Developing the Revenue Leaders of Tomorrow
Episode 11 -
Robert Peterson, Ph.D.
Dean's Distinguished Professor of Sales, Northern Illinois University
Read Full Transcript
Developing the Revenue Leaders of Tomorrow
What’s changing in sales? Buyers have changed, the business culture has changed, and sales technology is constantly evolving. How do you prepare the revenue leaders of tomorrow? Join Justin Michael as he talks with Robert Peterson, Deans’s Distinguished Professor of Sales at Northern Illinois University to uncover how he’s preparing his students to be successful.
Justin Michael Welcome back to Vendor Neutral and the Neutral Zone. This is the Quantum Leap Podcast. I’m Justin Michael, your intrepid host, doing my best, William Shatner. Today we have Rob Peterson, who is the Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Sales at Northern Illinois University. Welcome to the show. Really excited you’re here.
Robert Peterson Oh, it’s my pleasure. We can talk about sales all day long. I’d be excited.
Justin Michael That’s my favorite subject, Rob. So, yeah, help our listeners understand kind of your background and how you’re interfacing with the wonderful world of sales. It’s a cottage industry, but millions of us are trying to figure it out.
Robert Peterson And the cool thing is, it’s just every day. So, I mean, it’s there was a quote by John Fenton, I don’t remember who John was, but John Fenton said, the sales is the best job you can have with your clothes on. I mean, I don’t know if that’s P.C. for your show here, but I’m like, yeah, it is. Every day is different. Every day is a challenge. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the financial payoff potential. So simple problems get you a simple paycheck, complex problems that are solvable. I mean, that’s where you want to kind of want to be. And so every day is all in for me, unfortunately, you know, for the students who are under my tutelage, they didn’t know what they were going to get when they signed up for my most of my classes. All in all, the time I started one hundred percent. Well, I had started out in print industry in sales in the eighties, and I moved to financial services sales, and I was one hundred percent commission. I was on the phone for that. So I moved around the country and got to live in some great places, and I wound up doing my Ph.D. and studying sales because that’s the place to be. And now I get to teach it. And it’s a great way to spend the day, but what I was teaching 20, I guess it’s been twenty-two years, what I was teaching 20 years ago, not the same today for a host of reasons. Obviously, the buyers have changed. The culture has changed. But certainly, technology is night and day. I mean, students now and I try to get I said, all right, let’s leave a voicemail. It’s like, do you guys leave voicemails? Like no. Do you answer voicemail? Well, yeah. If it’s my parents, they’ll leave a voicemail, and I’ll call them back. Is it because they pay for your phone? Yeah, yeah, I absolutely call them back. But I do an exercise in class. I do a lot of improv. I got a chance to. I’m outside of Chicago, so I got a chance to be down at Second City for a while, for a while studying there, and lots of improv. And so every weekend, classes improv to build the energy, make them stand and deliver on their feet without a script. Actually, listen to the I mean, I go on and on and on. On. You’ve got to listen, adapt, and collaborate, listen, adapt, and collaborate. And guess what? That makes for funny improv if you’re watching the show because you don’t want to just sit and watch people argue, but listen, adapt, and collaborate. It’s the same thing in sales. If you’re not listening, adapting, and collaborating with the customer, you’re toast. And so we do this exercise where I have them leave a voicemail for thirty seconds, and actually, before I kind of lean and smack and get them started, I said, let’s do an easy one. Let’s have fun. Let’s do thirty seconds. You’re going to hear beep. It’s going to be me. And then you got thirty seconds to break up with this person, and they’re having a great time. They’re going to break up with this other person, and then we do another one, and then I finally hit them with the third one. OK, which is what we’re going to be doing that semester. So, we always have, we always have a project or call. We used to make calls for Second City setting up appointments. And now you’re the sales rep going to set an appointment for a corporate compliance thing. They just go crash and burn, and it’s like, oh, so it’s all fun when you’re breaking up with someone, but we, you know, we’ve talked about how to get the attention, how to build a value. They’re not going to call you back, but you’re going to build brand awareness and whatnot. And so after that, after they crash and burn, they’re all ears because then we go more in-depth on how to do it, how to do a voicemail. And they have never realized how hard it is in less than 30 seconds to talk about something to somebody you don’t know and for them to give a darn.
Justin Michael I love that, and that brings us to an interesting topic, right, because the people listening to a podcast, a lot of C-levels, a lot of sales leaders. We’re all trying to figure out how do we have the skills of the future? How do we bulletproof ourselves from this A.I. apocalypse of taking our jobs? Like it’s often said that you can’t study in university all the skills that you may need in five years because the pace of technology so fast, although in sales, I believe there’s some universal evergreen ability. So how are you balancing that? And what’s your advice for helping to train teams stay sales-ready?
Robert Peterson That’s a very poignant question. And if you peel back the onion a little bit, you’re going to go back to a basic human psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy. You’re going to get to things where it doesn’t change. What motivates people. What you know, what how many different sources of information do they have to have in order to make a decision? How do they go about trusting somebody? So that has been part of commerce for thousands. You know, a couple of millennials. Millennium’s not millennials. But the pace has changed, and technology has changed the way we interact with each other and how we verify information, so, you know, for my role, what I get them is when they’re, you know, they’re still going through college. They’ve identified, hey, revenue generation is kind of where I want to want to be, I think. And, you know, there’s not a lot of sales schools out there. There’s just around 50 that have a dedicated sales center. So I think my job and everybody else’s job who’s in that same situation is to embrace the you know, I mean, if you’re going to study medicine, there’s all kinds of wonder drugs and whatnot. But you got to understand the human body first, do your Gray’s Anatomy and whatnot. So for us, I think you use blocking and tackling, talk about resilience, talk about grit, talk about building trust. But then you start to move into, you know, the more and more advanced things is I mean, customers are changing. What’s the method? What’s their buying process? Do they even know what their buying process is, and are they having conflicts within their own purchasing group? How do you how do they want to hear from you? Why would they want to hear from you versus a competitor? So, you know, you start, you know, layering all this stuff on that, you know, all the C-level folks on this on this podcast would understand. But then how do you go about keeping the curiosity, the natural curiosity where they want to keep learning, they want to keep trying, whether they’re 21 with me or they’re 41 as a, you know, a senior sales representative out there?
Justin Michael What is the future of sales? I mean, you get to see the next generation coming in. This is a generation that’s savvy. They’re on TikTok, they’re on Snap and WhatsApp, and all these platforms and things are changing the business environment is changing. Regulation, the government, if you can believe it, is starting to understand digital and starting to regulate that. And there’s new communication mediums. So I guess there’s this push and pull. It feeds in, and it’s like staying current with the technology but also having these classic evergreen themes. We were talking just shortly, like a lot of what’s known in B2B is becoming esoteric, like dusty books, like there’s people that five, ten years ago, it’s the only name you heard. And now this generation has never heard the name. And that’s OK. Actually did a video with a cameo with Lindsay Lohan. A few people said, who’s Lindsay Lohan? So I was like, wow.
Robert Peterson Really? Yeah. Wow.
Justin Michael, But that’s fine with pop culture. But I don’t want it to happen with the canon of Neil Rackham or some of these folks that did multi-million dollar studies in the 90s or the 80s. And there’s still this rich history and tradition of education. I think it is awesome you’re doing this. I know Jason Jordan was telling me he’s pulling these professors together to try to spread this initiative to many schools. It’s 50 now. I thought it was like 16, maybe five, ten years ago.
Robert Peterson Oh, no, that was correct. When I started twenty years ago, there was eight of us. It was mostly Midwest schools, but then it started to germinate. And certainly, Deans love it because they find out that we can talk to business people. Business people will financially support access for students, money for technology, which is it’s so much more important now than ever before that that they started to take root. It’s kind of funny. You can get a degree in accounting for money, and that’s looked upon very well in our society. But sales actually creating the revenue? Well, come on, do you even need a college degree for that? And for some sales jobs, no. But if you’re going to look at an income statement, you’re going to do any of these things that are more complex, than yeah, you need to have a foundation. Not only in sales, but you need to be worldly and understand psychology, finance in order to be effective. But going back to your original question. What’s changing in sales? I think well, certainly the players obviously we all agree that the players, the players continue to evolve and change not only in your markets but technology changes. The global competitiveness changes. I mean, where we were thirty years ago, it’s not where we are today. So, all along that the customer has changed and I think where sales is changing is that it used to be I mean, I’m old enough to have gone out with my roll of quarters and called back to the Home Office to get my messages. And I knew I was in Washington, DC, and I knew in the wintertime what phone booths had a sliding door at the gas station so I wouldn’t freeze my fanny off. So, I mean all that’s changed. The whole fact that I had to look at my Rand McNally map to make sure I know how to get there and sometimes do a quick run on Sunday to make sure. Heck, you turn on Waze. Not, again I’m platform-neutral ways, and you just arrive. There’s so many changes, and I think that we change; we change ourselves as consumers. And so, in the B2B, that has also changed that the idea of the salesforce owning the customer, I think that’s more than change. And we’re not going to play catch up because the buyer is Omni Channel Carnivore. I want to pop in. I want to get it done before I talk to anybody. I want to have a basic understanding of what I need. So they’ll go on your platform, they’ll go on your websites, they’ll consult some friends on LinkedIn who they really trust. So, we’re using multimodalities in order to engage with you as a company, and your salesforce is one of those engagement pieces. So, I think you’re, the pressure for sales and marketing. You’ve done some research on them. Surprise, surprise when sales and marketing get along the dependent variable, the outcome variables, they all pop positive, every single one of them deal, number of deals, deal size, profitability, marketing, everything. So, I think now it behooves anybody who’s running a company that it’s like it’s not for show. It’s not even saying yeah, we’ve got to do better. Your customers are going to find somebody else to do better with because if you’re making it difficult or if you don’t have a seamless buying experience for me, you’re going to be second fiddle to somebody else who’s been willing and able to figure it out. A, What the customer experience, customer journey is, but B, be willing to change internally in order to map to that.
Justin Michael I love that. So, this term, Smarketing, people are trying to trademark this. I got some friends Warren Zenna in New York, and Peter Strohkorb in Sydney, Australia, and they’re working together there’s this chief revenue officer collective. But the whole industry is talking about sales and marketing getting along because there’s account-based marketing and account-based sales, and everything shifted to this laser targeting of personalization. And there’s a debate like how do we get sales and marketing to get along? How do we do ABM and ABS? How much personalization is enough or too much? And so, but the beauty is those are the right questions because we’re we’re not trying to say is spray and pray or Glengarry Glen Ross type thing. So I love it. It’s like the new questions indicate an evolution and revolution. So what’s your advice to those on the phone? It’s a really diverse group of leaders of what you just said, how to get sales and marketing to get along. How do you nail account-based marketing? How do you not get so researched out and personalized that you block productivity because it’s a spectrum? If you go too far in this dimension, you have the reps spending all their time researching, and they’re still in some numbers game. You can’t contact three customers a day unless you’re only working in the Fortune 10.
Robert Peterson Yeah, I think you’re right with the how do you figure out how the balance, where is the balance? And this is kind of goes back to what I was talking about. This is why the listeners get paid the big bucks because if it was simple, anybody can do it. So how do you go about motivating people? That you actually give a paycheck to? How do you go about motivating so that I need a behavior change because our longevity is dependent on it? Certainly, the simple, not simple, but the way that the team needs to look at this just like, look, the customer is king, and we need to figure out a way to make him or her happy. And no one. No, no, none of your customers care that sales rep and the sales manager or the CMO, the CSO, the CRM doesn’t care for any of those. Don’t see eye to eye or don’t have respect. I don’t care. I need, I’m always, all I’m thinking about is myself. So make it easy for me in order to make a purchase decision. So, if you have to rewrite your job descriptions and your compensation model that forces or motivates your people to act in a more coherent manner, then freaking do it. And it’s hard, and the salespeople don’t want, I mean the way they’ve traditionally been the only people that have a variable comp in the world. I mean, this is our domain. But I’ve done a lot of research on sales enablement. And one of the first things that I asked was, well, how do you get evaluated? And you wouldn’t, I can’t name names, but you’d be surprised where a couple of well-known, you know, seasoned people say, I really don’t know. And this is a couple of years ago when I started doing the research. And now it’s a lot. I think it’s a lot better. But I asked him; I said do you see a time when the sales enablement folks would get some type of bonus for the sales team reaching theirs? And they said, well, that would be to me that would make sense. And there was only one company. I asked, what are your KPI’s? So I was talking to the sales enablement director, and he told me, and I was like, well, what does the CRO’s thing? He says, well, he pretty much has the same things that I have, maybe a couple of a couple more. And that was one of the only companies that I’m like, all right, they already did it. They need to have similar capabilities KPI’s and be responsible for those, even though they’re touching different parts of the elephant. So the easiest way is to look at the comp model. And that’s, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s I mean, you want people to believe, who come to work and they actually believe in what they’re doing over the whole point of their career, not just when they’re twenty-two when they’re young and vivacious, and they don’t even know what they don’t know yet. But the more seasoned people, you don’t want to lose their motivation to work with others, even when they’ve had a transgression with somebody from another department or another in another division, it’s not easy. But again, if it was easy, anybody can do it. But looking at more meetings together, I mean, it’s amazing. I’ve seen estimates up to 90 percent, but certainly, above 50, 50 percent of the SKUs that marketing is producing are not used by sales. It’s because they’re made in a vacuum, and for some reason, the marketing people and I was a marketing manager too, the marketing people just throw it, and they hope it sticks. The salespeople don’t know it exists or were consulted, and so they don’t. I’m not going to use that. So it’s like, wow, rocket science. Why don’t you have a rotating committee or a committee or a standing committee or something written in the job description where the sales rep, the sales rep is rotating or whatnot, has to talk to marketing and has to weigh in and is like, oh, and the marketing people have to sit on some sales calls, whether it be they go out when we ever get to face to face, or they’re just sitting on the phone and listening to the pain threshold. If you still have a nice silo, then you’re, you know, then drive your Dad’s Buick because it ain’t gonna happen.
Justin Michael Yea, I had many a Buick growing up, with the backward seats and..one of my first companies I worked for, they were a team that sold their company to Oracle. So they had the, you know, the Steps to Epiphany and these different books, and they basically said that pretty much everything in Silicon Valley is driven by the incentives. If you get the incentives right, you can align the different factors in the company. They truly believe that. I thought about that for over a decade. So your comment makes me think about that a lot. I’ve worked in a lot of early-stage companies where there was a lot of alignment with marketing and even in some of the really large companies like LinkedIn and Salesforce, always having meetings with the marketing team and product marketing. So that’s a great it’s a cultural thing, too. But sellers can learn how to be marketers, and marketers can learn to become sellers. There’s this new realm I’d love to get your thoughts on. It’s revops, revenue operations, and I’m sure you’ll chuckle because it’s probably tale as old as time, we’re always looking for a new name, the same thing that I mean, sales operations now needs to go over this marketing stack and a sales stack and essentially the chief revenue officer or the chief customer officer, someone’s going to say, show me the whole marketing attribution and the waterfall of all the interactions. And then there’s all this tech. I call it the Frankenstack. But there’s, I think in the enterprise, it’s ninety-one vendors are in the marketing stack on average in the Fortune 1000. Can you tell me about revenue operations, where you see that going? Maybe any advice for how sales, marketing, and ops leaders can get a handle on learning about it, doing it effectively because it’s kind of the new buzzword bingo, and you’ve been around the space a long time. So, yeah, I asked these giant questions, but I love getting the viewpoints.
Robert Peterson You know, I agree with you, with the you know, with the bingo, because I was with the Sales Enablement Society just last week at their annual meeting and they were just popping these new things. And a lot of it was driven, and I don’t mind saying this, I think a lot of this is driven by different vendors who need a different space in order to talk about things. So what started as quote sales enablement about a decade ago formally as far as the market space and our vernacular. Scott Santucci writing something for Forrester, but we had sales enablement, and then there’s revenue, and this is all in the course of half a day of people saying stuff, revenue enablement, sales enablement, channel enablement, customer enablement, commercial enablement, go to market enablement and then the sales disablement. I like that one lot. You know, you’re just kind of fragmenting where you’re trying to help customers get to the promised land and however they currently define it and then letting them know because you as a salesperson are thinking about the markets 50 hours a week. The sales, the purchaser might be a few hours a week, or it might be a few, many more, but you should be the expert. You should be offering what they think. I mean, if you mean it goes back to the old saying, and you’re old enough to remember, the whole goal was to make the phone smaller and smaller and smaller so it could fit in your shoe and you wouldn’t even notice it. And then all of a sudden, boom, it’s like, no, we’re thinking about this all wrong. What should the phone be used for? Well, it was well beyond voice. So the whole idea. Yeah, we’re trying to help customers reach the promised land, and their current vision might be accurate, but there’s a lot. There’s probably a place where you can add value and educate them, and allow them to think bigger, and that’s what you’re paid to do as a sales. It’s a sale. So I’m careful to not. I don’t want to poopoo forward progress, but I’m not so sure yet another new name is has captured the essence of. A new name it warrants. When there’s a change, there’s a lot, there’s plenty of change, and certainly, in your world, you’re talking, you’re an expert at technology. So that’s certainly changing but also the way the interaction that are companies interact internally and not only as a seller but also as a buyer. There Is so much going on. Not to throw a cold towel on the terminology, but it’s all going to come back to the similar blocking and tackling. How are you adding value? How are you realizing that it doesn’t take a phone call anymore? It used to be the sales reps were the brokers of all knowledge, well they can get that from the Web. So what’s the role, the new role of the sales rep? It’s well beyond, you know, the traditional, and even well beyond the Mack Hanan’s of the world with his consultative selling, it’s like ahh, that was just a breath of fresh air back in the day. Now it’s just trying to get the customer’s attention like, hey, I do have, you want a sip from the Holy Grail? I have it. I have it. Wow. I’m kind of busy. I don’t have time for that. So I kind of ran right over in front of your question. No, I don’t even remember the back of it, so sorry about that.
Justin Michael No, that’s fine. I think it should just be a school that teaches Mack Hanan, and it would be like Aristotle. You just walk around in nature and like read Mack Hanan, but that’s I know the book because Anthony Innarino loves it. If there’s some classics like this that have become, it almost feels like medieval times where you want to become a sword fighter. So you go find somebody that sold Oracle Hardware in the 90s, and you ask them what’s all going on? Because we’re in an era where the tech stacks have exploded. I mean, I actually talked to a CMO, and I asked him all these questions, and he laughed. He just said, oh, tech stacks, sub-specialization, convergence, like welcome to marketing. Like sales is catching up with marketing. Marketing with Marketo and the marketing clouds and all these vendors figure out we’re going to have these distributed marketing teams and 20 different flavors, an SEO person, a PPC person, an agency for branding, and none of them do the same thing, and they totally get sub-specialization and then go to sales, and you see this sort of homogenized approach. And, you know, you’ve got the sales reps doing some things on the inside, outside. It’s all this overlap and clash and collision, and the systems are all siloed, and they’re trying to figure it out. So we’re on the eve in the twenty twenties of an explosion of sales technology being driven by V.C., by vendors, but I think it’s being driven by this idea that something on the order of 70 percent of what a salesperson does could potentially be automated with technology. And so, how can sellers and sales leaders leverage the technology? How can they buy it? And how can they use it effectively? Because what I’m always trying to do is the human to human. Like more live contacts today, more human to human conversations. Like I want people to be talking to people on Zoom’s not to be sitting in researching, logging in, programming. So how are you working with your students on that and with the industry to leverage the technology but make sure that there’s more selling going on? Because the opposite trend is my work. It’s like, wow, the technology is not enabling us. It’s preventing us from humans. That’s not what we want.
Robert Peterson Totally, totally, you mean you can’t see me at home, but I’m sitting here shaking my head when you were talking. Yep, yep. And there is a difference, and there’s this panacea that everyone just throws the word A.I. and oh, like, well, I mean, this is not a quiz, although I’m a professor. I mean, what’s the difference between A.I. and Machine Learning? And a lot of people couldn’t tell you A from B. Like, OK, we can get to that point but the amount of data that’s available, I mean, this was a panel that I was on three, maybe four years ago where they’re saying, you know, how is this going to help us? It’s like, well, you know, it’s going to be able to listen, and there’s all kinds of Gong, Chorus, and all kinds of stuff like that will listen to our stuff, fill out the CRM. So that gives us, that would give us more time, for more higher value activities as opposed to you taking notes and then typing it into the CRM to find out where you are and where you sit. I mean, so so from a standpoint of a time give back some of these technologies can absolutely do that and I was, just had a conversation about a week or two ago with Byron Matthews who’s the new CRO of Korn Ferry, but he was the CEO of Miller Heiman, and he showed how they are truly based on who you are and your natural learning tendencies. How is it that we can customize, this is how he gets his people on board and up to speed, and especially if something new comes out, how you go about doing that on an individualized basis because they all don’t work, some are visual learners, some are auditory, some are kinetic. I mean, how do you go about having the training? At first, I was like, hey, look; you can’t just have customer constraints. Again, the luxury of being in the marketplace and selling a lot of this knowledge and capabilities. He walked me through, and I was blown away as a college professor like, yeah, I need to, I can’t do it to that level, but I’m like, these people learn differently, and you can easily, if you have the right tech stack then you can easily customize stuff, so they learn and get the same outcome, but they learn in a different manner and how to get it into their brain. Wow. So obviously, the flip side is also true. It’s like, well, how do these buyers process information? And certainly, you know, there’s a bit, and I won’t drop a bunch of names, but they’re pretty good we’ll call it market intelligence and personal intelligence where they can come by and scrape you, put it into their algorithm, and really, really accurately with never having spoken to you just by what’s available publicly. Nail you, how you think, how you communicate, how you process, and that’s your buyer. It’s like would you not want to know that before you pick up the phone on how this person thinks and acts. And I do that with my students, and it’s OK; on day one, I give them this long intro, and then I tell them, all right, what did you hear? What did you learn? And then someone didn’t learn because they tuned out. And so throw a couple of things out like, OK, now your just kicking back to me, things that I said you might have listened to or look on Linkedin. What did you really learn? And only a couple when they start peeling it back. It’s like, well, you were the youngest of three. It’s like yeah, I was the youngest of three boys. What does that mean? They think, and they think it’s like how many of you are the youngest and you got some hands raised. What are you? Oh, they’re spoiled. They’re all spoiled, says the oldest. One of the youngest is like, well, they’re a fighter. It’s like yeah, so that’s, guess what? I’m a professor. I’m a fighter. I like to mix it up. I have no problem. What does that mean to you? Oh, come prepared. Blah, blah, blah. I said so when you approach your customers; you’re not going to give them a questionnaire for all this information. The cool thing, it’s widely available now. And how you quickly ascertain how they make decisions and how they communicate, and do they love a challenge? I love a challenge, but I also understand that some of my students have never lived in an environment where my student-athletes, they are phenomenal. You just kind of, I don’t yell at them. What is that? Why would you say? Why would you turn that in? Come on. And they’re like, all right, I’m on it. But other people. Holy cow, fold like a four dollar bill. I mean, they just that’s not the environment they ever had. So it’s my job to figure out because I’m being paid not just to teach the way I want to teach. I need them to learn in order to improve their future, improve what they’re going to do with their life. So I’m a big believer going back to your original question was, this is going to change. We’re going to have so much data, and we’re all at least right now, we’re going to have so much ethical and moral and legal data that we won’t even know how to use on that. But with technology, then you get things that are, you know, borderline ethical, can you and should you use this information that you either collected or even paid for, it’s probably different pockets.
Justin Michael Look, it’s been a blast. I mean, I’m really grateful for the work you’re doing and shepherding the next generation into, you know, the revenue leaders of tomorrow, getting people excited. I know sales is traditionally the career people fall into. It’s exciting because sales is the engine of the economy, and traditionally, there haven’t been a lot of college programs, but I certainly would have enjoyed going to a school like that. Sounds like a really fun course. And you have just kind of finishing up the podcast here, but I’m actually most curious, and I can almost imagine you’re giving some really cool practical assignment to pass your course. Is it like staging a full sale cycle live cold call? Like what I want to know, I’m sure listeners are like, OK, if we take your course and you’re the challenger, you know the brother.
Robert Peterson Yeah, we’re all in all the time. We’re doing improv, and they’re doing a gatekeeper with me, and they’re using technology. They’re using the voice interaction, and so that randomizes push backs. What is this regarding? We’re already well, we’re happy with what have, I mean, like boom beep, they’re on they got to answer, and that’s recorded and sent to me, and then I give them lots of love back. And like if you talk that fast, they will just hang up on you. They don’t; they don’t care. Or if you or if you, Justin, I swear I tell them I said no one cares about your stuff. I’m sorry. What’s this regarding? Oh, I just wanted to call and talk to Bill about our great solution. Nowhere did I model that in class. No, nothing that I had you read said dump on your stuff in the face of the Bible or the gatekeeper. And yet, when push comes to shove, they rely on scare tactics, behavior, which is to tell you stuff, and that’s why I have to break them of the habit and teach them new habits. So yeah, it’s, um. I get; I love my work. I get every week. I mean, the only downside is that every semester I get an entire new sales force. Imagine that if you had one hundred percent turnover and your sales force twice a year. But the good thing is I get to use my bad jokes and students, but every semester I start from zero, and I know I build them. I have to build up their curiosity, and they’re willing to ask questions and then their willingness to write an answer down. We’ve got a whole generation, GenZ, as you guys probably might have started to see if you’ve hired anyone in the last two years. They are not millennials, who are and they’re not Xers, and they are not boomers, et cetera. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. But again, it’s experiential learning. And you’re right, you and I, I mean, I was hard knocks you learned by the street. And that’s a horrible, horrible launchpad for, all right, let’s go be salespeople. I had one sales management class because I went to a Big Ten University. We were going to be managers, and yet we’ve never sold. Luckily, my alma mater now does have a sales program. And again, there’s been 50 of them across the country that is definitely giving the students more experiential learning, more introduction to companies. I mean, we have etiquette dinners, we have golf outings. We have all kinds of things to get the students ready for, and the socialization is key, and this pandemic is making it really hard because we don’t get face to face. We can’t do an etiquette dinner where we are talking with a fork and spoon or golf and how we have to, you know we don’t even have to be good at golf. We have people who have never golfed. But how do you? You just don’t start talking about business on the first tee or maybe at all. So there’s all kinds of socialization that’s now become a little bit more difficult; in fact, it couldn’t be more difficult. But at the same time, I use Zoom every week for my online classes, and I break out rooms and this and that and certain aspects. It’s much more, I can do much more that I couldn’t do face to face. So you just roll with what you’re given, but the end goal is always the same. I’ve got to turn out people who have more options because they’re better educated and the CSO’s, V.P.’s of sales listening to this, they’ve got to find more happy clients that they can interact with and solve their problems and then get paid, well it sounds simple. As we all know, it’s not, or we wouldn’t be making seven figures like Justin.
Justin Michael I’m doing my best. You’re too kind. I just wanted to go back to school like Rodney Dangerfield. I just want to like go take your program and go back to the Midwest. And it just sounds awesome. You know, I just love what you’re doing. So I hope to participate. And thanks for being on the Vendor Neutral, Neutral Zone Quantum Leap Podcast. Where can people find you online or the websites to interact with you?
Robert Peterson Well, I mean, if you put Robert M Peterson, Ph.D., there’s a lot, it’s a common name, Robert Peterson, but you’ll find me on LinkedIn, certainly at Northern Illinois University. You can find me there. The easiest way is, you know, Peterson@niu.edu if you give me an email, although email can be chunky.
Justin Michael So you don’t have a daughter named Sloan?
Robert Peterson No.
Justin Michael Ferris Bueller reference, Mr. Peterson, so taking it way back to John. I got you in the very end. It’s a real pleasure. I love the 80s. It’s a big theme of my stuff. Everybody go look up Rob Peterson on LinkedIn, and we’ll be connected. I’d love to have you as a guest again. And let’s connect after the show. Thanks, everyone.
Robert Peterson My pleasure.
Justin Michael Cheers.
To get started building your optimum sales technology stack, try our Sales Technology Selector. We’ll provide you with a customized report identifying the sales technology solutions that meet your needs. Already know the category of sales technology you need? Use our Certified Sales Technology profiles to find all the details you need to make a decision about which solution is the best sales technology for your organization.
Interested in hearing more Quantum Leap Podcast Episodes?