Sales teams use various methodologies, including MEDDIC, MEDDPIC, and NEAT, and often switch between them based on the dominant trend. But, as our guest Richard Harris says, one size doesn’t fit all, and it’s not as simple as rip-and-replace if a process doesn’t bring immediate or quick results.
In this episode of Sales Hacker, Richard shares how he approaches processes from creation to implementation. Richard also discusses manager-employee relationships and how we can learn plenty, even from bad leaders.
Richard may be the founder of The Harris Consulting Group, but he is still fighting impostor syndrome. As a result, he reminds everyone — including himself — to be kind and friendly to themselves, prioritizing self-care and mental health.
Watch it here
Name: Richard Harris
What he does: Richard is the founder of The Harris Consulting Group and the co-founder of Surf and Sales.
Company: The Harris Consulting Group
Noteworthy: Richard is a seasoned SaaS sales leader, inside sales trainer, and advisor with 20+ years of experience.
Where to find Richard: LinkedIn
⚡Have a process that’s consistent and based on the exit criteria, not on the staging names.
It’s common for sales teams to choose a sound methodology or put in place a good process but continuously bump into inefficiency. Such issues are often solved by bringing in a new manager. Although such an approach may be fruitful, a new executive, especially one who is coming from another company, usually brings their methods and processes, and it may be a waste of time and resources to replace the existing ones with those. ”If you’re using MEDDIC, do not rip and replace because your new VP of sales or CRO comes in and says they want a rip-and-replace. If the old system isn’t working, there’s probably a good chance it’s because it wasn’t defined with the right exit criteria, and more importantly, it wasn’t coached regularly enough. So if MEDDIC works for you, then stick with it. Don’t rip and replace and put NEAT in the system, or any other process.”
⚡People leave managers, not companies.
But even a lousy leader can teach you plenty. Of course, we all desire a manager who is a coach and a mentor. But unfortunately, it’s almost impossible not to come across someone who may be an expert in their field but is not a good leader. However, as Richard advises, ”Those crappy managers and leaders we had, if we’re willing to take what they attempted to teach us and relearn it in a different frame of reference, then, to some weird degree, we have to be thankful for those leaders because they made us better at what we wanted to be as a human and as a leader.”
⚡Be creative with opening lines but know when to use which.
One of Richard’s favorite cold call opening lines is, “Your mom said I should call.” It’s bold, unusual, humorous, and catches people unprepared. But people do not share the same sense of humor, and while it’s fun to try out unusual opening lines, it’s critical to determine the right time, place, and account. ”You got a list of a hundred accounts, and you wanna try these? Try them on 199 and 198. Don’t try them on number one. Don’t try it with your fortune brands. Try it with the other ones for a couple of reasons. You only get one shot at the big companies in some cases. And two, you gotta make it sound like you. And the first time you do it, you’re going to be nervous. Even if you practice it a hundred times, it’s still going to be nerve-wracking. So don’t try it on the most important accounts.”
Trends in Sales in Terms of Processes, Methodologies, and Philosophies
”My answer is based on what I see, experience, and believe […] The idea of a process has gotten more mainstream credibility because it’s been talked about so much, and I have to credit social for that, and I have to credit LinkedIn for that.
I’m of the generation where you didn’t Google s*it. That didn’t exist. I could tell you about having to go to the library and looking on microfiche for old newspaper articles. Half of you probably don’t even know what the f*ck that is.
The access to knowledge of these things has gotten better and greater. The generational acceptance of finding and trying new things has gotten better. I saw it in the millennials, and I’m talking about the earlier millennials. They had more access to information than I ever did, and I was jealous. […]
So the process has always been there. The access to it has been there. The data is now better.”
Some People Are Tactical, Others Are More Strategic, and Some Are Both
”I am good at tactical stuff, coming in and grinding on that stuff faster. I have impatience about sitting down with marketing and redefining the lead criteria and redefining the definition. I’ll do it, and I’m happy to do it. I get impatient.
That could be part of my old age, but I was like this at 25. And this is why you have a good board of directors around you personally and professionally to help on the strategy side. So I’m a little biased and predisposed that way because that’s how I operate as a human. […]
I know that there are other humans who operate strategically first, and I know there are other great humans who can operate strategically and tactically at the same time.”
Richard’s Favorite Cold Call Opening Lines
”One of my favorites is from Corporate Bro. I asked him this question a couple of years ago. I said, ‘What’s your favorite line?’ And he goes, ‘Your mom said I should call.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s genius! But what do you do if the person’s mother’s deceased or they’re sick?’ He’s like, ‘You apologize and say, ‘Look, I’m just trying to sound different. It’s a sales call. Apologies, here’s why I’m actually calling you.’’
Or, ‘Oh wow, someone actually picked up the phone. You just made my day.’ […] When you make someone else feel good because you think they’ve done a nice thing, they feel good and listen. […] My other favorite one is, ‘Look, I know you’re busy. I promise I’ll be brief. If you don’t like what I have to say, just hang up on me.’ […]
I’ve only got one or two people where I’m conscious that maybe the humor doesn’t work. On the other hand, I think it does. […] I can respect anyone who’s got a different frame of reference than I do.
The pressure I feel is different from someone who has a traditional job. So, I’m conscious of this, and I’m conscious of my snarkiness and my attempt to be sarcastically funny and wise at the same time that not everybody can do that. So, I do wanna be mindful of that.”
Those Struggling With Impostor Syndrome Are Usually the Ones Who Deserve to Be Where They Are
”Let’s talk about impostor syndrome. We all get it. I get it all the time. It is part of my mental health. And here’s what I have to remind myself: You’ve got where you are because of the work you’ve done. You’ve gotten to Sales Hacker because of the work you’ve done. While you’ve been at Sales Hacker, you’ve earned the right to run this podcast.”