Search
  • MJ Patent

Revenue, Strategy, Sales/Marketing & Collaboration with MJ Patent



On this episode of the Find My Catalyst Podcast, Mike is joined by MJ Patent. MJ is the Co-Founder and CEO of Alveo and the Co-Chair of the Phoenix chapter of Pavilion. They talk about revenue, strategy, sales & marketing, collaboration, and more.


Key Takeaways:

  • Strategy is a plan. A lot of companies miss out on working on the strategy because they want results today.

  • Aim for more opportunities and a higher revenue per client than the number of clicks generated.

  • If we can be more effective with our time, that effectiveness should yield or lead to better results and more compensation.

  • Be opportunistic with intention.

  • Take time to review and create feedback loops.

  • Mistakes are going to happen - it is what you take away from that experience that matters.

  • Drive a culture where it is ok to fail, it is ok to reflect and where you are constantly learning.

  • Don’t continue making a mistake just because you have spent a lot of time making it.

  • Innovation and learning will happen with testing.

  • Translate shortcomings and failures into something good. Ex: I spent time learning a lot about_______. This mental shift is so important.

  • Be intentional versus reactive.

  • Data is fantastic, but it depends on where you are as an organization. Only capture the data you are going to do something with.

  • Communication is key especially when you are putting together strategy.

  • Work to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • At the end of the day, everyone wants to be successful.

  • You can pick up a lot by having more collaborative team meetings where you solve for a problem together.


Transcript


Mike Simmons:

Welcome to The Find My Catalyst podcast. Yes, if you've historically listened to the Catalyst Sale podcast, we've rebranded. This is The Find My Catalyst podcast. Sales is another word for problem-solving. We all have problems that we're looking to solve. We know there's a solution out there, but we struggle with this. How do we find the solution? Where does the nudge come to help us take the next step and start solving tough problems, getting the work done? The intention of this podcast is to help you find your catalyst and take that next step.


I'm Mike Simmons, I'm the founder of Catalyst Sale. Today, MJ Patent joins me. MJ is the co-founder and CEO of Alveo and the co-chair of the Phoenix Chapter of Pavilion. MJ, it is awesome to see you. I know everybody else can't see you, but it's awesome to have a conversation with you. We met through what was formally known as the Revenue Collective, now is Pavilion. You are ... What are you? The chair out here in Arizona, you and Jen Spencer doing some things around Pavilion here in Arizona?


MJ Patent:

Yep. Just recently joined the Chapter Head. So we're trying to grow that Phoenix community. So if anyone's listening who's in Phoenix, please reach out.


Mike Simmons:

Even if you're not in Phoenix, reach out because there's some really good people that are out there part of this community, and if you are looking for experts on the sales side, the marketing side, the success side, combination of sales, marketing, and success, broader revenue, they've got an operations group. What Sam has built with this community is absolutely phenomenal, and I am fortunate enough to call myself a member of the group. Well, we are not here to talk about Pavilion, we are here ... What are we here to talk about?


MJ Patent:

Revenue and strategy, and sales and marketing and all the great stuff.


Mike Simmons:

Revenue, strategy, and sales and marketing and all the great stuff. What's a common mistake? Actually, let's start with this. What is revenue?


MJ Patent:

What is revenue? Revenue is the top line as well as the bottom line that you're adding to your organization in a sustainable and a scalable way.


Mike Simmons:

It is amazing how many different definitions will get out there, and this is why I never went the finance route. I'm sure our CFO cringes when I say the word revenue, because the first piece is, one, you don't know how to recognize it. Two, you don't know what you're talking about. But for me, I just think of money, money that's coming in, and when that money comes in and there's just various different models about it, but ...


So we're going to talk about money and we're going to talk about how organizations and you tend to focus on organizations who are delivering services out in the marketplace, but how organizations generate revenue and we'll get into some discussion. I'm sure we'll touch on things like marketing slightly, but I think the bigger thing that I'd like to spend time on is this whole idea of the difference between strategy and tactics and how do either of those influential impact our ability to execute. So, why don't we start on the strategy side of things? What's strategy?


MJ Patent:

Strategy is a plan. Hope is not a plan, but strategy is the plan. A lot of companies miss out on working on the strategy because they want the results today, especially in today's society when we need immediate gratification, they can't wait to get that, that hit of revenue. So they focus on the tactics right away and they think that that's going to drive their growth long term, but it's not. If you put together a house, but you didn't create the foundation, your house is going to fall apart. And that's the strategy. Right?


Mike Simmons:

It's funny, as you're talking about this, this over-focus on the things we can touch, the things that are right in front of us, like that dopamine hit of getting likes on social media or whatever it is. If there's this dopamine hit associated with, "Hey, I'm doing a bunch of things." What it seems like is, without a plan, people can do a bunch of things and just find themselves walking around in circles or just walking around aimlessly. Is that fair?


MJ Patent:

Yeah. I mean, that's why there's so much attention to these vanity metrics. "Oh, look, how many clicks I got? How many likes I got? How many impressions ..." Who cares? Is it going to be driving the revenue number at the end of the day? I would rather have more opportunities and a higher revenue per client versus the number of clicks or leads that we generate.


Mike Simmons:

Especially when you come back to the idea of money. If we're talking about money, money's better than likes and clicks, I think.


MJ Patent:

Right. That's the reason why the revenue function has to be focused on that and not on these other types of metrics. I've seen sales organizations where they care about just dials. "Did the sales guy make enough dials for the day?" And if not, then they're in the doghouse for it. Who the fuck cares? Did he make the revenue goal? Same thing with the marketing person, how many emails did they send out? How many leads did they generate? Well, who cares? What was the revenue generated from those opportunities?


Mike Simmons:

It's amazing. It's kind of like that story about ... What is it? The drunk guy looking for his keys and he is walking around the light pole and someone comes up to him and says, "What are you doing?" "Well, I'm looking for my keys." "Well, did you lose them over here? Where did you lose them?" No, but this is where the light is." We just kind of like that we can get these numbers out of a CRM or any of these automation tools that are out there. We can get all this data and because we can measure it all of a sudden, it matters rather than asking ourselves the question, does it really matter? Well, one, do you agree with that? Two, if you do, how do we get better at that?


MJ Patent:

Yeah. I think everyone just looks at the activity and they're like, "Well if there's activity, that means it must be working." And that's not how it works. You could be sitting and just ... I don't know, blasting and get nothing out of it at the end of the day. That didn't work, you were just busy and you were doing, God knows what. That's why it's so important to be focused on your approach and make sure that you're constantly optimizing to just be more effective, not busier, but work smarter, not harder.


I remember with the teams that I've led, I told them, I don't care how much you work, but I care about your results. So as long as you're hitting the results that we put in front of you, you could have two-hour workdays. Now, I don't think anyone was able to get to that, but they had the option if they were very effective with their time.


Mike Simmons:

It's one of the cool things about having a quota and being compensated the way that many of us are compensated relative to performance. There is uncapped earning. So if we can be more effective with our time, that effectiveness with our time should yield, excuse me, or lead to better results and more compensation. So we're not going to get into a situation where we're just cranking the handle just for the sake of cranking the handle, because the handle cranking doesn't necessarily have the impact that other things will do.


Why is it that we struggle with this? Because this seems to be a challenge that is as old as the day is long. There are so many different data points. One of the ones that drives me absolutely nuts is the data point that's out there around the number of times that you need to engage with a customer before they're ready to have a conversation. And I find it funny that many of the companies that create these numbers happen to sell contact automation services. Why do we continue to struggle with this stuff?


MJ Patent:

Yeah. I really think is because it's an easy metric and it's easy to capture. And so people rely on it and it's because a lot of the strategy isn't being done, it does take work to look at what have you done and actually have some intention behind it. So that way you're learning from it and then getting better over time and then, therefore, becoming more effective.


For example, brand new companies have to go through the opportunistic stage. They have to just sell to anyone and everyone and they ... But the thing is, there's one thing to be opportunistic and then just stay opportunistic, which we find a lot of companies doing that, and there's another thing to be opportunistic with intention, and to collect that information and then use that to be better the next day. Right?


Mike Simmons:

This gets into that piece that you were talking about as far as hope not being a strategy, and you start to transition from hope, "Hey, I hope that I can gather information and learn from potential customers and generate money so that I can keep the business moving along versus pattern recognition." And then starting to be very deliberate about where do we point the light? Where do we point the light instead of dealing with the light post just being in one place.


So, how do people get better at making that transition from hope and prayer to more of a strategic view of what I need to do next? What are some things you do with organizations or things that you can recommend to others as they start asking these questions, "Am I overly focused on the tactics? The things I can see right in front of me, the things I'm doing every day and under focus on the broader strategy and how can I help to overcome that?" I don't even know if I asked a good question because I felt like I was going a little bit long, but how do I make that transition from tactics day to day type stuff to being more strategic in the way I look at these challenges?


MJ Patent:

Sure. It's really about taking the time to review and create feedback loops, right, so that way it can inform future performance. So for example, as I said, a lot of companies go through the opportunistic stage, and are you doing it with intention? If you bring on a client that is usually outside of your scope or outside of your industry or whatnot and you win it. Great, that's automatic revenue.


But look at what's happening with that. How long was the sales process? Was it a more difficult sale because it had significantly more individuals in it? Did it take much longer than your other types of sales? Then look at the execution piece, are projects that are being delivered taking longer? Are you getting the customer satisfaction that you receive from your other types of clients? Collect those type of data points because that is going to tell you was this the right fit or not. Right? And you can apply that with any kind of situation, but you have to go back and reflect and look at, well, what are the results of us going after this initiative?


Mike Simmons:

The feedback loops are extremely important. It's something we've talked about a couple of different times in different ways on the podcast. One of the really good feedback loops that's out there is the OODA loop, which is a John Boyd thing. Dave Burke, when he was on the podcast, he talked a bit about that, and you can get into some discussions around open loops and closed loops. But when you think about feedback loops, what is a common mistake that we make either as business leaders or revenue leaders when it comes to observing and being aware of and understanding those feedback loops, or even just capturing the data, what are some common mistakes that we make?


MJ Patent:

I don't think people even put plans towards it. You're so in the trenches and in the day-to-day, "I care about the number, we have to close this deal today." They don't have time to go back and look at what worked, and what didn't, and they think that's a waste of time. But the thing is, that's what helps you and informs you to move forward. Right? It's the whole agile kind of concept. For example, there's this methodology, it's rapid enterprise development, and it brings all of your leadership teams together on a quarterly basis. Let's look at how we did over the last quarter. What can we learn from that? How do we move forward?


So that way you can pivot, and you're not planning on a yearly or every three-year basis, let's continue to pivot the way that we need to go and make sure that we adjust for mistakes. The thing is, mistakes are going to happen, it's not a perfect world. Right? We can always be hopeful that everything is going to turn out exactly how we want, but sometimes we're going to take the clients that we end up hating. Sometimes we have a methodology and we apply it and it fails horribly, but what are we taking away from that, and how are we going to do better moving forward?


Mike Simmons:

Yeah. Without that feedback, you won't learn.


MJ Patent:

You will keep doing it over and over again.


Mike Simmons:

And that seems like ... What is it? Isn't that the definition of insanity? Yet we're operating like this as business leaders in there. And it's not because we don't know it. Like we know if you step away and you think through this, you can go and say, "This approach doesn't really make sense. I need to take some more time so that I can do the things that I need to do." But you get so caught up in the weeds, in the trenches, in the day-to-day, in the things that create a distraction. And if you, as a leader out there listening to this and running into it, imagine what your team is running into and how they approach.


You want them to be strategic in the way that they approach their role yet you're not being strategic in the way that you lead your business because you're getting caught up in the minutia in the day-to-day.


MJ Patent:

Yeah. Something that I tried with my teams is, that we had regular check-ins. So the leadership team had this on a quarterly basis. But then with my actual execution team, we met every six months and we went through every single part of ... So I ran global marketing for a service organization, and we went through every piece of marketing, from advertising to websites, to customer experience, all down the line. And we said, "What worked, what didn't? Did we hit the objectives over the last six months? Did we not?"


And afterward, we also reflected, "Did we take on too much? Were we too spread out that we could even execute on the goals that we put in front of us?" And it helped everyone remain focused, it helped everyone be in alignment with what they need to do next, and also identify areas where we did fail and areas where we exceeded and celebrate those things.


Mike Simmons:

I think it's really important to highlight something you said right there at the beginning, is this execution team, this execution team. And there's a reason why when you're watching your football, there are people on the field, there are people on the other side of the sideline watching what's happening in the game, and then other people up in the box who have a different perspective. And if you're not pausing to take some time to engage with each of those people, you are going to be overcome by the blind spots you've created because of your lack of perspective. So let's talk a bit about execution. How can organizations get better at execution?


MJ Patent:

You have to drive a culture where it is okay to fail, it is okay to reflect, and where you constantly are trying to learn. That was a big thing that I would try to promote across my team, is that let's try things, but then let's learn from those things and apply them in the future. And because of that, my team wasn't afraid to test things out and they weren't afraid if it wasn't going to be successful, but my expectation was that they were always going to come back and tell me what works, what didn't and how are we going to apply it in the next quarter.


And people loved that because then they had ownership of their own area and they knew that they could make it into something and be successful that way. Right? So, there was passion that came out of their work instead of, "Oh, I'm just an order taker and I'm just executing. And maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, whatever."


Mike Simmons:

What experience did you have early on in your career that highlighted the importance of this to you, where you saw it maybe not working as well as it could, and that just compelled you to start to make some changes. Can you talk about just kind of early on and where you started to realize the distinction or the difference between tactics and strategy, doing work and actually executing on things, making sure you're doing the right things?


MJ Patent:

That's a good question. It's been so long that I think I've always just been ... I'm personally a lifetime learner and maybe it's actually from the way my parents raised me, and that this is something that I actually try to instill with my son as well. But when I was a kid and whenever I asked a question, my parents were always like, "No, just go figure it out." Doesn't that sound like a very nice answer?


Mike Simmons:

Yeah.


MJ Patent:

And I know there's a lot of parenting styles where it's like, you just want to help your kid. But the thing is, it helped me try to find the answer, try to find the approach and what works and whatnot. And sometimes, it didn't go very well, but I learned and I moved on from it, but yeah, it's something that I've always had growing up.


Mike Simmons:

So for people who struggle with something like this, so people who didn't have that experience, that life experience, hey, I'm a continuous learner, I'm going to go ahead and test things, I'm going to try things, I'm going to figure some things out. Skin my knees, I'm going to make some mistakes, I'm going to do all these things. For some people who are ... That makes me feel really, really uncomfortable that everything doesn't have a specific place and it's not going to work exactly as I put this plan together. What guidance or advice might you have for them to breakthrough or start to get more comfortable with the uncomfortable.


MJ Patent:

There's a quote that I really like, and it's, "Don't continue making a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it." And I don't know who actually said that. But I-


Mike Simmons:

But you just did.


MJ Patent:

Well, yeah, but I got it somewhere else. I think it was a meme that I found and I was like, "Oh my God. Yes." I actually would post it at my desk and then later on in my office to constantly remind me that. So that way I can always go back and self-reflect and know that it's okay to move on. The hardest thing is being okay with it, and I think the reason for that is because in today's society, you have to be perfect. There's no allowance for being wrong. Like in school, no one talks about, "Oh, you tried and you failed, but hey, you learned something." No, it's only if you get the correct answer. Right?


And you're constantly taught that as you get older, it's only when you're correct. And the thing is, that's not achievable. So everyone has this ingrained fear of being wrong or making a mistake. And if in my work I do the wrong thing, I'm going to get fired or I'm going to get written up. And that's not how innovation happens, that's not how learning happens. It happens with testing. I mean, think about science. Right? Like Formula 407 wasn't ... Right? The cleaning solution. Right? It didn't happen. It took how many times? Hundreds of times for it to come up with that solution. Right?


Mike Simmons:

Maybe 407.


MJ Patent:

Yeah. That's the story behind it. Seriously.


Mike Simmons:

Yeah. And there are so many different stories that we can pull from this. So think about it, most of us all have lights in our house. Well, we go, the light bulb didn't just work the first time. Edison or Tesla, whomever went out and we started working on light bulbs. The Edison quote is, "I didn't learn how to make a light bulb by learning 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb first or something like that. I just probably butchered that quote. But failure-


MJ Patent:

We butcher quotes together.


Mike Simmons:

This is my superpower. I can butcher quotes and absolutely ruin song lyrics. It's amazing what I can make up in my head around what people are singing when they sing things. And I am certain, I'm absolutely certain that I'm right, but I just know that yeah, it's just ... Well, I get reminded, excuse me, if I start singing out loud that I completely missed that. How do you learn if you're not comfortable failing? How do you ever get better? And how long does it take? I think about, if anybody's ever ridden a bike before-


MJ Patent:

You take practice, and you definitely feel uncomfortable. That's the reason, as a leader, one, you have to allow your team to do it, because, let's say they have PTSD, they come from organizations ... I had teammates that told me, "I'm too afraid to do this." And I'm like, "It is okay." Seriously, nothing will happen if you messed up. We will survive. But I would rather that you try. And it was trying to unwind decades of experience where that was wrong, seriously like their emotional support leader trying to get them through this because they have been conditioned that they have to be perfect and that's not possible.


Mike Simmons:

Not possible. I think that just needs to be reinforced. Perfect is not possible. If you are perfect ... I mean, there are some extreme examples. Like if we are selling medical devices and we're replacing ... We've got a neighbor who does some of this stuff like AAA type medical devices where these stints go in, those have to be perfect when they're delivered. But the people who are selling those things and delivering those things are engaged, have gone through years of training and practice and demonstration and opportunities to fail in safe environments so that they're prepared to do this.


Most of us are not engaged in an operating environment where people are on the table and are potentially going to bleed out. What's the worst thing that could happen. Someone hangs up on you or somebody says no, or somebody says I don't get it, that doesn't make sense. So, how do we get people more comfortable with the uncomfortable situation? And I know you talked a bit about how sometimes leaders have to break old habits because these have been ingrained in folks, but what are some other ways where we can get people uncomfortable with the idea of testing, trying, failing, learning, moving forward?


MJ Patent:

That's really a great question. I think you have to emotionally disconnect from your results. And the reason I say that is, I think when ... because you've invested so much time, so much effort, if something's not going well, you don't want to admit that it's not going well. Even though all the numbers say this is not going well. And I've told this to clients before, take it out back and shoot it, not a good idea, because then it makes you think that you wasted all of that time.


If you have that mental attitude, then yeah, it's going to sting and it's going to be extremely hard. But if you look at everything you do as a learning opportunity and you translate it to something good and something positive, that's going to help with that. Right? So, instead of, "Hey, I spent all of this time and it failed and that's horrible, and I suck at life." Fitting it as I spent time learning so much about this, and because of that, I know the next thing that we're going to do is going to be so much better, and I'm going to continue to get better and better. And that mental shift is so important.


Mike Simmons:

There's a quote, Admiral Payne, who is Dan Cockrell's grandfather, Lee Cockrell's father-in-law, and these names will be familiar for media folks who have been listening to the podcast for a while. His quote is, "Do your best and forgive yourself." So, if you think about it, if you can go through the process of saying, "I did my best, I did everything that was within my capability at the time, given the circumstances, all of those other things that were going on, and I feel comfortable with that. And then whether or not the results were great or not, being able to forgive yourself and kind of detach from the outcome."


Now, it's funny to talk about detaching from the outcome, given all of the discussion we've had around strategy and execution because execution's about getting to the outcome. The money that gets generated is getting to the outcome. But if you get so overly focused on that outcome, you're never going to be able to play as loose as you want to and accomplish the things that you could. Is that fair?


MJ Patent:

Yeah. Yeah. It's definitely a balancing act, you know what needs to happen, but the thing is, you still have to try and adjust in order to get to that. Right? Because the thing is, taking it and applying it so you can make more of it. It's in the end. Instead of being reactive, that's the thing, it's being intentional versus reactive.


Mike Simmons:

So how do you think about capturing data so that you can get the right feedback or get the feedback to start to loop into the point where you're ready to test some more stuff? So how do you think about capturing data?


MJ Patent:

Data is fantastic, but it depends on where you are as an organization. When you're a small company, I mean, only capture the data that you're going to do something with. Right? There's no reason to capture things that is ... if anything is going to put a burden on you and your team because that's keeping them away from going after your objectives. Right? You want to decrease friction there, but as you get more mature, you want to have more sophisticated feedback loops and collecting that information and analyzing it, and hopefully, you have a team of analysts that do this, and can bring insights out of it.


So, I would say in the beginning, when you're a smaller organization, a lot of it can just be captured in conversation, and taking that and then turning that into notes that you bring to your other teams. For example, having team meetings where you bring together sales, marketing, product, and you just discuss a client and what's going on, what did you hear? Like what worked, what didn't. Kind of like QBR. Right? Why not have that with your internal team, so that way they get that information and you're sharing that information through stories, right?


Mike Simmons:

Just so that everybody keep with an acronym like QBR, what's a QBR?


MJ Patent:

Quarterly Business Review. Usually sales organizations have that with their clients.


Mike Simmons:

And we think about it in the context of developing product, you probably have product launch reviews or sprint reviews or some other kind of thing, I don't tend to hang out on the product or the engineering side. I do think it's interesting how many of these concepts around review process, being agile, taking a more data-driven focus compartmentalized into various sprints. As we get a lot of jargon out there, we're all kind of coming together. It just fascinates me. I think we tend to overcomplicate things.


We get so focused on the thing that we're working on. "This is my thing, this is my box, this is where I'm going to work." And then we forget that on the other side of this is, there are human beings doing a bunch of other things and they're dealing with a lot of the same challenges. What do you think? Am I crazy? Well, I might be crazy, but am I crazy when it comes to that?


MJ Patent:

No, I think that's how all those silos happen, right, in an organization. So I put together a blog about who owns go to market strategy in the tech company, and I got so much pushback because I had a lot of CMO saying, "Oh, it's all in marketing, marketing owns it or the gatekeepers." Then I had sales say that they own it. Everyone was chiming in. And the thing is, I think it has to be someone external who doesn't own a P&L, profit and loss statement for those with the acronym. And I suggested a chief strategy officer, someone who doesn't own that piece, but can help facilitate conversation and information sharing.


The bringing together of these different function areas and making sure they continuously stay aligned is the most difficult thing. Right? Because you're so ... and it happens even in the smallest companies. We have worked with organizations where it's 20 people and yet they had completely different ideas of who they should be selling to and what they should be selling, across sales, across delivery, across products. So just bring them together and be like, "Guys, let's talk about this and let's focus together, let's have the conversation of why do we think that, and everyone else's opinion and then come to a consensus." I think that's the most important thing in order to drive that.


Mike Simmons:

It is amazing how quickly organizations can be misaligned based on various agendas that exist inside the organization. I think we all understand everybody's going to have their own objectives, their own set of things that they should be working on and focused on, so that we've got the best people working on the best things so that we can execute on the ultimate on the broader mission. What becomes crazy and kind of gets to this insanity piece is that when we have multiple people pushing their own agenda inside organizations, losing sight of the broader thing, and sometimes it's just a language thing like MJ hit on QBR, the Quarterly Business Review.


Mike Simmons:

There's somebody out there who probably has a different set of words that are associated with QBR. I don't know what it would be. I mean, it just ... But there's probably somebody out there that just uses that acronym in a different way. And imagine if we're in a meeting and product is talking about QBR and sales is talking about QBR and marketing is talking about QBR, and we're all talking about different things. How are we ever going to get aligned as an organization and actually execute at a level that we're capable of as an organization? This is really, really good stuff. The thing that's resonating for me is, that a lot of times we just have to get out of our own way and be more clear in the way that we communicate.


MJ Patent:

Yeah. Communication is key, especially as you're putting together a strategy and making sure that that gets down to execution. One of the things that I did before in my previous life is, that we had different groups that we created from the top all the way down to the lowest level of the organization in order to create collaboration teams. So, you know what? My background happens to be in marketing, but the way that we set this up is, that I had a counterpart in products and in sales. And then we had our strategy meetings where we decided, what are we going to do? Then our managers then collaborated as well to make sure that they were aligned to that overall strategy.


And then they took that information and took it to their own teams to disseminate it as well. And it was this matrix approach that helped bridge those silos and make sure that everyone was in alignment. That means that, for example, the training that we were giving to sales was the training them, marketing, sales, and products all agreed on. Otherwise, we weren't wasting our sales team's time. This was about making sure that everyone knew what the campaigns were, what the touchpoints were, what the handoffs were, et cetera. And what were the goals? And was it successful, was it not? Everything was communicated downwards.


Otherwise, I mean, this is where the friction ends up happening. And you have sales teams that they're like, "Oh, marketing just makes it pretty." Then you have the marketing team who's like, "Oh, well, sales doesn't follow up on all of the leads that I'm giving them." Right? So it's making sure everyone's on the same page.


Mike Simmons:

Yeah. It seems like organizations, and I don't think it really is dependent on the size of the organization, but some organizations really struggle with trust. They struggle with this trust that we've got experts inside the organization who are really good at their functional areas and can do certain things, and let them do their jobs while at the same time, communicate with each other so that we can understand what's important to each of these individual areas.


One of the ways that have really helped me in bridging the gap between different groups inside an organization is, when you invite people to sales calls and just invite product to sales calls or inviting marketing to sales calls or inviting whomever it is to these conversations with the customer. And what's fascinating is, that the product person can ask a question that sounds really weird coming out of my mouth and is going to resonate so much better with the customer than if I ask that question. So leverage your team, and this is a way where you can start to build that level of trust and experience, and expertise. Would you agree?


MJ Patent:

Yeah. Yeah. I think those are really great. That's a really great suggestion. I mean, another thing that you can do is, for example, develop a RACI. So RACI outlines who's responsible, who's accountable, who to consult, and also who to inform. And by defining that and being very clear, then it takes away this uncertainty. The thing is at the end of the day, everyone wants to be successful. Right? And they want the company to be successful. But if they don't know, and they aren't sure if someone is going to execute or if they're going to actually do what they're supposed to do, then they start going in. And it's not the type A individuals


Mike Simmons:

I don't know any type A individuals.


MJ Patent:

I don't. I'd like to say I'm a recovering type A, but I'm not. I'm fully honest.


Mike Simmons:

Can you recover?


MJ Patent:

No, but you don't want to fail. So then you start picking up other people's work and it turns into this horrible cycle, which you don't want. But it's also making sure you have this understanding, everyone signs off on it. And if someone's failing or someone's not holding up their side of it, having the opportunity to address that and say, "Hey, you said you were going to be accountable for this and you didn't. And because of that, it impacts X, Y, and Z." This is the reason why you end up getting so many ... Like for example, how many times has a sales rep gone off and made their own data sheet? Right?


And if there was that level of communication, if there was collaboration, of what is the focus, and then that was communicated down to all parties, they would know, "Hey, we need to do it a specific way. But if I assign something or I say that there's a need, marketing will at least listen to me, see that need, and provide something that will be valuable." And maybe it's not a datasheet, but maybe it's a different type of asset and may help me solve that problem. Right?


Mike Simmons:

It is. It is. And again, these are the challenges that are literally as old as the day is long and they continue to repeat and they continue to persist. And many times these happen because we're just not communicating inside organizations about the thing that we're focused on.


MJ Patent:

Well, I was going to add, that it's because we don't have the other person's perspective.


Mike Simmons:

Why do we miss having the other person's perspective? Why is that a problem?


MJ Patent:

I don't think people care to know. They just have their own assumption and yeah, they put their blinders on and they're like, "That's it." So for example, right now, Pavilion, one of the great things about that organization is that they have so many learning opportunities. And right now I'm in CRO school. And for me, this is, one, I'm very much out of my comfort zone because that's not my space and that's not my experience. However, it's teaching me the perspective of a CRO. The fact that they only have essentially 17 months, as soon as they start.


So, in order to keep their jobs, what are they going to care about? How to show effectiveness ASAP, so that way they don't lose their job. Well, maybe they come into a ship storm and they have to fix a bunch of things. They don't have the luxury from a CEO to have the time to fix those things. So instead they have to feed into the problem. Right? The fact that they're dealing with all of these issues and several other things like for sales executives. I mean, for me, it makes so much more sense of, "Oh, this is why?" Like coming as a marketing executive, "Ah, I get it." Right?


I personally think all CMOs should take that class to learn about what CROs have to deal with, but then as well as the CROs need to take the CMO class to understand what challenges the CMOs have to deal with and what struggles are they facing in the work environment. Right? So, it being open to learning about different people's perspectives, what are their challenges, what are their goals, and then that helps remove all of that kind of ulterior motive of what's in it for me, and instead work together to make it better for everyone involved.


Mike Simmons:

It is so hard to walk in somebody else's shoes if you've put them on. Which I know sounds obvious, but there are so many opportunities for us to go out there and gain experience. I can tell you this, anybody who has ever approached me and asked a question about how do we generate revenue? How do we sell, what is a customer conversation look like? Any of these questions, I am happy to spend as much time as necessary to help them understand it, and understand it from my perspective, but also give them the experience where they can go in and do it.


I would love to see, I had a magic one, I would love to see us get to a point where more and more people job shadow inside organizations and go in. I forget exactly how they talk about this in the context of the military, but I think of it as job shadowing, but spend some time in a ride-along and they'll do that in police and fire, spend some time in a ride-along in that scenario so that you can see what actually happens. What are the stresses? What is the tension, what does their life look like so that you can better empathize with what's happening in each of those areas?


And then what's amazing about doing that, if you provide that opportunity to others into the business is they can quickly help you shift your perspective in your given role, or you start to think about, "You know what? I never thought about trying to solve that problem that way, or I could do these things a little bit better and it would help enable aspects of the organization." So, let's bring back job shadowing and ride-sharing, which is just kind of crazy considering how specialized we all want to get into these individual things.


MJ Patent:

Well, you can pick up a lot just by having more collaborative team meetings where you're solving a problem together. Right? Instead of a team meeting where you're just reporting on stuff, "Oh, this is what's underway, whatnot." No, come to a meeting where you're ... For example, "Hey, we need to put together a sales process in our CRM that works for everyone." You bring together product, sales, marketing, and then you say, "Okay, together, how do we do this, so everyone gets the information that they need?" And this gives you the opportunity, for example, "I've done this in the past."


This is where we had sales leadership saying, "Do you know if we ask this many questions our reps will never freaking use our CRM?" And we came to an agreement on what really needed to be asked. This is where the product team said, "Okay, but if we do that, we're not going to have this information that we then leverage to create these assets that go back to your team." Right? But that would never happen if you just assigned it and said, "Hey, Joe Schmal from this department, can you go put together the sales process and get it implemented." It doesn't give that opportunity for the conversation to happen and for the collaboration.


I think in the meantime if job shadowing, and I think that's brilliant, and I know there are some companies that do that, and there's so much benefit to that. But if not, at least create these collaborative teams where you have this opportunity to have this dialogue.


Mike Simmons:

MJ, I feel like we could do this for a couple of hours. We started with this discussion around revenue and what is revenue and money, and then we got into a discussion around strategy and then how that translates into practical execution and some of the challenges we run into inside organizations, I think one of the things that comes up periodically is this idea of inconsistency in the revenue that's being generated inside organizations. So I know you've done some really good things with services organizations around this, what's one thing that leads to inconsistency with revenue inside or inside any organization, let alone a service organization?


MJ Patent:

Yeah, actually we ended up touching on one of the main reasons and that was the internal misalignment. That's a big one. And I actually did a webinar where I covered four of the main reasons organizations run into inconsistency. So if anyone is interested in checking that out, that's on our website, Alveostrategy.com, but they're common for service organizations, as well as SaaS companies, you name it. They all unfortunately fall prey to the same situation.


Mike Simmons:

We will absolutely include links in the show notes. MJ, this conversation has been awesome. Thanks for doing it. I can't wait for our next one.


MJ Patent:

Thanks for having me.


Mike Simmons:

Yeah. Any places specifically that you want to send folks like is there ... You want people to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, go to the website? Where do you want to send folks?


MJ Patent:

Yeah. Everyone is welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn, MJ Patent. And if you want to check out our website, that's great too, but I love meeting new people, I love hearing about what they're trying to work on. So yeah, definitely connect with me. If you're interested to learn more about Alveo or if you're interested to hear about Pavilion or if you just want to grab a coffee and chat.


Mike Simmons:

Awesome. Thanks for the conversation. If you know of anybody that would enjoy listening to this, get value out of this, please share it. Let us know via LinkedIn, Twitter. Sales is a thinking process, how are you thinking differently about yours?


1 view0 comments