How To Talk To Humans with Sean Sheppard and Jon Miller

This post is by GrowthX Academy Mentor Dean Park and was originally posted on LinkedIn.


Listen to the live recording of How to Talk to Humans with Sean Sheppard and Jon Miller:

A leader in long-term strategic revenue planning and execution, Sean Sheppard is a founding partner at GrowthX and GrowthX Academy.

As part of this venture Sean has started up a speaker series called “How To Talk To Humans” where he brings in an industry leader to have an open conversation on what they think is most effective for helping a company grow in today’s extremely competitive environment.

In the last session of this series he brought in Jon Miller, marketing entrepreneur and thought leader. Previously a co-founder at Marketo, he is now CEO and Co-founder of Engagio, an account-based marketing analytics and sales automation software to orchestrate human connections at scale.

I had the pleasure of listening to their conversation and below are a few takeaways I got from listening in:

Email responses will usually perform better if it is sent from someone at the same level or above.

If you’re reaching out to someone that is a VP level, it’s more likely to elicit a response if it’s sent from someone at your company who holds a VP position as well or higher. Same goes for the C-suite. If you’re trying to get the attention of a C-level executive, it would bode well for you to have the email sent from one of your C-level executives. These outreaches will receive a much better response rate than what a typical BDR would get with a similar type of outreach.

The history of marketing is that we get used to spam.

Spam filters began to do a good job of catching spammy emails to help clean up our inboxes. As a result, more attention is now being sought through emails imitating personal outreach, though most are simply robotic outreaches. Robotic outreaches are those emails that can have the name and company switched out while the rest of the content remains completely unchanged. The trend seems to be that we started with mass marketing but now need to move forward with highly personalized outreaches. Jon Miller sees a future where the marketing landscape changes to a much stronger 1-1 relationship focus.

The best sales people are those that are the most paranoid. Click to Tweet

In Jon’s opinion, the kinds of people that make the best sales people are those that are paranoid. Reason being they are always on the lookout for what could go wrong and therefore take proactive measures to prevent them from happening. In sales, he or she who works harder will often perform better.

Even as a lower level employee, you have value you can deliver to your customers/prospects. Deliver that value and empathize to set yourself apart.

Unlike the people you’re speaking to, you have the benefit of working with several companies that work in similarly related fields. Whereas the people you are talking to are limited in their professional knowledge to what’s kept within their company, you have the privilege of gaining insights from multiple players in the space. So long as you’re not giving away any trade secrets, you should feel confident in dealing with your customers/prospects. Empathy is another huge way you can differentiate yourself and add value as a business partner. It’s much easier to gain someone’s business if they can get the sense that you truly care for their betterment and so you need to take the time to really understand the needs and wants of the people you’re dealing with.

Moving forward, more and more information about people will become available. As such machines will make more and more decisions for us in our lives meaning future marketers and salespeople need to recognize this trend and figure out how to sell to these machines.

Whether you like it or not, information about you is compounding every single day. As time goes on, the technology in our lives will better understand our habits and tendencies, possibly even better than we do. Your watch knows when and how often you sleep, your computer knows what your interests are based on your online behavior, thermostats know when you get home from work, etc. Soon your refrigerator will know what you eat and order those items you need to restock for you. Jon can see a future where this information can be used to help subsidize rides from autonomous vehicles by showing ads targeted specifically to the rider. Sean also noted that he expects people in the future to expect companies to better predict their preferences such that products people want are brought to them. They no longer need to go out seeking things for themselves.

Jon and Sean also touched on quite a few other topics throughout their conversation but these are some of what I found to be the key takeaways. If you found these insights valuable, I’d encourage you to subscribe to the GrowthX Academy Newsletter so that you’re notified about future events in the series.