Training-Led Growth Ep2: Ashley Welch, Co-Founder of Somersault Innovation

[Music] all right thank you Ashley Welch for being here this is the training led growth video series that we're recording with me today is Ashley Welch the co-founder of somersault innovation also sales person and sales trainer extraordinaire mom-mom as well yeah thank you for being here welcome so

I guess I will start with can you just talk to us a little bit about somersault innovation how'd you come up with the idea who's your co-founder how'd you get started yeah what do you do sure so I've been in sales as you know for my whole career

so over 20 years 25 now and five years ago left a business that I was working for with Justin Jones who's my co-founder we left because we were full sized we love Justin he's great wanted to start something new and we're fell in love with the methodology of

design thinking and design thing is an innovation methodology sort of popular you've ever used an Apple product or written in an uber all those came out of a design thinking process so we left started that and then we realized that there was a lot of synergy between the

tools of design and design thinking that could be relevant for sales so we pioneered this new approach called cell by design lifting from the world of design bringing these tools of curiosity and empathy better discovery into the world of sales and it's made a tremendous difference in a

lot of the clients we work with awesome tell me about who you work for like who some of our customers yes so we started working out with working for Salesforce and then have expanded into the tech space pretty widely so we worked with Microsoft and Oracle workday we

just finished working with Forrester Research did their sko this week and do a little bit of a fire mom will and financial services but mostly tech okay awesome so training tech salespeople how to be and how to do their job more effectively exactly what does that mean for

you yeah so specifically we were working on will we work with all levels of sellers so anywhere from BTR's to Account Executives to scream enterprise level sellers and we're working in three spaces discovery insight generation and then co-creation or acceleration helping them more effectively co-create and move the

deal faster oh cool okay so as this video series or other people that have watched our videos know this is a we call this the training led growth series we as Raven 360 believe that you know training can lead the revenue growth and training for us because internal

employees like sales people like customer success folks marketing even but it also means once you you know train salespeople more effectively with things like your tools and methodologies once they're selling more effectively the buyers getting the buyers to use those tools or use those products they bought yeah

effectively so for us training and training like growth is about growing revenue and then also about increasing retention or reducing charms or customer churn so maybe could you tell us a story maybe a recent customer story around will talk me through kind of a program you had or

some of the tools you'd introduce yeah for a customer and then like a recently did I start yeah yeah like a customer story sure so we tend to work with a group of sellers for a three-month process we give them a day of skills very interactive we give

them skills in the area of discovery insight and acceleration mm-hmm and it's all about how do you stay customer centric in the whole sales process remembering that the customer and what the customer cares about and even what their customer cares about is the name of the game not

what you want to sell the customers customer exactly so I'll give you a story that yes in a minute so we work with them for a day give them the skills and then we coach them for three month against target accounts to really make sure that they're using

the skills in service of growing an opportunity and of course pipeline of revenue and then we come back and have them report out what they've done so we're able to measure the results and also hear great stories so one story that just came out we were just working

with a large telecom company local telecom and one of the sellers in London Cameron had the Cancer Research UK Cancer Research Society so that's the customer right that's good customer to have so Cameron decided well actually who else who like who's part of their ecosystem and realized that

part of one of their businesses was second-hand of clothing and used items that they could sell in their stores around London and to make some extra money for cancer research though so we went to one of these stores he's talking to the guys in the back and she's

watching them scan clothing or not scan it but actually look up clothing on their iPhones just find out like okay how to go your jacket what can I sell this for look it up sort of in a fish inefficient process but that's what they do so when he

was talking to him he said well what if I could enable your phones to not only have google lens on it but other sorts of applications that could more quickly give you the right price that you will resell it for would that be helpful in terms of efficiency

it made me actually make you more money and they were psyched about that so that was one thing and then in talking to them he also learned that a lot of people came into the stores just see secondhand stores to talk about cancer and actually get advice so

he said well wait a second what if we created a soundproof booth that you could staff with a medical professional who could talk to people and family members what had caused more people to come in and stay longer in your store Wow and they were like yes so

he went back and came up with a five million dollar proposal that's now in front of them based on this incredibly new opportunity they never would have thought of if he hadn't done this level of discovery into the stores in the discovery was just listening questions well first

of all figuring out that he was he didn't just want to sort of be at the mothership but go further out into like these other branches and talked and even their monomers and then actually go there and do the discovery and like you said just listen pay attention

you know connect authentically and stop like this like take the blinders off in terms of don't just ask questions about what you sell but really learn about everything and that enables you to see more opportunity so they put your go to the customers customer yeah you figure out

how you can impact them yeah well if I know what they care about first and then figure out is there some way you can help them wow that's amazing yeah that's a great story yeah oh my goodness okay so that's a great example for us and what we're

talking about which is your tools your methods program yeah teaching training salespeople to put themselves in the shoes of their customer go visit deep conversations listen yep and then the outcome is much bigger opportunity bigger opportunity yeah big big proposal big opportunity and so talk to me also

about how can what you guys are doing impact you know just closed ones so sales people you know for prospecting yeah or trying to find new deals how does it how does what you guys are doing impact them on their close rights yeah well I think first of

all one of the things we talk a lot about is how do you create this authentic connection how do you start understanding where they're adding value to their customers and have that conversation so that you can become a trusted adviser so you're much more consultative adviser yeah everybody

wants to be a trusted adviser um and of course I you know a customer has so much information at their fingertips you know the stats and so as a customer you're not really looking to me anymore just to tell you about my wares but rather be consultative and

think really you about what you could possibly buy so I think when you're able to establish that relationship which we work on then the deal actually does go faster because now you know that you're sort of bought into to work with me we see a lot of times

people start to introduce them to other executives faster so it just increases the deal velocity and the other thing we talk a lot about is how do you get something in front of people sooner not like a half not that you're pushing a solution but when you're ready

as soon as you can get even a prototype something small that you can get feedback on to give their fingerprints on because the more your fingerprints are on what I'm trying to sell the more ownership you'll have the faster we can move towards a solution first is waiting

till I you know sort of baked out the whole deal and put it in front of you and it get a yes or no I love it I love it so got authentic relationship building it understanding it is that this could be a bad question but could that

slow down the deal could that slow down I guess everything's possible right I think but I don't mean that in a bad way yeah I mean as sales leaders right people that have run sales organizations you're always you know you're always like getting close as fast as you

possibly and you're trying to reduce your sales cycle yeah hi I'm but if you build that what I'm thinking is you build a relationship you could have a more authentic discussion you maybe you go from a million-dollar deal to a tomb in two million dollars exactly so you

know you're reminding me when we first started a lot of things that we would hear from sales leaders was like oh my god they closed the deal but I know they left so much money on the table right so they closed it down quickly to get that 50k

but if they had stayed in a little bit longer it did a little more discovery created more of a relationship it would have been twice three times whatever that deal so I think yeah I think you don't know but it certainly could both could expand the length of

the relationship and then like the time it takes them to get the deal but also the size of the deal could expand this well interesting so I've also heard sales people very common response from salespeople is I don't get enough coaching I'm a sales person I'm hustling I'm

working I'm trying to make my quota I don't get feedback and I'm good coaching as much as I as much as I would like yeah sure so how do you see coaching or honey how does that yeah organization general well well I'll say what I see through the

lens of what we're doing with clients go I hear the same thing they don't get enough coaching what I know is one of the levers in our process that's gonna make the biggest difference is the coaching so if we're just there for a day and give people skills

and then walk away and we leave there's not as much behavior change where is that's just one part of the process and then we're setting up a 90-day challenge where we're coaching them against the use of the tools and target accounts as I said and that's where the

rubber hits the road and where we can say like Jo like what are you doing around discovery remember we talked about this like you said you're gonna go after Patagonia what are you doing yeah and keep you focused and some of it is just focused but so what

do you that's exactly I was thinking and thank you for validating that what about what about ongoing reinforcement mm-hmm so your program is amazing I've gone through a father what I've sat through some of these she sell it by design yeah amazing event yeah love that San Francisco

that sales force oh it's great I learned a ton by the way which I'm use but reinforcement like we as salespeople we learn things we want to put it into action how do you reinforce it how do you make sure people but just just as a business how

do you do yourself well I think I think the lever in the organization is the managers like getting them to really understand what is new being taught and then how are they influencing it and reinforcing it in their conversations because we know like in in a sales organization

they have these deal reviews all the time right or the a of your QPR you have your weekly check-in or whatever it is how are you orienting the conversation to reinforce the behavior so in our case one of the things we coach managers to say all the time

is instead of saying Joe you said you gave me 50,000 by Friday we're yeah yeah to say tell me a story about your customer oh yeah so like I love to tell stories yeah exactly so you get excited I understand whether you have or have not really done

and you could discovery or you know created any kind of relationship and I'm leaving with that versus the numbers numbers aren't going away and I'm still gonna come you know you still owe me whatever you put your forecasts so not only teach sales people to be better listeners

and asking better questions you ask tell the manager to be asking their own exactly what poor subscribe exactly we're learning something anything training training training led growth that's right but again is that you know if you get to me it just seems like boy if you can get

the salespeople asking those questions if the managers interacting of them and a more open or authentic honest way you can seems like you can do a lot more business yeah I just read this article in The Times this past Sunday on listening right and so much of listening

it seems really basic but there's so much neuroscience behind it they were talking about if I'm talking to you and if you listen in a way that's distracted like you're you're you don't really pay attention to me you're doing something else I have I'm less creative in my

thinking and I'm like so I can't be as creative in what I tell you and I'm also won't share as much but if you listen really well they're able to paraphrase and just sort of use the statement tell me more you will literally elicit more information because my

brain works in a way that is like more connected to you and I will give you more information tell me more I totally agree in that business skill I had to learn a skill I had to work on was listening to understand as opposed to listening to yeah

right yeah yeah because we're listening to react when you respond because when you're you know earlier in your career earlier and you're you know anything your relationship with your spouse yeah a lot of times you find yourself listening to just is wrong yes exactly and it's not about

that like let me and I guess that's empathy again listening understand and hear you yeah and then that's us huge skill I think that salespeople need but it's like business and personal and I think you can be used for both well I'm 90% and I do think in

sales like the more expertise you have actually what did they just say the other day camera the word but it's like a curse in some ways to listening yeah especially in sales like especially if I'm a lawyer or I'm in research and you're paying me for my research

like I feel like I have to impart my knowledge and it gets in the way and my ability just to listen yeah and withhold and sort of just be guided by the rhythm of the conversation roses what I feel like I need to tell you yeah yeah and

we connect first on curiosity and warmth and not on expertise so I need to know first that I can trust you before I'm willing to share so if you just view expertise in me and I think well you might be smart but out really trust you so I

really like you I don't really trust you I'm not going to give you information so first connect on board which and trust and that comes from a lot of curiosity well the relationship I think that you're helping a bill between a manager and a rep and then a

rep and a potential customer is as huge and how how do you think that impacts because sales sales teams companies it's like recruiting employee retention and sales person retention is really important yeah right and you know blown super low employment right now unemployment right now and so how

do you think what to me all I should just ask you and you talk it's a how do you think that impacts the sales organization you can yeah you can do these things what is the impact that can house yeah um I think a lot of things one

is revenue for sure all right so we drove revenue so we just did with this telecom company global we did six teams around the world each team had 13 people si average they added 65 million dollars to pipeline well and six teams around the world in three months

so revenue I think what we see all the time is higher in using these kind of tools higher level of engagement on the part of the seller just if we go back to the story told about the cancer UK Cancer Research Center lately just by him Cameron being

there in the store like all of a sudden II care do you want to help them it was really exciting yeah so engagement goes up um I think we're you mentioned the work we're doing with women sellers part of we're doing a another series this year and that

one of the companies were working with their interest is to keep women in the role so they see a lot of sometimes women come into the role of seller or tech seller but then they leave they don't stay so by training them on well I think a lot

of reasons one I think it can be a sort of masculine aggressive environment that they don't want to stay in they don't have a lot of mentorship or peers that look like them I think you know sometimes this an environment that's not so welcoming to women who want

to have children so let's say you leave on maternity leave and you are quota carrier and well you're going out so you're gonna lose that versus coming up with policies that say you're gonna actually you get to keep these clients in some way so I think we need

to be creative about that so I think retention of employees is another thing then train our training and any training does by developing people people feel like I want to stay wow that's great then if they won't stay then they can contribute they can grow more I didn't

I think a coach that good manager you know relationship yeah that's great yeah I love it and we only we know money only goes so far right there's a threshold in which are happy like we need we can we need to get to that threshold but then beyond

that there were so many of the things that keep us engaged yeah development is one of them yep development coaching culture obviously and to me it seems like what you're really what you're doing is creating a whole new culture yes or the sales team which is really really

exciting I well I mean another woman des who I was telling her what we did she said you are transforming the soul of organization sounds like yes we are Wow that's killer we're not endorsing yeah I know that is awesome and then another guy yesterday said you're playing

in the dark arts of humanity that do dark darker light arts the bottom that's killer well this has been great thank you yeah thank you thank you so much for your knowledge and Ashley where can we find you we can find you on LinkedIn summersault innovation calm yeah

how do we get in contact Ashley in somersault innovation calm it's great 1m under somersault okay yeah thank you so much I appreciate you appreciate your time and thanks for everybody watching the training led growth discussion video series here and we'll be back soon [Music]

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