What do you do when you land a great sales job, but find yourself struggling to deliver?
Morgan Ingram is sales expert and a three-time LinkedIn Top Voice for Sales. At our last Powderkeg Unvalley event, he offered some actionable tips for how anyone can excel in the new world of sales.
Ingram landed a great job the right way—by leveraging his network and relationships. But he was struggling with cold-calling and couldn’t rely on his social selling skills, so he had to find what worked for him in this new sales environment if he wanted to succeed.
Here are a few takeaways for improving as a sales professional, no matter where you live:
- If you’re going to cold call, use music to get in the right state of mind.
- Remember that the people you’re cold calling aren’t going to come after you (you have to go to them).
- Get to know the personas you’re selling to and study their behaviors.
Learning these three sales tips through consistent action helped Ingram get promoted to a sales manager leading a team of thirteen people. That helped him land a job training salespeople with John Barrows, who has worked with companies like Salesforce, Slack, and Google.
Want to learn more from Morgan Ingram and his extensive experience in modern-day selling? Join us for our upcoming Powderkeg Unvalley on May 19-20, where he will be a return speaker. RSVP today!
Yeah, that’s great. I mean, it’s awesome that you kind of ran into those pivotal sort of mentors, so early on in the journey that kind of helped get you on that right path. Yeah, of course, Pete, but also, that person that you set that executive you sat down with and put you at ease, and gave you that at bat, where you were able to connect with the ball, so to speak. Yeah. And once you did it once, you knew you could do it again. That’s That’s great advice. And I think just kind of sharing that helped a lot of people who maybe have nerves in their conversations. Yeah. If they are interviewing for a job, and they need to kind of get their nerves in check. What would you tell them? As someone who’s talked to a lot of people who are in much tougher conversations, right, where you’re cold, calling people who aren’t necessarily even planning on talking to you? Yeah. Do you have any advice for people to kind of calm their new nerves and what sort of state of mind to be in for those conversations?
Yeah, I do. So it goes right into the next part of the journey here. So for the first three months, when I was an SDR, I wasn’t good at all. I was really bad. And so I just couldn’t, I couldn’t find what my system or process or my FOMO was, and I relied so heavily on what my knowledge of around social selling was, but I didn’t rely it on like email writing and cold calling like I just neglected it. Cuz I was like, I don’t really need it, which at the end of the day looking back on it made no sense why I thought that. And so what I will tell you is how I got comfortable with cold calling and how I suggest other people that comfortable cold calling and how they get results is that it’s all about what should you be doing? before you make the call, it’s not during the call, it’s before and a lot of that matters. And here’s a couple things you can be doing. One is you need to have some type of song before you get into your cold calling. Now here, this is the reason for this. This isn’t random. It’s not saying Hey, guys, let’s go rageous No, there’s a reason why I’m telling you to go play music. So I don’t know how many people in here have played sports or listening in. But the sport I’m gonna lean on is baseball. So if you play baseball or watch baseball, you know what I’m talking about. So before they get up to the plate, they have a salt walk up song. Yep. That song goal is to get your mind to be like, Alright, I’m coming up to bat. It’s it’s my time. So you need to do the same thing with cold calling to be like, hey, it’s my time to call let me get focused. Let me get locked in. So you need to figure out what that song is. Again, I don’t not gonna tell you what song to pick.
That’s up to you.
But what’s your song?
Oh, so so my song is right, actually, it changes right? Because I can pick different songs. But right now it’s Travis Scott stargazing, like, that’s my song. Like, that’s my Okay, like, I need to get focus. Well, it used it used to be for a really long time, Meek Mill dreams and nightmares. So that I mean, like, that’s just like, classic, right? Yeah. But the thing is, like, now I’m like Travis Scott. But the thing is, like, I know when to change it based on how I’m feeling or whatever. And you got to figure that out as well. And I would say number two, is you have to also realize that these people that you’re calling are not going to come after you. They’re not gonna they’re all mad that calls suck, and they’re gonna fly to your office.
Right? And be like, yo, they’re not gonna, they’re not gonna make fun of you. That’s just not gonna happen, right? So I also tell people before you make a call, I realized that like, no one’s gonna remember you at the five seconds, as long as you didn’t say anything crazy, right? If you just did your normal talk track, like you should be. They’re gonna forget you in five seconds and move on their day,right?
Like, once I’ve done that my mindset, I was like, this doesn’t really matter. Like we’re overthinking it. And I would say number three is just studying and knowing your personas, like the more you’re able to talk about your buyers and know the case studies and the stories, it’s gonna make you more successful. And then that’s what I did. I mean, for the first year as an SDR. That’s what I started getting better at. And so I’m very comfortable in those conversations. And I even created a go into the story though, I created a YouTube channel called the SDR Chronicles that documented my journey and talked about these things we’re talking about right now, so that people could feel more comfortable in their roles.
I love that. And I think it applies well, beyond sales to I mean, even just thinking about CEOs understanding the VC that they’re talking to, or raising money, or that executive, looking to land that next big career move at a company that they’re having a conversation with, you know, knowing that persona, understanding how you want that conversation to go, what you want to get out of it ahead of time, those are three really great points. So I appreciate you sharing that. That’s cool.
Yeah, absolutely. And so round it all out, right? Because you said how do we get to the sales trainer part. So once I became once I became the SDR manager, I got promoted. After a year, I had 13 reps that I managed, which, by the way, if you’re a manager, like I would say, the cap is eight, like, once you go past eight, it becomes incredibly difficult. I’m just, I’m just gonna let you know. Like, I’m not 13 like 13. I was like, there’s a lot of people. So that’s just a side note. And then once I was able to be successful, and that while I was there for a year, I got approached by john barrows, which if you haven’t heard of him before, he’s done sales training for the past 12 years. And he’s trained companies as big as Salesforce, Slack, Google, all those people all the way down to startups that are just starting. And so he approached me to come in and be a trainer, I had no intentions of ever being a sales trainer. It was not on my radar. But the way he stated to me made sense. He was like, Hey, you have to actively prospect actively sell and do the training. I wanted to learn more about selling and getting better at that skill set. So I was like, absolutely, let’s do it. And also have someone who’s been doing this for a while to be as a mentor. And also we’ve grown to be friends at this point as well. So that’s how I got into this sales training sales coaching world. And I’ve been doing that for the past three years. So I’ve trained Glassdoor snowflake, you guys probably saw that IPO recently. I got into there. Also Google, I’ve trained them, Slack, Salesforce, my body, all those different type of organizations.
I’d love to dive in a little bit on some of the lessons learned on sales, even for those that are not in sales who are watching this, I think there’s a lot to be learned about how those gigantic tech companies do sales, well, and probably a lot to be learned, not just from what they do well, and you don’t you don’t have to drop names, but also what they don’t do. Well. I’m curious to know, what are some of the biggest mistakes that companies make when kind of building their own network of customers and prospects?
And so when you say building a network of prospects, is that more so like, reaching out cold? Is that like asking for referrals? Because there could be different routes on that?
I think both. I’m, honestly, I’m interested to know, what you see, isn’t working right now. Where do you see people putting effort that is just not panning out?
That makes sense. So I mean, number one, I’ve been talking about this a lot lately, and it’s been really hitting home with people I’ve been talking to, and I want to talk about this here is that consistent execution. And I believe that there’s execution, right, which is like, you’re gonna go do x thing based on whatever you’ve been given, right? a formula or a process or system. But where people make mistakes is they don’t do it consistently. They do it like two days, and then like, Oh, yeah, I feel good about it. And then it’s like, okay, but what about the rest of the year, right, whatever, for the next five years, right. So it’s consistent execution, I thought, that’s a huge mistake. Number two is to connect and pitch, that’s a massive mistake is that you connect with someone you copy and paste a huge novel, and it’s not relevant at all, when there’s LinkedIn voice messages, there’s videos that you can do, like, there’s ways that you can stand out and not just send someone, a whole block of text, right, like come with a relevant reason on why you want to reach out again, for context, that can be something you saw on the website, something you saw on their LinkedIn, something you saw on Twitter, like, I don’t know, but the whole thing is that you have to come prepared with that information. Otherwise, you’re going to be sitting there and be like the other reps and make that mistake. So when you’re looking to connect with people, there’s the Connect, and then immediately pitching someone is not going to be helpful. And I think number three, a mistake that people make. And it goes with number one is that you’re everyone’s looking for a golden template, or the magic formula on how to do this. And I and the thing is like, across all organizations that I’ve worked with, and then also just with reps in general, like there are going to be people who look for the silver bullet and the magic formula. And the thing is, like, there is not one, there is no golden template that’s out there that’s gonna help you convert, at the end of the day, a lot of it has to do with, do you have a formula, and then are you going to be willing to put in the work, right for number one, consistently to see results. And those are three things right off the bat that I see that lead into people not converting the way they need to convert, because a lot of it has to do consistently see a lot of it has to do with, Hey, are you being relevant and personalized, and really standing out because if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, then it’s going to end up being where you’re going to be like everyone else and not get the engagement you’re looking for.