Data Driven Cold-Calling with Mark Shalinsky, PhD

About This Episode

Mark Shalinsky, PhD, stops by to get season 4 of Decision Point off to a great start. Mark and Brad discuss the ways businesses need to operate in order to be successful. It’s not just one way, but a multitude of options that will determine your successes.
Mark also brings his idea of data driven sales calls to the forefront, and breaks it down so you can implement his highly successful process into your own workflow. What makes your client tick? How many rejections are there really? Can you overcome any rejection? Mark answers all of these questions and more in this intriguing conversation.

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Data Driven Cold-Calling with Mark Shalinsky, PhD

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Episode Transcript

Brad: But so, so tell us how you got here. Cause you have a really interesting background and it’d be better for you to tell everybody about it than it would be for, for me. Cause I could go. The list is long, your education, your background, you’re Harvard educated.

Mark: kind of tell everybody, this is my MCU origin story, and you have to decide whether I’m a superhero or supervillain. Maybe I’m kind of like low-key. So I was, , the last step in academia. I was an instructor at Harvard. I was working on invasive imaging systems, looking at the correlation between blood flow and neural activation. So a lot of really complex stuff, writing code to figure. These algorithms out. And then, you know, we’ve had a kid we’re in Boston, it’s expensive city. I was looking at other opportunities and I got recruited to be an editor of science journal, which I thought this is great. This is like highly prestigious position. I get the. Be an editor of science journal a little bit. I know that that science journal JoVE journal visualized experiments was also a startup. And, , as a startup, we all had to do a little bit of recruitment. And that’s where I found out I was really good at cold calling. So after a couple of weeks, , Moshe, the CEO sat me down and he said, there’s five of us. And we recruit five articles every month and you recruit. 20 or more articles every month. So we’re just going to remove the entire concept of you doing any sort of editing. And we’re just going to keep you speaking to scientists. So I did that, , we grew our sales to scientists, , recruiting them. , then we. Decided we’re going to motion aside, we’re going to close subscription to libraries. So I ended up calling the librarians, which was great because instead of making a hundred calls and speaking to 20 people every day, I was making about 50 calls and speaking to 45 people every day. And, but every librarian was cutting subscriptions and they had no budget. So that’s when I started reading all these books like. Getting around, no influence at work, Robert Cialdini, fundamental books, and learning about like, how do you actually speak to people and communicate and drive value? , that started growing. We built up the sales team to librarians, and most of us were sitting around one day and we look at these videos. You’re like, you know what, there’s an $80,000 piece of equipment in the background, you know, and we’re having a training video of how to. Use that $80,000 piece of equipment, because it was a video journal. So we said we should get those companies to start sponsoring our videos. So I became in charge of a B2B sales a little bit. I know that now I was competing with other PhDs with four to five years of sales, marketing experience. So I sucked. So I went to. Three or four conferences. And I found that the ranking person of every booth and they were the people who were not wearing branded shirts. The guys were massive watches and the women had Burberry bags. And I would say what’s the biggest problem with selling to a, whatever they were selling. Like neurophysiologist immunologist cardiologists, like whatever scientific discipline they were selling into. So they gave me all the information and I put this all in a spreadsheet and using data science, SQL database. Eventually I started to filter it down. It’s like, if you’re selling to an immunologist, you have one of these bio problems. So we started sending emails and making phone calls. Hey, you sell the immunologist. Is this a problem? Nope. Is this a problem? No. Is this a problem? Yes. Fantastic. This is how Joe solves it. So we started dialing in to our entire program. , and then we sold us, , selling to businesses. Then my wife got herself, a faculty job moved us away from Boston. And this is before remote became a big thing. And, , I got caught up with, , I started my own outsourced inside sales company and I caught up with Doug song at duo and he said, yeah, we’re trying to get $5 million from Google. And we have no one heading up sales marketing. So they put my name down. They got $5 million from Google at which point, , we started building out our sales and marketing, , operations. And I moved over to sales. We went from $20,000 a quarter to about a quarter million dollars a quarter. And we hired our first VP of sales from the valley. And I was kind of annoyed because I thought I was that guy. And he looked at me and said, you’re not a sales guy. You are an ops guy. And I said, what the hell is sales ops? So we started looking into it and started reading about people like Lars Nilsson and other folks. , and, , eventually I realized this sales ops is this cool stuff where you get to apply science and you have a hypothesis and you figure out a list. And then, , once you have a list, then you start applying technology to accentuate it. So using. So if I know that there’s, you know, 500 law firms in the U S that are the right size that will pay me the right amount. And I got to speak to an it manager. I just go to a list provider like ZoomInfo sales, Intel cloud leads, info Teligent or something, or I. And I get a phone number that I dropped them into something like monster connect and boom. I can be through that list in a day and I can have a hypothesis. And if my hypothesis is correct, I making money. That’s fabulous.

Brad: [00:00:00] But so, so tell us how you got here. Cause you have a really interesting background and it’d be better for you to tell everybody about it than it would be for, for me. Cause I could go. The list is long, your education, your background, you’re Harvard educated.

Mark: [00:00:14] kind of tell everybody, this is my MCU origin story, and you have to decide whether I’m a superhero or supervillain. Maybe I’m kind of like low-key. So I was, , the last step in academia. I was an instructor at Harvard. I was working on invasive imaging systems, looking at the correlation between blood flow and neural activation. So a lot of really complex stuff, writing code to figure. These algorithms out. And then, you know, we’ve had a kid we’re in Boston, it’s expensive city. I was looking at other opportunities and I got recruited to be an editor of science journal, which I thought this is great. This is like highly prestigious position. I get the. Be an editor of science journal a little bit. I know that that science journal JoVE journal visualized experiments was also a startup. And, , as a startup, we all had to do a little bit of recruitment. And that’s where I found out I was really good at cold calling. So after a couple of weeks, , Moshe, the CEO sat me down and he said, there’s five of us. And we recruit five articles every month and you recruit. 20 or more articles every month. So we’re just going to remove the entire concept of you doing any sort of editing. And we’re just going to keep you speaking to scientists. So I did that, , we grew our sales to scientists, , recruiting them. , then we. Decided we’re going to motion aside, we’re going to close subscription to libraries. So I ended up calling the librarians, which was great because instead of making a hundred calls and speaking to 20 people every day, I was making about 50 calls and speaking to 45 people every day. And, but every librarian was cutting subscriptions and they had no budget. So that’s when I started reading all these books like. Getting around, no influence at work, Robert Cialdini, fundamental books, and learning about like, how do you actually speak to people and communicate and drive value? , that started growing. We built up the sales team to librarians, and most of us were sitting around one day and we look at these videos. You’re like, you know what, there’s an $80,000 piece of equipment in the background, you know, and we’re having a training video of how to. Use that $80,000 piece of equipment, because it was a video journal. So we said we should get those companies to start sponsoring our videos. So I became in charge of a B2B sales a little bit. I know that now I was competing with other PhDs with four to five years of sales, marketing experience. So I sucked. So I went to. Three or four conferences. And I found that the ranking person of every booth and they were the people who were not wearing branded shirts. The guys were massive watches and the women had Burberry bags. And I would say what’s the biggest problem with selling to a, whatever they were selling. Like neurophysiologist immunologist cardiologists, like whatever scientific discipline they were selling into. So they gave me all the information and I put this all in a spreadsheet and using data science, SQL database. Eventually I started to filter it down. It’s like, if you’re selling to an immunologist, you have one of these bio problems. So we started sending emails and making phone calls. Hey, you sell the immunologist. Is this a problem? Nope. Is this a problem? No. Is this a problem? Yes. Fantastic. This is how Joe solves it. So we started dialing in to our entire program. , and then we sold us, , selling to businesses. Then my wife got herself, a faculty job moved us away from Boston. And this is before remote became a big thing. And, , I got caught up with, , I started my own outsourced inside sales company and I caught up with Doug song at duo and he said, yeah, we’re trying to get $5 million from Google. And we have no one heading up sales marketing. So they put my name down. They got $5 million from Google at which point, , we started building out our sales and marketing, , operations. And I moved over to sales. We went from $20,000 a quarter to about a quarter million dollars a quarter. And we hired our first VP of sales from the valley. And I was kind of annoyed because I thought I was that guy. And he looked at me and said, you’re not a sales guy. You are an ops guy. And I said, what the hell is sales ops? So we started looking into it and started reading about people like Lars Nilsson and other folks. , and, , eventually I realized this sales ops is this cool stuff where you get to apply science and you have a hypothesis and you figure out a list. And then, , once you have a list, then you start applying technology to accentuate it. So using. So if I know that there’s, you know, 500 law firms in the U S that are the right size that will pay me the right amount. And I got to speak to an it manager. I just go to a list provider like ZoomInfo sales, Intel cloud leads, info Teligent or something, or I. And I get a phone number that I dropped them into something like monster connect and boom. I can be through that list in a day and I can have a hypothesis. And if my hypothesis is correct, I making money. That’s fabulous.

Brad: [00:05:09] I’m going to double tap on the hypothesis. Cause I think a lot of sales guys come to market without having a hypothesis. So as a scientist, can you tell me a little bit about how you would apply that process? The scientific process, the sales process, because I think, I think that’s really important. I think a lot, especially early on. Guys we’ll just go to market.

Mark: [00:05:26] So the fundamental thing is you got to what I call you, thin slice your data, your data. So the more narrow your prospect pool is the easier it is for you to speak to them because they all have the fundamentally same problems and that’s ready to joke. Like what I would call scientists. I would spend say today, I’m only calling electrophysiologists. So by the end of the day, I had a breadth of knowledge of electrophysiology was great. When we go over to business, I’d say, all right, I want to call CFOs of SAS companies that have between one and $5 million of revenue that are in the U S and then I have between 25 and 75 employees. And I can go to a number of different databases and just pull out that list. It’s now I have a pot thesis of what their problem is. Because it’s so narrow and now I can just drop that into, I can write an email and I have a pseudo relevant, personalized email to them because they’ve all got the exact same problem. I could drop them into a phone cadence, and I could say, Hey, you spend the end of every closing. Every single quarter takes you four to five hours of just mindless, painful work, pulling out data. Is that a problem? Yeah. Fantastic. I know what caught you out of the blue? Why don’t we play calendar bingo and find some time to chat and there they’re like great. You know exactly what I’m thinking and the more narrow your slice, then you have, you might be wrong. , I have the hypothesis, but if you have a very narrow slice and you speak to five or six people very quickly you’ll know whether you’re right or, well, I sort of think about that.

Brad: [00:06:52] It’s like when somebody picks up the phone, at least this is what comes through my mind. I think it’s as easy as when somebody answers the phone, they immediately say, who the heck is this? And why the heck are you calling me? And I think the better you can answer those two questions. The quicker you can get to the first meeting. So if you have a great brand, who is this? If I can relate that brand, that’s step one, you’ve answered who the heck are you? And then why the heck am I calling the better? You can answer that question the faster you are to get to.

Mark: [00:07:22] Yeah, that’s that’s classic John Barrows. The reason for my call is, and you just hit them with that, that reason, because most, you know, most naive phone callers will say, Hey, how are you doing? I’m doing good. How are you doing? I’m doing good. It’s like, why are you calling me? They’re like, so you’re a CFO. It’s like, yeah, I know that. As opposed to just like east coast cut to the chase, you’re a CFO. You’re a CFO. When you spend three hours, my researcher says you spend typically three hours at the end of every quarter, messing with data. Is that, is that a fair statement? And they say, yup. Or they say, Nope, no, you move on. What do you do over there? What’s your problem? So one of the things that I think is fascinating is how little time people spend going through that process of thinking about their D their, their client’s problems. Like what makes a company want to buy from you?

Brad: [00:08:16] One of the things that we found to be really helpful is the job. And I think I may have even talked with you. We use the job posts for the job boards, because if you go to the job boards, you can read. It’s nothing but problems. You know, it’s, it’s a big, old, long list of issues that people have a surprise. What people always laugh that you’d have to sign a really thick NDA on some of these companies. But if you go to the job board, you can figure out their whole go-to market strategy in about 15 minutes. I think that’s what I discovered at Oregon.

Mark: [00:08:45] What do you want to thin slice and figure out what are the two or three problems you go to the job board and you go up to Upwork and you’re like, all right, I have a hypothesis that an it manager at a company of this size in this region has this problem. I’m not going to hypothesize go find me all the roles, responsibility from every job ads in the last five years, drop it into a spreadsheet. And eventually you crush it down into like four and five. Roles responsibilities. And I was like, I’m not guessing anymore. This is what they, this is what these people hire.

Brad: [00:09:14] Yeah. I mean, I always think about this in terms of the analogy of like, you want to find people that have broken windows so that you can sell them window repair. If they’re windows broke, that conversation is so it’s so much easier to sell. Fix somebody’s broken window than it is to sell the window insurance. So, if you can find people who have broken windows, which is essentially the process you’re describing, it makes the conversation so much easier. Yeah. It’s like, what are we finding out?

Mark: [00:09:38] This is how we found out the CFO is it’s like, do you know how to making sure that you guys know how to use Excel and SQL database? It’s like, wow. All these smaller companies want the CFO to do those grunt work. They probably hate it.

Brad: [00:09:50] Well, I mean, what I think is so fascinating about this conversation is early on in the conversation we were talking about kind of the state of foam prospecting and how year to year. There’s always a new shiny thing that people want to focus on. Cold calling always gets under the radar. As something that needs to go to the wayside, right? Like phone prospecting, outbound calling all that. Stuff’s going to go wayside. It’s going to be trumped by LinkedIn and inbound and podcasts are going to take over. But at the end of the day, I think what happens is people have problems and they need solutions. And if you can figure those out and call them and confront them about it, there’s always an opportunity for you because people are inherently. , selfish about the things that are important to them.

Mark: [00:10:31] It comes to the fundamental characteristics from a sales rep. They need to be helpful. Like last week I was walking home and one of my neighbors, she’s 90, she’s in a Walker and she fell, fell off her Walker in the middle of the street. So I go over and it’s like, Hey, can I help you up? And she’s like, no, no, no, I can do it myself. It’s like, she broke her hip. And this, this Dame thing. So I lifted her up and I said, I’m going to take you back to your house. And I pushed her up the hill to her house, but she was like, no, I don’t need it. I can do it myself. And it’s the same thing with a prospect. People come into work and they smash their head against the wall every day. And you come in and you’re like, there’s another way. I’m not going to give you a pillow. I’m just going to remove the wall. And they don’t. It’s your job as a salesperson to be able to tell them three or four different ways that you’re gonna remove the wall, because they might not understand that this great analogy.

Brad: [00:11:24] I just remember one time doing some yard work and I had this huge pile of mulch and the neighbor comes up and says, Hey, can I help you? And I said, no. And he walked off and I did the mulch all by myself and the whole time I’m doing it, I’m like, I really wanted this. Dude’s help. You know, I really, I should have said yes. So I think that’s a phenomenal, phenomenal analogy. People inherently say, no.

Mark: [00:11:44] When they really want to, it comes down to, there’s only three objections. Wouldn’t be, you have a cold call there. Every there’s a lot of deflections, but they’re going to tell you, it’s, I’m all set at which point you respond to them. It’s like great. Most people I talk to, aren’t all set. How do you solve it? I’m a special unicorn because it’ll never work for me at which point. It’s like, well, that’s why I called because you probably have this problem or send me some stuff. And it’s like, great, what kind of stuff? And. There’s only three objections and you just got to get around them. And they, because people want to block the people, people hate asking for help. They don’t want to get got too much.

Brad: [00:12:23] They, they do have a lot of hubris. Well, here’s their one thing. If you’re listening to this, I want to, I want to highlight something in the market that you said, which are that I think you’re really good at it actually. , you have the ability like the, I can tell that you have the ability from your research and in education and academia background, that you’re very, , interested. Like you’re interested in the prospect and interested in trying to solve whatever hypothesis you’ve come up with. And I think that’s really important. Is that you gotta be able to you’re you’re trying to figure out whether there’s a problem or not. You’re not trying to sell. I don’t think, I think when you’re early on in the front of the sales cycle, you eventually are going to get there. Right. But you’ve got to figure out that there’s a problem and you’ve got to fit and you gotta be able to articulate how to solve it. You gotta be in interested in trees.

Mark: [00:13:07] Yeah. That’s essentially where you just got to let people talk and listen to them. And. Prove to them that you’ve actually heard them. And so we had this terrible sales rep at fat stacks, and we could not like she was colossal colossally, horrible. So we were like, all right, he just can’t handle objections. So we, this is where Nate and I, we took down all the calls we recorded. Got it all transcribed and look at every single objection we were slowly distilling it. Nate’s like there’s only three. And then he came up with the three objections. No, I’m a special unicorn. Send me some stuff or I’m all set. And we trained ed too. And we took him into a room in two hours. Neat. Now we’re like just pitch them words and we’re like, which objection is that? So he got really good at being able to classify them. So then even though he was so flat on the phone, they would like, oh, I’m all set. And he’s like, oh, so you’re telling me you’re all set. Yes. And he’d like flip the flip. So most people I talk to, aren’t all set. May have it. How are you solving it? As I went for it, they go, , and he’d say, great. This is why I’m calling. It’s my first day on the job. You know, can I set you up with a call with one of my colleagues or are you they’d say, oh, this will never work for me. Cause I’m an especially unicorn and be like, oh, so you’re, it will work for you. Cause you were special unicorn and they’ll be like, ha ha that’s joke. Yes. He’s like, well, that’s why I called, but he’d just go down the list. It’s like, you’re a company of this size of this size. Do it selling this. This is one of the problems. Is that true? And maybe go, yes. Well it’s my first day on the job. You might talk with many colleagues and he essentially. Crushed his quota. So that’s awesome. So, so the thing that you guys taught him, and I want you to talk about this.

Brad: [00:14:48] What do you think about scripts? One side is it’s all about the conversation. The goal is to have a sales conversation. It’s like you’re in a boxing match. You’re in the ring. Every once in a while you get pushed on the, on the ropes, use the ropes to get back in and their fight there. It’s like, where are you going?

Mark: [00:15:04] You use the script to guide the conversation. And this is why reps have the most difficult time picking up the phone. It becomes 600 pounds because they’re like, oh my God, what am I going to say? If you can slice your list and, you know, That everybody you’re going to call will probably have the exact same problem. And you’re tuned down on that script. It’s super easy. And every once in a while, they hit you with something and it’s like, oh, they hit me with this thing. It’s like, and they’re like, oh, they said, send me some stuff. And now I’m back on the boards. Like, oh, what does that mean? That means, oh, what kind of stuff are you looking for? I don’t know, general stuff, stuff in my company, stuff in our product or stuff at our store.

Brad: [00:15:43] I love it. I love thinking about the script is ropes. You know that when you get, when you get hit or you get hit between the eyes, you circle bounce back, you grab that script, you get anchored and then you come back at it.

Mark: [00:15:53] Yeah. Cause it’s it’s at the end of the day, it’s all about a conversation. Like we had one colleague he could get, if he got someone on the phone, it would be a 30 minute conversation. Like, they would not be able to hang up, but I do not have those conversational skills, but he was great at it. And, you know, he would never use a script. He was like, oh, scripts are for scripts are for trumps.

Brad: [00:16:13] It’s like, yeah, but we’re not like you, like, my daughter can play is very musically talented. She can play by ear. And so she’s sitting, she’s getting ready to go to college here in a minute. And so she’s sitting, playing piano on the couch and she’s playing by ear. And so I sat down, I said, Hey, , you’re really talented. You should probably think about maybe getting, , maybe doing music when you go to college instead of, , being a Marine biologist or whatever. I mean, you just really have a, have a skill. And, , not very many people can play by ear and she goes, everybody can play by ear. Look at YouTube. There’s all kinds of people that just sit down. I’m like, no, I wrote all that. You could do it. She’s like, damn, look, this is so simple. She grabs the keyboard. She says, look, you just press the one key. You hear that? You press another one. That sounds like it. And then you just play it. And she just sat there and nailed this song without ever. And I just started laughing because, Hey, we’re not all, we’re not, we’re just mere mortals. I mean, that’s a real gift. And there are some people that can really. Really phone prospect and don’t need that stuff. But most people do then they need some sheet music,

Mark: [00:17:13] yeah, I was working for, , a client, like they hired us and they said, it’s all gonna be there. A science research company. They didn’t believe in the phone. And it was funny because he, we did marketing for them for a month and I’ve kind of said, you just had a webinar. Let me call all these webinar people. And he’s like, okay. It’s like he said, I’ll give you an hour. So. Took me about a half an hour to get in the zone, get what I thought was a good script, get the questions I was working with him. I was like, all right. And we’re on the Google hangout. So he’s watching me and I managed to get seven conversations, book them two meetings. And after that, he’s like, ah, We need to talk about doing more phone calls. I’m like, yeah, they work.

Brad: [00:17:54] If you’re, if you know, if you’re prepared every couple of years sales, , and I’ll re ask you this question, but every couple of years, I feel like sales teams get under attack, right? Like lead generation teams go under attack and it’s like, the phone doesn’t work and people don’t pick up or that’s supposedly the, you know what people say? So I’d love to get your on because that’s obviously not true. Right. If you’re in the trenches, In your, in your interacting with inside sales people, you’re continuing to see revenue books. So I’d love to hear your opinion on the state of where we’re at with sales development as part of this.

Mark: [00:18:30] Yup. , what we’re I always call it the shiny new tool and it’s like a six. The most effective sales teams are doing, what has always been done is finding a way to talk to it, to get engaged with a prospect.

And you either it’s one of the five fundamentals. You either talk, call them on the phone, send them an email, meet them at an event, get a referral or drop them, drop something physical in their hand. And all of these are one of the top, the five fundamentals. And every couple of years someone’s like, oh my God.

You gotta be on LinkedIn and LinkedIn is the only way to reach a prospect. And it’s all about social selling and social selling is just one of the five fundamentals. It’s just a single channel. And if you’re just following a single channel, you’re never going to be. Holistically successful. It’s like out, a lot of us are good at one or two or three, or sometimes if you’re really great, maybe you’re good at all five of them, but we’re usually good at one of these things.

So it’s like, I’m great on the phone. So I lean in on the phone, but I know it’s like, I can canvass a lot more people. If I have a marketing automation platform that’s running in the background, you know, if I have send DOSO set up, that’s dropping these $5 Starbucks cards at people’s homes and they’re picking them up and they’re going, oh, wow, this is pretty cool.

You know, that could be a way to engage them. I’m losing money. If I’m not reaching out to you guys and saying, Hey, do you know anybody who needs sales ops help? Like getting the referral because. And every couple of years, it’s like, why do people go under attack the cell, the phone doesn’t work because this guy is doing really well over there.

Brad: [00:20:06] Well, yeah, cause they’re good at making phone. Right? Right. Yeah. Well, I think the thing, so the best thing that I ever heard, so I went to a B2B camp, which used to be held by Kyle Porter. And, , , a couple of his friends down there in Atlanta, and I went down there and they had Allen Nance who ran a company called what counts.

And he got up and had I known what he was going to tell him, I would have sponsored the whole event, but he basically gets up and he coined this term, which he referred to as all bound. And so what he goes on to say is he says this, how many of you guys, if you had the choice to either send somebody an email or get somebody on the phone, which one of those is going to convert better?

And he’s obviously an email guy, but he says the phone, you get somebody on the phone, you have the most likelihood of being able to convert them because you can interact with them. And he said, Hey, there’s all this tension around inbound, outbound, but he’s like, it’s all bound. You got to do all the things that it takes to get a sale.

Mark: [00:21:01] It’s not just one. It’s not just marketing inbound. It’s not just outbound sales development. It’s all the things you have to have a blended approach to getting, getting sales. So, yeah, that’s, I love hearing that. Like when you build a stack, it’s like throwing a certain DOSO in a cameo in there, you know, get people engaged.

It’s good. It’s like, it’s, it’s interesting. It’s like, if you can go and figure out what someone really likes and then you get them, you know, you get their favorite slab or favorite sports hero to make a personal appeal. Like you’re going to get the attention because it’s, when you’re talking about top of the funnel, it’s all about garnering someone’s attention and that’s it. It’s like making sure you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression.

So how am I going to get that great first impression that when I call them, , don’t sound like, hello, how are you doing? Well, yeah, and you bring up a good, , you know, a good point or alluded to a good point, which is, I think the power of branding when it comes to making phone calls, I know that you’ve had,  a variety of technology background.

If somebody knows your name and you call them, you have a substantially better opportunity to schedule an appointment. So that’s what I like about LinkedIn is that it creates a branding. Yeah. And it’s cause it’s, cause it’s like when people know you, but it’s like, This is why the enterprise sales reps fail when they go to a startup, because they’re like, I made a ton of money.

I’m going to a startup and you know, I’m going to kill it. And they show up at the startup and there, they don’t realize how much of their sale was dependent upon the brand that was behind them. The big juggernaut that they were sitting on that was pushing them through, they call up, it’s like, Hey, you want a CRM with Salesforce?

Let’s talk. And people are like, sure, I’ll take a meeting and they call up and it’s like, oh, I’m with. You know, sugar CRM. It’s like, oh, we may have heard of them. And they go, it’s like, oh, we’re with, you know, nutshell. And they’re like, well, not SAC. What’s that? Nope. Built for these people. It’s like, who were you?

It’s like, there’s 163. So, and it’s amazing that these, they don’t realize like you’re being called by your brand. And this is why when the startup kid moves up to the big company, they just start spiking the ball. Well, you, you nailed it. Then you got to thin slice the data and you got to have your, you got to have your targets honed in.

Brad: [00:23:14] So, so let’s use that as a way to sort of talk a little bit about, , data sales science. So, so data’s part of your business. So tell us a little bit about that and services that you provide.

Mark: [00:23:24] The company essentially has three pillars. So the first pillar is the data science pillar, and it’s helping folks understand who the ideal customer profiles are.

So I call that those are the big companies and within those, the personas, so who do we actually target? And once we understand those companies and those personas, it’s pretty easy for us to start coming up with some relevant messaging at scale and figuring out how do you use, how do you advertise? How do you email?

How do you call them? How do you find them? , The second pillar is the operations pillar. The operations pillar really focuses on marketing operations. So we have a full-scale marketing operations group,  sales operations, which I head up and then there’s finance operations. So I work with my former director of financial, dual security, who kind of jokes at me that I was parked the one unicorn he was part of too.

Cause he was part of duo and then Lama soft. And so it’s how do we set up all of that operation so that. A lot of these companies, we focus on SAS, B2B that your, you know, you have a product, you have something you want to bring to market. We’re going to help you achieve your dream through operational excellence.

And the last pillar is the enablement portion. How do you make it, bring it all together, which is process and products. So the fun part of my day is I get to talk to all sorts of fun vendors. Figure out what are. The niche products, why do they work? How are they better or worse than other things? And, , so that when we build the sales stack or operations stack or the finance stack, that we can select the ones that are best for you, because there’s no singular best product, , for, for any one group, it’s what ever works best for you, because you have to look at who are you targeting?

How much does it cost? What’s the volume, , that you can push through it. And how does it connect to. , to the other products that they’re using. So, and that could also go from, and we look at it from there’s leads that go into the system, the CRM that helps organize it. Then you have all the weapons system.

So the foam systems like monster connect, the cadence systems like outreach, SalesLoft, , and an email systems and everything, everything else then send Knossos and cameo and everything. That’s going to help you engage with your prospect.

Brad: [00:25:43] So, what do you think though? The one thing that you see what’s the biggest mistake most of your clients make?

Mark: [00:25:49] , they take up tech late or they take up without a thought. So it’s two problems. So you, well, it’s too early or they tech tech tech up without, without a forethought. Like, they’ll go out and they’re like, all right. So I have one client, he went out and he bought out on his own. LinkedIn navigator, seamless Salesforce, outreach and Oram.

And he’s a, he’s a solo preneur. He’s spending a ton on the stack and he had no idea how to manage this. So I had the folks from two of the vendors come to my doorstep and say, can you help this guy out? Because he’s. You know, he’s relatively technical, but he’s never set up a sales stack and even understand what a sequence was.

I’m like, why would you be setting this? Why would you buy all this stuff? And you don’t even understand the rudimentary. And I started telling him about like, you know, you want to send out the emails. Do you even know what email warming is? Have you set up your SPF D Kim and D mark yet? And he’s like, what’s that?

It’s like, well, you want to, you got the big boy package and you haven’t even done the basics yet. So. By, , by Friday he was making phone calls, sending emails. We had a sequence, everything was, everything was fine. So, and he was rolling.

Brad: [00:27:06] Well, I think you’re seeing that more and more, and I may have mentioned this to you in another conversation is you’re getting to a spot where your vendors called you and said, Hey, we have this rogue buyer. , I think more and more technology companies are being faced with having to understand more than just their tech, right? Because all of the products you’ve got to understand Salesforce, you got to understand outreach. You got to understand sales loft. , I think there’s huge market opportunities just in what you’re doing. Just setting stuff up, just making sure things are wired up and they’re going to go to market at the end of the day, whether it’s monster connect or anybody else’s product, and they get the point that you create more work than you solve for you’re getting, you’re going to get fired.

Mark: [00:27:46] Yeah. This is kind of where the failure of something like a gong or chorus comes in. Here record all your reps and all the, all the conversations with demos that they’re doing and it’s going to be great. But if you do not, there’s so much data. If someone is not sitting there full time watching it, this gets out of hand. It’s like I sat on top of sales loft, and I had a small team of four BDRs.

I was overwhelmed just by SalesLoft, by the recordings you’re doing through SalesLoft alone. And SalesLoft is not the hive. It increased us by four X, but it was,

Brad: [00:28:22] I’m actually shocked at some that you’re not seeing stuff from some of these larger companies really coming down on their employees being recorded.

Mark: [00:28:31] What do you mean that they want to be.

Brad: [00:28:33] Well, like from a compliance standpoint, if I work at a big, let’s say I work at a technology company and I, and I, and I hop on to sell, like I’ve been prospected by some company and they got me on my, on zoom and now I’m being recorded and I’m, and I’m in a two party. I’m in a, I’m in a state that requires both, you know me to say, Hey, I don’t want to be recorded. , I’m surprised some of these large companies are as comfortable with their employees being recorded. , did you think there was some liability there?

Mark: [00:29:02] , Gong does a pretty good job of it. Like they’ll cold call you and say, hi, this is blah, blah, blah. This is Gabriel from gong and you’re on a recorded line. How are you doing today? And it’s,

Brad: [00:29:11] you know, I know, I’m just surprised people don’t hang up. That seems like, that seems like a party kit. Like that seems like a party killer. We are we’re being recorded and monitored so often numb to it. It’s, you know, it’s say it and it’s like, Hey, there’s a numbness that’s been created in the market that, that a gong employee could call a VP of sales who might give information about the company.

Or about their product or about a go-to market strategy that would be recorded. That really a sane person wouldn’t let somebody record you see this on the emails all the time.

Mark: [00:29:49] Like I think every single day someone is power shaming, a sales rep. Oh my God. I got this terrible email from a sales rep. And most of the time they’ll try and take out their name.

Sometimes they won’t. And it’s, there’s always so much of that. And it’s like, I guess. For most of my social media, I try to keep it as I put my privacy’s on like completely open. So I know if I’m putting anything out there that, , Everybody will see. So it’s like, if I’m going to write something, it’s like, okay, I know that my privacy’s are open. I don’t think that there’s a barrier.

Brad: [00:30:17] Well, you bring up a good point. I mean, we’re all being recorded, right? I mean, when we go, when we go to target, like, I, I don’t like target having my, for whatever reason. I don’t like to have my face. So I was covered up and my kids were like, Hey, target already saw you when you came in the building, you know?

Mark: [00:30:30] Well, you know, the story of what happened at target, how they got in big trouble a couple of years ago, that was. Yeah, well, books that, from what I read that, but I don’t remember where I read probably a Malcolm Gladwell book. Okay. Yeah, it probably was. It probably wasn’t Malcolm Gladwell. There was just, but there’s so much data out there like that, that B to C data is just, I will not go into there cause that’s just, that’s a quagmire, it’s so messy and dirty. It’s like, Too many variables is messy.

Brad: [00:31:02] Yeah. So I’m glad you brought that up. Cause I was trying to tell somebody about that and I couldn’t remember where I read it, but yeah, they basically had sent the dad, they were sending that the daughter had gotten pregnant. Target had already figured it out and they’re sending her stuff and he’s all fired up.

And then he realizes that she’s she’s pregnant and they had to break it to her, sort of break it to him in the office. Is that how the story goes? It started targeting her with, , with all the advertisements and, , no one else knew except for target. Yeah. Yeah. That’s , that’s crazy. Well, we live in a, we live in an interesting, definitely in an interesting time.

Mark: [00:31:36] I kind of joke with my kids, that the concept of intelligence is vastly different now than it was when we were growing up. When we were growing up, it was how much stuff can you stuff into your brain and recall it as quickly as possible. Now it’s. How fast can you filter the stuff? Because we are never more than a few inches away from more computational power than the Apollo space program.

Brad: [00:32:02] I thought you were going to say, I thought you were going to say intelligence is how fast you can look it up on Google. I saw a quote, there’s a millennial marketing. , Quote that I like, there’s a guy that does the it’s called the millennial marketer and he puts quotes out every day. I don’t know if you’ve seen this.

So he puts these quotes out and somebody had a tweet that said, , you know, you can’t overlook, you can’t underestimate the power of Google to look up the solutions that you need. And that’s that’s for sure. Like I interviewed somebody the other day. And the whole time I’m talking there, they’re Googling what I’m talking about.

Cause they didn’t know about it. And then they were jumping in and having a conversation and then I was throwing something else out and they were, they were Googling it.

Mark: [00:32:37] So there is something to be said about intelligence being, being the ability to, to look stuff up quickly. But it’s being also being able to filter it because there’s a bunch of garbage out there too, that you want to, you know, You don’t want to use, you’ll put something up like penumbra and people will start looking up.

Brad: [00:32:55] What’s that?

Mark: [00:32:56] And penumbra,

Brad: [00:32:57] I should go. I should Google it. Interesting.

Mark: [00:33:02] So penumbra is the area around a, , when you have a stroke, you have the area where you have the stroke and you have the area around it. So that’s the penumbra. So I use that as like, as opposed to saying target area, I would say penumbra. So it makes people.

Brad: [00:33:18] That’s really funny. I would have Googled it, but I couldn’t spell it. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to, I don’t know how to start it out.

Mark: [00:33:24] Yeah. I was watching DuckTales with my kids and they used, , they, they use one of the characters name was penumbra, but I thought that was quite, quite humorous.

Brad: [00:33:32] That’s that’s that’s super funny. , well mark, what’s the, , what’s the one thing you’re the most passionate about right now? Do you feel like  you carry a lot of passions,

Mark: [00:33:40] so distracted all the time. Well, I followed my bike role. I’m not sure if you remember Mike Rowe made, the statement is like, should you follow your passion or should you be passionate about what you’re doing?

And if you follow your passion and you love guitar, but you suck at playing guitar, you’re going to be miserable and destitute. But if you’re cleaning toilets, you know, Don’t think, oh my God, I’m cleaning the toilet. This is terrible. Just be, say, this is awesome. I’m cleaning the toilet and do the best damn job you have.

So it’s like, whatever, you got to jump with both feet in and this kind of stems back to my wrestling. Is that you can jump in and wrestle even just light sparring and just say, oh, you know what, I’m just going to cut a light rust. You’ll get hurt and injured and it’s going to be terrible. So you’ve got to like be committed.

So everything that I do, it’s like, all right, I’m going to go to the phones. Let’s get in the zone. Let’s get ready. Let’s let’s start. Uh, let’s be committed on the phones. All right. Let’s start. Emailing people. All right, we’re going to make sure we got the best emails, quote, you can’t, you cannot light wrestle. You will get hurt. I said, I’m gonna start tell him, like, that’s what I’m starting.

Brad: [00:34:45] I’m gonna use that when I get home with my kids. I think that’s a great, that’s a great one. You can not lie. You can not light wrestle I will break it.

Mark: [00:34:52] Yeah, you’ll, you’ll get broken. If you’re not 100% in the moment, it’s like, you’re going to get launched in your head.

Brad: [00:34:58] That was a great time, mark. I really appreciate you coming on. I got so many good. You had great analogies, , some super good insights and, , you know, I know we’ll be, we’ll be in touch. I really appreciate you coming on.

Mark: [00:35:10] All right. Well, thanks for having me. Hopefully people got some great information and, , we can help some folks out.

 

Brad: But so, so tell us how you got here. Cause you have a really interesting background and it’d be better for you to tell everybody about it than it would be for, for me. Cause I could go. The list is long, your education, your background, you’re Harvard educated.

Mark: kind of tell everybody, this is my MCU origin story, and you have to decide whether I’m a superhero or supervillain. Maybe I’m kind of like low-key. So I was, , the last step in academia. I was an instructor at Harvard. I was working on invasive imaging systems, looking at the correlation between blood flow and neural activation. So a lot of really complex stuff, writing code to figure. These algorithms out. And then, you know, we’ve had a kid we’re in Boston, it’s expensive city. I was looking at other opportunities and I got recruited to be an editor of science journal, which I thought this is great. This is like highly prestigious position. I get the. Be an editor of science journal a little bit. I know that that science journal JoVE journal visualized experiments was also a startup. And, , as a startup, we all had to do a little bit of recruitment. And that’s where I found out I was really good at cold calling. So after a couple of weeks, , Moshe, the CEO sat me down and he said, there’s five of us. And we recruit five articles every month and you recruit. 20 or more articles every month. So we’re just going to remove the entire concept of you doing any sort of editing. And we’re just going to keep you speaking to scientists. So I did that, , we grew our sales to scientists, , recruiting them. , then we. Decided we’re going to motion aside, we’re going to close subscription to libraries. So I ended up calling the librarians, which was great because instead of making a hundred calls and speaking to 20 people every day, I was making about 50 calls and speaking to 45 people every day. And, but every librarian was cutting subscriptions and they had no budget. So that’s when I started reading all these books like. Getting around, no influence at work, Robert Cialdini, fundamental books, and learning about like, how do you actually speak to people and communicate and drive value? , that started growing. We built up the sales team to librarians, and most of us were sitting around one day and we look at these videos. You’re like, you know what, there’s an $80,000 piece of equipment in the background, you know, and we’re having a training video of how to. Use that $80,000 piece of equipment, because it was a video journal. So we said we should get those companies to start sponsoring our videos. So I became in charge of a B2B sales a little bit. I know that now I was competing with other PhDs with four to five years of sales, marketing experience. So I sucked. So I went to. Three or four conferences. And I found that the ranking person of every booth and they were the people who were not wearing branded shirts. The guys were massive watches and the women had Burberry bags. And I would say what’s the biggest problem with selling to a, whatever they were selling. Like neurophysiologist immunologist cardiologists, like whatever scientific discipline they were selling into. So they gave me all the information and I put this all in a spreadsheet and using data science, SQL database. Eventually I started to filter it down. It’s like, if you’re selling to an immunologist, you have one of these bio problems. So we started sending emails and making phone calls. Hey, you sell the immunologist. Is this a problem? Nope. Is this a problem? No. Is this a problem? Yes. Fantastic. This is how Joe solves it. So we started dialing in to our entire program. , and then we sold us, , selling to businesses. Then my wife got herself, a faculty job moved us away from Boston. And this is before remote became a big thing. And, , I got caught up with, , I started my own outsourced inside sales company and I caught up with Doug song at duo and he said, yeah, we’re trying to get $5 million from Google. And we have no one heading up sales marketing. So they put my name down. They got $5 million from Google at which point, , we started building out our sales and marketing, , operations. And I moved over to sales. We went from $20,000 a quarter to about a quarter million dollars a quarter. And we hired our first VP of sales from the valley. And I was kind of annoyed because I thought I was that guy. And he looked at me and said, you’re not a sales guy. You are an ops guy. And I said, what the hell is sales ops? So we started looking into it and started reading about people like Lars Nilsson and other folks. , and, , eventually I realized this sales ops is this cool stuff where you get to apply science and you have a hypothesis and you figure out a list. And then, , once you have a list, then you start applying technology to accentuate it. So using. So if I know that there’s, you know, 500 law firms in the U S that are the right size that will pay me the right amount. And I got to speak to an it manager. I just go to a list provider like ZoomInfo sales, Intel cloud leads, info Teligent or something, or I. And I get a phone number that I dropped them into something like monster connect and boom. I can be through that list in a day and I can have a hypothesis. And if my hypothesis is correct, I making money. That’s fabulous.

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