#047: Nikki Finucan – Take the Buyer on the Right Journey, But You Now Must Go on Their Journey

August 23, 2020
Scale Your Sales Podcast Nikki Finucan

Welcome to Scale Your Sales Podcast. Nikki Finucan my next guest is all about transformation. Taking something that exists for a company are making it more beautiful. She specializes in creating synergies between people processes on technology. So, she is got a lot to offer us with her background in transformation Sells, transformation CRM.

We met at the American Association of Inside Sells professionals, Nikki, you ran the Women’s Connect chapter, it is always lovely to see many young women in sales.

Nikki advises that when selling, more than anything, be empathetic, do not go in with the hard sell. Build your pipeline through building the relationships. As old school is that may or may not sound she said, it is important because when people come out the other side, the world is going to be different and people may not be in the same position But what they will remember is that you were kind to them, people do remember the people showing humanity.

Quotes and KPIs are important but take a moment because you do not know what that person who picks up the phone who reads your email or LinkedIn message is going through. They could have lost a family member to COVID. They could have been made redundant or furlough so, the human be empathetic and build your pipeline through building relationships.

It is interesting because I have heard a lot about being empathetic. we should be doing this anyway. it should not take a pandemic because sales are about relationships about people and so it is really understanding other people’s perspective, which is what empathetic is being. I wonder. I do not know your view. If we get you to feel, that in Sells we are going to come out of this different, there is going to be a different focus going forward. So that empathy that should have existed before is the thing that leads the way going forward, even without a pandemic.

Nikki says the worry is that coming out the other side of the pandemic, the quotas will be tougher and KPIs will be harder. That is where we are losing empathy, the relationship building.

Nikki gave an example of her husband who is extremely good at what he does he meet people at different events or reach out to them starts a conversation, and they may not have been ready right then and he can identify that. He still talks to them because why wouldn’t you, in twelve or eighteen months, what happens is they come back saying we have been talking about this or I have been seeing your post. He is not worried about things like KPIs, he is looked at objectives, and the objective should be customer experience, customer journey, building relationships.

The thing that they need to take forward that should have been there already, and it is like you said earlier about the empathy. It should already be that. I really think it must be about the customer going forward. How are they going to buy post-COVID and how are they going to buy tomorrow? How do you become agile enough to adapt, to self-reflect and keep customers at the forefront of the mind, because they are doing it differently and so should we? As opposed to, we have done this way for 25 years and we are going to keep doing it the same way. We see that all the time. It is about being different, being unique, personalizing it, but personalizing to your customers buying journey and that looks different.

How many times have you had picked up the phone or looked at an email or a LinkedIn message, and they haven’t even looked at your profile? Research and understanding go back to the empathy part and the customer journey.

That whole digital seller thing becomes important, one of the big changes that come out of this. Gone are the days where you go and lunch and wine and dine people. You can build strong relationships online by a video, you do not need to be face to face anymore. Plenty of deals when they have multi-million Pound or Dollar deals are done like this.

It is interesting what we still hear people say, ‘it is not the same’ Of course, it is not the same, because needs must, people are relaxing and getting comfortable with it. And after a will forget that they are on video. The way that we communicate, the channels that we are using is changing. There is no reason why big deals cannot be done through this medium. Now because we are having to do it, we can conceive it as possible. We are going to go back to where we were pre COVID so those people that have been resisting these transformations, digital transformation, have got no choice because they are going to become derelict and defunct.

The catalyst to what Nikki does is often technology, but we all know that you cannot go to that platform if everyone is not going to use it. The key is about people. Take the people on a journey with you and it is a bit the same with selling. You have got to take the buyer on the right journey, but you now must go on their journey. The key thing that I helped companies within this transformation spaces, let us understand what your customer transformation journey looks like. How does that fit into the process and fit that to a solution? How do we get the people to do this the whole way along? We facilitate, helping customers to get there one step at a time, asking bizarre questions that are how the transformation must happen. It is taking the people on the journey first, let them be part of it, let them drive it, let them own it because they are the best resource in any company, they know your customers and organisation so well. When they are engaged in that journey, the change becomes a lot easier. But you have got to get them over that hump first. And the key is always, let them be the driver.

A lot of transformations failed, Janice because people do not adopt the tools because they have not been the ones to input into it. Yes, obviously you create guidelines, but make them part of that piece is well, so make them part of the whole piece. The structure of how you manage transformation is critical. Do you have the right stakeholders? Do you have the right subject matter experts? How agile with that how you reflect and be retrospective on it. That helps the process. We go on this big journey together and we constantly reflect on ourselves and where we must change course. So, we redirect which is the same as the sales journey. You reflect on how your meeting went with your client or potential client and then you course adjust. If it did not go so well, you look at what they want and keep it moving in the right direction.

The diversity stats are a little terrifying, diversity is not as prominent as we would like it to be in the sales space. Interestingly, because of COVID, naturally, people relate to and want to see something of yourself, whether it is leadership level or, the sales or buying journey, you want to see someone that is relatable to you. Characteristics, personality traits, every aspect of that spectrum, there is a lot more to be done in the sales space to achieve this with COVID19. Women by nature are more nurturing, we have a different outlook in a different way than men do which is quite a controversial statement. We can really shine in this space because we are more empathetic. We are more looking at how someone feels versus trying to get the deal and hit the KPIs.  My Mom was in sales, said Nikki, she was so successful because she was not KPI driven, and yet she exceeded quota every year for 30 years in a male-dominated industry, which is steel. She did not go out and see clients it was all on the phone. We have a real opportunity with the pandemic to make our sales teams more diverse. The medium and the forums that we use now take away a lot of different things can level out the disparity. Sometimes hearing a soft voice or a different voice is a good thing.

Asking what her view is on quotas, Nikki responds, ‘You want a controversial question’. As a qualified accountant, her accountant’s brain says, of course, quotas are an important part of the process. Every company needs to balance everything out and make sure they are profitable. But then the quotas and the KPIs, all the metrics, have a tendency, depending on your personality, to take away some of the human aspects. And that is where I think it is risky. Yes, you do need quotas, but I think you need a combination of objectives that are around the customer and even actually that are around the individual seller an internal retrospective that you do on yourself, how you tracking against your personal objectives that are right for you, agreed with your manager, your team, your company. You need a balance of KPIs, quota and objectives.

People behaviours track the way they are measured. If the underlying measurement is on numbers, then they tend to treat people and we want. People to have human relationships, but they tend to treat.

How a company is structured for the aftercare of customers as well plays a big factor because sales could do a great job handoff to aftercare and aftercare perhaps don’t build on those relationships. Nikki says, the objectives aspect alongside your quotas or targets becomes quite important. And some of those objectives are around retention. I mean actual relevance and alignment to a customer journey. What is the right thing for the customers? One of the right touchpoints. How does that work? I was reading, one of your blogs, said Nikki, talking about, checking in with customers at various points in a year cycle, right? And I think they agreed with their customer what works best for them. This is important as an objective. It is also the relationship-building aspect and you are retaining the revenue and potentially selling more because you build a strong relationship. It is the correlation and the linkage the is most powerful.

Listen to what Nikki has to say about her Mother?



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Scale Your Sales Janice B Gordon

We work with Chief Revenue officers, Sales Leaders, and SaaS Founders identify their best-paying customers, retain more of them, and modernise for a customer and buyer-centric relationship.

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