April 28, 2022

Why, What & How of Mutual Action Plans

Why, What & How of Mutual Action Plans

In today’s episode of ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction, talks with guest Mark Fershteyn, CEO @Recapped.io who collaborates with buyers through mutual action plans to accelerate revenue, create repeatable playbooks, and ensure seamless handoffs. He shares the why, what, and how mutual cctions plans work.

Episode Highlights

  • 01:52 – Mark shares his background. He never thinks they'd have had the opportunity that they have today.
  • 02:32 – The number one problem for most sales teams is the lack of process and lack of standardization, especially when you get into scale, states Mark.
  • 10:43 - If you do want big changes, it does require big investments. You're not going to get a 20% swing on a 5% effort move, says Mark.
  • 12:33 – Mutual Action Plan is a tool, and the internal parties and your customers are to be aligned on what needs to happen, it's a project plan.
  • 14:31 - It's getting clear alignment and expectations on what needs to happen.
  • 16:19 - Your mutual action plan is almost the business case that you're putting together. 
  • 20:07 – It’s creating that framework, so that your new reps and people that you bring in an organization, they're able to come in and follow best practices, highlights Mark.
  • 22:07 - All of these different paths can converge, that's when you want to start driving the next steps together.
  • 23:22 – We should understand that our customers or our prospects barely read our emails. We should not expect that they're going to collaborate with us 100% of the way.
  • 26:06 – The deal acceleration is the most popular impact that they have seen by doing this, states Mark.
  • 27:10 - If you're able to have a consistent way that everybody sells, it starts giving you visibility and insight into what's happening because it allows you to improve as an organization because you can't improve what you can't measure.
  • 32:40 - Mutual Action Plans are essentially enforcement of the ‘Why’ but without a ‘How’ you can't implement the ‘Why’.
  • 38:24 – Mark points out, setting a date on a checklist or on a task they found that the chances of that task being completed doubled.
  • 42:15 - It's becomes winning what's winnable, and allocating your resources and being strategic with what you're doing, says Mark.
  • 43:34 – Start implementing a collaborative selling approach, start working together on an action and implementation plan, and it's going to do wonders for you.

Three Key Points

  1. If you're looking for a big swing, then you got to take a big swing from an investment standpoint, you have to double down somewhere, or you are not going to get there.
  2. Mark recommends that the first thing you do is create a checklist of the high-level things that need to happen. Number two is including an executive summary, and the third one is access to resources. 
  3. There are different ways we help other customers like you, hear all the different proof points and data points that we can help you with. Here's the business case, shoot this over to your boss, here's my contact information. And if your boss has any questions, I'm right here for you.

Tweetable Quotes

  • “There's nothing worse than having something fall apart at the finish line….” - Mark Fershteyn
  • “The bigger you are the more important step process and standardization becomes.” – Mark Fershteyn
  • “The Mutual Action Plan, it's just a way for everyone to make sure you're on the same page.” – Mark Fershteyn
  • “So much of sales happen when you're not in the room, 90% of it.” – Mark Fershteyn
  • “If you do believe that this process makes your customer’s life easier, why would you not implement it as early as possible?” – Mark Fershteyn
  • “It's not always about what you can close; it’s about what you can kill. You have to kill things off.” – Sam Capra
  • “We have customers that have accelerated their sales cycle by 75%.” - Mark Fershteyn
  • “It's aligning how you sell with how they buy and making sure that they click the methodology.” – Mark Fershteyn
  • “It is all around credibility because if you don't have that trust, at the end day, nothing else matters.” – Mark Fershteyn
  • “Confusion is the worst enemy because if you follow someone's mind, or they're not quite sure where to go, it typically falls into the abyss.” – Sam Capra
  • “This isn't going to be a magic solution that's going to solve everything but it is going to help you win what's winnable.” – Mark Fershteyn

Resources Mentioned

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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. Before we begin, do us a favor, take a moment to subscribe and download on today's show. We're going to be discussing the why the what and the how of mutual action plans. And I have an amazing guest for you guys. I'm going to butcher his name. I've already apologized in advance, but mark is the founder of mark first shin Stein. Horrible. I did it wrong, mark. My apologies. Oh, of recapped right out of there out of New York city. Mark, man. It's great to have your brother.  
Speaker 2    00:01:03    Yeah. Thank you so much. Pleasure. And looking forward to it all week.  
Speaker 1    00:01:07    Awesome. I know this is actually something I know you, and I've had the opportunity to engage and work together in some way, shape, form, or fashion through this project and what you guys are doing, what you guys are doing, phenomenal things, but kind of give the audience a little bit of a background, kind of your background, kind of why this right? You started this with this whole mutual actually. So this is near and dear to your heart. So kind of give the audience a little bit of a background.  
Speaker 2    00:01:29    Yeah. It's funny, you know, three years ago when we started, you know, when we were telling people about this and we're like, yeah, well, you know, we're, we help customers collaborate with you and they're like, why would I want to collaborate with my customers? Right? Like this is crazy. COVID happened. You know, the world changed all of a sudden, you know, here we are, but it's been incredible journey, but long story short, and I want to dive too much into it, but I was, I needed this myself. Right. I never, never did. I think this would be a business or, you know, we'd have the opportunity that we have today. I just wanted to solve my own problems. I've spent the last decade in B2B sales, a lot of it being complex and big deals. And I think we can all agree. There's nothing worse than having something fall at, you know, fall apart at the finish line or push when you need it to close that quarter.  
Speaker 2    00:02:15    Right? You you're forecasting that seven figure deal. It puts you over the number and then something falls apart. Right? And so for me, like those kinds of experiences kind of haunted me moving into my last role where I was a VP of sales. And it was that compounded with the fact that I think the number one problem for most sales teams is really just a lack of process and lack of standardization, especially when you get into scale. Right. It's okay. You can get away with it when you have 1, 2, 3 reps, but you start going one to five, five to 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 50 shit falls apart. Right. And so for me in fast and right, and like the bigger you are, the more important state process and sterilization becomes. And so for me, I was overseeing a team and I realized my a players, the reason they were a players is because they had a process and a framework and a step-by-step template that they were following more or less. Every time I did this as a seller, but not everybody thinks that way. Right. And just selfishly, I just wanted to boost my B and C players and get them up to speed because that's where the biggest improvement you can have on a sales team. Right. It's not the 5% marginal increase from your 90 to 95%. Attainers it's your 70 to 90, it's your 80 to nineties. Right? So that's,  
Speaker 1    00:03:33    So there's a couple of things that I wanted to pick your brain on because you said it came out of necessity. It was, you needed something you wanted to competitive advantage and you saw that the best people had processes in place. So it stemmed from, Hey, I need something like that. Let me build it myself.  
Speaker 2    00:03:49    I mean, the world was what, a pretty crazy place, I guess, four years ago when I started thinking about this. Right. Very different than today, but it didn't make any sense to me. Right. We have, if you think about sales, especially complex deals, they're projects, right? You have, but you know, when you're working complex projects outside of sales, you have project management tools, you have project management people, right. As salespeople, we don't have any of that. And so it just, it didn't make sense to me that we have a sauna and mundane and 50 million other tools to help us complete a project on time. But then a customer is giving us $50,000 or a hundred or a million dollars. You know, they're giving us a check and they're trusting us with their investment. And we're like, yeah, cool. We'll send you an email and some PowerPoint slides. Right. And, and it just, it didn't make sense.  
Speaker 1    00:04:35    That's a great man. And I know you said this stem from you meeting it and in your background. And so, so, so tell me a little, I always love origin stories, man. I'll move a bait origin guy. So how did you get your start in sales? Like where did you find your passion for sales?  
Speaker 2    00:04:49    Yes, actually, so my dad was a car dealer. He was in the car sales, all our lives. Right. We came, we immigrated to here from Russia. So like he started hustling and all my life, everyone told me I should go into sales. And like, I always kind of had this like weird idea around. I was like, no, like I want to be technical. I want to be, I actually applied for this, like it assistant role right out of college and went to Citrix and thankfully this amazing woman, Rebecca was there and she's like, Hey, listen, like just in case you don't get this job, we have a sales position. I'd love for you to interview for like, I hope you get this role, but like, if not, we're hiring. And I remember I walked in and they were playing ping pong and there was a leaderboard.  
Speaker 2    00:05:26    And I saw, you know, this guy, Ray at the time was just crushing. It he's far ahead of everyone. And like, as soon as I walked in that room, I realized I wanted to be a part of that. And so I ended up not getting the it assistant job, which was fantastic. Right. I'd be like hooking up monitors and, you know, doing whatever other grunt work. And, uh, got my start as an SDR. I think it was like number five or six or 10 or so on the team. It was just, it was a lot of, it was just right place, right time. Right. I was a startup that Citrix had acquired in the five years. I was there. We went from 30 people on the sales team to over 600. Wow. It just, it ballooned. And it was a rollercoaster, but I was kind of hooked.  
Speaker 2    00:06:06    Right. And it was a startup. I got very lucky. I had like four or five promotions. My first year started managing teams and really quickly realized I love taking things from zero to one. Right. Taking things from, you know, five to 10 is fine, but it's that figuring things out from the start that I really loved. And so I bounced around a bunch of teams and very quickly became the kind of person that just took on whichever team was failing at the time. Right. So like give me the 15 out of 15, the team, let me get it up to the top five and then I'll move on to something else. Right. And I did that for a couple of years and it was just, it was really fun.  
Speaker 1    00:06:38    That's awesome. So I always ask this question. So now ballpark, I mean, I'm not looking at your LinkedIn, but how long you've been in the sales space, like from the time you started out there, like how long have you been in the, in the sales game, if you  
Speaker 2    00:06:49    Will. Yeah. I mean, I guess 11 years, 12 years now.  
Speaker 1    00:06:52    So I always ask this because you're right. Even like you said, four years ago, things were different. Like imagine 10 years ago, 11 years ago, 20 years ago, like you very first start, like, what's been the biggest change that you've seen in sales, both for the better. And then for the worst, as you've seen it over the past 11 years, how we have evolved the right way in the wrong way.  
Speaker 2    00:07:11    Yeah. That's a good question. I think for the right way, like, I'm very lucky that I get to talk to a lot of really amazing sales leaders pretty much all week long, right? Like whether it's investors or customers of ours or partners. I think the open-mindedness of sales has really increased even four years ago. Like literally we were at a conference a couple months back and I saw people who I'd seen three years ago. And when I was pitching recap, the first version around, like, they literally like laughed at me. They're like, this is ridiculous. Nobody needs is going to need this. Right. Like, why would you want to collaborate with your customer? Like, it doesn't make sense. Right. This is stupid. You should work on something else. And so many words and now like you see them and they're like, oh yeah, I like, you know, mutual action plans. We need those. Or, you know, we don't have as ability in our deals. Like it we'd love to chat. Right. And so it's like, all right, but you see this everywhere, right? Like tools like gong, SalesLoft, everyone is really just looking for that number one advantage that could get them there. And whether it's tools, methodology, everyone just seems very well. Not everyone. A lot of people seem very open-minded about leveraging technology and learning from others. Right. And I think that's really cool.  
Speaker 1    00:08:19    That's amazing, man. That's great. So that's for the good, so open-mindedness the, the willingness to kind of start to explore maybe more so than we have in the past. We think that it's just gone the wrong way. I mean, whether it's to a certain degree or not.  
Speaker 2    00:08:31    I think something I've seen it. I don't know. And I haven't been in this game long enough for it to know if it's like new, but I've seen some organizations really treat people just as numbers. Right. And I think like with the, you know, oh, 80% of my quota and my team should have hit this quota. And like, if they don't, they don't. Right. Like, and I agree with that for the most part. But like, I dunno, I think that's something that could be better. Right. It's just like remembering the human element of it. Right. Like internally we always talk about like, yeah, we help people close deals, but like, what is the one level deeper than that? Right? Like you help someone close a deal. Is that a vacation for a family? Is that rent? Right? Like, remember that human element of it as, I don't know, I think could just be better across the board and not like that. We're like the most humanitarian company or anything like that by any means. But it's just, yeah. First thing that came to mind,  
Speaker 1    00:09:16    I love it. I, 100% agree. And I think this stems from just this need to scale, we got a scale we got to scale. And the only way you scale is just hockey, sticking that ARR. And it's all about closing deals, but you do lose that element of it. Right. I mean, it's always been in sales. It's always about, Hey, what's the old saying that, Hey, what have you done for me lately? It's like, Hey, I closed the big deal. Great. What's next? There's always that you're back to zero. So I get that. And I tend to agree with you. And I think that it's a challenge because you are jockeying that you are jockey chasing that number, but still trying to make sure people have, I know work-life balance is way overused, but to still help them to have the personal side of everything.  
Speaker 1    00:10:00    And that's a challenge and I don't disagree with you, but that's good feedback. It's amazing when I hear with that question, because I hear they all kind of hover some word in the same space, but many times are very different. And I think what I loved about kind of getting into the subject is that you're right in sales, there's very little things that could move the needle. 5, 10, 20, 30, 86. Like, you're really just looking for, how do we get more efficiency? How do we get 1% here, 2% here, 5% here. And I think that's what leads, the better salespeople kind of separates them from the pack. Do you agree? I mean, am I off base there or is that kind of your thought process as well?  
Speaker 2    00:10:38    Yeah, I agree. I think, I mean, my only caveat there is that I think if you do want big changes, it does require big investments, right? Like you're not going to get a 20% swing on like a 5% effort move, right? Like, you know, tweaking your, your email cadences and doing that. Like those are that's low effort, low impact stuff. Right. And so, so yeah, I agree. But I think it's like, after a certain point, almost everyone like maximizes what those like low effort impacts things could be. So,  
Speaker 1    00:11:06    No, I think that's a good call out. I think that's a good call. You're right. I mean, if you're looking for a big swing, then you got to take a big swing from an investment stamp, you got to double down somewhere or you just not going to get there.  
Speaker 2    00:11:16    We tell this to customers all the time, right? I'm like, listen, this is like, you want a big improvement. It's going to take a lot of work. And for some people they're like, well, we're just looking for the quick wins right now. Awesome. Here are five resources. We recommend go do this, go do that, whatever. Right. Like we'll talk to you in a year. But like, cause that's the thing is like just managing expectations. Right.  
Speaker 1    00:11:34    And I want to get into that a little bit because I follow myself. I found myself, I fall into that quite a bit. Like you want to move in one direction because you know, you probably need to, but you sometimes lose sight of really what it requires to actually go down that path completely and actually be successful at it because there's a lot more than just, okay, you implemented a tool. Okay. How do you get the change management? How do you implement it? How do you make sure it's being adopted? There's so many elements that I think we lose sight of, but before we do that, I want to make sure we get clarification because when I bring up mutual action plan, some people are like, well, what are we talking about on a map? I'm like, yeah, well, is it a closed plan? So kind of help us understand what a mutual action plan is just at a high level.  
Speaker 2    00:12:14    Yeah, for sure. So I really just think of it in there's a million different words for it. Right. It's joint evaluation plans. Mutual close plan is assess plans, right? Join, evaluate like little, you name it, right? Like there's an acronym for it. It really, at the end of day, what it is is it's a tool for you and the internal parties and your customer to be aligned on what needs to happen. All right. And that's really it. And you think of it almost as like a really it's a project plan. Okay. All right. And 20 years ago at Oracle and Salesforce, like in 10 years ago, right? Like that's what these big companies were doing. They were creating project plans. And for most of them, they were just using it internally. AKA became a close planner and account plan. And then when you started adding it to the customer and getting their feedback and getting their buy in and their collaboration, which is incredibly important because without their consensus, you don't really have an opportunity. That's when the mutual aspect came in. Right. You have now the mutual action plan, the mutual, whatever. Right. But really it's just a way for everyone to make sure you're on the same page. I like that.  
Speaker 1    00:13:14    Oh man. So talk to us a little bit about it because you know, we've had some conversations before and we've leveraged mutual action plans, but there's gotta be like just the basic blocking attack this over the audience. Like when you're thinking about a mutual action by whether it's worth recapped or you're doing it on some kind of spread, whatever, like what are the basic blocking and tackling, you gotta have, it's gotta be collaborative. Like you said, it's gotta be engaging, but what should that look like? Because I have seen it where I've seen one, someone share one with me to try and get me to buy into something. And I really thought I was in the integration phase. I mean, this thing was like four miles long. I was like, I cannot invest in that. I'm out. Like, so help us understand, like what's the brass tax.  
Speaker 2    00:13:54    Yeah, for sure. We actually have a free template that you can just use with spreadsheets. I'll share that with you afterwards. But, and a lot of this is in there, but really at a high level, what I think of is which milestones need to be achieved to see mutual success in mutual success does not end when the contract is signed, right? That is not a proper way of doing business. It is when your customer and your partner has actually seen success, whatever that means for them, that could be live and implementation. It could be, you know, they're leveraging this with their customers or whatever it is, right. Or your APIs are helping them with something else. Like it doesn't matter. And it's really just make clear, getting clear alignment and expectations on what needs to happen. So what I would recommend is the first thing you do is you literally create a checklist of the high-level things that need to happen.  
Speaker 2    00:14:37    We need security review, we need legal review. We need to actually get the agreement. We need to do the onboarding, right. Maybe there's three steps within the onboarding. And then after that, that's where the mutual success, right? So that's, that's the biggest one, I think in my opinion, right? If nothing else you have the next steps. Number two is what we love to include as an executive summary because so much of sales happens when you're not in the room. 90% of it. I, I imagine. Right. And really, if you think of it, you have to put yourself in the buyer's shoes, right. They, this might be the biggest purchase they've ever made. They could have just joined this organization. They don't know what that looks like. So what you really need to do is you need to enable them and arm them with the information, right.  
Speaker 2    00:15:17    Harvard business review had a great stat where, you know, 73% of champions wish they had more ammunition as they sold internally. Right. So like really you're arming them. And so like in that executive summary, what are the key objectives that you're trying to align to? Right? What are the pains and the situation of the customer? What are the proof points that you can help around? Who are the stakeholders involved, right? What do they care about? Right. Like literally giving your champion the ability to just copy that sheet or send that link to, you know, their boss or legal rights you or whatever, and get them up to speed in 30 seconds. Right. Instead of having to hop on another call and do another discovery and learn more about all of these different things, like hang deals up and they kill deals. Third one I think is just access to resources.  
Speaker 2    00:16:02    Right? How often do you know, does your champion come back and say, Hey, just talk to my boss. Do you have any case studies that are relevant to this? Right? You should be preempting all of this and arming them with this information. Right. And think of it almost as like a, it's like a collaborative proposal, right? Like your mutual action plan is almost your business case that you're putting together, right? It's this shiny envelope and it's showing your customer that, you know what you're doing. You've been down this journey before and you're into this for a partnership. Ultimately  
Speaker 1    00:16:34    I love that piece. I love that kind of boiling it down from the perspective of, Hey, just what are the milestones? What are the key things that you have to understand? Whether it's setting up it, like the integration, the onboarding contract signature. And then I love the business case of things from an executive summary and those types of things, because you're right. Those things are, are like, we know this. I mean, what is the deal? If they say, now that on average, a deal has 5.6 people involved from a decision over eight. Now it's over a right. It's insane. Right? So to think that, Hey, I'm getting this to someone and they're going to be able to articulate everything that I've shared over the course of 15 calls with them is insane. Just to think that, right. So this equips them, it's almost, Hey, you have everything you possibly could ever want. Whether you want to send it or you want to just kind of digest it.  
Speaker 2    00:17:21    Exactly. And that's really the lens you need to put yourself through red. So like, just ask yourself if I'm a customer, if I'm a potential customer and I need, what do I need to make this evaluation almost self serviceable, right? If I don't interact with a salesperson at all, what is this mutual action I need to contain?  
Speaker 1    00:17:38    I like that. So here's the other side of this. And I want to get your thoughts on it because how I viewed a mutual action plan, there's two things I want to get your opinion on. So the first being mutual action, it's really, I think there's this misnomer out there, like you got fight, like the buyer, like you gotta follow the buying third buying process. But the fact that matter is most buyers don't know how to buy your product. Like they've never gone through that. Like I hate that this no router, you've got to follow their process. Well, they don't necessarily know how to buy me. So this helps educate, Hey, here's what you can expect. Am I missing anything? Anything, it doesn't align with your current process that we need to factor in. Right? Mark. Is that a fair assessment of kind of how that becomes collaborative in that respect?  
Speaker 2    00:18:20    Absolutely. Right. It's like, Hey Sam, what is your security review? Like, is there a security view section? What does that look like? Well, shit, I don't actually even know. Let me go find out about that. Right? Like it's really, it's making sure that when you hit those roadblocks or those potholes, like they don't make you swerve off track. Right? Like you see them coming from a mile away, you know, they're there, you have ample time to really get ahead of it. Right. And like, at the end of the day, too, so much of this is really just qualification, right. Again, like, you know, this is why medic and any other methodology is so popular. Right. Because like, it helps you focus on the things that need to happen. Right. And like, if you're in, this is when we know like we're dealing with maybe like a junior rep or someone that hasn't sold this kind of way, because like the first objection of their mind or out of their mouth is what if my customer pushes back on this? And like, they refuse to give me this information. Well, then you don't have an opportunity. Right? Like what are you wasting time on this for? Right. Like tell them great. It was great meeting you. Like, you know, I wish you the best, but like you're not ready for our solution yet. And like this needs to be a mutual and collaborative experience. Right? Like all sales should be like that. I don't know. So yes. I agree. It's, it's jumping out ahead of the curves before they get there.  
Speaker 1    00:19:27    Yeah. W I think that's perfect. Say that's a perfect statement before they get there, because I've had deals in the 11th hour. Oh, we have to do a security review. I just found it out. And that could have been easily avoided or addressed by having this dialogue early in the conversation. Hey, do we ally here? Is there anything we're missing and getting that feedback? Well, a hell, well ahead of time to address it. And to your point, that's where deals start to slip. Right. That's where they go, Hey, it's supposed to close this quarter. Oh, we're gonna do a security review now. It's next quarter. Well,  
Speaker 2    00:19:56    And I promised myself, I wouldn't plug anything, so I won't, but right. And I think like the other missing piece and like the kind of like, really requirement of that action plan is really what you just said right. Is creating that framework so that your new reps and, you know, people that you're bringing in the organization, they're able to come in and really follow best practices. Right. And that's kind of hard to do with a spreadsheet because like, you want some stuff that's internal, you don't want the customer to see it. So like, you can get creative with it and be, and lay it out. But it's really making sure that like, Hey, I just joined, you know, flex engage or, you know, whatever, two months ago, I might not know what the process looks like, but here's a template of what the things I should know. Right. I know, like, for example, I need to ask about security review because we've got called insecurity at the last mile. Right. So  
Speaker 1    00:20:42    That's fantastic, man. Yeah. Cause I, I think I know we've already said there's a million acronyms. Let me go ahead and throw 14 more on top of it. I kind of look at it as a roadmap. Like, Hey, let's just agree that this is the path we're going down. So, but let me ask you here's. My other question is, is when you introduce this, because if you're introduced it too early, before we really know we've really done the qualification, or we've really gotten into the weeds, if we even evaluate, if there's really something here, like what is the time that you start to introduce it? Is there ever a time that's too early? And obviously there might be a time when it's too late, but help us understand that a little bit more before.  
Speaker 2    00:21:19    Yeah. I mean, I think it's like most things it's the earlier the better, right? Because like, again, you don't want to introduce something to the 11th hour because now there's change management element to it. Right. And ultimately, like, if you do believe that this process makes your customer's life easier, why would you not implement it as early as possible? Right. And for us, we really like to think of it as, as when a deal is qualified. So you get that on the discovery call, you evaluate, you see that there's great. Either that point or the next call, when you do a demo and you establish that there are going to be clear, next steps. That's when you really should start guiding your buyer. Right. Because at that point, like there's, there's a million forks in the road, right. Are they going to go down a POC? Are they going to do a tech, Val, are they going to want to look at commercials first? Are they going to want to speak to reference customers? Are they going to want another demo? Right. So like all of these different paths can converge. That's when you want to start really driving these next steps together.  
Speaker 1    00:22:13    Yeah. See that. I think that's a good, I mean, so it's a fine, because here's my thoughts on it. And I agree with you. I mean, the earlier the better, I think that's always a good rule of thumb, but it's also the relationship in my opinion may not be as, and I think this is a reason it could be, it obviously will help the relationship, but it's getting the collaboration right. Is really getting them invested that early on in actually collaborating. Right. That's where I've seen, like when they are, it's amazing. Like, I can literally tell what we would love as your tool. Like when somebody is really engaged eight out of 10 times, like they're moving in the right direction. They're likely going to fail. But the two people that never collaborated, never opened it. Like, it's just like, that's why I was struggled to understand what's the tipping point where it's the right time to implement it, but I got to get collaborative.  
Speaker 2    00:23:02    Yeah. No, and it's an excellent point. Right. And I think of ultimately what I think of, you know, whatever you call it, right. Let's call it mutual plan. Ultimately they're a bullshit detector on the status of your deal, right? Like, you know, they're a lie detector, right? Like if you, to those points, like, and I think it's, again, going back to managing expectations, we should understand that our customers barely read our emails or our prospects barely read our emails. They barely return our phone calls. Right. Like we should not expect that they're going to collaborate with us a hundred percent of the way maybe when they become customers. Right. Because then they're like actually invested, but it's really just a way of enabling them so that they choose to collaborate. It's as easy as possible for them. All right. And then it really becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because the ones that do engage with you and the ones that do offer this information, those are the deals you should be focused on. Right? Like you're not going to convert a non-believer. You should just focus on the believers when what's winnable. And that for me, like, and then I always pushed back is when people are like, oh, well, what if they don't engage? Great. That's a good thing. You know, not to focus on that opportunity now, not to forecast it, right. Go spend those valuable resources elsewhere. Right.  
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Speaker 1    00:24:56    Sometimes an old mentor. Mind you just say, it's not always about what you can close. It's about what you can kill. You got to kill things off. Like you gotta be just a good as closing as you do at killing things off. They're just not real. And I like that. It is a barometer say, Hey, you haven't engaged. Like we haven't had this dialogue. We haven't gotten into this collaboration mode. That is, that should be a red flag that this is not going in the right direction. It's not really.  
Speaker 2    00:25:19    Yeah. I mean, you think about it, right. A rep comes to you and is like, oh, this is, we're forecasting this for this quarter. Right. It's an commence stage. And then you go through and you look at the engagement and they never once open to your content. They never, they haven't emails like something is going off. Right. And like, maybe he's right. Maybe she's right. And you know, they know something that you don't know, but like it warrants a second guess. Right. And it warrants diving deeper.  
Speaker 1    00:25:42    Yeah. Without a doubt. So talk to us a little bit about the, I mean, I think there's obviously we've been talking to the value of doing it, but is the goal behind this as if we're doing these types of things, it's all around deal acceleration. Are you seeing that this actually moves the needle more significantly with it? Like help us understand some of the impacts from doing  
Speaker 2    00:26:02    Yeah, for sure. So yes. I think deal acceleration is the most popular one. We have again, not going to be doing any plugs, but we have customers that have accelerated their sales cycle by 75%. Right. Like literally like all the way through like implementation, which I'm excited for those case studies to come out, I'll say,  
Speaker 1    00:26:21    But those are big ones. Like I would just get through saying, Hey, you definitely get four or 5%, but that's a big swing.  
Speaker 2    00:26:27    Yes. And listen, that's not the average case by any means. Right. But like, yes, acceleration is very important. Right. And if you think about a time kills all deals, right? So the quicker, if you can close a deal in four weeks, instead of six weeks, there are a lot of things that could have happened in those last two weeks. Right. And so by closing faster, you automatically end up closing deals more importantly. Right. But, but really what I think actually is even more important than really the deal acceleration is if you look at the average sales organization, everyone is selling differently, right? Let's say you have 20 reps. Some of them are, are selling apples. Some are selling oranges, some are selling carrots, right? Like there's, there's no apples to apples comparison. Right. And the biggest thing is like, if you're able to just have a consistent way that everybody sells, it starts giving you visibility and insight into what's actually happening because it allows you to actually improve as an organization because you can't improve what you can't measure. Right. And so the first, most important thing is I think it really just gives you that baseline across the board that everyone can really just leverage the best practices right. On every single deal that in itself, I think is frankly, a bigger value add than the acceleration, in my opinion, because that enables scale, it enables growth. It enables visibility. It enables forecasting. It enables a lot of beautiful things for an organization.  
Speaker 1    00:27:48    That's a good catch. I never thought of it that way. I mean, I thought about, Hey, it doesn't allow for you to replicate and be able to system systemize or systematically approach certain things without a doubt. But to that granular, I never thought of it that from that standpoint, because the fact the matter is I, I'm not a big believer. I don't think you should. Hey, we sell with challenger sales here. And that's the only thing we're going to, like, some people are better at band. Some people are better at medics. Some people prefer proactive selling. There's different ways of skinning the cat, but the common ground is, Hey, understanding what the process is going to be. It doesn't make a difference how you've sold. Like that helped like that's universal. Right? Hey, here's the steps we have to go through. Here's the steps that you're going to go through. How you got there is fine. This is the process from that point on. I liked that because that brings everybody together.  
Speaker 2    00:28:36    Well, yeah. I mean, if you think about it, right? Like as an organization, you're trying to run a process and what are the processes mean? Right. It's a repeatable. Right, right. But you talk, you go talk to 10 prospects. There's 10 different buying processes there. Right. Maybe 12. All right. So they all have different ways. So like it's really just aligning how you sell with how they buy and making sure that the clicks yeah. Like the methodology, the details don't really matter. Right. It's it's how do we just enable each other?  
Speaker 1    00:29:02    Yeah. I think that's the biggest call out. I keep going back to is that obviously they do have a buying process. Sometimes it's a little bit more evident than others. Some know it very well, but I can honestly say there's been minimum of two deals that I've done this through that they have been ultra complimentary, like, Hey, I didn't think of that. Like, Hey, that's a good catch. Hey, you know what? I wouldn't have thought to bring them in if you didn't suggest it this step. And I'm glad I did, because that would have derailed it because it's taken me two weeks to align with them. I think there's a certain amount of professionalism and trust that this also builds. Right. Is that fair? To say more?  
Speaker 2    00:29:37    Yeah. I mean, it's credibility. Right. And like, I was actually, I was talking to I'm CEO of a small company yesterday and they're in the FinTech space and for them it's all about credibility. Right. And they're competing with giants, right? Like, you know, American express and chase and things like that. And you know, for them, it's like, we just need to look like we're 10 times bigger than we are. And the way we do that is by the process and instilling the trust to show that we are, we know what we're doing. This isn't our first rodeo. Yeah. We might be small, but we're very good at what we do. Right. And it is all around credibility because if you don't have that trust at the end day, like nothing else matters. And when you have that, trust, your customer is going to collaborate with you and they're going to want to get your, your solution and they're going to want to partner. And, but yeah, it ultimately stems all from that.  
Speaker 1    00:30:22    So talk to me, cause I mean, this is what you guys live in braids. So I know you guys probably know this side of the coin, whether you it's a good side of the coin or not because like adoption, right. Getting people to adopt, like, what do you find is the biggest reason? Like, Hey, why are they using it? Why aren't we leveraging it? What are you seeing as the biggest hurdle when it comes from a sales perspective?  
Speaker 2    00:30:43    Yeah. That's a great question. I think it's really, when you have reps that are not open to change and it doesn't have to be this, it could be anything else. It could be LinkedIn prospecting or picking up the phone, making cold calls or whatever. If they're not open to trying something new, I think that's going to kill any implementation up to that. Right. And sometimes we like, we've partnered with organizations where unfortunately they just, they weren't able to convince their team to do it. Right. And then like, we always think about this. There's like the carrot. And then there's the stick approach, right? You are going to start doing it because there's a field in Salesforce that you cannot advance the stage, you know, to the next level until you do. Right. But like, it shouldn't come to that, but like it does help. Right.  
Speaker 2    00:31:24    But like, I think that's one aspect of it. What's really interesting is the psychology behind it is we always call this like the adoption curve internally, right. Someone starts implementing action plans. Let's say, you know, there's a hundred people, right. 20 or 30 of them are immediately going to be the early adopters. Right. They're going to pick it up. They're going to see what's going on. And once they get that feedback loop from their customers, a couple of weeks later, a couple of months later saying, oh my God, thank you for putting this together for me. Right. It helped me, you know, I didn't know that our security process was this complex. Right. Right. Thank you. It really enlightened me. All of a sudden, the curve jumps up right now. All of a sudden we go from 20, 30 to 50, 60, 70. It really takes that feedback loop and that internal selling. So like, I dunno if it's maybe lack of credibility or trust, but they trust their own team more so than they trust a sales person that's telling them. Right. Which makes sense. Yeah.  
Speaker 1    00:32:15    So those are the two big ones, right? From a change management standpoint, it really kind of takes those innovative people to kind of see some wins that helps get the adoption and kind of take off from that standpoint. But fear of change is probably the biggest thing.  
Speaker 2    00:32:27    Or I think really also like having strong leadership that also rallies behind this. Right. Because I mean, if you think about it, right. Like I say this all time mutual action plans are essentially an enforcement of the why, right? Like they're the how right? Your band, your methodology or challenger, whatever it is, right? Like those are your whys. Right. But without a, how you can't implement the why. Right. And so it takes that. And I think the other time when like you really don't need it and you really becomes a reason not to use it is like, if it's overkill, right. If you're killing it, if you're closing deals in 14 days, right. Like, first of all, I'm jealous. Let's talk. I want to learn from you. Right. But you know, if you're doing SMB transactional, if there's one or two stakeholders involved, like don't overcomplicate it. Right. Just figure out where your, your leaky bucket is in the funnel and address it. But like, I don't think this is it right? So like, and we've learned to, you know, turn away partners where we say, Hey, listen, like, love to take your money, but you don't really need this. Right. Like here's four other resources, I think.  
Speaker 1    00:33:29    So I'm glad you called that out. Cause that was a question I had for you is like, you gotta know your ICP for you guys. You need to know who this is most relevant. Who's going to get sticky with fast. Like, it sounds like, Hey, if you have a transact, like who is this? Not for, to your point, you have one stakeholder like it's transactional versus complex. Are those like the two big red flags? Like, Hey, if you follow in those two sectors or two buying processes, whatever the right term is, a mutual aspect might be overkill. Is that help us understand that a little bit?  
Speaker 2    00:34:00    Yeah. I mean, if it really does come down to transactional, right? If you're closing S and B deals, right. If they're like, let's call it two or $3,000 in ARR or whatever it is, right? Like chances are the person you're dealing with is probably the sole decision maker. Right. They probably don't need legal approval. They probably don't need security. Right. If it's all about a volume game for us, what we've seen is right around the 20, 25 K mark that's when this thing becomes really, because that's when you start having multiple departments. Right. You know, for example, you're selling an a, I don't know, an HR tech solution for, you know, 20, 25 K. There are probably going to be, there's a CFO, there's a CIO, there's a CTO. There's a head of people. There is, I mean, you name it. They're going to have to hedge their risks and bring in a committee ultimately.  
Speaker 1    00:34:44    So that's kind of the tipping point in your eyes. And I know it's an arbitrary 20, but anytime you start getting into multiple buyers, multiple stakeholders, the complexity goes up. This is where that becomes. You just need to wrangle the cats. And this allows you to some degree, do that in a little bit more formulated fashion. Yeah.  
Speaker 2    00:35:01    One-on-one pick up the phone and give them a call, shoot them an email. Right. You know, slack on. That's fine. When you start, when now there's five to five and also you have to think about it too. Right? It's not just, you know, wrangling those cats. It's if you have a dozen stakeholders communicating over a dozen different channels. Yeah. All of a sudden you have exponential potential paths of fault, right. Or the ways that things fall apart. If you have one person talking with another person over one communication channel, it's very easy for things to stay on track. It's when you have the 12 by 12, that it becomes difficult.  
Speaker 1    00:35:36    You're right. I mean, it is a lot more than hurting the catcher. You're right. Because with so many different buyers involved interpretations context, Hey, I'm operating off this one. No, he sent me a new doc. It's this one to look at confusion is the worst enemy. Because if you boggle someone's mind or they're not quite sure where to go, it typically falls into the abyss.  
Speaker 2    00:35:56    Yeah. You have to control the narrative when you're not in the room. Right. You spend all day selling your product and your solution, and you're an expert at it. You talk to your prospect or your champion for 40 minutes, right? Like they're going to regurgitate 5% of what they learned. Right? Like here's the email that they sent me. And here's a couple of minutes. This is a cool product, by the way, can I get approval for 20 grand? No. Okay. Right. So it's really just arming them and saying, okay, Hey, listen, I know you're busy. I know you're head of product. Whatever. Here are all the different ways we help you hear other customers like you here are all the different proof points of data points that we can help you with. Here's the business case. Just shoot this over to your boss, right? Yeah. Oh, and here's my contact information. And if your boss has any questions, I'm right here for you.  
Speaker 1    00:36:40    Yeah. You hit the nail. I mean, it is all about army. It's putting them in the best position to articulate what's happening behind the scenes that you're not going to be privy to or the conversations. You're not going to be a part of as much as you want to be. And as much as you probably push to be, you're probably not going to be. There is one thing I wanted to bring. I would've done because in leveraging your tool in the past is what I've always liked about it is not just the milestones. It's the dates is understanding, Hey, we can, we have this accomplished by understanding as part of a milestone, but just timing and getting alignment on, Hey, when can we have that done by when can you, when does that process typically take, and then holding them accountable, we're sliding, we're slipping. This is going off the tracks. That's an element that I think is probably one that, that helps me to be quite candid with you. It allows me to kind of dictate next, like, Hey, when I reach out, it's not, Hey, I'm just bubbling this up. No, it's Hey, we're about a couple of days off. I want to make sure if I miss something, should we be talking about this? Should we hop on a call? What should we be doing? And there's an urgency behind.  
Speaker 2    00:37:43    Well, exactly. Right. And especially in what I imagine you guys were doing too, is working back from whatever that success is, right. Oh, Hey, if you need our product, you need to have a implementation and go live date of, you know, March 1st, here are all the things that have to happen before that. Right. Otherwise we're not getting started until June and then you're missing your quarterly numbers. You're getting fired. And like, we're not having a great place. Right. So like I'm half joking. Right. But like, yes. And like, what's interesting. We found, I think you hit the nail on the head before. Like I've seen more of these mutual plans in the last three years than I ever cared to in my whole life. I'm like, I have mutual plans coming up my years, but I think it's incredibly interesting because like, even something as simple as just setting a date on a checklist or on a task, we found that the chances of that task actually being completed more than doubled, really just a psychological aspect. And we have a blog post coming out on this soon with like all these different data points. But it actually was even more, the more people you had involved, right. If you think about it, right? Like if we have a meeting next Friday and there's five stakeholders, no one wants to show up to that meeting. Not having done their homework. Right. Especially if the other four it did. Yeah. So like, just by creating that accountability, that visibility things skyrocket.  
Speaker 1    00:38:56    Yeah. That's an amazing stat, by the way more than double it's just by having the date, I gotta be honest. I'm a little selfish with this type of thing, because I'm not the smartest and I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed that sometimes I forget, what the hell am I trying to do? Like, what is the neck? Like sometimes if you're managing multiple opportunities, you are always kind of thinking like, where am I at with this account? And this allows you to at least say, oh, okay, here's what I needed to, oh, we're behind all these two steps. But mark, to your point, that also should point out red flags. If they're falling behind on all your milestone dates, are they still even engaged?  
Speaker 2    00:39:32    Exactly. Right. Or, Hey Sam, I noticed, you know, for the past couple of weeks, we've actually been falling behind, you know, is there a shift in priorities, right? Or do you guys have some other red flags happening? Right. Let's have an open conversation. Right. Because hopefully I've earned your trust. And you know, again, we're trying to partner in this thing, right. It's it's not a one-way street. Oh no. Actually things are great, but like so-and-so actually in our department, unfortunately it was out for a couple of weeks now. We're good to go. We're going forward. Okay. Awesome. Really glad. Right. And then I had a mentor that, um, I learned a lot from, but one of the things was bringing the unconscious conscious. Right. So like if you're thinking something, bring it up and have that conversation around it. Right. Like, Hey, like I see this deal slipping, Hey Sam, like, let's be honest. Like, you know, we're falling a little bit behind, like what's going on. Right. Like let's have a conversation around it. So  
Speaker 1    00:40:22    I think that, I think we talked about, you said like earlier don't overcomplicate things, but I think sometimes we try to be, and this may sound horrible, but you almost try to be too salesy that it's just a natural conversation. Hey, X, Y, and Z, aren't aligning up. Just, can you just fill me in? Is there something I should know that I don't know? Is there something that's bubbling up under the surface because what's the worst thing he could tell you? I was like, no, everything's cool. I had somebody out for two weeks or they could say, Hey, I just, we just hired a new VP of marketing. They want to get into the trenches. Okay. Let's talk through that. But we do eat the, add them to the mutual action plan. What do we need to bring them up to speed? Have you shared it with them? How can I help navigate like  
Speaker 2    00:41:01    Exactly. You would not have  
Speaker 1    00:41:02    Known that if you just didn't bring up that, Hey, there's a couple more slides in behind guy just be upfront and candid with.  
Speaker 2    00:41:08    Yeah. It all comes down to transparency and just remember you're selling to people, right? Like, yes, this is an opportunity. And you're trying to chase and like, obviously we're all, we're all motivated. Right. But again, it's like, Hey, listen, like, how can I help you? Like, what's going on? But I've noticed like the last couple of meetings have been moved around, like, or we haven't been able to get these milestones in place, like what's going on? How can I help you? Do we need revisit this? Is there a better time? Like, how do I create this partnership for you, for the long-term? And really just remember that, like, it's one person talking to another person.  
Speaker 1    00:41:43    I love that. And obviously that pivots into, if that conversation does go, Hey, listen, yeah, things are falling up. I want to know that sooner than like, Hey, either, can we salvage it? Or, Hey, is this just a deal that just can't be resurrected because of some things that are just you just out of your control, whatever the case might be, that also allows you to address that as well.  
Speaker 2    00:42:01    Yeah. I mean, listen, no matter how perfect of a process you run and how good you are, like, you will never bet a hundred, right. It just, it's not going to happen. And so it's really just becomes winning what's winnable and like allocating your resources and being strategic with what you're doing. Right? Like maybe you're a Salesforce and you have unlimited resources. You can do everything at all times. Right. But like, most of us don't have that privilege.  
Speaker 1    00:42:27    I talked about this on a prior podcast, but you're right. I mean, the fact, the matter is even the best closers and I'm exaggerating, let's say the 30% closers, whatever. Oh. And the complex, I mean, just the average, that still means you're losing 75, 70% of you, the odds are stacked against you. It's it's those micro wins that you can get. How do I move the needle a little bit further in my direction? That's really what we're, there's no silver bullet here. It's just, how do we strategize to be as effective as possible?  
Speaker 2    00:42:57    Yeah. I mean, absolutely. Right. And if you think about it, it's okay. Like, let's say you spend all this money at the top of the funnel. Right. You're getting all these leads to come in and you're coming in. If those leads are coming in and you're investing a lot of tools, right. You have LinkedIn and Salesforce and zoom info and whatever you have. Right. Right. And these leads come in and you have a leaky bucket. What are you spending this money for? Right. Like patch up those holes right there. Like the further down the funnel, you have those leaky buckets in the, you know, the holes in the bucket, the worse it is. Right. And so like, that's one of the things I always talk about is this isn't going to be a magic solution. That's going to solve everything. Right. Right. But it is going to help you win what's winnable. Right. And like, doesn't even have to be our solution, like start implementing collaborative selling approach. Right. Like start working together on an action plan and implementation plan, wherever the hell you want to call it, but like start having that transparency and that credibility with your champion. And it's going to do wonders for you  
Speaker 1    00:43:50    Without a doubt. Hey, so mark, how do people learn more about you recapped and what you guys are doing over there and kind of give us a, and by the way, we're going to add all this to the show notes. So no, one's got to be taking copious notes on the audience side.  
Speaker 2    00:44:04    Yeah, for sure. Again, thank you for having me. You can catch me on LinkedIn. I think that's the only form of social media I really have nowadays. So it's just mark. First name F E R S H T E Y N. There's also recapped.io and also email me directly it's mark@recapped.io. And I try my best to get to every email. It might take a couple of days, but otherwise, yeah, more than happy to help. I mean, we have, we believe so much in this that we're just trying to give out as many free resources that we can write everything from templates and PDFs and white papers and whatever it is, we can help people drive forward and kind of elevate their process and what we're all for. So anything we can do reach out to us, we can give consultations or point you in the right directions, even if we're not the right fit, we'll point you to a competitor. Like it doesn't matter to us. The sales ecosystem is so small that, you know, we just believe in doing as much good as we possibly can or no, we'll come back.  
Speaker 1    00:44:57    That's awesome, man. Well, fantastic tool. I mean, I know you and I have had the opportunity to engage offline in a previous life and different things, but uh, kudos to you guys on the round, on the funding, everything else. Uh, thanks again for joining us tonight. Yeah.  
Speaker 2    00:45:12    I, when are we going to have you on our podcast? I'm  
Speaker 1    00:45:14    More than happy to come on. Thanks.  
Speaker 2    00:45:17    More. Awesome. Thanks. So  
Speaker 0    00:45:21    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. 

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Mark Fershteyn


Before founding Recapped.io, Mark Fershteyn spent the last decade building B2B sales organizations at fast scaling companies. Frustrated with his own challenges, he created the first Customer Collaboration Platform to enable alignment between revenue teams and their customers.