Joe has a decades long track record of success in sales leadership roles. As a team builder in technology firms spanning communication, manufacturing, hardware, software and services, Joe has a great mix of experience in large corporate and SMB including public, family, strategic investor and PE owned businesses.
Having spent many years building and developing sales teams at companies such as US West, IEX-Tekelec, RMG Networks and Emerson/Vertiv has allowed Joe to transition world class processes and best practices to smaller growth firms in order to deliver exceptional results, both in top line revenue and EBITDA.
Joe's focus is to help organizations understand their value, develop their people, implement the right sales processes, and know how to manage it all moving forward.
Although he’s lived in a few other spots and travelled to many more, he’s a native Texan who attended Stephen F. Austin State University and The University of Florida, Warrington School of Business respectively for his bachelor and graduate programs
In this episode
Joe English of 360 Consulting observes that so many businesses struggle to meet sales goals and expectations in spite of their best efforts. This manifests itself in stalled out proposals, inability to take sales to the next level, lack of time to manage sales, inability to find the "right" salesperson, or having the wrong compensation system. Joe points out that there are 4 reasons why companies struggle with their sales: 1. They lack the right go-to-market strategy; 2. They don't have roles, responsibilities, comp plans and onboarding processes for their sales team; 3. Their sales process is ineffective; and 4. They don’t have the right management process.
Joe recommends business owners must have an exceptional onboarding plan and a solid management process that provides constant feedback and input to salespeople so they have clear expectations. Joe offers a 5-step process to implement an effective sales development and management process. Listen to the end for Joe’s gift to our audience.
A glimpse of what you'll hear
03:43 The signs and symptoms that a business is failing at building a sales function.
05:24 The underlying issues that cause your sales function to start to underperform.
08:39 The game plan to build an effective sales function.
09:36 The importance of clarity of task in sales team performance.
12:20 The impact on the business owner of having an effective sales team and process.
13:28 5-step process to professionalize your sales function.
17:12 Learn about Joe. Email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)
00:00:04:13 - 00:00:22:18
Welcome to the Best Kept Secret video cast and podcast from Centricity. If you are a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business.
00:00:23:06 - 00:00:42:05
Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co-founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.
00:00:43:01 - 00:01:09:23
My name is Ja Kingley, Co-Founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to our show where our guests share their provocative perspective on what their target market is missing out on. I am happy to welcome to the show Joe English, a partner with 360 Consulting. Joe and his colleagues help companies transform their sales teams and processes to achieve all time sales records. Joe is based in Dallas, Texas.
Welcome to the show, Joe.
00:01:11:19 - 00:01:16:17
Thanks for having me, Jay. And by the way, my wife thanks you because I am out of her hair for as long as I'm talking to you.
00:01:17:03 - 00:01:52:18
I'm always happy to be of service. Joe What I want to talk about is sales. And I think we all understand that sales is the absolute foundation of any business without revenue. It doesn't actually matter how good we are at what we do because there will be no clients who are going to take advantage of it. So when you think about the lifecycle of a business, we typically have someone who's very passionate about what they want to do, what service, what products they want to offer.
Typically starts as a one man or a very small man band, and you typically find sales being driven by the founder or CEO of the business. And most of the time they're not trained salespeople, but they have passion. They have knowledge about what it is that they want to do. And they communicate those two things to the market.
Sometimes they are successful and they begin to build a business and they get their business to a point where they become the critical path. They can no longer put enough effort into the sales function to keep the business going. And at that point, they begin to bring on a sales team and here's where. So often they just smash into an impenetrable wall.
They bring on people that look good on paper, but they aren't necessarily who it is that they really need. They bring on people maybe that were terrific at selling whatever their they needed to sell in their previous job, but which was very different than what the current business needs. They don't have the right management, they don't have the right systems.
They don't have the right tools. Sometimes they don't have the right experience or they need more management guidance and supervision. I could go on and on and on, but it is the thing that is most important and it is typically the thing that even though the owner has done it, it's not really where their passion is. So we have got this real conundrum now, Joe, as someone who is a true expert in how companies build and scale their sales teams, what is going.
00:03:53:05 - 00:04:10:12
On where you kind of hit the nail on the head? Most often the decision maker that we work with is the owner operator of a small or medium business. Right. The issue that we see more than anything is that the business struggles to meet sales revenue objectives in spite of their best efforts. It's not like you're not trying.
So let's use the doctor analogy, right? You go to the doctor, you want to try to figure out what you're saying, what are your symptoms? Right. Doctors ask you, what are you feeling? So what we end up seeing with mostly small businesses, stalled out proposals, you know, stuff, deals, inability to take sales to the next level, lack of time to actually manage sales potentially.
You're wearing too many hats in your business. You may have high sales turnover in terms of resources or you simply don't know how to go hire the right people. And what is that right salesperson look like? And lastly, how do you get the results, how you pay them, how you compensate them? These are the symptoms that we see regularly when we're talking to the market out there as a whole.
And that's not just in the Dallas area, but everywhere.
00:04:58:22 - 00:05:21:15
And I'm guessing, you know, it's it's typically not just one symptom, but it's a bunch of symptoms. And I love the analogy about the doctor, because what we know when we're sick and the reason that we go to the doctor is the symptoms that you're talking about typically aren't with. The real problem is that's how we experience the problem.
But if we want to get rid of those symptoms, we have to first define what's causing them and then we have to treat that root cause. So let's take those in order. Joe when in your experience, when you see companies with this range of symptoms, what are the things underlying that are causing them?
00:05:41:22 - 00:06:05:01
Many of your SMB owners have early success to your point earlier, right? They're building a business because it's where they came from. They know a lot about it. Maybe they broke off, go off on their own. However, there's really three key phases to any business, right? You build, then you grow and then you scale. We typically see that there's a few areas in a business that that hinder that sales growth.
First is the go to market strategy. Everything wrapped around going to market your USP or unique sales proposition, your value prop ideal client profile, what's your sales story? Those things. Trickier than that, though, is people, people, people, people. Who do they have? Who do they not have? What are their roles or their responsibilities? How do you pay them?
Do you have an onboarding process? All things related to people. People are the key to most businesses. Some are super capital intensive in other areas, but most businesses it's people, right? That's the toughest resource you have to deal with in your business. And salespeople, let's be honest, we're a slightly different breed, so it makes it even a little bit harder.
You go from there to your sales process. Do you actually have a process from when a lead is created to an actual customer and everything in between that has to happen. And lastly, the management process, do you have your goals, your KPIs, your dashboards, a meeting cadence? What are the agendas for your meetings that actually make people want to show up to a meeting versus dreading going to a meeting?
All of that reps and how do you develop that staff? Again, it's it's a people challenge. So I have heard many, many business owners say I don't know why they can't do this. I am so tired of hiring salespeople who don't perform or I'm the owner and I'm better at selling than they are. Are you kidding me? Well, of course, you're great at selling your products, your services for the business you built.
It's your business. You should know just about everything there is to know about it. It is not their business. They don't know what you know. So you have to ask yourself the question How are you helping your sales staff.
00:07:57:20 - 00:07:58:14
To know what?
00:07:58:14 - 00:08:08:02
You know? Are you setting them up for success or are you simply hiring somebody and saying, Hey, hey, go get them to hire? They have sales experience. They should know what to do.
00:08:08:12 - 00:08:38:14
I'm reminded, Joe, of the the old joke where you're talking to a business owner and the business owner says, My business would be so amazing if only I didn't have to deal with customers. And the variation of that is my business would be the most fun thing in the world except for employees. And it is exactly as you said, it all gets back to people and people are amazing and they're frustrating.
And you've given us, I think, a range of potential diagnoses of those symptoms. And obviously, you know, any given client is going to have one or more of those underlying causes that drive their set of symptoms that they want to get rid of. I think the next obvious question that our audience is going to want to understand is, all right, I, I have the symptoms I get with some of the root causes are so what do we do about it?
And let's say you on that.
00:09:09:13 - 00:09:32:10
Owner should be focusing on their people and how to manage them for maximum results. Right. It's we're a results driven world. Getting this right also supports the go to market and the sales process tremendously. So first and foremost, when it comes to sales people, business owners must have an exceptional onboarding plan. Kind of think of this as the five WS, right?
The who, what, where, when and why. Second to that, you need to have a really solid sales management process in order to execute properly against that go to market strategy and those plans that you put in place. Think of that as the how. So as a business owner, if you've kind of figured out the five WS and then the how, holy smokes, you're cooking with gas now, right?
And your team is no longer guessing as you've laid it out.
00:10:02:03 - 00:10:12:10
So when you do what you suggest, let's talk about how well it works in terms of the business, what impact on the business is doing what you suggest half.
00:10:12:18 - 00:10:39:18
It's a good question and I'll answer it in a couple of different ways. So your people will absolutely start to have better conversations that will lead to building a bigger and stronger pipeline of opportunities. And then you'll win more business out of that pipeline and do it at higher profits. So Harvard Business Review published an article many years ago based on a study looking at sales motivation, taking into account several factors.
Three main factors they looked at was behavioral factors. So did you have a need to achieve? Do you have a competitive drive? Things we think of for sales resources, sales compensation plans, how are you paying your people? And surprisingly clarity of task. Not something most people think about. Surprisingly, even more so, clarity of task far outweighed the others 50% more than personality, three times not 30%, 300% more than the type of pay plan and additionally, the tenure of those sales resources three times longer.
That is a super compelling case for having an exceptional onboarding plan and then ongoing sales management that provides clarity, cost of feedback and input to salespeople so they know and have clear expectations. Thinking about a current client that we're working with right now, the pandemic was a little hard on them, right? They came to us. They didn't really have a sales onboarding plan.
They didn't have a true sales management process, limited sales resources. And they came to us in 2021. Yeah, like, say the pandemic was tough. They had a really good business, but they were they made the decision to reinvent themselves a little bit. They were doing about three and a half million dollars a month with a goal of getting to five and a half million dollars a month because that was their pre-pandemic high.
So they wanted to get back to where they were just last month. They did over $7 million in sales and they're tracking to not just beat but crushed their annual goal. More importantly, already in June, at the end of June 2nd quarter, they were 160% of their annual profit goal. So they can basically trip and fall over the rest of the year and still make the money that they wanted to make.
That's what we want to see happen for business.
00:12:29:09 - 00:12:54:17
Now, one of the challenges for the business owner is they've got to step back a little bit. All those things you said earlier about what's wrong with these knuckleheads, why can't they do it? But at the core, you've got to bring in true professionals and there's a role as the founder CEO, but it's not micromanaging a process and a function that you don't understand.
I'm very cognizant of the emotional impact that it has on that business owner. So they're going to do what you suggest. It's going to be great for the business, but what about for them? What's the impact on that business owner?
00:13:08:06 - 00:13:31:04
What you just said, they're frustrated, right? A business owner that's not meeting their goals is really frustrated. And frustration leads to anger. And sometimes anger leads to despair. Right. None of this is good. After all, sales is the health and welfare of the business, as you mentioned earlier. So to those statements you just reiterated, I can't believe they can't do this.
I'm tired of hiring people who don't perform. I can think of other words we'll say. And so as the old saying goes, in sports and in business, winning cures all. So business owners want predictability in their business. You want it for centricity. I want it for 360. Why? Because it allows greater confidence in our decision making when and where to invest, and basically how to scale the business in the right way.
That's what winning looks like. That's the emotion we're trying to take care of.
00:14:03:04 - 00:14:18:23
So, Joe, it's a pretty compelling case by the numbers and by the emotion. So talk a little bit about how you take that game plan that you talked about and actually drive it through implementation. What are the key things, key steps that you have to take?
00:14:19:01 - 00:14:46:01
Many times owners are leaders. You said earlier, best salesperson. They are the rainmaker once because of their unique perspective, their passion, everything they put into it. However, when growing and scaling, they're the limiting factor right? Because they individually are not the scalable resources. So I highly recommend that you think about as an owner, what have you done to be successful, not with the entire business, but in winning clients?
You spend a lot of time and effort, especially in today's world, recruiting and then hiring talent. It's a big topic in today's world. You've got to make sure you're hiring, right? And as the saying goes, putting the right people in the right seats. If you do that, you have to map out an awesome onboarding plan of what those sales resources need to know that, you know, to be successful, that is clarity of task.
And in order to continue to develop those salespeople. But a strong sales management process in place that continues to provide ongoing clarity of tasks. Here's a pro tip as part of that management process. Decide what key metrics you want to track in order to provide that ongoing input and feedback. As a best practice, I would pick three metrics that you feel around your business are the most important things to drive.
Overall sales success. And when you consider these things, be sure to think about both your leading indicators and your lagging indicators. It's not all just about measuring revenue. At the end of the day, it's how do you get there?
00:15:54:14 - 00:16:23:17
Creating and building a business is one of the most amazing professional rides. I think you can go on, but when you look at that journey, there are very clear phases. We have that initial phase where the founder and CEO owner drives the entire business on the back of their passion and their expertize, and they're the ones that typically are driving the revenue side of the house, even if that isn't their expertize.
But then you have that phase two and I'll call the phase two, the professionalization of your sales function. Then of course, down the road you can scale that and become an enterprise in a phase three. But that transition from phase one to phase two is so critical. And Joe, I think you have opened up a lot of our eyes in our thinking in terms of symptoms and problems and what you do about it and why it's worthwhile.
So I thank you for that. We are going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to learn a bit about Joe.
00:17:01:23 - 00:17:24:17
Wondering how much longer you have to grind and chase after every lead conversation and client, would you like clients to knock on your door so you no longer have to pitch follow up and spam decision makers? While centricity is, the Tipping Point Program uses a proven five step process that will help you get in front of the decision makers you need by spending less time undoing all of the things you hate.
It's not cold calling, cold email, cold outreach on LinkedIn or any other social media platform or spending money on ads. But it has a 35 times higher ROI than any of those things. Leveraging your expertize and insights that your prospects and network value. The best part, even though you'll see results in 90 days, you get to work with the centricity team for an entire year to make sure you have all the pieces in place and working so you can start having freedom of time and a life outside of your business.
So email time a centricity bit icon to schedule an 18 minute call to learn more.
00:18:00:10 - 00:18:18:10
Welcome back. We're talking to Joe English, a partner with 360 Consulting. Let's find out a bit more about Joe. Let's start with the pain points that you and your colleagues address for your clients and why do your clients need you to get rid of that pain?
00:18:18:16 - 00:18:39:20
Well, so typically we work with owner operators of B2B, SMB, small and mid-sized businesses, and there's a variety of definitions for what is small or medium. For us, that's under $100 million. And quite frankly, they get to a point where growth is a challenge because they're not scalable as a resource. And they were too many hats in their business very common.
So from the sales or business development side of that equation, it's how do I hire and onboard the right sales resources? Do I have a process that clearly defines the sales roles, responsibilities, expectations and timing of how deals get done? Managing the CRM, if they have it, is much more common these days, which is great, but you have to be able to track activities, metrics, what your pipeline development look like.
How do you forecast revenue accurately? As we discussed earlier, the ongoing development and management of salespeople, one of the trickiest personality groups in the world to me. So at the main crux of it, I find with most small and mid-sized business owners having the time and or domain expertize to do any or all of the above.
00:19:31:13 - 00:19:57:18
One of the things that I have learned, I think we typically massively underestimate is the difference between a professional and an amateur. It's not unusual when you're starting a business to be an amateur when it comes to the sales side. And at some point, Joe, they know they need to become professional. The gap is big and there you are to fulfill that gap.
So tell us a little bit about why you are so good at what it is that you do, why you're not immature on land. Because I don't think people need more of the same. They need to really step up in class to get this right and take their company to the next level. So how do you do it?
00:20:18:02 - 00:20:44:14
At the crux of it and you hear this a lot, you know, passion find something your passion about it will never be a job. Listen, I absolutely love sales. I like everything about it. I study it. I've done it. I've been trained at it. I kind of geek out on both the art and the science of selling and professionally and at this point, I have way more than my 10000 hours is after that I think about the fact that I was just generally born to coach people.
Nothing fills me up more inside than helping others reach their potential and win every day. And then lastly, there's there's paying it forward. So I've had great experience. I've gained a lot of knowledge, been through myriad trainings. I've gained all that through my professional career. It aligns perfectly with my personal core values. And that's why I do what I do.
00:21:05:21 - 00:21:34:22
I encourage everybody to go to LinkedIn and check out Joe's profile. You'll see his tremendous experience in this training is education, and you'll begin to understand why he's truly professional at what he does. But Joe, I have a slightly different question for you. Share with us what's happened in your life. What's that one thing that would most explain why you do what you do today?
00:21:35:00 - 00:22:07:12
I think about my life right as a whole and my parents are my heroes. I think that should be true for all of us, and I'm a product of them. So I don't give you my whole life story here. But they were both servant leaders in every way. And that's the example that I learned from, you know, my father was a college athlete soldier are exact my scout troop leader, parish finance committees, Knights of Columbus and my mom, also a college athlete who became a coach, an actual sports chef became the volunteer coach.
After having kids and athletic director at the school that I grew up at, she became a single parent. My father died when I was younger, and that has spurred me on to have the drive to sort of live up to what I expected of myself from the hero that I had grown up watching. So I got into sales completely accidentally, but I chose to stay.
As a former college athlete myself, I absolutely love the competition. The drive, the ability to keep score. It's just fun. And as I developed in my career from an individual contributor into leadership roles, that's where I started to see myself walking in my father's footsteps. And I kind of found my calling coaching job. And so I literally met earlier.
I was kind of born to coach and you hear that kind of in my life story a little bit. I take great pride in my corporate career, but as an independent consultant now, I get to help more people reach their potential and experience the joy of winning every day. And it also gives me a lot more time with my family than riding around the country on American Airlines.
00:23:11:21 - 00:23:39:15
You've addressed the topic today that I think so many SMB companies either are or will at some point wrestle with, which is how do you professionalize your sales, get it to the next level? Joe, I am sure we've got plenty of people that would love to reach out to you to start a dialog on this critical task. What is the best way for folks to get in touch with you?
00:23:40:04 - 00:23:46:14
Drop me a line. Yeah, it's Joe at 360 Consulting DFW dot com. Easiest ways to hit me up on email.
00:23:46:17 - 00:24:17:08
And we will put all that information including Joe's LinkedIn address into the show notes and as an insert into the video. Joe, this has been tremendous. You, I think, have a gift to take what is an incredibly complicated and sometimes even nuanced subject and make it really digestible and understandable and do it in a fashion which makes us want to say, let's go get an amazing, amazing guest for the show.
And, you know, you you love competition. I love competition. And it may not surprise you that there are other people that are out there doing shows and they like to look at me and say, we're coming after you. We think we can take it. I'm like, not so fast. Not so fast. Because I not only get amazing guests like Joe, but I don't stop there because Joe, as good as this was, I'm thinking, I need you to do better.
I need you to rise to the occasion. I need you to up the ante. And on behalf of my audience, I'd love for you to give them a little gift, give them a little sweetener that shows your appreciation for this opportunity. So what can you do for him, Joe?
00:25:06:15 - 00:25:34:04
Jay, I'm going to tell you, I love that you closed me on something that's awesome. So one of the things that we do with every client we work with is we workshop a lot of these concepts so that we can really get it right. So let me do this for your audience. If when they reach out to me, drop me a line, you've got the email address and let me know that you saw me on Jay's show, the best kept secret from centricity.
And we'll do a free workshop with you where we sit down and we can look at one of the key factors in your business, your ideal client profile, maybe your sales messaging and sales story, something along those lines. I'll let a let your audience pick the topic that that they want that they want to dig into. And we'll do a workshop with them, help them get them on the right path.
00:25:55:14 - 00:26:23:11
That is tremendous. I'm going to give you the little silent applause. Our audience, you have got to take advantage of this and tap into Joe's expertize. There is nothing more important in any business. I call it job one, which is bringing revenues in the door, letting clients show you the appreciation for the tremendous impact that I know each of you can have on their worlds.
So let's do this thing. Joe, I want to thank you. You have been a tremendous guest today to our audience. Let's continue to crush it until next time.