The Spot EP6: Sales Pipeline, Process, or Methodology


Ready, Spot, Go

In this episode of The Spot, we Juli, Doug, George, and Max, talk about INBOUND 2020, Doug & George's battle royal and more. We dive into two great sales articles, process, pipeline, and even sales methodology.

Are you preparing your INBOUND 2020 agenda? 
Check out the Inbound Speaks interview series.

Make sure you join George & Doug for the Battle Royal (INBOUND vs OUTBOUND)

INBOUND 2020 Promo

That Hit The Spot

In this section, we dive into a conversation around 6 dos and don'ts of a post-pandemic sales pipeline management. Let's just say the conversation gets interesting.

Quote from the article:

"Remember: People are seeking information. They want to feel safe. Everything you share needs to be positioned to acknowledge everyone’s uncertainty."

Check out the article.

Make sure you let us know your thoughts on this subject!

Latest HubSpot Tutorials


Tutorial - HubSpot Personal Tokens

Tutorial - Email HubSpot Dashboards

In The Spotlight

In this section, we dive a little deeper into what is a sales pipeline and how do you build one.

‘Sales pipeline’ is one of those sales terms that gets thrown around a lot: if you spend any time in sales circles you’ll hear a lot about ‘getting prospects into the pipeline’, ‘increasing your pipeline’ and ‘filling your pipeline with hot leads’ ... Check out the article and let us know what you think.

Until We Spot Again

Make sure you connect with The Spot team. Let us know your thoughts on the shows so far.

  • Juli:@realjulid
  • Doug: @dougdavidoff
  • Max: @maxjacobcohen
  • George: @georgeBThomas

Make sure to use the hashtag #sprockettalk or #thespotpodcast.


About the Expert

The Spot Hosts

Juli Durante is an always-curious marketer interested in the big picture of marketing and sales to help companies drive big revenue. A HubSpot user since 2011, Juli’s deep understanding of inbound marketing campaigns furthers Impulse Creative’s mission of helping businesses grow better.

Doug is the founder and CEO of Imagine Business Development. He’s directly advised more than a dozen companies who have successfully sold for a combined value of more than $1 billion.

For more than 20 years, Doug has been advising small and mid-market companies that are committed to serious growth who want to hear the truth about achieving it. Doug’s worked, firsthand, with more than 1,500 companies (and seen their financial statements), so he knows the difference between what works, and what sounds good and doesn’t work.

Max Cohen started at HubSpot in 2015 as an Implementation Specialist on the Customer Onboarding team after four years on Apple's Business Team.  He joined HubSpot's Learning and Development team as a Product Trainer in 2018 and is currently a Facilitator for HubSpot Foundations, which is HubSpot's new hire onboarding program.  When he's not coaching new HubSpotters on the HubSpot product and the Inbound Methodology, he coaches New England Infamous, a competitive paintball team.  You can learn more about Max and find ways to connect with him by going to

George B. Thomas is an Inbound Marketing Marketer, Video Jedi and HubSpot Certified Trainer with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He leads the Impulse Creative crew in HubSpot certifications with 19 including Inbound, Email, Contextual, and Content Marketing.

George utilizes his love of teaching and learning to help companies find their way to growth via workshops, speaking engagements, business audits, and of course, Sprocket Talk.


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:05
Are you a HubSpot user looking to stay up to date with HubSpot, inbound and all the information that will make your job easier and help you and your company grow better? Each week the spot brings you the HubSpot, education ideas and tools that you need to maximize your success. Make Work just a little bit easier and of course, brighten your day along the way. Listen in as Julie tuck, Max and George share their authentic entertaining and valuable conversations with the people who really matter. That's right you, ladies and gentlemen, let's give it up for your HubSpot journey heroes. Welcome to this week's episode of the spot poo. All right, we're back. That's right, ready, set, spot. Go whatever you want to say I'm super excited because if you've been paying attention, we have not had four squares on the screen and a couple of weeks and this week we do That's right. We have all four of us. I'm sitting

We're looking at this beautiful recording happening of the spot. We've got Julie in the top left hand corner max in the top right hand corner, and Doug and I are next to each other as we should be. Because guess what? I want to talk about inbound 2020 real quick before we dive into the good stuff, there is the agenda that you can go and start to create. We've been doing inbound speaks videos that you can go and watch to help you build your agenda and, and the session of all sessions that everybody should attend at inbound because it's digital, and you can there are no limited seats, and there's no social separation. You can also get real close together virtually inbound versus outbound Doug versus George, I mean, it's gonna be a Smackdown but I will say let's open this up, Julie. Max. Doug, Are you guys excited? Are you starting to look at the the agenda talk to me about your inbound 2020 travels thus far?

Juli Durante 1:59
Well, we're 17 Though so that's really exciting. 17 and a half days, according to I think the best thing for me about getting hyped for inbound, George is watching your interview here sprocket talk where we got some insight into how everything is going to go down how it's gonna work, networking is going to happen. So that was a really good way for me to get my inbound hat on, so to speak. And I've got my real life hat on today too. But Welcome to hack club again. I am happy to be here on the hat club. Hopefully we have some more ventilation versus last time that's really what I'm hoping for. But I'm stoked. I've been mostly looking through some of like the spotlight, spot light and keynotes and featured speakers. And it looks like for a virtual event. We've got some really cool stuff coming.

Max Cohen 2:46
Yeah, I mean, for me, I'm super excited to see Van Jones speak I'm I'm a big Van Jones fan. But I think the other thing too is like my past experiences in inbound. It's it's tough because you know, I was there talking to customers all the time going to like the big keynotes also like working during the day on calls with customers like all these like different things that kind of stops me from fully experiencing it like everybody else. So I'm I'm just super excited that I'll actually be able to attend all the sessions that I want to attend that I wasn't able to attend in the past. And, you know, kind of like how Julia was saying it's a lot more accessible for everyone, hey, it's gonna be a lot more accessible for me. And it's been in the past. So I'm super pumped to really be able to experience all of that offer.

Juli Durante 3:30
This is the first amount I'm not working in a few years.

Doug Davidoff 3:33
And I've been lifting logs running the Philadelphia Museum steps some I haven't had a chance even think about it, man. I'm getting ready for the debate.

George Thomas 3:42
Yeah, the debate the great debate of inbound 2020 inbound, never be the same.

Doug Davidoff 3:47
I'm gonna I'm going back to my my college debate teen days. I'm resolving this and what other things you do in debate, I would say I actually was on the debate team but is it

Max Cohen 3:59
is there Is there any insight you both can give on how this thing is going to be structured? Is it going to be like a series of questions a series of topics or is it just inbound versus outbound and go I'm I'm planning on modeling and after point counterpoint from from Saturday Night Live, nine, I'll play Dan Ackroyd and george will be Jane Curtin. I'm just planning

George Thomas 4:20
on a buck weapon and given one out. Just saying, just saying that's our work on with this. So, all right, well, with that said, let's go ahead and get into the good stuff with the section that we call me that hit the spot. Now, Max, you brought an article to us and maybe explain why you brought this article what you liked about this article, I can tell you that this people, this people is about to be a fun conversation. So Max, go ahead and start us off.

Max Cohen 4:53
Yeah, yeah, totally. So um, I know today later on today, we're talking about like pipeline management. Like how to Build pipeline, things like that. So I thought this this one was would be pretty relevant to what we're going to be talking about. Um, so this is an article I found on sales hacker. It's basically six do's and don'ts of post pandemic sales pipeline management. This was an interesting read for me, because my, my sales background I think, is a lot of lot. It's a little weirder than the more traditional sales background because I didn't have a quota. I had like ridiculous metrics I had to hit. It was in a retail environment, but it was selling b2b use cases. kind of strange, right? So I don't have a lot of the same sales experience that I think a lot of other folks do. So this is this is always like kind of new territory for me, because whenever I would work with like sales folks would be more of the, you know, setting up the technical back end and the HubSpot like software side of things versus like, the strategy. This basically or this article kind of gives like a couple little tips on like how to start thinking about things a little bit differently during the pandemic, right. So it talks about things like updating your messaging it matched like the tone of, you know, the current world that we live in, not ignoring the power of language and words, don't like just stop marketing to save some money, because that can be very detrimental for you in the future, thinking about what folks are actually searching for now that we're living in a very different world than we were before. So a lot of those keywords when you're starting to think about search engine optimization may be different, right? Because people are searching for things and solving through goals and challenges that they have in a very different context than they were before. Maybe not everybody, but there's a lot of people that are that are impacted by this. But also, like the very last one, don't submit to burnout, I think was like a really, you know, good one to throw in there. I've had to deal with this a lot. Being a trainer at HubSpot. And you know, this is sort of the advice that I've tried to give to a lot of different companies that have been trying to figure out how to take their onboarding from in house in the classroom to totally virtually facilitated online and I think this also applies to kind of any role that you're in Is that like today's work from home employees or not the work from home employees that you might be used to in the past right not only other work working from home their their caregiving at home, they're teaching at home they're you know, caring for their kids all the time the kids aren't in school. So to just not be so hard on your team in this, you know, difficult place that we're living in. The reason I brought this article up is not so much to like debate any of like, the ideas in the article and I think everyone's totally welcome to do that. But I'm super curious to hear

Unknown Speaker 7:34
from all of you, who

Max Cohen 7:36
you know have been continuing to advise your your customers and build strategies and you know, work on sales, marketing, messaging, all that kind of stuff, like, how has the strategies that you've helped your customers employer, how's how's the, the overall kind of themes of how people should be approaching sales and marketing sort of changed, you know, for you? And how have you changed your approach working with customers? Like during this time on accident I'm super curious to talk about. But obviously anyone who wants to jump in and talk about this article.

Juli Durante 8:12
So I think some of the things in this article are in line with some of the things we've done with clients right now. So what I found lacking in this article was the specifics of how to do these things. And what you should be doing is very general, it was super general, it also didn't deliver on the title. I thought the title was really compelling. And I don't know if the content really fit the title, because it didn't feel like pipeline management. In the article itself. It felt like kind of general like marketing, stuff to do. But if we're thinking about application of this advice, regardless of those factors, one of the things that was very important to us early on and if someone hasn't done this Yet or recently, please do this is that they do update your messaging and update your messaging but know what you're saying. So we had to look at our clients, for example, who are running Facebook ads, and Instagram ads, and even some Google ads and say, What do these ads day? What is our method in these campaigns that are live and running? And are they relevant, because if you have a Google post, that's maybe from two years ago, it's performing really well and the messaging isn't spot on for 2020. That's kind of okay. And maybe we'll update it or make a couple tweaks. But that's different than if I'm actively running an ad campaign. That's like, get together with family this summer. Maybe I want to back off that message a little bit. Maybe I need to make a little tweak or change there. So that's one thing I was happy to see. But doing like that ad audit, or that messaging audit of what you're putting out into the world, especially as current events change and new things pop up. We should all be doing all the time. The other thing I liked as a reminder, here is fpo and one of the things I have encouraged clients to do and that I've encouraged my team to do is not just check performance on your own website and not just check monthly averages of keyword performance and things like that. But also take that data that you have in math it with Google Trends. So I have a client who the vegetable distributor, they grow and distribute them at school. And they saw a huge spike in traffic from preserving and freezing, right terms around that, and they saw this traffic surge in March. So we said, This is great. Like you've seen a rank improvement here. The SERP now has a featured snippet. We're seeing more traffic come through there we see in Google Search Console, like you have a nice click through rate on these terms. But we need to keep an eye on Google Trends in addition to all of this keyword stuff, because we don't know how long this is going to last. And we should not assume that the traffic you're seeing today will be here tomorrow. So there's always kind of you have to layer multiple data sources right now. And that's an important thing to keep in mind as well. Yeah,

George Thomas 11:03
I gotta be honest with you, I gotta be honest you to Doug, I'm gonna, I'm gonna jump in here this, this article for me was a, I'm still, you know, oh my gosh, I'm trying to figure out if I'm a hole or not the jury is still out. The jury is still out. Because as I read this, I was like getting super frustrated. And I agree with what Julie said, Absolutely. One of the things that we did at impulse creative was it's about messaging, and it's about like saying the things that you need to say, but there's this little ditty in here. There's actually there's a couple of little ditties again. Listen, I may be in a hole, I don't know. But there's this part where it says remember, people are seeking information. They want to feel safe, everything, everything. Everything shared needs to be positioned to acknowledge everyone's uncertainty,

Unknown Speaker 11:57

Unknown Speaker 12:00

George Thomas 12:03
No, no, can we just like have a real normal conversation like we would at any other given point in time, like, so I don't know. I don't so I battled with that. And then there's this there's this section down here, where it talks about what the words we use, right? And trust me, I get it, I get I get it. But it says For example, words like killer phrases like to die for, you know, they're insensitive.

Unknown Speaker 12:32
Or are

George Thomas 12:34
are they? Like, maybe, like, depending on what your brand or business is, like, if you're in the medical space, and you're using terms like killer and to die for maybe, but but if you're like, doing food or content, or I don't, I don't it was very much like and I don't know if the world we live in is like an IF YOU You don't know if you're listening this you have no clue what me hitting my hand is. But if you were to watch the episode, you probably understand what I'm trying to communicate here. Like there's, there's, there's just this

Juli Durante 13:11
i don't think i think it's wise for brands to be mindful of the overall context of the world that their messages appearing in and listen, we have all had different experiences during this pandemic. I live in New Jersey, where we have huge population density, huge volume of sickness, huge, like influx and overflow in hospitals and like that message of like, well, if you get sick, there might not be a bed for you. That was reality here. Right? And I understand that wasn't reality everywhere in the country. But yeah, if I haven't seen a lot of brands messaging in March, April, May and even now with to die for killer this. Like all of those things, I probably would have had some reaction to that, that it just would have left a bad taste in my mouth.

Max Cohen 13:58
Yeah, I think it's it's really an too, because while this is something that we're all going through, everyone's experiencing, I think a little bit differently. Right, right. Right.

George Thomas 14:07
And the jury is

Doug Davidoff 14:09
better off if we just never used those words anyways, I think they're silly. I think before the pandemic they were stupid and ridiculous. I know on the sales world I get I get this really angry with with language that that equates sales to war that you know, we talk about battle cars, we talk about defeating hunting say, I don't understand why there's an understand why there's an adversarial relationship, I think, you know, killer to die for them. They're all overstated, lazy words that, you know, that are filled with hyperbole. So I mean, I would say that, you know, hey, let's, I vote let's just stop using them. In other words, in a pandemic, period or not,

Max Cohen 14:49
yeah, that's how I feel whenever I see whenever I see someone on LinkedIn say Happy hunting, and they're saying it in like a sales context. I'm just like, these aren't animals that you're killing. These are people Trying to help but I have problems so that I mean that that for me is just one that kind of bothers me sometimes.

Doug Davidoff 15:06
Now, so I think this article is an SEO article personally. Yeah. Do and here's the main thing. Well, you know it six do's and don'ts post pandemic sales pipeline management? Well, again, I agree with what Julie said, My first thought was, I didn't see anything about pipeline management in their post paid me, you know, I mean, it's definitely, I mean, I can see where and why. And I don't mean to insult the author, I apologize, but it was, you know, six platitudes of which gets to okay. I mean, I thought it was interesting because they said don't don't submit to burnout. But that that was the don't to do before that was double your effort. So now I'm a little bit conflicted. I don't know which one I'm supposed to do. Which again, kind of gets to like we're, we're we're oftentimes filling space. Here's what the other thing that I think is a that is a bigger issue. You know, we go we go through good cycles and bad cycles. We're in a bad cycle right now. But fundamentally, that's not a different person. In terms of what, where we go strategically, so it gets really, it's great for attention to say the sky is falling, it's great for attention to say everything is changing. You have this whole thing of virtual, like there's, I think three books out now called Virtual self. And I'm like, I don't, I mean, I've been virtually selling for four decades. And, and the biggest thing I can tell you about virtual selling is it's the same principles, I think, I think we would we would all be better off right now, if we spent more time focused on what hasn't changed, then then what has and but but you know, that doesn't get you attention. It gets to better outcomes, but it doesn't bring it down

George Thomas 16:41
and see that maybe that's where I was going with like, my line of thinking is like, there's so much that is the same Why is everything have to be about like, what not to do any more like one of the other pieces of this article, which I was like, and again, I think that everybody should read Read the article, the links will be in to both articles that we're discussing this week will be in the show notes. But there's this one part where and I remember everybody talking about this of like, well, should we stop marketing? Should we continue marketing and like one of the parts of this article does talk about that. And it's like about slowing down or moving forward. And we saw firsthand, some people hit like screeching halt brakes. Some people kept chugging through. But as I was reading this article, and I was kind of thinking of like life lessons that I've learned and things that I've paid attention to this, this pandemic, this thing that we've all been kind of going through, and this should we continue to market or not. I, for some reason, went to this correlation of a book that I read called the snowball, and the snowball is the biography of Warren Buffett. And one of the little tidbits that I took away from that biography was that Warren made most of his money when the rest of the world was down. Because he would invest when things are down and then when it would come back, it would like it would double or amplify what was going on? And so I think about like where we're at now, is it the time and Doug, even this article reference and you said don't burn out but double down is now actually the time to double down versus like cutting back anyway, there's a whole conversation there. I don't know what you guys think of that.

Doug Davidoff 18:23
I'll share this, you know, to get more technically specific and the decisions that Warren Buffett made in down periods is what led to him making the vast majority of his money. By the way, that's the definition of sell low everyone forgets I'm sorry, buy low. Everyone gets buy low means you're buying when everyone else is selling. I'm in business as a as a rule, frankly, in any dynamic environment. The the moves are made in turbulent times. If you watch the Tour de France, the moves aren't made on flat ground. The moves aren't made on on downhills. The competition separates in the mountains, right? So it's in the difficult times, that the decisions that you make, make a difference, right? When you've got a huge tail when you don't have none of you not have to be smart to be successful, you in many ways are rewarded for for short term stupid thinking, because when times are really good, it rewards you know, short term is overly one word. Okay? And, and it's hard to hurt yourself, if you will, it's hard to make a bad decision, when times are really, really good. When times are bad when there's a lot of confusion when there's turbulence, when there's ambiguity. That's when you know the difference gets made. And it you know, connects to one of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes, which is, you know, you never know who's swimming naked until the tide goes out. Mm hmm.

Juli Durante 19:54
So I think one of the things we all have to keep in mind is that to do this, right Whether you're making an uphill move in the Tour de France or you are making a double down effort in marketing, right? You have to have gas in the tank, right? You have to have energy and resources yourself to do those things. So if you burnt out in your cycling race, and you have no gas in the tank, you can't make that smart move. If you have no money, you cannot buy low because you're trying to pay your rent. So there's a layer here of, you know, yes. Would it be great if we could all just double down on marketing and sell more right now? Sure. is time a resource that we all have a limited amount of but a controllable amount of? Yes. But if there are other factors, like I have a client who started her maternity leave right around the start of the pandemic, they sell primarily to people service and our main point of contact became someone who also has many other roles in the organization. They can't double down on their marketing right now. We are doing as much as possible to be very smart about how we use their budget to get them the maximum output for what they have and support whatever shifts and pivots they need to make, but they're certainly not doubling down they cut their budget and we're trying to do pretty much do the same volume with less again you have to have gas in the tank to do more.

Doug Davidoff 21:34
You know, there's an old phrase that says half of success is showing up. And and I think people misunderstand that to mean that you just show up what what it really means is half of success is being able to be there. When the luck when that you know when the tail wind kicks in so that that connects to gas in the tank. You got to like job number one in an infinite game of business is survived beaten. Which is which which connects to that to double down means something different to me. And I realized that as you were talking what what you were getting at double and by the way, doubling down comes from gambling. It's a blackjack term and and you double down in very specific situations you're not doubling your bet you're not doubling your exposure you're you're playing to specific odds, you're cutting and you're increasing. So I mean the main thing that I would say on this and everything else is like I read this and for all the stuff that was good in the article, my question is, how is that different? You should be looking at your language you should be thinking about acts you should be cutting and doubling down cutting and doubling down so in some ways what I'm hearing your your client example I would say, like doubling down does not preclude cutting. The mistake that people make with cutting is they treat it like peanut butter like we hit a hard time and we do peanut butter cuts. What are peanut butter cuts. They're smooth. With cuts, we're cutting 20% across the board. Right? That that's where you get yourself into trouble. What you should always be thinking about, I mean, the whole idea of, of hypothesis driven growth of tests and experiments is you're you're putting more resource allocation towards those things that are showing positive signs you're taking from. I do think that one of the major problems in business and actually the thing that really hit me most negatively about that blog post was it felt very, very bro culture very, very hustle culture. On Hey, get out there and hustle. As opposed to Julie, what you're saying, which is take a look at your situation. Take a look at your customer. You know, your job is allocate those resources and what I would say to somebody, especially in a bad time is you should cut the shit out of things so that you can allocate the resources to key areas. That will be the difference between Are you here on the other side or not? And I think the biggest mistake thing Make is because it's scary. They, you know, when when we're afraid we spread our bats instead of focusing,

George Thomas 24:07
man, Good stuff, good stuff. And it's funny because this whole episode is about sales, even though it hasn't been it's about pipelines. At least that's the direction we were trying to go into. And I want to get into our next section because well, first of all, this is Doug, an article that you wrote. And so let's get into the section that is in the spotlight, or it has, it has to be good, actually, it is really good. And there's some parts that I picked out of there that I want to talk about eventually. But Doug, why don't you? Well, first of all, let me give some backstory. As we were creating the outline for this I put in I wanted to talk about building your sales pipeline. Why do I want to talk about building your sales pipeline, because it's one of the major problems that the sprocket talk community has lifted up through this poll and survey that we display through content that people are enjoying And so I'm like, hey, it's a popular topic, we need to talk about it. And there was this like esoterical, like, almost like messaging back and forth between Doug and I have like, well, this and that. And so then Doug landed on this article. And here's the thing. It's funny because Doug, as I read the article that max put in, and as I read your article, there's this marketing. Hey, maybe I'm a dummy author. jury's still out people. I may be in a hole. I may be a dummy. I don't know. jury's out. I was like, Oh my gosh, like, a lot of people that I've talked to. When I say building a sales pipeline, they actually might mean just their sales process. And there was this like lightbulb moment of like, a process and a pipeline. Two distinctly different things, at least now I think so. So Doug, that's almost where I want you to start is like this whole idea of like pipeline versus process, and how those may intertwine together and then bring us into this article of like, why this and why people should be checking it out?

Doug Davidoff 26:17
Well, so I think you've got all out another word for you. Just to add to the confusion, you've got pipeline process and methodology, which are sales method. And then and then you have, you know, we could throw in funnel on top of that, and one of the things I get really frustrated about is, I hear this term sales funnel. I don't know what the difference between a sales funnel and a marketing funnel is. I'm being somewhat facetious here. One of the rules that I've always operated by is if you're going to have a funnel, you can only have one funnel and the you know, the idea that there are two separate distinct things is a large part of the problem. I think all of the terms are bad, because you know, funnel has, you know, a lot of there are a lot of aspects about a funnel. For the metaphor, that don't apply to how things actually work, we talked about that in a previous episode, you know, pipeline has this idea of evenness and spread that comes through. So typically, at least, you know, my experience when someone talks about sales pipeline, they tend to be talking about the management overview of the status of defined sales opportunities distributed through, you know, from beginning to end. And so it pipeline management is more a means of, of management and monitoring. The problem with that is that the vast, vast, vast majority of pipelines that then connects to processes and things like that, is they're very, they're very linear process driven. Which means they're also very, very internally focused. So they, they really are about a series of activities being completed. As opposed to are we making a progression? You're like a pipeline. A pipeline is a key component of a structure for go to market. And structure is the invisible hand that guides behavior. What your structure is speak so loudly, I can't hear what you're saying. I can't see what you're doing. And so when you say qualify demo, overcome objections, like I've seen many pipelines that have overcome objections, well, if in your pipeline, you have overcome objections, you're telling everybody you should be getting object, like, get objections, right. As opposed to what a good pipeline is, isn't a roadmap, right? It's a dynamic, you know, it's managing a dynamic setting. But it is it is a roadmap. It is a series of waypoints connected to milestones that are directly connected to the causation of the results that you're looking for. And so one reason why people struggle design pipeline is because they don't want to do the thinking before the other goes into designing a pipeline, once you do the thinking, designing the pipeline is actually really easy. But when you haven't done the thinking, you're you're chasing down symptoms. And and you're, you're actually adding to the the conflict that exists between buyer viewpoint and seller.

Juli Durante 29:26
I think what I really liked was the idea of highlighting this, this idea of sales process versus sales pipeline. I, as I was reading through, as I was thinking to myself, as I was reading, yeah, a lot of people really are thinking that what is really a sales process is their pipeline. And then it was like the next paragraph. So I had that great, same paper on it moment. And that's always fun to have when you're reading through something. I guess if I were thinking about this, and having you on this call in this podcast right now, how can someone determine if what they're calling their sales pipeline is really their sales process? What should they be looking for? To course? Correct.

Doug Davidoff 30:13
So just so I understand it can answer the question better. From your perspective, you're not like, what's the difference for you in your head, the difference between process and pipeline,

Juli Durante 30:24
just said to me, the process is a little bit more micro, it's all these little steps you're taking, based on probably where someone is in your pipeline, but based on the buyer, oh, this person has asked about x and now we need to why. Right? That's not necessarily pipeline, that's really awesome. Um, and it's like the type of thing that you're going to have a crazy flowchart about or something like that, or maybe not so crazy flowchart would be better, but, um, pipeline is really, to me, kind of an almost almost too broad representation of where someone is on your versus where they are in New York on their terms. And it's almost more of a tool of measurement than a tool of communicating with a prospect.

Doug Davidoff 31:09
It's so if I were going to sail from Annapolis, Maryland to Barcelona, Spain, I would not start in Annapolis and go to bars and just say, hey, let's go to Barcelona. I would I would map out waypoints.

Now, if if the seas were calm, and and the winds were predictable, my waypoints would be spread further and further apart. If I knew that we're in hurricane season, or there's all kinds of other craziness there happening, of course, the nature of weather with a highly complex system, but if things are, are less predictable, or more invariant, I'm going to my waypoints are going to get smaller and smaller. So, so to some degree, you have the level of complexity and a level of unpredictability. We'll see tell you how big your waypoints need to be those waypoints that I map from Annapolis to Barcelona, that is my pipeline, how I get from waypoint to waypoint solving for the whole managing my resources, the what and the how, that's my process, right. So, the pipeline is the map, the process is is the how and the why I would say that the map have far less change on a day to day month to month year to year basis, your your process is going to have a little bit degree more because things are changing your methodology is going to change you know, even more frequently as you begin to move down and the world changes and, and things along those lines. So, like part of the problem for me in answering that question is pipeline and process are so intertwined and interdependent that, like so here, here's, here's what I think we forget. We keep Thinking of sales as this other thing, keep thinking of buying as this special thing. And all buying is is a decision with risk, right? And so we approach decision with risks whether whether we're buying something or doing something we approach like it's the same mental process. Now, when you break begin to bring in b2b and things like that what you're adding is complexity, because you're bringing in other people who have different worldviews, different perspectives of risk, different perspectives of value, but it's still in the end, you're mapping a decision process. And so your pipeline again, I would say is the mapping of the the process and the components that they get you from from beginning to end with. Now the thing that's different about sailing from from Annapolis to to Barcelona is I can't get to the sixth way point without passing the first second, third, fourth and fifth, but but in sales Especially today with how, you know, with the whole zero moment of truth and everything else, these things happen in all kinds of pathways. And this is where exit criteria is a crucial component to what I would say to what I would call pipeline management. And that is for each of the waypoints you identify what are the critical objective elements that need to be met, to say that you're through a specific way point. Now, the mistake that most people make, and as a result most sales people make is we tend to look at the impulse that is most indicative of you being the closest to the outcome that we want. So you asked me about price. You asked me for a proposal you asked me for any number of things, which is very common, I hear, oh, you must be very, very close to making the decision. Oh, they're ready to buy because that is certainly a late way point. The way we approach it is you are at the pipeline stage. You're the earliest pipeline stage where all exit criteria haven't been met. So we might have a pricing conversation, or what's the price conversation, but because we haven't met the criteria of the first waypoint. I know we're still in stage one. And so we're managing. So now that's where the process comes in. What's the pricing conversation you had at stage one in your pipeline? It's a different pricing conversation, then stage six in your pipeline. Right. But But again, what's happening is we're mapping that this sounds complicated, but it's actually not. Because it's all driven by what's the context of you and the person that you're talking to, like, if you were going to talk to your friend, you would have no problem making the determinations about, like, let's say, you just bought a new car and your friend said, you know, how much Hey, I was thinking about getting a new car, how much is that? You know, they're not at the stage where they're about to make that, that final buying decision. So you're going to go into, well, you know, you've got to take a look at the add on package. You're going to find Well, you know it came out to x or you know, you're you're going to give some some kind of range and then you're going to cut it by $10,000 so that you so that your friend thinks that you got a really super deal while you're smart. But so again that that's how we that's how we approach it again, we what's what's the decision being made? What are the components are the decision? What are the key points at each component to let us know that that's been covered? The reason that decision reluctance is so significant today. And the reason that the ultimate buy decision is so unpredictable. Almost always it's because some criteria got skipped. And that's why we get afraid to make decisions but I don't think I've mentioned this on this podcast before I'm sure I'll say this again we need to understand the word decide and the word homicide both have the same Latin root they both mean the same thing. Decided homicide mean to kill, when you decide you are killing your other options, right and so it is a it is a this really biochemically difficult thing for people to do. We do not like to decide as a matter of fact, they hook people up to a brain MRI and the energy used to decide the physical energy used to make a decision is more than if you're in a you know, you're maxing out wraps weightlifting with

George Thomas 37:23
them. Yeah. So so I'll get to that here in a second Max, I want to I want to unpack your blown mind. But I know we're coming close to our time as well. Listen, viewers, listeners, the links gonna be in the show notes. There's a couple of things that I want to hit real quick. It's almost like the George Cliff Notes, if you will, of this article that goes into what Doug has been talking about here. The purpose of documenting and tracking a pipeline is threefold and I'm gonna shorten these create order and focus where there was chaos, provide insight, enable accurate forecasting, right, you've got to dive into that section. This right here. Though this right here, without a carefully constructed system, pipeline management often becomes about salespeople placating managers, managers attempting to show their on top of things to senior executives and senior executives trying to pump up their perceived performance with their boards. If that sounds like your business, by the way, you might want to read this article. I'm just saying when I got to that point, and then here, here, right here is where I'm going to edit and then I'm going to start asking a couple questions. But if you've designed your customer acquisition or sales process to close every sale, you'll be wasting time on clients who should be eliminated early on, which in turn means you won't be prioritizing potential large accounts which are a good fit. Now, with that said, people you need to dive into that article you need to read it but Max, you said your mind was blown. Here's what I would like to do on the end of this episode, and this is for max. This is for Julie. This is for Doug's probably for myself as well. What's One thing that you heard somebody say on this episode that was like a moment for

Max Cohen 39:06
you. Oh decide and homicide. Like when you're making a decision you're killing the other option that you

Unknown Speaker 39:14
had that was like,

Max Cohen 39:16
that was super eye opening for me. So I kind of had like a moment there when you were saying that that was super insightful. Love that. Oh, we got

Juli Durante 39:25
to talk about some Latin root math.

Max Cohen 39:28
Yeah, I don't know my wife's an English teacher. So I get I get I get the lessons.

Juli Durante 39:33
Literally a classic major in college merely. Yeah. But I decided I didn't want to take any more lead. But it's fascinating to look at how things come through in translation, and then also all of those roots and all the bits and bobs of Latin in English all day.

George Thomas 39:49
So Julie, what did you hear in this episode that you're like, Huh,

Juli Durante 39:54
huh? Um, you know, I think the thing that I always hear what We all get together is approach content with a layer of skepticism. I think that is always valuable to keep in mind, not everything you read is right, that everything you read twice is right. And you can encounter a piece of content, agree with it, test it for yourself and find that it does not work for you. And that is okay.

George Thomas 40:22
Doug, was there something you heard on this episode that made you stop and think?

Doug Davidoff 40:26
So, I think it's more all of it coming together with with what we were just talking about is the thing that we should be pursuing as, as growth executives, whatever the role that we're in is, is how do we improve decision criteria every every act we take is is the result of a decision, which is driven by some measurement in our head of forecasting. And, and the people who win ultimately are the ones who improve the quality of their decision. Most consistently, and that means skepticism, staying open to things looking for For what change is looking for what staying the same? How do we make better decisions? At the micro level? We think of decisions as big. I'm really talking. It's those micro decisions, I think that ultimately have a bigger impact than than the biggest.

George Thomas 41:11
Yeah. For me, it was actually when Julie stopped me when I was talking about language and started to talk about how not every situation is the same for each individual. And from a country level or state level or city level or neighborhood level. We might all be dealing with things in a different way and to have an open mind to how those other people are feeling or doing or dealing with the things that are being said. So that for me was kind of the stopping moment. You know, if you want to carry on this conversation, make sure you're hitting us up on the socials. You can connect with Julie at real Julie D on Twitter's at Doug Davidoff on the Twitter's max Jacob Cohen. Gotta love saying that every single time on the Twitter's and of course I'm at George V. Thomas man Make sure you give us a raving review of five stars or whatever on your favorite podcast app. But more than that, use hashtag the spot podcast or hashtag sprocket talk to let us know what you love about the episodes what you'd like to learn next. And while you're doing all of that, and of course, getting your inbound 2020 agenda together and signing up to see the ultimate matchup of inbound versus outbound. We'll be here waiting for you

Doug Davidoff 42:25
to dunk that.

George Thomas 42:27
Rocky. That's it. And we'll see you in the next episode.