March 9

Ivan Gomez on Building Effective Sales Strategies


Ivan is an Senior Sales leaders with over 20 years of Sales Management and Leadership experience, he has grown Inside Sales teams from the ground up in various world class companies, from Fortune 1000 companies to small start-up companies from VC to IPO.

He has cultivated top-performing teams with leading technology companies, growing markets, and penetrating new territories in both the United States and abroad.  Currently his is the Global Sr. Director for Sales Development at Tenable Network Security. The Leading Cyber Exposure Company in the world. He leads the global responsibilities from strategy to execution and is focused on implementing, optimizing Sales Development / Inside Sales teams.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone, this is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:35
Hello everyone! Today I've got the privilege of having my friend Ivan Gomez here, he's an expert at helping salespeople inside sales teams do better. Ivan, welcome to the program.

Ivan Gomez 0:47
Umar, it's great to be here. Thanks, thanks so much for the invitation.

Umar Hameed 0:50
So let's start with the name first. Of course, in America, we pronounce it Ivan and Ivan is very Latin.

Ivan Gomez 0:57
Absolutely, actually Ivan is the actual native pronunciation. I moved to the states close to 30 years ago and I lived in New England for quite some time, and and for a long time, people call me Ivan I become accustomed to but no as I moved down this area, which is a little more international, the original name, the native name, you know, which was so easy. My mother's name so my native name became you know, more more prevalent, which I'm okay with.

Umar Hameed 1:33
So you've heard of Ivan the Great, or Ivan the Terrible, I guess? Have you heard of Ivan the Terrible?

Ivan Gomez 1:37
Yeah, yeah, I so so the story goes that when I was born, you know, my dad who's an economist by trade. And if I'm fortunate to still have him alive, and he's retired now, he's always been an avid reader. So he was a big fan of the Russian novels and apparently I was name of that of one of those characters in one book that you read, my opinion is undesirable.

Umar Hameed 2:03
So what's kind of interesting before we get into the subject of sales, it's kind of interesting is that Ivan the Terrible, before he was terrible, became, I guess, emperor or ruler when he was like, really, really young. His father had died, he took on the throne, but he had people around him basically helping him manage the state.

Ivan Gomez 2:22

Umar Hameed 2:22
And they decided that, you know, before he became a man and took charge, if they could break him, psychologically, they could control him for the rest of his life and be in charge of Russia. So they abused him severely and when he became a man he got even and gave all the lords that were running Russia at the time, an option audio with me or you're against me, and they started this state within a state that basically ran Russia and we still have it to this day...it's interesting!

Ivan Gomez 2:52
Is definitely a fascinating story. So and there's been movies and books about it, so not sure if he's on officially recommended not reading but I think it's a good start to to get acquainted.

Umar Hameed 3:04
And it's all about human behavior and that's kind of sets us up on our conversation today that picking up the phone and calling someone to introduce yourself and make a sale almost seems like it's a lost art. There's so many courses out there never cold call again, cold calling is dead, this new, amazing, super fantastic social media way, it's gonna be better. Kind of what are your thoughts, is cold calling dead?

Ivan Gomez 3:28
The short answer is not. He's not what happened is that cold calling has actually evolved, and it has more of two different ways new aware, early stage sellers, or sales developers or inside sales when they're prospecting are using many different tools. But it's like a carpenter, you know, if you have a box of tools, are you gonna put away your hammer just because you have an electric hammer, you're gonna have put away your, your screwdriver, just because you have an electric screwdriver? You know, the answer is NO! You use your many tools to accomplish the goal that you are trying to accomplish. And if you use those tools, effectively, you will be very well off in terms of sales because you know, if you have a healthy pipeline, you will have also you understand the process, you will have successful, successful outcomes.

Umar Hameed 4:24
Let's say we had a client, let's pick an industry, I'm gonna pick a company that does website development.

Ivan Gomez 4:30

Umar Hameed 4:31
You've got some founders that are really talented at programming, and they want to get clients and they've been getting a few deals in and they're doing a decent job, but they can't grow without a proper sales department so they decided to set up an inside sales department. Let's say they're doing half a million dollars in revenue, there's four people in the company and they want to kind of grow to five $6 million is the next phase. If you were consulting with them to set up an inside sales department. How would you go about doing that? What are the first steps and why don't we kind of deconstruct that you go to be a really good learning experience for people listening to our conversation on how to set up a sales team.

Ivan Gomez 5:06
So an inside sales organization, and this is a really, really good question. So departing from the, from the aspect of prospecting and focusing more on how to establish an inside sales organization. Number one...

Umar Hameed 5:22
So early on this example would have been some people that just had some friends that needed websites, they got a couple of referrals, so they kind of doing business, but not officially a sales team, just you know, how a lot of people start out, it's just like, get a couple clients grow it a bit, then they stagnate and just stay at that level. But let's say one of those people that had accidental business now want to set up an inside sales team and formalize the sales process.

Ivan Gomez 5:46
Yeah, excellent, excellent question, because I do have a friend actually in the Greater Washington DC area, that went through the exact same same process. So let me let me walk you through that. So this individual is in the medical field. And, you know, they they developed a product that was AVA approved, small company, the owner had great domain expertise, and he wanted to establish an inside sales organization. So the first thing that I will say is, number one is you have to be a 100% committed to these venture, you know, if these inactive thought is not going to be successful, the second thing is an inside sales organization is a great go to market strategy that is, is cost effective, initially, but require a very good infrastructure. And what I mean by that is, you know, start with number one, you know, you gotta have a solid, a very solid strategy in terms of, for example, how are you going to segment the market? Okay, what is the market size that you currently have? What is the point of sale? Now what is the, the average ticket price for that particular product that you're selling?

Umar Hameed 7:10
So let's pause there just for a moment. So let's pretend I am the owner of the digital website development company, and you're the consultant and you want me to help figure out, you know, who's the target? What's the size? So ask me some questions and I'll make some shit up and they'll give a real example.

Ivan Gomez 7:28
So Umar, here's the big question, for example, none of the question, you know, I'm gonna say, "Umar, tell me about your target audience and tell me about your your product."

Umar Hameed 7:39
So what we do is we build websites for midsize companies that want a great infrastructure to grow the company. So not only do they share their message, but they can interact with their customers. So we're going after companies that are $10 million to $50 million in revenue, they got enough money to pay us enough money to build the infrastructure that they need to help them grow their company. So not just a pretty website, but a functional website that's going to help them grow.

Ivan Gomez 8:10
Alright, and so who, out of those companies that you mentioned, it seems like he's a small to mid sized market, if I hear you correctly, who will be your ideal, your target persona that you want to go out there?

Umar Hameed 8:26
So we want to go after small biotech firms that are, you know, creating new devices, and new processes and new vaccines. So I think we want to focus in the bio science space, we've had some traction in the past in that area and I think we'll have some really good reference accounts.

Ivan Gomez 8:44
All right! So SMB, biotech, small and expanding organizations that are trying to expand their, their vaccine practice, within those companies, who is the person or people that knew inside salesperson will be speaking with?

Umar Hameed 9:03
Some of these companies are still kind of small, maybe have 20 or 30 people in the company, so it would be the founder, and the chief sales officer, I'm not sure what title that is for them, but basically that person responsible for bringing in revenue, so probably those two people and maybe the CFO, if they have one, but primarily the founder and the chief sales guy, who sometimes happens to be the same person.

Ivan Gomez 9:26
And Umar, in order to establish your your, your inside sales organization, what is the single most important problem that your service offering is going to help those individuals, so what is the biggest biggest concern that they have?

Umar Hameed 9:50
So the concern is that they built a website when they were probably pre revenue, and maybe once they got $200,000 they kind of redid it, but the website was designed for a much smaller startup company, now there were a real company. And so they, if they had the right website, they would be able to attract more talent to come to the company, they'd be able to connect with their customers in a meaningful way and get that feedback loop and investors looking at their company, one of the places they're going to look into the website, and they don't want to have any doubts that says these people are too small to invest in.

Ivan Gomez 10:24
Yep. Excellent. Excellent. So let's, let's pause right here for a second Umar and let's take some of the biggest elements..

Umar Hameed 10:31

Ivan Gomez 10:32
...your basic example. So as we start venturing into establishing new an inside sales organization, why no, we want to get a sense that the leadership for that organization is really committed to to improve sales. The second thing is, do we have an understanding of what is the problem that we're trying to solve? Is this something that is going to have an appetite for the market? I will probably go and to the extent, you know, it's like, what is my competitive landscape? And what is my competitive differentiator? Okay, so I'll be looking at those things, because I want to make sure that I arm my inside sales sellers with that, and we'll go over some of the dynamics, as we mentioned in conversation, so the only thing that we we just was able, we were able to dissect from these, you know, is we want to understand what is our addressable market and what know what we're going to go off. Okay, so when, you know, this is a microcosm of your work could be a larger example, you know, whether you're launching, you know, cybersecurity solution, or we actually an EAP solution, or our point of sales organization, you know, we want to make sure that we understand our market. The other thing is, who's gonna be our potential buyer, because we in today's sales development effort, the the notion of knowing your customers show me, you know, me, you know, it's playing a more important role than just sending broad messages, "Hey, we're cheaper, faster, better than us," that doesn't want it, that doesn't work any longer. Okay, so that's, that's another thing. So we might understand the industry, we're gonna understand the buyer persona. And then next thing, you know, I we're gonna understand, you know, what our messaging is gonna be like, so we can actually, you know, go after, you know, these individuals more effective, the other aspect, so I don't know if that makes sense now that we can go on...

Umar Hameed 12:35
So pause there for just a minute Ivan, what you're saying makes perfect sense. So the question to you, is this out of a 100 organizations starting an inside sales team, what percentage do you think really spend time on figuring out who they're going after and doing that groundwork? So they hire the right people and the right tools in place? What percentage would actually spend time doing that rather than just give it lip service and go, "Oh, we kind of need this, let's go find people, what's your experience been like? How many people actually do the homework before they set out to do build a team?

Ivan Gomez 13:09
When you're early stage organization, there are some individuals that you know, do very mild homework, they think, "Okay, I'm going to have a person, I'm going to have, I'm going to give him a phone," this now back to three years ago, when I was doing management consulting, I encountered a couple of situations where they, they think, okay, we have a product, we're gonna give him a number, you know, we have a list of customer, we bought a list, you know, we're going to give him a little script, and go ahead and call. So...

Umar Hameed 13:44
That's gonna happen!

Ivan Gomez 13:44
...and that's the recipe for failure, no, that's a recipe for disaster. Then you have the individuals that have a mild level of organization and all that, you know, then you increase your quality, your your, your chances of success, and then you have the more sophisticated individual because then you get into situations of how do we align our inside sales with sales development, with marketing with sales operation? How do we create an alignment with with marketing and the organization? How do we create an alignment with our recruiting team to and to start the entire process from recruiting? You know, because that no up until we got to the different spectrums from being extremely basic, to more sophisticated, you know, there's hundreds of people that have inside sales organization, the question is, how sophisticated and how organized and aligned they are, you know, with the organizations that they intersect?

Umar Hameed 14:42
Absolutely! And I think that's the reason I brought it up is most people me included guilty, would do the bare minimum and just give it a college trial. Let's give it a go. And if it doesn't work, it's a bad salesperson, and or bad customers and not realizing that we set the whole thing up for failure.

Ivan Gomez 15:00
Yeah, so I'll give you an example. You know, these, you know, medical products company that I mentioned to the individual, I started small, but seriously committed to a sales. And these individuals are right now up to six, inside sales organization, inside sales individuals that are going through the prospecting and what I call cradle to grave or lead to close your sales process. So the key right here is start small, building your success, no, have a serious commitment and then start letting your your success build, you know, on your expansion. But you know, this individual had a good, you know, field presses, but as he was building the field presses and the offer enterprise market realize that the lower part of the market could be very well served via inside sales, giving attention to two parts, number one, expanding the existing footprint of your customers, number...

Umar Hameed 16:08

Ivan Gomez 16:09
...and two, with new customer acquisition. So perfect scenario for an inside sales organization that you know, can help you grow your business.

Umar Hameed 16:21
So once you've defined. this is who we're going after this, these are the pain points, these are the tools that we need reports, white papers, whatever, so once you've got that in place, what technology do you bring in place to get that inside salesperson to be effective?

Ivan Gomez 16:37
Well, of the very basic, you know, is you need to have your phone...

Umar Hameed 16:41

Ivan Gomez 16:41
...and have, you know, a good CRM to call, in fact, all your activity. Um, and then you know, as you continue to grow, you can actually add additional technology, you can have customer engagement platform, you can have your LinkedIn, you can have some some social activity, you can have some form tracking and coaching technology, you can start including some chat box features on your website where you can actually have live conversation so you can evolve, but it really depends, you know, all those technologies are expensive, and they add to your overhead. So you need to add them as you continue to grow. At the most basic element, you know, obviously most individuals have know that basic technology and now for example, with Google Suite, you know, people have no Cloud, and you can have Cloud Telephony and all that so that that you can bring your costs down, but the key is, more importantly, in the enablement of your sales organization, Okay? Oh, that's so? Yeah! And what I mean by that, you know Umar is, are we enabling these individual with the right tools? You know, so I will probably spend some time creating a pipe, okay, that playbook will become, you know, the rules of engagement and the messaging? What am I going to say? How is going to be my greeting? What kind of brico planning I'm going to do? What is going to be my opening statement? What questions I'm going to ask, you know, how are going up? How am I going to create my flows or my call sequences? Because most most often, people think that, "Okay, I'm going to pick up the phone and I'm going to get a prospect," and they forget about the process, so one of the things that I mentioned to our early stage sellers is you got to understand that process that there, that is a three step process, one, create purposeful activity, not just activity, but purposeful activity, you know, that activity will be will include personalized emails, personalized voicemails, personalized new conversations, you know, so you got to leverage and even personalized social media outreach, so you got to leverage the omni-channel approach. The second pillar is you got to generate interest, okay? so you go from purposeful activity, to interest and engagement, and the example that I give to ourselves is this, let's say I walk into a party, I'm completely new, you invite me to a social setting, so the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to scout the room. And I'm going to probably gravitate to a group that I feel motivated. So I'm going to work myself into the into the group, and then I'm going to have a purposeful activity by having meaningful comments, meaningful conversation with a person initially and some people know let's say we have 2..3..5 or 10 people in the circle, okay? I want individuals to listen to me, but I'm also want to interest on the individual. The second thing is, once I have that initial, you know, purposeful, engaged activity, I'm going to generate interest off this guy, Umar, or Ivan Gomez, he's a pretty cool guy to talk to, you can talk about, you know, anything and I think we have some affinity. And that's going to lead to the third component, which is engagement. So for personal activity, interest and engagement, people know, and that's kind of like a, like a little microcosm of our mini sales cycle...

Umar Hameed 20:31

Ivan Gomez 20:32
...so you go from all these steps, and then you get to the engagement is the engagement component, where you earn the right to have, you know, the meaningful conversation when you prospect and then you can start new qualifying initially to start a potential initial sales cycle. And you're going to have a lot of these, you know, purposeful interest and engagement to create your pipeline, because, you know, if, you know, if you close one out or, or is 25%, close, so you're gonna have a poor x pipeline that you need, so you need to have lots of those, you know, but you need to have good messaging, good process, you know, systems to be able to get to build in that pipeline. And then as you become more sophisticated, you know, then you add another layer, and that's how you add five reps, and becomes, you know, a little difficult for that business owner to manage the business. So then, the next big investment that you're going to make and it's going to make a significant difference is going to hire the right, front line manager. Okay?

Umar Hameed 21:44
Should those managers be working managers as they got their own book of business? Or should it be just focused on getting the best ROI out of the reps we have?

Ivan Gomez 21:52
Some in some small business owners will have what I call a player coach, and that will work for a very short period of time. Because, you know, these individuals are caught in, in a challenging situation, one, I have to make the number and thus first and foremost, and then you adding another layer, you know, I have to coach know, John, Nancy, and Bill, you know, so that's another challenge that you add, so ideally, you need to have a dedicated manager.

Umar Hameed 22:29
I agree. So that's actually a really good way to think about an organization put the infrastructure in, start hiring, start expanding, make it really effective, Ivan, how can people get a hold of you, because so many people want to inside sales team, but don't have the expertise to set one up and what they end up doing is, doing a half decent job and getting really poor results? So how do people work with you to set one of those up? How did they get a hold of you?

Ivan Gomez 22:56
So the question is, how can people get hold of me?

Umar Hameed 23:00
Yeah definitely! Cuz you know right now...

Ivan Gomez 23:02
I mean, the best ways we can connect LinkedIn, um, it's Ivan Gomez, MBA, you know, I'm probably one of the, only one Ivan Gomez in the Greater Washington DC area. I'm glad to socialize, connect network, you know, and exchange ideas with anyone, and help you answer any questions that anyone may have in the areas of, you know, sales development, inside sales, sales process, playbooks, you know, could be a number of things, you know, I've I've been in business for nearly 25 years and currently with a cybersecurity company. But from time to time you get people asking this question, so I'll be glad to socialize ideas with like minded individuals.

Umar Hameed 23:53
Brilliant! Ivan, thanks so much for being on the show, it was an educational experience having you on the show. Thank you so much.

Ivan Gomez 24:01
Umar, great to talk to you as always. Take care until next time.

Umar Hameed 24:05
So what we're going to do is that was a good show actually because it gave it wasn't like just bullshitting around, it was more like hey, here are the steps you need to do to build an organization

Ivan Gomez 24:16
You bet! It's always good to talk to you, let me know if you have any questions, yeah.

Umar Hameed 24:21
Cool! what we're gonna do is record a little bit of video here to promo that and so here goes. Hey, everyone just had a brilliant interview with Ivan Gomez, and what we looked at rather than doing a traditional podcast talking about general topics, I said Ivan, if you were building an inside sales team, how would you do it? And Ivan took a step by step how you build a highly effective team. Ivan if there's one thing that you want to share with the viewers, so they listened to the podcast, what was the one idea you shared that you think would entice people to go, "Oh my God, I gotta listen to this."

Ivan Gomez 24:54
Alright, so so we still we talked about a couple of things, you know, but I think they the biggest takeaway is one, you know, answering the question, if I'm going to if my go to market strategies inside sales, how do we go about it? And then, you know, if you already have an inside sales or sales development team already in place, the next thing is, you know, how do I get? How do I get started? You know, so...

Umar Hameed 25:21
Brilliant! And the thing you did really brilliantly well was not kind of go generally you went down specific step one, step two, step three, step four. If you've got a team that you want to improve, or you want to start a team, listen to the podcast. Ivan, thanks so much for being on the show.

Ivan Gomez 25:36
You bet Umar, always a pleasure. Take care!

Umar Hameed 25:44
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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