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How to Avoid Using Sales Tech for Evil

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Just like any tool, AI can be used for good - or evil. This week we are taking ideas and insights from Joel Stevenson. Joel is currently the VP of Growth at Vendasta, which acquired Yesware in 2022, where Joel was the CEO. Prior to Yesware, Joel build Wayfair's B2B business from scratch to $400 million in annual revenue.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • The importance of sales tech for growth.
  • The benefits of sales tech in terms of time savings and information advantage.
  • How to use tech for effective sales conversations.
  • What your responsibility, as a sales leader, is in analytics and understanding technology.
  • How AI and personalization in sales tech can make a competitive advantage.

And, if you think you need some help managing your Sales Tech stack, maybe it's time to give us a a call. 


Free offer for listeners of the Full Funnel Freedom Podcast.

It's incredibly frustrating as sales leaders when our sellers get a deal almost across the finish line, but can't quite push it to the finish, even though they've promised us that it's coming in real soon.

We are offering a Free white paper on Three ways to get those sales across the line.

To get this free, insightful report, visit us at



This episode is also on YouTube: 

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else - by Geoff Colvin.

Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up - by Jerry Colonna

Reunion: Leadership and the Longing to Belong - by Jerry Colonna

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity - by David Allen

"The Smell of the Place" - Professor Sumantra Ghoshal - Talk at the World Economic Forum on YouTube

Yesware Blog

The Hard Sell Podcast with Joel Stevenson

Joel Stevenson on LinkedIn

FFF S01E127 Joel Stevenson

Importance of tools for productive sales conversations, technology & AI in enhancing productivity, product-market fit & ethics, importance of good conversations, hard work, learning & leadership in sales.

Generated Shownotes


0:00:00 Tools for good conversations and targeted communication
0:01:31 Joel shares his career journey and background in sales
0:03:17 Joel discusses the importance of sales technology for growth
0:07:01 The benefits of sales tech in terms of time savings and information advantage
0:08:44 Using Tech for Effective Sales Conversations
0:10:20 AI and Personalization in Sales Tech
0:16:42 Long-term view: Mastering different skills in different decades
0:17:53 Evaluating stack value and preventing tech adoption failure
0:19:14 Sales leaders' responsibility for analytics and understanding technology
0:22:25 Working harder and practicing the right way for success
0:23:46 Book recommendations for learning and development in sales
0:25:03 The Smell of the Place: Understanding Organizational Culture
0:26:19 Reflecting on Leadership and Personal Accountability
0:27:44 Evaluating the Role of Sales Tech in Productivity and Connection

Long Summary

In this part of the conversation, the main speaker emphasizes the importance of using the right tools for productive conversations. They discuss the significance of having relevant conversations with appropriate people in order to achieve success. The main speaker introduces the guest, Joel Stevenson, who shares his background in sales and his journey from working in various companies to eventually becoming the CEO of Yesware. Joel explains how technology plays a crucial role in sales productivity, saving time by automating repetitive tasks. He highlights the importance of using technology to streamline processes and efficiently manage customer interactions. The main speaker expresses curiosity about the challenges business owners face with sales technology and how it can either support or hinder sales productivity. Joel further explains that technology can save time by automating tasks and allowing salespeople to focus on more qualified prospects.

They mention that many people start using sales tech for the time savings it provides. Once time is saved, an information advantage is gained. Salespeople can track who is opening their emails and engaging with their content, and determine which types of content are effective in achieving specific objectives. With this information, time can be used more efficiently by focusing on interested prospects and activities that yield better results. The next level is sharing these learnings with the sales team, improving the entire sales funnel. However, there is a balance to strike between automation and personalization. While templates and automation can save time, it's important to add a level of personalization to show recipients that they are not just part of a mass email blast. The amount of personalization needed may vary depending on the size of the target audience. Adding AI to sales tech can further support sellers in saving time and providing more personalization, such as automatically gathering information from LinkedIn profiles.

The main speaker then discusses how AI can be useful for quickly generating different ways of saying the same thing in sales communications. However, there is a challenge in that AI models like ChatGPT and Llama have their own style, and people are starting to recognize when their language is being used. While the average buyer may not pick up on it yet, as more people use these tools, it may become less effective as a mainstream tactic.

In the Full Funnel Freedom podcast, there is an offer for listeners to get a free report on ensuring their sales cycle doesn't sputter in the last mile. Sales leaders often face frustration when deals almost reach the finish line but can't quite close. The main speaker wants to delve into how AI can be used for both good and evil, and how to prevent sellers from resorting to unethical practices.

The main speaker believes that these AI tools should be used in service of having good conversations with the right people. They highlight the importance of focusing on industries or verticals where there is a product-market fit and avoiding sending irrelevant email blasts. While short-term positive results can be tempting from tactics like blasting thousands of emails, it's crucial to consider the potential negative impacts, including annoying or spamming people. Building a sustainable pipeline and delivering value to buyers is key to long-term success in sales. The main speaker also mentions that Google and Yahoo are tightening their spam parameters, making it more difficult to take the easy way out with spamming.

The conversation then shifts to a reflection on a period in the main speaker's life where they felt talented enough to make it without much effort. However, they soon realized that they had been outworked by others and could have achieved more if they had worked harder earlier on. They stress the importance of putting in the work, practicing, and practicing in the right way, as the benefits compound over time. They recommend books like "Talent is Overrated" by Jim Citra and "Getting Things Done" by David Allen for further learning and development. They also suggest listening to a talk by a Wharton professor on creating the right culture within an organization. As the conversation nears its end, the main speaker touches on the excitement of being in sales and shares where listeners can find more content from them. Overall, they provide insights on the importance of hard work, continuous learning, and leadership in sales.

The main speaker concludes by emphasizing the goal of fostering genuine, human-to-human conversations between sellers and buyers. While sales technology is beneficial, it can hinder the ability to stand out if everyone sounds the same. It's essential to differentiate how to sell, not just what to sell, in order to truly connect with buyers. They invite listeners to share their thoughts and takeaways on the topic and thank them for supporting the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. They encourage leaving reviews and ratings, as well as sharing the episode with sales leaders in their network who would benefit from it. They also mention their availability for free 15-minute calls and provide their LinkedIn profile for further connection. The main speaker signs off by urging listeners to go out there and create full funnel freedom.

Brief Summary

In this part of the conversation, we discuss the importance of using the right tools for productive conversations. Our guest, Joel Stevenson, shares insights on how technology can enhance sales productivity by automating tasks and streamlining processes. We explore the balance between automation and personalization, the potential of AI in sales communications, and the ethics behind its use. We emphasize the need for good conversations with the right people, focusing on product-market fit rather than mass email blasts. Lastly, we highlight the value of hard work, continuous learning, and leadership in sales.


importance, tools, productive conversations, technology, sales productivity, automation, personalization, AI, ethics, good conversations, product-market fit, mass email blasts, hard work, continuous learning, leadership


Tools for good conversations and targeted communication

[0:00] You know, all these tools should be in service of you having good conversations with, uh, with the appropriate people, you know?
So it's like, if you're, you know, if you're going to go back to the construction industry, if that's a vertical that you're good at, you know, you have product market fit there, you know, you can sell there.
It's like, and then you want to send an email blast out to restaurants, like, well, you probably should fail, you know?
Welcome to the Full Funnel Freedom Podcast. If you are listening to this, you are likely leading a team responsible for generating revenue.
Purpose of Full Funnel Freedom is to support people like yourself and keep your.

[0:39] Music.

[0:39] Funnels consistently, reliably full.
Welcome to the Full Funnel Freedom Podcast. I'm your host, Hamish Knox.
Today, I am delighted to have Joel Stevenson as my guest.
Joel is the VP of Growth at Vendasta, which acquired Yesware in 2022, where Joel was the CEO.
Prior to Yesware, Joel built Wayfair's B2B business from scratch to $400 million in annual revenue.
He also ran Wayfair's UK business and oversaw the FP&A function as Wayfair transitioned into a publicly traded company.
Prior to Wayfair, Joel worked as a consultant at ZS Associates and spent the early part of his career in a variety of sales roles.
Joel has an MBA from Yale, attended the University of Illinois for undergrad, and has a goal of being number one for humor endorsements on LinkedIn.
Joel, welcome to Full Funnel Freedom. Great to be here.

Joel shares his career journey and background in sales

[1:31] So I've given the audience the 30,000-foot view of who you are and what you're doing.
Take us down a level. Tell us the story of Joel and fill in the details on how you got from where where you started to where you are today?
Yeah, well, I started my career in sales.

[1:48] That wasn't really my plan at the time.
I was studying finance in my undergrad, and then I saw this guy speak.
He's a well-known entrepreneur, and he made this comment that, well, whatever your job is, you're in sales at some level, and it's a good skill to pick up.
So I just said, well, I'm going to just try to pick that up early in my career.
So I ended up working at a company called GTE, which was later bought by Verizon.
It was a big bell operating, sort of a regional.
It wasn't a bell operating company. It was a regional telecom in the US.
And they had a really good sales training program. And so I did that.
And then I ended up getting hired by one of my customers and sort of got swept up in the original dot-com wave, did a bunch of different jobs there.
And then there was a dot-com bust that many people remember.
And then 9-11 happened and found myself not working for a period of time, decided to go back and get my MBA and kind of reinvent myself as more of a quantitative person. person.
And so did that and then did consulting right out of school.
And then it sort of got bit by the startup bug again, went back to supply chain startup.
And then that eventually led me to this company called CSN Stores, which was sort of this internet interesting e-commerce retailer, which we later renamed Wayfair, which a lot of people know about.

[3:04] And had a great run there for seven and a half years.
And the most fun thing I did was we started this B2B business when I was was actually doing a different job as kind of an unsanctioned side project.

Joel discusses the importance of sales technology for growth

[3:17] And then eventually went back to that once it got scale and we grew it to be a big part of that company. It's quite a big part of it now.
And that was great. And I think what ended up happening there was we just saw that sales technology can really make a big difference in sales productivity.
And that was a lot of the way that we generated the growth that we did was through process and tech and good practices.

[3:44] And so eventually Wayfair got too big for me and I wanted to do something different.
We had an investor in common between Wayfair and Yesware.
And my main career rule is only work at companies that rhyme.
So Yesware was a good fit in that sense. And so I ended up moving over there and I became a sort of a seller of sales tech versus a buyer of sales tech.
And it was it was it's been great. And, you know, yes, where I was acquired by the NASA a year ago.
And so, you know, now I'm getting familiar with the Silicon Prairies of Canada and yeah, and and working inside of a new organization.
Very cool. And yes, Wayfair makes shopping easy.
I think that's how it goes. And I certainly have experienced that.
That. So yes, great, great organization.
I'm very curious to know more about sales tech because I've had many conversations with CEOs and business owners, entrepreneurs that I support.

[4:40] And the conversation goes in a couple of different directions.
So direction number one is, yes, sales tech, sales productivity, we totally get it.
And on the other side, it's like, yeah, I got this Franken stack of stuff that my people begged me for that they don't really use.
And, you know, I don't know why I'm paying for all this stuff.
So let's unpack both of those conversations, maybe start on the more positive side of how does sales tech, from your perspective, actually support sales productivity and actually keeping in the funnel full on a consistent, regular basis.
Yeah. Well, to me, the simplest thing that technology can do is save you time and prevent you from doing repetitive activities that you could do simply otherwise.
And so that's where a lot of people start, I think, is like, well, for example, if you're manually logging tasks into your CRM from email and that sort of stuff, like that should all be done automatically.
You shouldn't waste your time doing that.

[5:34] If you are sending the same email over and over again, you shouldn't do that.
You should send send a template.
If you're sending a series of communications out and you've got it written on a piece of paper and you might forget to send the third one out, or you have a more complicated set of logic that do this, if that happens, and you're tracking all that stuff manually, it's pretty difficult to do, especially if you're...
I mean, I think we normally, at least in our world, we normally think about salespeople that are handling reasonably complicated things can sort of maybe do 30, can sort of pursue 30 to 50 at a time, and maybe a lesser number of highly qualified ones. So that's a lot to keep track of.

[6:13] And so I think many people start with the time savings. And then once you sort of achieve the time savings, then, The next thing that you hopefully achieve is you achieve an information advantage.
And so now you start to know things that you didn't know before.
Like, for example, who's opening your emails or who's engaging with your content?
What types of content works better to achieve a particular objective, like advancing somebody in a sales process or booking a meeting?
Or all that stuff starts to become available to you.
And so now, armed with that information, you can now apply your time in smarter ways, whether whether it's maybe ignoring prospects that are not showing any interest or spending more time with the ones that are, or generally doing things that achieve better results versus the ones that don't achieve results.
That's kind of level two.

The benefits of sales tech in terms of time savings and information advantage

[7:01] And then level three is for if you're working in a sales organization, is then starting to share those learnings across the team.
And so if you've got somebody that's figured out, oh, well, actually, I get somebody to a demonstration a much higher percentage of the time when I send this white paper immediately after talking to the prospect versus three days later, or instead of sending this other thing or sending nothing, then now that gets shared across your team. Now everybody can take advantage of that benefit.
And now your whole sales funnel is in theory gotten better. And so that's typically how people progress with it.

[7:34] There's obviously all these tools have their pluses and minuses where you can sort of use them for evil or good, which we could talk more about.
But that's sort of the bull case for sales tech in my view, you is that one.
So that totally makes sense to me. And yes, we are going to touch on good and evil because that is something that has comes up in my conversations.
The one thing that I am curious about is this idea of human to human, right? So I love templates.
I love that. I get the idea of saving time and all that.
And there's a portion of our audience of sales leaders right now who are screaming at the speaker, but what about the human being?
So how do we not go so far on the extreme that we're sending out good morning name?
And on the other side, we're not killing our salespeople's time because we're basically doing bespoke for something that is essentially the same over and over again.
Yeah. Well, I mean, I guess the first thing I'd say is like, I think that the highest and best use of a salesperson's time is talking to a customer and and understanding what their needs are and how your product or solution can help solve a business challenge.

Using Tech for Effective Sales Conversations

[8:44] All tech is just the means to that end, ideally, is that you put salespeople in position to have those types of conversations.
Otherwise, why do you need salespeople? Just do it all with self-service or something. Absolutely.
That's my general premise. Then I think the personalization angle is a shifting set of...

[9:05] Of constraints, I suppose. So like on the one hand, like, yes, if you spend all your time, you know, handwriting everything, you maybe can't achieve the type of volume that you want.
On the flip side, if you're just, you know, shipping out the same old thing over and over again, like good luck getting someone's time and attention, especially now, you know, with AI and other tools that are starting to come into the equation.
And so I think, you know, it's going to be different for every business, but I think a couple of tests you could do is one test is is what's the minimum amount of personalization I need to put into this email so that the recipient realizes that it isn't just a complete blast and this person has spent no time or attention understanding me or my business. I think that's one test you can apply.
And then another test you can apply is like, well, what are the things that are going to be the same about this email, no matter who I'm talking to?
So it might be whatever, it's like a little blurb about your company, or it might be just even just some filler sentences or words that allow the scaffold of the scaffolding for you to put the true value in there, I think is another test.
And so your mileage may vary. And I think there's probably a sliding scale where the smaller your buyer universe is, the more personalization you probably need.
And the larger your audience is, you could probably get away with a little bit less.

AI and Personalization in Sales Tech

[10:20] That's fair. I like that because ultimately, there are things that will always remain the same.

[10:26] And especially if we're talking to a specific buyer persona, probably the pain points are going to be the same.
If we're speaking to, you know, VPs of operations in the construction industry, they're, they're probably going to be the same.
So I love that idea of what's the minimum amount of personalization to make it seem like a real human being spent time on this email versus, you know, just a complete copy, paste, repeat blast out there.
Speaking of AI, because AI has of course blown up in the last, whatever, 18 months or so and made things like hyper-personalization, etc. a lot easier.
What have you noticed in terms of.

[11:05] Taking sales tech, and then layering on AI to, again, support sellers in saving time while creating more personalization.
Yeah. There's a few ways that we've started to see this work.
I mean, I think in one way, it can maybe reduce the amount of time that you need to spend researching somebody's LinkedIn profile.
There's any number of tools that we have one that we've got in sort of a beta where you can kind of scrape somebody's LinkedIn profile, file and it'll kind of tell you some stuff about them.

[11:35] So, you know, I don't know that you necessarily want to, you know, put that on a, you know, unaltered into the email, but it gives you a, it gives you sort of a starting point for that. So that, that's one thing that we're seeing.
I mean, I think another thing that we're seeing is, you know, to the extent that you're trying to do AB like testing in your, in your sales communications, and you wanted to very quickly generate, you know, four or five different ways of saying the same thing, AI is great for that um and so you can you can put some you can put some things out there i think the part of the challenge with that though is and people are starting to pick up on this now that um particularly a few of the the large language models um have gotten pretty popular is that they almost have their own style if you will and there's ways through prompt engineering you can get it to change a little bit but um so the basic user it's sometimes i think people are starting to recognize things as being said by ChatGPT or Llama or one of these other big ones.
So your average buyer probably doesn't pick up on that today.
But to the extent that everybody starts using these tools, it's like everything else.
It's good when a small number of people do a particular tactic, but when it becomes a mainstream tactic, it tends to not work so well.

[12:51] Free offer for listeners of the Full Funnel Freedom podcast.
I've got a report called three ways to ensure your sales cycle doesn't sputter in the last mile.
You can get that at slash sputter.
It's incredibly frustrating as sales leaders when our sellers get a deal almost across the finish line, but can't quite push it to the finish, even though they've promised us that it's coming in real soon.
So go get your free report, three ways to ensure your sales cycle does not sputter in the last mile at at forward slash sputter. Now back to the show.

[13:30] Okay, so Joel, let's talk about good and evil because I'm excited to hear your thoughts on how can this be used for good?
How can this be used for evil? And how do we prevent our sellers as sales leaders, from going to the dark side?
Yeah. Well, to me, as I said, the, you know, all these tools should be in service of you having good conversations with, with the appropriate people, you know, so it's like, if you're, you know, if you're gonna go back to the construction industry, if that's a vertical that you're good at, you know, you have product market fit there, you know, you can sell there.
It's like, and then you want to send an email blast out to restaurants, like, well, you probably should fail, you know, at that.
And a lot of times what we see happen in email, I think there's this phenomenon that happens where, let's say I blast out 10,000 emails to somebody.
It takes me 30 minutes, whatever.
I buy a list. I just chuck it in with some boilerplate stuff.

[14:29] Let's say I get one response back and maybe, let's say I can book a demo off of that. And a demo, maybe I'm selling something expensive, might be worth, on average, $5,000 or something close, whatever.
Like, oh man, 30 minutes and I got a demo that's worth $5,000 to me, that's great.
So it's easy to see the positive signs, but it's much more difficult to see the negative signs.
And so it could be that you got one demo, but you actually pissed off 999 or 9,999 other people, or you had a bunch of people mark you as spam.

[14:59] There's a lot of downstream impact to this.
And I think you see this with reps sometimes where you'll get a short-term bump in productivity, but then it very quickly goes away.
And I see it with sales leaders too, where you can watch people's LinkedIn.

[15:13] We have a little bit of an advantage here because we know the tactics that people are employing based on the data that comes through.
But you can see some of these leaders show up and they're there for a year and a half like clockwork because it's like you do the scorched earth and that produces results for a period of time.
And then you get diminishing returns on that very quickly.
And then you're sort of out of tactics at that point.
And so what I encourage people to do is I think you got to recognize that whatever your buyer universe is, it's precious and you want to treat it the right way.
And there's a long game to selling.
And it takes a while to build a pipeline. And when you're busy with pipeline, you still got to build a pipeline.
And I think if you're really delivering value and you're trying to sort of...
We used to have actually a tagline, I guess we're called adding value with every exchange.
If you really get yourself into that mindset, then I think you're much less likely to go down the, there are no consequences to me spamming the world.
And actually, Google and Yahoo just announced that they're actually tightening up their parameters for spam across a number of companies.
And so I don't know what took them so long to do that.
But I think people are going to find it more and more difficult to just take the easy way out on this stuff.
Very fair. I was listening to a podcast recently, and the guest was talking about Steve Martin, who most people know, comedian, actor, et cetera, et cetera, and how he –.

Long-term view: Mastering different skills in different decades

[16:42] Decided he was going to live his life in decades. And so in my 20s, I'm going to master comedy. In my 30s, I'm going to master acting, et cetera, et cetera.
And when you take that long-term view, like you were sharing, it changes the choices that we make.
Because if I'm a sales leader and I'm at a startup and I'm like, you know what, within 12 to 18 months, I'm going to be onto my next thing.
Well, yeah, you're probably going to make some sort of scorched earth decisions decisions that will eventually catch up to you.
Because as much as we are 7, 8 billion people in the world, we are a small community and we are selling to a niche.
And that niche has a long memory. And if we screw things up on the front end, they're going to hit us on the back end.
So I love this idea of adding value with every interaction that you shared with us.
So Joel, let's flip over to the other side of that conversation.
So we've done the, you know, how sales tech is good and what it can do and how to avoid going to the dark side.
Then there's this conversation around, listen, my sellers just whined for a bunch of stuff and I've got this Franken stack and I don't know what the hell I'm doing with it.
So how as a sales leader can we avoid getting into that situation?

Evaluating stack value and preventing tech adoption failure

[17:54] Yeah. I mean, I think this happens to almost everybody, even to tech companies.
I think we're We're often the worst offenders at this because we think software is going to solve everything, when oftentimes it doesn't.

[18:07] You know, I think part of what you've got to do is you've got to sort of look at, you know, are there any pieces of your stack that are actually adding value that are working for folks?
And, you know, maybe you can find some things that are working and ask yourself, well, why is this working and other things are not working?
There's various reasons why things don't get adopted. Sometimes they were never rolled out correctly. automatically, sometimes, you know, training, there was no training or enablement, you know, whether you have an internal function that does that, or you work with a vendor to do it.
Sometimes you get a bunch of turnover, and it may be that the people that bought that tool and believed in it aren't there anymore.
And now there's no champion for the tool and no one that no one that sort of cares about it.
You can have interoperability problems where certain tech doesn't just doesn't play nicely in the sandbox with other tech.
I think that one is actually becoming much less of a problem because there's all these, um, you know, sort of middleware tools that are very good at connecting things.
And sort of the modern way of doing stuff is to get everything into a data lake and then trying to figure out what's going on from there versus using individual tools and their, and their, and their various reporting to kind of figure out what's going on.
But, um, those are, those are some of the reasons.

Sales leaders' responsibility for analytics and understanding technology

[19:14] I mean, I think the other thing that can happen to people is especially sales leaders is there's this thing that goes on where sometimes, uh.

[19:24] I think sales leaders abdicate their responsibility for analytics and understanding the technology.
And so what ends up happening is that you bring in an ops person and you basically have no idea what's going on. You just tell the ops person, like, I don't know, just take care of it.
Buy Salesforce or whatever. I don't care. Figure it out.
Yeah. And what ends up happening is what I like to call the sales ops industrial complex, which is basically the sales ops people end up building more and more complexity inside of their systems because they find it interesting and it makes sense to them.
And so you end up with Salesforce instances that have like tens of thousands of lines of Apex code.
You have all these crazy integrations that may or may not make sense.
You've got all this custom reporting that sort of takes time to build up.
And it's job security for sure.

[20:11] And it makes for interesting work, but it doesn't necessarily produce good outcomes.
And then there's a real overhead to carrying that.
I had this executive coach for a long time, this guy, Jerry Colon, who's a great guy.
He's written a couple of books. And he has this saying, which is like, how are you complicit in creating the conditions that you say you don't want?
And so I think as a sales leader, you got to also look at yourself in the mirror and say, like, well, what was my role in this? How did we get here?
And how can I prevent that from happening again? Because this is a very common refrain of people that buy tech and then don't use it.
So I think a lot of SaaS companies are on the losing side of this right now.
A lot of people are taking a hard look in the mirror.
And if you look at some of the quarterly results that are coming out, particularly in the sales and marketing area, they're not so good lately. Yeah.
Very true. I love that phrase of the sales operations industrial complex, because ultimately, we have to prove our value, right? Or we have to prove why are we still employed.
And it's like the junior executive in Hollywood who makes a note on a script, just because if they don't put a note on there, it's like, why are you there?
Like, we can free up your salary, you're clearly not providing anything.
And usually, what they're providing is not helpful.
And in this case of like all these Salesforce integrations, or whatever CRM you're using, probably not helpful.
It keeps justifying the sales ops role in that organization so uh i love this idea of.

[21:39] Not abdicating and asking yourself what role did i play because i know i said that to some of my vendors is you need to force me to use this tech because i'm the guy who will buy the shiny thing and then six months later be like why did i buy that like why why do i have reminders popping up so as we're wrapping up joel i'm curious if you could go back and coach younger joel because because you've had an awesome career, lots of varied experiences.
I imagine you have a lot of bumps and bruises and some scar tissue that you're carrying with you.
If you could go back and coach younger Joel and say, hey, younger Joel, you're going to end up over here.
Here's how you can get there with fewer bumps and bruises and less scar tissue.
What would you coach younger Joel, to say or do differently? Yeah.

Working harder and practicing the right way for success

[22:25] I think there was a period in my time earlier where I think I just sort of felt like I was talented enough to just make it.
And I had had a relatively easy time through school. And a lot of things came relatively easy for me.
And I think I just I just got outworked by a bunch of people.
And there's, I forget who wrote it. And maybe I want to say Jim Citra on this book, Talent is Overrated.
Yes. Where he sort of talks about, I think it's in some of like the same as Malcolm Gladwell, like 10,000 hours to be an expert, like some of that kind of stuff.
And I don't know. I think I just, I could have worked harder earlier in my career.
And the other thing about that is it's like those benefits compound. pound.
And so if you're really working hard and learning in your 20s, that pays off in your 30s and 40s over a long period of time.
So I think I figured that out a little bit later than I would have liked to have figured it out.
And I certainly encourage people to think about putting in the work and practicing and not only just practicing, but sort of practicing the right way.
They're really important.

[23:41] What an incredible answer. Yeah. I love, I love that idea of, yeah, if I could have learned earlier, then I would be accelerating.

Book recommendations for learning and development in sales

[23:46] Uh, so Joel, you've mentioned a couple of books already. Uh, you mentioned that, you know, you work with an executive coach who wrote a couple of books.
What are some books, podcasts, videos that you would encourage our audience to check out to further their own learning and development that have been beneficial to you in your career?
Um, yeah, I, I could, I could mention a few. I mean, uh, so, uh, Jerry's book, I mentioned it was called Reboot.
He actually just put out a new one, which I have sitting here, but I've not read yet called Reunion.
So I'm guessing it's going to be good, but I can't say.
I've always been a big proponent of David Allen's Getting Things Done.
I think in some ways, that's the best sales book ever written.

[24:28] And I'm also a big fan of spin selling from the early early days.
Um, so those are a few in the sort of that specific realm.
And then, um, you know, for podcasts, I mean, I think an interesting one on the leadership side is you got to kind of dig for this one, but, um, there's a, you can find it on YouTube.
If you look, if you look up the smell of the place, uh, there was a, he's passed now as a Wharton professor.
Um, I'm going to butcher is named, Subranaman Gosal, I believe is the name.
Anyway, somebody turned me on to that.

The Smell of the Place: Understanding Organizational Culture

[25:03] And it's a lot about culture and how do you create the right culture inside your organization.
It's about 20 minutes. It's one of the most effective discussions of culture and how it manifests and how you can sort of understand it that I've ever heard.
So I always recommend that one.
The smell of the place. That sounds fascinating.
Well, we'll link to all of those in the show notes, and I'm certainly going to check those out as well.
So Joel, you and I could chat all day and I've been a guest on your podcast as well. So thank you for that opportunity.
I have one last question for you to wrap up. You've already given us such amazing insights and wisdom.
What is a closing thought, another bit of wisdom you'd like to share with the audience, or maybe you have something to plug, the floor is yours.
Yeah. I think it's an exciting time to be in sales and sales leadership.

[25:49] Yes, where we've been writing about sales topics for or a better part of a decade, very data-driven.
You can find all that stuff at forward slash blog.
And yeah, if you want to check out our episode of The Hard Sell, you can do that at forward slash podcast.
And yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn.
Very cool. Well, Joel, I look forward to carrying on our conversation offline.
Thank you for being a guest on Full Funnel Freedom today. Thanks for having me.

Reflecting on Leadership and Personal Accountability

[26:19] Sales leaders, what an amazing conversation with Joel.
I shared with him after we stopped recording that I really sat up straighter when he said, how are you as a leader complicit in the situation that you've caused that you're complaining about?
Because when we recorded this episode, I was in the middle of a situation with my calendar where I had overbooked myself.

[26:44] And yeah, I was completely complicit in that. So I've made corrections to that.
And so now my calendar is much more under my control.
And I don't feel as anxious as I did back when we recorded this episode.
A few other takeaways that really stood out to me from Joel's conversation.
I'd I'd love to hear what your takeaways were on the social media, where you find this episode.
The number one thing was how to avoid being evil with our sales tech and how playing the long game is a much better focus than getting these short-term quick wins that are probably burning a bunch of bridges that we're not even going to know about until we attempt attempt to reconnect with that individual who we burned the bridge with.
And they either never contact us or never engage with us, or they come back and they punch us right in the mouth because we upset them whenever it was the last time that we talked to them.

Evaluating the Role of Sales Tech in Productivity and Connection

[27:45] The other thing that I really appreciated Joel saying is, what role do we as sales leaders play in the Frankenstack that we we created or that we have inherited and really interrogating what use does this have in supporting my sellers in being more productive.
And the last big takeaway for me was as much as we want to enhance productivity, we're.

[28:14] We ultimately want to get our sellers to have a real human-to-human conversation with a buyer.
And if we're using sales tech in a way that just makes us sound like everybody else, we're not going to get to that mountaintop.
So yes, sales tech is great.
And it's also potentially detrimental in getting our sellers to connect with buyers if we're not differentiating on how we sell, not what we sell.
Again, love to hear your takeaways. ways in the comments on our social media.
Thank you for supporting the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. And until we connect on the next episode, go create full funnel freedom.
Thanks for listening to today's episode of the Full Funnel Freedom podcast.
You can continue to support us by leaving us a review and a rating, sharing this episode with a couple of sales leaders in your network who you care about.
I'd love to connect with you. I'm easy to find Hamish Knox on LinkedIn. in.
Also, if you'd like a free 15 minute call with me, go to forward slash how to Sandler until we connect on the next episode, go create full funnel freedom.

[29:24] Music.