Ep 42 – Tips to succeed Sales Process – Mike Nauls

Presentation of the episode

On the 42th episode of the Virtual Selling Podcast, our guest is Mike Nauls, Revenue Operation Manager at Hired.

He will tell us how optimized sales process could lead to accurate and actionnable Data.

About Mike Nauls

To learn more about Mike Nauls 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 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 Mike Nauls, who is a Revenue Operation Manager at Hired. How are you doing Mike ?

Read more
Mike : I’m doing well, man. Thanks for having me. I haven’t done many podcasts, but I’m happy to start doing it more often and I appreciate the opportunity.

Gabriel : That’s great. And I’m very happy to be with you. Can you tell us something about Hired and what do you do there ?

Mike : Yeah, absolutely. Hired is a marketplace for employers, mainly tech companies, like the Googles, the Amazons of the world to find and hire highly qualified and high intent tech talent. Mainly software engineering and sales like Account Executives.

Gabriel : Okay, great. And which are the customers that you have ? Google or those type of customers ?

Mike : We’ve got a bunch. We work across the SMB space, startups, but we also work with mid-market companies and enterprise.

We’re actually trying to move up market a little bit more in our strategy and start working with enterprise, customers, because they hire a ton of engineers.

Gabriel : Yeah, sure. And what is your role within Hired as a Revenue Operation Manager ?

Mike : Yeah. My role at Hired is, I’m essentially overseeing the full funnel operationally.
I’m working all the way from lead to how the lead’s created in the first place, all the way down to renewal and upsell business. So I’m working with marketing operations, sales ops, customer success ops, BDR ops. I’m working across pretty much everybody and every function at the company kind of being the glue and just making sure we’re we’re closing revenue as much as possible. That’s all.

Gabriel : And the topic that you want to address is really about sales process, sales methodology, and sales stages, is it for you a way to glue everything together ?

Mike : Absolutely. A hundred percent. You can’t have accurate or actionable data without having the process in place.

A lot of the time companies, they just want reporting, they wanna understand, you know, what’s our pipeline, what’s our coverage, what’s in the forecast. You can’t answer those questions without having the process in place first.

Gabriel : So please explain us which type of process you put in place, how do you make sure that it is applied by the team and how do you use it ?

Mike : Yeah, absolutely. So there are a few main areas where you can apply a sales process to how you manage opportunities, how you forecast, et cetera. I think the main one where you wanna start out with is your sales stages. And your CRM, whether you’re using Salesforce or HubSpot, really defining your sales stages. And your sales stages, they have to be, buyer-centric.

They have to paint the picture of where the buyer is at in the buying process. So it’s external, it’s not internal. Typical sales stages in there, they’ll include stuff like discovery, demo proposal, negotiation, verbal agreement, things like that. And what you want to do is you want to define your exit criteria for each stage.

What does the rep have to do? Or what does the customer have to do in order to move from this stage to the next ? That can be one thing. That can be two or three, completely up to you. As long as it’s documented, same with suggested activities. What kind of things do you have to do, or should you be doing in these stages ?

Running a demo call, setting up a trial, security review, things like that, just getting it all down in a document. That’s verified by sales leadership, and pushed out to the field and you have enablement, you’re making sure that’s part of your, one-on-ones, your pipeline forecast reviews, kind of everything.

It’s just table stakes.

Gabriel : And to give us an example, what are your set stage within Hired ? Would you see that the buyer is moving from one stage to, to another one ?

Yeah, since we have a very fast sales cycle, it’s around 30 days or so. We have a little bit of more of a transactional sales stages.

So, it starts with identified. So we’ve identified a lead. We call that a sales accepted lead, a SAL, and then it goes to qualified, which is our SQL, Sales Qualified Lead.

Gabriel : So this is still very internal.

Mike : It is. And then it kind of shifts to more external and buyer oriented. So it goes from qualified to demo.

The demo is what the customer wants. That’s what we’re doing with the customer. And then it goes to trial. A lot of the time customers, they sign up for a trial, whether it’s sales led, or it’s a sales serve, doing it on their own, goes to the proposal pricing discussion. After the customer looks at the product, understands their pain points, what kind of impact it could have, they want pricing. And then it goes to kind of negotiation, which is like your verbal agreement.

They want to commit to it. You’ve still gotta iron out the MSA terms and conditions, final pricing, stuff like that. Legal. So it, it goes from a little bit seller centric to more, more buyer-centric. You qualified that uo, the customer, the prospect.

Gabriel : And do you build your forecasting directly related to the sales stage or there is still some difference between the sales stage and the forecasting and the expectation of win.

Mike : Yeah, that’s a great question. In my opinion, Forecast categories and the forecast that all needs to be separate from sales stages. So sales stages are where the buyer’s at in the buying process. That’s external forecast categories in the forecast. That’s all internal. That’s where we’re at in the selling process.

That’s how we feel about the deal, how likely it’s gonna close. So really you wanna separate the two, a lot of the time. I see companies that they merge the two, they treat them the same, but you don’t want that. You wanna separate them as much as possible if you can absolutely.

Gabriel : Yeah, I think so. And I had a discussion with Mike Steel who is a very heavy thinker on the subjects and he really insisted in the fact that it’s two different things.

Even if the sales stage are buyer centric, you don’t have everything in the sales state because you are, you may be in a trial, but in this trial, he may not have tried anything. And the forecast is not the same if he played a lot during the trial and not with the tool. So that’s a simple example, but all the time you have this difference.

Mike : Absolutely. And sometimes the customer, maybe they’ve used the tool in the past at a previous company. And let’s say it’s in a, I don’t know, demo stage, but we’re pretty confident we can put that in a most likely or probable forecast. Cause we know they’ve used it before.

Gabriel : Yeah. That’s for sure. So let’s dig into the sales process that are related to the sales stage that you have put in place. How do they work together ?

Mike : Yeah. Sales process. How you define your sales stages. I think that’s the first building block of your sales process. And then to go from there, I think it’s critical to have some kind of sales methodology to really spearhead that. So whether you’re using, MEDDPICC or MEDDIC, all of that, each acronym needs to be its own field in your CRM, but that’s not enough.

It can’t just live in your CRM. It has to be a part of your everyday language as part of your forecast reviews, your one on ones, everybody from the CRO down to the rep needs to adopt that language and needs to be speaking that language. Every single time they’re talking about a deal or else, it just gets lost.

You don’t understand where the risks are in the deal. The sales process kind of just collapses from there. If you’re not all speaking the same language consistently.

Gabriel : And what is this language ? Is it related to the initial of the MEDDIC or… ?

Mike : Yeah, absolutely. For example, let’s say you want to start using MEDDPICC. Each initial would have its own field in your CRM and you would coach to that and you would drive that for example, M stands for Metrics. What’s the business impact. What’s the quantifiable business impact this platform or solution is gonna have on the customer.

E is for economic buyer. Have we identified the very high level, key decision maker with the budget to really pull the trigger on this. To give you another example, I implicate pain. Have we identified that pain? Why is the customer talking to us in the first place ? What are they trying to solve ? What’s slowing them down in their job right now ? You want to kind of identify each one. You wanna define each one. There’s a lot of good material out there online.

It’s, you know, MEDDPICC and MEDDIC, they’re very standard. A lot of sales teams use it for a reason. It’s very comprehensive.

Gabriel : And so, for you, the idea is to say, okay, you can use MEDDPICC, you can use MEDDIC, you can use space gap selling whatsoever. But what is important is to have a common language and to be sure that all the stage of the sale methodology are applied by the team and that the sales rep adds the answer to every initial in fact.

Mike : A hundred percent. It doesn’t matter what you use. It could be MEDDPICC, MEDDIC, whatever you want. Go ahead. You wanna create your own. It doesn’t matter. As long as it’s standard, it’s defined by leadership and it’s used every day by your reps. And ideally, you want to try to tie some of these, initials.

To a certain stage, for example, if you are in discovery, you wanna try to understand implicate pain. You wanna understand the pain point. You wanna, you wanna understand the impact, metrics for example. You want to try to tie that to a stage as much as possible if you can.

Gabriel : Yeah. I mean, it’s not the same thing when it’s a buyer has evaluated the impact with you. And it’s still buyer centric because if you have done the job with the buyer and ask him the right question for him to evaluate the impact of your solution on his business, and how much he could win with you. It’s really a stage of the process. Exactly. And if the impact is, important and enough to make it move, you know that the next step will be more about, all the resistance you could have to change, but you want to change now. So I agree with you.

Mike : It’s all related. You need to have your sales stages defined first. And then, how do you enforce that ? The sales methodology, everybody needs to use it. The CRO, the reps, everybody does, or else, you get lost.

Gabriel : And we’re getting to end interview, and you just tested Salesdeck with me. Could it help sales team really implement sales methodology ?

Mike : A hundred percent. I mean, if you think about it, you have a certain number of activities. You have certain meeting types in each stage.

You have, you know, a demo, you have a discovery scoping meeting. You have all these meetings, when you onboard reps, they’re gonna get it right. They’ll learn it in the first couple of weeks. But as they do their jobs, it’s impossible to replicate that consistently. It’s impossible to make sure every rep, if you have 30, 40 reps on your team, there’s no chance they’re gonna be selling consistently.

With Salesdeck, I feel everything is just standarized. Everything there makes the reps life a lot easier.

Gabriel : Yeah. And you can have a different deck for the discovery for the demo. So you, you can replicate a good way to do that.

Mike : You can create material or content for each meeting in a sales stage. You can create something for a demo proposal, whatever you want, tie it to the stage and force the process.

Gabriel : Yeah. And just to go again on your stage, you said that it was a very short cycle, about 30 days. And even that you have about three to four stages after sales qualification.

Mike : Right.

Gabriel : So, how do you ensure that the cycles still stay low with so many stages.

Mike : Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s just making sure your exit criteria is defined and you’re talking about it in your one on ones with the reps and the frontline managers. They’re very, buyer-centric, they’re very easy to understand kind of what should be in a trial, what should be in a demo ? What should be a negotiation is just understanding. And it’s also understanding, are there any gaps with that?

We know our average sales cycle is 30 days. If we have an opportunity with a sales cycle or an age of 80 days, what’s going on there, at which stage was that opportunity stuck in. It just, forces you to kind of reevaluate and evaluate your pipeline and your hygiene.

Gabriel : Okay. And how do you make it move faster ? How do the rep could see with the customer to move it faster ?

Mike : That’s the goal with the accelerating sales cycle. It’s such a complex thing. If you want to go about it, you have to break it down into the sales stages. That’s why it’s so important to define them in the first place. If you can define your sales stages, like how do we move from, demo to trial faster.

Let’s say it takes 10 days. How can we get that down to 7 days ? Having that consistent process will give you the data in the first place to give you insight on how long it takes, and then you can create projects around that and enablement to get them moving through the stages faster.

Gabriel : Great. Thanks a lot. We are at the end of the podcast. Do you want to share with us the way to contact you ? It’s for people who want to follow the discussion with you.

Mike : Yeah, absolutely. I’m on LinkedIn at Mike Nauls, Hired. I’m on LinkedIn all the time. Feel free to DM me, send me a connection request, but also if you’re looking a higher software engineers, go to Hired.com.

Trust me, we have the best marketplace for high intent and highly qualified software engineers. Your speed to hire is gonna just decrease dramatically if you use us. So check us out if you’re hiring talent.

Gabriel : Great. Thanks a lot. Mike, 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 episode. This episode was brought to you by Salesdeck.io, the virtual selling platform that increase your sales team efficiency and sales readiness, enable remote management and bump sales operational excellence. Book your Salesdeck.io demo today to discover, how you can close model with engaging and better prep customer meetings.

Thanks a lot Mike.


Want to become a guest on The Virtual Selling Podcast? Book a slot with Gabriel here!

Join the Early Adopter Program today to be part of a leading sales solution provider (limited spots available!), or grow your sales training business by becoming a Partner.

To track launch updates, join the waiting list or book a demo!