EP 2 – How B2B Podcasting Benefits Businesses – Chris Decker

Presentation of the episode

On the second episode of The Virtual Selling Podcast, Chris Decker, Co-Founder and CEO of Salescast tells us all about the power of capturing the stories of others through podcasts, and how it helps build connections and interact with potential buyers.


[00:00:00] 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 normally is the new normal? We’re talking about how the strong shift from in-person to virtual selling has transformed B2B sales experience, virtual sales enablement, new organizations, KPIs.

Everything is evolving. In the virtual selling podcast, we address these issues in depth, twice a week, 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

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My name is Gabriel Dabi-Schwebel. Some know me as a French marketer, last in sales, but I’m also the founder of sales And today I’m excited to welcome today’s guest Chris Decker co-founder of sales Hi Chris. 

Hey, how’s it going? 

Fine. I’m really happy to have you as a second guest of the podcast. I’ve recorded the first interview today and you are the second one. I am really happy to have you because you have invented a new way to do virtual selling. Please explain us what you do about podcasting. 

Absolutely. So when I was looking at taking my story and getting more into content creation and building a YouTube channel, I had a realization that I could tell as many of my own stories as I wanted to, but it would be a lot more powerful if I captured the stories of others. So I had been listening to different interview driven podcasts for a long time. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever heard have been on podcasts and getting to learn from people I admired and respected through the lens of an interviewer, a host was really interesting to me, so I felt I wanted to actually do it myself. So I invited people to come as guests on my podcast. I set up a webcam, I set up a couple of mics and started to record and asked them questions and they were sharing their stories and after more and more came in and recorded episodes with me. The most interesting thing happened is that they started to, after I created content and I shared it on LinkedIn and tagged them and share, and some of them were getting phone calls or DMS or emails that were generating new business for them from coming on my podcast, they were calling me asking, Hey, what do you do? And it was, it was really simple from there. That landed several consulting engagements. I started to learn how to get better at podcasting. It was no longer my story. It was the stories of others, but because I, I was bringing them onto my platform because I was helping them look good because I was sharing that content out there.

It was resulting in a net new benefit for the guest, but then they were also accelerating in the relationship funnel with me. I had never met some of these people before, but they would come on my show and basically within a week they were a potential buyer, but I hadn’t, I hadn’t really gone through my normal process. They weren’t, it almost didn’t matter. What I did. It’s the trust was already there. So whatever I had to offer they wanted it. Does that make sense? 

You mean by inviting someone to your podcast, you establish a trust with him and a connection with them to become a buyer.

Right. Basically what I realized is that, a lot of sales is basically trust. All the conversations that are happening in a virtual selling environment are to establish trust. And what are some ways that you can establish trust virtually is, one of them is to provide value first, having somebody on your podcast and promoting them first, giving them some benefit first is a great way to open the discussion. There’s some other intangibles as well that I’ll add. If you’re in a virtual selling environment, making sure that your setup looks great is a way to establish trust. Whatever’s in your background is a way to establish trust. The way that you sound is a way to establish trust.

We’re looking into cameras right now. You’re in France, I’m in California. And so how do you establish trust when you could be thousands of miles away from the other person? And we’re needing to have to adapt very quickly and develop new skill sets that we can connect with people in a more meaningful way from the beginning.

What do you mean from the beginning?

In the beginning of any new relationship there has to be like a basic networking objective. If I’m gonna connect with somebody on LinkedIn and say, I would like to schedule a demo with you, you know, could I send you to my SDR or an SDR on our team who has a podcast? Actually, we don’t start out with, can I sell you something? Can I show you something we have for sale? No, we start off with value. Hey, would love you to share your story on our show. And at that point, there’s an invitation to come into community. So now, now you’re coming into community, seeing other like-minded people. You’re now interacting with us. There’s been some trust that’s been established on the podcast. And at that point, if a transaction occurs or someone asks for a proposal or they want to learn more, it’s a much different conversation.

What is the most interesting thing to be invited in a podcast or to invite in a podcast?

it really does go both ways. If you’re being invited onto a podcast, there’s a certain element, especially if you haven’t done it very many times before, that Okay, it’s like being invited to come speak at a conference or a small event or getting a piece of press or PR where, where now…

Okay. I’m gonna. It’s a higher stakes environment. I’m gonna go on stage. I better be prepared with something to say. It actually helps. It helps you craft your messaging and what you’re going to say. And especially if I’m going onto a platform where there’s maybe thousands of listeners, tens of thousands of listeners, then there’s a real opportunity for me to gain new followers or new potential opportunities. The exact is almost true when it, when you’re a host hosting a show and you’re inviting someone to come on, it’s a little bit different where if their reputation, if they have a following, their reputation, you get to kind of borrow that as long as you’re a good steward of their reputation. Because if they post that they came on your show or if someone is searching their name and they come across the episode that you did with them, that helps with net new audience acquisition. So both sides are very effective at building trust and connection with a pool of people, not just one to one. This is one to many.

Could you explain this part? The one to many parts, because it’s true that podcasting could be interesting to establishing between the host and the guest and maybe to do business after this link being established during the podcast, but how do you extend that to the audience?

I will just, I’ll describe, everybody’s been, if you’re in sales or you’re an entrepreneur or you’re doing business in general, you’ve been to some kind of networking event. If you think about pre pandemic where people are meeting up in person, now it’s kind of picking back up here where I live, but remember what it was like to go to a networking event.

I’m very bad at that. I’m very comfortable in the one-to-one relationship, but in many relationships myself, I’m really bad at it. 

So let’s say though, that you were forced to go to the event, someone dragged you to the event. Right. And you have a few business cards. There are some people that they’re gonna go and, and talk to everybody and be very extroverted, but then there are some that are gonna, you know, only talk to one person or another person and develop much deeper conversations. But I will ask you if, even if it’s one to one, if you went to the person that owns the networking group, the person that owns these relationships, that it’s their event and you develop a relationship with them, your efforts are multiplied because. They know everybody, but all you had to do was get to know one person. So that’s the concept of center of influence is that if you are developing a relationship with a center of influence, that can be, and if this trust is established, that can be an endless source of leads for you. An endless source of referrals, an endless source of opportunity, as long as you continue to give and pour into the center of influence relationship, it should always be coming back because of the network value.

As someone who’s building a podcast as a host, you are now owning, you are now a shepherd, a steward of an audience that if it’s one person, 10 people or a hundred people or a thousand people. Now, if someone is talking to you, they also have the opportunity to talk to this entire group. So that’s the network effect that I was talking about.

No, it’s very interesting. And how do you maximize that or do you resonance to your podcast? How do you help your customers doing better podcasts?

Well, here’s the simplest thing that I like to tell people is that : social media, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, I mean TikTok, et cetera. If you’re investing in your content and posting and building an audience and a network on these platforms, you are now subject to whatever their algorithm changes are gonna be. Tomorrow, if all of your, if all of your business is coming from LinkedIn and all of it is based on, you know, how you’ve networked on LinkedIn and they make one change to their algorithm. One thing that you were one thing that you were really betting on, hoping on, and all of a sudden, they say, now you have to pay for access to that. You’re kind of dead in the water. So if you could own your audience instead, If you could have more control over the communication with the people that you’ve built your network with. I don’t know if you remember, Rolodex. I don’t know if they had that in Europe, but it was, you had each contact card on a roll. That you could, if you wanted to get in touch with somebody, you went to A, and you found their name, you saw what they did and you could give them a call and they would say, Hey, Gabriel, great to hear from you. How can I help? We don’t have that. Right now because these platforms have taken our networks away from us. Even our CRMs are bloated. And there’s, you know, they’re encouraging us to upload tens of thousands of contacts. There is no personal touch in our CRMs in anymore. The last possible personal touch right now that I can possibly imagine is a podcast because of the relational aspect of this. So if I look at my show and the guests that I’ve had on that, that’s my Rolodex. I could call anybody that I’ve had on the show that I’ve developed a relationship with and I’ve followed up enough times and they’ll say, Hey Chris, how’s it going? How can I help? It’s the same thing. You see what I’m saying? But it’s the virtual selling way. I can’t go out right now. And at least if I wanna do business on a global scale, I can’t go fly to every country and just meet everybody. My total addressable ICP has expanded. Does that make sense? 

That makes sense. But that’s true with your guest. Is that true with your audience? Because you don’t even know your audience now with podcast. 

You have to invite your audience into a gated way that you can communicate with them directly outside of the podcast platform or outside of a social media platform. The difference though, if I’ll explain the technology behind a podcast is that it’s, it’s basically a blog. It’s basically an RSS feed that’s pointing toward a piece of content on a global CDN. So from a technological perspective, if anybody is subscribed to that, it goes directly to them. There’s no middle man.

Apple’s the middle man. They control a lot of that, but a big portion of podcast, listen are not going through a middle man. They’re actually going directly to a site. If the podcast host is doing a good job, say, Hey, if you want to get access to free guides or resources, go here. And so you’re collecting that information on your listener. So it, as much of that, as you can be doing the better. 

Yeah, just for your info in 2006, my first solution was a mobile podcast platforms. So, it was based on Nokia and it was even before the iPhone. So the iPod was there, but not the iPhone. So when you talked about the RSS technology, it made a hit in my head. So I really agree with you as a marketer because I have a marketing agency too. I really believe that you need to own your audience. I really believe that you don’t need to be, you have to protect yourself and not to be dependent on the social networks on all the tools. And, I agree with you having a real connection, a real conversation with you at this time, gives us bonds that are not, incredibly more important than the bones we have on being only friends on the social networks. Is that what you mean?

Absolutely. That’s exactly what I’m talking about is, being able to communicate with somebody that you’ve spent money to acquire them as somebody, like if you’re spending brand dollars and you’re getting Twitter followers. And let’s say I spent two to $3 million on a super bowl ad and it gave me a hundred thousand new Twitter followers. I think that’s pointless as a call to action. That’d be pointless as a call to action. I’d rather do what Coinbase did. And they put a QR code on the screen that people could scan that and go, and they went straight to the Coinbase website to create an account with an offer on the page. That is the smartest ad spend I’ve ever seen because, all of this awareness stuff that people are doing, it’s not coming back to the brand in any kind of tangible way. Anyhow, I could go on about that for a long time, but in a virtual selling capacity, if you want the upper hand to build relationships and trust and audience. The podcast is the way to do that. I don’t currently see any other way in today’s market.

And can you invite anybody to a podcast or sometimes people refuse you I believe?

it really just depends on your outreach and the value proposition. One thing that I do see is that, the podcast host not really understanding that they have something that people want. If they have five people that are following, it’s still something that, that is a value. You need to treat what you have as a valuable platform. When you’re inviting somebody into the platform, it’s very valuable. Even the SEO value of an episode is very high. If you’ve done it properly, so approaching it from value, and let’s say, you’re trying to reach an unreachable person.

How does an unreachable person wanna be reached out to? Well, if I was an unreachable person, I would want the value clearly communicated what you’re asking me to do and once again, how it’s going to benefit me, what’s in it for me. I wanna know what’s in it for me. And honestly, I just want you to be a likable person.

All right. So how would you communicate that in the fastest way possible? I will tell you what not to do. And this is a very common thing that I see is that, especially if you’re reaching out to someone with a higher status or a busier person is to write five or six paragraphs about how awesome they are and how great it would be if they would give you their time to pick their brain and come on the show, it’s gonna get deleted instantly every time.

But if you tried something different and you used a tool like VD Yar or Loom to create a video after doing two minutes of research on the person you lead with value, Hey, we’ve got 10,000 listeners on our show. We talk about virtual selling. I noticed that your recent project with Gartner, published on Forbes, talked about how virtual selling is impacting the SDR workforce. I don’t know. I’m giving you a really bad example. And then we’re recording our second season of the podcast and would love to get your insights to share with our audience.

And you said that in a video. And you used one of these tools to do so. And you sent them the video using their name, and it’s impossible for that kind of outreach to be faked or mimicked. And that’s going to connect so much more deeply because if they see you in a video, they’re gonna decide whether or not they like you. Honestly, If you’re not a likable person, that’s something you’ve gotta work on immediately. If you have a terrible personality, start working on it, that’s number one. Two, value : a reason why, why them, and you can accomplish this with two minutes of Googling. Trust me, it’s worth the Google. And then a very specific ask and what’s in it for them. So that’s my recommendation.

That’s great. Do you want to add something else?

What I would encourage someone that is considering podcasting to do would be to get started, but get started with a base of people that are willing to give you feedback. Get, because you’re not gonna be very good in the beginning. This is just a hard truth. Unless you’re a professional communicator, it’s gonna be, there’s gonna be some challenges in the beginning, so you will need practice. And I will encourage you to get started with whatever setup you have. If all you have is a laptop. Get started with a laptop. If you’re able to afford a nicer webcam, get a nicer webcam. There no need to let the limitations of equipment stop you from getting started in this, in this activity, because through practice, you will become better and you’ll make room in your budget for upgrades as you need them. But the most important thing is to get started with the activity.

Great. Thanks a lot Chris. The episode of the virtual selling podcast is over. We will meet twice a week for a new episode with new stories and challenge of giants in the field. Don’t forget to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss any episodes. Massive thanks to our sponsor sales, the virtual selling platforms that increase sales productivity drive quota attainment and accelerate growth. Book your sales demo today to discover how you can close more deals with engaging and better prepped customer meeting. Thanks a lot, Chris.

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