Contact Us

Building Your Digital Utopia

Book - Building Your Digital Utopia
How to Create Digital Brand Experiences That Systematically Accelerate Growth

Building Your Digital Utopia

Book - Building Your Digital Utopia
How to Create Digital Brand Experiences That Systematically Accelerate Growth

Case Studies

Explore our past work and see how we help accelerate long-term, sustainable growth.
Read Case Studies »

Testimonials

Don't take our word for it, see what our clients have to say about their experiences working with Digitopia.
Read Testimonials »

HubSpot Diamond Partner Banner

 

I have worked with Frank and the Digitopia team for many years and have seen firsthand the great work they do for their clients.

Dan Tyre, Director at HubSpot

Events & Workshops

The Digital Utopia Podcast Nav Banner

Weekly Episodes - Listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, & Google.

The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #40

Why Sales Teams Need to Separate Hunters and Closers

Listen to the episode

recording-1_postproductions_2021-04-15-t12-38-57pm-final-mix

 

About the podcast

The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.

Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.

The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.

Episode transcription

Frank  
Hey, gang. Welcome to the digital utopia podcast episode 40. I'm your host, Frank Cowell, and joined by my co host, 
 
Joe  
Joseph Freeman. 
 
Frank  
Today we're going to talk about the nuances of hunting and closing, and how you can use technology to empower the people that engage in those activities and hold them accountable. And just make it more fun and cool. 
 
Joe  
The nuances of sales. 
 
Frank  
Yes, the nuances of sales activities, activities. 
 
Joe  
Yeah. You know, I personally think this is a really fun one, because I think sales is something that most companies haven't nailed. And I think that's kind of okay. But I just love hearing everybody's thoughts on how to write this apart, how to empower your sales people or person in a lot of cases. And so I'm excited to get into this. 
 
Frank  
Yeah, I think a lot of organizations that don't consistently hit sales targets, it's because they don't have a great sales process, and they don't have great sales technology. And oftentimes, what they're relying on are sales rockstars. And having sales rock stars on your team is great. And everyone wants the sales Rockstar. In many of them, we want to clone them. But it's just not realistic. They don't exist in quantity, unfortunately. And so what you want to do is you want to take high quality people that aren't necessarily in these random rock stars that are really rare, hard to find gems will take high quality people and give them a process and you want to give them tools that can allow them to outperform their natural ability. 
 
Joe  
Mm hmm. I mean, how many times over the last 15 years have we hired what we thought was a rock star with a little black book that was gonna come in and change everything for us? 
 
Frank  
Oh, yeah. So many times, and the reality is no matter, past experience they have in your network, or network and contacts they have, they still have to come in and learn your offering, learn your way, they still have to build up a new network around the types of things that you do to get the kind of referrals they're going to need. And so it's really rare, you can hire that person with the little black book, and they just go to town and, you know, whiz bang, you've got a bunch of new opportunities flowing in, it can happen. It's just usually not wise to bank on that, because it's not very predictable. 
 
Joe  
Well, and I think, especially for SMBs, that's hard to do, because a lot of times those people come with a price tag that you just can't afford. So what do you do? What do you do instead? 
 
Frank  
So we need process. And we've talked a lot about process on this show. So you need a sales process. And they need, you need some really good sales technology to empower these people to let them be as efficient as possible. So they can engage the right people at the right time. 
 
Joe  
You're saying we need people? I think a lot of organizations we've worked with have usually a person? I think we should talk about that. Yeah, can you do both, you know, the hunting and the gathering and the closing all with one person.
 
Frank  
I don't believe that's very effective. I know, small companies have no choice but to start out that way. And so you kind of have to, but I don't believe ultimately, that's very effective. And to me, that's driven by the first thing I said, which is process. So if we look at the process, in sales, you really have there's, you can get into this further. So I'm speaking generally here. So if you're a salty sales dog listening today, and you say, Frank, there's more than those two, I get it. But generally speaking, you kind of have two major roles, you have hunters, and you have closers or two, let's say it's two activities. Because most organizations don't understand that those are two separate roles, yet, they just know there's hunting activity and closing activity. You know, I like to also refer to it as you know, you've got people that nurture, and then you've got people that make deals, you know, you can kind of look at it that way as well. And knowing that those are the two major activities in sales, those need to be handled by two different people because, one, they're two different skill sets. And two, they they get measured differently. So that you know, the the activity around nurturing, or the hunting, right? how you measure that is different than how you measure the dealmakers, the people that put solutions together, connect with customers on a deep level, and present the right offer and close the deal. And that's a different skill set and the metrics to measure those things. The KPIs are different. And so that's why I'm a huge proponent of separating those into two functions at minimum two functions. Now, the bigger the organization, you can get into support functions like you can have sales engineers, you know, and they kind of come along and they assist the main closer right you can have Sales administrators. And they're there to assist in the deal making and to handle, you know, research or proposal development or you know, what have you. So there are a lot of other functions that can grow as your organization grows, and especially as in complex sales. But let's just speak very generally, and simply for the benefit of everybody here today, the two major roles are the, you know, Ting, the hunter, and then the closer. And so I think it's really important to get those separated, and then understand the KPIs of each because they are very different. So Hunter is going to have a KPI around, generally, you're gonna, that person is going to have a KPI around qualified appointments for the closer, like, that's the number that's their currency. You'll hear me often talk about that in these various episodes. And if we were to chat in person, or you've heard me speak, I talked about currency, of the role of a any given role within an organization. So for example, if you're the head of operations, what is your currency to the organization? What is the thing that brings value? And I think that brings value through the head of operations, let's say your services business, it's gross profit, right? Ultimately, that's the major currency. And if you're, you know, a hunter, the currency of your role is is the qualified conversation with the main salesperson with the the the deal maker. And so knowing that that's the KPI getting that right for your organization is really critical. And then you've heard us talk about in other episodes, and then you could develop a bunch of metrics to, to start to understand, you know, and get predictive about whether or not they're going to hit that. But that's not a revenue KPI. It's not a contract value KPI and I think that's an important distinction. 
 
Joe  
Yeah, I love that I love speaking in terms of currency, because at the end of the day, we all are just branches of this tree. And we all got to play our part, right? And so knowing what that is, and and thinking of it tangibly as the currency you bring, I think is super helpful. 
 
Frank  
So yeah, everyone in the organization has a currency. And I think thinking of it that way, helps us narrow down the KPI for each role. And you've heard me talk about ad nauseum. one, maybe two KPIs per person, not many. If there's a one, there's a primary one, and that's their currency. And so I would have you look at everyone in your organization through that lens, what is the currency of each of these roles, and then you might have a secondary KPI, if there's some sort of qualifier to the first and you've heard me give examples around a salesperson might have $500,000 in contract value is the KPI or contract values, a KPI that targets $500,000, they might have a secondary KPI. And remember, KPIs are must hit, those are the must achieve job performance thing. So KPI is contract value, the targets 500,000, they might have a secondary one that is, for customers, minimum. And the reason that might be included in there is because maybe the organization doesn't want contracts less than $125,000. They don't want that salesperson to hit their $500,000 KPI target with you know, 50 customers, right, they want it done with four. And so that would be a scenario where you have two KPIs, and then everything else like days to close, close rate, number of line items sold, like all those things are just metrics. They're indicators to help that person be predictive in their job. 
 
Joe  
Yeah, and you should hit those. But if you don't hit those, it's not the end of the world. But the KPIs are the ones you have to hit. 
 
Frank  
Those are the ones you have to hit. Yeah. And I often tell executives hold people accountable to the primary currency of their role. There might be a secondary qualifier KPI. beyond that. You use the KPIs as tools, not as a performance review material. Hmm, that's critical. metrics are tools for you to be predictive and investigative in a reactive way. If you don't hit the KPIs, you can start to investigate why that didn't happen. But they're not what people are accountable to. 
 
Joe  
Hmm. Okay, so the hunter, we're talking about the currency there is going to be appointment set, right? And then that gets then passed on to the closer, right. And so what is the currency for the closer 
 
Frank  
So in your organization, how you measure deal flow. The color of that is how you're going to measure that. So whatever, whatever color you would add to that that's most important for your organization. That's what the KPI is. So for example, if it's I mentioned contract value, it might just be contract value, that's the number one currency that they need to bring to the organization. And so you might say KPI is contract value the target Is 500,000 per month? 
 
Joe  
Yeah, so you're saying this is for the closer not for the sales team at large, this is their actual currency. 
 
Frank  
Correct that in that could be the same for the head of sales, right? Like they could be one in the same and likely are one in the same. Yep. And so you would in that scenario, they would say $500,000 of contract value is the total KPI, you have your KPI and then a target. And then again, you might have a second KPI, if there's a qualifier, or some other must have, along with that 500,000, such as, you know, 500,000 contract value and number of extended warranties, you know, that percentage of contracts with extended warranty, right, that might be a requirement, that might be a qualifier to that first 120 5% of contracts have to have an extended warranty as an example. And so those would be the kinds of KPIs you would put on the closing, or the deal making activity, the deal making role. Some organizations, maybe their prices are pretty set. And it's not about like, they don't necessarily need to measure, like contract value, maybe they're just measuring quantity. So you need to bring on 50 new subscribers per month, like maybe the mentality is the color in how they talk about growth in their organization. Maybe its subscribers, maybe subscribers is like the big thing. And so you would have a subscriber KPI and a target of let's say, 50 per month, right? So it really depends on your organization, what is the currency, you know, for that function, and then develop the KPI accordingly. 
 
Joe  
Yeah, so now if we're talking about two different roles that both have two different currencies, we know that some organizations, this is gonna be one person. But ideally, we're saying break this into two different people. So if we broken it into two different people, the challenge that we see a lot is that most organizations have one sales pipeline, the lead comes in to the sales pipeline, and then it goes through whatever for 1264 stages till the either closed one stage or the closed last stage. And where this becomes a problem, and what we're talking about here is that with one pipeline, it's hard to measure those two different currencies, it's hard to pull them out separate from each other, and really pull whatever reports you need to get to hold these people accountable. So what do we do about this?
 
Frank  
Well, I think that goes back to one of the things we've talked about in the past, which is, you know, when you understand the macro funnel of your business, which is to say, for every major milestone, in the customer journey with your brand, you have all of these points at which you can positively or negatively influence, revenue outcome, right. And so each of those things has a primary outcome you can measure. And so similarly, with these two roles, because we just talked about their primary outcomes, or their currencies, as we've been talking about them, because they have these two primary outcomes, you want to have two distinct ways to allow them to manage that process to get to that outcome. And two distinct ways to, to visualize that as well. So what what one of the things that we've been recommending a lot, is to use your deal pipelines, also, for your hunting for your hunter role for that BDR, if you call it or an SDR, whatever you call it, that hunter role, set up a deal pipeline just for them. Now, there won't be any contractual value assigned to each deal, quote, unquote, which if you're using deal technology, right now, sales software, right now, you'll know that when you put in a deal, it's a potential deal. And if you've got $1 amount, there's probabilities, right? But when you set this up for your Hunter, every deal that goes in, it's just going to have a 00 dollar, because they're not at the point at which they even know what the value of this potential deal is. Because the goal of this particular pipeline isn't to close it, a sales contract, the goal of this pipeline is just get them into an appointment with, you know, whoever your your deal maker is. 
 
Joe  
Yeah, now, I think the one you want is if you are selling widgets that cost $100 every time then obviously you do know what that potential value is. But it still doesn't serve a huge purpose in this initial, 
 
Frank  
It doesn't serve a purpose for this person, because remember their currency to the role, their currency to the organization is qualified appointments for the dealmaker. That's their value, that's their ultimate value. If they do that, and they kill it, then they're doing their part. And then in theory, if everyone's doing their part of that, that macro funnel, then you grow and everyone wins. Yeah. So I would set up a deal pipeline specifically for your hunters and put them in and oftentimes in these sales software's that you interact with today, most of them will have really cool can ban views, if you're not familiar with what can ban is, it's that awesome view where each column represents a progressive stage in a process. It's linear, but it represents a progressive linear process. And so now you can visually see if you're wanting to hold this person accountable, you can pull up their Hanban view, and just see where things piling up. Do we have a lot of contacts piling up in the new column? Why are they just still sitting in new, so it's a great, easy visual way for both the hunter and the manager to look and just see, okay, is this thing flowing. And I like to talk about, I like to talk about business and process in terms of flow. And ultimately, what you're trying to do as a business person, is you're just trying to create flow in this system that you've got. That's it. That's, I mean, simply put, you're trying to maximize flow. And so when you use tools like Hanban, you actually get a visual of the flow, this becomes really useful. And again, when you drag it to that closed one column, you're going to rename that from closed one to something else, whatever is meaningful, like, qualified appointment set, you know, intro call scheduled, whatever that that first step is in your main pipeline, you name it the same thing. Right? So yeah, in ours, that's what we do is we take the closed one column of that BDR pipeline, and then the first column of the main opportunity pipeline, and they're the same name. Right, because that's where they connect, even though they're in two separate boards.
 
Joe  
Yeah. And if you like technology, this is where it gets really fun. We talk a lot about HubSpot, because that's what we use. And so when we build these out in HubSpot, what's really fun, what's really cool, and I'm sure this is available in other softwares, as well, is you can set validation rules on each of these columns in the can be on board, meaning my, my Hunter is not allowed to pull a card into a certain column, like let's say they're not allowed to pull it into closed one without having filled out, you know, 1234 different specific fields. So it'll stop them from doing that. So that's, that's great in terms of mandating the process and making sure that you're governing it. In addition to that, you can set up tasks to be automatically assigned to this person when they drag it into each column. And this is hugely helpful. Because when you get a new lead in, sometimes that lead came in from an inbound source, they downloaded something on your website, or they filled out a contact form, sometimes they came in because you went and bought a list and imported them or you met somebody at a networking event and put them in. And when you put them in, you might want to have follow up tasks for yourself that are different based on the way they entered. And so when we set it up this way, using this can be on view, as they drag the card into the appropriate column, maybe they drag it into, you know, nurture, for outbound, or nurture, for inbound or whatever you want to call them, you can have different columns you pull into, and that will assign tasks for this person who is managing this the salesperson so that they don't get, you know, they don't get confused at who they're working, and they don't confused at what type of outreach or nurturing should be in place for these people. 
 
Frank  
Yeah, using this technology is very, very cool. And it's fun, especially if you geek out and like we do. But it also can be very empowering. If you just do a couple of simple things, you know, you mentioned that the people that come into your database come in in various ways. There's various lenses. And so you mentioned the list, you mentioned, you met him at a networking event. And so if you're able to just identify that when you input the contact, you can leverage that data, right, you might have a field of like source, and then source detail, right? So you might say, oh, networking, and then it might be like trade show, conference, whatever, like whatever detail you feel, you want to record, you can use that data, and then trigger different follow up activities, like you said, maybe you have a high value sequence, maybe in that high value sequence. They get mailed the book that your company wrote, and they get you know, things physical in the mail, and they get stuff maybe they get invites to the to the box you have at the ballgame, right? So you can have like a high value sequence. And so it allows you to be very tailored to these individuals and and cater to them in ways that are appropriate to not only who they are but potential and perceived value to your organization, should they become a client. So super fun stuff, right? You mentioned, you know, dragging them on that final column that's closed one and if you rename that, like intro call scheduled, you can have that kickoff a whole host of things. You can even have that change the certain status fields so that way, they're no longer getting Automated, nurturing from the marketing team, right? Like, okay, now they're talking to us one to one, let's kind of pause what marketing is doing, we can, you can do that in an automated fashion. When you empower these people with very basic technology, like we're talking about, it's very simple. On the surface, you have an extremely powerful.
 
Joe  
Yep. You know, another benefit of breaking out these two different pipelines is the reporting. So you may or may not be familiar with conversion funnel reports, where you get to see how many came in the top, and then how many of those went to the next stage and how many went to the third stage. And you can see a percentage of, you know, kind of your, what's falling out at each level. And when you do one pipeline that represents every lead that ever came in, and every deal that ever closed, that gets to be ready, in my opinion, pretty unusable because you have a lot of people falling out at the top in that particular pipe, and very few shaking out at the bottom. So your conversion rates are very, very, like desperate, right? You've got high conversion rates, maybe at the top and very low at the bottom, when you break it out, you can now have two different conversion funnels to look at, you can say, Are my hunters converting from one stage to the next in an effective way? Right? Where are these people getting stuck, where's our bottleneck, let's go optimize that stage, if they always make it to the, you know, they accept a phone call from the hunter, but they they never, they never follow, they never show up at the actual meeting with the account executive? Well, you can optimize that there, right. And it's easier to see. And it's easier to hold different teams or different roles accountable when you can see where their conversion rates are falling off in their own little pipeline. 
 
Frank  
And I would suggest I'm going to bring up another angle on this, Joe, I wouldn't suggest that when you do it this way, you're actually building your business around value to customers. And the reason I say that is because if when you break it apart, if you notice that your role just isn't getting the qualified appointments, you know, to the degree to which you need to fill the main sales pipeline, it allows you to ask, you know why. And it, it allows you to dig in and understand, oh, the marketplace is not resonating with this offer this one single, you know, offer that this person has around the problem or problems that your organization solves. And so I think it allows you to improve the value you bring by breaking it out this way, instead of just lumping it all in to the kitchen sink where you have a number of different objectives that your buyer is, is trying to accomplish in their journey. And so I would encourage them to think about this process in terms of the buyers journey and the journey they go through to understand the value, they're looking for the stage, because in that initial stage, when they engage someone who's a hunter, the value they're looking for is that kind of like problems solution, you know, discovery, they're not at decision discovery, you know, like path, choosing a path, choosing a provider there, there's still more problem, solution discovery, so that has different needs. And so you need to bring different value. You know, one of the things that can be really helpful is when you map out this journey, we call these life cycles, by the way, all these different stages that they would go through, it would be helpful if you in your organization, you map out these various life cycles that your buyers go through, and then map that to the most appropriate call to action, the most appropriate next step that they could be taking. And the number one thing you could do to help them at each of those lifecycle stages. We often call that lifecycle stage mapping. And in fact, what here's what we should do, Joe, I know we have a tool like this that you you've developed, I think we should give this as a copy to our listeners. So if you're 
 
Joe  
Yeah, absolutely. If you were to go to our website and just search on the website for life cycle map, you'll be able to find this tool and download it for yourself. It's actually pretty cool in it. It's something we should talk about, maybe at length on another episode, which is what do life cycles mean? And how do we align at every lifecycle stage? And maybe even furthermore, what are lead statuses? Because lead statuses are kind of a micro nuance of what happens along a buyers journey. And so this tool helps you with both of those things. We aren't talking about those On this episode, maybe on the next one. But it also helps you in ideating what your two different pipelines should be how to break them apart and what kind of validation and what kind of KPIs to track against each stage.
 
Frank  
Yeah, you're so right. It's really important to understand that because then what you do is you modify your, your CRM, whatever that is, if it's a marketing CRM, sales CRM or both or you have HubSpot like we like to talk about you Then can modify that system to then fit the nuances of your sales process. So for example, lifecycle stages are very standard and common, but then you might have nuance based on a status. So for example, you know, we might have one that is sales qualified lead, but you might have nuance to that, which is, you know, working or nurturing. As an example, that might just be a real basic status to that sales, qualified lead. Now, what you can do is you've got this combination of sales qualified and working, okay, sales qualified and working, don't send them nurturing emails, right? That may be a decision in your business, don't send them marketing, nurturing emails, when it's sales, qualified and working. But if it's sales qualified, and a status of nurturing, go ahead and continue to send the marketing nurturing emails. And so it allows you to take the major stage and just the major stages important because it allows you to zoom out and just look at your database and see, okay, where is everyone flowing right now? Like, what is the flow look like? Where's everyone's sitting where the conversion to the major stages, and then the status can provide an additional layer of nuance like, Okay, how is that contact being sold right now? 
 
Joe  
Yep. Yeah, again, so if you want that tool, if you can go to buildingyourdigitalutopia.com, and just search for lifecycle map, and it should come up for you there. 
 
Frank  
Yeah, lifecycle, one word. map. second word lifecycle map. Great tool. I'm glad you brought that up. Joe. I know you messaged me about that here a moment ago with the link but we're going to make sure DJ gets that link in the show notes as well. Is that possible? I think, DJ if he messages me and tells me if that's possible. I'm not the tech guy. I'm pretty sure 
 
Joe  
literally nothing that's impossible for DJ. 
 
Frank  
So yeah, DJ just messaged me and said yes, of course dumb Frank should know your breaks and show notes. So yes, we will have the link in the show notes as well as as you mentioned, Joe, buildingyourdigitalutopia.com. Go and search lifecycle map. That's all we have time for today. This has been super fun. Thanks for joining us. Join us next week for Episode 41.
 
Topics:Podcast

Subscribe to Updates