"Death of a Salesman is a 1949 stage play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. The play premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances. It is a two-act tragedy set in 1940s New York told through a montage of memories, dreams, and arguments of the protagonist Willy Loman, a travelling salesman who is disappointed with his life, and appears to be slipping into senility. The play contains a variety of themes, such as the American Dream, the anatomy of truth, and infidelity. It explores the psychological chaos of the protagonist, and the capitalist society's impact on his life. It won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. It is considered by some critics to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century" - wikipedia.

I always thought it apt as a title for the podcast, based on the underlying narrative and perception sales has had through the ages. Fast forward to today, in the modern era of sales and varying iterations, roles, and supporting functions in sales, we find ourselves at a tipping point.

What is the role of sales? If we are to believe the research, the stats range from 44% to 72% of buyers would prefer a salesperson free buying process. 

Note the word, would - none of this research is saying this is happening today, it is, if they could not have a salesperson in the buying process, they would prefer it.

Today's guest is none other than the brilliant Brent Adamson. Brent describes himself as "Researcher, author, presenter, and thinker with a passion for “productive disruption.”

He is the Global Head of Research at Ecosystems. Ecosystems is the leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for collaborative customer value management.

Prior to this, Brent forged his career at CEB, now Gartner. He is the co-author of the Challenger Sale & Challenger Customer. 

Brent authored a brilliant piece in HBR titled "Traditional Sales & Marketing are Becoming Obsolete". You can listen to that episode where I chat with Jenna from Smart Technologies about what they have done to ensure it isn't. 

This leads us to this episode.

We could have chatted for hours on this, but we keep it to c. 45mins.

We cover :

What is selling in an ecosystem today and why sales leaders have to start thinking about it.

We take a look back in time to try and understand why we have got to where we are today.

Are we blurring what a sales process is vs what a sales cadence is?

We take a closer look at some of the stats that buyers are saying in that they would prefer a seller-free process.

And what might this mean for both the seller and the buyer?

We consider the statement "Buyer Centric", and ask the question, are we?

We wrap it up where Brent offers some brilliant questions you can ask your clients & prospects as well as start doing something called "Post Sales Discovery".

Brent is a brilliant raconteur and a razor-sharp mind when it comes to all things sales.

Follow Brent on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/brentadamson/

Learn more about Ecosystems https://ecosystems.us/ and even join their Slack group https://ecosystems.us/customer-value-community/ 

The aforementioned HBR article https://hbr.org/2022/02/traditional-b2b-sales-and-marketing-are-becoming-obsolete 

As ever, thank you for tuning in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Improvise

Welcome to the 100th Episode of this podcast. And what a guest we have for this one.

I met Neil Mullarkey on a coaching course called "Enrich your Pitch" where Neil took us through how one can use the art of improvisation in a business context.

Let's be honest, things don't always go as we plan and prospects and clients can throw you a curve ball from time to time - the key is how you handle that in real-time. 

Neil's pedigree speaks for itself, just look at his Wikipedia page :

"In the mid-1980s, he teamed up with Mike Myers as 'Mullarkey and Myers'. They would perform sketches based on their shared love of cartoons, B-movies and bad TV. They played around the burgeoning London pub circuit, particularly at the George IV in Chiswick, where they often shared the bill with the young Hugh Grant, then plying his trade in the Jockeys of Norfolk revue. As their fame increased, Mullarkey and Myers toured the UK, ending in a sold-out season at the Edinburgh Festival.

The two appeared as 'The Sound Asleep Club' on TV-am's 'Wide Awake Club', a children's TV show hosted at the time by Tommy Boyd. Mike eventually returned to Toronto, but Mullarkey would briefly join him to revive 'Mullarkey and Myers' in Canada. Later still, he appeared in Myers' début in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, as the Customs Officer who freaks Austin out with his Swedish-made penis pump. (He also appeared again in Goldmember and helped Mike Myers with uncredited rewrites of So I Married An Axe Murderer."

That's just the intro.

He has performed with Eddie Izzard, and Dawn French to name but a few comedic greats.

As a founding member of The Comedy Store Players, he is regularly performing on the UK comedy circuit.

In this episode, Neil takes us through his 5 step framework on how to use improvisation skills in a business context. 

That's all you're getting.

Tune in to and put this into practice.

Learn more about how Neil here :

https://neilmullarkey.com/

Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/neilmullarkey/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/NeilMullarkey

For UK folk and anyone visiting who wants to see improv in action: https://comedystoreplayers.com/

As always, my heartfelt thanks to all of my guests for agreeing to be on this show, and you, my listeners - without which this would be for nothing!

 

 

 

I spent 7 years in out and out sales roles, before making the move into Professional Services Business Development, joining PwC in Jan 2009. This launched my career to where I am today - along this journey, I have met some incredibly talented BD professionals.

In this episode, I am joined by the brilliant Dominic de Mariveles. I met Dominic when I joined Berwin Leighton Paisner as was, now BCLP, in Oct 2011. 

The approach Dominic takes to driving a BD culture in both his teams and the fee earners is a pragmatic yet robust one.

He not only believes but has proved, with a straightforward, no-frills approach to BD, that you can achieve double-digit revenue growth in 5 years.

We discuss :

What is Business Development in a Professional Services capacity?

Where has it got to today?

Why do we believe it is so varied in how it is executed?

Why is Professional Services "sales" so different to Corporate "sales". Or is it?

If we were to start a new BD function today, what would that look like?

The challenges for both small and large firms.

Do we have the right skills for where we need to be in 5 years?

How technology focussed should we be?

Why this has to be led from the top - if not, you will fail.

Be bold and brave.

I always learn something new when I speak to Dominic, and no doubt so will you.

If you believe Dominic can help you and you want to learn more - connect with him on LinkedIn, be sure to mention this podcast: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dominicdemariveles/

 

As ever, my continued thanks to all of my guests, and you, our listeners. 

 

 

 

AI led Coaching

How would you feel about being coached by an AI-powered avatar?

That's precisely the world we now find ourselves in, and this is the topic of this episode.

I chat with Russell Zack, Head of Revenue at www.secondnature.ai, which describes itself as "Scale up your sales coaching with bite-sized,
realistic, AI-driven role plays, immediate
feedback, scoring and an amazing
experience."

Oh, and there is Jenny, or whomever you want.

I was intrigued by how this all worked, and Russell kindly gave up his time to share how it all worked.

We chat all things such as :

The rise of AI in Sales and how the next generation of employees is much more comfortable, if not expecting this enablement. 

Is this different from all the fitness apps where you have a "coach" to train you?

Why it is important to have a robust sales strategy to overlay your sales coaching - whether it is in person, virtual or through an AI coach.

Data, Data and more data.

Real-time learning and feedback - how this helps scale your sales and enablement at pace.

Russell's own experience of being onboarded by Jenny.

This technology gives sales enablement the ability to create different sales scenarios - which is always on. 

How this can remove conscious and unconscious bias, HOWEVER, keep an eye on the base data, you are using.

I put Russell on the spot, and we look into the crystal ball - is there a possibility that you can turn this software into client-facing a role?

I believe this is the start of creating a new market in the world of sales enablement and supporting roles. It is not about replacing people but augmenting them. 

Thank you to Russell for sharing his time and insight; it's a brave new world. 

Follow Russell here - https://www.linkedin.com/in/russellzack/ 

 

 

 

 

 

D is for Data

Let's Party Like it's 1999.

This is when my guest Rick Hawkins started out his career in data science, or as it was called back in the day - BI, Business Intelligence.

Rick very kindly allowed me to interrupt his career break and be a guest on this episode, where we chat all things data. His career speaks for itself, having been on both the sell-side and buy-side of data science, business intelligence, graphing or wrangling. His profile reads :

"Data Leader and Chief Data Officer with vision, drive and extensive experience building transformational data capabilities. Most recently established a global data management capability and bespoke tooling from zero base at a leading bank. Passionate about data-led innovation, actively involved in setting cloud and data strategies at the CxO level and improving data literacy. Previously developed data practices and built cross-industry Data Management tools for several professional services organisations. Active participant in industry-wide consortiums shaping data regulation with the FCA and Bank of England and regular presenter at data conferences, including
FIMA and CDAO"

His most most recent position was Chief Data Officer, Global Risk & Finance at global banking institution.

Whom better to get on and share his views on all things data and Formula 1.

The questions I pose are :

What is data in a business context?

Why is it taking so long to get right? 

We chat about a blog from 2017 about Marketing teams needing a data scientist(s); therefore, I ask, what is a Data Scientist?

How can sales & marketing teams learn from other business units wrangling data?

The ethics and debate of data privacy vs I want you to "know" me - this is a podcast in its own right.

The role of automation and ai vs Humans.

The Future.

Rick is a brilliant raconteur and uses clever analogies to simplify a complex topic - the Sat Nav one is brilliant, and I want salespeople especially to listen to this. And Birthdays.

We end with this question - Will Ferrari and Leclerc win the 2022 championship - and what an answer!

Thank you so much to Rick for giving up his time when he should be taking time off. 

Follow him on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rickarus/

 

Or, to be precise, Brent Adamson believes that "Traditional Sales & Marketing are becoming Obsolete"

Brent was the co-author of the Challenger Sales & Challenger Customer process. He authored an article on HBR with the aforementioned title. This leads us to my wonderful guest, Jenna Pipchuk, Chief Sales Officer & EVP Global Sales at SMART Technologies.

I read Jenna's story about how she and her colleague, Jeff Lowe, Chief Marketing Officer, ripped up the rule and redesigned from the ground up, how their sales & marketing functions worked together.

All of this with the global pandemic looming ahead of them.

Out of this was born the "Unified Commercial Engine" or UCE.

Could this be the new model for B2B sales?

We discuss :

The prevailing narrative of the rise of the millennial buyer and their buying preferences in the digital age.

How do you respond to this changing landscape?

When Jenna and Jeff both sat down at the start of this programme of change, they had no idea where they would end up.

How did they get buy-in from leadership? Clue, they didn't.

What was the process to dismantle their sales & marketing cycle, piece by piece?

How it was rebuilt around their customer's buying journey.

What is the complete customer infinity loop?

What do circles and squares have to do with all of this?

What does the organisational skill set of the future look like?

You don't pass the baton anymore, you are on journey together.

What is the secret sauce of the UCE?

and much, much more, including the results this is now yielding for them 2 years in.

If you are really serious about how you can, not only give your clients and prospects a better buying experience, while at the same equipping your teams for the future, this podcast is for you.

You can follow Jenna on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jpipchuk/

This is the HBR article I reference - https://hbr.org/2022/02/traditional-b2b-sales-and-marketing-are-becoming-obsolete

Thank you to Jenna for giving up her time to share her story with me and more importantly, all of you. 

If you didn't believe it could be done, well, Jenna, Jeff and the team at SMART Technologies have shown us the way.

 

 

 

 

"We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom."

I was raised on Pink Floyd, one of my late Father's favourite bands. 

In this episode, I am joined by the brilliant Ash Roots, who at the time of recording was between roles, but now is the Chief Digital Officer at The University of Exeter. Where I spent 4 brilliant years studying French & Spanish, with my 3rd year in the wonderful city of Valencia. 

In this episode, we talk about all things digital and transformation. We move between the corporate world and higher education.

We chat about all things including :

Cereal Boxes

Ash's journey through the internet, having completed one of the first degrees on the web. 

No-one yet can predict the future, as far as we are aware.

Don't judge until it has happened or at least been tried.

Look at the trends.

What can we learn from teaching our parents how to use the VHS.

The Boss is the person who uses your product or service, not your boss.

We all get in the way.

How do you recognise if getting in the way is having a positive or negative impact.

Why you need to put the problem in the middle.

Co-creation vs Collaboration.

How the person sweeping the floor helped land the first mission on the moon.

The principles of value and effort, in making a sandwich. 

Can you capitalise on discomfort when we don't know the answer.

and more. 

Ash has a brilliant way of breaking down complex thinking into easy-to-digest and actionable ideas. I particularly loved our bit on co-creation vs collaboration, as this reset my thinking for sure. 

I also love the fact Ash is taking his experience into higher education, especially where I studied.

You can follow Ash on LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok, yes TikTok.

LinkedIn - (5) Ash Roots | LinkedIn

Twitter - ash roots (@ashroots) / Twitter

TikTok - Ash (@ashjtroots) TikTok | Watch Ash's Newest TikTok Videos

If you choose to connect with Ash, be sure to mention this podcast. If you are a student at Exeter University, please do connect with Ash and myself also. 

Ash, thank you for your time, this is a brilliant episode.

Welcome to another episode of my podcast.

Today we take a slightly different tack, but one that is close to my heart, having spent 5 years as an independent management consultant.

We are all aware of the narrative that is playing out around the "Great Resignation" and "The Great Re-Shuffle" as we all assess our working lives and what this means in how, where and whom we work for. 

My guest today wants to re-imagine how Independent Consultants, collaborate and co-create with each other, and how how they can access the market for work opportunities.

Rollo Crichton-Stuart is the founder of https://www.mychoix.com/  - pronounced "choice" - you will hear the amusing story that led him to this name - not quite the Shoe Dog and Nike swoosh story, but similar.

Whilst this episode leans toward those who are in the professional services marketplace, the vision Rollo and his team have is that this is relevant for all independent consultants who are able to advise across a myriad of subject matter expertise.

Rollo shares his story which led him to build Choix and why.

His experience of serving in the British Army, and challenging the status quo.

This led him into the City,

working in a fund management business,

to leading a transformation project for a global search firm,

to working in PR,

then startup world, to where we are today.

Choix describes itself as :

 
"Redefining Consultancy

Connecting buyers and sellers of professional services have never been so streamlined. At Choix we have built a secure platform that helps consultants and businesses meet, benefiting the entire industry."

For those of us in this market, we are all to aware of the huge demand for talent, and this is where Choix comes in - this is not a recruitment play, but being a marketplace to connect the best independent talent out in the market, with clients who need the flexibility on "the bench".

However, it goes further, in that this is how Rollo and the team are building a community - we are seeing the rise of the "Chief Community Officer" role, and Choix is tapping into the burgeoning market and way of thinking.

Not only this, Rollo is passionate about how Choix can bring those that have taken career breaks, for whatever reason, back into the market in a way that suits their lifestyles, and gives access to brilliant talent for businesses.

We also get paid a visit by a gentleman in a hi-vis jacket on a scaffolding. Which is a first for me on a podcast recording.

I for one know that if Choix had been available when I started my journey as an Independent, I would have wanted to be part of this community. 

Thank you to Rollo for sharing his story and vision, and challenging the status quo.

To learn more, go to www.mychoix.com

Connect with Rollo on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rollo-crichton-stuart-95a07b2/ 

especially if you are interested in joining the team, as you will hear toward the end, he is hiring. 

As always, thank you to my listeners, and, if you believe your networks will find this podcast insightful, please do share!

 

 

In this episode, I am joined by the CEO & Founder of www.upcontent.com - Scott Rogerson.

This is what UpContent does "UpContent is a leading intelligent content discovery technology that helps you drive new, more meaningful conversations with your audience. Quickly find, sort, read, and interact with the news and blog articles that meet your brand’s exacting standards–all while collaborating with your team to identify and leverage the right content, in the right channel, at the right time."

Therefore, I felt that Scott is probably one of the most qualified people to answer this question. I am also glad that it has taken us, probably the longest out of all of my guests, so far, to arrange to have him on the show - entirely my fault - as so much has happened in this space, including the Metaverse, yes we go there, that it gives us so much more to talk about.

So, take a seat at the table as Scott deconstructs, like a Michelin star chef, is content still king? 

-How to build effective relationships through content.

-Curation vs Creation vs Context

-How to provide information to your buyer so they can make an unbiased decision. In your favour.

-What works in how you leverage 3rd party content vs what does not.

-Metrics, what to measure, internal vs external.

-When to measure results, and how.

-What the percentage split should be in your type of content.

-The scourge of "artificial" lifestyle content or "Bragadocious" content and why this damaging your personal brand.

-We do flirt with the Metaverse.

-Scott leaves an easter egg.

-AND

-He does answer the question "Is content still king?"

Thank you to Scott for his time and energy on this episode. 

Thank you to Kate Bradley Chernis of www.lately.ai for connecting us in the first place.

Thank you to my listeners, what do you think, is content still king?

Follow Scott here - https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottarogerson/

Learn more about UpContent here - www.upcontent.com 

 

"Renaissance art marks a cultural rebirth at the close of the Middle Ages and rise of the Modern world" - Wikipedia.

Could the same be said for Marketing and Business Development in the Legal sector - or even more broadly?

In this episode, I am joined by the brilliant Dominic Ayres, who, through lockdown, decided to put pen to paper on "what would he would advise his younger self about navigating a marketing career in a Law firm."

Not an easy question to answer. 

Dominic is the International Senior Client, Marketing and Strategy Manager at Eversheds Sutherland law firm.

If you have never worked in a Law firm, or professional services firm, it is hard to explain the nuances and subtleties that you need to be able to adapt to. You are not working for one business, you could potentially be working for 10, 50, 100 individual businesses. Each with their own "CEO" and team supporting team. 

This requires a fair amount of stakeholder management, up, down, sideways and more. 

Therefore, in Dominic's own words, I have lifted this from his introduction to his book he posted on LinkedIn :

Make 2022 the year you "Be More Purposeful and Strategic with Your Career Direction".

Getting ahead requires you to think strategically, embody specific values to help you stand out among your peers, and successfully navigate and build relationships with internal stakeholders.

‘How to Advance Your Career in Professional Services Marketing’ takes a deep inside look into how to go from a junior role to a senior role within the world of professional services marketing. Previously, if one wanted to learn how to advance their career within the industry in marketing and career management, they would have to learn on the job, read multiple books and combine the information of their own volition. This book takes two topics and combines them in a way that is easily digestible and applicable to wherever you’re at within your career.

In addition to my own experience and guidance, I have sought out some of the best minds from across the industry worldwide to share their guidance and case studies on how they have developed their career and their key recommendations for you to follow. These professionals hold senior, director and CMO positions at some of the largest professional services firms such as the Big4, AM100, Magic Circle and other leading firms.

If you are looking to become more intentional about your career development and excel in your career trajectory, this is the book for you. This book acts as a resource and tool guide to help you progress at each stage in your career to obtain promotions, raises, and become the verified expert within your organization. "

Wow, right?

In this episode, we debate our own, very different journey - Dominic from a Marketing angle, me, from a Business Development perspective. 

I ask :

Has the status quo really changed?

Will Legal go back to type as we return to some form of "normal" (and based on what I am hearing in the back channels, it would seem so for some firms).

Are we just moving the chess pieces around the market in BD & Marketing, or is there a genuine desire to bring expertise and knowledge from outside of Legal and Pro Servs?

How will Legal attract new talent as well as nurture what they have?

Is there a desire within our own community to want to learn what the new world order of Martech and Salestech, let alone AI might mean and how will Legal firms adopt this for their Client Development?

Is it the responsibility of leadership or the broader team to take ownership of this?

It's fair to say, we get stuck in on this podcast and could have discussed a lot more.

Chapeau to Dominic for doing this, it has been a while coming and is much a much-needed topic of debate in this sector.

And of course, as Dominic says "When you’re ready to get serious about your career trajectory, pick up a copy and get started on your future today."

Available from today on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback - http://ow.ly/hOxF50HBatY

Follow Dominic here - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dominicaayres/

As ever, thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode. If you believe your network would find it helpful hear this podcast and get the book, please do share it.

If you are not subscribed, hit that subscribe button!

As ever, my thanks to Dominic and my listeners.

Alex

 

 

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