Ep 38 – Remote sales management and training – Kevin Klammer
Presentation of the episode
He talks about his experience in sales, helping onboard new hires to improve people’s sales process and increasing close ratio and pipeline.
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 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.
Gabriel : Hi, everybody. I’m very happy to be with Kevin Klammer who is a sales trainer at Wolters Kluwer. You have a full background in sales from the beginning of your career. You went through all type of jobs there, and know you are a sales trainer. You are working remotely in the department of six people, and you are enabling and training about 100 sales.
And you work specifically on the sales process trying to help to onboard new recruit to upscale on the sales process of people and increasing close ratio and pipeline velocity. Is that correct? Kevin
Gabriel : It’s really a pleasure. Can you tell us a little bit about Wolters Kluwer ?
Kevin : Yeah, Wolters Kluwer, you know, has been around since the 1800, started as a publishing company, anything from textbooks to getting into medical journals, professional journals and have really done a great job, you know, transitioning in the last 20 years to digital formats for professional information for large categories like medical, law, regulatory.
So they started in the Nederlands and have a large presence across the globe and get over 40 countries, just under 20,000 employees. And I’m based in the United States with the sales team that focuses on the legal and regulatory industries.
Gabriel : Great. And I have them as a customer in France, in my marketing agency.
Do you have a fun fact that you want to share with our audience ?
Kevin : Yeah. You know, I have been a singer songwriter probably since I was in high school. And, I have written and recorded a bunch of songs. I think I’ve got about six of them published on major music platforms like Spotify and Amazon music, Apple music, things like that.
So if you’re interested in someone who plays a little acoustic guitar and sings from the heart, go check me out.
Gabriel : Oh great ! And I will ask you to share your contact at the end of the podcast, you will be able to share also your Spotify account. That’s nice. What we willing to discuss together is really about how do you use news sales methodology to build your training and to twist your sales process within Wolters Kluwer with the different sales methodologies that exist, the books the companies that could help you also on the different element of the sales process.
So first question, do you have some methodologies that is release basis of your sales process ? Or you are grabbing piece of methodology on different books or from different author ?
Kevin : Yeah. You know, I’ve been with Wolters Kluwer only for about four months now. But in and with a background in sales and, you know, in interest, in different types of sales techniques and sales methodologies, but what’s been interesting since I’ve been at Wolters Kluwer is that we tend to take a holistic approach to our sales process.
So, there’s not any one methodology that applies across everything from prospecting to closing. We tend to use a little bit more of we call insight selling, which is based upon the challenger sale methodology. So kind of you know, finding pain points and helping the customer discover that, you know, the pain of same
is greater than the pain of change that we might recommend. We worked with different companies, like Demo2Wiin for achieving really nicely structured demonstrations that are proven to kind of convert people to the next step of the sales process. And right now, leading some negotiation training for our group based upon a book called Strategic Negotiation by Brian J. Dietmeyer.
That is a good combination of preserving the relationship in the negotiation process rather than trying to kind of put your customer over a barrel and win every single aspect it’s about they win some, you win some and you move forward with a good feeling about the long term prospect of the relationship, rather than just quick wins.
So yeah, we say we probably utilize a holistic grab and go methodology to constructing our sales process to make sure it fits who we are as a sales team, what are our goals, or who we want to be as well. And then making sure that it aligns with the, how we sell our products and, how we wanna achieve our short and long term goals.
Gabriel : Great. And how do you use this methodologies ? What comes from the books that you adapt to your environment and to what you sell, and also to transmit it to your sales team ?
Kevin : You know, we’re fortunate that our company is a big believer in ongoing training and upskilling. So that’s where my team kind of comes into place.
So we’re involved from day one when an employee comes on board we’re fortunate that we tend to hire, you know fairly seasoned sales reps. There’s not a lot of individuals who are, you know, just out of colleges or universities that have never sold before we tend to bring in people that have some experience.
So, we’re not reinventing the wheel for a lot of these folks when we bring them on board, it’s just making sure that they understand the steps of our sales process, how we tend to operate within those steps. And then making sure we’re providing on ongoing training and education for our sales team, whether they’ve been at the company for two years or 20 years. We wanna make sure that we’re continuing to sharpen the ax for our sales team and our sales managers throughout their tenure of the company.
Garbiel : And to do that, you share with them the methodologies that you are inspired from ? or it goes directly to the training ? So, how do you inspire them in fact.
Kevin : It’s both. So for example, the negotiation training that we’re about to put the team through, it’s done over about a three or four hour period.
So we start with you know the methodology, coaching on the process. And we’ll do breakouts where the reps and managers can engage in mock negotiations and role play and how to institute some of the things that we just taught and coached on. And then we come back and share our best processes as a group to, Hey, here’s what we found.
Here’s some things that worked, these things were a little bit more challenging. And then we continue to refresh that throughout the process to make sure that we’re becoming experts of the process rather than it being a one and done training.
Gabriel : Great. So let’s go through the different process and go see the different methodology you use at each steps.
When you go to prospecting, to do cold calls or email outreach, do you have a specific methodology for that? Or do you have something that you prefer between cold calls and emails ? Do you have an opinion on that ?
Kevin : Yeah, I’m excited, you know, for what I’ve been exposed to at Wolters Kluwer in terms of the assets and technology that we give to our sales team.
I think, for some reps are more open to adopting sales, automation tools. So we use outreach to try to make sure that we’re developing sequences and cadences, sharing the ones that tend to be working and converting the best. And getting the members of the sales team that are a little bit hesitant to adopt it, to show them why they should.
So, you know, as a leadership team, we’re really big on, let’s make the initial part of the sales process is easy as possible and, base it upon tactics that are proven to work on different campaigns. I’m a believer that cold calling is not dead that, you know, sales reps need to be still picking up the phone and reaching out to people.
I think that with the pandemic we’ve become even more reliant on email marketing, in email initial outreach which I think is an excellent tool, but it should be part of the tool arsenal, right. It should be the only tool on your tool belt or toolbox. And then, social selling, I think is something that’s really evolved in probably the last 10 to 15 years.
But you gotta do it the right way. So we coach a lot on, you know, if based upon which tactic you’re going to employ, you know, what should you say if the decision maker picks up the phone. You’re gonna lead with an intrigue and impact. You’re gonna have a value proposition very early on to try to engage that person.
Because you gotta win like the first seven seconds of the phone call. Same thing with email. We, we coach on how long should the email be ? How many words in the subject line ? How many questions should you ask ? So we look at a lot of research and see what converts at the highest rates.
If we were to leave a voicemail, how long should it be ? Data I’ve seen shows about 7 to 15 seconds. [00:10:00] And you gotta have some intrigue. You can’t just leave your name and your phone number and ask for a call back. So it’s gotta be a value proposition loaded to just about anything and that initial outreach.
And it’s gonna be succinct and concise. So that’s kind of how we view the initial part of the sales process.
Gabriel : That’s great. You were talking about demos, so, and you told me that you worked with a company which is Demo2Win to build your demo process and to adapt your demo.
Can you explain us what you have done and what different type of demos you have ?
Kevin : Yeah. What’s been really neat about that, I just was at a training myself for that a few weeks ago in New Orleans. It’s provides a process. And I think that’s what most sales people don’t have. They don’t have a structured process in which to operate within.
So we try to do that, you know, not just, in general, but within each step of the sales process, there might be a sub process. So if you’re gonna do a demonstration, you know, we’ve worked with Demo2Win and what their structure is, you know, it’s a little bit more of, instead of just showing your screen constantly, your product or your software.
It’s a little bit more telling than it is showing. So you’re gonna tell them what they’re gonna see. You’ll show them briefly, then you kind of recap by telling them what you just showed them. So I think that was interesting to see really you know, for me too, what I, I leaned out of that for what we want to take to our sales team is you.
Sometimes there’s glitches in technology. Sometimes things don’t load as fast as you want to take screenshots of some of your software and your products. And you can kind of manipulate it into a way where it’s, it looks like you’re doing a live demo, but you got the certainty that technology’s not gonna fail you at any point.
So it provides you with a little bit more control in that situation. So I kinda like that from, the process that we coach our team on there.
Gabriel : Now, that’s interesting. And therefore you have designed different demos depending on the pains of your customers, I believe.
Kevin : Yeah. You know, you try to customize as much as possible.
So trying to understand what’s important to the customer going into the demonstration. So, every step of the sales process kind of relies upon the step before it. So if we do a, a really good job in discovery and identifying maybe some of the pain points and trying to identify a need that maybe one of our products might be able to solve or help out with, you know, you want to customize the the demo and show them the type of product that would most address their needs and wants.
Gabriel : And typically for the discovery, what is the type of methodology you are following ?
Kevin : Yeah, that’s where we use a little bit more of the the challenger sale methodology, which is, you know, kind of uncovering a pain point and teaching the customer a better way. So I know I liked a lot of examples in that book about, you know, purchasing agents and they kind of go through a series of I imagine this is a problem for you.
Here’s a solution that we have that maybe you’re not thinking of that would enable you to put your purchasing on an autopilot. Right. So I think as much as you can teach the customer to uncover the pain points and teach them that maybe there might be a better way. You know, we like that element of the challenger sale methodology, which we use in an insight sales model.
Gabriel : Okay. And so when you train your people to insight selling and challenge your sales, you tell them that, your inspiration is coming from challenger sales or you’re not quoting the book.
Kevin : Yeah, it’s not, you know, directly quoting the books. It’s kind of giving them insight of where the process and methodology comes from.
Demo2Win is a company that we actually bring in to train the reps, whereas on other parts of the sales process, sometimes, as the sales leadership team and the members of our training and enabled the department, we will study the content. We’ll become experts on it, and then we’ll teach it based upon customizations to our sales process and our products.
Gabriel : Okay. So you design the questions for the discovery. You together and adapt the methodology to directly teach the right questions, the right discovery questions and be sure that they’re adapted to your market.
Kevin : Yeah. We give some examples of questions to ask, but it’s more so about the reasoning, why we ask the types of questions that we do, it’s all designed to kind of uncover pain points issues.
Trying to see if there’s any problems that we could solve for the customer. So getting them to try to open up about, you know, giving a realistic, honest picture of what things could be done better to help make their day and, their company run more smoothly. [00:15:00]
Gabriel : Okay, great. And the last part of the sales process is negotiation.
And you, just finished a training on that what you, you want to share on this training. And I know that you work on very large million deals. How do you manage from the small deals to the larger one to open for negotiation.
Kevin : Yeah, I think some of the buzz words that I’ve taken out of it are empathy.
I think is really one of the biggest ones. And it’s not just the, the main book that we’re training on, but, you know, even even one that’s been more popular here in the last few years which is right here, Never split the difference by Chris Voss.
Gabriel : Have you read it ?
Kevin : Yeah. Great book. I mean, a lot of great tactical advice in there. So that’s, we incorporate a little bit of the theories there in terms of how to kind of get people to open up how to discover where are the boundaries are ? Getting someone to say no and vice versa. Kind of defines where the negotiation starts and ends.
But what we really like about the structure that we use with the strategic negotiation as the literature that we based our training off is that it’s a regimented process. In terms of trying to estimate what might be important in the deal, trying to validate those initial estimations with internal sources, external sources, but ultimately with the customer.
I think the empathy and the openness in the negotiation process is what stood out to me. Don’t be afraid to have very frank conversations on the front end of you. What needs to be included in this deal for you to feel good about moving forward and what are, what would be your backup plan if we can’t come to an agreement?
So I think it’s all about being able to empathize from the other person’s point of view, being able to understand what’s important to them. Then I think you can design the most beneficial negotiations by trying to marry what’s important to both sides and understanding what happens if we can’t agree.
So, understand the alternative and make sure that your offer is better than their altern.
Gabriel : Great. We are arriving at the end of the show. Do you want to share your contact with the audience, for them to contact you or to discover your music also ?
Kevin : Yeah. The music’s under my name. You know, just like you’re probably seeing on the screen there connect with me on LinkedIn.
Absolutely a 100 % open to new connections all the time on LinkedIn. I love to travel, I love going to France. My wife’s a big fan of Paris, so shout out to your home country there, Gabriel.
Gabriel : It’ll be a pleasure to meet you there.
Kevin : Absolutely. We even went to Bordeaux a couple years ago is beautiful there too.
Gabriel : That’s great.
Kevin : And if anybody wants to send an email it’s my first name, kevin.klammer@wolters, kluwer.com
Gabriel : Thanks a lot, Kevin. And last question about Salesdeck.io, that you just tried before, what you think of the product?
Kevin : Yeah. I like the interactivity of it. I like how you know, it kind of combines note taking with presentation.
So, that’s a lot of what we’re kind of coaching our sales team in order to achieve that empathy and that consensus in the sales process and in a negotiation. You need to show that you are listening to their wants and needs. So I think your software, from what I’ve seen so far, does a really good job of showing that you are a good active listener and you understand what’s important to that person in the conversation that you just had.
So, I definitely like that with the cards that you were able to play there.
Gabriel : And thanks a lot. Kevin, 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 missing for your feedback.
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Thanks a lot, Kevin. Thank you.
Kevin : Thank you.
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