Calculated risks in an ever-changing sales world with Dale Zwizinski

About This Episode

Dale Zwizinski, VP of North American Sales for Beezy, stops by Decision Point to talk about his risks in the sales environment, the successes and failures, what caused them both, and what he’s learned from them both.
After having 7 startups in 4 different countries, Dale has a wealth of experience to share with anyone who needs to hear it in today’s ever-changing sales world. Along with that, Dale’s 20 years of experience in enterprise sales will provide anyone with some assistance along the way.

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Calculated risks in an ever-changing sales world with Dale Zwizinski

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: What’s, what’s a big risk that you took out of going out of paper.

[00:00:06] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah, I think there’s several of them. I’ve done seven startup companies.

I think this is like my seventh or eighth startup company out of four different countries. So this is my fourth country that I’ve gone in. So I’ve been a couple of north America, one out of Holland one out of the UK and now one out of Barcelona, Spain. So I’ve been through a bunch of smaller organizations tons of different learnings I think one of the, one of the big one, my very first ones that I went through was I used to be a coder.

So I used to write code and yeah, in college I took programming classes, new Pascal, java.net and then got into, it says it’s running a distance. I don’t know what that means.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: What’s, what’s a big risk that you took out of going out of paper.

[00:00:06] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah, I think there’s several of them. I’ve done seven startup companies.

I think this is like my seventh or eighth startup company out of four different countries. So this is my fourth country that I’ve gone in. So I’ve been a couple of north America, one out of Holland one out of the UK and now one out of Barcelona, Spain. So I’ve been through a bunch of smaller organizations tons of different learnings I think one of the, one of the big one, my very first ones that I went through was I used to be a coder.

So I used to write code and yeah, in college I took programming classes, new Pascal, java.net and then got into, it says it’s running a distance. I don’t know what that means.

[00:00:50] Brad Seaman: Computers are going to blow up.

[00:00:54] Dale Zwizinski: But basically I, you know, took a, took a leap of faith going into sales. And my first startup company, I actually jumped over to run a project out of the UK for UBS.

So they like, Hey, we need someone to run this product in the UK, you know, come over. You don’t have any experience in the rules, engine space. We’ll just put you out. And when I jumped over, like they didn’t close the business and all of a sudden we’re like, okay, they’re like, where do we put you? Cause we don’t have another project for.

And so I kinda just got sucked into sales, you know, from that point forward, like the sales team was awful. I never really did sales, but they were just like, here, go do sales. And you know, we, I stumbled my way through my first couple of sales, like failed a bunch of times. Didn’t know what I was doing.

Like brand new. And just have some really good mentors to kind of say, you know, don’t worry about the failing part of it. So you get a lot of lessons through that and learn what people really did. And didn’t like, and then we got bought by fair Isaac corporation. We got bought by a big company. And then I went back into sales engineering.

So I kind of went from professional services, into sales, back into sales engineering. And, you know, I got to a place where. I wanted to go back into sales and I remember the VP of sales at fair Isaac, a really good mentor of mine. And he goes, look at, he goes, I think you could do it. He goes, I’m going to throw you into the deep end of the pool and you either sink or swim, that’s it.

And so threw me into the deep end of the pool. You know, there were some failures, but I think you just, you, you have to keep going, like there’s failure. And then there’s like learning from failure and then keep going. And so, you know, I lost a couple of deals and got frustrated and he said, look it, you just keep following the process, be consistent, do the foundational pieces in sales and you’ll be okay.

[00:02:51] Brad Seaman: Now, was there a period of time where you felt that it sounded like you got your roots in coding and then you’re going to get into sales. Did you identify as a developer for a long period of time? And if so, is there a period where you were like, can remember like, okay, I’m no longer a developer, I’m a salesperson.

[00:03:07] Dale Zwizinski: All right. Yeah. And it kind of got into like, I did a couple years of coding and then what I realized, cause I also played soccer in college and what I realized. Like, I didn’t want to be in the lab my whole life. And I got really tired of like being by myself on the green screen, like writing code and realized that I liked to be around people.

And that’s where, that’s kind of where the sales side, when I got out of school, I did a little bit of coding, but did more like services work. But what I realized when I wanted to get into sales, I can’t remember the exact time. 1999. It was the Y2K bug as implementing software in New York city. For a company called American lawyer.

And so I was doing a lot of work. I was like hours and hours and hours in New York city. And the project manager was super good, but she always wanted to change stuff up. She’s like, oh, I want to do this. I want to do that. I’m like, yeah, no problem. I can do that for you. No problem. I can do that for you.

Eventually. I had to say like, you got to go back to the salesperson because I just can’t keep doing all the stuff for free. Like, I was just doing a bunch of it. Like we would have to inside of the program, we would code all these SQL forums. She goes, ah, she goes, dad, salesperson, all he wants is his commission.

And if I ever see, and he goes, I read like New York, like tirade of like F and salesperson in this place ever again, I will kick his butt and she just goes on and on. And I realized at that moment, the reason why people succeed or fail and sales is about integrity and about selling stuff that you can actually deliver.

Or being honest and upfront and transparent in the execute in the value proposition, a pass-through like, Hey, this is what we have. This is what we can do. Inevitably in sales, you do have like some. You have some things where you’re not a hundred percent spot on or truthful or whatever it is. Like, there is some stretching that has to end up happening, but in general, you should not sell stuff that you can’t deliver on.

[00:05:03] Brad Seaman: That’s getting like, you know, w with free trials, people could put their hands on it, they can use the product. Do you feel like in a SAS world that’s gotten better? Then it was when you had to do an install and

[00:05:18] Dale Zwizinski: I think it depends. So yes, a lot of the trial pieces. Yes. And it depends on whether you’re true enterprise software or you’re kind of not like your trial and you’re like SAS, like there’s this, there’s this evolution of SAS.

You have like true SAS platforms that you can just kind of like spin up, start running, go, go through the process. Then you have like enterprise SAS software. Like we don’t give any free trials out and our cause some of our competitors do, but we’re selling to, you know, a quarter million person organization.

So we have like the biggest global bank using the technology. And so it’s hard to just spin up a trial. So it depends. I think there’s a lot of bad salespeople out there. I think there’s a lot of bad sales leaders out there. I think, you know, I think it starts with the leadership and, and works backwards.

So. I think, you know, we can blame sales people, all we want that they’re not giving the right information or they’re calling too much, or they’re sending too many emails or whatever it is, but the leadership is allowing them to do that.

[00:06:21] Brad Seaman: So, so talk a little bit about leadership. I mean, what are some of the keys is not a topic that we’ve covered on here, but you know, sales, leadership, I mean, you know, I feel like can be a little bit of an elusive term.

So you’ve been in a lot of places and it sounds like you’ve had some good mentors you’d get. So, can you talk about a healthy, what does a healthy, strong growing sales leadership?

[00:06:43] Dale Zwizinski: I think it starts at the top, always with the executive team, even the CEO, whoever it is, that’s kind of running the organization and drives the culture into the organization. And I think it also good leadership to me or good sales leadership. Has an individual component. So you don’t treat everybody the same and people may not want to hear that.

But the reality is everyone has their own things that they want to accomplish in life. Someone may want to make more money. Some people may want to have a better title. Some people may want to have a balance in life. And for me, Too many leaders have kind of given blanket statements across everything and having individually coach people, or they don’t know how to individually coach people.

They, they just, every, they, they lead more with an IQ versus an EQ. And I think that is the big difference in sales leader. And I don’t think there’s enough training for leaders. Like where are people going to get training? Where are people going to get mentorship? If you don’t go do it yourself? No, one’s really helping you go do that.

Like I have my own business coach. Like I go off and find my own business coach, and I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I look at the best in the world. You look at every professional athlete. I don’t care if it’s LeBron James or. You know you know, Tom Brady or any of these guys or girls or girls, they have coaches and all these different places.

So what, why are sales professionals not going to get these coaches?

[00:08:16] Brad Seaman: Do you, do you do you see a D I mean, there’s definitely a lot of sales coach. I mean, there’s definitely access to sales coaches. Right. But what do you think when I think about sales leadership, I think about something a little bit, a little bit.

Where are you go for a good coach, you know, sales, leadership coaching, like where if you were going to start the search, where would you go? Are you going to go to see?

[00:08:36] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah, I think you look internally first to find out where your blind spots are. Like, you gotta be, you almost gotta sit yourself down and say like, where are my blind spots have a real good self-awareness of what you don’t do well, and go find coaches to help you in that.

I don’t think there’s, there’s not like a Stanler or like some kind of like sales methodology training. I think. It’s taken me a while you go through people, you find people that you trust for me, it was about servant leadership. So I found people that really cared about the organization and cared about the people and understood how to implement process.

I think that’s the other part, too many sales leaders don’t know how to implement process or. Implement some kind of process or they just take on like something from the past and don’t make it their own and don’t make it for the organization that they’re running it for. So it’s a good question. I don’t have a great answer for you.

I just, I keep doing it until I find people. I really trust. And utilize that the equivalent of IQ into the EEQ side.

[00:09:40] Brad Seaman: Yeah. No, I think that’s great insight. What, what was going through my mind is, you know, there’s a kind of an, I think there’s, and maybe it’s just cause I’m in the sales space. So if you’re not, if you’re not in the sales space, you might not be like.

But I feel like there’s kind of an unlimited access to sales consultants and people that can coach. There’s not a lot of conversation and there’s not a lot of places you can go to say, okay, let’s talk about sales leadership. And then how do we build sales leadership in our organization? I wouldn’t know where to great.

Those are great things to think of that I’m actually thinking about as we’re having this conversation, I don’t know where you would, where you would go. So that was sort of what, what prompted my.

[00:10:14] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah. And, and a lot of my friends, like what I’m learning, going through all these startup companies and, and even friends of mine that have started off business.

They’re always trying to find out, like, how do I set up a sales organization? Where do I go to set that up? How does it work? So not the biggest salvage companies, but there’s a lot of like, I I’m com I’m combining like startup and high growth companies together. Cause they kind of have the same problem.

Like startup companies are a little bit different, but the high growth companies, like they’re doing 10 million in ARR, they’re doing 15 million in ARR, but they want to scale to like the next. And you just have to make sure you have all the processes in place. And then what worked for you getting to 10 million is not going to work for you to getting the 50 million.

And you got to make sure that there is some scalability, but you don’t scale everything. Like the human aspect of it. You can’t really scale. And it takes that coaching aspect or that coaching ability to really understand what people want and how they, how they, how they interact with others. Like what’s what motivated.

That’s what makes good salespeople. So if you can figure out individually what motivates people, then you can actually be a better sales leader, but

[00:11:26] Brad Seaman: do you think the top, most top performer sales reps are motivated by money?

[00:11:33] Dale Zwizinski: I would have said five years ago, probably. Yeah. I think today it’s different. Most SOPs salespeople have made a bunch of money. Like I’m talking with people today that are made a ton of money and they want something. They want to sell cool products. They want to change the way people are doing things.

They want work, life balance. Like this whole pandemic thing I think has opened up a lot of people’s eyes. And they’re like, Hey, I don’t need to travel through 250 times a year. I can travel, you know, whatever a hundred times a year and spend more time with my family. No, I have a 16 and a 13 year old now, and I got to spend the last two years like being with them.

And that meant a lot to me because it just like everything stopped. So it just meant a lot. And so for me, the pandemic has been great to be able to spend that time with my kids and my, my wife. So how

[00:12:26] Brad Seaman: do you bring up a payment? DEMEC how do you think that you feel like sales has changed since the pandemic?

I mean, I, I read an article. I mean, there’s definitely a work change, right? I

[00:12:35] Dale Zwizinski: think, I think sales changes every six months. I think people, people have a twisted, like people like it used to be like, I don’t know, every decade things would change or you get this new sales process. I think the biggest challenge in sales today is people aren’t changing fast enough.

You know, between the pandemic. And now one of the big changes I’ve seen is are all these sales community. So we talked a little bit about red genius early. You know, Thursday night sales kicked in with Scott Leeson, Amy bolus. You, you have all these new communities popping up. And for me, what’s really changed in the last 12 to 18 months is I like I’m hiring right now.

So I’m hiring two to three reps and by next year I’ll have another six to eight reps. That’ll have to. But I don’t really care about resumes. Like I want to see your LinkedIn profile. I’m sitting in these communities watching who’s active. Who’s not active. I have a lot more reach to people to go find the right resources for my organization.

If you’re not participating in LinkedIn and engaging with people or engaging in these communities, I’m really not interested in talking to you.

[00:13:46] Brad Seaman: So I know. So, so let’s talk about w what do you think it says now? Why, why is it.

[00:13:52] Dale Zwizinski: Just because I think it’s so easy. Like a resume is what you say you do, and the work on communities or LinkedIn or what I

[00:14:01] Brad Seaman: can see it.

That’s what you’re actually interested in. It’s your actual fault. It’s your thought process? It’s actually how you’re thinking and interacting and what you’re doing.

[00:14:10] Dale Zwizinski: Totally tangible. Like, you know, I can say to somebody, like, let’s say I went to go talk to somebody and they said, well, what’s your philosophy on X, Y, Z.

I write about it every day on LinkedIn. Like what’s your philosophy on X, Y, Z. In fact, I’m in the process of crafting and structuring a book on leadership. So a lot of the stuff that we’re talking about today, I’m actually writing a book on or crafting the book around it because I think there’s not enough content for it as we were talking about.

[00:14:39] Brad Seaman: So let’s hop back on a topic that you sorta, you threw out a couple of places and I’m sure this is going to be in the book, but ETQ versus IQ and sales leader leadership. Do you think these communities have helped improve the ability to find someone with a higher IQ? Like, do you feel like that’s coming out in the.

[00:14:57] Dale Zwizinski: For sure, absolutely. 100%, because what you can see is how they react, how they’re, how they’re interacting with people, how they engage and then you take it offline. Like you see stuff in and interact with people in the committee. I get hit up probably four times a week to have a conversation like, Hey, can we grab a virtual coffee?

Hey, can we do this? Hey, can we do that? Hey, I need mentorship. You know, somebody just pick me out on rev genius and said, Hey, I’m really looking for a leader, a mentor on leadership. Not necessarily in sales, but just in leadership in general. Like what do you think about it? Would you help me? Yeah, absolutely.

That’s why. The whole leadership, mentoring training people is actually much easier now than it’s ever been, because there’s a lot more people in the mix that you can actually reach out to. So, yeah, I definitely think you can you can watch how people are interacting on, on LinkedIn. Like, are they engaging on people’s content?

Are they just commenting and being jerk?

[00:15:59] Brad Seaman: Where’s Josh Braun. He must have a lot of people sending them. Hey man. Cause I get, you know, every week he’s bringing up somebody that’s, somebody that’s hated on him.

[00:16:08] Dale Zwizinski: That’s stupid stuff. Like I’ll put out a poll and someone will be like, why are you putting out this poll?

And they’ll have this like dissertation. And I’m like, why are you spending the time to write your dissertation on this? If you don’t, if you think it’s stupid, like.

[00:16:22] Brad Seaman: Yeah, I don’t like internets internets, but I do feel like LinkedIn is, you know, historically is, you know, it’s, it’s getting more more, maybe interesting people on it, but it’s had on it before.

As obviously it it’s become more popular. But so, so let me ask you a question about kind of sales leader, sales, leadership Coaching startups. I mean, you know, kind of walk me through like at what point or no, here’s my question. Sorry. I, you said something that got me, you got, made me start laughing.

So then I got my, I got, I got sides. Right? So here, so here’s my here’s my question. How do you On the communities. There’s a big group of people who don’t have that. We’re maybe not gonna, like we sell a company. Like I sell a product to a community that’s very active. There are communities that are not active on LinkedIn.

And a lot of the strategies that have built out, like from a sales development process, like go talk to the person on LinkedIn, go interact with them. Go have a conversation with them. Apply very well. If you’re showing a sales to. Organization. What happens when that doesn’t exist? Because there are a lot of companies we’re going to having a social touch is not possible.

[00:17:42] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah. I get this question a lot. I think inevitably every brand is on LinkedIn or every brand is in the news or every brand is putting content out. Like if brands are putting content out, like they’re dead, so there’s content or something happening somewhere. And you just have to do a little bit more digging, like, Hey, the CEO just said this and the 10 K or had this interview on X, Y, Z.

Or like if the company’s not putting content out, then they’re probably not worth doing business with anyway. So I look at, at a company level versus the corporate level, and then I utilize that content. What I tell my, my team is let’s utilize that content in your outreach because here’s the other part.

LinkedIn is getting very spammy, like the inbox eat the newsfeed, like it’s so spammy right now that people are actually having more success calling on the phone. Right. So which leads into products like, well, you guys have where people are starting to pick up the phone. There’s there’s two parts of the email or the content that you’re delivering on LinkedIn one is make sure the subject line is good enough where people actually want to read the content.

Then if you get them to actually click into your content, make sure you’re talking about them first. Like, what’s their problem? What are they trying to solve for? What did they say? Then say something about the industry and then say something about your company. And only one thing about your company. I see emails like 400 bullet points.

I’m like, why? Like. Put yourself in their shoes. Like you can’t digest it all. It sounds great. We forget a salespeople that we sell on a daily basis. Our buyers may only buy once every four years. So like we just forget that like we’re like machines and they’re like trying to figure out like, yeah, they have all this information, but what information is good.

[00:19:31] Brad Seaman: Yeah, that’s such a good, that is such a good point is like you take for granted the fact that you’re selling every day, but the buyer is only buying occasionally.

[00:19:41] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah. Like my buyer may buy once every four to five years. And so one of my big, like, I don’t believe sales processes, sales process matters to me and to my organization, the sales process, no one on the buyer side gives two shits about the sales process.

In fact, they’re buying pro there. They’re trying to figure out their buying process. Once again, going back to the only buy every four to five years, these people don’t even know what they’re doing. And so you’ve got to help them through that process by asking really good questions or provoking them enough and being patient like we were not patient enough.

And this once again, this starts from the top search from the investors all the way down, or whoever’s running the company, got to have a little patience, but you got to see momentum and progress.

[00:20:31] Brad Seaman: So you, you CA you kind of clicked on something that I, that I’m kind of, kind of passionate about, maybe annoyed about it.

I don’t know, but questions. You know, I think it’s really important as a salesperson when you ask questions that there’s authenticity. Cause I feel like unauthentic questions. Can be just detrimental to certain personalities. So I, I know for me, if I get stuck in the Sandler sales funnel, did I start, I start fighting like hard, like as soon as, as soon as questions that seem obvious are being asked and it’s usually been done by, I mean, I go nuts.

Like I

[00:21:06] Dale Zwizinski: just, the situational awareness, right? It’s so situational awareness and an understanding who your buyer is or who you’re talking to. Like, this is the problem with. Like bulk conversations. I’d rather we have 10 good conversations than a thousand crappy conversations. Like it’s just much better for both sides.

Like there’s a value. Every conversation you give me 15 minutes, I should provide value for your 15 minutes. Right. That’s the way you have to think of. How would you

[00:21:36] Brad Seaman: define? So is that how you would define a successful conversation? Is that the, the 15 minutes had that you were able to provide value for the full 15 minutes?

Like how you, you said, Hey, I’d like to have, you know, X number of good conversations. How do you define a good conversation? Progress? Progress

[00:21:54] Dale Zwizinski: or disqualification, like that’s good progress. That’s a good conversation. Cause then I know that I don’t need to sell you anymore. Like the worst part for, and I saw in the enterprise space, right?

So our deal site, our cycles are 8, 12, 18 months. They could be a long time. And so I’d rather much, I’d rather know. A lot of front that, Hey, this isn’t going to go anywhere. Or I don’t have a project for a period of time because I don’t have to waste my six months too many salespeople build fake pipelines.

Like the last couple of organizations I’ve gone into. The first thing I do is I look at the pipeline and try to figure out what’s real. And then we call through it and then you can start really building good pipeline. One more thing unquestioned, before we go further, if you ask better questions, you get better answers.

So like too many times people are asking, yes, no questions. And you get, yes, no in. But if you ask really like, and I just say they have to kind of be genuine, like, oh,

[00:22:50] Brad Seaman: I have to regenerate. I see

[00:22:52] Dale Zwizinski: way too many people ask questions just because they think they need to ask that question and it may be a good Salesforce.

Won’t follow any script. Like they have, it’s like, it’s like in bowling, right. You know, you have to go down this lane, but you may have to put bumpers in there because it’s not like it’s gonna, like, it’s not always straight.

[00:23:13] Brad Seaman: Yeah. I, well, I, you know, I came across, so I don’t know if I was having, I was having a conversation with maybe Kendra Warlow, I think is who I was talking to.

And she’s got so much energy. That one. Oh man. Woo. Just get you, get you some red bull. Yeah, she does have a lot of energy. She was fun to talk to you. In the conversation that I was having with her I uncovered something that was kind of an aha moment for me. And it was this I’m a proponent of, I’m a big proponent of a script, but not in the sense that I think it’s traditional at this moment.

I realized why there so much controversy over scripting. Here’s the thing. I don’t think. You should have a scripted conversation with your. But I do think you need to have a script. You need to have memorize the, the, you need to know your stuff. And what happens I think happens with the script is that people get confusing, learning the material with executing the material, and they’re two separate things.

And we try to combine them all on a script and do do a two for one. So you need to know your stuff. I mean, you ha if you’re going to be a good salesperson, you have to memorize them in. Does it have to be scripted? I don’t not necessarily, but you have to have memorized what you’re taking to market. You have to understand there’s

[00:24:29] Dale Zwizinski: there’s two parts.

It’s really interesting that you were just talking about. Learning the material, that’s one thing, but then understanding the material is totally different. Like you can, like, I remember going into college or wherever I was, and I would study for an exam and I’d memorize it, but I didn’t really understand it.

So I’m learning it for that time, but I didn’t really understand it. And so we need to get to a place of understanding so that when you’re having a conversation with your, your prospect or even a customer on like a customer success, If they throw you a curve ball, you can genuinely say like, Hey, guess what?

I don’t know. I need to get you an answer because if you’re in the script and they bring you off your script, you like, it’s immediate to me. Every time I pull someone off a script, I can tell, I can totally tell. They’re there. They can’t handle the conversation. No, a hundred percent.

[00:25:25] Brad Seaman: Yeah. I just, the script is such a, such a controversial topic.

But I like it in the sense that I think it’s a good, it’s a good way to under the script is a good initial understanding of the material. But I do not believe that you should execute it that way. On the flip side, I don’t believe that you should not know your stuff. And then try to talk about something you don’t know about, which is

[00:25:47] Dale Zwizinski: what.

Th the script is good because you can measure right. If everyone’s just doing their own thing and they there’s no process, you can’t measure it. Right. So then how do you make it better? Like correct. They have a baseline to make it better. The other side of this. What I find with people who’ve been in sales or been in a particular company for a long period of time.

They know their stuff so well that when a customer asks a question, they’re already assuming that they know the answer versus asking one more question. Like someone may ask a question, you’d be like, oh yeah, I know what you’re going to say. And it’s XYZ instead of being like, Hmm. That’s interesting. Why are you asking that question?

Or what technology are you using for that? And allowing them to give you a response versus just having like this, this answer that you’ve already predefined. Well, I’m always shocked

[00:26:40] Brad Seaman: when you do that, follow up, when you do that follow up answer like, oh, Hey, what obviously you were, you’re thinking about something.

Why, why why’d you ask that question? I’m always shocked when, cause a lot of times, most of the time or maybe 80% of the time, it’s not what I think.

[00:26:56] Dale Zwizinski: Right. Exactly. But, but when you’ve done it so long, like I’ve seen reps I’ve been in, in seed for five years, three years, super successful reps, million, like making tons of commission and I’ll li I’ll sit down and call and I’ll be like, first of all, we didn’t ask any questions.

And secondly, like every question we asked, we assume what the answer is. If you just ask one more question, like you might’ve gone in a totally different direction and had a much more in-depth conversation. Like what you think they’re trying to accomplish isn’t necessarily what they’re trying to accomplish.

So you’re totally right. I don’t know why people don’t do it. I think they get comfortable like these reps that have been in seat for, and trust me, the reason why I say this is because it used to happen to me all the time when I was carrying a bag. I didn’t know my, like, I would understand, know my scripts so well that I would get.

Like answer before the question finished. And then I started understanding as I had kids. Like you got to almost ask three whys. Cause I I’d say something to my kid. They would ask me like why? And I tell them and they say why. And then I asked him again, that’s kind of where I got it from, like ask three wise.

Cause there’s really like, they don’t truly understand. And they do. They are very curious. So we gotta have, we gotta be more curious as a sales world.

[00:28:11] Brad Seaman: Yeah, no, I think that’s interesting. Like, you know, you need to be as secure as are more curious than your buyer, right? Cause your buyers curious. Yeah. I just think that, I mean, empathy is probably what you’ve got to care and you gotta be curious and you’ve gotta really be interested in what the client’s going to say.

I recently read the book good to great. Or I’d gone through all the Jim Collins stuff over the last, over the last year. On audible. And so the one thing that came up in good to great that I thought was interesting. And I think the same kind of idea applies the good salespeople is this. He said the good company, the bad companies, the bad ones didn’t want to hear anything, but good news.

So they were so focused on only having good news. So if you look at it, there are no trials on right now. If you listen to the trial, listening to the podcast and the feedback. Every, they didn’t want to hear bad news. They only wanted good news. So if you had bad news, they did not want to talk to you. Same thing at Enron, same thing at you know, any of these big that you get fixated on.

Good news. That same thing applies with a bad sales rep. A bad sales rep is just focused on, on good news. And yet. Those are, those are really alarm signals for how successful that person is going to be a

[00:29:27] Dale Zwizinski: hundred, a hundred percent on a hundred percent on, and actually a good sales leader will push them and say, did you ask X, Y, Z question?

What ends up happening is the sale. The sales rep doesn’t really do this on purpose. The sales rep won’t ask hard questions because they don’t want to really know the. And the, because if they really know the answer, then they may not really have an opportunity to have an opportunity. Then their pipeline is much smaller than what they projected.

It’s a bit of an ego thing as well as a bit of a self preservation thing. So as sale, once again, we can blame the salespeople.

[00:30:09] Brad Seaman: They certainly

[00:30:09] Dale Zwizinski: can’t sales leadership and say, okay, you’ve got to make sure that you’re asking harder questions. And making sure that the rep can answer the questions and if they can’t that’s okay.

Like that’s the other thing in sales, we have to make sure that sales people have the, have the place where they can be wrong. Like it’s okay to be wrong. Like it’s okay to fail. Like if you fail like it, we started in the beginning of this podcast, you’re going to learn from it. As long as you learn, you fail, like that’s that’s way better.

And so I think. Salespeople in general, what I’ve noticed, especially over the last three, four or five years. They’re really afraid to ask the hard questions because they’re afraid that their pipeline is going to get them in. And then they don’t know what to talk about anymore is that

[00:30:55] Brad Seaman: unrealistic like quotas and revenue.

[00:30:59] Dale Zwizinski: So I thought you were going to go down this path so that, so Scott leads just posted a great post today on LinkedIn on this whole thing, go take a look at it. It’s about quotas and setting quotas and putting quotas together. And in fact, it’s funny because I’m writing the first chapter on expectations.

So I think the biggest reason why a lot of people fail is expectations are set right? A lot of times, if you’re going into an organization as a sales leader or you’ve been promoted, or you’re going through this process, even if you’re in your organization, you get this quota set based on a bunch of variables that you may not have control over.

And then you got to figure out how to do it. I think the unrealistic expectation and setting up quotas is because sales leaders are not willing to have courageous conversations to understand. What reality is like, we’re always not giving true reality. And so we need that transparency to say, I understand Mr.

CEO or board of directors, you want 50% growth, but based on, you know, XYZ, it looks more like this. We’d love to get there. Like the stretch goal is great, but just know that this is, this is the reality of what we’re living in. And I don’t think enough people are willing to have that conversation. Yeah,

[00:32:13] Brad Seaman: well, you know, in a lot of companies, the system, you know, there’s a lot of pressure to not to.

I mean, there’s a lot of pressure to not ask questions right. And not, not get to what what’s really, you know, what’s really going on. I mean, I think so as a salesperson, you know, I think a lot of sales guys think about sales. As like your best sales are really smooth, right? The guy comes in, you sign the agree, they just go through all their stages and they signed the deal.

But that’s not really how the best sales work out. There’s usually a little bit of friction. Like if there’s, if there’s no rub, there’s no bow, there’s really no buyer.

[00:32:48] Dale Zwizinski: Well, and it goes back to like, there’s no sales process, right? There’s only the buying process. So in the sales process, sometime in the sales process, preferably earlier than later, let’s call it a third of the way in the sales process.

We should be mapping the buying process to our sales process. So we’re aligning them as you get to the 50% mark you’re now have shared when you understand the buying processes to the customer. And they’re agreeing that that is the buying process. Like at some point we have to agree that this is the buying process.

And I think,

[00:33:21] Brad Seaman: walk me through, walk me through how, you know, how are you guys going to, you know, Hey, like how are you guys going to make this decision? Like,

[00:33:29] Dale Zwizinski: It’s a little bit deeper than that, actually. I mean, I think that’s the easy way out. I think the, the way, the way I project it is I actually build a spreadsheet of all the tasks that need to happen to get to go live.

And then I work backward, so, okay. You want to be live Mr. Customer in August of 2022. What are all the steps we need to do? Because once again, it’s about value to the customer. The customer doesn’t care. W when we want them to sign the contract, we don’t want you to sign the contract by the end of 20 21 30 versus this is the final day you have, or else you’re not getting the discount like that’s traditional sales.

If you, if we go to the customer side of the world and say, okay, you need to be live by the end of August because your current contract is up by then. Good. Now we have a, now we have a place that we can put a pin in and we can work backward into getting the valid. So

[00:34:23] Brad Seaman: you, so you talked about discounting.

So talk to me about the buyer process and discounting traditionally. You’re right. It’s it’s seller centric. Discounting is that, Hey, this is your trigger. Here’s what we’re going to discount. How would you leverage and use discounts in your process? Talk a little bit about that. How do you think about

[00:34:42] Dale Zwizinski: once again?

I think it’s about the value to the customer. So if we know what the value to the customer is, if we know that they’re trying to. I usually try to figure out what the what they’re trying to solve for. So if you’re trying to reduce operational expense by X amount in the next 18 months, Then you can start making calculations for them on, Hey, if you don’t do that then, or if you put off, you know, six months of decision, you’re missing this much, much of revenue.

Now the other side of that are the operational costs. Now the other side of that is like, when you sell it, you have to deliver it. Like, that’s the other piece of it. Like too many people sell the. Projection. And they don’t actually follow through because the customer gets busy. The customer success manager doesn’t know what the salesperson sold.

So if I, if, if I was to run a really profitable SAS organization, I’d make sure that whatever I said during the sales process, we both. Well, let’s say we want to reduce operational costs by 10% over the next 18 months, that’s measurable. And time-bound like, those are the two pieces that are super important.

Then what I say is once we go live, let’s start measuring it. You may not get the 10%. Maybe you get to 5%. Maybe you get the 15%, but we both have to agree and reset expectations along the way. Once again. That’s why the first thing I talk about is expectations. Set. Whether it’s salary quota value to the customer, that expectation has to be set.

We have to agree to the expectation, and then we have to measure the expectation because it’s going to change over time.

[00:36:21] Brad Seaman: What do you do when they, when they agree, but then they on the unwind or Unbound themselves from the, all of a sudden things change.

[00:36:29] Dale Zwizinski: It happens all the time. I mean, you got to have the relationship, like that’s why with the joint engagement plan and the spreadsheet, I actually have them own it as much as I own it.

So we have like line items in this joint engagement plan that have all these pieces. You have some things like, okay, we have to go through. That’s your line item. We’ll do the InfoSec stuff, but you have to schedule it. You have to get the people involved. If you miss that date. And we don’t, we don’t get to value.

Forget about the contract again, like we’re getting to value you miss your August date because you were two weeks late of getting the InfoSec scheduled. That’s on you, Mr. Customer, and then you have documentation. Okay. Spreadsheet that they’re the ones pushing it off too many times. We make these agreements either on the phone or in emails that get lost forever.

So the way we do it, the way we’re structuring it and BZ, cause we use our own product. Like we have our own intranet, so every customer gets their own community. And in that community, we have the joint engagement plan. When you get to a certain stage in the process. We’ll have our standard steps, which are anything that we need to get done all the way to go live, including like contract signature and, you know, reviews and all that stuff.

And then you enter mingle all the customer stuff, and then if they miss a date, you highlight it in red and then you structure another day. So you have to, you have to be diligent in the process. And at the end of it, you say, okay, we agreed to this. It’s not like it’s in writing. When I used to do it for real, when I carried a bag, I’d had the customer sign, the document, like you sign it, like we’re in agreement that we have this expectation.

I mean, I

[00:38:08] Brad Seaman: think it goes kind of like the, the that’s where the relationship is important. Right? If you have a good relationship and then you have accountability, that’s if you have a bad relationship and accountability, then. Yeah, sure. Shoulders,

[00:38:23] Dale Zwizinski: like not, so let’s not get twisted. Not every customer is a good customer for you.

So that’s where we get twisted in organizations. Oh, we got to hit this number. So let’s bring this customer on. Okay. That’s fine. Like sometimes you have to do it and that’s fine, but understand the implications going down the road. Like we all have decisions. I decided seven years ago, I was going to move down to Florida and enjoy the warm weather.

Like everyone’s got decisions and choices, so, but you have to be willing to take any positive and negative consequences that happen in those.

[00:38:58] Brad Seaman: Yeah, no, no, no. For sure. All right, well, we’re getting towards the end of the time here. So let me let me ask you a couple, a couple more questions. Question number one would be, I guess the big question that I typically ask you about is what’s the one thing you’re most passionate about?

Is it sales, leadership,

[00:39:15] Dale Zwizinski: sales, the leadership, I mean, at a macro level it’s sales, actually I should take it back at a macro level is customer and customer value. Then, if I take one step down at sales and then like, if I’m like right now, today, I’m super passionate about sales leadership. Cause I think the, like if we look at sales professional, like we lost a professional somewhere, right?

So I, I want to get the professional back in the sales. And the only way you do that is through coaching and practice period. I don’t care what you’re doing

[00:39:47] Brad Seaman: now. So when I think about, when I think about professional, I think about two things I think about. The movie 300 where he grabs all that, where he’s there standing on the hill and he looked he’s, he’s got his guys do his left or his right.

And then the farmers and the steel workers are to the right. And they’re like on the hill and he’s like, Hey, what’s your, you know, what do you guys do? And he’s like, I’m a farmer, I’m a steelworker. And then he’s like, as far as what are you, what’s your profession? And they’re like, we are Spartans. So I think of that.

And then I think about the word. So like the opposite of professionals amateur, and I think that’s what you are referring to. When you talk about being professional, you’re not necessarily talking about somebody be like sales as a profession, as much as you’re talking about. Being professional in the work that they do.

But tell me your

[00:40:38] Dale Zwizinski: thoughts. I mean, if you, if you want to be a good sales professional, you’re going to practice your craft. You’re going to listen to your recordings. You’re gonna, you know, switch up your emails. You know, you’re gonna work, you’re gonna grind. But the three big things for me, when I hired.

Grind and hard work. I don’t care what you do besides that. You can be the smartest person in the world have the most CQ, but if you don’t grind and do hard work, I can’t teach you that. Like that’s something inherent to you. Second one is integrity. So we talked a lot about that in this podcast, like selling with integrity and making sure that what you sell you can deliver and you can measure.

And then the last one was coachability. Hey look, it like, we started in the podcast. We fail everyone fails. If I like the fact that you said, like someone said, eh, I I’ve never failed. Like, okay, you’re not trying hard enough. Like, if you don’t fail, like you’re not going to succeed. That’s the way I feel. So for me, it’s about practice.

I look at the top professionals in every app, every sport investment bank. You think these guys are not practicing like the Malcolm Gladwell, 10,000 hour rule, you only need that it doesn’t exist.

[00:41:48] Brad Seaman: I think, I think it does now. I think it does. And the guy that said that they didn’t have any setbacks, he’s actually relatively successful.

So I was surprised. I was surprised when he said it. But

[00:41:57] Dale Zwizinski: No, I told him

[00:41:59] Brad Seaman: that he would try, you know, It gets a little hot in here. All right. Well, great. Well, Dale, it was awesome having you, having you on Kelsey we’ll do the intro. So if there’s anything specifically.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: What’s, what’s a big risk that you took out of going out of paper.

[00:00:06] Dale Zwizinski: Yeah, I think there’s several of them. I’ve done seven startup companies.

I think this is like my seventh or eighth startup company out of four different countries. So this is my fourth country that I’ve gone in. So I’ve been a couple of north America, one out of Holland one out of the UK and now one out of Barcelona, Spain. So I’ve been through a bunch of smaller organizations tons of different learnings I think one of the, one of the big one, my very first ones that I went through was I used to be a coder.

So I used to write code and yeah, in college I took programming classes, new Pascal, java.net and then got into, it says it’s running a distance. I don’t know what that means.

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