How transactional proposals beat web order forms

Image of Pete Nicholls
Pete Nicholls
How transactional proposals beat web forms - Patrick Downs

Episode Summary

Patrick Downs compares when web forms can handle simple sales versus those where a transactional proposal is needed to win. We also discuss mental health in the context of sales management.

 

EPISODE NOTES

    • Too much MarTech wastes too much time
    • Good Implementation delivers results
    • An example of replacing a mess of MarTech with PandaDoc saved many hours per person and thousands of dollars per month
    • How transactional companies like Software as a Service (SaaS) providers normally find out the hard way when t use a proposal
    • How Patrick learned of his bipolar condition and has found a way to be accepted, supported and enjoy the buzz of winning sales deals
    • And discussion of Patrick's recommended tool: trylavender.com

Links:

  • Email: patrick.downs@pandadoc.com

Links to free tools, useful tips & offers for our listeners

 


 

FULL TRANSCRIPT: 

Pete

Greetings everyone. And a very warm welcome to another edition of the proposal works podcast, where we talk with proposal experts who share real stories of how they win. I'm your host, Pete Nicholls. I'm based in Copenhagen, in Denmark, and I'm joined today by Patrick Downs. So Patrick, how are you doing and where are you today?

Patrick

I'm doing great. I always feel like I sound weird compared to you because your accent is so nice. And I, and I sound like I grew up like a New Jersey I'm based in Florida. I'm currently in the Tampa Bay area and I'm super happy to be here

Pete

Nice, lovely part of the world. Very warm down there for you at this time of year as well.

Patrick

Yes.

Very warm. A little too warm, but we'll figure that out

Pete

for our listeners, if you haven't yet heard or heard of Patrick Downs. So Patrick Downs is a sales manager at PandaDoc. He's also a co-host of an excellent podcast, which is called The Customer Engagement Lab Podcast and is a mental health advocate, which we're going to explore a little on the show as well.

Now, the three quotes that I've seen recently from Patrick that I quite like are the key to success. Don't fail.

Patrick

I'm so glad somebody saw that!

Pete

It's on my wall, Patrick. It's right. It's their letters. I like the simplicity of it!. The second is anchoring, anchor to everything. In fact, the anchor that your next client meeting should be later the same day.

Patrick

True, it's one of those things that when I train a new rep, it's the first lesson, because I think most people's instinct is, uh, whatever they need, which is true, but you'd be surprised that what somebody says and what they need, don't always line up.

Pete

And the salesman's job to figure that out. The last one I'm very relevant for today is I love that end-of-quarter smell. I think that was your quote earlier today on social media. Cause we're on the 29th of June right now, so tomorrow is the end of the quarter for you. How's that smell for you right now, Patrick?

Patrick

I was like rich Arabica, coffee, and sweet honey.

And a little bit of fear. You know, there's always the fear smell that's lingering, but it's mostly exciting..

Pete

Please nobody leave the, uh, the beautiful coffee pot on the burner. Don't spoil it for me. I love that as a great pitcher. Well, let's get into our topic for today. So our topic, which we've played around with a little bit of tailoring your proposal, is that the approach we're going to take is that this session is for people who think that they don't need to do or send a proposal.

Patrick

Yes.

Pete

Let's explore that. My first question then Patrick, to kick off. Given that your role is outbound sales at PandaDoc as well. Now, who is your ideal client and what do they truly want

Patrick

The market that we sell into is the commercial market, which we demarcate as 50 to 500 employee sizes. Um, we don't look at the number of locations or revenue. And the ICP for that is usually a sales or operations leader that is looking to streamline their quotes and proposal process. And the deal size is commonly between five to a hundred $K.

Pete

Given that description, then 50 to 500 employees streamline the sales cycle, what are the problems that they normally face?

What does that look like?

Patrick

The biggest problem is really what we provide is too much tech. And I think it's the most common issue you'll run into with a new sales team is like they went from pen and paper or Excel and word to buying a bunch of tools, cause they got some funding, and now they have a bunch of tools that either doesn't connect or they do connect, but they didn't have an operation or IT person, to properly set them up. And their reps are working out of all these different systems and spending way too much time and making a lot of mistakes. The number one problem that I see PandaDoc's stalls is like, it removes errors, like putting the wrong name or the wrong legal clause or the wrong price that could potentially lose you a deal is what we help with.

Pete

Right. Well, that, that was actually gonna be my next question is the mistakes that they make. Cause I see that and I'm surprised in a way that you bring up the tech is the thing that you solve because you're working for a tech company. So what's the difference between their tech and PandaDoc, your tech?

Patrick

One of the big things that we provide is our implementation. If you look at a lot of our competitors, they provide an amazing service, but they just don't focus as much on implementing the software. And that was kind of a hole that we saw in the market in general, because I think a lot of people assume, oh, it's, e-sign pretty easy.

You just upload some PDFs. You put some fields on it. Good to go. I think a lot of companies sell it that way, but we don't sell PandaDoc without onboarding. We want to make sure that you talk to somebody internally and make sure it actually connects. And we have 15 native CRM integrations, as well as connections to Zapier and an open API with an SDK that you can use.

So, if you actually talk to us and work through it, by the time you implement PandaDoc, it will be touching all of your techs and we can help glue even other parts of your tech stack together that don't even touch PandaDoc.

Pete

So rather than people doing the copy-paste glue, the human glue, that the system should just do its thing

Patrick

Because I've met people that use an e-sign tool, that's still copied from Salesforce, like the name or the email into their PDF to send it out, even though the tool integrates into Salesforce. Yep. So you'd be surprised how many people do that stuff.

Pete

As you described, what comes to mind is even Excel. It's a pretty basic tool and it has all these fantastic features to it. And where I've been looking across the shoulder of someone who's on Excel and they're going copy-paste, copy-paste, copy-paste. And you say, Hey, by the way, do you know, you can just fill down, you know, the fact that they gave when I turned around and, and realize that what you've explained to them would save them two hours a day of what they've been doing for the last five years of their life.

And then they just hate you at that moment. I wish you hadn't told me that because I just don't know how to use the tools and nobody showed me. So using the tools really well, let's get into a real-life example. Then that's one example of Excel, which can be really ugly. You've made a PandaDoc for a while now, Patrick. So what are some examples of how you've helped?

Patrick

Just like for specific clients? Some ways that we've helped improve workflow?

Pete

Yeah. If you can think of a, of an ugly situation where when you got in there, you just shake your head at what they're doing and then what the transformation was, what that was like for them, and for you,

Patrick

We had a furniture company that had a bunch of franchises, that was operating off of, I think, seven programs to close a deal. And I mentioned the tech being the issue, right? Like they started an Excel sheet. They pasted it into a CPQ tool, the CPQ tool put out the quote, they took the quote and then put it into a Word doc, and then they clipped it into a PDF. Put that into an email, send it out. The person had to open it up, physically, print it out, sign it, scan it back in, send it back. And then when they got it, they had to then go manually back into the CPQ tool, upload it there and then upload it to Salesforce and then take all the data manually and copy-paste it into Salesforce, which I was just like, this is a 3000 person company.

If you took all the franchises together. So I was just like, wow. I, one of those bigger companies, do move slower on changes, but it was pretty arduous. And then by the end of it, we were able to help them build a custom integration that was able to take their CPQ tool audit in the PandaDoc, send it out via PandaDoc automatically attach it back to Salesforce. And the whole process took probably 30 seconds from where it used to take them two to three hours.

Pete

And that's per person, each time they're doing a quote before and after. I mean, it must be some amazing ROI. Do you know offhand what the before and after looks like for someone? What's that worth in hours or dollars?

Patrick

I mean, yeah, if you go from 30 seconds to 30 seconds from two to three hours, that's pretty substantial. That's probably saving around 40 to 50 hours a month, I would guess.

Pete

Is that over a bunch of people then? Is it 40 hours?

Patrick

That would be one person. So then you could say if they, I'm not sure exactly how many people they had, but usually between the teams of five to 15 are the ones I'm looking at. So maybe, you know, that's looking at hundreds of hours.

Pete

Yeah, which has many thousands of dollars, like I say, so the business case is good with the title for today's session, then we wanted to zero in on those folks who say, I don't need to send out a proposal. I've got a webpage or something like that. So what, what are some examples that you've seen Patrick there where people think that they don't actually need to send a proposal at all

Patrick

A lot of transactional SAS companies don't even send documents. Like I've, I've worked at a couple where they have a backend on their pricing page that the sales reps can go into and they just enter in four users, one onboarding, and they just hit a button after they put the credit card and it just activates the account. Then they're done.

And that works great. If the person you're talking to is like, yes, Patrick, I want to sign this, or I want to sign up because at that point, all you have to do is, you know, set everything up. But if you want to continue to sell and actually like to give people a full breakdown of what you're providing for them and give them the transfer of confidence that sales really is. I think that's really hard to do on a backend web page. I think people are probably losing deals when their one call closes, but they think they're getting because they're just skipping a step.

Pete

So what they do, I think it wasn't an opportunity. It's just because they were using a blunt instrument like a landing page and that wasn't enough to convert. So do any examples come to mind then Patrick?  When you've had a SAS company or otherwise where they had that really simple sales process and didn't see the need for putting in proposals, and yet proposals have changed things for them?

Patrick

They're the hardest people to convince.  I've had meetings with some large HR tech companies that are very well known and they still just send emails where they manually write the price out and then write it out live. I've seen them do it. And they don't see any problem with it. I think a lot of people are just like, well, that's the way we've done it. It gets the job done. And that's the apathy that a lot of sellers face when they're selling any tag or any product really. And then, the real way to talk about that is okay, but if you keep doing it that way, what happens?

Right? The whole need/payoff idea. But if they don't see that or they don't think it's a top priority, you can't suddenly make it a top priority.. In my opinion, something has to happen. Like there had to have been some sort of loss or issue with the process before somebody is willing to admit it's an issue because I have 20 problems with my workflow at work, but I wouldn't buy anything to fix 90% of them.

The 10% at the top that caused me the most problems, I'd buy something to fix them. So you have to align to the right priorities and help them also understand where they really do fit in their priority list, which is incredibly difficult. So the salespeople gets paid, right.

Pete

So the website that you visit, where you can see the signup process has no proposal element to it, it's just landing pages and click buttons. You're saying that you wouldn't approach them today to say, Hey, I think you might be doing this wrong because convincing them that it’s too hard or when, when do you find yourself in that conversation then can you think of any examples where you've ended up in that situation? Yeah. Hey, the proposal is perfect for this.

Patrick

I've had, um, a person like that where I've had two conversations, one where they were talking about the process and just were very adamant that it was fine. And then six months later when they said one of their reps came to them and they were selling to somebody and the client complained about the way they delivered the proposal and then the person went to another company and suddenly that conversation was very different. It was like, okay, how can you take this process and make it look better? But that person wasn't open to hearing it six months prior because they hadn't firsthand seeing the loss.

Pete

Uh, and that was a, a loss on a significant deal then by the sound of that, that the customer wanted something more than just a landing page with a credit card and like button?

Patrick

And, you know, when they say like, if you see one cockroach there's millions. So like, if you see one example of this happening, you can then assume, oh, this probably isn't an isolated incident.

This is just my first time seeing it.

Pete

Okay. So, what about tailoring then? Can you think of situations where you've deployed that, that the classic website doesn't tailor the experience that much or the ordering it's like, here's the different licenses that we sell? If it's a SAS product, click your options here.

Could you talk about tailoring then of where that fits in your proposal process today, Patrick, or where you've done it for others?

Patrick

I think the most important part is to set up a template that gives you room to kind of freestyle. As an example, the way we set up our template is there's an executive summary that outlines the five most common problems we solve and how we solve them.

And then when I'm on a client call live, I'll bring them to that section. And I'll highlight the ones with a bold and the PandaDoc while I'm screen-sharing to them and say, Hey, to me, these are the most important ones. Do you disagree? And then I'll have them. Tell me why, like, why do you feel like these are the things we can help solve for you?

So I'm getting them to explain back to me the value that they hopefully saw in the demo to essentially check if we're on the same page or not when it comes to how we help. And this has been a huge gate for me, I think of almost everything in my sales process as a gate, from one stage to the other, this is part of the gate to move from the demo to close.

It's like, all right. If we're in agreement that these are the problems that we solve and that we're going to solve them, I'm past that phase. And I don't need to think about selling you anymore. Now it's about getting the pricing to work and finalizing the contract.

Pete

How has that flow been different for you, Patrick? Where you're in either an outbound sales situation, you're doing the outreach versus responding to inbound queries.

Is it that different?

Patrick

It depends, I mean, I think our market where we're kind of lucky that people need e-signature. Because if I was selling maybe gong, which is a great tool, but not everybody believes that you need call recording software, I need to sell the idea that you need call recording. Like I've never had to sell the idea that you need an e-signature really like there's some cases where some people are resistant, but 90% of the people I've talked to either have any e-signature and know they need it.

So it's not that different because of that, but I've definitely seen people that need to sell the idea that your category should even exist. Outbound is much different since you have to build intent, build value in like the case around it, even being a thing in your business.

Pete

So you're the template that you have makes it easy to point to those customer needs that you solve and in the features versus benefits thing, how, how do you handle the positioning about here's what our software does? This is, it's a feature that you know, that they need the e-signature side. How do you see the features fit into the conversation there? Do you go to features and then talk about the benefits of those or explore what they need? Like which way do you play that Patrick?

Patrick

Personally, we don't even know, mentioned the features really on the proposal or in our conversation. We leave that or we try to leave that to the visuals and our screen-share demo. Or like, okay, I don't need to tell you about what an e-sign is. Like, why don't I show you what that process looks like, and then let's talk about any problem that we could potentially solve? Like you're currently having to spend three hours a day going to Kinko's and printing out documents, you know, like, let's talk about that instead of here's how e-sign works. I mean, specifically, when you sell something that is well-known like, everybody knows what an e-sign is. I don't want to spend any time talking about its features. It would be like me explaining to you, like what's inside of a house. It's like, Pete, there's a fridge here. And there's also a couch. And it's like, I know I've seen a house before, you know, like, how is this specifically better than any other house is what you need to start focusing on.

Pete

So that example that you gave earlier than where the customer realized that they needed maybe a proposed solution in the way that they. Because the sales guy had walked, there was a deal that was lost, and that created a compelling event. What was it about what the customer was looking for that made it really needed to be a proposal, not a webpage to be able to sell to that kind of client?

Patrick

For them, it was mostly a compliance thing because like, if they had the webpage, if they wanted to do anything custom, they had to send an email where the sales reps kind of wrote it into it. So like if you wrote in a clause that your legal team has approved, oh, like that's one of the worst problems you can have in a business is selling bad deals. And that's something I've seen specifically where they're like, okay, the backend webpage isn't enough because it makes their sales process so strict that people break it in ways that are bad.

It's like telling a teenager, they can't ever stay up past eight. Of course, they're going to stay up past eight. And if your process is telling them that, then you're going to end up with situations that you wouldn't have if you had some sort of software that could kind of give a middle the ground between, okay, you can change some of it, but we're also locking down parts so you don't mess with our legal language.

Pete

I love that. I think that we've nailed it there of the difference by the sound of that. To me, in that I, our web page is a pretty strict sales process with boilerplate, just cookie-cutter wording, which is fine if it's a simple sale and then as soon as it becomes a little more complex sale that you've got salespeople just making stuff up and putting things on emails and then compliances is out the window. I have a project right now where the key part of it is that it must go to an approver. Somebody who has a PandaDoc seat that is read-only, can't create any documents themselves, but they are the person who gives the thumbs up that this legal wording is fine.

Otherwise, they can bat it straight back to the salesperson, say, this is not leaving our premises to get to the customer. This contract doesn't stack up. So safety is built-in. I can see how it would be difficult to replicate that using a website construct because there's no workflow around a website proposal kind of becomes a workflow. Would that, would you say that's nailed where you see that works best?

Patrick

Yeah, I think it comes down to like, is there an order of operations that needs to happen besides just credit card purchases? If, so you probably need something more complex. And also you need to think about, I think the sales psychology portion where I actually like it when a client opens my proposal or on the phone together and they can physically like scroll through it and it gives them a sense of like, oh, like I have some sort of ownership in this, instead of you just asking me for my credit card so you can type it in and on a screen share, which feels kind of like cold and clinical and potentially.

Untrustworthy versus I'm making the choice to sign this and like to be on the phone with you. I think there's psychology there that really helps as well, where people are being a little bit too assumptive with the close. When there's probably a middle ground you could take with the proposal.

Pete

I like the sense of ownership, almost like, that technique where he holds this pen and passes it to the person who now has the pen in their hand, and because of this, I guess the way we're wired is this is my now, and I have a sense of ownership over this thing. And you're not going to take it off me. And if I sign it, I'm kind of signing something that is on my side of the table. Not something you're just showing me. Yeah. So that's been an interesting journey through the customization and the transactional nature of where you insert the proposal into that order of operations as you phrased it.

Let's switch gears now and talk about the challenging side of things, but we'll throw the doors a little wider open. Patrick, cause in the intro I mentioned you're also a mental health advocate. So I'm interested in what challenges you'd like to share that you've personally faced and what you've learned from that.

Patrick

Yeah. I mean, I grew up in New England, and just in general, I think people and when I was born in 92, it didn't really talk about their mental health as much. It was better than, you know, the sixties, but it still wasn't incredibly common that people would say, oh, I have schizophrenia. Even if you had somebody or a community that for a fact had been walking around for years, nobody would talk about it.

So for me, I went around as an undiagnosed bipolar too, for most of my life, I think. And that didn't really come to fruition as something that I even understood about myself until I was 23, like 2015. And that came from going to the Mayo clinic, thinking that I had seizures because that's what I thought my fits were.

So, because I was so convinced, like mental health wasn't even like on the table, I actually assigned it to some physical disorder. And that was around the same time I had my first sales job, which was a very intense boiler room, kind of like a telemarketing job, where you had to make over a hundred calls a day and set three meetings a day close to transactions. Not a lot of autonomy and it kind of drove me crazy in a lot of ways. And it was this blue or pot because one, I just was diagnosed too. I tried to talk to people about it and the general consensus was quiet down, lower your voice, like this, isn't something we talk about being careful, which was kind of like ominous I was like, okay, with the stress of the job, which contributed to my like depression and potentially if it's a mania, right. And it kind of hit a point where I just couldn't be there anymore. And I remember thinking like, okay, is the business role? Not for me. Like, if I can't talk about it, I'm going to go crazy.

And like, I ended up in therapy even at that point, but you know, you spend 40 hours a week somewhere and you can't tell your boss about a horrible thing that's happening to you. It feels like a cage. Right. So I ended up looking for workplaces that we're more accepting and it's always impossible to know, and this is like, this is something I tell people where like I have, um, a benefit of working somewhere where if I talk about it on social media, like our executive staff has reached out to me and supported me where I know at some places that would not be the case. And I always tell people to be very careful about who they tell this to. But you also need to find a place where you feel like you can start to open up. For me, it was like little teases of huh, mania, right? Like talking to some coworkers, they're like, Hey, have you ever been depressed? Just to like, get the feel if there's anybody else there that's also kind of in that camp. And then noticing like, which managers seem a little bit more open and going like, yeah, I get depressed sometimes.

And like, and seeing how they react. And then you slowly get to understand, like, whether or not they're safe. You've not talked to this about, but I think in general, salespeople suffer even more because it does feel like almost like you're in the fifties and the business world sometimes where it's like if you mentioned that you have depression, people are like, are you going to be able to perform, like, are you, are you going to be good for this job? Like what if this happens? And it's like, well, all those things can happen with anybody, but you get labeled that way because of the stigma around it.  So that's just really a long-winded way to say, like, sales is a hard place to be openly open about your mental health struggles. And I think a lot of people kind of give at face value where they'd be like, oh, mental health month, but it's really more about like, oh, do you get sad sometimes? And not like the real dark side of mental illness where people don't really want to talk about it or be around it. So it's a complicated issue, but that's my experience.

Pete

Certainly, I reflect that experience working in sales teams, it's a work hard, play hard kind of dynamic and not a lot of tolerance for whatever personal situation people may be in. Now you decided to stick with sales. So I'm just wondering what, what is it about Patrick, that you wanted to pursue? You kind of made the company fit the job as opposed to doing something different. That might've been an easier path.

Patrick

I think it was because when I was on the phone with people, I was like, wow, this is great like, it was actually the most comfortable I'd ever felt and the feeling of closing a deal to me, it was like, what!  If you've never closed a deal, by the way, you're listening to this. I have recommended it, it's one of the most intense feelings in the world. And I was like, okay, I like this, but the stuff around it is making me feel like I'm in hell.

It wasn't actually sales. That was making me feel that way. So I was like, okay, I need to find another environment to test my theory that I like sales. And then I did, and I loved it. So I was like, okay, I'm going to stay here. And I've been there ever since.

Pete

What advice would you give them for someone who's in the situation based on what you've learned, being a, having bipolar condition? And then being in this intense sales situation where the end of quarter and quotas and all of those things are pretty hard targets that you sometimes you just got to power on, however, so someone who's maybe faced with that dilemma, do they start by looking at the right company or where do you start to take a step forward?

Patrick

Yeah, I think 90% of the time it's going to be your environment. The word sales are so broad, like sales job to sales job can be like a completely different industry. Like I've worked some jobs where I'm like, this is not even in the same realm where I was before. So I highly recommend looking at your environment first and talking to other people in other environments to see what their experiences have been like specifically, if you know, other people that have somewhat similar struggles find out where they work.

Cause if you find somebody being open about mental health, Look at their company and be like, okay, maybe I want to talk to them about working there because they're able to act that way for a reason. And that means there's like a culture of inclusion there most likely. But yeah, I wouldn't just assume that its sales cause a lot of the pressure that comes down, it comes because the company is not being run the right way.

Like if your company is creating a great operating plan. That's had a bull and has like a culture of inclusion with leaders who know what they're doing and have sold before. Like you should be hitting your quota every month. Cause like that's why the plan was built that way. Like good plans, it's like everybody hits it around the same time because they were built around data and insight. So you might be working somewhere where that plan was just slapped together. So like there are companies where that stuff does exist and I recommend first getting inside Intel and then interview.

Pete

I'm glad you raised that,  that high-level structure, because on previous episodes of this show where we've talked about proposal managers who are absolutely hounded to produce a lot of proposals, we've had proposal managers where they've been on the phone while they giving birth or, um, yeah, so really intense environments.

And then when you take a step back, you realize that the problem isn't there, it's higher in the company. Whether the company even has a go no go or a bid, no-bid process, uh, that makes a high-level decision. If that stuff's broken, then the symptom you get is broken people that, uh, are left with trying to cater to that. You're in a situation that sounds really fulfilling because you're in the sales role and you get the huge kick of the close deal. So what is it about that, that you find most fulfilling?

Patrick

It's like the feeling of setting a long-term goal and then accomplishing it. And it's, it's somewhat accelerated. Like if you go, I want to buy a house and then you like take all the steps cause you know, if I wake up and I call this many realtors and I do this research and I see this many houses and I say this much money, I know eventually there's going to be that outcome of the house being bought.

I feel like sales is similar in that you have a process where you have every step laid out where it's like if I do all these steps the right way and everything kind of lines up, this end result of the deal being signed is going to happen. And there's just like an internal satisfaction to me of like seeing the dominoes fall and like being the hand that pushes the dominoes and just seeing it all kind of click together that I find incredibly satisfying, even like seven years later from when I closed my first deal, it's still the same feeling.

Like not once have I closed a deal and I had been like, agh!. It could be like $500. It could be 20, whatever. It's still exhilarating because it's about the process it took you to get there. And how satisfying that was.

Pete

It sounds like the hero's journey, you know, where you, you, you, you got to duck and weave and you come up against an obstacle and you figure out you're why around that. And so when you land the deal that kind of the harder the journey, the greater, the satisfaction of the win. You get huge. Yeah, that,

Patrick

I mean, the thing that's interesting about that is like, I think that's part of the, the main satisfaction is yeah. You get to see the dominoes fall, but around that one situation, there are dozens of other situations where you try to tip over the domino and the domino, like bite your finger, you know, and it just refuses to fall. So when everything does go according to plan, it's so satisfying because you know how many times it took you to get there. And especially if you work in a team, you know that like, it's not just you, like everybody is going through that. And you're kind of in that whole situation together and then even like when somebody else closes the deal, it can be incredibly satisfying. Like if some random person on my team causes something and I look at the Salesforce activity and see 20 meetings and like a hundred back and forth emails, it's just like a nice feeling in your heart. And you get excited because you know what it took to get that deal. And how many nos and how many other Salesforce pages had nobody responding, you know, for them to finally get to that point?

Yeah. Tenacity

Pete

paying off. You'd need a lot of nos to make the "yes" so much sweeter and, and get the smell of, the aroma of the coffee beans, and, uh, another sweetness of that. Let's leave the listeners with a valuable tip or resource. I know you've shared some links with me, Patrick. And one of those is Lavender. What top tip or resource would you want to mention that listening could take away and make use of today?

Patrick

I'm going to reference Lavender. I ended up in the sales community called the sales borgs, which is run by Justin Michael. And if you're new to setting appointments specifically, because he talks about the top of funnel activity, I recommend joining his discord.

That's where I met Will Allred, who founded Lavender about a year ago. Since then they've gotten partnerships with like outreach and SalesLoft, but they have a free version of their tool that you can download with a trial. And it's kind of like Grammarly for sales, where it will look at your sales emails and grade you, and kind of like highlight parts of it.

Like what kind of language you're using. How's it coming off to the prospect? Are you following best practices? And I was able to take my response rate on emails up like three or 4% just by writing my cadences with Lavender. And even in the personal emails that I'm sending it constantly reminds me to be better.

And I've gotten just much better responses in general from my email communication. So I highly recommend it. Try lavender.com

Pete

Thank you for that. I'll put it to light so people can give that a try and let's give your podcasts one more plug as well, which is a customer engagement lab podcast. Tell us a little bit about that before we go, Patrick, how did that show come about?

Patrick

Customer engagement lab is a show that I and one of the marketing guys, Travis at our company put together. The whole idea was that a lot of B2B shows are great and they focus on actual insight, but there's a big hole for like, I think a comedy or a more personality-driven podcast.

You look at somebody like a corporate bro, who has been doing it, but there's not a lot of other people that have filled that space. So we kind of do like a daily show for sales, where we go through different topics, talk about things that are going on on LinkedIn, different things that are happening in the world. We do skits. Like my, one of my favorites is we did a revenue road trip where we, like, we planned out a road trip with different aspects of the revenue squad and which part they would contribute and just different things like that. And then we interview a guest from the community every week.

Pete

Yeah, it's a great show. Uh, I tune into it. And in fact, I was listening to this week's episode before jumping on here to meet you. So I could double the length of this by going into the topic, but I'll let people go and look up the interrupt process and how, how that works, in sales. But, uh, let's wrap it up there. I just want to say, uh, Patrick, thanks for everything that you've shared with us today. We've talked about a broad range and you've shared some personal stories as well. So it's been an absolute pleasure talking with you. What is the best way for people to connect with you?

Patrick

The best way is going to be over LinkedIn Patrick Downs on LinkedIn. I work@pandadoc and you can also contact me by email at patrick.downs@pandadoc.com. If you're new to sales, I love talking to people like that. So feel free to reach out if you want to chat.

Pete

Cool. Once again, Patrick, thanks so much for your time.

Thank you Pete, happy to be here.

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