SalesTechStar Interview with David von Rothenburg, VP Sales and Alliances at Pitcher
What are the two most crucial aspects that can determine how well sales teams can draw ROI from new salestech? Catch some of these insights from this recent chat with David von Rothenburg, VP Sales and Alliances at Pitcher where we address this and more:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat David, tell us about yourself and more about your role at Pitcher…what inspires you about being in Sales?
Thanks for having me. At Pitcher, I am responsible for growing our revenue footprint and ensuring that our overall sales performance meets (or really exceeds) our targets. I joined a little over two years ago because Pitcher’s platform for sales engagement aligns perfectly with what I value as a seller – effectiveness and proven value.
That’s what inspires me – listening and learning about a customer’s or prospect’s pain points and being able to demonstrate – quickly and adequately – that we can solve that issue. It’s really about developing teams to function as partners in the trust sense of the word. It’s rewarding for both sides.
Take us through some of the core global sales/expansion frameworks and strategies that you often rely on and the salestech that helps you power all of it?
Especially as buyers’ groups have evolved and their needs have changed, I find that the most effective approaches are those that lead with listening. An approach needs to, as a fundamental first step, understand the buyer and work from there.
Solution selling is gaining popularity in response, and the days of just spouting product features and signing sales are over. At the same time, this customer-centric approach has to be optimized to scale effectively – there are only so many hours in a sales rep’s day.
A data-driven approach is what we’ve found to be most successful. Optimizing data means mining your CRM, customer engagement channels, web analytics, sales enablement tools, and any content management systems you’re using, then leveraging that data for insights about your sales funnel.
On the macro side, data can show how you’re doing with market share and whether your team will hit quote, but more importantly, data can help you discern who your ideal customer profiles should be, when and which offers to promote, what are the best performing assets, and trends around the behaviors of your top sellers.
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As B2B sales evolves and sales teams redefine how they intend to conduct everything in the typical prospecting cycle from outreach to cold calling: what are some of the core elements in sales that you feel should always remain and those that modern day sellers should focus on including as part of their processes more now than before?
Like any sales leader, I’m well aware of the studies that show how popular self-service in B2B sales has become. That underscores what I think is the core of any sales interaction – a core that’s even more important given that there’s less and less face time (digital or in-person) between reps and customers. It’s about delivering the right information, at the right time, in the channel of choice so that customers can see for themselves how you can solve their problem.
That used to be a finely-tuned skill that improved over decades of experience. While “people skills” will always have an important role, sales departments are increasingly relying on technology to equip sellers with personalized, tailored information. It’s a blend of what I mentioned earlier, that kind of optimization where you’re enlisting massive amounts of data that can be distilled into specific, personalized content in each unique situation. So people skills aren’t going away, but smart organizations are supercharging them by transferring the administrative burden of content selection and production to technology.
Take us through some of the biggest sales faux pas you’ve seen even larger teams at leading brands make and what you’d share as solutions to these challenges/common mistakes?
The biggest mistakes organizations make is assuming that new or more tools means more effective selling. Anybody who has been in sales knows that even the best CRM systems have alarmingly low entry rates because too often, data entry is just presented as one more task for the seller to complete. Organizations don’t communicate how that data entry can benefit the rep in the long run, so sellers see it as pointless and arbitrary.
The same goes for a lot of sales technologies. They can promise all the bells and whistles, but at the end of the day, sales representatives that don’t see instant value, or don’t understand how it’s going to help them sell, will find workarounds or contribute the least amount of effort required of them.
The solution is two parts.
First, any decision maker needs to understand what a sales rep’s day looks like. That’s what we did at Pitcher – we literally analyzed the activities of sales representatives to get an acute understanding of what they needed and how it would benefit them. And we did it in all of our target industries because selling to a manufacturing conglomerate looks very different from selling to a financial services firm. So that’s the first part.
The second part is training. Time is valuable, but if you don’t invest time in training your sales teams on how to maximize new technologies and processes –and communicating how it benefits them– then people simply won’t use it.
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What according to you will be the few top dominating trends in B2B sales in 2023?
Content automation and ROI – given how huge the investment is in content, I think we’ll see the development of more formal processes for evaluating its impact on the bottom line.
I also think we’ll see different ways of measuring sales effectiveness. For too long, sales organizations have privileged efficiency over everything, but as buyer groups become more distributed, speed and fluency in sales doesn’t have as much impact.
A few thoughts on the future of salestech – how you feel this segment will shape up to look over the years?
I really don’t think we’ve seen the full fallout of how buyers’ preferences for digital channels has changed the entire sales process.
Technology, content, training, coaching, data analysis – all of these are impacted by this shift, and sales organizations that try to shoehorn existing processes will find out the hard way that it’s not enough.
Engagement is still the constant of any sales process, but the approaches, tools, and processes for boosting engagement are constantly evolving.
Pitcher is a leading end-to-end sales enablement and engagement platform that empowers your customer-facing teams to fully engage your customers and prospects.
David von Rothenburg is the Vice President of Sales and Alliances at Pitcher. David has decades of experience in developing successful sales strategies and team management. David has a relentless focus on added value for customers and the value technology can bring to their processes and teams. Prior to Pitcher, David served as Enterprise Sales Director (DACH) at Showpad, Senior Regional Sales Director (EMEA) at ProQuest, and in a number of sales leadership roles at Wolters Kluwer Health.
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