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SME Business Podcast - S1EP1 - Sales Strategies for the new normal Steven Benson from Badger Maps

Updated: Oct 1



I started a new podcast to highlight small and medium-sized businesses. Often a lot of the media attention is focused on the large companies that end up getting all the promotion.

Instead of complaining, I wanted to do my bit and improve things myself.

So every week or so I will be interviewing a founder of such a firm.


This first episode I was joined by Steven Benson of Badger Maps (badgermapping.com)

He explains on how sales leaders can adapt in this new normal.


The podcast can be found at:


https://podcast.cybersecurityexpertontap.com/



Mark de Rijk

Hi people today we welcome Steven Benson to the show. Steven is the CEO of Badger Maps. Badger Maps helps field reps sell 20 to 25 per cent more. He also hosts "outside sales talk" the number one podcast for outside sales reps. Check the link in the show notes. In addition, he's the president of the Sales Hall of Fame and a LinkedIn learning instructor to boot. Thank you, Steven, for joining me today.


Steven Benson

Yeah, Mark, thanks for having me on. I'm glad to be here.


Mark de Rijk

so, yeah, I was like, I found you on LinkedIn and I was like, this sounds really interesting. I was like, you know as a business helping people increase their sales, especially in these times, is really important. So it's like, I have to highlight you and then help, you know, not just highlight you, but also help people listening to this podcast to discover more and then help them move forward as well.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah. So I just want to start to have some questions, a bit more about yourself. So tell me something more about yourself. Who is the person behind the entrepreneur running Badger maps?


Steven Benson

Well, so I grew up in Chicago and, you know, I always wanted to start a business.


Steven Benson

I started a couple of businesses when I was in grammar school. One of them was selling fireworks, which is a whole other story.


Steven Benson

But, uh, but, I guess after college, I moved out to California to join the tech boom, ended up going to business school at Stanford. And then I took a sales path. So I worked in sales at IBM and a software company called Autonomy. And then I went to they got bought by HP. I went to Google and worked there for four years in sales. And I was running sales of their mapping API into the western US.


Steven Benson

And that's kind of where Badger came from, was I understood the problems that field salespeople had. And then I was working with the Google Maps API and I was able to kind of see well, this API is now getting to a point where you could build cool software on it, on the mobile device, the mobile devices are getting this is back in 2011, right. The mobile devices were getting fast enough to run cool software, cool applications like this.


Steven Benson

And the Internet was getting fast enough over the mobile networks to support that.


Steven Benson

So I guess it was kind of the conjunction of those things caused me to be able to build this tool badger maps for field salespeople to help them build their routes, plan their days in the field, focus on the best customers, but basically join their calendar and their map and their customer information all into one application.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, that completely makes sense. That sounds like a great journey. And it's funny you mentioned Autonomy because at one point I myself, I worked for ArcSight, which got bought by HP as well.


Steven Benson

Oh, OK. Yeah. Autonomy was the biggest I think the biggest European software company other than SAP because I think it was the biggest British software company at one point.


Mark de Rijk

Yes, yeah. It was like it was all over the paper. So like now like look, we got our own Silicon Roundabout/Valley that, and it's like, well, it's a bit small, but of course, people were proud and like we have a big company yeah.


Steven Benson

They sold it for ten billion dollars to HP. So it was a big deal.


Mark de Rijk

Yes, yes, yes. Funny. Like, you know how small the world in the end is.


Mark de Rijk

So how did you decide which career path to take?


Mark de Rijk

And like when you were going high school, like what were your thoughts, like what you wanted to do or you still like and how it got like, you know, like some of the people go, like, I want to be a firefighter, pilot or were you pretty sure what you wanted to do?


Steven Benson

No. I mean, when I was younger, I really didn't know. I knew I like to help people. I thought I might want to be a teacher when I was in high school. And I actually did end up I was a junior kindergarten teacher for a little while.


Steven Benson

And that was kind of like an experimental job, I guess. But I really enjoyed that and I enjoy that type of work. In the end, I was kind of I think I was attracted to business and entrepreneurship just because it allows me to have such a broader impact on things. You know, like there are 5000 companies that use Badger and, it materially helps them be more effective with their field sales teams and sell more.


Steven Benson

And that allows them to hire more people and create more jobs. And I just I feel like you can have an outsized impact if you create valuable pieces of software or I mean or any valuable service or solution that people are willing to pay for, usually they're paying for it because they're getting more out of it than they're paying.


Steven Benson

And so, you know, if you're able to whatever the area is in, I mean, I think that business is just the scalability aspect of some businesses is just so cool to me. The way you can have such a big impact in the world.


Mark de Rijk

I know, like completely you have an outsized impact because you can you know, it's not like, services where it's hard to say scale-up and replicate the same result with a product or like a SAAS offering, it's easier to help more people. And like you said, that if they are able to increase their sales, that means that they are able to employ more people.


Mark de Rijk

They are able to then help more people, get products out, which means that the people that buy the products can then also improve their organization. So it's all cascading down. So, yeah, definitely that's where it's at.


Mark de Rijk

And I think that's the magic, if you will, of the whole tech economy where maybe not everyone is aware how much, let's say prosperity generation or acceleration it's helping to create.


Mark de Rijk

So, yeah, it's great to see that, you know, you realize that, as far as well, like about your personal background. Did I saw something about wrestling in high school?


Steven Benson

Yeah. But yes you might have found that if you Googled me, yeah. So I was a state-qualifying wrestler in high school, but back then I weighed one hundred and seventy-one pounds, which is less than I weigh now. But yeah, that was always my sport. I enjoyed a lot of sports, but that was the one that I kind of was, I guess, more of a natural with and I learned a tremendous amount from it.


Steven Benson

Um, you know, grit, which I think is so important for salespeople, so important for entrepreneurs.


Mark de Rijk

Yes.


Steven Benson

You know, I think a lot of that can be I consider myself to be pretty gritty. And I think a lot of that is could be attributed to the things that I learned.


Steven Benson

In high school wrestling, enduring pain and overcoming challenges and, getting my butt kicked around, learning, learning to lose, learning to learn to win and learning, getting learning to, you know, have a drive that that all that I think came, really started getting developed there.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, I know that makes sense.


Mark de Rijk

Like, as I said to myself, like, you have to get past the no to get to the yes. That kind of thing and go for the no because then, you disqualify a potential customer. But it means that you then free yourself up to get a yes from a customer that you can help. so yeah, that's great.


Mark de Rijk

So you already got into it a little bit before about Badger maps where, you know, you, you have an extensive background and you worked on Google Maps APIs. And it's funny like I was when you mentioned it, it was like thinking as well about delivery companies and how they optimize, you know, delivery. Where they go like, doing was it left turns or right turns only?


Steven Benson

Mm-hmm. Yeah. UPS.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah. UPS. And it's like immediately feeling like seeing that truck in front of me like and it makes sense with Badger maps because I, well what looks like you're also getting in metrics on stages of the customer and the potential, for my research I've done. Is that right?


Steven Benson

Yeah, absolutely. So you know, whatever a company, whatever information or data a company has about their customers, we pull that into our environment where they can really make it actionable from planning your day in the field perspective.


Steven Benson

So, you know, we connect with the CRM and then for the companies that have a CRM for companies that don't have one, we can just upload their data, but we generally connect with the CRM and pull in.


Steven Benson

The CRM often contains a whole bunch of rich data that just isn't actionable for a field salesperson from the perspective of, OK, I have all this information, so what should I do for the next two weeks in terms of where should I go, who should I talk to?



So we make that data really useful to them in this map based and planning calendaring environment that they can easily kind of figure out what am I going to do for the next two weeks? Who are the most important customers for me to see? And then Badger will give will help them set those meetings to get the app in a way that makes sense for their time in the field. And then we help them with things like lead gen and juggling their schedules once they're out in the field and people are cancelling and changing things on them.



But we kind of help with all those different elements of field sales and basically save people a bunch of time and busywork.



Yeah. Like, I looked at it like really impressive because you simplify. So basically the field rep can focus on what they're good at, show up at the prospects and explain the value, so they can be more effective if you like. I said if you put them in front of a CRM to be like, yeah, that's great. But like, how can I figure it out, you know, like I don't want to like, manually put stuff in the sat nav and start driving around and finding out that actually I just drove past a prospect exactly further down my CRM that I didn't know about.



And now I potentially lost on a 10k deal because, uh, my competitor is in the area and actually scooped a deal from me. So, yeah, it makes absolute sense.



It absolutely. Yeah. It's just, you know, sales is a tough job, right? You're always strapped for time and if you had more of it, you could sell more do better be more successful.



And we're just you know our surveys are getting back and people are estimating that they save like eight hours a week between reduced time on the planning of their time spent in the field and then actually doing the driving and the going to the customers and then focusing on the best customers there, and eight hours a week is a ton, right?


Mark de Rijk

It's like twenty per cent of your time. Exactly. Yeah. And that means that, like if you talk about somebody later, you might be like, hey, I have a family that eight hours may mean that, I can see my you know, kids train for the game or something, and that's how you have to think. So it's not just an impact for the company, but it's also a work-life balance.


Steven Benson

Impact improvements. Absolutely.


Steven Benson

Yeah. I mean, you know, we help you save time. What you do with it is up to you know,


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, so I had some other questions around, so what do you think are the new challenges a sales leader needs to overcome in a bad economy that they might not have been thinking about before?


Steven Benson

Yeah, I mean, you know, this is something I speak about a lot is what's going on in this recession, how is it affecting companies and how can we overcome the recession in our different industries and our different companies?


Steven Benson

I think one of the first but to your question, the new challenges that leaders need to overcome in a bad economy are first desperate competitors doing desperate things.


Steven Benson

So a lot of companies are really, really hurting right now and they're frankly willing to do things that they would not have done before, like discount their products really deeply, liquidate inventory just to make ends meet, give away, give things away like free consulting or payment terms or whatever that whatever value, whatever they'll give away valuable terms to in order to win deals that you would have been winning before or to steal your existing customers away from you.


Steven Benson

And so that's the first major challenge that companies may be running into from a sales perspective that they weren't running into before.


Steven Benson

The second challenge is coming up from your prospects and your customers.


Steven Benson

So I think that a lot of salespeople are running into resistance that they weren't getting before. And that can be as simple as a customer not wanting to engage with you or not wanting to meet in person or , just saying brushing you off and saying there's no budget for this right now. But, someone didn't want to do something or evaluate a new product or service before.


Steven Benson

And now they have a great excuse. And there's just there's so much resistance to spending money, you know, there are spending freezes that can come from the very top of organizations and procurement departments have been empowered, their procurement departments are getting a lot more aggressive and they're leveraging the down economy to get discounts from vendors and to get better terms from vendors and generally jam down vendors margins to keep their own boats floating.


Steven Benson

So I think those are really the two major challenges is competitors and then challenges with prospects and customers.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, excellent points. Yeah, as I said, the discounting, it's a real thing. you also see the procurement departments that go like, well, I know you need the business. So, you know what if you do 50 perc ent discounts, then we might do business well before, you know, they might get away, would be like, hey, you know, like we want a 20 per cent discount.


Mark de Rijk

They become more brazen in using the current economy as a way to say, hey, can we actually improve our margins, if you will, at the cost of our suppliers, that kind of thing. And that's you know, it's valid that they might want to do that.


Mark de Rijk

But yeah, sometimes,


Steven Benson

yeah, that's their job, right.


Mark de Rijk

This goes over that over the top where to go like. Well, actually, long term that actually might damage vendor relationships because those vendors that forced the discount that hopefully also will remember, you know, and then if there's a shortage because you provide a unique quote product or service.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah. Then come renewal time. And when the economy is restored again, that might come back to you. So yeah. We'll have to see how that goes.


Mark de Rijk

Other than negotiation training. How can a sales manager react in a bad economy to the margins compressing?


Steven Benson

Great question. So yeah. I mean first yeah I think negotiation training is something that every organization should be looking at right now for their sales teams just to help them deal with this pressure coming from customers around price.


Steven Benson

But also, a sales manager or the person who's designing the sales plans for their team can react to this compression of margins by redesigning the sales plan. So if you're if you have a product with tightening margins or in general just need margins to be better defended in these tough times and your reps are currently comped on revenue, you can consider switching that compensation to comping them on profit margin.


Steven Benson

And the reason you would do this is that if you imagine, your margins are 30 per cent and your reps are giving, your rep gives a 15 per cent discount on a deal, you actually need two deals like that to be worth as much as one deal was at full price from a profitability perspective,


Steven Benson

But if you're if your plan is aligned with revenue, you know, that 15 per cent discount only cost them 15 per cent of their commission, but if their comp plan is aligned with profit, that 15 per cent discount just cost them half of their commission.


Steven Benson

So if you give them a plan that aligns them with the profit line and so the revenue line, they will defend that margin much better.


Mark de Rijk

Yes, yes. Because they'll go like it's not about the revenue, but if I don't maintain the margin, then I get stung as well. And, you know, I don't have this money for, let's say, the next holiday. Yeah. So it completely makes sense.


Steven Benson

Yeah.


Steven Benson

And in general, you always want to design comp plans to be aligned with the business and its needs and as it changes, you may want to look at changing the comp plan. And I'm not saying, change you're on target earning or the total amount that you're going to be paying your reps.


Steven Benson

I'm just saying shift the plan to reward the reps that are generating the most profit.


Mark de Rijk

Yes. Yeah, completely makes sense because it's easy to, you know, sign the deal if you will. But then if the margin is like two or three per cent it's like basically, you've been giving it away and that's not long term sustainable and especially not in this economy where if you're doing fewer deals, you want to maintain the margins. So, yeah, completely make sense. So I had another one where I was like, uh, what do you think sales leaders need to change in their behaviour in a time of crisis to keep revenue flowing?


Steven Benson

Yeah, that's a great question, too. So sales leaders, I guess an economic crisis is probably the hardest time to be a sales leader.


Steven Benson

The whole company is dependent on the revenue that your team produces to survive. And so sales leadership is never more important than in a time of crisis. Um, so I guess to your question, what do they have to change? I think now more than ever, leaders need to confront reality and be really action-oriented.


Steven Benson

They need to be honest in their assessments of the challenges facing the organizations.


Steven Benson

They need to embrace bad news. They need to ask hard questions and they need to keep a positive outlook.


Steven Benson

And they need to have a very well thought out action plan.


Steven Benson

And they have to be transparent with their team about what that actual plan is.


Steven Benson

Managers need to be more responsive. They have to be more supportive of their sales teams, the sales reps. The team is probably scared. They're worried about losing their jobs. They're worried about how hard it's going to be to get another job. They're worried about their commission check evaporating.


Steven Benson

The sales team was not paying their mortgage with their base rate. And as sales are down, you know, they're struggling with you know as their commissions are compressed. You know, times are tightening up. Right.


Steven Benson

You can look to reassess the KPIs you're using to measure the sales team because sales cycles are longer now and the team is focused on, you want to keep the team focused and the things that they can really move the needle on and be responsive to the current situation, and historically, maybe you're looking at just revenue numbers and that's the way or profit numbers, those the two ways that sales teams are usually measured. But just because those are down doesn't mean the sales team is doing terribly.


Steven Benson

They could be out there busting their butts. You want to start measuring other things, too, to kind of show progress, show the pipeline, get a better insight into what's going on. You know, how many qualified meetings are they having? How many proposals did they have?


Steven Benson

And I'm not saying change the comp plan to comp them on proposals because then you'll just get a lot more proposals without necessarily a lot more sales. But it's worth measuring to make sure to get insights into who's putting in the effort and the time and who's it's a good indicator of who's going to be successful in the future.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, yeah. Because in the end, it's one of those things when they build relationships with those prospects and then when the economy recovers, that kind of thing, those prospects will remember that you know, you didn't try to push them for deals, they couldn't afford it if you will. But when they are able to do so, then they will remember you as an organization and be like you build a relationship with me and at that time and now I want to acknowledge you for that kind of thing.


Mark de Rijk

So yeah, it's and then like you said, measuring effort, if you will, while yeah. It might be harder, you know, to get the deals in, but if you can measure how much effort they're putting in then that's metrics to, to say prove how hard your sales workforce is working. So yeah. That makes sense.


Steven Benson

Absolutely. And sales leaders need to guide the team right now. The team needs to be coached.


Steven Benson

I believe a sales leader should be asking themselves. Am I spending fifty per cent of my time coaching my reps? And if the answer is no, they should be spending more time.


Steven Benson

It's so easy to go silent right now. It's so easy to, you know, slipping into the remote world, you know, and, instead, I think it's important to be getting in front of your reps and ask your reps questions and find out what they need to be successful. You need to figure out by putting your ear to the ground which reps are being successful and how are they doing, how are they experiencing that success with what type of customer profile?


Steven Benson

What is the playbook they ran to get to have that to win that deal? And then once you find reps that are cracking the code of how to win in this time, you want to train the rest of your team. Perhaps with the help of that rep in enabling them to help help you coach the team, help replicate that success across the team. So if one guy figures out a play that works, the rest of the team learns about it.


Steven Benson

Great sales leaders, they understand what's going on on the ground level, particularly during times of change, because that understanding is what allows them to steer the ship.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, and it gets to the point I wanted to address this like around communication in this crisis, you know, like what are your thoughts on how sales leader can be more effective? As I said, you already mentioned, coaching more, but also like language use and such as what do you suggest I sales leadership do?


Steven Benson

Is this in terms of like what behaviour the sales leaders should have?


Mark de Rijk

Yeah. It's more about communication like and how should they communicate not just only with the staff but also with the best organization like, how should they reshape their messaging?


Steven Benson

Yeah, communication is so important in these times of crisis. You know, people's imagination, they can get the best of them.


Steven Benson

Right. Particularly within large groups. Gossip of impending doom is so powerful, it travels so quickly and it can really lead to rash decisions and morale problems.


Steven Benson

Sales leaders need to communicate right now with their team in a transparent, realistic and optimistic way, they need to give their team an action plan that will put their fears to rest and let them stay focused on selling, you know, people want safety and security.


Steven Benson

And as a business leader, you're really responsible for the base layer of people's pyramid of needs, like the money they pay for food and their home, their health care, their long term financial security, and not to mention their enjoyment of life and their wants in life, not just their needs. Right.


Steven Benson

So as a leader, your responsibility is to communicate with them clearly and truthfully about where are things at so that they can plan accordingly. And from a productivity perspective, if you don't communicate clearly and truthfully, they're going to spend all their time worrying about, you know, the worst things that can happen. Right.


Steven Benson

The company is going to go under. I'm going to lose my job


Steven Benson

Specifically, as a sales leader, you want to tell them the immediate term plan, the mid-term plan and the long term plan and other different scenarios for the different external factors. Right. So if it's a small recession, short term, we're going to do this mid-term. We're going to do this long term.


Steven Benson

If it's prolonged, we'll do this and this. You need to make them feel comfortable that there's a steady hand on the wheel and that they can know what to expect. I think that. Having daily huddles with the team is really helpful, I think at the same having constant regular conversations at the same time every day is really helpful. And it brings the team together when they're working separately. A lot of people are working from home, obviously, and it's important to focus those meetings on the KPIs that that show activity and show success and help everyone see how everyone else is doing against their KPIs to keep morale high and keep things moving forward, to share success stories, to give each other support, guidance, help.


Mark de Rijk

Yes.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah. And like, like you said before, like a lot like a sales rep I found a new tactic that starts working. Let's share that so we can help each other. And then, like you said, having daily meetings to not only, keep things tight, if you will, but also still keep, let's say, the team spirit going. I think that's really important. And then, like show leadership show the plan.


Mark de Rijk

So people let's say you have trust in leadership that, you know, and they have a defined path of how they want to exit this current climate if you will.


Steven Benson

Absolutely.


Mark de Rijk

So, yeah, I was wondering as well, which of course, you know, as it is with lots of remote work. How do you how is your experience of how customer relationships have changed in these times?


Steven Benson

Yeah. I mean, customer relationships have absolutely changed. I think, you know, your customers are going through things that you're going through, your suppliers are going through. And I think the first and everyone's talking about this right now, but the first thing is to have top of mind is empathy and be empathetic for their situation. I guess the good news here is that everyone in the world has this big thing in common, right. With the virus and where the economy is at.


Steven Benson

I mean, we're all kind of in the same ship together here. Right. But I think it is a harder time for relationship building. And I think it's a challenging time for customer relationships.


Steven Benson

A lot of things become under strain and people feel maybe less trust now, less there's less customer loyalty as people are under pressure that you may notice sales cycles becoming longer as decisions, and in particular, the decision to open up the purse strings becomes more difficult. So we have to really work against that.


Steven Benson

Right. And how do we do that? I think the first thing you can focus on doing is leveraging your sponsor, better. Leverage the person who is, you know, who wants to work with you in your target organization. And is kind of sponsoring the opportunity. You need them to be your eyes and your ears in a way. You've always needed this to be successful.


Steven Benson

Right. Like leveraging your sponsor is like classic sales 101. Right, but especially if there's like a complex sale going on.


Steven Benson

But I think now this is important more than ever before because your sponsor is really the only decision-maker, especially with how tight purse strings are right now. Maybe you can ask your sponsor before the meeting with their with the full team, try to do a pre-meeting with them. So sit down with them and talk about what are the objections that are going to come up from the other people? Who else are there? Who are you, the people around the table on the zoom meeting?


Steven Benson

Because I can't see them. I don't know them.


Steven Benson

Who are the decision-makers? Who are the influencers? What are their objections?


Steven Benson

And how can we bring together bring up those objections so that we can discuss them and overcome them throughout this meeting and help them facilitate the discussion in that way? I think. Yeah, your relationship with your sponsors is more important now than ever because you don't have that face to face situation. You can't read people's body language. You lose some of that natural chitchat that builds rapport and gets business done.


Steven Benson

You may not get the relationship in place. You don't' have the opportunity to with every decision-maker in a way that you could in person. If you are, we're all going out for steaks and drinks after, at some point, you could really connect. Right now, you need your sponsor to follow up with these decision-makers that you don't have a relationship with these influencers and get genuine feedback on your behalf. And then you work with your sponsor to move that deal towards closure.


Steven Benson

You know, building rapport is just harder remotely and sales feels harder right now than it does normally for whether you're an entrepreneur or a business leader or managing a team. Things just feel harder and the reason they feel harder is that they are harder.


Steven Benson

And, you know, it's the goal, I think, now should be to tee up as many opportunities and leads that we can and move these as many sales cycles forward as we can until we can get things, you know, get the economy back on the rails and get back, get back in the field and get with our customers and get things done.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah. And I was wondering as well in that aspect, if you were seeing a lot more use of like video and I'm not talking about like, you know, like Zoom obviously everybody's been in too many Zoom meetings, but, you know, like using, let's say, asynchronous video, like, you know, video messages if you've been seeing that, as well as an uptake in that to help build trust?


Steven Benson

Yeah, yeah. I think I have seen an uptick in the Vidyards of the world. And I forget there's a couple of those companies that allow you to leave a video message or communicate, midway through this sales cycle with the decision-makers in video instead of just email, which can really help, especially if you're trying to show something. I think, you know, that's worth checking out. Yeah.


Mark de Rijk

Because it was like, having conversations I had just like so many people, like, OK, we've been using this kind of technology because we're not getting face to face time, because even with organizations going like now back to the office, you know, not everyone is ready to bring back guests yet. So yeah. And there was a lot of use of that. And I think it's over a longer time.


Mark de Rijk

It might help because, you know, it's one of those things where if you are not able to, let's say, go to clients because you're at the end of your routing Badger map, if you will, at the other side of the state, then, they'll be like, hey, like I got this question. Let me just respond to that with a video. And I've seen people use that. So it was like, interesting to know that.


Steven Benson

Yeah, I think I think it's a really powerful tool. And another thing that's worth thinking about harder right now is social selling. I think that's a great way to build relationships and kind of keep in touch with people in mass is social selling. And this is obviously a topic big enough for a book, obviously. But social selling is, you know, like so on my podcast, I've had four, five experts in social selling on in the last three or four months because I think that this is a really important time for us to look at social selling and see how we can leverage social media in these times.


Steven Benson

See the podcast Outside Sales Talk.


Steven Benson

I've had a bunch of these guys on and it's some of their tactics and the things they do, on like LinkedIn or Instagram or, you know, they are really there are some clever things you can do to generate new leads and also to keep in touch and to deepen relationships with existing customers and prospects, uh, with social media. It's really worth checking out with some of these best practices. But and I would recommend you don't I wouldn't put it on every sales rep in your organization to go figure out how to do social media.


Steven Benson

Right. I would make it a project and have one person. I mean, like each one of these people that I've had on my show have like two books out about social selling and all the tricks and tips. This is so much information. And, you know, I try to pull the information out of them as quickly as possible.


Steven Benson

But like you still, you can never have your reps try to figure this out on their own. What I would do is I would appoint someone on the team to be kind of the social media guru. You can probably imagine someone who'd be good at that, have them do the research, have them listen to my podcast or read these guys books and, you know, have them figure out, OK, here are the twenty things that we should have every one of our sales reps do on social media.


Steven Benson

Every two weeks we're going to create the marketing team is going to create a great piece of content that for the reps specifically to share out with their entire networks over LinkedIn and social media so that, you know because that's going to cause the reps aren't going to don't have time to write that great piece of content. And the reps don't have time to figure out how to use social media. Right. But you can kind of give them instructions because a lot of the stuff is pretty simple, right?


Steven Benson

It's pretty straightforward. So give them here. Here's the list of 20 things. Everyone spent 40 minutes doing it to your profile, and every two weeks, we're going to send you this piece, a piece of great content that's really great to share. It could be a video, could be an article, it could be whatever, but a great piece of content for our customers, for you to share out with your networks. And that's going to build relationships and help us generate some new leads.


Steven Benson

So definitely look into that.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, because let's be honest, in these times of social media, if you don't show up, then, you know, people will assume, like, OK, are you actually serious? And then over time, of course, that the more sustained your presence is, it starts generating inbound leads as well, which is the best way, of course, to scale up, if you will, where you know, if you not only have outbound sales, but you have inbound leads coming where people are already sold on what you offer, which is how to do it.


Mark de Rijk

And then, you know, seeing what the potential client's post and, you know, building up a profile the way I'm like, OK, how can we help these potential clients? So when you do have the conversation, you already know what their pain points are.


Mark de Rijk

And so you can address them and help them be like, OK, hey, if you think I can help you reduce your, let's say, customer churn by 10 per cent by doing X and Y, and effectively we can do that with two per cent of the cost, effectively eight per cent profit for you. So yeah, those are things that are really helping. And even for a small business that is really helpful because it's more, say, authentic as well to show up and then show how passionate you are about helping people improve, but also show the person behind the product, the service, and like show the passion of how you want to help other people.


Mark de Rijk

So, yeah, I think that it's very important that people that are starting a company that are not doing social yet, as you said, they really have to. Yeah, I'm not saying like do massive campaigns, but you have to start showing.


Steven Benson

Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, another thing to think about now that I'm on this topic, I think you can also think about changing your messaging.


Steven Benson

So I think a lot of companies, if you go to their website, the messaging at the top of the page says we'll help you do X, Y, Z better. Yes. Or faster or cheaper or whatever. But I think a lot of people have what I would call good economy messaging.



And I think in a bad economy, we need to change our messaging. Just tweak it a little bit. And this is what your reps are saying. This is, what your marketing team is saying. This is what's at the top of your Web page. You need to have it say we will help you do more with less because everyone out there is trying has less to work with and needs to do a little bit more.


Mark de Rijk

Right.


Steven Benson

And so then it's your sales team's job to show your prospects how much in terms of dollars that you'll help them do more with less could be less money, could be less manpower, could be fewer resources.


Steven Benson

We just did and I didn't make this idea up. I mean, I read this somewhere, but I found it to be really helpful. I did it with my marketing and sales teams recently. I went through this exercise. And because our messaging effectively was we will help you sell 20 per cent more with your field sales team. And now we change our messaging to with Badger maps. Your outside sales team can generate the same revenue even though your team is 20 per cent smaller.


Steven Benson

And there's a huge difference in those two messages, even though, I mean, they effectively say the same thing in the end.



Right. Like, you're going to do 20 per cent better. Right. But in one case, you know, one of these messages, the way it's been framed, is going to resonate way more with your customer base in a down economy.



So I would recommend taking a look at your messaging right at the top of your website and ask yourself, am I really empathizing with my really connecting with my customer's heads are at given that it's a down economy?



Yeah. What I did in the past was like, you know, like when you have a key team that you want to focus, like do more with less, I grab a whiteboard and like write it down like in the centre of like a mind map, if you will. And then we're like, OK, how can I incorporate this team in my messaging, that kind of thing. Because like I said, customers are trying to do more or less because they are forced to let people go or they have to keep people on furlough.


Mark de Rijk

They can't bring them back yet, but yet they still have to maintain the same revenue. So, yeah, it completely makes sense to change messaging to deliver that, because if we're just talking about, like, you know x and y's, and people be like tuning out if you will. Well, right now they're just trying to survive and doing more or less.


Mark de Rijk

Absolutely. I had some 3 more questions, really, that I want to address it also, thinking about the people listening that are want to start their own companies, like what are some things you wish people told you before you started your own company?


Steven Benson

I wish I had understood how slow it was and how long it took and therefore how much money it takes.


Steven Benson

It takes two years to get anywhere and takes three years to get real traction. And so many people, including myself, think they're going think they will be somewhere in six months. And really you'll be, from a financial perspective, nowhere in six months. So that's something I wish I understood better.


Mark de Rijk

Yes. And then a completely makes sense. And then, like, market demand is one of the things like now, you know, a lot of people can fall for that trap, you know, I'm building my dream. And then they go like, oh, I actually don't have customers for it. So now my question is like, how did you validate market demand for Badger maps?


Mark de Rijk

Like, what was your approach?


Steven Benson

Yeah, I mean, I talked to hundreds of who I thought was our prospective buyer before we had the product built. And I would describe what we were going to build and I would ask them if that would be useful to them and would it be useful enough that they would be able to pay you fifty dollars a month per rep using the product to have it? And I think everyone needs to do that. You have to make sure this is something people are willing to pay, the amount you're going to be charging them to get the value that they're going to be getting from it.


Steven Benson

And if they are enthusiastic, you like of course, I'd pay that. This is a way bigger. That's worth ten times more to me than what you're charging.


Mark de Rijk

Then you have a business. Yes, yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. And it's good to reiterate, because a lot of people come to me, like, you know, just such a great idea. And like, I just write it down and, you know, people just come to me and buy my product or service. So it's good to validate then, you know, completely like non-business related, if you will. If you had a magic wand, what you what would you want to happen?


Steven Benson

If I had a magic wand, I would generate eight billion shots for people to get rid of COVID right now.


Steven Benson

That's what I would do. I mean, in terms of my business, I would wish that everyone who was in a field sales role knew what we do and understood the problems that we solved because it's our hardest thing.


Steven Benson

My hardest thing is letting people know that this exists, because I know it's a problem that, you know, 80 per cent of field salespeople have and are the challenges that they just are doing it by hand every day. And they don't know that it's been kind of solved. It's like they're all using abacuses. And I've got to I've got Excel and I'm like, here, use Excel.


Steven Benson

And they're like, oh, Excel, how long has Excel existed? This thing is awesome. I've been doing it on this abacus over here. It takes forever.


Steven Benson

Yeah, that's what that's my magic wand. Yes.


Mark de Rijk

Yes. And I can imagine that because yeah. As I said, you know, you think of like what the impact is that you can create for them and it's like you're working like that. But why don't you like or realize yourself, that kind of thing? But yeah, sometimes, yeah, it's, it requires some additional education. And I think, you know like you run the podcast yourself, it, it helps people discover new ways of doing things.


Mark de Rijk

And I think that will be so instrumental for, you know, in the recovery trajectory where then field sales can go out and then help not only their own organization, but help other organizations improve by, you know, selling products to those organizations, which is really what we need. And then we can help towns and cities and then thrive again, which is really what we need. Because, let's be honest, at this point, lots of people are suffering.


Mark de Rijk

The quicker we can climb out of this the better we are all off, let's be honest.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, absolutely. I want to thank you for your time. It was a pleasure interviewing you. I hope it was a pleasure for you as well.


Steven Benson

Thanks for having me. I hope everyone enjoys it. And, if anyone listening is in field sales, feel free to check out Badger and mention to the sales rep you talk to you that you heard me on this podcast and they'll give you two months free of just try the product out and make sure it works for you.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah.


Mark de Rijk

So see if you can give me a shout out for, like the podcast and for the URL and how people can reach you.


Steven Benson

Yeah, so to reach Badger, it's just badgermapping.com and you can request a meeting on there, too. If you're looking for me, I'm on, the best way to reach me is probably LinkedIn. Just Google Steve Benson, Badger Maps on LinkedIn and you'll find me really easy.


Steven Benson

If you're an outside sales and you're interested in a podcast for outside salespeople, the outside sales talk is really, it's a podcast specifically for outside salespeople. So it's a pretty useful resource.


Mark de Rijk

Yeah, it's great. Yeah. As I said, you know, like, let's be honest, I feel like I can use education and it sounds really useful because again, you know, having more skills will help us recover quickly. And that's all where, you know, we're working towards, of course.


Steven Benson

Absolutely.


Mark de Rijk

Thank you for your time again. And, and for all the listeners, I'll talk to you next episode.


Steven Benson

All right. Thank you. Bye-bye.



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