[The following is a transcript of an interview with VP, Sales and Marketing, Rick Middlemass, and Director, Global Sales Development, Meshel Baker, of the National Association of Sales Professionals. Interview conducted on September 19th, 2019]
Sales is a key component of any business, and having a well built and well trained sales team is crucial to a company’s success. The National Association of Sales Professionals, or NASP for short, is an industry leading association for sales professionals all around the world. In the interview transcribed below, our very own, Brian Edmiston, had the privilege of sitting down with the VP, Sales and Marketing of the NASP, Rick Middlemass, and the Director, Global Sales Development of the NASP, Meshel Baker. They went on to discuss different aspects of how sales and marketing function together and how creating an emotional experience for the buyer is becoming the new focus in the sales and marketing industry.
If you’re not incorporating this into your sales strategy, you are giving up a massive ROI. Check out the interview below to see how you can begin giving your buyers an emotional experience today.
So, for those who still haven’t heard, The B2B Marketing Expo will be taking place October the 2nd and 3rd at the LA Convention Center, where thousands of professionals are coming out to get access to the best strategies and tactics the marketing world has to offer. We have the privilege of having Rick and Meshell coming out to the event to deliver the NASP’s Panel Session, which is titled, Why Modern Sales and Marketing Requires an Emotional Experience. But before we get a little bit into the panel session, I wanted to start with the history of the NASP. So for you guys, who is the NASP? What is the aim that the NASP has in the sales and marketing world?
Rick: Great question. So, The National Association of Sales Professionals is just that. We’re an association of sales people around the world. Our goal, our mission, is to bring sales professionals together in one community where we can provide resources to help sales people both grow in their personal selling culture as well as their sales performance.
Excellent! And how long have you guys been involved with the organization?
Rick: Great question! I’ve personally been involved since around 2014.
Meshell: I personally came on board last year and my step into the National Association of Sales Professionals was after taking their certified professional sales person program as a tool to use in my coaching practice and it was both intuitive and powerful having had 18 years of selling in corporate that I reached out to Rick and then I became part of the team.
There’s always new challenges that sales and marketing professionals have to face, especially as technology, and more specifically the technology used in marketing, advances at such a rapid rate. Rick and Meshell gave us their thoughts on what they each believe is the biggest challenge facing sales and marketing professionals today.
Rick: You know it’s very interesting because we have so many people who are asking for specific skills and strategies. How do I overcome this objection? When they say this, what do I say? What’s my script? It’s pretty fascinating that, yes, there’s certainly a lot of validity to understanding the semantics of what are some of the best things to say, what are some of the best word choices. Certainly, we cover that and it’s very important. What we find is more important and often more powerful, and many times puts the frame of thought of “what do I say” out the window, and that is the mindset, the beliefs, and the soft skills of being a powerful influencer. And those things are the hardest part to put in words or to describe. However, when we designed programs that are specifically psychologically engineered to expand beliefs, expand mindset, expand capability, that’s where we see the most powerful results. So, I believe your question was what’s the biggest challenge, and that’s sometimes going from what we think we need as sales professionals to perform at a higher level, to what’s truly gonna make the biggest impact.
I see. So a lot of it’s about mindset and sort of wrapping your head around what is it you really do need to sort of get sales in and get the marketing accomplished.
Meshell: Yes, and Brian, to add to what Rick just said, my verbiage of it is that what sales professionals believe they need is more competence. They’re looking for another skillset or a strategy, what to do, and what we recognize is that what they’re really wanting and needing to have that comfortable conversation with the buyer is confidence. That’s the internal conversation that’s happening inside of them. And what we know to be true is that successful sales professionals, they’re successful way before the sale ever happens, they’re successful when they wake up, they’re successful throughout their day. Not just in front of that prospective buyer or their client. And what the struggling sales professional is attempting to do, and you’ll hear them say they’re “trying to sell” and they’ve already lost. Once you hit the try, you’re already looking at the possibility of failure, where the successful sales rep does not even think failure is a concept. So what we do with our programs is help with that mindset, self-talk, and those habits that deliver that success day in day out, no matter what the situation and circumstance, because you’re internally motivated and driven.
I see, so it’s something a bit on the personal basis actually of making sure that each individual sales person actually has the tools and confidence that they need to succeed.
Meshell: Yes, it’s again the belief, like you said, and like Rick has mentioned, it’s what you’re telling yourself. My belief is what I repeatedly tell myself time and time again. As I tell the people that I work with here at the National Association of Sales Professionals, we remind them. You’ll walk through fire and you’ll walk over fire and through walls when your belief is strong enough, and it’s the same that’s true. That’s what you’re transferring in a sale. You are just allowing that person certainty in what your promising on to be stronger based on how confident you are internally.
Rick: And of course, in the role of marketing, we really wanna focus on setting the sales people up for success and putting them in a situation where they can have the most confidence and the most expectation and understanding of how marketing is this preframe for the conversation.
Incredible! So, I’m definitely excited to see the NASP come out to The B2B Marketing Expo, and I’m definitely glad to have you guys on board as partners. What is it about events like The B2B Marketing Expo that appeals to sales and marketing professionals like yourselves?
Rick: You know, the beautiful thing about being in sales is you get to talk to people all day long. And one of the great things about coming out to a conference where we’re gonna have 15 to 20 thousand people attending is the networking aspect. There’s a phrase: your net worth is related to your network. And as we know, sales is all about driving revenue, and therefore money. So, whether you’re in an ownership, entrepreneur, or sales position, we are more powerful influencers when we have a more powerful network, and are better able to find the people who are most relevant to our valued skillset.
To top off this conversation, Rick and Meshell dove into what attendees could expect to see at the NASP panel session they will be a part of at the B2B Marketing Expo.
Rick: So, it’s fascinating, the more information that is available online, and the more that marketers have done a fantastic job of getting that information out there in an easy to interpret format, the logical components of the sale are now easier than they ever were before because information is so readily available online and in such an easy to find and interpret format. So the logical components of the sale are more and more well covered before the sales conversation even happens. So what we’ve been finding is, what differentiates now? In the past, maybe it was my ability to really communicate the features and benefits of what I was selling. Now it’s, of course my ability to still communicate those features and benefits, understanding that they’re even better communicated through marketing than they ever have been. The additional skillset is understanding the emotional journey and the emotional needs of the buyer or the buying team. And as soon as we go from one individual to multiple individuals, there’s now a little bit more of an interesting matrix of emotional needs and leading emotional needs that we focus on understanding so that we can better meet the emotional needs of the buyer as well as the logical needs.
Meshell: Yes, one of the things that we remind people is that people buy for emotional reasons and they justify with logic. So, I always remind people that the bells and whistles, because the marketplace is flooded, right? And marketing has done an amazing job. So when that buyer is standing in front of you, they’re ready to engage. And how do I engage them is by having a conversation with them, getting to know them. What are their needs? What actually will create an experience versus create a sale, right? I’m not just peddling a product or a service. I’m actually taking the tools that marketing has given me to open that conversation and now to engage with that person and bring them on board. You see the most successful companies now have a powerful partnership between marketing and selling because we’re all touching. Everyone is touching that prospective client or that buyer.
Rick: Yeah, and one final thing to add to that is, on the marketing side, we can even start to gather some information and get close to or even establish what archetype this buyer is, and what maybe their leading emotional need is to set the sales professional up for even more success.
I see. So at the end of the day, sales and marketing is pretty much about a really good personalized experience and really getting to know the people you’re reaching out to.
The B2B Marketing Expo is taking place October the 2nd & 3rd at the LA Convention Center, where industry leaders from the likes of Heinz Marketing, The Wall Street Journal, Google, Microsoft, PWC, and many more will deliver their KeyNote seminars and Panel Discussions. Rick and Meshell are among those delivering panel discussions, with theirs titled: Why Modern Sales and Marketing Requires an Emotional Experience. The panel discussion will be taking place in theater 6, Wednesday at 11AM. You can also visit the NASP at their booth at the B2B Marketing Expo at booth #1305.
To learn more about the B2B Marketing Expo, be sure to check out the official B2B Marketing Expo website at www.b2bmarketingexpo.us and register for your free ticket to the big event by clicking HERE. If you’re interested in seeing what the NASP is all about, you can check them out at https://www.nasp.com/
[The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.]