If you missed episode 143, check it out here: How to Drive Productivity through Operational Excellence with Jacco van der Kooij
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Show Agenda and Timestamps
- Show Introduction [00:04]
- Who is Jacco van der Kooij and what is Winning by Design? [2:50]
- Lessons learned from advising companies [12:08]
- Best practices for asynchronous selling [15:38]
- What should the work environment look like? [19:19]
- Quit it! Why quitting is an important skill [25:15]
- Projected trends for 2021 [27:18]
- Who influenced Jacco [32:31]
- Sam’s Corner [30:46]
Show Introduction [00:04]
Sam Jacobs: This week on the show, we’ve got Jacco van der Kooij, the founder of Winning By Design and a thought leader in the SaaS and startup spaces. He’s also a very funny and entertaining person. I think you’re really going to like this episode because Jacco acts a little … ridiculous, but in an endearing way. He’s enthusiastic and passionate. When he explains what he’s doing at the end, it makes a tremendous amount of sense, and you can see that it’s actually strategic. It’s a lot of fun, perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had in an interview … perhaps.
Now, before we get there, we want to thank our sponsors. We’ve got two. The first is Revenue Grid. What’s your sales organization’s biggest challenge right now — remote work, buyers tightening budgets? Guided selling with Revenue Grid allows you to guide reps step by step through every deal, reducing guesswork and increasing consistency, so your teams have the best odds with every opportunity in the pipeline. See how you can put your sales teams in the best position to win now at RevenueGrid.com/SalesHacker.
Of course, our second sponsor is Outreach. The Sales Hacker podcast is powered by Outreach, the sales engagement platform for the modern sales organization. I’m not here to sell you anything, but I am here to share good ideas. And Outreach, it’s a great idea. It’s a fantastic idea for nearly any sales leader, not every sales leader, but 99.9% of all sales leaders. I’m just the messenger here. Listen, Chris Pierce, the VP of Sales of Tableau, says they run their entire business from Outreach. Nicolette Mullenix, Snowflakes Enterprise Sales Director, says, “Outreach is the pillar behind how they’ve been able to scale.” Want to see what the number-one sales engagement platform can do for your business? Head to Outreach.io/SalesHacker.
And before jumping in, I wanted to let you know about something really exciting. The Beyond Quota SKO on January 26th, we’re moving away from speaking to salespeople, instead, speaking to people who happen to be in sales. With sales leaders like Amy Slater and Lars Neilsen tackling closer to home topics like personal development, burnout, side gigs, and more. It’s one full day designed to get you recharged from 2020 and skilled up for 2021. And you’re going to have fun while you’re doing it. Of course, it’s free. So, take a day on January 26th to engage with the sales community in a new and special way. Sign up for the Beyond Quota SKO at BeyondQuota.SalesHacker.com.
Now for some other great sales ideas in my conversation with Jacco van der Kooij.
Who is Jacco van der Kooij and what is Winning by Design? [2:50]
Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody. It’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker podcast. Today on the show, we’ve got one of the thought leaders that so many people in startup land know about. And also, somebody that’s always inspirational when he shares his wisdom. And I’m talking about Jacco van der Kooij.
He is the founder of Winning By Design. He is the author of Blueprints of a SaaS Sales Organization and several other books. He is a sales mentor across several VC firms, such as Storm Ventures, where he helps accelerate the development of sales teams across their portfolios. Prior to founding Winning By Design, Jacco held sales leadership roles at QUMU, Kontiki, Technicolor, Ericcson, and Philips. He is proud to have helped marquee customers over the years, including Amazon, AT&T, DISH, and Disney. He holds a BSc in electrical engineering and an executive MBA from the University of Leicester. Jacco’s insights have been featured in Harvard Business Review, and he is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences around the world. Also, he is the youngest of eight, raised in a small farming village in the Netherlands. He represented the Netherlands at two world championships in the triathlon, which is pretty amazing. Jacco, welcome to the show.
Jacco van der Kooij: I am glad to be here. Let me start off to respond to that, what you just said. Okay, ready? (singing). Yes! Let me bring it on. I hope you don’t mind.
Sam Jacobs: What was that? What just happened?
Jacco van der Kooij: Dude, that was so much where I go. I’m getting uncomfortable. We need to put in some reality there. Let’s bring it back down to who we really are, okay?
Sam Jacobs: That’s the music when you’re coming on stage and the lights flashing everywhere?
Jacco van der Kooij: Exactly. Yes, exactly. That’s what it feels like.
Sam Jacobs: All right, well, I’m glad. I hope you feel good. You’ve worked hard over the years, and you deserve a lengthy introduction. All right, so first, let’s just talk a little bit about Winning By Design, and give you an opportunity to tell us what an amazing company it is. So, what is Winning By Design?
Jacco van der Kooij: Winning By Design is a company I wanted to establish. And when you start a company like this, you don’t overnight say, “You know what? I want to build a 100-person company. That’s what I want to do.” Essentially what happened was, I was sitting at the conference, and the keynote speaker opened up that conference by holding up his wallet, hyping up the audience. And the first words of that specific sales conference were “If you want to speak to a salesperson, you’ve got to speak to their wallet.” I was horrified. I was absolutely horrified because I don’t work like that. Maureen and I tried to conceive for a long time. And as I grew up, I always thought you would conceive a baby if you just stood too close to a person of the opposite gender. And later on in life …
Sam Jacobs: Well, just a lot of education that needed to happen between that thought and reality.
Jacco van der Kooij: And reality. The reality was, it took three and a half years. And as many of you have tried to conceive over the years, you know that that is reality. On a Wednesday morning, at 4:00 AM, Maureen goes to the bathroom to stick and we get to learn that we’re pregnant. We’re crying. We’re in each other’s arms. Finally, after all those years, we’re pregnant. And yet, the cab outside is honking the horn, because I had to catch a flight to fly to Denver to meet up with my client, EcoStar. Every opportunity to stop, to not go, and so on … if it’s for the money, well, that probably would be an opportunity I would have said, “No, I’m not going.”
But why did I go? Why do we, as sales professionals, hoist ourselves into these seats in those days, and head over? Because we want to help our customers. Now, if we make money at the outcome, great. But I don’t wake up calculating every day how much money I’m going to make on a particular deal, and what I need to close, and whatnot. I’m just there to help the customers. The money is secondary. It’s important as anything, but it is not the lead. And that’s the reason why I started in those days what nowadays is Winning By Design, to teach, and to share, and to share experiences, that it is okay to be in sales and to not be all wound up in money, but rather to want to help your customer to succeed.
Sam Jacobs: What is Winning By Design though, back to my original question?
Jacco van der Kooij: We are a training company and a consulting firm. So, half part of the business does the consulting, sets up and understands what the customer’s challenges are, and the other half does the fulfillment in order to help them achieve the goals that they want. That can be anything from marketing and sales to customer success. So, we help with ABS programs. We help with digital media programs, creating content. Helping with sales training is obviously what we’re very known for. We help with customer success training, onboarding programs, and upsell/cross-sell programs, and things like that.
Sam Jacobs: How big an organization is it?
Jacco van der Kooij: We’re about 100 people, and we have offices anywhere from Shanghai, Sydney, Australia, São Paulo, all across Europe. And so, we help companies often, because our clients are of global nature. So, we’re helping them all across the world. And if you look at a venture capital portfolio, of course, Storm has lots of investments in Europe. But also Notion, from the UK, has investments all across the world. So, 100 people, give or take, around the world. We run about a million to two million dollars in revenue a month. And we are looking, on average, at 30 to 40 active clients every given month.
Sam Jacobs: Wow. Amazing. How did that come about? Tell us about the background.
Jacco van der Kooij: So, what I like to think about, and often, is if the knowledge that is gathered in the field of sales is often very practically driven. For example, historically I was taught, not from books, not even from conferences, but I was taught by people like Mike Damore, who was a senior executive. You would work as an apprentice, and you would learn from, in this case, him, what the trades were. And it’s a beautiful trade when you get that. Today, we don’t have that any longer. We don’t necessarily have companies, like in those days, Philips would invest a year in me in order to cross that over.
So, how are we going to share those best practices? There’s no college degrees. Books are hundreds, so you can not say, “I’m going to go one after another.” And so, what you want to really do in order to expose this level of knowledge, you generally want to share that in a way that is repeatable, process-driven, actions that can be repeated. Perform the same action, get the same result. And that’s where I gravitated towards with my engineering degree. Do the same thing, get the same result.
Sam Jacobs: Did you always want to be in sales? How was it that you ended up at Philips in the first place?
Jacco van der Kooij: I was an engineer, so I worked at verifying the MPEG-2 demultiplexer, descrambler, and forward error correction chipsets, where I did the verification tests before they went to the mass factory.
Sam Jacobs: And then, that naturally led to a career in sales, or no?
Jacco van der Kooij: No, no, no. In those days, MPEG-2 was launched out of satellite earth stations. So, they flew me around, because issues were occurring onsite originally. So, they saw something went wrong in those early days of the encoder. Since I was testing it, I was flown anywhere from Malaysia to New York, to Latin America where I then had to go to an uplink station. And by looking at the TV picture, I could recognize what was going on. And as a result, I could say, “Oh my gosh, you didn’t have this and that box. You need to buy that option to fix this,” or, “This is what’s going on in your modulator.” And sooner or later, that became known as a sales engineer. And then, if you do lots of sales engineering jobs, people start to recognize that you as a sales engineer sell more than what the salesperson is. And before you know it, you’ve got a quota, and you’re handed the region.
Sam Jacobs: And then one thing led to another. You’re working at all these places, and at some point, you figured out, “I’m just going to go out on my own and start my own thing?”
Jacco van der Kooij: Yeah, something like that. Obviously, you get a team over the years, and you have people that you’re working with. And then, you go to startup land, and then you do it all over again in startups. But it took a while. But I historically have been taught to do enterprise selling, where our average sales price starts at the million-dollar satellite EarthLink stations. And with equipment like that, we’re starting at the million, $2 million, and it goes up to $15, $20, $30 million.
Sam Jacobs: Wow. So, let’s talk about Winning By Design. We’ve all come out of 2020, and you’re advising Storm. So, I don’t know, I think Lumpkins. That’s his venture fund, right?
Jacco van der Kooij: It is not. Yeah, he was there. He started SaaS, and under the wings of that, but it is Tae Hae, Ryan, and a number of people in that company represent Storm Ventures.
Lessons learned from advising companies [12:08]
Sam Jacobs: Fair enough. My point is that you’ve got 30 to 40 active customers. You’re seeing all of these repetitions. You’re seeing all these patterns. When you think about some of the lessons that you learned from 2020, from advising companies and just thinking about sales, what comes to mind in terms of the top things that you’ve observed, both mistakes that companies make, and also the things that really worked?
Jacco van der Kooij: The misunderstanding on the impact of time. It’s almost like we lived in a Nolan movie, right? Tenet just came out. But the understanding that time has radically changed, and the impact that time has. Everything operates differently. People say, “You can’t time travel.” Folks, we time travel every night when we go to sleep. You go to sleep, and you wake up a minute later, and voila, it is eight hours later. Similarly is what happened in 2020. We started to recognize that sales professionals have slowed sales down. And with the popularity of online selling, remote selling, virtual selling, all I mean with that is that we’re using Zoom sessions and Microsoft Teams sessions to sell. That essentially can accelerate sales quite a bit.
Sam Jacobs: Tell me more.
Jacco van der Kooij: Historically we look at ways of meeting with a person like you and I are. We are realtime. We are at the same place online, and we’re in realtime. You ask a question, I answer. And that is historically referred to as synchronous selling. And we have always believed that synchronous selling is the best way, preferably synchronous selling in-person. And there are great advantages to that. The problem, however, is that synchronous selling in-person requires that we travel, make booking arrangements, often require two-weeks’ advance notice on a ticket, and before I talk about a four-week delay. If I now see that online we have altered that, then we say, “Hey, by moving online, we cut out the two weeks. We cut out the booking. You and I can have a meeting this afternoon, no travel needed.” And so, time is suddenly accelerated.
However, if I’m on a Friday, I still need to book a meeting with you for next week, maybe Thursday. And for example, a person like you, you’re busy. I cannot just get a meeting with you next week. Maybe it’s two, three, four weeks out. Often we see that even if people try to book a meeting with me, it’s going to take two, three, four weeks to get on my schedule. It’s not that I don’t have openings today. As executives, what you have, you have limited openings that are available for actions like this. And those slots, maybe two hours a day, fill up pretty quickly. So, you’ll be pushed out three, four weeks, unless it’s urgent. But most of the time, these are not urgent things. However, if I record a video for you right now, and I shoot it to you, there’s a likelihood that you can watch it during some downtime today. It’s not 30 minutes. It’s a three-minute video I shoot.
As I record that video, and I send that video over to you, we refer to that as an asynchronous interaction, an interaction in which I can record it at the time and place I want it, send it over to you, and you can watch it at the time and place you want it. That level of sales techniques, and tools, and thinking is the way how we’re going to accelerate sales, not just because it accelerates time on me interacting with you, but that video, what you can do is you can forward it to the next person, and to the next person. And so, it may even travel into future time. It accelerates future meetings that are no longer needed. And that is the beauty of asynchronous selling.
Best practices for asynchronous selling [15:38]
Sam Jacobs: What are the best practices when it comes to asynchronous selling? Is it the length of the video? How do you make sure that because it’s not interactive, it’s asynchronous? How do you make sure that you are covering all of the relevant points, the objections, the key value propositions? What advice do you have for people that are just getting into this?
Jacco van der Kooij: Research. So you need to know in the end what it relates to, and what the problem is. To send an asynchronous video just as an opening video, I do not necessarily believe that that’s the best thing. I’m all for some of these tools where they show up with a little picture of your name written on the board. I get that. That’s great. That’s to play around with. What I’m talking about more is applying it to industrial-grade business-to-business sales. So in this case, Sam, let’s say that you have an executive. What is that executive’s name? Make up a name. It doesn’t matter. I just need … You and I are on a sales call, and you say, “I need to refer this to my executive.” And what is that executive’s name?
Sam Jacobs: Cliff Johnson
Jacco van der Kooij: Cliff Johnson. And I ask you, “What would Cliff care about based on what they hear today?” And you give me something. Give me something that I can hang my hat on.
Sam Jacobs: He’s concerned about the quality of lead flow. He’s a CRO working with his head of marketing, and he feels like the leads that they’re getting aren’t good enough.
Jacco van der Kooij: Great. Now what I do, post this call, I would now record a short video. And then I would open the video, “Sam, as we discussed today, here are the three things. I want to demo you this quick now.” And I say, “Oh, by the way, for Cliff, Sam indicated to me that this was important to you. I want to show you how we address this and this.” And as I record the video, I speak to Cliff as if he is listening to me. Now, what I’m going to do, I’m going to send that video to you. As I send that to you, I’m going to write in the cover email, “Hey Sam, actually see at one minute and 30 seconds, I addressed what you wanted to see demoed from today’s call. And at two minutes and 35 seconds, I addressed Cliff’s need as you outlined to me, which was XYZ.”
What I’m doing now is, I am encouraging you, I am insisting you to share that video with Cliff. As such, I’m able to talk to Cliff asynchronously almost immediately. I don’t have to wait, book, schedule, and escalate. I sent the video to you. Obviously, this is not a given, but if I write it correctly, and I lead in a professional way, and I even dress up properly for the call, so that the video recording is a professional video, then the likelihood that you forward it is reasonable.
Sam Jacobs: I agree with that. Is there a size limit to a deal that could be closed asynchronously? Pre-COVID, there was this idea that I don’t know if it’s $50,000 or $100,000, but there’s some meaningful limit where beyond that, you have to be in-person and shake hands and take them to a steak dinner, and stuff like that. What do you think?
Jacco van der Kooij: I think that has to do with what the person is normally using to buy. So, if a person normally buys $10,000, that’s their spend, and they suddenly spend one day, $50,000, they may feel that warrants a steak dinner. If a person, like in the satellite industry, buys equipment for $10 million every purchase order and somebody comes in with a $9 million purchase order, you’re not going to say, “You know what? I need a steak dinner for them.” You’re already used to that buying at that rate in the form of remotely. Now, what you’ll see is if there’s an established relationship that goes back a few years, you’re gaining more confidence in that relationship. You may not want to meet. It’s a very contextual awareness when it is too much, or when is it too little, and so on, and so forth. It is an element of what your behavior is and what your trust factor with the person who’s selling to you.
What should the work environment look like? [19:19]
Sam Jacobs: That makes sense. Okay, I’m going to switch topics.
Jacco van der Kooij: Hang on, are you switching topics?
Sam Jacobs: I am. (singing)
Jacco van der Kooij: Just saying, we’re switching topics, people.
Sam Jacobs: Well, I haven’t had this much fun recording sales podcasts in quite a while. So, I appreciate it, Jacco. Anyway, we are in 2021. One of the issues that people are debating is going back to work. What should the work environment look like? Do people need to be back in the office? Can people work remotely? You’ve mentioned that you have a perspective on what a work environment should look like. So, share your perspective.
Jacco van der Kooij: I think that a work environment is there where you do stuff for money. Now, what is the exchange that we do for money? So, as a kid, I grew up on my sister’s farm, where you pluck strawberries, by the way, which is a horrible job. When you pluck strawberries, I was amazed that I got paid per box of strawberries. If you did twice as many boxes, you got paid twice as much. They were not like, “Hey, you’re 28 years old. You get paid differently than the person who’s 40 years old.” No, everybody gets paid by the amount in the box, not the time they show up, not the time they go home. It’s simple. This is referred to as productivity.
Now what I noticed is that we are facing this remote world, we can no longer measure people on the amount of hours they work, 9:00 to 5:00. We can no longer just measure the amount of activity they create — write this amount of emails, have that amount of calls. What we’re looking at is measuring people on productivity. What did you deliver that was important to us? This is an example where you see that there’s a number of people who can roam around to your office and lead you to believe that there’s productivity when there’s none.
In a remote world, it’s pretty clear when somebody is not productive. It becomes quite obvious, sometimes to such a point that that person feels guilty and needs to jump on the phone with you, or on a session in order to learn about it. Today in the remote world, we need to look at people, at the productivity that they’re generating, not just their activity or their presence. And productivity can take place any time of day. Creativity often can be at night, or early in the morning. Everybody has a different thing, and that dictates a new way of how you think about when people work and how they are working. And that is what remote is enabling us to do.
Sam Jacobs: When you were selling stuff or working with EcoStar in Denver, these are million-dollar, $2 million deals. They take nine to 12 months. I don’t have the output that I can specifically point to, so I need some activity inputs so that I do know that people are working. Because if I only measure them based on when they come out of their hole with a million-dollar deal, that’s too much time between when I’m trying to measure them to figure out if they’ve been doing anything. And if they don’t come out with the deal, then I’ve wasted nine months or 12 months. So, when you think about longer sales cycles and less clear outputs, how does that relate to your point of view on productivity?
Jacco van der Kooij: Oh, EcoStar as a company, Jeff McSchooler being the buyer, a beloved person that I got to know very well over the years, do you really think that he would just take my proposal? No. In order to do that, I will have had multiple meetings with him and his team. I will have written reports of those meetings, outcomes, minor actions I’ve taken. I will have created a proposal that is detailed and outlined that has elements of it, of what their needs are, and how we have addressed them. I will have a whole series of deliverables, and that is what it takes to get to $20 million deals, right? I will have history. I will have test reports of how the current tests are doing. I will shoot out data of how two encoders against each other perform. I have lots of data. All of this is a form of productivity.
We cannot just measure productivity as the outcome being the recurring revenue stream, or the dollar figure on the purchase order. Productivity in the early stages of sales, at the earliest, is identifying the research and the decision-makers, and the decision criteria, and so stuff like that. And we should, and I think many sales leaders are measuring that as a very good, productive way of spending your time.
Sam Jacobs: All right, play your music, because I’m switching topics again.
Jacco van der Kooij: Ladies and gentleman, we are ready for a new topic. Sam, bring it to us.
Quit it! Why quitting is an important skill [25:15]
Sam Jacobs: Here’s something you said, “Quitting is not only an option, it is required. Knowing when to quit is a critical skill.” Please elaborate on that statement.
Jacco van der Kooij: Well, I think I used the word BS before that somewhere a couple of times. When you ask me a question, you’re like, “Oh, that’s a stupid question.” And the reason why I say this is some of the topics that you and I over the past times talked about is reality. If I listened to everybody on stage, and on Twitter, and wherever, I’m having a four-hour work week. I need to write a book a day. Like, I have no idea. I must be doing it all wrong if I read what it says. So, either they’re all true, or they’re all false. In the end, it doesn’t really matter.
There’s a lot of these statements that I hear that are completely causing, wreaking havoc in what people are doing. And one of those is quitting is not an option. Look, quitting is a great option. If you’re smoking, please quit. It’s an option, right? Quitting is an option. And so a lot of people, look, if it ain’t working, stop it, move on, adjust, modify, start something anew. It is a great thing to do. So yeah, so that’s one of those things.
Knowing when to quit, however, because sometimes you shouldn’t quit and sometimes you should quit, but knowing when to quit is the real key skill. And that is where, when you read somebody’s quote or advice, and you see them on slides, and you go, “Oh, there we go again.” So, that’s an example of that.
Sam Jacobs: So, how do you know when to quit?
Jacco van der Kooij: When something isn’t working and is emotionally changing the person, who you are.
Sam Jacobs: So, that’s when you should quit? If you’re becoming deflated, dejected if you’re banging your head against the wall, and you just feel like it’s not working?
Jacco van der Kooij: It should go into the account, right? I mean, you have to decide. You have to become aware of it. If you feel like you’re really draining, you have to realize, “Hey, something is changing in me.” For example, you start yelling and screaming at people, like, “Hey, hold up. Is this who I am? No, so what’s making me do this? Okay, maybe I should stop doing it.”
Projected trends for 2021 [27:18]
Sam Jacobs: We’ve just gone through 2020. We’ve learned a lot of things, as you said. A lot of these trends were accelerated. Asynchronous selling became a meaningful part of how we do business, or at least it should have. At a minimum, remote selling became something that all of us figured out how to do. What do you think the big trends are for 2021?
Jacco van der Kooij: Okay, so first of all, let’s rewind.
Sam Jacobs: All right. We’re in 2020.
Jacco van der Kooij: We did not know what’s going to happen in 2020. And we are right now in 2021, and I believe we have changed. All of us have changed. Our eyes are open on all kinds of fronts. I believe that what we have learned in 2020 should be applied to 2021 for the following reasons. I believe that, as the saying goes, nothing happens until somebody sells something. Look, in the world today, we see that the healthcare workers have been our first responders helping with all the things that are going on. But they help primarily with the health crisis. We have an economic crisis as well. We are seeing unemployment at extraordinary numbers.
Well, maybe it’s time for us in 2021, for the first time ever, to make sales a great job to be proud of, to consider ourselves the first responders of the economy for our economy, to put back? And to turn that quote around and say, “You know what? If the quote says nothing happens until we sell something, then let’s make things happen by selling something. Let’s put people back to work.” That is a whole different point of view, and I believe and I take that with great pride going into 2021 thinking of myself like, “Yes, let’s go sell something. Let’s put people back in jobs. Let’s put food back on the table for so many,” not just for the company I represent, but for the companies I sell to, who there in turn, if we make them successful, can put more food on the tables, and so on, and so forth. Let’s start with that. That excites me and motivates me, because that tells me I do have a role to play in today’s world, and that I can make a difference.
Sam Jacobs: Are there tactics, strategies, tools that you think are critical? You mentioned asynchronous selling. If we do want to make a difference, we do want to be the first responder, we do want to help kickstart the economy, what specifically do you think we should do?
Jacco van der Kooij: I think we should help our customers solve their problems. Now, a few things are happening. And so, first of all, and it’s a tough statement, help the winners win. And again, it’s a tough statement, but it really tells us to focus, because those winners, when they’re going fast, they’re going way, way faster. That’s a trend that we commonly see across our clients, right? If we see a certain client doing well, they’re not doing, in our world of startups, and the unicorn world. We see that they’re going so fast. They’re pulling everything along with them. So, you’ve got to learn to look for the winners and help them win. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to focus on companies who are less successful. We just focus on them second. First things first, we’ve got to help the winners win.
Second, what we’ve got to learn is we’ve got to figure out the impact that we are delivering. Most clients don’t realize that in order to achieve recurring revenue, you have to deliver recurring impact. No recurring impact, no recurring revenue. If we focus on the impact and we help the customers achieve the impact, as a result, they will take the actions that follow from that, which generally means growing the business, hiring more people. If I’m selling them something that they don’t need, it’s going to take them 12 months to figure that out. They’re not going to grow. I’m going to get a turn. They’re not going to end up hiring the people that they wanted. And voila, we’re back into the same problem. We just, somewhere, there was $10,000, $20,000, an exchange made, but nobody really was helped by it. So, that for me is the second part.
Third part is to make sure and understand that we have a role to play. You, Sam, your listeners, all of us who are currently listening to this broadcast, we have to realize, it was on my watch that I saw that sales became not such a respectable job. It’s on my watch that I saw that we became very locker room culture, money-driven, all for the gung ho of the company. We can not let 2021 be the continuation of that. It is a great start for all of us to be inclusive, to consider ourselves a value-added role, to make that change. And we have it right in front of us. And that, I think in 2020, that’s what excites me. That’s what I’m looking forward to. That’s a lot of these thoughts that are going in here that I want us to leverage in 2021.
Who influenced Jacco [32:31]
Sam Jacobs: I love it. Last question for you, and now in the sheet that we had you prepare, you wrote, “BS, BS.” So, you may choose not to answer these questions, but here’s the point. We like people, to enable them to follow the breadcrumb trail, to figure out what influences you, what people you think we should know about, what books you think we should know about. It doesn’t have to be a favorite. It can be anything that you think is important, or that’s been delighting you recently. But when you think about people, ideas, and that can be investors, that can be CEOs, but people that you think are making an impact that you want us to know about, what comes to mind?
Jacco van der Kooij: Okay, the reason I say that many of these are BS for exactly the reason that you say. You tried to create a level of breadcrumbs that other people will follow. Other people were not raised on the wrong side of the tracks, down in a little village in the far south of the Netherlands, right? They were not shot and hailed by the farmers that I was eating strawberries from while I should be plucking them, stuff like that. So, they come from a different perspective. So often the question is, “Oh, who is the one leader, the one book, the one thing that changed it all?” There’s not one. I’ll give you a few things, because I know what you want. I do not read books.
Sam Jacobs: Wow! Okay. That’s an admission.
Jacco van der Kooij: Yeah, because look, if I read a book, I’m taking on the thoughts of that person, right? That’s what you’re reading the book for. Now, if I read a book about sales, where does that person get the information from?
Sam Jacobs: Their experience? That’s what I would say.
Jacco van der Kooij: Okay, and so they would probably have talked to customers. Well folks, I talk to customers almost every day. Why do I need to listen to somebody else’s interpretation that I don’t know which customers they talk about? I understand my customers. I don’t need to read a book about that. If I want to read a book, or if I watch a TED video or something like that, it’s about somebody who dedicated their entire life to one topic and explains that topic to me in a simple way. That’s what I love. But I don’t need, oh, the next way of selling and all that stuff. I do like technical proper research. That is what I go for, detailed materials with somebody who’s committed their lifetime to a particular topic.
Sam Jacobs: Fair enough. Give us a person that you really like.
Jacco van der Kooij: Here’s what I like. I like the traits of a person. I like a person that fails in front of me. I like a person that has things that I see that they’re failing. And I like to see how they deal with that failure. I don’t like people who are perfect. It doesn’t come across as real. What I do like to see is if a person says, “Hey, yeah, you’re right. You got a point. Let me think about that.” That’s the process I like in a human being. Yeah, so that’s what I’m looking for as a trait.
The second is when I look for a person and the way they explain, I don’t need overly complicated words, but they need to be worded just one step beyond my comprehension so that I have to work to follow the conversation. I’m like, “Oh, what does that word mean?” And I Google define that word and this new word that I’m just completely infatuated with.
Sam Jacobs: You like people that fail and use words that are slightly beyond your comprehension. Fair enough. I will keep that in mind the next time I interact with you.
Jacco van der Kooij: Oh no, that’s you. That was you.
Sam Jacobs: Mainly because of the failure part. All right, Jacco, if people want to reach out to you, they want to hire Winning By Design, they want to get more sound clips, they want to figure out why you listen to such terrible music, what is the best way to contact you?
Jacco van der Kooij: The best way to find out more, and learn more about the things we talk about, is on YouTube. Typing the name Jacco will lead to all kinds of goodies, sales, and then type in Jacco. And it’s the great SEO of having a unique name. Just type it and you will see all kinds of goodies pop up.
Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa. Give me one or two key takeaways that you picked up on today to go, “Dang, that is something that I took away from this conversation.”
Sam Jacobs: Okay, well, I normally do that in the last segment, which we call Sam’s Corner, but one of the things I was thinking about would be just sales as the first responder. I like that metaphor, and I like the idea that we should be inspired to drive the business forward, to get the economy moving, and that it’s a noble profession. I like reminding people of that fact. And I think the tidbits and the insights, the specifics tactics that you gave around asynchronous selling were pretty interesting, using the person that might be forwarded the video to, and including a timestamp, which I think is pretty important. I like that as well. I mean, there’s a bunch of other things. I’d have to reflect on it for a second, but those are the two off the top of my head.
Sam’s Corner [30:46]
Sam Jacobs: Hi, folks, Sam’s Corner. I hope you enjoyed that. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. It was silly, and hopefully, we will not be violating any copyright laws from the music samples that Jacco played. There’s a lot to take away, and we talked about it actually in the episode. So, I don’t need to belabor any points.
The thing that I did want to talk about was this concept: to deliver recurring revenue, you need to deliver recurring impact. That’s extremely straightforward, but I don’t think we always think about that when we’re trying to build recurring revenue businesses. The beauty of subscriptions, it’s not just a mechanism for companies. It’s not just a mechanism for the vendor, so to speak. It’s a mechanism for the customer, too, because they can now get served. They can experience, and there’s an obligation on the part of the company to deliver the value consistently every single day, every single week, every single month. So from the customer’s perspective, again, it’s not just that it’s this great thing for businesses, because it’s predictable revenue, and if you get people to pay upfront, you can finance working capital and the revenue stacks. All of those things are great. The reason all of that happens is because the companies are delivering value all the time to their customers, which maybe it’s straightforward and obvious, but it’s something nice to think about.
Now, Jacco talked about two kinds of value. He talked about emotional value, and I think he called it rational value or logical value. Another way to think about it, in enterprise sales, we sometimes talk about the power line, and above the power line are the people that make decisions in organizations that are very senior. And below the power line are all the people that we talk to all the time. Now below the power line, people care about what, Jacco framed it as emotional value. I might call it operational value. They care about things that help them, like saving time in a meeting, or improving the efficiency of their work, or just making things easier, although that’s not quite what emotional value means. But that’s what they care about.
And as we talked about in the show, the boss doesn’t care about saving time per se. The boss cares about big picture things that drive the company forward, and that’s what we call above the power line. And those people above the power line, they care about strategic value, financial value, organizational value, not operational value. So, it’s something to think about, because sometimes, you’re sitting there pitching a senior person about how much time their employees can save doing something, and that person doesn’t really care that much. What you need to be talking about is how the business can perform better. Now, you can say that your employees will be happier because they’re doing less work or something to that effect. But the pure cost-saving angle is often such a loser at the strategic and the executive levels because people misunderstand what motivates executives and what motivates executive decision making. Anyway, that’s my speech.
Don’t miss episode #146
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