#007 Unlocking Revenue Excellence with Paul Butterfield
Mastering the Art of Sales
Guest & Host
Paul Butterfield & Thomas Miltschuh
Welcome to Speak Revenue, the podcast where we emphasize that revenue is not just a goal; it's a result. In this show, we shift our focus from the output to the inputs. We engage in conversations with sales leaders and entrepreneurs about their remarkable journeys. Our mission? To uncover the true root causes of success. In this episode, we dive deep into the world of revenue growth and sales enablement with Paul Butterfield, a seasoned professional in the field. Paul shares his experiences as a freelance sales enablement consultant and discusses strategies for optimizing sales processes, bridging gaps between marketing and sales, and achieving tangible results. Join us as we unlock the secrets to revenue excellence.
September 22nd, 2023
Thomas Miltschuh: Welcome to our new episode of Speak Revenue. Remember, revenue is not a goal. It's a result, but a result of what? In this show, we turn our eyes from the output towards the inputs. We speak to sales leaders and entrepreneurs about their journeys. Join us on our request to uncover and learn the root causes of success. Let's unpack what works for them and what didn't today with our guest, Paul Butterfield. Welcome Paul. Thanks for being here.
Paul Butterfield: Great to be here.
Thomas Miltschuh: Thanks for taking the time. So let's get started right away. Let us know who you are, what do you do? Why are you so successful?
Paul Butterfield: I have two roles right now. First, I have launched my own. It was, or it was a little earlier gone full time. In doing customer journey enablement consulting as a service. I've been doing it on the side for many years and went full-time. And that's the revenue flywheel group that you referred to. I'm also honored to be the executive board president of the Sales Enablement Society, which is the largest professional organization for folks in the enablement profession. We have about 11,000 members in over 50 countries. Those two things keep me busy. And that's an interesting question when you talk about what you know, helps me be successful. And I always go back to the years I spent growing up in sales. Sales is not for everybody. I'm sure everyone would if it was everybody would do it because it is the greatest profession. However, it's not easy and learning too. Not taking things personally with prospects, learning to get better and continuously trying to improve, and also having that perspective of constant performance. You think about every other job out there, you get to go one-on-one with your boss. They've talked to you about how you're doing and your job. When we're in sales, anyone with a login to our CRM knows immediately how successful we are. And that drives so all of those, all those things in sales have really helped me to become successful at what I'm doing now years in sales.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Looks, yeah. What you've mentioned is also important for competition, right? I think you need to be a
Paul Butterfield: Exactly.
Thomas Miltschuh: Person, right? Great. Awesome. Please could you give us a quick information or overview on the big picture, what are your goals for this year? What about next year?
Paul Butterfield: Okay. Professionally, my goals for this year are to continually grow my business and being now a solopreneur. Although I do have some partners that I bring in for various roles, I really just completely own what I'm doing. It's not my first time doing that. Actually, prior to getting into tech sales, I ran a consulting company of my own for a few years, but this is a very different economic environment right now. It presents both challenges and benefits within the tech world. As I think most of your listeners know, there have been a lot of downsizing, layoffs, things like that, but yet the work still needs to be done. So there's an opportunity to come in as an outside resource to do that. So that's where I'm really in, working right now. Tamma is that growth building pipeline. I've got a strong pipeline for the rest of this year, but this was only a partial year for me, and I'm already focused on building out for next year. And so that's outbound prospecting. It's business development, it's building partnerships. And I've got a couple of key partnerships in place right now, but that's my other big goal for next year, is I'm talking with two or three other companies that I feel are very good fit with what I offer and how I work with my clients and wanna get those contracts nailed down by the end of the year. So we go into next year with even more to go.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. To be prepared. Looks yeah, a lot of activities you are involved in and it's really impressive. Talking about pipelines, maybe you could give us a quick overview. And step us through your process. How does it look from lead generation to closing and upselling as far as it is already created in, in, for your.
Paul Butterfield: Yeah.
Thomas Miltschuh: Company?
Paul Butterfield: Yeah, I, and I've worked with some clients already this year. I've got some things that I'll be doing for new clients, through the rest of the year. And here's how I think, first of all, on developing leads. To me, that's prospecting. I, right At this point, again it's me and I am very comfortable with outbound prospects of all types. So here's the key. It needs to be persona based. And by that I mean understanding who my ideal customer profile is, who is likely in a company to have the kinds of problems and challenges that I have had success in solving within the organizations where I've worked previously. Making my outbound effort very specific to them. I talk very little about myself, very little about my company, and only to the point where I'm referring to challenges that others have been able to resolve working with us. But I'm really trying to get them to think about what they're working on in a slightly different way and make me outbound. Interesting to them that way by offering up questions and situations, perhaps a success story, someone similar in their space, that's the key for me. And that's both in the outbound, in developing contacts and in the discovery. I may run a very different kind of discovery from what a lot of organizations do. We talk about that in more detail if you
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Would be great. So what are the next steps when it comes to closing and upselling? Do you still have processes running there?
Paul Butterfield: Absolutely all the way through. I sell the way that I have taught sellers to successfully sell. I have to do the numbers, thousands. Of sellers globally as an enablement leader. And I don't even know how many before that as a sales leader. I've done this all over the world, so it is slightly different in different markets. But I'm in the Noam market and for me, the keys are, discovery is not a one and done. Or another way to look at it is whether or not an opportunity is qualified is not a binary state. There are always gonna be multiple stakeholders, and I think everyone is comfortable with that. Identifying those stakeholders is critical, but not everyone takes the time to earn access to those folks and actually do separate discovery meetings with them. And if you don't do that, you really don't understand how everyone would benefit. From potentially your services or even what they're working on. The second part in my process is, as I say, you're continually qualifying. Certainly at the beginning, you wanna understand, do they have a problem, do they have a problem? They be quantified? Is it something that they have a vision for a future state? Or I can help them develop that future state and then we go on. But if they can't or won't talk to me about a quantifiable business challenge. Then I move on politely, of course, But without a goal, you really don't have a viable prospect. So those are some of the key things. Now it is closing. There are some things that I found that are helpful that actually start earlier in the process. So I don't know if you wanna do any follow up on what I've already talked about, or I can just start talking about that closing process.
Thomas Miltschuh: Alright, so yeah, it, it's. About involving all stakeholders. And I assume you mean when it comes to upselling, getting to know the stakeholders and maybe stakeholders in other departments of the same company becomes more and more important because you already have a relation to the team. Is that right?
Paul Butterfield: For, upselling, definitely. But what I'm referring to even is to close that.
Thomas Miltschuh: Sure.
Paul Butterfield: Say there are three stakeholders that would be involved in a decision to hire a firm like mine. They're all dealing with different challenges. They're all dealing, I'll give you an example. Three of the folks that I type personas I typically am selling to are not the enablement leaders. talking with the chief sales officer or the E V P of sales, someone who's over the sales organization. I'm also typically working with the head of rev ops. The head of marketing. Now, my entry point is going to be almost always that sales leader, but the work that I do will be very closely aligned with those marketing and rev ops teams. And so those are folks that I want to talk to and do discovery with because they're not looking at the problems the same or even maybe the same problems that the VP of sales is. So I'm using this even in getting the first contract but I agree with you that after the first project is done, those relationships are how you go deeper in the organization, upsell additional services, and build a long-term relationship. I really count on that.
Thomas Miltschuh: Great. I like the perspective of discovery never ending. It's a running thing. Do I remember correctly? You mentioned you could go a bit more into detail into your specific discovery process. Even…
Paul Butterfield: No, I'd…
Thomas Miltschuh: Will be great.
Paul Butterfield: I'll start with what I don't do, is a demo. Or pitch.
Thomas Miltschuh: Okay.
Paul Butterfield: And let me explain why. Pitch decks do have their purpose, although it's typically later in the sales process when you're maybe presenting to a buying committee or or a group. When I was sitting down, if you and I were doing discovery, this was our first meeting. I'm going to spend my time. Thoughtful questions. I'll have done my homework of course, that's why they're thoughtful questions but I'm going to spend the time understanding some things. Something is broken. In your business, you probably wouldn't be talking to me, so you may come prepared to talk about that or with a lot of detail, or you may not. So either way, I need to understand what is the current situation in your business? What is the impact, I'm gonna assume is probably a negative impact if we're talking about that current situation. What's your vision for a future state? What are the outcomes, the positive outcomes that you anticipate by adjusting, realigning, the organization, pro sales process, those things that you would see, right? That's what I want to help understand in the first meeting, and if I'm doing it right or correctly, I'm also helping you create a vision in your own mind of how you could do business differently. Better, whatever that means in your world. Because if I can't help you create that vision during that discovery meeting, you probably aren't gonna spend a lot of time with me down the road and showing you a demo or opening up a PowerPoint deck and talking about, oh, look at all our other customers and look at this and look at, no, that's not how I do that. I spend it by having that one-on-one interaction with you.
Thomas Miltschuh: Okay. Yeah, completely understandable. If you do the discovery call using pitch decks or demo stepping directly into it you would talk about yourself most of the time probably. And if I understand it correctly you want to highlight the person you talked to, especially in the first call. And understand…
Paul Butterfield: Yes. And in many organizations, oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead. .
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah that's it. And understand her problems and pains and how they're busy. Yeah.
Paul Butterfield: Right.
Thomas Miltschuh: Great. So what, do you do a demo or pitch deck at all? Maybe in a second discovery call or is it only one discovery call you're usually doing? Or maybe several.
Paul Butterfield: That's a great point. So it depends on the size of the organization. You're going to have a different number of decision makers or stakeholders involved. So that's why I'll just stick with three, just a medium sized organization that I would work with. And I'm going to hold off on doing the two things that you've mentioned, especially any sort of demo until after I have had, so you and I have this discovery meeting, and hopefully I do a great job. You've started to create a vision of how we could work together. I then earned the right to ask you to introduce me to the other two stakeholders in our scenario, and when I meet with them, I'm gonna have the same sort of discovery meeting. I'm gonna have the same fun some give and take. I'm gonna try to understand the same things after I've met with the three of you. Now I'm in an ideal position to do a demo, and the reason for that is, I now have three points of view. I understand what each of you is trying to accomplish. I understand the negative impact versus positive impact in the future, and when I'm doing that demo now, IB is a hundred percent geared towards the three of you. There may be some things that you didn't mention that I'll still wanna show you that I'm pretty sure are a value add, but that is going to be a hundred percent relevant for you. So to me, in my experience, the ideal timing for doing that is with those stakeholders after you've had those conversations, pitch deck often maybe fits in the same place. So we've got these groups of three coming together to do the demo and opening that demo with a very short one. Please, not too many slides and not too many words, But a few slides to really set the stage and talk about it. That's where I've seen success in inserting those two things, and that's how I've taught salespeople and many of them have seen the same success to do it.
Thomas Miltschuh: Okay. Do you see differences here at startups or early stage companies compared to enterprise companies? Or is it the same in general taking stakeholders into account?
Paul Butterfield: The process itself stays generally the same. That's the whole idea behind any good sales methodology is it's scalable, it's repeatable, you can audit its results and make changes when needed. The biggest challenge to change, rather I should see, is in smaller companies, you're more likely I'll give you an example. Client I worked with back in the spring, two co-founders. Three salespeople, one SDR, and so my decision maker was the co-founder who was over sales. But I still follow the same process. I still wanted him, I had to help him create a vision for himself. He's not gonna take my word for it, right? I have to help him feel comfortable with how working with me is going to be positive. But it was a much shorter sales cycle. It was a couple of conversations versus a company where, as I said, you would have multiple department heads that would be involved. Client that I was working with through the most in fact, all of the summer. I would say I was dealing with primary stakeholders five and also spending time with sales, senior sales leaders of different teams, probably dealing with 10 or 12 at some point in the process. just depends on the size. And they were much larger companies…
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. That really extends the sales cycle. I think that's really great advice. I've seen meetings with several people attending, several stakeholders, maybe eight. Only two of them were known previously. But now nobody asked who the other guys were. They just attended, but nobody really knew. What are the pains, what are the goals? What's their influence in the process? So that's really important to know. Thanks, Paul. You've mentioned a at the beginning of our episode, you've mentioned the new environment challenges and also benefits And just a little bit, could you, looks like you, you've got a and a really professional view on this. Elaborate a bit more on this. So what are in your view, specific challenges but also benefits? Maybe people are struggling to see the benefits.
Paul Butterfield: Sure. The challenge is, and there's a, there are a variety of reasons. Everything from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank to over hiring and corporate bloat. For lack of a better term that we're going on, especially in tech and SaaS and SaaS environments. However, in my experience, not everyone that's been doing layoffs and redundancies is even in bad financial shape. Some of them are looking forward and it's an uncertain economy, and so they may be trying to be a little proactive about trimming things down. That's the environment we've been in now for over a year, and I've lost track of the number of people in the tech world. That has been laid off. It's in the hundreds of thousands more, even more globally. When I say there's an opportunity, I don't want to come across as callous because I have many friends who have impacted on this. And I know firsthand the difficulty people are going through, but in the work that I do, coming in as a fractional sales or sales enablement type leader, Just because those positions were taken off of the balance sheet and eliminated that work still needs to be done. And that's where I have found that although it's a challenging time in some ways to start a full-time operation like mine, the opportunities are still there. People do need the work done. And it's just a matter of me doing a great job of identifying, reaching out and getting those conversations. But once I'm talking to people it's rare that there's not an opportunity to do some work, and it's a matter of figuring out, frankly, having the budget. A lot of companies, it's still a challenge. But the conversations are very good.
Thomas Miltschuh: Great. Yeah, that sounds plausible. Let me ask you what is something you've tried in the past that did not work?
Paul Butterfield: I have tried to follow the servant leader model. I don't do it perfectly, but I believe in it. Some of the best leaders I've worked for followed it. I learned from them, and I'm also, when I, my first tech sales job was with Hewlett Packard and part of the founder of Hewlett Packard, they had what they called the HP way, and part of that HP way is that you hire great people. You set them up for success, the tools they need to go be successful. And then you make sure they understand the mission and then you leave them alone and let them go out and really surprise you. That works with most people. I. What I have found, and I'll share a more specific recent one, was with someone who reported to me and I thought things were going well. I was using management, and that management style has served me very well in my career. And I'm saying that based on 360 degree surveys that my employers use to get feedback and all of that. In this recent case though, it was just a reminder to me that not everyone thrives in that kind of situation, and some people need more inspection and more prescription. It doesn't mean that they're wrong for the job, although in this case it turned out that they were, But was just a reminder that even as a leader we need to be constantly inspecting. It wasn't, I wasn't expecting at all. But be paying closer attention. And it wasn't the first time that's happened in my career, probably won't be the last, but it was again, it was recent. And in that case there were red flags in my conversations with this person made me kind of wonder, okay, is this actually going the way that they say or this other thing? And honestly, I was busy. I had many other things. I didn't have any particular reason to think things weren't going well. I should have followed up on my intuition. And I should have paid closer attention. It is one of the benefits of having been a leader for many years is you get develop that little bit of sense when things aren't going wrong, but in this case up as
Thomas Miltschuh: Okay. Could you talk about when you realized your specific situation or maybe a specific KPI you've seen when you've realized it's not working?
Paul Butterfield: In this case sadly it's when I heard from some customers that emails were not being sent, timelines weren't being followed, commitments were being dropped, emails were not being responded to. To let it and to have it be that I'm hearing that from prospects and customers is the worst scenario, isn't it? And so that was my, then when I started digging in, I found that some of KPIs and things had been, I. wanna be kind here. Fudged. , right? And made them look better than they were. And so it's not but that's, in this case, that's what happened is I had very, I had frustrated folks contact me and say, we're not getting what we need from this employee.
Thomas Miltschuh: That actually fits perfectly to our topic. Looking for the causes of results, did you. Is there any idea yet or any method to pre prevent from realizing those kind of errors before they become problems.
Paul Butterfield: This was this, in the case I'm referring to? This is an employee that I inherited and things had seemed to be going well, and so in retrospect, again, I probably should have spent more time digging in. The advantages. Most of the time in my career, I've been leading salespeople and others who are on variable compensation. And so it's not difficult to find those leading indicators. What are those leading indicators? Is it, how is their pipeline mixed? And by that I don't mean do they have three X pipelines, I wanna understand what they have in each stage. Because if all of their three x is in stage one and two, this is gonna be a really bad quarter. And so there always needs to be a blend of opportunities. Things. So I'm looking at that. I'm looking at some activities, leading indicators that I wanna see. That helps you have insights into what's going on in someone's pipeline and someone's customer conversations. So getting those things in place and using them effectively is critical that all of those things weren't an option. The example that I just shared. And so what I, in retrospect, should have done better was find if we don't have that kind of tech access, Yes. Weekly one-on-ones, but what else? And doing that retro but when I look back across my career leading in general yeah, having very specific metrics in place and so that the sales results, by the time you get those, it's too late. So I need to be tracking what's happening before.
Thomas Miltschuh: Right? Yeah. That actually brings me to the question of tech Stack. What kind of technology would you recommend? Maybe in addition to CRM or maybe also highlighting specific functions of a CRM to measure, to prevent from. Let's say better prices.
Paul Butterfield: Okay. Let's talk about CRM first. The CRM itself. I think I'm agnostic on that, right? Whatever the right c r m for a company is fine with me. But here's where I do have I think you need to be very thoughtful, and that is in the sales stages and within those sales stages, what are the criteria for each and those criteria should not be a rep's opinion or even their manager's opinion. The criteria should somehow align to specific inputs. That is being received from the customer as a salesperson, moving them through the process using the methodology, because to me, the process methodology, those are two different things, but they work together very well. So that's my, my, my point of view on CRM is let's make it smart and let's make sure that we're looking at what our customer, how our customers think we are, where our customers think they are in the sales process, and not what a sales rep thinks outside of CRM. It really depends on, of course, what is a company's budget for these things. But there are some things that I'll mention in general, encouraging social selling to me is not going to fix everything. You still need to pick up the phone, you still need to be doing outreach and emails and things like that. Be smart about it. But social selling is a very legitimate channel in my opinion. So some kind of tech that facilitates. Working very closely with marketing, having content, relevant content, so the salespeople aren't trying to come up with their own all the time.
Thomas Miltschuh: Okay.
Paul Butterfield: Also, for prospecting, there are some great tools out there. Depending on what region of the world you're in, they're gonna be a different product. But give your salespeople something where they can go get data. And saves them a lot of time in their outreach. The last critical thing I would look at as a leader is some sort of conversational intelligence. I think that has been the biggest leap forward in sales tech, and not just because you can listen to calls. We've been able to do that for years, but it's the analysis. And the way that these platforms, when they're set up right, are feeding you as a sales leader what's going on well and not going well within your organization so you can get in front of it early. So those are the big buckets of tech that I would look at as a sales…
Thomas Miltschuh: Great. Yeah, that's been huge progress when it comes to computational tools, analyzing calls. I'm wondering where, so what the next steps are gonna be there. Maybe to finalize the episode as we come to the end. Could you give us three lessons you've learned and you would, if we haven't even covered them yet? And yeah. Three you would like to share with the audience.
Paul Butterfield: Sure. The first one is to invest in your people and you don't need to be a leader in the org chart. To do what I'm talking about. Leaders exist at all levels of the organization and investing in relationships with others always is the right thing to do. And I'm and when I was in, at university, I worked for a gentleman, a lot of your lister named Familiar with Stephen Covey and Stephen Covey talks about the emotional bank account and how you need to be putting proactive deposits in that account so that when things go wrong in business relationships, You have something to draw. So I'm a big believer in that. So that's number one. And I wasn't always as good at it, so I've learned the number two thing is to have a strategy. And again I'm talking more from a leadership standpoint. If you don't have a strategy, how do you know where you're going? And the thing that I'm gonna say number three, because it goes right along with that strategy, is how are you measuring. The outcomes of that strategy, but also what are the components that you're going to help you drive that strategy if you're not measuring that? We've all worked for companies that roll out a great strategy and six months later no one can tell you it is or results. That's why to me, those are number two and number three, but you've gotta have both of them.
Thomas Miltschuh: Awesome. Yeah, that reminds me of I. I don't know who has mentioned it. But without re regarding the outcomes, thinking about it, it would just be a plan, not a strategy. So…
Paul Butterfield: Yeah. Yeah.
Thomas Miltschuh: … the difference. Do you just create a plan or is the whole strategy?
Paul Butterfield: A strategy, and I should have been specific to me, that strategy needs to be aligned to the top three or no more than three revenue outcomes that you're trying to achieve. I. In our world that we all live in, in, in this podcast you've got to have revenue at the top of your strategy,
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. So thanks a lot. I think we are at the end of our episode, so…
Paul Butterfield: Okay.
Thomas Miltschuh: Let me just finalize it really quick all right. Everyone that brings us to the end of this episode of Speak Revenue. I want to thank our guest, Paul Butterfield, for joining us today and sharing such valuable insights. You shout out to all our listeners. Your support means the world to us. Remember to check out our website at speakrevenue.com for a full transcript and additional resources. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcast or wherever you go for your listening needs. It really helps get the word out. Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram or YouTube. We'll soon, another great guest. Until then, stay curious and keep listening.