5 Ways to Beat Sales Burnout and Fatigue

Even during the best of times, sales can take its toll on anyone brave enough to enter the profession. It’s a high-pressure job: you’re constantly putting your paycheck on the line to meet ever-expanding goals while keeping prospects, customers, sales managers, and coworkers happy (not to mention anyone in your personal life).

This is why it’s so important for salespeople to learn how to deal with burnout and fatigue. If you’re not proactive in this area, you’ll end up miserable and unhealthy, and will be more likely to throw in the towel instead of sticking with what can otherwise be a rewarding career.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, there are things one can do to avoid burning out in sales. Here are five:

1. Listen to your body 

There’s a lot of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” motivational nonsense out there, but the overwhelming majority of people should listen to their body instead – whether it wants more sleep, a better diet, or stress relief through exercise. If you don’t you’ll end up paying for it later and, when your sales inevitably suffer, it’ll be the least of your concerns.

2. Take time to disconnect 

It can feel almost impossible to escape the workplace and the constant flow of information we have at our fingertips. You have to shut these off regularly, or the stress will take an insidious toll on your health, whether you notice it or not. Set a deadline every night, after which you can no longer check your phone or email. Or set aside a few hours each day and make your devices inaccessible. It will be difficult at first, but after a while, you’ll start to love your downtime.

3. Get organized 

Chaos is exhausting and a computer, desk, and mind full of clutter is the last thing one wants when they’re trying to beat burnout. If you spend a day (or as long as you need) getting organized, it’s likely to pay dividends for you in long-term peace of mind. Of course, organization isn’t a one-time thing, it’s something you need to stay vigilant about, but being organized takes lots of unnecessary stress off your plate, and allows you to focus on what matters most.

4. Understand that repetition is your job 

One of the most exhausting aspects of sales is the repetition. You constantly have the same conversation, explaining the same features, asking the same questions, and making a similar pitch. After a while, it feels like Groundhog Day – even though, paradoxically, each sale is unique. When you understand that this repetition is part of your job, and one of the reasons why sales people are so well compensated, it’s less likely to lead to burnout. Remember this the next time you ask yourself how many more times you can explain the same thing. It’ll help you weather the storm.

5. Be kind to yourself 

It’s easy to let stress and negativity get to you, and to internalize some of the more difficult aspects of a sales role. However, that’s exactly the opposite of what you should do to avoid burnout and fatigue. We tend to be a lot harder on ourselves than we deserve, which has long-lasting consequences. Remember that the goal is to not only succeed, but to be happy with what we’re doing. So, treat yourself kindly and pay attention to the things you say to yourself because a person who treats themself well, is more likely to succeed than one who does not.

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from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/blog/5-ways-to-beat-sales-burnout-and-fatigue/
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6 Toxic Myths Too Many Salespeople Believe

The internet has done plenty of wonderful things for salespeople, from providing enormous resources to helping us connect with prospects. But it’s also had the effect of normalizing and amplifying toxic myths about sales. 

To be sure, these myths were around long before sales blogs and social media, so they’re not necessarily new. But the communities that have sprung up online have mainstreamed these assumptions like never before. 

We wanted to take a moment to debunk some of these myths, so that people who quietly disagree with them don’t feel like they’re alone. Here are six toxic myths that far too many salespeople believe:  

1. Positions that offer a base pay aren’t “real” sales jobs

There’s something to be said for the sink or swim world of commission-only sales jobs, and it takes a certain kind of drive and self-belief to enter a role without any safety net. There are plenty of reasons why a company might offer a base salary – whether it’s to attract top talent, give staff something to live on during a long sales cycle, or simply to show their commitment to their employees. So, while most salespeople tip their hats to commission-only sales reps, there’s nothing wrong with people who choose a different path.  

2. If you don’t do well in one sales job, then sales isn’t for you

While it’s true that nearly all sales roles share some common characteristics, the idea that all sales jobs are the same is laughable. One company might have a short sales cycle, while another might have a longer one; one might be a high volume inside sales office, while the other might be a higher ticket outside sales force; one might sell a product that has a target customer more closely aligned with a person’s interests, while another might not. All of these variables can determine whether a person succeeds or not. So if one sales job wasn’t a great fit, you should at least try another one before throwing in the towel for good.

3. You can close anyone if you’re good enough

There’s a pervasive myth, propagated by movies like Boiler Room, and Glengarry Glen Ross, that goes something like this: every person is a customer, and the only question is whether you’re good enough to sell them or not. While this might sound heroic and poses a nice challenge to obstacle-loving sales reps around the world, it’s more Hollywood screenwriter fantasy than true life. Not everyone is a buyer and not everyone can be convinced to change their mind – if you’re good enough or if you push hard enough. That being said, this myth does have some utility, since it puts salespeople in a positive, can-do mindset, which isn’t a bad thing when faced with nearly insurmountable odds. But you’d be better served learning how to weed out bad prospects in favor of good ones than trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

4. Making money is all that matters

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that most people go into sales for the money, but if that’s the only reason you stay in it, then you’re not setting yourself up for a satisfying existence. Believing in what you sell, finding joy in making customers happy, feeling like you’re a part of something bigger, or understanding that sales is just one career out of many you’ll have in your life, are all great reasons to believe in what you’re doing – just as long as money isn’t your one and only goal.

5. Salespeople are born, not made

Either you’ve got it, or you don’t, right? Not quite. We’ve all heard the refrain about how there’s the natural salespeople of the world and then there’s everybody else, but if you’ve spent any amount of time in a sales office, you know that’s complete nonsense. Successful salespeople come in all shapes, sizes, and personality types. There are introverts you could never picture starting a conversation who become top producers, and others who recall just how bad they were at selling before being trained. And, there’s a bloody ocean of outgoing, confident extroverts who couldn’t cut it and are now doing something completely different. The truth is, salespeople are born, and they’re made.

6. Work-life balance is for the weak

This toxic myth stretches far beyond sales, and is an indictment of how our work culture glorifies working above well-being. However, a shift seems to be on the horizon as more and more studies have linked a better work-life balance with higher productivity. Sales is a bit more complicated, since your pay is tied to your productivity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the paradigm shift in mind. Sometimes, taking a step back can help you move forward, so make sure you avoid getting burned out, because that’s the inevitable consequence of this myth.

The post 6 Toxic Myths Too Many Salespeople Believe appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/blog/6-toxic-myths-too-many-salespeople-believe/
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Spiro Broadens First Proactive Relationship Management Platform Beyond Sales with Launch of Smart Modules

Platform now provides AI-driven insights and real-time recommendations from prospecting through fulfillment

(Boston, September 12, 2022) Today, Spiro.AI announced it has extended its AI-driven sales platform to provide companies who make, move, or sell physical products with a single platform to manage customer relationships. After months of a controlled roll-out to customers, Spiro.AI is announcing the broad availability of the company’s first six Smart Modules to broaden and deepen visibility into every customer interaction, from prospecting through sales, quoting, fulfillment and ongoing support.

“Right now, the biggest challenge for companies in the supply chain is prioritizing their efforts for the biggest impact, and ensuring their customer relationships are strong,” said Adam Honig, CEO of Spiro.AI. “Manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors need a one-stop customer platform to see every interaction with every customer, quickly and easily. Our AI Engine unifies the information from across the company to provide this 360-degree visibility, and then also proactively alerts employees to actions that should take place, but haven’t.”

The Spiro.AI sales platform provides automated CRM capabilities, sales enablement, analytics, and integrated voice-over-IP in a single platform. With the addition of its Smart Modules, Spiro.AI’s customers can now measure the ROI of marketing campaigns, manage lead distribution by territory and ensure follow up, incorporate product-level information into forecasts, easily send quotes from within the platform, track an order’s status through fulfillment, and even manage support tickets.

Spirit.AI’s six new Smart Modules which keep data all in one place are: Quotes, Tickets, Order Visibility, Marketing Visibility, Territory Management, and Fulfillment. The Smart Modules require the Spiro AI Engine platform, and are now available to any new and existing customer.

Spiro.AI Enables the Smart Enterprise
This is a moment of great opportunity for companies in the supply chain. Their aging workforce is retiring at a rapid pace, they are dealing with logistical nightmares, and the competition in the marketplace is fierce. Companies who get a deep level of visibility and insight into their business will be able to capitalize on this opportunity and turn it into their biggest advantage.

Some tools focus on integrating a sales platform with other applications, like ERP and aren’t able to handle data in real-time. Spiro.AI’s approach goes much further, creating a “Smart Enterprise” where Spiro’s AI Engine unifies, organizes, and oversees everything that happens in systems and apps across your organization. It then makes real-time recommendations for activities that haven’t happened, as well as ones that should happen. For example, the AI Engine will proactively alert the appropriate account manager when there are changes in customer behavior, like an expected order being missed, so it can be addressed before impacting the bottom line.

“We believe the next evolution of Smart Manufacturing is the Smart Enterprise,” continued Honig. “Although the visibility provided by the Spiro.AI platform gives our customers a massive competitive advantage, the real power lies in the real-time recommendations driven by our machine learning and artificial intelligence. What really surprises our customers is that employees don’t actually have to use the product each day to benefit from it – it really is that simple and that powerful.”

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from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/news/spiro-broadens-platform-with-launch-of-smart-modules/
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Make it. Move it. Sell it. — Episode #7

Transcript

Adam Honig: Hello and welcome to Make it. Move it. Sell it. On this podcast, I talk with company leaders about how they’re modernizing the business of making, moving, and selling products. And of course, having fun along the way. I’m your host, Adam Honig, the CEO of Spiro.ai. We make amazing AI software for companies in the supply chain, but we’re not talking about that today. Instead today, we’re talking with Jordan Nollman, the CEO, and principal of Sprout Studios. Sprout is an amazing design studio focused on the visual and physical design of products. Jordan, welcome to the show.

Jordan Nollman: Thank you, thanks for having me.

Adam Honig: Yeah, my pleasure. You guys work on some really cool products and help people really see what can be made of them. Maybe just tell us about a fun project that you guys have been involved with.

Jordan Nollman: We just finished up a breathing coach for CVS, and the local client in Boston as well. That was a pretty fun one, a lot of these projects usually take about six months to get the innovation, get everything behind it, and it’s about another year, year and a half to market. It was really nice for us to kind of see that one come to market and that one kinda happened through COVID too.

Adam Honig: And so a breathing coach, what is that all about?

Jordan Nollman: It’s basically a small pebble and maybe the same size as your iPhone case or iPhone ear-bud case, but something that you put in hand and maybe before you go to bed. Or if you’re having a stressful morning at work, you kinda hold this, and it kind of vibrates to slow you down and has different vibration patterns that will make you hopefully breathe easier.

Adam Honig: Gotcha. I know there’s a lot of people in yoga and stuff like that who talk about bringing consciousness to the breath, and this is like physically reminding you of that. Is that kind of how that works?

Jordan Nollman: Yep, exactly. And for us too, it’s nice to be in the wellness space. That was part of a project where we did probably about 20 different concepts in the wellness space, that was kind of a lower-hanging fruit. Most of what we do is consumer electronics, and it’s an easier consumer electronics to create.

Adam Honig: Yeah, so to your start, how did you get involved in all of this? 

Jordan Nollman: Great question. I have a very solid story here, it was really nice, it kind of came full circle about a year ago when we were pitching HASBRO for some business. So I found industrial design junior year of high school, a solid D minus student. And I was really into art, so I was building a lot of stuff. I was into graffiti, I really liked toys, and my dad and my uncle, we went out for Sunday morning brunch and they were like alright, you can’t pump gas your whole life or whatever, what’s next? And I said I wanna design toys. Didn’t think much of it, next weekend we went out again, and my uncle kind of presented “Oh, I have a friend who’s an industrial designer, and he says RIT is a really good school,” and I said okay. Then as faith would have it, the next week, the RIT advisor was at Freemium high school, and I showed up for the meeting. And within a year I had a portfolio together, I got into school, and really fell in love with industrial design. Never got the toys and then lo and behold, fast forward 20-something years I’m sitting in a meeting with HASBRO showing pictures of me at graduation from  Freemium high school toys, you know motor board full of toys and all the toys that I’ve always collected in the back. And yeah, it’s great to actually finally get to work with HASBRO, and hopefully, be designing some toys soon.

Adam Honig: Yeah. And so when you’re thinking about designing something like that, I’m sure CVS had some requirements that they wanted, but where do you start when you wanna design something like that?

Jordan Nollman: So everything usually starts with research. With this one, CVS had a pretty lengthy, probably like a hundred-page overview on, I dunno, years’ worth of research in different categories. From there we took a couple months to go through their research, do a little bit of our own, and then cherry-pick the nuggets. That would be a great product design. I unfortunately can’t talk about any of the other ones, but there will be a few more coming out, but this is the first one to come to market.

Adam Honig: Oh yeah, we don’t want you to tell us any secrets here. We’ll definitely let you surprise everybody with that. So the idea is it’s a little thing that you hold in your hand that helps you remember to breathe. Do you sleep with it or is it only while you’re awake?

Jordan Nollman: It’s literally just something you’d put in your hand. So you can leave it on your bedside table, you can put it on your office desk, depending where you are, but it’s meant to fit in your pocket as well if you wanted to bring it to the office and it’s a tiny little product. 

Adam Honig: Gotcha. And is there a particular demographic that you designed it for like older people or younger people? 

Jordan Nollman: Kind of middle of the road, I think mainly because if you get too old, they’re just not into technology. And even though it’s pretty simple technology, it may be too much, but yeah, I’d probably say it’s somewhere between the thirties and forties, something like that.

Adam Honig: Cool. Yeah, that definitely sounds like a challenge. What would you say, were there any particular obstacles that you had to overcome when you were thinking about the design or trying to make it manufacturable or anything like that? 

Jordan Nollman: There are a lot of obstacles with manufacturing nowadays as everyone knows, the supply chain is really brutal. But with this one, honestly, we use a lot of commodity electronics, inside of it it’s got a vibration motor, it’s got a small circuit board, You know, there’s really not a ton to it; it’s got a battery, and it’s rechargeable by USB. We got a little bit lucky on this one, in terms of that stuff, whereas we have a lot of other projects we’ve been working on that’s been delayed months, years, type of thing, waiting for components.

Adam Honig: So when you’re working on a project and there’s like a supply chain issue in the design, do you try to factor that in? You advise the client, oh let’s not use this because I know we’re never gonna get it from China for the next nine months.

Jordan Nollman: Yeah. So often we get into the sourcing and manufacturing stages of the project, but it is really at the end. So the design’s done, we’re kind of sitting there and trying to figure out the materials of what’s called a bomb. A lot of that is when we’ll have that moment of we might need to change to an older USB because the new USBs are not available or something like that.

Adam Honig: How frequently is that happening these days? Is it like every other product?

Jordan Nollman: It’s interesting. Again, we’re really front facing, so we’re really working on future concepts. So like the work that we’re doing today is gonna be for three years. It’s good, we see a lot of our clients innovating and pushing limits because we’re assuming the supply chain will be fixed by then, or they’ll probably accept manufacturing in a lot of other places than currently are today. Whereas like some of the projects now that we’re having issues with are the ones that we designed a year and a half ago. And you can’t plan for that, unfortunately. What’s interesting is you just see people going to other places in China and now because they have to, but there are certain things like certain chips that you just can only get there and they’re in short demand and it is what it is.

Adam Honig: Have you seen any trends of any other particular countries like Vietnam or something becoming more prominent? 

Jordan Nollman: Vietnam got really prominent right before COVID actually, which was interesting. So really like 19, I feel like it was a great year for Vietnam. A lot of Chinese companies were moving to Vietnam because it was close and they could move shop over there. Vietnam also, like they’ve always been really big in textile, so anything from clothing to bags, things like that, they started getting more into consumer electronics, I would say around 2019. So it has been a nice safe haven to go for manufacturing. They’re actually very easy to deal with and it’s a great country to visit.

Adam Honig: Yeah, so you’ve been to Vietnam?

Jordan Nollman: I have actually not, I’ve just lived vicariously through one of our clients packed bags, and just eating way too much Vietnamese food and we put together videos of their trips and things like that, but yeah, it’s high on my list to hopefully get there. 

Adam Honig: Yeah, it sounds like a really fascinating place. I don’t know this year, maybe in the future years, I’ll be able to get to that myself.  And I heard there is some good surfing there too, by the way.

Jordan Nollman: That’s another part of my plan, so hopefully we’ll get there soon.

Adam Honig: Gotcha. Okay, so you’re seeing some trends with manufacturing shifting to other locations, a little bit like projects from products that were being designed from a couple of years ago. People are starting to think, oh no, what are we gonna do about these components that we’re missing? So stuff is being completely redesigned or just kind of tweaked around the edges, what’d you say?

Jordan Nollman: No,  just tweaked around the edges and some product launches too are being pushed back. I think what we saw at the beginning of this year and the end of last year is a lot of those delays. And then a lot of people are shooting for that third quarter launching holiday, things like that.

Adam Honig: Right, the ever-important Thanksgiving to Christmas season for things. 

Jordan Nollman: Exactly. And China’s now open, so there’s more hope.

Adam Honig: And I’ve been talking with a lot of people who are concerned on the inflation side, that the cost of a lot of things are going up, how is that coming into the design world?

Jordan Nollman: So for us, again, we just do design only, we don’t have our own products to have to deal with. But yeah, a lot of people you’re just seeing product pricing is going up, they try elsewhere first, but it’s similar to what you’re seeing happening with food and gas. And there’s only so much that you can do until the price has to go up.

Adam Honig: So you’re not recommending the gold plated cases anymore, you’ve had to stop doing all of that because of the inflation?

Jordan Nollman: No, although ironically, some of the really expensive materials that have been sitting for longer because they were so expensive are now affordable. So we are seeing nicer what we call CMF (Colour, Material, Finishes) put on the products because you’re paying just maybe a couple cents more to go with a nicer finish than you would’ve previously just because the ones that were more affordable back in the day are now hard to get, more scarce. And some of the more expensive ones were lying around in the price that came down.

Adam Honig: Gotcha, that’s super interesting. What’s an example of something like a nicer finish?

Jordan Nollman: Well furniture is an interesting one, but so we were doing a project. This is more for computers in stores, but where we were using a lot of Birch ply and that used to go for, I wanna say 45 bucks for a 4 X 8 sheet. And basically it went up to a hundred bucks and it was 120 to get a sheet of walnut so much higher in wood and crazy how much more affordable that became.

Adam Honig: Yeah, so if people are kind of thinking about building products with the materials that they used to think was out of reach, they should reconsider that at this point because maybe it’s just the same price.

Jordan Nollman: Yeah, it all happens in that kind of way, I felt like in our fifth phase, which is like that finalization phase, you’re really working. You like alright, we’ve made all the materials we want and then you go and you do that final cost with that bill of materials and you’re looking at options A and B. And yeah, again for maybe 5 more percent you’re getting a much nicer finish, maybe you could bring the price on the product up higher too so you easily compensate for it.

Adam Honig: I’ve been at a factory recently in Indiana and they were making these industrial coils and they were talking about how do they maintain the quality of electrical conductivity with a lower-grade metal. And so it’s really interesting to see all the different angles that people take to try to keep costs low.

Jordan Nollman: There’s a lot of innovation going on and it’s because it’s necessary. Like let’s just say they only have a certain amount of copper they can use so maybe they try to make it thinner. I’m sure there are lots of different kinds of workarounds people are coming up with and hopefully, it’ll be for the better too, you know, stuff we can use forever once they figure it out.

Adam Honig: Yeah, maybe more sustainable, do you see a lot of clients wanting sustainability in terms of the products?

Jordan Nollman: That’s a really big push for us. We have so many different clients that are working on different levels, actually not so much locally, but we started working with Pratt, which is kind of the largest US manufacturer of all paper packaging products. They do recycle corrugates to you name it.

Adam Honig: And the company is called Pratt? 

Jordan Nollman: Pratt Industries, and they do everything from what you see in the moving aisle at Home Depot for those boxes to what comes with if you’ve seen like a butcher box and it’s like really insulated corrugated boxes which ships in the mail and your meat is still frozen when it gets there. They do a lot of stuff that’s recycled. We’re working with Kohler faucets, kitchens and bath-type things. They’re very much in that sustainability kick and just wherever we can try to do more there.

Adam Honig: Now let me ask you this question, when you think about sustainability, obviously you want the product to be recyclable or be used from recyclable materials, but what about the design? Is there some sort of effort being made to show people that it’s sustainable, like as part of the design so people recognize that?

Jordan Nollman: Yeah, a lot of times you can do that with the material finish I was talking about earlier. So packaging’s a really good example, obviously we’re going with something that’s more cardboard stock with a one color soy-based ink or something like that. It’s very clear, like oh this full color package that used to be completely not recyclable and not made for recycled materials, actually I have one right here, now it looks like this, which is crazy because it’s something I got in the mail.

Adam Honig: Yeah, I can see that, and you can look at it, it definitely looks recyclable right off the get-go, yeah.

 Jordan Nollman: It’s all the way through, and this is for Bronco, it’s like a totally crazy setup. Anyways, that looks like it’s sustainable, everything’s paper, wood, materials are much different.

Adam Honig: Gotcha. Yeah, so this is a podcast, and just for the people watching at home through the radio, Jordan is showing me a very complicated box that’s got a lot of different components, but it really looks like it’s got the right color and feel of it to be recyclable. It just says that way. Do you feel like clients want to put a big recycling stamp on it so it’s even more obvious?

Jordan Nollman: Well yeah, I think with the packaging stuff is very clear, but again, I was gonna say with consumer electronics in general, what you’re seeing now is a gauge where it’s like X amount of bottles saved you might see on the Elkay sink, right? So every time you’re filling up your water bottle, they’re making it clear. Or they might put something across the top of their website to say whatever they’ve done for the environment, or how they’re covered in footprint has gone neutral or is going to in 2025 kind of thing.

 Adam Honig: That totally makes sense. I’ve got this theory that a lot of companies are investing more in packaging as we’ve moved to more things being delivered via eCommerce through the mail. Or whatever sort of shipping area, have you been seeing that sort of trend as well?

Jordan Nollman: I guess where we see it, is it used to be ‘design us a beautiful graphic to put on the package.’ Now it’s designed us a beautiful out-of-the-box experience that somebody’s gonna take their iPhone and do an out-of-the-box unboxing and put it on YouTube, and that’s what they all want now. So yeah, you definitely see that trend and I think it’s good for everything because they want to see that it’s sustainable, and there’s not a lot of plastic in that packaging. We actually started an organization called SeaHive, which is all about zero plastic and packaging. And we have a little certification badge that we throw on there for SeaHive, so it’s been really good. We’ve done this with a couple of our different clients.

Adam Honig: My kind of working hypothesis of today is that every manufacturer, every business wants to be Amazon or Apple. They either want to get every product to you, like in the next hour, just have it automatically show up or they want it to be so beautifully designed that you just are in awe of it.

Jordan Nollman: Yep, those are like the two full powerful designers. As soon as they hear that, they’re like of course, everybody says this, but as a design firm, this is where we push ourselves. So we look at the greats and try to figure out how we can make that experience something for the customers.

Adam Honig: And what happens if somebody shows up, like my friends in the electrical conduit business and they’re like, we want it to be like Apple, how do you work with them on something like that?

Jordan Nollman: Yeah, we’re probably gonna have to pick that one apart. Is it the actual customer experience that you’re talking about? Is it the product, is it actually the way that they’re using electrical conduit? You gotta kind of do a little bit of research to see how that works for their business. So it could just be a really slick website.

Adam Honig: It could be, it is about creating the right perception.

Jordan Nollman: It’s funny. We work in the cannabis space as well, and depending on the different dispensaries or cultivation facilities.

Adam Honig: You said cannabis, I thought you said Canada space. I’m like oh, the great white north, but no, it’s cannabis.

Jordan Nollman: Cannabis. And it’s interesting because some of them are very into agriculture and that’s what they’re all about. And others are very into the tech and the use of the fact that they’re like zero carbon footprint and they’ve got solar panels all over the top of the building and this and that, so that goes into branding them. And we’ve had one that said “Hey, I want it to feel like Apple when you walk into our store. So we went with a very white clean aesthetic and I would say we gave them what they were looking for there. Same thing with their website and their logo.

Adam Honig: Now in the cannabis space, are you designing like cannabis devices too?

Jordan Nollman: We’ve done not so much vapes, but it’s a little bit of a conflict of interest and things like that, but we’ve actually been working on security devices. We’ve got a few different takes at that, so safes that basically we’ll keep children away from, we’ve played with that. We’ve had a lot of requests to work in the vape device space, but we haven’t done any of that yet. And then also childproof packaging, so actually, just physical packaging, different mechanisms, you know, whether it’s pushing down on the bottle cap, which everybody knows, but different ways to do that as well.

Adam Honig: That’s really interesting. I had a guy who pitched me a concept of a camera inside a liquor cabinet, so that every time it opens up, you can see who opens it up, just in case the teenagers get into it. I thought that was a little bit over the top.

Jordan Nollman: So our highest end model when we were working on this project was a basically size of humidor and it did, it had actually had a camera that was inside of it. And I guess it was just keeping track of your stuff and making sure your kids aren’t in there.

Adam Honig: Make sure with the cannabis that you remember that you were in the cabinet and had it. Later you’re like what happened here? Oh, that was me. Yeah, so this is sort of an interesting field because a whole new industry is being created with all kinds of different ideas.

Jordan Nollman: It’s really great. I compare it to craft brewing like 20 years ago. And so it’s different because it’s a drug and it’s not alcohol, but the other side of it is that it’s really gray space for design and so you can shape it and mold it into stuff. And it’s becoming more ubiquitous and more and more states are coming online and whatnot, but you get a blank canvas to do whatever you want, both graphically and physically. And with that experience, we’ve done everything from naming them, doing the strategy for the place itself, then helping to design the showroom and getting into the brand and the packaging and all the promo gear that goes with them.

Adam Honig: Cool. Well, Jordan, this has been really interesting. I’m hoping that listeners get a sense of the importance of design when they’re thinking about creating new products or even changing old products. That’s another thing, taking existing product lines and updating them. I’m sure that’s something that you see a lot of as well.

Jordan Nollman: Totally, and one thing it’s funny, you just mentioned that, but the importance of design, and we spoke on it earlier before we started this, but I was thinking and leading up to this, probably the most interesting, I would say, trend in my business as a small, medium size design firm that we’ve seen is that every other recession, whether back in 2000, it was like the Dotcom blew up and the product design world fell apart. We had nothing to do with it, it wasn’t fair. Then it was 2008, it was the same thing. There were other reasons for that crash. All these places, you can see your business do a dramatic dip. Well this time, which is literally just in the last year or so, we’ve seen it kind of go the other way. Or even since COVID started, it was the first year everybody was just like, what’s gonna happen. But on the second side of it, people just realized they have to innovate, design is that major differentiator for the brand and how they’re gonna come out. So for the first time and with three different dips in the economy, we’re finally seeing that design’s not the first thing getting cut any longer, which is really nice to see.

Adam Honig: Totally makes sense. If you can’t look different, if your product doesn’t look different to people, there are a thousand choices on Amazon. All of them look exactly the same, but if yours looks better, that’s a big differentiator.

Jordan Nollman: Exactly. Yeah, so again, it’s nice, and I feel like, at least in the United States, people have taken note of this and it really is, I guess, the biggest infiltrator in a lot of these brands, especially a lot of the startups.

 Adam Honig: Yeah, definitely. And I definitely am seeing more and more companies on the industrial side thinking about that as well. Predominantly on the packaging because there’s not a lot you can do with the electric conduit and stuff like that. But yeah, definitely seeing a lot of innovation about just how people are thinking. We work with a lot of family businesses, and I think what happens as well is that younger generations are starting to take over some of these more industrial firms and they just grew up in a world where design was part of the experience in a way that maybe our father’s generation didn’t see it that way.

Jordan Nollman: Exactly, typically you’re led by sales and marketing one, and if it’s an engineering founded company, sometimes engineering. So it’s really nice to see design taking the lead all of a sudden.

Adam Honig: Well is there any advice that you would give people out there when they’re thinking about creating the next generation of products or revamping their existing product lines?

 Jordan Nollman: Yeah, this one’s a tough one. It’s specific to the industry of course, but I think for me is really getting your elevator pitch down to the firm that you wanna hire. Like what is it, and try to distill it down to one page of what you want to do. You don’t need to go and write a giant brief because quite honestly, that’ll get thrown out the window once you start the process. But really just being focused on exactly what it is that you’re trying to achieve. Is it just product base or is this your business decision and need to move everything because some technology we’re currently doing is going away.

Adam Honig: Yeah, I think that’s super important. Start with the end in mind. Why do you wanna redo it? Why do you want to think about the design differently? What are we trying to achieve? Not just like oh, I had this great idea, what’s gonna happen if we do that? 

Jordan Nollman: Yeah, exactly. 

Adam Honig: Cool. Well this has been awesome, I really enjoyed chatting with you and getting your perspective on all of this. Hopefully, we can plan that trip to Vietnam soon. Let’s do it. I think for a lot of people thinking about products out there in the world, I think the importance of design is just gonna be increasingly more important. I don’t think it’s gonna slow down, I think it’s gonna accelerate. So I think that this concept is super important. But just for our listeners out there, as a reminder, you can find every episode of the Make it. Move it. Sell it. podcast at Spiro.ai/podcast. And I would challenge anybody to try to say that three times fast. But please, if you like this episode today, you thought that Jordan and I were having a good conversation, please maybe give us a good rating or subscribe and maybe let some other people know about what we’re talking about here. Jordan, you think that’s a good idea? 

Jordan Nollman: Sounds good to me.

Adam Honig: Thanks everybody for tuning in! We’re looking forward to the next episode. 

The post Make it. Move it. Sell it. — Episode #7 appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/podcast/make-it-move-it-sell-it-episode-7/
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How AI Helps New Sales Reps Fill the Void from the Retiring Workforce

With over three million workers retiring early and a rise in general turnover, companies are realizing they are losing key information about their customers. Experienced sales reps are retiring from the workforce, leaving their companies struggling to find new hires with the same skills. Due to these worker shortages, the supply chain must act now to put systems and processes in place that stop knowledge gaps.

In a recent survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, leaders from manufacturing companies see the issue of a retiring workforce as potentially crippling for their industry and the global economy. Respondents call these workforce shifts a major challenge that won’t go away without fresh ideas and new solutions.

Experienced sales reps gain organizational knowledge and subject matter expertise that needs to be passed on. Because of this, training newer staff – and doing it fast – is key. One way to do this is through mentor-mentee relationships which create trust between senior and junior workers. And to support this, automation and digital technologies are vital to success. For this reason, a number of those surveyed plan on investing in new technology.

These challenges are made greater by the use of outdated CRM tools and spreadsheets. These tools require significant effort to provide value. As a result they often go unused and lack important information about customers.

How AI Helps New Sales Reps Fill the Void from the Retiring Workforce

Implementing AI (artificial intelligence) technology into your processes is a very effective way to limit the loss of knowledge from employees that have left your company.

An AI-driven sales platform is also a great resource for new employees who expect to work with modern sales technology. This type of platform can increase productivity, automate manual tasks, and improve transparency by:

1) Automatically creating a record of all conversations (including call transcriptions and recordings) related to an account. This way, a new sales rep taking over a territory can understand the complete history of an account, faster.

Spiro.AI Activities Timeline

2) Automatically logging emails and calendar appointments, taking information out of a salesperson’s head and getting it into a system. This takes mundane tasks off the new rep’s plate and allows them to focus on maintaining and building new relationships.

3) Advising managers and leaders in which accounts need extra attention after a salesperson leaves the company. In doing so, managers can focus reps on what they should prioritize with less of a lag.

4) Spotting gaps in order history, so that if a competitor starts encroaching on your accounts, it can be caught. This gives sales leaders and reps visibility and clear direction on accounts to focus on. Additionally, the Spiro Assistant will proactively alert a sales rep when an order is missed.

Spiro.AI Spiro Assistant Low Order Alert

5) Proactively reminding a rep to reach out to their customers to continue building these valuable relationships. For example, the Spiro Assistant can remind reps to regularly check in with top accounts, and actually provide the recommended email or text to send.

6) Providing new reps with the order history of every customer. Users can easily access this information on Spiro’s web or mobile app and can drill into specific orders to better understand the customer’s business needs. This will help new reps quickly get up to speed in managing their customer portfolio.

Spiro.AI Mobile App Order History

For those still on the team or newly hired, AI won’t eliminate jobs (or suck the insights out of a sales rep’s head the day they leave). Instead, the AI will cut down on the amount of boring, mundane tasks that have to be completed on a daily basis and build a wealth of information for your organization, creating a more knowledgeable and productive workforce.

If you’d like to learn more about how Spiro can benefit your business, schedule a call with our team.

The post How AI Helps New Sales Reps Fill the Void from the Retiring Workforce appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/resources/guide/how-ai-helps-new-sales-reps-fill-the-void-from-the-retiring-workforce/
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6 Ways Salespeople Can Be More Likable to Prospects

It’s not uncommon for people to believe that a prospect will buy from them if they simply offer the best price, or provide the most value. There are, indeed, plenty of potential customers for whom these are the most important factors. But there’s one factor – likability – that not only gives you an edge against your competition, it can actually make up for a higher price and lack of perceived value.

As the saying goes, people buy from people they like. While there are plenty of salespeople blessed with natural charisma, the rest of us are by no means a lost cause. It’s absolutely possible to make yourself more likable to your prospects, putting yourself in a better position to close deals. Here’s how:

1. Listen 

Everybody wants to be heard, and in today’s attention-deficient world, finding somebody who takes the time to listen can set them apart. Train yourself to let others speak without interrupting, interjecting, or cutting them off. If you can master this nearly-extinct skill, you’ll ensure that you’re who the prospect will think of when it comes time to buy.

2. Show enthusiasm 

Communicating in a monotone voice might be easier, but it’ll be difficult to convince somebody that you care about them (or about your own product) if you can’t show excitement when you’re talking. Finish your coffee, listen to some music, or jump up and down before your sales call, just make sure you come at it with all the energy it deserves. Otherwise, you’ll be just another sales drone sucking the life out of the discussion.

3. Be agreeable 

Being agreeable is easy when you actually agree, and much more difficult when the prospect says something you believe to be completely wrong. There’s an art to staying agreeable under contentious circumstances, but you need to decide whether you want to win the argument, or win the deal. Before you disagree, think about your response, then formulate it in such a way that the prospect will know you heard them and respect their point of view, and feel like you want what’s best for them. If you learn how to be agreeable even when you’re pushing back, you’ll almost certainly win more deals.

4. Mirror their language 

While listening, it’s important to keep track of the language the prospect uses to describe their needs, concerns, and understanding of the transaction. Use this same language when asking questions and presenting your options. This not only shows the prospect that you were paying attention, it puts things in familiar terms, helping build rapport and understanding.

5. Ask lots of questions 

How do you show people you’re interested in them? When it comes to sales, you can’t (or probably shouldn’t) send flowers, so the next best way is to ask a lot of questions. The best questions are ones that get people to open up, which is why open-ended questions are great options. If you want clarity, ask follow-up questions, and always let the prospect speak until they’ve said everything they want to. If done correctly, they’ll appreciate somebody showing so much interest and will  provide you with a roadmap of how you can earn their business.

6. Always keep your word 

Likability has a lot to do with personality, but once you’re past the surface-level stuff, it becomes a question of character. Somebody can be a wonderful conversationalist, but if they don’t show up when they promise, they’ll burn through any goodwill they’ve built. Keeping your word and doing what you say you’re going to do is critical in sales, even when it’s not always reciprocated by prospects. And if you ever make a mistake or can’t deliver on what you’ve promised, admit your error and take responsibility – that’s what a likable person does.

The post 6 Ways Salespeople Can Be More Likable to Prospects appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/blog/6-ways-salespeople-can-be-more-likable-to-prospects/
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Make it. Move it. Sell it. — Episode #6

Transcript

Adam Honig: Hello and welcome to Make it. Move it. Sell it. On this podcast, I talk with company leaders about how they’re modernizing the business of making, moving, and selling products. And of course, having fun along the way. I’m your host, Adam Honig, the CEO of Spiro.ai. We make amazing AI software for companies in the supply chain, but we’re not talking about that today. Instead, today we’re talking with Chad and Ryan Howard from RMH systems, which is probably the most successful material handling company that I’m aware of at any rate. So Chad and Ryan, welcome to the show.

Chad Howard: Thanks Adam, good to be here.

Adam Honig: Yeah, it’s great to talk to you guys, it’s not often I get to talk to two brothers on the podcast at the same time. Ryan, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of stories about Chad, but we’ll save that for later, after the podcast when we can talk about him, just you and me maybe.

Ryan Howard: Yeah, you only gave us 15 minutes, so I don’t think we’re gonna have enough time. 

Adam Honig: Yes, I understand, there’s a lot to talk about there. So Ryan, you’re the president of RMH systems, Chad’s the general manager, and I know that there’s a lot of focus on your business in the culture, and how you develop the team, the staff, and so on. Chad, maybe you could just give us a quick background on the business and a little bit about some things that you guys are really focused on.

Chad Howard: So RMH systems, our family took over, bought the company in the early nineteen nineties, and we’re primarily focused on the industrial automation world. And that spans across material handling, which would be conveyors, rack equipment, and cranes. And then there’d be packaging equipment as well, and line packaging equipment then also robotics too. And Adam, as I’m sure you’ve seen in the world, in the labor force it’s hard to attract and retain labor. So robotics is becoming more and more prevalent in different manufacturers across the US.

Adam Honig: Yeah. Now I’ve got a question, so your family bought the business, did you guys all sit around and were like “Dad, I really wanna go into the material handling business. I’ve got this thing, I think it’s gonna be big, and there’s a lot of people who need it.” Like how did that happen?

Chad Howard: I’m sure Ryan will say the same thing, but both growing up, we were both active in sports and I don’t even know if we knew what material handling really was or is, and so it took a little convincing. We went to college, both had finance degrees at the University of Iowa, and then we both went and did our own thing. Ryan was in healthcare, he got a master’s in healthcare, I went to a software consulting company in Chicago. And then I think we saw the benefits of being an entrepreneur and working within the family business. We had more and more conversations with our dad and I guess we networked pretty well with him, he was nice enough to bring us on board.

Adam Honig: Well that’s great that you’ve got that great relationship with your dad, would be kind of sad otherwise. So Ryan, how does that come into the way you guys work with employees being a family business at all?

Ryan Howard: Well it’s certainly a different dynamic in a family-owned business, family-owned businesses can be very small and there are very large family-owned businesses out there in the world. And for us, it’s an important piece to our culture. We have worked hard to maintain that family feel to the business as we’ve grown. Since our grandfather took over in the early nineties, it’s gone from about 15 people to 115 people and I think we’ve tripled in the last 10 years. So it’s grown quickly and we now span over five states. So it becomes difficult to maintain that same corporate culture, I shouldn’t say corporate culture, just maintaining that same company culture across branches, across states as you grow quickly. And we work pretty hard and make it a priority for not only our various management teams across the branches to uphold those cultural values, but we put a lot of onus and ownership on the entire team to be a part of it. And a lot of it comes down to our hiring and interviewing processes, we don’t want just talented folks, we want people that will uphold and adhere to how we like doing things. And being a part of the team in the right way, and doing things the right way that we’ve done now for 30 years. And so it permeates through a lot of the different things that we do within the business.

Adam Honig: Yeah. Now do you use a particular hiring approach? For example, we use the “Who” methodology, it’s kind of a goofy name, but it’s by this guy, Jeffrey Smart, who wrote this book about interviewing and so on and we found it to be very effective. Is there a similar methodology that you guys use for that?

Ryan Howard: I’ve read the book by Mr. Smart, it’s a good book, I like the model. We’re trying to grow up quickly, and we’ve gone from being a pretty small regional family-owned business to now, I like to say we’re a big, small business. But things like HR and marketing, those things kind of are on the tail end of your growth because you’re trying to figure those things out with a few management level people that maybe don’t have backgrounds there. And I think we’ve gotten better at it over the last couple years. We’ve added an HR manager, which has helped formalize our process quite a bit. I don’t think we adhere to a very specific methodology that’s defined in the market, but we’ve become much more particular in our hiring process. We used to just rely on our gut instinct quite a bit and it wasn’t bad. We’ve had a good run of hires, but now we involve a lot more people in the process to bring different perspectives, even if it has nothing to do with the actual role. And I think there’s a lot of commentary about shortening the interviewing process out there on the market right now. We’re actually lengthening our interview process, adding different layers, we add in a social aspect just because it’s so hard and so costly to hire someone that doesn’t fit. If you have to flip that person over or replace that person because they left or they didn’t work out, it’s expensive, time consuming, and it hits morale too. So we’re pretty thoughtful in particular in the interviewing process and we make sure we get a lot of perspective on that person beforehand.

Adam Honig: Yeah, that totally makes sense. I know a lot of people that I’ve been talking with are worried about employee resignations and it feels like this whole period that we’re in is really causing people to rethink what they want from their careers and their jobs. Our former head of sales decided that she wanted to move to Vermont and open up a women’s clothing boutique and that’s what she did. It was just like one day, that’s what she did. I think the pandemic in particular has caused people to revisit these choices. Chad, maybe you can jump in there, have you guys been seeing that in your company or with suppliers or customers or how’s that been going?

Chad Howard: We’ve been seeing it a lot with our customers, I would say mostly. A lot of our customers are in the manufacturing industry. So they’re hiring workers to work for hourly wages and they are struggling to find that labor, and struggling to find people who want to come in and do repetitive jobs for eight hours a day, and let’s face it, probably not the best conditions. It’s pretty much summertime and warehouses can get pretty hot in the summer.

Adam Honig: There’s not a lot of air conditioning in those factories I’ve seen.

Chad Howard: No, there’s not. It can be a grind for a lot of these workers, and so some of them are going to other industries. Some of them are going to the manufacturer across the street who has a sign out front that says they’ll pay them $1 extra, so it’s a struggle. So yeah, we’re definitely seeing the great resignation and in our industry we’re doing a lot of things to keep people within our company, granted we’re selling to these manufacturers. But somewhat going back to Ryan’s point about the interviews too, that process for us doesn’t stop once they sign on board with RMH. We’re doing our best to make sure that they’re thought of first, you know, throughout their whole career, but those first 90 days, we’re staying with them. We’re giving them a gift basket when they show up that first day as some of their favorite things. We’re setting them up with a buddy system, if you will, where nothing will get reported up to management, but they just have a place to go where they feel they can talk about whatever they wanna talk. I guess basically talk about management, so if they wanna talk about Ryan and Chad probably.

Adam Honig: Let’s ask you this, most of your staff is coming to one of your facilities today, do you have a flexible work program or how does that work for you guys? 

Chad Howard: Yeah, we don’t have anything written in stone, but we do have people who are working remotely or have some sort of hybrid approach. So we still like to see people come to the office, we still value and think that there is value in people showing up. You get good communication and things just seem to happen at an office, but we do understand people have lives outside of work. Some days they might need to take their kids to a doctor appointment. Sometimes they’re able to just get more done from home, so we are flexible in that nature. We don’t have anything written in stone, but we just like to keep the communication lines open.

Adam Honig: Now, I’m curious, when you think about the different initiatives at your business, how big a deal is, I don’t wanna say HR, but I’m talking about employee relations with like the team and retention and hiring, where does that rank? I mean, you guys are obviously in a business with physical products and a lot of people think about inventory levels, and stuff like that, but I kind of get the sense this is a top priority for you guys.

Ryan Howard: Yeah, I would consider it at the top. And it’s not one that has surfaced all of a sudden because of what’s going on. I think we’ve strived pretty hard to keep that at a top-level priority. I mean we don’t make anything, we are a distributor, we’re an equipment integrator, so we do sales engineering and service. We are completely in the service and people business, so our business thrives because of the people we have on our team. And like I mentioned earlier, to have somebody leave that’s a talented person or good at what they do is extremely costly. Both in the direct costs of then having to hire, but then the indirect costs and what’s lost with that person and the transfer of knowledge and the relationships and all that sort of stuff. So we as a leadership team spend a lot of time talking about the strategic direction of the company, where we’re going, what the next quarter looks like? What do the next two years look like? Where do we need to expand? What markets do we need to be in? What people do we need to develop and all of those decisions and all of that strategic thinking is really at the forefront guided by our culture. And we’re not gonna make decisions for growth that are gonna reflect poorly on the culture or have an impact there. 

We are completely dependent on our strong team and we have been so blessed with the team that we have. We’ve got great people that care about what they do. They care about the people that work here. And so it’s incumbent upon us to constantly be evolving, to make sure we’ve got a physical work environment that people like coming to, we’ve got a benefits package that supports people. There are flexible programs that allow people to achieve their goals that they have in life, but also live their lives with a balance with what’s going on with their families. It’s a pretty complex, robust subject, but it’s our job to keep it at the forefront and make sure we’re up with the times. And also have a good pulse of what the team needs and wants around here as far as an employer-employee relationship. It needs to be a relationship, it can’t be a traditional contract. It’s gotta be something that has life to it and is active and open.

Adam Honig: Yeah, I really get that family ethos coming out of it. I can really tell that from the way you guys are talking about it just how important it is. I do wanna shift topics for a second though, I wanna talk about material handling because this is a topic that I know there’s a lot of interest in.

Ryan Howard: That’s what everyone says, they say can you just hold on, I want to talk about material handling.

Adam Honig:  I wanna talk more about material handling. I’m sure that at a lot of cocktail parties, Chad’s out there talking about the Cubs or whatever, and he’s like no. But in all seriousness, I’m really curious, like from your experience, this whole issue with the supply chain challenges that people have been having in terms of being able to get materials, and the lead time. I’ve been talking with people about how they’ve been stocking extra inventory. Some of the people are saying we’re stocking extra inventory to deal with the supply chain. Some people are like we’re still running as lean as possible, even if that means that we’re missing out on some sales. What are you seeing from your perspective?

Chad Howard: Yeah, the whole stocking inventory thing, if you were to ask us a couple years ago about stocking inventory at RMH, we would’ve said yeah, probably not what we’re gonna do, but we’re having those talks right now. And we are starting to stock some inventory. But to your question Adam, we’re seeing that customers are struggling with the lead times, and our vendors are struggling to meet the lead times. The lead times, what used to be a two week item two or three weeks ago could be a 16 to 20 week lead time right now. So it puts a strain on our customers and where we focus then is on over communicating with our customers, letting them know weekly every couple weeks what the status is of that piece of equipment or the project; you just can’t communicate enough. And even with communication, it’s still sometimes a question mark of when that part or when that piece of equipment is going to come in. 

Adam Honig: I imagine with your solution, just one component can hold up the whole thing. I think that’s because you’re putting in like a whole line for somebody to help them build something or package something and you’re integrating these different solutions together.

Chad Howard: Correct. Yeah, so we could be integrating an entire conveyor system at a distribution center. And for your listeners, I’m sure a prime example they’ve all seen is the car issue and the car shortage with the chips. It’s something like that, we could have motors that aren’t coming in for the conveyors, and that’s the only part that we can’t get. But we can install a conveyor system without something to drive it, so it definitely could be the one part.

Adam Honig: Yeah. Now one of the things that has been coming up a lot for me when I’ve been talking with people is something like the Amazonization of customer expectations. Everybody’s so used to ordering stuff online, getting stuff quickly, being able to go online and see the status. Are you seeing that kind of bubbling up in your customer base too?

Ryan Howard: Yes, everybody’s trying to figure out how to do things quicker, faster, and more automated. And a lot of the supply chain issues stem from labor shortages and labor issues. And so yeah, everybody’s trying to figure out how to do things with less and do things in a quicker way which usually is dependent on software and equipment. So it’s a good time to be in the world that we are because we get to help companies figure out how to do that. But because of the supply chain issues, there are a lot of challenges in getting to that. And a lot of the world we work in is in the B2B world, so we do work with the Amazon retailers and all of that, but it’s maybe less of something that we’re familiar with or seeing. 

Adam Honig:  So I know you guys are in the B2B world, but even though you’re selling to businesses, I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that their business customers, their expectations have changed about communication, about delivery time because of their personal experiences with platforms like Amazon. And I guess I was just wondering if you guys have seen any sentiment changing from your customers just about e-Commerce, and all of that?

Ryan Howard: Yeah, it’s a good question, and it’s had a tremendous ripple effect through all industries. The consumer now expects a package to be delivered the same day that they order it.

Adam Honig: You were trying to figure out an item that you ordered, that you could say on the podcast.

Ryan Howard: Amazon and Target are at my doorstep every single day. So the Howard family is a strong supporter of both companies, but it’s a great question because it’s infiltrated every industry. B2B or B2C it’s the expectation that things get there quickly. And so the things that are happening right now in the supply chain, for people like us that are in the background or for our customers or you, our vendors too, it creates a lot of stress because your companies wanna do things quicker, they wanna do things more automated. And it’s because there’s an expectation of getting things done now so that they can fulfill orders and they can grow their business and make more money. And so it’s gonna be interesting to watch especially as artificial intelligence continues to take hold of the industries. And even beyond that, Web 3.0 and some other things are gonna change the way the supply chain works. And we’re kind of in a transition period of moving to a fully automated supply chain. And so we get to be at the forefront of some of that and help our customers think through a lot of that stuff. But Amazon has certainly had its impact across the board, it’s changed the dynamic of the supply chain and fulfilling orders.

Adam Honig: Yeah, I’m sure there’s somebody working on the blockchain supply chain combination right now, but not me.

Ryan Howard: Not me either.

Adam Honig: Yeah, it’s an interesting topic, but I can definitely see the solutions that you guys provide, all being crypto-ized at some point here, so just tokens coming down the packaging line or something like that. 

Ryan Howard: Yeah, 10 NFTs for a stick of conveyor or something like that.

Adam Honig: Exactly, but that’s all non-physical goods, which isn’t something that I’m super concerned about. We’re focused on companies that make real things, not this kinda crypto stuff or whatever. But hey, this has been really great, I really appreciate you guys coming on the podcast. And Ryan and Chad, what I’m kind of taking away from this episode is really a lot of good insight about how to create a great culture in the company to kind of deal with some of the issues that we’re facing about employee relations in this time of day. And a little bit about the supply chain, how people are dealing with it and over-communicating, I think Chad said over-communicating about issues and just being on top of it. And that’s been a trend that I feel like I’ve been hearing from a lot of folks about how to deal with this moment that we’re in, which is probably, by the way, gonna continue for a while. I mean you guys don’t think the supply chain challenges are just gonna clear up by Christmas or something like that?

Chad Howard: No, I think it might be the new norm. 

Adam Honig: Yeah, exactly, so it’ll be interesting as always. But listen, thanks for joining us, and as a reminder for the audience, you can find every episode of the Make it. Move it. Sell it. podcast at spiro.ai/podcast. And if you’re having trouble falling asleep, I advise you to try to say that over and over again. But when you do subscribe, if you like this episode and you thought that Ryan and Chad provided you with some insights today, please rate the podcast highly, maybe leave a comment. I don’t know, whatever else people do on the podcast platform. So please support the podcast by sharing with a friend, maybe that would be good. Don’t you think guys, people should do that?

Ryan Howard: Absolutely, I expect this to get at least seven or eight likes.

Adam Honig: All right, well that’s great. I appreciate that. 

Chad Howard: We’ll be two of them.

Adam Honig: Yeah, exactly, the three of us will all like the podcast. That’s perfect. All right, so thanks everybody for tuning in, and we will look forward to speaking to you at the next episode. 

Chad Howard: We appreciate you reaching out and having us on, that’s really cool. 

The post Make it. Move it. Sell it. — Episode #6 appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/podcast/make-it-move-it-sell-it-episode-6/
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4 Reasons Why Salespeople Won’t Be Replaced by AI

For well over a decade, the impending demise of the (human) salesperson has been the topic of conversation. The theory goes something like this: at some point in the near future, artificial intelligence will become so advanced that it will completely eliminate the need for a human seller, leaving the millions of people who make their living in sales without a job. For those of us who pay our bills through sales, it’s a scary prospect, and for other, the idea of a live human being eliminated from the buying process can be somewhat disconcerting, too.

But, to paraphrase a great American writer, the reports of the end of the human salesperson have been greatly exaggerated. While it’s true that artificial intelligence will replace many time-consuming tasks that salespeople are currently stuck with completing (Spiro’s AI eliminates manual data entry and offers proactive insights and recommendations), there are limits to how effectively AI can replicate the human behavior necessary to close deals.

Here are four reasons why salespeople can won’t be replaced by AI:

1. Because only humans are capable of true empathy 

AI can be programmed to respond to questions and to recognize patterns in communication, but it can never learn true empathy, which is a fundamental value in sales. To be able to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and to truly understand what’s driving their thought-process and decision-making requires a human mind, and there’s no robot that can effectively pick up on all the subtleties of human interaction, no matter how much body language training and voice recognition you provide. Humans are truly unique and empathy is one of the biggest reasons why.

2. Because technology can’t answer every question 

While technology can answer a huge list of pre-programmed questions, it can’t answer extremely complicated ones, or ones that have a human element. To be even more precise, it’s unlikely that technology will ever be able to understand the implications of certain questions, especially when they have hidden meanings. This ties back to empathy and being clever enough to understand that just because a prospect asks a certain question, doesn’t mean they’re looking for a direct answer. Sometimes, the question merely uncovers the true problem or need, and a machine will be unlikely to pick up on such nuances.

3. Because robots can’t ensure a prospect isn’t bored 

Marketing and advertising legend David Ogilvy once said: “You cannot bore people into buying your product,” and he was certainly onto something. A machine can feign interest, but can it ever make a prospect feel enthusiasm? There’s a reason why movies, books, and music are almost always about people; humans are social creatures and we strive to talk to, learn about, and listen to other human beings. Once a robot gets introduced into the mix, there’s little to care about except the novelty.

4. Because relationships drive many business decisions 

At the end of the day, many business decisions (especially purchases) are driven by relationships. While a machine may have the ability to act friendly and helpful, it’s unlikely to ever build a true bond with a person, which can form the basis for business dealings and long-term relationships. On the flip side, salespeople who act like machines are unlikely to see the same kind of success as salespeople that are skilled at developing trust.

The post 4 Reasons Why Salespeople Won’t Be Replaced by AI appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/blog/4-reasons-why-salespeople-wont-be-replaced-by-ai/
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4 Bad Reasons to Leave a Sales Job (and 4 Good Ones)

Sales has a high turnover rate. Anyone who has spent considerable time in the profession has seen salespeople come and go, from the chronic job-hoppers to the short-termers: those who dipped their toe into the water, only to move on when things didn’t work out exactly as planned.

There is, however, a significant difference between those who quit their job for the right reasons and those who quit for the wrong ones. Making an impulsive decision can backfire and leave you filled with regret, while staying somewhere despite all indications that it might be a bad idea can mean a major missed opportunity.

We’ve put together a list of good and bad reasons to leave a sales job. Make sure to keep these in mind before making a switch:

Bad reasons to leave a sales job: 

1. You’re not making a lot of money right off the bat 

Most people go into sales for the earning potential, but too many jump ship before they’ve put in enough time to get a major return on their investment. There are some sales jobs where you can start making the big bucks quickly, but for most, you’ll need to spend months or years building up a pipeline, immersing yourself in the industry, and earning a reputation for doing good work. If you’re in your third month and you feel like you’re not earning what you deserve, consider whether you’re being impatient.

2. You don’t get along with a specific coworker 

Relationships with coworkers are important, but you can’t get along with everybody, and quitting a job because of another person does a disservice to your potential. Workplaces can be breeding grounds for interpersonal conflict, especially among the colorful personalities of various salespeople. But if there’s somebody you’re regularly clashing with, try to keep your distance or come to a professional understanding first before you throw in the towel and quit in frustration.

3. Problems at home 

There’s no question that problems at home can make life in the workplace more difficult and vice versa. But if you intend to quit your job because of something at home, first ask yourself whether it would actually help things. In many cases, resigning a job can actually make your problems worse, not only because of the loss of income and benefits, but because of the structure a workplace can provide. If it’s possible to fix problems at home without letting them affect the workplace, that’s almost always the better option.

4. You’re in a sales slump

Sales slumps can be dreadful, and when you’re in one, it can feel like you’ll never close another deal ever again. This, however, is not a good reason to quit a job, even if you might feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Even the best of the best can fall into a sales slump, but the key is to keep plugging away rather than throwing in the towel. Giving up an opportunity because of a bad few months is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater — don’t be in such a hurry to give up.

Good reasons to leave a sales job 

1. You don’t believe in the product 

Sales is difficult enough when you do believe in what you’re selling, but when you don’t, it’s almost impossible to perform at a high enough level to make an impact. If you don’t believe your product provides value, that it’s competitive, or that it solves people’s problems, then moving on might be a good idea. Just be sure that you don’t run into the same problem at your next job, because if it keeps happening, then it might have more to do with you than with the products you’re selling.

2. An uncompetitive comp plan

Complaining about the comp plan is practically a sales pastime, and grumbles shouldn’t always be taken at face value. There are, however, instances where the comp plan truly doesn’t make sense, and crosses the line from frustrating into uncompetitive. To be sure, you should always confirm you’re getting accurate information about what other companies are offering and how your employer’s comp structure compares, but if it becomes clear that the company isn’t showing that it values its salespeople based on the pay plan, it probably makes sense to move on.

3. There’s a significantly better opportunity available 

Oftentimes, after one salesperson leaves to go to another company, there will be one or two (or more) other salespeople who follow. Opportunities are aplenty for decent salespeople, and in many cases, the risk pays off. Just be careful not to get in the habit of switching jobs too often, because you run the risk of making it look like you’ll cut and run at the first sign of a shinier object. Still, if an offer is too good to turn down, there’s no reason not to make the jump.

4. A toxic workplace 

This is perhaps the best reason to leave a sales job, and, unfortunately, not an uncommon one. A toxic workplace can affect every aspect of your job and bleed into your personal life too. That being said, workplaces seem to be taking a more proactive approach to their employee’s happiness, driven by a desire to appeal to younger generations who value a healthy company culture. But if your employer is still stuck in the past and refuses to leave the toxicity behind, then don’t feel the least bit bad about moving on.

The post 4 Bad Reasons to Leave a Sales Job (and 4 Good Ones) appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/blog/4-bad-reasons-to-leave-a-sales-job-and-4-good-ones/
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Make it. Move it. Sell it. — Episode #5

Transcript

Adam Honig: Hello and welcome to Make it. Move it. Sell it. On this podcast, I talk with company leaders about how they’re monetizing the business of making, moving and selling products, and of course having fun along the way. I’m your host, Adam Honig, the CEO of Spiro.ai. We make amazing AI software for companies in the supply chain, but we are not talking about that today. Instead, we’re gonna be talking with Danielle Cumbee, the director of sales integration at Spectrum Automotive Holdings. Danielle, welcome to the podcast.

Danielle Cumbee: Thanks for having me Adam.

Adam Honig: You betcha. Now I know that a lot of people probably already know what Spectrum Automotive Holdings is all about, but for the few people who don’t, maybe you could just give us a quick overview.

Danielle Cumbee: Absolutely. I’m happy to do that. So Spectrum Automotive, we are a holding company and we have a portfolio of over 20 different businesses growing every single day that service primarily automotive dealerships. And so our businesses do a variety of different types of consulting and product providing for automotive dealerships all across the country. Everything from when a dealership sells a vehicle, we help provide them with products and service them and train their people in the dealership and consult with them so that they can get maximum profitability when they do sell vehicles out of their dealership all the way through post-sale. We have companies that help dealerships market to their customers throughout that life cycle of the customer all the way after they’ve taken their vehicle home. So we do a lot of different things in the automotive space but all of it is designed to support and consult for car dealers.

Adam Honig: Gotcha. Now car dealers in my mind’s eye, they’re probably like the most successful example of a class of distributors in the country, maybe in the world. Sometime back in the past, the car dealer said we don’t wanna sell our cars directly to customers. Maybe in the 1930s, they set up these distribution networks and it worked out great for them. But what’s really interesting, Danielle, is having a chance to talk with you. I get the sense that auto dealers are not always what people think they are, they’re more like coral reefs than like a solid house or something like that. They’ve got all these different parts and things that they offer, all these additional services. Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to be an auto dealer?

Danielle Cumbee: So I, myself haven’t obviously had experience as an automotive dealer, but you’re exactly right, they have all these different moving pieces under their roof. You know, a lot of times consumers think that they’re just going there, and the only thing that a car dealer’s purpose is is to provide them with a vehicle option to buy and take home and drive for the next three to seven years. And in actuality, they offer all these different services. They are helping them service and keep that vehicle going. Anytime they need accessories for that vehicle, if they need something done to that vehicle, they’re providing them with various services, helping them get to and from work or to and from their house so that they can drop that vehicle off. And so there’s all these different components to what dealers do and dealers that are looking at and offering more unique services and products to their customers. Sometimes even have things like concierge services and things that they’re providing to their customers as well.

Adam Honig: Right. So it’s like a whole business empire in a way with all this other stuff. I had this terrible situation happen to me, I got a flat tire and I had to go to the dealer because I couldn’t unlock the lug nut off of my car. Who knew that three years ago when I bought the car, there was a key to take the lug nut off because where I live, which is obviously a very high crime area, people are likely to steal my tires, I guess. 

Danielle Cumbee: I also recently learned that that was a thing too.

Adam Honig: Yeah exactly, so this is another add-value service that they sold me, which was unlocking my own tire. But when I was there, I was talking with the dealer about ceramic coating for the car and all kinds of other things I never even had heard of, but there I was getting the sales pitch. So yeah, it’s super interesting. So there’s a lot of talk about cars in the news today Danielle, because there are a lot of shortages, and I know a lot of people who are trying to buy cars that have long waits right now for cars. So I imagine that’s putting a lot of pressure on the car dealerships, they can’t sell as many vehicles as they’d like to.

Danielle Cumbee: It absolutely is. They’re trying to find inventory anyway that they can because of all the supply chain issues that they’re dealing with that are a chain reaction of everything that’s happened with COVID. So I’m sure a lot of people listening have probably gotten letters more frequently than they ever have before from dealers asking them if they wanna come in and trade in their vehicle or they’ll help them pay off their payments to get another vehicle. So there are all kinds of different things happening in the automotive space than we’ve ever seen before at an exponential level than we’ve ever seen.

Adam Honig: I’m really curious, do you get any sense as to how this has impacted the sale price of cars? Is it up, is it the same?

Danielle Cumbee: It is certainly up, they’re not selling as many vehicles and so dealers are trying to maintain as much of their profits as they can with the limited inventory that they have to work with. And so they’re doing everything that they can to find ways to add other services and add other value to what they’re offering to their customers which is where we try to come in a spectrum to help and support the dealers that we do business with.

Adam Honig: So let’s just dig into one of those examples. Can you tell us a little bit about one of the best-selling things that you work with dealers on? 

Danielle Cumbee: Yeah, absolutely. So something that we increased our business on when the pandemic happened was from one of our company’s APC [Automotive Product Consultants], they offer a post-sale marketing service to dealers. And so what happens is dealers now have this limited inventory, they’re not selling as many vehicles, but they still wanna maintain their F&I profitability. 

Adam Honig: Just tell us what F&I is for people who are not in the industry.

Danielle Cumbee: Sure, absolutely. So that means finance and insurance, and it’s basically the protection products that a dealership is offering to their consumers either at the time when that consumer purchases a vehicle or after the fact. The dealers have a number of different ways to do that, but a lot of dealers don’t always take advantage of those other ways post-sale, right, after the point of a customer sitting in the dealership, buying their vehicle. So what APC offers to a dealer is actually a free service which oftentimes dealers are silly not to take advantage of. And they help that dealer market to all of their customers that didn’t purchase a service contract at the time that they purchase their vehicle. And so those customers are driving in that vehicle, they’re having repairs done, and probably the majority of them at some point or another throughout their life cycle are going to have a need for a service contract or to have a repair done. And a service contract helps to mitigate the cost that they’re spending out of pocket. 

So what APC does is they help dealers market to that database of their own customers to make sure that they’re sending them a letter when they’re most likely to purchase a service contract. Or when they probably are most likely to need that service contract to try and sell them one on behalf of the dealer after the fact of that sale. And so that’s something that we offer as one of our portfolio companies, as a service to dealers, where they don’t have to sell another vehicle to increase the profitability of their dealership. And so that’s just one example of a solution that dealers can look at when they’re kind of in this unique market and they’re having challenges getting ahold of more inventory.

Adam Honig: Yeah, I can see this type of service being very applicable to other types of distributors. I was talking with a large HVAC distributor mostly for commercial, but some residential as well. And they’re facing the same situation, anytime they wanna go and do an install, they’re like three or four months out at this point just because of the supply chain issues. And so while their sales are fine, their profits are a little bit pressured because they don’t have the product to do things. So if they were offering different types of post-sale warranty or different things like that, it could really help them boost their bottom line as well.

Danielle Cumbee: Absolutely. Milestone is another company that we have under our portfolio at Spectrum. They are primarily a data company, and so they work in the automotive space, but they also deal in the home warranty space, healthcare and different things like that.

Adam Honig: Well, I bet it all comes from a customer’s need. Like at some point, there’s somebody at the dealership who’s saying, wow, I really wish I had bought that extended warranty, or I really wish that I had a key to the lug nut on my tire or whatever the thing is that people need. So it’s probably the kind of situation that when distributors are trying to figure out what other sorts of things they could be offering, probably just asking is a really good way to start.

Danielle Cumbee: Absolutely. I’m sure you’ve watched shark tank before. It’s the guy that’s sitting at his home going I wish I had this thing, and so he sits there and he comes up with it and it’s a mouse trap that works. You know, it happens all the time with independent inventors and then it’s also happening within businesses. They’re trying to be innovative and say, what do we have our customers asking about or surveying them and trying to find out what are they looking for? What are we not providing that we can add to our list of services?  

Adam Honig: Let’s shift gears for a minute. So one of the cool things about Spectrum and your role is that you guys are constantly buying new companies to help service these dealerships. And I know that that’s gotta be pretty challenging, especially to integrate all kinds of different sales teams together.

Danielle Cumbee: No, it is a huge challenge. And it’s something that we work to try to get better at every single time that we do it. But I think we’ve finally gotten into a great groove of it. And we leverage our partners like you guys for our CRM. We try to use a consistent system across all of our different businesses as much as we’re able to, but it’s definitely a challenge. There are a lot of personalities, depending on the types of businesses we’re acquiring. You know, some people have owned those businesses for 20- plus years and that’s their baby. And so we really have to work hard to integrate all of those cultures together and make sure that we’re presenting them with the value that we offer as a holding company and what we’re bringing to the table and making sure that everybody feels comfortable and knows that they made the right decision at the end of the day.

Adam Honig: How much of the thought about what to do with the company when you buy it starts during the acquisition process. Like right up front, you’re like I don’t know if these guys are gonna fit. Is that part of the process?

Danielle Cumbee: I think that we typically feel like we have fine-tuned our process to make sure that we’re making the right decisions on the companies so that we feel like they’re the right fit for us if we’re proceeding with that purchase. On the flip side, sometimes we have a lot more work in some situations versus others to make sure that those companies feel like they made the right decision to come on board with us. So it’s a lot of hand-holding and reiterating the value that we’re bringing to them, and why this was a great decision for them. We wanna make sure that their people feel comfortable because sometimes they’re not involved in the process until we actually complete that transaction. And so we have to wrap our arms around them a little bit and make sure that they know that this is okay, here’s the expectations, but we’re here to help you through it. It seems a little bit overwhelming, but we want to make sure that it’s as smooth a process as possible.

Adam Honig: Well, it can be super tricky. I mean I know I’ve sold two businesses that I’ve started and one was a complete disaster I have to say, and then the other was fine. And the one that was a disaster, so we were a 300 person company, we sold the business and one year later there were two employees still working for the company that bought us and being able to retain the people. I mean that’s the most important thing when you buy a business. And the first company was such a disaster because the company that bought us really didn’t know why they were buying us. It was like the CEO’s idea, and he was gone within three months after buying the company and everything just went to heck after that. The second time I sold the business, we were very well aligned, everybody knew what was in it for them. We had sort of the advantage for selling my company, we could plug into a bigger company with more opportunities for the team, and really give them the ability to make more money and be more successful in their careers. 

Danielle Cumbee: Absolutely. We try to tell them from the get-go, as we start those conversations, it’s as much us deciding if it’s the right fit as it is them also deciding. There are a lot of businesses out there that are starting to acquire other companies in the automotive space. And so they have to decide what they’re looking for. We’re really looking for people who are going to remain on with the company and continue to run their businesses just with our support and additional resources that we’re providing to them so that they could be even more successful. So we encourage them to go out and ask those tough questions if they are talking to Spectrum as well as other companies that may be looking to acquire them and make sure that they really feel comfortable too. Because we want everybody bought into the process when they come on board, that makes it 10 times easier for us to integrate them across our organization.

Adam Honig: So it sounds like a big takeaway is really making sure that the benefits of the acquisition are understood by the people that are going to be coming over and focusing on really communicating with them. And you said something like wrapping your arms around them and over-communicating, making sure they really understand that. We kind of have a rule here at Spiro which is like the first six times we say something to somebody, they probably don’t pay any attention. And so we have to say it’s seven times and it sounds like that kind of situation for you.

Danielle Cumbee: It absolutely is. We implement things where we have weekly calls with our new businesses and we rely heavily on data and using our Spiro CRM and our other systems that we put into place and get access to certain things so that we’re all on the same page. And we’re all looking at the same information, but it is that constant over-communication, making sure that everybody understands. And knowing that they do forget sometimes when we tell them the things that they now have access to, we have to keep reminding them until they start to take advantage of those things. And that’s when they truly become part of the spectrum family. And they go “We’re so happy that we made this decision. Now we know why we made this decision.” So that’s what we try to do all across our entire integration team.

Adam Honig: For any other companies out there that are thinking about buying other companies and figuring out how to integrate their sales teams, is there anything you’d recommend that they don’t do? Like what would you just say, “Yeah, don’t do that, whatever you do?”

Danielle Cumbee: They should not expect a culture change overnight. Like I mentioned earlier, we acquire businesses, sometimes we bring them into our portfolio. They’ve had their own company and their own business for 20 years and it takes time and patience and understanding and perspective to really make sure that they get integrated properly into our culture. And so we can’t expect that they are going to feel a hundred percent comfortable with the decision overnight. It’s a huge decision and it’s life-changing for a lot of them. And we have to understand that it’s gonna take them a little time to get comfortable and acclimated and get their people comfortable. So we try to just make sure that nobody’s rushing to expectations of what it’s gonna look like once the deal is done. And that they have patience and they just take their time to communicate and work through the challenges. There’s always gonna be growing pain, so if you go into it thinking there won’t be, you’re just kidding yourself. 

Adam Honig: That’s so on the money, Danielle. And I feel like it’s the same lesson from technology implementations, right? It’s like we want everything, boom, to be going on day one, and there’s an adoption process and you can’t just on day one, get everything set. So it’s the same thing with bringing on a new company or sales team and stuff like that it sounds like.

Danielle Cumbee: Absolutely. We experienced the same thing in our organization when we started utilizing Spiro. We had to get everybody on board, get them comfortable and build that adoption over our team and that comfortability with that program on our team over time. And it doesn’t happen overnight. I’m not a very patient person innately,  and so it’s very challenging to channel that within myself. But the more that I do that, and the more that our team does that, as we do integrate new companies, the more success we tend to have.

Adam Honig: Yeah, that’s great advice, Danielle. I really appreciate your coming on the show, sharing with us your perspective on distributors and car dealerships and how they can find profitability in new areas, which is super awesome. And then talking about how do we deal with the human element of bringing on new sales teams as we’re buying companies? That’s such a big topic these days, what a great conversation it’s been. So for listeners out there, as a reminder, you can find every episode of the ‘Make it. Move it. Sell it.’ podcast at spiro.ai/podcast. And if you thought Danielle was as smart as I am, maybe give the show a like, or a good review or something like that. Danielle people should definitely do that, don’t you think?

Danielle Cumbee: Absolutely. I’m so appreciative to be here, and if you enjoyed the episode, please like, and subscribe.

Adam Honig: There we go. And until next time, look forward to speaking to you all on the ‘Make it. Move it. Sell it’ podcast.

The post Make it. Move it. Sell it. — Episode #5 appeared first on Spiro.

from Spiro – Spiro is the first and only proactive relationship management platform. Our mission is to help sales teams close more deals. https://spiro.ai/podcast/make-it-move-it-sell-it-episode-5/
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