this is back to the point this is how you build excellence, sales excellence by keep practicing and making sure all the steps, all the skills needed to actually get there. Maybe then I guess this is probably already a challenge to convince people internally that they need to start practicing and keep doing it. Any other challenges you face while implementing these processes in a company?
[00:21:05.520] – Kevin
The biggest challenge in any company is people. It’s always the biggest challenge. How do you connect with people? How do you lead people? This is why I’m so process-oriented, because the idea there is you manage processes, you lead people. That’s why there’s a process for these things. You manage the process, you lead people. The way you lead people is by connecting to their goals, to their motivations. What are they trying to achieve? Through positive recognition and feedback. The process is already there. It’s documented. They can rock that process without me having to be over their shoulder every single time to do it. So that’s the thing. And oftentimes, sellers and leaders, they tell they don’t sell. So they tell people what they want them to do. They don’t sell them on why they should. Hey, again, I need you to go do this. That’s telling people what to do versus sell them on it. Why should they do that? What is that going to open up for them? What will the impact of that be for them? Remember, you got to sell people on what it is you’re asking them to do because you’re not always going to agree with your people.
[00:22:05.760] – Kevin
There’s going to be things you want them to do that they don’t want to do. That’s always going to be part of it. But as long as you are attempting to connect those dots to how they benefit from that change or from that skill or from that practice session. Because getting people to practice is hard when you just force it on them. And it’s hard if you’re practicing the whole call and going through. But if it’s like, Hey, are you making what you want to make right now? Are you capped out? This is how much you want to make? 90 % of us are like, No, absolutely, I want to make more. Okay, I’ve already got a hook now. You’d like to make more. Okay, how do we make more? We got to close more deals. Can we come up with a game plan on how to help you close more deals? Yeah. Okay, let’s talk through it. I’ve listened to the calls. I think our close rate right now is 17 %. We’ve got people on our team that are 34 %. If we double your close rate, we could be doubling your income.
[00:22:54.130] – Kevin
Would you be willing to work on Discovery with me? Because that’s where I think that we’re missing right now to get you to that 34 % close rate. It’s working backwards. For now, it’s not practice just because I’m telling you to practice. You told me you want to make more. Now I’m helping you make more through the practice, not just grilling you with practice just to do it.
[00:23:10.250] – Joran
Yeah, I love it. I guess that goes back to, I guess, what you mentioned also with the prospect, actually selling problem-solving, you create a problem now with the salespeople, you’re not earning enough. It’s the same thing.
[00:23:20.320] – Kevin
Sales and leadership to me are the exact same thing. You are trying to change minds to change behaviors to change results. That sales and leadership to me are the exact same thing. Change minds to change behaviors to change results. A lot of leaders just stop selling. They don’t try to change minds. They’ll focus on behaviors. They only focus on the results and then they wonder why it doesn’t happen.
[00:23:41.770] – Joran
Yeah, makes sense. If people don’t have access to a KD, like you started in sales yourself, right? You sucked at the beginning to use your own words because you didn’t have a mentor, you didn’t have somebody who could coach you. What advice would you give somebody who’s now in that position where they don’t have somebody who can help them?
[00:23:58.650] – Kevin
One, I would just challenge people to think like, Do you really not have someone to help you or you’ve just not asked? There’s no one in your network that is one step above you in terms of what they’ve accomplished. There’s no one on the team that is succeeding. That’s something that I don’t think it’s talked about enough right now. I was like, yes, things are tough in sales right now. I think it’s like what? We’re on pace for only 40 % of reps to hit quote quota. People hear that and they get all up in arms and I hear that and I go, Okay, but 40 % of people aren’t getting to their quota. There are a lot of places where if you told I had a 40 % odds of success, I would take those odds every single day. What are those 40 percenters doing differently? Do you have people at your company that are succeeding? Connect with them, talk to them, study them, offer to help them so you can learn. So there’s there. But then the last part is invest in coaching. I spend a ton of money on coaching. I have a coach I work with.
[00:24:53.290] – Kevin
I have bought multiple courses to teach me different things in my industry, outside of my industry. When I see someone who’s succeeding, when I send them a message, I go, Yo, can I get an hour with you? Let me know what your rate is. I’d love to… And most people respond back like, Oh, no, that’s just talk. I lead with the idea I’m willing to pay for your time because I know that’s going to pay off for me. It’s reaching out to people for help, but investing in yourself. Then I’m constantly reading and learning. You can do that as well and it has a massive impact on you. There’s plenty of help and resources around. Ask for it, look for it, and invest in yourself to do so.
[00:25:27.520] – Joran
Yeah, I think you’re the perfect example. Even though you give coaching, you give mentorship regarding sales, you never stop learning.
[00:25:34.240] – Kevin
As in that’s it. I talk about that with my team, with my managers often. I was like, Why am I the one still reading these books? Why am I the one reading? I’m not even a salesperson anymore, but I’m still trying to get better at this game and this craft. This is the feedback I give people all the time. It’s out work and out learn. It is very easy to outwork people. Most people don’t know what hard work actually is. They know what busy work is. They know what working long hours is. They don’t know what hard work is. It’s easy to outwork people, meaning getting more done in the same period of time. I like to use the language like, I’m uncatchable in terms of where I am career-wise, because not only will I outwork you, I’m going to outlearn you. You cannot catch me because I’m outlearning you. I’m learning things. I’m testing things. I’m trying things that you haven’t even thought to do yet. I’ve gotten more things wrong than most people have ever tried in this game called leadership. So it’s like those types of things. If I’m learning you and outworking you, you can’t catch me.
[00:26:30.060] – Kevin
And that’s where a lot of founders stop learning, a lot of sellers stop learning, and they only are focused on the the grind and the grit. You can do that. You’re going to burn out with that. You’re going to burn out. Whereas I’m focused on how effing good can I get at this thing? Because if I can get really good at this, the fun part is you have to do it less. It takes me less time to do things. So I can get more done because you get good at it.
[00:26:52.250] – Joran
This is a really fun part because it sounds really simple, but you have to invest the time at the beginning to get really good at something and then it becomes easier. So willing to outwork somebody to actually get better. I think one thing I picked up from this as well is you actually lead by example, right? Because why are you still learning? For example, the salespeople within the Orc not, that’s showing even I do it and you lead by example and then they can just follow.
[00:27:16.040] – Kevin
In a way. I’ve never turned down a role play in my life and career. Actually, funnily enough, right now there is an SDR on my team that’s getting ready to finish out the AGE boot camp. I got a message from her manager last week saying, Hey, Alba would like her certification test to be with you, not with the director. She’d like to certify with you. I know you’re busy, but do you have time? My response back, Absolutely. Definitely. Hell, yes. I’m so excited that she would even put that out there as an option. And I screenshotted that and I sent it to her. I was like, Alba, I cannot wait. I’m so fired up that you would even go. She’s coming to her SVP and wants the SVP to certify her on her demo certification. Hell, yes. The fact that she would even ask to do that already lets me know how well she’s going to succeed in this role. Zero hesitation. I already know that she is going to crush this role. She would even take the steps to do that. That’s what I love to see.
[00:28:11.960] – Joran
We’re going to go to the final four questions. So when we talk about sales excellence or doing sales the right way, feel free to repeat yourself a bit here. What advice would you give somebody who’s just starting out and growing to 10K monthly recurring revenue?
[00:28:25.930] – Kevin
So if you’re trying to get to 10k, you just need to be taking massive action. You should be talking to 10, 15, 20 people a day about your product. You should be sending videos to your ideal prospects. To get to 10k, you need to just be taking massive action. So often I see founders at that stage focusing on things that don’t matter yet. They’re working on branding, they’re working on trying to get the website to look good, whatever else, going to conferences. No, there is not a world that if you are showing up every single day and you are doing 10-15, 20 outbound videos per day for 90 days straight to your ideal personas that you don’t get to that 10K. So when you’re trying to get to 10K, you have to be taking massive action out. You need to get it in front of as many people as you possibly can. And that does not come from a LinkedIn post. It does not come from a webinar. To get to 10K, that’s my biggest tip, is you need to know your personas, the problem you solve, but then you need to be taking massive action out.
[00:29:24.410] – Kevin
If you’re afraid to take that action out, you need to sit down and really talk to yourself and be like, Okay, if I thought this was a game-changing product, it’s going to change the world, and you’re afraid to put it in front of people, it’s a problem. To get to 10K, nail the problems you solve, and then you have to be taking massive action out. And if you’re afraid to take that action out, you need to sit down and talk to yourself and be like, Okay, if I thought this was a game-changing product, it’s going to change the world, and you’re afraid to put it in front of people, it’s a problem. To get to 10K, nail the problems you solve, and then you have to be taking massive action out. To my founders listening, you have to do it. This is not something you go hire some little SDR to go and do. You have to take those first steps to get yourself to 10K.
[00:29:56.080] – Joran
Let’s assume we reached the 10K and we’re now going to grow to 10 million AR. I know it is a big step, but what advice would you give somebody here? What are the steps they need to follow?
[00:30:06.970] – Kevin
So now it’s to the wiggle and the 4Ds step by step. So now you got the 10K, so you should have some ideas of what good looks like. Who’s buying? Why are they buying? What does that look like? Now I can define what good looks like and then define a document, demonstrate it deliberately practice. It has to be documented step by step. You got to get it out of your head founders. Back to the 10K MRR, all those calls should be recorded. Every single demo should be recorded. Every single customer should be getting that customer interview afterwards. And you build that foundation of content, you got to get it out of your head because you can’t do it on your own and expecting a new rep to come in and get it the way that you do is not fair. So you have to really consolidate all that information to go through it. And then it’s that repetition, define, document, demonstrate, deliberately practice. Cool, we got that. Now we move to the next one. And now you can scale, right? Because really the only difference between going from 10K to 10 million is how many other people have to do it.
[00:31:04.830] – Kevin
How many other people have to do it? You can get to 10K on your own. In fact, you should get to 10K on your own. Personally, I believe a lot of companies should be able to get to a million on their own. With small core team, with founders doing things into the market, now we’re trying to go from 1-10, now I need 10 people to do what I did. I need that repeatability, that documentation, that delivery practice of those things.
[00:31:26.820] – Joran
When you mentioned customer interviews afterwards, basically whenever you had a client call, you would send those questions you just mentioned, you would send them via email and not actually do them in the.
[00:31:37.530] – Kevin
Call itself? Oh, no, I would definitely still have the call. It just needs to happen after a customer. Because you can’t ask them that in the sales process because they’re not going to tell you those things. Once they’ve been a customer for 60, 90 days, that’s when you come back and say, Hey, they’d like to pick your brain a little bit. I’m like, Why are you joining us? Why you jumped on this crazy train? Then that’s where it starts.
[00:31:57.990] – Joran
When we zoom out a little bit, is there any general advice toward SaaS founders who are now on their journey besides these two milestones?
[00:32:06.070] – Kevin
Those would be the biggest, to be honest. I try to keep things simple because if you don’t do those things, there’s no other tip I can give you that’s going to help. You need to understand your prospect and their world better than anybody else. You need to define, document, demonstrate, deliberately practice the skills necessary to do it. Without those, nothing else matters. We don’t need to talk subject lines yet. We don’t need to talk cold calling yet. You need to know those things first to then be able to build upon it.
[00:32:34.860] – Joran
I love the consistency as well. I think that’s one thing you can definitely take out of this as well. Be consistent in whatever you do. Final question. You learned a lot. You mentioned already you have hundreds of books behind you. You do a lot of coaching as well. What is one thing you wish yourself you knew 10 years ago?
[00:32:52.520] – Kevin
If I look back 10 years ago, I wish I had better understood how people think that… We say this with my managers often. We have this phrase that we go back and forth with, I say it and they have to repeat it back to me. It sounds like this, I am not you. You are not me. We are not them. They are not us. Remembering that is very important as a leader because oftentimes early on in leadership, you want people to think the way you think, you want people to work the way that you work, you want people to do things the way that you did them. That was definitely me 10 years ago, and I was way more of a pusher than I am now. Today I pull people. I’m not here to push people. I’m about to push you for you to succeed. This is never going to work. I pulled you. I’m going to pull you along and help you get there. But you got to be coming in the same direction with me. 10 years ago, I wish I had a better understanding of that, that I need to connect the dots to individual’s goals, that I need to have a reason for them to do the things, but to expect them to work the way that I work is actually unfair.
[00:33:49.940] – Kevin
That’s why I’m in the seat that I’m in. I’m going to coach you, I’m going to give you everything I can, but that just creates a never ending disappointment. When you’re trying to… And founders, I’m talking to your heart right now because you’re going to see this and you’re going to be like, Yeah, they just don’t work the way I work. They just don’t care. They’re not going to. That’s why you’re the founder. You are different. I am not you. You are not me. We are not them. They are not us. This is 10 years ago. I wish I had a better understanding of that.
[00:34:15.670] – Joran
I think it’s really nice one to close off with. If people want to get in contact with you, Kevin, how can they.
[00:34:20.590] – Kevin
Do something? They can follow me on LinkedIn. I am right at that stupid 30,000 limit already on LinkedIn, so I can’t take too many more connections. But if they want to reach out directly, they can also email me kd@salesleadershipaccelerator. Com. That’s like my personal course email and we can go from there.
[00:34:36.620] – Joran
Nice. We’re definitely going to add it in the show notes. We’re going to add your LinkedIn profile on the show notes. Go and follow Kevin because you can’t connect with him anymore. We’re also going to add a queue and a poll in Spotify. No idea yet what the question is going to be, but check it out now on your phone. And thanks again for coming on the show, Kevin.
[00:34:54.430] – Kevin
Thanks for having me, man.
[00:34:56.760] – Joran
Thanks again for listening to the Grow Your B2B SaaS Podcast. If you found value in today’s episode, please leave us a review, follow us, thumbs up, you know what to do. If you want to sponsor the show to reach a SaaS founders, just ping us on LinkedIn. And if you’re experiencing any specific challenges right now, let us know as well. We’re always looking for topics to cover in our show. For now, have a great day and keep growing your BDB SaaS.