Sean has more than twenty-five years of experience launching, owning, operating, and growing businesses. Sean leverages his past experience in building high-performance global sales teams, results-focused marketing teams, and advanced sales and marketing process automation systems to help companies build and scale rapidly.
[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.
Umar Hameed 0:41
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast, where we interview industry leaders on how they grow their people, their revenue, and themselves. Before we get started, it's a special day today. Today, the app comes out is called Mindset Boosters, it's an app designed for salespeople to allow them to decide how they want to act and feel in any situation. So basically, if you don't have enough confidence today, because of whatever, listen to a five-minute track, and it'll show you how to program your mindset so you take your confidence level from a four to a ten. And so basically, whatever the sales issue, we've got a track for that. And today, I got the privilege of having Sean Leonard, he is the co-founder and CEO of FunnelFLARE, is a technology that allows salespeople to play with time. It makes the time more efficient, they get more calls in they get more appointments, and they make more money. Sean, welcome to the program.
Sean Leonard 1:34
Thank you so much. I'm very excited. Thanks for having me here.
Umar Hameed 1:37
So you know what's kind of interesting in the world of sales, this three areas of beliefs that are really, really strong for people. One is around sex, which is like you can see somebody in a bar that you go, Oh, that person is interesting, and go over, have a great conversation and be fantastic, and they'll love you. But if you decide I want to go out with them, or sleep with them or marry them, and you go up there and go, "Hi, my name is Umar," and all of a sudden, it just changes everything. Because your intention is different. So in sales, we don't get too much of that. But the second area is around money. Money isn't just money, we have beliefs around money and asking for money. We've got a lot of negative beliefs around there. So if I ask people, "Finish the sentence, please money is?" people go, "Oh, it's fantastic allows you to do these amazing things." And after four or five positive attributes, "The root of all evil causes, fights, causes divorces," and the list is like 10 or 12, negative things. So in sales, we ask people for money, and we that's a hindrance. The second one is sales. You ask engineers, bankers that sell, "What are you?" "I'm a banker, not a salesperson," is like sales is a bad word but nothing happens until somebody sells it. And so you help people use technology, Sean to take some of that fear away so they can actually get into conversations and make frickin' money. So talk to us about how you started this company because it's a spin off. Tell us the story about how FunnelFLARE became a reality.
Sean Leonard 3:06
Yeah, so my background is, I'm an engineer. And my background is in my first company that I was driving was in industrial process control. So it was really about automation, right?
Umar Hameed 3:24
Sean Leonard 3:24
It was, how do we automate plants? How do we automate manufacturing processes, this type of stuff. And I started thinking about the whole concept of what is automation. And it's really, at its core, it's the abstraction of labor, right? If you think about manufacturing, what it what automation did is a transformed the role of people, right?
Umar Hameed 3:48
Sean Leonard 3:48
From a laborers to information workers, from braun to brains. And so after exiting that last company, time and money, and I'd spent a bunch of time thinking about automation and how it applies to business processes. And by this time, definitely the concepts of marketing automation, were well entrenched, people were using marketing automation. And what I saw as the gap was I saw that marketing is getting extremely complex from a digital perspective. And it's a case that it was going to get more complex. So my bet was, is that people were going to outsource their marketing to...
Umar Hameed 4:33
Sean Leonard 4:34
...marketing agencies, right professionals, right, you can only be awesome at one, not many things, but most businesses are focusing on one thing, right?
Umar Hameed 4:43
Sean Leonard 4:43
So we built a multi tenant marketing automation system sold as infrastructure to marketing agencies, and if we really think of what the role of marketing is related to sales is to make it easier to sell, right?So whether it was a marketing agency or any marketer, really our whole goal, as a technology company all came down to making it easier for folks to sell, right? Providing technology,
Umar Hameed 5:12
Sean Leonard 5:13
and in the hands of marketers would help companies be able to sell more, sell faster scale, etc, right? And as a result of us, having this marketing automation platform, we really back to the feeding salespeople as a rule of marketing is we needed to be able to, to really have an impact on the sales processes, we had to take out an approach where we deeply integrated with the sales CRMs, right? Because it isn't just about, you know, handing leads over to sales folks and hoping they do something, it's about optimizing that process and ensuring...
Umar Hameed 5:56
Sean Leonard 5:56
...that there's success for the salespeople, right? So we took the approach of being not just a marketing infrastructure, but just going so far into the CRMs, where we get get, you know, full attribution on the forecasting on the revenue, all of this type of stuff. It's a long story, but it'll get to a point. And what happened was, we are integrated with all these CRMs. So we started getting all these people, because we're in their marketplaces from we're using CRMs coming to our website. And you know, the old adage about sale, sales isn't Mars and marketing isn't Venus, it's it's true. There's two completely different mindsets from a execution perspective, that we couldn't box marketing tools as sales tools, and in the same story, right? because...
Umar Hameed 5:59
Sean Leonard 6:13
...completely different audience. And clearly, we had something that they needed. And we were gonna, we were solving a problem for those folks. So when we identified what that problem is, and that problem is the same problem, all salespeople have, it's time, right?
Umar Hameed 7:14
Sean Leonard 7:15
Every salesperson that I've got, I manage salespeople, I've built sales organizations, and every salesperson who's really in the right seat, they love selling, they love engagement, they love the feeling of the when they're very motivated to close business. The issue is there's only 24 hours in the day, and every salesperson knows Pareto Principle. At the heart, right? It's 80% 8020 80% of our revenue comes from 20% of our activities. 80% of our revenue comes from 20% of our time, right?This concept of time is it's about automation. So again, so long story. So what we did is we spun off a second company, which is FunnelFLARE. And we took our very advanced marketing automation system, and just took the pieces that helped get salespeople more time in their day, right? So that's that that long story. But it was all coming down to this is that back to what automation does, transforms the role of people and their activities and abstracts the things that really are just administrivia, right?
Umar Hameed 8:32
Makes sense. And before we go into like, let's talk about salespeople in sales and the current climate, so I happen to be a FunnelFLARE user. And what it allows my people to do is to very much we've designed a process that you guys designed for us, which is a three type system that the salesperson gets a list of people to call, they hit go the system dollars, the first person, either they have a conversation, which would be happy, or they get voicemail, if they get voicemail that can drop a voicemail, if they choose do that's pre recorded. So we know scientifically that it works. So it's not a different message each time and you're not bored sometimes, and super excite other times, it's just constant. You can also drop a text message, and you can drop an email and then go on to the next person, all those notes are recorded. And it just allows people to comfortably do 100 calls a day. Whereas they could have done it in a day. But it would have been a painful, awful experience. This one is click on the software hit Go, get the headset on and then just you could be on a treadmill, whatever you need to do to stay focused ready to go and it's helped us a lot.
Sean Leonard 9:35
And with that cold calling process, like one of the things I've always you know, I've been I've been using CRMs since the early days when it was a big, you know, database in house to, you know, through Salesforce going on and on and the reality is, is the biggest challenge with all CRMs and it's painful is that it's getting To use it, and why is the administrivia, right? Okay, if that you talked about that making calls, I make a call, I have to make a note in the CRM, so that I, you know, capture what I've talked about. Or if maybe I missed it was a, it was a, nobody was home or I didn't connect, I've got to track this stuff for myself, because it's a project management tool,
Umar Hameed 10:24
Sean Leonard 10:24
for project managing a large set of opportunities, right? And there is the administrivia piece that is involved in all CRMs that, really, and that's why there's the challenge, we're salespeople quite often there, it's, it ends up being the work. That is not back to your comments about how I'm feeling today is, it's not the fun part, I'm not, I'm not having fun documenting, I'm having fun hunting, right? And so that's part of what our process does is that all of those, you know, the dial that has the information ready for the person to make the dial when the dial is done, we're doing transcriptions of the calls, inserting notes into the serum automatically. And the status of what the disposition, was it a, "Did I hit, did I not," all of that stuff is just automated and pushed either natively into our CRM or into what the same salesperson is comfortable with.
Umar Hameed 11:23
Absolutely, I think if you take a look at Salesforce to get a contact done, it could take a number of clicks and a bunch of time to process that one record whereas you could have done five calls on FunnelFLARE, because this is all automated. And it's just like click, click, click and off, you go to the next, and it allows people to maximize the time. More importantly, part of the hesitation in calling is, "Who do I call him next," and this one tells you, "This is the next person you're calling and this is why and off you go." And so instead of not cold calling and prospecting, it allows you to dedicate, let's say an hour, if you're an outside sales rep a day, say, "Okay, from eight o'clock, nine o'clock, I am in phone mode, and it's all automated and off I go." And if you're inside salesperson, then you're on it all day, but it takes a lot of the headaches away.
Sean Leonard 12:13
Yeah. And it's a case that not only just the process of making and documenting, it's a case that it's also you know, bringing up the contact getting concept of, you know, what is the state of this contact right now, so that I can have a meaningful conversation. That's actually added time to the story to nevermind just the opening the contact, putting all this stuff in and calling and then who am I calling next? There's a lot of time around, just getting that call set up. And sales is a is a contact sport, right?
Umar Hameed 12:53
Sean Leonard 12:53
It's not that it's not an activity sport, it is an a contact sport. And where the salespeople are most effective is when there are contacting and connecting with people and talking, right?
Umar Hameed 13:10
Sean Leonard 13:11
This is, again, administrivia is you know, I've never measured how many emails my sales folks or sales folks send, right? And the only thing I would measure if they're sending emails, it's not a measure of success, it's actually a measure of failure, right? Because, you know, if somebody sent you tons of emails, they're not back to the contact sport, they're not contacting, connecting on a personal level with people, right? If I go to my inbox right now, I have 100 unread emails, and I'm gonna process them today but it's not going to be an emotional connection with any single one of these people.
Umar Hameed 13:56
So how we balance that. So yesterday, I had one of the employees and during the screenshare because she's not here in Toronto, and I said, "Let me do some dials." And so the third dial that I did, the person actually picked up and they said, "The only reason I picked up dude was expecting a call from that area code," and I thought coming in. So otherwise that was not going to pick up because I don't recognize the number I don't pick up and we're getting more and more of that. So what do you see in the landscape as people are, A, you've got a bunch of people saying, "Cold calling is dead, don't call call it doesn't work," and you and I both know that it does work, but it only works if you get compensation. So what are you seeing in the landscape, are we getting enough conversations? How many dials to conversation are you guys seeing?
Sean Leonard 14:41
Yeah, so it comes down to exactly that is that you know if the phone rings here, you know if I if someone's phoning me, first thing I'm going to do is look and see who it is and assess my my current workload. And is this important for me right now to take this call, or is it important for me to go back to it, right? If you just think of the process of the, of the the prospect, put put yourself in the prospects tie, I should say, frame of mind. And if it's a case that one and what we've had a lot of success with is, is starting off with a text message saying, This is who I am, this is why I'm going to call and I'm going to call it this time, right? And what because the reality is I don't get 1000s of text messages, right? And if somebody texts me and it's in it's on point, in other words, this is something that is all marketing, it's, we want to make sure that our messages are right time, right place, right person and, and meaningful. When we'll see, if I see a text message come in, you know, it'll bring on my my screen, and I'll look, "Ah, I'll take that call," right? And then when the phone rings, I don't care what the number is, I'm gonna take it because back to my rationale of accepting a call or not is it's my time back to the same problem. Salespeople,
Umar Hameed 16:13
Sean Leonard 16:13
because it's my time, right? So that's one thing is, is starting off with a, you know, a text message or some type of a very, you know, concise, discreet, personalized email that is on point and it isn't going on and on and on about whatever. It's just, "Hey, you're busy guy. Is this interesting? If it is, click yes, we're good. Let's talk," right? So it's not just, yeah, what's up?
Umar Hameed 16:40
So on the text, would you put a calendar link in there or would you just say, "I'm going to be calling at this time heads up? This, we're gonna be talking about?" Thoughts on that? Because for an appointment.
Sean Leonard 16:50
Yeah, yeah, here's my appointment if you're, if you're, if you're interested in this, but if I'm, if I'm dialing, right, my interest is get the person warmed up and make the call because I'm gonna make the call anyways, right? It's whether they, whether they respond or not, but it's a case that, you know, if I message back saying no, not interested, then you know, that's, that's, that's, that's a signal, right? But yeah, as far as putting the the text message, text message, the the, the, it has to be short, right? It can't be...
Umar Hameed 17:23
Sean Leonard 17:23
...like if I get a text message, that's more than, you know, a sentence long, so not interested. So it's got to be short to the point. And if you can say, this is why I'll call if not embed an appointment, a calendar, we actually shortened all the links to automatically with all of our, when we send text messages, our system FunnelFLARE will automatically make the link short so it's not this great, big thing, right?
Umar Hameed 17:47
So let's backtrack there a little bit. So if you're wearing your FunnelFLARE on the sales guy for FunnelFLARE today, and you're sending me a text to say, "Hey." What would you say in the text in the one line or two lines that would interest of VP to say, "Yeah, I want to have this conversation."
Sean Leonard 18:05
So an easy one would be, "Are you not hitting your sales goals?" And you know, "You're not hitting your sales targets?" And, you know, "Thinking of hiring more salespeople, if I'm hitting to a VP," because everyone you know, when they're in sales, okay, there's one as I go push on marketing to get me some more leads. But the other one is, I should maybe hire a bunch of salespeople, right? Maybe I need to hire a few more people how to hire a few more cold callers. So it's really about our pitch to you again, if it's targeted in the person who's typically in in the CRO or somebody who's in the revenue optimization side of things we're saying increase capacity without increasing headcount you know, that's that's a real you're you're wasting our your your salespeople are currently wasting literally, one day a week on non-revenue generating activities, right? So it depends who the recipient is, if it's CRO, then it's definitely somebody who's at least cognizant of, you know, how do I get more of the resources I have, because I we don't all nobody has infinite budgets to hire, hire people, right?
Umar Hameed 19:23
And of course, hiring people has his own set of headaches that you need to onboard them and sort out all that stuff. So I'm seeing a lot of organizations use video where they have like, BombBomb and some other services that have a link that embeds video in your emails, or you can put a link in in a text your thoughts on video as a sales tool.
Sean Leonard 19:44
And I'll back to me as the recipient,
Umar Hameed 19:48
Sean Leonard 19:49
it's typically shows a little gif or a little, you know, animated thing, and it's, I find it hard to get my attention in that little bit in the one or two seconds to, I'm not going to click on it number one, because...
Umar Hameed 20:06
Sean Leonard 20:06
...it's, I'm too busy. And when I'm burning through emails, it's, it's...
Umar Hameed 20:12
Who's got I don't know how many [garbled]
Sean Leonard 20:14
...who's got time, you know, it's like a PDF who's ever going to read a PDF? Nobody, right? And the little gift if it's, they can get the information and that little gift again, communicated to me quickly, then yes, I'll click it. So I can't say that I've clicked the video ever that I've received, but, and it could be the case that I'm not getting the right messages sent to me, right?
Umar Hameed 20:39
So if you hold a sign up like this on your video, when you do one of those, and on that sign, it says, I know where your children go to school, I bet you they'll click on it, then send it to the FBI and that will not be a happy thing. So going back to calling so A, getting people to pick up the phone and certainly using that text as a gateway to get people to do that super important and effective. Once you get them on the phone world according so there's two ways to go one way is. So this is what we probably used to get you on the show, it's like...
Sean Leonard 21:12
Umar Hameed 21:12
This is what we use to get you on our show, it was, "Hello, Sean. This is Umar from No Limits Selling. Our podcast has 230,000 downloads, we interview leaders like you on how they grow their people and their revenue would love to have you on the show." What do you think? So it was simple to the point there's that? And then the other one is more in terms of, "Hi, Sean, how are you today?" Kind of what are your thoughts? Like what do you need as a, you know, CEO of a company? If somebody does get you on the phone? What do you want get to the point quickly, like...
Sean Leonard 21:43
That's, maybe it's my personality, but it gets back to down to time, right? Is you know, we're, if I had the time to hang out and chit chat, chances are I'm gonna do with my family.
Umar Hameed 21:58
Sean Leonard 21:59
Because it's, it's about, you know, it's part of life and family is a big part of life. And the more time we can spend with our, our loved ones, the better. So when I'm in, in growth mode and work mode, for me, it's got to be short to the point what's you know, is this, "Why are you taking my time and what's the benefit to me?" right? So I might personally I'd rather have the short to the point. And this is why binary decision, yes, no? Are we gonna are we going to keep the talk talk going, right?
Umar Hameed 22:34
So think about a particular person that called you on a cold call. Because you know, that's the business you are in facilitating that. And you happen to be the ideal target for a lot of people think of someone that called you on a cold call, and then your initial reaction was, "No," and you gave them an objection, who was someone that comes to mind that handled the objection really well, and kept you in the conversation and maybe landed an appointment, is there somebody come to mind that was skillful in doing that?
Sean Leonard 22:59
You know, I get so many calls, and they're all bad. And the thing that is bad about them is they are, you know, you talked about the two approaches, if I get a call and somebody isn't to the point, and I'll just cut them off and say, Okay, what's the point? What's in it for me? And if they say, you know, if they keep dawdling, I'll just, you know, look, I don't have time for this. But if they give me the pitch and the pitches is, is not, for me, I'll be very clear, I'll just say, "Look, you know, it's a waste of both of our time, I'm not going to get into the rationale and explaining to this person who's a salesperson what it is, and I'm not going to be rude, I'm just going to say, look, no, it's not not a fit for us." That's it.
Umar Hameed 23:50
Sean Leonard 23:51
Answer to somebody who handled it well, because I already have my strategy on the phone to cut to the chase.
Umar Hameed 23:58
Sean Leonard 23:59
Get what's in it for me. And if there's not something for me terminate the call, right? without being rude. I know, I have managed salespeople. It's a case it's a, it's a job. And I'm not going to I'm not going to make their their day and unhappy day because there isn't a fit, right? But yeah, I'm not going to get into all of the objections or even talking about objections. I'll just say it's not a fit, right?
Umar Hameed 24:25
Brilliant. So Sean, two last questions. Number one, what makes you happy?
Sean Leonard 24:33
I'm very much into and I've always have been into technology, right? And, you know, I've even in the early days, I met an older guy. I was automating things, right? I was trying to figure out how to use technology to make life better, right? Because even like I spent a long time as a developer. When I was a developer, it was how do I write an automation to get rid of this administrivia that I'm doing in my code. So I'd spend two weeks writing an automation. And then for the rest of the time, in one click, boom, Everything's all set up, put in the stuff that needs my brain, right? So what makes me happy is being able to find a use for technology that makes life better, right? So that makes that I, I love it when we release something new with our product that is, I'm like, "Oh, I'm so excited," because it's, it's, I can just see somebody discovering that and, and it's going to improve how they're doing their stuff, right? So it's, that's what...
Umar Hameed 25:42
Sean Leonard 25:42
...makes me happy.
Umar Hameed 25:43
So it kind of reminded me, as you were talking is the first time I saw a palm pilot, I think I sold five of them, the next day, just describing it to people before I ended up buying my own. And that was like a revolutionary piece of technology that made me very happy. And so happy I sold my ship for them. So what's one mind hack that you can share that leaders could use to be more effective or more productive or happier? What's one technique that you use that allows you to do that?
Sean Leonard 26:11
Yeah, and there's, like, there's lots of books on, you know, Effective habits of, you know, Successful People. And it's really, for me, it's when I'm doing my decision making, it's, you know, they always say, what's the, you know, think about important or this type of stuff. And I think about when I'm making my decisions is a lot of stuff I got to do is isn't going to make me happy. But you know, how can I spend more time doing as far as the decision making what puts a smile on my face, right?
Umar Hameed 26:46
Sean Leonard 26:46
So we got to live by it's part of life, right? Because we got to be when we're even growing a company, right? Is what are the parts of the stuff that, you know, just absolutely make me excited to walk in during the day and the things? I don't hire people, right?
Umar Hameed 27:02
Sean Leonard 27:03
Hire people to do it. You know, even if I'm really good at that, if it's not really, not really...
Umar Hameed 27:09
Sean Leonard 27:10
Yeah. It's not going to blow my hair back. It's like, delegate [garbled] philosophy.
Umar Hameed 27:20
I was reading this book by Dan Sullivan, who not how in the whole thing is, "If you have the money to solve a problem, you don't have a problem." And it's more about the desire to do it yourself is so strong, well, I could do this. And it's like, no, "Stay in your lane and hire somebody better than you to do that task," which I think are words to live by and easier said than done.
Sean Leonard 27:39
Yes. And, and maybe it's the case that I'd be more successful if I did more of that. But at the end of the day, it's a balance, you have to, you have to have a back to what makes you happy, what excites you, right? It's, it's got to be as you've got to be part of your decision making process, right?
Umar Hameed 27:55
So before we part company today, leads me up to a project I'm working on. It's called Project Happiness. And we collect stories from people on what makes them happy. And the very first video I took was in Athens, leaving Greece, the Uber driver, and I said, you know, "Would you mind sharing what makes you happy," and as he's getting me out of his car, which probably made him very happy, he said, "I work 12 hours on Uber. And when I go home, I get to take my eight-year old son and my wife and we walk by the Mediterranean, that makes me happy." And nobody in the hundreds of videos that we've gotten has said, "When they get the Tesla and the girl and the job and the lotto, then I'll be happy," everybody that shares goes as simple things that we can attain right now, just like you described. Sean thank you so much for being on the show. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot.
Sean Leonard 28:46
Umar Hameed 28:51
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.