Website - Ep22. Stuart Taylor Creating Salesstar Podcast

Ep22. Stuart Taylor. Power of Cold Calling, Prospecting and Coaching

Join Pete Evans as he speaks to Allego sales leader Stuart Taylor. In our longest episode to date, Pete and Stu look into why there is a resistance to coaching and why some managers refuse to be coached or coach their team. The pair look into the use of data when coaching teams and talk about the importance of prospecting, cold calling and receiving/giving feedback.

About our Guest

Stuart Taylor has been in sales for well over a decade in every role from SDR to Sales Leader.

As the first sales hire at Refract.ai in 2016 Stuart helped scale the sales team leading to an acquisition by Allego in December 2020.

He is the co-author of  #1 best-selling book, “Problem Prospecting” which has helped thousands of fellow sales professionals and loves nothing better than helping others have successful careers in sales.

About our Host

Pete Evans has over 20 years sales experience with a successful corporate sales career. If you’re involved in B2B selling, cold calling, sales recruitment, sales training, sales coaching, sales transformation or have a desire to grow your business then this podcast is for you.

Pete is currently MD and Practice Partner of SalesStar UK. SalesStar combines sales training with sales coaching to deliver long term results in line with your sales strategy so you can smash your targets and grow top line revenue. SalesStar works with growth minded CEOs and sales leaders who are frustrated with their sales results and are looking for a proven system to grow sales.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro | Pete Evans | Stuart Taylor

Welcome to the Creating SalesStars Podcast. Each week, our host, Pete Evans, will be joined by some of the big and upcoming names within the sales industry. This is brought to you by SalesStar UK.

[MUSIC]

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Creating SalesStar Podcast. I’m delighted this week to welcome our guest, Stuart Taylor, who is leading the the sales team at Allego, following the acquisition of Allego by Refract. Stu has been in sales for well over a decade in every role from an STR to a sales leaders so brings a wealth of experience to this week’s podcast. And he’s also the co-author of the number one, best selling book, Problem Prospecting, which has helped thousands of fellow sales professionals and Stu loves nothing better than helping others have successful careers in sales. So Stuart, welcome to this week’s edition of Creating Sales Stars Podcast. Great to have you here.

Great to be here. Yeah, I really love the podcast and glad to be part of it. Thanks for inviting me.

Yeah. And you’re you’re following in good company with your leader, Kevin Beales just a few weeks ago.

Yeah. So I know where the benchmark is. I know what a to beat.

Right, exactly. Yeah, I was I was going to say it’s high, but it will let you be the judge of that. So obviously, you know, we we know each other. I’ve met you were a few years ago, I think, when you were just starting out your career at Refract, when Refract was a much smaller organization. And Refract has been on quite a journey. And obviously the acquisition by Allego in December of 2020, you know, you personally have dealt with a lot of the sales leaders and sales managers. One of my first questions is really what what do you see as some of the challenges and organizations introducing sales coaching into their organization?

Yeah, great question, Pete. It’s one that’s close to my heart. And as you as you rightly say, we do deal with it a lot. And it normally comes from resistance, from the reps. You know, people resist anything that is change. Unfortunately, anything that is changing out of the ordinary that people tend to pushback. Not everybody, but certain cohorts will do that. It often is two groups of people, either people who have been there a long time and have been doing the job and think, you know, the pretty proficient of what they do and don’t need that help and they tend to push back- or it’s the underperformers, in truth, because they think that coaching is a way to catch them out.It’s a way to beat them with a stick and as you know and hopefully a lot of the listeners know it’s the complete opposite. Coaching isn’t about beating people with a stick or trying to find out what they’re doing wrong. It’s about improving them and it’s changing that mentality for people, and there’s various different ways that we can do that. But I think that’s why coaching and hiring people who have a coaching mentality and want to get better is essential. If you have somebody who’s quite stuck in their ways and doesn’t want to improve and it’s very difficult as a sales leader. But what we do find as well, once we get over that a little speedbump and we get past that and we start to demonstrate the impact of coaching. It becomes addictive. People want more of it. So there’s a little bit of resistance at first. But once we break through that, it has the opposite impact. People see others in the business starting to get better and are starting to make more money, they’re starting to outperform them. And then everybody wants a piece of it. They want to be coached. And we hear from managers that, you know, it’s a little bit addictive. Once it starts, it snowballs. And the difficulty they have is actually providing enough coaching. Once the team get hungry for that because they see the impact.

Yeah. I mean this is a really interesting and you talked about resistance and personally, I don’t think resistance is necessarily an age thing. I think it comes back to having a you know, do you have a growth mindset as an individual? Are you receptive to learning? And I use the phrase and sometimes a couple of my teams say, oh no, not that phrase again, what I say every day is a learning day. [Stu: Totally] You know, you can always you know, you can always get better. And do you think sometimes there is a fear from people, you know, you mantioned about you know, underperformers perhaps being, you know, caught out. Do you think people confuse the concept of coaching with perhaps mentoring or, you know, being told what to do? And I can remember, you know, back to my early sales career working with Friends Provident and obviously, although I don’t, look it Stuart, I am much older than, you know, so my sales experience goes into the decades, not one decade. Like you, But going out on a meeting with my than regional managers as we called them and we went to this meeting and we saw this very wealthy Irish couple and we were told by the financial planning and my my regional manager was Irish and we went into this couple’s house, which it wasn’t a house, it was a mansion. It was about three that about a three mile drive. And the call lasted 3 hours. And we got back in. The car manager said, So how do you think that went? I said, I wouldn’t know because you did 90% of the talking. I just said hello and goodbye.

Yeah.

And and he said, well, I’m going to coach you around. I said, Well, do you don’t think you should be the other way? And I think we’ve all experienced that as a salesperson, where the manager has just taken over. And I think at that stage I probably didn’t have a growth mindset. It was very sort of fixed thinking, what can this guy who was 30 years older than me, really teach me about- teaching about sales? Because every call we go on, he just wants to take over. So I think we’ve all we’ve all got those limiting beliefs around coaching based on our experiences.

100%. Yeah. And, and I had that as well Pete, you know, in my early days in my career, I was working in what you probably describe as a outbound call center. And so I was selling, you know, PPI and home insurance and all that type of great stuff and which Martin Lewis is probably not happy with me about now for the PPE, but yes. So I was not in call listening or call coaching then wasn’t coaching, it was monitoring. It was literally going through a checklist. Am I doing things right or am I not? There was no coaching, there was no feedback. It was, you know, getting beaten with that stick and coaching often by reps can be seen as Big Brother, but we both know that it’s the opposite. And sometimes that’s just because of the exposure of who you’ve worked with as a manager. If you’ve got a good manager who’s a good coach, then you’re winning. But unfortunately, a lot of managers aren’t good coaches. They don’t know how to coach, and what they simply do is show people, This is how you should do it. Pete, watch me. And we both know that’s not coaching. You know, it’s about giving somebody the opportunity. But I struggled with that when I first become a manager, you know, I would be on Zoom sessions or face to face meetings and I would see things starting to slip and things not going the way that it should. And it’s so hard as a manager not to dive in and not try and save the opportunity. That’s why now, in truth, I’m a I’m a bigger fan of retrospective coaching where I’ve got a recording, I can listen back to it because I don’t have that urge to want to jump in and see if the opportunity because, you know, a lot of managers want to be the hero and they want to parachute in and save the deal. But again, that’s not coaching.

Yeah, I mean, this is really interesting because on a previous podcast I’ve been I was interviewing Leigh Parker. I think you probably know Leigh is, is in charge of capability development and consistency with SalesStar. And one thing that Leigh was saying is that when you’re coaching these days, the ability to use data or I’ll try to pronounce with a Kiwi accent “dar-tar” is that having having the data when you’re a manager or leader, when you’re coaching either group coaching or, you know, one on one is actually so important because it removes the subjectivity. And I know one of the things that the Allego platform does is that it gives us as coaches that data and you can ask, you can have great coaching conversations with with people not it’s not subjective. So obviously we’ve got we’ve got our own sales apprentice Dylan but actually one of the things we will do in the in the early days is, is look at the talk time. On these calls and say okay so what rather than saying oh, you talk for 80% of the time, which is what the data was was showing us. What do you see here? What impact did you think that has if you’re talking that much and what’s the ideal? Well well, and what he did was it gave him a goal, an objective. And we were we weren’t beating him with a stick. We’re saying, what do you think the you know, those were a great coaching question. I said, what impact does this have? What steps can we take to, you know, together? So you making it a we conversation rather than an I conversation. So I think to me, having that data is so important in a coaching capacity, you know, particularly in sales coaching.

Totally Pete… We, you know, talk about data driven coaching as an organization. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. But it’s for twofold for me, it’s for exactly the reason that you’ve just identified. It’s not subjective anymore. It’s concrete once you’ve got that data, but it’s also knowing where to coach. Everybody’s an individual. Your coaching needs will be completely different to mine and everybody is the same. So without the data, what coaching tends to become is very generic or it’s based on one event. You know, I listen to this call and this happened where the coaches could have been a bad call, it could have been a bad day. But if you’ve got the data over, somebody calls from 30, 60, 90 days, you can start to see where their strengths and weaknesses are, and then the coaching can become aligned with where they need to improve. So without having that, you know, a lot of the time you could be coaching blind. And again, that’s not ideal. But I love, you know, your how you are coaching Dylan there I think that’s impetrative and really important. I made the mistake early in my career of telling people what I used to do. I was successful. This is what you should do, and that’s just plain wrong. Now, what I try to do is exactly what you’ve just talked about there is about trying to get people to find the solutions themselves, get them to talk through why that’s important, what impact that can have. And guess what? When they come up with the ideas, it’s far more likely to stick when they’ve actually, you know, come up with the idea themselves because they thought it through and that that is what good coaching looks like. But a lot of people, unfortunately, mistake coaching for telling people what to do.

Yeah. And I think what was really interesting is that it’s not just ownership, but it’s about personal accountability. [Stu: Mm hmm.] Because when when you as the coach, when you work out the solution with your coach, it is going to be much more impactful because you recognize it. And I think there’s still a danger. And sometimes I will do it. I’m sure you did. Were you going to telling mode?

Yeah, of course.

When you tell somebody what to do and you think you step back, I think I actually that’s not coaching. I’ve not let them work out the answer themselves. I think there is a time when you coach where somebody says, Well, Pete I just need to know the answer. And I think that’s fine if you’ve got the coachees permission, but you should still but you should still back it up with data. And one of the things that we’re noting and you know, Kevin and I had a great discussion about this, is that sometimes organizations will talk at the board level about all we can, we’ve got a coaching culture, we’re really invested in culture. Then it doesn’t sort of pass down the lines it’s almost like, oh, board level is a tick in the box. You’ve got a coaching, we’ve we’ve got a coaching culture. How important do you think it is that the board in an organization really engages with the concept of sales, coaching and help and support, you know, driving it through?

I think it’s imperative Pete, and as you rightly said, a lot of people talk a good game and they talk about a coaching culture, but when you actually lift the lid, they have anything but. And I think it does start at the top. But what frustrates me a lot of the time is, you know, managers have various different KPIs. Yes. They’ve got quotas. They’ve got to hit you know, they’ve got certain things. But coaching is never, you know, a KPI that they have to hit. You know, these organizations that say to have a coaching culture, I’d love them to back that up and say, you know, managers have to spend a certain percentage of that time coaching or they have to do this. So it’s actually metric driven. And, you know, that’s the only way in which I think you can make it important to managers or else it slips and people don’t do it. And I am saying, you know, the shoots of that changing, you know, over the last ten years working in this kind of industry, it’s a lot better than what it was. But there’s still a lot of work to do. But it’s absolutely imperative. You know, a little story about Kev. Kev is the CEO of my Organization. He founded Refract. You talk about a coaching culture that starts at the top down and Kev’s a perfect example of that we all do every Friday morning we do a coaching session where we all come together and we pick a call. You can either put you call forward or we can pick calls at random, whatever reason. But there will be a call or a demo that we will review and nobody is above coaching. So Kev has been the recipient of coaching where we all sit round as a sales team and we listen to Kev’s call and we talk about moments we give coaching and feedback. And I think that’s how you embrace that culture. When nobody’s above coaching, everybody else sees the importance of it. And Kev’s been a real good example of doing that because he’s, you know, willing and open to put himself out there and get feedback and coaching. So if I’m a salesperson, how can I possibly push back when the CEOs willing to have that feedback and coaching like everybody else? And that’s a great way in which you can do it as sales leaders or you know, sales, however, in the organization is actually wanting and embrace coaching yourself and, you know, lead by example.

Yeah. I mean, sometimes it really frustrates me when we’re talking to a prospective client and you’re getting close to them saying, okay, we’re going to engage with SalesStar and we’re going to engage in the transformation and you say well, actually, one of the key things here is that as as leaders, you participate in the program and they go, no, we don’t not it’s just with the sale the the the sales team and we’re talking to an organization at the moment has probably got about 30 salespeople and obviously you know we’re a part of Objective Management Group and using you know their data driven skills to help us understand what are the hidden weaknesses that get in the way of performance. And we’ve got three of the sales managers and the sales leader saying “oh, we’re not doing that, we’re above that”, and we’re saying, well, actually you’re not setting yourself up for success. And actually I had a call off one of the managers who said well this is going to expose me what if what if the sales team found out that I’m weak? And I think a lot of the reasons that organizations are still not willing to embrace coaching is because people are going to be they feel they’re going to be found out. And actually, what I say is when like you say about Kevin is that if one of my teams says, well, you’re not doing this that well, that the fact that they feel comfortable giving me that feedback and coaching me around it means that I can grow and personally develop.

Totally. And a leader is not perfect. You know, however long you’ve been in this game, everybody is is open to coaching and feedback. And I think you need to embrace that, you know, to use your line as well, to always be learning. And a lot of managers made this mistake. You know, they become a manager or they become a VP of sales or whatever the job title is. And they think they’ve made it. They’ve reached the top of the mountain. You know, they’ve made it, their career is done, and that’s it. They can kind of sit back and watch the pounds roll in now because they’ve become successful, whereas it’s the opposite. You know, you and I both know when you become a manager or a VP, you start at the bottom of the ladder again. And any manager who thinks they don’t have weaknesses or is worried about their weaknesses being exposed probably has a lot of them because they’re burying their head under the sand and then not addressing them and trying to get better and visibility.

Yeah, I mean, it’s really interesting. You talk about sales managers who think, you know what, all salespeople are going into sales manager’s role or sales manager who goes into sales VP role thinking they’ve arrived and they can just wait and allow the money to come in. And it reminds me of some of the key principles of the of the All Blacks and obviously being a, you know, being a Kiwi company. Now, I think we should talk about the All Blacks – but one that one of their principles is about leaving the shirts in a better place, reading, writing and what what else made the All Blacks consistently. Oh, probably the the best, you know, international rugby union team, certainly over the past couple of decades is that when a player thinks they got the all black shirts and they think they’ve arrived, they’re not going to fit into that culture. But they talk about, see, when you were the shirts, you’ve got to leave in a better place than your predecessor left it. But leaving it in a really great place for the next person is going to take your shirts. And I think that for me that’s the role of a sales leader and the sales manager, you know, it it’s leaving the seat in a better place for the next person who comes along to take that role.But if you ever think you’ve arrived and you’re not going to constantly get better and have a, you know, a culture of constant learning, you’re just going to come across as arrogant to your salespeople and your back to that scenario. Well, I’ll tell people to do, because look at me. I was a great salesperson, you know, and it doesn’t it doesn’t leave your team in a better place because actually you’re not going to earn the respect as well.

Totally. And that’s a great analogy. And, you know, there’s a lot of parallels we can take from sport for sure. You know, where everybody has a coach, the best golfers in the world, the best rugby players in the world, every single one of them has a coach or several because they’re constantly improving and getting better. Anybody who thinks they’ve made it is going backwards because you’ve got to be, you know, improving and increasing your skill level every day or else, you know, you’re stagnating at best. If not, you’re going backwards. So it’s massively important. But I agree with you, Pete, about, you know, managers. A lot of them think it’s about them, but it’s not. It’s about your team, your job as a manager, as a servant to your team to help them get better. That’s your job, help them improve, get better. But it’s also I think a lot of people miss a big piece of piece of joy that you get from being a manager is seeing somebody develop. You know, we’ve had people who join Refract where they’re straight out of university or even straight out of sixth form, very young, very impressionable. And they’ve got a lot to learn. And you see them develop in three or four or five years. These confidence salespeople who are achieving things, they never thought was possible, you know, they’re starting to earn good money to start to be successful. That’s unlocking a lot of things that they never thought possible, you know, buying houses, getting married, whatever it is. And there’s nothing more satisfying for me now as a manager than seeing other people do that. And that comes down to any good manager leading people, coaching and feedback and helping them to get better. It’s not all roses. There’s times when as a manager, you have to challenge people and you have to have some uncomfortable conversations. But again, that’s part of the job. But I always set my team. We might have difficult conversations and we might have disagreements or even arguments, but always know that I have your best intentions at heart. I am a manager who wants you to get better personally and professionally. So that’s all I’m here to do. So if we ever have a disagreement, it’s not from any malice in my point. It’s always me thinking, you know, trying to get the best from you and the best for you. And that’s always been my philosophy, which seems to, you know, get a lot get a lot of motivation from the team and they seem to really feed on that as well. So it works quite well for me.

Yeah. And the thing that’s important, I think one of the things about being a leader is you’ve got to be you’ve got to be right. You’ve got to be humble. I was trying to combine two words together, the humble and vulnerability. And I think you see, when you’re you’re humble, you’ve got to care about your people more. You can’t put your you can’t be the center of attention.

Yeah.

You’ve got to be passionate about developing developing people and seeing people win and creating a culture where people feel they can win. I think it’s interesting in this this whole thing about, you know, giving people feedback. And you might not always agree with people. I mean, I’m I’ve been reading a great book out. She’s called Thanks for the Feedback and the Science and also Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. I don’t know whether you’ve come across somebody who also wrote the book Difficult Conversations? And I think the ability to coach people should create a safe environment where they can give you as the manager feedback as well.

100% but even building on that as well, Pete. Managers should ask for feedback from their team in the same way you know, and actually asking them what their weak spots are and how it makes them feel and asking for suggestions. Because guess what as well, it’s a shortcut to becoming better because your team will give you some fantastic suggestions. I would like it if you do more of this Stu, or you know, I wasn’t particularly keen on when you done this or whatever, and it just gives you that visibility. Again, all the people managers continue in blissful ignorance, thinking the brilliance in that team love them and again, in truth, that’s often the opposite. So totally agree. It’s it’s a two way street feedback and it should be constant.

Yeah. I mean it’s interesting because obviously, you know, you reference the work that we’ve and we’re doing with Dylan. You know, one of the things that we do when somebody joins SalesStar in the UK is we talk about, you know, we we have this open environment where excuse me, you can give anybody in the business feedback, the feedback received well. And actually we don’t give each other feedback and we can’t be candid with each other and then we’re not going to improve. And I think I think initially, you know, even Dylan found that quite tough that he could come to the MD and say, well, actually, you know, this didn’t land well. Or actually when you were coach, you may you could have improved this. So, you know, he has some room for improvement. And we, like you say, we we open ourselves up for feedback. And I do a lot of meetings with with Alison our head of sales and I will say to Ali at the end of a call so as to what could I improve, what could I have done better and she says well, nothing. I’ll say no, but there’s got to be one thing that I could do better. Yeah. What about when we were asking the. The tension questions of the affect question? You know what? One of the things we can do better so that we’re we’re always constantly getting better because I don’t think there’s there’s no such thing as the perfect sales call. You know, you can unpack anything and say, well, you could have sweets there. So you could have asked a question he or she didn’t understand. And, you know, the return on investment or the prospect didn’t understand it. So I think it is interesting what you saying. It’s about constant improvement.

Totally. And I think a big thing you said as well, picking up on what you said, is that vulnerability is not being, you know, not being fearful of showing yourself as vulnerable to your team. Everybody is vulnerable. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses and communicating that. And you know what? I make a point of that with the team. You know, I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to do my best to help you get better. But I want your feedback as part of that as well so I can improve personally if there’s ever anything you disagree with or anything that you, you know, you don’t think is quite right, then tell me. But also, you know, sometimes give maybe the pat on the back just say Stu, You know, I really enjoyed that session. It was really helpful. And because positive feedback and reinforcement can sometimes be good is as good as constructive feedback, but we’re very aligned with SalesStar, Pete. You know, we have that open feedback as part of our operating principles. I mean, it goes right the way up the top of the organization where everybody in the business can give anybody feedback. And I think it’s crucially important because, like you say, if you’re not doing it, you’re not improving. And that’s what, you know, kills development and kills businesses. Ultimately, if you if you’re sitting still are not getting better, the competition is and you’re going to start losing pace with them.

Definitely. ‘d like to touch on the subject of prospecting and and cold calling. I know we probably both comment on, you know, other people’s discussions about, you know, cold calling is dead. I know, I know. You laugh, you know, for it’s called laughing about some of the same people, you know, go onto LinkedIn and say, I sold 100, you know, a £10 million deal just on LikedIn and I didn’t have to pick the phone up if that was the case. If we both done that, I think we’d be drinking cocktails on a beach somewhere. But but what? Why why do you think people are talking about the prospecting and you know and cold calling is dead? I mean I’m interested to hear you insights into that and do you think were creating a culture effectively lazy salespeople who think they’ve not going to pick up the phone anymore.

Great question. And one that is close to my heart, as you know, Pete. Clearly stoked some pretty strong opinions here. I think people think cold calling is dead because they aren’t good at cold calling. If you can’t make cold calling successful, my belief is it’s not cold calling it’s you. You aren’t a successful cold caller. It’s relatively straightforward when you actually try and improve and get better. You know, it’s not rocket science that we’re doing here. It’s cold calling. I’ve yet to work with anybody who we haven’t made successful as a cold caller as long as they have the right attributes.

You know.

A different story. But we’ve got the right person who’s coachable. They’ve got the right attitude, etcetera, etcetera. Then we can make them successful as a cold caller. But it’s not even the reps faults a lot of the time because, you know, their managers don’t call them, don’t give them feedback and if you’re not at least getting some success with something, it’s very difficult to continue doing it and it’s really challenging. But yeah, the argument for cold calling being dead is just it’s just ridiculous in my eyes. You know, anybody who thinks that, come and shadow me or our team for an hour and you’ll you realize that cold calling is alive and well and it works. And that’s not to say LinkedIn doesn’t work. You know, I’m a big advocate of people posting on LinkedIn, building their brands, but that’s part of a multi-channel approach. Nothing is dead; cold calling works. LinkedIn can work, emails can work, right? But you might never answer a cold call from me Pete, but you might engage with me on LinkedIn. Great. Where as Dylan, might only pick up his phone. He might never reply to an email. It’s not about us. It’s about, you know, casting a net and trying to catch the prospect where they are. So you think cold calling is dead? Some of your next best customers will disagree and you’ll never speak to them.

Yeah, I do agree. I think it’s a multichannel it’s a multichannel approach. But I think what you know, when I start my in my sales career I was talking to Alison about to this morning in our sales hustle with the rest of the sales team is that when I started the internet was only just only just started 

You’re showing your age now Pete! 

I am showing yeah yeah yeah yeah. I’m I’m sure Kevin can give you similar stories. Yeah. Because I know how old he is. But the you know I had to drive around industrial estates to get compliments slips so if I ever had a meeting with a with a business on an industrial estate, then what I would do is when a came out of the meeting I would go in receptions of buildings, and say actually I’ve got some information for the managing director, do you have his direct line number, they’ll get a compliment slips. But it was it was prospecting, it was cold calling and then I would probably come back to my office with 30 or 40 compliment slips and I would spend the next day just calling those companies. And my script went something along the lines of you know I would get I would get through to the M.D. because one thing I learned in those early days was the best time to get hold of a busy person was early in the morning.

Yeah.

And so I would, I would go to office at 7:30am and I would ring people because I knew the only person who would probably pick up the phone in an owner managed business at that time of the day was the owner. Yeah. And I would I would get through you know my script would go something along the lines of: Hi Stuart it’s Pete here for XYZ pension investment company. We work with business owners who are looking to enhance the benefits to their employees. I would have a few put their phone down on me, but I knew even in those early days that it was hard work with the fact if I if around 30 businesses cold then there’s probably somebody who was probably in the marketplace. Yeah. You know, so I would probably generate two meetings from that and then I would concentrate on referrals and I do think that those skills of actually being able to have the mindset to pick the phone up are so important.

Yeah, and I talk about this a lot with the team, you know, can you be successful [Lagging Internet Noises] the languages that we want to use for lead generation these days, just on email or just on LinkedIn, probably if you do enough of it. But, I also think that’s a disservice for the rest of your career, because guess what? When you become an account executive or a business development manager, you need to have conversations with people on the phone or in person. And if you’ve hidden behind email for two years been successful or you’ve just built your brand on LinkedIn and got people coming to you, you’re going to be at a massive disadvantage to somebody who’s competent and confident on the phone. So even if it can be successful, which, you know, people every day are telling me that they’re successful just using LinkedIn or just using email, that’s great. However, for their own development, I think they’re missing a trick to get confident on the phone because it serves you well in your career. Whatever role you go into, you know, having that ability to pick up the phone and spark a conversation with somebody from nothing is really, really powerful skill that you can have in your sales career. And I, you know, I’m a big fan of salespeople never stop prospecting. We prospect, you know, again, the culture and the organization. There’s times where Kev our CEO will prospect all of the managers, all of the leaders in the sales team will still prospect. That’s again, the culture that we get to filter down to everybody never stop prospecting. You know, it shouldn’t be. And it shouldn’t be as a surprise that account executives and people who close business are still prospecting every day because it’s crucially important.

Yeah, it is. And I think it’s really interesting. And you’ve mentioned titles like Account Execs, account manager, business development manager. I mean, this is one of my pet hates, why don’t we just call ourselves salespeople? Because whether if you’re an account manager and you’ve got existing accounts, you’ve still got to grow those accounts. You still got to have conversations with, with, with people. And you can use that as an opportunity to to ask for referrals. And I think you’re right. I think nobody in the organization should be above prospecting. It should be part of people’s lives. But I think it’s almost like the job titles have made people lazy.

Yeah, and I think job titles is a big is a big is a big question. And you know, I we I love sales. I’m passionate to work in sales. But I think a lot of the time people can be embarrassed by being in sales and they want anything but the sales in that title, you know, business development executive or whatever that title might be, where I think we should be more passionate about what we do. You know, sales is the driving force of every organization. It’s what helps businesses grow and achieve their aspirations. But we shy away from that. And again, I do think it’s changing. You know, when I started out, sales was almost seen as a bit of a dirty word. But now I do think we’re starting to embrace sales and realize how valuable it is, but also how great a career can be, you know, working in sales. Is it easy? Absolutely not. But is it rewarding and massively rewarding in terms of financial and achievement in your career? Yes. You know, I now can’t see myself doing anything else. Somebody asked me the other way, which I thought was quite a good question. I’ve got a little girl who’s two and somebody asked me what I want Sophie to work in sales. And there was shocked by my response because I was absolutely I want to do what she wants, by all means. But, you know, how can I knock a career that has helped me achieve some things that, you know, I never thought possible? And I think a lot of people think sales are still a dirty word. But I think we need to change that perspective and become sales professionals.

Yeah. And I think for me, you know, one of the one of my my drivers is by raising the professionalism and raising standards in sales because like I say, it isn’t seen as something that you go into when you’re young. And I certainly didn’t run around in the playground when people, you know, you were younger, what are you going to I’m going to go into sales. You know, I probably would have been shot at that stage. I’ll take it all taken away in a white van. But I’m yeah but I do you think it is it it it’s a great career but I think one of the things that we’ve got to do is, you know, coming back to call this conversation is coaching people and showing them there is a there is a pathway. Yeah, there’s a pathway to success. And actually people are great at sales, not necessarily need to go into management or leadership. Actually, we need to respect people who are who are great. I was going to use the word just was giving them better service, but the greater selling and they want to constantly improve themselves.

Yeah, absolutely Pete, And you know, those people who maybe just go into enterprise sales and things, if salary and earnings and, you know, is more important, those people will probably earn more than managers, you know, a really, really good salesperson should probably be. You know, I heard a comment recently saying, you know, the best salespeople and organizations should be making more than the CEO. And it’s probably true. You know, if they are really successful and doing really well, then they should be reaping the rewards of that. And I think, again, it’s a mistake where everybody thinks that natural trajectory is from successful salesperson, manager, VP, CR or whatever. And you have to follow that path, that path. And I’m like you, I totally disagree because some people are natural, they love selling and they want to continue to do that and they just want to be as successful as they can in selling. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That is fantastic. And I think if that’s something that you think is right for you, then you should absolutely embrace that. But again, that comes back to a good leader and a good manager finding out what’s important to somebody. Because some people, you know, the thought of leading others and managing others fills them with absolute dread. And I can see why, because it’s not all smooth sailing. You know, managing people can be an absolute nightmare sometimes you think it was difficult when you had your own target to compare with. Think about that when you’ve got ten or 50 targets and you know, the stress is just amplified. I think sometimes there’s a misconception in that moving in the management can be the easy option. And in my experience, it’s anything but.

Yeah, and I would agree, you know, I agree with you. I mean, I’m I’m blessed and humbled to have a great, great team of people. But, you know, there are ups and downs in building that team. You know, you you’re dealing with you’re dealing with individuals. And I’m sure you feel this sometimes. You’re not just a manager and a leader and a coach, but some days you might be a counsellor.

100%.

Yeah. Know, I think, you know, this is really is is this perception. But actually, I think if you’re going to go into you’re going to go into management, you’ve got to develop great coaching skills. You’ve got to be empathetic, you’ve got to be able to to listen- it’s a different challenge. But I get most of my satisfaction when my team grow. They get they get confidence to to do things and they feel that they feel empowered. I think that’s I think as a leader manager, that’s where I get my most satisfaction from. And I’m sure you do as well.

Yeah, absolutely. Pete, you’re dead right about that. That’s what my main motivation comes from. Now, you know, when I found my way into sales, it was about making money. You know, I don’t think we should hide behind that. That’s obviously one of the reasons why a lot of people move into sales and Stu, ten, 15 years ago, when I started out, was very much about making money and trying to be successful. But now the biggest motivator, the biggest reward that I get is the success of others. You know, it’s genuinely good for the soul helping somebody get that. I’m know that sounds cheesy, but that’s where I got a real kick. Now, when you see others become successful, help them achieve that, you know, goals and what they want to do. And it’s super rewarding. And that’s why I went into management, because I really enjoyed doing that and helping others be successful. But it’s definitely not the easy choice.

No it’s not. So I think what I think, you know, some of the key messages and so the great message you shared with us on our on this podcast is, you know, if you’re going to if you’re going to coach your team, it is it’s obviously going to be part of the culture, the organization you talked a lot about using data to drive coaching conversations. And obviously the Allego platform is is a fantastic platform for enabling organizations to actually really understand what’s happening on sales calls. You know, it gives them it gives you great data to have high quality coaching conversations. And I think what I also really liked is we got the we’ve had the opportunity to discuss the value of prospecting. And actually everybody in the organization who’s involved in sales, whether they’re an SDR, BDR, an account exec or business development manager should be constantly prospecting as part of their job and looking for any opportunities. So I think I’d just like to thank you for being on this week’s podcast. I think you shared some fantastic insights. Obviously at SalesStar we love partnering with Allego, but I’ve got a couple of questions for you to finish off. What’s the one nugget of advice you would give to somebody who’s new into sales management? What was your nuggets for success as a sales manager?

Great question. Let me cheat and give you two. The first one is and this will be get a mentor, right? Find somebody who you can learn from, whether that’s a coach, a mentor or somebody who’s been there and walk that path and, you know, invest in yourself if you might have to pay for that. And it might be expensive, but that investment will pay back dividends massively in the long run. So so do it because it’s a real steep learning curve becoming a manager. But if somebody has walked our path, they can help you to avoid some of those real pitfalls. So that thing the second thing, Pete, is going to I’m going to I’m going to plagiarize you here and use your line is always be learning.

Right.

It’s absolutely essential you need to keep learning. A lot of people have made that mistake thinking they’ve made it. But you need to keep learning and get better every day.

Right? Okay, that’s fantastic. And finally, if people want to reach out to you, Stuart, and connect with you, what’s the best what’s the best way of them connecting with you?

Yeah, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m quite active on LinkedIn as Stuart Taylor. You’ll be able to find me that pretty easily. I’ve got a lot of content anybody can email me, it’s staylor@allego.com if anybody’s brave enough, they can give me a cold call. My number is all over LinkedIn. If you want to give me a call call, I do take cold calls and I’ll be more than happy to receive some. But yeah, I’d love to connect with anybody who’s in this industry, you know, and got that growth mindset, who wants to get better and be great to connect with as many of you as possible.

Okay, that’s that’s great. Stuart, thanks once again for being a guest on the Creating SalesStars podcast. Love having you on the this week’s edition and look forward to welcoming you back in the next few months. I’m sure we could talk all day about the topic of sales coaching and its impact on on sales performance. So thank you very much.

Definitely, Pete, it’s been a pleasure and thanks for having me on and hopefully do it again soon.

[MUSIC]

Thanks for listening. This podcast was brought to you by SalesStar and hosted by Pete Evans. For more information about what we can offer you head to our website at salesstar.com/UK. You can also find us on all social media platforms just by searching for SalesStar UK.

Credits

Presenter and Producer: Pete Evans
Special Guest: Stuart Taylor
Producer and Intro/Outro Voiceover: Oliver Eaton
Podcast Editor: Alex Mullen

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