Customer engagement tech startup’s VP of sales shares secrets to omnichannel sales success (podcast episode)

April 21, 2023


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In today’s episode of the Brains Byte Back podcast, we speak with Sean Whitley, Vice President of Sales, Americas at Mitto, a leading provider of global, omnichannel communications solutions, supporting business growth with advanced customer engagement technology. 

From this episode, you’ll learn why active listening is vital in order for sales success and how it can give you ammunition to sharpen your value proposition. Whitley also covers the best practices for training and empowering sales teams to effectively communicate with customers across all channels.

He explains that in order to measure the effectiveness of omnichannel communications, it is essential to define your goals. The goals you choose will influence the different metrics you track, such as brand awareness, lead generation, sales, or customer satisfaction. By tracking the performance of each channel and understanding the motivation behind your goals, you can optimize your communications and improve your ROI.

Whitley recommends using analytics tools such as Google Analytics, social media analytics, and CRMs to track user behavior, engagement, and interactions across different channels. He also stresses the importance of A/B testing to compare different versions of communications and iterate on the ones that demonstrate better results. By testing different messages, subject lines, or versions of communication, you can improve your conversion rates and ultimately your ROI.

Whitley also talks about the podcast that he co-hosts and co-created, The Two Sales Guys, where they discuss various topics related to sales, such as prospecting, sales development, leadership, and mindset.

And finally, before wrapping up the show Whitley shares some memorable episodes of the podcast, such as his interview with Anthony Iannarino, a renowned sales trainer and author of the book “Eat Their Lunch.” He highlights an episode on prospecting, where they share practical tips and strategies for generating leads and building relationships with potential customers.

You can listen to the episode below, or on SpotifyAnchorApple PodcastsBreakerGoogle PodcastsStitcherOvercastListen NotesPodBean, and Radio Public.

Alternatively, you can find a transcript below:

Sean: I’m Sean Whitley. I’m currently the Vice President of Sales for the Americas at Mitto. Mitto is a global communications omni channel provider. What that means, essentially is we help brands engage with their customers through all the popular mobile channels, we offer, SMS, all the chat apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, voice channel, etc. The idea is really just to help brands engage with their customers through all of the channels that they’re already utilizing today, we have, we have a couple of different ways that we do that you can get really technical with our or, you know, build your own dreams solutions. As well as our previous sessions, like our conversations tool, will and campaign manner. You know, really, at the end of the day, we just seen such a tremendous adoption of the channels from the consumer side and seeing brands really capitalize on that demand. And we’re trying to be that player that ultimately helps them achieve that.

Sam: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. And today we are going to be discussing AI in omni channel strategies. And I know you kind of alluded to it a little bit there. But before we get into the nitty gritty can you share with our listeners, what omni channel strategies are, and how AI plays a role?

Sean: Yeah, Omni channel strategies, it really refers to the practice of providing a seamless and consistent customer experience across multiple channels and multiple touchpoints. This includes all of your online and offline channels like your website, mobile applications, your social media footprint, physical stores, if you have them, as well as all of your customer service centers. Now, where AI plays a huge role is enabling these omni channel strategies to provide the ability to analyze large amounts of customer data, and then deliver a personalized experience to your customers, things like today, we have AI powered chatbots, virtual assistants, all those recommendation and engines, you can see, they’re really providing customers with instant support, guidance and improving that overall customer experience. One other thing is, AI also helps in optimizing the strategies for omni channel by by providing insights into customer behavior. It also surfaces different customer preferences and trends that they’re seeing. So this data can be used to develop targeted marketing campaigns for your team improved product offerings and recommendations to upsell on current purchases, as well as just again, enhance the overall customer service for your company. So I really think AI plays a critical role in implementing and optimising your overall omni channel strategy. And really just at the end of the day, you want to improve customer experience and have consistency across all those channels.

Sam: Awesome, fantastic. Well, I can definitely understand how I could be so useful for like that personalization, as you said, and just improving customer experience. And I’d also be curious to know, like, what are some of the best practices of training and empowering sales teams to effectively communicate with customers across all channels?

Sean: Well, effective communication with customers is super essential for sales teams in general. I mean, especially the sales teams that have aspirational goals, they want to achieve them. So I put together like a short list of some of the best practices when when you think about empowering sales teams to communicate effectively. First off, most importantly, every salesperson needs to understand what your customer persona is. And this is something that’s pretty straightforward. Sellers need to understand what their customer needs, what their preferences are, what their common behaviours are. And ultimately, this will help the sales team create targeted messages that ultimately resonate, resonate with the customers increase the overall chance of conversion. And then at the end of the day, also build a better relationship for the long term engagement between your brand and master. The second thing is consistency and messaging. You know, the reality is, you have so many different channels of how you engage with customers. Especially now, with omni channel strategies, talking about even adding in more channels like SMS and mobile channels. Sales teams really need to ensure that no matter which channel they’re engaging with a customer on in person at a conference, that they’re consistent messaging needs to be on point targeted to that buyer. And for all because again, that’s a reflection on the brand and reflection on your persona in the long term right, how consistent you are and providing that same valuable message. The third thing which I’m sure people have heard and read about a lot is active listening. salespeople have the problem of showing up and throwing up right they come in they just regurgitate everything possibly that they know about their themselves and they talk about themselves and their brand and their products and their services. But the reality is like, active listening to the customer is a very vital skill that a superior sales team must master listening to customers helps ultimately to understand their needs their pain points, you’re going to pick up on little indicators in their way they say things the way they answer the questions they asked you, that really will give you more ammunition into targeting and sharpening your value proposition even even more specifically for whatever product or service they’re looking for. So listening can really help sales teams, create these tailored solutions, and then ultimately build rapport with the customers. And then just a couple more best practices that I listed out use of technology, right? There’s so many cool technologies out there today. So sales teams, businesses should even look at these technologies to help train to improve your team’s communication skills. Empowerment, I always like sales teams that are empowered to take their own decisions into their own hands that really benefit the customer. This could be simple things like discounts or making other product recommendations that would help build trust by, you know, it may not be what the business wants you to sell at this exact moment. But it’s a way to get in the door or show the customer that you’re really thinking as a solution seller what they want to buy. And then ultimately, my last best practice recommendation is always to be personalized, doesn’t matter what you’re selling. The customer wants to have a personalized experience, right? They want to feel like you understand them you understand their needs, and what you’re offering them is a perfect fit for them and their scenario. You can’t just come in with this cookie cutter generic offering, you need to personalize it through the communication that you do to address them. Yes, you should speak their name. That’s a common thing that empowers salespeople, but also don’t be that used car salesman that after every sentence says, you know, I fully understand what you’re talking about. Shan Shan, did you know that there’s 25% of people that like this, it’s just too much, right? The end of the day, be a human be personalized and build that brand in that relationship with your customer?

Sam: I think that’s yeah, some really solid advice. You said there, there’s, I mean, there’s so much that we could go into I personally, really enjoyed what you said, when you were speaking about active listening, because I think that that’s a skill that’s just so important across all areas of life. I mean, even when it comes to your personal relationships with friends with your partner, it’s so rare that people actually are able to pay full attention. And that’s something which I think that I’ve developed a little bit more through podcasting, just because it’s so essential for these conversations, but it’s definitely such an undervalued skill. So I really love the fact that you brought that up. And I did want to ask you as well, like, how can listeners measure the effectiveness of omni channel communications and track ROI?

Sean: Well, I mean, measuring effectiveness, obviously, it’s always tricky. I like to explain it as like a whole journey, because sometimes people want to just go right to like, what’s the ROI? How do we, you know, but it’s how do we get there? That’s actually really important, and understanding like, why are we measuring this ROI? So for me, the first thing you need to do is really define your goals. The first step overall, just is define them. What are you trying to achieve with these communications with this strategy? Are you looking to increase brand awareness? generically? Are you looking to generate leads drive sales? Or are you just looking for improving your customer satisfaction? I mean, each of those y’s are what drives what ROI is important and how to measure it. So then that would be number to track your metrics, right? So once you’ve defined your goals, figure out what is the most relevant metrics to those goals. For example, if you said, you’re going to try to generate more leads, well, obviously, like you want to track the number of leads generated, but let’s do it each channel independently, then the conversion rates of those leads, what are the cost to convert each of those leads or to acquire those leads? And then at the end of the day, being able to track and and measure the effectiveness of each of those channels, helps you understand what you need to improve on or where you need to invest more in. If you’re trying to drive sales, for example, maybe it’s the revenue, but it’s also the cost because sometimes certain counties may bring in higher revenue than other channels, but at a significantly higher cost. And so then again, what is the reason you’re trying to drive this revenue? Is it just pure top line revenue? Or is it margin? Is it diversification of product revenue? So again, track those metrics, and then using analytics, there’s so many tools out there. I mean, super high level Google Analytics, bringing in. You know, traffic website and user behaviour metrics, social media analytics tools helping you track engagement and your reach. Obviously, everybody uses CRMs today to track customer interactions and being able, again to see the differences between the channels. And then once you get these channels up and running, and you’re set to measure the performance, conduct a, b testing, right, this is just like on the development side of a tech company, you want to try two different models, two different messages, two versions of communication and figure out which is performing better. You can test you know, like SDRs, they test different subject lines in their email campaigns, just to see which generates more opens more clicks more responses. Doesn’t matter what channel we’re talking about the ideas, you need to optimize your communications, and then ultimately, you’ll improve the ROI. And so by doing A B testing, you can see which one’s the champion and which one’s the Challenger and not performing as well. iterate on the Challenger one, bring in a new AB test, and compare it to the existing champion and continue to iterate. And that’s going to help you maximize your ROI. And then, of course, at the end of the day, ROI is important. But it all has to tie back to the why that we started this, because then you can optimize accordingly. And that’s just high level recommendations that I would put in place.

Sam: I think that makes absolutely sense. And to be honest, yeah, I feel that we are so lucky to be alive today. And in an estate where we have so many tools at our disposal to in order to track all of this. So I feel very blessed. And it’s great speaking with you, because it’s quite clear that you have such a solid understanding of sales. And on that topic, I understand that you co host and created the podcast, the two sales guys. Can you share briefly what the show is about? And what are some memorable episodes of the show so far?

Sean: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the two sales guys podcast really started out of a buddy of mine, Matt. So here’s my co host. He and I’ve been longtime friends, longtime colleagues, we’ve been through multiple acquisitions together. He and I just felt like salespeople are in like a really difficult role, like their compensation is highly dependent on their success and the right they are betting on themselves in most cases. At the same time, the company has always put a tremendous amount of stress perform with these super super trackable, you know, numbers, you have a target, it’s on your back. And it’s the usual, hey, congratulations, you hit your numbers. So now next year, we’re giving you an even bigger number, or you didn’t hit your number and you’re fired. Like it’s super, super extremes. And so the concept behind the two sales guys podcast was one just to share, you know, stories like war stories that we’ve been through, to let all the salespeople out, no matter what type of role you’re in, you know, a junior SDR, all the way up through the most senior experienced seller, everybody goes through very similar experiences when it comes to the highs and lows of sales, the pressures of sales, the stress that’s involved. And so we wanted to have people realize, like there’s other people out there, there’s a huge community of salespeople going through the same thing. And we wanted to one, give some anecdotes as to how we handle those and how we made it through them how we overcome some of those tough situations. But number two, is the dark side of sales that they don’t talk about is that there’s a mental health and all the negatives that come out of the lows of being in sales. So the second part of the show is just really about the negatives that happen from being in so much stress. And being in these tough situations. A lot of salespeople end up having all that pressure and everything build up because they don’t have a release. And it ultimately manifests in some really dark negative way. A lot of cases it’s drugs and alcohol, it’s, you know, a lot of bad vices, it’s, you know, partying too much. And then there’s other ones that are even more extreme burnout, where they do things that they wouldn’t normally do. Extreme, you know, gambling or being out, hurts their relationships hurts the personal situation. So the idea was we wanted to bring in some experts that could help, again, create little stress relief steps throughout the daily you know, experience as a salesperson, help them to manage the stress, get that little stress relief, so they don’t end up having these manifestations of this huge blowout. So just like a highlight that I have off the top of my head and we’ve talked with performance coaches, for Olympic athletes. We had talked to an NFL this is actually my favourite episode was with Gary Frazier. He’s a performance coach for a lot of NFL players and other athletes as well. And he talks a lot about some of the different techniques that he gets into because when you’re in the NFL area single game because there’s only so many games and it’s such a short career span, you have to perform at your highest. And so of course, you come on the field, and there’s immediately like, Oh, I missed up on that play, or Oh, we lost the game like in your in your on yourself. There’s a phrase I’m forgetting outside my head now. But it’s about that recovery period, how do you get from that last that mistake, play and bounce back and be able to perform on the very next play, that shortening down that time of responding is critical to success at such a high level? I mean, you’re the 1% of the 1%. So you think about sale. Athletic stuff a lot of times translates into sales. And my opinion is a lot of former athletes that are salespeople as well, you’re under all this pressure, you just lost the deal. And now you got to pick up the phone and get on the next call with somebody that you need to win the deal. What can you do to shorten that recovery period to be at your highest performance? What can you do to get over that loss? What can you learn from that loss to not make the same mistake twice, or to avoid running down that same path. So it was a really, really super interesting episode. And we’ve had psychologists on the show talking about breathing techniques and other stress relieving techniques. Chiropractors, like, it’s, it’s been a really, podcast of passion and love, because it’s super close to me in terms of helping myself and my co hosts, like, we put a lot of these things into practice ourselves. It’s been great.

Sam: Yeah, I completely get that I actually worked in quite a high pressure sales job after I graduated University. And I can honestly say, there are some aspects of it that I love. But for the majority of it, there’s like you said, a lot of really, really difficult moments, difficult times that you go through.

Sean: I was gonna say you definitely have to, like sales or be really good at sales. Like stick with it for long term. It’s not for everybody.

Sam: And I kind of came to that conclusion. There are many aspects of sales that I like, but fortunately, I found podcasting. And that’s something that I really do enjoy. And I’m kind of interested to know, in your opinion, would you be able to share, like some steps that you’ve taken to grow the show and advice that you would be able to give to listeners who are considering starting their own podcast?

Sean: Yeah, I mean, I think the, the biggest thing is to find a subject or category that you like you’re super passionate about, I mean, you can tell through the conversations you have on the podcast, when people are genuinely like engaged in the content, because then the listeners are going to be engaged. If it’s, you know, anything you’re just putting on for show like, it’s not going to, it’s not going to go very far, in terms of how I got our data, how we got the show to grow. There’s a lot of cool tools out there for like promoting podcasts, I forget some of the tools that we use, but they will publish it, you know, on all the major platforms so that your contents where it needs to be. And then you can have an automated marketing tool that pushes out to all the social channels like tick tock and Instagram ads, and obviously posting on YouTube and Facebook, etc. It’s really just talking about having that people want listen to being a genuine host and being engaged in something that you’re passionate about. And I think it’s great, I love the conversations we’ve had. And I’ve taken so many things away from it on a personal level. And I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me to tell me about the different episodes listened to and what they liked, and what they took away from it. So I encourage everybody to give it a shot if they like it.

Sam: I would definitely recommend the same. I’ve had so many amazing conversations through podcasting, and hosting my own podcast. And I really like would suggest that people go check out your podcast, we’re gonna have a link to it in the show notes. But otherwise, Sean, if people do want to keep up with you, and the work you’re doing, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Sean: Yeah, I mean, most of the time, I’m just active on LinkedIn, you can just search me up Sean Whitley, on LinkedIn. And I’m always posting content about how we’re working with companies with the whole, you know, global communications, Omni channel strategies, the latest, you know, industry news, related to ecommerce, and retail and all the different trends that we’re seeing in the space. That’s where I post most of my content and you can always message me on there, I’m pretty active where if I if I’m available, I’ll do my best to respond back. I do get a a million sell. Sellers trying to sell these all the time. So I have to weed through that. But um, you know, that’s probably the best location to get in touch with me.

Sam: Fantastic. We’ll have a link to that as well. But otherwise, Sean, I just want to say thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

Sean: Oh, thanks for having me. I do appreciate it. It’s been great.

Disclosure: This episode includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company


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