Prince. Madonna. Beyonce. Cher. Keenan.
One of the most important celebrities whose star is rising in the B2B sales and marketing world is Keenan.
If you are looking for someone to follow who exudes energy and passion and knows their stuff about all things startups, entrepreneurs, and salespeople, Keenan is your guy. He is the co-founder of A Sales Guy and the author of Not Taught, a book explaining what needs to be changed in the sales ecosystem. He will also be speaking at the #FlipMyFunnel Account-Based Marketing Festival in Austin on June 7th!
I recently had the privilege to catch up with Keenan and pick his brain about B2B sales and account-based marketing. Before we dive into the video interview highlights, here are a few interesting facts about Keenan:
“My favorite book is definitely Execution by Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy.”
Someone you want to give a shoutout to?
“Oh boy. I will give a little shout out to Angela Duckworth, the author of Grit, a new book out. She is very smart, and I really like how she breaks down the idea of grit. We have all this conversation about rise-and-grind, but she actually puts science behind it. So I’ll give a shoutout to her.”
If you weren’t an author, what else would you want to?
“My goal is — if I had buy-the-Jets kind of money — I would build a research company like Pew Research, but all I would want to study is social issues. I want to go out and do surveys on stuff nobody wants to touch that really enlightens us on what is truly happening. I want to research the issues and then make changes because them.”
Check out my interview with Keenan here:
1. The Loss of the Original Salesman
I hear so many people buzzing about sales development, marketing, and account-based marketing that I feel like there is a true revolution happening. There is a revolution happening in enablement; there is a revolution happening in sales tools; but there is no revolution happening in the fundamentals of sales.
Companies are spending so much time focusing on things like new tools and changes that the internet has brought — and as a result, sales teams have altogether lost track of developing salespeople that know the fundamentals of selling.
I feel this problem even on the marketing side of the house. We are so wrapped up in being marketing technologists that we often forget the importance of the art of storytelling. Back in the time of the original salesperson and marketer, companies didn’t solely rely on data to measure success. They also focused heavily on the satisfaction of their customers. We all need to spend a little more time thinking about how we can get back into the swing of customer-driven success.
Keenan makes a great point in our interview when he says, “When I came up in sales we didn’t have sales enablement tools; we didn’t have the internet; we barely had email. In sales training or anybody who was spending time investing in the salesperson, it was all around, ‘How do I sell? What is your selling methodology? How are you delivering value proposition?'”
With account-based marketing being a new category, we have to really dive in and focus on customers’ knowledge or ABM will never take off. Our sales team has a special job cut out for them; not only are they selling, but they are also educating. So that customer-prioritized mindset is very important to us.
2. The #Smarketing Relationship
At a lot of companies, sales teams hold a gong ceremony every time a deal closes. However, I don’t see that happening as much when marketing teams drive revenue. The relationship of the #smarketing team goes hand-in-hand with one another if one team has a gong-worthy moment it has been driven by the other team in some way.
“There should be no situation, in any environment, where sales or marketing could be considered successful and the other one failed in the same organization. Period. End of discussion,” says Keenan.
“Here’s a good example,” he continues. “I don’t care if marketing delivered on the 200 leads they said they were supposed to deliver on. If the sales team was only at 80% of quota, then marketing failed. I don’t care that somehow sales did 150% of quota and marketing only did 30% of the leads. Marketing failed.
3. Not Taught
Let’s talk about Keenan’s book, Not Taught. In the book, Keenan discusses what is not taught in today’s sales environment. Here’s a quick overview:
We have moved from the industrial age to the information age, and with that has come a flood of information right at our fingertips. Some may say this is a great thing, but Keenan would disagree. In the industrial age, access to information was guarded and held by a small few like newspapers, companies, and academics. Anyone not in these worlds had to go out of their way to obtain information that they needed.
Now, we are in the information age. The age of the internet. People like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, who were once virtual unknowns, have been able to leverage mass media to make themselves successful.
Because technology has changed, the rules for success have changed too. Yet, no one is teaching us those new rules. Schools, our parents, the media — they’re still teaching us the old-school methods. Until you understand the new methods of capitalizing on the information age, you’re not going anywhere. That’s why Keenan’s book is called Not Taught: What it Takes to be Successful in the 21st Century.
I’m super pumped that Keenan is going to be speaking at the #FlipMyFunnel Festival in Austin next week. He will be talking about how sales and marketing have an ego issue that’s keeping them from making the most of their sales organizations. These egos are preventing “smarketers” from selling and marketing in ways that will drive more revenue. This will be a session that you don’t want to miss.
Big thanks to Keenen for taking the time to join me and share more about his outlook on the sales industry and modern-day business. It is truly fascinating how the industry is changing and how sales and marketing teams are evolving with it. I’m excited to see where B2B marketing and sales go next.