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4 ways Luke Floyd maintains momentum in accounts with longer decision cycles

December 15, 2023

Arjun Krisna

In this exclusive interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Luke Floyd, a dynamic professional at Deel, who has carved a successful path in the sales industry.

Luke shares his personal journey, valuable strategies for exceeding sales quotas, and the crucial skills and habits that have propelled his career.

Whether you're a seasoned salesperson or just starting out, Luke's experiences and insights offer a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration.

Also, don't forget to check out our previous blog, where we put together a list of 20 must-follow GTM experts for SDRs & AEs.

Can you share a bit about yourself and what led you to Deel?

My name's Luke Floyd. I live in Atlanta with my wife and dog. In high school and college, I competed in debate, which fostered my love for research and communication. I joined the Army Reserve and served a tour in Iraq. After returning, I completed my degree and entered the sales world.

My career began with door-to-door sales, then insurance, followed by a B2B SaaS SDR position selling a Sugar CRM add-on module. Later, I worked in various roles, including under Chris Lee at a company called Granular. Chris transitioned to head up Deel's sales in the Americas.

At the time, I was in a channel, enablement, and management role, seeking to return to direct sales. When Deel aimed to pivot upmarket in North America, Chris invited me to join, and now I'm part of the team.

What are your top strategies for exceeding your sales quotas?

There are a couple of things to remember. A key aspect is understanding that you can't control everything in sales. Your performance is determined by timing, territory, and talent. You can only control talent on a long-term scale. Choosing the right timing and territory is crucial. Ask yourself if there's product-market fit for the company you're joining and if they've achieved what you're trying to do before.

Success becomes more likely when you tune these aspects. Every time I've changed roles, I haven't stayed in one segment. I've sold to various industries including farmers, sales leaders, marketers, finance, and HR. Each time, I focus on becoming fluent in their language first. It's important to respect your prospects' time by understanding their world and problems thoroughly. This is more important than knowing your offering or solution.

Companies provide training for their products, but often don't train you about the persona you're selling to and what they care about daily.

Also, many salespeople think they constantly need new skills or learning. However, much of what you need to be successful you've already learned. Consider principles like Newton's laws, Lebics laws of minimums, and the eighty-twenty law.

These principles, learned in my political science classes, can be applied in sales as heuristics to understand and execute better. Instead of focusing on what you lack in skills or knowledge, consider what you do know and how you can apply that to solve problems.

Are there any specific tactics for learning about personas?

The first step in a new role is to understand all the case studies and successes. If they are documented, review them to identify common problems and how your offering provided solutions. If not, talk to satisfied clients to gather this information. Knowing where you fit into the picture is crucial.

Another tactic is to find ways to make clients' lives easier. For example, working with HR teams, I found value in connecting them with Deel's global salary data. This data, while not directly related to what I sell, helped them in their compensation tasks, thereby adding value and keeping me top of mind.

Understanding their workflows allows you to provide value in unexpected ways. This understanding primarily comes from listening to podcasts and engaging with industry professionals to learn how they work.

Approaching people with a genuine desire to learn about their work usually results in them sharing their experiences, as most people enjoy talking about their work.

What routines helped you get promoted quickly at Deel?

I had to learn specific routines at Deel, which involved being intentional with my selling. Previously, I was in indirect sales and channel roles. Realizing I could do sales without the emotional rollercoaster, especially during end-of-quarter periods, I built intention into my routines.

Every morning, I start with writing down my intention statement, my top three life priorities, and three action items for the day. I might also do gratitude journaling, noting both headwinds and tailwinds—what's not going well and what is.

This morning routine helps clarify what needs to be done to progress from point A to point B. It's important to create space in routines to clarify thinking around adding value and focusing on important clients.

Another routine is blocking out a couple of hours every week for what I call autonomy time. During this time, I address thoughts or ideas noted throughout the week, focusing on areas of improvement or process examination. It's crucial to limit continuous self-improvement to specific times to avoid exhaustion and allow for idea processing.

At the end of the week, I reflect on what went well and what didn't, planning for the next week. This helps me enter the weekend with a clear head and start Monday with focus.

This iteration and improvement loop, innate to me, became structured at Deel. With the company's rapid growth, prioritizing where to focus my time and energy has been critical, especially in the early days when onboarding resources were limited, and processes were still being established.

You've talked about the "latency effect" of high-quality work. How do you measure the impact of this latency in your sales approach?

Measuring the impact of high-quality work in sales involves both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative approach is straightforward. In account-based selling, metrics like the number of targeted accounts, opened conversations, qualified prospects, and closed deals are tracked.

We also consider the speed of opening and closing deals, and the size of deals, focusing on use cases based on average contract value (ACV) or annual recurring revenue (ARR).

However, qualitative measures of high-quality work are also crucial. Top performers understand the impact of their work, even without immediate data. Traditional sales metrics like ACV are lagging indicators. Instead, I focus on how the work makes me feel. In sales, feeling good about your work is essential; it's evident when someone doesn't enjoy their work or find it stimulating.

When I feel that I'm performing at a high level, helping clients learn, bringing clarity and confidence to their projects, I know those metrics will eventually align.

Most sales training teaches to ignore feelings and push through objections. However, being aware of how you feel and the subtleties in interactions can still be harmonized with tenacity. This is the latency effect in sales.

If high-quality work consistently feels a certain way, it's likely to yield positive results. So, I use that feeling as a compass to guide my sales approach.

How do you maintain momentum and interest in accounts with longer decision cycles?

Maintaining momentum in accounts with longer decision cycles involves several tactics.

Tactic #1: Avoid spreading yourself too thin. I believe in the eighty-twenty rule: eighty percent of results come from twenty percent of inputs. If you're working with twenty-five accounts, for instance, only five might make up eighty percent of your revenue. This principle suggests that more isn't always better. Focusing on accounts where you can truly add value is more likely to build and sustain momentum. If you're losing momentum, it might be because your focus is too spread out. Remember, effectiveness, not efficiency, is key in sales.

Tactic #2: Put yourself in your client's shoes. Your offering is just a small part of their world. For example, in working with HR teams, understanding that Deel is a small part of what they're trying to accomplish helps me find additional ways to help them, thereby maintaining momentum.

Tactic #3: Create a compelling business case. Manufactured urgency, like end-of-quarter discounts, is not effective. Instead, focus on compelling business events, broader trends affecting the client's business, and align your selling process with their buying cycle.

Tactic #4: Consider the individual members of the buying committee. In dealing with multiple stakeholders, it's important to align each person's direction towards the goal. Rather than focusing on account-level momentum, I focus on each individual, ensuring they are at least neutral, if not supportive, in the process. This approach helps in building and maintaining momentum at the account level.

How do you guide a client from recognizing a need to committing to a solution?

Guiding a client from recognizing a need to committing to a solution involves translating pain into problem and problem into impact. For instance, an accounting manager may be struggling with paying contractors manually, which is a pain point.

However, it's often the CFO who must approve the investment. The CFO needs to understand how this operational pain ties into their broader business objectives or priorities.

The first step in helping clients make a change is to define the problem accurately. There are many reasons for a pain point, and identifying the exact problem is crucial. This involves understanding problem statements and how they are used in operational processes. My military background, with its emphasis on clear intent and alignment, aids in this process.

Secondly, understanding buying processes is key. Salespeople often think they need to be experts in what they sell, but understanding decision-making processes in mid-market companies, for instance, is where I bring expertise.

This involves educating clients on how to manage projects internally, present simple business cases, and gain economic approval. Often, leaders in various fields like sales, finance, marketing, or HR aren't taught how to run projects or manage software purchases.

My exposure to daily decision-making enables me to guide clients through these internal processes, facilitating their transition from recognizing a need to committing to a solution.

Reflecting on your career progression, what skills and habits have you developed that you wish you had known earlier in your career?

Firstly, active listening is crucial. My debate background helped me understand different perspectives, but active listening goes further. It involves affirming what people express, rather than negating their feelings.

For instance, when someone says a solution is too expensive, it's important to validate that feeling rather than dismissing it. This skill extends from simple techniques like 'feel, felt, found,' which acknowledges and relates to the customer's feelings.

Secondly, clear writing is essential. Writing clearly and succinctly helps in expressing thoughts both in text and verbally. It's a skill that translates into more effective communication overall.

Finally, problem-solving is a key skill. In the military, I learned how to identify problems and align everyone on a solution. This isn't typically taught in traditional education but is vital in sales and business.

Rather than focusing solely on traditional sales skills, understanding the client's world, helping them solve problems, and clear thinking and writing are more beneficial. These skills not only make one successful in sales but also in business, making you more valuable to prospects.

We hope you found Luke Floyd's insights as enlightening and motivating as we did. His journey from the debate floor to the sales arena and his tactical approach to challenges in sales demonstrate the importance of adaptability, strategic thinking, and continuous personal development.

Luke's experiences at Deel highlight not just the skills necessary for success in sales but also the mindset and habits that can make a significant difference in any professional journey.

Stay tuned for more inspiring interviews and articles that aim to empower and inform our readers in their professional endeavours.

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