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Jan. 14, 2022

93: Ty Flippin, VP of Sales at DecisionLink, shares the impact of value selling

 A conversation with Ty Flippin on selling value and other tips and tricks to help you drive larger deals and faster sales cycles. If you want to hear more, then this show is for you. 

  • People don't care about your technology; they care about what it can do for them
  • You have to simplify key business objectives
  • Having a qualified champion means you keep selling even if you’re not in the room
  • Why knowing at least 40% of your quadrant, but not 100% can open a conversation

Decisionlink provides a scalable solution to help you keep selling when you’re not there. Looking for a new opportunity? They are hiring. Connect with Ty on LinkedIn or go their website for more information.

If you are a sales leader at a startup, or you're in the sales team, and you're searching for your repeatable scalable sales process, then please get in touch with me at andrew@unstoppable.do or you can also go to my site at www.unstoppable.do.

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[00:00:00] Ty: welcome 

[00:00:11] Andrew: to the sales Bluebird podcast, where we believe that it's just plain wrong that sales teams at startups don't get the help to succeed like sales teams that they're bigger and more well-known competitors do. If you're a seller or a sales leader at a B2B startup, especially if it's in the cybersecurity area, you're in the right place to. 

[00:00:33] I am your host, Andrew Monahan, and welcome to episode 93 of the podcast. And today's guest is Ty Flippin who is the VP of sales and the head of value cloud ignite at decision link, Ty, welcome to the podcast.

[00:00:49] Ty: Thank you, Andrew. great to be here 

[00:00:52] Andrew: Yeah, I'm looking forward to the discussion today. It's going to be a little bit different to usual, I think. But it's going to be super valuable given what a lot of the sales teams that I work with, and I know out there are thinking about, and in terms of how they sell. 

[00:01:04] Firstly, a couple of admin to get out of the way. Those that are longtime listeners will recognize. It's a slightly different name for the podcast. Now, like for the last year or two, I was calling it the bite-sized sales podcast. It's frankly evolved a little bit and I don't think that's necessarily the best name for it right now. So I've actually combined a couple of brands that some of my content was going out and I've called it the sales Bluebird podcast.

[00:01:28] It makes things a lot simple for me, as simple. Guy from Scotland, that's always a good thing. Any way who doesn't want to get a Bluebird in their inbox or in their podcast player every week. So I felt that the sales, Bluebird brand was going to be a good one to use. 

[00:01:42] Quick sponsor readout. My business is unstoppable.do So if you're a sales leader at a startup, or you're in the sales team and you're in that mode of searching for your repeatable scalable sales process, you're looking for your star to use cases. You're figuring out where do we go early, in our development to win customers, what are the killer discovery, questions and process that really works for us and what we're trying to do. How do we differentiate usually against bigger and more established competitors? All these things are top of mind. And if you wish you had a partner to help you keep everything on track, give you the structure best practices, review calls with you, recommend better ways to do things and tweak things along the way.

[00:02:29] That's where Unstoppable comes in. I partnered with a small number of sales teams at cybersecurity startups alone to help deliver a scalable and repeatable sales process faster than if they did it themselves. And the main business frankly, is helping with the full sales messaging and value oriented to discovery early in the sales cycle is where I spend a lot of time.

[00:02:51] And you can find out more at unstoppable.do or email me directly at andrew@unstoppable.do  

[00:03:01] So Ty uh, looking at your LinkedIn profile, let's start from the bottom up quickly. And tell me if I'm getting this right along the way. So your starting point actually in work life was on the technical side. You had technical roles, analyst, programmer type roles at companies like CS stars, USSA Plains, cotton, and like that places like that, you then after four years of doing that I thought I want to get more into the vendor side and I wanted to get into more of the sales side and it looks like you were a pre-sales, se type person at mercury interactive for awhile. Is that right? 

[00:03:42] Ty: Yeah, that's correct. Actually I had a rep at mercury that was buying the mercury technology from when I was on the tech side. And she called me up and said, Hey, we're hiring SES. And I said, I don't know what that is. And she explained it. And the rest is history. That was probably the most fortuitous conversation that I've had in my career that really pivoted and took me in the direction I've gone 

[00:04:03] Andrew: That's awesome. I had the same situation where I was the sales rep for someone working with the deputy CSO at an organization. And we brought him over as an se and now he's actually gone leaps and bounds like you have and done pretty amazing things in the industry. So it's always cool when people make that change, that switch over. 

[00:04:19] You did the se gig for six years. Is that right?

[00:04:22] Ty: That's correct. Yeah. Through the end of mercury, I was an se 

[00:04:25] Andrew: And then ER, mercury got acquired by HP. And, you decided that HP was somewhere to hang around for awhile. You spend three years there. Was that also in pre-sales or were you at that point carrying a bag? 

[00:04:36] Ty: Yeah, pivot at that point into a sales role. it was a sales overlay role specializing in some of the mercury products inside of the HP software portfolio, as we moved into HP, the advantage of being an acquired company in those days. And I know things have all over time, but in 2006, 2007, what I had was a mercury comp plan and an HP business card. And that was a powerful way to go make money in the industry. Right. So. Uh, took advantage of that for a while. As I knew it wouldn't stay at HP long-term. I liked the smaller companies.

[00:05:06] I like the startup mentality and the hyper-growth thing, but, I found an opportunity to do well and establish myself on the sales side of the house while, waiting to see where I might go next from a smaller company perspective. It was great experience. And I learn a lot in those few. 

[00:05:23] Andrew: Yeah, I bet. And then three years after the acquisition, you said time to move on and you went to X matters. I'm not familiar with X matters. Tell me about what they do. What's their. 

[00:05:34] Ty: So X matters. When I originally joined the company was, uh, was a company that would make the phone ring when something went wrong, operationally. We were a paging tool at that point in time, we became a workflow and incident management, platform over the time that I was there.

[00:05:49] So I entered the company as a direct seller. in 2009 and I had had a great sales career there and then moved up and around the several different roles there over the 10 or 11 years that I was at X matter. So the last place I was there was running north American sales, but I had, I did a stint in Australia. I did a stint in business development. Um, and so had the opportunity to be a part of the executive leadership team at the end. Uh, the final four or five years that I was with the company. So it's really where my career grew up. 

[00:06:18] Andrew: I was going to say, that's the way it looks like, right? You, 10 years started off as a sentence, like an individual contributor ended up running, running sales for, was it the whole company or was it north America?

[00:06:28] Ty: I was running north America. I ran the Australian region, uh, when I lived overseas, came back to the U S and ran business development for a couple of years and then moved back over and ended up running north American sales, for our head of worldwide sales. So I do a good friend now.

[00:06:43] Andrew: That's great. What a progress you've made there really seems to accelerate your career. So yeah, 10 and a half, 11 years there. And then you went to VR, Mer, now VR market, I tell you I've been in cybersecurity now for 20 plus years. It's one of these companies that I know the name. I think I know that they're in the application security space somehow, but beyond that, I probably couldn't tell you what they do. Do you want to fill in the gap? 

[00:07:09] Ty: You bet the great company. They are in a space, they call application relationship mapping or management. And so we were building CMDB back in the early two thousands and it was all done through discovery technology. They're using a discovery technology based off of network traffic to build up, to keep time application maps in place so that you can secure the application perimeter. You know, now that application. In the cloud and multi-cloud environments, plus sometimes back on-premise data centers as well. It's not as simple as putting up a firewall anymore. And so the technology was built to build a perimeter, a security perimeter around applications, and keep that up to date as applications evolve and change and integrate across those, those different environments that exist in the world today.

[00:07:53] Got it. Yeah. I imagine with the explosion and the indications and where they're all going, that's pretty valid, right? 

[00:07:59] Absolutely.  Absolutely. 

[00:08:00] Andrew: And you were there for 14 months, uh, running. America's the whole America's business that looks like. Um, and then you move to decision link. And this was a summer of this year where you're now the VP of sales. And again, I'll put it to you that, uh, so way back in McAfee days when I was there, we used decision link. Um, some aspects of how we did our value selling. I'm sure in the 10 plus years, since I left the, you know, what this isn't link does is evolved over time. Do you want to give us a quick rundown of what the value prop is for decisioning?

[00:08:35] Ty: You bet. You know, decision link was a, it was a company I've known one of the co-founders for 15 years. I worked for him at mercury and, and also, uh, one of our key investors at our series, a level of board member. These were guys that I worked for back in the day of mercury guys, Joe Sexton, and Jim Berry hill and people that I've had great respect for and kept in touch with over the years.

[00:08:55] And when the opportunity presented itself to join this company, what I was really  thinking about is decisions. Purpose in life is to kind of democratize the value. And I had been using value throughout my entire career. 

[00:09:09] Joe Jim taught me how to sell value ahead of business outcomes, ahead of technical features, even when I was in my se days at mercury. And so that was my secret weapon. I didn't even realize it was a secret weapon. Franklin. Uh, cause I just thought how you sold. And then as I grew into a sales career and started leading sales teams, I've found that so many people don't understand how to sell based on business value business outcomes.

[00:09:32] And that's what really drove me to decision link. But what we do is we've got a platform that makes it simple and easy. For a seller to create a business outcome focused, uh, business case, a beautiful asset with a proposal that empowers your champion to sell for you based on a business outcome when you're not in the room with them. The whole idea behind sales is to build a strong champion around the strong business case. The an economic buyer we'll, pick up on Ron. You hear the men big terminology in my words there, but if we can empower our champions to sell for us, when, when we're not there, that's really what I'm after in my role here with decision link and that's what our platform helps sellers to do at scale, without having to engage.

[00:10:18] Uh, resources that are hard to get ahold of, you know, sometimes you've got a value engineering team in your organization, but they can only cover a certain level of the deals that are out there. You, you saw that in McAfee. Uh, and that was, that was really what drove decision link to create the scalable technology that we have.

[00:10:34] Andrew: Yeah. I remember selling, when I was carrying a bag a long time ago, I would make up my own, uh, ROI calculators I probably thought they were great, but they were, you know, pretty lame and didn't stand up to too much scrutiny from the prospect. And I always felt like there had to be more than that, that would actually stand up to scrutiny and be useful for both the prospect and also for me. And. That's where this link has got to. Is that fair? 

[00:11:02] Ty: That's absolutely fair. And it's not just in the sales cycle. It's in the success world as well. One thing that none of us have done a great job of as vendors is, you know, measuring value loans. And that's become a really important part of how, especially SAS businesses run, and so measuring and proving value after the sale is also critical and upstream from that, starting the conversation based on a business objective and a business outcome. Is equally important. And when you have that, you create this lifecycle that is focused around a conversation on a business outcome and value, as opposed to the technical features that you provide. And one of the things that Joe said early on, and I captured that when I was very young was know, people don't care about your technology that was confronting to the technologist.

[00:11:50] Right. I spent my early days in IT.. I loved technology. I could write code. Well, I could copy code and modify it. I don't know that I could really write it very well. It's probably one, a lot of sales, but you know, if people went to confront the idea that people don't care about your technology, they care about what it can do for them. That is, is a pivot point in your mindset that can, can really help you drive larger deals, faster sales cycles, all the things that we're looking for in a Salesforce. 

[00:12:18] Andrew: So when you made that change, then, uh, for mercury through HP, from being the se to being the salesperson, you did well at the gate. And I gotta tell you, I I've seen a lot of pre-sales people try and make that transition and fail. So I'm wondering, you know, as you were addressing and really embracing value selling as opposed. Trying to be the se, as you were previously, how did that work for you? How did you manage to do that and be so successful. 

[00:12:50] Ty: You know, I think the first thing I'll say is, uh, wouldn't say it was a smooth transition, right? I mean, to be completely fair, right. It took a minute. And the first thing I had to learn was that I didn't, I could no longer be the se I couldn't, even if I knew the answer to the technical question, I needed to shut up and let the se answer the question. We have roles to play. And as I learned how to play the role, then what I did was embrace what I. No, which is, you know, building business case focus on that. Use, use my technical counterparts to prove the value of the technology, as opposed to just proving the technology. And if I go all the way back to the beginning in 2001, uh, when I was an se, the first business case that I wrote was working under Joe and a sales rep, and I. Got a spreadsheet. And we started doing all this math and you know, my wife has a math degree. I have a business degree. Okay. Just so we know who the smart person in my household is. And you know, one of the things that we got to where we couldn't do some of the math, we were, we were trying to make it too complicated.

[00:13:49] I had to call my wife and say, Hey, how do I do this equation? And we were looking at it. At that point. And so from that point forward, by the way we won that deal, it was a great deal. But as I moved into sales, what I started learning was you have to simplify the business case. I could create a beautiful spreadsheet and make flowing graphs and charts, but the problem was my buyers. Weren't financial analysts. And so, you know, the more complex they were, the more they pushed away from those business cases. As I started to simplify around really key business objectives, instead of features having value, but actual business objectives that have outcomes based on the whole platform of whatever I was selling.

[00:14:30] That's when I started to really succeed in a sales role. And I did that at HP. And of course at X matters as well, but it was outcome-based selling it. Wasn't. Check out my features and functions. This will save you 20 minutes per time. You do this type of selling. It was, you have an objective to grow your business by 20% next year. And if I give you this much back of what you're doing today, then you will be able to, to grow the business. I'll give you 3% of that 20% that you're looking to grow, and that became the conversation. And that conversation plays three levels higher than a technology conversation place in any company yourself.

[00:15:07] Andrew: I was going to say, I mean, that, that is, uh, that is an executive level conversation, not where most of the sales cycle happens, which is lower down. How does the seller help that person Laura done keep on track with the bigger goal, as opposed to what they tend to do, which is get stuck into features and whether your blue widget is quite as good as someone else's blue widget.

[00:15:28] Ty: This gets into champion qualifying, right. And again, you're hearing me talk about pick, I w I just believe in it, but, qualifying a champion and making sure a champion is the right person to carry you forward. I get into a little bit of basic human psychology. I want to understand from a champion. What are your career objectives? What are you trying to get out of this person? So there's, what's the business going to get out of this project that we're working on? What are you personally gonna get out of this project? And I will sit down as a sales rep. I would sit down and say, Hey, look, I think if you can present this in this way and speak at a higher level, you're going to get promoted. I'm here to help your business succeed. And I'm here to get you promoted because I want you to be my economic buyer someday. Right. So I want to invest in your career as much as you're investing in my solutions. And so I would just have that conversation with those people as I was building champions. And you find someone who's really interested in knowing that, and they can they'll embrace a learning, something from you while they're trying to accomplish their own objectives. And that's the most powerful kind of champion you can have because then they want to have that conversation at a higher level.

[00:16:34] When they realize that they can go have that conversation, they don't need you in the room anymore. That means you're selling is happening, even when you're not in the room. You know, most of my big customers always had a badge to carry around, walk into the building, go anywhere I wanted to. And that was useful to me, but I wasn't there every day.

[00:16:53] And my champion was, and when you start to realize that that was really what drove my sales success was when I really started pushing on my champion, being empowered to sell and trusting my champion to sell for me. 

[00:17:06] Andrew: How easily would that person change that mindset from features and benefits up to outcomes and be comfortable doing it?

[00:17:16] Ty: The answer to that's all over the map as you probably would expect. But, for those that didn't embrace it, they required a heavier lift to get the deal done. Right. And, and so when you start strategizing how you run your franchise as a sales rep, for those champions that get it, and that want to embrace the ideas that you're talking to them about, you start to trust them. And you have to then invest more time with those that don't get it because in those environments, you've got to use your manager or somebody else to ladder up and have that conversation that otherwise isn't going to happen. A lot of times that would happen. We wouldn't want to get stuck in a feature function discussion. I would align them to my se and I would kind of pull away just a little. So that they wouldn't be too upset when I called their boss and start to build my way up to have the business conversation. It had to happen because the deal is never going to happen at the size and timeline you want. If you're talking features and functions.

[00:18:11] Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. One of the things you said earlier, just there reminded me of something I was talking about with a client last year, which was that , it's interesting how it's called a business justification or an ROI justification. It's not a business decision or an ROI decision. And when you were talking about understanding your champion. Their goals and objectives, to me, people buy with emotion and justify with logic. Is that kind of where you were getting at there?

[00:18:41] Ty: Yeah, I think that's a really good assessment. You know, we've, we've gotten pretty scientific with sales, but there is still a simple truth that people do buy for emotional reasons, and even the most sterile sales cycle. Relationships come into play. Right. And we've all sold a government agencies or companies that really sterilize the sales cycle, but there's a relationship that has to be established and there has to be a trust. And I just found that that trust comes most naturally when you're helping a person level up their conversation internally as well.

[00:19:14] Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Um, It's interesting, the flow of a sales cycle. I remember seeing a diagram a few years back when they talked about the executives involvement in the buying cycle let's call it rather than the sales cycle. Right? So they're, they're involved at the start. What do they say? Look, here's the priorities. Here's the things we need to go by change. Transform. And then they push it down, go figure it out. Right. And then they're interested at the end, you know, what are we going to do? And is it going to work and did it work done then stream? 

[00:19:46] So you've got people who are involved in the buying process who are not involved in the decision that we're going to change things a certain way. And I guess the question is for a seller, how do you keep in touch [00:20:00] with the executives that are doing it, even though they don't naturally want to be involved halfway through. 

[00:20:07] Ty: That's a really good question. So I'll answer it a couple of different ways. You know, that beginning, when that happens, typically there's a hill we've got to go take, right?

[00:20:15] And that's, that's the marching orders that come out of the beginning of it. And maybe that executive has five or seven direct reports. What happens is each of those five or seven direct reports, they go out to their organizations and they say, that's the. Let's figure out how to take it. And as that filters down into the project teams that are looking at it, what they do is they say, okay, we have a funded project and they start looking at vendors.

[00:20:40] They look at, they look at processes, they look at people and they look at technology to solve any particular business problems. And so we get as vendors, we get the phone call then, Hey, we've got a funded project. Uh, we're going to do an RFP or something like that. And. Rarely does it get communicated? What the business objective is, it's like we need it! 

[00:21:00] When I was at X matters, we need a paging tool. What's the business reason that you need a paging tool was the question that we started asking? 

[00:21:07] We created the incident management platform that X matters became because that was really what was going on inside of the minds of. Paging tool. And so what we started doing is saying, okay, let's have the conversation about what's the outcome and what that did was allow us to have access to the executives because our champions could talk in the business language and they could see those buyers in the hallway. Prime their boss for the, for their bosses staff meeting with conversations about how their project is going to take the hill, not how the project is going to do something technically.

[00:21:45] And so even if I didn't have direct access to the executive in those, I knew the conversations were better because in the end, you know, you talked about the executive coming at the beginning and then coming back at the end to make some final decisions in the end, what I needed to know. And what we all needed to acknowledge was that out of those five to seven groups of people that put together proposals, maybe four or five of them would actually get funding, right.

[00:22:08] It'd be a privatization in the end. And I knew that my champion and his boss was having a conversation. With my economic buyer on a business outcome level. And I've also learned over time that not everybody sells value, right? So I was in a unique spot. I was selling business outcomes and everybody was selling features and functions. So I knew that I was going to win in the prioritization conversation in the boardroom effectively at the end. As I became a leader, I started teaching that concept to the people that were on my teams. Like if you sell value, Then in a business outcome, you're fighting on a different level. You're not competing against your technical competitors.

[00:22:47] You're competing against all the other ideas from the other business units that you don't even know about. And that is how you level up and keep an executive engaged and, and win and deal, uh, that, you know, may or may not be really funded when those projects come to us as vendors in this. 

[00:23:03] Andrew: Yeah. I remember a few years ago I was working for someone and he, and sometimes in deal reviews would ask a really good question, which was, um, if you are in an elevator at this prospect and the CEO gets in with, you, looks at you. By the way you dress, he knows you're a sales guy and he says to you, so what are you here helping us with? What's your answer? And if your answer is well, we want to replace some tool and, you know, I don't know, uh, make things a little better or different, or it might be that you don't understand what you're doing there.

[00:23:37] If your answer is we're helping you. XYZ division grow by 15% this year by optimizing supply chain something, then you're you understand what you're there for? It was a really good task, you know, it's like, you know, when you're, when you're six months into a 12 month deal cycle and you're. You know, waist deep and all the things going on.

[00:23:58] Sometimes it's difficult to keep sight of what are we really trying to achieve here. Anything that helps someone do that both in our side, but also on the prospect side as well. I mean, they're, they're the same, right? They're, they're struggling through many projects and you're a one or a few vendors. Would it be good as every time they saw you? They would immediately think, oh, there's the guys that are helping us with this growth initiative, as opposed to there's those guys that had that product for the blue interface. 

[00:24:24] Ty: Yes. Yes. The infamous blue versus green. We like your, your screens better. That's not how to buy right? The, by the outcome and, and smart buyers know that now, you know, our buyers are more intelligent by the way, they get educated before they call us. And that's why the value conversation has to start before your sales teams engage. You got to think about value as a full life cycle, uh, approach, and that's exactly.

[00:24:50] Andrew: Well, I would imagine in, you know, selling values obviously makes a whole ton of sense, but that's only part of the equation, right? You've got people whose [00:25:00] inertia inside their account means they can't do certain things. They've got cost constraints. They've got various things they're trying to wrestle with. Right. So even maybe having the best value pitch, doesn't always mean you win the deal. I'm wondering how to think about the overall aspects of the deal that's tied to value, but not perhaps, you know, everything staked on value and your thoughts about that. 

[00:25:23] Ty: Sure. You know, I mean, first of all, your technology has to, has to stand on the value you propose, right? Your technology is still important at, at its core. And so when you think about framing, a proof of value, what we will call them proof of values or proof of concepts or whatever, you know, but when you're thinking about how to prove or go through a technical validation, prove your technology. You've got to think about consumable outcomes.

[00:25:50] Reasonable period of time, right? Six months pilots are hard versus three week proof times. And really the secret there is setting a scope that is reasonable, that proves that the technology can in fact do what we say it's going to do. And then that becomes a part of the value conversation.

[00:26:11] How fast could we do one piece of work so that you can extrapolate the total piece of work it's gotta be done and give the customer comfort level that you're not just selling high because your technology doesn't work. Right? Because that can be an objection to selling purely on value is well, does your tech actually. You say it will do. And so that has to be a part of the conversation, but it has to be an intelligent part of the conversation. Too many proof of concepts in my life. My career became well, let's just go follow the yellow brick road and see where it takes us. It will show us, this will show us.

[00:26:45] This will show us that no, have a defined and prescribed exit plan. We're going to go in with this. We're going to go out with these results. And when we come out with these results, we will prove it to you. That we can do this much work this period of time, you can extrapolate, you know, we can do this and that.

[00:27:02] That is a core part of value selling. And in my mind is you have to do that. It's a great question to dig into, because again, you can't just want high all the time. You do have to prove what you're selling in the end as well. 

[00:27:15] Andrew: I'm interested in your thoughts on this. So what I hear from people is. Lots of great intentions about let's nail down the POV. Let's give it some parameters, exit criteria, the whole thing, but then the prospect I should actually Colombo's us. This is one more thing, right? Just one more thing I need to, I just, just one more over here, one more before you know it, your two week, three week POV is stringing out into six weeks. I'm wondering if there's any good ideas that you've had where you say, well, here's how you let it go or here's how you reign it in.

[00:27:47] And some good ways to think about. 

[00:27:50] Ty: You bet. So I'll give you an example from just right now, that's what's going on right now in my business. So I've got a prospect, a great sales rep came in and they came to prospecting. Us, said, we want to do a pilot. We want to do a six month pilot and kind of see how this thing goes.

[00:28:06] And so we set up a meeting and I met their head of sales ops, I believe in enablement. And he's got both of those roles. And he said, he said, look, this is kind of what we're thinking. I said, well, let me propose an alternative. Theory right. To, to how we do this. That's like, what if we did a. Proof of value.

[00:28:24] And during that four weeks, we're going to do this, this, this, and this, because that's basically what you're asking us to do over six months, but it turns out I can do it in four weeks and I can do that. I can enable some of your team. I can let them play with the technology, use it on a couple of deals, you know, whatever, there's, there's some details here.

[00:28:41] I said, so where we ended up is by the end of December, you will have seen it. You will have seen everything you would have seen in a six month. Uh, other than six months worth of results, you know, and in January we'll put this deal together and get it implemented in January. And so then you're going to have February, March, April, and may of your six month pilot, really in production rolled out, gaining value.

[00:29:05] Let me define the difference in those two stories. The six months pilot means you're going to get this much value in six months. The way I'm proposing it. You're going to get about five X, that outcome. And you'll be fully implemented, fully rolled out and executing in that same time period.

[00:29:21] And he, he was sitting like this the whole time I was talking. It was kind of backing is I know we're on the audio only. So you had your arms crossed scalp faced. And he, as I was talking to, he leaned in and he leaned in and he leaned in and he got all the way up close to the camera at the end of the conversation.

[00:29:34] And he said, this is music to my ears. Let's do this. So we wrote it. Right to get to your point, we wrote it. Now, this is what we're going to do. We're executing that plan on a daily basis right now. And so I've got to sync up with them later this week. And we already know that we're following through on all the things that have to be done to accomplish what we said we were going to do.

[00:29:55] There have been a couple of moments where it was like, Hey, but can we do this? And we've just simply firmly, but politely said no, because it will get us off track. You know, and, and or if you really think that's important, let's escalate that up so that Ty and the other guy can talk about it and agree that we're going to change scope here and it never gets escalated up.

[00:30:14] Right. It rather than being pulled around, it's like, oh, that's not that important. And so just holding each other accountable to those outcomes on both sides, I think is really. 

[00:30:25] Andrew: Yeah. What I like about that? A couple of things. One is that you've defined a much bigger outcome over the six month period by getting there a different way. So there's a bigger carrot to go after. And then if anything comes along that isn't in alignment with that, it can be positioned as deviating from the path to this five X outcome. Right? So I love how you did it on that. 

[00:30:48] And the second thing is, you know, don't make it a sales rep decision. Right. Have it be escalated up to say, this is a bigger thing than just let's add a use case, right? This is going to impact this big outcome [00:31:00] role shouldn't force. So therefore let's make sure from a higher perspective, everyone's on board with that. I like that a lot. So I mean, probably not, full-proof not, you know, not a hundred percent does it work, but it's probably, you know, more often than not what you're doing is giving a different path to help avoid, uh, some of these, you know, one more use case.

[00:31:18] Type scenarios. Right? 

[00:31:20] Ty: Yeah, nothing's perfect. Nothing's foolproof, but you know, you've got to have a few different angles that you can play, uh, to keep the conversation going in the right direction. Right. Um, another one of my great Joe Sexton quotes is, um, somebody gets sold in every conversation. So if you're not sure who it was, it was you. Um, you know, and so just pay attention to every conversation you have and understand the impact of that conversation, right? 

[00:31:44] Andrew: Yeah. Uh, Joe always said, he's going to write a book with all those sayings. Waiting for that, but to come up, but I'd imagine it's gonna be a seller in the sales world. Um, one thing I've heard you talk about is the idea of, uh, of a quadrant or a matrix where every technology decision or buying process goes through this matrix, I'm going to butcher it. So I'll have you, uh, describe call better than I will, and I'm not sure I fully understand it. So, you know, treat me, you know, the dumb guy from Scotland here. One angle is stability and innovation and the other eight other excesses revenue versus cost containment. What the, what role does that play as you're thinking about deals and working through them? 

[00:32:28] Ty: Yeah, absolutely. And, um, so, so over the years, what I started to learn was that. You could, you can chart a company's primary business objectives, uh, against some opposing forces, right? And so if you take a piece of paper and you draw a horizontal line and on the right side of that line, you put, uh, innovation and on the left side of that line, you put security.

[00:32:53] Because those are opposing forces, right? You can even put an arrow on those lines. You know, innovation causes change and change causes instability and potential security gaps. Since we're talking to a primary cyber audience right here, you know, we have to fight against how much security is enough so that you can innovate. And so those are, those are two opposing forces to. Uh, businesses, uh, decisions and programs or projects. 

[00:33:14] The other is if you go to the Y axis so that the vertical axis down the middle there, then on the top of that it's revenue growth, you know, growth of the business. I mean, maybe it's not revenue growth, but the business growth versus containing costs. And so if I create a quadrant that looks like that, I can take every business initiative that a company might have, and I can plot it somewhere on that. And if I get enough information to know the primary business drivers, then I can plot them there. And it's very easy to have a conversation with a business executive, uh, somebody who owns a business unit to say, okay, you have these things that oppose each other.

[00:33:51] You're naturally going to find very little sits in the middle of that. Things or things hanging out in the corners of the, of that quadrant when you build it. Soyou say, what if I could take this objective over here? That's growth and innovation focused and this other objective that is cost containment and stability focused.

[00:34:09] What if I had a solution that pulled those two closer together and you show them two pictures? Or you show him the current, the as is the negative consequences of that. And then the positive business outcomes on the other side of what if I could pull those two closer together and the objective being, moving things to the center of that quadrant.

[00:34:29] And it's a great way to illustrate that you understand. Their business. And so here's, here's a great example. This just happened yesterday. I was interviewing a gentleman that worked for me several years ago and he came to the interview with a presentation. It was, it was actually quite an intimidating interview for me because he brought my quotes to me.

[00:34:49] And he said, you said this, and you said this, and this is how I do that. And so one of the things that he said was he brought up this, this quadrant of what I said to everybody about that. I said, look, here's what you have. You've gotta be at least 40%, right. With your assumptions in that quadrant when you present it.

[00:35:07] Because if you're more right than that, they're going to be impressed. And if you're less right than that, you're going to be close enough. To have them correct you. And once they correct you, you understand, and you know their business. Right. So in that first conversation, if you come with a point of view that you understand their industry, understand their business, and you're here to help, they'll guide you to the points that you didn't get.

[00:35:31] Exactly. Right. And then you've got to pivot into a conversation about how to help them. And I've used that to start conversations with executives at giant corporations and executive. 50% companies because they, we all have those things pulling on each other all day, every day in our business it's decisions that we make all day every day.

[00:35:50] Andrew: So let's try and make that a bit more real. Um, I'm gonna put you on the spot here a little bit, but let's say you're, you're working for a company, uh, and they do a VPN. [00:36:00] Let's say, right. So VPI and technology been around for 25 years. Um, it just sorta kind of works. It's not terrible for most people, but it's just not awesome either. So it's probably on the stability side. Right. You know, don't screw it up kind of thing. If you were working with a prospect and saying, look, the times right now to innovate and get, you know, next gen VPM over there forever. That might be, how would you think about that conversation in that.

[00:36:26] Ty: Sure. Sure. So I would say, look, we've got the, maybe they've got an innovation project to roll out a new application or a new app for the phone. Maybe they're a consumer based company and the students could click through the example a little bit here. Um, I need to roll out this app and this app needs to be able to communicate.

[00:36:41] Back through securely to personal and the NFL identifiable information, maybe financial information, something like that. I need something that can be dynamic enough to intelligently grant access to this new app. And maybe my VPN, my new VP in technology has the ability to be more intelligent, right.

[00:37:00] And, and it can analyze the situation and. What, what can log in and what can't log in to certain areas. And, you know, first of all, I'm not the world's biggest VPN expert. So you did put me on the spot a little bit there, but the idea is to integrate. I'm going to have to move my ability to secure, right?

[00:37:17] I'm going to have to move my ability to improve it, mature it in some way. And so I'm pitching that VPN technology, I'm going after the new, innovative thing, this app, or whatever that the customer's trying to roll out and say, look, I can do this automatic. Where you would have to do it manually and you can't do it manually when you scale it to millions of users, it's impossible.

[00:37:40] Right? And that's going to allow you to roll this out and not expose yourself to find some bad press and all the things right. That are negative consequences of not staying stable and secure. So I'm going to move the security piece, the stability security piece to the left so that your innovation can actually happen.

[00:37:57] That's that's kind of how I drive that car. 

[00:37:59] Andrew: I like that a lot. So the innovation has to happen for the business. Your stability is going to drag that down. If you keep doing business as usual, and I'm going to help you by moving what is going to drag you down into something that's going to help enable the innovation.

[00:38:16] Some are awesome. Todd has been a great conversation for me, hopefully for you too. If someone wants to get hold of you, where would they go to find you? 

[00:38:26] Ty: Yeah, absolutely. So I'm on LinkedIn Ty Flippin, https://www.linkedin.com/in/ty-flippin-951314 and connect with me on LinkedIn would love to do that.

[00:38:37] Um, we're actually currently we're, we're hiring sales, right. We're expanding rapidly right now. So if you're interested in learning more about decision lead, you can check it out and you can actually Put a note in, through, through the open jobs piece of our website to, uh, to apply, to come in and join the company.

[00:38:53] So we are, we're excited right now with big growth and it would be happy to, to meet up and link up with. 

[00:38:58] Andrew: before we go, let's do a couple of things to get to know you a little bit better. There's no better way to learn about Ty than through a bullshit LinkedIn poll. And my goodness. There's enough of them out there. So here's two for us to quickly look at. First one is from Guarav Kumar. What did you love sharing when you were a kid homework, ice cream or carrots and green?

[00:39:25] Ty: uh, ice cream. I wasn't a big homework share. Although in some funny stories from high school, about semester tests and stuff that I won't tell him my cell phone, but yeah, it's a kid ice cream. I love ice cream. 

[00:39:35] Andrew: There you go. And then, uh, this one's a little bit matter, uh, from will Aiken, uh, which type of LinkedIn posts do you want to see more of in 2022 textbooks? Images videos or polls. 

[00:39:51] Ty: Don't want to see as many polls, honestly. So, uh, I like video actually videos engaging to me. So videos when I like to see, uh, I like.

[00:39:59] Andrew: Yeah. So the results, uh, so far, uh, video got 35%, which was second to text, which was 38. So pretty much a tie. Right? And then third place was images seems to images. Don't play well on LinkedIn for, for some reason. And thankfully, uh I'm surprised as high as this, but 11% said they wanted to see more polls, uh, in LinkedIn either they don't spend enough time in LinkedIn to see what's there. Or maybe they've got a sense of humor that, uh, we need to tap into somehow, but you know, the, the videos are so engaging, right?

[00:40:33] Ty: Yeah. It's and it's an interesting thought too, about what, how LinkedIn works because my social media know my personal social media is not in LinkedIn. You know, I don't post about my kids in LinkedIn, but I want, I go to LinkedIn to find ways to improve my craft. And when there's video content on that, it captures my attention and I, and I grabbed it.

[00:40:52] Andrew: Cool. And then final question for you. Is there a sales question or a sales saying that you would want to cast into the far reaches of the galaxy? Never for anyone ever to say again in your presence? 

[00:41:06] Ty: Absolutely. The question, what keeps you up at night is a fireable offense in any organization that I'm a part of.

[00:41:12] Um, and it's, that goes back to that quadrant. Absolutely. It goes back to that quadrant thing we were talking about, right? If you don't have a point of view, To like, if you're selling to me, if you don't have a point of view of how my business is and what keeps me up at night, we shouldn't be having a conversation, you know, be educated enough to take a guess at that don't ask, right?

[00:41:31] Because you just lose all credibility and vice versa. You gain all credibility by saying, I think I understand your business. This is what I believe. And it gets back to that. They'll correct. You, if you come with a point of view, they'll write you off. If you ask them. 

[00:41:46] Andrew: Yeah, I know I'm with you on that. It's uh, yeah, I was remember I was in a sales call 20 years ago and I, to the president of the company in to meet the Cisco at Charles Schwab. And the first question that was asked was what keeps you up at night? And I saw him just sit back like. Anyway. 

[00:42:04] Ty: Yeah. And the truth is what keeps me up at night is usually, you know, I've got adult kids, uh, you know, got a kid in college that kind of, I got a kid getting married. Those are the things that keep me up at night, but you know, work is work. Uh, I love it. I love it. I love the game we play, but at the end of the day, those aren't the things that keep me up in that anyway. 

[00:42:21] Andrew: Well, Ty, thanks very much for joining us today. Great episode, a lot of great content, great viewpoints and ideas that you gave to the audience. And you also let them know how to reach you if they want to follow up with you. So thanks for joining us. 

[00:42:35] Ty: Really enjoyed it. Andrew. Thank you for having me.