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231: Data-Driven Sales Excellence: Insights from ‘Data and Diagnosis-Driven Selling’ with Robert Scarperi

podcast May 21, 2024


Background
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Robert Scarperi, Bob has been a leader in professional services, SaaS, financial services, ad tech mar tech, and management consulting for 32 years. His company, Revenue Vision Partners is the industry’s leading data-driven revenue growth consulting firm.

Questions

· Could you share with our listeners, just a little bit about how you got from where you were to where you are today?

· You wrote a book called Data and Diagnosis-Driven Selling with three other gentlemen. So, could you take a minute to kind of just go through maybe three overarching themes that the book focuses on? And just how do you believe this can really help an organization to deliver a great customer experience?

· Now, I’d like for you to share with us what’s the one online tool, resource, website or application that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?

· Can you also share with us maybe one or two books that you have read, it could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you’ve read recently, but it has had a great impact on your development and even your continued growth.

· Now, Bob, could you also share with our listeners, what’s the one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about, either something you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.

· Where can listeners find you online?

· Now, Bob, before we wrap up, we always like to give our guests an opportunity to share. I’m not sure if you have one of these but a quote that you would tend to revert to if for any reason you are faced with some form of adversity, or challenge, but that quote will help to get you refocused, get you back on track, and just help you if for any reason you got the real or you got off track.

Highlights

Bob’s Journey 

Me: Now, we always like to give our listeners an opportunity to hear from the guest, in their own words, a little bit about your journey. And it has been quite a long journey, 32 years is a good amount of time to have under your belt in all of these wonderful areas. So, could you share with our listeners, just a little bit about how you got from where you were to where you are today?

 

Bob shared that right around the time he was finishing college, he had a really strong pull to get into sales, he was extremely lucky to have had a best friend’s father was the top sales guy at Automatic Data Processing, ADP, which is sort of known to be one of the best and strongest sales driven cultures in the Fortune 100. 

And right from the very beginning, all of their structure, rigor, process, intensity really meshed with his personality and his sort of competitive nature. And so, he was lucky enough to have some early success, he’s very, very grateful for how much faith they had in him from an early age, giving him opportunities to run sales teams and move and get to experience new geographies and have really great experiences in such a phenomenally well-run company. 

And then without going into too much detail, of course, his journey took him through a number of different industries, early days of ad tech, he worked for a long time as an equity sales and trading person at AllianceBernstein. He was lucky enough also to have some leadership positions, run sales teams internationally. 

And then toward the last 10 years of his career, he had three Chief Revenue Officer roles in high growth technology companies where he really started to embrace being a leader who prided himself on installing a systematic data driven approach. 

And toward the end of that decade, he decided he really wanted to do that as a consultant for a portfolio of companies so that he could be really working through various kind of company challenges in different industries with private equity firms as their partner. So, that’s what brought him to where he is now.

 

About Bob’s Book – Data and Diagnosis-Driven Selling and Three Overarching Themes That Can Help Organizations Enhance Customer Experience

Me: Now, Bob, you wrote a book called Data and Diagnosis-Driven Selling: Leveraging insights, intelligence and the power of AI to deliver efficient, durable revenue growth with three other gentlemen, Mark Petruzzi, Ray Rike and Paul Melchiorre. So, could you take a minute to kind of just go through maybe three overarching themes that the book focuses on? And just how do you believe this can really help an organization to deliver a great customer experience? And I’d love for you to maybe segment it for us, because selling covers so many different areas. If you’re selling to a business versus if you’re selling to a customer….an individual, so maybe you could take one of those areas and kind of just break it down for us. And just give examples of what you wrote about in the book can really help teams that are in sales because sales is critical, it’s a lifeline of any business. But how can the sales team really drive a quality customer experience that can drive to a high customer retention rate, because at the end of the day, that’s really what all businesses are aiming for, as you’re going to be able to keep your customers for life.

 

Bob shared that regarding who it’s written for, it would really be for anyone selling to or trying to persuade a group of decision makers, so, usually an organization where a number of people contribute to a decision that is primarily in B2B sales. But if you find yourself in a position where you are trying to convince a town council to vote your way on a specific issue that’s been a problem for the community or anything else where there are a group of people who need to kind of come together to make a decision, their book will help you. 

And the way that it helps you is it lays out an approach that is not only proven by some of the most successful people in B2B sales, but it’s also modern, utilizing the most high quality available B2B data. And they also talk about systems support, and AI as a tool that can help the modern salesperson navigate this very complex selling environment with multiple decisions in a tough time in the market, the macro environment is currently as complex as it’s ever been. And being successful in sales at the moment is also as challenging and complex as it’s ever been.

 

Me: So, I kind of wanted you also to maybe just go into, I would say, as I said, three overarching themes that the book focuses on. So, you mentioned AI and it’s a very hot topic right across, I think, across the world, really, since it was introduced, especially since it’s so accessible to everyone currently. But what does that really mean when you are selling to someone? Because at the end of the day, you’re still dealing with human beings, so, what is the data really going to tell you? Or how is it going to help you to navigate that conversation? Because there has to be some human interaction, right? So, I kind of want you to walk us through that process.

 

Bob shared that the book talks about two different types of AI and it’s really exciting because he doesn’t think there is a sales book currently that, again, not only combines improving elements with AI and data approaches, but the two types of AI are generative AI, those would be systems like Chat GPT, who can help you create content in order to be compelling in a sales process.

And predictive AI, technologies like and he’ll use an example, Clari, which is a tool that helps sales teams understand which of their open sales opportunities have the highest probability of closing, based on a myriad of factors. So, they do get into really solid detail and they also have contributors in the book who are experts in various topics and tell stories about how they’ve used these tools successfully.

 

Me: So, that’s excellent, very good explanation on the generative and predictive AI. Because I do believe that we throw toward around so much in different industries, especially in the customer experience industry, many people believe that artificial intelligence is going to replace human beings and we’re all going to be obsolete and not worth any value anymore. But I’m not there yet. And I live in Kingston, Jamaica, where we use technology here a lot, but we are not going to get to that point anytime soon, definitely not in my lifetime where you’re not going to need people because we are still a society that is heavily dependent on people interaction. For example, in our banks here, and I compare it to the United States all the time. The banks are still full, 50….40 people standing in the banks. I travelled to the US quite often and I go to different financial institutions, and they are empty, there’s nobody physically standing in there, there are no lines lined up outside or people lined up inside. So, just in terms of the culture and the behaviour of people just don’t believe that we’re going to eliminate the people component in customer experience, because people still like to deal with people, right?

 

Bob agreed yes, absolutely. And it’s funny because he does feel like and the way that they lay it out in the book, AI can put you in a position to have more and better live human interactions with the right audience, if used properly. It doesn’t replace humans; it sets humans up to be the best version of themselves and optimize their approach every day.

 

Me: I love it. So, it’s really supposed to help us to interact better, to get to decisions faster, to understand people’s behaviours quicker, to find solutions that are more need based, because a lot of times salespeople sell you stuff, they’re driven by the quotas that they need to meet, they’re driven by the pressures that their organizations put on them. But when you match value to the experience that the person is having and are they really getting the right solution, a lot of times down the road when there is like let’s say a survey that’s being done, or some form of focus group, especially if they’re losing customers over a period of time, you realize that it wasn’t even the right solution that was given to the client, or it wasn’t being managed the proper way. And I guess, if they had the right data from day one, and it was being provided in the right way, they wouldn’t have lost the customer in the first place.

 

Bob stated yes, he couldn’t agree more.

The third theme of the book is utilizing simple data science in order to ensure that your sales approach is driven by your Ideal Customer Profile (IDP). And he’ll just briefly state that as a sales leader, he had gotten frustrated by knowing that focusing on the ideal customer profile was the right thing and then defining that and making that approach data driven was impossible. It was a very distant and vague concept. But he believes that they own the very best definition now of what the ideal customer profile is and how to take that definition and identify score and rank specific prospects and clients that are the best match to that ideal customer profile and create an entire commercial approach with that as the foundation.

 

Me: All right, and what is the definition that you have identified in the book as your ideal customer profile?

 

Bob shared that it’s basically utilizing firmographic traits to know what industry, what sub sector, what size of the company, how much it’s growing, what web scraping tells you about a company, when you can build a model that identifies those common traits in your best customers, and utilize expert panels to ensure that the model has picked up on the right signals, that is the best way to create an ideal customer profile, and again, score and rank accounts. That’s quite technical, but it’s all in the book.

 

Me: Yes, agreed. And our listeners would have tapped into this episode, and they’d like to put their hands on your book, where can they find it?

 

Bob shared that the book, it’s available in all the major outlets, but he will tell you, he’s a huge fan of Amazon and is readily available on Amazon in softcover, hardcover, and they’ll have an audio version available within three weeks of today (May 09. 2024).

 

Me: Oh, okay, that was actually going to be my next question. Do you have it available on Audible?

And you better get used to this voice because it’s 80% of the narration is done by him (Bob). 

 

App, Website or Tool that Bob Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Bob shared ZoomInfo. ZoomInfo provides a backbone to a lot of the data work that they do at Revenue Vision Partners. And when they were in the marketplace to procure data assets, they did a thorough evaluation, they were convinced at the time and four plus years later, he continued to be convinced that ZoomInfo has the best B2B data available in the market.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Bob

When asked about books that have had a great impact, Bob shared that he would say that far and away, Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by America’s Best Companies by Robert B. Miller and Stephen Heiman is the number one book that has contributed to the way that he has approached sales since the early 90s. He feels it lays out the most logical and powerful and consistent approach or methodology for B2B sales. 

What they tried to do with the new book is take methodologies like Strategic Selling, SPIN Selling, The Challenger Sale, and modernize the approach again with Data and Diagnosis and AI and build upon those methodologies.

 

What Bob is Really Excited About Now!

When asked about something that he’s excited about, Bob shared that in their firm right now, they’re doing one of these ideal customer profile-based data projects for a very large, diversified industrial company who services about a dozen different end markets. They’re a multi-billion-dollar organization, they’ve run a pilot in one of their key divisions and it’s been a phenomenally successful data model. 

And he’s convinced that their are hundreds of salespeople are going to utilize their time better, they’re going to sell bigger and better fit accounts, they’re going to be more gratified in their jobs, the company’s going to gain market share in a more consistent and repeatable way. 

And it’s thrilling to do that, because this was the promise that they built their company on, and this couldn’t be a better group of humans to work with who he just wants to see them succeed for all the right reasons. So, he’s so excited about this journey, they’re just far enough along where there’s proof that it’s working and there’s so much ahead of them in terms of their ability to empower them to succeed.

 

Me: All right, I’m excited too, just hearing all of the great opportunities that lie ahead.

 

Bob shared that in his tennis game, he feels like his backhand is really ready for summer.

 

Me: Do you play competitively, or do you just play for fun?

 

Bob stated that he plays intermediate competitively. So, he can be pretty terrible. He has a couple of great shots and feel really good about himself, but it’s a blast.

 

Where Can We Find Bob Online

LinkedIn – Bob Scarperi

Company LinkedIn – Revenue Vision Partners

Instagram – @bobbyscarp

Website – www.revenuevisionpartners.com

Facebook – Bob Scarperi

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Bob Uses 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Bob shared that it’s quite a long one, so, he’s not going to quote the whole thing, but unless he takes up the rest of the time, but it is, The Man in the Arena, quote by Teddy Roosevelt. 

And starting a business in one’s middle age with lots of financial obligations, including three kids, two step-kids, etc…etc…has been a really bold decision and quite terrifying at times. And every time he wonders if he’s done the right thing, he grounds himself in that amazing speech and always feel like he comes back to believing that he was born to do something bold and that living through terrifying entrepreneurial moments are part of that and the victories that one is lucky enough to experience when they make that brave and bold decision are that much sweeter than then any other career related victories in his life. Of course, his highest highs have to do with his kids, but that whole man in the arena concept keeps him going every day.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

  

Me: So, we will have that full quote in the Show Notes of our episode, the Teddy Roosevelt quote, along with what you shared just now as it relates to kind of getting you back refocused on why you do what you do.

 

Bob shared that and if you saw the Tom Brady roast on Netflix, Matt Damon does a great job of narrating the entire thing.

 

Me: All right, Bob, thank you so much for jumping on our podcast today and sharing all these great insights as it relates to Diagnostic Selling and Data Driven Selling, as well as Artificial Intelligence and the ICP, it’s all great information. I’ve started consuming a part of the content of the book, but I just believe I’d get so much more from the audible. So, I’m actually going to wait until it’s released in the next three weeks to continue, I just believe I get so much more listening to it rather than reading it. But I would recommend for anyone that is a listener to our podcast to tap into this awesome resource that Bob and his team have so graciously given to us in the world, it’s a great resource. And I believe that if we continue to try to find ways to add value to people’s lives, create opportunities that you’re really providing the solutions that your customers want, that will allow them to be your customer for life, through the techniques that you use to ensure that you are selling the right way, making the decisions the right way, your customer experience will take care of itself. So, thank you so much.

 

Please connect with us on X @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Links

•     Data and Diagnosis-Driven Selling: Leveraging insights, intelligence and the power of AI to deliver efficient, durable revenue growth by Bob Scarperi

•     Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by America’s Best Companies by Robert B. Miller and Stephen Heiman

  

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