What’s the reason customers bought from you and will buy from you again? Don’t know? Look to the end of your buyer’s journey — to the team that helps customers successfully use their purchase. That’s the advice of Ed Porter, fractional Chief Revenue Officer of Blue Chip CRO and today’s Market Dominance Guys’ guest. In this third of three conversations with our podcast’s hosts, Corey Frank and Chris Beall, Ed suggests that you find out what’s working for customers, then take that information back to marketing to finetune the value description of your product so that it matches what customers are reporting. That’s the way to successfully sell your product: Start with the end in mind and work backward to inform marketing strategies and sales messaging. If you didn’t think that customer success had anything to do with selling, it’s time to reconsider, as today’s Market Dominance Guys’ episode’s title says, “What Customer Success Can Do for You.”
Listen to the previous two episodes with Ed Porter.
About Our Guest
Ed Porter is a fractional Chief Revenue Officer for Blue Chip CRO, providing coaching and strategy planning services for executives and startups, and helping them rethink and refocus revenue strategies to accelerate growth. He assists his clients in aligning their revenue teams — marketing, sales, enablement, and customer success — to build accountability at every step of their organization, leading to accelerated and sustainable growth. Ed is also an investor and advisor to startups in the Columbus area.
Full episode transcript below:
What's the reason customers bought from you and will buy from you again, don't know? Look to the end of your buyer's journey to the team that helps customers successfully use their purchase. That's the advice of Ed Porter, fractional chief revenue officer of blue chip CRO and today's Market Dominance Guy's guest. In this third of three conversations with our podcast host, Corey Frank and Chris Beall, and suggests that you find out what's working for customers. Then take that information back to marketing to fine tune the value description of your product, so that it matches what customers are reporting. That's the way to successfully sell your product. Start with the end in mind and work backwards to inform marketing strategies and sales messaging. If you didn't think that customer success had anything to do with selling, it's time to reconsider as today's Market Dominance Guy's episode title says, 'What customer success can do for you.'
Chris Beall (01:20):
Funny thing about sales commissions as a way of paying people, funny thing to me anyway, is that they have this peculiar quality of being tied to the market for sales talent. But not being tied in any way that can be measured as far as I can figure out, to the performance of that talent within a given sales organization or mission. It's kind of a math problem. There's nothing to compare them to, that is you hire top talent, they make the big commission dollars because you have accelerators in your commissions, you have asymmetries that are built into them, and the top people who would be top people with or without a commission are in the big commissions, and we use that as a feedback loop to say that commissions are working.
Chris Beall (02:05):
If you love to break away from it, you can't because you want the top sales people who are themselves comfortable with that, whether it is myth or truth. There's self-interest in it too, and there should be. Could be paid more than the CEO in most places. But as a salesperson, if you arrange it all correctly, you can be. I mean, our two top salespeople at ConnectAndSell who produce the most total bookings per year are not commissioned. In fact, our three top salespeople are not commissioned.
Corey Frank (02:36):
Chris Beall (02:36):
There's no commission whatsoever for those three people. We're a peculiar company though. We're a bootstrap company that literally uses the output that bookings output, which turns very quickly into cash as a means for financing the company as an efficient, economically efficient alternative to venture capital or anything else. Right? But we're old people who can think through stuff like that all the way and we have a confidence that we can make the least likely event in the world to predict, which is the next deal in a portfolio basis, we can make it so likely that we sleep at night, right?
Chris Beall (03:13):
We never sweat a deal. We never think about a deal, actually, you just do what's right for the customer. You let the chips fall and you know, we have something pretty good and it works. But none of us are driven by commission and nor by the way, are we driven by the stock options that we hold or the stock that we hold. We are classic normal, I'll call them normal, Deming described folks. Deming told us people work for pride to workmanship. I guarantee you everybody in this company who produces anything works for pride to workmanship. But we try to reward folks fairly based on what they're contributing, which is never an easy thing to figure out.
Chris Beall (03:54):
And so in sales, since the market screams commissions and we like top salespeople, we adapt to the commission world. And we don't know if we believe in it or not. We might, we might not. It's irrelevant. It's like living in Kansas City and trying to decide if you believe in ribs, what do you mean? It isn't whether you believe in ribs, it's what kind of barbecue sauce is on them and how are you going about cooking?
Corey Frank (04:18):
Yeah. Are you grilling them for two hours or 18 hours? There's a difference.
Chris Beall (04:22):
It's a foolish thing to say, you should move otherwise, you should move from the world of sales. Which you can do by starting a company from scratch, trying, being your own first rep, all that kind of stuff. And there's a lot of ways to do it if you want to go without commissions, but it turns out the reason we love incentives, I believe is for the same reason we love email. It's identical. It's something we feel like we can control the inputs and we can look at them in a, I'll say almost a pornographic kind of way. We're drawn back to them over and over. Ooh, look at the numbers on how my emails are doing out there. And we can say that's work. Look, what are you doing tonight, honey? Oh, I got a lot of work to do, you know, you go on without me to the party.
Chris Beall (05:09):
I have numbers to look at concerning our email response rates for campaign A versus campaign B. I've said it before on Market Dominance Guys, if you think you're AB testing, you are either a charlatan or a fool. You're a charlatan, you're selling somebody that you're A/B testing. Here's a A/B testing, I throw a big monkey and a little monkey into a room with knives in their hands and a patient on the table. And we see which one causes the patient to die less fast. I'm trying to do a heart surgery. I can't A/B test my way to heart surgery. It doesn't matter whether I pair the monkeys up or throw them in all at once. As long as I put knives in their hands, I can't A/B test in any reasonable way. And A/B testing, when I say people are fools, I'm not saying that as a pejorative, I'm just saying mathematically they're fooling themselves.
Chris Beall (06:02):
There are way, way, way more dimensions on this vector that you think you're A/B testing than your A/B testing. You think you're testing A versus B. You have no idea what you're testing, none whatsoever. There's selection bias. There's survivorship bias. There's application of resource differential bias. There's timing bias. If you think you have control over all that stuff, you are simply a dreamer. Go get yourself a nice John Lennon song, sing it end to end and imagine that there was no variables. Well, I'm sorry, there's a lot of variables and you aren't controlling for all of them. I come out of the sciences personally, this is my background. I'm a physicist mathematician by training. The mathematics teaches you how to do the physics. The physics teaches you that simple things are so hard that you still got to go in the lab, for real. I remember being in the lab once trying to measure the speed of light in the room, the size that I'm in right now. Light's really fast by the way, right?
Chris Beall (07:04):
So how are you going to get clocks at other opposite ends of the room synchronized? It's really hard. Can you synchronize a clock with itself, maybe how fine grained? These are hard questions. To get the speed of light plus or minus 7% took me four months of hard work, four hours every single day. You think you're going to A/B test your way to something more complex than something as simple as how fast did that light beam get down to that mirror and back, and you're going to find some hidden truth. It's not going to happen. It's not going to happen. You have to start with what works and what works. Here's the beauty of Ed's business. Ed's pioneering a new way of looking at business, that is in my opinion, a 100% reliable. It's not 99% reliable. It's a 100% reliable and it starts here. Find out what's working for customers by talking about customer success.
Chris Beall (08:02):
Step one. Step two is thread back from that and find out where the value description change doesn't match that anymore. And step three is once you figure out a value description that is compatible with the psychological fact of an ambush call, insert into ambush call techniques sufficiently to find more such people who will engage with you.
Chris Beall (09:14):
This is the Market Dominance program that we've been talking about for 133 episodes, except it's more sophisticated. We always said, start with your hypothesis that says your hypothesis is sitting right out there in the real world, unless you're starting a brand new offer.
Corey Frank (09:31):
Yeah, exactly. Launching a new product, launching a new company. Absolutely. Other than that, you've got data.
Chris Beall (09:37):
There's Tim Ferris talks, he's a big chess player. And he talks about the move called, I'm going to butcher it for those chess grandmasters who are on here, and I like chess, but a Zugzwang. Are you familiar with this Chris or Ed?
Ed Porter (09:51):
You know, my book started on move one. My book ends on move five and I never could memorize anything past that. Yeah. I can fork with the best of them. But when I say I'm doing that, people get upset.
Corey Frank (10:07):
Oh yeah there's the Bohemian Gambit. Now the Zugzwang, in essence, and it sounds very much like your model Ed, a Zugzwang, as far as I understand for those who are chest masters, is that it's a situation that you find yourself in chess where any move an opponent makes derives their position. Meaning in a business scenario, it sounds like we're often so compelled to do something. There's this compulsion to move and do something, anything, as opposed to take an assessment on wait a minute, Ed, that works right?
Corey Frank (10:47):
And oh okay, so don't mess with that. That sounds like it's working. And so too often, as we started off this discussion about what are these things that a lot of CROs come from, who I have to always look for the extra basis points that I got to get this tech stack and I got to get this new shiny object and sales 3.0, I got to get to this exhibition hall first because I want to get all the business cards on all the new cool, shiny tech that has just been VC minted. And as opposed to, there's pride and if you've built a good bone structure, you don't have to mess with that because there's other variables in the system that probably need a little bit more attention. But that's when it sounds like a little bit what you're describing Ed's business, Chris, right?
Chris Beall (11:28):
When I am, yeah, I like that particular description. Somebody once said, start with the end in mind. The end is already out there to be found, you don't have to invent it. It's Ed's point.
Ed Porter (11:39):
It's a great work backwards. It's already there work backwards. It's the same thing with the math of sales. At some point you're starting with a goal and like walk, work backwards to get to it. Start with the activities. Now you need to, and then look at, as everything moves. And again, I think the other part too is start with what you got, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's your end all be all. If there is Velocify I think, I don't know if they're still around or if they got acquired, but they put a report out maybe four years ago, five years ago or so, that kind of talked about different stages of a business. And when you get to this point where, when you're starting, you're selling to customers that are within close proximity, close reach to you. Often those are maybe smaller customers that you're trying to get proof of concept.
Ed Porter (12:25):
You're trying to get some validation. You're trying to get up and going, and then you're going to go up market. So there's that natural progression. So just because you're serving, let's call it small customers today, doesn't mean you have to serve small customers forever. But start somewhere and start to figure out reasons why people buy from you. Why did they buy a second time from you? Understand that whole onboarding process. Like these are things that are irrelevant to the size of the business. And it has everything to do with what you're doing and understanding their buying triggers, understanding how you onboarded them, how you supported them. And then do we know why they've bought from us? Renewed one year, two years? Do we know why? Do we know that we're having these team meetings and getting entrenched into the customer's business and the customer success rep knows a different amount of people.
Ed Porter (13:17):
These are great things to go talk about on the buying side, when you're starting to have conversations with people about this is what it looks like being a customer of ours. This is how we run onboarding. This is how we run post onboarding. This is how we run training. This is how we look at adoption. This is how we interact with you. I mean, if you're painting that picture now, it's not a matter of whether you're an SMB or you're an enterprise client. So that's where I think you start with what you got and put a process together of the lather, rinse, repeat, and start getting proficient there and start the engine moving and now go make tweaks. Now go upmarket. Now go to a different buyer persona. Bring in another product, great. Now you got another product that you can add to your arsenal. So I think that's a starting point for sure.
Corey Frank (14:05):
Well, it sounds like with the markets that we see today, certainly clients that Chris and I work with every day, I don't see how your services aren't going to be fairly busy here, in the foreseeable future Ed. So it's been great having you on the Market Dominance Guys. I know, where can we learn a little bit more about what you do at Blue Chip Ed?
Ed Porter (14:23):
Yes, my website bluechipcro.com, but I am also all over LinkedIn. So look me up Ed Porter or the company Blue Chip CRO. Very vocal about things, sometimes highly debated topics, as well as some conventional thinking, but I put it all out there and it's something that I'm trying to get more from brain to paper, brain to paper. Because there's a lot of things going around again with Chris's book, hopefully that comes out a 3000 page book would be wonderful to just put Chris's brain dump on paper. But that's what I try and do. So I'm on LinkedIn and if you hear this podcast and you haven't heard of me before then connect with me, but let me know where you, where you found me. So let me know you've heard me on the Market Dominance Guys podcast that I like to know where people see me and then even some of the value. And I'm also a very big advocate on being social on social platforms. So don't just give things a like, give a comment. So I like engaging in conversation. So that's where you can find me, LinkedIn and website.
Chris Beall (15:21):
Fantastic. And if you're ever in Columbus, make sure that you send Ed a text because otherwise you're on the shit list forever.
Ed Porter (15:28):
Yes, exactly. You will be buying dinner next time.
Chris Beall (15:32):
At the very least.
Ed Porter (15:33):
That's the penalty.
Chris Beall (15:34):
That's all right though. You've got some good places there I haven't sampled yet. So by the way, I love the fact that you're Blue Chip and you're wearing blue on brand, all the market people get into that.
Ed Porter (15:44):
Yeah, very much so.
Chris Beall (15:46):
Ed chose to be on a show here that if anybody's getting in on video, I got a blue bay behind me with a blue ship. So blue chip blue ship, you know me, I reason from the sounds of words, because the meanings are too hard to understand. Ed, I think it's fascinating what you're doing. It is a non-trivial recasting of the entire situation by bringing in customer success.
Ed Porter (16:21):
Yeah. Yeah. It's a really interesting world. But yeah, thank you so much for the time. Yeah, I appreciate it.
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