Sales Digitization

Marcus Jewell

Chief Revenue Officer at Juniper Networks

Learning Objectives

Please join the Chief Revenue Officer for Juniper Networks as he discusses digitization & autmoation options within the sales journey.


Key Takeaways:



  • What does Sales Digitization mean?

  • Can you automate sales?

  • What does the profile of successful change look like going forward?


"A message for you guys and girls out there, it's not going to go back to the way that it was."

Marcus Jewell

Chief Revenue Officer at Juniper Networks

Transcript

Britt Erler

Hello, and welcome to the Connect Sales Leadership Virtual Summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent. Thank you so much for joining us. Please welcome our executive speaker Marcus Jewell, Chief Revenue Officer for Juniper Networks as he discusses digitization and automation options within the sales journey. Welcome, Marcus.


Marcus Jewell

Hi, Britt. Good to be here.


Britt Erler

It is a pleasure to have you here as well and thrilled to talk about digitization today as it’s really become prominent within the sales industry. Before we do so, if you wouldn’t mind giving some context around your background and your current role with Juniper.


Marcus Jewell

Sure, yeah. Marcus Jewell, Chief Revenue Officer at Juniper. I run all of the sales and go to market operations. We’re a $5 billion organization, providing network infrastructure solutions to enterprise service provider and cloud. We focus on experience, so our tagline is “giving a better experience”, making better networks as opposed to making networking better, so trying a different paradigm around it. Being in sales my whole life, I started right at the bottom at Xerox a long time ago, worked my way through being a VP, a few different companies, done some IPOs, some startups, some large scale, and here I am enjoying my gig at Juniper.


Britt Erler

Fantastic. I’m sure throughout your experience, you have seen how much sales has changed and evolved, especially last year as we ventured into this new virtual environment. Let’s talk about this new idea of sales digitization, because it’s really become the forefront of the industry and something that a lot of companies are looking into. What does it mean for you?


Marcus Jewell

Great question. There’s no easy definition of sales digitalization, like business digitization means many different things to different people. I’m going to start with what it means to me. What it means is, if relationship selling and if you think sales used to be very much relationship based, is dropping off or it can’t be done because of COVID, what takes the place of a relationship? What tools are out there to augment the sales process? The good news is it still needs human, so unless buying is automated, sales cannot be automated by machine. What we need to do is think about what are the tools that are different out there, the processes that are different, and see how the sales process can evolve to take on digitization. That’s really what it means—using tools to access data in a better way and be more effective.


Britt Erler

Now, you said there that sales still requires people, it can’t all be done by machines. At the end of the day, can you ever automate sales?


Marcus Jewell

No, not in my career, I don’t believe so. Maybe I’ll eat my words if I say never. Unless buying is automated and done digitally—completely digitally—it’d be very hard for sales to. I don’t look at artificial intelligence and sales, I look at augmented intelligence. It’s about giving humans more of a clue of what to do next. A lot of people on this webinar will be familiar with next best action, how to suggest to a rep will happen. When I started 24, 25 years ago, you were given a training book, you went on a three month course, and then you were going to go and speak to people. You didn’t really know what you were doing, now it’s like you got so much information—it’s sifting through that information to help you.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. I think as a lot of companies decide, “Do I want to digitize my sales process?” Their thought is, “Okay, I’m not wanting to just do this because of COVID or this new virtual environment, I also want to make sure that it benefits my company as a whole.” Why would a sales department want to do this ultimately, aside from a national pandemic or global pandemic rather?


Marcus Jewell

Well, think relationship selling—and I’ve done a couple of podcasts on this was dying anyway—it’s a pretty harsh thing to say that it was dying, but people have less time. If you look at the difference between Baby Boomers and Millennials and Gen X of how they want to be treated. I think the difference is that I think in the Baby Boomer community where there’s still some decision makers left, 70, 80% of them need a personal contact, they want to speak to somebody, see somebody, have relationships with somebody, in order to push that sale. If you go down to Gen X and even Gen Z, if you look at that less down to 20, 30%. They’re quite happy to transact over a chat. We do deals on slack. We do deals where we open up a Slack channel for the customer, the whole conversation is Slack. These deals can be a million bucks, 2 million bucks. They don’t need to physically see somebody or even have a zoom interaction or a team’s interaction. I think it’s about understanding your buying cohort and then digitizing where you need to. If you’re selling to a market that are desperate to see you, build those long term relationships, then great, you don’t need to evolve. If your customers are evolving, you have to evolve at least the same speed, if not quicker than they do.


Britt Erler

I completely agree. I think after talking to a lot of sales professionals, every decision they make in that category really is about the customer experience. At the end of the day, what works for them the best. Now, I want to talk about the impact on the sales team, because obviously, this isn’t always an easy or overnight transition. What are some of the positives and negatives that you’ve seen?


Marcus Jewell

Well, let’s start with the negative and we’ll finish with the positive—always the best way to do it in from our coaching backgrounds. On the negative, the negative is we actually need a slightly different personality type in sales to be ultimately successful now. Again, I had the pleasure of starting at Xerox in the good old days of selling photocopies and print days, and it was very much relationship based. It was the days where you would build up that rapport with your local community. You’ll be out there. You’ll be a man that was known around your patch, and you will be doing that good kind of social interaction and those kinds of things. Those skills were like, predominant, you almost have the people that were outgoing, gregarious, fun loving, they were very important attributes to be in sales. Not saying you don’t need those anymore, but now you need to be incredibly analytical.


Marcus Jewell

You need to be digitally native. You have to be able to leverage social media and understand social media as a set of algorithms. You’re not trying to beat somebody else for attention, you’re trying to beat an algorithm. There are ways that you do that by engaging with conversations, with thought leadership, with those kind of things. You also have to be incredibly digitally minded to sift through information. All the information you ever need is out there to be successful in a customer—the contact data, what they’re interested in personally, their social media profiles, some of the things that companies talk about. Think 20 years ago, all you had was a website and maybe a 10k to look at and go, “What’s the company’s drivers?” Now, people are posting all the time about culture, and linking to those things. You need to be a bit of a chameleon, you need to be able to adapt very quickly.


Marcus Jewell

The final thing, the third strike I say is to be creative. You never used to have to be that creative. You have to be good at what you did [inaudible], presenting yourself well, knowing your product or your solution. Now, you have to create insight, and it’s about customer value in the customer’s words, not your words. I always say awesome companies talk about how they help customers, not what they do. Not what they make, but what they enable their customers to do. That’s really been, I think, the forefront of digitization—those three segments.


Britt Erler

I completely agree with you. I also think one of the issues a lot of executives run into is, “Once I’ve made this decision to train my team up and to digitize the sales journey, will they be able to handle it? Will the response get good feedback from the team?” What has been kind of your overall experience with that?


Marcus Jewell

A very wise man said to me, “You can’t hope to run a 21st century organization if you don’t use 21st century tools yourself.” It’s very embarrassing when you see people of my level and other CEOs and Senior Vice Presidents of companies that refuse to engage in the right platforms, refuse to understand some of the techniques that people need to go through and just wish that the world would go back to the way that it was. A message for you guys and girls out there, it’s not going to go back to the way that it was. It just is not, so you got to get with it and modernize yourself as painful as it will be. You got to get over that embarrassment. On LinkedIn, you have to make comments on whatever platform you’re using to show a bit more of yourself. Some of us of the older generation are maybe not as comfortable with that as we should be, but you got to get over it because it’s the way that people want to communicate and feel a part of something these days.


Marcus Jewell

The other thing is you’ve got to constantly check in. Coaching is now more important than ever. There is a difference between enablement and training. Training is the passing over of data, enablement is making sure they can use that skill that data and knowledge to be more impactful. We’re big into making and checking in with people on a much more consistent basis about how they’re developing and going through that.


Britt Erler

I think it’s really interesting when everything went virtual last year. Obviously, there were companies that were more prepared and some that weren’t at all, and you realize how many, especially in sales departments, are still living in this stone age. You see it now too, a lot of people are hoping it goes back to the way it used to, be but this new world we’re living in, as you said, the Millennials, the Gen Zs, these customers are wanting more and more virtual ease of use options—everything online. That’s how I shop now too, so it completely makes sense to me. It makes sense. We need to constantly evolve and never expect that once we’ve implemented a new strategy. That’s it, we’re done, right? You’re constantly learning, constantly checking in with your team to make sure they’re up to date on the newest processes in place.


Marcus Jewell

You got to be pretty brutal. Let’s be honest, if somebody isn’t being be successful, you need to look at yourself, you need to look at what you’re doing as a leader, not necessarily that person hasn’t got the right attributes and try and get to that root cause. You can’t keep burning up resources. It’s brutal out there. The rush for talent in internal sales now is absolutely huge. The value of these people are going up and up and up because everyone’s an internal seller at the moment. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the end of your career or start of your career, you need to have those skills and those assets. They’ll stand you in good stead because the world will go back to some kind of relationship setting. Let’s be honest, we all want to meet up for a drink and see our customers, engage, and do these things, but there’ll be a balance. That new balance, I think these skills are going to be very useful for everybody going forward.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. Once you decide you’re going to do this for your team, you understand the people on your team, the skill sets that they have, how do you decide which digital tools are going to be best to support that team and also be the most efficient for the different customer types that you have?


Marcus Jewell

I wish I could answer that easily. The first thing you have to do is you have to change your process. First of all, identify where your problem statement is, what are you trying to do, what does digitization mean to you, and write it down. Once you’ve written it down, think about it, socialize it, ask others, as many experts in the market—I rely on lots of different consultants to help me—and then, think about your tools afterwards. Unless you change your process of how you’re going to go about things, the tool won’t do anything, the tool will make it even more complicated.


Marcus Jewell

My strategy for tools is I throw everything at it. I look at anything. I look at anything and everything. I try it. I do a quick PAC. Does it work? Does it not work? Yes. No. The challenge is out there. All the CEOs and VP sellers on here, Sales Managers on here, you’re innovating with this next cool tool. We’re going to revolutionize, we just raised 80 million in series A, and a lot of them are rubbish. It’s impossible that they can automate your forecasting process, no, you can’t automate a forecasting process. Automate your training, no, you can’t, you can augment. You can’t automate anything in sales, you can augment things. Go in with a clear idea, be prepared to try things. There’s some amazing companies out there, but there’s also some complete—I was gonna swear them away—complete rubbish. You’ve just got to try it and use it yourself. If it’s not intuitive to you, it’s not going to be used by your SDR or your VSCs or Account Reps. If it doesn’t add value and if you don’t buy into it, don’t go along with the ship. Just just try it yourself, and if you like it, use it. That’s my advice.


Britt Erler

I think it’s so tough because you see all these new technologies with all the bells and whistles, and it looks so beautiful in the beginning. A lot of times these companies spend so much money to take this new program on and realize it doesn’t fit the needs of their company and what they need to move forward. I think that’s incredible advice. I want to ask about the framework that you’ve put in for your digital sales process. Did you start from scratch on this or was this something that you kind of took that you saw what other companies did well? You mentioned you had consultants as well, too.


Marcus Jewell

We could see the writing on the wall. We’re in a relatively—I wouldn’t say legacy part of the IT market—but networking has been around a long time. We knew something had to change in the way that we going about it with very, very expensive, let’s be honest, expensive sales reps covering the market from top to bottom. You look at the affordability of that going forward, and you go, “That doesn’t really make sense.” If we’re going to move to an outcome based solution, where my sales strategies moving from very, very heavy technical interfacing to the customer, and thinking more about outcomes, then I can probably simplify the sales process, reduce the reliance on technical resources, and actually be more efficient. That lends itself towards internal selling.


Marcus Jewell

Pre COVID, we’re building up a massive part of our sales. We’re trying to push 20% of our sales through the internal sales desk. I’m pleased to say that we’ve achieved that. Actually going forward, I’ve set some pretty pretty big goals. I won’t declare them now in the public companies I’ve got and I’ll declare those now, I’ll probably get called out on that. We got some big goals to improve and prove that even further. The framework was at a very basic level, how much selling do I want to do in a different motion than I have today? What do I need to do to do that? That’s really the framework that we adapted.


Marcus Jewell

I did work with some consultants, so I’ll give a shout out to both BCG who did some great work and Garner. I’m very impressed with what Gartner are doing, and I advise people to look at what they’re doing in their [inaudible], so they owe me some money now for plugging in both of those guys. I spoke to peers as well. There’s a few companies out there that I always like the way they did business, like the culture and like how outdoor they were with some of the places, so I made myself pretty available to speak to anyone was a senior leader in sales. I kinda was just, “Hey, how’d you do it? How do you think about this?” and found another way.


Marcus Jewell

To be honest, no one’s got the roadmap here. No one. Anyone that says they’ve got this down pat, they haven’t. Most companies like us are just starting this journey of this transformation, the digital, and a lot more. The good news is just be confident and go do it yourself, and you will probably be ahead of the pack before you know it.


Britt Erler

I completely agree with you. At least getting advice, you’re not going to completely blind to the scenario, You kind of seen it on different ends and kind of see what companies that match your profile are doing the same. Into finalizing kind of wrap up this conversation here without giving away too many of your trade secrets, for a successful change, what does that profile look like for you going forward?


Marcus Jewell

The first is, if you study change in a psychological term, it runs like a curve. You basically get, first of all, you get curiosity, then you get denial, and then you slowly get acceptance. The key is make sure that you map your processes to understand where people are. There’s some very simple questions you can ask from your people to know what part of that change cycle are on. You can only push as fast as that change cycle will let you.


Marcus Jewell

The good news is it comes back to good old fashioned salesmanship and understanding people of how fast you can move your chains forward in your strategy. What I would do is, make sure you have a constant check in. We set up what we call “listening posts”, where we reach out to individual contributors around the world and just check in with them on a regular basis going, “Hey, is this the right pace?” We move in too quick, do you understand why we’re doing this? You have to be ready for some pretty brutal feedback about we just don’t get it, we’re not engagement online—that was really helpful for us. We had these working committees across the business.


Marcus Jewell

The second thing is be relentless, and just get people used to constant change. I hate that saying “the only the only constant has changed,” but it’s true. Just get people to go. Once you’ve achieved this, what happens? There’s another mountain to climb, there’s another transition to do. Getting that mindset and culture ready for that, and making change exciting, not feared, is what we did.


Marcus Jewell

The final thing is reward people for risk. You have to, in the current climate, reward people for risk. The first time, in my sales career, I started paying people on activity not only result, and I never thought I would do that as a kind of meat eating sales lead. I thought I’d never do that but it felt right. If you do the right things, we don’t know the outcome of this, you’re going to take the risk with us, we’re going to reward you if you take the risk. We pay on activity meeting set, those kinds of things.


Marcus Jewell

Finally, sorry, very long answer, but it’s a topic of mine, was micro incentive. We use micro incentive a lot about holding people out there and going, “Hey, look, if you do the right actions or the next best action, which is a big part of digitized selling, we’ll reward you with points.” Those points at the end of the quarter can end up to drinks, parties, iPads, you know, and bigger prizes. We also put them in a leaderboard, so it’s not only their monetary value, but it’s the fact that they’re competing and get their name mentioned they can see themselves in leaderboards. Micro incentive was a great concept as well, that we really liked.


Britt Erler

I love that. It kind of creates that social atmosphere a little bit too, that you don’t always get with the virtual environment. I think that’s an incredible idea. Final question for you here, and then I’ll let you go. I know you’ve got a busy schedule. Final pieces of advice for other leaders that are in a similar role as yourself and are just trying to take it day by day to make sure that they’re moving their company in the right direction.


Marcus Jewell

Take as much advice as you can and try and give as little as you can. I’m going to be a bit kind of humble on this is that I don’t think many leaders need advice from me. The only thing I say is just be prepared to go. Okay, what do I need to unlearn before I can learn something new? That’s kind of the approach that I think, especially the senior leaders. As soon as you get to about I don’t know what the ages, maybe 30, you start thinking you know it, just challenge yourself a little bit and go “Actually, what can I learn from somebody else? What can I learn from another industry?” I think that’s the only advice that I would give. The other thing is, just enjoy it. Enjoy the journey because it’s gonna be a rocket ship, a transformation in our market, in my market and in most markets. I think there’s gonna be winners and losers, just make sure you’re on the side of winning.


Britt Erler

I completely agree. Fantastic advice. I think this is really helpful for departments that are just picked starting this digital transformation journey for sales and also for departments that are kind of halfway through and are like, “Okay, where do I go from here?”


Britt Erler

Marcus, thank you so much for being a part of this. It’s been an absolute pleasure. You’ve provided incredible insights. Thank you to everyone who has joined us today as well. I’m sure you will have further questions for Marcus—not to worry—we will have a discussion forum underneath this presentation. Please be safe, be healthy, and enjoy the rest of the Connect Sales Leadership Virtual Summit.


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