My next guest The Outbound Sales Guy, has a unique history which I’m sure he won’t mind talking about. What attracted me to him was his LinkedIn about page, and you must all go and read it. He says “I have over ten years experience filling the top of funnel activities in sales development manage service space digital marketing and technology. I’m not hunting for new business; I can be found in the gym or on my 40-foot sea ray boat enjoying a cold craft beer or fine scotch.” I thought I need to speak to this guy I loved it, and I’m sure he’ll talk about the importance of LinkedIn and showing your personality um because he certainly does that for companies and much more he’s known as the Outbound Sells Guy. Welcome to Scale Your Sales podcast Martin MacArthur.
Let’s talk about what happened to you at seven years of age. As I said in the introduction, you’ve got quite a unique history you were diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, pretty devastating so tell us about that.
It was, at seven years old you’re still kind of navigating life, and your brain doesn’t understand the severity of that aspect while transitioning. Fortunately, I have incredible parents and sisters that provided an extremely strong support system to help me navigate those early years of figuring how do you cope with such traumatic life-altering events such as going blind. Before I was diagnosed, I did have a bit of vision, and I could see somewhat, but it was very difficult. Then it got to the point where my parents said we need to go and have you checked out because something is going on here. It snowballed from test to test to doctors, and specialists and they diagnosed that I have a hereditary disease called retinitis pigmentosa. It affects the retina, and there are two stages. There’s a juvenile, and there’s adult RP, and so I was diagnosed with a juvenile at an early age. Gradually my site decreased from having a bit of vision to I guess it was around 18, 19 maybe 20 somewhere around there, where I got to the point where I am today of only being able to see the difference between very dark and light. If it’s bright in a room or right outside I can determine that or if it’s dark, I can determine that other than that I’m not able to see anything.
Technology must be your godsend?
Early on, it was a challenge because the technology wasn’t quite as advanced or as rapid as it is today. When I was going through school and in college, I had to purchase expensive pieces of software and technology. There wasn’t the boom of software as a service where you could subscribe to a monthly service you had to go out and spend thousands of dollars on adaptive software because it’s a very limited market so early on it was very expensive. Then when the dot com era happened and Apple arrived on the scene for whatever reason they included in all their operating system whether it’s ios or mac os an accessibility feature called voiceover that reads everything. It’s a screen reader that reads everything on the screen back to me, and so that meant that I could be like a regular consumer go to Best buy, go to the Apple store, purchase a MacBook or an iPad out of the box set it up in two hours and I’m able to navigate and go on my way. I give immense kudos to the developers at Apple for whatever the reasoning was for them to develop and be such an inclusive company. It’s a shame that this isn’t across the board with all companies thinking about how they can make all of their technology adaptive to all people even from left and right scissors, really simple things that we’ve had to live with for a long time it’s so simple. If you do it at the beginning, it’s a lot less of an investment if it’s something that companies have as part of their whole ecosystem. Exactly and to address that point when we’re talking about sales and I’m sure we’ll dive deeper into this later in the episode. Still, the sales tech stack there’s so many tools out there that unfortunately, and this is not anything negative towards those organizations because they’re well-respected organizations. A lot of the companies I deeply value and respect, but there are only a few of those platforms that I’m able to use because their platforms work with my accessibility, not every platform out there will work with my accessibility. I understand that because it’s a limited space of how many sales professionals are blind or have some type of disability?
If you had a wish list what companies what platforms or stack would you like to use that you cannot currently use because you never know they might be listening they might be wanting someone to test this out for them?
That’s a great question; I don’t know there’s are a lot of the similar technologies out there. If you’re talking about the sales engagement space, a platform that is the behemoth in the space is Outreach. Unfortunately, Outreach is not accessible with my technology, but the other players like SalesLoft and Vanillasoft those platforms are. When I’m investing in that type of technology I don’t consider Outreach, and that’s not anything negative towards Outreach, it’s just if I’m going to be frustrated day in day out. It’s a platform I need to be using 100% of the time. Why would I go and invest in that technology be frustrated and not be very productive?
I was hoping to say well I know that person in the company and can put you in contact with them.
Fortunately, when I was in the process of selecting different vendors for my company a few companies that I’ve worked in the past, I knew they worked. A couple of others were gracious enough to allow me to perform some test trials and in sandbox type environments so we could figure out if it is going to be a good or bad investment or do I need to move on.
Let’s delve into sales perhaps talk more about the service that you offer your customers and your ideal customers?
Outsource sales development as a service everything from working with founders or CEO of a pre-seed up to series A company, including the head of sales revenue marketing depending on those different personas. We’ll run through the entire gambit of identifying and mapping the total addressable market. Who is it that you want to reach out to and have conversations? What’s the messaging that needs to be created to resonate with those prospects and to break through the crowded, noisy landscape? Then the tech provides the tech stack to be able to automate or accelerate getting in front of these individuals. Then basically contacting and following up and booking a qualified sales meeting for those individuals. So that Founders can continue to do what they do best whether that’s working on their product or service, meeting with investors, preparing for funding. Whatever those priorities are that they need to focus on and not have to worry about the heavy lifting of filling their pipeline and generating revenue.
Martin, you should listen to the podcast that I did with Kristie Jones, who works with series A founders and accelerates their growth, you both have a lot in common.
What’s your view in the b2b sales, do you think it shifted enough to be buyer-centric? Is that something you talk to many of your series founders and entrepreneurs about focusing in on what value you offer their particular customers and so that you can develop the messaging that’s right for the customer to get them into the top of the funnel?
When I’m speaking with a founder co-founder of a company, and we’re discussing what type of message do you work on to craft that it’s going to be compelling enough and resonate with the prospects like to take more of a problem-centric selling view. What are the problems that your prospects are facing what like what’s frustrating them daily? How can you help alleviate and remove those bottlenecks that frustration? How are you going to do this why are you doing it like what makes your product your service your platform whatever what makes it so great that it’s going to capture this individual’s attention to be able to say? I need your help right now.
What one practical strategy would you choose to help business owners seriously growth companies to enable their buyers to buy and enable them to build long-term relationships?
That’s a great question, so when I’m meeting with these individuals, I like to take them through how to prioritize their prospects. Because a lot of the time, people will spend countless hours wasted on non-selling activities right because they’re either afraid or don’t want to pick up the phone or send out that email face rejection a whole host of reluctance issues there right. I like to work with the prospect to identify the prospects based on priorities, so what are those priorities look like so is this a prospect that’s going to say yes not you know today is it someone that’s saying no, and if they’re saying no can we find out why that’s no is the prospect saying hey no I’m not the right person, but you need to speak to sally over in HR because she’s the right person to talk to, or no you know we just signed an agreement with this software company last month we’re in a six-month agreement with them you know we just spent a bunch of money maybe follow up with us in five months. When you start to prioritize each prospect then you can you’ll begin to focus in and accelerate which prospects you can start to follow up and have conversations with and which ones you shouldn’t be wasting time and energy on today.
Some would say that the ‘F-word’ funnel, and the way that we’re pouring these people in that you lose some of the personality. You lose value in the relationship because it’s very systematic. It’s a numbers game, and there isn’t that real personal connection, what would you say to that?
I would say that you need to continue to accelerate some of the processes right the process of putting people into the funnel right. At the top of the funnel also though you should be incorporating LinkedIn as a part of your outbound mix. I know many people use it for inbound as well. However, if you’re using LinkedIn as a part of your outbound sales process, your prospects start to get to know you as an individual. They get to know and understand your personality. If you are authentic, you’re transparent, you’re honest, vulnerable, demonstrating some humility and by doing that over time. It’s not going to materialize today or maybe next week but in possibly you know 30 days and three months, six months down the line by continue to be engaged in and relevant. Your prospects will start to follow you back. Then they’ll begin to be like okay this is someone that I want to learn more about and want to do you know potentially do business with because they’ve been putting out this great content they know what they’re talking about they seem to have a lot of great recommendations.
Okay, all right let’s switch it up a little bit and talk about your view on diversity in the b2b selling industry do you think it’s progressed. What’s your personal view?
I like to try and stay away from challenging topics such as diversity. However, I do feel that slowly the landscape of sales is changing from the old school ways of selling and doing business. The typical stereotypes of you know Wolf of Wall Street and Glengarry Glen Ross, those types of scenarios I think we’re slowly transitioning away from. You’re starting to see a lot of a lot more female leaders who are awesome we need more. We need male and female champions for these you know for these incredible women to rise and help them level up, so I do you feel that it’s slowly changing, but it needs to increase.
How do people viewed you because obviously, you use technologies that enable you to do a great job, but people have various perceptions about your abilities because of your sight, so how do you think you have been viewed?
Overall, I from people that I’ve heard from and comments that I read and so forth I feel that I’m viewed very positively. I don’t think I think my blindness is something that people either they admire, or they look past those; it’s not an issue for them. Unfortunately, there are a few that it is an issue for them and you know that that’s fair enough if it’s an issue for them then quite frankly that’s someone I don’t want to do business with, so I’ll give you a great example. I think it was July. I reached out to a sales leader at a company, and they referred me to someone else in their organization the correct person. I sent them a one-to-one video using Vidyard, in an email and the person responded to my email saying we’re not interested blah blah blah. Perhaps next time if you look directly into the camera then you’d maybe be able to connect a little more personal to me, it was a little maybe a little harsher than that. I quickly responded and said FYI I’m totally blind, so thanks for the response have a great day. Because frankly, it’s someone that I don’t want to do business with. If you can’t be respectful and I understand you may not know I’m blind or not although they should have because they viewed my profile on LinkedIn. It says right there in my bio that I am blind so either you’re too lazy to read the bio but that’s just someone I don’t want to do business with.
I had another individual last year tell me something along the same lines; they claimed to be a LinkedIn expert or guru. They said that you know you need to change your bio because you know if I’m a business professional and I see that you’re blind I don’t know if I have the trust in your ability. Okay, that’s fine then have a great day we don’t need to do business together.
I’m astounded, certainly by the second one, the LinkedIn guru. I was attracted to your bio because of your forthright straight up honestly it is what it is and the fact that you showed your personality that’s why I wanted you on so yeah it just amazes me.
I often say to clients that you want to know as early as possible the people that are not in your tribe. You want to know the people that don’t like you, but because we spend so much time trying to do business. They’re never going to buy from you, they’re never going to like you for whatever reason, and it’s often nothing to do with you it’s what’s going on in their own heads, but you want to find them out as early as possible. That’s a great story and an excellent story for everyone to listen to.
You don’t have to like each other to do business; it helps if you do and it helps if you have similar personalities or if your personalities are aligned, however, as you say, you need to know. For me, I want to know early on are you someone that I can do business with are you someone that I can get along with or are you going to be difficult. A real big pain to deal with because if you tell me now so we can save each other a lot of time and that energy and we go on our own way.
If you were on a desert island on your own what one thing would you take with you?
That’s tough because it always changes, I’d want to take my iPhone so I can have music, I find I always have some sort of music on in the background just whether I’m at home, I’m out wherever I always have music.
Tell me why your Dad is your hero?
He’s a huge champion of mine; he gives me honest feedback when I want it or don’t want it. He’s always been there to support me, so that’s definitely why he’s my hero. He’s owned many businesses, and he has been in different leadership and executive roles. Hence, he’s someone that I can also lean on from a business and professional standpoint and a personal standpoint.
How can listeners get hold of you, Martin?
The best way to connect and reach out is either on LinkedIn you can search the outbound sales guide, or you can email me martin m-a-r-t-i-n at the outbound sales guy.com. Lovely well it’s been a pleasure having you on Scale Your Sales podcast. Thank you for being so honest and forthright, I knew I’d get that having read your LinkedIn profile, so it’s been a real honour thank you, Martin. Thank you very much, Janice, for having me, and it has been a real pleasure.