In this introductory episode you’ll learn the history that lead to the creation of the Sales Success Stories Podcast. Why this show is different from other sales podcasts, and most other sales content in general. What you can and can’t expect from the structure of each episode. Who I will and won’t be interviewing and even my secret agenda. Give a listen and let me know what you think. The transcript is below, but it is a podcast so I’d really encourage you to listen.
The idea for this show hit me a couple of years ago as I really got into listening to podcasts as my main form of learning. Before that I spent a lot of time listening to books on Audible. I love the audio format because it provides an opportunity to be productive while doing other things. For me those other things are primarily exercising and traveling. Those times where my body might be occupied, but my mind is not.
But that was just the idea for the podcast. The original idea really goes back to sometime in 2009 because on April 11th, I registered the domain name TheRainMakerAwards.com. Where the idea was to create an awards event for top sellers… With the exceptions of maybe real-estate and perhaps insurance there doesn’t seem to be any broad recognition of sales success outside of individual companies typically through some type of President’s Club or Quota Club. Usually the top sales rep is well known and recognized inside their company, and they might be known to some extent in their industry, but beyond that they tend to be unknown. Even though, in many cases, they’re making more money than their CEO and the rest of the executive team, when you take stock options and ownership off the table. I also tend to believe that most sales people have pretty simple wiring. First we have a cash button that you can push, and we really like it when that button gets pressed. This is probably why sales people often have a reputation for being “coin operated.” But there’s another button you can press to reward those of us in sales and that’s the recognition button. I’ve found that often times that recognition button is even bigger than the cash button and almost nobody knows how to push it. So I wanted to find a way to push that button and recognize the best of the best. But really what was behind all of that was wanting to get these world class professionals in a room together and learn what the best of the best were doing, today, in this sales environment, to dominate.
So when the podcast idea came it looked like a much easier way to get to the end goal of recognizing top performers and getting directly to their secrets of success.
I’ve even been practicing. I wanted to learn how to do this podcast thing well before launching this show and at this point have produced 35 episodes of 2 previous shows to learn the ins and outs. Hopefully that work comes across in the quality of this show, and my own ‘work in progress’ as I strive to be a better interviewer.
So that’s the history. Now let me tell you a little bit about the content, and why I think this show is going to be so different from the other sales podcasts that are out there. The issue that I have with almost all sales content in general whether it be a podcast, a book, blog posts or articles is that most of that content comes from quote unquote sales experts who generally speaking haven’t sold anything but themselves in years and often times decades. While a lot of that content is good and useful. I’ve always wanted to hear directly from those who are actually doing it. Especially now. I think we’re still in the pretty early stages of a rather significant shift in the way sales works today and what it takes to be successful. So, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hear from somebody in SAAS sales who sold millions of dollars worth of annual license revenue in this changing environment, how exactly they did that. Rather than somebody who is only selling some form of sales training.
Not that I’ll never interview any of the sales experts or book authors that you hear on many of the other shows, but the primary focus will be on individual contributor sales pros. If and when I do talk with any of these experts it will only be because my guests, or you and others in the community have said they’re getting a lot of value from a particular individual… and it’s going to have to come up at least a few times before I’ll consider reaching out.
Now I just mentioned SAAS sales. While I’ve spent the last 7 years in SAAS and primarily marketing technology sales I want to have some diversity on this show to get a broader sense of what’s working across industries. Especially early on, don’t be surprised if there’s a heavy tech focus. That’s just because my network is heavily dominated by folks in tech, but I’ll be working (hopefully with your help) to bring on folks from a variety of different industries, different company sizes, and individuals at different points in their career as well as different roles. We’ll talk with field sales, inside sales, account executives, and maybe even some business development type as well.
Speaking of your help. Let me first thank my two inaugural sponsors who are literally making this show and the community we’ll be building around it possible. Then I’ll tell you how you can get involved in some ways that will give you a lot of additional benefit.
Just a little small world aside. I joined Eloqua in 2011 before their IPO and eventual acquisition by Oracle, and have been working in and around that space since then. The leaders of both of my sponsors were the original co-founders of Eloqua. So I have a huge amount of trust and confidence in both of these organizations and have been somewhat involved with both organizations, at least as a fanboy, since their early days.
First, my friends at Nudge. “Nudge is a modern sales platform that leverages relationship strength to help you find and keep your best customers. I’ve been using Nudge myself since a very early beta version, and they continue to add more and more to their solution. If you value relationships the way I do, then you’re going to want to check out Nudge. You can sign up for free at neednudge.com. That’s N-E-E-D-N-U-D-G-E dot com.
Next is Influitive. Influitive is an advocate marketing platform designed to encourage and reward your best customers for their acts of advocacy. So things like providing referrals and introductions. Writing reviews on 3rd party review sites. Getting product feedback and heck anything the clients who love you the most could be doing to share their love for your organization and help you succeed.
We’re actually using Influitive to build the Sales Success Community around this show. All you have to do is go to top1.fm and join our mailing list to get an invite. At least that’s how easy it is today. In the future we may have a bit more fun with it and ask you to sell us and give us a quick pitch on why you should be a part of this Sales Success Community. But for now you just have to give us your email address so we can send you an invite. Once you’re in there, that’s where all the juicy stuff is. There are a bunch of fun challenges so we can get to know you better, ways that you can support the show and access all of the interesting things we’ll create over time. Based on just on the first few episodes we’ve created here at launch there’s some bonus audio from Mike Dudgeon at LinkedIn. Jeff Zelaya has shared a template of his Life Dashboard, and we’re also creating a preview group where you can get an opportunity to listen to episodes before we make them public on our regular release schedule. So I really hope you’ll get in there and check it out and share your thoughts on how we can continue to provide more value and create opportunities for you to connect with the guests on the show and other listeners. Again just get on the email list at Top1.fm for your invitation.
Let me give you a few more details about the episodes themselves and some of my philosophy around them.
Of all of the podcasts I listen to, perhaps my favorite is the Tim Ferriss show. In a lot of ways this show is modeled after what Tim has done with his show, and I’ve even stollen some of his language to describe this show as “deconstructing world class sales performers.” If you’ve ever listened to Tim’s show you know that the episodes can be long. I’m doing the same thing. I’m not trying to crank out quick 10-30 minute tidbits, but rather real deep dives into the mindsets, habits, routines, tools and techniques of top sellers. You can’t do that in 20 minutes.
Originally I was planning on producing weekly episodes, but as I started working on the show it pretty quickly became evident that I wasn’t going to be able to pull that off while maintaining primary focus on my most important role as a quota carrying sales rep myself. It’s also quite a bit more challenging to get time with these individuals who unlike those traditional sales experts aren’t doing everything they can to get more exposure to sell their books and training programs.
In fact, that’s one area where I would really love your help. If you know a killer sales rep who is either the undisputed #1 producer on a smaller sales team OR somebody that’s in the top 1% of a very large organization, I’d love an introduction. BUT a couple of caveats. I’m interested in talking with those who have earned their position and have demonstrated some level of consistency. Not those who got lucky in a layup territory or who just walked into a mega deal that probably would have happened with or without them. Also, I’m only interested in individual contributors at this point. Maybe someday we’ll talk with some great sales leaders and sales managers, but for now the focus is 100% on quota carrying producers.
Just send me an email to email@example.com. Even better, join the Sales Success Community and you’ll get rewarded for those introductions, and rewarded again if we book them as a guest.
For guests on the show I hope this serves as token of the recognition they so rightly deserve, and presents an opportunity for them to give back to the community. In some ways I think of it as mentoring at scale. We’re talking about very busy people here, who often get hit up for advice. I would love it if they were able to have a great conversation here and then simply point people to their episode to impart a lot of knowledge without having to give up that hour of their time over and over again.
So for now this will be a bi-weekly show with new episodes released every other Tuesday. That said, you might be listening to this introduction years after the initial launch in late 2016 and lots could have changed. The show will absolutely evolve, primarily based on the feedback and suggestions of the most active contributors in the Sales Success Community.
The last thing I’ll talk about before we wrap up is my secret agenda. A number of people have asked me what the real angle is behind the show. Right now there isn’t a profit motive. Everything Nudge and Influitive are contributing to the show is being put into the show and the community, not into my pocket. Of course on some level this whole project is exceedingly selfish. I’ve always believed very strongly in the Jim Rohn Quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” and by definition, the #1 sales rep in an organization doesn’t have any peers inside their company. They have to go outside and think bigger. In just the first few interviews I’ve done in preparing to launch the show they’ve had a significant impact on me and my results. So even though I’m really trying to scratch my own itch I feel like this will benefit a lot of other people looking to take their own sales game to the next level.
I do have some ideas for the future, but realistically for the first year or two this is all about producing great, valuable content, and building a strong community of like minded growth oriented professionals.
That’s about it. My name is Scott Ingram, and you are one of my favorite people right now. Thank you for listening through to this point and checking out the show. I’d love to hear from you. Just drop a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to add yourself the list on top1.fm so I can send you your invite to the Sales Success Community and join us inside.