April 19, 2022
Episode 50: Selling In with Cissa Dieleman

Cissa Dieleman is a Senior Account Executive for commercial new business at QuickBase. Drawing heavily from Andy Paul’s latest book Sell Without Selling Out, Cissa and I banter all manner of choosing how you sell. For yourself. For your buyers. And for your team.


Topics discussed: 

Cissa Dieleman is a commercial account executive for new business at QuickBase. And she knows all about Selling In. Drawing heavily from Andy Paul’s latest book Sell Without Selling Out, Cissa and I banter all manner of choosing how you sell. For yourself. For your buyers. And for your team.

  • Does selling SaaS require special sales skills one can only acquire while selling SaaS? (03:26)
  • Two types of professions; work producers and work processors (07:44)
  • Sell Without Selling Out: A Guide to Success on Your Own Terms by Andy Paul (14:33) (35:01)
  • Discovery and demo are different things. (23:16) 
  • One opportunity equals one project (27:31)
  • The SDR/AE relationship (33:09)
  • What do you do when your champion is diagnosed with cancer and your sales boss still wants the deal? (41:39)

Resources mentioned: 

For more Cissa Dieleman:

For more Amy Hrehovcik

Transcript

[00:00:00] Cissa: We've reduced the SDR role to smiling and dialing. Inputting things on people's calendars. And whenever I have an SDR who's assigned to me, that's something I talk with them about. Hey, this is what I do. I send out this email before meetings. I want to make sure I'm getting objectives aligned. And I want to make sure we're talking about timeline in a real constructive way. Because they'll talk about timelines sometimes on like a quick call where they prep them for the call with me. And I'm like, but let's really dig into what timeline means. It's important as AEs to be like, Hey, I have this hard won experience. I learned from multiple industries. And now I'm in this role. I need to give this to you SDR, because I feel like it's something that can sometimes get lost in the process.

Intro

[00:00:48] Hello friends. Welcome to the revenue real hotline. I'm your host, Amy Hrehovcik. If you appreciate real stories from real humans who generate real revenue, you've come to the right place. That was Cissa Dieleman. Cissa is a senior account executive for the commercial new team at QuickBase. She's an Andy Paul Sell Without Selling Out aficionado. Together Cissa and I ask questions, like why does some feel SAS sales is so very different from other forms of selling? And what do companies miss out on when they're unable to break free from that lookalike hiring model? We banter about the impact of asking questions. Like what will this do for your company prospect? How about for your team? And for you? And finally we unravel the SDR AE relationship and how AEs can and should incorporate more coaching into the mix. And far less entitlement. We get into this in more, but before I do, I wanted to remind you that I appreciate you friend. I know you've got a ton of options to choose from, and I'm grateful you chose this show. By all means. Feel free to follow us to wherever you listen to podcasts. I'm Amy Hrehovcik. This is the Revenue Real Hotline and enjoy. 

Conversation Start

[00:02:04] Amy: Cissa Dieleman. Welcome to the revenue real hotline. Thank you for, for making time for us today.

[00:02:11] Cissa: Yeah, of course, Amy, I'm happy to be here on a say I've been looking forward to it. So I think it'll be a good chat.

[00:02:16] Amy: I agree. I agree. Okay. So before we get started, why don't you give our listeners a little bit of insight into who you are and what you do on a regular basis. And then we'll dive in.

[00:02:27] Cissa: Yeah, no, it sounds great. As you said, my name is Cissa Dieleman . I am actually a senior account executive for our commercial new team at QuickBase. Which is like a no code, low code platform, um, which just really helps people take the complicated tasks, like project management and all sorts of things for like built environment, especially something we work a lot in. and take like contractors, difficult things about what they do and simplify the process by law, allowing them to like drag and drop a solution within our platform QuickBase. So I talk no code, low code all day, every day. That's like my day to day life right now. Uh, but I have done, oh God. All sorts of things. I have worked in construction. I have been a fundraiser on political campaigns. I've been a student fundraiser universities. Chair, person on multiple nonprofit boards for fundraising. I've worked in just literally, if you can sell it, I have probably sold it at some time other than like used cars. Uh, so I've been around for a minute. 

SaaS Sales is Not That Different

[00:03:26] Amy: Oh, man. I love it. I love it. Okay. So this is a perfect transition. So Cissa you wrote a post recently about having transitioned fully, right. And completely and entirely to tech sales or SaaS and the post, the gist of the post was that like. As it turns out. It's not that different after all.

[00:03:50] And like, you're shaking your head. I know you're with me, but I like listeners. This is a thing I'm sure you've all come across it too, but we tend to be a little bit, um, what's a good way to describe it. Um, it's not snooty or snooty dish, but like, or we tend to feel like. I dunno, make tech sales out to be something that's different and unique and harder than all the other types of selling out there.

[00:04:14] And I'm with you friend. And that it's like, not that different, but I'm curious, like what made you write that post? What, like kind of walk us through the thinking before, during and after so that we can laugh about it.

[00:04:27] Cissa: Yeah. So I I've been doing sales for like seven or eight years. Like it's been a minute and I literally have been doing this for so long. Like I said, worked in so many different industries and I know I got it. Like my first official sales role, which was like not fundraising. it.

[00:04:41] was full sales. Uh, it was, I worked for a company called Pella windows and doors selling windows.

[00:04:48] Literally, I would go into people's homes and like measure their windows and tell them why my windows were the best windows. And they had to, like, by my 

[00:04:56] Amy: Okay.

[00:04:57] Cissa: it was like very like, but like, and I always thought to myself, I'm like, oh, someday, once I get all these skills, I'm going to move into SaaS. I'm going to move into tech and like this really far away dream that I had. And like every step I took, I was like, and now I'm getting closer. And then I worked in this hybrid role. I was selling like a physical solution that also paired with like a backend, like software. And I was. Finally, I have this hybrid experience. Now I can say I have some SaaS under my belt for these interviews. And then I did these like interviews, uh, some tech companies and some of them were like, we're sorry, you just don't have the specific experience that we need.

[00:05:31] And then I finally landed one and I'm here and I'm like, dude, this is What are they talking about?

[00:05:38] This is a, literally every skill I've ever developed at any sales role is directly applicable. Like there's. 

[00:05:44] Amy: It's it's crazy. It's crazy. It's crazy. And so I think you did touch on a couple of things there. It's the flaws in the hiring system, which I think is broader than. Sales or tech sales even. Um, and that is that we, we historically have tend to look for a lookalikes, right? We want somebody that has worked in this industry, sold to this client based sold a similar type of service. And I don't know where along the, you know, the history of our workplace is that we kind of went in this direction, but I think that. I am glad that we're having these conversations about it, right. It's not that different, same thing with industry experience. Like they're not that different. Um, and I'm reminded system when I, so I sold for, well, I mean, to tell us human, I'm still selling everyday as are we all, right? I think we're just, uh, fortunate in that we work in a profession where we're not stigmatized by that word. Um but anyway, my dad was a VP of sales and just to take it a step, even deeper, like I, I have two younger sisters. We were raised at the kitchen table. My dad would ask us when we felt butterflies in our stomach that day as grade schoolers. And that was to signify discomfort, right? When were you outside your comfort zone today? And if we didn't have a story to report back, right, we were subtly or not.

[00:07:01] So subtly, depending on the day, reminded that all growth takes place outside of that comfort zone. And so anyway, that said, When it's funny, you mentioned politics and fundraising for politics. Cause I had a brief stint, um, on a gubernatorial campaign, like this was going to be my career path. This is what I worked towards all through school.

[00:07:19] Cissa: Same. 

[00:07:20] Amy: you, okay, 

[00:07:21] Cissa: feel that. 

[00:07:22] Amy: we'll, come back so we'll come back to that. But anyway, when I, when I did pivot or decide to pivot or was in the process of deciding, I remember my dad had this phenomenal. I guess framework and it, it literally was the thing that pushed me into, okay. I guess I'll pursue what my dad did. Right. So for my entire life, I wasn't going to do that, but okay. 

Two Types of Workers: Work Producers and Processors

[00:07:44] Amy: But he was like, Ame there are two types of workers out there. There are work producers and their work processors. Work processes or people that move something from point a to point B. Okay. This could be as high level as a financial analyst. That's given, you know, numbers on a monthly basis and crunches them and presents them to the board or to the executive staff or shareholders, whatever. Um, but it also could be as low level as working a customer through the in order process at McDonalds.

[00:08:15] Right. They walk in the door, they come up at work processor. The other type of worker is a work producer. Someone that is able to create something from nothing. And if you do end up choosing the work producer path, these are like, you make a lot more money, right? Creating something from nothing. Um, but really the skills that you cultivate along this path are highly transferrable. You can pick them up and apply them into different settings. And obviously as you and I are sharing, like he was spot on, but our workplaces are just a little bit slower to adopt this. But like what, like what did you, I loved the post that you did because you called out the difference or the.

[00:09:06] I don't want to say the problem in that mainstream thinking of lookalikes, but then you also expanded on it. Like here's, how they're similar. And you spoke about discovery and you spoke about, um, incorporating maybe a little bit more of a technical demo, but I, anyway, it was just beautiful. And so like what, what would you, when did you realize that they weren't, that.

[00:09:31] Cissa: Yeah. 

[00:09:31] Amy: And was there any disappointment there, like, I guess is where I'm going at? Like here you work towards like, I'm going to go after SAS sales and then it's like, is there any let down?

[00:09:40] Cissa: So I think it's one of those situations where, so I was like a king myself up. I was getting like, all sorts of, like you said, butterflies. Right. I was like, oh my gosh, I'm having my first, like the discovery calls. Like I rolled up to my first discovery call. Like, girl has got this, like I have done discovery my entire life.

[00:09:57] My life is a discovery call. Like this is easy peasy, but then I remember the first like official demo came up. And. Oh, like, I, you know, I had like my stomach, almost hurt. I was like, oh gosh, this is where I'm going to just, I'm obviously an imposter. I have no idea what's happening. Like I'm going to look like a complete dunce.

[00:10:13] And then I was like, oh, No, that's not like, as I was doing it, it was just like, this is, this is so normal. It is connection. It is a conversation. And if I don't know something, I kind of lightly joke about it. And I'm like, Hey, I'm learning, but you're learning too. Let's like, go through this. Look how easy this platform is. Like, if I can do this on the fly, like you can do this on the fly. And I realized that it's just like everything else in sales. It's a human conversation. Well, you're talking to another human you're learning together, having a great conversation, building rapport. And at the end of it, hopefully you both were able to take away something.

[00:10:46] And as soon as I realized it's just, it's just the same. It's the same as everything else. I was like, oh, wow. Like it was like this epiphany. And I suddenly was like, oh, now I can do this all. Now, like hit me up a five demos a day and I'm fine. Like, it's just not overwhelming any, like you build it up in your head to be like, I, I have to know code.

[00:11:03] I have to know all these crazy backend things. I have to be the most technical human. I have to know the answer to everything, but nobody knows the answer to anything. Or it will not anything, nobody knows the answer to everything. So once you realize it's just like another moment of being human, then it's fine. Which might be over simplifying it.

[00:11:21] But that's really how I feel about. 

[00:11:23] Amy: Now it's not over simplifying it. And you know what I love to like drawing the connection between being better able to relate with someone who's not as accustomed to the tech conversations at the SaaS conversations. That was pretty beautiful. 

Andy Paul

[00:11:40] Amy: Okay. Like, I don't know. I can't, I can't hold off anymore. So friends, listeners, Cissa and I met originally through the Andy Paul launch team. And so we would have been able to connect over our appreciation for this exquisite sales book. So I want to talk about this with you. Here's this cause we've had, we've had a bunch of opportunities now per month now to play around with this content. And, and I'm, I'm excited that we're now bringing it to the show.

[00:12:07] So that said, how did you come across Andy Paul originally?

[00:12:12] Cissa: Yeah. So I originally stumbled across this content, just like on LinkedIn when I was having that moment of like, I need to read everything. I need to figure out who, who I'm going to follow. Like I was so. I, as confident as I am as a salesperson, it was that it was that imposter syndrome. I was like, Okay. I need to make sure I actually know all my stuff. Let me do this bunch of research. I'm going to take all these crazy notes. And I was like into the black hole. That is LinkedIn. Sometimes I was just like really getting into it. And then somebody mentioned Andy and I was like, you know, in my dark hall, I would like clicked over to his staff. And I was like, oh, Oh, this isn't like some person just. 

[00:12:54] Amy: like all the other sales 

[00:12:56] Cissa: like all the others. Yeah. It was like, this was somebody who was just talking about, like I said, like in this, as my sales, my way of doing sales is that personal connection and trying to actually have a real conversation and not just do like, like always be pitching. I hate, I hate that. I hate being pitched slapped. I hate the idea of always be pitching. That makes you sound so inauthentic. And I feel like Andy just really understood that. So when I stumbled across him, I glommed onto it. And I was like, yes, anything, this man post I am reading. I am book marking for later. I'm gonna try to incorporate some of it. So whenever he was doing a book, I was like, well, easy. Done. Sold.

[00:13:30] I'm reading that immediately, where to go and buy this book like yesterday. Uh, so it was like a no-brainer, but yeah, that's how I stumbled across him. And I'm so happy I did because I incorporate that stuff. 

[00:13:41] Amy: And so, so we have a where I stumbled across the podcast first, but I remember those similar feelings of like validation to like, You almost feel like you've been going against the flow blower upstream against all the specifically tech sales filter bubble. And it was just a breath of fresh air. So we had that in common. Did you ever listen to the show, the podcast or was it all like LinkedIn post?

[00:14:05] Cissa: I it's been quite a bit of LinkedIn posts. Uh, but I have listened to a couple of episodes of the podcast, specifically around areas where like, whenever I felt like I was struggling or I needed. Like a light at the end of the tunnel to remind me that I'm not the only one I would like specifically like scroll through and be like, hi, please, Andy, where do you talk about this? I can go listen to this again, get something out of it. So it's been very strategic listening, I guess, of the, of the podcast, but. 

Sell Without Selling Out

[00:14:33] Amy: no, it's good. It's I, I love it. I think that that's amazing. And that's what it's there for. Okay. So let's talk about the book, like one of the post-its that you, that you had that jumps out. Is that value equals progress. Okay. And so, and I love this idea. So listeners, there's a section where Andy's kind of talking shit about how we overcomplicate the concept of value. Right. And so I'm going to paraphrase here of not looking at the passage, but the idea is, and it's like, okay, let me, let me help us out here at like value equals progress, right. Helping the buying team to progress through the buying motion or, or get a little bit closer towards fixing their business problem, which is why they're engaging in sales conversations in the first place.

[00:15:19] And so like that one really resonated for you was to say, and I, I, I loved seeing it called out and I'm going to pull up the picture now with your other post-it notes, um, value. It was progress. The oh, yeah. Okay. Okay. I'm looking, I have them all here, but so here. 

[00:15:38] Cissa: Oh you have them all there. Perfect. 

[00:15:40] Amy: I see. I was looking at them.

[00:15:41] Okay. Continue. Continue.

[00:15:42] Cissa: Oh no. I was going to say that one, but also another one that really hit home to me. I can't remember where it was in the book. I think I have the chapter probably listed somewhere on the sticky note. But there was one where I've started incorporating this in all my discovery calls where, uh, it's, it's the question where you're like, okay, so what does this do like for your business? What does this do for your team and what does this do for you individually? And I went, and once I was able to break it down like that, and again, like there's just nuggets of this all throughout the book. Like these little, like, I was just highlighting like a mad woman. But when I read that too specifically, I was like, oh my gosh. Because my CEO has different priorities than I do. And that sounds dumb. Like, of course we all know that that's all something I know. I know that my CEO and I have different priorities. So whatever might matter most for the business, me as the end user, the human who's going. Interacting with us the most, the way I'm going to build the most connection with that person is by also just asking them specifically what it does. Like how would this make your day to day life better? Like, do you just hate Excel spreadsheets? Because I do like, are they an absolute nightmare? We got rid of those. What would that do for you? And just unlock something. And then you get more people on the call. You're getting more people bought into this process. And then you're able to be like, oh, Hey, Amy mentioned that. Here's like, this is what it does at a team level. Like you just sound so. It has a great conversation. You can get more of those, like, you know, differentiators built in and value adds all throughout the process, just because you're asking the right questions and you care about the responses.

[00:17:06] So that really hit me too. 

[00:17:07] Amy: No, it's so true. Okay. So listeners, the book is based on, so it's sell without selling out a guide to success in your own terms, by Andy Paul. and he breaks down the four pillars of selling in right, which is the opposite of being salesy or selling out and, and, um, anyway, Pillar one connection. Pillar two curiosity. Pillar three, understanding. Pillar four generosity. And went what Susan just shared with me reminded me of some, one of the other beautiful things about the book for me was that it framed all of the pillars, um, from both perspectives of what is it, how does this help you in your career seller, but also what does it feel like? Just take understanding as one example, what does it feel like to be understood? 

[00:17:49] Cissa: Yeah. 

[00:17:50] Amy: What does that feeling with your buyers with your prospects. And it's like, and it makes me laugh because I see and read all the stuff about differentiation. And it's not that hard to differentiate because when you're giving someone the experience of feeling seen validated and under fucking Sid, like, you cannot keep them away from you.

[00:18:15] If you try, which is, you know what I'm saying? And so like what I heard, what I heard about you repeating those three questions back, which was amazing. What's in it for your company. For your team and what's in it for you, right? It's it's that, it's that how to execute on delivering the feeling of being understood to your buyers while you're selling.

[00:18:37] And I, I, I'm sure you have something to add to that, but I'm reminded, so I know you were at Forester. I was at Thomson Reuters for many years. I think changing or selling information changes you as a person. And so part of my selling motions with my buying teams was to help them to learn and understand how information moved through the organization. And how, when done well, this information was designed to help people make better business decisions.

[00:19:05] Okay. So take court alerts is one example. and so part of the conversation with prospects happened to be around. what would this do for your career? If you were able to move more customized information to the right person at the right time at scale? And so, and that I remember it lit people up in the best possible way.

[00:19:31] Like I still have friendships with some of these buyers because not only would we talk about it theoretically. But then we would fucking execute. And I remember helping a particular department brand, some of these reports that were moving, maybe it was a competitive intelligence report that was moving around through the organization. So that as more people, more attorneys I sold into big law, more attorneys saw the report, they would then associate it with that department, the team, and with that individual. And so. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm like the living, walking proof of like that this fucking works. It works. Now why do you think most of most tech sales floors miss this concept?

What Do We Get Wrong About Tech Sales?

[00:20:15] Amy: Like what do you, what would you say our problem statement is with how we approach, um, our opportunities in tech sales, given your wide, broad experience and perspective.

[00:20:26] Cissa: Yeah.

[00:20:27] So I would say, so I know this might sound silly, but truly I think that people think because they're selling tech, they have to be very technical. They like everything that you do almost feels like you're like this highbrow tech person who just has all these answers, like you are the guide, guiding them through this complicated process.

[00:20:47] But I think there is something. The people who work in SaaS, who are able to make it as personal and so you just said, for example, like here at QuickBase, everything I do is data like trying to unlock data from silos, trying to fit. Like you said, map workflows. Figure out how these things are working. It liberate people from Excel spreadsheets. We're trying to make sure they can get real-time visibility in a super great way, all in one source of truth. And that C diff. That's so technical, like if I'm having that conversation with you, you're like, oh yes, that's a cool. Love that. But then if I'm like, Amy, if you could get rid of the 50 goddamn spreadsheets that you have to look at every single day and I could put them in one spot and make it so you could pull a report in two seconds instead of doing like some type of absolutely time sucking process of trying to figure out how to do a report from an Excel spreadsheet. Yeah.

[00:21:42] What would that do to your day? And people are like, oh my God, that would Cissa you have no idea. Like I spent five hours and like, that is insane. I'm like, I know we talked about with the CEO on some of the company wants, but I'm like, that's neither here nor there. I'm like, let's talk about you though, because you're who matters. Like what, what would this do in just whenever you're able to like, take that really technical kind of jargony stuff that we're all taught to? Like. We were able to be like, no, no, no, no. But let's like, actually get down to it. Everything I just said is all well, cool and fine. But like in the application of it, what does that do for you? Like how could I make you look like the biggest rock star on your team? Like, what would you need that you could roll up to a meeting and just be like, guys, I got this. And that's what I want to give you with QuickBase. That's what I want to give you. And when you can make that connection, suddenly they're your champion.

[00:22:30] They're like, yeah, 

[00:22:31] Amy: different, but it's a different ball game. 

[00:22:33] Cissa: a hundred percent. 

[00:22:34] Amy: ball game. Now I think one of the reasons why, at least in my experience why this doesn't happen very often is there tends to be a big rush to move through discovery. And it was something that I did. We covered on the episode four, Jeff Bajorek Does Discovery is one of my favorite conversations.

[00:22:53] Um, and so like we, we go into this like what? And so. All I have. I'm not going to repeat myself, but SIS, like there's IC dat, right? Trying to rush through discovery. I think there's this weird dichotomy around like the SDR SDRs E like, you know, understanding is all well and good for when I become an AAE and a real seller, like when I'm in a closing role.

Discovery and Demo are Different Things

[00:23:16] Amy: And so like, there's that. That piece of it, right. Perceiving the first touch with the customer or the prospect is being less than. Um, and so that's, I think a part of the problem from where I'm sitting. And then also I like, have you noticed this, that there is a, uh, commingling of the concept of demo and discovery.

[00:23:38] Cissa: Yeah, no, I definitely do notice that. And that kills 

[00:23:42] Amy: Okay. Tell, yeah. Tell me about this because I feel like. I'm with you though. Like how it, like this seems so fucking basic. Like what, how is

[00:23:50] Cissa: It seems so basic. Like it's one of those things. So as somebody who started out in fundraising specifically, like one of the first things they tell you is like, before you're about to ask for three grand for like some dumb political ticket, like to a concert, to like, hang out with a Senator or something like you got to build rapport, right?

[00:24:06] You got to do rapport building. It's like a whole thing. And that's really what discovery is for me. Discovery is rapport building. It's time for you to get to know them. Work out what actually matters to them individually, get to know them, like have a really nice ice breaker, like talk a bit about their day. Like, Hey, I've gone hiking this weekend. Hey, here's all the things that are relevant to you. Like if you try to cut that short, so you can get to like the alleged meat and potatoes and like the selling. If you cut all that short, you have cut your feet out from underneath of you. They don't know. They don't trust you. They don't have any type of value built in you as the seller. They have no real reason to trust you through this process. You're just yet another salesperson. It was like, oh, thank God I have a live one. Like, let me just cut right to the chase. And it's, it's a pitch slap. That's what I think it is when you jumped.

[00:24:54] To doing a demo and skip over all that discovery. Like I have a discovery call and depending on that discovery call, I figure out what's coming next is the next one, a process mapping call because maybe you're not even ready for that demo. Maybe I need a Macher process first, so I can build value in the demo.

[00:25:10] So I'm not just giving you the same demos everybody else, just to say I did it. Like, I hate that. 

[00:25:15] Amy: Reminds me of the first chapter of a book that we both appreciate. The chapter's called I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, listeners. And there's a, it's talking about the process, right? Our sales process and how we try to shove our prospects of many shapes and sizes into a square peg. And Cissa, you hit the nail on the head. It like, it gives us. An idea of how to take the motion next or where to take it next. And I love that you introduced a map at the concept of mapping before the demo. So the first, the first event that we're going to do, so it is keeping the community river going to extend it. All these announcements are coming, but the first event that we're doing have you read Ashley Welch's Naked Sales. 

[00:26:03] Cissa: I haven't, but now I'm going to cause you brought it up. 

[00:26:06] Amy: my second favorite sales book. It's about design thinking. I'm fucking brilliant. Ashley's brilliant. And so she's going to do a buyer mapping. 

[00:26:16] Cissa: Ah, 

[00:26:17] Amy: With mural. 

[00:26:18] Cissa: love that. 

[00:26:19] Amy: Yeah. So this is going to be the inaugural, like post-launch team event for everybody and what's coming.

[00:26:25] And so like, okay. So we're speaking, I'm clearly speaking to somebody who gets it and you know what else you've got to, which I want to call out in particular. When I learned about project management, my. Life got significantly better. Right. Even in just like having understanding the framework, right. Scope in scope, out of scope, project charter, you know, stakeholders aligning around objectives, which I think is a big part of, why is this deal or why is this motion important to you?

[00:26:59] Right. Like listeners, I used to, when I would get all of our executive sponsors in a room together for the, within the buying motion, I would have asked everybody. Ahead of time. What's your, what is the objective here? Right? How would you define our problem? One sentence and then what's our objective.

[00:27:16] And I would get those individually from everybody. And I would start the meeting with putting everybody's out there just so the team could see the lack of alignment and how this is where we got to start. Right. If we've stand a chance of doing something together as a team, we've got to get on the same page. 

Project Management Rocks (For Sellers Too)

[00:27:31] Amy: All things that I learned for project management. And I used to think about one, one opportunity equals one project. 

[00:27:39] Cissa: Um, 

[00:27:40] Amy: And it also helps me navigate through organizations better because when I found champions that also understood project management terms, we were able to have conversations about timeline. We were able to have conversations about, budget and trade-offs and like capacity and resources, and it just shifted everything for me.

[00:28:03] And so I know you spend time in construction and I know that project management is a pretty big thing over there. And so I'm making an assumption that you are also bringing these skills into tech sales. And so. Like, how have you seen any lift in how you approach your role given that background?

[00:28:25] Cissa: So I actually love what you, you just said about getting everybody's like objectives. I actually, so because of my experience with project management, working in construction, I send out an email before, uh, any meeting that I have, especially demo calls where I will say what. When need to happen during this call for you to get the most value.

[00:28:48] And I am multithread. I send that to every single person who's attending the meeting. So the VP will respond and be like, this is what I want. And then the manager will respond and be like, this is what I want. And then like the intro level person who I had my first call with, they'll say, this is what I want.

[00:29:01] And I bring that up. It's same as you at the beginning. And they're like, wow, look how much she cares. She asked all of us. I thought she just asked me, and then we can like, talk about that right off the bat. And you just look like. And all you're doing is managing your project properly and making sure it's staying on track and you're hitting all the objectives.

[00:29:17] It's like such a simple, a simple thing. And also you talked about timeline. And so something that I also learned with project management is my idea of this timeline and what needs to happen just because we call it timeline. Doesn't mean that, that is the same thing for you or me. So also when you're like, I need this by April, I'm like, well, what do you need by April? 

[00:29:36] Amy: Yeah, plus 

[00:29:38] Cissa: You need to actually have 

[00:29:40] Amy: it implemented? Yeah. You're, you're not using spreadsheets anymore by that date or you just want like legal and procurement shit to be behind us. Like w what do you mean by that? 

[00:29:51] Cissa: Yeah. Tell me more. What do you mean by that? Cause if you want this up and running as a full application by that timeline, like, let me tell you, honey, We should have started 

[00:29:57] Amy: gotta get, we gotta get to 

[00:29:58] Cissa: Wait. Yeah. Like it makes such a huge difference, but when you understand, and you're able to think in those types of, uh, types of scenarios and know those like different how, how things can be different, but also how we can get them right on track. It just makes all the difference in the world. 

[00:30:13] Amy: have you noticed that too, with, with people you're interacting with inside the organization, those that understand project management terms? Understand the concepts of deliverables by a certain time in order to hit a, hit a deadline. Like, does that communication come easier or is that just something that I experienced and thought way too much about since.

[00:30:36] Cissa: I think you're right. I think it does. And I think it actually really, really shows because one of the also fascinating things psych, so I started and I promised this with connected. So I started in sales, like there, SDRs and BDRs weren't really like, there wasn't, there wasn't such like a, there 

[00:30:52] Amy: Nobody's say your meetings for you to like the, you had to do it yourself. Oh man. Did you, did you walk to school there, but in the snow uphill? Both ways.

[00:31:01] Cissa: with nothing but a hot potato to keep me warm. And so I didn't start off as an SDR. I didn't have STRs when I started out. Um, and the reason why I say that is because I feel like, especially those of us who like are in this AE role who didn't necessarily start there. Like we like started just like do it, scrappy sales, do a nonsense stuff and a bunch of different industries.

[00:31:21] Amy: measuring windows and 

[00:31:23] Cissa: Yeah right. Where you're measuring windows and being like Donna, this vinyl window is the best. Like when you're doing this type of weird sales process, I feel like you're more hands on. You were learning it. So now that you need to take all of that knowledge and put it into a selling role. You have all this experience where you can be like, yes, project management, like I know different types of industries. I know what's happening. But I feel like that's almost something I wish STRs had more. It's because I feel like they're like doing all this cold calling, which is super, super great, but I feel like they're missing that, like that element. That key, like, Hey, I'm learning about how other people in different industries think do speak and handle situations. And I feel like that, like that project manager experience, how else would we have gotten that?

[00:32:06] Unless we had like, you know, been, been on it and in it, and like really inundated with it and created, took that and created something, put in our sales process, you know, 

[00:32:15] Amy: Yeah. Oh, I know exactly what you mean. And frankly, I had never thought about that before. And so I, I'm going to repeat it back to you just to make sure that I captured it properly. The idea that we're almost, um, limiting the SDRs by not giving them the ability to reference their experience with other buying teams, right? Which was one of my favorite ways to open up opportunities, right? To display that expertise around a particular business problem, just knowing what the, like, what their peers are experiencing. How they've tried to solve it before in the past. What worked, what didn't work and an intimate understanding of how our solution made their lives better.

[00:33:01] Cissa: Yeah. 

[00:33:01] Amy: And without that, getting interest at the beginning is harder today. Did I capture that right?

The SDR/AE Relationship

[00:33:09] Cissa: Yeah, No, I think you did. And what I was going to tie that back to is because you were like, how, like on your team, people have project management experience. do you feel like they they're able to apply that better as a sales process? And my answer is yes. And those people typically aren't necessarily ones who started out as SDRs. They're people who came from somewhere else. 

[00:33:24] And I feel like we've also reduced the SDR role to smiling and dialing, inputting things on people's calendars. And whenever I have an SDR who's assigned to me, I know that's something I try to talk with them about. Hey, this is what I do. I send out this email before meetings. I want to make sure I'm getting objectives aligned. And I want to make sure we're talking about timeline in a real constructive way. Because they'll talk about timelines sometimes on like a quick call where they prep them for the call with me. And I'm like, but let's really dig into what timeline means. It's important as AEs to be like, Hey, I have this hard won experience. I learned from multiple industries. And now I'm in this role. I need to give this to you SDR, because I feel like it's something that can sometimes get lost in the process. And I know I'm kind of like off topic a bit. I

[00:34:06] Amy: No, you're not. No,

[00:34:07] Cissa: This is my SDR soapbox I didn't know I had. But I'm on it now. Uh, so I just feel like it's unfortunate because we were talking about how tech has such like a, apparently like a high thing to get into. So I feel like it's like, you have to be an SDR to be an AE. A lot of times in the tech world. Like I am abnormal. The fact that I came from outside from a different industry came in as a senior account. Executive is very abnormal. You have to work your way up as an SDR. And I'm like, no, Maybe, but also we need to be more open because those people who have that other types of experience and come in, we can be the ones who are like, I lay, I learned this working in construction, guys, let's start implementing this. And It shows.

[00:34:43] Amy: It does show. It does show. I, I thank you for turning around and working with your SDRs like that because not all AEs do. And so on the off chance, you haven't heard it yet this week. I thank you for hint. This is why you're my people. 

[00:34:57] two things I would add for any SDRs that are listening the, for the episode three, it was called Dae Kang Cracks the SDR Talent Code. And so we go, we go into that one, um, for anybody that's interested in more on that. 

Favorite Chapter/Least Favorite Chapter

[00:35:11] Amy: Okay. So this what, so last one on the book, and then we're going to pivot here, but what was your favorite chapter and then what was your least favorite chapter too? Cause like, I, I have a funny thing to add about this, but what, what were your two, what were you, what was your favorite.

[00:35:24] Cissa: That's a really great question. I'm trying. I wish I had the book in front of me to honestly like 

[00:35:27] Amy: Here I'll I'll, I'll read them for it for you and for everyone 

[00:35:31] Cissa: Can you, can you list, uh, can you tell me what chapters 10 and 12? 

[00:35:34] Amy: yeah. Curiosity and Generosity . So the pillars.

[00:35:38] Cissa: So I would have to say so 

[00:35:41] Amy: Wait, wait, hold on. While you're thinking about it, I got to read the I'm going to read the at least it's the started them. So what we already did, I love you. You're perfect. Now change chapter one. What? Human being acts this way. Question mark. Chapter two, stand out or sell out chapter three, selling to humans. What your buyers need from you? Chapter four. You're not the Boss of Me: Seize Control how you say. Chapter five death, salesy chapter six, influence rules, Persuasion Drools. Chapter seven. There's one question every buyer will ask of you and then it goes into the pillars.

[00:36:12] Cissa: So I would have to say my favorite might have to actually be The that when I read about the generosity, it kind of made me rethink, uh, like re reframe almost everything. When I was like, oh, I don't think I've thought of it that way before. The, the fact that, uh, cause you think of like this give to get type of like mindset, uh, when. Yeah. with the sales. But like, there's something more just like for genuine generosity. Like, I don't know why. And I feel like sometimes, like it's so overlooked in general. And I know even, um, I was talking with a prospect the other day, we didn't move forward. We didn't make any sense for him or what he was looking for. But during our call, I learned that he, uh, Did fundraising actually for a nonprofit. And he was looking for somebody to, to possibly lead up his fundraising team. And I was like, absolutely connect me to the right people. I at least send me the. Like, I will try my best to see if I can network and find this for you, But now he like absolutely unprompted. He was like, I loved talking to you. I want to refer this person to you because you weren't a good fit for me. And I know, and maybe that's not quite exactly the same as Andy scopes it in the book, but I think it just like bringing up generosity in general as a pillar, I was like, yeah, I do that in my life with my friends. How can I do that with customers? How can I like reframe my sales process to just give and not expect something in return? Just be generous and like it's going to come back around in a weird way. I don't know. So that helped me reframe everything. It was a weird epiphany moment. Even when I saw the word generosity in a sales book, I was like, wow. Ah, that's crazy. Uh, so I loved that. 

[00:37:45] I would have to say my least favorite would have to be, uh, when I felt super called out about persuasion and influence, because you're told like, as like a salesperson, like, this is how you're persuasive, this is how you phrase this to get to persuade people, to do what you want. And I was like, oh, dang, this is my salesy. This is my salesy. 

[00:38:09] Amy: you do the quiz on the, on the website? Like my level, 

[00:38:13] Cissa: And they called me out. It called me out, Amy. It was like, I was always like, no, no, I.

[00:38:18] am a person to person sales. Like I am not salesy. And I took the quiz on the website and Andy was like, actually, you kind of suck a bit, could you be less?

[00:38:26] And I'm like, fine, fine. So I read the book. 

[00:38:29] Amy: my gosh. Okay. So I, this is, that was the website or not my forte, but I like, I enjoyed participating in and working on that quiz. And so I stand by my work there. However, like I it's interesting though, because that was my favorite chapter. And. It for me, it was about like, I had never thought of persuasion in that manner.

[00:38:52] And it was like instantly you had the words to talk about how you had sold in the past, or at least how I had sold, but at the same time, the words to articulate, why incessantly trying to persuade. I feel so icky, including, right. One of the questions on that quiz is what the purpose of true or false what the purpose of a sales meeting is to get the next appointment.

[00:39:20] Cissa: And my gut response is absolutely 

[00:39:22] Amy: true. This is, 

[00:39:23] Cissa: commitment. Yeah, of course. 

[00:39:25] Amy: yeah. That would probably talk to you or at least you caught it. But that was one of my favorites because it was like, that is not the purpose of a sales call. The purpose of the sales call is to uncover the most important thing, but more importantly, who says that you need to take that next step.

[00:39:40] What if they're not ready to take that next step?

[00:39:42] Cissa: Yeah. And that's where I felt called out. Like, that's why I didn't. I liked, I didn't like it because it was too really me. I didn't like it cause it was a bad chapter. I didn't like it because it was too real. It was getting too nitty gritty. It was saying to me, Hey Sosa. How about, instead of always getting that from future commitment at the cost of anything, like making sure it's on the books, how you make sure the next step is fucking relevant?

[00:40:03] Like you make sure you're figuring out what actually makes sense for them and sort of just making sure you get like that on the calendar. I still look good. Like, you know what I mean? So, yeah, no, it was, it was, it was my least favorite in a way that it was probably the most applicable and hurt my heart. 

[00:40:18] Amy: Well, you find it. It's funny because like, I, for that, it was one of the launch team events was that curiosity. And I, like, I made a comment because curiosity was my least favorite chapter only because it was so actionable. Right. It was like, it went deep into the different question types and how to practice them. And so like, there's a. I use the word dry in this meeting. And then the next day it was almost as if like the universe was like, you know, kind of putting me back at my place. There was somebody I was DM-ing with on the launch team on. And I have been asking everybody what they thought of the book, right. In the context of the reviews and stuff. And so this person was like, he thought that he gave me the page numbers, pages blank through blank should be required reading for all, everybody that's touching this profession. And I, like, I ran to get the book to look at which page numbers he was talking about. And it was the curiosity chapter. It was the curiosity chapter. So I have an apology, Andy, that's a public apology. And like anybody that was in that curiosity event, like I was wrong. 

[00:41:22] Cissa: Called out. 

[00:41:23] Amy: yeah, yeah. But now I like, so let's, let's call myself out on a, on a show so that everybody can know, cause we all make mistakes and this is how we learn.

[00:41:31] But it's one of my favorite questions to ask people now, like what, which was. Where did it resonate? All right. This is a we're we're coming here at bedtime. 

Cissa's Most Uncomfortable Conversation

[00:41:39] Amy: What is the most uncomfortable conversation that you've ever had to have in a revenue context? 

[00:41:46] Cissa: So this is actually going to be maybe a different angle than what you're asking me. So there's no wrong answer. So I'm going to, I'm going to give you my actual true, most uncomfortable situation. What I ended up doing with that and why being human made it Okay. At the end. So I used to work at a luxury travel sales company, like a sub down below luxury, but like, these are really expensive trips. I mean, we're sending people to like Italy for $35,000. So I had a client of mine who I absolutely adored. I had planned this wonderful trip to her. It was now the time to like, ask for the sale. I'm like, I planned this trip. It's amazing. I need the deposit now. she actually seemed really great. We're moving forward. And then she actually emailed me and she was diagnosed with breast cancer right before. The deposit for this trip. And she was heartbroken. She was so torn. She's like, I have to go do these tests. I don't, I can't give you your money. Like right now, I need to make sure I'm on track with my health. And me as a human was like, absolutely. my sales managers were like, Hey, you need to hit your number for the month. This was like in pipeline, it was going to close. Like how can we try to make her. Put down her deposit. And I'm like, uh, she was diagnosed with cancer guys. Like we can't like, I'm not going to like lean on this.

[00:42:58] Uh, but they were like, please like have another follow-up 

[00:43:01] Amy: Wait, you told them that this woman had been diagnosed with cancer and they pushed you to have another conversation to get the deal. 

[00:43:08] Cissa: try to have another 

[00:43:09] Amy: to make sure I understood that properly. Okay. Continue.

[00:43:12] Cissa: So, because they were like, we put in all of this like effort, we have this whole trip fully planned out. Everything's great. She's not traveling for like two years. So she's not going to be traveling for a minute. So like plenty of time to like seek treatment with us. How can we reframe this as like a celebratory trip? Like hopefully when everything's done. And I was like, sure. Uh, so I got on a phone call with her and she ended up like crying on the phone call with me, talking about how hard everything was. And I ended up just being like, well, I mean, I'm making up a name right now, but I was, let's just say her name's Sue. I was like, Sue. I'm like, I understand I'm like, I want this to be a celebratory trip for you. I want this to be great. But also, you need to prioritize your health. And she's like, what's this I'm actually going in for these meat that I'm going into my doctor to have all these checkups and stuff. And I was like, SU honestly, from just a human perspective, like let me know how it goes. I hope I'm going to be thinking about you. Sent her an email on the day I knew her appointment was. And I was like, I just want you to know, like, I'm thinking about you. And I hope everything goes really, really well. And I didn't push her. Like everybody was like, Hey, try to get it. I didn't, I truly just checked in with her because I was worried about her. We had spent hours and hours and hours planning this trip to Italy together. And I was really invested in her life personally. And I just checked in with her. it ended up being a simple procedure. She got it done. She healed up quick. And the second she was healed up, she put that on deposit for the trip because I was just human and I didn't push her, but it was a hard conversation.

[00:44:26] It's hard to take those types of visceral emotions that somebody is having know that you are technically a salesperson. Your only connection to them is being a salesperson. But you also, like you want to show empathy. You also want to like, keep it. It's like it was a really hard balance and I'm grateful that I remembered I'm human first. She is human. Yeah. How can I care about her? How can I check in with her and expect nothing back? She would have never booked that trip. I would have been so fine. I just truly wanted to make sure she was Okay. but it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Balancing that emotional baggage with being a sales person and being accountable for, for my sales timeline. It was, it was, it was rough that that's my answer. 

[00:45:07] Amy: I know it's like such an interesting reframe there because it's like, well, first of all, I do want to push back a little bit. I don't believe that salesy is what this profession is about. And so in that instance where you were more human, than your sales boss, In that instance like that, which happens all the time. Right. There's been plenty of times where I'm a cyborg and someone else behaves in a more human manner. Right. Cause none of us are perfect. But anyway, that said, like, I, I, I love, I love that you've followed, trusted your gut there and didn't push in that moment. And I think. Um, I would almost want to say to like the sales bosses, like people that are do that just got diagnosed with cancer. There's a, and now you want a check for something. Now they still have to pay for cancer treatment. You don't know where their medical insurance situation is at. And so I love the reframing what the purchase is, is a celebrate Tory trip, but at the same time, Uh, very, very, very, very, very, very, very tone deaf.

[00:46:11] And so it's just 

[00:46:12] Cissa: Pick your moment. 

[00:46:13] Amy: oh my gosh. And that, and it still came back, which I love, but like I too have had to have a ton of these conversations with bosses. Like it's going to come in, but we're to have. 

[00:46:24] Cissa: Yeah, 

[00:46:25] Amy: For whatever reason, like I like fill in the blank and it would come in. But for me, the hard conversation there would be with your boss, 

[00:46:34] Cissa: absolutely. 

[00:46:35] Amy: so I'm curious, did you tell them, did you tell them that you didn't ask or that, did you tell them that you asked.

[00:46:41] Cissa: Oh, I ended up telling them, I was like, Hey, I always be closing perspectives. Like, no, like I don't, I don't abide by that. I think everything has to be done in the right time, at the right way. And I was like, I know if I treat her with respect. Kindness empathy and truly care about what's going on. I know this is going to come in and if it doesn't come in, I know she's going to love me and I'm going to get referrals from her. That's from a business perspective. And I'm like, but from a personal perspective, I just, I feel icky. I do not want to do it. So I told them after I got off the call, I was like, no, I'm checking in with her on how her appointments are going. If it comes in, it comes in. But like, I'm not, I'm not asking her for a credit card details before she goes in for her for cancer treatment. Like I'm just not going to do it. So I was like, absolutely not. And I put my foot down. I was like, I'm like, if you want to call her fine, but I'm not doing it. 

[00:47:28] Amy: It's like the it's like this story that Andy tells in the book about the dude that wanted the deal on Christmas Eve. And Andy had to call that guy during his family Christmas Eve dinner. Like where's the 

[00:47:41] Cissa: Where it's like, no. Where's the human, where's the humanness in that. If you want to want them to do that to you, why would you do that to them? Just stop doing it. 

[00:47:50] Amy: Don't do that. Don't do that. If you're feeling like you're you've, you've got to, um, go ahead and get some more fucking deals in your pipeline, please, so that you're feeling less pressured. Um, and if you're waiting on your STRs to do that AA friends that are out there, maybe you haven't like done any hunting in a while, but I assure you, it is, it is a muscle. It is possible. And so those are also some things that you can do to alleviate that. Um, pressure to sell out. As Andy would say. This is amazing. Like how, how can people find you?

[00:48:24] Cissa: So there I am on LinkedIn. So feel free to follow me, like connect with me and be like, Hey, I heard you. And I thought you?

[00:48:30] had some good things. Want to chat. I'm always not connected on LinkedIn. So a deal I'm in, I think I'm the only sister deal men possibly in existence. So you probably won't find another one of me. Um, so feel free to connect. That's the best place to hit me up. I don't do a ton of other social media. So if you really want to see a bunch of books, posts. Free to follow me on Instagram at Cissa Gone Astray, but it's all book content. So LinkedIn is where to hit me for this type of content.

[00:48:54] Amy: I love it. I love it. Yeah. Okay. That sounds like the best instant poster or Insta profile that I can think of. So like I support folks who grew up. Um, all right. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is amazing you rock. I will be seeing you probably tomorrow. I'm at the launch party, but thank you for doing what you do.

[00:49:15] Thank you for being a breath of fresh air, um, and how you sell and staying true to. You know, the human side of it. And so again, thank you. thank you. Thank you.

[00:49:28] Cissa: Yeah, no, thanks for having me, Amy. I, this is as always great conversation. Lots of takeaway. I appreciate you. Thank you.

[00:49:33] for doing this, this podcast in general. And thanks for having me. 

[00:49:36] Amy: It's my pleasure.

Outro

[00:49:38] That wraps another installment of the revenue, real hotline. Thanks for hanging around through the remainder of the conversation friend. If you found any value in things discussed, do tell a friend. I write a post on social media, follow the show, write a review. These things are insanely important . And I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Just like, I appreciate you friend. 

[00:50:08] I'd also like to thank my guest. for sharing her insights with us today. This is the revenue real hotline. I'm Amy Hrehovcik. Truth, love and joyful and happy selling.

Cissa Dieleman Profile Photo

Cissa Dieleman

Sr. Commercial Account Executive @ Quickbase

Amy Hrehovcik Profile Photo

Amy Hrehovcik

Host of Revenue Real Hotline Podcast