EP 162: Science, Silver Bullets and Evaluating Variables
Scientific methods have a place in sales, whether it is to keep existing customers happy or to continue building the pipeline. David Dulany of Tenbound says, “You create a hypothesis of what your messaging is going to be, and then you run an experiment on it and report on the results of the methodology that you're using, do a little bit more research, change it up, make a new hypothesis, and run the same structure over and over again basically for the rest of your life.” Unless you are willing to reevaluate what is working and what is not continuously, it will all stop working, and static growth or loss of business is inevitable. Chris, Corey, and David have solutions for you. They suggest you look at the efficiency of the people, the processes, and the current technology you currently have in place. Many of these companies have a tech stack, and they don't optimize it and look at it from the perspective of setting it up correctly to really be able to get all the juice out of it. Evaluate the value of what's on hand versus coming up with some new silver bullet that will solve everything. Listen to this episode of Market Dominance Guys, “Science, Silver Bullets and Evaluating Variables.
Here are the first two episodes of this interview:
He is highly-skilled and knowledgable in the SDR/BDR space. His training courses are personable, easy to understand, and most importantly- actionable. At a strategic level, he has the ability to effectively blueprint the entire Sales Development function. From there, recruit, hire, build, mentor, inspire and lead a team of Sales Development Representatives to exponentially grow new business revenue and new logo attainment for start-ups or more established companies.
He considers himself a lifelong student of this craft.
Tenbound is a Research and Advisory firm focused and dedicated to B2B SaaS GTM Sales Development Performance improvement. The Sales Tech industry has exploded over the past few years; however, expertise in the subject is still rare. Tenbound aims to uplevel the profession through cutting-edge research, high quality events, and highly practical online training programs for all levels of the Sales Development team.
Full episode transcript below:
Welcome to another session with the Market Dominance Guys, a program exploring all the high stakes, speed bumps and off-ramps of driving to the top of your market. With our host, Chris Beall from ConnectAndSell, and Cory Frank from Branch 49.
Scientific methods have a place in sales, whether it's to keep existing customers happy, or to continue building the pipeline. David Delaney of TenBound says, "You create a hypothesis of what your messaging is going to be, and then you run an experiment on it, and report on the results of the methodology that you're using. Do a little bit more research, change it up, make a new hypothesis, run the same structure over and over again, basically for the rest of your life." Unless you're willing to continuously reevaluate what is working and what is not, it will all stop working, and static growth or loss of business is inevitable.
Chris, Corey and David have solutions for you. They suggest that you look at the efficiency of the people and the processes, and the technology that you have in place right now. A lot of companies have a tech stack that they just don't really optimize, and they don't look at it from the perspective of setting it up correctly, to really be able to get all the juice out of it. Evaluate the value of what's on hand, versus coming up with some new silver bullet that's going to solve everything. Listen to this episode of Market Dominance Guys, "Science, Silver Bullets, and Evaluating Variables."
Corey Frank (01:31):
From a sales methodology structure, as Chris had said about the conversation earlier, what do you see out there? And from your position as a thought leader, having a purview of 40,000 feet to see what seems to be working, you can see the curvature of the earth, so to speak, in the space, more so than a lot of us who are myopically focused on today and today's dials. So what is an effective structure to run a cold call at a tactical level that, if I'm a BDR manager, I should start to employ for my team?
David Dulany (02:05):
We kind of boiled it down, and there's a blog I can give the link to you guys, into applying the scientific method to sales development. And essentially, if you think of the ancient scientific method of, you create a hypothesis of what your messaging is going to be, and then you run an experiment on it, and report on the results of the methodology that you're using, do a little bit more research, change it up, make a new hypothesis, and run the same structure over and over again, basically for the rest of your life.
And so taken down to a practical level, if you're an SDR manager and you're sitting there, you have to start somewhere. So what is the script that has potential, and that you can hypothesize is going to work in your market? And for example, Chris, the 27 seconds script, right? Let's start with that, and roll it out, and get enough conversations to be able to have some data, see what's working and what's not, and then report on it, make changes, and roll it out again, in a different format, until you can find something that starts to work. And then you got to start over with a new hypothesis and roll it out again. And if you think about it, it's really applying just basic project management to script development and cold calling. You got to just keep doing it over and over again.
Chris Beall (03:40):
It's interesting though. There's a very interesting dynamic, and I'm an old physicist, as you know. So what goes on in the lab is not a mystery to me, at least from direct experience. The hardest thing about science is controlling the variables sufficiently that you can evaluate the experimental results.
Like hypotheses are easy, setting up experiments is mid-hard. Evaluating experimental outcomes is very, very hard, because you don't know if you've controlled all the variables going in.
And when it comes to human interactions, the number of variables and the range of values that they can take is stunningly large, stunningly, like the variables around tone of voice within the first seven seconds of phone call. If I were to attempt to break it down and get a handle on it and say, "What are they?" I've got the words and then I have the timing, and then I have the tone, the up and down that's going on, then I have the loudness. I have all this, right?
So what do I get? Probably I'm going to take a quick guess, 500 million interesting variations in the first seven seconds that could make a difference. So now I've got to make an assumption. A bunch of them don't, but I don't have experimental evidence that says they don't, because I couldn't control them in the first place. So I end up in a very funny place when I'm trying to do what I'll call "good science" in a hard field, where the variables are just a bitch to put under control.
I once measured the speed of light in a room about the size of half of this condo. Now light goes really, really, really fast. So how are you going to, you can't use a stopwatch. It took me four months every day, for four hours a day to set that experiment up to the point where I could push the button and try it, and it took another two months to analyze the data and see whether I found anything. That's easiest, of just a beam light going down and coming back.
And I'm not the worst scientist who ever lived. I'm not the best either. I'm not a great experimental scientist, but I'm not a total doof ball at the stuff. I love the idea. But then I think, so where do our sales managers come from? Are they the ones that hung out with me in those advanced physics and math classes, and thought a lot about experimental protocols, and never go with the temptation to change two variables at the same time? Because, tell me, what could go wrong?
I have an example today, right now, today. I'm looking at it on the screen. My team is doing an experiment, and the idea of the experiment was to have four of our SDRs operate in a different regime, which we call "connect on live voice", and do so with only what we call fast phone numbers, which is people that evidence from our 200 million phone calls most recently, tell us our real answers of the phone picker-upper types, right? Do you think that experiment was done cleanly? This is my shot.
David Dulany (06:48):
Chris Beall (06:49):
I'm looking at it right now. They're supposed to be running all on "connect on live voice". I go over to the session type. Let's see if anybody ran on "connect on target". The opposite. Yes. Why? Because they thought it would work better, and they get paid for meetings.
This is a hard field in my opinion. It's such a hard field, that any of us are unlikely to reinvent very much of it during the 17 months we have before our asses are fired.
David Dulany (07:23):
That's true. Yeah, that's true.
Chris Beall (07:26):
So I think you're recommending a great program, but when I watch it's a little bit like, it has a funny feeling. It's like, "Hey Chris, why don't you become a world-class Sudoku player, but you're not allowed to watch the YouTube videos of that dude."
And you're going to be in a tournament for 17 months and if you don't win, we kill you.
David Dulany (07:46):
Easier said than done for sure. And if you look at the way that it's done now in a lot of organizations, is they're just either doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, which we know is the definition of insanity. Or they're out there learning, and they're getting feedback from the market, or getting utter silence from the market, but they're not putting that learning into practice and trying to improve the message. So there's just really no, even if it's a loose project-managed experiment over the course of a couple weeks...
Chris Beall (08:26):
It's better than nothing.
David Dulany (08:27):
Chris Beall (08:29):
I love "better than nothing." By the way, we have a whole episode on something.
David Dulany (08:33):
It's better than nothing.
Chris Beall (08:34):
I mean this podcast is really about hoping that some people will say, "Oh, those two old mothers are on that thing. It's entirely possible. And they both seem like they read a lot, and think a lot about stuff, and they've done something. Maybe if they say, 'don't ever do that thing', even if it works, it's a bad idea."
Corey Frank (08:57):
Yeah. It's funny you say that, reading. So to your point, so this is my new latest read here. Maybe you've seen the podcast with Jerry Seinfeld? "Comedians and Cars." And one of the elements they talk about here is this, they're going to butcher it, but with George Carlin? The famous comedian who passed several years ago, and he was interviewed, Jerry Seinfeld who was interviewed, and he said, "How many times can you really kill as a comedian? Like slay it on stage? People are bent over just laughing, tears. Just kill." And that's their definition of a meeting, is, "Did you kill?" Not to just go out and just perform your set, but, "Did you kill?"
And Carlin says, "I believe that at the top of our profession, a comedian has no more than seven good hours of material inside of them."
That's it. Seven good hours of material. Now Seinfeld and Don Rickles and Zach Galifianakis argued that Carlin had much more, because he put out a special every year, for year after year after year. And you see how voluminous some of these comedians are, like Kevin Hart, and the content, and Jerry Seinfeld still going on the road.
And the point is, is that in our profession, sometimes as sales leaders, BDR leaders, we think there's nothing really new invented under the sun. I don't have seven hours' worth of new material, like the best that's going to kill. I just have seven hours of mediocre material, does it really make a difference?
I'd rather lean on the marketing quality of the leads, the cleanliness of the data, to really drive my success. And what happens, I think, David, you see this more than anybody, is it probably reaches to the level of a VP of sales or a CRO, or a CEO, and they say, "If this is the best we can do for these folks in order to hit this number, I guess we got to hire more folks." Hey Chris, you see that all the time?
Corey Frank (11:34):
So how do you combat that for your clients, David, in your content of saying, that's a tree hugger mentality to say, "I just want to add people." Now they cut all these people, we just talked about that in the last couple of months, but I still got to replace it. Am I giving the money for headcount to marketing? Is that what I'm doing? Hey, just make the phone ring or just give me more inbounds or double down on SEM, and what do you say to that?
David Dulany (11:59):
Well, right now they look at the installed base, and we work in the software as a service industry. So they're looking at the customers that they have right now, how do we keep them and make sure that they don't cancel their subscription? So they're really starting to look at customer success, and taking that seriously, and turning away from pipeline development, which again, as we talked about, is not going to serve very well in the next few months, if you take your eye off the ball there.
And what I would say also is look at the efficiency of the people and the processes and the technology that you have in place right now. Because a lot of these companies have a tech stack, and they just don't really optimize it and look at it from the perspective of setting it up correctly, to really be able to get all the juice out of it. There may be tools that they don't even use, and they don't even know that they have, and they need to get rid of, and open up more budget for more effective tools, and try to wring the value out of what's on hand, versus coming up with some new silver bullet that's going to solve everything.
Corey Frank (13:08):
Yeah, for sure. Sure.
Chris Beall (13:10):
Well salespeople are gamblers, so for Silver Bullet, pretty popular.
Corey Frank (13:16):
That's right. Well hey, David, where do we find your information? How would companies use TenBound today? If I'm a software as a service company in cybersecurity, or UCaaS, CCaaS, how do I use TenBound services, and how should I engage with you?
David Dulany (13:33):
The best way to do it is just go to TenBound.com and sign up for the newsletter. We put out a newsletter every Tuesday, that's just jam-packed with resources in this topic area to help people. And we put on a ton of events and different activities to activate the audience, and get people the value that they need. And that's the best place to start, with the newsletter.
Corey Frank (13:59):
And you put on SDR workshops, SDR as a Service training workshops as well at TenBound?
David Dulany (14:05):
Yeah, we do. They're online self-paced modules. You just go to TenBound.com and you can take them at your own pace, and do either the SDR training or the SDR Manager training today, right after the call.
Corey Frank (14:21):
Well, excellent. Well, Chris, it's always great having a thought leader, again, the folks who see and feel the tectonic shifts under our feet here, and are able to dumb it down for those of us that are in the trenches.
So David, thanks for coming on. We can certainly talk shop all day. Love data like this. I think as you and Chris were riffing earlier, anytime that we can get some certainty in our trade craft about what works it doesn't, by minimizing the number of variables in the system versus trying to fix too many things at once, gives an element of security and predictability, reliability into the machine here that we're trying to build. And as our friend Robert Viera, Chris, right, he says is, "What we're trying to do is build machines, not statues." And too often, new SDR, VPs of sales, CROs, new funding, is they're trying to build these statues, especially in the Silicon Valley area versus a machine. And we'll take a machine coming from the manufacturing world. I know that sings to your heart, Chris.
Chris Beall (15:21):
Well, you know what I say? When you get something that actually works, you don't have to know why it works, but it's a really good idea to keep using it and refining it slightly, very, very slightly. It should become conservatively aggressive at that point. That is conservative, don't imagine you know anything great, but aggressive tweaks here and there.
It's like a guy with a, or a gal with a bad grip and a bad swing, and you're out on the course with them, when they're playing better than you, don't ever bet against them. That thing works.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]Don't ever don't go over there and go, "I think you could improve by going to this little more conventional grip." There's combinations of shit that work. David, you mentioned the 27-second thing. That was a complete accident. We didn't know that it worked. We didn't invent it.
Like the guy was doing it. We didn't know that's what he was doing that was different. The science we did was much cruder than most sciences. Put some people in a couple of rooms, have them listen to the two top performers for a couple of hours with ConnectAndSell, that 16, 17, 18 conversations and see what happens. This is actually Chad Burmeister's idea and it was very good. Well, one of them caught measles, and started producing like the other guy. Then we went and compared and said, "Oh, the only thing they have in common is the 27 seconds, let's use it."
It took five years before it was explained to me by Chris Voss why it works. You don't have to know why things work, but in a complex world, I mean prospecting, building pipeline is similar to hitting a golf ball.
Corey Frank (17:01):
Well it's funny you say that, Chris. Just on LinkedIn today, there was an influential influencer on LinkedIn who casting aspersions, casting some stones on the 27 seconds. He referred to it as "37 seconds" and how it couldn't work. It's cringe, it should work. You diminish trust, and everybody has a right to our opinion. Certainly it's not mathematics where it's binary.
Chris Voss would disagree that there's certain alchemy equations that can produce trust and they're not all definitive, but the millions of phone calls that we make every month, the tens of millions of phone calls, Chris, that you make every month, I would have to respectfully disagree from my fellow connoisseur of the craft, because I don't think that this particular person has ran a team or himself made thousands of phone calls using the 27 seconds permission-based opener the right way. So we get a lot of that, and that's what I really enjoy, certainly, David, about your content, about your thought leadership.
This doesn't come from an ivory tower. This comes from a respective of being in the trenches. You have the scar tissue to prove it. As you said, when something works, it's two tablets coming down the mountain that David Dulaney and TenBound says does work or it does not work.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]And that level of certainty in our profession, backed by a practitioner of the craft. When Seinfeld says something is funny, he's been in Ottumwa, Iowa in front of four people at 3:00 AM doing a set. And if they laugh or they don't laugh, he knows it.
And when David or Chris Beall and folks like that, in our profession, a Trish Bertuzzi, we have to stand up or sit tall, a little bit straighter in the saddle to say, "Oh my gosh, time for a hard right turn, or a hard left turn, based off of your feedback." So I appreciate that. But Chris, I thought you would appreciate that. I'll send you it afterward, what this particular influencer is saying about if it's not working you could have cooked me over the last couple of years.
Chris Beall (18:55):
My dear friend Anthony Iannarino did two things this year that I found to be delightful. One is he signed a copy of his book, Elite Sales Strategies, when we were together at the Outbound conference. And he just signed it and handed it to me. I bought it, by the way, because I will never let him off. Give me a book and sign it. I always go buy it and ask them to sign it. So he was very kind and he signed it, but he didn't say a word.
And then in the book there were two things. One is, he says that anybody uses something like that 27-second thing is a clown and won't be taken seriously, and he's right about that in a certain context. It was actually a context question.
And the other is I opened the book to the introduction, and it opens by saying, "People buy from people they trust to make a decision they don't trust themselves to make. Chris Beall." So he quoted me to open the book, and then made fun of the 27 seconds in it, and did so correctly. It was all great. I loved it. Every last bit of it.
The fact is, we're in a complex field. It's also very, very important. The work that David is doing is in the most important part. Your closers will not save your company. They will not. Your pipeline will save your company.
Your pipeline is the equivalent of a big fat ball of venture capital, that you don't have to give away control of your company to get. You just don't have to go create it. And it's pretty straightforward to do. And if you have any sense at all as a practitioner, you join the TenBound community as a member.
And if you got a lick of ambition and you want to go have that audience listen to you, whether you are a service provider, or whether you are a vendor of tech or whatever you happen to be, you should really consider, as you look at your budget going into 2023, consider, here's a place you can put some sponsorship money, where you're getting into a community that is focused on the one thing that can save your company.
Because there isn't another, there is only one. And that is a fat and reliably growing and flowing pipeline, which is what David's all about.
So I'm going to make a simple recommendation, which is just go sign up, and if you got something to sell to those people, then go see if you can make a deal with this guy. Maybe he'll let you do a sponsorship for a dumb lesson, and he'll buy me a cup of coffee or something.
David Dulany (21:29):
Chris, I am saving this recording and I'm going to post it regularly. So thank you.
Chris Beall (21:36):
Put it out there. It's the God's honest truth. There's not much that makes a difference. What you are doing makes a difference, and making a difference is kind of all there is.
David Dulany (21:47):
The religion of pipeline, and we're converted.
Chris Beall (21:51):
Right. Pipeline's a machine, not a statue.
David Dulany (21:55):
Yes, I love it.
Corey Frank (21:57):
Beautiful. Well, David, once again, thanks for carving out the time to sit in the Market Dominance hot seat here with me and Chris. It was fun.
So, another episode in the book, or maybe a couple of episodes with all this content, Chris, that you and David concocted here. So hopefully we'll do wonders for organizations as they go into Q1. So for Chris Beall, this is Corey Frank with the Market Dominance Guys. Until next time.
Be sure to listen to the first two parts of the session with David Dulany, Chris Beall, and Corey Frank. The first one is episode 160, "Prospecting Inbound or Pipeline Problems: Should You Hire an SDR?" And the last episode was, "Hiring Pipeline Builders Who Can Build Trust."
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