John Crowley is a healthcare executive and was a fun guy to interview. I enjoyed his perspectives, stories about selling and learning more about him.
Here’s what he has to say about his role at Cardinal Health:
I am fortunate to lead a team responsible for providing pharmaceutical contracting and services to the community based physician class of trade. We help doctors and administrators run their practice more efficiently so they can spend more time taking care of what matters…the patient. We accomplish this by forming mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationships with our pharmaceutical partners.
The VitalSource organization has experienced explosive growth over the prior 2 years under superior leadership. I’m blessed to join this group of brilliant and passionate individuals.
Cardinal Health helps pharmacies, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, clinical laboratories and physician offices focus on patient care while reducing costs, enhancing efficiencies, and improving quality. Cardinal Health ranked #26 in 2014 Fortune 500 list with more than $91B in revenue.
Here’s How he describes his role at Diversify Healthcare
Some people play golf. Others enjoy cooking. Me, I love Sales. It’s a passion I’ve had since since 1st grade when I was sent to the principals office for price gouging unprepared students with #2 pencils on test day.
Today, I help healthcare sales organizations motivate overwhelmed sales professionals by simplifying healthcare so they sell more.
I love speaking and writing about Healthcare Sales. I publish a weekly blog (www.justjohncrowley.com) dedicated exclusively to Healthcare Sales Professionals. My book, Knuckle Dragging Sales, will be available in Q4 2017.
I speak at local District Sales Meetings and keynote at National Sales Meetings. I facilitate training sessions on my proprietary Access Selling technique and consult for healthcare companies on sales strategy, process and excellence.
I offer healthcare companies 20 years of leadership, sales and sales consultancy with expertise providing:
* Market analysis to identify areas of growth opportunity
* Product and marketing refinement
* Development of sales and marketing strategy
* Operationalizing strategy roll-out
* Increasing revenues, growing market share and driving profitability
I guarantee a 6X return on client investment dollar through ownership and execution of strategy. I have demonstrated a track record of success helping companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 20.
My professional background:
I have been in Healthcare since my college internship at a generic pharmaceutical company. I’ve dialed for dollars and carried the bag for 14 years. I’ve sold products as simple as birth control to Gynecologists and complex as Electronic Medical Record systems to Integrated Delivery Systems. I’ve had no control of pricing as a pharmaceutical representative to having full pricing autonomy as a distribution representative. I’ve sold “me too” rubber gloves and novel Physician Dispensing business models with lucrative revenue streams.
Along the way, I’ve made countless, painful mistakes. I’ve struggled to find work – unable to stand out in a sea of over qualified candidates in a down economy. I’ve had periods when I grew bored and stagnant. I’ve struggled to get out of bed in the morning because I lacked purpose. I’ve doubted the efficacy of my product – even questioned if it was harmful to patients. I worked for companies with misaligned compensation plans that rewarded mediocrity over excellence. I’ve been debilitated by micromanagers and hamstrung by narcissistic executives. I’ve been sued for $10 millions by a Fortune 50 company over a fallacious non-compete. I’ve fallen, stood up, and learned from my mistakes. I’ll share the good and bad with you along this journey.
I’m currently the Vice President of VitalSource GPO at Cardinal Health, a Fortune 26 company. I am fortunate to lead a team responsible for providing pharmaceutical contracting and services to the community Oncology and Urology physician class-of-trade. We help doctors and administrators run their practice more efficiently so they can spend more time taking care of what matters…the patient. I’m proud to be part of this team and the work we do. We directly impact patient lives, we’re experiencing explosive growth and we’re doing it different than our competitors!
One of the reasons I’m so passionate about Healthcare Sales is because I’m a survivor. That’s right, I beat lung cancer at the age of 31! During my battle, I experienced the value physicians, patients and hospitals derive from you…the Healthcare Sales Professional. Without you, physicians would be undereducated, patients would go untreated and care facilities would be at risk. I lost my lung but I gained an experience that has fueled my success.
Two years ago, I began writing about Healthcare Sales on my JustJohnCrowley.com blog. What started as a passion has evolved into a business. As a result, I’ve been asked to speak to dozens of sales teams. During this time I’ve discovered the rush I get while speaking and hoping to change just one person’s life. In 2016, MedReps.com recognized me as one of Healthcare’s Top Influencers.
My personal background:
Growing up in New Jersey taught me what it meant to hustle. As a kid, I had an affinity for selling. On Scantron test day, I had boxes of #2 pencils that I sold to my classmates for $1.15 – the same price as lunch. I sold white t-shirts from my gym locker to neglectful classmates not wanting to be dinged for having inappropriate attire. If I could make money, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m a proud graduate of The College of New Jersey, formerly Trenton State College.
I’m happily married to my best friend – Amy. We have two beautiful girls, Logan (11) and Keira (9). We live in Brentwood TN – a quintessential Nashville suburb with our two mutts – Tick and Jones. When not at gymnastics or school, we are practicing yoga, enjoying the neighborhood pool or cultivating their artistic and entrepreneurial interests. Most mornings I can be found working out with ear buds while listening to the latest business, leadership or sales audiobooks.
Thanks again, John. I hope the listeners of Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast enjoy the show.
Transcript of the show with John Crowley:
Joel Gaslin: Welcome back to the Cognified Marketing and Selling podcast. I’m your host, Joel Gaslin, and I’m grateful that you’re here.
Have you ever struggled with technology? Have you ever tried to implement something, and maybe it didn’t work out quite the way you thought it would? Or did you try something new, and maybe that didn’t quite end up where you thought it would.
Or do you struggle with what’s new out there, and just keeping up with everything? If you are — and I’m like that too, sometimes — then you’ve come to the right place. My goals for this podcast are simple.
Really, three things. I’d like to help you learn more about new selling and marketing technologies that are out there, things like Salesforce.com, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, that sort of thing.
I want to make it easier for you to add new technology tools to your business and life. It doesn’t have to be that hard. I want to share stories with you of people who are doing it, and hopefully you’ll hear a story or hear an anecdote and think, “Hey, that’s me. I can do that too.”
Finally, I want to bring you stories from people just like you, and you can relate to. They assist you in achieving whatever your goals are, and help you get your next win.
Thanks again. The biggest favor that you can do for me is to go into iTunes, and leave a review, what you think about the show, and give it four stars. Again, I’m grateful that you’re here, and here’s the show.
I’d like to welcome John Crowley to the Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast. John is a community oncology and urology advocate, GPO expert, healthcare sales speaker, author, and mentor, living in what he calls the healthcare Mecca of the world, Nashville, Tennessee.
Of course, John, you may understand that those of us in Minneapolis may dispute you on that a little bit, because we think of Minneapolis as being the healthcare Silicon Valley of the world. We’ll have to talk about that one a little bit.
John, welcome. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
John Crowley: Thanks, Joel. I appreciate it. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Right now, I’m the Vice President of Cardinal Health’s VitalSource, which is a community-based oncology and urology group practicing organization. That’s my day job.
My passion is working with and helping healthcare sales professionals gain access, so that they can sell more of their product.
Joel: How long have you been doing that?
John: I’ve been with Cardinal about four years. I’ve been working on the speaking and writing component about the same amount of time, three or four years.
Joel: You and I first connected, I believe, on LinkedIn, and we went back and forth. It’s pretty amazing, and then a little conversation we had ahead of time. We had a lot of things in common. In advance, I’m grateful for your time to come on here. We’ll have some good content to share with folks in the industry.
In looking at your blog and your LinkedIn profile, I noticed that there was a little story on there you have about being sent to the principal’s office for price gouging early in your grade school career. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
John: You say price gouging. I like to think of supply and demand, is really what I was thinking about it, Joel.[laughter]
Joel: Like Uber.[laughter]
John: Yeah. Like any young kid, I was part of the Scantron age, where you had to bring your number 2 pencil in for your Scantron test. I quickly realized that a lot of my fellow students would forget their number 2 pencils. The teachers would get upset.
I remember back then they started taking points off. You’d get two points taken off.
Before the test would happen, I went out and bought a box of number 2 pencils. I would sell them to my fellow classmates for $1.15, which also happened to be the same price of our lunch, so everyone always had $1.15 on them.
That happened for quite a long time until eventually teachers caught wind of it, told the principal, who essentially ratted me out to my mother. My mom was very proud, but the teachers weren’t really thrilled with it.
That was where my sales career began, was in the back of the lunchroom at St. Mary’s of Assisi in Boston, Massachusetts.
Joel: That’s cool. I noticed, also, that you’re a morning workout guy. I’m a morning workout guy, too. I head to the gym by my house. It’s a Life Time facility, if you’re familiar with those. I get up at 5:00 and I’m there by 6:00.
I was interested in your perspective, because I think yours and mine are a little different. Tell me about how you got started doing that and what you think, how you think that gets your day set up in the right direction.
John: I quickly realized that your mind follows your body. I was a college athlete, was in great shape, and like most people left college. Got into the world of pharmaceutical sales, where, as you’re probably well aware, we did a lot of lunches and dinners.
My slim 220 pounds ballooned up to 320 pounds over the course of a couple years. As I sat back and looked at my bloated self in the mirror I said, “Something’s got to change. I got to get back to the gym.”
As a father of two kids, and like everybody else out there, we’re working full-time jobs. It’s never 40 hours in the world of healthcare sales. It’s all hours.
I had to get back to the gym, and I found it too easy to skip a workout if I decided to do it at the end of the day. So I wake up. I have terrible sleeping habits which is a whole other story, but I wake up very early.
It’s the way I start my day. It gets me in the right mindset. I actually spend quite a bit of time at the gym as part of the workout mentally preparing for my day. I use that time to think about my schedule, think about the meetings I have coming up. What is the goals of the day? What are the outcomes I’m looking at the end of the day to be able to accomplish?
I set my day up at the gym. That’s what just gets me going physically as well as mentally.
Joel: You listen to podcasts or any of that sort of stuff when you’re working out or books on tape?
John: Yeah, both. I get made fun of all the time because I literally listen to no music whatsoever. My buddies are always making fun of me because, just like you said, I’m listening to a podcast. I tend to kind of…I’ve got a handful of podcasts that I like to listen to, and then I teeter between that and Audible.
Joel: What are the podcasts you like to listen to?
John: “Events Summary” podcast is a great one. I like the Harvard Business Review “IdeaCast.” “How I Built This” by NPR is probably one of my favorites. It’s got a guy named Guy Raz. “The Arena” podcast, it’s by a guy named Anthony Iannarino, sales podcast. Then two others would be “Salesman.red” podcast.
Also “Smart Medical Sales” by a guy named Saul Marquez. He’s another med device guy in Chicago. Those are just some of the ones that I really enjoy.
Joel: I listen to a lot of Audible books and iBooks. I like to do that too. Sometimes I find myself…
What I was getting to was you talked about a head down, and where we go or at least where I go, it’s the same group of people that I see every morning. I’ve been going there for nine years now.
Like you, I found myself ballooned up and said, “OK, gosh, something has to change here. I’m just not going to end up where I want to be.” My wife suggested, “Well, we’ve had this membership lifetime. Why don’t you start using that?” I just started going there in the morning.
Like I said, for nine years, I’ve been seeing the same guys almost every single morning. We go to the same lockers. It’s like church. As Catholics, we go sit in the same pew every single week. It’s the same way there. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people there.
I’m like you. I don’t listen to music. It’s always a book, and people know that and make fun of me too. I think that’s good habit to have.
John: Yes. I’m sure your wife gently told you to go to the gym. It wasn’t an ultimatum, I’m sure.
Joel: No, she was good about it. It was good.
Joel: You have a method you call access sales. Is that right?
John: That’s right, access selling.
Joel: Tell us a little bit about that, please.
John: If you’re familiar with all those social selling, it’s a spinoff of social selling. The idea is that I think the thought, the gesture, is that in healthcare, specifically any healthcare sales role that calls on physicians, people think that doctors are not on social media, particular LinkedIn is the one.
Through different research that I’ve done and then also through my own internal research, I have found, depending on the specialty, as high as 70 percent of physicians are on LinkedIn. Now the key here, and there’s been several studies that have looked at this, is that the physicians are on LinkedIn. They’re not sharing information.
They’re not commenting on information. However, more than 90 percent of the physicians on LinkedIn are consuming information. What that means to any salesperson or marketer is that the audience is there. They’re just not announcing themselves.
What access selling is is it’s the process of connecting with your buyer and sharing relevant content, content truly of value to that buyer, so that you’re warming up the lead. When you get the chance to finally meet the physician or just sell to the physician, you’ve established some relationship, more importantly, a relationship that is of value.
Access selling is the process of using LinkedIn to get to these physicians, create value that ultimately leads to profitable sales.
Joel: Do you use Sales Navigator, or just use straight-up LinkedIn? What do you do there?
John: That’s a great question. It really depends on your appetite for how much you want to spend. You absolutely don’t need to use Sales Navigator. You can use the free LinkedIn component, but Sales Navigator certainly helps.
At 80 bucks a month, that may be cost prohibitive. It’s certainly not essential, but helpful.
Joel: It is. As an organization I bought off on Sales Navigator. The team didn’t find it useful. I don’t know if it was that they weren’t using it right. We used it for a year.
We have a centralized team, and then we also have some guys who live out in the field. We have eight inside and six outside. The eight inside reps had it and, as I said, didn’t get much value out of it now.
John: Let me ask you this, where was your content coming from? Let me take a step back. Was your company creating content and/or curating other people’s content?
Joel: That’s a good question. The LinkedIn people, that’s what I told them, is this wasn’t a failure of LinkedIn, the platform of Sales Navigator, in my mind. It was a bit of a failure on our end.
Because we have a small marketing team that sits right by. The inside sales team were their six marketing people. A couple of graphic designers, a content person, a technical writer, a social media specialist, and a couple of account managers that really are there to help them. They create custom content.
We were early on in that process, and so I think while we were trying to learn that we didn’t do a good job of execution, which is usually the case, in my experience, for a lot of things that fail. It’s really the execution that failed, not necessarily the platforms.
John: That’s right, execution is really all that matters. That’s the weak link in that chain, for sure.
I’ve consulted for a bunch of companies on trying to get them set up. Your story is one that resonates. I hear it all the time.
The first step has always been there’s got to be carefully orchestrated coordination between sales and marketing. That’s essential, but then the next step becomes what’s the content you’re creating and sharing.
What I have found in most of the companies that have struggled with access selling or content marketing is that they’re sharing content that’s all about me, me, me. It’s “Me, me,” “My product,” “My company,” “Everything that I’ve done.”
Quite frankly, that’s great. That’s important, but you’ve got to earn the trust of the buyer before you start talking about you.
Where we’ve seen the greatest adoption and success with access selling or any kind of content marketing is by creating or curating, more importantly, content that’s of value. In healthcare sales, what that boils down to is the business of healthcare.
Especially if it’s a community-based physician that has his or her own business, their first thing on their mind is their business and their patients. Until you have demonstrated that you can create value for both of those entities, and that you understand what their business is and how it works, only then do you earn the right to be able to pitch and sell your product.
Your story is one that happens all the time. Maybe you did create some of that curated content and you were early in that sales process or in the social media evolution. That’s something that you could possibly try.
Joel: We have. That’s what we’re doing, John, is the team, we went through and mapped out. We figured out three personas of our ideal clients. We have three platforms to our business, and then we mapped out all their pain points and developed content around those pain points.
For us in looking back, what really happened is we had too many things going on at one time. I find that sales people can get a little too wrapped around the axle sometimes of too many things, and then it leads to, “I’ll just fall back on what’s comfortable.”
As I said, it came down to execution. You’re right, those are good comments. I’m grateful for your ideas.
When you’re out there, and you’ve been doing this for a while now, how do you think the world is changing, in terms of sales reps getting access to physicians?
John: It’s a case of a couple rotten apples spoil the bunch. There have been, in the past, in the world of healthcare sales and sample drops, physicians wanted some of that value through samples or through lunches or dinners.
Because a lot of that has been taken away, it’s really exposed our vulnerabilities. What you simply see is that reps are getting locked out because they create zero value.
Value to me is always tough, because what is valuable to me, John Crowley, may be totally different than what’s valuable to you, Joel Gaslin. Trying to identify what that individual physician values is really important and difficult.
What happens is that we, as healthcare companies, have trained our reps very well on the features and benefits, but we haven’t trained them on the business of healthcare. Therefore, they’re going in with one type of bullet in their chamber, and it’s just about them, as opposed to understanding the business of healthcare and being able to create value for those physicians out the gate.
Joel: I agree, John. To me, I tell people we’re selling holes. We’re not selling drills. It’s easier to sell the drills sometimes, because you memorize a set of features and benefits and you regurgitate that. You wonder why people don’t buy.
Really, our job is to figure out how do we help them reach some sort of conclusion that’s important to them and is valuable to them. Those are good comments.
John: That’s right. What happens, unfortunately, Joel, as you know, we are a very highly regulated industry. A lot of the things that the customers value we can’t talk about, whether it be pricing, reimbursement.
How do you circumvent that, get them the answer that they need, but then at the same time create value in a different way? That is what is making our business harder, our jobs harder.
It’s also why we’re starting to see huge companies slashing their sales forces, because they realize that it’s a waste of money unless those reps can create the value that’s desired by physicians.
Joel: That’s interesting. We, in ophthalmology, what our guys face is, as you probably know, cataract surgery is the highest volume surgical procedure in the United States. If you look at the demographics of the population and then the demographics of physicians, they’re faced with an onslaught of more patients than they can handle.
Yet, what’s also true is the reimbursement keeps declining, their expenses keep going up. They’re trying to deal with electronic medical records and electronic health records, whatever you choose to call them, and then some sort of patient management software.
There’s still a lot of times thinking as old-time doctors as what I am is I’m a mechanic. You come to me and tell me when something’s broken, and I fix it. Yet their patient base is really looking for I would call it more of a consumerized experience where they want to be treated as understanding that they have options for cataract surgery.
That there are ways that they cannot have to wear glasses and all sorts of different things that they’re willing to pay for and will pay for. Yet, most ophthalmologists aren’t focused on a commercial process at all. They’re focused just on a medical process.
Do you see that in your business, too? How do you think about that?
John: We definitely see it. We’re all benefitting in certain ways from the Baby Boom, increase in the patient population. But project 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road, the Baby Boomers of yesterday, which are often, not always, technology illiterate or maybe not as proficient as the younger ages…
As our younger people start to age and they become patients of ophthalmologists or in my world it’s oncologists, both of these physician groups are going to have to change the way that they treat the patient.
Like you said, it’s a consumerization of the patient population. We need to help our physicians evolve as well. Not only do the sales reps need to evolve but we need to help physicians evolve. Whether it be through patient compliance, patient engagement, whatever it is, there needs to be an evolution.
Historically, healthcare is always slow adopters. That also helps us because we can see the trends in other industries, apply them into healthcare, and be considered maybe cutting edge in the world of healthcare.
So that’s something we’re constantly looking at is now we’re moving into an outcomes-based world. What types of solutions are we bringing to our providers that will help them evolve into this outcomes-based healthcare system? It’s a tough question to answer. It’s not easy to facilitate. But whoever figures it out is going to win this game.
Joel: I agree with you. How many practices do you know, John, that are actively using on the front end some sort of a sales process that includes some sort of a CRM system, some way to keep track of that and actually a marketing funnel? How often do you see that?
John: Did you say practices as in healthcare practices?
John: I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.
Joel: It’s rare. I agree with you. It’s rare because they’re so focused on the back end. I’m having people that have started asking me for how do get something better than this spreadsheet that we have where people call in and ask us questions and then we follow up with them? There are some tools out there, but they’re really just glorified spreadsheets.
It’s on my mind, and I think it’s interesting why more practices have not adopted something like Salesforce.
I serve on the board of Kremer Eye Associates in Philadelphia which is big practice in that area. I connected them with Salesforce because we use Salesforce. I’m a Salesforce evangelist. I connected them with Salesforce because they were looking for something like this. We were going through their marketing process and sales process.
We found places where they could use a tool like this, and I put them together. They just could never articulate a good solution that the practice was willing to pay for. I found that to be really unfortunate. Just curious if you’ve…
John: I’ve seen it, Joel, in the big IDNs, ACOs. They’ve got a lot of these physician relationship type roles. Sales reps going out into the community setting selling those community-based physicians on the value of XYZ institution, hospital, whatever it may be down the road. I have seen that where these big IDNs are starting to evolve and get into more of a sales and marketing organization.
But the standalone clinics, you’re right, very few have adopted any type of those technologies.
Joel: It’s unfortunate because when they do it, they will really be successful because so few are doing it. We’ll probably see more of it. What we’re seeing a lot in ophthalmology is private equity firms buying up practices. Certainly these private equity firms will impose some I would call it sales process rigor around that. We’ll probably see more of that. Salesforce is on it.
John: In playing devil’s advocate though, Joel, forget providers, how many sales reps refuse, dig their heels in, absolutely throw temper tantrums over utilizing Salesforce.com? The tool is designed for these people, and they won’t use it. Imagine going to a physician. That’s a tough sell.
Joel: Agreed. You bring up an interesting point. What are your thoughts on the whole CRM dilemma in medical sales?
John: If I go back to when I was a rep, I was the same way. I dug my heels in. I didn’t want to use this. In my mind, what a CRM was, it was the way of the company locking up my contacts. As a salesperson, I always thought that my connections, my relationships, were my intellectual property. What I’ve realized is that that goes with me whether I enter that information into the CRM or not.
Now that I’ve evolved and now I’m a sales leader where my position on CRM is I agree. If I’m a sales rep and I’m being told just to enter in my calls and to update the contacts and just to create this database, it’s not a value. It is the leadership’s responsibility to take the information from within Salesforce and to create value, to create analytics, data that will help my sales team with their sales process.
We’re in CRM 2.0. Maybe it’s now 3.0. It is imperative that sales leadership figures a way to leverage the data that’s being entered into CRM to help their sales reps and, more importantly, you’ve got to be able to prove that it’s going to help them do their sales process. That’s one of the things that we’re working on at Cardinal Health is how do you leverage that CRM data, the output?
Joel: You’re not alone there. I share a similar sentiment to you. I’m the chief Salesforce evangelist at Sightpath. I believe that people…We made a real shift when our operational side…We’re heavily operationally-driven business because of the nature of our business.
As soon as our operational team got involved with Salesforce, it changed everything just for the reasons you mentioned because suddenly it wasn’t just a fancy Rolodex. Some people will call it creating reports for management or whatever. It became really a platform where we communicate and conduct our business.
Once that happened and we could provide data and we could provide meaningful metrics around what’s happening…Because it’s not just about activity, activity is interesting to see. But people can just fill the thing up with activity. It’s like running around in circles in the desert looking for water. It looks like you’re really busy out there, but you’re not going to find water running around the desert.
What we’ve done is we’ve really tried to do just what you suggested. We provide coaching around it. We celebrate successes. We try and talk about wins and really make it so it’s useful for people. Really frankly, it becomes a database that allows marketing because we use the marketing automation platform called Pardot on top of that that allows us to generate leads.
What does every salesperson want? They want to win. They want an easier way to win, an easier way to hit their numbers. We’re trying to do that with that platform.
John: Joel, would you mind if I shared an example of one of the ways we did that?
Joel: Yeah, that’d be great.
John: I was consulting for a company. They had a sales team that was…I would say they had succeeded through sheer grit and determination. They had no sales process set up. They had no type of lead gen, no sales funnel. It was just a bunch of what I would classify as blue-collar men and women going out there, pounding the pavement, and just breaking down doors.
It’s exactly what you want as a sales leader. But as I stepped in, I realized, man, there’s a lot of opportunity here.
One of the complaints I kept hearing from the sales team was their RFP turnaround time was just way too long. They didn’t do the RP with us. It was another division, another department, within the company.
We created a sales process. We put it into Salesforce. We started tracking all of that. The reps hated it because these are folks that were going out, and their whole thing was if I can make 40 calls in a day, I’m going to hit my number just through sheer volume. Their max was 40 calls a day. They just didn’t have any more bandwidth.
I said, “OK, if I could free you up to get 50 in and maybe we fix some of this other stuff, would that be of value?” “Yes.” That’s how we convinced them to start putting the data in there.
But what we were able to do was we tracked the time it took to get their lead through the pipeline, in other words, their pipeline velocity. Each part of the pipeline has different steps, different phases. So that RFP phase, we were able to show it would get hung up in that RFP phase, and, on average, it was a three-week turnaround time.
Every other step of the sales process was a couple days. But there was this huge three-week gap.
We were able to take that data, go to the leadership of the company, say, “You guys got to come up with a bigger team, more resources dedicated to RFPs. It’s going to increase your turnaround time, your pipeline velocity.” All of a sudden, the reps who had been complaining about this now had the data. The company was able to create the business case, hired additional resources.
Before we knew it, we had the turnaround time on RFPs down to less than 24 hours.
John: The reps hated it, entering in that information, but we were able to give them something of value back. Their average calls went from I want say to 41 point something a day up to 60 a day because they weren’t chasing down RFPs and hunting the different RFP folks to get those things produced.
So that’s just one of a bunch of examples that I can give of how you take that data from Salesforce and give something back to the sales team of value.
Joel: When you think about activity, John, when you’re coaching team like that and someone says, “OK, well, what do I put into Salesforce from a metrics standpoint? How I know, OK, I should log this call or I should log this meeting?” How do you think about that and coach that?
John: It really depends on what the business is. I look at activity in Salesforce as a leading indicator. Then the outcomes, which is sales, is the lagging indicator. That’s what’s most important to me. That’s where I start is look at those lagging indicators, whatever it is that they’re being measured on to determine whether they’re successful or not.
When you find the candidates that are missing their budget, they’re missing their quota, then you go backwards and look at these leading indicators which would be number of calls, time in a call, time on a call.
What we typically do is we then dissect and look at what do the successful reps do in terms of metrics versus the unsuccessful. Then that’s how we reverse engineer or back into here are the metrics that we’re going to start to measure and score against because we know that those metrics lead to the lagging indicators of increased sales.
Joel: I think about it in a similar way. I go backwards, that if the numbers are there, then everything’s kind of working fine. I look at pipeline. If it’s not there, I look at pipeline, as you suggest, have some velocity in it or new ones coming in and moving along. If that’s still not there, then I start looking what’s the activity? We think about that the same way.
You’re working on a book called “Knuckle Dragging Sales.” What’s the story of that one?
John: That’s right. You actually said something interesting when you were talking about your team and going off LinkedIn sales navigator. What I wrote down was, “They were working on too many things.” It’s somebody just like you who listens to podcasts and books all the time. I constantly get new ideas, great ideas, awesome ideas from these books.
But what I realize is that we as salespeople are completely confused. We’re inundated. Our heads are spinning because there’s access selling. There’s spin selling. There’s relationship selling, consultative selling, challenger sale. Your head can explode with all these different things.
One of the things I talked about was I do a lot of mentoring. I work with young sales professionals and help them. One of the things that I have found is that those folks that come to me, A, have all the basics that I’m looking for. They’re hungry, they’re aggressive, they’ve got grit, all that stuff.
As I start to peel back the onion, I realize that they’re so aggressive and hungry, they’re reading all these books and then trying to implement a hundred things at once. But the most important thing is the basics of territory planning are totally missed. They’re overlooked. They just step over them.
Knuckle Dragging Sales is all about, knuckle-draggers being the cavemen, going back in time to the beginning of sales and getting back to the basics. Forget all the fancy stuff. Let’s talk about Pareto’s principle. What is the 20 percent of activity that you can do that’s going to generate 80 percent of your sales?
Once you’ve mastered that, then you can move on. Knuckle Dragging Sales is just about simplifying the sales process and getting back to basics.
Joel: I like it. It’s interesting.
John: I’m really excited.
Joel: It’s a good concept. You and I are I guess going at things a different way because I’m working on a book too. Not a surprise, it’s called “Cognified Marketing and Selling.” I keep pushing it out.
One of the sections I’ll release first is called zone selling which was a way that I’ve always managed my territory. When I first got into ophthalmology, I had a territory that spanned from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Rapid City, South Dakota and everything in between, separated by Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota border.
There was 1,000 miles in between, and I had to figure out how I was going to manage that area. I broke it into zones and then focused time on zones and was able to put a plan together each week and work through those zones and not have the territory manage me.
I like to talk about technology, yet you’re absolutely right. The fundamentals, like I tell people, it’s like my golf ball’s going the wrong way, and I go to the teaching pro. He doesn’t try and sell me a new driver. He says, “Let’s look at your grip. Let’s look at your alignment. Let’s look at your posture.” You focus on those three things first, and then we can talk about a new driver after that.
John: You’re so right. We actually just promoted somebody internally onto our sales team. Internally, she was one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, just brilliant, young, professional, and hungry. He said, “Let’s put her in sales.” She wanted to go out there and did.
The sales manager said, “Hey, we need you to create a territory call plan.” Several weeks into this and she hadn’t produced it. He said, “Well, what’s going on?” She goes, “I don’t know what to do.” I was like, “Holy cow! One of the smartest people I know didn’t know how to create her own territory plan.” You take it for granted. It’s the basic blocking and tackling of sales.
We realized, man, we rolled out this really fancy training and development. We showed her all the stuff about our products and the solutions, but we didn’t show her how to map out her territory. Shame on us. It happens all the time.
Joel: You’re right. Anything else you’d like to talk about? Or what have I not asked you about that perhaps I should have?
John: You hit the nail on the head with most of it there, Joel. There’s nothing else I can…How can I help you?
Joel: You have by being on here. I’m grateful to have you on here. Where should people go to find your information? Are there any products you’re selling? You have any digital downloads or any of that sort of stuff you’re trying to move?
John: Yeah. If you go, my website is justjohncrowley.com, J-U-S-T-J-O-H-N-C-R-O-W-L-E-Y.com. I got a bunch of free content up there. It’s specifically for healthcare sales. That’s where I’ll have everything else about that coaching program and the book when it launches.
Joel: Sounds good. I appreciate the time. Let’s keep in touch.
John: Joel, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like talking to like-minded people. Any time I can talk about sales, it’s good because there’s not many people who get as [inaudible 36:41] up as we do about that stuff.
Joel: You’re right about that. I feel the same way, so keep in touch. Thanks a lot for your time.
Thanks again for listening to the Cognified Marketing and Selling podcast. I hope you enjoyed the interview with John Crowley as much as I did. It was a pleasure visiting with him. He’s a great guy, and I hope you’ll visit his website, justjohncrowley.com, and take advantage of some of the great tools he has available on there.
Thanks again for listening. Be grateful if you would go to iTunes and give us a four star rating and leave a couple words about what you like about the podcast. Thanks.
Until next time, this is host, Joel Gaslin, signing off.