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Complex business-to-business (B2B) sales, the inflection point in a buyer’s journey, and strategies for building a sales team :: with Steve Crepeau and Sol Cates

In this episode of Ventures, my guests Steve Crepeau (https://www.truesalesresults.com/), Sol Cates (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sol-cates-649736/), and I discuss the nuances of sales, including characteristics, values, tactics, and techniques for helping people progress along the buyer’s journey. Our discussion expands from complex B2B sales to how the “inflection point” concept can be applied to other areas of startups and enterprise sales, including “selling” your team and investors on your idea as a startup founder.  

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts (search for “Ventures”).

In this episode we cover the following:

1:01 - Sol tee-up and introduction of Steve

2:40 - Steve introduction, background, and story of True Sales Results.

5:23 - Sol’s reflections of meeting Steve and learning about sales leadership.

6:35 - Did Steve always have the personality of a salesperson even in his childhood?

9:10 - Backing up, what is sales? What kind of characteristics do you need to be good at sales?

15:27 - Business to Business (B2B) buyers are interested primarily in purchasing business outcomes. (Sol talking about his past as a Sales Engineer).

17:36 - Deep dive discovery and discernment process as part of True Sales Results services, including talking to customers of customers.

21:30 - For a growing startup, from an education perspective, how do you build and scale a sales team?

27:17 - Not as simple as having someone in your network shadow you...it requires building story narratives and the types of things that True Sales Results provides for their clients. (hint: not “rolodex selling”)

32:55 - Sol reflecting on early bootcamps with Steve, learning functional sales techniques, including understanding “the inflection point” during the buyer’s journey.

35:42 - Steve reflecting on Sol’s video testimonial in a busy conference hall

36:24 - During the discovery process with Steve’s customer’s customers, Steve uncovers the emotion during the decision making process. The emotional impact. Sales people are good at making people feel very uncomfortable. Example question to ask: “What is the cost of doing nothing” ?

38:00 - More discussion around “the inflection point”.

40:40 - Making a buyer “troubled” to get to the inflection point. Examples from cybersecurity.

42:37 - Sol recalling a story that Steve shared in the past around buying a car...about a customer coming to the inflection point.

45:40 - Other examples outside of cybersecurity. (e.g. AI/Medtech). The inflection point is literally life or death for some buyers (such as hospitals).

55:02 - Remapping sales stages. Thinking you know why your customers buy your stuff (and being wrong).

57:01 - What can founders learn from the insights from this episode regarding “selling” their team, investors, partners, etc… (including themselves). The importance of focusing on the value that you can deliver in terms of business outcomes for your customers.

59:31 - Avoid random acts of selling. Focus. Lessons learned. Sol recommends focusing on the problem, understanding it from multiple angles...and then, understanding if it’s valuable to make the problem go away…..then innovate.

1:01:29 - The best way to convince a team and investors to join you is to focus on the business outcomes of your customers.

1:02:08 - Where can we find Steve and Sol online? www.truesalesresults.com & https://www.linkedin.com/in/sol-cates-649736/