Podcast: How to Get Your Sales Team to Embrace New Messaging

Written by
Yardstick Team
April 26, 2024
A stack of old letters tied together into a bundle.

Rolling out new sales messaging can be a major challenge, even when you've put extensive time and resources into developing a compelling narrative. Too often, sales teams resist adopting new talking points, falling back on what's worked for them in the past – even if those old messages are less effective.

How can sales leaders get their teams to embrace and utilize new messaging? In the latest episode of the Building Elite Sales Teams podcast, guest Ed Lynes shares his proven framework for successfully implementing new sales narratives.

Ed is the founder and managing partner at Woden, where he helps companies craft strategic stories that sales teams use to fuel an efficient revenue engine. He has seen firsthand how challenging it can be to align sales teams around new messaging – and has developed a playbook for overcoming that hurdle.

The Risks of Excluding Reps from Messaging Development

One of the biggest mistakes Ed sees sales leaders make is investing heavily in overhauling their messaging without involving their sales reps in the process. "If you've done that without involving the sales team, you're probably already starting way behind the 8-ball," he says.

Since salespeople have the most direct interactions with prospects and customers, their insights are critical for shaping resonant messaging. Ed advises looping in reps from the very beginning of the messaging development process to get their perspectives and buy-in.

He also recommends continuing to engage them as the messaging starts to take shape. "The conversation has to be: Here's how we're changing the story, here's how we see it mapping onto the buyer journey, here's why we made these choices," Ed explains. Equip them to understand how the new narrative will make their jobs easier and help them hit their numbers.

Cementing Change By Celebrating Wins

Of course, understanding new messaging is one thing; getting reps to actually use it is another. Ed has found the most effective way to spur widespread adoption is by spotlighting early successes.

He recommends starting the rollout with a small group of reps who are likely to see a significant positive impact from the new messaging. This could be top performers who are always looking for an edge, or solid reps who put in the activities but struggle to gain traction.

Work closely with those reps to help them land a few wins using the new messaging – moving deals to the next stage, booking more meetings, etc. Then celebrate those victories vocally and visibly with the whole team.

"There's no substitute for success," Ed notes. "What gets salespeople to align with the direction management wants to go in is believing it will help them beat their quota." A few strong proof points can quickly turn reps into advocates for the new approach.

Identifying a Potential Messaging Problem

But how do you know if messaging is at the root of your revenue challenges to begin with? Ed says one of the biggest red flags is when great-fit prospects consistently fail to see the value of your product.

"If you're doing the activity, you have a good product, and you're not getting the traction you want – if people aren't moving through the funnel the way you expect – messaging is always going to be your next bet," he advises. Reps getting ghosted and deals stalling out are key indicators the narrative isn't resonating.

Conducting a messaging overhaul can feel daunting, but the payoff of a sales team united around a powerful story is immense. Implement Ed's advice to craft a compelling narrative, roll it out strategically, and transform your revenue trajectory.

Lucas Price: Welcome. This is Lucas Price, and I'm here to learn with you about building elite sales teams. Suppose you've invested time and effort to revamp your company's messaging to resonate stronger with the market and win more competitive deals. But your sales team is still using what they're familiar with.

They know what to expect if they stick with what they know. Was the time and effort a waste? What went wrong and how do we make the new messaging useful, effective and widely used? We are going to be talking about those issues today with Ed Lines.

Ed is the founder and managing partner at Woden. Woden develops strategic narratives for essential brands, My Which sales teams use as the foundation of an efficient sales funnel. Before Woden, Ed helped found and lead sales and marketing at two other companies. He saw firsthand how difficult it was to align his sales team behind a message that resonated with prospects and customers.

And Woden began he saw firsthand how difficult it was to align his sales team [00:01:00] behind a message that resonated with prospects and customers. And Woden began to help leaders in high growth brands discover and share what makes them essential. More than 300 companies have engaged WODIN to craft their story. Ed, welcome to Building Elite Sales Teams.

[00:01:14] Ed Lynes: Cool. Thanks for having me here, Lucas. I'm excited.

[00:01:16] Lucas Price: Yeah, I'm excited as well. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in sales?

[00:01:21] Ed Lynes: Yeah it's funny. My first company that I was involved in the other founders, other couple founders, actually, were people I had known for a long time. And they were starting this company. It was actually a newspaper company, which is a crazy thing to say in 2024. And they were looking for someone to help them figure out how to get the sales operation going and, sales and newspapers is pretty straightforward.

People have been selling ads for newspapers for a long time. So I was in college at the time. And this fellow convinced me to drop out and move down to Philadelphia and help them get the sales operation going at what at the time was just one community newspaper. We eventually grew it to 14 papers before selling that company.

But for me, got that first hit [00:02:00] of sitting across the table Walking them through an opportunity, getting that yes. And can't lie. I think I was hooked ever since. And no matter what my official title has been in the company, even today running the shop here at Woden, first and foremost, I always consider myself the the top and most important kind of salesperson in the business.

[00:02:17] Lucas Price: listeners will know that I like to always ask this question. Was there something in your background that gave you the determination to succeed in sales?

[00:02:24] Ed Lynes: Wish I could say yes to that. It's interesting. My mother's a marketer and my father's an engineer. So I guess the best you could say is maybe that's why I'm a salesman who has a special affinity for spreadsheets. But other than that, I don't I don't think there was anything that ever Gave me a kind of natural predilection towards it other than just, the energy of dealing with people.

And I think it's always hard for someone in sales to connect with people who don't get sales. But I think there's nothing more exciting than again, sitting across table from someone and helping them figure out some challenges they're facing. And to me, I've been lucky. Everything I've ever sold in my life has been a product that I think I can look at the customer and genuinely tell them this is going to [00:03:00] help them.

It's going to help them overcome a challenge that they've got. And I think if you can see your product is that that tool that a customer can use to overcome big problems that they've got and get themselves to a state that they want to be in. The sell part's easy, right? Cause it feels like you're creating win wins and putting people in a position to succeed.

[00:03:16] Lucas Price: You spent some time in the newspaper organization you described, and then at some point you transitioned into sales leadership, what, what made you decide to make that move?

[00:03:25] Ed Lynes: Yeah I actually led the sales team at that newspaper company when we sold it. We had just over 20 salespeople in the organization. Newspapers is a very retail sales model. And this was in the early 2000s. So we weren't doing a lot of digital marketing quite yet at the time. And it was truly a team of reps that would go out and beat the street.

And I had started there initially, as the first main rep at the company. And then team just built around me and really always loved that player coach role, and I think good sales leaders, at least the ones I've seen it's unique in that they don't really ever view themselves as pure management.

And, my approach is leading a sales team has always been that player [00:04:00] coach, . It's how do you put your people in a position to be successful? But also feel that energy from being in the game yourself. And that can be either your own opportunities you're cultivating, or a lot of times just doing those four legged sales calls or getting in to help the people on your team find the right angle and get the opportunity over the finish line.

And for me, as we grew, it was just a natural thing to figure out how do I take the things I've done that. I'm excited about and that I love about our product and about our solution and scale it out to other folks. And that was really the same approach we took at our telecom business as well.

Started initial sales guy and then began built a team out around that. And then like even here at Woden, starting the business even in a founding role, this from your own company when you're starting a business among anything else, you're the first sales guy in the door and the person who's got to find those initial clients and get them to see your vision and here it's been the same story of taking that experience and building a team around that of people that can go out and tell that story in a way that's consistent and motivates our prospects to want to engage with us and

[00:04:53] Lucas Price: That's really interesting that I want to dig into more because as you said, you're the first salesperson and you have this background [00:05:00] that took you to messaging is really important and, what you're saying is, the ability to help companies craft the right message.

So what was it in your earlier sales leadership roles that brought you around to messaging and that, emphasize the importance and critical nature of that.

[00:05:15] Ed Lynes: Yeah, I think when you think about sales, not to be reductive, but fundamentally, like sales, it's really about are you talking to the right people, are you bringing the right product to them? And do you have a way to talk to them about that? That's going to be persuasive. And I think anyone in sales has had that experience of sitting across the table from someone knowing that they're a good prospect, looking at their business, understanding their challenges and knowing I can help this person knowing your own product and recognizing I see where this product fits.

I see where it's going to be helpful. It's going to return. It's going to help this person overcome the challenges they've raised during discovery. Great. And then somehow feeling that gap of not being able to get the other person to see that right and I don't even like to think about of this persuasion so much as really just is that consultative side of connection between a problem they've got and something you can bring to them.

And particularly in the telecom business I was [00:06:00] in, which is a very commodified solution, it was really hard to get people to see that, you could talk about product features, you could talk about uptimes, you could talk about speeds, network design, but really difficult for the buyer to connect the dots between Those features and how it really was going to solve a problem for them.

That was unique. And as I got more and more frustrated by seeing a product that I knew was great, that wasn't gaining attraction in the market, I wanted really spent a lot of time diving into understanding, how do you tell that story? That's persuasive and compelling to people and gets them to understand the value from their own lens.

And that was ultimately pretty successful in that particular business as we got people to understand the value there. And Coming out of that experience felt wow I felt good doing that for myself and no, it's a problem that a lot of people struggle with and would love to help, more companies figure that out.

And like you mentioned that would, we've been lucky enough to have about 300 companies go through that same transformation and give their sales teams and the people that lead them, the tools they really need to be able to tell that story in a way that's going to be

[00:06:55] Lucas Price: You saw the impact in your job of updating the messaging Was there a certain like [00:07:00] what was it about the messaging that allow that have that vision to,

[00:07:03] Ed Lynes: Yeah, I think, it's funny, . It starts in two places. The first is, as I mentioned, that kind of frustration, . If, we would answer a lot of RFPs, if you know anyone out there knows anything about selling telecom it is, it's very commodifying. You're connecting everybody to the same internet, you're delivering the same TV channels.

We'd answer a lot of RFPs and go to a lot of conferences and, talk about very much what we did and people would get it. It's a, a commodity that everybody has to buy. It's a utility that a lot of these of our customers, these big publicly traded REITs had to use, but no one really understood the unique value that we delivered.

And just felt like banging my head against the wall all the time. And to your point, the real moment where it crystallized was we built a really good relationship with this prospect and ultimately ended up in a conversation where they more or less said, look we like you guys and we actually hate your competitors, so we're happy to sign with you guys, but you got to beat them by 50 cents a bed and realize that I'm in a moment where even when I do, everything right in terms of building a great relationship, becoming the preferred vendor, that it's still ultimately is going to come down.

Can you beat them on price and [00:08:00] just felt like there's no way that we're going to be able to consistently win relationships and grow the company the way we want. If that's the battle that we're always going to be in. And think like anything in messaging, it really comes to listening to your customers.

And we talk to folks that were in the market and, became pretty clear that for them, the real challenge wasn't the telecom service. It was, how do you reduce lease turnover? How do you speed lease up? How do you keep heads in beds? And for us that really created an opportunity.

To talk about in our case, the digital tenant experience and, students who were attendance of these buildings that we tended to serve renewed their view telecom is the kind of number one amenity for where they, when they choose where to live and really shifted the messaging towards this kind of idea, not so much of what we did, but really this kind of very customer centric messaging around solving like a big pain point.

We're able to tie it into a big change in the market. This is really at the beginning of kind of the wave prop tech and managed Wi Fi across student housing. And what we saw was that we started shifting towards the story around kind of changes in the market, capitalizing on opportunity, driving kind of this experience for their customer, [00:09:00] the pricing objection really fell away.

And as the company took off, had this moment of clarity wow. We didn't change the product, we didn't change the team, we didn't change the strategy, we really just changed how we were telling that story to people and it really totally evolved the way that they saw our value and felt like there's got to be a lot of other great products out there there that just aren't getting traction in the same way that we can

[00:09:19] Lucas Price: Recently, someone asked me. About my company yardstick. I described the problems that we solve and they were like, I still don't know what your company does. so how do you balance? Focusing on the problems rather than how you solve the problems, . Especially for me, if someone spent 10 seconds on yardsticks website, they might think, oh, they're a recruiter for salespeople, which we're not a recruiter for sales but it's something that someone could have the impression when they just think of that's category. solving failed sales hires as being a recruiter. And so how do you think of what problem you solve versus how you solve it

[00:09:50] Ed Lynes: the problem matters and I'm going to talk a little bit here maybe about how you map it into the funnel. You want to think about different messaging points at different stages of the sales funnel because they can pull kind of buyers through [00:10:00] at the starting point. I think of anything, though.

It's got to be about shared perspective in the world. There's a lot of research out there. There's some done in particular by this neuro economist. Named Paul Zach out of Claremont McKenna. And he's looked at how shared belief and shared perspectives of the world drive increased economic transactions between parties.

And what he's really been able to prove is that, Lucas, people who do business with yardstick, yeah, they're experiencing the pain point you solve for, but first and foremost, they have to see the world the way that you do, . Like you have a belief system that brought you into getting the business going, that's driving you to solve these problems for your customers. And, I think the best. Sales relationships are built around when you see the world a certain way and I see a certain way, the world a certain way and those worldviews align, . Because that gives us the foundation to then talk about your problems in a way that doesn't feel accusatory or diminishing, .

But actually about something that we're both experiencing and seeing together. And then we can turn into a conversation about how to solve them. To me, the real kind of location for a pain point in the conversation is [00:11:00] purely top of funnel, . Pain points pull people into the conversation.

They help people understand urgency around why they want to engage in the dialogue. But once that begins, it's got to shift from pain point to empathy, ? It's got to shift to, here's how I understand the challenge that you're facing as a buyer. Here's where you're at. And I think the last point that I would make about that is Maybe to think about talking about pain points in a way that's not so myopic, like a lot of times when we do discovery or even when we're writing ad copy or cold email outreaches, like we can write these very like on the nose, direct sort of pain point observations, dear Lucas do you have a problem hiring in your sales team?

Dear Lucas does your sales team always turn over? And that's you're right, you're speaking to a pain point, but it doesn't help me see how you can do anything about that. It just reminds me. Yeah, I'm really pissed off that pain point. It's really difficult for me to deal with. I think if you can speak to the pain point in a way that contextualizes it.

To the buyer and like a good example of a sales outreach message for a team there might be hey You know because I looked on your linkedin and saw [00:12:00] You know that you guys have turned over three sdrs Over the course of the last quarter like that's got to be killing you guys Heading towards quota Like I think I have a I think I have a way to help you think about getting a couple people in seat that are actually going to stay there and help you get to where you need to go.

But can we talk about that? I'm still anchored in a pain point, . I'm recognizing it, but I'm really focusing as soon as I engage the buyer, the conversation on, I see the challenge you've got. I see how that's impacting you. And what I really want to talk about here is how the center of that and help you solve as you go

[00:12:29] Lucas Price: You're looking people who see the way you do. When I think of, some of the things I've read out there, like the challenger customer, and a lot of times you share a perspective that gets someone to see the world you do that.

Maybe you don't, if you're in a competitive field, it's like. All right, this part of the market is going to position themselves over there. so people are naturally going to go that way. but I think that, know, a lot of times you have to alert people to a problem that they know that they have, hasn't been top of mind for them. And you have to build that? it's top of mind for them. So how do you think about that? Am I on the right track where [00:13:00] category creation is a little bit more challenging in terms of changing the way people see?

The world

[00:13:04] Ed Lynes: There's two questions you asked there,. One is about category creation, which I'll part for a second, because I think that the point about shared belief and worldview is true, even in a competitive market and probably even more today customers and prospects, they enter the funnel more educated than they've ever been before.

They've got more options than they've ever had before in terms of, in any category, any product, . And I think the way that you're fundamentally going to create a conversation that's engaging and a conversation that builds rapport with the buyer is going to be around that kind of, perspective of the world.

And I think There's a couple ways to do that, . One is to your point. If you've got a truly category creating innovative product, you can really educate them around that idea of look, guys, the world used to be this way. There's been a huge change. It's now this way. And man, there's real stakes for you getting to the side of that.

And those are those good category creating stories that you see in a lot of big SAS companies that are now huge valuation type companies that really been able to say. Everything's different. Most companies can't do that. But [00:14:00] if you can that's always going to be the kind of core of the narrative.

But I think even in a competitive space, you've still got to be able to get people to see the problem that they're facing a little bit differently, right? You've got to be able to say to them, Look, I know you think about hiring this way, but I really think you ought to think about it This way, you're still putting out a belief in the world.

And to me that this is all going to get rooted in what you're, how you're differentiated. From looking at your platform the sort of core base problem that you guys solve at yardstick, there are other companies or other solutions that solve that problem. You have a different way of doing it because you have a different philosophy about why that problem exists.

And I think putting that belief out in the world is then what, if you can get people to hear that and say Yeah. Like I never thought about it that way, but I see it that way too. Yeah, that makes sense to me. That's where you're starting to add value at the top of the conversation. I think the best sort of ways those discussions start are when the buyer hears what you have to say and says huh, like I never thought about it that way before, but when they hear it, like it feels like you're almost revealing something to them.

Like you said, that they've always seen as there, but never saw from that angle [00:15:00] before. And that's where you start to build that connection, where you build that trust and where they want to come into the sales conversation, which I think. For a sales leader these days, that's the thing with your reps, .

It's like the days I think of just, you know, pushing people through the funnel and like beating them into submission with, endless cold emails to book demos and book calls. Like that world, at least in my mind, that just doesn't exist anymore, . You've got to be able to pull people through.

And if you're coaching reps, that comes down to being able to equip them to start conversations that like add value, that add perspective and that bring something new to the buyer that they haven't thought about or haven't seen before, and that makes them want. To engage in the discussion as opposed to feel like they were pushed into it by a a really complex ABM campaign.

[00:15:39] Lucas Price: I want to pivot little bit here. teased it before the show. We've all seen the situations where we've invested heavily in getting the messaging just right.

We have what we think is the perfect messaging. And then we try to roll it out to the sales team and they want to stick with what's comfortable.

[00:15:55] Ed Lynes: The depressing news I'll share is if you're a sales leader who's already invested in that [00:16:00] process of building out the messaging and you've done that without involving the sales team, you're probably already starting way behind the eight ball. So I'll give you an initial answer. If I were a sales leader who was thinking about doing this and thought, Hey, I've got to figure out how to get the messaging in place.

The sales reps are the ones that spend the most time talking to prospects, talking to customers, they've got to be involved in that messaging development process. There was a really interesting study that came out last year from the LinkedIn B2B Sales Institute. It turns out only 16 percent of sales and marketing teams are aligned on their messaging strategy, their targeting strategy.

It was like astounding for me to read this, that 84 percent of companies go out there, totally different messages, totally different strategies, totally different approaches. To me, like the messaging has got to start with the marketing people around the table. Which is usually the case, but it's got to start with the salespeople around the table too, and not just the CRO or the VP of sales.

[00:16:48] Lucas Price: One of the things we're hearing a lot is the importance for customer success to be involved in it too. Because, there's been a lot of churn over the last several years.

Where, marketing had one message, sales had [00:17:00] another message, and And then customer success is saying, no, we can't deliver either of those things.

[00:17:04] Ed Lynes: I look at product and everybody else. It's all interrelated, particularly in a software product. I know someone who's a attorney, a contractual attorney for a big software company, and like one of the biggest challenges they run into is reps who sell deals, and the contracts come over the finish lines, and they say, We don't even do this like this isn't something in our software does this isn't a promise we can deliver on and I think you're right like that messaging everyone's got to get lined up on the same page so to me the first piece here is the reps have to have a voice even in that early discovery process where you're just starting to think about what are the initial components of it?

What are the pain points we're seeing in the market? You're going to always talk to your customers. The marketing team is probably always going to do some kind of, internal exercise themselves, but the reps have to be around the table for that, and the reason I think that's so powerful is because as the messaging develops, the first thing you're going to be able to do as a sales leader is show your reps how the messaging is reflecting the real things they're seeing that are working in the market.

And the real things that they're seeing where they're [00:18:00] having challenges. And I think if you can start by giving them the credibility of knowing that their voice was listened to and that you're doing this to create a more efficient funnel for them, . To give them more opportunities to win, more opportunities to better conversations, and frankly, more opportunities to get better support from, like you said, marketing, customer success and product.

That's piece one, and that's going to happen long before the message is actually developed, but right at the start of the process. The second piece I think that's really critical about that is. To again, involve them in how it starts to roll out, the conversation there's gotta be around, what guys, here's how we change the story.

Here's how we see it mapping onto the buyer journey. Here's why we did this. And of course, again, hopefully at this point, if you've done it they already see shades of their own contributions in this and then the ability to say, look, this is how do we think we should do this, . How do you guys think we should think about tactically changing our elevator pitches?

How should we change our opens on cold calls? How do we read this into our cold emails? And then I think the third thing. Especially with people in sales, there's no substitute for success, . You as a sales leader can tell your [00:19:00] team over and over again the activities and the behaviors you want them to model.

I don't know a single sales leader who doesn't have a complaint about how hard it is to get their team to use the CRM the way that they want or report activities the way that they want. What gets salespeople to align with the direction that management wants to go in is when they believe that it's going to help them see success and get closer and beat their quota.

So to me, the most critical thing there is the sales leader is personally invest in making sure that you guys find some wins in that messaging. Those could be more demos booked. Can be moving discovery calls into demos, depending on kind of what your funnel looks like.

But then to me, the key there has got to be as you do your sales meetings, your standups, celebrating those successes. I think I've shared this story with you before, but, I rolled out a couple of years ago now. Some new messaging with the team at Woden and we worked on it collaboratively, like I'm recommending here and I think we all felt good about it.

And man, for, probably 3 4 weeks, like I could not get the team to consistently embrace the new messaging because they fell back to the things that were comfortable for them. The calls they had done before, they still weren't [00:20:00] converting any better, but right, they knew their old kind of, motions in terms of how they reached out to people and we had a rep who called someone.

Did a cold call, says whoever from Woden and the prospect immediately replies, Oh, you're the essential brands guys. So the rep books, the discovery call hangs up and says to every other rep in the room you guys aren't going to believe this. And I'll tell you like that two second moment.

Did more to get my team aligned around the messaging I wanted them to use than probably the entirety of the three or four weeks of trainings I had done and explanations I had done because what all it took was seeing one person achieve a type of success that historically had been very difficult for them to achieve to say, wow, all right if this is going to land that way, if this is going to connect that way, then I'm in because it's going to give you more opportunities.

It's going to be more discussions. It's ultimately going to make me more successful. And I think, again, it's got to start. With involving them, it's got to go all the way through those quick wins that make them feel like this is something that's going to help them, hit their numbers and be successful in the way that they want.

[00:20:57] Lucas Price: I love that

story. Just coincidental [00:21:00] coming together in the right moment. in your story, is there a way to engineer those moments or you just have to wait for him to happen .

[00:21:06] Ed Lynes: Yeah. As you say, if I could engineer moments where prospects immediately responded to your messaging and instantaneously booked discovery calls, I would have a much nicer car,

[00:21:13] Lucas Price: there's a lot of ways that can happen, it doesn't have to be instantly booking a discovery call. It could be Oh, this really landed. And now I'm sharing with the rest of my team. In order for those moments to happen, you have to get them the team to be using it during the discovery

[00:21:24] Ed Lynes: The most important thing is to start. With a couple people who can help lead the change. There's a theory of change that I think it's 20% is really the tipping point inside any kind of team or organization or group of people. Then once you can get like one in five people to adopt a change, everybody else starts to follow along right?

Before that. It's really hard and very manual. So you think about your sales team, look at the people who you think. Are going to be most open to this and I think you want to bet on reps Who are going to do one of two things for you either a they're the top performer or a top performer That's obviously always the best you know scenario for you because Again, as we know the other reps typically [00:22:00] look as much or even more to the top performing rep than they do the manager in terms of modeling behaviors and thinking about how they're going to be successful or You look for someone who you really feel like this can make a meaningful change for them.

I know I've had reps in my career, who are really hard workers, they hit their dials, they do their outreach, they do their LinkedIn connections, they do all the activities, but they just don't get the kind of traction that you would expect them to get for the volume of outreach that they're doing.

And I think if you can take a rep like that and help create pretty quickly for them, Like a meaningful change in terms of their conversion rate that again helps them like become an advocate for that. You see a success story and say, guys, look, Lucas, we know has always been a, hard worker.

He's always on the phones, but it's like really hard for him sometimes to get traction and wow, look at what he's done. He's had a great couple of weeks here. This is what we're seeing come in. These are some opportunities that we have on the board. These are things that are moving through the pipeline, but I think it's got to be tangible for the people in the room.

And I think, if you come in as a sales leader and say, look, I've got, 20 reps. Yeah. And I'm going to get all 20 of these guys starting tomorrow to do this. That's going to be [00:23:00] really difficult. But if you can pick off the three or four that you said, I think they're going to be receptive to this.

I think they're going to see a lot of success with this. They seem to be engaged in the process around developing this. And they start to see those wins. They start to move up on the leaderboard a little bit. That's where you're going to start to see the rest of the team again, naturally, I think, gravitate behind that and get excited about Modeling those behaviors collaborating and you can create those moments where the team sharing best practices and you know again ultimately working together to continue to use the messaging and also Refine it

[00:23:26] Lucas Price: I want to come back to this, but I want to take us on a slight detour for a minute. Thinking back to a time when I was a sales leader, previous job at Zipwhip. And we had a hypothesis about a certain market that a certain market would be good for us, a new type of customer.

And we really struggled to get into that type of customer. We eventually broke it wide open and it ended up being a great avenue for us. The customers we had from all the evidence we had Zipwhip had a tremendously beneficial Impact on their business, but we really struggled to get new customers. And so my hypothesis [00:24:00] with that, we have a messaging problem here. And that, if we can have a positive impact, then we can crack this market open. We just need to keep figuring out the messaging. Is that the right way to think about it? And two, what are the other indications that you might have a messaging problem?

[00:24:13] Ed Lynes: I always look first and foremost to funnel efficiency, if you've got a product that, is good, . You've got some fit in the market. You've got some traction. You've got some happy customers then, it's probably not the product itself. And to your point, you can demonstrate measurable success.

And then, of course, number two is, are you doing the activity? Everyone knows in sales, there's just a certain amount of, hitting the phones, sending out emails, right? Things you have to do to cultivate opportunities. But if you're doing the activity and if you've got a good product.

And you're not getting the traction that you want. People aren't moving through the funnel in the way that you want. I think messaging is always going to be your next bet. I mentioned those first two things because I think messaging plays a role, but it's not a magic wand, right? If the product sucks or it doesn't work for customers, it doesn't matter how good the message is going to be.

And if the team is not doing the activities that they have to do, it doesn't matter what the message is because it's not getting in front of the people that it has to get in front [00:25:00] of. You got to do all three of those things. And I was actually having a conversation with a relatively new client of ours the other day where they were talking about their big pain point being, they're pretty big company.

They've got a couple hundred employees, 85 customers been on the Inc 500 list for a couple of years. So they've really had a lot of success and you say to me, I just don't get it. Everything we've done in terms of growing is word of mouth, we've been really successful in that regards.

This is your kind of comedy. He's I've now got, but a dozen reps and salespeople that are out there. He's we send out automated texts, we send out emails, we make a million calls. He's no one will book discovery with us. He's I don't understand. And my comment to him was similar to you just said.

I'm like I think it's a messaging problem. You've got 85 clients. You guys are growing. You've got a big team. You've got some big logos. If you're not able to get people to even get on the phone and do discovery, You know who you're targeting. You know what the customer profile looks like.

You know what the product does. You're obviously just not able to communicate that in a way to people that gets them excited about having a conversation and check back with me in eight or nine weeks. And I'll let you know how it goes, but feel good about it because there's the right foundations there. And it's just about how do we pull that story out and help the [00:26:00] sales team tell it in the right way.

[00:26:01] Lucas Price: When you say funnel efficiency, are you primarily talking about the time and stage and the drop off between stages?

[00:26:07] Ed Lynes: If you were to, take any sales leader and kind of put them up in front of a whiteboard and say, okay, your reps reach out to X number of people when they're doing their outbound or you've got, Y number of inbound or MQLs that come in, . How many of those converted to a discovery call?

How many of those converted to a demo? How many of those convert into a, proposal? How many of those go closed one or, closed lost, ? And there you go. That's your basics of your funnel. When there's, I find most companies I work with, those numbers are pretty static over time.

Maybe they change a little bit as they come into a new market or launch a new product. But if they've been in business for a while, they can say pretty consistently. Yeah, we do this many discoveries. We know that we're probably going to end up with about this many, signed contracts at the end of the day.

But And of course, your funnel may look a little bit different, but more or less with me, imagine it that way. So to me, I look at messaging and I say, look, good messaging, the real measurement there should be to increase the throughput at each of those funnel stages, because you can always widen the top of the funnel by just doing more volume.

The question [00:27:00] is, are you able to pull in a better rate of people because the message is more relevant and more compelling to the people that you're talking to, . Does the discovery. Everyone knows how to do discovery, right? You're identifying pain points, you're building rapport, but can you increase the number of discoveries that will lead to a good product demo because you're able to connect those pain points you uncover in the discovery to the buyer in a way that's really story driven and puts them at the center.

And then again, when you get to the demo. Can you structure the demo in a way that's not about here's our product and here's what it does, but rather, here's what we're going to make possible for you by putting you at the center of this. And I think, good demos are deceptively not really about I think the product, .

It's about how the person is going to use the product and how that puts them at the center of things. And I think if you can do that, you want to see all those different kind of points in your funnel. Start to increase in terms of efficiency, which then is a sales leader gives you the confidence right to say, okay I got to bring in more reps or I got to amp up the marketing budget I got to do the things that we're gonna bring more things into us because I know that we're gonna be able to convert [00:28:00] those At a better rate that we're doing.

[00:28:01] Lucas Price: I can see all that all the way to the top of the funnel. If you're getting the wrong type of MQLs, then that's a messaging problem too, but I also think that there, are things that happen inside the funnel that there, for most companies, there are areas for improvement that are not messaging problems, like sales, for instance. So how would about diagnosing, whether messaging is going to be the impactful

[00:28:22] Ed Lynes: My headline answer would be You know, there's always going to be a million different things you can look to invest in, whether it's, different tools, different data sources, . Different ways to coach and develop the team. The big thing that I always look for is when you've got great opportunities who aren't seeing the value in the way that you think that they ought to, .

You think about that prospect who you talk to and you're like, This guy checks every box of the right size company to the right title. They've got the right problems. And I just could not get this guy to see what we could do for them. Normally, if you have a non messaging problem, I think it's going to show up in other places,

we're like, you have people [00:29:00] that give you a lot of price objections or, maybe you're losing out because, the product doesn't have a key integration or something, but those are usually like points of feedback that you can pull out of the customer when they give you a reason why they don't buy.

To me, like big signs of bad messaging, getting ghosted is always a big one, because to me, getting ghosted just means you haven't built enough of, kind of connection with the buyer to get them to a yes or a no, right? We all know in sales, the next best thing to a yes is a quick no. And I think, good messaging, gets a buyer to quickly say either, yeah, I want to do this or no, this is not for me.

The ghosted person is the person who just doesn't even care enough about what you're saying to them to bother. Connecting back and closing the conversation on one way or the other. And again, to me, the big thing is, are your reps losing opportunities that like, you really believe the company should be winning? And are they losing those because the value is not being seen?

[00:29:49] Lucas Price: For companies who are thinking about going through this type of project, who think that, messaging might have an impact for them. What are some of the common mistakes that, that they should, avoid?

[00:29:58] Ed Lynes: The big one always is starting [00:30:00] to tactical. I think you really have to step back and you got to think at that core level. You and I at the beginning of this conversation talked about shared belief and shared purpose with the audience. You've got to start by thinking really about what's the big thing we're trying to do.

If you're in a young company that usually starts with why the founder began the business in the first place. But even if you're in a more mature business, there's that kind of fundamental question of If you guys went out of business tomorrow, where would your customers go? How would that impact them?

Like, why is it important that you're here? What is different about who you are? And I think if you're going to be thoughtful about this, all of the tactical messaging, the stuff that goes in the emails, that goes on LinkedIn, that goes in the phone pitches need to get derived from that. A lot of people go bottom up,.

They think I need a great thing for my reps to say to open a conversation on the phone. But if there was a shortcut to that, I would tell everybody what it is on the podcast today, but there, I just haven't found that yet. I think you got to start first and foremost with the core piece.

That's number one. I think number two, this has got to be a measure twice cut once sort of thing. I think, there's a lot of people that try to say, okay, let's get messaging in the market as quickly as [00:31:00] possible. You asked that question earlier about, reps taking to the messaging.

The number one thing that's going to be an obstacle to them doing that Is when you're on your second, third and fourth messaging rollout and the first ones haven't worked the way that you anticipated like it doesn't matter whether messaging idea number three or four was the right idea every time you bring it to the reps becomes harder and harder to get them to change the behavior and to go the way that you want and then I think number three that I would say is like the mistake of keeping this siloed. It's funny, like we refuse to work with our clients if we're not engaged by the revenue leader or the person with revenue responsibility in the business, which could be the CEO or could be the CRO. But to me, a lot of companies like hand this off to the marketing team and they say, okay, figure out what our message in the market should be and go do this.

As you talked earlier, If you don't have everyone around the table and bought into how you're going to come to market, how you're going to talk to people, how you're going to interface with people, you're going to be like those 84 percent of companies I referenced earlier, where you've got a marketing team that's doing one thing, you're going to have MQLs that are [00:32:00] expecting a conversation that looks very different than what the sales rep tells them, and then you're Even worse, they're going to sell a product that the product team doesn't know how to deliver on.

And I think that's really where it becomes pretty frustrating for people. Getting everyone aligned, I think, is that third kind of key piece of that and making sure that fundamentally it's the people driving your responsibility that are driving

[00:32:16] Lucas Price: lots of great nuggets in here, Ed. Thanks so much for joining us. If, when you're thinking about a couple of key takeaways that you'd like people to take away from this, how would you, you summarize it?

[00:32:25] Ed Lynes: Yeah, the big first thing I'd say to everybody is your brand and your team sales team has a story. It's telling what do you've been thoughtful about that or not? The story is whatever customers take away from those interactions they have with your people and with your brand.

So you got to invest in getting that if you're going to have the type of scale and the type of growth you're ever going to want in a market, number two, . Is that We build our business on relationships between I believe our sales people and the customers they serve, and we got to arm those people with a way to talk about themselves in the company in a way that's authentic in a way that's consistent and storytelling has been doing that for people for thousands of years.

[00:32:59] Lucas Price: Some of [00:33:00] my gems from today include that if you're great opportunities aren't seeing the value of the product, it might be a messaging problem. And that when you start to roll out the messaging, if you have a small number of people who you can really validate it with, who can really, get some wins, then that helps spread through the whole organization. And that it's really about building a shared belief and purpose, finding those people out there in the world who have a shared belief and purpose, and that will really help your company spread its message and build a brand. So really appreciate you joining us today and sharing all this great information with us. Where can our listeners find you online?

[00:33:34] Ed Lynes: I'm always banging around linked in like any good sales leader, but this is something that's interesting to people would actually suggest that they check out a book if you go to strategy dot Wodenworks dot com. I'm sure you guys put a link in the podcast here. You can download a book called story is the strategy walk you through both how to develop these types of strategic stories for your brand and map them into your funnel in a way that can set your reps up to be successful.

So thanks for having me on [00:34:00] Lucas. Really appreciate it. Great conversation.

And hope this is helpful to people.

[00:34:04] Lucas Price: Thanks Ed. If you enjoyed this episode of building elite sales teams, please leave us a review in your favorite podcast app. You can find more of our content online at yardstick. team. And if you have any feedback for us, you can connect with me online. Thank you for joining us.

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