EP 15 – Moving the Customer Through the Funnel – Chet Lovegren
Presentation of the episode
On the fifteenth episode of the Virtual Selling podcast, our guest is Chet Lovegren, Director of Sales Development at Pavilion and Sales Doctor.
He tells us how he moves the customer through each steps of the funnel.
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 enablements of the most innovative companies in the field. This podcast is sponsored by sales deck.io, 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 SalesDeck.io.
Hi everybody, I’m very happy to be with Chet Lovegren, Director of Sales Development at Pavilion and also the Sales Doctor. Hi Chet!
Yeah, it’s really a pleasure. We could, we could discuss first a little bit about pavilion if you want to present it and about what you do as the sales doctor.
Yeah. A hundred percent. And thanks for the opportunity to plug the information here from pavilion. So pavilion is really designed as a career enablement platform to help you level up wherever you are in your career. So we kind of have two sides to our product, which is really one. We have the individual side. So like, Hey, I’m Gabriel. I want to get better at what I’m doing. Network with like-minded individuals get structured training and career mentorship. I would join pavilion, right. But what, what has really exploded over the last year is our B2B side of our product, which is essentially. The individual memberships packed in like corporate group pricing for companies with some additional benefits in terms of like call coaching, customized leadership, customized like journeys and stuff built out for different employees where you could be like, Hey, I’m Gabriel, I run this team and I want to get everybody on pavilion, get them structured training, get them a network of like-minded individuals that they can tap into and get feedback on projects they’re working on or problems they’re facing in their job and how they solve for it as well as career mentorship and support.
And so we’re really designed to be that all in one career enablement platform where people can go and get the professional development they need in addition to structured training and things of that nature.
Great. And about the Sales Doctor?
Yeah. It’s really something that spurred, you know, out of just my, my knack for teaching and coaching is, I was sitting back one day and just thinking, you know, what are most of the people that I work with outside of my nine to five and a lot of them come to me and there are, they kind of feel like broken, you know, they’re like, oh, I need help. I don’t know what I’m doing here, whether it’s, Hey, I’m a first time manager and I don’t know how to lead my team effectively or, Hey, I’m a VP of sales and our process is broken. I need someone to help us increase, you know, our activity as well as our conversion rates, or even if you’re an individual and you’re stuck in your career and you’re like, how do I get to that next step? Right. I’m an SDR and I want to be an account executive. I just don’t know what to do from here. So I kind of felt that, you know, my prescriptive processes that I put in place were kind of a good fit for the mentality of like the sales doctor. Right. And so it’s kind of something that I’ve been running it with for a couple of years now. My moniker, so to speak on the things that I’m able to offer outside of Pavilion.
Okay. And you have a full view of the funnel starting from the top of the button to the center, to the bottom of the center. How do you manage that? And what is your main steps that you follow to make a customer go through the funnel.
Yeah. So in the past, I spent seven years as an individual contributor, almost as a pretty much as a full cycle rep that was managing everything from booking the first discovery call to running the discovery and demo to pricing and negotiation, to follow up to implementation.
And then in some jobs I’ve had as an individual contributor, it even meant account manager. As well stepping into management, I’ve strictly as a leader, overseeing sales development teams. So at pavilion, what I’m really responsible for in addition to, you know, the projects of the tech stack and all that stuff is helping the SDRs at the company generate enough top of funnel, activity, and appointments for account executives, and then helping make sure that those see-through discovery and enabling the account executives to be in a position where they’re spending their time doing what we pay them to do, which is running effective discovery, demoing pavilion, demonstrating the ROI of the solution, and then having the time to follow up and make the business case with not only our champion, but internal stakeholders and decision makers as well.
So how do you make the customer goes through each step and be sure that the transition between SDR and account executive, and there is no information being lost in the middle.
Yeah. A lot of information can get lost in the handoff process. Um, especially moving through the funnel. It’s very important to make sure that the account executives are working with their sales development reps hand in hand, throughout the entire process. Because there might be information that they need, or they might even need their SDR to re leverage a meeting with someone, especially if they don’t show to that discovery call. One thing that we have had a lot of success with leverage…
What do you mean by re leverage?
So like somebody doesn’t show up to a discovery call, right. There’s a big conversation about, does that get kicked back to an SDR or does an account executive continue working it right? Does the AAE work to get the appointment back on the board.
My opinion and has always been let the SDR do it because AEs have, you know, bigger things to do to focus on than rebooking meetings. You don’t pay your AEs to get discovery calls, rescheduled. That’s what you pay SDRs to do. They need to see it through to the discovery process.
Okay. And what do you do for the information not to be lost between the SDR and the discovery call and the account executive?
Yeah. One of the, one of the best ways we can ensure that handoff process is done right, is, you know, having people work hand in hand collaboratively via, well, we use slack.
Other companies might use Microsoft teams, but we use slack pretty religiously to make sure that we have proper deal collaboration in that process as well as notes, right? You can always upload notes into HubSpot or Salesforce. You know, fresh works, whatever you’re using as a CRM, but sometimes those notes get overlooked.
So I think it’s always important for SDRs to have an additional sidebar with the AE upcoming, with that appointment, just to give them some high level information while the AE does their pre-call research. Um, one thing having been a successful individual contributor that I preached to the account executives that pavilion is video.
Video is not just meant to do something different outside of cold calls and emails to get your prospect to book a discovery call, but video should really be an expectation of communication. Moving forward. A great example is later on in the sales process, when you send your proposal or you send the deck that you covered, people just send it in an email with some, Hey Gabriel, great meeting you today. These were the three things we discussed that were important for you. This is how we can solve them. Just to wrap up our conversation. Blah-blah-blah. Gabriel, if you run a team, are you going to read that email? Most likely not and PowerPoints were never meant to be shared or not narrated.
And so a big thing that we do with is when we book a discovery call, start off with a video set the tone that you’re going to receive video correspondence from me as your account executive moving forward. Here I am on a video. Hey Gabriel. Nice to meet you. My name is Chet. I’m one of the account executives here at pavilion.
I’m going to be jumping on the call with you, that Cody set up for us to talk about X, Y, and Z, you know, problem that you’re having and how pavilion might be able to solve for that, um, with our solution, yada, yada yada, right? Then you have the meeting. Don’t send a follow-up email, send a follow-up email, but put a video inside of there.
Hi Gabriel, thanks for taking the time to hop on the call today and packaging up some additional documentation that you request to take a look at as we discuss this, this, and this is going to be most important to you. This is how we solve for those. I’ll shoot you a follow-up a calendar invite for next Monday at 12:00 PM Pacific. So we can learn and get your feedback from you and your internal stakeholders on what our next steps should be.
Do you have customers that are not used to video or don’t like video because we don’t need a headset and you do have to be quiet and reading is more easy for them maybe.
Yeah, it’s a healthy mix at pavilion. We sell mostly right now to B2B SAS companies. And so everybody kind of understands the LinkedIn social selling, used video, all that stuff. So it’s like a common way for them to interact. In the past, when I sold into logistics, That was a little bit different. Yeah. They were using software. It was logistics software, but not a lot of them were on LinkedIn. Not a lot of them understood an email with a little GIF of a video where we’re doing this. What that was, is this a virus? Is this something my IT director is going to get mad about? With the work that I do through sales doctor, it’s not just for tech companies or B2B SAS products. I’ve worked with copier companies, MSP services, insurance, healthcare, um, you know, medical, the medical field dentists. Don’t. Interact a lot socially on the internet, in their business. Right. A lot of the business comes to them. They focus more on like their landing pages and Google and search engine optimization. So I think that it’s important to like, meet your prospects where they’re at, but you have to do some form of communication outside of just sending an email, something that they can easily access.
And I think just as, as things catch up, right, and the big conversation about Tiktok and if it’s valuable for businesses to be on Tiktok, it is because those 24, 25 and 26 year olds that are interacting on Tiktok are going to be the decision makers in a year and two, right? Those are going to be the SDR managers, BDR managers, and directors of sales in two to three years.
So you really got to meet your prospects where they interact. And at this point, like who isn’t at least using Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Tiktok or YouTube or something. Like, if you send somebody a link to a YouTube video, that’s not listed publicly. And it’s a one-on-one specific video. If you want to use it that way. I mean, they’re great video tools, but as something as simple as that, somebody no matter who they are, is going to be able to click that link and follow through with it. So the adoption for video being used in the sales process, even in companies where that might not be native to them, I don’t see a lot of failure to adopt.
A lot of people are really embracing the video communication.
And what do you do during the customer meeting to make it more engaging and to be able to have more interaction with your customer and to have more feedback of him.
I think what’s worked best for me as an individual contributor and the advice that I’ve given to account executives that work with me through sales doctor, the different sales teams I’ve worked with is you have to have some sort of framework. But there has to be a plug and play mentality. If I’m speaking to a VP of sales, this is how I’m going to have that conversation. But more specifically, not just the persona that I’m talking to, but their insights. What is their headcount growth look like on LinkedIn? Are they growing? Are they losing people?
Did they get a new round of funding? How long has that person been in the job? Are they three months in and just interested in seeing what’s around and probably, you know, probably don’t have a lot of authority to make budgetary decisions right now. Or have they been there for two and a half years? Where do they come from? What industry were they in? What’s their degree in? There are so many pieces of information that help you understand the background of the person you’re talking to. I went to Bible college. I wanted to be a pastor. I don’t have a traditional business degree jumping into software as an SDR, climbing the ranks.
I sold commercial insurance for seven years, and then I jumped into software and I’ve been in it for about three years. If somebody were to sell to me and looked at my profile, they would understand that the suit and tie mentality is probably for me, I’m a much more relaxed person and I just really care about the bottom line and the point, right.
And I care about what’s going to help me continue to grow in my career. What’s going to, if you’re selling me a solution on LinkedIn, and this is for all the people that have messaged me on LinkedIn and continue to message me on LinkedIn, to sell their product and service. If you’re messaging me, how can you help me go from director of sales development and prove that pavilion should make me VP of sales development?
How are you going to help me in my career? Right? Like, how are you going to help me blow my number out of the water so I can continue growing in my career. Different than the conversation you’re going to have with a CRO. They’re kind of at the peak, right? A CRO is going to be a little bit focused on different things than someone who has that career trajectory, where they’re climbing, where they’re involved with people where they’re doing sales training online, and they have a sales podcast.
So I think too many times we just go, oh, we’re talking to an SDR manager or VP of sales or a VP marketing. This is our persona, but what about the person? Are we really speaking to the person in, are we just running through the information or are we understanding how it’s going to best align with them after we’ve done thorough our discovery?
And do you use specific tools during a customer meetings or it’s a zoom it’s enough or Google meet is enough. And after that, it’s only conversation based on what you have done during your research.
Yeah. One of the things I like to do specifically that I think is helpful that I do at sales doctor, when people are interested in working with me and that I’ve seen successfully as an individual contributor, is when it’s the discovery part of the conversation. A lot of people have those discovery calls where it’s like, tell me a little bit about you and then let’s run through your deck. You know, let’s run through the deck and talk about everything. I like to just be on the website and kind of either theirs or mine, some companies you’d be surprised how limited their website is and just kind of go to things on the website that are specific to what they’re talking about in the discovery call. So if I’m on a discovery call with you about pavilion and our corporate group membership, I’m going to be on the pavilion learn page because I noticed that from the call you had with the SDR, you’re most interested in our schools and training specifically for your salespeople. So I’m going to be on the sales school landing page, where it has the course topics on there. And that’s where we’re going to start the call. We’re going to jump in and you’re going to be right on that page. We’re going to do some basic discovery. And as we do discovery, I’m actually gonna select the text of the topic that’s most relevant to the problems that you’re talking about. I’m not going to say here’s our feature dumping, right?
We have this, this, and this and this, but you’re going to say, well, we really struggled to have effective discoveries with our, with our prospects. I just noticed that we’re not doing really well. I’m just going to simply highlight the course topic that says effective discovery.
Yeah, I agree with you. What is very interesting when you use a website on the internet to animate the conversation is that you can really be on a conversation and look for the website, look for the page, look for the product that you are interested in, and that is interesting to your customer. When you are on a power point, you are obliged to follow the line of the PowerPoint. And what is really nice with SalesDeck that we are developing also at the moment is that idea is that with the cards, you can go through the cards, you can choose which card you want to play.
So it’s the same type of conversation with small bits of information that you grab to make it more concrete and also to catch what your customer are saying. And so you build the minutes of your meeting at the same time. Uh that’s, that’s really interesting. You have also tricks during meetings too, to make it more interactive and to be sure that, your customer is following you.
Don’t make the meeting too long. I know that some companies are. Reality is you should be, you know, you should be scheduling 30 minute meetings and more importantly scheduled 25 minute meetings.
That’s the real difference between Europe and France and the U S in France. We are still into one hour meetings and I have seen that in the US meeting are getting shorter and shorter.
So I agree with you. It tends to be short and you have to be straight to the point.
And well, the reason it hasn’t been that way for a long time and why it’s finally getting there as I think reps are getting better at focusing on what’s important. Right now, there are a million things pavilion could do. I could sit here and talk to you about pavilion for an hour. Probably even more right. I could sit here and talk to you about sales doctor for well, because I run it probably a year, right? There’s endless amounts of things that we can solve for, but what are the two to three core things? Because one thing I really love about gap selling by Keenan is in his book he uncovers that usually there’s, there’s a problem. And the problem that they think is the problem is not really the problem. It’s typically a symptom of a bigger problem. And so a lot of prospects have this $10,000 problem weighing on their mind, but this is actually just a symptom of the core problem.
And the core problem also has another $10,000 problem. Another $10,000 problem, a $20,000 problem. And pretty soon you’re really looking at a quarter of a million dollars in terms of problems, but reps tend to want to answer all those, instead of hearing the prospect out and understanding the two to three biggest priorities right now and how we can solve them.
We forget sometimes that customer success exists and that’s what upsells are for in renewals, because there are other things of course we can add on in the future, but understand and be more okay with a pilot program instead of giving them everything at once. Yeah. We want the biggest deal. We want all the commission, but would you rather have five medium sized deals or one large deal that gets you 80% of quota, but nothing else, right? Five medium deals that get you to quota or one large deal. That’s 80% of your quota, but nothing else. And I think that’s so important that we need to get better at that and really understand that the first part of the conversation, five minutes of building rapport and understanding the person you’re talking to and what their role is. And then five minutes of understanding their challenges and then maybe five to 10 minutes of presentation and then questions and answers. But we build these 30 page decks that are all about who we work with. Every single thing we solve for every single product that we have, that pretty soon you lose, you lose them.
You know, you lose them. After 12 minutes people stopped paying.
And if we want to go through the funnel and go to the closing, do you have some tips for the closing because we are close to the end of the podcast?
Yeah. The biggest thing is in discovery. Well, one aside from using video throughout the process to continue following up and leveraging that video through email, as well as LinkedIn is very important, but in discovery, there are two key things that I tell everybody to do.
Number one, tell your prospect it’s okay to say no. Gabriel at some point in this process, you’re going to get busy. I’m going to get busy. And one of us is going to miss a meeting. We’re going to miss a call. We’re going to miss a deliverable. I want to make sure we have an open line of communication. And we’re okay with saying no to each other.
This does two things. It breaks the pattern of you have to always say yes to everything I say. And number two, if I send you a proposal and at some point you don’t get back to me, I’m going to get closure because you feel like you owe it to me. And you’re okay telling me my boss. And that’s way better than chasing a deal that’s never going to come back for six months constantly putting it in the forecast and being an accurate, right. The second thing is…
And you do that from the beginning of the discovery call?
Towards the end of the discovery call, when I’m wrapping up, Hey, in terms of sales processes, I found that this works best. I don’t want to become a pest with follow-up. So let’s agree to be okay. Saying no to each other. No is not a dirty word in sales. In some cases, no is the start of a conference. If you also think about prospecting. The second big thing is get the decision maker on copy moving forward.
It is just human nature that the person you’re talking to is probably not the person who’s going to sign the the dotted line in that call, you need to have the conversation of saying, Hey, I know you said that, Gabriel, I know that you said that Chet’s going to have some part in this decision-making process. It’s okay. If Chet doesn’t show up to any calls or doesn’t respond to any emails, but I would love to get Chet on copy in the background of all of our corresponds moving forward. That way, when Chet comes to you and says, Gabriel, give me the whole rundown on the sales doctor. You don’t have to go do a bunch of work. You can just reference all the emails that I’ve been sending with all the information. Yes, we have been putting together. Does that sound good? Yeah, that sounds great. Thanks for doing that extra work for me and helping me not have to do four hours of extra work for my boss. That way you have so much more buy-in initially, and you’d be surprised how many decision-makers will show up to your next call with your champion with your point of contact, because they saw that email and they’re on copy and they know it’s going on.
That’s great. Thanks a lot Chet, this episode of the virtual selling 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 anything.
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Thanks a lot, Chet. It was really a pleasure. Thank you.
Likewise, Gabriel. Thank you.
Want to become a guest on The Virtual Selling Podcast? Book a slot with Gabriel here!