26 February 2024

Episode 6: B2B Tech Sales Enablement with Ed Badawi from Sales Inc

Welcome to the sixth episode of B2B Tech Marketing Talks, presented by Filament.

ed badawi | Filament

The theme of our sixth podcast episode is B2B Tech Sales Enablement.

Joining our host Jeremy Balius to discuss all things sales enablement is Ed Badawi, Founder & CEO of Sales Inc.


In this conversation, Ed Badawi, shares insights on understanding sales cycles, content deployment, and the mindset of salespeople. He emphasizes the importance of aligning sales and marketing teams and tells the story of his journey in the sales industry.

Ed also discusses the challenges faced by salespeople and the need for empathy and problem-solving. He highlights the significance of storytelling and the role of content in sales, emphasizing the need for a cohesive and strategic approach. The conversation explores the importance of aligning success metrics, the pitfalls of hiring more salespeople without a clear strategy, and the role of empathy and humility in achieving high performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Aligning sales and marketing teams is crucial for success.
  • Understanding and addressing customer problems is key in sales.
  • Telling a meaningful story and creating relevant content is essential.
  • Salespeople face challenges and rejection, requiring empathy and problem-solving skills Aligning success metrics between sales and marketing is crucial for effective collaboration and achieving business goals.
  • Hiring more salespeople without a clear strategy and structure can lead to chaos and high turnover.
  • Empathy and humility are essential qualities for building strong relationships with customers and creating a positive sales experience.

About Ed Badawi

Ed is the Founder & CEO of Sales Inc, a Sydney-based company that provides businesses with the proven strategy & practical support required to generate more sales. We do this by offering Sales as a Service for companies and practical sales strategy workshops for business leaders across all industries (B2B & B2C).

Their unique approach to generating and consolidating commercial outcomes has been ‘forged in the fire’ and is 100% scalable.

Ed is passionate about raising the selling standards of businesses and the sales experience of consumers. He and his team know that business leaders and their sales teams can influence consumers in a customer-centric manner that creates a win-win-win outcome that simultaneously improves the financial, physical and emotional health of everyone involved.

Sales Inc works with start-ups through to global enterprises across APAC and North America.

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Read the transcript of the podcast episode

Jeremy Balius: Hi. Welcome to this episode of the B2B Tech Marketing Talks podcast. We bring you insightful interviews with leading tech and channel leaders. I’m your host, Jeremy Balius. Today’s theme is B2B Tech Sales Enablement.

Joining me today is Ed Badawi, the founder and CEO of Sales Inc, a company which provides businesses with a proven strategy and practical support they need to generate more sales. Today’s conversation is all about how B2B tech marketing and sales are extended functions of each other and just how critical the alignment needs to be. The need to address a prospect’s problems is fundamental, and it’s storytelling that creates meaningful engagements. Ed’s views on empathy and humility are especially insightful as he sees these qualities as essential for building strong relationships and creating positive sales experiences.

I hope this conversation adds value to you and your thinking. Let’s get into it.

Hey, Ed. Thanks for joining me today. It’s really great to have you on our podcast.

Ed Badawi: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. I’ve been watching it, and I’m flattered that you would consider having me on board.

Jeremy Balius: Today, we’re gonna deep dive into the mind of a sales leader. We’re really conscientious of wanting to understand from a sales leaders such as yourself how can B2B tech marketers and channel marketers and partner marketers get better at understanding sales cycles, how their content is being deployed and used, how salespeople are thinking and approaching. So today is gonna be a fantastic opportunity to deep dive into how marketing can enable sales, work better with sales, and so forth.

But before we get into it, love to hear your origin story. How did you get to the point of leading Sales Inc, your company? How are you at the point of deploying these incredible sales outreach campaigns and the work that you’re doing what’s your backstory?

Ed Badawi: Oh, okay.

I’ll try to give you try not to spend 40 minutes on the backstory. I’ll try to give you a short version. So my business partner and I, Nicholas Foresight, we met in 2011. And funny story, we were working at an investment firm, and it was post GFC.

And we were, going back now, what, 12, 13 years. We were quite green, and we didn’t realize that we had been given these jobs in this post GFC world. And it was quite it’s quite a tough market. And I think from there, Nick and I became we became good friends, and we became, good associates in the from the standpoint of the way we were selling in a post GFC world compared to how some of the elder statesmen in that organization at the time who are maybe taking a more Wolf of Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross approach it just wasn’t working. So we were kinda sitting back saying, man let’s just take the time to listen.

We’ve got a job to do. And can we still be impactful as salespeople in 2010, 2011 speaking to all these people who had been burnt? And we had a really customer centric approach that just came naturally to us. And from there, we had a lot of success, and we built a strong connection and a strong bond. So fast forward a few years, and you get to that point where, you’re doing well professionally, and you say, okay.

I wanna do my own thing now. So Nick went out and started an investment firm, and I started a property investment firm. And Nick’s firm was selling research and funds to investors. And he said, hey, Ed. I’ve got this great solution.

Could you come in and teach my guys how to pitch? And I was like I think so. Because we had never done anything like that before. It was just from that standpoint. He’s I’m doing operations.

You showed me a few things. I don’t have time to scale up the floor. Can you help scale up the floor? By this point, it was, like, late 2014, and I just fell into consulting. It was essentially my friend asking me to consult for his business.

But what happened from there is we had tremendous success, and we almost had a overnight success. So fast forward to 2015, 2016, Nick and his business partners at the time asked me to become a partner, and then they would ask me to consult on other projects, other initiatives, and all the rest of it. So I kinda fell into being a consultant, a sales consultant who was just using the methods that we had practice and teaching them to other people. So by 2017, Nick had the bright idea, and he said, you know what, Ed? We’ve been in financial markets or investment markets in some way, shape, or form.

He’s I think we can do this for many businesses. I think we can do this for different industries. I’ve got all these friends in different start ups, and I think the principles that we’ve applied here, I think they’re scalable. They you can scale these principles across any organization. So in 2017 now again, I’m kinda giving you the short version.

In 2017, we packed up shop everything we were doing, and we got out of everything we were doing, and we focused purely on sales, Inc. As a consultancy. And in 2018, 2019, the feedback we kept getting from founders, owners, CFOs, and all the rest of it is finding it quite difficult to manage salespeople. And we can understand. We weren’t the easiest salespeople to manage either, because it’s like, the better you do, we can be get become a bit ego fueled.

And if you’re not doing well, then you can become a pain. So we were listening to these business owners, these CFOs, and they just kept saying, can we outsource to you? Can we outsource to you? And we thought, oh this might be 1 of those moments where, it’s time to innovate. So we said, okay.

Let’s figure out what that looks like. And by late 2019, we moved from just consultancy and training and scaling floors with a hands on approach to, hey. You know what? We’ll create the sales strategy for you, but we’ll also execute the strategy for you. And that’s how we got into it, and we started in all sorts of industries.

We started in financial markets, financial services, technology, hospitality technology, random things. And then at the start of 2020 when the pandemic hit, we were like, oh, have we made a big mistake here? And then the phone just started ringing. And interestingly enough, it was a lot of the tech companies that were ringing. It was a lot of people in cloud.

Mhmm. And there was a lot of people in cybersecurity. And they were like, look. We need to keep going.

And I they felt like they needed to diversify their risk a bit. Excuse me. So from there, we just started applying our principles to, cybersecurity, cloud campaigns, SaaS campaigns, draft campaigns, all those kinds of things. And it yeah. It just kinda took off from there.

And since then, we’ve just helped a lot of different companies scale their solution out into the market, scale their teams, and, unlock opportunities for them.

Jeremy Balius: Yeah. It’s amazing to hear just how organic that the opportunities that have presented themselves, you’ve grasped and you’ve grown and evolved and developed some methodologies and process around. And I recall back on how we met through mutual clients where we’re supporting tech businesses from a demand gen perspective, and we’re working with them and understanding their brand strategy and how they’re telling their brand story to attract prospects and then being introduced to you through the successes that you were delivering for mutual clients. As I said, it was great to see also a cultural alignment.

And just even in the way that you’re describing it, it’s just so refreshing to hear this take of really being in service of others and driving successes and this really humble approach that you take. It’s awesome to hear your story.

Ed Badawi: Oh, thanks for you, Jeremy. Man, that’s very kind of you to say. We appreciate that a lot.

Appreciate you just reaching out to us as well and introducing people to us just without even necessarily meeting us and just saying, hey. You’d like to speak to you. I think there’s somebody that you might be able to help based on what we’ve heard. So I really appreciate that from you and your team as well because I think it takes a lot of confidence to be like, you know what? Maybe you need to speak to somebody else right now at this point in time.

And and then we met each other, and you came into our office. And, it was a strong value alignment straight away. And I think that’s what it really comes down to. Our approach is driven by our value set. Mhmm.

Business is tough. Sales is tough. Sales is notoriously an unscrupulous industry. It’s got a bad reputation.

And we’ve got a business called Sales Inc. So I think the first thing that when you hear that name, it’s quite polarizing. So straight away we’re always met with this this could really not be the right decision to engage with these people. And we own that.

And I think the big difference for us is, having those values. And I think when we first met, it was it’s really nice meeting different, marketers and sales companies who’ve got strong values like yourself. That’s where it all comes from for us.

Jeremy Balius: Wanna actually kick off with something you just mentioned and talk about those challenges. Sales is tough, and many marketers more broadly, but in the context of this podcast, many tech marketers or B2B tech guys, they’re often not exposed to the day to day of what sales people face.

They don’t particularly know or understand the pressures or the challenges or maybe the stress that the individuals have to carry in order to meet targets. Could you tell me a little bit more about that for those who are doing marketing without being exposed to the sales team’s day to day lives?

Ed Badawi: Yeah. I can. I can. This is a good way to put it. This is what we always say to our guys when they come in because all of our team is onshore.

And the reality is this. This is what we say, and I think this will paint a picture for the marketers. If you’re a fantastic salesperson if you’re an absolute gun, if you’re and you unlock 10 relationships if you’re really good, if you’re really fantastic, you’re going to face an 80 percent rejection rate. So it’s brutal even on a good day.

Nobody likes getting rejected once, let alone 8 times. And 8 times is oh, you did a great job. If you get rejected 9 out of 10 times, you did a good job. You know what I mean?

If you’re getting 1 out of 15, let’s say, your conversion rate’s around that mark you’re doing okay. You’re hanging in there. You know what I mean? If you’re a 1 out of 20 kinda rep we might need to tighten up. So the first thing is yeah, sales reps are expected to write business.

They’re expected to unlock relationships. They’re expected to sell a solution. But the way you’ve gotta look at it is, the rejection is inevitable. If you’re absolutely wonderful, fantastic, got the best product in the market, let’s say, you’re still gonna eat a lot of dirt, as we say, around here. So I think for that reason, sales professionals, especially the modern day sales professional, should be treating sales as a sport because it’s a tough climate.

But what’s the beautiful side of that is that once you figure it out, the upside to that is unlocked. You can uncap your earnings. You build all these tremendous relationships. You actually get to help people directly if you’re going about it the right way. So it can be extremely rewarding.

But just like doing a marathon, you’ll be exhausted at the end of it. Whether you do a good time or not, it’s it’s taxing. And I think if marketers can understand that and really have a bit of empathy for that, I think then all of a sudden, in my experience, generally speaking, the sales professional becomes, feels a little bit more loved, a little bit more understood. We all have to feel a little bit more understood.

That’s the first thing. The second thing then is and this is some this is a common problem that I see, is there should be unity. Alright? There should be congruency between the sales and the marketing team. I truly believe that there should be more collaboration in those departments.

And the message that is created, let’s say, just to use some everyday terms the message that is introduced at the top of the funnel. You need to be conscious of then, okay. What do we then you know, how is that gonna translate to the bottom of the funnel when these guys are closing? Because, ultimately, as well, the marketing people the marketing professionals, you wanna be able to say, hey.

We generated that lead from this campaign, and it resulted in that deal from that particular individual. And now we can measure our success, and we have return on investment. But the idea that the marketing and sales teams are different they’re different departments. They don’t need to coexist. They don’t need to have congruency and that the marketing team is just doing their job, and they and we filled out the top of the funnel, whatever.

We didn’t we had some message out there that is never going to be touched on again, but it got the lead. It’s okay. Cool. But you need to really consider who’s going to now be managing that relationship, who’s gonna be managing that relationship.

And from there, I think you need to make sure that they’ve got the ammunition to succeed, which means you have to listen to them as well. So it’s a 2 way street, and I think that’s not really happening often in my opinion. It’s really, are you seeing it?

Jeremy Balius: Yeah. Look. I agree, and I think there’s a tradition there that needs to stop that somehow the 2 departments are adversarial with each other or at somehow are at odds with each other.

And I understand how this has occurred over time within companies, but I also agree with you that the future of high functioning, high performing businesses means complete alignment from end to end. 100 percent. And, some SaaS based companies are moving more into a space where sales and marketing are sitting under CRO type roles, or there’s a look towards how can the story that we’re telling at brand level actually be meaningful for a sales conversation.

And that’s something you just mentioned that I’d like to dive into even deeper because it’s something we’re very cognizant of from a strategy perspective at value proposition level of what does a company stand for, and what is it actually solving, And how is it not competing on features and benefits to end user?

But how is it actually solving business problems? And how does that translate into a sales conversation? That potentially gets lost at a marketers level because they’re thinking about the market as a whole and looking to go out and source leads or prospects or demand. And they’re then trying to look to understand how to convert it into for sales team conversations. But yeah.

Tell me a bit more about how you see that. What would be a potential way or how can a marketer understand what is actually meaningful in a sales conversation? What’s taking place in those conversations that marketers would be unaware of?

Ed Badawi: I think, take it back to 1 of the very first things you just said, and that’s the story. Right?

It’s a story. Everything’s a story. Life is a story. Stories have been passed down since the beginning of time. We love to tell stories.

We love to hear stories. And I’m not talking a waffley story. You gotta have context. So you’ve actually got a first place you’ve gotta start is with your avatar.

Who do we wanna speak to? And what is the story that they need to hear? And in that story, we’re not even you know, I would say this. And the marketing team and the sales team, I must say, they need to be on the same page with what is our story, what is our narrative.

That should be like, everybody should be on that journey. It shouldn’t you shouldn’t have separate departments from, the receptionist at the front desk to chief executive officer to marketing team, sales team. Everybody should be across at the product team. Everybody comes into it.

And then you’ve gotta ask yourself, how do I introduce that story? And I’ll go into a bit more detail of what I believe constitutes a story or makes up a story and the framework that we use to tell the story.

But then how do I then introduce this story in a digestible manner?

And by introducing this story in a digestible manner so we’re not overwhelming people, obviously you’re not coming out, Jeremy, obviously, the way you write content in writing, a 40 page document and expecting somebody to process that.

So the way we always look at is we say, okay. The sales and marketing team, everybody needs to be on the same page. Forget about sales and marketing. Everybody in the company needs to be on the same page. We have to carry the same spirit to market.

And I say this because when we’re representing an organization we’re an extension of that organization. So we have to get straight aligned to that culture. And that’s the that’s 1 of the things with salespeople is I would say 1 of the stigmas, but also 1 of the things that salespeople are really guilty of is doing what it takes to get a deal as opposed to maybe just telling a story in a digestible manner.

So if everybody knows the story and everyone’s on the same page, now you sit back and you just strategically have to say, okay. How do we introduce this story to get eyeballs, to generate a lead, to get that click through, to then capture the details and telling that story each way along the way. Okay. Now we’ve got a phone number. Let’s say we’ve got an email.

Whatever the call to action might be. Now where is that sales rep stepping in, reiterating the story? Because you just have to reiterate parts.

Last week on this episode, you would have seen this. You would have seen that. And then pick it up and continue the story in a structured way that helps you get down to business. So that’s the way I look at it.

And that’s, that’s how I visualize it, and that’s how we visualize it. So from our standpoint, the first thing you need to do is you need to flesh out the story. And we believe that there’s 8 bare bay basic pillars to a story.

And, you were just talking about know, I love that you’re talking about features and benefits and these things because, sometimes the marketing team, they might focus on something that looks good, feels good, is beautiful, is fantastic, is excellent, but it’s not really allowing you to get your hook in and to get traction in the relationship. Sometimes even a good marketing campaign is gonna rule people out. Sometimes you just want people to come back and say, you know what? I like what you’re doing, but it is not for me.

I’m moving in this direction. So you at least know where you sit within the marketplace. So the first thing we always and, again, and salespeople sometimes have this tendency, particularly when you’re selling tech, is just to jump straight into the technical deliverables. Oh, we got this new plug in. It does this. We got this thing. It’ll obfuscate that. And it’s no.

No. Nobody wants to hear that. That’s not a story. That’s a rough that’s a rough listen.

Do you really wanna expose your prospect to a rough listen? So everything has to be relevant to the prospect. So the 8 pillars of the story that we always tell and what we always flesh out is we say, okay.

First and foremost, who are the key people in the organization why they’re credible? Even if we never mention them even if they’ve got no place in the conversation, chances are, though, you probably are gonna have to mention somebody because you’re probably gonna have to introduce, let’s say, the prospects interest interested.

You’re probably gonna have to introduce them to some sort of technician. If you’re selling a founder, they probably wanna know more about your founders and your culture and your values. So the first thing we wanna do is say, okay. Who are the key people? Why are they credible?

Is it 2, 3, 4, 5, 6? Who are they? We need to know. That’s where the story starts for us.

Interesting. From there, what are their philosophies and their motives? And, typically, that’s where you start unlocking the beauty of the solution. We are motivated to solve this problem because, historically, you’ve been receiving a cookie cutter with no transparency and your costs are blowing out.

And Sarah used to work at this company, and she noticed this problem, and she didn’t like it. So she took a risk and, she went out and she started this organization. It was driven by these philosophies and these motives. Motives are really important.

Forget about your goals. You know what your goals are. We all wanna make more money. We all wanna help people.

We all need x amount of deals or leads by this period of time. That’s cool. You know your goals. Disassociate with them. Now focus on your motives.

We always say that, if you’re driving your car and you see a hitchhiker holding up a sign, you’re like I don’t know if I wanna pick that person up. But if you see somebody pushing their car up the street, I think we’ve all pulled over and helped somebody push their car up the street or helped somebody change their tire because we know what they’re trying to achieve. So when we know what somebody wants to achieve, we’re like let me help you. Let me help you as best as I can.

I like that. You have a noble motive. Even if I don’t wanna do anything with you, I might be able to refer you to somebody or whatever. And when you start sharing those motives, now you actually have more sustainability in your marketing campaigns and you have more sustainability in your sales culture. So once you establish those things, then we tend to move on.

Okay. So what is now the problem that you solve? Let’s get into that. So we understand your philosophies and your motives. What problem are you solving?

And, typically, problem-solving, generally speaking, falls into maybe three or four categories. It’s an economic problem. Mhmm. So we can get you a better return. We can get you a return on investment.

We can save you money. Maybe it’s an efficiency story as well. Because a lot of the professionals that I think we have to understand as well, particularly in tech, a lot of the professionals that we’re speaking to they’re busy. They’re smashed. Mhmm. They’ve got a lot on their plate. And quite often, they don’t have a lot of resources because they’re also misunderstood. So you’ve gotta really be clear about the problem you’re solving for that particular individual, and, let them know this is the problem that we’re gonna solve. And if it’s an efficiency problem for you, we’re gonna create that bandwidth for you.

If it’s an economic problem, we’ll create it. And the last thing I was gonna say is compliance usually would might fall into compliance. So be clear about we’re gonna solve these problems. Don’t go into the technical deliverables, but be super clear.

Jeremy Balius: I was gonna jump in on this particular point because I’m fascinated by this and also live and breathe this every day as well.

The instances where you’re selling into people who may not be aware of that problem, and yet you’re trying to talk about the fact that they have a problem.

Or conversely, they don’t understand necessarily that they should be looking to resolve something because they’ve accepted it and therefore are unable to maybe perceive the value of the product or service as a result.

And and how do you deal with those types of scenarios?

Ed Badawi: Okay.

So if we’re talking about an economic problem an efficiency problem, a compliance problem, if they’re real problems, they actually are creating a level of emotional discomfort. But like a lot of problems we might have, we become accustomed to just dealing with them. It’s just another day. This is my life. This is my world.

I’m going to the office. I’ve got no help. I’ve got no resources. Oh, we’re losing money on this department, or it’s not making money, or that’s just expensive. I just accept that for what it is.

So there’s a problem. How does that problem impact that decision maker day to day? So I’ll give you an example. Might be a lot of people using tape drive.

A lot of IT professionals using tape drive at the moment. Now I’m comfortable with tape drive. It’s fine. I said you don’t wanna move to the cloud. Let’s say, for whatever reason, say, yeah.

Okay. Cool. You can sit there and talk about the problem with tape all day, but what is it like to have to wake up every single day? For example, nothing against tape, by the way. Tape is cool.

Just an example. If you’re short. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

What’s it like? So we might say mate, like, how’s it going? You still changing those tapes every day? Like and they’re like, you know what? I am. And that’s just a very micro example, but it’s like, how is that problem impact impacting that person, mate? I’m guessing you’re pretty stretched and that you’re probably working with legacy software and you’ve got a very small budget. Does that sound about right?

So now all of a sudden, we’ve actually made a human connection. So if you wanna touch on a problem, touch on how that problem is actually not just impacting that business, but how is it impacting that particular professional who you are going to speak to and build a relationship with. And I think from there once people once you hear that sigh of yeah, tired of doing this, or I’m tired of doing that, or, mate, what’s new? It’s always been like this, and you start hearing that human side, now all of a sudden, it’s a lot easier to be like let me tell you something. You know what I mean?

So that’s what we always look for. What is the human problem that you’re solving?

Jeremy Balius: So now this is this the whole podcast could effectively be upon this topic. This is this is the real deal right here.

I think this is where the volume of experience that you’re bringing to this conversation is really enlightening because having the ability to sit across from someone and understand that you’re not just pitching a product or hardware or something that you’re actually looking to understand as you’re let’s use a sales term, as you’re looking to qualify this person.

You’re looking to understand in what ways can we build this connection such that person’s going to open up and tell me and trust me to tell me about their actual problems. It feels like you’re, at that point, not really selling. You’re helping them solve. At that point, you’re advising. Right?

Ed Badawi: Yeah. For sure. Absolutely. You have to be a physician of sorts. Right?

And I know that sounds super cliche and lame, but you have to be in this day and age. I told you that. So when we came in, and this is why I told the story about 2010. And being investment advisers in a post GFC world in which people were burnt, man.

People were jaded. People lost a lot of money. They lost a lot of their fortune. They spent a lot of time trying to accumulate wealth just to give it back by what seemed to be, like, almost an overnight event. So it’s like we went into this mentality. We’re talking to actual people. Okay. Yeah.

We know what our goal is, but we’re talking to people. Let’s listen to them. What are they going through? Because even if somebody is jaded and having a bad time, we all wanna get better. So and I think that’s 1 of the cool things is particularly when selling in the Australian market.

And I know you work across many markets and as do we, but particularly in the Australian market people will hear you out if you treat them with respect and actually make a connection with them. And that’s why we always start with, who are you? Who are the key people? Who’s driving this business? What are your philosophies and motives?

There’s this common problem that we found, because we used to be in your position, that actually kinda makes work suck and makes life suck and makes things a little bit more anxious. And write it from that perspective because we do write email campaigns to the databases.

Write it from that perspective of I’m telling a story that maybe you can relate to. And if they can’t relate to that story, if they do not have these problems, if they are not suffering, if they are super happy with what they’re doing, move on.

Collect the data. Find out where they’re at, maybe who they’re using, what is making them happy. Collect that and information, and say thank you and move on. And I think when we talk about sustainability in selling one thing we always say is you at least wanna get the thank you.

But if you’re not listening, if you’re not trying to solve a problem and you’re just trying to push your agenda, people are just gonna hang up on you. People are not gonna wanna take your call, and those marketing efforts then go to waste. Yeah, I think you’re 100 per cent.

You need to really think about the problem you’re solving for that individual. And it’s funny because we’ve all been in a cell where it’s okay.

I’ve got my evangelist. He might be, let’s say, the IT manager. But he might not have final say. I’ve gotta sell the CFO.

But the CFO’s got a whole different set of problems. He doesn’t care about you holding a bunch of tape, for example. The CFO cares about, is that stuff gonna save me money over the next 12 months? Am I gonna look good in my job?

So the narrative or the part of the narrative that appeals to the IT manager, the evangelist is not gonna be the same narrative that appeals to the CF. So we all need to be cognizant of different things are gonna appeal to different people. Different people are gonna have to come on the journey. And every person on that journey, you need to solve that individual’s problem.

Now if there’s 4 or 5 people on that panel and you’ve touched on the 4 or 5 problems that you’re solving and 3 out of 5 people are like, I like that. Now great. You’re winning.

And now the next organization that comes in, the meeting that comes in after you, the 2 o’clock, you’ve just done the 1 o’clock. And they’re not really selling perspective of I’m solving your problems, even if they have a better feature set, even if they’ve been around longer. It’s who do you think they’re gonna go with? So it’s a patient approach.

I think it’s an orthodox approach, but it might be considered unorthodox. But quite often, you’ll win by default because the other organizations that are not taking that same approach, they actually you know, they put their foot in it, so to speak. So that’s the way we look at it, and it served us well so far.

Jeremy Balius: You mentioned content there. I’d love to pick your brain about in what ways is sales using content?

We’re really moving into a space where the word content or content marketing, it’s becoming redundant because it is how an organization as a whole is communicating in the way that it’s presenting itself to market in the way that you might be communicating to the ASX for media releases or through to marketing campaigns, through to a sales conversation. This is all content.

But it’s broken up and siloed out into the different departments. And Yeah. And so oftentimes, the term sales enablement gets used.

How does marketing develop enable or enable sales? And then it, produces some stuff that they might ask for or not ask for and not use then. Yep. And that usually consists of data sheets and brochures, and they, they love calling them leave behinds even though it’s not even printed anymore. And so all this stuff gets done, but from your perspective, what matters?

Man, I’m gonna sound like a broken record, but it again, it comes back to you can’t just build you can’t just build 1 bit of content in isolation. It’s gotta fit into the bigger ecosystem, and you have to understand where you’re fitting into that ecosystem.

You have to understand the purpose of that content and what we’re introducing here.

Ed Badawi: And for the sales team, they need to know again, they need to know where they step in and where they’re picking it up from that. So for example it’s okay. We’re gonna write a content piece, and we’re gonna send it out to a database, let’s say, of we’re gonna send it out to your database, Jeremy.

And in that database, you’ve got 500 SaaS companies, and you wouldn’t mind hypothetically picking up 1 or 2 extra companies.

So we said, okay. We’re gonna write a content piece to them. It’s gonna be for them. It’s gonna be about them.

It’s not gonna be about us. It’s never about us. As we said, we’re the physician. You don’t walk into the doctor’s office and the doctor tells you about his day.

So so we’re writing this content piece. So let’s say the marketing team is writing this content piece. The sales team, it needs to be written that, okay. Let’s assume for a moment that somebody picks up the phone and calls on the back of this content piece.

We need to know what the next conversation is. Right? And so this whole idea of we wrote this piece and we did this big piece and we got all these eyeballs and we got all these views and we got 10 leads. And now we need to focus on sales enablement. That conversation has to be had much earlier.

If you wanna use a sporting analogy, you’ve gotta know what the fight plan is through all 12 routes. And sometimes the plan goes, the plan goes astray, and that’s fine, but you wanna always try to bring it back into the game plan because things happen. So you need that framework.

Now so you’re writing these content pieces, You’re pushing them out, and you’re saying, okay. What is the next because the way I see it is like this. What is the next bit of content that we’re going to give them? But that content might be a sales pitch, man. That’s still content.

That content might be a presentation. So we have to think of everything in terms of content. Everything is content. It just might be delivered by video.

It might be delivered over a phone call. It might be delivered by email. It might be delivered on a website. So we have to think about this, and we have to unify teams. And we have to have this understanding of hey.

I’m gonna run point. I’m gonna write this piece. I know it’s gonna do well. It’s gonna touch on, our motives. It’s gonna touch on the problem we solve.

We’re gonna sprinkle some brand equity across it because we’re working with some awesome companies. Now when that happens you now need to pick it up, and you need to reiterate the problem that we solve, for example.

And then from there, you need to then understand that these people might have a relationship with a competitor or considering a relationship with a competitor, for example. So go in.

Tell them about the problem you solved. Find out where they’re at. Go into the points of difference now. Not even going into the feature set at this point in time. But my point is we need organization.

We need to know how we’re gonna tell the story all the way through. You can’t just write 1 bit of content in isolation. You have to be able to say, okay.

This content is a whole journey. There’s layers of content. We’re gonna write this. Talk to the sales manager. Talk to the chief revenue officer and say, hey.

We’re gonna write this, and we’re gonna set it up. So by the time these people get to you, if they’ve clicked here, we’ve already touched on this problem, we’ve touched on our motives, there’s this level of awareness, we’d recommend that you go back and then you touch on the problem that we solve, for example, have you however you wanna do it.

And then you need to be able to then listen to that sales team and say, hey. You know what? When you use that angle, this is what happens.

So there needs to be more communication at the front end. I know I sound like a broken record. It’s so important. And then you need to be able to say, okay. How does this lead into the next conversation?

And then after you have that conversation, it’s back over to the content team. Okay. I just had a conversation with Jeremy. Yep. Jeremy’s suffering from this problem.

He’s considering using 2 or 3 other guys, or maybe he’s using this company and they kinda suck. But for that reason, we kinda suck. He thinks we suck as well because he’s had a bad experience.

We all get tired of the same brush. I wanna now and what’s gonna then separate us from the competitors or the whatever it might be is we need to talk about our point of difference.

So then you might go back to the marketing team and say, we’re gonna have this conversation. Obviously, they’re not gonna do a deal right there on the spot. We need to really inspire them to have a meeting with us. So can you also now write me that point of difference piece? And can you go into the feature set and maybe why our feature sets are different to other organizations’ feature sets?

So it almost needs to be this game of handball, and you need to be looking at it like that. Because if you look at it from a sales perspective, there’s 3 outcomes on a phone call. I’m happy to take the meeting.

Maybe I’ll take a meeting, but I need a little bit more information. Or can you get the hell away from me? How did you get my phone number? I wish I’ll I never left my details.

That’s that brutal part that we talked about. Yeah. Yeah. So so, again, we have you have to be empathetic to both departments to run it together. And it can’t be like, we did our part, now you do your part.

It’s gotta be this, hey. Let’s handball this thing back and forth, and let’s drive this all the way down. Even let’s drive this all the way down to the initial presentation because now I’ve booked the meeting with this person. I’ve qualified them. I’ve asked them all that question, the questions.

I need to put forward a beautiful deck. Why is a sales guy making a beautiful deck? They’re not known for their design work. Send it back to the marketing department now.

Hey. I wanna touch on these pillars. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Boom. Boom. I wanna transition to then some of the clients we worked with. I wanna transition to our guarantees and risks. So we have to have this back and forth handball mentality.

And you can’t look at marketing just as they did their job at the top, man. The marketing team is the marketing team is right there, even to the proposals you’re sending. Have you seen some of the proposals that go out there, Jeremy? They do not look good.

They need to go back to the marketing team. They need to go back to the content team. I take it from me. Sales guys are not known for their spelling either. So so so it’s a relationship.

It’s an ecosystem. We have to get on the same page. And when you do that, here’s the best part. The customer has a better experience. Because they understand there’s congruency in the message that they’re now exposed to a thoughtful process.

And I can also say this to any business owner that is managing a commercial sales team and is managing a marketing team? Isn’t it is there nothing worse than walking past your sales guy and just typing emails all day? Those emails should be prebuilt by the content team.

So the content team, I believe, is also being underutilized. And they need to come on the journey. They need to come they need to come on the journey all the way, and then they need to be getting the feedback as well, of how that journey and how that story was told and how it played out.

And I just I don’t think that’s happening enough. I don’t think that’s happening enough. But when it does happen, it’s a beautiful experience for everybody, and I find that sales reps then are less likely to burn out because there’s framework, there’s structure, then there’s no more ad hoc. It almost feels like there is a status quo there is a status there is a status quo that look, man. Just hire a sales guy.

Go figure it out. Go do your thing. Run around like a headless chook. I know we wonder why sales guys are leaving companies and changing companies every 12, 18 months.

It’s brutal. It’s tough. It wears down on you, then your performance suffers. And then every other part of your life tends to suffer once your performance suffers. And then you wanna change jobs.

You wanna move on. Again, take the time to do it properly. Take the time to get everybody on the same

Jeremy Balius: page. Yeah. That really resonates with me, and I really see a future here where there’s potentially even a breakdown of various success metrics or what traditionally has been measured as success metrics because of, I don’t know, adversarial relationships or finger-pointing and these things devolve into where on the sales side, it becomes I just want leads to follow-up on.

And marketing’s well, if that’s our metric, we just had a hundred people download our white paper. There’s your leads. And the guys are saying, oh, what are these? What am I supposed to do with this?

Ed Badawi: And you downloaded our white paper yesterday. Did you get a chance to read it? Yeah. I’m sure you did. Yeah.

Jeremy Balius: That’s but that was your lead, and they get forced into these scenarios. And so what resonates with me is the idea of either side looking across to understand how are we firstly finding someone who’s completely unaware of who we are and what we do, and how to find them in a way that matches our personas that we’ve built up or ideal client profile.

And how are we attracting them, and how are we reaching them, and how are we then starting the relationship that you mentioned, and how are we then having conversations and having that story across the board completely aligned, that’s the future. I think you’re totally right.

Ed Badawi: Yeah.

I think that’s the way it has to be done. And if for no other reason, you have to do it out of respect for the consumer. Everybody wants consistency. And I think also consistency breeds trust.

Even if you’re consistently bad, people at least will say I can at least count on that guy to suck. So so you have to be consistent in your message. You have to be consistent in your cadence.

You have to be consistent in everything. And, yeah, you can’t segment the business like that. To me, it just sounds like the 2 most ridiculous segments of the business to segment. The 2 departments that are pushing the message to the market.

But, it’s just the way it’s been, and I think a lot of that has to do with I think a lot of that has to do with, I think salespeople are guilty of that. And they’re guilty of that because a lot of salespeople will come in and come in for a lot of energy, a lot of hype, and this tremendous resume and all the rest of it. And, yeah, and we all want really want the job.

We really want the job. Yeah. I can do that, mate. If you give me 10 leads, I’ll close 5. Crazy things like that.

We’ve all heard it. And it’s just like I think as business owners, we need to slow down and just be like, that sounds good. That sounds awesome. That gets you hyped.

So it gets you jacked. It’s yes. We got this live wire in here, and we just need to generate leads, get them the leads, and we’ll close them. And that’s cool, but and sometimes you do get those unicorns that come through.

But those unicorns, man, they’re few and far between, and you can’t leverage your success to those unicorns. And then what happens is and I’ve been this guy. So because when those unicorns get too much leverage, they’re gonna use that leverage. They’re gonna want more money.

They’re gonna want more days off. So even from a business standpoint, by having everybody on the same page and having a culture of adding value, you’re actually derisking your business so much as well.

Because now everyone’s on the same page, and that’s how it has to be. So if somebody has a problem, if somebody has an ego, if somebody doesn’t wanna be there anymore for whatever reason, that’s cool.

Next person up. Who’s next? Who’s stepping in? Because we know what our message is. We know what’s working.

Better yet, we know where it’s breaking because we all understand the process. Also, the process so so so what happens is we’re having that initial conversation. Everybody says the right thing, and then they never wanna take our phone call again. Okay. Let’s assess that part of the process.

The same way you would assess your content piece if it wasn’t getting traction. You say what is it about this content piece that we’re not getting any leads? Is it the wording? Is it the imagery?

Do we need to move that thing to the left of the page, to the right of the page? And we need to be having those conversations across the board as a unit, as a sales and marketing unit. And right now, the sales team’s having their chat, and they’re in their echo chamber. And the sales team is in their echo chamber. Right?

And it’s creating this unnecessary friction and hostility. And and now and this is this is, where sales in comes into it. It’s not even a plug because it’s disappointing. But now all of a sudden, it’s I don’t wanna do it with these sales guys anymore. I don’t wanna do it with these marketing people anymore.

Now it’s every day I’m putting out a fire, an internal fire. I can’t get my team on the same page. As you said, there’s a lot of finger pointing going on. So what’s actually happening is now I see this all the time, man. Is now you’re instead of leading a business, it’s like you’re you’re leading a, a clinic, a psych yeah.

A psychiatrist’s clinic because everyone’s coming in with their problems. And you’re not focused on your vision. Nobody’s focused on the motives. Nobody’s focused on the philosophies.

Nobody’s focused on the consumer and the problem that you’re solving for that consumer. We haven’t even gotten to getting technical deliverables yet. We haven’t even talked about the cool innovate innovative things that we’ve invented or created, and you’re putting out those fires.

And I really believe a big part of that is due to the finger pointing culture that happens between sales and marketing, but also within sales teams.

Because if you have 5 good sales reps, 1 does really well, one’s not gonna do well, Everyone in the middle could go either way, and we’ve all seen that as well. Again, I think whether it’s marketing, sales, content, how you’re greeting people at the front door, everybody has to be on the same page with the narrative, first and foremost. They have to understand it intimately. They should be able to recite it.

And then we need to say, how do we introduce this narrative in a digestible manner to inspire a transaction or, alternatively, get people to rule themselves out? And if we get people to rule themselves out, the salespeople will be happier as well. So that’s the way I look at it, and that’s the way we approach it.

Jeremy Balius: There’s something you just mentioned there, and I think this would be really great context for people sitting outside of sales teams to understand about sales teams or the way that sales teams are built or potentially grown is this belief that if I want more sales, I just need to hire more salespeople.

And your value proposition as a company and what is articulated so well in your website is that comes with problems, and that’s not understood. Could you tell me a little bit more about what am I gonna deal with if I just hire more salespeople because I want more revenue?

Ed Badawi: So the way I look at it is like this.

Is you’ve got to take it 1 person at a time. I always say the first salesperson you hire shouldn’t just be an enthusiastic sales guy who’s gonna make a hundred calls a day. Yes. You want those qualities.

You want all those qualities. They’re important. But what you want is somebody who is coming in and saying, hey. Let’s create scalable sales process. Now let me get to know the different stakeholders of the business.

Now let me spend a little bit of time with the solutions team. Let me spend a little bit of time with the marketing team. And let me then obviously, whoever I’m reporting to, let me understand what our goals and what our missions are, and let’s reverse engineer that. It’s okay.

I need to get three deals a quarter. Ok. Great. Realistically, then how many people am I gonna need to speak to?

And, again, running off some basic metrics of rejection. Cool. If I’m any good, I should be able to convert 10 of that. You gotta think even Apple’s only got 15 per cent market share.

And they’re, like, a prolific organization. So when someone starts telling you they’re gonna convert over 15 to 20 percent, just slow down.

Don’t put that pressure on yourself. You know what I mean?

We don’t need that much conversion. This is how many deals we need between now and the end of the year. Can you get us there? And, if we play a numbers game, if we need 10 more deals by now and the end of the year, then we obviously need more than 10 leads. So you have to bring everybody into that scenario.

Now what that’s the first thing you need to do is the so the first person that you bring in, they must have that structure. And then they must introduce that structure to everybody else. It’s that simple. And they’ve gotta take they’ve gotta be able to lead by example, for sure.

So it’s good old-fashioned leadership, but they’ve also gotta have a game plan. Because what I typically find, to answer your question more directly, is that if I go and hire five people, I can guarantee you that you’re gonna have five people doing 5 different things. How is that gonna work?

So straight away, you’re suiting yourself in the foot because you’re taking a an approach of in theory, they should all be good, but how 5 different approaches are not gonna work. And, everyone’s got a different personality, and that’s fine.

You can apply your different personalities to the same process. But the idea that we’re just gonna bring people in, more people, here’s the product, here’s solution, or you’ve been in this space for a long time, mate.

You know what it’s all about. Go and make some calls.

You’re just almost sending them into this traumatic response where they’re like, hey. It’s my job. I just gotta make calls. I just gotta make calls. I just gotta make calls.

It goes haywire. And we wonder why sales guys are, having 7 shots of coffee a day and then, freaking out. I have about 5 or 6. I’m not even but I’m but my point is it’s like we’re creating these anxiety provoking environments by not having structure and by not creating that alignment. And I think we’ve all seen our, fallen salespeople, who tell you the worst stories.

I used to do this back in the day. I used to do that back in the day. I used to be really good at this, and I really used to be good at that. And it’s you’ve just burnt out because of this unsustainable approach. There’s no process here.

And, sure, processes break down, and they need to be re redefined and reinvented. But if you don’t have that process and you bring five people in and you’ve got five people running around like headless chooks or doing their thing, you’re just gonna get you’re just gonna get a lot of fires to put out.

That’s what I believe. So make sure that first person that you bring in is the right person. Make sure you’re implementing the structure, and don’t just bring somebody in because you have more leads.

You need to know what you’re going to do with those leads strategically, step by step by step by step. Mhmm. If you have a super sophisticated solution, there might be 7 or 8 steps in your sales process.

If you have a subscription-based solution, okay, it might only be 2 or 3 or 4 steps. That’s fine.

You don’t have to overcook it. But you have to ask yourself, okay. How much information can this person take at a time? Obviously, not a white paper. Right?

White papers are great, by the way. You can leverage them. But don’t expect somebody to read a white paper and then want to do business with you straight away. White papers do give you credibility, and they can be leveraged in emails and, post conversation value ads because we love adding value. Remember, the point of a white paper is to add value.

It’s not to really sell your solution. Yes. It’s a credibility builder. Okay? And credibility is really important.

I think a lot of people underestimate how content can just make you so credible. We’ve represented in our very early days companies that we call them naked companies. It was like the leadership was hiding. There was no real motives.

We just got a cool product. We just want deals and we don’t really have content. And once people hear about it, it’s all good. And it’s no. That’s not the experience you need to give people.

The experience you need to give people is, again, you need to tell that story. You need to have structure in how you’re telling that story. The sales team needs to have structure.

As well, the sales team needs to have leadership and guidance. And if you’re gonna hire people just because you’ve got the leads and just gonna chuck bodies at the leads, I think that’s an age old mistake.

And, look. We’ve been I’ve been guilty upon being guilty of it once upon a time myself. And it’s not until that over and over. It’s no. This is not a good way to scale a business.

This is not a good way to scale a sales team. But then what happens as well is then the turnover ensues. So let’s say a lot of people would also do this thing, Jeremy, in all industries where they say mate, we’ll hire 5 people, and we’ll just cut the bottom 1 or 2. We’ll hire 10 people. We’ll do a mass recruitment.

We’ll dude, how demoralizing is it when you come to your office 1 day and you sit at your desk and say, oh, where’s Tracy? Where’s John? Oh, mate. We had to let him go. How unsettling is that?

You don’t sit there and pump your fist that you’ve made it to another round like Survivor. You sit there and you say, shit. We got a culture of turnover here. Next thing you know people are like they’re letting people go.

I might need to jump on Seek. I might need to jump on that job ad website. I might need to hit up my old colleague from my other company on LinkedIn, and you start seeing the interesting behavior.

Now all of a sudden, that one-hour lunch break turns into a two-hour lunch break because that person is anxious because you’ve got a very average culture. I’m trying not to swear.

And now people are like, dude, I want the back door. I don’t wanna be here. I don’t wanna come in every single day knowing that I could be on the chopping block. Sure. That’s a part of business.

We all have to perform. We all have to deliver. But bringing five people, cutting bringing them in, cutting, and just keeping continuing to cut the as my business partner Nick would say, continuing to cut the tail off the dog is just not good for anybody, and it’s just gonna create a negative culture.

It’s gonna create anxiety. And that’s why I think a lot of businesses also kinda get trapped.

They get in their own way, and their revenue kinda stagnates. We’re a $2 to $5 million business. We’re a $5 to $100 million dollar business. And it’s just yeah. You’re just essentially retaining your legacy clients, and you’re churning it.

You’re churning your team. And I also believe that the market notices when you churn your team. Know, this week, I got a call from Bill. Last week, I got a call from Ali. This week, I got a call from Sarah.

So what is going on over there? Yeah. And the market notices that. Because we’re on the front line.

You hear it. Oh, getting a call from you guys again. And it’s just how many people did you go through before we before you gave us the keys? And it’s not a good look for anybody, and it creates we always say, just gonna create this vicious cycle, Jeremy.

So do you wanna be stuck in this vicious cycle? Feel crap about yourself because you keep rolling people, and then it just becomes the new norm, and you gotta carry that energy with you? Because what are we doing this for, man?

What are we trying to make money for, man? To walk around grumpy all day? To walk around anxious all day with the shits all day? We wanna spend time with our families. We wanna do cool stuff.

We wanna buy nice things. Whatever it is that matters to you. But we have to remember why we’re doing this, and it’s not to feel like crap. And I think, if you have that mentality then I think you’ll take a more cautious and respectful approach.

Jeremy Balius: These are very wise words.

I deeply appreciate everything that you’ve been talking about. I think there’s so much to take away here. And I think the most important message here really is one of empathy and humility on individuals who are working together to look to better understand how are they unifying towards a collective mission.

And I feel in the way that you’ve described the future of business and high performance, that’s gonna be absolutely critical.

Ed Badawi: And let me just say this back to your point.

Also empathy for the person that you’re trying to sell to. And I really believe that’s why content is important. It is hard. It is infinitely harder to connect with somebody if they haven’t been exposed to your content.

If they if you haven’t touched on their problem, if you haven’t been relatable, if they haven’t seen you somewhere even if they’ve just eyeballed it and read half your article, it is so much harder to make a connection with that person and find out where they’re at and solve their problem and prescribe something that is gonna make their life easier by making their business better.

It’s hard to do that unless you have content. So when I do believe that when you are writing that content as well, yeah. Cool.

We all have bells and whistles, and we all wanna kinda talk to everybody about how awesome we are. Are. That’s great. But that individual like, have some empathy for that individual. They don’t owe you anything.

They don’t need to read that content. They don’t need to take your phone call. They don’t need to open that email. They have no obligation to take a meeting with you.

So be very gracious with them at all times. Again, they don’t owe you anything. Be very respectful of where they’re at. They’re humans as well going through a lot. It’s the nature of life.

And come at them with that angle. And if you can maintain that energy through the process, dude, the sale the sales cycle will get shorter.

There’ll be less friction through the deal process as well, and it’ll be pleasant. It’ll be nice. It’ll actually be a you’ll still be tired at the end of the day, man.

You’re still gonna go and say, man, I left it all on the table today. And I gave that person everything I had today. And you probably fall asleep on the couch at 8 30. But it’s better than going home and being like, alright, man.

I just made a hundred phone calls. Nobody wanted to take my call back. If a marketing team’s putting out crap, I’m exhausted. We’re gonna go home tired anyway, but at least we need to be we need to always say, let’s go home with our souls intact. Let’s at least get a thank you at the end of every conversation.

Content teams and marketing teams and commercial sales teams they need to unite. And if they unite, dude, if you’re converting those marketing leads, marketing is gonna be happy.

If marketing’s happy, they’re gonna give you more stuff. And if the sales team’s happy, then you’re gonna look good, and your return on investment numbers are gonna look fantastic. So it just makes sense to me.

I don’t understand why I’m not seeing it more often.

Jeremy Balius: It’s very inspiring stuff. I appreciate you so much for coming on and sharing your insights and wisdom. Thanks, Ed.

Ed Badawi: Hey. Thanks for having me.

We appreciate you guys, and very flattered that you think we’d be worth speaking to. So I really appreciate you guys over there. Thank you. No worries. Thank you.

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