In this Outbound Sales, No Fluff chapter 2 bonus content, we interview Brendan Alan Barrett, SDR Manager at Virtuous. We discuss, not just hitting your number, but how to blow it out of the water by getting hyper-focused on people who are qualified and staying in your lane.
Discover more exclusive content from Outbound Sales, No Fluff, in the Audible version here.
Ryan: All right, I’m really excited for this next guest here, extended content, as we talk a little bit further on chapter two – stay in your lane. Brendan Alan Barrett, do you want to introduce yourself? What are you up to these days?
Brendan: Yeah, well, these days I am a manager of sales development for Virtuous which is a CRM that caters to non-profit organizations that have donor relationships to manage. But in the past I’ve sold everything from foam that lifts buildings and roadways that are sinking into the ground to different types of software and professional services. So yeah, I’m stoked to talk about outbound sales from having that perspective both in management and as an individual contributor.
Ryan: That’s fantastic. Foam that lifts bridges and streets, that sounds like a fun product.
Brendan: It was, yeah.
Ryan: So you probably know, specifically with that product, you probably know a thing or two about why this chapter might be important.
Ryan: But how did you find the book in first place and what really stood out to you from chapter two when you came across it a couple years ago?
Brendan: Yeah, I don’t know, I think it’s just running in the same … I think I probably ran into Rex somewhere along the line because I ended up having him on my podcast, the business of family and selling, years ago. And yeah, I mean, when it comes to staying in your lane, right? Like, it’s a huge differentiator between your average sales rep who will pitch anybody and the top performers who are super selfish with their time, like that has been one of the major points of differentiation between those two types of reps that you’ll find on a sales team, whether it’s an inside sales team or outside sales team.
Like, your product it’s not going to be the perfect fit for everyone. Like, going to that foam that lifts buildings and roadways, right? I was trained to sell that to homeowners who had a slab that was sinking in their backyard in Southern California or their home was settling. And those would be 50, $60,000 projects. And for some of those folks they were a hundred thousand dollars upside down in their mortgage, right? So to pitch them that project and try to get them finance on it was like just crazy. But for municipalities, departments of transportation, counties who had major infrastructure I could sell to them many times over. So the 10, 20 calls it took to get that first meeting was a lot more worthwhile because I could make a lot more money on the back end.
Come to today where I’m leading a sales development team, we’re not selling to normal businesses, we’re selling to non-profit organizations. And not just non-profits who operate as a non-profit but specifically like they’re out seeking donations from individual donors and large organizations, right? And so if they’re just getting their funding from grants or government funding, like they’re not a good fit for us, it would be total waste of our time to go through two, three, four demos with the various decision makers on that committee to get a no decision. It would be a waste of everybody’s time.
So I mean, staying in your lane. I mean, if you want to hit your … not just hit your number but blow it out of the water, like get hyper-focused on people who are ultra qualified and prioritize them in your outreach.
Ryan: You make it sound so simple. So why do you think people struggle with this? I mean, we’re talking about the fundamentals here and people that are just getting started, what is your take on why people struggle so much with that simple topic? And there’s a reason why this is number two by the way, right? First let’s solve a problem, number two is make sure that that problem serves the right people right now, right? And for all the reasons you said. But why do people struggle with this so much?
Brendan: Well, because when people show a level of interest it’s exciting, right? Like, oh, if like I just made 50 calls and nobody has … five people have hung up on me, this guy is actually like, guy or gal, is actually staying on the phone, there’s an element of interest. But like I said, like if you don’t spend the time to qualify them right and ensure that like they’re worth the time to put through this process you lose all of that time that could be spent serving your ideal customer, right? Or pursuing your ideal customer. But, I mean, the reason that it’s hard is it’s hard to say no. There’s a glimmer of interest. And a lot of people who aren’t qualified like they will be interested, but that if they’re not qualified their interest most often not enough to get them across the finish line and so all that time spent is for nothing.
Ryan: Yeah, so if there was a way or a tip or a tactic that you’ve used in the past, especially early on to think about it, because, I mean, to this day I still struggle with this sometimes.
Ryan: I get to a point where I’m running my process and I’ve got an idea, right? I know the types of accounts; I know the roles or titles. There’s obviously a lot of other things that I learned quickly around just the individual’s personality, the use cases, even if they kind of look like it but they don’t have the right cultural, like internal cultural things, market conditions like this. But are there any things that you’ve identified that might help someone trying to figure this out whether they may be told to do a bunch of activities and they have metrics that they’re being accountable to that are maybe not revenue at the end of the day in their pocket? Do you have any tips someone could take action on today that might benefit them to stick to this fundamental principle?
Brendan: I mean, going back to the why. Like, if you’re a full funnel rep, like you’re going from first touch to done business. Like, analyze those deals that are getting closed, right? Find out the similarities, right? If you have call recordings to refer to, like listen to all the calls in order. Figure out what happened. And then maybe listen to some calls that you thought were very similar but deals that didn’t get done, right? Like, why didn’t they get done? What was the hang up? Was it timing? Was it that use case that is outside of the norm. Like, management does need to guide especially new sales reps on what an ideal … what the swim lane is, right? And they need to help keep reps in that swim lane, but, I mean, it really comes down to asking the right questions. And again, if you’ve seen those deals materialize, actually get across the finish line versus ones who seem very similar but then didn’t, like all of a sudden those questions start to become very obvious.
And why … like, or that deal that was super exciting, “Oh, we think we have a new use case,” and then it fell apart – why did it fall apart? Like, you’re not a product person. The product or the service has already been created. If you’re a brand new sales rep like you probably don’t have any influence on that product, and so it’s your job not to try to solve problems that your product isn’t built to solve but to find the opportunities in which it can.
Ryan: So that was so good. I think that the first piece is if someone knew that that’s like the table stake stuff that … I mean, well said, like first things first and I would it call as the beach head strategy, like you want to find your swim lane quickly and learn what’s working, go find the ones that are working right – best deals, best reps, whatever it is and like mimic that, right? What’s the look and feel, looks like a duck, walks like a duck, probably a duck type of thing.
Ryan: But the other part which I think is that’s how you separate yourself from I’m getting better … maybe I’m in a top performer too, like in the super like … I think that Mike Weinberg tells them like the ultra performer, super ultra performers, like they’re the best of the best. How do you do that? You go and pay attention to the ones that are not working out. There’s a lot more of those, and if you want to avoid that a lot more of those happening in the future you got to understand that autopsy. You learn so much more on what didn’t work than you do with what did. And I think that right there is the tip of the day, man. That’s huge.
So thank you. Thank you for sharing your insights here. I really appreciate the fact that you’ve been such a fan, you’re supporting still to this day, bringing people to the book. If folks wanted to reach out to you, how would they get in touch with you?
Brendan: You can find me on LinkedIn, Brendan Alan Barrett on LinkedIn, or I’ve got a ton of my own content and lessons learned on sales and sales development at startinphx.com.
Ryan: That’s fantastic. And if you’re Google searching Brendan Barrett, it’s not the MMA fighter, it’s Brendan Alan Barrett, so although if you took the shirt off you’d probably be about the same. I don’t know. So thank you so much again for participating and I’m looking forward to continuing our relationship. All the best.
Brendan: All right, man. Thanks for having me.