How to Web Live Episode #2 – Redesigning Sales

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This second episode titled ”Redesigning Sales” that aired on September 24, 2020, we had Bob Moesta (Founder, President & CEO of Re-wired Group, co-architect of the Jobs-to-be-Done theory) in a conversation with Valentin Radu (CEO of Omniconvert, speaker, podcaster).

Bob Moesta, lifelong innovator and co-architect of the Jobs-to-be-Done theory, shares his approach for flipping the lens on sales. Bob shifts the focus of sales from selling, to helping people buy and make progress in their lives– through demand-side sales.

Bob and Valentin talked about Bob Moesta’s newest book – Demand-Side Sales 101 – and how you can apply the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to sell more. Here is a sneak peek into their live discussion:

Watch the full discussion on our YouTube channel here.
Listen to the full discussion on Spotify and soon on Apple Podcasts too.
3 takeaways from Bob and Valentin’s live discussion:

►”Demand-side sales is how do we actually see the customer and understand the progress they want to make. And then how does our product or service fit into their lives”, Bob revealed.

►”I was wrongfully or wrongly believed that the problem that my company had is that I haven’t got enough features to compete with x, y and z”, candidly admitted Valentin when talking about how Bob changed the way he did business.

►”Your ideas will be 10 times better, if you just delay the judgment.” – Bob on always questioning the status quo.

Watch and Listen to the full episode to get your own takeaways!

Are you more into Reading? The Full Transcript is below!

Bob: So what what have you been up to in the in the last year? Yeah. So So a couple of things have come up. One is obviously, I’ve been writing books. So when, when the when COVID happened. I’ve been through I would say similar type things before. And I know that, for me, business usually stopped for anywhere from four to six months. And so I kind of sat down and said, Alright, what do I want to write about? What do I want to think about? What do I want to go build? And so I actually have, I just finished a book called demand side sales. So I’m talking about sales and using jobs we’ve done around sales. But I’ve also got another book coming called How to build. And then I have two software products I’ve been working on as well. So I’ve been very busy. And at the same time, to be honest, I’ve had to reinvent my entire business, as most people have in terms of delivery. So it’s been To be honest, it’s been a very exciting time to kind of innovate. Yeah, that’s, that’s truly exciting. Last time, when we’ve chatted, chat about the jobs to be done framework.

Valentin: You told me that this is a great framework for product and now you came up with this angle towards sales. So tell us about how jobs to be done can be applied in sales. To be honest, I’ve just started to read your book, because was available on Kindle.

Bob: I had to learn sales. I’m an engineer. And so as as somebody who had to learn how to sell, I thought it was just following a process. And I realized that it just wasn’t that way. The other thing I started to actually understand is like, at least here in the US, they don’t actually teach sales at business school. So you go to business school, you learn finance, you learn marketing, you learn organizational design, you learn strategy, but you don’t leunderstand not only how to build better product with it, but how do we actually understand how people buy with it, so we can actually understand how to design the sales process. And so demand side sales is this aspect of, of looking at most of the time, what we realize is that even though we want to be customer focused, we’re usually customer focused through a product, we make mattresses, it’s like, well, who needs a mattress? It’s not like how do we help people sleep better? And so you start to realize that we’re not actually focused on the customer, because we’re looking at the customer through our product. And so demand side sales is how do we actually see the customer and understand the progress they want to make? And then how does our product or service fit into their lives. And so I have actually three, three different books on this what the first one I just launched, which is one on one, which is just the basic theory of how to think about it and build language around it. The second one is about how to then lay all the tactics and tools for both marketing sales and customer success in it. And then the third one is really about kind of the management of it and the metrics and how to manage sales from a demand side perspective. That’s that’s really what what you know, demand side sales about is like, focus on your cup of stop selling them and help them make progress.arn sales. And having done seven startups, I realized that sales is just one of those things that is like, really hard. And I think we don’t teach it because it’s very hard to teach. But having collaborated with Clay Christensen for for over almost 30 years, one of the things we kept talking about is why is that and then we said that there was we came to the conclusion that there’s really no theory on how to sell like there’s no fundamental principles on selling. It’s all techniques and and and tactics and, you know, funnels and processes, but there’s no underlying theory. And so I took the jobs be done theory and said, Well, what if we actually started to look at it ando look at it and and understand not only how to build better product with it, but how do we actually understand how people buy with it, so we can actually understand how to design the sales process. And so demand side sales is this aspect of, of looking at most of the time, what we realize is that even though we want to be customer focused, we’re usually customer focused through a product, we make mattresses, it’s like, well, who needs a mattress? It’s not like how do we help people sleep better? And so you start to realize that we’re not actually focused on the customer, because we’re looking at the customer through our product. And so demand side sales is how do we actually see the customer and understand the progress they want to make? And then how does our product or service fit into their lives. And so I have actually three, three different books on this what the first one I just launched, which is one on one, which is just the basic theory of how to think about it and build language around it. The second one is about how to then lay all the tactics and tools for both marketing sales and customer success in it. And then the third one is really about kind of the management of it and the metrics and how to manage sales from a demand side perspective. That’s that’s really what what you know, demand side sales about is like, focus on your cup of stop selling them and help them make progress. And by doing that they’ll actually buy from you and you will sell.

Valentin: In the grand scheme of things, do you think the jobs to be done theory is, is something that we we need to emphasize only at the early stage of a product? Or of a company? Or do you think this can be applied for companies that are already there? Because the most of the startups and of the companies, which are just starting up has embraced the US to be done framework and what you’re selling idea? I think it’s also taking into account the, and focusing on product which are already there, right?

Bob: That’s right. I think I think part of this is to realize at some point in time, when we end up focusing so much on the product and competition, we end up going to a place that we actually leave the customer behind. And so if you just look like at the camera industry, and how cameras were built, they went, they basically made cameras more and more sophisticated, they made them better and better. But the reality is, is that more people want to take pictures, but couldn’t and the moment that Apple walked in and had a, you know, or the phone industry had basically put a camera on the phone. The reality is, is the the big camera businesses were literally almost decimated. And so part of this is to realize, like by just focusing on your product and focusing on competition and trying to just drive margins, the fact is, is what you end up doing is is forgetting about the customer, and you end up over innovating, on, you know, above them, so they actually can’t use your product. And so it happens both, if you will with startups. But there’s a lot of do I do a lot of work with people who are established companies who are who are, if you will, over innovating, and not actually focusing on what customers really want or are trying to make progress on.

Valentin: Bob, there is this disconnection between engineers, which are making products and then they just want to build something and then they end up finding someone to buy their products. Yes. And this approach to identify real needs and real struggles. So tell us a bit about the Jobs-to-be-Done framework for the ones which are not that familiar with the jobs to be done.

Bob:It’s basically that people don’t buy products, they hire them to do a job in their life. And so again, I’m an engineer and I basically, electrical, undergrad, master’s in chemical mechanical, and I love to build stuff the way I would say it is, I will, I’ve been breaking things for 50 years, I’ve been fixing things for 45 years, but I’ve been building things for 30 years. And part of it is to realize like it’s some point time building, and they will come dust work, at least it hasn’t worked for me. So this whole notion of what jobs be done is is trying to actually figure out kind of the context the outcome to describe the way so I worked in Japan, one of the ways they described it was how do I come up with solution agnostic or solution free requirements for for my product or service. And the way I do that is I actually focus on the customer struggling moment, there’s  a circumstance that they’re in, and they get to a point where they can’t go any farther. And they know they want to do something but they’re being pushed, and there’s there’s pushing that happens to them along the way. At the same time, they have some idea of what the other side looks like and stuff they’re hoping for. The reality is, is this is a river and the real is like Like, there’s 1000 ways I can get people across that river, I can build a bridge, I can build a tunnel, I can give them a boat, I can teach him how to swim, I can get a helicopter like there’s just a infinite solutions. But the value is determined by basically how badly and how much is this circumstance? How much struggle is there? And at some point, what are they hoping for on the other side. And so value is actually independent of the product. It’s about the progress that people are trying to make. Ultimately, we try to see the the forces that are at play, we talked about the pushes of the situation in the poll and the anxiety in the habit. But the reality is, is that the timeline and how people actually make the progress is what’s most important. And what I’ve done is I’ve actually changed it so you take the timeline and that’s becomes the sales process. How do we create a first thought, how do we actually help them through passive looking, we don’t convince anybody of anything, people convince themselves and so ultimately it’s following these six six steps or stick phases and understanding what a we need to do to help customers make progress from first thought to passive looking to active looking etc.

Valentin: Bob, I must say that after our meeting last last year, we have done this. So we had these personas we studied, okay, let’s look at it our own database of customers. And let’s see the common characteristics. And we had these agencies which were using our technology to do a B testing for their customers. And we, we started to ask them to participate in these interviews. And the the common denominator anyways was that, while we were thinking that they are buying Garth technology to improve their customers, conversion rate and sell more, the common denominator was that they were feeling jeopardize that they will be outpaced by other agencies, and they were afraid to lose their customers. So the that was the end, that meant our, let’s say, positioning, a newly revised proposal for agencies was wrong for seven years in a row.

Bob: So here’s the thing as you you were selling it as an offensive tool. So like in sports, we think there’s ways to score gold. And they’re actually buying it as a defensive tool. So people don’t score on them. Yeah, amazing, amazing. And despite that, they still bought, so what happened after you change the positioning?

Valentin: Yeah, we started to change our narratives. And However, in the in the meantime, we built a new product, that was a not for agencies that are all bad for an end customers. And nowadays, we apply this in the DNA of the new product that we’re building, thanks to this, let’s say understanding. So instead of building the product, and then see what kind of customers can we attract, we change the bird big man, we we’ve identified one of the most important problems in our customers, which are the e commerce companies was that they, their customers were churning. So customer lifetime value was, was too low. Let’s see. Yeah, so we addressed that, that, that thing, and now we’ve made like 45 different interviews with the early adopters, we applied this on our meetings we’ve done so that we’re not gonna miss it this time for the next seven years.

Bob: The other thing, though, is that that that information, though, I would say the origin was around innovation and product. What I’m finding is that that information can be used to help marketing actually in positioning, it can help and pitching it can help with sales in terms of where are people on the timeline, it can help, it can help actually understand like, because if you take the jobs and then flip them forward, and look about it and say like, how does somebody who’s a prospect become a customer, they actually fall into one of the jobs that you end up creating? And so part of it is to actually see the job that they’re in and help them figure it out. It’s kind of amazing. So the way that that so I have a slide here, I’ll show you that is, let’s see, I’m going to go to that this one, right. So you can see that. And, and so this is where you know, basically, as a prospect comes in, what happens is, is you did all your interviews, but as a prospect comes in, we can actually see which job that they’re in by asking him four or five questions to qualify them. But then we can actually find out where they are in the timeline. And so ultimately, it’s how do we actually bring leads in figure out which job they’re in? And then what’s the way in which we sell pitch and help them make progress so they can actually become a customer?

Valentin: Yeah. So Bob, I think it’s also important to address here is that in in order to understand that the the jobs to be done, you have something like an agenda in the back of your head. So I think that was happening to me and throughout the process, I needed to persuade myself into let go of the barrier. For you, as a founder, at least it was for me to let go of my my own agenda, because it’s a bad moment when you realize that you’ve been wrong all this time.

Bob: So one of the things you have to remember is that I’m dyslexic, right? And so one of the things is I’m used to basically telling myself, I have no idea what the answer is, but you who got all A’s in school are used to always having the answer. And so you want to go in and test your hypotheses of what what’s going on. And so what you find is, most research is set up to be hypothesis, verifying research, but jobs is actually not that Jobs is actually hypothesis building research, you’re going to go in and extract stories that then allow you to build better hypotheses. And if you just actually, it’s not that you have to forget them. But if you just defer it and be like, I have no idea, when you hear it, you start to realize, like your ideas will be 10 times better, if you just delay the judgment.

Valentin: It’s amazing. It delayed the judgment. I love that. Bob, I have to do some housekeeping here. So for all of you, which are watching, if you have questions for for, for Bob, let us know via chat and the winner take it from there. Bob, the next question for you is, how do we apply it? How can you shift this? How can what what do we have to do right now? So let’s presume we are in the shoes of our audience?

Bob: Yep, I think so. So I started a YouTube Live channel, around interviewing people why people bought things, and it’s a demonstrate some of the techniques, but the techniques are not traditional marketing research techniques, if they’re actually built on criminal and intelligence interrogation. It’s the notion that people really don’t know what they want in the future. And at the same time, they lie to themselves of why they did things or bought things. And so part of this is to actually dig, but I call above or below the cake layer of like, Oh, I really liked it. Oh, it was very easy. It’s like, Okay, what is easy, mean? Easy, and what easy where there’s, like 27, different definitions of easy, right. And so all of a sudden, it’s this, this notion of interrogation. So to me, the place to start is what we would call do a post mortem, literally take a sale, and, and let somebody who’s bought your product recently, and and let’s say, three, three weeks, three months, sometime after you know that they’ve passed by the product, and then go back and extract the story, and extract the story in a way that literally gets them to think through this timeline. Right. So it’s like, when did they have the first thought? So so what we do is, we actually start to think about where, like, you’re, they’re already using it. So it’s like, let’s go back in time. And what we want to do is interview them not as a reflection of this, we want to actually almost say like, I want to shoot a documentary of how you actually got here. And so it’s like, what happened in what sequence and being able to understand not only the sequence of events, but the emotional and social and what we call functional energy that basically put people to do it is like, like you said, People came to your product, because the first thought was, I feel like I’m falling behind. Right? It’s not that I want to get ahead, it’s the notion that I’m falling behind. There’s a subtle difference between getting ahead and falling behind. But they’re very different kinds of energy. Think of it as emotionally falling behind is almost like fear based, right? They’re afraid versus getting ahead is actually aspirational, based, like I want to win, I want to get ahead. And so the thing is, though there’s subtle differences, when you design something that resonates, you start to realize the language that you want to use, or the language that you’ve been taught to use, which are features and benefits don’t actually resonate with the way people actually make this progress. And so part of is to understand what are the things that you have to do along the way to get there? So step one is talk to past customers and understand how they became customers. But But listen and unpack when they use words that are very Oh, you know, I really love this feature, you have to ask, like, why did they like the feature? What was it about the feature? What was that feature going to do for them, as opposed to just jump past it? From that as you do 5678 of these interviews, you start to see patterns, and those patterns that help you start to understand where you can actually help in the sales process, but also in the product process. And in the marketing process. Ultimately, what we’re trying to get to is this notion of Sorry, it’s gonna be blank for one second, this aspect of traditionally we think about marketing and sales is fitting into this kind of process where we’ve got you know, we generate leads, we basically sign sided up to get to get, you know, a landing page to to get to, you know, email campaign to get to a demo, right. And marketing is responsible for generating the leads and sales is responsible for closing the leads and customer support is responsible to have but when you start to look at it through this story, you start to realize from the demand side, everybody’s got to help people make progress. I actually need marketing down here and help me onboard all the skills and expertise to actually figure out how people are going to actually sell the new idea or, or make people aware of the new idea I need salespeople to be parked on here. What happens is we end up in fighting between each other because Like, well, marketing just has to give sales better leads. So get me better leads or customers or customer success would say, hey, sales, you know, you need to explain to the customer more of this information. And what you realize is when you start to look at it this way, actually, it gets easier to sell, because we spend the energy, helping the customer as opposed to infighting. And so I’ve been working with five companies to kind of prototype it. And we’ve been able to double sales and half the sales cycle by just doing a few simple things. And realizing like the demo, which which was designed here for deciding is really there’s three demos, which is there’s a demo for passive looking at demo for active looking at a demo for deciding. And they’re fundamentally all different. And asking people where they are in their buying process is very different than asking them where they are in your sales process.

Valentin: Regarding this approach, where where you are looking at the buying cycle? Is it a blog applicable for consumer oriented products, where at least we think that the same cycle is shorter? Are the buyers go through these phases as well? Or is this?

Bob: Yeah, that’s a good question. So there’s two types of buying. There’s like restocking, right? Like I’ve been buying a my laundry detergent that I’ve always bought, right forever, right? Because I ran out of laundry detergent, that’s not the buying we’re talking about. It’s like when they switch from one laundry detergent to another. That’s what we’re talking about. And so part of this is this is very applicable to consumer businesses as well, because at some point, everybody struggles with things. So if you think of tide pods, right, like there’s the pods that you throw in the washer, the reality is is is if you actually talk to people about the struggling moment around laundry, not about actually doing laundry, but about getting laundry done. One of the biggest problems is nobody can help because it’s too complicated. And so the ultimate job that the pod helped do is like, let me enable my partner, my kids, other people to do laundry without screwing it up. Because you can put the stuff in and literally throw in the pod, because everything else was measuring and knowing what to put in and knowing what not to put in. And so when they’re pulling off the the tide pods off the shelf, it’s actually helped with the laundry, they’re getting not just a better detergent.

Valentin: One question that I think it, it applies to what you’re what you’re stating, then the jobs to be done framework can be applied for the supermarket, which is buying the laundry detergent. Yep. Or only for the laundry detergent.

Bob: That’s right. So I’ve applied it to Why do people go to this grocery store? What job does this grocery store do? And typically, it’s not a product, it’s a set of products that actually helped them, you know, restock that, you know, it’s like, why do you go to this, this butcher, but then you go to this department store, and and or you go to this grocery store, but you don’t get your meat that like, all of a sudden they’re adding an extra step to go to the butcher, why are they doing that? Like that it’s not random, the whole thing is, is nothing is random. And so we can actually apply that that way. But also, it turns out that that people like Kroger here in the US, they count on p&g to know everything about why people do laundry. And so they’re actually it’s a it’s a double, it’s like it’s to two different levels of shopping jobs. And then what we would say is like, actually, you know, kind of a, you know, household jobs, and how do we actually help do those two things and this have like, again, most retailers don’t actually make the products, but they know which set of products to have in the store?

Valentin: Yeah, that’s excellent. We are, we’re having some questions. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask you something from Andrea, what is the biggest mistake a salesperson does when he’s trying to sell something?

Bob: So I think one of the, and again, I think, let’s be clear, I did this when I first started selling, which is I focused on my features and benefits. And I assumed that because they took the meeting that they knew what they wanted, and I literally just told them, my pitch. I didn’t ask them why I didn’t ask them. You know, it’s not understanding people’s context and outcome, and just rolling right into the features and benefits. The other part is thinking that you can close people faster than they want to be closed. I think those are the two big mistakes that a lot of new salespeople make is they think that everybody who walks in the door is a prospect. I always talk about the fact that I want I want people to earn the right to a demo. Right. Most people will They’ll take the debit, well, you should go do it. It’s like, no, they have to get the right people there, they have to actually have the right end. Like, it’s some point, you can do a demo, but the rail is like if they’re not ready for it, and they really don’t want it, and they’ve agreed to it, and you’ve bullied them into it. It’s a waste of everybody’s time. Right?

Valentin: So I think it’s the same like in life, right? Bad assumptions about reality. Yes, so another question coming from Vladimir, can you explain what a customer buying timeline actually means?

Bob: When when we were together and and and part of this is to say you have to ask people a question to create the space. And so the first thought is, really, there’s only four ways to do it, ask a question, tell a story, give them a new metric, or state the obvious, right? It’s like so. So to me, this is the first this is like the initial way in which you get people to think about making progress. And they might already have the notion of progress. And so when they come to you, they might already be further down the line. But to create demand, you actually have to do it in this space. The second one is really then when passive looking passive looking is about framing the problem. It’s about searching for solutions. at a very high level, it’s about learning the language, it’s about deciding whether the problem is big enough, and you need to do something about it. Right? If we think of active listening, active listening, active listening is about seeing possibilities. It’s what we call orthogonal features one thing at a time, oh, I can have this Whoo, I can do that. Oh, it’s very much like magic wandering, right. And it’s, it’s where people are exploring a lot of different things. And it’s almost like a playground like a kid in a candy store. But then you move to the second part, which is deciding, which is connecting the dots framing up the options, seeing the constraints, understanding the the trade offs, you have to make picking a starting point, it’s like, it’s almost like making it real, right? And then at some point in time, it’s then once they’ve decided it’s like, Alright, how do we actually start to use it? And it’s like, how do we set the x? Make sure the expectations are clear? How do we actually help people feel progress? And what is the notion of what we would say is, if you think about buying, buying is in the mind, and and the actual consumption of the product is how they make progress? How do we make sure that they’re actually making the progress that they expected when they bought it? And then ongoing uses? How do we build habits? How do we understand where the new struggling moments are? Every new innovation solves one set of struggling moments, but creates a new set of struggling moments. And so part of it is for you to stay on top of it. And so part of this is to walk through the basically these these six stages. And as people come to you and say, Oh, I want I’d like to I’d like to see your products. Are they really aware? Are they are they actually in passive looking? Are they actually deciding? Right? Do they, you know, do they know the language and so understanding where your customers are or your prospects are in the timeline is very essential, because a lot of times we end up giving him the wrong information at the wrong time.

Valentin: I have to do ask you something which I’ve been struggling with, as well. This is one my own struggling. Love it. So we we were applying these jobs to be done framework. And we discovered that we’ve started with this, we’re with the job and ended up in five different jobs. Yep. But the overall thing was that ecommerce entrepreneurs, which had the mid sized companies, and they were their job was to keep customers from churning.

Bob: So the thing is that that I’m going to show you on this on this page here, which is which is you might have three different jobs. So one job might be Help Help me defend against Right. Right. But this is like, you know, let’s call this you know, a very large company. This is a mid sized company and this is a small company. Yeah, though. The metal agonism of how people the job they want to do is the same, they might talk about it differently. And so this is where your personas or your segmentation or other things would come in, but like this one is about helping me grow. Right? And this is this might be helping me be more efficient, for example, right. And so as they’re going into this is like helped me defend well, large companies talk about it this way. Mid companies talk about it that way, small companies talk about it this way. But it’s all the same kinds of things. And it’s the same feature sets of like, well, let’s benchmark where you’re at, let’s understand how. So how you deliver on it is actually the same, it might be that use different languages. Right? It’s part of this is to realize like, the job is one of those things that is universal, it’s, it’s To be honest, I didn’t really get that until later. Because like, at some point, we’ve this could be a France, Hungary, Romania, like all of a sudden, they might talk about it a little bit differently because of the language. But the job is still the same as helped me defend. And so part of this is to realize that, that sometimes you might actually have to have channel strategies to go against the jobs, but the jobs are still the same. Right? Yeah. And and I want to make sure we’re clear is that jobs are not tasks, right? They’re not like, the car gets me from point A to point B. Jobs are these they’re these aggregated things where they’re sets of tasks, they’re sets of use cases, that all relate to the same kind of context outcome that they’re looking for. And so there, this higher level thing that is that is a it’s multifaceted, and in the book, and of average, he talks about jagad. It’s not like this one is just about defending, but there might be some efficiency parts in this, but they’re primarily trying to get to help me defend myself versus here is I need to lower my costs versus here is I need to grow. And it gets back to that, that it doesn’t mean I want to grow without efficiency. It’s just that here’s the priority by which they’re actually doing their activities.

Valentin: Jason Fried wrote the foreword of your book, how you met, how you met him? And how come he got to write the foreword?

Bob: Jason and I have been friends for about 10 years, I’ve been working with the people at Basecamp. For about that long of time. The one thing I would say is most of my clients become my friends. And so and over the years, we’ve just been able to collaborate and communicate on many different things at many different levels. And as I as I wrote the book, it was one of those things where I was hoping clay could we could write the foreword, but he passed away in January. And Jason was kind enough to step in and kind of write the foreword. And he did a great job because he talks about how he quote, learned sales when he was 15. And then he realized that he learned it all wrong. And it’s, it’s one of those things where Jason is a he’s a he’s a very, very great entrepreneur, and we have very, very similar kind of beliefs and views. And I’m, I think I’m about 15 years older than he is, but at the same time we we have, we have a great, great camaraderie.

Valentin: Excellent. I love Basecamp and his work as well. So um, you are practically on a book tour now, how are different from the offline bookstore for you coming?

Bob: My thing is I love to teach and build. And so I kind of almost put like this. So think of me as the engineer who was able to put this together. But the reality is, is that at some point, this is almost like the, the this is what I have to do in order to make sure the product is successful. So I don’t like to be honest, this is this is actually way easier for me because I can actually continue to write my next book or my next two books on it. And while I’m doing this, because I didn’t have to hop on a plane and come see you guys. And so part of this is I’m taking advantage of not having to travel so much like in January and February, I did 128,000 miles. And I literally have not flown since. And I went to actually check my miles the other day and I had to redownload the app. And so that I turned to my wife and I looked at her and said like do you need me to go away for a while like like they’re so used to be not being there for a while. That’s like, okay, I’ve been around maybe too much. But, you know, it’s I think the virtual tour is way better for me.

Valentin: So Bob, tell us what are you pushing over there? What’s going on what kind of technology are using?

Bob: Yeah, so you can see me up in the corner as well. So one of the things I’ve been doing is because I’ve had to one has haven’t had to travel is I’ve literally been changing up and innovating around different technologies to basically make people feel like they’re in my office when they’re not in my office. And so a lot of times I have like I have these different cameras, I have different views of basically being able to see different things. So this is my, this is what I call a document camera. So I can actually write things and then you’ve got this view. But I have I have a small little switch over here, that literally helps me kind of go back and forth without having to go into zoom and go share my screen, I can literally just do that. And that’s sharing my screen. And so it allows me to actually be way, way more effective. And so we’ll have a meeting, and I’ll be in the room. And I can literally go like this and then turn on the picture picture and have two people on the couch and we can have a conversation. And then we can actually go to the whiteboard and talk in the whiteboard. And I have a I do have a whiteboard camera that you can see that’s in front there. It’s not connected right now. But I have different ways in which to kind of do this. And so I’ve, I have a 10,000 square foot design studio. And what I’ve done is I’ve literally just, I think the first week of COVID, I took each room, I went room by room, and I took everything out of the room. And then I brought it back in and repurpose it to say like, how would we use this room now that it’s going to be virtual and so so for example, the cameras that I have are actually security cameras. So I literally went and bought, I don’t know 15 or 20 security cameras that are 4k. They’re they’re they’re HDMI and USB, I can actually use them in different ways. And so every month right now, I’m just kind of iterating This is the one room I have that it’s kind of locked down. But at the end of the day, it’s it’s it allows me to kind of just be able to kind of come sit down and talk and teach it. So I’ve been teaching. Last night I taught at Emory this afternoon I teach at Harvard, I was at Cambridge earlier this week. So I can now Now I can actually teach to many different universities at the same time. So it’s just it’s it’s one of those things where I feel like this is enabling me to be 10 times more productive, because now I don’t have to travel.

Valentin: Excellent. Lots of fun. Bob, have you seen something exciting in the after this pandemic hit? Hit the wonder what what exciting things have you had?

Bob: So here’s the thing is, is the pandemic is a horrible thing. But to me, it changes the context that people are in, which causes struggling moments that causes us to innovate. So to me, for example, I think school is going to change forever, I just don’t think that we’re going to be able. So as much as people are complaining about virtual, the notion is there’s certain parts of virtual that people are going to like and then all of a sudden, there’s this aspect of how do we actually learn like I don’t, I don’t think we actually teach. We teach in a way that’s the average we teach like almost to the persona that doesn’t exist. And ultimately, every child learns their own way. And so part of this is how do we actually use this kind of experience to actually change the way we teach to basically max the way the learner learns. And so instead of having to teach in one way that gets to 80% of the class, can we actually teach in multiple ways that enable kids to get it like because of the way they think, or the way their brains wired? And so to me, I think things like education, I think shopping is going to change. I think shopping is like at some point in time people have realized like how hard it was to actually order stuff online. But now it’s the fact that they can order what they know online but they have to go shop for things they want to do new so shopping is going to become more about helping people make progress. It’s about what’s the next pair of shoes like if I just want to repeat the pair of shoes, I know what to buy, but if I don’t know what the next pair of shoes is I have to do the research, I have to go through the process. And so I think you’re gonna see over time that people, there’s some people who think we’re going to come back to the way it was. And my experience would say is that there’s always going to be a little bit of this, that’s going to be caught back with what was the past. And so we’re going to actually have a new version, a better version of how things are playing out. So I think retail is going to change, I think vacations are going to change. I think I think houses are changing, I already I already know that where people are, are buying bigger houses because they can work out of the house. And so people are actually getting you know, and and they don’t have to go in the office. And so people are actually getting paid more here. So they can actually go afford to buy a room that’s their office as opposed to just have a two bedroom. So I think there’s just many, many things that are going on and and part of it is the like the the interesting part about the people who pre read my book, or have been reading the book is that they, they might learn about sales. But the common theme that everybody has said is they go, I now feel like I’m a better consumer. Because I’m actually thinking about why am I buying what I’m buying? What am I doing what I’m doing. And so I think that’s part of what what I’m trying to actually get across is like, a lot of times we buy stuff, and we actually don’t know why we’re buying it. And I think taking the time to understand the progress you’re trying to make by buying, you know, these markers that have a a brush tip on one end and a hard tip on the other end. They’re all very purposeful because of the work I’m doing. And so part of it is to actually be sensitive to my struggling moments and realize I’m willing to pay a premium for a marker like this. And by the way, I have a whole set of markers over here like them, because I need to be able to draw dark enough that you can see this because if when I use the pencil, you can’t see it.

Valentin: So we have another another question coming from Alex, how can you regain? Or can you regain the trust of those customers that were thrown away by your previous events of building more of the demand side?

Bob: Yeah, that’s a great one. So here’s the thing is, first of all, they weren’t your customer to begin with. So if one is if they left, what we need to do is understand why they left. What’s interesting is, is most people leave not because of you, but because their context changed. And we keep thinking it’s us. And it’s not us, it’s them. And so part of this is being able to understand as you go through this, and can you actually see, see, like, for example, people that we were going to close or said they were going to close and then Didn’t they just actually went from deciding back to passive looking because something in their lives changed. It’s it’s Think of it this way, I feel it’s pretty arrogant for us to think that they actually got rid of us because of us. Because when you really hear the stories of people who left us nine times out of 10, it had nothing to do with you. Or if it did, it was like two or three small things. But there were a whole bunch of other things that caused them to get there. And so part of it is is what’s the context that would be appropriate for them to come back. And so part of is to look at those things and understand the causal mechanisms behind it. It’s not about that it’s not negotiations, in my in my in my opinion, this is about understanding when what would have to happen in their world for them to actually even think about trying to help them again.

Valentin: Yeah, well, I have a question from Karina, she’s asking me, I’ve said on social media that your ideas in the encounter with you change the way I did business, and continue to do business. And if I can tell more about this, what changed and how. So what I think it’s really important is that I’ve  stated this, actually it’s called the featuristis it’s a disease that entrepreneurs, tech entrepreneurs have I had this as well, it’s I was wrongfully or wrongly believed that the problem that my company had is that I haven’t got enough features to compete with x, y and z. So after this, I got back to listening to the customers and understanding what was the problem, the job the progress that they wanted to do with our software. And instead of doing this parity game, when we had something like 1 million Euro in funding and our competitor Optimizely had 100 and 70 million. So five, look at the words, a job that was more in line with our vision of our software. So instead of first thing in the field of a/b testing technology, we 530 towards this customer lifetime value optimization category, which was kind of a game changer for us and it transformed our mentality and of course, we are now seeing the progress because it’s a great thing when you are different. When customers which are coming to you are giving you a five or four rating on all the platforms from fwhich you are getting them. So I think it’s, it’s kind of fulfilling to feel that you are doing a purposeful and meaningful work and you are not perceived like a copycat for the whatever competitor.

Bob: Yep, I think the other part is to realize like the the notion of a customer for life is actually kind of a, it’s a weird notion, it’s the fact is their life is going to change. And as their life changes, you don’t necessarily have to grow with it, and to realize, like your best customers sometimes lead you awry. And so you follow your best customers, and then the new customers actually can’t get to you. I mean, that’s one of the things Jason freed talks about all the time, if, if he added resource allocation, and Gantt charts and all the stuff that the best users want, he says, No, go go to Microsoft Project, go go somewhere else for it. Because the number one reason why people buy us is because, you know, it’s very easy, and I can get paid, you know, I it’s so easy to get my grandmother to use it. Right. And it’s like if I add all these things that you want, and it’s like, an until you actually leave me, you know, you can complain about it, but the rail is like you’re not leaving me. And so part of this is that difference between what you know, it’s that aspect of really understanding what behaviors people have versus what people say.

Valentin: We have another question fromPretzel. How to play situations when the customer and consumer are different. It is often the case with b2b platforms or service.

Bob: Yeah, so So this is, this is a great question, because it’s one of those things where what I would say is, the people at the buying level. So this is where we would call them the customer. And then we call it the consumer, they actually have very different jobs. So the simple way to think about it is in I worked for a toy company for a while, and one of the things is, is you had to actually figure out a toy that the parent would buy, that a kid would play with. So if I built the toys that kids want to play with parents would never buy it. And if I bought the the the toys that parents wanted kids never actually played with it. So you have to actually understand kind of these two different levels and understand the jobs at the buying level and the jobs at the at the user level and make sure that you actually identify the the the trade offs between the two. So think of like Salesforce, most salespeople don’t get to choose Salesforce, it’s the VP of sales, VP of Marketing and the VP of digital the VP of it, they actually buy Salesforce, because of a very big problem. But at the same time, if I buy Salesforce, and it doesn’t work for the sales people or the marketing people, it doesn’t it, it doesn’t work either. And so part of it is is that you have to actually understand the jobs of what we call the big hire. And the little hire, the big hire is like buying the buying the the bottle of Windex to clean the windows. And the little hire is is the is the where, where do I spray it? And does it do the job that I’m actually spring it on. And so part of it is you have to actually see jobs from those two levels. And what we found is that, especially as a salesperson to actually help people understand that one is, most the time the buyer is not necessarily as worried about the user. And the fact is, is to actually have the user voice in there. It’s kind of like going to Kroger and talking about laundry, the Kroger people don’t care about laundry. But the fact is because p&g knows about laundry, they can actually help them understand the best way to merchandise. So I think it’s those kinds of things where you have to understand the big, higher and a little higher, and they are fundamentally different interviews and different jobs.

Valentin: SO in a B2B situation, would you do the interview with the decision maker with the user? Would you do different interviews?

Bob: Yeah, I do different. So here’s the thing is very early in my career, I started by as most engineers, I start by building the best product for the user, like, this is gonna be an awesome experience for them, this is going to be better than anything else. But the reality is, is what happened is I couldn’t find anybody to buy it. Right? And so then I realize, Okay, I’m gonna figure out what people are trying to buy and see the bigger picture. But then when I did, I ran out of money to make it so people could use it. And so part of it is, is from a product management perspective, it’s making sure that I have the right set of features and the right set of addressing the right jobs from the buying perspective. But I also have enough to actually put in to make sure it’s usable. And so to be honest, it’s two sets of interviews, one set of interviews around buying and one interview against using and then to be honest, laying them together and seeing where the gaps and where the conflicts are because it’s their conflict, not yours, and you and if they can’t make it work, you still lose.

Valentin: I think we have other questions as well. Just a second. Yep. So I am we have a question from Vlad. When was the first time you find out about Bob and when did you first met me? Or I’ve kind of robbed my style via SoundCloud. If you if you recall the Open Table podcast. Yeah, we’ve met first time at How to Web counters last year when we was amazing. Yeah, it was a great conference. And it’s one of the those moments when I realized that it it was, it was a good time spree pandemic, actually, when when when I met I’ve persuaded Bob to do an interview. And we went into a, into a bar at the 11th. floor in in Ghana, pressing the button for the Romanian audience. And actually, by the way, Bob, you, you told me that every year you start fresh, so you, you, you, you start with no financial resources, and you plan ahead so that you can make it up to it.

Bob: I save enough to basically make sure that I can grow old. But I literally don’t make sure I have as much access because I realize I end up making a donation somewhere anonymously at the end of every year. So I have to wake up and figure out kind of what value do I need to create this year. That’s just how I lived my life for a long time. I sold my first startup and to be honest, I had money, but it was it was I didn’t know what to do. And so the whole aspect is is is I realized that I’m lucky enough to have everything I have. But at the same time I need to I need to actually figure out how to help people and add value.

Valentin: Your last book was addressing the the education aspect, how do you see education being being transformed you you’ve touched a bit this the subject earlier, but tell us tell us about how you envisioned a real shifting the way we educate our children?

Bob: Yeah, so I, so I’ve joined the school board. So I actually am part of a school here in the US. And then I also teach at several different universities. The book that I wrote was choosing college. And it was really about the university kind of system that we have here in the US and that it was about helping students understand and be explicit about the job they were hiring college to do. Because what happens is, is if you go to college and you don’t graduate, the likelihood you can pay back your loans is almost zero. So part of it is to make sure that you’re very purposeful in doing that, I think, I think colleges is going to be transferred I so clay and Michael Horner, who’s my co author on the book said that back in 2017, or 16, that 25% of the universities will be, you know, either gone or merged by 2025. And nobody actually believed that. Now, I’m not sure that they predicted the pandemic, but the thing is, is that at some point, nobody can afford a generic education anymore. And so part of it is, is that people need to be more purposeful to it. And at some point in time, the How do I say the credit hour, which is the way that they bill for it, the way they pay teachers, everything background is like people can actually learn faster than than an hour. And so as we see this being modularized, you’re going to start to see what we call micro credits, or like it might be better for you to get three small, different kinds of credits than actually try to get a full degree. And so I think that you’re going to see the modularization of education and to be an end to get fragmented and that that they’ll still be universities, but the fact is, at some point in time, I’m just not sure people will be able to afford to go for four years and and like right now in the US to become a teacher, it might cost you almost $100,000, but you actually will take 20 years to pay back that that hundred thousand dollars in loan. And so part of it is to reframe basically how to actually get people to be productive. So I think that’s that’s, that’s happening in the next three to five years for sure.

Valentin: Bob, we have a we have a question here. You mentioned you work with a few companies and double the sales while having the sales town. Yeah. Can you tell us more about one specific

Bob: One company is a company called Autobooks and they they basically sell to banks. And they they put in a platform that literally makes a big bank or a medium sized bank turns it into having all the features of like a PayPal. And so it’s it’s that notion of being able to get paid, but now the money goes into your bank And oh, by the way, you have access to it and they don’t charge you as much and so there’s people who kind of are sophisticated enough But they’re actually going after what we what we would call is the small to medium businesses, people who paint houses, people who cut grass, people who who do. I’ll save a manual type labor things that were that that that is different and not and not tech savvy. And so what happened is, they would have to sell banks, and then they’d have to sell small business, right. And in the bank side, the banks were very, very hesitant because at some point in time, it just, it was one of those things where it was a feature that they felt they were adding to the bank. But what we did is we actually went and interviewed people who bought from them understood the jobs. And then from it, we realized that one of the bigger points was the demo. And then when they kept doing one demo, and everything was about getting somebody to the demo. And what we realized is that, that depending on where they were in the timeline, there should actually be three different demos. And so by breaking the demo apart, and being able to actually have very different objectives, depending on where they were the timeline, they were able to actually help people realize where they were, educate them about kind of what what they need to be educated about, and be able to close them because a lot of times they end up like giving them everything too early, or giving them not enough, too late. And so part of it was this aspect of being able to self identify where they are the timeline, which in some cases, they were able to now do three demos faster than doing the one demo that would never close.

Valentin: Excellent. I will steal that from you. So Bob, this is our last question today. How do you think your book will actually change sales? Or what do you hope to accomplish?

Bob: So I wrote it. So I wrote about in the front of it is what’s the job of the book? And I think the job of the book is two things. One is, is I think it complements current sales. And it literally helps people see that and remind people that it sales is about the customer, it’s not about the product, trying to sell something to somebody that they don’t want. It’s like one apple makes the the bushel rotten, right. And so my thing is to actually try to get people to focus back on the customer. The second real thing was how do we actually get entrepreneurs and startups and founders and business schools to start teaching the foundations of sales early enough that people start to think about it from the customer side, because I just think that at some point, you’re learning all these other theories and all these other things around business. But  they teach you like in a incubator, they teach you how to raise money, they teach you how to build a business model, they teach you how to, you know, hire and recruit, but they don’t teach you about sales. And so ultimately, I’m trying to make sure that my book has impact. And those three kinds of places.

Valentin: Bob, my personal question, I thought it was the last but I’m asking you when are you going to have the audible version of the book (Demand-Side Sales 101 n.e.)?

Bob: I couldn’t read it. So I have somebody who’s reading it. I just, I just approved the the version. It should be out in October. I have a Kindle version, a paperback version and a hardcover, and then I will have an audible version in October.


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