EP 13 – The Power of Mindset in Sales – Matt Austin

Presentation of the episode

On the thirteenth episode of the Virtual Selling podcast, we talk about the importance of mindset in sales.
Our guest is Matt Austin, Head of Global Sales at Comfy.

He explains why it’s important and shares his tricks for a top performer mindset.

About Matt Austin

To learn more about Matt Austin and Comfy click on the links below :



With the pandemic that came upon us, the rise of video conferencing tools like Microsoft teams and zoom has led to more aspects of the sales conversation to occur virtually. And what began as a crisis reaction has evolved into the new normal, but how normal is the new normal we’re talking about how these strong shift from in-person to virtual selling has transformed B2B sales experience, virtual sales enablement, new organization’s KPIs.
Everything’s evolving in the virtual selling podcast. We address these issues in depth with the experts and leaders of these transformations, heads of sales, sales ops, and sales enablement of the most innovative companies in the field. This podcast is sponsored by sales, the new SAS platform to make your customer meetings more engaging and better prepared.
Find out how you can shorten sales cycles, convert more leads and increase customer engagement. Virtual selling is here to stay. And so is sales deck .io.

Gabriel: Hi, everybody. I’m very happy to be with Matt Austin today. He’s Head of Global Inside Sales at Comfy, and have about 15 years of experience in sales. Hi Matt.

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Matt: Hey Gabriel, how are you?
Thanks for having me on today.

Gabriel: Fine. Thanks a lot. Could you tell us what you do at come see and who is Comfy a little bit.

Matt: Yeah, sure. So a Comfy we’re actually a part of Siemens. And what we have is a workplace experience platform that we target, in the global 2000 organizations to provide them the tools necessary to bring workforces back into the office, and allow those workers to feel connected to the spaces in which they work in..

Gabriel: Okay, so you at the right time at the right moment.

Matt: Right time, right place.

Gabriel: Right.

Matt: So it’s a fun challenge to try to tackle . And so my role at comfy is I am leading our global insight sales team, which is focused on sales development organizations. We’ve got a team here in north America, building a team based out of Germany to support the European market and continuing to grow given the, the dynamics that the rule finds itself in.

Gabriel: Great. And you wanted to speak about mindsets sales team mindset.

Matt: Yeah. I mean, look, you can go anywhere today, especially if you scroll LinkedIn for five or 10 minutes and come up with a hundred different tactics on how to write a better email, what subject lines convert better, how to leave a voicemail that gets returned.
I think there’s enough people that know a lot about that, that talk about. What I don’t see or hear a lot of people talking about in the market today is what’s the mindset necessary to be able to effectively deploy those tactics, to stack the cards in your favor as a seller, to get closer to the thing that we all need know and love, which is our revenue goals, voter numbers.

Gabriel: So yeah, it’s true that we don’t speak a lot about mindsets.
So what is the right mindset how do you build this mindset?

Matt: No, that’s a great question.
It’s something that I talked to my team about on a weekly basis, right? The first part of, building a mindset that’s going to help you succeed in sales is to have a mindset that’s focused, not on the outcomes of our activities, but on the process of the activities that doesn’t lead to those outcomes.
So one of the things that I work with my team closely on, and I’ve been working with sales teams on for 10 years. Is really understanding your individual map. Right? Story I share a lot is I remember the first time that I was given a quota of a million dollars. I remember the conversation, well, I called one of my mentors and told them that I’d been assigned a million dollar quota.
There was no way that I was going to be able to do this. I should probably start to look for a job somewhere else, because it was just, it was such an overwhelming thought and such an overwhelming idea for me. To try to put together something that was going to lead at the end of the year to a million dollars.
I just like, I hadn’t done it before. I couldn’t picture how it was going to happen. She told me to take a deep breath, slow down, and broke the number down for me. He said, okay. So if you have to do a million dollars this year, what does that mean you have to do on a quarter by quarter basis. Okay. Well, a million divided by four is $250,000 a year. Okay. So it’s, so that lowered my heart rate a little bit. He asked me about what my average deal size and our average deal size at the time, I think was about $25,000. I said, okay, so you need to close 10 deals a year or 10 deals, a quarter to get to $250,000.
Great. What’s your close rate? I said, right now it’s about 30, 35%. So he says, okay, we’ll do three to one. So you need to have 30 opportunities in your funnel in order to close the 10 to get the $250,000. Great. How many demos do you need to do to get to those opportunities in your phone. And I said, well, you know, we’re converting about 50% of those.
He says, okay, so now you need to in the quarter to do 60 days, and we worked this backwards all the way back until we got to a point where I knew exactly how many phone calls I needed to make on a daily basis. I met exactly how many emails that needed to make on a daily basis. And some of the other prospecting activities that we were doing at the time with LinkedIn and other things so that if I could do those on a daily basis, I can be pretty confident that by the end of the quarter, I would be at that first 25% of my chunk at getting to a million dollar.

Gabriel: It’s the same mass, like an o care type of objective and key results at the same type of way to divide the objectives.

Matt: It’s kind of in the same idea, right. Of where you take your objective for the year, for the quarter and break it down into measurable results to again, allow you to focus on what do I need to do today, right. It’s really easy. Especially as sellers come into new quarters, coming into new years, to look up at the number that they’ve got and to feel overwhelmed.
Right. And if I can just focus on the fact that I need to do these things today, they’re absolutely controllable by me. Right. I can control whether or not I pick up the phone. I can control whether or not I send an email. I can’t always control how the prospect is going to respond to my message. I can’t control whether they’re in a place in the buying process where they’re ready to engage with me.
I can’t control the economic conditions in which their op their organization is operating. And so all of those things I can’t focus on because all that will do is get me spinning my wheels. Right. Which in sales for me personally leads to negative self-talk I’m not good at this. People don’t want to buy from me.
Why am I even doing this? Why am I even doing this? Right. But what I found over the course of a lot of my career is when I can focus on those daily activities, I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen because the math leads to the math.

Gabriel: Yes. But you have to be very sure about your conversion rate about your demo rates. All those rates, things are not so certain and so consistent, especially across the sales team, you have always have top performer on one side, a lower performer on the other side. How do you manage this consistency and this and those rates to be strong?

Matt: Yeah. We do a couple of things. Number one, they’re individually focused, right?
With the CRM tools, sales engagement tools that we have today. I can break those numbers down for each member of my team to see the variance, right? And most sales leaders are doing that today to find areas for coaching, right. And looking at how my top performers are performing across their entire sales funnel and how do I help coach up my lower performing reps to bring them up to top performer status so they should have access to that on an individual basis. The other thing that I do is I sit down every quarter with my team and we review it. We looked at what was our math last quarter. We look at what our math is this quarter and make sure that we make those adjustments as we go forward.
Right. I, my experience has been month to month is a little bit too fast to do it, you know, as much the there’s not as much of an adjustment, but the quarter by quarter allows you to catch changes in the marketplace as you move forward. And doesn’t force you to wait until the end of the year to realize, Hey, we made a math mistake back in Q2. That’s now caused us to come up short in Q4.

Gabriel: Okay. And so how do you work with the low performance to make them becoming better?

Matt: So there’s a number of things. I mean, another part of the mindset that I think successful sales need sales professionals need is that growth mindset, right. That ability to understand that number one, I don’t know what all. Number two, there’s other people out there that know more than me. And number three, I have the ability to learn more so that I can. Part of that, that we vet out as part of our interview process. Right. That’s one of the key characteristics that we look for as we interview people is do or do they not have that growth mindset. Right. And then the second part is just working with them and helping them identify where the areas are putting together solid plans for how to address those areas.
I’ve, we’ve done things like sitting down and having them, Shadow another rep. That’s one of our top performers and listened to the differences in how they are on the phone versus how, the lower performer is. We can do a lot of that in conversation, intelligence tools today and make that process much faster.
But all the way down to things like bringing out sales books, right? There’s thousands of books out there on different aspects of the sales process on the entire sales process itself. And so we work with them. And then by keeping these coaching plans online and things like Google docs, we can then track the progress against those coaching plans and be able to show the sellers, the progress they make.

Gabriel: And you do you see that low performer are following less the process, doing their own stuff or it’s different type of, reasons that they are performing less than the others?

Matt: It, okay. Everybody’s a little bit different. I wish there was a single problem or a single tool that we could solve that would make everybody a top performer or achieve at least close to that.
But one I see the most, aren’t always that they’re not following the process. Right. But, it’s little pieces within those process. Right. So is it how I’m transitioning from objection handling to getting a meeting set while I’m on the phone, right? Sometimes that can be a challenge.
Sometimes you have people that just have hesitancy on making phone calls, right. They’re scared of rejection. And so how do we help them overcome that fear of rejection? And that goes in part of that growth plan, right. But you need to be able to foster the advice and how people with the mindset that we can be open and honest about what we’re seeing and what the causes of that is, and then have a conversation about exactly how do we go about addressing it? As long as the sales person brings that open mindset, that growth mindset with them. Usually we can continue to improve that performance level.

Gabriel: Okay. And what is, what, when you have increased everybody, what is the variance between the ones that stood out as a top performer and the ones that are better lower performer or mid performers? Is that, is there a great difference or at the end, it’s very consistent?

Matt: Did you try not to have that wide variance. Right. But that’s what happens when you have a team full of sellers that are all individuals right? My goal is not to have more than a 15 or 20% variance between my number one performer and my bottling performer.
I’ve been able to achieve that sometimes. And sometimes it’s a, there’s a lot more work that needs to go into it. Right. But we also need to look at, you know, I can’t just judge against top performers. I’ve had teams where my top performer was hitting consistently at 140%. Right. He was 35% ahead of everybody else on the sales team right. And so if I took my lowest performer who was coming in at around 80, 75, 80% of quota and judged them against somebody, who’s 140% of quota. That’s not, that’s not a fair judge, right. What you got, what I’ve tried to look at them and what I have my team look at is how are we doing individually against?
And then we look across then as a leader, I can look across the team and see on average, how is my team doing against the goal, and not skew the numbers by looking at what may be a superstar top performer, which we’d love to have, but can skew the expectation for the rest of the team if we’re not looking at how are we doing against the goals that we as a team are set versus, the top performance of one.

Gabriel: And what makes him such a top performer? What was his tips or tricks or just attitudes at work?

Matt: You know, what I have found consistently across top performers is their willingness to just jump in and do the work. Right. They are fanatical about protecting their time. So they will have time blocks dedicated to specific tasks throughout the day and and those become sacred.
So, they don’t get scheduled over. They make time in their calendars for the things that they have to do, but they’re also making time in their, in their schedules to do the things that are going to keep them in front of everybody else. So that’s where the, you know, the ideas of time-blocking. And doing those things in the calendar to set aside, not just times to make cold calls, but specific goals in this block of 45 minutes, I’m going to make 30 phone calls with the goal of setting two meetings. Right. They get very, very specific about how they use those blocks of time. They’re very protective about those prospects.
And that tends to keep them at an oral above quota consistently, especially compared to peers that aren’t quite as technical as that.

Gabriel: So it’s really related to what you say, that the beginning in term of mindset, if in term of activity-based setting, being very strict on what you do and achieving what you can control.

Matt: Absolutely. I mean, if we look at any portion of the sales phone, right? And so right now I’m leading a team of SDRs who focused on filling the top of the funnel with opportunities, but they have a funnel as well. Right. And by doing the activities and putting the right things at the top of the funnel, understanding how things convert through the funnel, you can bet that you’re going to be pretty close with what comes out of the funnel.
Like you mentioned, as long as your math is up to date and stays relevant and correct. And so by having teams that are focused on activities and not outcomes, one of the things that we get out of that is we tend to be closer to our number on a monthly and quarterly basis, right? Because we’ve done the math to understand what those activities need to be.
And number two, my sellers seem to be happier, right? Because they can go through periods where all they hear is no, right. It happens every salesperson that’s ever spent any time in this. Carrying a bag or carrying a quota, right? There are there’s ups and downs. It happens, but it’s about how do we approach those downs when they happen.
And what I’ve found in my career is giving people activity to focus on, on a daily basis, a weekly basis and a monthly basis. It allows them to continue to work through those down periods and feel good about themselves, even when things are down, because they’re continuing to hit on the goals that we’ve set.

Gabriel: And how you motivate them when they receive a lot of no. And, is there some challenges , is there some coaching to make them, more, more consistent or more focus?

Matt: You know, there’s a lot of tools. One of my favorite ones is, doing group calls. Right. And you get everybody together, you can do it virtually everyone logs into zoom and you round Robin who’s termed. It is to call and you do that for an hour and a half. And everybody kind of laughs and jokes and listens. And, you get real time feedback on, on your calls that you’re making. You’re able to give real time feedback.
It does a lot to build the robbery of the team and that tends to help carry people through, especially when that happened. The other thing that I think carries people when they’re low is, is knowing that the organization has still has their best interest in mind. Right. And that they work for leaders that care about their success that are doing everything that they can to help ensure that’s successful.

Gabriel: Okay. And can you explain mehow do you do this round Robin and call with other people doing that remotes ?You have on your computer, you have two screens. So what is a technical solution for that?

Matt: Yeah, I mean, we’ve done it using zoom in the past and actually WebEx, just to kind of date myself. This was a little bit before then.
But yeah, you can get everybody on the same meeting. And if they have two screens. Great. That makes it easier. You can also just flip tab.

Gabriel: But you have the customer in the same meeting too?

Matt: No, this is just sellers. They’re on their phone. They have their phone, they have their call list in front of them. And it’s your turn. You get on your phone, you put it on speaker, you put it up next to the computer and keep it close to your computer mic so we can hear both sides of the conversation.

Gabriel: Okay.

Matt: And we go around the horn each person, right? When I’m done making my call, Gabriel, you’ve already got a number, you know who you’re calling, you know what your call objective is, it’s your turn. And when you’re done, we move to the next person. And then we just continue to rotate around like that for the duration of the call block that we set .

Gabriel: And they succeeded in staying serious and staying concentrate on the call?

Matt: On the post we do, but you know what? We laugh and joke in between it. Right? And so, you know, what it is, it’s all about just helping to build that culture and that team effect that, that I know most of the salespeople that I work with really enjoy.
And when we’re in an environment where we can’t always be sitting next door to the person, the people that we’re working with, this is just a way that I’ve found that kind of helps to build that camaraderie and build that teamwork. When you can’t be there in person.

Gabriel: Yeah, it’s very nice. It’s very easy to do it. And, I believe true that you can create bonds like that, and you can have fun together and to rebuild the motivations through that. It’s a very nice trick.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, look, sales is a hard job, right? It’s one of the few jobs in the world where you deal with getting rejected more often than you deal with success.
Yeah. If you’re going to help make help people get through that and make it in an environment that encourages it, understands it and builds people up even in the face of that. I think that’s what we’ve got to focus on. Especially as sales leaders in this environment.

Gabriel: Do you want to share a last trick with us or a last solution to keep this, mindset strong together?

Matt: No. I mean, I think those two are the key. The last one is helping people build resilience. Right? It’s in sales. We have to understand that no is part of our reality, right. But if I can get to that no faster, and if I can not take the nos personally, because of all the things that can be happening in a customer organization, at any given time, it allows me to pick up and make that next phone call.
And there’s a number of different tricks that we can use to help them build that. One of the ones that I like is again sitting with in continuing to talk with and role play with and call with those individual sellers. But I think part of that is what we look for throughout the interview process and looking for people that have had to work through struggles, right.
That have done that and done that successfully and know that they can come out the other.

Gabriel: Yeah. And I think is that resilience is a real value in the, in job in life. Resilience is really something important. So yeah.

Matt: Well, and in sales you’re either going to learn it or you’re going to find something else to do.
It’s an absolute job requirement to be successful.

Gabriel: True. True. Very true. Thanks a lot. This episode of the virtual setting podcast is over. Thanks for sticking around. Join us twice a week for a new episode, with new stories and challenge of giants in the field. If you enjoyed today’s episode, we are always listening for your feedback, share the show and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss any episode. This episode was brought to you by a , the virtual selling platforms that increase your sales team efficiency and sales readiness enable remote management and vemps sales operational excellence. Book your demo today to discover how you can close more deals with engaging and better prep customer meeting.
Thanks a lot Matt it was really a pleasure. Thank you.

Matt: Yeah, it’s fine Gabriel. Thanks a lot for having me.


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