How to maximize precious time with buyers

Media Thumbnail
  • 0.5
  • 1
  • 1.25
  • 1.5
  • 1.75
  • 2
This is a podcast episode titled, How to maximize precious time with buyers. The summary for this episode is: <p>The time you get with a potential buyer is finite. Kris Wiig, VP of Partnerships at FreeWill, joins us to discuss how you can make the most of every second. After listening to the interview, you’ll be ready to capitalize on your interactions. Kris also lets us in on her go-to frameworks she uses to break down problems and drive urgency. Plus, we pay tribute to the best opening line she's ever heard on a cold call. Fun fact: the questions on this episode came straight from you — our sales community. Start listening now to get answers to your burning questions. Have a question you’d like to submit? Make sure you’re following Gong on LinkedIn.</p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><p>08:47 - Understanding Where You Are Most Impactful Within the Company</p><p>11:24 - Taking a Look at Coin Operated Reps and Renaissance Reps</p><p>17:59 - The Misalignment When Selling to the C-Suite</p><p>20:13 - Data Breakout - Key Ingredients to Drive a Successful Sales Team</p><p>23:23 - Goal Oriented Selling</p><p>29:27 - Getting the Extra 30 Seconds When Cold Calling</p><p>39:14 - This Week's Micro-Action</p><p><br></p><p>Want to explore Revenue Intelligence for your org? It starts here: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Connect with Devin Reed: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Connect with Sheena Badani: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Connect with Kris Wiig: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
Understanding Where You Are Most Impactful Within the Company
00:38 MIN
Taking a Look at Coin Operated Reps and Renaissance Reps
01:06 MIN
The Misalignment When Selling to the C-Suite
01:26 MIN
Data Breakout - Key Ingredients to Drive a Successful Sales Team
01:13 MIN
Goal Oriented Selling
01:01 MIN
Getting the Extra 30 Seconds When Cold Calling
00:31 MIN
This Week's Micro-Action
00:50 MIN

Devin Reed: Welcome to Reveal, the Revenue Intelligence Podcast powered by Gong where your hosts, Devin Reed.

Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue Intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality instead of opinions, making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.

Devin Reed: And it's made up of three success pillars, people intelligence, deal intelligence, and market intelligence. The things all Revenue teams need and care about. Every week, we interview senior revenue professionals and share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.

Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to- market teams win as a team close revenue with critical deal insight and execute their strategic initiatives. Plus all the challenges that come along with it.

Devin Reed: Sheena, is no secret that at Gong we sell to salespeople. So I'm curious, what's your favorite part of selling or marketing to salespeople?

Sheena Badani: Before I was in this role, like I've interacted with sales folks a ton, I think it's maybe a stereotype, but the sales team is always the funnest team at any company. It's like the team that you want to go hang out with. It's the team that you want to go grab a beer with at the end of the day, or when you're traveling. And I've definitely seen that come to life, being now a marketer and engaging with sales folks, they don't want the same old, boring tried and true thing that they've seen for years and years. They just want to have a good time. They want to see something fun and be entertained and have a different perspective. So personally, that's something that gives me just some delight and changes up the pace.

Devin Reed: I completely agree. You will never hear me argue that the team is cooler or more fun to hang out with than a sales team. Yeah. One of my favorite characteristics of salespeople is that they're opinionated or conversationalists. Sometimes those go hand in hand sometimes not. And on Gong's LinkedIn page we have a pretty big following. You can grind like 80,000, sales and revenue folks follow us. And often we pose different questions and how to and try to incite a conversation and genuinely learn from each other and see what's going on. And you always get some really fun responses from the sales community. And so what we wanted to do was take some of the conversations that got really heated and put our guest Kris, to the test. And so we asked her questions like, what is the best cold call opening line, which is by far the most heated debate, like on LinkedIn that I've ever seen. It's amazing. Other things like, can sellers truly create urgency or is that untrue? Is that just a perception? And another one was if it's smart to demo on the first call or if that's a big no- no? So I'm excited for what we've got hanging out with Kris, because she is an encyclopedia, like she could have referenced many books and many frameworks that she has consumed, and it was really fun to watch her breakdown all of the questions. So sometimes you get a yes, sometimes you get a no, but oftentimes you get a depends and then she breaks down why. So I have a really good time with Kris.

Sheena Badani: Yeah. She was great. She is like a walking encyclopedia of every sales methodology and process that you've ever read about or heard about. And I think being able to reference them is what makes that enables her to have that really analytical and opinionated approach to what she does.

Devin Reed: Right. Yeah. It's like a hot take if it's not substantial, but she can explain everything inaudible cool.

Sheena Badani: Yeah. She's backs it up.

Devin Reed: Yeah. And speaking of cool people I'd like to hang out with Kris's on the list for sure. I'm fascinated, so next time I'm in the same city with Kris, we can all go get a drink. Let's go hang out with Kris. Kris, thank you for joining us for Reveal. I am inaudible to have you on the show.

Kris Wiig: Thank you, Devin. I'm really happy to be here.

Devin Reed: For the folks who might not know you, might not know what freewill is. Can you give us a quick overview of what you do there as VP partnerships?

Kris Wiig: Sure. For us partnerships is synonymous with sales. So I'm basically the VP of sales at freewill. What we do is replace cumbersome paper- driven ways that donors could give to nonprofits with technology. So for example, you can think of how TurboTax replaced all the paper forms for taxes. We're doing that for wills. We're doing that for stock gifts. We're doing that for IRA giving, as well as being able to let a nonprofit know you want to donate your 401k or your life insurance policy. So we saw a massive opportunity with a lot of baby boomers getting to the point where there's going to be a huge amount of money that's going to change hands over the next 20, 30 years to the tune of about$ 65 trillion. And what you're doing is building technology to help nonprofits tap into the types of donors that they might not have spent time cultivating in the past. Typically, a nonprofit would spend a lot of one- to- one time on high net worth individuals, but a huge bulk of this money is going to be coming from average, Americans or lower income Americans and they still have assets that they can do meet, and they still have causes that they care about. So that's what we do.

Sheena Badani: I'm curious, did you see any changes in what nonprofits folks donated to over the past year and a half during this COVID time? Were there any interesting trends that you realized?

Kris Wiig: What was interesting in the first half of 2020, so many different sectors were impacted differently. So universities, for example, colleges they're nonprofits, but suddenly they had no students on campus. And a lot of their revenue stream was totally pulled away. Same for things like museums, arts, and culture. So certain nonprofits were really, really hit hard where other types of organizations were suddenly booming. So there was not an animal shelter that wasn't emptying out because people were now stuck at home and they wanted pets. So we saw huge success for animal organizations. Food banks were just completely slammed with donations. Hospitals. So if anything we saw that there were certain cause areas that Americans were waking up to really wanting to get involved with, even though we were in such a state of economic uncertainty and turmoil, we did see that there was still a strong desire to give and contribute. And so we ended up seeing by the second half of 2020, even though a lot of nonprofits had to lay off staff because of the economic uncertainty, many of them ended up getting such an increase in donations and particularly through things like stock giving and real- time giving and bequests also PS, the people looking for how to make an online will was at its highest peak in internet history by five X, 10 X, what it used to be at any other point in time, because suddenly folks were scared in a real way and realizing they needed to do some estate planning to protect their families and they needed a accessible way to do it. So 2020 ended up being a boom year for our business model because on the one hand nonprofits needed to do something new and we'll get into this later. But this concept of innovation, appetite and change intelligence is a huge piece of bringing a product to market. We're only a three and a half year old or so business. And so we were a new idea going into a status quo operating industry and COVID presented really an opportunity for us because Americans were looking for online tools like estate planning and gift giving tools and nonprofits couldn't do what they used to do for the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years. So we grew tremendously, I've got a team of about 35 sales folks. We've got another 25 in customer success and account management and a year and a half ago, we were maybe six or 10 people in the revenue team. So we've grown pretty quickly.

Sheena Badani: Well, congrats on that, especially because you're doing so much good in the world. So I love to see that growth. Let's shift focus to you and to your own personal journey. So you used to play D- One Basketball and I'm sure you've kept a lot of those experiences with you, even now as you're in sales. Of all the lessons and the skills that you learned, which were most surprising for you in the way that you've now applied them to your professional career.

Kris Wiig: Sure. And before I answer that, I'll give the caveat of, my career has mainly been with startups. So the concept of building the ship while you're already out at sea is very much what the theme of my career is. And I think playing view on sports going into college, I was a superstar basketball player in high school. And I anticipated being able to remain that when I went to brown, I was not. And so I'd say the number one lesson I learned was really this concept of know your role and understand where you can be most useful. Sometimes means you get to be the star, but more often than not, it means that you just figured out what is something that you enjoy doing. And that's also going to be super impactful to the business you work for, just do it. The more you do it, and the more you prove out that it's something that's going to be useful, you might end up creating your own role. So we have a lot of folks in my company right now that have been promoted up because they figured out what was useful and they were really good at doing it. And I'd say that, that's instead of saying, I want to be the CEO of the company, it's saying, where can I be the most useful and impactful.

Devin Reed: As someone who has always been a role player, I also learned that, but a lot much earlier than you because I had to find a way of, " Hey, if I want to be on the team, I got to find what my role is and do it well." We chatted a couple of weeks ago to get acquainted before this. And I went back and forth on calling this episode hot takes or controversial. And I was leading towards hot takes because I didn't want to sell our audience controversy. But I realized after a little Google searching that hot takes wouldn't really be accurate, because the actual definition of a hot take is, and I quote from Ram Webster dictionary, " A published reaction or analysis of a recent news event that doesn't offer much in the way of deep reflection." And after meeting you that whole lack of deep reflection bit would not do you justice. So I'm going to ask you some questions to get your input, which are bound to include deep reflection.

Kris Wiig: Great.

Devin Reed: Are you ready?

Kris Wiig: I'm ready.

Devin Reed: All right. Let's do this. So on our LinkedIn page at Gong, we like to post different questions and get feedback from our sales audience. And one that we did recently really split the room. And the question was to demo or not to demo on the first call. What did you say, Chris?

Kris Wiig: All right. What I say is you have to really be mindful of where you are in the product adoption, where your market is at and the product market fit. So if you have an organization and a company that there is a lot of market demand and the market is already well- educated on the tool, then you can very quickly jump into a demo. For example, when we were considering purchasing Gong, I didn't need to be convinced of the why, I wanted to be shown how does this actually work? So we now know that the majority of buyers are doing a lot of self- education, which is why you guys put out such great content, which is why most organizations are really flooding the market with here's all the benefits that you can have. However, it takes a long time to get there. So in the majority of the roles that I play is really early stage companies, there's different types of salespeople. So there's, what's known and HBR, Harvard business review has a great article on this called the sales learning curve. So anybody can go look that up. It talks about three different types of sales reps. You've got what's called a renaissance rep, a enlightened rep, and then a coin operated rep. A coin operated rep should probably do a demo on the very first call because that's what the buyer's looking for. Coin operated rep works for a company that's been established that has a great product market fit. It's predominantly inbound, or at least the market as well educated. On the complete flip side, a renaissance rep is really out there educating the market that it's time for a change. So renaissance rep is very much what it sounds like they have to be highly intelligent. They have to be creating. So if most of the products and I've worked for over a dozen startups full time and I've consulted and been an advisor to more than 40 startups in some part- time capacity. It's always about how do we actually get the buyer to realize that there's a problem that they need to change. Sometimes it's by doing a demo because you finally see it. It's like, oh, I didn't even realize that this was available to me. So in the early in my career, I worked for many financial technology startups where we sold to professional investors such as hedge funds, traders and analysts. They don't want a whole spiel. They just want to see that it works. So I could be in and out of there and close the deal literally in 15 minutes. Whereas other organizations I might need to go in and for several meetings, just talk about the concept and help educate them on why things are changing and why they need to make a shift. The product itself isn't going to get me there. It's not just a, in the moment decision, you have to look at how educated your market is and how much of a product market fit you have.

Devin Reed: My thought is, some sales teams I think have strict rules on this. I've been on teams where it's like, do not demo on the first call no matter what. Other teams where it's, " Devin, you've been in the game for awhile, it's your call. You play the cards. You think that need to be dealt here." How can sales reps and, or sales leaders know maybe like what type of rep they are or what type of, like you said, what kind of part of the cycle are they currently in? So they know, hey, like probably shouldn't be demoing, but maybe here's that one one- off scenario.

Kris Wiig: Yeah. This is really hard to put into just a few sentences. So I can use big concepts like, do you have product market fit? But what does that really mean? And so I'd say easier ways to look at this are going back to sales metrics and sales numbers. So if you have a very small team and you've got less than five account executives selling a product, you don't necessarily have enough data to identify, is it my people? Is it my process? Or is it my product? And that's what we're just continuously refining. My process, I can structure and I can enforce, but then I need to hire the right types of people that are going to execute on that. But if your product's not a easily understandable product, you've got a whole different type of rep that you're going to need. So I'd say when you have a very straightforward technology where the product itself can be easily understood, and the problem is easily defined and also accepted, you can go with corn operated reps all the way. And they are going to be chasing that quota. And they're going to be that commission check, which is what you want. When you know you've got a play that's going to work. If you have no idea what the playbook is yet, and you need people to come in to really sit down and probe with the client and maybe provide feedback to your product team to say, " Hey, the questions that I'm getting, or the objections that I'm getting, is there something we can do to solve with the product?" That means you need a renaissance rep. So that usually means it's in the very early phases of a product launch and go to market, and you're still figuring out the pieces. And then that enlightened rep is somewhere in between where they don't need the full recipe, but they at least need to know that they're baking a cake or making a meatloaf. And that there's a set amount of ingredients, but they can play with those ingredients a little bit. Is that helpful?

Devin Reed: Very helpful, very helpful. And I was trying to figure out when you first described it, which one am I? And once you use the meatloaf analogy, I'm like, I'm definitely the renaissance rep. I'm actually pretty good at grabbing whatever's in the kitchen and making this deal come together. But I've also been on the coin operated side where I've been at a business that was like a year or two away from IPO, they didn't need renaissance Devin, they needed here's the playbook, run it, run it fast, run it often, and get as many deals across the line as you can-

Kris Wiig: Yeah. And it's interesting. Just something that's interesting to highlight here. So at various points in my career, I've left start- up and gone back to big companies. And you would think that big companies have an only need coin- operated reps. But again, you've got to look at product adoption curve. What I found I recently had the opportunity to go and be back at a really solid product. I understood it, I'd bought the product myself many times, but I was coming in at a point in time where we were selling to the laggers on the product adoption curve. It was literally the mirror image of what it's like to sell to an innovator and early adopter, because they still don't see the problem, even though the rest of the market does. So there it's a totally different type of approach. And I found that it was a very, very challenging sale because the process that the company had was no longer applicable, but it was only because they had had so much success that they got all the way through the product adoption curve. There are now selling to very much so a brand new market.

Sheena Badani: Yeah. I think like anytime you're even at an established company, if you're entering a new vertical, you have a new product you're going after some new segment that you haven't sold to before your reps have to mirror that renaissance rep that you talked about because they have to be able to navigate these new waters.

Kris Wiig: Mm- hmm( affirmative). Yeah. So even for upselling. I've worked for a lot of businesses where you have one initial play and one initial product, but then you want to be able to create upsell and cross sell potential, which means you're building new products, you're servicing new departments and you're building the playbooks for them. So if you're depending upon the same person who opened and closed the first deal for product, that was just the chocolate chip cookie that you printed and now you need them to go figure out what other types of baked goods do we need to make. There's a mismatch there. So a lot of times there's just an understanding of, it's not just a company, it's the entire product suite that they're going to market with. There's a whole mix maturity of those products.

Sheena Badani: Okay, Chris, so deep reflection, number two, what's the biggest misalignment when sellers try to persuade the C- suite?

Kris Wiig: Not understanding the vantage point that the C- suite is usually looking at. So for example, many times in my career, I've had the opportunity to sell to Fortune 1000 businesses. I don't go into the C- suite talking about the nonsense that their people are complaining about. I read their financial filings, I read their analyst reports, and I understand what the market and the people that they care about opinion is, which is usually their shareholders. Usually it's the analyst professional investment community. So I think with the C- suite, you have to understand who they're accountable to. And for the most part, they don't consider themselves accountable to the folks who are on the front lines, who are usually selling the technology to. Especially when you're talking about software as a service, the end user who's putting in the data or leveraging the data has a completely different workflow and a completely different work life than the C- suite. And so the smaller the company, the easier it becomes, because if you're talking to a CEO at 100 person company, the CEO likely was doing that frontline work within the past year. So they get the pain, but the more senior you go up, an organization that user that you're usually selling to has a completely different pain point. And the C- suite is usually very far removed and may not even have empathy or sympathy for that problem. So you have to really help them understand the problem from a totally different way. It requires much more strategic thinking. It requires simple words like personalization don't do it justice. You literally have to read through what are the strategic initiatives that they've decided are important for the company. And how do you tag your product onto that?

Sheena Badani: Yeah. I think it ties back to the deep reflection number one that we were talking about is, you have to understand where you are, where the buyer is, what do they care about? You're not going to step into a meeting with an executive and pull out your laptop and show them a demo. You have to relate to where they are and what they care about and doing your homework ahead of time. And there's so much out there, especially for the Fortune 1000 type of companies, there is so much in terms of all of the financial reports interviews that they've done looking at different research reports, there's a tremendous amount of information. Kris mentioned three key ingredients to driving a successful sales team. The people on your team, the sales process and the product, you can have a great sales process, for example, but bringing in the right people to execute on it is another piece of the puzzle. When it comes to the sales process, Kris says it's important to evaluate each potential buyer and research their business to find out what they care about. Gartner published a study stating that it takes six to 10 decision makers or influencers to get a deal done. This tells me that it's crucial to get buy in at multiple levels from the executive level down. Like Kris said, each of these six to 10 potential, decision- makers all have different business needs and problems. That's why it's important to get a hold on the business through research and relationship building. Your product might solve multiple problems, but it's crucial to tie it to the specific persona by asking the right questions. Gartner also stated that B2B buyers spend only 17% of time considering a purchase with the seller. This means you have to optimize your short time with them to push for the sale and use data to determine the most important buyer personas your rep should be talking to. Data is the key to maximizing that limited time you have with a potential buyer.

Kris Wiig: Yeah. And I'd say, the overall theme of what will probably come out today is that I have a series of different mental models or frameworks that I'll reference back to when I'm answering your questions. So challenger sale, what does that mean? It literally just means that you have a sales rep who was smart enough to go understand the ecosystem and all the different elements that are going to impact that client. And you have the wherewithal to put together the pieces of, " Hey guys, there's a problem here that you're not able to see yet. Here's how that problem starts to unravel. Here's how the problem ends up really impacting your business. Here's how our product solves that problem before it starts." And that is an education that is a teaching and a tailoring type sale. And that's what challenger talks about. You have to know what's going on and not just read the last post that the company put out. And you really got to understand what's going on. You can use things like Porter's five forces. Do they have competition coming in? Is there a problem in their supply chain? There's so much going on in the world right now during COVID that's impacting businesses from their supply chain, from their buyer. Can their buyers actually negotiate with them? Are they having to lay off staff? There's so many things going on that a C- level person has those problems on their brain. And if you're talking to them about anything else, you're missing the boat.

Devin Reed: I agree completely. I think I have a question for you, Kris, because the thing that I hear people battling with is like to use loss aversion or gain. It's like pain or gain when you're in these meetings. I lean towards the loss of version because what you just said it shows like, " Hey, here's some upcoming trends. Here's some things that could affect you." You're not pressing loss version super hard. But you're you're alluding to it, versus where you go for the gain approach. You have to know a lot about their business. And I think a lot of times that's where sellers can miss step thinking they know more, or it can bring something to the table that the C- level exec doesn't already know. So what's your thought there?

Kris Wiig: Yeah. I talk about sell to either fears or goals and I'm way more goal oriented selling. And that is where again, we talk about change intelligence and innovation appetite. So you're right. It's highly unlikely that I'm going to know more about the C- suites business, just based on, no matter how deeply I've researched it. They're living a day in day out. And most of the things I've read are probably going to be several weeks if not months behind. But I think you can still walk in the door with a consultative mindset and understand all the pieces of the ecosystem that they're looking at. And if they feel that they can chat with you as somebody who's going to share some new knowledge. So on the first things you can do is the first meeting you ever have with your first C- suite and your first company you're going to be the worst. As soon as you have a second meeting, you can reference back what you chatted about with this other peer. So when you can learn how to start curating all the information you're picking up from diverse conversations with executives, you start to figure out how to pepper in what you learned from your very last meeting or what you learned from your last five meetings. That's what the C- suite wants to know. They want to know how are my peers handling this? And then you have to look at outside forces, they might be aware of it from a strategic standpoint, they're going to know their competitive landscape way better than myself. They're going to know their supplier landscape way better than myself, but they may not understand how the same problem that my product fixes is unraveling in each of those. So again, I can start to then begin to paint a relative comparison of, okay, well, I'm working with this other organization that's a lookalike for you guys. They spotted this problem a year ago, here's what they've been able to do as a result. Oh, by the way, they're outperforming you.

Devin Reed: I liked that a lot. I'm watching Daniel Pink's masterclass right now. And I think it was yesterday session was exactly about this. When you're talking to folks to there's so much information out there, don't try to create information curated instead, which I think is exactly what you're talking about, which is just connect the dots of what already exists. And let them come to their own conclusions or correct you. And then you start a dialogue, which is not the worst thing. All right, we're going to move along here. You've heard the phrase. There's more than one way to skin a cat. There's also more than one way to skin, a cold call. And we have some research from Gong labs that has shared the best way to do it. Now our research shows that the best way to open a cold call is to say, " Hey, Chris, how have you been?" And then it outperforms the age old, " Hey, Chris, I catch you at a bad time?" This is another one that we put to LinkedIn. And there was a heated, if you want to talk about hot takes, heated debate in the comment section. So I'm just curious to you, do you have a preference maybe as a sales leader, what you coach as a buyer, what you hate, what do you got for us?

Kris Wiig: Sure. So upon reflection, the former is probably, " Hey, Chris, how you doing?" Is probably in line with the story I'm about to share with you. I get cold called all the time. Especially when you're either VP or chief revenue officer, you've got a job title. People just want to cold call you to sell you their stuff. As a sales leader, I like to pick up the phone because I just want to see is this, somebody got something new that I should teach my team. To this day, the best cold call I ever received is I picked up the phone and a young man said, " Hey, coach, how's your season going?" And I said, I don't know who you are or what you're trying to sell me. But you just earned a couple of minutes of my time. And that's way more powerful than just the, how are you? All this person had to do was go onto my LinkedIn and something I very clearly mentioned on my LinkedIn that I was very proud of is that I'd been a volunteer basketball coach at that point for something like 17 years. I've been coaching at this point for like 23 years, but I clearly care about, and I'm passionate about it. And he could have sent that to 100 coaches that day, but he got me with something because he showed me that he did his homework. He talked to me about something that I care about and something that I would want to talk more about. So I was willing to give up some of my time. To me, how are you? The first thing in my mind is like, who fuck are you? So I might get a little bit more defensive with that, is now a bad time? The reason why people think that that's a good one. I think Chris Voss talks about this is the structure of the sentence, is now a bad time? You're likely in your brain going to say, yes, it's a bad time. Psychology and sales tells us if we get the person to say yes, then we actually have a game. So that might work. Usually I have found that when people say is now a bad time, and you say it with your voice in a way that the person decides they want to keep talking to you. So I'd be very curious about your data and what you're actually looking at. Because to me, I think there's a huge piece of the sales person is the instrument. And if all you're doing is making a call, the first experience that a person has with you is literally the tone and sound of your voice. So I've been cold called by people who sound so amazingly pleasant that I'm like, yeah, I'm going to stay on the phone with you for just 10 more seconds to hear this. And then I got cold calls from people. I was like, wow, I don't want to talk to you anymore. So part of it is, is training a person to use communication in a way that they are opening up the opportunity. And then the second is yeah, back it up with data. But I always try to go with something that's slightly personalized or something that at least they know I want to talk about it.

Devin Reed: I like that you used the word instrument because I was doing some voiceover training and they said, your voice is an instrument. And I never really thought of it that way, but it is true. Just different tones, different songs, if you will. The one that I always had success with was the ladder with a twist, which was like, " Hey, Chris, did I catch you at a good time?" If there is such a thing. And-

Kris Wiig: Right. There you go.

Devin Reed: That little laugh was all I wanted, because then they're like, okay, what you got? And that was the exactly what you said is like, I was just trying to earn in one sentence, another 30 seconds or 60 seconds. And that was by far the best one I've ever come up with.

Kris Wiig: And this is where when I work with salespeople, I talked to them about, there's a few different roles we have to play. And we have to have the brain of a lawyer. That's going to remember every fucking thing you said, and I need to be able to use it against you later on. I need to have the ability to diagnose like a doctor. I need to be able to draw out information and get you vulnerable and comfortable like a therapist. But I also need to be an actor and an improv expert, because the only way to keep you going with me is that I'm going to get you to want to rift with me. And I do that through my voice. I do that through the different intonations. I do that through playfulness. And so when you have so many, just spitting out a cold call and I can tell immediately, I'm the 15th person you send this to in the last 30 minutes, I don't want to talk to you, but if you can bring a little bit of personality and you're also matching me where I'm at. So for example during COVID, asking, how are you? Is probably not actually the best approach. Starting off, maybe asking some questions to check in with them might be a great approach. But asking the very direct casual question of how are you during a time when people probably were at their worst state, no. So I think that we have to be really aware of what are the circumstances and how do we best tune in to the people that we're calling.

Sheena Badani: All right. So next deep reflection. Buyers, they hate being rushed, but sellers we're on a timeline. And so we have these targets that we have to hit every month, every quarter or whatever it may be. So what's your take on driving urgency? Is that something that's still relevant or is that just an outdated tactic?

Kris Wiig: It's 100% relevant, but false urgency is the death of any sale. And so when Devin and I first spoke to this, but maybe you can explain the example again, he used something about a water pump and then he gave me two, he was like, oh, my wife is on my ass to get this water pump. I said, well, now I got your urgency. I know the emotional motivation behind why you need to purchase that. So I can create a lot of urgency with that. And then the second thing he mentioned was that there was something going on, literally within the environment, why they needed the water pump. So I forget the exact reason, but again, using a framework, there's two different things. So you can look at Dale Carnegie, Sales Advantage. He talks about primary interests, buyer criteria, other considerations, and then the dominant motivation reason, which is basically your emotion. So I know I can sell Devin that water pump like that if I just keep pressing the button on your wife is really on you to get this. So you can stop that pain point immediately. That's urgency. On the second side of that, something called the PESTEL analysis, P- E- S- T- E- L. So what that is, is you look at outside influences, whether it be politics, economics, the environment, it could be a social, cultural things. It could be legal, it could be technology changing. If there's a reason why you legally need a water pump or that there's literally something going on with rain and environment that you need a water pump, I just keep pushing that and I create the urgency. What we can't do is fabricate need. What we can do is shine the light on the need and keep highlighting how bad things are going to continue to get until you fix this problem. If you don't do that from the very start of the deal, the problem is you don't get to do that later on. So this is where discovery is critical. If you fail in your early discovery and you fail to outline what the actual problem is and how that problem is going to impact your buyer, later on you can create urgency.

Sheena Badani: What about the very common driver of urgency that, " Hey, if you sign deal by next week, you'll get 15%."

Kris Wiig: Yeah. And how many times did they not sign the deal? And then you're still left giving them 15% off whenever they decided to sign it several quarters later. So I've certainly used it. We certainly do that, but you have to have already lined up that that's actually the thing stopping you from getting the deal closed. So if you offer... This is one of my favorites, negotiating. Let's just pretend you're on the street and you want to buy something from a little market and you get to say, " Oh, I want to buy this for seven dollars." And they say, " No, no, it's$ 10." Okay. Well, and then he says, " Well, what if I give you a two for 15? Well, I just told you, I only had seven dollars in my pocket. So giving me two for 15 doesn't matter." So you really have to understand what's the mechanics? What are the levers you have at play? Some people just want a discount and that's why, okay, fine, we'll not scratch our back, we'll scratch yours. Usually it's a budget approval process and there's a problem. And there's something else that needs to be fixed first. And so telling somebody to sign on the 31st versus the 1st, is our selfish need. And unless you can really align up with why there's something in it for them throwing a discount, they're usually unfortunately going to just disrespect that. And they're going to know that they can get that discount later on. I think what organizations have to do is they have to make it very clear and then hold firm that this, if they're going to use discounts as an urgency mechanism, that discount has to go away.

Devin Reed: And I like the water pump example for more clarity, Sheena and listeners, I was like, I do need to buy some water pump thing. And water pump thing is about as much as I know about it. And I was asking Chris, I'm like, how would you drive urgency because it's been on my whiteboard behind me for about four weeks? I've got to do it, but I don't really have urgency. And so I was thinking, what are the things that would make me move? Well, one, my CEO is my wife. So if she was like, " Hey, I need you to do it this weekend." I got you. I'm going to go do it this weekend. Or I'm like, I just moved into a new house. And there's a lot of new neighbors. If some of the neighbors had come to me and say, " Oh, we've all got this pump. What do you mean you don't have one yet?" Then is some urgency like, oh, wow, I'm behind now. So I think that goes back to like your executive meeting, which was like trends. I'm going to connect the dots for you. It's really hard to make a reason for Devin to go buy that pump right after this interview.

Kris Wiig: Just given that little bit of information. The way my brain is going to take that and say, okay, so if I was truly trying to sell this to you and I would have done my homework, I would have known who your CEO was, identified her. I would have known who your neighbors are, meaning your competition or other organizations I should name drop. And there clearly is a problem in the area where water pumps are needed by your" Competition/ neighbors." So I can come in and educate, not just you, but who else? Because I know they're going to be a pressure point for you, namely your CEO. I want to make sure I'm educating your CEO on these problems, because if I've got her on you, I've got your neighbors giving credibility to this concept. And every day I'm sending you a new article on, " Hey, spring is here. The rains are going to be even worse, particularly in your area. We're expecting six more inches over the next six months you need that water pump today." I keep drawing on all the things that are in the ecosystem around you to create the pressure and the urgency.

Devin Reed: And if you're listening to this and you sell water pump things by the time you hear this and it's edited and in your inbox, like I'll already have bought one, like I'm sold. So like Chris I'll let them know. Hopefully you'll get a kickback there. Last deep reflection. You have a quote that you came to me last time. I'm just going to tee it up. And I'd just love for you to elaborate, Chris. Your quote was, " Improve sales, improve your life." What do you mean by that?

Kris Wiig: Yeah. So I do believe that sales is a craft that can be mastered. And so this is where this concept of is sales, an art, or a science. And the reality is it's both, because you can not master something without using a clearly definable metrics to measure if you're getting better. You have to have goals that you're trying to get towards. You have to have a process and a system in way that you know that you're actually doing this. But then at the same time, we have to bring what we talked about earlier, which is this essence, your personality, you the actor, the improv, and you, where you're able to attune. And that's the art part. Both of those combined together mean that you are learning how to form better habits that are going to serve you, that you learn discipline. You learn that you can have not instant gratification, but delayed gratification. You learn that you can actually have self- development and self- improvement. So if you're focusing on the process part, you can very quickly become much more efficient in every area of your life. If you're focusing on the art part of sales and that attunement, you're likely going to get way better at understanding your friends, your partners, your family, your colleagues, you're going to learn how to communicate in dialogue, not parallel monologue. You're going to spend time understanding yourself and have self- awareness, but also awareness of how others are perceiving you in communication. And so all of that to me when you're working on more positive habits and you're working on more self understanding and self excavation and better dialogue, you ended up having a just much better life.

Devin Reed: Well said. You always assume someone's going to take the art or science and just make a very persuasive argument. But when you tie both together, all I can do is nod and say, yes.

Sheena Badani: It sounds like part of it is some of the science comes in the homework and the preparation and the thinking ahead of time. And then the art is more like in the moment. And how do you pivot and adjust and connect?

Kris Wiig: Mm- hmm(affirmative). It's a creativity. So pivoting and adjusting in a moment to me, that's the definition of creating,

Sheena Badani: All right, Chris, we'll get into our last question, which we ask all of our guests, which is how would you describe sales in one word?

Kris Wiig: Emotional.

Sheena Badani: I like it. Do you want to elaborate a bit more?

Kris Wiig: Have you ever met somebody who closed big deal? The second that, that deal closed? Have you ever seen a sales? Literally this pump, like there's adrenaline rush. And then have you ever met somebody the day the second they lost a deal?

Sheena Badani: Right. Oh, yeah.

Kris Wiig: It is such an emotional rollercoaster. And we do this all day long. So I'd say emotional, because there are definitely days where it's like, you're dancing around the office, hitting the Gong. And then there's days where you're like, oh, dear God, are we all going to have a company in the job? So it's an emotional rollercoaster.

Devin Reed: Chris, I'm very excited that we got to hang out now twice. I think our listeners will as well. So I just want to say, thanks for your expertise and your time.

Kris Wiig: Thank you guys inaudible. You're welcome.

Sheena Badani: Thank you. Every week we've been doing micro- actions something to think about or an action you can put into play today. Kris talked about how important it is to identify your buyer and their specific pain points. In her experience, the further you sell up the executive chain of the company, the more different pain points you're going to hear. So in your next team meeting, go through with your team and make sure everyone is aligned on questions for like who uses my product? Is the use different depending on seniority at the company? What keeps each buyer persona up at night? And how are we helping them solve their problems? This conversation could be a dialogue with your team to share best practices or to go over data, or even to a full- blown, role- play session, focused on each buyer persona that's most important to your sales team. It's important to remember the who, what and how.

Devin Reed: Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now. So next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.

Sheena Badani: And if you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews, go a long way to help get the word out there.

Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.

Sheena Badani: And if you have any feedback or you want us to interview one of your favorite revenue leaders, just email us @ revealatgong. io.


The time you get with a potential buyer is finite. Kris Wiig, VP of Partnerships at FreeWill, joins us to discuss how you can make the most of every second. After listening to the interview, you’ll be ready to capitalize on your interactions. Kris also lets us in on her go-to frameworks she uses to break down problems and drive urgency. Plus, we pay tribute to the best opening line she's ever heard on a cold call. Fun fact: the questions on this episode came straight from you our sales community. Start listening now to get answers to your burning questions. Have a question you’d like to submit? Make sure you’re following Gong on LinkedIn.

Today's Host

Guest Thumbnail

Danny Wasserman

|GTM Enablement

Today's Guests

Guest Thumbnail

Kris Wiig

|Vice President of Partnerships at FreeWill