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Selling to the C-suite: Proven strategies from Adam Weekes

December 22, 2023

Arjun Krisna

In this edition of Amplemarket awards, we delve into the insights of Adam Weekes, a seasoned sales leader at Bigtincan.

Adam brings a unique perspective to the sales arena, with an intriguing background that spans from the British Army to leading sales teams in the corporate world.

In this comprehensive interview, we explore Adam's journey, his transition from military discipline to sales leadership, and the strategies that have shaped his approach to sales and team collaboration. Join us as we uncover the valuable lessons and daily habits that have contributed to his success and the success of his teams.

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 Bigtincan?

Hi, everyone. My name is Adam Weekes. I'm the sales team leader at Bigtincan. I've been with Bigtincan for four years now, and I've seen a lot of different things happen within the sales and admin space that I work in.

My career didn't start off in sales enablement. I started in the British Army as a boy soldier and then worked my way through various sales positions, from boiler room type environments to startups to corporate publicly traded companies like where I am now.

It's been a significant journey, and I'm sure there's plenty more to come. Thanks for having me on today."

What key skills or disciplines from your military experience do you find most valuable in your sales leadership?

The number one thing for me is discipline. It's drilled into you in the army, part and parcel of everyday military life. Other key areas include strategic planning and adaptability to the environment, which help in taking every call and meeting as it comes, as things never go to plan. Sticking to the fundamentals of a call and a structure I have in place has been important.

Having adaptability to change has really helped me in my sales career. Also, setting goals, which has been drilled into me from a young age in the army, has stuck with me for a long time. So, I'd say discipline is the biggest thing I've taken away from the Army

Could you share some daily habits or routines that contribute to your success?

There are many different habits that contribute to success. For me, it's about not thinking too far ahead. This involves setting clear priorities for the day and incorporating continuous learning, as we don't know everything.

It's important to have space to learn something new, which helps take your mind off immediate tasks. Learning from customers and getting them to share how they use the solution can reveal new use cases. Also, regular check-ins with the team are crucial. You can't do it all on your own, so speaking to sales leaders and colleagues about their approaches is beneficial. This has helped me stay consistent and grounded.

It's important to learn as much as you can from others and apply that information to your work as an individual. The key takeaway for being consistent is to stay grounded and continuously learn from those around you.

What strategies do you use to successfully engage with C-level executives and align your solution with their vision?

I focus on the strategic objectives and challenges that C-level executives have in their role. A key strategy I use is to read the job description of the individual I'm about to meet. For example, if I'm meeting with a marketing director at a tech company in the marketing automation world, I'll find a job description that aligns with that individual.

This helps me understand what they do regularly and align what we offer to their day-to-day activities. I also understand common challenges by reading existing case studies of similar individuals who have purchased solutions or products. This approach allows me to build a vision of how we can help them today, tomorrow, next month, next year, etc.

This strategy has really helped me engage with executives by aligning with their needs and perspectives

How do you foster collaboration between AEs and SDRs to create a cohesive sales strategy?

Open communication is key. I strongly encourage regular meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding outreach to specific accounts. It's important that everyone agrees on the messaging and approach.

If someone disagrees, they should openly express it, as it's essential to listen to all perspectives. The goal is to eliminate an 'us versus them' mentality between SDRs and AEs. Instead, we aim for unity, and having open communication and regular meetings among all team members helps drive this purpose and unity across the team

Can you share common pitfalls to avoid when developing go-to-market strategies?

A common pitfall is not aligning the strategy with customer needs and what's actually happening in the market.

It's crucial to listen to SDR calls and discovery calls from AEs with companies you've never engaged with before, to understand the problems they're facing and how they think you can help overcome them. Rather than being assertive about what you think will happen or having a bias towards a specific approach, it's important to speak to your existing customers.

Listen to what's happening on the frontline with your SDRs and AEs. Take these two different pieces of information and align them to form your new strategy moving forward

How do you balance being direct and providing value without overwhelming a prospect?

Balancing being direct and providing value without overwhelming a prospect is challenging.

It's important to respect the person you're speaking to by being direct and showing what you have. If you have what they're interested in, they will keep talking to you. Overloading someone with too much information can lead to them missing the value or not understanding how it helps them.

Delivering an effective discovery call with precise questioning can help identify specific solutions for their problems, rather than presenting all your solutions at once. For example, with a prospect who had multiple problems, I focused on starting with the biggest one.

Addressing the primary issue first, rather than trying to sell everything at once, prevents overwhelming the prospect. This approach allows you to address their pain point first and then build the relationship from there.

You advocate for skipping the 'why' in sales calls and going straight to showing value. Can you give an example of how this approach has led to a successful sale?

Everyone has a story about why their company was founded, but honestly, I don't think people care anymore. They can easily find this information online. In sales, it's more effective to understand the prospect's pain points, challenges, and projects, and how these are directly affecting them.

Then, demonstrate how we can help them overcome these issues with our solutions. This approach speeds up the decision process, as it directly addresses their needs and generates excitement about finding a solution. Salespeople need to cut out the fluff and focus on presenting use cases that match the prospect's challenges, showing how existing customers have overcome similar challenges, and detailing the solutions and outcomes provided.

This is a simpler and more direct approach than spending a lot of time on the company's backstory.

What would be your top three pieces of advice for someone new to sales?

For someone new to sales, my top three pieces of advice are: First, get a thorough understanding of the product or software you're selling. Use it if possible to see how it works. Second, read all your case studies, especially those in the industries you sell into.

Know them well, including why the customer purchased the solution from you. This will help you understand the story behind each case and tell it effectively. Third, network within your team. Engage with customer success, marketing, product managers, and sales engineers.

Understand how they help customers derive value from your solution. This will close the loop and provide a solid foundation for your sales career. Those are my top three pieces of advice

What does an effective sales training program look like to you, and how do you ensure it is continuously improving?

An effective sales training program is continuously evolving. It cannot be static for too long because markets, customer needs, and the industry landscape change over time. The program should include practical elements like demoing, reciting customer stories through video, and answering multiple-choice questions.

In the company I work for, we use a sales readiness solution to put in regular assessments and reinforce knowledge regularly to stay relevant and effective. An effective learning and onboarding program should be dynamic and include regular knowledge checks.

It should also include reinforcement, not just immediately after learning but also in the longer term.

This continuous process needs to be adjusted when necessary, based on the responses and evolving needs.

In conclusion, Adam's journey from the military to the corporate sales world offers a rich tapestry of experiences and insights.

We thank Adam for sharing his valuable insights and experiences, providing a roadmap for sales professionals at all stages of their careers.

Stay tuned for more insights and interviews from industry leaders in our upcoming blog posts.

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