HOW TO CRUSH YOUR SALES GOALS

Tips on how to crush your sales goals with Gessie Schechinger

  • I mean, anyone that tells you e-mail is dead doesn't understand how amazing the ROI on e-mail is.
  • How our system works is, we really combine a CRM with a secret drip tool. And then, some strong reporting and analytics behind it.
  • We found that call, e-mail and LinkedIn are the three best ways to communicate with people
  • Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Doug: Well, welcome back, listeners, another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today, in the studio, I've got joining me Gessie Schechinger, and he has called himself, he's self-proclaimed, the laziest salesperson in America, as well as the vice president of sales for a company, called OnCourse Sales Engagement. It is a CRM platform.

Gessie is very passionate about leveraging technology and automation to surpass revenue targets, so he can help protect golf and bar time for the salespeople of the world. Gessie won the annual sales award at two different Fortune 500 companies. He has 20 years of sales experience, began in the Outbound Call Center, where he averaged 450 calls a day, or per week, rather, and he blew by his quarter by 297%.

Unsurprisingly, he moved into the field of sales, where he traveled 300 days a year, convincing the biggest companies in the United States to open their wallet. He now spends his time educating sales leaders to utilize their most effective sales tool in the world and co-hosts the mediocre podcast, Tech Sales. So I'd like to welcome Gessie to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today.

So, hey, welcome to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today, Gessie. Super excited to have you on the show.

And so, we find our best salespeople, we find out what they're doing, and our software shows you what your winners are doing. And you can duplicate that to the rest of the team, and get all of them.

Gessie: Awesome. Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk today. I appreciate it.

Doug: Well, and I know, in the beginning, we're talking about your role and your superpower, although the podcast is Real Marketing Real Fast, marketing's no good, if, at the other side, you don't have sales. So, as I mentioned to you, I like to have a foot in both camps. So that kind of makes the world go round. Do you want to share a little bit of your background, and what you do, and how you do it?

Gessie: Yeah, absolutely. It's funny, we talk about the marketing and sales relationship, and to me, sales always get back to fishing in one regard or another. It's like, the marketing team is like, “Hey, there's a pond over there!” And then the sales team's job is to actually get that fish in the boat, right? So…

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Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: Most of my expertise is around how we get those fish in the boat. And to tell you a little bit about my background, largely a professional peddler. I've had almost all the sales jobs one could possibly have. I've started out in a call center. We're doing 450 calls a week, just smashing through the phone, dial for dollar-type environment. 

I have done the field sales, where you're on the road 300 days a week, and then… Oh, 300 days a week? Three hundred days a year, as well as doing some of the SDR technology, the software type stuff, and then, leadership and management, and all that kind of thing.

Largely, what I've gained is an experience on how to really do a lot more with very little, and how we can leverage technology to do that. What I'm most passionate about is, as a sales guy, Doug, I am probably one of the lazier ones you know. I despise putting stuff into a CRM, I despise doing the follow-up paperwork, I don't like doing any of that. 

And so, I've always been on the hunt, to try to limit that, and to try to limit my efforts overall, so that I can just get through the sale as quickly as possible.

Doug: Yeah, I did read that, that it says that you were the laziest salesperson in America. And I thought, “Well, that's cool, because you're obviously making lots of money,” so it goes against the common, the Instagram post saying “grind, grind, grind.” You're saying, “No, let's be smarter and convert sales, opposed to beating your head against the wall.”

Gessie: Yeah, I'm a big fan of both beer and golf. And so, if I grind too much, it won't allow time for those.

Doug: And they go well together, beer and golf.

Gessie: They really do, they really do.

Doug: So what are the issues that you see in the marketplace today? So, for many of our listeners, they have a CRM, or they've tried a CRM, or in my case, I've tried several CRMs, my clients all use different products. And at the end of the day, I just don't have very many conversations with people saying, “Man, I love this system you've got in place. It regularly produces leads, our sales guys love it, and things are going well.”

Gessie: Yeah. And the thing is, is that, by and large, you're going to find a lot of similarities among software, and solutions, out on the market. There's going to be, everything's doing, everybody's doing the same thing, to a certain extent, maybe with a little bit of twist. And there is a lot of, what I would say, are specialty tools, where you have… like, this is, we have Salesforce first, CRM, and maybe SalesLoft for automation, and we got Mailchimp for e-mail, and we got Calendly for our calendar.

There's lots of SAS solutions out there, and I know, from listening to your podcast, that you provide your listeners with tons of information on, you had Matthew Dunn talking about e-mail engagement, and you had a lady talking about video content messaging. There are all these great tactics and information we can change. And for me, what I'm trying to do is, I want to use all those tactics, and I want to use them in one place, so that I can see when and where to use them, and have a compass, so to speak, on when I should be using tools and [inaudible 00:05:06].

What we're trying to do, and shameless plug, at OnCourse, is that greatest situation where we can have all of these features and functionalities into one thing, so that we can really get a clear picture of how our messaging is going, is it delivering, is it landing to the audience that we want it to land on? And just as good as the content itself is, is really the timing. Timing's everything. And the goal, to just put that all together, so we can really just make all of the business owners' and salespeople's lives easier. I mean, that's what I'm really trying to do at the end of the day.

Doug: Well, and I saw something interesting, looking at your bio, which ties into a passion of mine, which is e-mail. One of the questions that were there was, “Does e-mail still work?” And I saw that your platform not only combined e-mail, which many people have said is dead, it combines text and SMS, which people before they said the e-mail was dead, they said texting was dead. And I have guys like Gary V, selling out entire wine collections, using a simple text messaging platform. Every single day, seven days a week, they sell out blocks of inventory.

Gessie: I mean, anyone that tells you e-mail is dead doesn't understand how amazing the ROI on e-mail is. You can promote-

Doug: Oh, maybe we shouldn't tell them. Let's just keep that a secret-

Gessie: Yeah, that's right!

Doug: So we can make money, and they can keep working. We can golf.

Gessie: I mean, I'm just telling you, when it comes to ROI, e-mail is the best thing on Planet Earth. Because, sure, so Doug, I wake up in the morning, I get up and I don't know why I smile when I do it. But I erase anywhere from 15 to 20 e-mails. I have a rolling tally in the morning when I wake up, and crushing those 15 to 20 makes me feel better.

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Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Doug: That's why you never respond to me. Now I get it! Okay.

Gessie: But occasionally, somebody gets through. And I don't know why would you, but there is an organization called TOPO, that puts a report on… I'm not sure if you're familiar with it or not, but on all these outreaches type things. And so, they give you, kind of like a highlight.

So it's, if you're trying to do a complete cold outbound, in today's world, it's going to take 14 to 16 touches. Those touches are going to have been a variety of calls, e-mails, LinkedIn, sometimes chat, and it's going to take almost 21 days. And that's what we know over surveying 240 businesses.

And so, you're going to need combinations, because we have created… Back in the day, I was cold calling, and I just knew, you do this many calls, you have this many leads, and things would go. Now I go out to our sales floor, and it's silent, and a couple of years ago, that would have made me extremely nervous. Now-

Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: Now I know that, when they're calling, they're lost for two to three minutes in a phone tree, just trying to get to a person that maybe they can leave a voicemail with. And so, we've created all these different communication channels, and we have to navigate how people want to be communicated to. And so, you've got to test a lot of waters, and we needed a machine that could help us test those waters, so we'd know how our particular audience is going to engage.

Doug: So, how do you develop that sort of thinking in an organization? Because lots of people have CRM, and I think they use it as a, like a glorified database. They put all their leads in there, and then they still use it for sending out some cold e-mails, and/or just some cold outreach telephone calls. So how do you actually build engagement into your sales process, so when somebody enters at one point, at the other end, they leave a happy customer, and haven't given you their credit card number?

Gessie: Yeah so, how our system works is, we really combine a CRM with a secret drip tool. And then, some strong reporting and analytics behind it. And so, you'll have the opportunity, because most CRMs, to your point, it's the contact list. And by and large, a lot of people, they don't know what they don't know about the CRM. And so, maybe it has a bunch of things that they could use at OnCourse. 

I know our position is, we do free training for a year, to help guide people, to make sure they're getting the juice out of the system. But you wanted to spend, take the time to do the training, understand what the system's capable of. And you want to find a system that will monitor, not just your contacts, but also, the communication, and give you some… You've all seen HubSpot or MailChimp or one of those guys, where you can see the opens, clicks, stuff like that, [inaudible 00:09:43] replies.

And so, you want to take that information, and it's really fun. Because if you have a system like OnCourse, you can tweak messaging. So here's a really good story, that it'll kind of lay on the point. And actually, I think one of your previous guests might have talked about it. But I, the first time somebody sent me an e-mail that had a video embedded in it, and that it had this girl with a sign, that said, “Jesse Waving.”

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And I was like, “Wow, that's next-level marketing right there, A+ for her. Need to hire her immediately!” But I was so enthralled, and I took, or I told our entire sales team to go hammer people with video e-mails, “We're doing this, it's genius!” 

But I did it all as the first message, and nobody had ever seen her e-mail before or anything like that, and it totally landed on its face. And we didn't get anywhere with it. And so, I was like, “What the heck, man? This worked so awesomely on me! What are we doing wrong?” And so, we started tweaking, and we just, we quickly recognized, that if other e-mails were going out, the first six were getting deleted.

And if we put it in that seventh or eighth position, all of a sudden, the open rate goes up. Now the engagement starts happening. And the same thing with LinkedIn. I'm sure that a bunch of your listeners probably market on LinkedIn, you've had experts on LinkedIn before. I mean, LinkedIn, in my opinion, should be the very first move that every SDR in the country does. Introduce yourself, so that they can see a name and a face next to it, and your success rate goes up dramatically.

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Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Doug: So how are you guys tying that into your sales process, then? Just walk us through, so we understand what you mean.

Gessie: Yeah, so, in addition to the sequencing stuff, our tool… So I'll just walk you through exactly how we sell.

Doug: Sure.

Gessie: Our tool, we have a Chrome plug-in that works with OnCourse. And so, we go, we have a certain filter in our decision-makers, that we filter for, and we look them up on LinkedIn. And we can kind of hit that Chrome plug-in, which will capture a list of those people, and their LinkedIn URLs. And as much as you're going to hear me preach my automation, personalization is also extremely important. And there are places that you can get away with templates, and there are places that you can't.

In my opinion, LinkedIn is not a place where you can get away with templates. If you get a message on LinkedIn that has two or three paragraphs, it's like, “Dude, I know you didn't just write that for me. I know that this was a copy and paste [inaudible 00:12:06].”

Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: When you're using two or three sentences, like, “All right. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you took some time.” So with ours, we start with that, we hit LinkedIn, we follow up in two days, we're trying to connect. We follow up with a message after we get a connection [inaudible 00:12:21]. After that, we throw them into an e-mail/call campaign. 

We're constantly fine-tuning our process. And one of the greatest things is that we had a very mature business, so our mother company's called [Symtech 00:12:35]. We had a very mature sales force, but we had to start a brand new sales force on the OnCourse side. And nothing's scarier than trying to hire people when you don't know exactly what you're trying to do is going to work. And one of the things that we had to-

Doug: It's called, that's called testing.

Gessie: Yeah! That's like, better to test with two guys than 10, right?

Doug: Yeah. For sure.

Gessie: Turns out seven guys with shovels, digging in the wrong spot, isn't, doesn't help the team.

Doug: No. That's right.

Gessie: But, oh, it really is like, these analytics allowed us to get that secret sauce, so to speak, and put that together. And then it's all about amplifying. And that's where automation's amazing. Once you've found a certain audience, that likes to communicate in a certain way, you can double down, and just repeat the process.

Doug: So then why don't you share, just a bit, so our listener can get an idea, what sort of metrics and what sort of reporting you're looking at? Because so many times, I've been guilty of it, and I see other people do the same thing, where we have these tools, whatever the tool is, whether it's something we're posting on social with, something we're… As you said, we're using LinkedIn, or we're using canned responses to our VAs posting that. 

My VA posts a canned welcome message to people that basically says, “Hey, after she approves you to make sure you're a real person,” basically says, “Hey, great to connect! I'm on LinkedIn to build relationships,” so… If you want to connect with me, pitch me, but at least understand what my business is. So some of the stuff, we do this canned, and so, what are you guys seeing on the back end?

As you said, find out what resonates with your audience. So you're using LinkedIn culling, social, SMS, so you've obviously got some good analytics.

Gessie: Yeah so, I'll share with you the one thing I just want to point out, but since you brought it up was, we certainly do not do any cold outreach with SMS. T

Doug: Okay.

Gessie: That's a…

Doug: Good, that's against the law.

Gessie: That's, yeah… We do a lot of it for customer retention, and it's an awesome tool for that, especially trade shows. “We're giving away an Apple TV at three o'clock, come to my booth!” SMS is good for that kind of stuff. But so, when we look, we find that generally speaking, as I said, you need to… We found that call, e-mail and LinkedIn are the three best ways to communicate with people. And the order of that being, basically, LinkedIn, messaging. Then you put a new filter out an e-mail in calling.

And so, if I were to give you an example of a plan, so to speak, that has been highly effective for us? And I think you mentioned it. As you said, you're there to connect, you're not there to get sold, right? And any time that you're going to one of the worst things that you can do is just download a list off of ZoomInfo, or some other source, and just upload it into a thing and get jamming,

Sure, it might and probably will produce some results. But you're about to automate and throw some real horsepower behind these leads. And so, day one is really researching a lead. We don't mass input people into things. We go through and make sure that we have a target customer, and then we throw the automation. And then… So let's put it this way, Doug, we don't beat up everybody. We find the guy we want to get beat up, and-

Doug: Yeah, we're selective, though. Well, and I tell people, when they say, “Well, what do you do?” I say, “Well, we find your ideal customer. I get a really big stick I whittle down one end. I beat them over the head, I pick them up by the pant legs, and I shake them upside down, till all their money comes out. Are you okay with that approach?” Yeah, I agree with you. We don't beat up everyone, just the people that we can help.

Gessie: Just the people we know that we have a, they have a problem that we can solve.

Doug: Absolutely.

Gessie: And so, part of it, day one, our guys do pre-call research. And then, we also, typically, at the point we have a basic case study. And so, we are sniffers on a problem that we know we can solve for a specific industry. And so, we put that model again. And so, we do a lot on the first day. 

So the first day, you're getting a lot of Gessie, right? You got a voicemail, you got an e-mail, and you got, probably a LinkedIn InMail, right, for example.

Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: Day two, I'm following up. Going to hit you with another voicemail, another e-mail. Then I'm going to give you a little bit of time to breathe. Maybe I'm going to share an article about a problem that I think you might have. And then, we're throwing you into that automated sequence. I just want to make sure that I'm answering your question specifically enough. And so, the click, the open rates we see is that, with e-mail alone, you get 2%. Throw in a phone call, you get 12%. Throw in LinkedIn, and you're not going to believe this, but we are up to, 18-19%.

Doug: Wow! 

Gessie: Yeah, these are people that are engaging. These aren't people I'm selling, they're not people I'm closing. But when I'm out here, throwing the ball to people, and these are people that are actually throwing the ball back.

Doug: Yup. That's cool. Those are crazy numbers. So, do you see all those metrics on your platform? So, well, as a sales manager, from looking at this, I can actually see how many e-mails have gone out, how many phone calls and how many LinkedIn connections, so I can actually visualize that, and see who's producing and who's not.

Gessie: Yeah, so-

Doug: Or what's working.

Gessie: Yeah, so we have big reporting in the back end, that you can kind of quarterback. And the cool thing about it is, not only am I get to see what vestige is working, I get to see the timing of that message, how effective it's been. And, as a smart sales manager, I probably have groups of people doing a couple of different things, to AV test the messaging. And so, you get to see all that.

But then, all of a sudden, you also will let, you'll see these click rates, and you'll see some of these things going. And furthermore, if you're like me, “Doug, I'm just not here, riding other people's coattails,” right? Lots of brilliant people out in the world.

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And so, we find our best salespeople, we find out what they're doing, and our software shows you what your winners are doing. And you can duplicate that to the rest of the team, and get all of them. One of our SDRs, a young lady, [Kenzie 00:18:27], had this little message on LinkedIn. And it was like, “Man, you got four demos in one day?” It's like, “Everybody switch,” and so…

Doug: That's hilarious.

Gessie: And [inaudible 00:18:38], there's lots of cool stuff with that. And you just kind of duplicate, and you get lots of really cool numbers to just play with. As most of us are becoming more and more analytical, sales is… There will always be an art form to it, in my opinion. My dad was a career sales guy, and he despises the fact that I think computers can do this. He's one of those guys that, handshake, is full suit and scarf, the whole nine yards.

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Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: And all over the city, and just hates the fact of everything I do, technology-wise. We have really fun things, we are doing on, who's selling more, but-

Doug: That's funny.

Gessie: But it's getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working. And it gives, I know for me when I go… I take hiring very, very seriously. And so, when I want to go bring on four people, knowing that, and I don't know how many of your listeners might be in the software business, or other businesses, where you kind of have that SDR to AE type relationship. 

But knowing that I can bring on an SDR off the street, and train that… First of all, SDRs, I'm sure you've had a million people say it, but they're only as good as you train them. You have to train them for success, you have to get them, and they're the number one part of our company. But I can confidently tell them, “This is my expectation of how many demos you can get.” And then they see it, and then, they get more confident, and it's just a beautiful thing that takes place.

Doug: Well, that's interesting, because I've worked in sales for different companies before I went off on my own. And it's funny how often the sales manager doesn't really know what the numbers are. So it's like, “Well, if you make this many calls, you'll get this many presentations, you'll make this many sales,” and very quickly, the sales team figures out whether they really know what's going on, and they have some analytics on it. 

So I agree with you. It makes your hiring process easier because you can show them, “I have a proven system.” So given the choice of, working for one company, where, “Here's the phone bool”… Or, “Here's a system that produces leads,” I mean, you have a system that's duplicatable, that produces leads, obviously is a much more fun environment to be in.

Gessie: Yeah, well, and knowing that you have a system put in place, where you can actually push people? Because if you set a high bar that nobody hits, say bye-bye to that sales team. You're going to have them fooled for a while, but if you can't actively hit the post of, “This is how much output I think I can get, but I need it to be achievable. I need them to know that they can do this.” And then, you can slowly figure it out.

I mean, when I'm talking to business owners about our software, I'm like, “What I'm doing is helping you raise quotas. Because we're going to put so much stuff behind it, that what you thought you could do, you're going to do a lot more. And you're going to be able to have a happy team, because they're going to be coming really close to their numbers, or just over.”

We need it to work in a place, any time here… And I'm sure, Doug, you've heard some of this, “He hit 180% of the quota!” It's like, well, he's either a rock star or that was a pretty low bridge to step over.

Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: And so, you want to see those numbers between 98 and 102. But yeah. No, it's, it helps with everything. Understanding the numbers, understanding their… And from a training perspective, doing the due diligence, getting that thing. And like I said, get your process locked in. Every business is going to be, to a degree, a little, special little snowflake. What works for us might not work in the exact same manner.

But largely, people are being used to communicate. And Doug, I actually have a question for you, I know that you… How upset are you when somebody tries to reach out on LinkedIn, to try to sell you something? Oh, actually, maybe I shouldn't ask that, because I don't want a bunch of people exploding your-

Doug: No, no, I don't-

Gessie: Exploding you're InMails.

Doug: I don't have any problem at all. I have no problem with people reaching out to me to sell me on LinkedIn at all. It's a business platform and I'm on there for business. The problem I have is when you reach out and tell me that you're going to help my law firm reach more, better retainers, and I'm clearly a marketing firm. Or I just had somebody say they help renovation companies get more clients.

It's like, do I look like I'm in the renovation business? Podcaster, author, e-mail marketing. Well, so that's the problem I have, because they've wasted their time. So, if your company, anyone at your company, or anyone listening to this podcast, looked at my profile and looked at what I do, and the clients I serve, and they have a product, a service, a solution they think can help me, then I'd say, “Do me a big favor and reach out.”

I spend most of my days looking for good partners to work with. And that's the reason I set up my podcast was, how can I find really smart guys like you, Gessie, to have on my podcast, learn what you're doing, so I can see, is what you're doing a good fit for my clients or my business? So I tell people, “It's really a long-form interview while I'm screening potential vendors for my clients.”

So that's that. I go to great lengths to find really smart people. So, if you can find me on LinkedIn, you think you can serve me, reach out.

Gessie: Well, and I think, Doug, that lots of people share that same sentiment. And that's why we've been so happy with our LinkedIn results, because, with… As I said, I started off with telesales, many moons ago, and people are not pleased. They have no problem hanging upon you and offering a few choice words on the way out.

LinkedIn, I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because your picture's there, maybe it's because everyone wants a real person, but you get a lot of polite “nos”, and you get a lot of “maybes.” And like, a sure, “Tell me more,” or, “Maybe I want to commit, maybe I don't want to commit.” 

And timing that right, and there's certainly a dance to be done there, where I mentioned before… You can use templates, and you can use some of that stuff to help you in an e-mail situation. We have our guys, we call it the Two by Two, which is not something I made up, it's something pretty well known. But you take two minutes and hit two points, and make it personal, and you kind of just are…

My approach to LinkedIn is, people are going to take the time to read this. At least we know we're getting directly to our person we want to talk to. There's no receptionist, no voicemail they may or may not check. So let's be respectful of that, and put in messaging that makes sense. And then yeah, I'm not going to tell you, you're not going to get some follow-up template e-mails from me. There's going to some of that.

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Sales is getting more analytical. And you can dial it in down to a science, and you really can see the numbers, and see things working.  

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Doug: Yup, yup.

Gessie: But we take the LinkedIn portion very seriously, just because, everyone's been very respectful, and we're going to do the same.

Doug: Well, and the other thing you need to do is follow up. So I look at people's first interaction with me as likely the very best service I'm ever going to get it. It goes when you're prospecting. So whatever your first introduction is, I assume that once I give you money, it's going to stay the same, or get worse.

So I have people pitch me on LinkedIn, great. Someone asked me, just the other day, “Hey, are you looking for this service?” I went, “Yeah, actually, I'm searching right now.” Cricket, cricket, never heard back. So that's okay, I'll find someone else.

Gessie: And so-

Doug: So, yeah.

Gessie: And Doug, let me hit that point real quick, because when you're selling on LinkedIn, and this is something that some of your listeners might have experienced. And this is why I told you that we have a Chrome plug-in that helps in LinkedIn. 

If you're actually actively prospecting on LinkedIn if you're trying to manage your inbox by how many people, to do that follow-up? Good luck! You're going to be scrolling down for days, as it refreshes to give you the next 10, and the next 10, and the next 10.

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: It is a nightmare scenario, absolutely. Our tool, it captures what you're doing, we capture the LinkedIn URL. And so, it mainly sets a task for you, to go back and reach out to that person again. And so, it solves that whole, “When did I talk to Doug last? Has it been two days, has it been three weeks?” Because it is hard to manage, selling on that platform.

Doug: Oh no, absolutely, and lots of times, it's my fault. Because my LinkedIn fills up, and I have messages go through. So I actually have a VA, and that's all she does, is go through my LinkedIn. And so, anything that looks like it's a good fit for me, to have a conversation, someone bitching? Put her into my Slack channel and I'll follow up because it fills up so quickly with other stuff.

So yeah, it's tough to manage. So I want to ask you another question because I saw something in your background for OnCourse that said, “What's the difference between CRM and sales engagement, or engagement platform?” So I don't want, I want to make sure that our listeners get a clear picture of what that is, and where you guys fit.

Gessie: Yeah, so, the first time I told somebody that we're a sales engagement platform, they're like, “Oh, cute, you can make up words for CRM.” And it's like, “I promise, it's not all pixie dust! It's not all…” 

And so, here's the real difference, as I see it. CRM is a tool that lets you store your contacts. It helps you manage your pipeline. It gives you great customer retention because you can store notes and things about your account, and contacts. 

Where the engagement thing puts in is the communication built into it. So OnCourse has, inside of it, it has a phone system, it's got a dialer. That dialer has several different things, everything from doing auto dropped voicemails, to giving slotted analytics on how much call time, sentiment analysis, all that cool stuff.

Fair warning, sentiment analysis portion isn't done until March. We're on the first release of four releases. It also has, like I said, SMS function. Again, strongly recommend, for retention efforts only, things of that nature. You e-mail out of it. The cool thing about the tool is, when you're e-mailing in and out of it, it syncs automatically with… Because some people, let's face it, they're married to their Outlook. Or they're married to their Gmail.

Or they're like, “We don't think we're going to sink the putt of getting people to move over to OnCourse, for their e-mail,” but we did make sure that it syncs. No matter where you're coming, it'll sync with that address. And so, it automatically stores that information, and that information goes back out. It's a document storage tool that stores the files, quotes, all that kind of stuff, inside the profile.

But then, you marry that on top of not only having those abilities to e-mail LinkedIn, phone and SMS but then, you put that into, we refer to them as sequences or cadences. You put that into a cadence, and the cadence tool, I think people don't always use the best way. They may be set up, again, a seven- to nine-e-mail drip, and just walk away.

We put a lot of thought into our cadences. We even have an onboarding one, that's strictly internal, where you throw somebody in it, and it pops out seven tasks that have to be done within a certain time window, that needed to get done, in order to onboard a customer. And so, we know that we're checking every single box as they come through and that nobody falls through the cracks in our onboarding process. 

But our outbound efforts, we are really kind of capturing, “This is when we follow up, this is when we go,” and it's managing what time we do things. And so, literally, laziest sales guy in America, all I have to do, I walk in. I see the inbox, I do my couple things, and then I'm done. The machine is doing the rest, and really, it just kind of guides me down. I don't have to think, I don't have to remember, I did all my thinking in one day. And now I just kind of cruise through.

Doug: Do you have a mobile app when you're on the golf course?

Gessie: Absolutely, 100%. On silent.

Doug: Okay. On silent. Good man, there we go! So yeah, so you are a golfer? Okay, good, you got that.

Gessie: Absolutely.

Doug: So, in terms of where this space is going, in the next 12 months, I mean, five years is a ridiculous goal. But in the next six to 12 months, what are you most excited about?

Gessie: I am… So there are two things that I think are really cool. One, which scares some people, but it's sentiment analysis.

Doug: Okay.

Gessie: And sentiment analysis is, people like to use the word AI, it's a little much. It's a really big, powerful algorithm that kind of takes the tone. So, Doug, one might say that we're having a pleasant conversation, and it's going to say, “Okay, when Gessie talked to Doug, it was pleasant. Doug seemed like he was in a good mood, and he might be… We're going to give this call this rating.” Right?

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And then we have… [inaudible 00:30:55], I like to poke fun of him when I'm on these things, or CEO of Cash. Let's say that Cash talks to Doug, and has a miserable time. So let's say that he has an awful experience, and so, okay, well, that's not good. 

Well, then, not only has it taken the sentiment off that call, but then, it's going to also calculate all the activities that went before that call, all the activities that are going to after that call, and really show you where the buyer's truly at in the journey.

Doug: Okay, cool

Gessie: And I think that's really cool. Anyone who's ever managed a pipeline, we kind of play this finger in the air game of, “I think we're 60% there, boss.” Or, you have that look-

Doug: Yup, yup.

Gessie: Or, “We're 75% close.” All that is about to go out the window. That guessing game is going to get really solid. And we're going to be able to really structured, like, “Hey, this guy's at the end of the buyer's journey, and it's our deal to lose at this point.” I think we're going to get really sophisticated on that.

I think we're going to get really sophisticated with, how we're reaching out to people, and the messaging, and the analytics behind that. I think we're just scratching the surface, between me and my competitors, on what's possible there in that space. 

I think we're going to see a lot of really cool stuff, where everything we do, and I know I'm on the Real Fast Marketing, Real Marketing Real Fast podcast, so I'm not going to hate on the marketers because it's bad for my business. But you will be able to take, instead of this big castanet approach, it's starting to get pretty rifle shot-

Doug: Yeah.

Gessie: With who you're after. And then, I think, those things are getting more and more accurate, as technology improves.

Doug: Well, I don't see why that would be bad for marketers. I love digital marketing. There's no place to hide, it's highly analytic, and as a marketer, my goal is to generate revenue. Which includes the client, providing a project, and the sales guy selling it. So I think that's great. For me, that's great news. I would like to take a rifle shot.

What I don't like it when I work with somebody and say, “How are the leads?”, and they go, “They're all bad.” I said, “Okay, so they're all bad?” “Well, no, I had two bad ones this week.” “Okay, so where did they come from? Did you track them?” “Nope.” “Well, okay, then we can't get rid of the bad leads.” So I would love to know where the bad leads, because we can fire that advertising, and not use it again.

Gessie: Oh yeah, 100%. And I think that stuff, and this is not my expertise, but our team does it. But I mean, the technology around tracing how people got to you?

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And I don't, I'm way off here, I shouldn't, so don't ask me any questions about this. But I just know it's getting really better. Because when I see our reports of our traffic, and all that kind of stuff? It's starting to get really cool.

Doug: Yeah, we track every lead to every platform, even right to the ad. So if you say, “I had those two bad leads,” all I'd ask you for are, “What are the two lead numbers?” And I can tell you where those guys form. “Oh, they came from that video on Facebook. So let's take a look at that, and see whether we should keep doing that or not.”

Gessie: Well, that really kills the age-old argument between marketing and sales, like, “Was it a smoking good lead, or was it a great sales guy?”

Doug: Yeah, that's true. Well, and I like sentiment analysis as well. Because I don't think you should shy away from that. I mean, if you think about it as a consumer, if we're having a conversation, and for whatever reason, I find most clients or not most clients. Let me rephrase that before my e-mail does blow up.

A lot of people will lie about their pain points, so if AI can help weed through that, and get rid of the people who aren't a prospect for me, that's good for them, that's good for me, it saves everybody time, and move the people who need the attention to the spotlight… Again, I think that's good, it's good for them.

So I'm not entirely afraid of sentiment analysis, or the AI that's coming in, that assists sales. We're not manipulating people, you're trying to work with people, who are qualified, that you can help. And the ones who aren't, you don't want to work with them, because they have other things they should be doing.

Gessie: Yeah, or they feel that they've solved their problem, and so-

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And so, you want to focus the marketing dollars you have in the right area, no doubt about it.

Doug: So, what's some of the bad advice that you hear in your space?

Gessie: Ohh…

Doug: So around the golf… Well, on the golf course, we've finished a round of golf. We're sitting in the clubhouse, having a few beers, looking at the sunset, and there's a bunch of guys sitting around and talking about CRM and Salesforce automation and all that sort of stuff. What's the stuff that makes you cringe?

Gessie: Well, we already kind of hit on one is, which… I love it when people tell me that e-mail doesn't work. Especially when it has a 100% open rate, the SMS is… I'm like, “But you don't understand. There are so many businesses out there.” And this was a real conversation I had, and this particular gentleman had a financial advisory firm, right?

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Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And a gentleman in these kinds of areas, they have, maybe, a couple of guys, that are like, the huge book of the business. And there's 100 401(k)s, or I'm sorry, IRAs that they're managing?

Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And it's like, “Man, if you just communicated for text, and just checked in on people, or referenced a stock, or did something…” They're actually thinking you're going to care because it's the guy that they just, a name they see on their statement on every month is, or quarter, as it may be. And so, I think a lot of people, “Well, I don't believe in e-mail marketing,” I was like, “All right. Well, I'll make money, and you can't.” “Well, I don't believe it.”

So that's just extremely frustrating. I also think that and this might be a little bit controversial, but I'm a firm believer that the salesman's job is coming behind a desk, and I don't… I mean, there are certain industries where sales guys do need to look, touch, feel, in order to sell the product. But I think we're going to see a lot more people working inside. And when you offer somebody an account executive position that's fully inside, there's a stigma around that, that's like, “Oh, well, you probably can't make any money.”

I'm like, “No. I think you can crush it, and without a travel budget.” And in most cases, and there's going to be some of it, but those are, I guess that's one of those annoying things, but not as relevant to my space, so to speak. But as it applies to CRMs, there are tons of them. There really is like a bunch of them, and I would just say, “Find out what your core need for it is, and then, find, round peg, round hole.”

Just because everybody's using Salesforce might not be the best tool for you. You might have something that has specific needs for your business. And I would demo a lot and look at it. And this actually doesn't help my business very much, but I would say, shop around, and make sure you know what's out there.

Doug: Well, it makes sense. And one of the things that I heard you say, that I thought was very interesting was, we spend a year, we invest a year with our clients, to train them. And I heard somebody speaking with a similar belief system around selling courses online. So, you're taking responsibility to make sure that the clients use the tool that they bought. I mean, lots of people are just happy to get a monthly licensing fee or an annual licensing fee, and they don't care if you ever log in. 

Because I bought those programs and never heard from them ever again. They never said, “Hey, I see you bought an annual licensing, you never logged in once.” Then you cancel, and they go, “Sorry to see you go.” It's like, “Well, if I had used it, and maybe I just needed a kick in the butt from you to use it, I would still be there.”

Gessie: Well, and another thing that kind of like… A lot of these CRMs are, take it like, I call the workout gym approach. Sign them up, and hope they never use it. We're taking a kind of an opposite stance in the fact that selfishly, I want to get so sticky to your business, that you would never think of leaving me.

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Doug: Yup.

Gessie: And to have so much value there, that you'll never want to leave. And for us, two things surprise people. One, they get assigned a client success associate, that's a real person and always answers the phone. 

And you're e-mailing them specifically. There's no help at whatever. We try to put that, again, this is a tool created by a sales guy, very customer-centric. And so, we have that kind of, we got the staff to be able to do that. And so, you get a real person that talks to you.

You go through an awesome implementation plan, we find, we're actually going to… One of the other things, and to, not to go to one, I'll be brief. But why we got to this point that we created this tool was actually out of a problem. And that problem was not only, but tools were also so crazy expensive. And I had to realize that I was, had five tools per man, and it was almost like $400 a sales rep. I was like, “What did I do here?”

There was that, but also, we were a software development company and still are. But we have lots of people that had such specific business needs, and so, we built a system that can be highly configurable. And so, we want to find out what's going on with your business. And then, we do a lot in our system, to niche down to what you need to be done.

And that's another area where we're trying to stretch out, because, every business… Even two different contractors have a little bit different things going on.

Doug: Well, and the other thing is, that when you do that, I think when you help… In your case, help your customers be successful, it's going to be a lot easier to recommend your products. The two conversations will be like, “Hey, I'm working with OnCourse, and I'm really seeing great results, and I'd highly recommend that,” if somebody's asking.

Or, “Hey, I signed up for this CRM system. Yeah, I don't know if it's any good. Our guys don't like to use it.” So, what do you want the conversation to be, when you're not in the room?

Gessie: Yeah, that's critically important to us, because it's scary. I'm swimming in the sea with lots of sharks, Doug, and people are pretty tentative, “I don't know, man, you guys are coming out of nowhere. I don't know if we can trust you yet.” So we have to sell lots of trust first, and referrals are the only way that I know to get past that, that objection claim, for sure.

Doug: So how old is your business, this business?

Gessie: So, Zibtek, which is the software company that owns OnCourse, we've been building software for 10 years. The OnCourse problem, we brought in Beta users in February, and brought in commercial users in September, is when we kind of launch.

Doug: Okay.

Gessie: And it's been a pretty fun wave. We've brought in 500 users since then, in two short months, and it's been crazy, man. It's been absolutely crazy.

Doug: Well, I should have let you know why I was asking that question because I've had a number of conversations recently with a whole bunch of different groups around CRM. And my conversation has been, “I'm sure glad I'm not in the legacy business.” So, right, “I'm sure glad I'm not one of the big guys who had built this platform 20 years ago, and now have to play catchup, and identify, and all this new functionality, including machine learning and automation and AI, into a legacy system.”

I would much rather be onboarding a young company that's got the newest stuff. Just imagine retrofitting in a Model T with a Tesla motor. Not so excited about that. More-

Gessie: Well-

Doug: More excited about, we're in the new Tesla that the motor's made for.

Gessie: Yeah, well, I hear you. And I sometimes, I look at it as, there are some big cruise ships out there, and we're a little speed boat. We can maneuver and pivot for our customers, so. But yeah, no-

Doug: So, a couple-

Gessie: That's a good point.

Doug: A couple big questions for you. Then I'll let you, well, I'll let you go back to doing what you like to do, golfing. I mean, helping your customers.

Gessie: Hey, man, be careful. I'm not very good at quizzes, so I'm going to do the best I can. I'm more of a C+ guy, Doug.

Doug: Well, yeah. And this is a, well, this is an easy question. Around here, the biggest thing I had to do is train the staff not to tell people where you are. It's like, “I've had an appointment with Mr. Green.” They're going, “Who's Mr. Green? I've never met him.” It's like, just, “That's where I am.” So who's one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Gessie: As you have a strong marketing podcast, I think it would be cool to talk to Ian Reynolds. He's our head of our technical marketing, and he can go in-depth, with the backlinks, and really cool stuff like that, on how to juice up SEO, and things of that nature, that I think that your listeners could benefit from, for sure.

Doug: Okay. Well, if you can find him in your system, and send him a note and introduce me, that'd be great.

Gessie: Absolutely. Love to.

Doug: And then, the most important question. How can people learn more about you, your platform, your program?

Gessie: Well, I am relatively meaningless, and we're not going to bring much value to you, but our OnCourse solution, you can go to tryoncourse.com, and sign up for a demo there. What I would say is, if you mention the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast, that we will take 10% off of your contract. And so, that's another reason to make sure you mention the show.

So, the website, we're also, like I said, we're very active on LinkedIn. So you can check us out at OnCourse Sales Engagement Platform, on LinkedIn, and you can e-mail me. I'm Gessie with a G, G-E-S-S-I-E, at tryoncourse.com, if you have any questions.

Doug: That's amazing. Hey, it's towards the end. Thanks, Gessie, for taking the time. I enjoyed our conversation. We're a little bit far away for golfing, but if we get, if we-

Gessie: Yeah, it's snowing where I am.

Doug: Yeah, yeah, and it's raining where I am. So if we get close to someplace that's warm, we should do that. So thanks for taking the time and just sharing with our audience what you guys are doing, and how you're helping people.

Gessie: Doug, I really appreciate it. Thanks for what you do. It's awesome. I've listened to a bunch of your stuff, and it's fantastic. Thank you so much for letting me come on.

Doug: No problem. Hey, listeners, thanks for tuning in. I hope you got a bunch of notes out of this episode.

I know I've got a whole page of notes. We're super excited. I'd like to become a lazier salesperson, generate more sales with less frustration.

So I just want to suggest, head over to Gessie's page. I've looked through their website, it's pretty easy to navigate. There's lots of information available there, so thanks for tuning in. Don't be shy to share this episode, and I look forward to serving you in our next episode.

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Get in touch with Gessie:

  • Web – tryoncourse.com
  • Special offer: Mention the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast, and OnCourse will take 10% off of your contract.
  • OnCourse on LinkedIn
  • Email Gessie

Find out more about Gessie:

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