182 podcast episodes 🎙️

In today’s episode, Joe talks to Lucas Prigge, the Head of Sales at Kinsta – a hosting platform by developers, for developers. Kinsta has combined the fastest network and platform in the world (Google Cloud), and paired it with the best engineering team and the most experienced WordPress developers in the industry. The MyKinsta dashboard was built from the ground up specifically for WordPress, making site management a breeze. 

Lucas shares his insight on sales such as the extensive training the sales team has to undergo, the meticulous sales process for new customers, finding the right CRM tool to manage clients and collect data, and the commission scheme that helps ensure that clients only get the best support. 

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 05:54 Welcome to the pod, Lucas!
  • 07:23 Background settings and program good for video recording
  • 11:03 Kinsta helps people find the right hosting plan
  • 14:19 Challenges of managing a multi language team
  • 19:27 The key factor in selling and communicating
  • 23:51 Sales process for new customers
  • 30:06 Do businesses need to stick to making sales calls?
  • 35:45 Every sales person undergoes extensive training
  • 46:33 Single source of truth of your customer data
  • 49:49 HubSpot is the lead CRM tool
  • 53:54 The way you use a technology is what matters the most
  • 59:33 Find Lucas online

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: Howdy folks, Joe Howard here. All right. So the WP MRR virtual summit is officially caput. It is over finished last Thursday. Day one was on Tuesday day two on Wednesday and the final day on Thursday. So man, I’m pretty proud of how it went. Lots of great talks, lots of great speakers, great interaction within the community.

Think a lot of good questions were asked. A lot of good questions answered by speakers. Yeah, I think it was definitely an event that helped folks to responsibly grow their MRR, hit MRR milestones. So, okay. So the one thing I did want to make sure that folks did know about whether you were able to attend or not all the talks again, are going to be available on the WP buffs, YouTube channel, a couple of ways that you can get notified when that happens.

One is to, if you haven’t already to join the WP MRR community and join the summit, live streaming updates space, we’re going to post that when those are live. So you’ll receive an update whenever we post there and just make sure your notifications are set up within circle. Second way is just to go to WP boss, YouTube channel.

You can search on YouTube where you can just go to WP buffs.com forward slash YouTube, and you can subscribe to the channel that will give you notifications. When we post new content, including podcasts episodes who want to do some more tutorials for WordPress and future. For summit videos, we’re going to have a whole new playlist for the 2021 talks.

So you can notify it that way. Other ways. Honestly, just keep listening to this podcast because I’m sure I’ll say something here in the intro on a future episode, once those videos go live. So that’s also an easy option. Okay. Community, everything for WP MRR community is at community dot WP, mrr.com in terms of how that’s gonna play a part moving forward.

Obviously this summer was three great days of content and actionable stuff. So you can continue to grow your MRR responsibility, but the community is going to be around 365 days a year, not just three days a year. So I’m hoping that we can take momentum from the summit and really push it into the community.

If anybody wants to discuss certain talks or certain challenges, Or just work on some things together. The community is a great place for that. I’m going to be posting a lot of content in the next probably month or so. I’m looking at my calendar right now. And I’ve got like also for anybody who wants to, you can schedule a lightning chat with me just to talk about your business.

I’d love to get to meet new people and learn more about your business anyway. So, I have like three of those lightening chats scheduled every week for the next like three or four weeks. So I’m going to post all those videos on the posts, the learnings I’m going to tag some other WordPress experts who I think could come in and really have also good advice on that.

So a lot of activities can happen in the community around them. So, make sure you are in there and checking out that stuff. If you want to actively participate around the summit videos, to the videos of all the talks. I haven’t exactly decided what I want to do with those, with regards to the community, but I’m sure there’s a good opportunity to take some of those videos rewatch.

Some of them, maybe we could have like some watch parties or something. We could all jump into a zoom room and watch the videos and take notes and then share some. Learnings or some of the things we plan to do that might get some nice kind of a group dynamics going, oh, that person’s doing that. That makes me think.

Maybe I should try that. Or maybe I should try X, Y, or Z. So I don’t know yet, but I’m sure there’ll be something around rewatching, some of those videos within the whole community. So stay tuned for some of that as well. Okay. Summit stuff over community stuff talked about. Let’s jump into today’s episode of the podcast.

So I got to have a Lucas preheat on the pod today. Lucas is the, the manager and heads up sales at sta who is one of our sponsors for the summit this year. So thanks again for Ken stuff for being a sponsor. So you saw the title of this podcast episode already. It’s really about sales specifically. And I don’t know about you, but whenever I go into something about sales or start listening to something or reading something or watching something that’s about.

I’m always kind of a little bit, I’m thinking a little bit like, Hmm. Is this going to be like too salesy or is it going to be like someone telling me, like always be closing or like always be selling and that kind of like sales stuff. This episode was the opposite of all that. Lucas is awesome. It’s clear why Ken sta is so beloved in terms of hosting and solutions because their quote unquote sales process doesn’t feel salesy at all.

He talked about how they scaled sales at Ken stir. Some of the stack that they use for technology stack, they use for sales, which is actually somewhat similar to the technology we use here at WP buffs. So definitely tune in to hear some of that, about some of their technology that they use. The big focus here was really on the customer journey and setting expectations correctly so that when people talked to the sales team, You know, sign up for Consta.

They have a great experience based on the expectations that were set around customer journeys, Lucas really like hammered home. He was like, this is like maybe the most important piece is that every customer starts at a different point. Some are like new to WordPress and don’t, haven’t heard a concern at all.

Some are, uh, you know, WordPress professionals who are coming to Kinston who have all that WordPress knowledge who don’t have any other basic questions when they have some advanced questions. Luke is really stressed, like it’s so, so, so important to meet every potential sales lead, where they are in their customer.

And that just scratches the surface. It could start a whole lot more about that. And the episode really goes into detail. So I’m excited for this episode. I’m excited for you to hear it. So cool. Without further ado, here’s Lucas P here. Enjoy today’s episode. All right. We are alive this week on the podcast with Lucas.

pre-K look as I think I said your last name, right? We’re kind of, I was practicing a little bit before we got started, but I think I got it. Okay. Tell folks a little bit about you and what you do with WordPress.

Lucas Prigge: Sure. Yeah, no, you got it. Absolutely. Right. And I am Lucas I’m from the Netherlands. And what I do with WordPress is, you know, quite a few things I’ve been active with WordPress for at least 10 years, you know, for privates uses.

That’s when it all started with some, you know, personal projects. I entered the industry really by working for a local Dutch WordPress hosting company. A what is it? Seven years ago now, or even eight at this point? Yeah, kind of evolve through there. And now I’ve been working with Kinsa for over two years.

And my role there is head of sales and yeah, like I said, I still run some site projects that are. With WordPress, although it doesn’t necessarily serve a WordPress users, but it is separately. The glue that keeps my digital businesses, my digital products.

Joe Howard: Totally. Yeah. We were kind of joking before we jumped on here.

Like, okay, I work at Consta, but I have some more press side projects. And I was like, that sounds like par for the course, some, so many people I know in the WordPress space, they’re like, yeah. Their main thing. And then they kind of have their side WordPress things, you know? So I’m, I’m totally there with you.

And I want to jump into sales at Kinston stuff. I know that sounds really cool. But before we do that, I want to ask a little bit about this green screen setup you have here. Cause it looks really cool. You’ve got this nice background, like the kin style logo kind of hovering people who are listening.

Obviously can’t see it, but people are watching on YouTube. They see this cool kin sta logo kind of floating. Is that something that you just, it’s pretty easy to set up? I mean, most people hear green-screen they’re like, whoa, like sounds outside of my expertise, but these days it’s too hard.

Lucas Prigge: No, it isn’t, uh, it is just a green screen, which you can purchase for about 200 bucks.

If you, if you want to get a good one, it’s a small investment there. And then you just got to have a camera. My camera is far from the best, but it still does the job. And with some settings in a program called OBS open broadcast studio, it’s a free open source application. You can then kind of create these layers for streaming video also for recording video, even.

And that allows me to have, yeah, the pretty kids to purple and the background and the canes, the logo in the foreground. It’s just some layers takes a couple of minutes to set up, uh,

Joe Howard: OBS is that that’s something, I think if people are listening and they’re like, what do I go check out? They can go, I don’t know, go Google OBS, open source, you know, software and you can find it.

Lucas Prigge: You’ll find it that way. Yeah. It’s a great tool. I also use it for recording videos. I have a YouTube channel and it does the job without fail. It’s also the tool, many professional YouTube authors use. I think, especially also in the tech scene, if they want to, you know, record their screen while having themselves in the corner over there.

Joe Howard: I really liked the fact that it’s it’s open source. Do you find that you Yeah, because it’s open source that you like, does it record your audio and video and stuff, and then like store it someplace. And if you does store it someplace, do you have to have like your own server space somewhere or does like that opensource software actually like, how’s it for you? What does that look like?

Lucas Prigge: Yeah, it’s very flexible. So you can see like the outputs folder and you just press start recording. It counts down. And when you press stop the MP4 or whatever other video formats you decided to will be you know, the recording will be stored as such in that output folder. So that can be private local or on the cloud or wherever else. I’m a big fence. You can tell.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Usually in terms of picking the software, you’re going to go with, I like to try and opt towards the open source solution. In a lot of cases. Sure. The open source solution may require a little bit more work, a little bit more maintenance or a little bit more, you know, time and effort to set up or, or whatever.

It just kind of usually takes more time and effort. But the pluses are really nice in the fact that you like those recordings, like you own those recordings in the whatever, you know, especially if you have your own server space, you know, you can have full ownership over that. I use this application where in is riverside.fm, which is great software, but it’s still technically a closed, you know, system.

If they decided to like, you know, boot me one day or whatever, I’m pretty sure like running a WordPress business content is not high on their list of things gonna kick off. But like who, who knows? Right. That’s not exactly the point I could lose access and then they could, you know, where all my recordings, if they’re all just stored here in Riverside, that’s a problem.

So anyway, OBS green screen recording open-source software, you know, we just wanted to go into sales, but I had to ask you about that too, but. Cool sales also at Ken sta. So, yeah, you wrote down some, like, I, every time I have someone book a recording session here, I just asked them to list some of the stuff they wanted to talk about.

You listed, like, everything you listed was like, I totally want to talk about that, but, uh, let’s start off and just, I’d love to know a little bit about what your role entails as head of sales at . Obviously people is give people a little bit of background. Most people who were in the WordPress community or WordPress space, no Wolf can smell or have heard of Ken sta or have tried to Google some help with WordPress and found the kins to article.

Right? So there’s, they’re pretty well known in the WordPress space, but in terms of like sales for a hosting company, that’s an interesting position. I don’t know if a lot of people know exactly what’s entailed in terms of. Sales for a hosting company. So as head of sales, tell me a little bit about like your day to day, the team you manage, like what are you up to? Everything?

Lucas Prigge: Yeah, sure. Well, in, in short, it’s all about helping the sales representatives that I have in my team, which is a globally distributed team of approaching 10 sellers at this point in time or grown pretty quick, pretty quickly. And that team is speaking up to eight languages at this point and located really in north America, in Europe and in Asia.

So all the three main, you know, regions, so to speak and all the timezones zones covered. Yeah. Making sure that they’re able to do their job, you know, and that job is basically helping people find the right hosting plan for their needs with cancer, because it is a pretty flexible platform. And hosting is a technically challenging topic for many. And we, you know, are there to understand that and listen to them and help them find the good fits for, for their needs.

Joe Howard: I want to say. Multilanguage piece. Cause I think that’s something I don’t see super often actually, before I forget, let’s just dive into the multilanguage piece because I’ve seen Kinston content online and I’m like, I have this notification on, in a tress, which is like our SEO software and it gives me like a heads up when I get like, when our website gets like a backlink from someplace else, because I like to know.

And then I like to like, shoot someone an email I’m like, Hey, thanks. That’s cool. When I get them from Kinston I usually get like eight or like 10 because I get one from the English version. But then I get a, you know, more notifications from the, not the many non-English versions that you publish online.

So obviously just like writing content, like kind of top of the funnel stuff for multiple languages, you can drive traffic to your website and multiple languages, which is great. You can kind of really get a good hold about, you know, of the like global market for hosting. But like if you’re going to do multilanguage content.

And if you’re eventually going to like, really be able to drive revenue from all different places in the world where people speak different languages, you have to do like stars, multilanguage content, but then go down into multilanguage marketing and multilanguage sales. And then eventually like multilanguage support and multilanguage dashboards for a smaller company.

That’s an investment that I would think would be like pretty crazy to me to, to, to make that initially Perkins is obviously like a somewhat big company. So it sounds like that investment is being made over at Kinston to how has that, how does that, how does managing a team. Of people speaking, you know, eight different languages.

Like what challenges are you seeing every day am? I mean, I’m sure it’s nice to be able speak different language, but I’m sure you run into challenges trying to manage that multilanguage team doing sales in a lot of different languages.

Lucas Prigge: Sure. Well, it’s true. You know, Ken says deeply committed to growing worldwide, internationally because you know, we do believe in our products and we want to make sure as many people as possible can enjoy it and benefit from it.

So, the cool thing I think about the products and also sales itself as a skill, it kind of bridges the language barrier in that, you know, it doesn’t really matter as much. Which language you speak, like if you can provide it, that’s, that’s the thing that you just need to provide the product itself.

Doesn’t change sales best practices. Don’t really change. We’re all human and, you know, human psychology applies. Everywhere. There are absolutely local differences. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as challenging necessarily as it may seem at first glance. What it is though is a lot of work. And, uh, we have a team dedicated specifically to global expansion and translations.

So it’s a whole separate function within the company with dozens of team members, they’re conducting market research to help find which markets might be a good fits, you know, and obviously a lot of translators making sure it all works properly for international customers. Yeah. And then sales that also has its effects.

You know, we have a sales content library that needs to be translated and update is obviously their conversations in real time. Uh, or via email and live chat to take place in those languages. So I guess the one challenge for me as a leader there is that I cannot always coach as effectively as I could for sellers whose language I do speak.

So I see. A few languages, actually, I’m, I’m, I’m pretty, uh, uh, lucky there. I speak English, Dutch, German fluently. I understand French and Spanish to a limited degree. And so those are five languages. We all serve with the Kinsa sales team and I can help those sellers relatively well, but we also have somebody who sells in Japanese, for example.

So I have no way to deeply. You know, analyze a sales call that they may have made with a Japanese speaking lead. I can use Google translate to analyze an email conversation, but it’s still not really perfect. You know, so I guess that’s the main challenge that’s comes as well as the time zone difference.

Although dare to, I am pretty lucky being in, based in Europe here really centrally located it’s between the two extremes of the time zone. So to speak. In other words I can always meet with a team member at a, at least for a portion of the working day there. If you had a, you know, Japan versus the east coast of the U S I believe it’s extremely difficult to get a normal time for a call like this one, you know, but as we’re doing right now, you’re based in the U S for me, it’s the afternoon for you.

It’s the. Totally doable and the same applies in reverse if I have a chat with my team members in Asia. But yeah, sometimes sales, you know, requires urgency and I cannot be there 24 hours a day. So that is definitely a challenge.

Joe Howard: Yeah. I think a lot of companies, it’s interesting when you say that a sales sometimes requires urgency because I think a lot of companies will set expectations at likes.

You know, the sales team is not always online and that will get back to your email when we are online or when we’re available. And like, that’s cool. And I, I, I actually, a lot of times in a lot of case, I appreciate that approach because it’s good to set boundaries and expectations with clients. And that’s a lot of times the biggest challenge is like setting expectations wrong.

And then the customer being like, why aren’t you here? Well, if you had told someone going to be there in an hour and you’re there the next day, that’s, that’s the. But I’ve found at WP buffs where we do 24 7 support that sales actually having urgency in terms of the timeliness of sales is really important to be able to translate into that.

Well, we’re supporting you 24 7, so you need to like be getting, you need to be feeling that right away when you first interact with us. Like if you book a call with us or if you you know, email us, you should probably hear back from us like same day. Like I don’t want to do it to the point of, you know, pressuring the team to like, you have to hit this quota or like get this many emails today.

But like in general, hitting those is going to be really helpful for converting customers who are going to have that expectation of like, well, if you’re a high performing company, in terms of like your operations or of 24 7 operations, well, I need to be able to feel that during the sales process, I may have a disconnect as a potential customer. Like yeah, I dunno.

Lucas Prigge: Yeah. So true. I think what you said at the beginning, there is true as well. I mean, you gotta always under promise and over deliver, never the other way around. That’s really a key factor in selling or communicating even effectively. Like you don’t want to build a distrust by over promising.

And we actually, frankly, we gain a lot of business from this illusions customers who were over promised something from another provider in our in our industry and then, uh, come to us and they’re reopened about it sometimes even halfway traumatized because I understand that like, it’s your whole business.

That depends on being online. You know, being quick, being secure, all the, you know, facets that encompass, uh, good hosting and. You know, it just hurts to see it because it’s also gives a bad name to the already tarnished reputation of sales in general. You could argue, so yeah, we really re do once to under promise and over deliver on the one hand, on the other hand.

Yes. We also do, wants to be there as much and as quickly as possible, because yes, that is true with your business as it is with ours. So we also have 24 7 support as really such a key feature of the products. You know, every time you see reviews of Kinston, in our case, you see support is mentioned, I think like eight out of 10 times, at least as the most valuable assets of the products, because yeah, it doesn’t matter where you are as a customer.

It doesn’t matter. Technical capabilities. You have, you get premium support within two minutes on average 24 hours per day, including the weekends. So I agree that the sales experience, which is often the very first touch points you have at least in terms of a human to human interaction with a business should come close to that.

And that’s definitely what we’re trying to do, you know, and we’re taking big steps. I mean, we have a sales team that’s consisted of. Three people. Last year in April, around the time it was truly being formed in its current shape. Right? And it was a, it was myself, it was another seller in the United Kingdom and he celebrates in Canada.

So there’s no way that we can serve eight languages, 24 hours per day. No way. Now we have these multiple people in multiple languages and we can do 24 hours every working day. And we have a lot of elaborate systems in our sales staff, a lot of automation to make sure that when people do reach out to us, they get a response as quickly as possible.

There’s a lot of sophistication in there. We can talk about it, but yeah, it’s true. You gotta be there and you gotta be there quick. Speed wins. The deal is what they say in sales.

Joe Howard: Okay. I think in a lot of contexts that is true. I’m sure I would love to dive a little bit into. The actual sales funnel at Kinston.

So, the context I think is probably important, you know, for people who know kinda stuff, hosting company pretty big hosting company consists has not raised funds and its history. It is a revenue funded company, which is probably important con important context for people to understand, but they’ve, you’ve still grown at a tremendous rate.

And you, you know, you marked here when we book the call consists obviously over 83 K MRR, so higher, more than a million dollar business as WP buffs is two. So, and Kunst is significantly bigger than WP buff. So I don’t know exactly what MRR point you’re at, but it’s a, you know, you’re competing with all the other hosting companies.

So I think safe to say you have some money to spend in terms of sales process, just investing in across the business. But it’s specifically in sales in general, since that’s what we’re talking about today. The. Final or the sales funnel. It can, stem is probably going to look significantly different than a hundred thousand dollar a year business.

So also important context for people to think of, but you started kinda started as a smaller company too, and maybe just expanded those smaller sales processes into you know, maybe just a scaled version of that. So actually maybe some of those are pretty similar, but I’d be interested to hear. What the, like in general, what do new customers, what’s their sales process that they go through?

Do they usually have a live chat with you? Do they usually book a call? I can see, like on consider economy, you can book a demo call with someone. Is it usually just kind of via email? Do you have a different customer segments who do different things? I assume like enterprise kind of customers are going to be, you know, they’re going to need three calls, you know, with three different people on the, all the calls, getting all the signatures or whatever, but, you know, maybe, uh, some of them looking at a $20 a month plan, maybe they just jump in, live chat and then buy something. So, yeah, I know that was a few questions, but what does it look like?

Lucas Prigge: That’s, that’s true. Yeah, but I get what you’re saying and it is, it is actually I think we could say that we. We do have a sales process. Of course we do, right. We have a sales strategy is maybe the better word, but we don’t want to put people through that process.

Instead, we really try to help them where they’re at in their buyer’s journey. So we really try to be customer centric in that regard and knots make sure that we tick every box in the process that we’ve defined. So it’s definitely not the case that, you know, there is a enterprise lead coming in.

Well, now we have to do three demos and we have to do this. We have to do that. Sure. It happens. And there’s certainly a correlation there, but there is also scenarios where a large enterprise customer joins us after going through one or two live chats. And that’s it because the process. Is all about inbound.

And the short version of inbound is basically, you know, in the, in the classic classical sense, if you’re trying to grow a business, uh, the idea was, Hey, we’re going to shout from the rooftops here we are. And here’s how great we are. Come to us. It’s like you’re fishing in the sea. You’re, you’re throwing out , The Bates and hope that’s a big fish bites and you’re kind of sitting there waiting and pulling and pulling and pulling when they come in.

Whereas within mounts, you kind of take the opposite approach and you take a look at, okay, who are we really serving with what we’re doing? And then how can we meet them along the way? So that while they’re on, whilst they’re on their journey to, you know, solve a certain problem, they’re having kids that comes top of mind naturally as a solution.

And the big ingredient of that is contents marketing, which you alluded to already at the beginning there, you know, whenever you search for, to search for any WordPress problem, you know, we have a dedicated content team, this pumping out helpful article after article and now even YouTube videos, you know, people are finding us.

And so when they arrive with sales, often they’ve already been through a lot of touchpoints with kin sta they’ve already made up their minds sometimes. To a significant degree and we’re just there to help them answer the last questions because they may have some very individual cases that warrant those questions.

Right? So on the one hand, you know, organically, we’re definitely trying to get at as many new customers, happy customers that way, of course. And they can, and this is all self-service type of thing, but there are also customers that need custom plans or they just need to speak to a seller. And this, I think also alludes to a point that I made in the kind of pre questionnaire to this podcast is sales is always going to be an essential ingredients for any business.

I would argue, like you’re not going to get around selling, even if you don’t enjoy it’s or something like that. But Does that answer the question?

Joe Howard: I want to ask a follow-up question about sales being an essential ingredient, because I think part of me agrees in the sense that people want to get to know a company and have some interaction, usually with the company before they buy something.

And a lot of cases speaking with a person or jumping on a video chat is the like most easiest touch point to have a really personal interaction with someone like you and me on this video right now. Like I can see your face. You can see my face. We can read each other’s body language. Like there’s a lot that gets translated there in terms of building trust.

Part of me though also thinks that the sales team and the things you’re learning from sales calls and the things you’re you’re, you’re learning from people asking you questions during email. Some of that can probably be translated into marketing efforts that could potentially have people answer their own questions, maybe in a help center, or maybe just on the sales page, on the website where they may, you may be able to minimize the number of calls you have to book, just because you’re able to do that.

There’s also just like video now where you could record a video. I would agree with you with what you’re probably thinking, which is that being able to talk with someone is maybe a little more helpful than just watching a video of someone describing a question someone looked up, but it could have the same effect that you’ve see someone at the company that builds trust in itself.

And then there’s also being able to maximize your ability to answer other people’s questions through. Maybe doing some sales, but also translating that into marketing efforts into video. Maybe there’s also some like asynchronous sure. Off, you could do it. There’s like this new app out called zip message, which is like, it’s like video back and forth to people.

So like you can do a video call. It’s just not in a half an hour call. It happens over three days because you spend, you know, 30 seconds here, 30 seconds here, shooting, video back and forth. I don’t know. I think that, I guess that all could fall under sales, right? Like that’s all still, there’s a piece of it.

That’s sales, but what do you think about that argument? That in terms of like, does every business, do you think every business needs to be doing sales calls or do you think businesses could get away with. Finding a different way to be able to convert new customers.

Lucas Prigge: Well, it’s, it’s a great question. And you know, I would say research who you’re serving and what is the way that they prefer to interact with vendors, really that, that is the, the furthest I can go in answering that question.

I don’t want to, you know, paint too broad of a brush here. Now. I think the other question that’s kind of behind is this, you know, is sales really necessary for every business is a very interesting one and one that has intrigued me for years as well. And the thing is I am by any means by no means, am I a natural born seller or anything?

Like, uh, until I was 18 years old. So you could argue almost, I was barely able to speak coherently let alone listen properly to people. I never thought I would end up in sales and Initially, I really was more involved with marketing. That’s the path I chose in my studies and it’s definitely a skill set.

I try to keep up and practice as well. And so at some point I even thought, Hey, what you’re saying is all true. You know, if we, for example, get a often frequently occurring question in sales conversations, why not try to answer that question preemptively in marketing material. And we do. And you know, you see that that’s kind of a big portion of the content you see on the kids.

The website has been informed by a lot of sales questions and for a long time, I would say Preqin stuff for a long time for like five, six years. So while I was in sales, I was actually thinking, Hey, yes, I’m in sales. In, in a weird way, the goal of sales is kind of to make itself redundant. Like at some point you would think, okay, we’ve been through all the questions, you know, we’ve had, we’ve had all these scenarios you can think of.

And we’ve kind of put them all into a knowledge base article so that people can self-help and organically find their way. And I’m sure that does happen. Absolutely. Doesn’t you should do it. But what I’ve realized is, you know, if you look at this is probably one of the most extensive efforts out there in terms of all that content production to, uh, simulate the self-service, uh, aspect of things.

Well, people are still reaching out and it’s still, there’s increasing. People are still asking for sales and talk to sales in, in, in many ways. So that facts alone has made me kind of turn around on that idea and realize, well, there’s always going to be people that wants to have an interaction with a human.

In one way or another, whether it be a live chat or a phone call or like you said, through new technologies with a synchronous video that that’s all valid. So yeah, that amounts may be decreasing relatively. I’ve seen studies that did that, you know, in generations, that number is definitely decreasing.

But then again, you could argue, you know, in emerging markets, Internet’s adoption is still increasing. So the overall number, especially for a globally oriented company is going to just increase and, you know, we’re, we’re seeing that. So yeah, people are still asking to talk to sales. Hence my belief is that sales is at least worth a try if you’ve never tried it you should definitely try it because you might be missing out.

Joe Howard: I think that’s definitely true. I think everyone should try having demo calls or book sales call. It should be tried. And I really liked the idea of a lot of your content comes from people with sales questions. Like we similarly are, look we’re like, how do we generate content? Obviously there’s like keyword research.

Kinston WP boss are both like pretty powerful in the SEO space. Like we’re both. Or we have both have articles that show up a significant amount of people are Googling for all sorts of different stuff. So keyword research for both of us will be like, yeah, that’s a good way to see what people are searching for so you can answer good questions.

But there’s also like forums online. There’s like, you know, communities where people are talking about different stuff around WordPress and you can be part of that community. And that’s also another place you can get good questions to answer. But sales is maybe the best one because people who are in the, you know, sales process are asking this question.

Like, if you’re going to answer questions for someone from like a financial perspective, probably like potential leads or like some of the best people too, because those are the people who, if you answered their questions, they could give you money, you know? So I think that’s a good thing. I want to follow that up though, with the, like you manage a big sales team.

And one of the challenges we’ve had at WP buffs around sales is setting the exact right expectations for people during the sales process that they will experience when they have purchased a subscription from us. And it’s not because we are like maliciously, like where we do X, Y, and Z. When we like don’t do X, Y, and Z.

Like, it’s not that, but there are times when. Operations changes pretty frequently. Like we do things differently operations and sometimes those like that communication from like, you know, operations to sales, like to marketing, that can be a challenge for all the team leads at wuf like, just know what’s going on across the company.

It’s, it’s one of the things that Nick especially is like working on right now. So the, I guess my question for you is in terms of the sales team and managing a multilanguage multiperson, you know, a lot of people sales teams. How are you managing that expectation setting in terms of, you know, I don’t know how many sales conversations you have a day.

It’s probably a lot, I’m sure you can’t read or step into every single call that’s happening. So what’s the process like of just like managing the sales team and making sure that what they’re telling people is what’s current, hasn’t been changed since last week is setting them up for success to move it, to, to sign up, go through onboarding and be successful with.

Hosting with dev Kinston with all that stuff. Tell me a little bit about the expectation setting and how you’ve tackled that as a big sales.

Lucas Prigge: Yeah, absolutely. So it all starts with training when they join and training. A big part of that is for many people who are maybe just totally new to the WordPress industry or, or hosting or both even yeah, it’s an intensive labor is a period of time that can take multiple weeks or months because we want to make sure that they have the foundations down, that they know what it is that they’re selling and that the expectations they setting are correct.

So training involves a lot of studying of material that we have produced specifically for training purposes. You know, there’s interactive courses and quizzes and certifications to get as a seller before you’re allowed, let’s say to be thrown out there into wild. With a real lead there, and there’s a real buildup process from day one, joining, um, and total totally green to everything that I’m going to talk about as a seller to maybe, you know, around day 20 to 30, uh, Hey, we’re gonna practice our first sales conversation and I’m just there.

Or another sales team member. Is there really playing a persona, playing a fake lead. And we just have these fake sales conversations to kind of, make sure the fundamentals are covered. And if we spot any inconsistencies or, mistakes, you know, deaths to place to kind of take it out already. So we definitely invest a lot in training and that way we can trust our sellers after they’ve gone through that extensive training.

Now you’re ready to tackle these questions, but we also always. Keep in mind as a team, as a culture, we have a culture where if you’re not a hundred percent sure that what you’re saying is accurate, uh, double check it’s always. So that happens in multiple ways. We have obviously a you know, just kind of a step process.

Sometimes you can find the answer yourself, if you are not sure you can search on our own websites, you know, the public facing information. And see if the question is answered there, often it is, we may have an internal knowledge base same story, but even if those two do not provide the answer, there is an internal slack space where we make sure that we answer questions from our sellers accurately and quickly, not just via the sales team itself, but if they have technical questions, they jump to the supports channels.

So to speak and technical support engineers who know our product through and through step into provide technical details. Every day, day in, day out. So yeah, that is kind of already, I think what creates a good foundation there and what allows us to really trust that our sellers are setting the right expectations.

It doesn’t end there though, you know, obviously we’re. Training and coaching is an ongoing effort. So I, as a leader of the team, I conduct regular pipeline reviews, a weekly one-on-ones with my sellers, where they propose or I presented anything I may have found to, to correct any expectations, setting it up may have been wrong.

Internally I get those forwarded from other team members as well, you know, because in supports those things may be discovered and then forwarded and we learn from it together and vice versa too. So that is all really powerful. And, you know, those are really powerful ways I should say, to make sure that the expectations are set, uh, correctly and, and another one that’s I think is not very well known at all.

So kind of a scoop for you here in this podcast. Obviously sellers. Money-driven to certain extents. We like to make money for the business that we work for, but we also want to get a fair share as a result of it. But I think, you know, and that’s called commission. You can earn commission for deals that you sell.

In addition to your, your base pay. Now, many companies and sales organizations may opt for a simple commission structure. In other words, Hey, you’re bringing home this customer. This is the deal, the value of the deal or the value of the initial transaction, so to speak. So here is your commission for that deal and that’s it.

And, you know, whatever happens after the transaction is no longer the seller’s problem, you know? Oh, support. We’ll take care of it. I got my commission, I got my sale and it’s all good. Well, The opposite way of how we run things in our sales organization. The way we work is that our commission structure is based on a six month periods after the initial transaction.

And it includes also our 30 day money back guarantee because any customer that signs up for our platform can cancel within 30 days and can get a full refund. No questions asked what that also means is no revenue generated for the kids to business equals no commission earned by the seller. However, the opposite is true as well.

If the revenue generated by the customer, you closed stays consistent or even gross. Your commission also grows over that six month periods. But the thing that makes all of that possible in the first place is, you know, bringing home a happy customer that stays with us in the longterm. So by design. The whole system as if that’s needed, because I deeply trust all of our sellers it already, but there is not even a high need for trust, by the way, we’ve designed the commission structure, which is really cool to see.

And I, you know, I really see that we very, very rarely and never through, you know, wrong intentions or malicious intent at all. Do we see any kind of problems arise from expectation setting in sales? So yeah, those are kind of the three key factors I could, I could answer the question with.

Joe Howard: Yeah. I think that commission structure is super interesting because it kind of marries the best of both worlds.

I think a lot of people have been hesitant to do commission structures because they’re thinking about that simple commission structure, you know, you get paid for a deal that goes through well, if someone has a potential deal and they’re not a good fit for Consta, someone could be like, Hey, I’m going to make a thousand bucks on this deal.

So I’ll just close it. Right. And even if. Your sales team enormously, especially as you grow and scale, and you have, instead of like two salespeople, you have 50 salespeople. Like you increase the chances that you may have one or two people on your team who may be more interested in making that commission, but you minimize that risk by making it a six month commission structure.

And I would even say even more than minimizing the risk you maximize the culture of, I want to bring on happy customers who are going to have, you know, be successful with Kennesaw because that leads to things like low turn rate and high lifetime value, which are good for the business as well. And maybe even the most important is that it’s important.

It’s, it’s, it’s benefits the business in the longterm. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always really respected kids does, like, I never seek to do anything short term, like investing all this time and energy and like multilanguage. That’s not going to have a huge effect probably today, but like, you’re looking at like five years from now, you’re looking at like maybe two years or three years or five years.

And then it terms of like commission structure, like, Hey, you’re making a succeed. You’re building a successful sales team for not today. Like getting the pay off today. It’s like, you know, for being successful six months from now and a year from now and two years from now, and then you’re also kind of like magically builds in like closeness and culture.

I think that has like this invisible, maybe secondary benefit of like, people don’t want to, I, you know, there’ll be maybe less likely to leave Ken Stein go somewhere else because, Hey, I have this, well, it’s not just about that commission coming in six months, but it’s about like this ongoing, like it’s my job to do the sales process and to like continue to make sure the people I’ve converted into customers have been successful on that.

Like gives you more of a motivation to take care of the people who you’ve sold. So anyway, I like all that. I think there’s a lot of. Yeah, cool, man. Okay. Let’s see what else I have here. I, I did want to hear a little bit about the, like having a big sales team. We’ve talked a little bit about the, uh, I liked a lot about what you said, just rewinding a little bit to the like meeting people at the point of the customer journey where they are.

Some people are like, I’m building my first WordPress site. I’ve heard of construct stuck. Can you tell me a little bit about, more about it? Like I know I need a host. Can you that’s you guys, right. Okay. That’s one point of the sales journey, then there’s enterprise people, right. Who have like, I get all that.

Like I need to know a little bit more about support. I got to get, you know, that’s a, I’m ready to buy. Like I have, you know, $2,000 a month to spend, like, I just need to check off these details. Different parts of that structure, I think is or different parts of that customer journey is, is interesting. I want to hear a little bit more about the like sales technology stack that you use.

I think it’s probably important for people listening, who may be at a smaller scale than consider to start thinking about what the software they’re looking like to do. This sales process looks like because it probably may change a little bit at the software using, as you grow, you made many things that like work better at a bigger scale, but a lot of this software works just as well with three people as it does with a hundred people.

So I’d be interested to hear like what software you use. I think that you use HubSpot to some degree, but anything else in there that you use. Sales for video calls for live chat with people for, yes, we did calls live chat, you know, for email. Tell me a little bit about like the technology you’re using.

Lucas Prigge: All you recognize this directly helps with. It’s definitely the bread and butter in terms of ours, our sales sack, because it is a system that has all these functionalities integrated, right? Not just email marketing, but also a full CRM. In fact, that’s where they’re headed in terms of their own product developments that really focusing on becoming a CRM platform first, but regardless, you know, I just believe that is really important to have a what’s called, you know, a single source of truth in terms of your customer data.

And I do not believe in spreading it around all these different systems, because basically that means you’re creating a puzzle for yourself and, you know, maybe the. I didn’t know the email marketing data lives in side of MailChimp, and then the, uh, sales calls logged live inside of your air call voice over IP provider, the emails live in Gmail and et cetera, et cetera, that kind of goes against the whole idea of trying to map and support their buyer’s journey.

You know, so having a CRM, CRM, that’s bundles, all of those together as much as possible is really an essential ingredients. And we’ve gone as far as you rightly recognize to use it for both marketing as well as sales. And that is super powerful because it allows us not just to see a leads or customers history in terms of how Dave and gates with marketing material, which we have a lot of, but also.

How that then led to them becoming a qualified lead. Like what kind of actions did they lead to take to then decides to submit a contact form form or other in other ways, make themselves known to the sales team? So HubSpot is really where that all lives and in terms of the seals supports there as well.

Nope. No email support. Yeah, it is. And personally, like if I had a, if I could go back in time and, you know, start a business of my own of this size, I would also include that. But there’s also other, you know, it’s separate, but it does work. Uh, we, we make it work and But yeah, if you can, my advice would be, find a system that you can trust that does as much of that kind of interaction logging, let’s say as possible and helps. What does it allow you to do that as well as others?

Joe Howard: It sounds like you’re, it sounds like you’re pretty comfortable like, relying on one tool to do a lot of this stuff. I think like maybe one potential downside to that would be, well, if you rely on like one piece of software for all your sales and all your marketing, and then next year they like triple their prices and they’re like, well, you gotta pay for it.

You know? And then you’re kind of like, okay, I guess I’m paying for this now. Or I’m going to spend, you know, a hundred hours moving all my stuff to this new system and retraining all my team and redoing all our training software. So it sounds like you’re, you’ve put a bet on HubSpot and that you’re comfortable with that bet is that sounds.

Lucas Prigge: It definitely sounds correct. And, you know, I think that applies to many important purchase and guess what we did too, to help make that decision. We talked to sales, you know, we went to ops and we talked to two sales and, and got a, you know, gut feeling and like, you know, do we trust that this company is going to continue?

We pay attention as buyers to more than just the words that they speak, but you know, the way in which they express themselves, are they confidence in HubSpot’s in this case and its future and et cetera, and, and price changes and how that would work. Like that’s not the kind of stuff that you find on a marketing landing page, you know?

So just yeah. Uh, segue into that subject again, but yeah we do trust it and yeah, I’ve used it for many years also before sta and yeah, it just works really, really well. What else is there to say? I guess from a sales operations perspective, All you in the end, it’s just a bunch of data organized in a certain way.

HubSpot is just a pretty database, you know, in, in the end, that’s what it is. It just stores information and you can tag it and put it in certain lists and, you know, you have tasks and deals and all these other taxonomies definitely matters do it, but also. You know, remember you don’t need necessarily a pretty system in the world.

Although I would say in terms of hotspots, you know, just start with their free version, starting to sound like a HubSpot sales person here, but I’m just, I’m just an evangelist. I’m a fan. Yeah.

Joe Howard: That’s how they get you. Sure. That’s, that’s part of their growth model because I do the same thing. Like we just have spots and people are like, what should we use?

And I’m like, bro, you’ve got to use HubSpot. Like, it’s great. Like, and then, Hey, now we’re talking about HubSpot has gotta go check it out, but that’s part of it. Like they do have a product that is so solid. That’s like, yeah, totally. Hey that’s and Hey, I learned from it too. Cause I’m like, how can we like have real evangelists of our P w people office like they have for HubSpot?

Like, that’s a real thing. So we have, we obviously use HubSpot too. And like our bill every month for HubSpot is like, it’s probably our biggest software bill. I’m fricking stably up there. How big is it? Loud is bigger, yeah of Google. I think Google cloud is probably our biggest, but the HubSpot’s probably maybe your second, third, fourth right up there.

But in terms of like the total revenue generated, it’s probably somewhat similar, like ratio is what we have. So I think the and, and it’s interesting to like what you’re saying about like, you know, their sales process is really good. Like their sales team is, is amazing. Everybody I talked to was like, great.

And then they follow up with me like three months later, six months later, not as like an annoying like upsale, but just as like check in and telling me about new features and I’m sure it’s all through their HubSpot system, but it it’s like, they’re really, like, I’ve had a few people HubSpot from HubSpot on this podcast just cause I’m like, Hey, yo, you’re cool.

Like Joplin, the podcasts, like it’s a great team. And I’m like following them as one of the, because we are invested in them too as I’m, you know, I’m sure you’ve, you know, heard news recently that their CEO. Brian Halligan stepped, stepped down and you meaning rug ran GaN. I want to make sure I say her last name right.

Is is now the CEO as of, I mean, they announced it a few weeks ago. So like, those are the things I track is leadership. What’s going to happen. We put a big investment in, yeah, what’s the future of that company look like, you know, we pay them four figures a month, which is, you know, not as big as probably their biggest customers, but Hey, I want to know, should we, I mean, w if we want to be spending and stuff like $2,000 a month, well, we could spend, we could easily be spending like $5,000 a month or $8,000 a month for more stuff. Are we making that bet? So, yeah, I’m sure it does somewhat similar.

Lucas Prigge: I also would say, and I think you actually just gave a great example of it’s, you know, in the end, you can have all the wonderful, sophisticated technology in the world. It’s still. The way you use it that matters most. So the fact that, you know, the HubSpot team in this case themselves, you know, use the technology to find you with relevant product updates, to check in with you, to, you know, provide you with a delightful sales or customer experience as they would call it.

You know, that’s still a function of the mindset, the company culture that that company has. And that I believe at Kinsey, we’re also cultivating with our sales team. So, you know, technology gets you super far and I do believe in automating away as much as possible and help. So it is a great way to do it.

There’s other ways to. Oh, yeah. Oh, don’t get me started about workflows. You can be here for six hours. Yeah, sure, sure. Let’s do it. But yeah, it’s still the, all of it we’re trying to do when setting up this whole sales stack with other tools as well is facilitating and enabling our sellers. To do their best work.

They still got to put in the work. They have to, you know, provide a an experience to our leads that is helpful. That is relevance. That is personal splice. And that is also well timed. And technology is just there to help you do it is not there to do the job for you. You know? So, sales is definitely still a skill that you’ve got to built, but asset skill evolves.

You find it your need for technology to support you and your new level of skills. We try to just have a super high level also evolves. And that’s where now we find ourselves with HubSpot enterprise and all these features. We have a tool called a DUP that we use to actually send these asynchronous video messages that you also spoke off works really, really well.

We actually also have a tool that is relatively unknown, I believe. And it’s kind of spooky to some people because it is an AI based personality analysis tool. So that’s a mouthful, but the idea is that there are different personality types out there. And I don’t want to turn that too much into a gimmick. You know, it’s called the disc model. D I S C I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.

Joe Howard: I’ve heard of that. I don’t think I’ve used it personally before, but it’s making the rounds kind of like the M I F C like, you know, you could be ENT. I forget what it’s called exec the personality test, but it’s kind of the newer one that’s coming around. Beginning to become popular.

Lucas Prigge: Yeah. Right. And, and I think it’s important to take it with a big grain of salt. First of all, you know, we don’t want to put ourselves or anyone else into those buckets and say, Hey, you’re this type. You’re that type. Therefore, I’m going to treat you like this periods. But it still helps, you know?

And I feel like with this guy, as an example, it makes the rounds in many sales trainings as well. Maybe it’s like a quick workshop that you attend as a seller and you find out, oh, I’m a, I’m a D type which stands for, you know, dominance, which means I’m more quick to take action. And I prefer my sales interactions to go more quickly as a result.

I don’t want to know all the details. Whereas if I was a blue or a C type conscientious, that will be the opposite. I want to know all the details, but I feel like as I’ve been through that as well with other sales organizations, you kind of learn that stuff. It’s you go through a workshop to say, Hey, I’ve been through a workshop and then you forget it again.

What we try to do is really consistently put it into practice and find way. To help us provide a better experience to whoever it is that we’re speaking to. So it’s a really new, exciting technology it’s called crystal. And again, I’m not, you know, selling or I’m not getting any commission for them. I’m just a customer.

That’s allows us via LinkedIn data, all public data. It’s nothing illegal or something to get a, uh, ID, get an idea for who. It is said we’re going to talk to before even speaking to them. So it helps us, you know, again, make it bets on, Hey, this person is more likely to appreciate a report building of 10 minutes at the start of the call because they’re very relationship oriented and they enjoy, you know, talking about the birds and the bees.

And therefore that’s going to allow them to have a good experience with us. Whereas others might just want to quickly jump into the facts. Hey, which hosting plan do I need? What does it cost? What are the specs? Let’s go, let’s move. You know, and that’s the kind of stuff we also take into account stair, just examples of the wholesale stack.

But, you know, I think we’re just maybe starting to tell is we try to really be, gets to, we’re obsessed with getting to know the buyer’s journey, our buyer’s journey, our buyers, and what they go through and what their.

Joe Howard: Lucas. Thanks for being on the pod, man. This has been an excellent episode. We’ve done some kind of sales episodes and sales relevant ones, but this one was like super deep into strategy.

How you’re doing things at scale. It can sta what kind of software are you using? How to, you know, go about and approach for sales. And I think a lot of stuff, yeah. I’m going to take some notes. I’ve got a few people I’m going to tag this tag and the WMR community who I think is going to be super helpful for, but I think probably helpful for a lot of different people running WordPress, right.

Uh, businesses. So thanks again for being on two things before he finished first, as I just wanna make sure people can find kin sta uh, as well as your. Online. So websites, social media, all that jazz.

Lucas Prigge: Yup. K I N S T a kinsa.com all the social media platforms. You can find us there. And if you want to have a conversation about, about hosting your WordPress projects, you can find us there to, you know, talk to sales.

I mean, you should know how to find this after listening to this podcast, right? Myself, I am not a very active social media user. I have a YouTube channel. You can search my name on YouTube, and I’m also active on LinkedIn, not on Twitter or anything else, but LinkedIn is definitely where you can find me. So just search for my name and I’ll be happy.

Joe Howard: Sounds good, man. Last thing I’ll ask you for is if you wouldn’t mind asking our listeners for a little apple podcast review for this podcast, I’d appreciate it. Yeah, well, uh, you know, go to apple podcasts, find the WP MRR podcasts and leave a five star rating.

I believe it’s a star system there. Right? I don’t use it myself, but one to five star. Well, give it, give it five stars. It’s it’s been, it’s been a pleasure to be here, so I’ll definitely go ahead and give it five stars as well, myself. So thank you for the invitation. I could have talked for three hours some more, which is always a good sign that it’s, uh, it was a fun conversation. So, yeah. Thanks for having me.

Yup. Agreed, man. Thanks for the review. Shout out. People want to leave a review for the show. You can just go to WP mrr.com forward slash review. Sends you right there. If you are on a Mac or an apple device if you are a new listener to us here on the show to us, to me and our guests also use us to me and plus guests here on the show, uh, you can go to WP MRR.

Dot com forward slash podcast. We kind of search bar right there and we’ve got, I think this is going to be episode 163 or 164. We’ve got a ton of older episodes. So instead of bingeing that new Netflix show or the new HBO show, just go ahead and binge some older episodes either on the. Podcasts or excuse me, on WPM or.com or on our YouTube channel WP MRR community.

Lucas is going to be doing an AMA after this episode. I don’t know exactly when it’s going to be. Cause Lucas, this episode I think, is going to come out around the WP MRR, a virtual summit. So I’ve got some planning to do around when this episode goes, live and around when you’ll do your AMA. But Lucas has said he wants to help the community out by doing an AMA.

So if you’ve got follow up questions for him, like I’m sure I will have about sales, about stuff, how they do stuff with about anything we’ve talked about or any ideas this brought up, or you have. You can go ahead and head to the community and ask Lucas in that asynchronous AMA, which is just at community dot WP, mrr.com a virtual summit.

Not sure again, when this episode is going live, but virtual summit either it’s about to happen in the next week or two, or it recently happened and video replays or, or the talks and round table, the video will all be coming out soon. So if it’s in the future, you should attend if it’s in the past.

Thanks for coming. Cool. That is all for this week on the WP MRR podcast, we will be in your ear buds again next Tuesday, Lucas. Thanks again for being on man. It’s been real.

Lucas Prigge: Thanks for having me. Peace.

Joe Howard: Better, buddy. .

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