Alon: So, welcome to the virtual selling podcast, where we talk about the new best practices from sales experts. My name is Alon Shkuri, managing partner at theNextSales. And today, we’re talking with Marc Gassó, CMO at Bloobirds, leading sales empowerment platform. So, Mark, as you’re also the co-founder, can you maybe share a little bit of the story behind Bloobirds and get a quick overview of what you guys are doing?
Marc: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And first of all, thank you guys for having me. So yeah, long story short, Bloobirds is we like to say that we are the next initial of sales engagement. It’s a platform for prospecting, for prospecting sales reps, so SDRs, BDRs, you name it. And let’s say what we do here at Bloobirds is again, as I said, it’s a prospecting platform that assist and help SDRs become more successful. I know that these is kind of the promise that any sales engagement have in mind, but what we do, we believe that prospecting is about assisting the sales rep. It’s not about automating everything, but about assisting the sales rep and helping them in every stage of their prospecting process. So, this is pretty much what we do here at Bloobirds.
Alon: I understand that. That’s interesting that you say that it’s different than a sales engagement platform, because there are a lot of those out there I know. For example, Outreach, SalesLoft, those platforms, right? You say you are different than all those platforms, right?
Marc: Well, we ought to be different. Yeah. We share the same space and they’re all amazing platforms, I’ve actually been using them for a while. Yeah, for several years, I’ve used Outreach, I’ve used SalesLoft, Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, and plenty of platforms. There are so many, but I would say at least based on what our clients say, something that our clients find different in Bloobirds is that precision is one of the core values. So, we want the SDR using Bloobirds to be very precise, and that’s why we have the playbook included. Internal in sales company, in sales teams and sales instruction, we’re very used to have a playbook offline, write in a PowerPoint, in an excel sheet, or maybe sometimes, it’s not even, it’s just something that your manager tells you once you get on board and you forget about it, you forget about who’s your ICP, your target persona, the best tactics and the best playbook stuff.
So, something that we did at Bloobirds that I think is a bit different from what other sales engagement platforms do is integrating the playbook within the platform. So again, it’s not something that in a PowerPoint offline or in an actual CD, something that you see all the time, you see who’s your target persona, who’s your target market? What is the best sales cadence? What is the best messaging? What is the best? What if any questions to ask, depending on target persona or target market and you don’t need to remember, or even words, you don’t need to make it up. So, you just see it in front of you.
Alon: That’s very interesting, and I like that part a lot. And I wanted to talk a little bit more about the playbook later on in this podcast, because it’s so important because like you say, sales, let’s say somebody gets onboarded to the company. They teach them everything from A to Z, the playbook, how to play in each step of the game. And then you start your sales role and you just forget about everything and you start going with the flow. And especially, you’re a sales leader. You have like 10 SDRs and everybody’s doing something else and that’s not something part as a sales leader.
Change in sales & buyer behaviour since COVID
Alon: So, I wanted to talk more about it later on. But the first thing that really interests me is because we are all about virtual selling nowadays. That’s what we talk about in this podcast. And we’ve seen that the buyer’s journey has changed a lot since the pandemic started. So, to give you some examples, the buyer is wanting to do more research themselves. There are more touches needed to get a response from a buyer. The attention span isn’t getting any longer, it’s only getting less. And they also of course expect a better experience and all those kinds of stuff that the buyer journey has changed. But my question to you is did you also see a change in the behavior of your salespeople and not only your salespeople, but also the salespeople that use your platform. Is there also a change in their behavior since the pandemic started?
Marc: Yeah, I think a little bit. I mean, I think obviously, pandemic has changed pretty much everything in the world, and I think even now things are getting back to normal, we’ve seen so many changes. I think it mainly depends on the target, on the tier that you’re targeting. What we’ve seen is that we do not target enterprise or at least it’s not our main target market, but I think it mainly depends on the tier that you’re prospecting. You prospect enterprise, I’m sure that many sales reps prospecting and selling to enterprise have been highly effective mainly because contactability has decreased. And we’ve seen these in some of our clients that we’re prospecting big corporates, like Nike, Adidas, New Balance. And I I’m saying these rounds because I already have a client in mind. And when prospecting these kinds of big corporates, contactability has been reduced mainly because they cannot call to the office anymore.
Many of these companies have moved all their workforce and now, they don’t have them in-house, now everything is remote. And I would say among many other stuff, this has been one of the things that have been more effective, companies that were prospecting and selling to enterprise. Obviously, there have been so many other stuff that have changed, as you said, especially in the software industry, companies doing more in-depth research before making any move. This is something that we’ve seen as well. That’s where at least in our case, we are global. We have tried to make a big effort.
Marc: I think like something that we’ve seen many changes and because of COVID, because of pandemic, again, as I was saying, it pretty much centered everything in this world, but something that we’ve seen that has changed a lot as I said, is client perspective enterprise have been highly affected mainly because of contactability. When you prospect companies like Nike, or like it can be corporates that have their whole workforce within the office. And you try to get in touch with them by calling the headquarters. This has changed because now, everyone is remote or everyone have been remote. So, we’ve seen that client perspective on selling to the corporates have been highly affected again, mainly because of contactability, especially to these ones that were doing outbound, outbound sales.
And then something that you already mentioned, like companies doing more intense research before making any movement. And when I say movement and I’m talking not just about buying, I’m talking also about just asking for demo. I’m also a software buyer too. Before asking for demo, before even buying a software, I just want to make sure first that I’m not going to waste my time. I want to make sure that other peoples have bought it first and they’d liked it. I want to make sure that the reviews are positive and long story short, I want to do appropriate research before wasting my time in a 30- or 40-minute demo.
Alon: I totally agree with you. I’m also a same as you, I do my research. When we are also a small company, when we buy software, we don’t just do that demo even if we are very interested, we must do our research upfront, so I’m totally there with you. But did you also see like a change in the behavior of the salespeople in regards to, I will give you an example. I’ve spoke to some other people on the podcast and they said, for example, that a lot of salespeople, they now have kind of excuses to not to call the prospects. So, they prefer not to call them on the phone because they think, yeah, my prospect, they get along with the family and I’m calling him and then I prefer to send them another email or another LinkedIn message. So, what we see with a lot of young SDRs, we don’t like to take up the phone. So, did you see also kind of a change in that kind of way, like that kind of behavior?
Marc: Yeah. We saw these at the beginning and I think, I mean, it’s fair to assume that it wasn’t the excuse, like the bad sense, but also, it was a real excuse, I would say, but it’s not anymore. But it’s true that we saw that, but I don’t think it’s only because of COVID and because of this situation, I think at least for us, phone is our top converting channel, but for some reason, and not for some reason, I think we all know the reason, it’s at the tunnel, that most of the sales reps are more afraid of. People don’t like going, like you can say that you love. I mean, some people would say that they love cold calling, some people would say that they love prospecting and doing outbound calls, but I think that at least for 90% of sales reps, they would rather send an email or a LinkedIn message and see what happens than just pick up the phone and dialing.
But I think, yeah, as you said, I think that this whole situation has made the excuse of not calling a stronger excuse. And we just tried to avoid that just by showing stats and results and we have these cleared at Bloobirds and in our case, and we see this also with the data of our clients phone is the top converting tunnel by far. It obviously depends on some industries and some target persona, because I’m sure that if you want to go to CEOs and C-level people, maybe phone is not the best because they’re always very busy. But in general, on average, I would say that phone is definitely the best converting channel. And it talks to the not the most used, so something definitely needs to be changed.
Alon: They can’t make a change because a lot of people are afraid. When you make a call, you are different than all the other people that are afraid to make that call. So, that’s also a good point.
Prospecting day at Bloobirds
Marc: Yeah, yeah. I’m also the first one. Like, here at Bloobirds, we have this thing once a month called prospecting, prospecting day and we all prospect, not only SDRs, but marketing prospects, customer success, cold goals. So, we cold call. I mean, the revenue on the customer success team, we all cold call and it’s not easy. And I’m including myself here. It’s not easy to pick up the phone and call someone that has never heard your name before, but it needs to be done.
Alon: That’s great and I love the idea of having everybody doing prospecting, especially cold calling, it’s great, it’s motivating everybody to see that nobody’s perfect because sometimes, when you are in a team and you have like a manager telling you how to do the cold calling, you think like you pick up the phone and show me how it’s done, but everybody, even the manager is afraid to take up the phone. So, I like that environment.
The mindset of a marketeer
Alon: So yeah, something else I wanted to talk to you about, Marc, is that what I also liked about your profile is that you have some marketing background and also some sales experience of course. And we believe that the new sales role is kind of, you have to be kind of a marketeer and the sales guy combined. So, I give you some examples. I also talked about it in other previous podcasts that for example, it would be data-driven, A/B testing, automating stuff, where would a systematic approach? Those are all things very familiar to marketeers, but sometimes, new to salespeople. So, how do you think about this combination of being, having those marketing skills as a sales guy? Is that important in your opinion?
Marc: Yeah, it is, 100%. Like for some of the things, the goal that I have here at Bloobirds and it’s the goal that I would recommend any CMO marketing director or head of marketing is instead of just focusing on metrics, like leads, traffic, views, and shares, I always have one metric in my head, which is opportunities slash meetings. So, no matter how many leads or no matter how many traffic we got, even at the end of the month or the end of the week, we’re not getting meetings for the sales team. So, that means that I either have some sales development skills or I mean, I need to change something, right? Because I could be draining plenty of leads from these webinars, plenty of leads from these cases study that if then our sales development team or prospective team, our sales team are not converting all those leads into meetings, it’s worthless.
So, I would say that something that I think is important for marketing people and also for salespeople, I think that nowadays, salespeople are becoming more marketeers and marketeers started becoming more salespeople. But I feel we still see in many companies that these things are very, I mean, marketing is isolated somehow. So, I think this is something that needs to change. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s marketing that needs to change or sales need to change or are we’re going to in the future, we’re going to find more ivory sales, marketing people, but I think it’s not very common, find marketing people with sales skills and I think it’s definitely one of the most important things. And even if you don’t have sales skills, but at least having a sales mindset of, I’m here not because I need to generate leads, I’m here because I need to trade opportunities for myself. So, it’s not just all the skills you talked about, mindset I would say.
Alon: Yeah, that’s totally true, the mindset. And that one I think the most important because salespeople, they always think about making that meeting, booking that meeting, but it’s not always happening in one call or one great email. And when you’re a marketeer, you think in processes, funnels, pipelines, those kinds of stuff, that’s normal for you. So, I think that salespeople need to think like a marketeer and of course act like a seller, but if you don’t have that data-driven approach, for example, like I said, that’s also important in my opinion. For example, you test something, if it works out, then you go on that road, but if it doesn’t work out, then go on another road. So, don’t be just doing one thing for your whole career. Do some A/B testing and check on for example, on one of your dashboards that you have to see what works best based on data and not on a gut feeling that you have as a sales guy. So, I think it’s really, really interesting to have the mindset of a marketeer. I think that’s super important for the new generation of salespeople or the new salespeople.
Marc: Yeah, totally.
Integrating your sales playbook
Alon: So yeah, that’s knowing I wanted to talk with you about the most interesting part. What I liked about Bloobirds is the playbook features. So, like you’ve said before, a lot of SDRs, also sales managers, they have a playbook, especially when they’re onboarding people, they teach them how to do every step of the sales process. But eventually, like also in my experience, when we teach and train a lot of B2B sales teams on their own playbook, how to use them, we see that nobody uses them, their own playbook. They invest so much time, so much money in creating those playbooks and eventually, nobody uses them.
Marc: Yeah, exactly.
Alon: So, can you tell like a little bit more about how crucial this playbook is for success as an SDR and as a sales manager? How crucial is it to have a playbook in the process for every prospecting SDR?
Marc: Yeah, sure. And first, I think it kind of explains quite well the reason why we’ve created this concept of playbook in-app and it’s mainly because I’ve been using Salesforce for a while. I’m sure everyone is familiar with Salesforce. I’ve been using Salesforce with other sales engagement tools. And the thing is that at some point, especially when you have a big team of SDRs, when I was at Red Points, the demo SDRs were about like 25, 30 SDRs, so it was quite a big team. The problem is that you ended up depending on individual talent. Why do you have one SDR that is so aggressive on the phone? You have another one that is not that aggressive, but maybe he’s full of writing emails. Then you have that other SDR that had the perfect pitch and that other SDRs that don’t have the perfect pitch, but know exactly the best qualifying questions to ask.
So, everyone is doing their own thing, their own playbook. They’re so new, end up having freestylers and free-riders as we call it her at Bloobirds. So, that can work if they’re all amazing, right? If they’re all amazing, that works, but most likely, you’re going to have some SDRs that are really good, some that are average, some that are maybe they are good, but they don’t know the playbook. They don’t know what’s working because someone told them like in the first week or first month about the best target personal prospect, the best target marketing prospect about the best qualifying questions or the best sales cadence. But eventually, you forget about it.
Marc: If you have a playbook every day, six hours a day telling you, okay, so these are the target personality you need to prospect. This is the conversion rate with this target persona. These are the target market. This is the kind of company that you need to add. This is the message cadence for this guy. This is the best pitch. This is what you need to ask. This is an email that works best for these guys. I’m not just talking about email templates. I’m talking about also like the pitch that you use, the pains that you mentioned in a phone call. All these things, if you don’t have anything in front of you every day, 6, 7, 8 hours a day, eventually you will forget, or you will just use the ones that you think doesn’t work, right?
Alon: I agree.
Marc: Something that we think was something that needed to be solved somehow was making your team consistent, not in terms of just process in terms of like okay, I scheduled the meeting, I sent a meeting to the account executive. Not in terms of process, but also in terms of like play strategy. We obviously, at some point, there’s also kind of these individual talent that will raise at some point. And he told me, it’s obviously is necessary because sales reps are not robots, but somehow, we try to make sales be more consistent and not depending only on individual talent. So, this is what we try to achieve with having a playbook included in the platform and not in an excel sheet or a PowerPoint.
Alon: Very interesting point, the consistent part. And it’s very interesting because I know that what you say as well, it’s like the 20/80 rule, like 20% of your SDRs make 80% of the profit for. You can cut out 80% still. So, I agree with you that the playbook helps to get the other 80% on the same page as those 20% that are doing a great job. And it’s also for an SDR, I think it’s giving him some peace of mind to know what I should do the next in each step, because if you have to think about every step, even though you did it before, you still have to think again, like what should I do now when you go home and you think, should I approach him like this or like this? If you just have it in front of you every day, every day that’s important to have it top of mind, then it will make a difference and you can be way more prepared.
Marc: Yeah. And especially when you have- I mean, again, like everything, right? I mean, obviously, it depends on the company. When you have a complex playbook, when you have, I don’t know, more than 10 different target personas, when you have more than 10 or 15 different pitch for each persona. And there’s no way that a junior sales rep can remember that. It’s because it’s not their job to remember, their job is to be the best sales rep they can, but there are so many things that are going to be completely new to them, so they need to be assisted. And this is also some of the Bloobirds value, right? That we believe that SDRs need to be assisted. It’s not enough if you just give them a dialer, a CRM, and some teaching for the first two weeks, they need something more. They need to be constantly trained and assist them. But again, like I said, it depends on the company. In our case, for example, our playbook is not the most complex playbook in the world, but we’ve seen some of our clients have super complex solutions. They prospect very technical people. The pitch needs to be very technical and very accurate. So, for 22, 23, 24 years old sales reps, they are either assisted or they kind of get lost. So, it is-
Alon: Yeah. That’s how it is nowadays, or they get it. As a sales manager, you won’t even know that they are lost.
Marc: Yeah, exactly.
Alon: Don’t even know until you see the targets at the end of the year, end of the quarter. And you think like what happened? And then it’s an even bigger problem. So, I liked that approach of getting everybody on the same page and to make them more consistent. In my opinion, that’s a real game changer and that’s what in my opinion also, because I’ve checked out a lot of platforms and this is maybe like the second or third time, I see a platform doing this with the playbook in it. So, that’s for me, super interesting.
Some tips & tricks
So yeah, to talk a little bit on something else now is like prospecting in general. Of course, you’ve done, I’ve seen that also in your career, you’ve done a lot of prospecting, cold outreach, and of course you guys on Bloobirds are all about data. So, do you have some kind of exclusive best practices, tips to share what works for you guys at Bloobirds? Like what is a total no-go when you do prospecting? What are some kind of special trick or something special tip that you have when you’re doing prospecting as an SDR based on your best practices at Bloobirds?
Marc: Yeah, yeah. Good question. I mean, obviously, there are plenty of things of tips and advise that we can talk about, but I would say aligned with the conversation that we’re having, I would say that being precise and being precise translate, in our case, something that I like doing before making any cold call is spending five minutes on that link prospect, linking profile and not just checking his or her last name and the company and his or her background. And I’m also talking about checking his activity. Seeing also stuff, like there are so many things online all day that you can use. Just to give an example, when we call someone, we know when they are hiring SDRs, we know if they run legally nuts, we know if the reviews that they have in G2.
We know if they have recently raised money, we also know the events that they’re attending. And obviously, that is very time consuming. I agree with that, but it’s time consuming. But at the end of the day, it allows you to be more precise. And there are so many of these things that some, that people don’t do that is so helpful. For example, again, to use the same example, before calling, if we can, because obviously, there something that you can find online, but if we can, we want to know the CRM that they use. We want to know, as I was saying, people that they’re hiring. In jobs, there’s plenty of information. This is one of my favorite tricks. If you go on LinkedIn, everyone says that they are manager, head or director and everyone is so important legally, but if you go into the job description, so if the company is hiring and they have job openings available on LinkedIn or on their careers page. I mean, you can find gold in there in terms of information.
There’s a lot of information in job description because in there, nobody’s going to show off about a job description, right? A job description is a reality. You’re going to be doing this, this, and that. So, there you find, sometimes you find a CRM that they use, the tools that they use. You found about their tech stack. You find about this specific process of the company. So, there’s a lot of information within jobs. So, whenever I’m about to prospect a company, when I see that they have, I don’t know, like 10, 15 or 20 job openings, no matter the department is, okay, now, this is going to allow me to be precise. I’m going to find a lot of information.
Marc: And this is something that I- it’s not probably, it’s not theoretically super secret. I assume that many other companies and many other sales reps are using it, but I’ve seen some companies not using it. And I think it’s so valuable, so this probably one of the tricks that I would recommend people using, being precise and more specifically using job descriptions.
Alon: So, what you say is that not only the buyers is doing more research, but the seller as well. That’s your tip.
Marc: Yeah, yeah. And not only before making a cold call, but obviously, on account executive, we tried account executive to have plenty of information before having that meeting. But we want to raise the arms before sending that email, before sending the legal message or before making the cold call. I also want my team to be like ready, at least have like the ammunition of, okay, I have all these things that I can mention at some point during the call, if I can sum up, I can bring it up. So again, I think the only problem is that it’s very time consuming, but when we talk about conversions, it’s not about just having a phone call and see what happened. I think it’s more about I’m going to have a phone call and I’m going to help this guy, because I know he’s using Salesforce. I know he was an SDR before. I know they’re hiring. I know their sales process because of the job description that I show. I know also about their tech stack. So, this will allow you to be more precise and have a more relevant conversation.
Alon: I totally agree with you. That’s the way to go to get more to detail, hyper-personalized your outreach. But this is interesting because I also train some SDRs within our company. And I teach them to do the same thing, doing more research and this kind of stuff, but then I’ve seen, for example, I’ll give you one example. They did a lot of research. They know everything about the company, about the person that he likes a Manchester United, and they use Salesforce and everything. And then he called them or sent an email and he got no response. And then he came like demotivated even way than without doing the research. And then he was like, “Why did I did the research? It didn’t answer my phone, didn’t answer my email.” And then he’s like, the energy has gone down. So, how do you do that with those SDRs? How do you teach them to-
Marc: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And it’s funny because actually, when we do these, it’s probably one of the most common questions. When we onboard new SDRs, they all say the same thing at the beginning. Like, am I going to have to do this every time I prospect that company? Because they see at the beginning that it’s so time consuming, maybe they spend like 10, 15, 20 minutes doing the research. First of all, the idea is that once you get used to it, you just do this in a couple of minutes. You just go to the website real quick, you see that it’s with the way, because of the logos, then you’ll do G2. Then you go to G2 stack and see the software. Then you go real quick to the job tabs on LinkedIn, then you go to ads. So, it’s something that eventually when you get used to it, it’s something that you need to do in just a couple of minutes, but it’s true that either if it’s two minutes or 10 minutes, it’s sometime that may be a waste of time if nobody picks up the phone, which is something sadly, quite common.
So, we have something that I can also recommend, which is something that we do. And I like doing it with not only these prospecting data that I mentioned, but something that I think is quite common within our industry and I can stop recommending it is power hours. We do this quite a lot. And what we do is we spend one hour doing the research of 10, 15, 20 companies, and then one hour, collate it. So, once we have this research and we put all these notes and all these information within Bloobirds, we start calling one by one. So obviously, I agree with you, like, if you spend too much time doing your research and then you don’t even have potential talk, it’s quite demotivating. This is like, why have I spent 10 minutes doing these if I’m not even going to be able to answer? But I think the key is getting used to it and doing this, so in just a couple of minutes.
Alon: Yeah, make it shorter.
Marc: Yeah, exactly. And also, which is also something that once you have plenty of information, the feeling that I like seeing in our SDRs is when they have the feeling of, I need to get in touch with someone, no matter who, but I need to get in touch with someone within this company. Now that I know so much, I need to get in touch with them. And if the sales manager doesn’t pick up, I’ll call the SDR. If the SDR doesn’t pick up, I’ll call the marketing guy. And if not, I call the CEO, but I like seeing these feelings, right? Like now that I have so much info, now that I really know that we can help this company, I really need to get in touch with them. And if someone doesn’t pick up, I’ll keep calling. And if these guys don’t pick up, I’ll call someone else. And if not, I’ll just call HR and I ask for a referral.
Alon: Very good.
Marc: So, I think that when you have plenty of info, at some point, you got to be like, I’m going to get in touch with them no matter what. There are people behind this company, so there’s no way I cannot get passed through.
Alon: It’s a very interesting point, because what I understand from your point is also that you can say, I know from my experience that sometimes, salespeople, you’re given a list of leads. And I think, yeah, how can I sell to this client? Maybe won’t work, but when you do the research and you see that they use a CRM that you want them to use, and you have all these pain points that you see because of the research, then you start to also believe in your pitch even more because you did the research. And some other thing that I liked by myself, because I also do a lot of research when I prospect is that when you have a client and you see them as just another lead and you just copy paste and you do some everything in bulk, you have no love for that client, for a prospect.
Alon: You just research, you put some energy in it. When you give something, you start to love something. So, they start sending me to like this product. You don’t even know them and they don’t even know you, but you did so much research and you know exactly all their struggles and more insight information, then it’s also easier to sell to them because you feel that you kind of know them and to kind of send some love to them. That’s what I feel.
Marc: No, no. Yeah, totally. I think in this case, we like calling ourselves that quality over quantity of sales engagement, and that doesn’t work for everyone. That doesn’t work for every company, especially if you’re targeting tier three and you want your SDRs to call, I don’t know, 1000 companies a week and dial 5,000 times a day, then maybe quality over quantity is not your thing. And I’m not saying it’s about approach. If you’re prospecting tier three and small companies, maybe this is the only way to go. But in our case, I think most of our clients, if not all of them are kind of going to this quality over quantity approach, like being consistent, being precise, having the perfect pitch for the prospect company. And obviously, that doesn’t allow you to prospect 500 companies a day. And their volume is reduced, but so is your market. So, I think it makes it.
Alon: Yeah, I agree. I totally agree. Yeah, Mark, we’re kind of out of time, time flies. So, we want to say, do you have anything to add before we end this this podcast?
Marc: Not really, other than it’s been a pleasure and it was great. Yes, that’s pretty much it.
Alon: Cool. Yeah. I want to thank you, of course, Mark, for taking the time. I want to thank everybody for listening. And if you want to see more about virtual selling, then follow us on our podcast channel or check out our website, theNextSales.io.