On this week’s episode of Conversational Selling, we speak with special guest, international bestselling author and speaker, Darrell Amy. Darrell is a growth strategist who has consulted with Fortune 500 tech companies, specializing in providing clients with strategies to recover and grow revenue. He is also the author of The Revenue Growth Engine: How to Align Sales and Marketing to Accelerate Growth and the co-host of the Selling From The Heart Podcast.

Darrell’s mission is to help businesses “Rebound strong and build an engine that will accelerate growth through recovery and beyond.”

Darrell shares his best practices from 27 years in sales, as well as:

  • The importance of growth rate acceleration
  • How the Revenue Growth Engine began
  • The keys to unlocking revenue growth
  • And more…

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:



Voiceover: You’re listening to the Conversational Selling podcast with Nancy Calabrese.

Nancy Calabrese: Hi, everybody, it’s Nancy Calabrese. And this is Conversational Selling. It’s the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today. And it all starts with the human conversation. I’m so excited to have Darrell Amy with us today, a growth strategist, author and speaker, his international bestseller revenue growth engine, how to align sales and marketing to accelerate growth provides companies with strategies to recover and grow revenue, especially during these wild crazy times. He’s also the co-host of selling from the heart podcast, which is a wonderful program. He’s trained 1000s of salespeople in solution selling created digital marketing strategy for hundreds of companies, and consulted with fortune 500 technology companies, but simply put, he knows what works and what doesn’t work. So Darrell, I’m going to speak for everyone in the audience today by saying we love solutions and can’t wait to hear about what works and what not. So, welcome to the show.

Darrell Amy: Thank you, Nancy. It’s fantastic. fantastic to be here. And we definitely need solutions right now, because there is no shortage of problems, right?

Nancy: Oh, my gosh, you are so right. And, you know, I want to start off with a bold statement that I have found on your website. And I think this resonates with all of us. Key right now is to rebound strong, build an engine that will accelerate your growth through the recovery and beyond. And I know we’re all looking to do that. So what is your unique idea around this?

Darrell: Well, the way to look at this right now a lot of companies are really struggling with how do we set goals? I know, you know, you look at your revenue right now. And for, you know, if you’re one of the companies that’s taken a hit in this current season, and most have, you know, the obvious question is, how are we going to rebound quickly. And the reality is the growth rate that most companies had before the crisis is not going to get them out of the crisis fast enough. So if you were having, you know, if you’re growing 10%, year over year, let’s say, just a nice, you know, steady march forward. The reality is that 10%, year over year is going to take you a long time if he dropped revenue, say 30 or 40%. So, the reality right now Nancy, we’ve got to figure out how to accelerate growth. And the way that the way that we coach people through accelerating growth is actually really simple.

And it’s by asking the question, what is the way? What are the two things that drive revenue growth, and if you think about it, there are really only two ways to drive growth, we get more net new business, land, new deals, get new logos, or we cross sell more to our existing client base. And in reality is, when I go into most organizations, this is a great question for everyone listening in to ask themselves is of those two, which are we good at, and which are we maybe not quite so good at? The reality is most organizations are usually good at either net new, or they’re good at cross selling. The exciting thing is if you can get both net new and cross sell going at the same time, it’s like putting your foot to the floor and that BMW, it really helps accelerate the growth in revenue in the numbers are really exciting when you see modest growth in both of those areas simultaneously.

Nancy: Well, you’re jumping the gun, this we’re going to speak about that BMW story.

Darrell: BMW.

Nancy: So I hear you’re a great storyteller, and everybody loves stories. What’s the good story for the audience today?

Darrell: Ah, you know that there have been so many stories that I think about you in the district that are remembering today, is where the idea from the revenue growth engine came from. I spent my whole career in sales and marketing, 27 years in sales and about 17 years of that I also was a partner in a marketing agency, just working with all this fun, new stuff going on in digital marketing. And so I get invited to speak at a lot of conferences and I was speaking at this conference was a group of marketing professionals, sales leaders and company owners and they had me there to talk. They were all there to talk about growing revenue. Problem was, you know, you walk in the room, you can just see the marketing people are all sitting at the front of the room. They’re very excited about the latest and greatest marketing automation technology. And by the way, there is some amazing technology out there right now.

But they were looking back. The next kind of phase back in the room was the sales leaders and sales managers VPS of sales. And you can see the sales managers you knew you knew who they were because they were sitting there with their arms folded. And you can almost see the thought bubbles popping up over their head going, Oh, my goodness, what are we doing here? We should be out selling something, you know, these leads are garbage. This is a waste of time. Well, you know, that type of stuff, right. And then, of course, the thought bubbles over the marketing people’s heads are these salespeople are a bunch of Neanderthals, they don’t get it, you know, they’re living in the past. And then at the back of the room, the favorite part was that there were some business owners in the back of the room, the executives are standing there, and that they’re drinking their coffee looking out over this room.

And they’re just I know, there’s that you can see them thinking and actually, I’ve validated it afterwards, as I was talking with them over drinks that evening is like, why can’t we all get along and figure out a way to make this work. And the reality is, you know, marketing people think about marketing sales, people think about selling, but the real thing that we’re aiming towards is revenue growth. And the way we grow revenue is by adding more clients, especially ideal clients. So that’s where the revenue growth engine concept came from is saying, Let’s focus our efforts, whether we’re in marketing, whether it’s sales, let’s focus on these ideal client prospects. And, you know, then let’s ask ourselves, what can we do to drive more net new? And what can we do to cooperate to cross sell? And that was the beginning of the revenue growth engine and this journey of helping companies align marketing and sales to actually get results.

Nancy: Yeah, you know, I mean, you often hear that there’s a disconnect between both divisions, if you would, why is that? It doesn’t make any sense. It makes way more sense for everybody to work and collaborate together.

Darrell: It does. But I think that having spent you know what, my whole career in sales straight out of college and B2B sales in a really tough, challenging industry. So I’ve got sales, my blood, and by the way, I am a recovering sales professional and down to therapy twice a week. Now it’s going pretty well. But I love sales, I absolutely love it. And then also, I just got dragged into this marketing thing. I had a marketing degree in my hip pocket. And when I started my sales training company, my first client said, Hey, Darryl, all this stuff we taught our sales team is fantastic. Our websites, how to date, do you build websites? And being the first client I was foolish enough to say, Yes, sir, we build websites. And I built, I already built one for nonprofit and for my church as well, but that, you know, so I’ve had a foot in both worlds. And in reality is, we talk different languages. And I was on a call, earlier this week doing a growth strategy workshop with a technology company up in your neck of the woods in the northeast.

And you know, they want to drive revenue growth, they’ve got to recover lost revenue. And so we’re putting a plan together, and they’ve got marketing and sales and operations in the room. And so this, the sales, people talk about sales process, marketing people, they talk about saying, you know, they talk about a customer journey, and the, you know, they talk about the buyer’s journey, and all the marketing speak around that the operations people, they actually talk about business processes. So everyone’s describing the same thing. They’re just describing it in their own language with a focus on what they do. So what I think comes of what I see working is when companies go Okay, yes, sales, yes, marketing, yes, operations. The real real issue is what? Let’s all focus on our ideal client. And let’s talk about the ideal client experience. So rather than talk about a sales process, what’s the experience that a client has with our company throughout the buying experience and their experience, once they become a client? Then when we look at that ideal client experience, and start to understand that, what are they thinking, what are they feeling? What’s holding them back? What, you know, what do we want to happen, then, and everyone comes to the table and marketing goes on?

Well, we could do this to support the client experience, sales. Yeah, we could do this to support the client experience and get them moving through faster and even operations. And so what we’re finding is just like when you take your car to the shop, if it’s out of alignment, you know, one wheels pulling to the left, the other is pulling to the right, and that describes a lot of a lot of companies with sales and marketing. When you put it up on the rack to get aligned at that at the shop, they’re actually going to focus on the back wall of the shop. Well, that dot that companies need to focus on in is their eyes. Ideal ideal client, their ideal prospect. And when you look at things through the lens of the experience that that client has, then sales and marketing can start to speak a common language towards a common objective. And we’re seeing companies finally begin to align around it. And it’s so funny, Nancy, you see, it depends, you know who you’re talking to. Because when they’re talking about alignment, they’ll either say, sales and marketing alignment, or they’ll say, marketing and sales alignment, and you can get the sales people and I guess I betrayed myself a little bit, because on the front of revenue growth engine, it says how to align sales and marketing. But, but the reality is, if this, if we look from the perspective of the ideal clients, we want to bring on board, the, the sales and marketing and operations stuff starts to come into focus. And we actually are able to get alignment in some organizations for the very first time.

Nancy: Well, how long does a process like that take?

Darrell: Well, it doesn’t have to take very long at all. And, you know, the reality is, is it’s, I mean, the process of having that enlightening moment where we get, we all get in the same room and get around same objectives, were able to accomplish that in a day at an organization now the building out of that of the processes to support it, and then the communication between these different functions to make sure that it all, it all works to create an amazing client experience. You know, that’s a journey that plays out and becomes part of an organization’s DNA. So but you know, it could happen right here right now, the podcast, it’s all about the client experience.

Nancy: It is and my experience so far with you is I think you’re a car buff, because you use car analogies. And I love the analogy that you used in your book about not running on all cylinders. So share, share what that’s about?

Darrell: Well, so and I am a car buff, and I, you know, so I guess the growth engine and the alignment and all of that stuff just seems to work for me that we’ve all got, you know, there’s all kinds of different engines. Let me let me just talk about it this way. I mean, if you have a lawn mower, that lawnmower has an engine, it probably has two cylinders, maybe four in it. If you’ve got a you know, if you’ve got a BMW that has an engine, finely tuned engine, probably a six or eight cylinders. If you have a Ferrari, it might even have 12 cylinders. The reality is the ability of an engine to accelerate the vehicle is based on the cylinders, how much horsepower Do you have. And it’s interesting, because when you look at an organization, when it comes to driving that new business, there’s things marketing can do to help that there’s processes sales can do to help that when it comes to cross selling, same thing, sales plays a role. Marketing plays a role. The cylinders in your organization, I think they’re like processes. process is something that happens over and over again, just like cylinder and an engine, it just fires, right.

The reality is, most companies don’t have a lot of process in their sales and marketing. Especially when it comes to the thing they’re not good at. So if you’re good at net new, you’ve probably got great prospecting processes, etc. But if you’re not good at cross sell, do you have a good client manage? Do you have a good set of client management processes? And if not, what would happen if you created processes? For client management? We saw this one organization in South Florida great company, fantastic sales team went in to do a growth strategy workshop. And so what’s your goal for net new and they said we want you know, steady that new growth a 10% year over year. And at the beginning of the workshop, he said, Why are we here? And they said we need more net new business. And that’s the What’s your goal? 10%. So what did you do last year? 9.8%.So I kind of laughed. Like y’all are now going well, we’ll get why am I here? But when it came to cross sell this particular organization at a whole new business unit, they had a new offering for their clients. They’d spent hundreds of 1000s of dollars in people and training. And I asked how their cross sell effort was going into this new area and they just rolled their eyes. Everyone’s like, oh, my goodness, this has been a train wreck, right?

We haven’t sold anything. Well, if you peel it back, when you look at that area of their business with net new business, they had prospecting processes, they had target account programs, they had all kinds of sales tools. They were crushing it with their ability to bring on a new logo. But when it came to actually managing those clients and going deeper and wider in the organization to cross sell, there wasn’t any process. You know, the only thing that was there was, hey, go talk to these people about buying this new thing. So what’s incredible is one simple process organizations can put in place in that area of the business cross selling, they put a sales process in. That said, our clients that are that meet the profile of being an ideal client, meaning they can buy all of this amazing new stuff that we sell wasn’t a fit for every client, but the Wednesday was where we’re going to start a quarterly business review process. And so they didn’t just say, we’re going to do a quarterly business review, they created a model for it, they created a process to set the meetings up, train the reps on how to do the meetings, make them the value add, and then how to follow up on those meetings. And, you know, that process is already yielding results. So their cross sell revenue is beginning to accelerate. So going back to the beginning, if you keep that net new going, and you can accelerate cross sell, you’ll see exponential revenue growth. And, in fact, it’s kind of fun, there’s, we, I’m not too much of a marketing and sales guy.

So I’m not too much of a spreadsheet guy. But we actually put a spreadsheet together on this where you can very simply enter your number of customers and your total revenue and set a goal for growth in both net new and cross sell, and it forecasts it out. And that you can get it by the way, if you text revenue to 21,000. revenue to 21,000. But it’s really amazing how, you know, in a lot of ways, Nancy, it’s not like dramatic things that need to be done. You just add these processes in. And over time, it’s like you’re adding cylinders to your engine. And next thing, you know, you go to get on the freeway, and you hit the gas. And you go, Whoa, this is good. Right?

Nancy: Yeah. And I think it’s a free download, isn’t it? On your way?

Darrell: Yeah, it is. It is there’s all kinds of tools, it’s actually growing list of tools, there. But that, that spreadsheet, right, there is a great eye opener in terms of the potential to accelerate revenue growth, by just entering a couple simple numbers, so you can start to see the potential. So yeah, definitely check it out revenue, tax revenue to 21,000. But it’s these processes. One of the things we could go down this rabbit trail a long way, I think if you go into most sales and marketing departments, and you know, HR has processes, accounting has processes shipping and receiving has processes, sales and marketing, usually the Wild West, right? You got some gunslingers making some calls, and you got some marketing people running some campaigns here and there. But where’s the consistent processes? What happens though, when you start putting them in place, you start to accelerate growth. And that’s exciting.

Nancy: Yeah, I downloaded it. So I recommend that everybody find your way to it and download it, I think it’s really going to be a helpful tool for one of a kind sales and sticking with one of a kind sales. And I would be remiss if I didn’t bring this up. You know, we’re all about prospecting. And I saw on your website about the three overlooked keys of sales prospecting, and yes, love you to explain what they are.

Darrell: Well, as you might guess, one of them is process. And so that’s right. This is true, even if you’re great at net new business, you know, it always is good to look at your prospecting process, it’s one of the core cylinders in your growth engine. And, you know, if you look at the data, whether you’re looking@salesforce.com that says it takes six to eight touches to get an appointment, Forrester says it’s over 14 the point of the whole thing is it takes more than one touch to get a net new appointment and it’s got to be over you know, multiple different channels because not everybody checks email listens to their messages on their phone, etc. So in order to make that happen, you know, nowadays it just can’t be a one and done there’s got to be a process gets make a phone call and go well, they didn’t return my call as I’ve done. So. So what’s the process? Well, that’s where you know, you take a look and you go okay, how are we going to do this? Let’s get a message that’s going to resonate inside that process and then let’s look for some enabling technologies to help make sure that process gets executed and is measurable it it cetera in so processes the first one, the second is priorities. And in the article I put priorities first cuz well that just kind of makes sense. Right?

But you have to prioritize. You have to prioritize prospecting and my friend Jeb blunt, you know is is adamant about something. I agree with whole heartedly with, which is you got to block this stuff out in your calendar. If you’re a sales professional or you lead a sales team, and there are not scheduled blocks of time in the calendar for prospecting, guess what, it’s not going to happen, you’re going to get pushed to the last last part of the day. So I’m, I’m, I am fanatical about that tip of the hat to Jeb, once again, in terms of making sure they’re blocks on my calendar for prospecting. And, you know, it’s just an appointment that has to be, you know, it’s a frog, like you got to you got to eat that you got to eat that one first. Because at the beginning of the day, you got to get that one done. And the last is practice. And, you know, it’s interesting, this is something that that, you know, when I was a sales rep back in the dark ages, we, we had the, we had over, we had the like the transparency, so this is really going to date me, but we have the objections, and the sales manager would put the the objection up, and you have little piece of paper hiding the answer on that projector, and that we would practice right we would roleplay. And I don’t know where that went in a lot of organizations, it seems like that just kind of, I don’t know, just went away.

Well, guess what? No high performance. athlete gets anywhere without practice, no high performance professional speaker gets anywhere without practice. And I think that inside our sales team practice is the third P. And it doesn’t even have to be inside a sales team. If you’re a rep listening in on this call, you know, prioritize, build yourself a process and find someone to practice you know, just get repeat over and over again and get to where this stuff that that you need to know is, is second nature and you know, people go Terrell, you know, that’s isn’t that scripted, yes. But once you internalize that kind of stuff, and you can, then you can dance between the lines, but until you do, you’re going to spend all your time trying to go What am I saying now? So, you know, I’m a huge fan of practice.

Nancy: Oh, so am I and, you know, to your point with the scripts, the beauty of having a script is you don’t have to think about what you have to say I think sales really kicks in when you get the objections. So to internalize, especially the opening conversation, get that down in your head, allows you to spend more time in really a role playing and practicing and getting those objections out, you know, when you need to happen, because you never know where you’re going to hear. Right. When you’re on a prospecting call. Yeah. Okay. So tell me something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Darrell: Okay, this one’s gonna be fun. Because there’s a lot of things that I think it’s tricky. But that may spark some debate this, here’s one, and this is a sales and marketing. One is salespeople don’t need leads. We just don’t need leads. And here’s what I mean. You go What are you kidding me? salespeople are beating up marketing, give me more leads, salespeople are going to their companies give me more leads. But in most, and I, I’m gonna put a bit of a footnote on this, I work in the B2B sales space. And in the B2B sales space, we help our clients identify who their ideal clients and prospects are. So you know, the reality is if you’ve got a marketplace and just think of, we’re talking earlier about the South Florida marketplace, 90,000 businesses in the South Florida marketplace. And this particular company had eight salespeople doesn’t work, they could prospect 24 hours a day, and it wouldn’t cover that market, because it takes years to cover the market.

So but the reality is, there’s 90,000 businesses, if they’re really honest, they look at their ideal client profile, there’s about 2000 of them that are really, really, really good fit. So guess what? I don’t need leads anymore, I need to know, I already know who the people are, if I have an ideal client profile. And if I have, if I’ve got an ideal client profile, I know who my prospects are in my marketplace. So I don’t need leads. I need engagement. And so, you know, this is where and this this is we talked about this in the revenue growth engine book. You know, I don’t you know, everyone, sales teams want to have service level agreements with marketing for leads. I don’t want that because what I really want is, I want in this whatever that 2000 companies that are ideal prospects, I want as a team I want 100% coverage, meaning that all of the key decision makers and influencers in those 2000 accounts, hear from my sales people regularly with valuable message and hear from my marketing team regularly with a valuable message that I mean, and it’s really on one level that simple. The execution needs processes. But the reality of this is we don’t need lead sales people stop complaining, you don’t have leads, you already know who your ideal prospects are not go figure that out. And then you’ll never need a lead again, what you need to do is be engaging with those ideal prospects. Yep.

Nancy: Oh, I so again, I agree with you, people are under the impression they need 1000s of leads. And as you said earlier, if you don’t have the manpower to cover it, you’re wasting your time, you’re never going to have an effective program out there.

Darrell: Well, I mean, sales people go to the lead fancy they go, all these leads are garbage? Well, if they’re not with an ideal prospect, they probably are. not that useful. All right, and really what we need to know, you know, and we could talk about this maybe another episode, you know, nothing’s qualified lead. until it is, it is attached to an ideal prospect in a lot of ways. But but the lead thing is where a sales and marketing get out of alignment, I just say Stop it. Stop. Yeah. Let’s just focus on engagment.

Nancy: Hey everybody did you hear that? Stop it. Oh, what is the one takeaway you’d like to leave the audience with? I’m guessing there’s more than one, but what is the one that will come to your mind?

Darrell: Yeah, I am going to pick one. And, you know, and this, this is, there’s what I’m about to say is backed up by so many people as that in Mark hunter comes to mind right now. And we were just talking about this with his new book of mind for sales is this ideal client profile, knowing who your ideal client is, is a key to unlocking revenue growth and accelerating revenue growth, we find that ideal clients and and in the book will show you how to do the math, but on average, ideal clients or we call it 20x or 30x clients, because they’re usually worth 20 to 30 times the revenue. And I’m not talking when I say ideal clients about fortune 500 companies necessarily, I’m just talking about good fit clients and know who your ideal clients are, then you’ll know then then that defines the processes you put together to prospect and to manage your clients that defines the message that you put together that’s going to resonate. And then that also will explain in the book how that can define your ability to set goals realistically based on the value so I would say at all you know, this ideal client profile is really where it all begins and we walk you through how to have a think about that in the early part of the revenue growth engine book.

Nancy: Okay, everyone go out and buy it Darrell, tell us how my people or tell everyone how they can reach you.

Darrell: Well I would love to engage with you the fastest way is just text the word revenue to 21000 we’ll give you some access to resources course revenue growth engine is available where all fine books are sold. And you can also look me up on LinkedIn there’s not that many people with the last name Amy, first name Darrell and I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Nancy: Oh, take advantage of that offer everyone and you are not only informative, you’re highly entertaining. Thank you for everyone for joining me and for all my audience out there. Keep in mind the overlooked piece of sales prospecting and really start taking a good hard look at sales and marketing. Thank you so much, Darrell, and happy hunting for everyone.

Darrell: Thank you Nancy.

Voiceover: The conversational selling podcast is sponsored by One of a Kind Sales. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have enough leads or your sales team complains that they just don’t have enough time to prospect, we can help. To work with Nancy and her team one on one to help you manage your sales team, install her proven outbound sales process and create more bottom line results, email her now at Nancy@oneofakindsales.com. To learn more about Nancy and her outbound sales secrets, grab your free copy of our book, The Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.