Episode 3: Sale Isn’t A 4-Letter Word [Nuts & Bolts 1]

“Sale” is looked at by many people as a four-letter word. But the truth is, selling is the only thing you cannot have a successful company without. And yet, nothing sells itself—not even water in the desert.

Episode 3: Sale Isn’t A 4-Letter Word [Nuts & Bolts 1]

“Sale” is looked at by many people as a four-letter word. But the truth is, selling is the only thing you cannot have a successful company without. And yet, nothing sells itself—not even water in the desert. Our first Nuts and Bolts episode, David talks about Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and Client Relationship Management systems (CRM’s)—why you need them, how to use them, how to choose them, and why the best systems are the ones you’ll actually use.

Show Notes

Coming soon!

Show Transcript


Here we go.



Hello, and welcome to episode three of The Buck Stops Here Podcast. Today, we’re talking about sales, CRMs, and KPIs in our first Nuts and Bolts episodes. So this is going to be one of our Nuts and Bolts episodes where we’re just talking about the fundamental things you need to do in business to help ensure your success. These episodes are going to be more geared towards giving somebody some tangible things they can look at.



They’re less theoretical. They’re supposed to be like, hey, you need to look at these things in your business today and see what you can do. Episode three, three is kind of a very special episode for me. Three is kind of one of those sanctified numbers. It’s a very important number in pretty much any culture or religion across the world.



Also, from an engineering standpoint, triangles are considered very, they’re very strong structures. And so I kind of thought if we’re going to start the Nuts and Bolts kind of subheading of things, episode three would be the place to start it. Sitting down and talking about what would be the content of this first episode, as far as this goes, was something that I have experienced in.



I’ve given a lot of talks on how to build sales teams. What sales teams look like. I’ve been in professional sales in some way for most of my life, going back to being a paperboy when I was ten or twelve years old, and that sounds silly, but I learned a lot about business even at a young age, doing those kind of things. So I guess kids today can’t do that. But hey, times are changing.



That being said today, I want to talk about sales because sales for most business owners kind of falls into one or two categories. You either love selling or you hate it. Now, all companies kind of fundamentally are started by either a salesperson or kind of a production or engineer person for lack of a better term. And then most of the famous teams in history, the duos, they generally have a marketing person or a salesperson, and then an engineering person. You know, Gates and Paul Allen, you’ve got Jobs and Wozniak, you got Elon Musk and maybe Peter Thiel. Although Musk may just say it’s just him now, but going back, you got Eisener, there’s a whole bunch of these different people you can look at. And a lot of these things happen in teams. And usually you had one person who is the kind of the money person who could go generate revenue for the company. And you had the other person who was building and doing production.



So kind of not always, but in most cases, that’s kind of how it looks. Sale is looked at by many people as a four letter word. But I’ll tell you two things I know for a fact. One, you can have a sales organization without having a product. You can literally sell a product that has not been invented and selling and generating revenue is the one thing you cannot have a company that’s successful without. Cannot. It just doesn’t exist. At the Buck Stops Here Podcast, we like to say we don’t lie to ourselves about things. So the first thing we want to go and get rid of, the first thing we want to throw overboard is the idea that things sell themselves. Nothing on this planet sells itself, not a single thing. Every one of these things has been marketed. There’s been a message that’s been put together. Even the best engineered widget in the world, you know?



One of the most successful things, the iPod, for example, iPod didn’t sell itself. It had a huge multi million dollar marketing campaign that was generated by people. And it was considered one of the most successful products in human history. There’s still someone selling it. Even if you’re looking for water in the desert, you may say, “Oh, it sells itself!”



No, there’s somebody else competing with you who’s also selling other water, and they’re talking about why their water is superior. You may not care, but the reality is very different. Nothing sells itself ever. So that being said, there’s a few things we need to establish kind of as ground rules from the nuts and bolts standpoint of how do you grow your company?



How do you work with that? How do you do sales? And so one of the things we need to talk about today is KPIs, or key performance indicators. That’s a way of measuring your sales staff or your sales team. By the way, you can have KPIs for everything.



Kind of a dashboard. I kind of think KPIs is kind of a, you know, to use the car analogy, it’s kind of the dashboard you’re looking at. It lets you determine how fast you’re going. You can do some math on it for how many miles per gallon you’re getting. Gasoline or your electric car, how much battery charges left there.



But it gives you an idea of where you’re at on things at any given time. And it’s really important as a person running a company to have a way to look at these metrics and then vet them. And you need to have KPIs for everything you’re doing. Sales, marketing, how well you hire, how well you recruit, you can have it for everything. But today we’re talking about sales in particular.



And then the next thing we want to talk about is, where do you put this KPI information? How do you manage this data?



So, from our standpoint, we’re talking about CRMs. Those stand for customer relationship management systems. CRMS are fundamental to everything you do in your business. They just really are. A CRM is going to let you determine, kind of, how well you’re doing.



It’s going to let you track the stuff, know how to follow up. And the best of the CRM have a whole bunch of things that automate your life. You can basically create a CRM that has an email marketing drip campaign. You get a lead in from your website on the Internet, and you now have a way to automatically send a follow up email. Now, again, those emails have to be crafted by people, and you have to know what you’re putting in.



They have to be designed and sent out there, but you do those things. And the last thing we want to talk about is the kind of the gut check. Will you use the system? All right.



So, KPIs, you’re going to do in your company, you’re always going to generate that stuff. And if you have a generator now, you can do some of these real quick. And we’ll talk about some basic way you can do that. So my company, Catapult Creative Media is a digital marketing company. We also build custom software.



And one of the things we’ve built is a CRM that I think is pretty successful. That being said, it’s not right for everybody. It’s not ours is set up. It works really well on a sales function and a production function. But if you’re just a sales organization, you may not use it for production or production may have a way that it needs to integrate with your machine shop and everything else.



And you need a custom solution for that. We might be able to build something, but off the shelf, it doesn’t exist. There are literally hundreds of CRMs in the market, and we’re asked a lot of times to consult or advise on what should we use? I always tell people the best CRM is the one you actually use, because CRMs across the board, even the best CRMs on the market, the most successful things. And there are several companies that are multi, there’s literally a 100 billion dollar year CRM company out there, but they still have a 60% abandonment rate on their CRM at 90 days. By the way, that number is not unique to them. It’s across the board. It’s really out there. So you need to think about what are you actually going to use in the CRM system?



And you really have to be very honest with yourself at The Buck Stops Here podcast, we say the lies, the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. You know, it’s kind of like signing up for a gym membership because you think that’s going to motivate you go to the gym. And for some people, that is true. But for a lot of people, it’s not.



And if they’re really honest with themselves, they signed up for that gym membership January 1, 10 years in a row, and they’ve yet never stepped foot in the gym. You have to ask yourself, will you actually use it? And there could be show stoppers in there, and you have to be honest with what those are.



It could be that your CRM, it just takes too long. There’s a couple of CRMs that are very popular in the marketplace, but they’re slower than Molasses. So if you have to put something in, you click on a button, you wait 5 seconds.



Next screen, you click on a button. You wait 5 seconds. It takes you 20 seconds to get any data they need. Very, very good systems, I just think programmed very inefficiently. But that happens.



And you have to ask yourself. Me? I won’t use those CRMs. I totally hate them because I don’t like to wait. I’m impatient. And for me, when you add up all that time across my organization of 15 people, it ends up using that CRM would cost me literally an extra 100 hours a year in payroll because of the amount of time it wastes. Ask yourself, will you use that? Now, if you’re a solo practitioner or one person on their own doing stuff, a solo entrepreneur, maybe it works for you.



But you have to ask yourself which one you actually use. So getting to the nuts and bolts of KPIs, the cool thing about KPIs is you can kind of reverse engineer or backwards engineer what you’re doing. So you’re a company that sells widgets. You sell your widgets all over the United States, and your widgets cost $10,000 using round numbers, and you make $1,000 profit on each widget sale you make. Got it?



All right. Last year, we made $700,000 in sales. We sold 70 widgets. This year, we would like to increase those numbers by 30%. We want to sell a million dollars worth of widgets.



We want to go from 70 a year to 100 a year. So you just literally reverse engineer that, guys. 70 divided by twelve means that we’ve sold six to seven a month. And now we need to move into that kind of eight to nine realm a month. Or we just rounded up to ten just for round numbers. I want to shoot higher than that.



I want to go to 1.2 million in sales. That’s 120 widgets. Ten widgets a month. Got it? We’re working with the same numbers here.



What does that mean? Well, it turns out that you need to know what your close rate is. And by the way, guys, you can literally go out there and write this stuff down on the back of a napkin. You can go figure out what your KPIs are and how you need to work towards them just by putting some stuff there. You don’t need to have all the crazy details. I mean, you may say that selling this widget makes us actually, it doesn’t make us 10,000 David, it makes us $8,222.57.



That’s great. I’m glad you know that. Irrelevant for the exercise. Just write down what you know, on the back of a napkin and we figure that out. So in this particular case, what I’m saying is your widgets are $10,000.



You make a grand each on every one you sell, and, you know, you need to sell ten a month. You close about one in three. So that means if you’re selling ten a month, you need to have 30 appointments to get to those ten. That means in a month, now I’ll backwards engineer this a little bit. 30 days in a month.



What do you sell every day of the month? Well, we’re only open during calendar days. So about 20 days in a month. Right? So literally, if you’re trying to sell ten a month, we need to sell one every two days. Okay?



That means over the course of every two days, we need to have three meetings. That means we need to have one and a half meetings today, and no matter how you generate those leads. Okay. Cool. So now you need to know you need to have one and a half meetings a day round at the two just to make it easy.



By the way, that also helps your upward big numbers. Two a day. Now, how do you generate that? Do we make phone calls? Do we send out email marketing to list?



Do I put a post on Instagram? And I know that I have 10,000 followers on Instagram and of those so many people buy. And this applies to anything. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling sandals on your own website or something on Amazon, or you’re setting people up for your consulting meetings. For us on The Buck Stops Here Podcast, if you want to have a consulting session with me or my team members and we can talk about these things, you can literally go on our site and click those things.



But we know that based on the podcast, and we saying these things based on the viewership and readership, you can figure these things out and you can figure out pretty quickly. And if you don’t know them, make some estimations on them, put those numbers down so you have them and then measure against them. That’s what you do.



Just measure against them. So in this particular case said, “Yep, I need to have two meetings a day in order to get to my number of ten sales a month.” And that means and I’ll just use phone calls because we just say that. Okay. So you call people, you cold call people on phones.



Okay. Cold calling. It’s terrible. I hate cold calling, but by the way, guys, just to let you know out there it works. It doesn’t mean you have to do that for your business.



But if you want to look at something you’re not doing right now, you could to bring in some business. Cold calling. It works. May not like it, but it does work in business. And there’s a whole bunch of other things could be email marketing or whatever it is. So in this particular case, you say I need to make 100 phone calls to end up generating two meetings. 100 phone calls to two meetings.



Okay. Got it. So that means if I want to do that or let’s just say 100 phone calls for one meeting. Let’s just make it even worse. That means you need 200 phone calls a day to generate two meetings or your one and a half.



Right? And that even gives you some love and fall off. So that means you could generally meet, if your numbers hold this way, and these are all correct, that means by generating 200 phone calls a day on average, you’ll have up months and down months.



You need to not just pay attention to the outliers you need to think about from an even distribution, from a Bell curve standpoint. And for those of you who don’t know the Bell curve is, it’s literally what’s considered a normal distribution. Imagine if you sit on top of the building and drop the grain of sand off the building and you did that a million times, provided you dropped it just straight down, it would form a Bell shaped pile of sand. It absolutely would do that. And that’s called a normal distribution.



We’ll talk about that more in another episode. That being said over the course of a year, if you did that every day like clockwork, you would generate $1.2 million in sales. Wow. Crazy. I just made myself an extra 30% in revenue this year.



By the way, guys, this is not rocket science. This is one of the most basic things you need to be doing, and you out there know you need to be doing this. You probably heard this before or familiar with the concept. You need to know to do these things. By the way, I’m not saying this is easy.



I am not suggesting that it’s simple to do these things, but it is important. And because you are responsible and accountable for everything that happens under your watch, the buck stops with you. It’s important for you to make sure that your people are doing these things. Now, some of the KPIs do mean you have to enforce it with your people. But once you have an idea of these KPIs and you write them down, you talk about where that needs to go and you need to put it in your CRM, your customer relationship management database, whatever that is. I recommend you put one of these in the cloud that you can get to from any way you’ll use it.



I recommend you have one that you can use with a mobile application that has a website you can use for it, and you can put that stuff in on the web. But if you’ve got a pen and paper system with a filing system, as long as you will use it, that is fine. Just beware, if it burns to the ground, you won’t have it anymore. You want to have it online, have it somewhere and have backups of it. You want to make sure you can get your data back out of that at some point in time, because here’s the thing:



CRMS are very difficult to choose between because your mileage might vary and the online reviews of these things are not really reliable. You really want to talk to someone who can consult on it or give you an idea about it, or be willing to put the time in yourself. This is a mea culpa; I spent a few years ago, I found a CRM that I found and it looks really good on paper, looked really good on paper, has everything I want.



All the bells and whistles supposedly works amazing in the marketplace. Found it in some online magazines. Or actually they have real magazine and some online reviews. Got the Editor’s Choice Award.



Felt really bamboozled by this whole prospect. I spent about 250 hours over the next three months trying to make the system work and it turned out it was never fully baked. It had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t built correctly and literally somebody just done a good job marketing and selling me on this. And I wasted 250 hours of my life. By the way, my company went on a kind of a whirlwind tour of CRMs then, and we broke down and went through about 50 plus CRMs different kinds.



We’ve used all the big ones on the marketplace and everything else, and we discovered that most of them are challenging. You basically have to figure out that you have to figure out what of your KPIs you’re willing to sacrifice. Does it do really good sales tracking, but you have to have a completely different system for production? Well, my company because it’s a digital agency, has to have timelines, tables, all these things. There’s just not really a really great one for agencies out there, but that being said, at least I haven’t run into one.



But it does take a lot of time and you don’t know. And look, I understand that the magazine editors, they might be even paid for this. I don’t know. But assuming they’re not, they get to spend a couple of hours with it. They don’t know that the integration with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook or Office 365 or Google G suite for business is all broken.



They haven’t had to get to that part. They just know that allegedly it works that way and then you get into it and you find it to their integration with Microsoft. Office 365 breaks every day and a half and it takes you 3 hours every single day where you cannot use their system for emailing and email marketing, which means the system is junk. It doesn’t work for you.



You have to know what your deal breakers are and where you exit. For me, I fell into what’s called the sunk cost fallacy. I kept throwing more time throwing good money after bad. I’ve already spent a million dollars, and that’s why I should keep putting money.



It’s the same thing that happens to gamblers who keeps putting money at the roulette wheel when they keep losing money, right? It’s a sunk cost policy. Well, I’ve only played one more hand. I went on my money back. Don’t do that to yourself.



It’s a lie. You tell yourself it’s not going to change things. It won’t fix things. So, yeah, that happened. And we went through a lot of different CRMs, and we found most of them to be wanting.



So those of you out there who happen to be listening to this podcast, it’s one of the reasons why companies have been working on developing stuff. But if you’re a software engineer, you can make a lot of money if you can make a better Mousetrap with a CRM. But even then, there are some good ones on the market. Most of them are not cheap, but there are some out on the market that are at least a good place to start. Again, make sure once you go into those systems that you can export your data out. Do not take their word for it. Put some stuff in there, some test data and make sure you can export that out, at least in the spreadsheets or something else.



So you don’t lose the data. Make sure it’s not garbled. Remember, don’t take their word for it. By the way, that’s something that’s going to be kind of a mantra of mind when the nuts and bolts things. Until you test the system, you do not have a working system.



Kind of like if you have a backup system. If you’re paying a company for backups right now, any company online, whatever it is, some it company, you have to test your backup or you do not have a working backup. Because it’s very cold comfort to find out, like it’s kind of like having an insurance policy and find out if they didn’t cover your house if it burned down in the first place. You need to vet and research these people because as we like to say here, there’s a lot of people out there selling you something and you need to hold them accountable to it.



So you have to check it.



Same thing with your CRMs. You need to get somebody in there. This is not something you can just outsource to one of your random administrative people. They are not qualified to make these decisions. You need to have somebody who looks at it and says, all right, how does this work in the sales organization?



And then how does this move into invoicing? How does this work in the sales organization? And how does it work for my email marketing team? How does this work in my sales organization? And how does this work for my production team?



Okay? It turns out that the task management system in the software is really bad. Is that something we need to have? If we do need to have it and rely on it, is there a way to do it? Turns out there’s a task management system in here, but it doesn’t let me replicate tasks. Every time I have to go spend three minutes setting up a new task. Well, that sounds like a big problem. You have to have somebody who actually lives and breathes and has some multidiscipline or cross training in your organization.



If you’re a small organization, it’s easy. That’s you. If your company is basically under 15 people, that’s you. You need to do that work. But if you’re somebody else, you need to look at those things and kind of say, okay, cool. Great. From this standpoint, how do I do this? What does this look like?



And how does it work for me? And remember, your mileage might vary. So the last thing I’m going to say on the CRMs is that you want to go ahead and put your stuff into at least three CRMs at the same time. And none of the trial time frames. You’re going to have to pay money for this. Don’t cheap your way to success.



You cannot cheap your way to success. You have to pay some money for this, and it’s going to cost you money, and it’s going to cost you time. Times the most expensive part, right? But you don’t want to spend six weeks trying to try out one and then find out four weeks into it, as I did. This doesn’t work. It’s fundamentally broken.



And by the way, as things show up, trust them. If their software is broken or has problems, don’t think it’s going to get better. Oh, yeah, we’re going to fix that in the next patch. Do not. Forget it. Drive on.



There’s literally 50 more choices. I was told that years ago. Fido, forget it. Drive on. But when you look at three of them, that seven day trial period, that 14 day trial period.



If you get one of those, make them push them to give you 30 days. And by the way, like I said, there’s 50 other options out there. So try a different one. Doesn’t work for you. Forget it.



Drive on. Not wanting to work with you. Forget it, drive on. And by the way, they’re basically making they’re minting money off this. These are just the replicating software.



You have to go do most of the set up on it. But remember, they’re one size fits most, may not work for you. Make sure you know that. If it needs to have an email marketing integration piece, make sure that that works. Don’t just take their word for it.



You’re going to have to try out these things. But try two or three of them at the same time. See what you like that. That way you can also compare features to each other. Do read some reviews online. But again, even those reviews you read, they are kind of taken with a grain of salt.



Remember, you’re going to have to try them out and it will take you probably four to six weeks because you’re running your company or you’re doing other things. You’re busy. Seven day trial is great if you have 60 hours to dedicate it to in the next seven days. But answer yourself this question. Don’t lie to yourself about it.



What did you have 60 hours to try anything? We’re always satisfying. We’re making sacrifices of our time to satisfy our needs. Just remember that.



So that’s kind of the nuts and bolts today. The takeaways on this are as follows; first of all, you need to recognize that you as a company must have a sales function or revenue function in order to be in business. You got to have it.



If you don’t have it, you’re not in business. So for you, the first thing to do is set some goals. Where do you want to get to? Reverse engineer your KPIs, your key performance indicators. How are you going to measure if you’re successful in sales? Did I make so many phone calls?



And by the way, the reason I say not to try to hammer this down and you can put it in spreadsheets. That’s great. You need a way to track it. But don’t get too wed to your numbers. Remember, they may change. It may turn out that you can improve your things.



You don’t make 100 phone calls to set one appointment. Maybe you make 50. Maybe it takes 200 to set one. Well, that changes your estimates. Then maybe you can change your close rate.



Maybe you can change your pricing structure. There’s a lot of different things you can do there, and you can change around some of those variables to make yourself more successful. Number two, you must adopt a CRM of some kind. If you’re stuck to the pen and paper and file cabinet system, that’s fine. But you got to use it. Other than that, I suggest putting something in the cloud, probably something with a mobile application that you can use on your phones, et cetera.



The last thing is be very honest with yourself. If there’s something in the system you really hate, you’re not going to use it. It’s like walking around with a pebble in your shoe. You’re going to get a bruise on your heel or blister on your foot, and you’re going to hate yourself for that. Because there’s probably three or four or five things that are really critically important for you. If you got a separate invoicing system, it doesn’t need to have invoicing.



Maybe that’s great, but that’s not something right now. That’s more of a want not a need. And just because they say they can integrate with 20 things, make sure it does those top three things for you. Very well. Again, my name is David Maples with the Buck Stops Here podcast.



If you want to set up a consultation with me, you can find links below here or with my company, Catapult Creative Media. We do a lot of this stuff. We do advise on sales things as well, and we help people figure out how to set up their websites to be more effective in the sales function. With that, I want thank everybody for coming and attending today or listening to this podcast. Go out there and be awesome. Have a great week.


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