430: Modern Sales Driven by Authenticity, with Morgan Ingram
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The modern sales process doesn’t have any smoke or mirrors. Instead, sales are being lubricated with researched inquiries, catered scripts, and genuine interest in order to optimize value for the person on the other end. This is business in 2021, and we welcome it with open arms.
Our host, George Leith, interviews the renowned Morgan Ingram on this week’s episode, where they discuss the modern sales process. At only 27, Morgan has been named one of the Top 50 Sales Leaders to follow by LinkedIn, a Top 25 Sales Development Thought Leader by Inside Sales, and LinkedIn’s Top Sales Voices of 2018, 2019, and 2020. Morgan’s work has been featured in Forbes, Sales Hacker, the Hubspot blog, and the Harvard Business Review. He is the Director of Execution and Evolution at JBarrows Sales Training, focusing on delivering to sales development teams to enhance their skill sets and performance. In addition, Morgan started his own YouTube series, The SDR Chronicles, with more than 100 videos providing SDRs with motivation, advice, and tactics. In his previous role, Morgan was the Sales Development Manager at Terminus, where he managed a team of 13 SDRs to help B2B marketers do account-based marketing at scale. Morgan joined Terminus in early 2016 and helped scale the company to become the fastest-growing startup in Atlanta.
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George: It’s another edition of the Conquer Local podcast. And this week joining us all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, Morgan Ingram, the Director of Sales Execution, and Evolution at JB Sales Training. And we found Morgan because of his five years bringing the SDR chronicles to YouTube. He started building that channel in his very first couple of weeks as a sales development representative. And then over the years, he built out such a corpus of content that LinkedIn named him one of the top sales voices of 2018, 2019, and 2020. His work on the art of sales has been featured by Forbes, Sales Hacker, HubSpot, and the Harvard Business Review. I’m really excited to have Morgan on the show to teach us more about what he’s learned over the years in his time as a sales development rep specifically top of funnel but I think we’re gonna learn about some bottom of funnel motions as well. Morgan Ingram is next on the Conquer Local podcast. All the way from Hotlanta. I think I could say that because we’re moving into summertime. Morgan Ingram is joining us, the Director of Sales Execution and Evolution at JB Sales Training. Morgan, how are things in my favorite city, Atlanta?
Morgan: Yeah, well, first and foremost, if you don’t wanna get the people in trouble. If you come to Atlanta and say Hotlanta, people might not look at you the right way *laughing*.
George: Oh, they don’t like that?
Morgan: No, no, they actually don’t like Hotlanta. So you might get some weird eyes but I’m happy to be here.
George: See, I’m learning new things on every episode. So now I know when I’m in Atlanta not to call it Hotlanta.
Morgan: No, we’re not gonna be upset over it.. or we’re gonna be not happy about that *laughing*.
George: Morgan, I covered a few things in the intro to the show but I love hearing it from our guests. Can you give us the TLDR on Morgan Ingram and a bit of your background?
Morgan: Yeah, so real quick so we can get to the tactics that you’re all waiting for. I started off as a sales development rep that was my first job out of college. And as most people, I didn’t want to go- I didn’t wanna go to sales. I actually wanted to be a sports agent. Most of you probably have seen this movie, Jerry Maguire, Show Me the… well.. you all know what it is Show Me the Money. So the thing is I saw that and I was like, really that’s what I wanna be. I just made up my mind and I graduated with finance and sports management from the University of Georgia. And I realized what I was graduating that I no longer wanted to do that. I didn’t wanna be a sports agent, didn’t wanna go into finance, and then I had to take a step back and figure out like, okay, well, what am I gonna do? And I went to a local networking event here in Atlanta and they told me about a startup that just got funding. So obviously that means that they have money to pay me. So then I cold-called the VP of sales to get a sales job. I realized if I could get into sales, I could learn more about marketing ’cause originally actually I wanted to be in marketing. And it’s just something that I fell in love with the craft of prospecting and hunting and getting into net new accounts. And then my skill sets grew from there. I ended up building a YouTube channel while I was a rep. So I had a whole piece of content going out that’s how I built my brand on LinkedIn, through building my brand on LinkedIn that eventually evolved into me becoming an SDR manager and I had 13 reps that I managed and then I got approached by John Barrows who has done training with Salesforce, Google, Slack- logos like that and he brought me onto his team to do sales training. And I’ve been doing sales training and coaching for very focused on top of the funnel but I also train on other things for the past three and a half years. So happy to be on the show and talk about the things I’ve learned in my experience.
Being Relatable and its Key Part in the Modern Sales Process
George: Well, Morgan, welcome. And I’ve spent some time stalk- I mean resear- I mean stalking *Morgan laughing* and one of my favorite pieces of content is what you referred to the SDR Chronicles channel on YouTube and what I love about it is that it’s right from the beginning of your career almost like you’re talking about some of those day-to-day challenges of a rep. And I found that to be really compelling.
Morgan: Yeah, most people at the end of the day are probably afraid to share when they’re first coming out, you are like, oh, I got to have a certain amount of experience, I got all of these things going on. What I realized at the end of the day is that people want to follow someone that’s relatable. Like if you’re the person who has it all figured out that’s gonna get annoying real quick. So that’s why I realized that if I could make content while I was starting out on the journey, I could relate to a lot of people that were in the same boat as me or just starting out. And that’s the reason why it went so well and that’s why I got a lot of recognition for it because it was relatable. And I think a lot of people don’t think about it that way.
George: Well, congratulation on being named one of the top sales voices by LinkedIn and not just 2018, 2019 but 2020 as well and you’re producing some great content on your LinkedIn profile. Tell us a little bit about what goes into that when you’re putting that content together.
Morgan: Yeah, so it’s another job. It’s another job, it’s not easy, it’s not simple. I think some people actually think it’s like, it’s easy to do. It’s really not like the thing that did it is like you consistently have to come up with something relevant almost every single day. You can’t just, I mean you could put out random stuff but that’s not gonna get you to the level that you’ll wanna go to. So really what goes into it is first and foremost, I have to figure out like, what is the voice that I have? And so what I mean by that is when you deliver content, there’s three levels of content. So there’s one is written content, two is audio, three is video. So you have to take a step back and figure out which route that you wanna go. Like, obviously right now we’re doing a podcast, this will be audio, a written would be like a blog, and video would be like if you did like YouTube or just made a video to just share something. These are all things that are incredibly important. Then like the next step is to figure out what topics do you wanna talk about? So basically when I create content, I think about it in terms of buckets. Buckets of content and categories. So really I have five main buckets, pillars, whatever people want to call them, I just call them the buckets and categories. One is focused on sales and prospecting. The other one is focused on career development of the other piece of content is around video games, other ones around mindset, and other ones around anime. So basically like when I create my content, it comes from one of those five pieces. And then I deliver the content on that. So basically on a continuous basis, either it’s audio, it’s written or it’s video and I take the five buckets, categories, pillars, whatever you wanna call them and then I create content on that. And then as long as I stay consistent, that’s how I can build on that content and it’s about being consistent when creating the content and getting feedback from your audience to figure out what works and what does it.
Impact-Calling vs. Cold-Calling
George: One of the things that I noticed when we were preparing for the show and doing some research, is this concept of cold calling versus impact calling, explain to us what you believe the difference is. I think our listeners will find it very variable.
Morgan: Yeah, so at the end of the day, I use cold calling as a term because that’s what people see it as, right. And at the end of the day, right? No matter what you do, the call is cold, right? A lot of people might say like, oh, it’s a lukewarm, it’s a hot call, it’s like no like the person is not expecting it, it’s a cold call. It doesn’t matter what you do. They’re not ready for it. And so when you do a cold call, however, just because they don’t know it’s coming doesn’t mean that it can’t be impactful. And what I mean by the impactful call and hopefully y’all listen in and taking notes on this part is you wanna make sure that it’s relevant as possible to that person. So let’s just give the example. So if you’re reaching out to an executive, a director like really understand what they do on a day-to-day basis. So from a tactical standpoint, all you have to do really is go type in “VP sales job description”, “IT director job description” and you’ll actually come up with multiple job descriptions, and then what you can do is figure out what is actually their description of their job, what do they do on a day-to-day basis and I’ll tell you in the job description. So then you take that information and you reverse engineer it to make more impactful calls to be like, hey, I’ve been speaking to a lot of IT directors as of late and I know one of their main parties is this or hey, I’ve been speaking to a lot of VPs of sales and one thing that I see that’s on top of their mind is this, this is how we help. That’s how you make more impactful calls instead of a cold call where you come in very generic and it’s very easy for someone to hang up on you.
George: Well, it’s quite frankly annoying when somebody phones and just starts asking you a bunch of questions without any rapport without any trust and you’re kind of like, why am I being grilled here by some person I’ve never met before. I find that the robots are helping us with this. I get all sorts of emails and videos and LinkedIn messages where they know stuff about me. I’d love to understand from you. What do you feel are some of those top pieces of technology and when is it too much? When is it really taking the human out of it ’cause you noticed that I started off with robot.
Morgan: Yeah, so for context when you mentioned the technology piece, are you just saying like- what are technologies I feel that are useful or technologies that are useful in terms of that they actually can convert meetings? ‘Cause there’s some technology I think is cool but it doesn’t relate to sales. So like, would love a little more on that.
George: I think that’s what I’m looking for along the same lines. I love the way that you’ve put this idea of an impactful call rather than a cold call. Is there technology you’re finding that will help with this discovery and getting you in the door so you can start to have a conversation or when does it just become noise and it’s not adding to the conversation in your opinion?
Morgan: Yeah, so what I will say is that not all but you do have to be very mindful about automation tools. So anything that just automates something and you just click a button and it just goes and you’re not really being mindful of that, that can easily allow you to become a robot. And really at the end of the day *laughing*, I’m laughing ’cause it’s just so ironic. The more human that you are, the more people will want to connect with you. The more technology and the more robotic you get, that’s where it can be troublesome. But there is technology that can help you and I’ll give you a couple and I would say, number one- this one is like incredibly powerful is it’s called Crystal Knows. So “crystal” and then “knows” as in like “I know” not like this is not like a drug site or something like that. So basically like what happens with Crystal Knows is that it actually identifies people’s disc profile and how they do that is they look at the way that you wrote your profile, they look at how you comment, they look at how you like certain things, it’s like very interesting so Crystal Knows.
George: That’s awesome, I hadn’t heard that before but I love disc profiles.
Morgan: Yeah, it’s just incredible insight so now I know how to cold call you, it basically tells it like, how do I pitch you? So then now I know like what the bring, is it an insight? Is it some type of blog post that you want me to follow up with, do you want me to be super direct? Do you want me to be more question-based so it’s just really good like that’s something that can really help a lot of people out here in terms of like that more of that impactful call. So I would definitely hop on Crystal Knows that’s one thing. I would say one thing as well, there’s sales engagement tools out there, sales off outreach. There’s a lot of, those are like the main two but basically like, what it helps you do is doing this impactful call at scale and allow you to take notes while you’re on the call like you could manually make calls on your cell phone but that’s a huge waste of your time across the board. So you really wanna make sure that you’re taking the time to really dive into those things that matter to you and matter to them. So what matters to you is articulating the value to the prospect. What matters to them is showing them that, you know what you’re talking about. So make sure that you use that sales engagement tool and you can scale it out. In terms of the calls like I honestly would say those are the main, those are the main two. Like if you know about people’s disc profile, if you know about their- if you know how to scale it out that’s helpful. Actually, I would say number three is probably if you have it sales navigator, I think sales navigator is the most under-leveraged tool out there. And sales nav will allow you to see who’s changed jobs in the past 90 days. You can see who connects with you in terms of Liza follow your company. There’s so many different things that you can actually analyze. So that’s something else to keep in mind is to be like super diligent about building out your sales nav and that’s technology in itself that’s helpful. But those are three things that I would say.
What does JBarrows Sales Training do?
George: I’d love to understand some more about JB Sales Training and how our listeners might be able to learn more about what you offer and can help them with their profession. So could we unpack a little bit of information about JB Sales Training?
Morgan: Yeah, so JB Sales Training, JB stands for John Barrows. So John Barrows has been in sales training for the past, probably past decade, maybe 10, 12 years. And like I mentioned in the beginning, Salesforce, Slack, Google, Zoom- we have a lot of different clients that are high growth SaaS companies and technology companies and basically what we believe in and there’s a lot of trainers and coaches out there but we focus on, we’re just sales reps who happen to train. And essentially, I do and he does and everyone else, that’s a trainer. We do our own prospecting, closing, and delivering which is a lot of different components. And so the thing is is that in our trainings, it’s not just like, hey, I did this 5,000 years ago, it’s like, no, I actually did this last week, right. And we can talk about those relevant points to our audience. And that’s what’s helped us really grow as a whole and that’s helped us train all these different organizations because we really focus on the tactical skills while still giving you a foundational structure to be successful. So that’s what we’re helping clients on, we do both sides of the funnel so we do top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel and it’s been a great ride so far the past two and a half years. And I came in as a specialist on top of the funnel of evolved and I trained on the bottom of the funnel now but I came in as like the prospect specialist and so I did a lot of trainings on just like, how do you build pipeline? How do you get top of the funnel? Etc. And so like that’s what our organization is all about. And that’s how we typically run our programs is very tactical, very foundational base. And hands-on with you so that you can make sure that everyone walks out of the session with things they can do immediately after the training which is what we believe in.
From a LinkedIn Recognized Top Voice in Sales; Best Advice for Someone starting their Sales Career?
George: I wanna ask a million qualifying questions but I’m going to ask one. And that is; if you could go back to when you started in this business when you- you’re gonna be the agent and then you got into sales business, what’s one thing that you would do differently with the knowledge you have now?
Morgan: It’s such a great question. There’s a lot of things I would do differently *laughing*. I would say probably the number one thing that I would have done differently that I am very diligent about now is taking the time to, this is going to sound funny but really taking the time to talk to the actual customers which is something that it’s funny because actually, I don’t think a lot of people do this, like going to customer success, talking to the customers, getting like in-depth analysis of like, what are they actually doing? How do they talk? What’s their day-to-day? And like- having that as like the north star. And I feel like a lot of times in sales instead of asking our customers, what could we be doing better? And what were the reasons that they bought? What problems did we actually solve? And when I first started off as an SDR I just was like I’m just trying to book meetings. Even if it’s sales training, I was training clients but I feel like I could have had an even deeper understanding if I would have done that. Now granted, when I first joined, I did talk to like three or five customers but I should have taken it farther than that, and I should have been more detailed in those notes that I took. So I would say I would have gone back and like actually talk to the customers, have round tables, talk to customer success, be in those meetings ’cause because if I could speak the language then a lot of the stuff that I would be learning would only help me and that’s what I would say there.
George: Well, that is a great insight that I think a lot of people, I know you chuckled at the beginning of it but I think it is overlooked. What should I be saying to the client? We’ll go next door and talk to a bunch of clients. The other thing I wanted to highlight was when you started doing the SDR Chronicles channel on YouTube, it turned out to be one of the things that landed you the position you have today.
Everyone has a Reputation, think Reputation
George: Can you explain that journey because I think it’s really interesting as we work with sales reps and we’re trying to train them, you need to build your own brand. Like that’s what the customer is buying at the end of the day. Yes, they’re buying software company, auto dealership, whatever the company brand is but I wanna work with Morgan, and building Morgan’s brand was really important and then you ended up at this training organization as well.
Morgan: Yep, so I think what most people think of brand, to be honest, they’re probably rolling their eyes right now like here comes another brand conversation. But here’s the thing is that don’t think about it as building your brand. I wanna actually change the word and say, I want you to think about building your reputation. When you think about it that way then it’s like, okay, everyone has a reputation. So you can’t run away from it, you’re gonna have a- just like, people just are whatever, you’re gonna have a negative one or a positive one. Like I did today I have control of that so I’m gonna have a positive one. And so let’s take a step back. Unfortunately, people were losing their jobs. And if you didn’t have a strong reputation, it probably took you a lot longer to get a job, just facts. So the thing is that like, most people will build a brand or reputation when they need it the most when you should be building it when you don’t need it at all. So you can use it when you need it the most because I guarantee you the people that were posting content commenting on certain things, being engaged, interactive, they were probably able to get jobs faster than other people who didn’t do these things that we’re talking about right now. So building reputation is absolutely key and it’s all about consistency. Building reputation in a digital space is basically just getting digital real estate. So if you think about McDonald’s being wildly successful, it’s not really because of the food, it’s because they’re real estate, they’re everywhere. Everywhere you turn there’s McDonald’s right. It’s a real estate business. Not really actually, they’re actually in the real estate business, not actually the food business, if you really think about it. So the thing at the end of the day is that with your reputation, you’re in the reputation business when it comes to sales. And so I’m not asking for y’all to do a podcast, I’m not gonna ask for y’all do a YouTube channel but you have to be present in this digital world by engaging with certain people and putting yourself out there because if no one knows you’re out there, it’s going to be harder for you moving forward.
George: That’s absolutely brilliant. I’m now changing it. Brand does not exist anymore. It’s all about building your reputation. I love it, Morgan. That’s great.
Morgan: Absolutely, and that’s the thing like you have to continuously think about the long-term. In sales you’re actually forced to think short-term, right? I’m thinking in months if I’m an SDR. Quarters as an AE and I’m like thinking about the quarter, it’s like, all right, like you hit the quota but like now what? Best advice ever got is that sales is what you do, it’s not who you are. It’s what you do but it’s not who you are. So you got to go beyond that. So like what’s beyond that? Building reputation, getting people to know you, creating connections, and doing it in a digital space ’cause the real estate out here, I mean, it’s out here, it’s free space. You can go Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, you could create, no one is gonna stop you from creating the content but you have to be consistent, put yourself out there because there is an opportunity that can lead to those things. And that’s what helped me to get back to the point, right? Of getting this opportunity with JB Sales. I was posting a YouTube video, I think for six months, almost every single day. And I was just putting myself out there because I knew consistency matters. And when consistency matters, you don’t know who’s looking and it just so happens, John saw a video, it aligned with his core values, he reached out to me, we had a conversation and now I’ve been here for the past three and half years. So that’s the thing is that consistency matters, you don’t know who’s looking but when the right person comes along, it could change your entire career and the trajectory of your career too.
George: We’ve been speaking to Morgan Ingram, the Director of Sales Execution and Evolution at JB Sales Training. You can find Morgan on the One Up Formula Podcast, you can find them on the SDR Chronicles on YouTube or people could reach out to you on LinkedIn, correct?
Morgan: That is correct.
George: Morgan, we really appreciate the knowledge bombs that you brought today and we’ve written them down and I’m gonna share them with the group here as we get into the close but thank you for your time, joining us from Atlanta and we wish you all the best as you continue to help make salespeople better and help them to be successful in their career.
Morgan: Absolutely and I appreciate it and thanks for having me on.
George: What a great authentic talent Morgan is. And I’m glad that we were able to, if you watch the SDR Chronicles, that’s exactly what he sounds like on those episodes. Truly authentic, just a great guy and a true professional. Here’s a couple of takeaways. Number one, you want to deliver an impactful call. It’s even better than a warm call. Heck, it’s even better than a hot call. And it definitely adds more value than a cold call. And it’s really easy to deliver some sort of impact and that’s to know a little bit about the prospect. So some great learnings there from Morgan. Now, the other thing that I found to be really interesting is this thing called Crystal Knows. And we’re gonna put the link to this technology in the show notes but really what it does is with an algorithm, it identifies someone’s disc profile from their biography on LinkedIn. And if you would like to get your own view of what a disc profile is, the disc personality types but for those of you that would like a refresher disc personality types, we all have, it’s either dominance, influence, steadiness or conscientiousness. That’s what makes up the acronym disc and what this profile does is it shows you where your dominance is. And I’ve talked long about this over my career. I remember when I took my very first disc profile and I started to understand that we all aren’t the same. We’re built differently. And if I could understand what somebody’s disc profile was before we started to get into the conversations. I could tailor-make my conversation to appeal to the dominant personality that they have. Then fast forward to today. Morgan has found this piece of technology that can pull it just basically off an algorithm. And I find that to be really compelling because then when you draft that email or LinkedIn email message or you leave that voicemail message, you can understand a bit about the person’s profile, just based off the way they wrote their biography online. It’s an unbelievable time to be alive utilizing that technology. And then the final thing that I want you to take away from Morgan’s interview is this brilliant comment that he made. It’s not about building your brand, it’s about building your reputation. What do people think of when they think about your name and Morgan gave you some great ideas as to why that’s important. And I believe it’s a real compelling way to talk about that idea of I need to build my brand but really what it is is your online reputation and the way that people can portray you or see you online. Thanks to Morgan Ingram for joining us. The director of sales, execution and evolution at JB Sales Training, our guests this week on the Conquer Local Podcast. We’d love to have you leave a review for us on one of the many podcast platforms online whether it be iHeart Radio or Google Podcasts or iTunes if that’s even what they call it anymore I think it’s apple podcasts now but there are just so many of those platforms. We are available on most of them. And we’d love for you to leave us a review and let us know how we’re doing. On behalf of all of us here at Conquer Local, thanks for joining us on this week’s episode. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.