EP 18 – Transition to Virtual Selling the Right Way – Jake Dunlap

Presentation of the episode

On the eighteenth episode of the Virtual Selling podcast, our guest is Jake Dunlap, CEO of Skaled Consulting. We talk about the transition of companies to virtual selling.

He gives us his best tips and tools to succeed in it.

About Jake Dunlap

To learn more about Jake Dunlap and Skaled Consulting 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 the strong shift from in-person to virtual selling has transformed B2B sales experience, virtual sales enablement, new organization’s 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 enablements 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

Hi everybody, I’m very happy to be with Jake Dunlap today. He is the CEO of Skaled Consulting. Hi Jack. How are you doing?

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I am doing fantastic. How are you doing man?

Fine, I’m just coming back from a long trip in Brazil. So I’m a bit in a jet lag, but I’m really happy to be with you. What about Skaled consulting? Can you tell us a little bit about your company?

Yeah, sure. So it’s, again, it’s good to have the conversation. So we are a 45 plus person, global sales and revenue consulting company. A lot of times when people hear the word consulting, they immediately go, Ugh. And what we try to do, that’s, it’s probably a little bit different is our team is laser focused on tactical execution support.
So not only are we advising and working with companies on the strategy around modern sales and digital selling and what’s happening in 2022 and beyond it’s we’re also then focused on being a part of their team and helping them to pull these projects over the finish line. And so that’s really what I get passionate about is the intersection of modern processes and modern customer experience coupled with sales technology. We implement hundreds of sales technologies every year to support these modern processes, because we really believe that technology and increasing rep productivity, not just through doing more activities but through doing better, more effective activities will be the future.
So we really cross that intersection between modern process and modern technology that, you know, many sales leaders and CEOs are struggling with.

Great. And it’s really the same struggle we try to tackle with also. So I am sure that we have many things to say together. What about digital selling today?
What are the key elements of digital selling that a company need to be prepared to.

Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot, right? I think, look through the bottom, what do you call it through the pandemic? Right. I think what happened is one, we proved that it was already happening. We were already moving more and more like inside digital selling, but the pandemic just accelerated it. I think before, before this, nobody thought that someone would buy a hundred something thousand dollar piece of software or whatever virtually. It was almost like if you asked your average field sales leader, they would’ve said it was. And what we proved is that, you know what, people are more than happy to buy some of these things virtually and would prefer it.
So I think what we’re seeing is as a couple of things, and I’ll talk about two in particular, one is at the top of the funnel that because people are so used to searching for themselves digitally, you know, going to Google, going to YouTube, finding all the different information that they want themselves at the tip of their own fingers. We’re actually relying on sales, less for some of that, like very beginning initial education for certain buyers. Some buyers are coming in they’re call and they don’t know anything. But what we’re seeing is, and this again is a trend that’s been happening more and more is that as customers come in with more information, As they come in with more details about you, your competition, you know, what they’re looking for for sales is to guide them through the process, to be an expert in the space, which is already what your top sellers were doing.

But if I come in and I’m like, look, Gabriel, I’ve already talked to your two competitors. I’ve already got pricing. Like, can we go as a and you make me go and talk to an inbound SDR. Like ours takes me three calls over a week and a half to get to a demo. Forget that. Nobody’s trying to put up with that anymore. You know, in our day to day life, I can go to Amazon.
I can get stuff to my house by 2:00 PM. Right?

You need a fast line for this one.

We are used to have to, you will have to, I ask this question, everyone, and everyone listening to the podcast. I want you to ask yourself the same question. How many of you in the last few weeks have picked a different item on Amazon because it had prime next day delivery versus it was going to be here in a week and a half?
All hands go up. Right. And that’s the world that we live in today and it’s, and by the way, it’s only going to get more aggressive in terms of, you know, our expectations around where you know, what, what we should expect from a company, et cetera. So it’s only, it’s only going to become more more of that.
And, and I think the other big trend is that the digital selling experience, meaning right now, You know, like zoom, like that’s just, I was updating right before I came in here and it was like, they finally just started pushing their whiteboard feature. Like, what are you doing to really collaborate and create an experience like right now, It’s boring, man. And people are just, you’re staring at a green dot. You’d probably look at it yourself half the time. The person’s on their email. They’re not even paying, like we have got to step it up, like stop shooting videos, like with your bed in the background, like there’s no excuse for like, go get a $35 fake background from Amazon.
Like there’s some really cool ones. Like a bunch of our team. Invest in a good camera, invest in decent lighting. Like we’ve got to move this world. You know, you wouldn’t show up to an in-person meeting in a wrinkled suit. But yet you think it’s okay to continue to show up to these sales meetings without a more like professional, it doesn’t have to be like overly professional.
You don’t have like a mahogany desk or something, but just something that shows like, Hey, I’m here, I’m here to talk. I’m here to have a professional conversation. So I think it’s a mix. You know, I do think people, you know, I don’t think people really mind if there’s the bed in the background, but why not show up as your A+, why not interact?
Be collaborative? We have a site called mural that we’re really big fans of as well too. So those are the two big trends. It’s how do we better treat people with high intent? And then how do we create a better selling, you know, engaging experience. Once we do have people in the funnel

And the way you treat people with the intent, you have a word for that?

We call it intent based sales, which is to say in that first conversation, should the first few questions you’re asking, aren’t the cheesy questions that are like, whoa, how did you find out? It’s more of like, Hey, look, I’m talking to a lot more buyers and this can be the very first question I’m talking to many more VPs of operations that right now are doing a ton of a lot of research before we have the first conversation. So help me to understand, in terms of your education on the space, the players in the space differentiators, you know, where are you on that? Right. Well, now I can understand. All right, well tell me more. Okay. And then I can just understand where they’re at. Now that I know where they’re at, okay, I can meet you.

I agree with you. And you can see in my background, two of my books, and one is acquisition strategy design, which is about understanding the buyer journey. Even before you start the conversation with the sales team to make it progress in the buyer journey. And the other one is Q2C selling, which is, how to build your sales process.
So we are really agreeing with you on this topic. One of the first question in qualification is understandings about your journey, what he has done before. So we are totally aligned in the way we see modern selling. And it’s really in this continuum that I’ve launched Salesdeck, you really need to have conversation and to have a tool for collaboration.
And we use a lot Miro with our methodologies that are collaborative, but during a sales process you can’t choose Mural because it’s too vast, too wide, wide screen and wide wide space collaboration. And what we have done with Salesdeck is really a more focused on collaboration with prepared cards that makes the collaboration more laser-focused for buyer and seller.
Excuse me for this promotion, but we are really in line.

Yeah. A hundred percent.

So, you were talking about intent based selling. Do you have some tips about that?

Yeah. It goes back to what I was just mentioning, which is that you need to try to understand where the customer is in that I’ll call it like the continuum of their education, of the space, right.
And that most buyers today, if they do have some knowledge and by the way, not all buyers are going to be there. Some buyers still will be, you know, have them know anything like you reached out. And that’s fine. And that’s kind of the point here is that in today it used to be that when people came inbound, they all kind of had, or even some outbound, they all kind of had the same level of knowledge that they didn’t know a ton. They probably knew they probably knew they had a problem. Right. But they’re like, I don’t really know what. Today because again, so many people want to self guide. They’re watching demos ahead of time. They’re, you know, they’re looking at the videos. They want more information upfront, right. Now, it’s like, we got, we have to be able to make, okay. Johnny’s at the cold stage. Okay. How do we work with him? Susie is here. She knows a little bit, but I can tell she doesn’t know these seven things about the industry. Let’s meet her here. Tim knows a lot. So how do I get him in front of the right people who can actually sell and demo as fast as humanly possible?
So it’s not that everyone, and I’m not saying by any stretch of imagination that everyone is a super qualified high intent. It’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that every day, week, month, quarter, year, we are going to have more and more and more buyers that fit that high intent. Because again, as everything B to C comes to B2B just takes a little bit of time.
And so if we think about click to buy and all these other things that we are so used to in our normal checkout experiences, consumers, you have to believe that all these trends are going to come to B2B. And I’ll tell a story to kind of drive this home. And I, trust me, I realized I’m in like the early adopter phase here at the end of last year, at the end of 2021, we were looking to renew our Salesforce license.
I wanted to spend some cash, like as a part of running a business. If you’re a business owner, you will totally understand that. So I go to Salesforce. Our account is not a big account. Salesforce, probably $40,000 in our account, you know, based on our licenses and products we have. I said one, who’s my account executive? That took about four days, three or four days to figure out well, I take that back, my first question was, where can I pay?
I just want to pay, I’m going to pay full price, not asking for discount. That’s going to this. No Jake, you need to talk to your account executive. Okay. That took three or four days. Then the account executive reaches out. Hey, Jake. You know, I really want to understand, I go, I’m just going to pause you right there, dude.
That’s not what I want to do. I’ll talk to you in three or four weeks about my trends. I just want to pay right now and just be done with it. Okay. No problem. A day or two later, I get a PDF to fill out my credit cards. This is Salesforce. People say, this is the top. A PDF! I’m like, oh my God, you gotta be kidding me.
So then I filled that out again. I think what did I have to do? I filled it out, had that my wife printed then like take a picture to scan it back to them. I’m like what I was, I was literally ready to run my Amex for $40,000 on the spot. And Salesforce couldn’t handle that type of buyer. And I’m telling you, if you think that more and more people aren’t going to behave like that, you’ve got your head in sands.
And so for me, it’s more about, you have different ways for people to purchase based on where they’re at in their education and intent level. And that to me is really like the heart of, of this concept, both at the beginning of the process. And then guess what? I had a call with a kid three, three weeks later.
Maybe he can up sell me then, but right now, meet me where I’m at, look through it. I’m just going to renewal. Like just let’s get that done. And then we can talk all this. Then we can hop on a call. Right. So just that to me is just more and more leaders need to realize that this is the future. Right. You know, people, two years ago, we said it was impossible to sell a quarter million, a half million, a million dollar deal 100% virtually. Literally field leader said, that’s impossible. You have to be face-to-face. You have to have the relationship. Guess what people did it. And if you don’t…

Yeah it’s even possible from one country to another, I’m in Paris now in France. And I can do business in the US with LinkedIn and zoom, which is great.


What are the trends that you see and the second part, all the new tools that you are implementing with your customer, what type of tool are there, how do you increase collaboration, how do you make the sales process more innovative and more adapted to digital selling?

Yeah. Well, I think what’s happened now is like during the pandemic people bought in log tools, you know, we’ve got clients that are spending almost $1,500 per month per rep.
Right. And, what’s happened is there’s been a little bit of consolidation in the space, not too much, you know, we, I think we’re at over 2000 sales technologies, something like that right now. And so I think one of the biggest things that the trends that I saw is that people bought these techniques. And many times the, the deployment was terrible. Let’s just call it what it is. The deployment was bad. It’s that, you know, they thought that, Hey, if we just implement it and [00:14:00] train people, well, some of these tools are like, you’re changing the way that people work and interact. And so a three hour training and then the frontline leaders aren’t, you know, bought in even, it’s just a recipe for disaster.
So what we’re seeing right now, you know, or mid 20, 22 now is more and more companies are saying is, we know that these tools can be impactful, but whatever we did before, we’re only seeing 20 to 30% of what we were hoping for. And so they’re getting rid of tools. Now they’re really starting to be smart and bring out, you know, expert firms like ours to like help with like, look, these tools are evolving so quickly.
It’s impossible that your sales operations department that has implemented these tools once, maybe twice ever can possibly stay up to speed. Same way you hire marketing agencies to help to optimize your performance-based marketing tools. You know, we’re seeing more and more sales awards treat the sales tech world and call it like sales technology process optimization a little bit more like marketing a little bit more real time, a little bit more you know, a little bit, I guess, a little bit more like performance mindset versus yeah, we’re going to update our processes or tools every six to 12 months.
It’s like, well, if you’re, if you’ve got enough data running through the system, why aren’t you updating your processes every few weeks or a month? So I just think that those are some of the big ones, you know, that we’re seeing right now.

And is there tools that you prefer in this 2000 space?

Yeah. I mean like looking and I’ll you know, I’ll kind of get into some, like, you know, kind of specifics, but I would say like, look, there’s some core things that you need to have here. One is you need to have a clean source of data. Okay. Obviously everyone knows ZoomInfo, they’re kind of the big player, but there’s a lot of other ones that can help you to get clean data.
Clean data helps to save your team a ton of time and effort, et cetera. So there’s a lot of tools in that bucket. I think ZoomInfo is what you’d call the category leader.
The next thing you need is a way to stay on top of those contacts. And that’s where a sales engagement tool comes in. Outreach is our preferred partner.
We also work with sales loft and you know, we do implementations about groove high velocity sales, et cetera. But outreach is, you know, kind of who we feel is the top right now as a part of this, because I need to be able to interact with people. Now, the key is what, what the problem is with those sales engagement plans.
Many people are just using those as an opportunity to hit send all. And it’s like, no, no, you set up, you know, 12 touch points, but it’s a call. It’s a PR you know, you might have a template, but you’re got to put some personalization in it. So these are not replacement tools for marketing automation. They should be used to, you know, really set up.
Yeah. So you should really do like, think about this as a way l ike set up a series of engaging activities to get someone to respond. And then there’s a slew of tools, tools like yours, who are like, okay, I’ve got these kinds of basics. Obviously you need a CRM. You probably need a data tool as well, too. Just to help you to understand, like what’s working, what’s not. And then you have tools like yours, which again are like helping me to be smarter in the actual sales process. So I’ve got a way to find the right people to get ahold of. I’ve got the way to interact with them and manage, you know, those parts of it.
I’ve got away to see what’s working and what’s not. And then I’ve got tools like yours that can then enrich the experience that can say, Hey, instead of me to sending this to you back then to go back and forth, back and forth, like imagine a world where we can kind of collaborate. So these kinds of collaboration type tools, I think we see it’s like the next part of its tech stack, that’s going to be required. You know, for your basic Salesforce sales navigator, I’d put in kind of required to if you’re, if your buyers are on sales, have

Yeah, because LinkedIn could mix a little bit of a clean data and Outreach also, if you have, you don’t have the means to have zoominfo and to have outreach.


It could be also a more basic tool, but with a large database, do you use it also for your customer or not so much?

Yeah. Yeah. We use that and use a mix of outreach, sorry, zoom info. There’s another one called sales Intel that we use. Lucia is a really lightweight one, lead IQ is another lightweight one. Sales NAB, obviously I think is a good one.

Great, great. What else do you provide to your customer? We discussed about a new understanding of the top of the funnel and you kind of completion of the vemps, about where your customer is in his journey. It’s more important today than the budget and the authority is really intense. So we discussed about that. We discussed about technology. Is there some other point you want to address before we finish this podcast?

I mean, look, I think for anyone out there, I think these are the two trends. If I was in sales, I would think about like, I would really start to rethink the questions that I’m asking.
You know, am I asking smart, intelligent business-based con questions? Or am I asking those like very basic qualification or framework based questions? And yeah, I would just think like how boring is your sales process today? You know, like how like, would you find it fun to interact with you right? And fun or engaging or entertaining and I’ll take any of those. Any of those three is fine. But you know, I think more and more companies are really going to have to rethink digital sales. For sure. That’s I think it’s just going to be a massive, massive part of it.

Great. Thanks a lot. 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 enjoy 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 episodes. This episode was brought to you by, the virtual selling platforms increase your sales team efficiency and enables 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 meetings. It was really a pleasure Jack. I’m really happy to be back from vacation and you to be the first one to be interviewed.

I really enjoyed it too.


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