#033 Human Interaction in Sales with Vince Beese
Balancing Remote Work and the Need for Human Connection
Guest & Host
Vince Beese & 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 of Speak Revenue, host Thomas Miltschuh sits down with guest Vince Beese to discuss the crucial topic of human interaction in the world of sales. They delve into the challenges salespeople face in the era of remote work, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on sales professionals who thrive on human interaction. Vince Beese shares his insights on how crucial human connections are for motivation and performance, particularly for extroverted sales teams. The episode closes with a valuable lesson from Vince on the art of cold calling, where he stresses the importance of treating it like a human conversation and building rapport in a world filled with scripted interactions. Discover how human interaction remains essential for the success of sales teams in this engaging and insightful discussion.
November 2nd, 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 quest to uncover and learn the root causes of success. Let's unpack what works for them. And what didn't. Today with our guest Vince Beese. Hi Vince. Welcome to the show.
Vince Beese: Thank you for having me, Thomas.
Thomas Miltschuh: Awesome. Let us, let's get started. Let us know who you are, what are you doing, what do you do? What makes this so successful?
Vince Beese: Oh, wow. That's a great question. What makes one successful? I think over my career, which has been fairly long, so that makes it, that makes me old. But I've been in the technology space for over 25 years. And I think why I've had success from role to role, from job to job is I always focus on the important things, the things that really matter, the things that really can produce results. And then focus is one thing, but then it's execution, right? I think a lot of people will talk about having a plan and strategy, but if you can't execute, you can't be successful. So I think it's those two things combined, the ability to focus on what's important and the ability to execute.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah, that's sometimes not easy to differentiate. What are the really important things and what is maybe not so effective to work on?
Vince Beese: That's a great question. I think what's in, what's the important things to focus on depending on what company you're at and what your role is? So whenever I was a sales leader or CRO, it's the bottom line that's most important, right? Growth and... What are the things are you measuring towards those goals in regards to growth? And then thinking about, okay, what are the programs or strategies we are gonna have that are gonna give us the biggest increases in those metrics? And I think it comes down to a couple things. It's certainly having a plan and a strategy, but it's the people, right? I think over my career, what I've found is to execute, you have to have the right people, the right team. So my job as the leader is to provide the vision, provide the direction, empower the people that are out of my organization and my team, give them that vision and direction and let them execute. If we've trained them right and given the right guidance, they should be able to do that, right? So again, I think for me, from a leadership standpoint, my job is to just guide and provide the right direction. So we're going down the right path, right? And when things aren't going right, which doesn't happen, sometimes you've gotta veer another way or take a different path. That's your job as a leader to be able to do that. See the things that aren't working correctly almost in real time, and then lead the team in that direction. And then the last piece, I'll say communication is critical. If you're gonna do it, whether it's a new vision or change, you've gotta be able to communicate that new vision.
Thomas Miltschuh: Exactly. So that's already some great advice. Focus on the right things that really help achieve your goals. Yeah. Today we are gonna talk about human interaction in sales culture. I think that's a really interesting topic and I'm really looking forward to focusing on this one. What do you think is missing currently when it comes to human interaction?
Vince Beese: I mean, I think we live in interesting times, right? Certainly the pandemic impacted the entire globe. But the group of people at companies, I think it impacted the most, quite frankly, are salespeople. And because salespeople are typically extroverts, they crave human interaction. They thrive off human action, right? It wasn't so long ago that a sales organization. Would be located geographically and in those geographic locations, they would go to an office, whether it's the headquarters or a sub office, and you would meet and you would have a room dedicated to salespeople. In that room you have human beings doing a similar job in a similar position, feeding off energy. There's literally, when you'd walk into a sales room, there was an energy that you can feel there was a hum. There was a buzz. There was, you knew you were in a sales organization and people really fed off that. So that's one of the things, Thomas, I mean by human interaction specifically to salespeople, but now it's also happening if we don't even have human interaction, period. Meaning these same salespeople aren't visiting customers at all or a lot less frequently, right? That's number one. They're not even meeting their boss as often as they used to or their colleagues or peers as often. We're all missing this human interaction, and I think honestly, at the end of the day, it's absolutely impacting performance. I'm not saying people still aren't performing or printing up results. What I'm saying is overall I believe, and most sales organizations that don't meet or don't have these human interactions, their performance has definitely gone down.
Thomas Miltschuh: What are the effects on salespeople that you've seen of people that are extroverted who are not able to join onsite events or meet other people regularly. They're something general or any pattern?
Vince Beese: So I've recently done some surveys with this cohort, specifically salespeople and sales leaders. And what I hear them say is the thing that. I asked the question around, do you work from a remote location today? A home office, not an office that's remote, but a home office. And I asked the question, follow up if you do, what is it that you miss about going to an office? And the one of the top things that they say is the concern of this isolation, right? I'm here in my basement office by myself. Camaraderie, being with others like me, like I said, having, going to the water cooler and having quick conversation, catching up on life events and things like that. Loneliness. I think that's the biggest thing. Can they do their jobs? Yes. Can they do their jobs at a high level? If we were all together? No, because. You're not as motivated, let's be honest. Like I mentioned before, back in the description of being in the sales pit or the saleroom with others. It's the energy that brings you up just like American football or European football, right? Like the concept of a team, the concept of getting in the locker room before the big game and getting everybody fired up for it. It's the same thing in sales when you. I gotta go do an hour of phone calls. It's not easy cold calling or warm calling or following up with prospects, but if I could do it with others,it makes it more enjoyable. They still enjoy being in sales. If you're in sales, but you don't enjoy it as much by yourself, it's better as a team event than it is as a solo person sitting in a remote location by yourself.
Thomas Miltschuh: What do you think about virtual office solutions?
Vince Beese: I think first of all, this is all an individual decision. So if your company says you're a remote employee and we're happy with you working out of your office, great! And if that's, if you are productive and high, you're keeping your performance high. Good for you. Now, let me answer your question. However, if you miss having some level of interaction, sense of community, there's a couple of things I think people should do. Join local events, whether they're sales related, entrepreneurial related, business related, whatever it is, get out there and join events where you're gonna meet other, like-minded individuals. Go to conferences. I've told sales folks that report to me like, go to as many trade conferences as you can, meaning we don't have to have a booth. You can just go, let's sign up and get you there. So you can have that human interaction. And then there are locations where you probably, if everyone lives that's, there's a coworking or something like that, community-wise, maybe you pop in there once a week or once a month or whatever it is. Just again, to re acclimate ourselves to human and action. Because what's happening, Thomas, is that we've lost our ability to socialize. And I think I'm of a certain age, most of my career was very important for that socialization. But I think folks coming outta college and younger, and just after that, they need to really hone that skill of socialization and being social and creating relationships. And that's really hard to do if you join a brand new company and right from day one, you're remote. I'm saying that people need to put in the effort and their leadership needs to put in the effort to recognize that, and get them together as often as possible. And I'll say this one last thing. If you're a sales leader out there and you have a remote team, a hundred percent remote team, if you aren't, at least on a quarterly basis, getting together as an organization, that is an absolute missed opportunity. It's an opportunity to unite the team, to build your sales culture and more importantly, to re-energize your team. Every time I've ever gotten together with my team or teams, you come out of those meetings like, yes, I'm ready to go. Right? It's like again, breaking the huddle and you're just ready to go.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah, that's my experience as well. Any team event, team coaching, maybe you go somewhere for a few days and spend some time outside. Hiking on mountains, for example, and also coaching a bit. Performance always increases afterwards, but at some point of time it starts decreasing.
Vince Beese: Yep.
Thomas Miltschuh: How do we have an idea on, or any approach to realize when it's decreasing again, to steer against it and go on the right path again?
Vince Beese: Yeah I think we do. I think the obvious way to see if a performance is going down is to look at someone's consistency, and if the consistency goes down, meaning you have a top performer, but you're seeing results go down. It goes back to being a good leader. It's having a one-on-one conversation to say, Hey, Thomas, what's going on over the last quarter? Is there something in your life that's impacting what you do? Because you always set the standard at such and such. So it's having those real conversations and again, what's the best time to have that type of conversation face to face? Another reason to bring someone in potentially Hey, I'm gonna be in New York. I see you're in New York. Let's get together. Let's have a conversation about what's going on. Because I think sitting eye to eye, you get the real motion and feelings from a person if they might be going through something. So that's my approach right? If I see performance suffering from someone who's a consistent performer it's to have, look at the numbers, number one, but then it's to have a real conversation. And it's your job as a leader, honestly, to improve, right? To make these improvements, to recognize these things, to motivate your team, right?
Thomas Miltschuh: Do you think people are aware of this, sales leaders are aware of this and that the trend might change in future? Because what I rather see is companies forcing people to join the office again and not spend too much time at home or any coworking space maybe. Do you think that will change from both sides of the leader's perspective, but also people's perspective that they really want to go to the office again, or maybe it's very specific for sales people in general.
Vince Beese: Let me answer the first part of your question, which was, do you think sales leaders understand it's their job to motivate, see someone who's underperforming and motivate them? If there're sales leaders out there today that don't understand that they better wake up today and understand that your job is not to look at spreadsheets and view numbers. Your job is to get the best out of the human beings that are in your organization, and it's your job to make sure if they're failing, that you're helping them perform at a higher level. Now, some things just don't work out. That's just the way it is. It's your job to put every effort into making that happen. And I'll be honest with you, Thomas, early in my career in sales leadership, I didn't get that I didn't get that. Why is it my job to motivate them? They should be coming in self-motivated, which is true, but everybody leads a pick me up, right? And that is your job. That's why you're in leadership, right? You're there to, on the hard days, to suck it up and give a positive outlook for the team. Even when it's not even the best day for you, that's your job. And if you don't want that job, move into a different job. Now, forced into work, I was at a very large company called Meta. My previous company was acquired by Meta and we became part of Meta. Prior to leaving Meta, they were putting in a three day work week. I think there were a lot of employees and I was remote, so it didn't impact me. But folks that were in areas that weren't considered remote were required then to come in for three days a week. I haven't heard any employee at any company ever say yeah, you should enforce that and make me, you're not gonna force employees to go back into the office when they've gotten accustomed to working from home. So the question becomes what's gonna motivate someone from leaving the remote office that they're comfortable in which they believe they're more productive to go back into an office. That's the question that every company needs to ask and not make it mandatory, because I don't think mandatory is ever going to work. Is it gonna work? Yes. Is it gonna make employees happy and more productive? No.
Thomas Miltschuh: So what's your solution? Bring more human interaction back to salespeople. How could we achieve this goal?
Vince Beese: So very simple. Whether this is at a company level or for a sales organization level, the reason people will go back from their home office, which they're comfortable with, is a sense of community. Oh, I'm going to the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because I know these people are gonna be there or we're gonna focus on these things, or I'm getting extra training or development with these things. So on those days, for this example, that might motivate me to come into the office. And by the way, while I'm there, I might miss certain things about the office because I think what's also happening is I think people forget. Some of the big benefits were of being in the office together. So think about those events, those things to build community that your employee base or your sales organization would be motivated to do. And so it's gonna differ from company to company, from organization to organization. And that's why I think it goes back to surveying, or sending out a questionnaire to your employee base about what's important to you and what do you think you need to make you a better performer, right?
Thomas Miltschuh: I've seen examples where people just leadership or the board wants people to come back to the office, but nobody would come. They just didn't find the right way. So where would they lead eventually? Seems like maybe those people don't really like to work for the company at all.
Vince Beese: Maybe it's a dare. I don't know. Maybe they eventually get fired. I don't know. I can tell you this. It's not a good recruiting tool. Imagine this, that these big companies. It goes out that, by the way, they say it's remote, but they're gonna eventually make you come in and you started the job or you interviewed for the job because you thought there was flexibility in that you're gonna have a hard time recruiting. So that is where I think it could backfire. But again, let me just go back to what we started talking about. I think it comes back to culture. If your leadership sets the culture, because it always starts from the top. Your culture. If your leadership sets the culture at the company. There's great companies out there that are a hundred percent remote and started as remote, but I will bet you this, that they have their culture down more so than any other physical company. Because they understand that we're not together, so I better build this nucleus of what our culture is. And then when we do get together, which I bet you it's pretty frequently, meaning at least once a quarter as a company, They really emphasize those things to build that culture and connection, right? So I'm not here to preach to anybody that you should be a hundred percent remote or hybrid, whatever. It's a case by case situation. It's a company by company situation. But I will tell you this, that it will hurt your culture if you don't eventually have face-to-face time. As a sales organization, as a company, as a leadership team, whatever that is, we're all fooling ourselves if we think you're gonna perform better by never seeing human beings again and never getting together on a consistent basis. Human beings crave interaction. That's what differentiates us from the animal kingdom. Right.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yes. Yeah. I really like the emphasis of common values. It becomes even more important the more remote people are working. Yeah.
Vince Beese: And it can't just be words on a board or when you walk in the office and you see the company culture worlds it, that's lip service. Like you've gotta back that up. That's gotta be reiterated. And I'll say this about it. I think that whatever your company culture is, the most important thing when you're recruiting, when you're hiring is one of the big check marks. Is that what this person meets? Do we believe this person meets our company culture and what our culture is all about? And not just lip service, like real, truly like work that into your process.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. That it's really some basic work and a lot of effort to define those when you're starting a company. Yeah. Maybe if you look back a few years or maybe just one week what did you try that didn't work at all?
Vince Beese: So many things. That's the thing, right? You gotta try a lot of things. Life and sales it's an experiment, right? Let me give you a more recent example. Yeah, I think one example is, I felt that the team needed more interaction on a weekly basis because the team I'm working with right now is all remote and I felt that we needed more of this concept of standup. And I quickly found out that they were fine with doing one-on-ones in our one team meeting a week, and that they didn't need two other standups. And that was me overvaluing that. And so once I saw that they didn't need this or they didn't want it, we canceled it. So my idea didn't work out, so I canceled it. The team was happy with the level of interaction we had. That's certainly one that really resonates. More recently.
Thomas Miltschuh: The importance of regular standups with the whole team probably depends on the maturity of the company, right? Probably much more important for an early stage startup compared to a big company. Yeah.
Vince Beese: And, also the employees. Meaning, if you have younger, less experienced employees, I think they crave more of that interaction where more experienced tenured, like I got it, boss. I appreciate where you're doing, but I don't personally need it myself.
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah.
Vince Beese: Yeah, I think that's it.
Thomas Miltschuh: How did you, having a look at those standups, how did you realize it's not working? And when?
Vince Beese: So we made 'em optional, right? We've made it clear that if you have a customer meeting, you should attend that customer meeting. This is less important than that, and it is optional, and if you don't wanna come, so less and less people over time start showing up. That was the clear indication.
Thomas Miltschuh: Very clear sign.
Vince Beese: Yeah. I'm the only one there. Yeah I don't need it!
Thomas Miltschuh: Okay. Yeah. The conclusion of just canceling it is pretty close. Alright but you stick with the one-on-ones that was still important in this case. Okay. Maybe especially as you've got so many periods, what are a few lessons learned you would like to share with the audience?
Vince Beese: So one of the things I was talking about the other day was cold calling or warm calling, it's become... Some people think it's dead. Some people don't do it anymore. And by the way, in some organizations they only have their SDR / BDR team do cold calls, meaning like the quota carrying sales reps don't do it. And what I was trying to emphasize in the lesson learned in cold calling is it's not dead. Matter of fact, people aren't using most people aren't using office phones anymore. They're using their own personal mobile devices. And the fact of the matter is if you do have somebody's personal mobile number, you have a way better chance of connecting with that person. So then what I'm trying to teach is that if you are going to cold call, there's certain important things you should realize when you do that and when you're calling people's mobile phones. One is: don't be surprised when they pick up the phone oh, I didn't like that, that's you're calling because you expect them to pick up the phone. So that's number 1. Number 2 is when they do pick up the phone, don't jibber jabber about nonsense. Get right to the why you're calling. Hey Thomas, how are you doing? I'm calling because I work at this company, we do this thing and you look like other of our customers. How we help do X, Y, and Z. And that's my reason for calling. And don't ask for more time. Do you have 10 minutes? Because what's gonna happen when you ask? If you have 10 more minutes, you're gonna say no. So just gauge the reaction. And like human beings to human beings, if there seems to be some level of interaction. Ask another probing question. So my point is, treat a cold call like you're calling a friend and like you're calling a human being and you'll have better outcomes. And so what I'm trying to do is educate people. It goes back again to re socializing again. Awkwardness of calling somebody you feel you don't have a relationship with, and how do you get that started? How do you eventually build rapport? And I think it, building rapport starts with earning the right to earn, to build a rapport and having a normal conversation. No, I'm calling you to sell you this thing. Like, Yeah, you're a salesperson. I do recognize you're here to call me to sell something. They know that already. So just get to what's important for them. What's the benefit for them? And react! So much of sales, right, Thomas is about reaction. We could have everything scripted, but when something changes based on that script, how do you react to that? And that's the most important thing with cold calling. You could script it all you want, but something Thomas might say something differently than I expected and how do I react to that? How would a human being react to that?
Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah.
Vince Beese: So that's what I'm trying to do is try to teach them when it comes to cold calling, how to be very human in those conversations, right? To build that rapport.
Thomas Miltschuh: In some cases there just is no general advice. There is so much advice out there on cold calling creating cold call scripts and either you should mention or ask do you have a few minutes? On the other hand, you could ask, is it a bad time to call right now? But depending on the situation, you just couldn't ask or choose not to ask.
Vince Beese: Yeah, and I think there's a regional flavor to that too. Obviously you being part of Europe from country to country, the cultures are different and how you might do it. So take that into consideration, right? I could tell you in the US because we're so direct that if you ask somebody, do they have 10 minutes? They're going to say no 99.9% of the time.
Thomas Miltschuh:Yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I would love to talk about those topics for much longer. Probably easily four hours, but we are at the end of the episode. Alright everyone. I want to thank you, Vince Beese, for being my guest today, for joining us sharing such valuable insights. Huge shout out to all our listeners, your support means the world to us. Remember to check out our website : speakrevenue.com for a full transcript and additional resources, and if you enjoyed the show, Please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you go for your listening needs. It really helps get the word out. Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram or on YouTube. We'll be back soon with another great guest. Until then, stay curious and keep listening.