GUEST: Robbie Traube, SVP Strategic Verticals, Adobe
As any revenue executive knows, you can’t just walk in and lay down a new methodology for an organization. It takes buy-in in order to get the types of results we know are possible.
So when you come across a home-run sales methodology, how do you get internal adoption? The ironic answer is that you have to sell it. No matter your role, you’re either selling internally, or you’re selling externally.
In the first guest interview on the B2B Revenue Executive Experience podcast, Robbie Traube, Vice President, Strategic Accounts at Adobe, shared the sales methodology that Adobe uses and how it became a central part of the company DNA.
This post covers the highlights of that interview.
What Is it About Sales Methodology That You Find so Intriguing?
“No matter your role, you’re either selling internally, or you’re selling externally.”
VP Strategic & Vertical Accounts, Adobe
Robbie told us that consistently across businesses, sales methodologies are a process. There’s always a balance between art and science.
He believes there are people who understand what sales is about and are motivated to focus on winning. Some people are built that way. But along with that, there are events that need to happen. No matter what you’re selling, no matter where you’ve sold, the events are similar.
He gave a great analogy: When you start off driving a car, you’re consciously incompetent. Everything is hard; you don’t even know where the gas is.
But as you get going, you become unconsciously incompetent. You think you’re great, but you’re actually doing a terrible job. Then you get to the next stage of being newly consciously incompetent, where you realize the things you can improve upon. Eventually, you get to unconscious competence.
The great thing about a sales methodology is that it helps you through those first steps so that when the actual selling happens, you don’t even have to think about the methodologies: it’s just ingrained in what you do. But it takes time and effort to get there.
When You Bring a New Sales Methodology Like Value Selling Into an Organization, How Do You Prepare That Organization for the Change That’s About to Happen?
Adobe leverages the Value Selling framework. So we asked how to prepare an organization for such a wholesale change in methodology.
“Reps will always revert back to what they know.”
VP STRATEGIC & VERTICAL ACCOUNTS, ADOBE
Without a doubt, it’s difficult. You have many variables that are hard to complete:
- You have a disparity on your own team. Some have been trained in different areas, and they come from different companies and methodologies.
The important thing is to make sure that everyone is using the same terminology. This is awkward at the beginning. Getting people to identify the “power person” or explain the “differentiated vision match” is not natural. It requires persistence.
- If you’re a second line or third line and you have a first-line management team, that’s where a methodology lives or dies. If you can’t get your management team to inspect, use, and adopt the terminology, that makes it very hard. The reps will always revert back to what they know, especially veterans.
- Going above yourself. Not only do you have to use the methodology yourself, but when you go to the senior management above you, they’ve got to start leveraging it. The language and terminology, wherever you go in the organization, needs to be the same.
And that takes time. It takes an unremitting amount of perseverance to achieve such a shift. You can never, ever give in, give up, or falter.
At Adobe, they’ve had many acquisitions and therefore many incoming methodologies, so they’ve had to nail down one and train everyone on it, then inspect in the right way.
As with anything else, you’ve got to show success. This means calling out individuals, showing best practices, and leveraging big wins when they happen. It’s got to become pervasive throughout the organization.
What Kind of Results Have You Seen as a Result of the Implementation of the ValueSelling Framework™?
“The concept of selling on function and feature is old,” Robbie told us. “Selling a true solution” is the only way to succeed today.
It’s one of the hardest but most important things to teach sales reps: “Don’t think about it through your eyes and what your solution can do. Think about it through the customer’s eyes.”
“Don’t think about it through your eyes and what your solution can do. Think about it through the customer’s eyes.”
VP STRATEGIC & VERTICAL ACCOUNTS, ADOBE
Once you get there, you get timing. You also get a breadth and terminology that adds value to what it is they’re doing.
The use of the Value Selling approach and methodology has allowed Adobe to get much higher in organizations because they’re talking in a way that appeals to the C-level execs of some of the top organizations in the world. It’s formulating the way they can talk, without taking a “function/feature” approach. It’s more consultative in approach, and customers are refreshed by that type of conversation.
People who go to Adobe feel like they’re learning no matter what stage they’re at in their lives, even to the point where the company has established an Adobe Sales Academy where they bring in young-tenured professionals and teach them Value Selling.
It’s amazing how quickly people can get into that new framework of thinking.
In each episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, we’re going to ask our guests for one nugget of wisdom they would impart to a sales professional. Here’s this one:
“Look through the eyes of the person you’re speaking to. If you can think about their day and the goals they’re trying to reach and what’s impeding them, then everything else becomes so much simpler.”
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.