Gong – Investing in a Best-in-Class Buying Experience
If I wanted best in class, I knew that I needed somebody best in class to come in and train my people.
Ryan Longfield, Chief Revenue Officer, Gong
A Sandler client reveals his quest to become best in class and what he’s found to be the key…
Ryan Longfield, Chief Revenue Officer, Gong— the number one revenue intelligence platform for remote sales teams.
I’d been the Chief Revenue Officer for only a few months. We had about 10 sales reps and we were trying to bring on another 40 or so over the course of the year. The main objective at the time was to make sure that we were able to take this game changing product to market where our clients love buying from us.
Our solution is revenue intelligence. It tells you what’s going on with your people that is making them successful. The first evidence that our technology works is how our prospects experience our salespeople. It’s kind of unique in that: to have best in class salespeople going out there and selling in a way that prospects are then saying, “I want my people to sell like yours,” is evidence that our technology works.
We had some great success within SMB and mid-market, but we really wanted to see can we repeat that as we add, you know 4x the bodies in the segments that are working, and then in the segments that we haven’t tested yet, namely enterprise and strategic accounts, could we crack the code on those before having a bunch of cycles that were wasted?
We needed to set a baseline foundational knowledge of sales methodology with a common vernacular and to establish a sales playbook.
For a lot of sales leaders, you ask, “what’s your job?” and they say it’s to hit sales numbers. I do not consider that my job. I consider my job to build a predictable revenue machine in which we’re creating raving fans as customers. So, yeah, that’s far beyond just hitting short term revenue goals.
I was skeptical about bringing in any kind of sales training team. Training can be like a great intellectual exercise that doesn’t show up outside of the classroom. I may think I know how to do something because I know the concept in my head, but it doesn’t actually show up in my day to day.
I think most of my skepticism was hovering around, are my people actually going to embrace this? Is it going to show up in their conversations in a way that’s, that’s moving the needle? And is this representing us in the way that we want to?
If I wanted best in class, I knew that I needed somebody best in class to come in and train my people. I was very conscious of which kind of training company I partnered up with. As I explored the various ones out there, I always left conversations with Sandler feeling like it was extremely compelling, and I didn’t mind any of it. And that’s rare in sales.
The reason I brought Sandler in is I’m aspiring to build a best in class sales organization where our clients love buying from us. And when we speak, it’s spoken with conviction. So I wasn’t buying out of a piece of pain–I was buying out of a place of productivity.
Sandler felt like a real-life real conversation, not being trained to be a salesperson. One thing I really appreciated was a very consultative approach. There was a lot of time spent upfront thinking about what I’m trying to accomplish–not just doing the same thing that they’ve done, I’m sure, hundreds and hundreds of times, but thinking about the way that I want that to show up within the context of my sales process, and then adapting the methodology to connect to those elements. I think that’s why it was so successful at the end of the day.
Another of the things I think has created a lot of success in our organization is partnering with Sandler for coaching around reinforcement. For any team, if you bring them in for a training event and then leave the building, it’s not going to be all that successful.
I’ve certainly gotten more compliments from our prospects where they say, “Hey, the reason we bought your solution is because of the experience that we had with your salespeople.” Our CEO is able to take a close look at what people are doing and I think he feels really proud about how we’re represented in the market.
You know, for me, sales is so wonderful because what it really is, is all about human influence. And influence is not something that you can just demand of somebody, it’s something that they give you. What Sandler has helped us do as far as that dynamic is it’s helped create an environment of trust, where people give us influence. Once you have that influence, then you can really move your prospects toward something that ultimately is going to benefit them as a business.
It’s not just about hitting revenue goals. You can do that in all the wrong ways, and you’re still going to hit your targets, but that’s a short term revenue win, and it’s not going to be sustainable for the future. The reason Sandler is so instrumental is the way it affects the people who are representing your organization to the most important people interacting with your product, hopefully for years to come. If your company’s going to be successful there better be a great introduction into who you are as a company through the way that you sell.
There is no arrived. As soon as you’ve arrived with your sales organization, you’ve reached apathy and you’re going to lose your market. Of course, you want the best in class – what else would you be aspiring to? And if you’re not training your people, you don’t have a shot in the world to do that.
Sandler felt like a real-life real conversation, not being trained to be a salesperson.
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