Welcome to Episode One of Sales Leaders Spotlight, the podcast for salespeople.
In this series, we'll be uncovering powerful sales techniques through speaking with professionals who've excelled in the field.
In this episode, our host, Joseph Fung, is speaking with Danny Garcia, a senior account executive at SalesLoft. SalesLoft is a sales engagement platform that helps sales teams set and execute on a cadence of phone, email, and social communications to help reps close more deals.
Danny knows a thing or two about closing deals. Recently, he sparked up a sincere conversation with a prospect, using her love for Harry Potter in a unique, personal and thoughtful email.
In this episode they discuss motivating sales reps, selling to salespeople, and how to stand out in inside sales.
Joseph Fung: So, Danny, great to meet you. Thanks for joining us on the call today. I would love to just hear a bit of your background. Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your journey?
Danny Garcia: Joseph, I'm excited to be here as well. I appreciate the invitation to have this conversation with you all today. A little bit about myself: I'm 27 years old, live here in Atlanta, and been in sales the better part of five years now. I started off as a full cycle rep at an advertising firm here, out of Atlanta. From there, I started getting into software sales, and it started my journey as an SDR, at a startup here in the Atlanta Tech Village. I moved my way up through the ranks from an SDR, to a team lead, to an account executive. Since then, I’ve been on this journey of “selling to salespeople” for the last two and a half years now.
Joseph Fung: So we met over a Harry Potter prospecting email that was just pure gold. How do you — do your prospecting? How do you use social media or other tools to identify them?
Danny Garcia: I always start off on the account level, finding a company that I can actually target and where I feel like I can connect. From there, I start digging down into who are the high-level people that I want to connect with. It's just using social media to learn about their behaviours and also their interests. I'm a true believer that sales is just the transfer of your belief from one person to another, and so it's just, how can I have that connection with somebody? And in that particular email, my connection with that person was through Harry Potter.
Daniel Garcia: It's all about being relevant, saying something that grabs somebody's attention. And then from there, it's just being able to use that opportunity to have a business conversation and discover what problems you can solve for that person. I use social, as my way of getting in the door and having them give me an opportunity to speak with them and then the rest will take care of itself. That’s what I've found out in my career.
Joseph Fung: That's fantastic.
Joseph Fung: When you talk about getting to know people, their interests, hobbies, or their habits, where do you draw the line about how much to personalize something when you're taking a social selling approach?
Danny Garcia: Yeah, so you don’t want to go into too many details. That's when it takes it from personalized, to creepy. But really I look at things like what they talk about on social media. Twitter is a great example. Twitter is a way for people to have a concise thought and post it online. You start to get a feel as to how they operate, how they think, how they write. And it allows me to understand how I should actually communicate with that person, whether it's casual because that's how they are, or whether it's just a little bit more buttoned up.
Joseph Fung: So we got to see how impactful it was with the customer, but was it recognized internally as well?
Danny Garcia: I'm actually pretty fortunate here at SalesLoft. The minute that I got that reply, my CEO was walking through the sales floor. He was walking behind me when I got the email and I was like, "Oh my gosh, it worked." And he looked over my shoulder and he goes, "Forward me that email right now." And it was one of those things that he forwarded it to the entire company. He forwarded it to the entire sales team and he goes, "This is how I want the entire team to prospect."
Danny Garcia: He posted it on LinkedIn as well, so it got a lot of traction on there. I had more job offers and connection requests than I've had my entire sales career after that snippet got put into LinkedIn, so it was definitely recognized internally here at SalesLoft.
Joseph Fung: What would you consider the most creative thing you've done to connect to the prospect?
Danny Garcia: There's a couple that stand out.
Danny Garcia: One of the most recent ones was last summer. I was working an opportunity, and they were attending n a trade show here in Atlanta, in the Georgia World Congress Center. It's a pretty secure area. I was not part of that conference. It's not our industry conference at all. But I basically told my boss, I was like, "I'm going to find a way to get inside of the Georgia World Conference Center and deliver donuts with a hand-written letter."
[bctt tweet="But I basically told my boss — I'm going to find a way to get inside of the Georgia World Conference Center and deliver donuts with a hand-written letter. — Danny Garcia, @SalesLoft" username="kiiteHQ"]
Danny Garcia: I literally just played the part, put my suit on and everything, and walked in there, no badge, nothing. I walked straight up to the booth of that prospect, and I dropped off donuts, two dozen donuts for the entire team with a hand-written note. They had no idea that I was going to be there. And then I got connected with three other sales directors that I had not met in the sales process yet. So it was a great opportunity. They were completely shocked. I was like, "Listen, as much as I want to stick here and have a conversation with you, I see security coming at me right now, so I've got to leave." So I ran out of the Georgia World Conference Center and headed home. Recently, that's probably the boldest thing that I've had to do.
Joseph Fung: So you talked about taking that top-down approach, identifying an account, the people in it, is there a connection? What would be some of the methods that you use to find those accounts or to find those sales opportunities?
Danny Garcia: Path of least resistance. In my opinion, it's one of those things. If I have a mutual connection, if I have an in at the organization that I can leverage, that's going to be my go-to. Whether it's somebody that I know very well that knows someone on the team that can make a connection, whether I've sold to them in the past, or just have met them in a trade show, or whatever it might be. A referral or a reference like that always goes a long way. Other than that, there's nothing else that I have in common with them. It's just really finding the person, based off of a social profile that I feel like I could connect with the most, and start from there. Usually, they'll start pointing me in the right direction of who I should be talking to. Again, it's just me mapping and connecting the dots together.
Joseph Fung: This approach is clearly working for you. It's making an impact. Is this just you, or does your whole team prospect like this?
Danny Garcia: Our entire team prospects like this actually. I work with a ton of A-players, so we all take a very personalized approach. All of us are just very intentional about the way we communicate with people. We're always sharing best practices. We take this approach of — how can we improve their life? How can we help them out? I feel like the entire team has kind of adopted that type of mindset.
Joseph Fung: Can you tell us a little bit more about that team? You talked about kind of the floor, the CEO likes walking among you. You talk about hearing people on the phone. Is it loud? Is it stressful? What's that like on the floor?
Danny Garcia: Sales it's ... if you're not stressed out, you're not doing the job right in my opinion. I'm a big proponent of applying pressure on myself. I perform best under pressure. But our environment is pretty awesome. We're always cutting back, with each other. We joke around a lot, but we also take our job very seriously.
Danny Garcia: The floor is pretty loud, especially right after we do stand-ups in the morning, we're all on calls, whether we're making cold-calls or on demos. We're all very energetic with expressive personalities. I mean we're salespeople selling to salespeople, so we have to have that energy, and we have to bring it on every single phone call. So it's pretty cool to walk into the floor. It's essentially a buzz that you feel when you enter. You're like, "Oh yeah, this is a sales floor." We thrive under that. That's what we really go for.
[bctt tweet="We're salespeople selling to salespeople, so we have to have that energy, and we have to bring it on every single phone call. — Danny Garcia, @SalesLoft" username="kiiteHQ"]
Joseph Fung: You talked about how you're salespeople, you're selling to salespeople. That means that the bar is really, really high. How do you guys handle objections and what comes up? Because I imagine they really force you to bring an A-game to the table.
Danny Garcia: Sometimes I call it out too. It's like, "Listen, I know you're in sales. I'm in sales," and I'm selling to salespeople, so it's about setting that level. That expectation of “I know that you are looking to see how I perform”. But yeah, you're right. You have to bring it on every single phone call. So for me, handling objections is having a better understanding as to why they're asking the question. Why is this something a concern? Why is this something that they're bringing up? And then really digging down to the root of the question. Has this happened to you before? Have you been burned in the past? Have you experienced this issue before?
Danny Garcia: So to me, an objection is just another way of having a deeper understanding of what somebody's concerns are. From there, so you can really get down to the root, it's probably something else that's happened in the past, and they're just trying to confirm that it's not going to happen again. They're just looking for that reassurance, right?
Joseph Fung: What about handling the rejections? In a group, an open floor, a pit like that, if you have one person who's got a couple of bad sales calls and it gets them down, that could bring the whole team down. How do you guys stay motivated, and how do you help each other get through that?
Danny Garcia: The great part is that we've all been there, right? It takes three no’s to get a yes. I was told that at my first job, so my mindset is that if you get a no, just know that you only got two more until your next yes. So it's a glass-half mindset. It's not looking at it in a bad way. It's just looking at the positives out of it. It's just one step closer to the outcome that I am looking for.
[bctt tweet="To me, an objection is just another way of having a deeper understanding of what somebody's concerns are." username="kiiteHQ"]
Joseph Fung: That's great. I love the perspective. I love the energy. I mean you're one of the more experienced reps. You've done the SDR thing. You're on the team. Do you find yourself helping new reps get ramped up?
Danny Garcia: Yeah, I find myself doing that more often than I should sometimes. I'm a team lead here at SalesLoft, so it's one of those things that I find pride in. I enjoy helping the new reps get up and coming on the team. I help them out in terms of new technology, things like that, and also just the overall sales process. So it is part of my day to day job, but I've been doing this ever since I started here. It's something that I've always done naturally on my own.
Joseph Fung: So is that kind of more of things like coaching them on their demos, or helping them with technical problems? What would be some examples of ways that you're helping out some of the newer reps?
Danny Garcia: Yeah.
Daniel Garcia: So we're a high growth team right now, so a lot of the times we're really focused on adding new hires. So if my manager's out on an interview or something like that, I will take a call, if I have the time available, with one of our new reps for the first couple of calls that I can help. If there's a question that they can't answer, I can chime in. I am that voice to help coach them through that. Or, just walk up to my desk and ask me whatever question they need an answer to.
Joseph Fung: So how do you balance that? Because I mean you've got your own quota. You've got your own sales you need to do.
Danny Garcia: You have to know where you're at currently. I'm a big planner, and I'm always three steps ahead in my pipeline. I know what I need to be doing every day. I plan in advance. So the night before, before I go to bed, I know what my day is going to look like. I know if I need to get up an hour earlier and get my notes ready for my calls. That way if I know if I have to hop into another meeting or something like that, I just at least know my schedule and what it looks like. So that's the way that I can balance everything, is just getting ahead of my own day and making sure that I'm set up for success.
Joseph Fung: What about your own coaching? Are there any specific leaders that left like a real lasting impression on you?
Danny Garcia: Catie Ivey Coutinho was one of my original sales managers at my previous job at InsightPool. She is now the director of sales at Marketo. She's an incredible sales leader. Her tenacity and just how much energy she brings to the table was something that I really just value that a lot.
Danny Garcia: Also, Derek Grant, our VP of sales. His mindset and the way that he leads a team, it's a very team over self. I'm not doing him justice by the way that I explained that. He will do anything for the team. And that's something that I try and replicate on my end is just being able to take the approach of the team over self. I've found out in my life that if I put other people ahead of my own goals, it usually lifts me up at the same time. It's like knocking out two birds with one stone.
Joseph Fung: It sounds like you've got your whole leadership team there on site with you. Do you get to spend time with them on a daily or weekly basis?
Danny Garcia: I'm always asking our CEO for advice. He's always walking around the office, so we're in a type of environment that we can ask a question whenever we need to. We want to loop in him on deals if we can. Everybody is around — at the grasp of your fingertips to ask for advice. I'm under the opinion that I can't get everything done on my own, so it's always about who can I loop in. As a sales rep, you should be a quarterback essentially. It's, you don't have all answers, but I can loop in all the right people.
Joseph Fung: I think people are used to the idea of bringing in a product expert maybe to help with the demos or a technical solution, or maybe somebody from security to handle the hard questions.
Joseph Fung: You talked about looping in a CEO. How do you leverage him in a deal?
Danny Garcia: That's a good question.
Danny Garcia: Looping in the CEO and leveraging Kyle (Porter). You have to prepare them for what your goal is. It's one of those things. When you want to bring somebody like that in, you have to have an end goal in mind. What am I trying to get done by looping in somebody like this? A perfect example is if I'm working an account, and we're working a deal, and I'm trying to get to somebody at the very top. If I can see that my CEO's connected to somebody in that organization or has a couple mutual connections, I'm definitely going to leverage that.
Danny Garcia: It's equipping them with really simple, high-level business value. You know, what have we talked about? What are the issues that they're having? What are we solving for, and what's the impact behind it? Super simple, but very, very value-driven approach. That way when he goes in and has that conversation through reaching out to his network, (because now he's asking for a favor) it's not having to go back and forth.
Danny Garcia: So, make sure you give all the information you can and button everything up, whenever you're looping in other individuals into the conversation.
Joseph Fung: So you're giving them that kind of punch list of key messages. Are you going so far as crafting emails for them? Or is it letting them put that out and leverage their network how they feel best?
Danny Garcia: I would definitely allow them to leverage their network however they feel best. Because they have that connection, I don't want to tell them how they should communicate it. But I definitely want them to be well equipped with what they should know, and what they should be able to tell them whenever they do reach out and/or have that conversation.
Joseph Fung: That's a tough line to walk, but it sounds like one that's working out well for you.
Danny Garcia: It is a tough line to walk, but it all comes with practice, right? You don't get it right the first time, but you just keep poking at it, you keep attempting, and sooner or later you'll get the rhythm of it.
Joseph Fung: You shared some great comments with us, some great insights, and you talked about coaching others or helping others. How do you and how does your team go about sharing these tips or these best practices? How do you make sure that others get to learn from what's working for you?
Danny Garcia: We use Slack pretty religiously over here. We have our own closer sales channel, and no managers are allowed on that channel. It's a good area for us to ask questions and really get the advice from others. Also, just going to the person to the left, or to the right, or whoever's behind you. Or just lean back on your chair and say, "Guys, I'm in a pickle. What would you do here?" And whoever's not on a call, or you see people take off their headphones like, "What did you say?" It's just kind of like a brainstorm session that everybody gets involved in.
Danny Garcia: We all have that like, "Oh, let me help. Let me jump in real quick," so we've all got good advice and things to say. It's pretty funny how it all happens like one person says something and then the next thing you know it turns into a nice like 20-minute brainstorming session with about five people. And then we're helping you craft an email — "No, no. Say this." And somebody would grab your computer. It's like, "Nah, let me do this." We all take a pretty hands-on approach about it.
Joseph Fung: Very often our audience is looking for really great suggestions on how they can scale their sales team most effectively. You're right in the thick of it. Is there any feedback or any suggestions that you have for those to kind of grow your team, keep reps engaged, and keep them learning from each other?
Danny Garcia: One of the biggest suggestions that I've ever had is celebrating your wins, but also dig deep into your losses. As a team, we're very open about the deals that we win. But also the ones that we lose, we're pretty vocal about those as well, and we're not afraid to dig into them, talk about what we may have done wrong, or things that we wished we would have done better, or things that caught us off-guard. “What can I learn from this deal that I can apply to the next one to make sure that it doesn't happen again?” And if it does, shame on me. But, at least if I see it coming again, at least I get that instinct of I've been here before, or I've heard this before. Now I know what I should be saying, or I'm much more prepared for it than ... I'm not going to be caught on my heels.
Joseph Fung: As groups are growing, it's all around talent attraction. You dropped that comment earlier. You've had a ton of offers and a ton of invitations. And if you talk to sales leaders about what motivates reps, often they'll just back to the kind of old platitude that it's all about the money. It's all about the paycheck. But if we reach beyond that and we think about kind of the culture, and the dynamics, and the things that get one excited. You know, you're clearly killing it. You're hitting the right prospect, and you're hitting the cadence. What are the things that motivate a high performing rep like you?
Danny Garcia: Honestly, it sounds kind of cliché, but it's definitely my team. I am extremely motivated by the people I work with. I get thrilled seeing our team perform. When it gets to that crunch time, end of the month, end of the quarter, there is a switch that turns on in the sales team. It's just that kind of eye of the tiger that you see in everybody's face. It's cool to watch. You take a step back and you get to see the team, do what they do best. That is what keeps me coming in the next day and the next day after that. It's that moment. It's that feeling. The thrill of back to back deals coming in — that's just something that you can't replace. To me, it's contagious.
Joseph Fung: We've had some great time. We've heard some great insights. I've got one last question for you before we wrap up.
Joseph Fung: We've learned a bit about your journey, what you're working on. We'd love to hear what's next. What's the next big thing for you, and what are you working on? Where are we going to see you?
Danny Garcia: I'm definitely going to keep at it as a rep. One of the things that I am working on is being much more of a coach mentality. I definitely want to continue my growth in terms of being a leader at the team. Maybe go into sales management. But for now, I'm definitely enjoying the life of an individual contributor and the things that I'm doing right now.
Joseph Fung: That's awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time. You've dropped some amazing recommendations here. And learning a little bit more about your journey as, you know, the guy behind that fantastic email has been a really, really good time. So, thanks for spending the time with us and with our audience. I appreciate it.
Danny Garcia: No, thanks for having me, Joseph. I really enjoyed it. This was great!
Thank you for tuning into this episode of Sales Leaders Spotlight.
You can listen to the episode above, and we’ve also included a transcript below. You can subscribe to Sales Leader Spotlight on iTunes (here) and Google Play, or get the latest episodes delivered to your inbox by subscribing below!
Join us next week when we discuss leveraging sales as a service with Gary Swart from Polaris Partners.