EPISODE 099: ExecVision Sales Leader Ted Martin Shares the One Thing that Will Improve Your Inside Sales Effectiveness
TED’S CLOSING TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “There’s always going to be an excuse. Some people live by the excuse, other people don’t. If you truly want to affect change and if you truly want to make something of your career, in your life in general, don’t accept excuses.”
Ted Martin is the VP of Sales at ExecVision, a leading company in the conversation intelligence space for inside sales teams.
We also did a special episode with Steve Richard, the CRO over at ExecVision.
Prior to coming to ExecVision, Ted was the VP of Sales at Wealth Engine where he grew a team from 0 to 50 in close to three months.
Find Ted on LinkedIn!
Fred Diamond: We got a little peek into ExecVision when we interviewed Steve Richard, but why don’t you tell us what you sell today.
Ted Martin: ExecVision is conversation intelligence software. What we’re trying to do is fill the gap in the coaching world right now where a lot of times managers aren’t able to do legitimate tactical call coaching and utilizing what is one of your greatest resources, actual call recordings.
What our clients are doing is they’re taking these call recordings, removing the black box and making it to where you can actually do something with them and bring back value to the one on one which for myself it’s personally gratifying about this. In my career I’ve been focused on helping develop sales people and that’s a huge passion of mine. By being able to simplify this process for our clients is personally gratifying to me.
Fred Diamond: Tell us a little bit about the beginning of your career – how did you get into sales as a career?
Ted Martin: By mistake! (laughs) When I was in college, I was going in through the ROTC program and was going to be going into the army and last year I was honorably medically discharged out of the blue and I was thinking to myself, “It’s my senior year, what the heck am I going to do?” and ended up getting an outsource cold calling job and pretty much packed up my 99 Dodge Durango, moved up to DC with zero money and gave it a shot.
Fred Diamond: Obviously you enjoyed it, it worked out well for you?
Ted Martin: Yeah, most definitely. What ended up happening was I became partner of Vorsight which is where in business partners with David Stillman and Steve Richard so it was amazing. It was a great opportunity for me.
Fred Diamond: You mentioned Vorsight, what exactly does Vorsight do?
Ted Martin: Vorsight is an outsource appointment setting firm and we were a training business so that’s what I was focused on originally was being one of those guys pounding the phones trying to schedule appointments for our clients.
Fred Diamond: Now you’re helping companies with conversation intelligence, tell us a little bit about some of the lessons that you learned from some of your first few sales experiences and how that’s helping you now as you roll out what ExecVision’s doing.
Ted Martin: Early on in my sales career some of the things that I recognized that were very difficult for me was the idea of there’s always an excuse for something so now in sales management often the excuse is to put off a one on one or something like that because in many cases they can’t be as valuable as you’d like them to be.
In the conversation intelligence space how we’re working with our clients is to make it to where that one on one is more valuable, and it’s valuable not just for the manager where you’re asking questions of your reps but it’s more of a 50-50 reciprocal relationship between the rep and the manager to where both are putting in a lot of effort into the development of the representative.
Fred Diamond: How’s the response been to the technology and to the solution?
Ted Martin: Actually, Jesse (Williams) and I were talking about this earlier, our director of marketing. The category has grown significantly just in the last year so we’re really excited about it. Originally where people were kind of like, “Man, I don’t know how this would apply within our business” now people are coming back saying, “Hey, we know that this is a need” and now it’s just making sure that we fill as many orders as possible.
Fred Diamond: Do you generically or just go on after inside sales teams, inside sales leaders?
Ted Martin: You would think it would just be inside sales leaders but it’s not. It’s anybody that values the conversations that you’re having with either your current clients, your prospective clients or even potential people that might work for you as well. It’s all about being able to understand how your message is getting out there and trying to make it to where you can perfect that as much as possible.
Fred Diamond: Before we go on and talk a little more about what you do, can you define again conversation intelligence for us a little broader?
Ted Martin: Sure. It’s super simple, if you think about the conversations right now it’s more than just being able to say what’s being said but it’s being able to help leadership understand how to affect the way you drive the conversations within your business. Today, like I mentioned before it’s a black box. You have people, you teach your reps how to do the job and you hope that they go out and you use a manually updated tool called the CRM system to ensure that they’re actually executing against the message that you want and now what we’re trying to do is say, “Hold on a second, you don’t have to just rely on those tools and rely on hope to understand what’s happening, conversation intelligence actually allows you to know point blank what’s being said, how it’s being said and the results of that conversation without any manual interference.”
Fred Diamond: For someone who’s new to the concept of conversation intelligence, what is the result? Is it reports, are they a KPI type of a thing or dashboards?
Ted Martin: It depends on where you are in your level of maturity and utilizing something like conversation intelligence. I know right now myself being a sales leader I’ve been pitched so many different sales tools out there and most executives have been pitched anything that’s going to improve, any KPI or conversion ratio that’s out there. The challenge is being able to understand what are you looking to accomplish with it. With conversation intelligence you could be looking for the next KPI but in reality if you think about the very simplest way of using it is can you improve the one on one, can you improve the way your reps are actually executing against the message and in doing so if you can improve that then it’s simple conversion ratios that you will be tracking against to track success.
Fred Diamond: Tell us a little more about you. What specifically are you an expert in? Tell us a little more about your area of brilliance.
Ted Martin: What I’ve been told – this is not coming from me, jokes aside – first off, it’s around building successful inside sales teams first around prospecting so creating interest, teaching and building reps around the tactics of how to create those opportunities and then I’m a very process oriented individual which drives me to my passion of building inside sales teams so from that perspective I’m very in the sales process, very methodology driven.
Fred Diamond: Take us back to some part of your career when you had a very impactful sales career mentor. Why don’t you tell us somebody who was that mentor for you?
Ted Martin: It’s an easy answer, his name’s Peter Weyman, he was the most recently chief revenue officer at Zoom Info and it’s interesting because when I think of Peter he helped me very early on think about how to structure my career and how to think through as a young, up and coming sales professional. How to look at potential opportunities that otherwise I would have looked at differently being a 25 year old smart guy. Then the other side would be a person name Jill Ulvestad. She helped me truly hone my craft in learning how to sell and if it wasn’t for Jill I would not be where I’m at today.
Fred Diamond: We actually interviewed Jill’s partner, Tom Snyder, for one of our previous episodes. Ted, what are the two biggest challenges you face today as a sales leader?
Ted Martin: I think for me personally the first one is selling into a market that you are defining which is something that – I’ve experienced this three times in my career so this isn’t new but it’s still a consistent challenge because it’s a different type of market. The second thing is being able to build a repeatable process while doing it with reps that you’re looking to develop. As a consultant as well as a sales leader one of the things that I’m personally passionate in is the development of sales talent. That’s what drives me as a sales leader and trying to do that while also trying to aggressively hit growth numbers is super challenging as you can imagine.
Fred Diamond: What are some of the things you’ve done to succeed?
Ted Martin: If you think about on the development of talent side it’s ensuring that your people are bought into (A) their own professional development but (B) tying their professional development to the growth goals of the business and in doing that you’re able to ensure that you’re hitting both of those important goals that you’re driving towards.
Fred Diamond: Ted, what’s the #1 specific sale success or win from your career that you’re most proud of? Why don’t you take us back to that moment?
Ted Martin: Sure. There’s a few, but I will say my first one was the first deal that I ever closed, it was a sales consulting opportunity where I was doing a training for a company called TCMPI but I would say the one that is most memorable which is not a direct selling opportunity but it was when I became business partners with David Stillman and Steve Richard at Vorsight, it was huge for me because I was young at that time. I was 25 years old and it was my first opportunity to really drive and build something which totally gratified me.
Fred Diamond: Did you ever question being in sales? Again, you mentioned you were in ROTC in college but then you got a job in sales, you moved up to DC with no money with your 99, was it a Dodge?
Ted Martin: Dodge Durango.
Fred Diamond: Now you’ve been in sales for a while. You’ve achieved some great things in a relatively short amount of time. Was there ever a moment where you thought to yourself, “It’s too hard, it’s really just not for me”?
Ted Martin: No, honestly. Everyone has the opportunity where they’re probably thinking, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t be where I’m at” and obviously that’s come up in my career before but not being in sales with the path that I’ve developed for myself with the guidance that I’ve had from my mentors, I’ve never thought that.
Fred Diamond: You dig it, you enjoy it?
Ted Martin: I love it.
Fred Diamond: Every second of the day? Good for you. Ted, what’s the most important thing you want to get across to junior selling professionals to help them improve their career?
Ted Martin: The one thing is there’s always going to be an excuse, there’s always going to be a reason to not do something. I coach our reps on this all the time, there’s always going to be a reason why someone else didn’t do something that affected a deal or something. Eliminate all the excuses, do self-diagnosis, think about what could I have done better even if you did 99.9% of the steps right, don’t allow room for excuses.
Fred Diamond: That’s very great. I just finished a book called Extreme Ownership. Have you read that?
Ted Martin: I have not.
Fred Diamond: It’s by a couple of Navy Seals that also who were in Iraq and they also have a business now where they work with companies and the nit in it is that you have to eliminate all those excuses, you’re responsible for everything and how do you make things work even when it’s a bad month, when your #1 customer says, “We ain’t going to buy” you still got to perform. The company still has to hit its metrics. That’s great, great answer, eliminate the excuses. Ted, what are some of the things you do to sharpen your saw and stay fresh?
Ted Martin: I would say it’s spending time with my two and a half year old son. He and I are avid park goers at this point and I’m trying to train him to become a left tackle at Notre Dame so we’re on our way.
Fred Diamond: Is he left handed?
Ted Martin: No, but left tackle’s very important in football.
Fred Diamond: In Notre Dame it is, guarding the blind sight. What’s a major initiative you’re working on today to ensure your continued success?
Ted Martin: I would say with the company itself it’s continuing to understand what the clients want, understand what the prospects want and ensuring that our market understands where they are in their level of maturity with conversation intelligence. One of the things that we’ve recognized with the market is that in many cases you can have a high level of analytics with the amount of data that comes out through conversation intelligence. The challenge is a lot of people don’t know what to do with it yet and that’s a common BI challenge so what we’re doing right now is trying to make sure that we help clients understand where they fit within their market.
Fred Diamond: Why have you continued? What is it about sales as a career that has kept you going?
Ted Martin: I would say short term or more present day I it’s my family. I’m a single dad and full time dad, full time worker so being able to make sure I know I’m doing everything to provide for my son is extremely important but if I were to take a step back ten years ago when I graduated college, the first thing was I needed money but then if you look at that middle part of my career, probably about five years ago, I had identified what I wanted out of my career and it was really important to me to say that I have an effect on another person’s life helping them achieve a goal that in their eyes maybe at one time was not achievable or that they know that they need help getting there and that was interesting that you would think, “Can you find that in sales?” but what’s great about selling is that if you know how to do it, you’re the only person that can get in your way of being successful. If you identify how to become successful and then can teach people and enjoy teaching people how to be successful, that’s what drove me from developing.
Fred Diamond: Give us one final thought to share to the Sales Game Changers listening to today’s podcast.
Ted Martin: If you’re an up and coming salesperson, up and coming sales leader again, remember in selling you don’t have to just go into upper management. You can be a rock star account executive. I’ll touch on a point that I mentioned before, there’s always going to be an excuse. Some people live by the excuse, other people don’t. If you truly want to affect change and if you truly want to make something of your career, in your life in general, don’t accept excuses.
Fred Diamond: I used to live in Detroit in the late 90’s and I coached Mel Farr, he was a hall of fame football player and I coached his grandson in baseball and Mel had this expression: excuses are for losers. I’m really excited that you brought that up, that aspect there. You’ve got to eliminate those excuses. Everybody has them, everybody has real ones, everyone has little ones but you still got to perform. Your company needs you to perform every single day, every single month and figure out some strategies to be successful.