In today’s episode of the ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction, talks with guest, Evan Santa, Vice President of Sales at Commerce Bear. They're going to be discussing first impressions in a remote sales world.
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Speaker 0 00:00:01 Coming to you from Orlando, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and streaming around the world around the world. You're not tuned in to the sales samurai podcast, the only B2B sales podcast, providing unfiltered unapologetic views and tactics directly from the sales trenches. Here's your host, Sam Capra.
Speaker 1 00:00:30 Well, welcome to another episode of the sales samurai. Thanks for listening. Uh, before we begin, do us a favor, take a moment to subscribe and download on today's show. We're going to be discussing first impressions in a remote sales world. And this is really something that I've been eager to have this conversation and have an amazing guest for you guys today, Mr. Evan, Santa's VP of sales at commerce bear, Evan, man. Happy to have you, man. How are you?
Speaker 2 00:00:55 I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. I'm really, really excited to talk today, especially about the, uh, the topic at hand.
Speaker 1 00:01:02 I got to be honest with ya. I've probably been not as in tune with this as I probably should have been. We know this whole COVID thing, just throw us right into more remote work and more zoom that you kind of lose sight of the basic blocking and tackling. And first impressions before we hop into it, kind of give the audience a little bit of a background around you, kind of what you've been doing a little bit about yourself. Yeah, yeah,
Speaker 2 00:01:25 Sure. So I'm working with the commerce bear right now. We are a seed round organization where we are essentially selling to furniture manufacturers. And again, a lot of it comes with the boom in e-commerce right now, which again was propelled in 2020 with the surge of the online buyer. So we're essentially assisting furniture manufacturers and selling their products on the Wayfair's overstocks, Amazons and so forth. So from there, my background is actually in building go-to-market sales teams at various software organizations. So most notably vid yard out of Kitchener and Waterloo area in Canada, as well as touch piece jarred with Toronto. And one of the things that I kind of fell into by mistake early in my career is just having the new build sales teams. So that kind of became my expertise over the last 7, 8, 9 years. And, uh, that's what I'm doing right now at commerce bear.
Speaker 2 00:02:17 So I've, I've hired over 75 account executives and BDRs. I keep track of my stats, not only revenue, but also in hiring metrics and with my, with reverse engineering, my, my close rates on a hire I've conducted over a thousand interviews. So I think a lot of this conversation that we're about to have today's Sam had initially come up because of an article I posted a few years ago. Right. I think it was right around. We started to realize like we're working from home a little bit longer than just a couple months, maybe in the summer of 2020. And it really was focused on because I was, I was almost doubling my team at vineyard at the time and we didn't stop during the beginnings of COVID proper first impression. It had me seeing people who are normally coming to the office for an interview providing that proper first impression.
Speaker 2 00:03:04 So all of a sudden, like they're in their basement, the lighting's terrible. They're not looking at the screen, the camera angles messed up and I'm going, you got to get with the program. And I think that there was just not to get too far into it, Sam, but there was this moment in time where it was okay. If everything was hockey, you had bad internet signal, you had poor lighting, the camera angles off like that was okay because it was quite, he was a bit of a state of emergency for B2B software. I think every other industry where it's like go home and just make sure you're still getting shit done. Whereas all of a sudden it's like we went from March and then April, and then all of a sudden may in June hit. And it's like, you should probably tighten up your internet signal.
Speaker 2 00:03:47 It's about a phone call away. Okay. You should probably. And if you can't afford it, talk to your manager, they'll probably shoot you another couple of bucks a month to get your internet signal. Right. You know, your lighting isn't good. Like you should probably tighten that up. Like we're going on four or five months now working in this and then, oh, you're interviewing in this market. Like that was the thing that blew my mind. So it's just, and then now here we are. Right. And I think the debate is it went from being 80, 20 the other way. Like we're going to be back in office for it's kind of 80, 20 the other way. Now we can, like, I think we're going to be digital. So it's just so interesting is to see this stuff happening in real time. But I know I kind of a little bit, long-winded there my background into some of my opinions, what we're going to talk about today.
Speaker 1 00:04:28 Oh man, I love the passion around it. Cause obviously I sense the passion and this and this spurred from just what you're seeing. Right. And that's how a lot of great things, a lot of great conversations happen. But talk to me a little bit about, I always ask this question, I'm a big origins person. I like to understand how people get started in sales. Typically, I haven't heard anyone when they were five years old thinking to themselves, I'm going to grow up and I'm going to be a B2B sales person. I have yet to hear that. But I'm always curious why sales for you oven?
Speaker 2 00:04:57 I think I was always sales before identified. I was in sales, Sam. I think there's so many people in the way. I always identified myself as that. I was like, I want it to be in business. And I wanted to be a business person. And I mean like, like what I did in order to put myself through university was I created a landscaping company and like landscaping is even a stretch. I mean, we're cutting people's lawns. Right. And we were, we had a minivan that we hooked up a trailer with a couple of lawnmowers, but we make good money doing it. But when I first started getting in interviewing for sales roles, everyone sort of said, well, you know, have you done sales before? I'm like, when you're 18 years old and you cold knock on a senior citizens door in their neighborhood and they don't know who you are, you've got a moment in time to flip their perspective. And if you can close that deal, you can sell software. So I used to joke about like, again, being an 18 year old, I'm six feet, six foot, one covered in tattoos. And it's like that, like I was able to do that. So I'm pretty sure, like I've done sales a certain degree at some point that didn't really work that pitched didn't didn't work in those interviews earlier.
Speaker 2 00:06:04 But I think again, I think I kind of fell into it. I really wanted to get into software. Booming industry was in Toronto. And that's what everybody who isn't, isn't going to become a banker or a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher. So, and I think that's how a lot of people fall into sale. They come out of potentially post-secondary education and they go, so what do I do now when everybody is interested in being successful, not everybody, but a lot of people are interested in being successful. And I think it's those that don't necessarily come out with a very, very focused degrees. So anybody with a general degree or maybe didn't go to school. Yeah. They're coming out going like what's the next step so that I can own a house and like increase my livelihood. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:06:45 Yeah. That's awesome, man. Hey, so tell me, and I always ask this question for the simple fact that there's just been so much changes in sales and I know we're good. We're getting ready to talk about the remote world and how to put your best foot forward. But you know, you've been doing this a while. Like you've been building teams in the past seven years and you've been in the sales space for a number of years. Like what, in your opinion, from a sales perspective, what do you think has changed for the better in sales and what have you think has not changed for the better what's changed for the worst? Like what have you seen go the opposite are polar opposites when it comes to sales and your experience,
Speaker 2 00:07:19 I'm noticing that a lot of people have stopped taking risks that are necessary to get to the next step. And I think like that at the beginning of like 2020, like I'm hiring for multiple roles right now and right. I cannot believe the lack of, I don't want to say aggression, but just like assertiveness in an interview setting with candidates nowadays. And I think it's because they're in the comfort of their own home, they're feeling like they don't need to pitch. They're feeling like maybe it's not that serious. They're feeling like, I think it's just like, they have to, there's like the psychological level of comfort that everyone has right now. And especially like, and I know like, you know, we're crossing the border right now on this conversation, but in Canada, like we were given a lot of way too, a lot of money away to people in like, as emergency funds for businesses that were shut down for people couldn't work.
Speaker 2 00:08:12 And I think that, although, like we don't have to get into the political discussion about that, but I think that that might have had a psychological effect on people in sales, specifically in software that I've seen where they've kind of taken their foot off the gas and go in the last two years I've been working out of my home. Yeah. I upgraded my webcam. So, you know, hooray for me and I'm working in a job. I don't really like I'm Scott, Ms. Spending probably 30% of my time looking at other job postings, but I'm not actually leaning into it and going, I'm going to go email Sam Capra and say, I want to work for you. This is my plan to work for you. And would you take a meeting with me? And I'm literally sitting here going, like, I've got an opportunity of a lifetime to build a business development or a grade now I'm posting on LinkedIn.
Speaker 2 00:08:59 I've got a good following on there. I'm getting five, six leads, all of five leads. I'm getting about 15 leads proposed, but like, everybody's so passive. They're just like, yeah, I I'd like to meet with you. I'm like back in my day, I'm like knocking on the door with a resume saying, do you have 10 minutes to sit down with me right now? I'd like to explain to you why I'm your guy or why I'm your gal. And yeah, I think that, that, I think right now, I think that there's a loss of intensity because we're not sitting in an office seeing, you know, Sam and Kathy, maybe in a bit of like, not in a heated moment together, but like in behind that glass wall in the boardroom and we see them like having a very serious conversation and you can tell that there's a level of intensity there, so we better get moving.
Speaker 2 00:09:39 And when, when a candidate comes into an interview, they used to come into our office and see the salespeople moving. I used to love walking candidates across the sales floor because you could barely hear any your self-talk there. And by the time we got to the meeting room, it's like game on, do you want to have a serious conversation working here and be a part of this? And if that doesn't excite you, like, then this isn't going to be right. But now again, we're sitting here in each other's living rooms. And I think that's a challenge for a lot of young people. It's a challenge for everybody. Cause they got to get that level of intensity back to understand that this is the big leagues, just because you're at home. It doesn't mean that it change the dynamics of the business.
Speaker 1 00:10:15 That's a good call. Call-out and I think I've seen that as well. So I think I love what you said. They've taken their foot off the gas and you really sure I've always approached an interview. Very similar. Do I approach my deal? Yup. An opportunity. How do I sell that is typically how I go about my interview process. I'm following up, I'm asking the right questions. I'm trying to get to the next step, which is hopefully another interview or potentially higher, depending on what that process looks like. And I've noticed that that has started to wane off where you don't get that. Thank you. You know, baby, before you interview, you don't get that LinkedIn connection. Hey, I'm excited to have a conversation with you on Thursday. Can I do anything in preparation for interview looking forward to just like some of the basic table stakes that are just like sales 1 0 1 to your point, that gap, you kind of let off the gas and you wouldn't do that in a sales cycle or sales environment. So I love that. What have you seen on the opposite side where you've seen, Hey, we've made strides in the right direction or things have improved in this area? Where have you seen on the other side of that coin?
Speaker 2 00:11:18 Yeah, I think the other side of that coin is that for those that weren't managing on fear, I think those managers that were managing on fear or managing on friendship and you know what I mean by when I say that, right? Sam like those that like, you know, they just kind of become friends with those that report into them. And then they kind of hope that their friendship will push the needle, rarely works. But I think specifically those managing on fear had a really, really tough time because all of a sudden people were kind of just going, like now you're not sitting over my shoulder and there's a lot of resentment between myself and the organization and you, so, you know, I'll respond when I respond. But on the positive side is that if you manage through autonomy and true, you know, allowing those, I always say like when I hire salespeople and like, we go over like the vacation policy and all that stuff, I'm like, I'm not here to babysit you on your time.
Speaker 2 00:12:09 I'm hiring a professional, we're paying you professional dollars. So like when you need a Friday off, you're going to tell me, and I'm going to ask, like, if you need to take two, three weeks off, like let's have a discussion, like strategically placed that to make sure that we're, we're driving the revenue of the business, but like you need to go to a dentist. Like I don't need to know just go right, go and go do that. It actually takes us more time to banter through it. So I think those that are truly driven that are at like a certain level of autonomy are the ones who are flying right now. And I think that was the case before, but I think now those individuals are happier because I've got reps right now where they're, they're doing some errands throughout the day and we're totally okay talking about it, like go run and do grocery.
Speaker 2 00:12:53 So you're not doing it Friday night, downtown Toronto or, or, or in downtown New York. Like nobody wants to do that. So yeah, go do it Tuesday afternoon and then get your shit done. So I think those, that, again like that autonomy, and I think that that is the best thing that happened in the digital workspace. But I think those that are not either aspiring to be an, a player or maybe are a B player who are doing a really good job or even a C player becoming a B player. But those that are D players that still can sometimes month over month get to quota. Those are the ones who are struggling because they're lacking the motivation to even log in. They're lacking the motivation, the opportunities or the activities. And then furthermore, they don't have a manager standing over them, cracking, not cracking a whip, but even just being present. And some people need some, I guess, need that. Like they need somebody to like, just walk behind them. So they're not gone nfl.com looking at what's happening with the soup. You know what I mean? Like,
Speaker 1 00:13:52 No, I love that piece of it. And you, I think that's a good call on as well that it is one of those types of things. It's a catch 22. I think it's a good call out. So let's jump into this because I love this conversation and I didn't give much thought, as I said at the top of our conversation is I'd never really gave this much thought from this remote standpoint, just how things have evolved. And we haven't evolved alongside of it. I remember back in the old school days, I'm going way back, but I'm a lot older than you. And so I think I'm going way, way, way back. I remember having to get in a suit and tie power tie, white shirt and Cintas, and we would make cold calls in-person to mechanics and we'd be in full bar. Like your shoes had to be polished.
Speaker 1 00:14:33 Your hair had to be done. You couldn't have facial hair. And I know that's, that might be going to an nth degree. That's kind of how it was. And we kind of held up this certain criteria. First impressions matter. You want to look nice. You want to present yourself the right way? That kind of went by the wayside as a remote. Like you, you kind of got a pass the very first few months because everyone was just trying to make do, but as you've proceeded in this, like things haven't evolved that much. So help me understand that a little bit, what you're seeing and then we'll talk about, Hey, what we should be like, what's the table stakes, the things you have to do, you just can't mess up on. But talk to me a little bit about what you're seeing from a remote standpoint.
Speaker 2 00:15:12 Okay. How about this one? Just because you're allowed doesn't mean you should, right? Like, just because you're allowed doesn't mean should, and I think people need to put a little bit more thought into that because here's the deal software sales industry was pushed so far from the other side, like the pendulum swung the other way. It said, Hey, and it went from like suits and ties to now, Hey, we're cool. And then I'm speaking just from a male's dress code perspective. Hey, it's okay if you're wearing jeans and a shirt tucked in, but we want to call right. And dress shoes and nice shoes and all of a sudden, like they're on their feet all day. So Hey, you can wear sneakers. And all of a sudden software started this whole new regime of software of like the free booze and the wear, whatever the hell you want.
Speaker 2 00:15:55 We don't care. I remember being part of the software companies sitting in there with the executive team and they're going, so we had somebody show up in short shorts and a tank top today. Like they're going to the beach and it's like, well, you said they could wear whatever the hell they want. So that's what they're doing. And it's swung so far to the other side of the pendulum. And I remember when I went to interview for a touch piece, Joe, very early in my career and I was told by the internal recruiter or external, I can't remember. It doesn't matter. They're like, oh, it's a software company. So like, don't dress up. I'm like, don't dress out. Nobody can ever tell me that don't dress up. I'm like, just cause you're telling me that I can doesn't mean that I should. So I actually just lied in the interview and I wore a suit like suit pants and a white shirt unbuttoned.
Speaker 2 00:16:43 So like casual, but still suited up. And I rolled in there and looked good. I felt good. I was confident. I landed the job. And I knew I landed at like right then and there they're like, we got to go with the CEO. I wanted to meet you right here on the spot. I got a phone call, got the offer that night. What I told them is I'm like, Hey, I just came from my other job, which it was true, but I wasn't necessarily have to wear that at the other job. But I wanted to create a certain perception. And now this is what sales is. And it's not about lying. It's not about cheating. It's about making yourself different than the others who are showing up in a grubby t-shirt. And I was trying to show them that I take myself seriously, I take this opportunity seriously.
Speaker 2 00:17:19 And you're gonna remember the guy who smells good and looks good versus the person who showed up because the recruiter. And then furthermore, here's the last point, Sam. I know. And I know, you know, this too. Sometimes the hiring manager does not get conveyed. The messaging that goes out to the candidate by the HR manager or the head of talent or et cetera. So the hiring manager managers, like, why is this, why is this person in a t-shirt like, shouldn't they be taking this role a little more seriously? Meanwhile, it was the, the recruiter or the head of talent who is saying, Hey, you can dress down. And all of a sudden there's a disconnect. So do you want to be part of that? Like, it doesn't take much to look good and like sound good and feel good. And, and I mean, I remember people showing up, I've had people show up for interviews like three, five minutes late, even when we were in the, the office world.
Speaker 2 00:18:08 And they would talk about being hung over meetings over it. Meanwhile, I have a candidate who's like, Hey, I actually showed up an hour early because I wanted to make sure I found the building and wasn't clustered for time. And I'd been sitting across the way, reviewing the website or my computer drinking a coffee, waiting for the moment to show up. I'm like, okay, interview started. What else are you going to tell me? Right. Oh, I, I get passionate about this stuff. Sounds like it's just, no, these are the simple things like, and the one thing that that candidates don't understand is that this is actually the biggest deal that you're about to open and close, like your own personal salary. Why do you put more effort into, into closing a deal for the company represent and more preparation into that? Is it because your managers tell you shit, you're about to go walk in and pitch yourself and close a deal that puts money directly in your bank. I'm getting ready for that.
Speaker 1 00:19:03 But I'm telling you, there's so many similarities. I know I keep going back and maybe beating a dead horse, whether you're approaching it from an interview standpoint of putting your best foot forward, or you're approaching it with a client call, like apply, right. If you're talking to a client or you're interviewing for a job, they're both essentially deals that you're trying to close. I mean, at the end of the day, they are so approaching it any different than like you said, the candidate that waited an hour prepped across the street. That's the candidate, that's the sales person. I want working a major deal prepping across the street is early, the whole nine yards. Like there's so many similarities. So as we talk through this, I'm almost thinking candidate sales rep with the client. It's one and the same as we're talking through it. So I think it's a good call.
Speaker 2 00:19:47 It's the exact same thing, Sam. And I appreciate you calling that out. Cause I know it was going to far far the candidate side. Yeah. And I always tell them, the people that I rolled into me is like, when you're putting in that preparation, tell your prospect that no matter the stage of the deal, whether it's net new or closing color in between, it's like, Hey Sarah, I just spent the last 45 minutes reviewing your file, taken a look at your website, trying to help you draw on an ROI as to how we're going to do this thing. Now tell me how you're feeling about it. But to your point, that experience, no matter how the deal is trending positive or negative, whatever probability that individual, the person on the other end of the call is going, like I'm talking to the right person on the other end, getting into a call, rolling up three minutes late. This person's interested in potentially buying. And you're like, yeah, like I'm feeling a little, a little dull today. I had a few drinks last night, whatever. Like, yeah, we're all human. But again, just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Speaker 1 00:20:43 I love that. That's the greatest thing where it's just because you can doesn't mean you should. There you go. I love that. So let's talk about like, what are the things that are just like table stakes? And so we've moved past the first few months in this whole COVID most people are either going to be remote for the foreseeable future or probably indefinitely. Like what are some of the things that you just have to do? Like just for preparations to be professional from a candidate standpoint or an a sales standpoint in a virtual world, in your opinion.
Speaker 2 00:21:12 I think if you even want a seat at the table, it's camera lighting and audio just for a seat at the table, like that's the basics. And again, like this article that you and I connected on, I talked about how, how back in the day it was shoes and it's funny. Cause you mentioned shoes. Right? And the, it was all about the shoes. Like for, I mean mostly men, but women too, for sure. But it was like, sure, are their shoes clean? Are they need, are they fresh? Like if somebody's wearing tattered up shoes, you're going like how seriously you take in that. So now you don't have to go buy shoes. So you don't want to have like this big interview with game-changing. You're like I got to go put the 150, 200 bucks in the shoes, make sure I'm fresh. Put my best foot forward.
Speaker 2 00:21:51 Literally. Now it's like go pick up a webcam, a hundred bucks, go get a ring light. If you're lighting snow, good, get the camera angle. Right? Like for under $200, you can do that at one-time cost. And they're going to wear out like shoes either, but that's table stakes. And what blows my mind is in this world where even right now, mine and yours interaction, because we are on camera. Even though this is an audio podcast, the body language is everything here. Engagement is everything on eye contact is everything. And I cannot believe the amount of conversations that I have. I don't care about prospects because prospects can do whatever they want. Right. But in an interview setting in a salesperson setting, like again, if my prospect has their camera off, that's fine. But my entire sales team is cameras on good lighting, good audio.
Speaker 2 00:22:35 We need you to see us and see our passion. But from an interview perspective, I see people with poor lighting. I'm now purchasing a ton of tech right now and building up the, go to market for a commerce bear. And like I see salespeople, some sales stupid, still keeping their camera like what's going on. It's like people buy from people, not from companies. And I think that's table stakes. Like you just have to have good camera angles, good lighting, good audio. And it's so easy to do. And that I think also too, like it irks me because it's like, that's easier than making your bed in the morning. So what does the rest of your life look like?
Speaker 1 00:23:11 Yeah. It's funny you bring those up because you know, the first thing is you have to have the right equipment, you know, the external camera, the 10 80, the ring light. And you went, you elaborate on a few other points, which we could talk about as well. But the first table stake, in my opinion, is a hop online. First hop into your zoom test, get a whole line early and make sure you're not having technical difficulties before you hop on and then run late because you're having technical issues. That's to me, it's mind boggling when there's technical issues, because you're running late and to your point, you're not prepared for what could arrive. So that's number one. I want to get your thoughts on that because I'm sure you've seen that a number of times, Hey, I was having technical difficult. That's why I'm 10 minutes late. Like those things just, and I know it's going to happen. It's going to happen regardless how much you prep. But if you see that's a consistent thing, that's an issue that you're just not prepared.
Speaker 2 00:24:08 No, we should not have technical difficulties on our end at all. Like upgrade your internet. Like again, investing yourself. It's unbelievable. Everybody's just going. This is okay. Right. This is okay. It's okay to assert a degree and you don't want to make people feel bad about it. But that's where I think like our, the way that we're communicating as organizations to our employees, as we're commuting to our coworkers, everyone goes, Hey, it's okay. Everyone's going to say that now because that's the world we're living in. Nobody wants to be the bad person, the bad guy. And come down on somebody in a sales meeting with all the, with all the reps to be like, Hey, that's not okay. But everybody needs to hold themselves to a higher accountability to be like that. Ain't going to be me. And to your point, it does not take much. It's literally making sure, you know, getting in touch with your internet provider, making sure that that's tight logging on early showing up to meetings five minutes early. So if you have a technical issue, you could rectify it most likely before anyone joining again.
Speaker 1 00:25:05 Yup. I love that base.
Speaker 2 00:25:07 The one thing that we haven't talked about yet, Sam, but this all trickles down to it is now that we are digital first, this is your only opportunity to create a brand for yourself in the organization, a brand with your customers and a brand, just your presence. And people notice that technical issues all the time, late all the time, like has to, you know, get up for a coffee, whatever it may be, like, get your wake up. That tells me you got to wake up a little bit earlier when you're having those things. Those problems. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:25:39 Without a doubt. So Hey, get prepared. Make sure there's no technical lift issues. And then, Hey, turn on the camera because I do like that. And you know what? I've fallen into that trap where they weren't on camera. I at least started on camera. Then I toggled off. But you're right. That in today's day and age is the only way to build a rapport. I remember the days of meeting face to face. It feels like it was so long ago and people would all tell you there's value to that. Connecting. One-on-one seeing each other, putting a face with the name. And yet many times reps don't hop on camera. So that is low hanging fruit, right? Evan.
Speaker 2 00:26:14 Absolutely. I used to tell my reps, they don't buy this and I'm doing like the talking motion with your hand. They buy this. Now I'm circling my face. People buy from people that they like. So, and again, like when I worked at vineyard, like this is where I really started to conceptualize. This is a video card we're selling video enablement for sales and video. It's an amazing tool. The reason it's an amazing tool is that it's providing an upfront contract and it's providing confidence for a prospect to meet with you, especially from a cold outbound perspective, because I get an email from somebody. I don't know who you are. I don't know. But if I get a friendly face and I click play and I see this intelligent individual, who's well-spoken, he says, Sam, I want to talk to you about this. This is the research I did.
Speaker 2 00:26:55 If you take a meeting with me, this is what you'll get from it. This is the value of C book time. All of a sudden you're like, Hey, this guy, this gal seems to know what they're talking about. I'll take that meaning furthermore, the rapport that you can build and last but not least, if you have your camera off as a salesperson, how could you ever expect that your prospect will have your camera on? And one of the most powerful things as a deal comes to close is seeing your prospect's body language in a demo environment. When you're going off on this is this feature. This is this. How do you see that? Working? You see two things and even we're again, we're on video right now. You see this, like the cross star came back and they're like, they look like they're falling asleep or you see them leaning in so close to the camera that you can see up their nostrils and they're nodding and their eyes are big. And you're starting to all of a sudden you're forecasting the deal. You're going, Hey, Sam, it looks like based on your, and I call it out all the time. Based on your body language, Sam's looks like we're hit striking a chord. Let's stop right now. I'm going to draw my screen. Let's talk about it. What's impactful here. If you don't have your camera on your close rates already, already, way less than it could be without you knowing less about sales or without knowing any more about sailing.
Speaker 1 00:28:04 I love there's one thing that you pointed out is that by being a little early and you automatically clicking your camera on it, it tells the prospect, Hey, we're going live. Let's both be on. But if you wait for them to turn those on, they will because you've already set the precedent that you're not going to have your camera on. Why would I have my, so it's all that psychological piece that is really my new, but it's so important. Right? Okay.
Speaker 2 00:28:29 Oh, and it blows my mind. Like if you and I opened up a donut shop, okay, Sam, we opened up a donut shop, south Florida, like me and you. When people walk in, what do we do? What do we do? We're standing there. We're going to probably have some pretty cool shirts, maybe hats. I don't know where we say, Hey, nice to meet you. Which brought you in. Come on and come take a look at what we got and we're selling dollar donuts. So now you're going to sell 40, 50, a hundred thousand dollars software and not put face to the brand. God damn it. It blows my mind. You'll notice a picture of my background here, Sam, this is a big piece of bare art. Yeah. So my entire sales team is branded where we all have bear art. Everybody's got different barrel. They get to choose it. We paid for it. But it's so that when you talk to anybody who's customer facing on our company, you know that it's like it's branded and it's not like we don't have the logo in my own office here, but we're finding ways to brand ourselves in this digital world so that whenever a customer or prospect speaks to us, like there's some type of brand there.
Speaker 1 00:29:27 I love that. Hey, so I want to get your thoughts on this because I would assume there's some that would say, Hey, in a virtual world backgrounds, but I gotta be honest with you. I've seen some horrific backgrounds, like their face gets blended in like you for that against it. Like, what's your thought process around these virtual backgrounds and their place in, in a, that first impression that we're talking about from a, from a sales, from a candidate.
Speaker 2 00:29:52 Totally. It's a great question. The, my first word that comes to mind when I hear backgrounds is distraction, right? Yeah. And then I've done again, candidates. I'm not trying to get mixed into the interview. So I've been on the interview and I'm like, what do you got to hide? Show me what you created over there. Like, like again, we've been in this a while now. So I think they're distracting. I think they're ridiculous. Again, like lean into the fact that we're remote, build yourself a nice little space. I see. Like you've got golf clubs back there. All of a sudden, bam, you're a golfer. I'm a big golfer too. One of the most powerful things like people are asking me about stuff in my background all the time. So why would you not take that opportunity? I saw this one guy on LinkedIn. Talk about how he, he would always change up. He had like, I guess he's a big fan of music. So he had old records like LPs of some of them framed, like rolling stones, the Beatles, all these different like legendary bands. And he said he started actually just changing them every now and again. And he would have all these conversations of some of his prospect. They I'm like, oh, I saw Aerosmith in like 82. It was so cool. And again, your background, ain't going to do that for you. And then it's distracting,
Speaker 1 00:31:01 You know what? I kind of core and I, 100% agree with you. I am more times more fixated on why is this head keep disappearing into the background than I am with her saying a and B. It is so like, we've been talking about right. The whole face-to-face is typically most salespeople would say they would prefer, there is the better interaction, which is you're talking about being on camera, but I'll never forget walking into someone's office and seeing the pictures like you probably see in my background, I see in your background and the golf clubs, that was traditionally how you used to build rapport. Like those things are table stakes that you're losing out in this remote world, by not doing the things that are just, Hey, don't have a virtual background, make sure you have a clean space and it's a presentable professional space, but open those lines of communication. And I can tell you, I've been through about 10 video calls just in the past couple of weeks with sales vendors and nine of the 10 had a virtual background and I'd say seven of them dove, head kept veering in and out of it where I really lost track of what I was even listening to by that point in time.
Speaker 2 00:32:07 Totally. And then the next, the other one has something that you're interested about and it starts to pull in like some type of conversation. And again, everybody, again, just because you can doesn't mean you should becoming our new things, Sam, as we were going down this trail together. But the thing is is, is what are your competitors doing? So you got a digital background, your competitors they're branded. Maybe they're like, maybe they're doing something creative. That's making them stand out. And after your, one of the things we need to do in sales is be memorable. So again, myself saying, Hey, you guys dressed down in a software company. I had shown up like that for my interview over here, I was just trying to stand out. I wasn't trying to suit up. I wasn't trying to, I was trying to stand out because I knew everybody else would wear the button up shirt.
Speaker 2 00:32:56 That's like, you know, not that stiff collar, but the button color that you get it like American Outfitters or whatever the hell I'm like, I don't want to do that. I want to stand out and then I'm going to go in their pitch. And then when they sit there with all the resumes, they're gonna be like, oh, I remember this guy. Wasn't that, that guy who showed up cause it's different. So I think that that's the biggest thing too. It's like, you're going to have these, nobody remembers a digital background. And I've seen some companies brand them too. Like it's like their company brand. And then they release it to everybody, not to teach your people how to set up a decent little background at home. And it doesn't have to be crazy. Just make it clean, make it easy, make it personal because the world we live in now, you got to lean in, we're almost two years into this now for two years, less two months I get with.
Speaker 1 00:33:42 But that, that's what I love about this is that, you know, this is not as much as I would. I would love to say that we're going back to the old normal, this is the new normal, like, this is how it's going to be right wrong and different. It's going to be a remote first environment for the foreseeable future. We know that. So how do you make the most of it and put your best foot forward. I love what you and you call a good call up earlier. And I missed it. But the whole body language thing is so you're right. That whole leaning in my leaning back. Am I falling asleep? Am I kind of looking like this? Trying to understand what am I looking? Okay. That makes sense to me. Those are all opportunities. Those social body cues you miss out on by simply not turning on the camera. I don't think I can overstate the camera piece more than we have, but it's so important of what you're missing, Evan, that I wanted to make sure I called it out again. So yeah. Great call out from a body language standpoint.
Speaker 2 00:34:40 Yeah. So you know what? I actually have a story that attributed directly to a close one rate. Yeah. I'm setting up a good visual because we've been selling digitally forever. People forget that one too. Like it's like the only difference is we're at home. We're not in the office, but we've been selling on camera forever. Or at least I'm coming up on 10 years in B2B software. And it's like, everything was like, we were in Canada selling in New York and then you jump on a call with somebody in California and then all of a sudden Texas, like you're all over the map into Europe. Right, right. It's the same now, but now you're at home. Now, one of the story that I have is I remember seeing, uh, this was, uh, one of the organizations I was at and there was a number of salespeople where they would take a call with a prospect in a meeting room.
Speaker 2 00:35:25 Now the webcam they used was on the hanging on the wall. So when you were in the prospects position, getting close to thinking about signing, you saw two to three salespeople, maybe a sales engineer with like their nose into their laptops, sitting at a boardroom table. And you're all of a sudden identify. Holy shit. I'm a huge head on a massive 70 inch TV in the boardroom. And you saw nothing. You saw these tiny little one inch bodies. They look like little GI Joes sitting at a table. And then they start asking the tough questions like w so starting to negotiate. When would you be able to sign, starting to pull risk out of the deal? And I'm like, oh my gosh, you've got no eye-to-eye contact. So one of the things that I did with my sales team, as they say, every single call is taken from the sales floor.
Speaker 2 00:36:08 I want them to see people walking behind you. I want them on a demo to have you. We literally used to go Sam. I don't know the answer to that. Give me one second. And we would mute the call, keep the video on, pull their headphones off. And they talk to the next person next to them. And sometimes the person next to them, you can see them in camera and then come back on and be like, Sam, to answer your question. This is how the integration works. I just talked with my colleague right next to me. That's cool because that's what you're starting to show them. And because we took all the calls from the Salesforce, all of our prospects felt the buzz. And they're like, this is the type of business that these guys are doing. I'm not the most important one where they got to take me to a boardroom and there's six people sitting there. It's like, no, no, you're not. We're pumping the software out the door. Do you want to be part of the program? So again, I think it's about perception. Sales has always been that way. Sales has always been that way.
Speaker 1 00:36:55 Yeah. It really has. As much as things have changed, they really haven't changed. It's still about that human connection and it's perception. It's first impressions. It's all the things that kind of go into it. I want to get your thoughts on this. Cause this closely ties to what we're talking about. Do you think we'll get back to, or do you think this is the new norm? Like, do you think, Hey, it's a better way of doing it. It's a much more cost-effective obviously than getting out and flying to New York and everything else. Do you think that'll change back or do you think there'll be always this kind of remote first mentality from a sales perspective?
Speaker 2 00:37:28 I think we're mold first is here to stay because just straight up what happened at T and D budgets, right? Like companies were able to slash a teeny bug budgets overnight and then go, holy smokes. We're still closing that said, I just came back from Las Vegas for a trade show, which is massive in the furniture industry. Trade shows are massive. They're they're not like B2B software trade shows where you're shoulder to shoulder and people are just throwing cards at you. And you're like, you know, everybody wants to be just waiting for the cocktail bar to open their buyers markets where people are com retailers are coming in to buy furniture from these manufacturers. So it's kind of like a massive shopping mall. And we sat down with someone we're in flight deals. I was able to source more pipeline there than I'd ever imagined when I first got on the plane to go there just a week and a half ago.
Speaker 2 00:38:16 And there was definitely some power in meeting face-to-face, especially with some of our late stage potential future deals that are very, very large enterprise deals. There was definitely some importance there and it took me down very transparently, Sam. It took me down the road of saying like, we're going be a remote first organization. But if we get to a point where we've got a large size deal piped in late stage, and we need to trigger our rep to fly down there, I think we're going to absolutely do that. So I think it's, it's going to be a hybrid. I think we just have to look at it the way that I'm looking at it is we are remote first. We're distributed first, but there's definitely going to be moments where face-to-face is important.
Speaker 1 00:38:59 Yeah. I tend to agree with you. I think we're forever changed. I remember the day you'd hop on a plane for, for whatever reason, because the thought process was face-to-face is more powerful and getting in front of someone is much more powerful, but I do agree with you that T and D expense has really been slashed. The importance of it, I think has been weighing for the simple fact, people are still closing business virtually, and it is a lot less impact on a sales state. So I, I, 100% agree with you.
Speaker 2 00:39:28 I think it's interesting too, right? Because as companies grow, they become less effective as you know, in scaling sales teams. Right. And you start, I think when companies start to slash the teeny budgets in 2020 and said, okay, oh my gosh, they're still selling maybe in a more productive rate executives and higher ups and organizations started to say, where are sales reps just going on many vacations? And I think that in a lot of cases, a lot of them were, I personally hate business travel. I'm a father of a four year old girl and my wife and I are extremely close where we do a lot of our, of our social time together. And I hate business travel. I always am trying to quantify like this amount of pipeline, this amount of closed revenue to say that my time away from home was worth it, or my time away where I'm most productive, which is sitting here in my office. But that said, I think there's a lot of people in a different stage of their life where they really enjoyed blasting out to California for the weekend fit in some golf and that kind of thing. So I think what we're on the path towards is a higher level of productivity and a higher level of return for our investment as an organization. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:40:33 I think you're right. Yeah. Yeah. But I do think to your point though, Evan, but I do agree with it. There are opportunities still late stage to connect the dots, build that relationship, get it over the goal line, handshake, those types of things still create a lot of value and conferences. Like you said, that's still a great way to connect with individuals, start to create pipe. I think those pieces will be there. I think those strategic opportunities to be face-to-face will still be there. But to your point, I think there's going to be haver your scrutiny on, Hey, is it necessary? Is it and holding more people accountable to, well, why are we making that trip versus not
Speaker 2 00:41:14 Yeah. Qualifying and quantifying it. Right. And the, I think also too, like one of the things that's wild is the amount of money that is being transacted on like through zoom calls. Right? And, and there was a study that I read at the end of 2020 that I think it said something, it was something along the lines. Like the vast majority of the market in sales would be willing to spend up to a million dollars, ARR annual reoccurring online, like just through zoom, without an in face-to-face meetings. So I think when you look at those stats too, you got to go, is this really necessary for us to do this? And I think it's just, you need to be forward-thinking, which is how our entire conversation has been. If you kind of go well before it was all face to face, I think you're already limiting yourself from the success that you can see in this world of being face-to-face, but on camera and a lot of it's product market fit too. Like if you're struggling to close deals online, face-to-face I don't think it's going to help you. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:42:08 It's funny because something I heard and I, yeah, we were talking about travel and T and E and just a thought like, if you can't get a room, if you can't get a camera, you can't get the lighting that costs, like you said, 200 bucks, like you can't get that approved, but yet you're saving thousands of dollars on airfare, hotel, rental cars, like it, like those things don't equate, like that's an easy sell. You should be able to get from a sales perspective. If that's like, you're very, forward-thinking of getting it for your team. But if I'm a sales rep that needs it, that's an easy quantification on ROI. If I eliminate two flights this year, I've more than paid for five times over what this camera's going to cost.
Speaker 2 00:42:48 And the same perspective in the commission world don't even go talk to your managers. You could buy it on Amazon and realize that you're going to close as of it. And then when they go, how, how did you go from closing this in 2019, this in 2020, this in 2021, you're like secret sauce. Like it, especially when you look at approval processes, I love approval processes. It's like I used to not it's certain companies. I wouldn't expense anything under $200 because I'm like, it's, it's not worth my time to go through the goddamn painstaking process of submitting this expense. I'm better off focusing on building more pipeline and closing another deal. That's where I should put my hour into rather than try to expense something for $60. And I think that that's the big thought process too. It's like, go and invest in yourself. We used to spend $200 on shoes.
Speaker 2 00:43:35 You could arguably get through a zoom call without anything but a t-shirt on now. Not that I'm saying you should, but like, we don't have to spend the money that we used to on an office clothes. We don't have to spend the money that we used to on suits. I had to go to Las Vegas and I had to, I had to go buy a new suit Sam, because some of the other ones didn't fit me anymore. Of course. And it was wild. I'm like, wow. I'm like, I used to have to buy these, buy a couple of these a year, keep them fresh now. I'm like, I can't remember the last time I bought one.
Speaker 1 00:44:04 That's awesome, man. Hey, so how do people learn more about you, Evan? I know you're really leveraged LinkedIn. How do people learn a little bit more about you? What you're doing over there at commerce bear and so on and so forth?
Speaker 2 00:44:14 Yeah, so I, yeah, LinkedIn is by the best spot to find me Evan Santa's vice-president of sales eCommerce bear. I spent a lot of time early in my career, again, going through these thought processes, developing my sales mantra and essentially bringing my playbook and mantra both from hiring building teams from the ground floor up or the ground up, I should say. And, uh, I spend a lot of time putting some very forward thoughts onto LinkedIn and some of them are very popular. Some of them are not so much, but definitely gets us into a mode of challenging ourselves and challenging the status quo. As we all navigate this changing of the tide that is business to business, software sales, even B to C software sales and even just sales in general or business communications in general. So LinkedIn is definitely the best spot. Furthermore, Sam, as you say, learn more about me. I keep a very, very tight inbox. So I'm always checking my direct messages and then I'm always willing to connect with somebody if I can provide them value pending time permits and last but not least commerce bear for anybody. That's either looking for a new opportunity. Anybody that's interested in up and coming vertical software, vertical SAS, you can check us email@example.com. We are a company that is in high growth mode and we've done some really, really incredible things over the short time that I've been here having just joined early in 2021.
Speaker 1 00:45:43 That's awesome, man. We're going to put all that in the show notes, linked to Evan's LinkedIn profile to commerce bear the whole nine yards. Hey Evan, who was an absolute pleasure having you on the show tonight. Appreciate your time.
Speaker 2 00:45:52 Thank you very much, Sam. I really enjoyed the conversation.
Speaker 0 00:45:57 Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your host, Sam Capra. Be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit sales samurai.io and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content.
VP of Sales @ CommerceBear
Evan has built multiple sales teams from the ground up at notable Canadian tech companies. Including the business development department at TouchBistro and forming a highly successful sales team in a previously unidentified segment of business at Vidyard. Across four different organizations Evan has hired over 75 Account Executives and BDRs.
Evan prides himself on developing revenue generating teams that challenge both the status quo & the sales processes of yesterday.