#226 How to Sell Successfully in 2024: Expert Insights from James Fielding

In this episode of "How To Sell," we're diving into the world of complex sales processes and mastering the art of being a trusted advisor.

Our guest, James Fielding from Findex, shares his insights on prospecting, building relationships, and navigating the intricacies of buying journeys.

Join us as we explore the power of research, effective communication, and creating value in selling.

Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting out, this episode will provide valuable tips and strategies to help you succeed in the ever-evolving world of sales.

So grab your headphones and get ready for another informative episode of "How To Sell" with James Fielding!

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James Fielding [00:00:00]:

Each organization is so different. So depending on where they are in the maturity curve. So you might have 1 organization where not much is in place, and it's still very much driven out of technology so that the the internal IT team are driving all the technology decisions. Or you might have another organization where it's a little bit more mature or there's a real focus at a given time. So when I was at Grant Thornton, we had a real focus, obviously, on sales and marketing. You would have these internal people who were willing to champion the purchase and were desperate to get it in.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:54]:

Welcome back to another episode of the How to Sell podcast. I'm your host, Luigi Prestonenzi. And as always, I'm very excited That you have joined us. What will be a very insightful episode? If you're a first time listener, thank you for joining. We hope you take away some actionable insights that'll help sell more. And if you're a long time listener, thanks for showing up every week. We value our community. We value the audience that we, we serve.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:21]:

But this week, we are jumping back into the seat of talking to an enablement professional about how they buy. However, before I introduce our guest, I should bring in our cohost or the cohost of this show. I say that with I I still I still can't accept, Dave, that there is a cohost

James Fielding [00:01:40]:

in the black

David Fastuca [00:01:41]:

the black sheep of the family.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:45]:

Well, Dave, what's happening in your world?

David Fastuca [00:01:48]:

Mate, it was a it was a pretty crazy week. You were On the other side of the world. So I was able to get a lot of work done, which is great.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:57]:

Yeah. And I was for those for our listeners, I actually got to see I didn't get to see this great man, but I got to see this the greatest football team

James Fielding [00:02:06]:

Manchester United.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:07]:

On Earth. AC Milan played. And that and that, folks, that is the voice of James Fielding From Findex, who's joining us this week. So welcome, James.

James Fielding [00:02:21]:

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:23]:

Yes. Now we shouldn't talk football, but you know what? I watched an incredible Manchester United grind out such a hard fought victory against European superpower, Luton Town, which which, you know, When you're grinding out wins against Lewontown, you know you're doing pretty well.

James Fielding [00:02:47]:

There's lots of sarcasm going on. Maybe yeah. Hopefully, this podcast isn't the same. We won't grind it out the same way, but, like, you know, you're only improved. You know, you gotta start from somewhere.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:59]:

Yes. Yes. Well, Alex Ferguson, I'm sure watching on, he was excited to see. What a great team. Anyway, well, let's not go there. Let's not go down to

James Fielding [00:03:11]:

to the

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:03:11]:

path of football. But welcome, James. I know look, just for our Full transparency for our audience. We've known each other for a few years, right?

James Fielding [00:03:19]:

Yeah, a few years. It's been a

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:03:21]:

couple of years now.

David Fastuca [00:03:21]:

I feel sorry for you.

James Fielding [00:03:23]:

Well, it's been good. The, it wasn't always this bearded and this polished on the, podcast. It's nice to see. But yeah. We've we've known each other for a while, and that's obviously the the first interaction Luigi and I had was actually the purchasing experience of my own. So we might talk through that a little bit, in the podcast today.

David Fastuca [00:03:41]:

Great one.

James Fielding [00:03:42]:

It's always nice to have an experience where, I guess, you know, you have a relationship where you go from a vendor to a friendship, and it's been, you know, really good, relationship over that time. But I think the importance of looking at the buying journey of people and the effort that Luigi puts into it, is kind of unmatched. So I'm really looking forward to talking it through today because I've been on I've been, I guess, on the receiving end of being sold through by Luigi. But obviously, yeah, we'll talk broader a little bit broader as well, I guess, of the role of enablement which is a bit of a difficult space in terms of how they purchase and a bit different from everyone else.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:18]:

Yeah. That's awesome. And thanks for thanks for those kind words, James. I think that's a perfect segue, right, because, you know, we are we have been interviewing a number of enablement folks, from various organizations across the world, and it's really, interesting, you know, because the the common thread that we're hearing is, most enablement professionals are not the main decision makers, but they are absolutely key influences as part of the decision making process. You know, some have more weight In the decision making process and others, but, ultimately, they form part of a wider buying process. Right? And that's exactly what we went through, when you a a few years back when we're in the decision making process of a of a large transformation project. But, mate, Just before we jump into this episode, we'd love to know and for you to share with our audience, sort of how did you get into that enablement space?

James Fielding [00:05:10]:

You know, got so my background has always been in professional services, so working for lawyers, accountants. And those roles where they might have a title of BDM them or marketing they're all actually enablement roles. So before enablement was even I guess, a word was bandied about in terms of a role. Those role roles have always existed in professional services just because it's an environment where you have a sales force and are traditional salespeople, good salespeople, and also their time and their effort is so expensive you have to drive efficiency. You have to drive effectiveness within that sales organization. So they're spending their time selling. They're spending their time really well, and you've gotta streamline that the best you can. Mhmm.

James Fielding [00:05:55]:

So very similar to a normal organization in terms of what the role of enablement, but I guess it was always happening there because it it was easy pickings because, you know, you you you had to enable the function. So that's, I guess, that's how I I I got into it. I initially sent you as a a failed lawyer, wanted to be a criminal lawyer at the start of, well, it wasn't for me, and then I kinda pivoted back to my marketing degree, and I've always worked in that space.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:06:19]:

Yeah. Interesting story. So you initially, you know, worked as a you you worked as

James Fielding [00:06:24]:

a lawyer before you moved into I guess, what you call an article. So, essentially, looking at that, being a paralegal and moving into my family unit, moving on. And then so I started in criminal law, and I had a few hairy cases to start with, and that that was enough for me.

David Fastuca [00:06:39]:

And then maybe you could refuse. Yeah.

James Fielding [00:06:44]:

And then from there, kind of working so obviously you wanted to use that background to work in professional services in terms of law firms you've been doing that, so initially starting off in terms of setting up a global global pitch team for Wing Pilators, so a big multinational kind of, war firm but kind of building that infrastructure, building those tools and resources. And again, it wouldn't have been called sales I enabled them back in the day would have been called business development or sales. Well, actually not sales in the law firm, but it would, you know, it would have been called marketing. But essentially it was enablement, and then my career has essentially been that in the background. How do we build the tools, the resources, the behaviors to actually drive efficiency effectiveness at scale?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:07:27]:

Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, it surprised me when we first started engaging, and I think that was one of my initial observations, right? You hear about most tech companies, a lot of traditional type businesses that have an enablement function, and I was quite surprised to see that, you know, a huge accounting professional services firm had that function. And that, you know, Grant Thornton, at the time when you were there, were A lot more progressive than other organizations, right, that they were competing against. Yeah.

James Fielding [00:07:57]:

Look. Very progressive. I think the terms of I think in particular around Red Thorn was around the technology space in terms of making that investment, knowing it was a long term investment. And I guess when you when you talk through that, some of the purchasing decisions, but, you know, the decisions were made there to invest. You know, we had to make those we had to in a culture where it wasn't traditional to have these tools and resources, that you had to make these purchases and prove them up as they go because you would be the 1 of the 2 p you know, it wasn't like, a traditional sales sales organization where single firm had this technology in there. You're bringing it in and doing different things and expecting a different result with a different audience in terms of where in that business having accountants, having auditors, having advisers using these tools as opposed to pure sales people

David Fastuca [00:08:50]:

That's a good segue, James. Look. What what role does enablement have in the current organization of index where you are now? What role does that play, when purchasing new tools, services? You know, can you walk us through that sort of process internally, and then how do you get adoption internally With those new tools and services.

James Fielding [00:09:09]:

It's really interesting. What I'll what I'll do is I'll talk through a couple of different experiences because I think they are so different. So each organization is so different. So and depending on where they are in the maturity curve. So you might have 1 organization where not much is in place, and it's still very much driven out of technology so that the internal IT team are driving all the technology decisions. Or you might have another organization where it's a little bit more mature, there's a real focus at a given time. So when I was at Grant Thornton, we had a real focus, obviously, on sales and marketing. You would have these internal people who were willing to champion the purchase and or desperate to get it in.

James Fielding [00:09:50]:

And I think that's the big thing around these buying decisions is you've got every man and his dog that it's got a say in it these days. So you've got, obviously, technology, end users, you've got procurement, you've got risk. You've got your CFO, your C suite. You've got everybody with a different percept, I guess, looking at it from a different lens, that they all are involved in the decision making process. But at the end of the day, if they're not someone who is willing to back themselves and really wants it is willing to take the downside risk and the effort to get it in. The purchase isn't made.

David Fastuca [00:10:27]:

Is that Something that you find is a big roadblock where everyone's looking for not to take on any risk even though there might be considerable upside. It's always a a risk factor decision making process.

James Fielding [00:10:39]:

Yeah. 100% so. Like, your your personal credibility's on the line if things don't go well, and also get the effort involved in doing that. So in the background, you're doing your day job, but you're also working with procurement. You're getting vendor risk assessment's done. You're working with the technology team to see as the data flows. You're doing all this additional work beyond your day job, so that day job doesn't disappear. You're still doing that day job.

James Fielding [00:11:04]:

You've got to work this, and then you're also responsible for implementation and making sure that it's a service or a product that people actually use in the business, so you're getting a return on investment. So it's quite a risk. But so that's what you want. You've gotta be passionate about it. You've gotta say, well, actually, I fundamentally believe in this, and I'm willing to take Centrica, oh, I'm willing to take the pain to put this in the business because it's better for me and better for the business to get it in.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:11:30]:

And that's you know what? I think this This is actually perfect, right, because you're describing the picture of what most deals look like. There's a lot of layers of complexity and lots of different decision makers. And often, sellers are only talking to the 1 person in the org, in the buying hierarchy. Right? And deals get stuck. And I know there's a lot of data to show 40 to 60% of deals get stuck at no decision, not because there's not a A desire from them to move forward, but because of the volume of people involved, and if I reflect upon our time when we first started engaging, you know, when we got the final tick of approval, we had probably over 20 people involved in the sales process, if you recall, right? But I just wanna go back a step. So you talk about the fact that your personal internal personal brand is at stake if you sponsor something in that doesn't work. If we can maybe take the interaction that we initially had when, you know, we first met and you sponsored me into the business, could you describe or share, What motivated you to sponsor me into the business? Like, given the fact that there's so much risk that you spoke about when we started engaging, there was a point where you championed me in. What was the driver behind that?

David Fastuca [00:12:58]:

Yeah. Not good. Without pumping up his life.

James Fielding [00:13:00]:

Not to downplay your skills, but No. Well, I I don't and I I better go the upper the opposite way. I was gonna say, like, not not to downplay it a little bit, but a little bit it's do a timing. So at that stage, we're looking at that Yep. We're in that mindset to say, we need these skills, we need these programs in place. We're on that early stage thinking about exactly what that would look like. Yep. You engaged me at that time.

James Fielding [00:13:22]:

I was like, perfect. This is I'm willing to, obviously, have that conversation and seeing where it goes, but I guess, you know, what you're able to do is kind of derisk it for me. And and and both that was in terms of my my own personal belief in what you were doing. So I I had to personally believe in that you were going to deliver what you said you were going to deliver, but you also made it easy for me internally Yeah. To engage other people. So, yeah, how do I get get the business case signed off from the CFO, How do I engage end users? How do I work with my CMO at the time to actually navigate internally? You did a lot of that work, which kind of smoothed out the process. So I didn't I didn't feel like it was by the end of the process, I guess, the buying process, I didn't feel like it was a risk.

David Fastuca [00:14:07]:

That's great.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:08]:

Yeah. Yeah. And and, you know, again, we could take a different example, right? And I only just used it because I know that you took a You took a you had a lot of faith when when sponsoring in. And you are right. There was a timing aspect. And I just also, for our audience, If we can just be clear about it right, how did the engagement start? Did you reach out to me or did I reach out to you?

James Fielding [00:14:33]:

You reached out to me. Yeah. On the on the phone. On the phone. Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:39]:

There it is, folks. The phone is not dead. Right? The phone worked.

James Fielding [00:14:44]:

He did he did.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:45]:

But interaction

James Fielding [00:14:46]:

You did pump up my tires a little bit on LinkedIn before. You warmed me up on LinkedIn. There was a little bit of back and forth. If you like some of my content on LinkedIn, build enough rapport, and then when, obviously, when that phone call came in, I was happy to take it because, I knew who he was, and I knew the type of topic that we're going to have a discussion on. So very happy to pick up with. Well, it's

David Fastuca [00:15:06]:

a good little lesson there. Right? Or how, you know, the social selling play comes into it prior to them picking up the phone and then calling someone, that it it gives you the right to reference a data point that you actually initiated, Louis, you know, that Yeah. You know, just putting words in your mouth, but you may have, mentioned the post that James recently did, that you commented on it or liked it when you called him up, which then probably would have made James go well. I can invest another 5 seconds into this call, right, and you kept on purchasing extra 5 seconds worth of commitment to then spark the interest with James. Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:15:44]:

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think the other the other thing to share, right, just full transparency, which We talk about earning the right in James's world. I mystery shopped their business and a number of other businesses so that when we had that deep conversation, Dave, there was actually a lot of insight that I could lead and share. So the point of view was developed based on a level of research. Right.

David Fastuca [00:16:10]:

Yeah. It's perfect. And I and imagine so, you know Yeah. Everyone's always now coming in with the you know, I've got something that can help you. I I was wondering, we're almost leading into the 2nd segment part of it, but can you remember what you said in order to spark up the interest? You know, being in sales enablement, James probably gonna hit hit up many times a day of people selling things and understands how to sell and when to sniff out a sell that's coming, what can you remember what you said or what you did?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:16:40]:

Well, I do like I've said, it was The initial interaction we had on LinkedIn, it wasn't a connect and pitch. Yeah. So, I mean, if you recall, James, It wasn't that we connected, and then all of a sudden, I started pitching my services. There was a bit of time that went on, and as James said, There was that law of, you know, reciprocity where I was liking engaging in content, and I think, James, you actually shared with me a podcast that you were on, during that initial engagement stage. I then listened to it, and then the initial outreach occurred, Dave. Nice. And then when we when we had that, first meeting, because I had done that mystery shop, I had a very clear point of view and I already had defined And that, hey, there is a particular problem that could be addressed if we're able to continue this chat. Right? So it did come from a different position because I had done that research.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:17:36]:


James Fielding [00:17:36]:

that's what

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:17:37]:

I the other thing I wanna sort of move towards as well, James, so we speak, you know, obviously, We're now talking about social, got you engaged, jumped on a phone, as you said, insight led approach, And you spoke about that buying process. Can you maybe share with us a buying journey that you've been on in the last 12 months that didn't actually progress? And what stopped that from progressing?

James Fielding [00:18:02]:

So I think the so I have been on I've been on a few that haven't progressed. And some some not initiated by me, where I was part of so and this is also probably, you know, just the very nature of the, you know, organizations that people move. So you might have some someone else just kicked off, the process changes, budget cycles change, and then you kinda get lost in between those cycles. So someone initiates an idea. They're having conversations. By the time you're brought in, that's great, but then someone else moves, and then and then another budget cycle comes in. So what happens is you get lost in those cycles. And going back to my point before, if you don't have someone who's absolutely passionate about picking it up and is ready to launch at a particular time, it continues to float in the background.

James Fielding [00:18:48]:

They're all good ideas. So at the moment, like, any organization that I'm in, we would have 5 or 10 products that we'd love to have floating in the background. We might be having conversations with them, we're not stringing them along, they're things we'd love to get in. But we might be waiting for a particular trigger internally to say that's the the perfect time to strike and we'll actually sponsor ourselves in now. So, okay, our results have just come out, they're not as good as what we would want them to be. Okay. This is a great time to position this back internally. Or we might have a new person coming into the business or you product line and go, okay, well, that's a great place to pilot something.

James Fielding [00:19:24]:

So we're also looking internally to say, how do almost like sales, what trigger point will help us move this forward? And we do that internally. So what can happen is you're gonna get lost, and you don't get the right trigger point, the right timing, or the alignment to happen. And they just keep floating along. And we've had a couple of products like that, where, back to my grandathon days, we had a specific software they're absolutely sponsored in and we brought in, in my new role, we're still considering that but I'm not passionately pushing it the same way that it did at another organization because the timing isn't quite right and the business kind of situation isn't isn't isn't aligned.

David Fastuca [00:20:08]:

That's great. That sort of brings me to my next sort of, you know, intriguing point there is when you are passionate about something, James, What's your process like for, you know, pushing that through internally?

James Fielding [00:20:20]:

Yeah. It depends on just where the power dynamic is within the business and the particular serve, you know, so, you know, you might have 1 organization where the power sits within your division or your function, or it might sit somewhere else. So you said you gotta figure out where that where that power balance is. And is it is it one that you can pursue, or is it 1 you actually have to bring in other people and get them to sponsor it? So like for me, the channel would be, like I say, out of the way, I'm just getting this in. I'll bring you along for the journey, but I'm absolutely passionate about it, and I'm gonna build a business case, and I'm gonna work with everybody, but I'm absolutely pushing us forward, or it could be, I'll work in the background and talk to people who are responsible for that area, and I'll start introducing them to vendors or starting to do things. I'll let that naturally progress, and then I'll see how I can help move it in the backhand. Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:21:14]:

And just on that, so What role is the the seller having on this process? So the passionate let's talk about the passionate, Example, right? Not the other one. And I think we could probably address that. But if we talk about the passionate one, that you are Depending on the power, where the power sits in the organization, what role is the seller having or is it purely sitting with you To drive progression into

James Fielding [00:21:42]:

It depends. If I feel they're an asset, I'll bring them in. If they're not, I'll separate them from the internal kind of buying process. So, you know, they could be an absolute asset. Like, you know, the, you know, the sales process that you and I went through, we brought you in. We won. We presented you to the business because that was an asset. That you were the product, and we're very happy to put you in front of our C suite in front of decision makers, and that was absolutely an asset.

James Fielding [00:22:06]:

Where probably on another extreme, maybe you got somewhere where they're not a great salesperson. They're kinda it's very much product led. You might separate them out completely. Or you might bring them again to, you know, when it gets kind of the pointy end, when you're looking at, you know, some objections or you'll, you know, you'll use them that way. But it just depends. You can really either use them as an asset we'll separate them from the process.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:22:34]:

Yeah. That's that's pretty good, right? You you're absolutely right. Do you see the seller as a trusted adviser and somebody that's a value Creator that you're willing to bring in as your co party? Or are they purely just driving a product and your only value that you're getting from them is information about the product. So I like the way you summarized that. Can we just go back to, from a top of funnel perspective, because we're speaking about, like, active deal flow now, I can imagine that you'd be on the receiving end of a lot of outreach messages from sellers, both on LinkedIn and email and even phone, do you mind sharing What's the type of prospecting message that you've been on the receiving end where you've gone, you know what? I'm gonna book a meeting with this person based on how they've approached.

James Fielding [00:23:25]:

I have to say, there hasn't been many recently that's been pretty slim things in terms of the the the average a lot a lot of email with no other kind of engagement around it. So I've got a lot of emails at the moment where and these are the these are the ones that hurt me the most. It's where they want my time and can I talk to you about your business? Yeah. I don't have time to, like you know, it's not to sound arrogant, but I don't have time to educate you on my business. You know? You guys gotta work the other way. You talked before about, I guess, the the insights that you brought to that initial meeting, that's what I need. I need you to become something that I don't have. Otherwise, what's the point? If I need a product, I'll research it.

James Fielding [00:24:08]:

If that's all it is, I can do that myself, and I'd rather control the buying journey, wherever you bring me insights and things. But, also, ideally, you bring success stories from people that look and feel like me. That's what I'd love. If you just say, hey, James. Got some insights around how, you know, a competitor of mine, BDO, have gone from X to Y and one of the challenges they overcome to do it, I'll take that call any day of the week. Yeah. That's the

David Fastuca [00:24:36]:

golden nugget there. Yeah. Make it that's hyper relevant. Right? Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:24:41]:

Yeah. But it's interesting that you say you share that, that a lot of the outreach that you're on the receiving end is not creating any value and is and and that's a really interesting, bit of feedback, right? Because I think the the laws of email is changing in the next, what is it, January? I don't know. Outreach has been emailing their clients to say, hey

James Fielding [00:25:02]:

Are there other Google changes? You know, can

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:25:04]:

I let

James Fielding [00:25:04]:

them do 50 or yeah?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:25:06]:

Yeah. They're setting limits. There's gonna be you know, they're making it very difficult because we have. I mean, I know that I've definitely seen this year. I've seen the volume of emails that are hitting my inbox that are you can see it. It's on a it's a sequencing tool. They're just jamming, and there is it's they're really poorly crafted emails, because I love to see The type of emails being sent just based on what we do as a as a profession, both good and bad. And you are right.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:25:36]:

Like, there's more. Most of the messages are not relevant. Like, I'm getting emails saying, would you like to increase the amount of business for your Brutality business.

David Fastuca [00:25:46]:

Like, man,

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:25:47]:

I don't even know where my profile BAS and this and that. And they're sequenced. Right. So I think they're looking for the the shortcuts, or they've signed up with some lead gen business who's promised them all these leads, When in fact, it's it's doing them a disservice. Right? Because most of the

James Fielding [00:26:14]:

time Just out of interest, do you name the council? Yeah. Happy to happy to help. Now look, the the quality is particularly poor, but also there's a little bit of aggressiveness in some of these emails as well. Like, you didn't respond to my previous email or did you see my I'm like, wow. And that really rubs you up with the runway. The there's literally a one call yeah. No. It is.

James Fielding [00:26:46]:

It's just rudeness. Like, you know, you you kinda want my time, and I haven't I haven't responded back to you, and you're kind of quite assertive in terms of your expectation of a response.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:26:56]:

Yeah. Or are you the wrong person? Right? That's another one. And my you know, is there somebody else I should be speaking to?

James Fielding [00:27:06]:

I got one with a read receipt the other way, like that's particularly poor. But what's interesting, I guess, to the point is not many phone calls though. So very, very few phone calls are at the moment, that's, I'm kind of happy with that, to be fair. But I guess the biggest thing is that we talk about that hyper kind of relative, you know, being hyper relevant. You know, it's not hard, you know what my industry is. Surely you've got some success stories within that, where it's not your success story or someone else in your organization, and you can pencil that together. Hey, James, we've got this product. We've got these people that look like you, and I've got some insights to share on the success that they've had.

James Fielding [00:27:47]:

If you can't package that together, then I start to question, A, do you have industry experience, and is anyone willing to back the fact you've actually gotten your results? You know, that's where my mind goes. If you can't put those pieces together, I feel that you're almost, you know, you're burning a lot of people in the background, or you don't have the industry experience and I'm kind of the guinea pig. That's very fair. And that's certainly not where you want to be. Back to my point before about, you know, you're taking the risk. I don't want to be the guinea pig.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:28:15]:

Well, I think, you know, for for for our audience, James, there's a lot of key takeaways here. I mean, we've spoken about active deal flow. Are you seen as a trusted adviser, or you're just a a product pusher? We're now speaking about top of funnel, how to get your engagement. So I think there's been a lot of, You know, for for sellers thinking about how do I sell into somebody in enablement, there's been a lot of moments. And, you know, I love the fact that you shared you're just not getting many phone calls, and, you know, the phone is definitely a great way to engage, with our prospects in our target market. So I just wanna say as we come to the the end of our our 1st segment for the 1st segment for the show, thanks for jumping on. Before we let you go though, where's Where's the best place for our audience to thank you and engage?

James Fielding [00:29:01]:

LinkedIn. Yeah. Drop me a note. I'll happily connect, happily, have a conversation. If you've got any insights to share around professional services, I'll happily take a call or a meeting. So, yeah, LinkedIn is probably the best.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:29:16]:

Perfect. And full transparency, James loves getting gifts of Harry Maguire. So we want his attention to send him a GIF on Linkedin of a Harry Maguire GIF. He'll be very excited to receive that. So, James, I value our relationship. Thank you for the support, and supporting my journey, mate. So, Yeah. Thanks for being a guest on the How to Sell Podcasts.

James Fielding [00:29:41]:

No big thank you. I love being on it. Thank you.

David Fastuca [00:29:43]:

Well, Louie, that was a great, great segment there. Interestingly, though, You know, you he was talking about when you sold to to him, and he now he flips it now about how many sort of outreach is he getting he's getting at the moment, And they're just not hitting the mark.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:29:59]:


David Fastuca [00:29:59]:

Which is probably, you know, it's a telltale time that's, you know, what you did years ago with, with James is still ever so relevant, if not more relevant now, in a world of just jamming down a 1000 emails down someone's throat. Let's that side, dissect this one.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:30:18]:

Yeah. And I think what what are there's a lot of really good takeaways from that conversation with James. And You know, when you think about prospecting into 2024 and what's gonna be your competitive differentiator, I've said this before, and I'm gonna repeat it again. Your level of research before you actually reach out to a company is very important. So If you're taking that, I'm gonna jam, you know, a 100, couple 100 prospects into a sequencing tool that fit my ICP, and I'm just gonna reach out to them with some form Generic messaging and you can, you know, relevance at scale. Right? Or, personalization at scale, whichever way people wanna coin it. You're doing yourself a disservice. Because, again, if you think about your target account, you've gotta go, well, there is a lot more nuances and a lot more complexities in just getting a person into a meeting, you've got to think, where is this person? And James referenced it, the power base.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:31:14]:

Right? What am I selling? And ultimately, where is the money gonna be coming from? What is the pathway that we might need to take? Now, you might not know that exact pathway. You might not know the exact steps this organization needs to take to buy. But You should do some form of hypothesis before you enter. Right? And that's why the org map, especially for more complex deals is key to do beforehand. And you do your level of research and think, right. We often get to you go straight to the top. But sometimes, you want to get a champion. You need to get somebody, like James said, has the energy to push The project internally, yeah?

David Fastuca [00:31:59]:

What was that rough figure of the value of that project that you sold to James?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:32:03]:

So obviously, we don't want to go just this is a

David Fastuca [00:32:05]:

commission Give a ballpark. Give a bracket there.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:32:08]:

You know, we're looking 5, 600 k. Right? Okay. So it wasn't it wasn't a a, you know, it wasn't a a massive, massive deal, but it also wasn't just a very transactional deal. Yeah. And the reality behind that was it was a very complicated sales process because as we as we alluded to, we didn't just have you know, James' boss, at the time, was the CMO and James was head of enablement, But then there was the head of digital and head of marketing and BD that needed the initial endorsement before it went up to the exec team and the 1st level partnership team. So Yeah. There was a lot of work that needed to get done. And as James said, he brought me in as that trusted adviser that could provide insight and value as part of the conversation.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:33:01]:

It wasn't just pushing a product. Yeah?

James Fielding [00:33:03]:


Luigi Prestinenzi [00:33:04]:

And so just to bring this back to the whole purpose of this particular segment, how would you sell to someone like James, and how would you sell to enablement professionals? It's do you wanna be seen as a trusted adviser in that process? And because if you if you're not gonna be seen as a trusted adviser, your ability influence that deal is gonna be really, really hard. Right? Yeah. If you're just putting across the table a proposal with some product information, the question they're gonna ask is, what other value do you offer? And if there's no other value, they're just gonna look at price. So In order to sell to James, you gotta be asking the question, what are the information gaps? What are the knowledge gaps That I can help fill. Yeah? And that's that insight and education because if you can Bridge the gap of insight in education and help them feel more confident about what they're doing internally and help them Navigate the conversations because you're elevating their role. You're enabling them to have deeper conversations with their executive team, with their peers. What happens is they see you very differently. Right? And that is the number one way if you think about selling into 2024, because this year is pretty much gone.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:34:21]:

You prospect the way in which you prospect will absolutely matter because Before you just reach out to the company, you need to have a pursuit plan. You need to be thinking about, who am I gonna be talking to, why would this matter to them, and what potential information gaps might they have that I can fill with some insight. That'll get me a seat at the table. And then thinking about making sure you get a clear picture of what their buying process looks like so that you can be that advocate and support them through the process. Yeah. And that that for me is is critical. And I think, you know, how I sold to James, you know, 2, 3 years ago, It's the exact blueprint you use today and next year. The blueprint hasn't changed.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:35:07]:

Right? I mean, in fact, You would you would say that the playbook is exactly the same. You engage on LinkedIn. You build a bit of, you know, you know, that awareness of who you are. Share a bit of content to show a level of credibility on something, then call because there's a a warmish relationship. Relationship tensions lower. You start having a conversation. You use the insight that you have based on some of the research that you've done, and it Forms a point of view, and it gets the meeting. And then all of a sudden, from there, you start to really build out a road map.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:35:43]:

But the key thing is also defining How important is the problem that you're talking to them about? Yeah. And as James said, the problem that we were talking about was actually high on their priority list. So it made a lot of sense to progress that conversation. And in some cases, it is not a major priority, and that's okay. And that's where you put them into your relationship funnel, and you massage, and you might continue to educate and help them see the problem a little bit differently, so they say, you know what? It is now a level of priority that we need to tackle. Right?

James Fielding [00:36:17]:


Luigi Prestinenzi [00:36:18]:

So, you know, I hope that does help our audience, and I hope that answers the question around how I would sell to James, but the blueprint would not change. Right, lead with a level of insight, create a point of view, be seen as a trusted adviser through Educating, providing insight, and then work with them side by side on building that business case So that you can get consensus and ultimately get the deal across the line.

David Fastuca [00:36:47]:

Well, mate, another great episode. Perfect way to wrap it up. For those listening out there, if you liked what you heard, please share it with a friend, colleague, help spread the message On how to sell, and we'll see you on next week's episode.