Our special guest on this week’s episode of Conversational Selling is Lauren Bailey, the Founder and President of Factor 8 – an award-winning sales rep and manager training company. She is a 20 year veteran of the inside sales industry. Traveling the world, she has worked with the likes of Sony, Grainger, Microsoft, and Google. Lauren is also the Founder of The Girls Club, an organization committed to getting more women into sales management and leadership.
We speak with Lauren about the importance of inside selling and providing inside sellers with the training and coaching they need to be successful and avoid burnout, as well as:
- Which sales trends will last beyond the pandemic
- How inside sellers can best utilize a script while remaining authentic
- What’s being done to bring more women into sales management positions
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Voiceover: You’re listening to the Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.
Nancy Calabrese: Hello, everyone. It’s Nancy Calabrese, and yes, it is time for Conversational Selling. The podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today, and it always starts with the human conversation. Today we are lucky to speak with Lauren Bailey, president and founder of Factor 8. She is a 20 year veteran of the inside sales industry. Lauren has worked as both the Director of Sales and Director of Training while traveling the world to launch inside sales teams. She’s worked with in house and outsourced sales team selling outbound, inbound, via chat, direct, field teamed and channel. Her primary industry experiences in IT, software and distribution. Corporate experience in clients include SAP, Sony, Ingram micro, Grainger, Microsoft and Google. Lauren is also the founder of The Girls Club, an organization committed to getting more women in sales, management and leadership. Now you all know folks that I live, eat and breathe inside sales. So this is going to be an awesome conversation. Welcome to the show, Lauren.
Lauren Bailey: Thank you so much, Nancy. I couldn’t be that old. Clearly. Somebody else had all that experience.
Nancy: Well, you sound young and full of vim and vigor, right.
Lauren: You know, my first inside sales management job, I went and bought a pair of fake reading glasses. So people would take me seriously. And now I’m having this flashback moment of, you know, as soon as you put a plus in the number of years of experience. I’ve stopped counting birthdays, Nancy.
Nancy: Yeah, but I’m not gonna volunteer mine. And by the way, now the reading glasses are real. Okay.
Lauren: Oh, god, yes. And they’re in every room of my house. I’m like minutes away from the old lady chain.
Nancy: There you go. So let me start by I want to bring up a topic that I know that is near and dear to both of us, and why training and coaching is so especially important for inside sales reps. Why is that?
Lauren: Because inside sales is where so many people start their careers, right? Inside sales is growing at a rate somewhere between seven and 20x field sales. And that’s that was pre pandemic, right? So give me a break it this is where people start it is the way of the future. Like assimilation is on its way, resistance is futile. So when you’re starting a career there, I mean, come on. People are graduating college now with almost zero business acumens. How is it that they actually would have any sales acumen and, and so we’ve got to teach these young professionals, how it’s done. That’s reason one, but reason to them even more passionate about and I promise to stop somewhere before reason 18, but reason is that sales is a confidence sport. And when we don’t teach people how to be successful at inside sales, they burn out fast. And more and more and more our industry is doing that. We’re teaching young professionals to hate selling. And that breaks my heart.
Nancy: You know, I’m baffled each and every day when people seem to have difficulties, having conversations and selling over the phone, or virtually, you know, because it’s really just a connection with another human being. You know, every sales rep today has had to make the transition to inside sales this past year obviously. Yeah. Well, I want to ask you, what trends are you seeing now that we’re all going to be vaccinated? Hopefully in the next couple of months. I kind of think more and more companies are just going to move to virtual inside selling. What do you believe and see out there?
Lauren: Most of the companies I’m talking with Nancy are talking about hybrid. Okay, so I can’t wait to go back to face and face pardon me face to face. So think about your medical and your pharma and your large industrial. I need to touch and see and feel of product. Or I’ve been only face to face for years. I’m very, very, very traditional. Or super complex products, right? So the left hand side of the product lifecycle, they can’t wait to go back. They’re all just biding their time and they’re struggling through virtual today and we can tell funny stories about that if you’d like. But north to the companies I’m talking to Yeah. Are are talking hybrid, there’s a percentage of the workforce that can’t wait to get back in, inside, even inside sales inside right on site, right.
And there’s a percentage that will never commute again, some companies have sold the corporate office space, some have already started to own this. And I guess I don’t have to hire right here in my city, I’ll go find that fabulous talent 3000 miles away, because we can all work virtually. So I think there will always be more of a virtual and inside component than there would have been otherwise without the pandemic. And listen, like I said, resistance is futile. I’ve watched so many industries go through the product lifecycle and some work towards the top. They embrace inside sales, right? 20 years ago, I was convincing people you could buy a computer over the phone. 10 years ago, it was software over the phone. And now it’s big box retail. It’s pharma. It’s medical, more and more people are getting there, and would have gotten there eventually. But the pandemic forced them to get there. Yeah, they won’t go back.
Nancy: But why is there so much resistance in general? It doesn’t make any sense to me.
Lauren: Listen, it’s cheaper. It’s more efficient, right? Harder. It’s harder. And I think that’s something right, because listen, we can’t see each other right now, I’m literally looking at the LinkedIn picture, because I can’t look at you face to face, we’re not on video.
Nancy: I’m waiving at you. I’m just waving.
Lauren: I see that. That’s nice. So inside sales is harder. It feels also like a departure. It right the traditional face to face long time, culture of that type of sale, feels like their customer demands it. Now, we all know that more and more and more customers are used to self serving the buyers journey, the internet, you know all these newfangled things that are changing the sales experience. They are real. But yeah, there are some industries where I’m used to buying face to face. And I’m used to selling face to face. And that’s where the cutting edge is. That’s the resistance right. I’m behind the cutting edge. Or I just don’t want to learn the new tricks.
Nancy: You know, I talk about inside sales and outside sales as two ways of networking. So outside sales, you go to networking events, right, you develop the relationships, hopefully, the decision makers you want to be in front of are going to be attending them right and or you’re referred to prospects that are hopefully are in your target audience, right. A lot of hands have to be shook before conversations are taken to the next level.
Lauren: That’s a lot of hand sanitizer these days.
Nancy: Oh, yeah, right. Right there. They’re doing the high five or the knuckle. Right. With masks. So the the other side of it is with what we do for a living, we’re very targeted, right, we can have more conversations in a shorter period of time. And we’re doing phone networking. So rather well, rather than shaking a hand, you know, face to face. We’re having those conversations that will take it over the edge. And again, I think there’s a mindset that oh, my God, nobody’s gonna ever want to speak to me. The this doesn’t work. And I totally disagree.
Lauren: Yeah, you have to disagree. But But listen in, in the change resistor’s defense, we’ve all been telemarketed to at home. And that, right. So there’s your sick, there’s your stigma. I don’t know. I don’t like being called that way. Okay, sure. But guess what I can call 50 people. And you can drive as fast as you can. But you’re not going to see a 10th of that. So that’s that’s the the upside downside right there in a nut shell for sure.
Nancy: Yeah, you’re right. And then it goes back to what you do. So well. It’s the coaching and the training, to develop the skill to engage with, you know, people that you’ve just never met or seen.
Lauren: That’s the point, isn’t it? Right? How do we make the phone efficient and not scary? How do we use tips and tricks to get ahold of more people and get through to more people and keep more people on the phone so that we’re, we’re so glad we’re inside quote unquote, or virtual, because we can be more efficient. And we’re not just feeling the whah whah of not getting through to people because it’s high burnout. It’s tough.
Nancy: Yeah, it is. Thank god for you and me. We may we were the only two standing but I’m not burned out, are you?
Lauren: No, I love it. And it’s been fun to watch so many new people come to virtual selling. Right and 20 years people aren’t going to say no versus outside sales. So just gonna say sales, right? Maybe don’t play virtual sales instead. Field or virtual. Face to face or virtual or maybe just sales.
Nancy: What sets you apart?
Lauren: Oh, gosh, as an inside seller? As a coach as a trainer as a woman as an entrepreneur?
Nancy: Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.
Lauren: Listen, I will, I’m gonna go with that was, I wasn’t ready for that question. And I think the answer I want to hear from any seller too, right. And it’s authenticity. I had an opportunity just this morning to listen to Seth Godin speak. And he has a phrase I love using in my training, and that is, let your freak flag fly. And all too often, as sellers, especially inside sellers, we get all stuck behind our mask, right. And sometimes we have to put on a mask by the way and a cape to feel competent enough to dial out 50 times and get rejected. But when we let that down, when we take the mask off, and just let our personalities shine through.
Now there’s connect to and and over the phone, it has to be bigger, right? I mean, you have to let the freak flag fly so people have something to connect to face to face. If I can see something in your office, I can see something about your appearance. We’re at an event together having a beer, but over the phone I got to to try harder, right? I gotta have a face for radio, I got to have a personality. For radio, I’ve got to try harder. And that means being authentic and being a little weird. And being okay with that. And that is something I’ve gotten good at.
Nancy: You know what? Weird, I love it. I love having fun. And I also in a conversation with a stranger. If I flub it, I’ll say oh, my God, I just flubbed it. And I keep moving on. Showing your human side. Takes the pressure off of what you’re there to do. And yeah, people want to hear from other human people. Yep.
Lauren: So yeah, 100 percent. Okay, so listen, that brings up something big. Nancy, now you and I talked about this right before we started the call. That is why I hate scripts. I think scripts are masks that hide the humans. So now that you just agreed with me, try arguing with me. How is it you like scripts?
Nancy: Oh, my God, you know, for us here. And for me, it’s a tool and a guide. And you can take those words initially, when you you know, if you’re a brand new inside sales rep, you’ve got to have some kind of a format or a template. And by sticking with a script, what happens after you, you repeat it multiple times, it really becomes a part of your persona. So we’re not asking our team to read it verbatim. You know, they have to every time I onboard somebody, I asked them to pick Who’s your favorite actor or actress. They give me the name. I say, okay, you’re becoming that person. And you’ve just been handed a script, and you’re going to appear on a movie. Does anybody in a movie sound like they’re reading the script?
No, the script is the tool and in inside sales, especially and you know, frankly, if I’m out in front of an audience, or, you know, networking, I still have the the format in my head as to how to carry a conversation that sounds genuine. We teach here, it’s all about you. Them, right, not about us. So we want to get them talking. And I believe that having that as a basic tool, and over time, you know, it’s in your head. You don’t need it anymore. What happens is, the people on the other end of the call are like, oh, this person sounds different. Oh my god, there’s some really genuine, they’re having fun. And then we all get to the point where we’re going to be told no, right? Because outbound calling is a no business. So that’s where the work I think begins that you really want to start selling, mastering the objection. So no, I don’t want to talk about me. I want to talk about you. Why do you think scripts suck?
Lauren: Because you can’t script genuine. Don’t script to sound genuine. Just be genuine.
Nancy: Right. I think you can do both. So everyone out there. It’s really great. When you meet another professional you respect and you have different points of view. So you heard. Yeah, Lauren’s. You’ve heard mine. And I betcha we’re still going to shake hands and depart as friends, right, Lauren?
Lauren: Oh, 100 percent. But it’s a fun thing to debate, isn’t it? Because half the sellers want it. Right. It’s a crutch. Don’t take it away from me. Yeah, and the other half are feeling, right. Like, this is just, it’s phony. It’s not me. And it killed my confidence to read someone else’s words. So healthy debates, a good thing. And the flexibility to script or no script is a good thing.
Nancy: But let’s talk further about it. Because, you know, I don’t need a person to read word for word if there were other if they were words they were more comfortable with. It’s getting the gist across, right?
Lauren: Yes. That’s okay. So I’ll give you that. Let’s meet in the middle at a message guide. Right? A conversation starter, a messaging starter.
Nancy: I like that.
Lauren: What I like to do is take a script and break it down and say, okay, great. This first section, what’s the goal? Right, now that we’ve got the goal? What are some key words or key questions? And why are we asking those? Alright, great. Write it in your own words.
Nancy: Yep, I’m right with you there.
Lauren: Write in your own words how you will acheive those goals. Yeah, just make some bullet points. Set a goal, or write and I love that I’ve got bullet points in front of me that says, okay, section one goal, check. Got it. Next, check. Got it. And here’s some go to questions. When I think of what to do, I’ll go pull one of those out. But if they write it, it’s their words. So it’s taking the script and breaking it into a goal and then translating it into something that feels confident for them. I’ll lean in on that.
Nancy: Oh, totally. I totally agree with you. So you see out of this discussion, we agree. And what scripts allow you to do is not to come off as a salesperson, not knowing what questions to ask, right? So along with the script you don’t get stuck. The goal is to keep the conversation going to determine are you speaking with the decision maker? And if so, is there a need at the time of the call? At least that’s our approach. And I know that there are multiple approaches out there, but it’s something to fall back on. So everyone out there, make it your own words, but follow the process. Would you agree with that?
Lauren: I’ll give it to you there too. Here’s something else we agree on. You said always make it about them. We call that swift at Factory. So what’s in in for them okay? If you’re always focused on that, then you’re keeping it fast, and customer focused. So what’s in it for them?
Nancy: All about them. So I want to spotlight something about you. What would you like to talk about?
Lauren: Girls Club. Absolutely. That’s my passion. Girls Club, started three years ago, because I got sick of talking about it. I spoke on one too many panels about why there aren’t more women in sales leadership. And you know, the lunch ended. And then I thought, great, we’ll have the same conversation next year. See you at the same conference on the same panel next year. And I thought, you know, I’m done. I’m done talking about it, I want to do something about it. And it’s been wildly successful. This is our third year, we’ve been part of over 70 promotions. And it’s, it’s changing lives. It’s really exciting.
Nancy: So what is it about though? How do you attract people? What’s the message out there?
Lauren: Sure. The mission is to change the face of sales by helping more women earn leadership positions in revenue. And we do that I think the secret sauce, frankly, is the confidence building. So we have cohorts every year, and they’re doing a six month super intense, rapid management certification. So we take individual contributors in sales. We certify them to become frontline leaders in sales. Because that’s where we’re targeting. It’s called the broken rung that first half of that first promotion. And in that six months they are getting management skills. But they’re also getting mentoring by other female sales leaders super hard to find I grew up surrounded by men. I bet you did too.
Nancy: Oh, yeah.
Lauren: And yeah, and then that the last part is a silver bullet. We work on building confidence. I think that’s what’s been really missing for so many women. And they just Nancy, they just take off like rockets. Yeah, it’s it’s awesome to watch.
Nancy: It must be very rewarding for you.
Lauren: Very much so. Yeah, very much so. I love getting my favorite thing probably is, you know, we love the thank you notes in the oh my God, I’ve been promoted notes. But we have women coming back to mentor for us. I graduated three years ago. And at least once a week now I’m getting some sort of a message. Like, oh my gosh, I was going into interview or get funding or partner with or sell to or whatever it is. And I noticed that she or he had a Girls Club badge. On their LinkedIn profile, everything clicked from there. Right? It was like, I know, I found somebody who’s going to give me a fair shot, who’s going to give themselves to develop me. I just feel comfortable, like, women don’t feel like they’re walking into a room alone anymore. And that’s the part that I think beats my soul the most. That’s why.
Nancy: Well, you know, we said before the interview, we could go on for hours, I definitely would like to do this again with you. And, you know, take a deeper dive into what you do. But what is the one takeaway you want to leave the audience with?
Lauren: Sales, like life, is a confidence sport. When you can help build confidence of your sellers, they’re going to be more successful. And we do that we learn out loud about that and talk about it really openly in Girls Club, and I’ve taken them with me on my own journey of brokering and building my own self confidence. And it’s like, the volume got turned up on my whole life. Life is a confidence sport, and if there’s right, there’s one profession, that’s more about confidence than any other, it’s sales.
Nancy: Yep. And it gets fired up from coaching and mentoring that keeps the confidence alive. Well, you know, really thank you, Lauren, for all of your great tips and conversation and thank you folks for all listening in. Question, how to how to my people find you?
Lauren: You can find our sales training and coaching at fctor8.com. And if you’d like to nominate somebody or you yourself are interested in getting involved with Girls Club, either in going through the certification to get into management or mentoring a young woman on our way up. Men and women are very, very welcome. Find us at wearegirlsclub.com.
Nancy: Yeah, what a way to give back. You know, wrapping up, I want everyone to have a fantastic sales day and remember, reach out and follow Lauren. Learn more about the Girls Club, and what we all can do to help inspire young professionals and help give them the confidence they need to be successful. Thank you again, Lauren.
Lauren: Thank you, Nancy. This is great.
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 her book, The Inside Sales Solution at oneofakindsales.com/book.