Mastering the Science of Sales with John Barrows, CEO at JB Sales

10/10 GTM Episode 8
Transparent sales process - working together
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Welcome to Season 1 of 10/10 GTM: The Podcast for Revenue Leaders!

Our guest for Episode 8 is John Barrows, Founder and CEO of JB Sales. With more than 25 years of experience, John’s mission is to enhance the performance of sales reps while elevating the sales profession. 

In this episode, Ross talks to John about how to master the science of sales by mapping out the buying and selling process, confirming and controlling the conversation, and leveraging a shared agenda. 

Listen to the episode here, and get the key takeaways from our conversation below. 

Why you should put B+ reps in management positions

While many organizations believe that the best way to boost revenue is by putting top reps into management positions, John shares a different perspective: 

“If you don’t look at sales as more of a science than an art, it’s almost impossible to replicate,” he says. “Top reps are like artists. Having them try to translate their art to other people is brutal, and almost always fails.” 

The better strategy? Identify and empower your B+ reps to become managers. These are the people who consistently hit their targets and follow plug-and-play processes that can be shared with and replicated by others. 

Not everyone is going to be a top performer. But, if you can teach your reps the strategic processes to follow so they hit their monthly goals, then you’re going to build a successful team. 

3 practical tips to add more value as a seller

Being an effective sales person ultimately comes down to relationship building. It’s not just about what you can get, but also what you can give. Here are John’s three practical tips to add more value as a seller: 

1. Map out the buying and selling process: Every deal brings its own unique attributes, but the roadmap and milestones to close should be repeatable. As a sales rep, it’s essential that you understand what your ‘gives’ and ‘gets’ are and map them out. 

Gives include: 

  • Information
  • Proposals
  • Discounts
  • Better terms 
  • More time to make a decision

Then you match up what you’re giving versus what you’re getting. This tells you how healthy and equitable the opportunity is. The idea is to be as evenly split as possible. If you fall too much in one direction, such as giving without getting, then you’ll train your prospects to keep asking for things and struggle to close the deals. 

John adds, “When someone says they want something from me, my reply is always, ‘I’m thrilled to give you that, but in order to give you exactly what you’re looking for, this is what I need in return from you.”  

To learn more about how to map out the buying and selling process, you can check out John's two training programs: Filling the Funnel and Driving to Close

2. Confirm and control the conversation: Your prospects are busy. They’re engaging in countless conversations, and you can’t expect them to remember what you discussed the last time you spoke. 

When you send your follow up email, keep it straightforward and easy to digest — six to seven bullet points at most. Most importantly, let the prospect know you’re going to send it to them. 

For example, “Thanks so much for your time. In terms of next steps and action items, I’m going to send an email that briefly summarizes the key highlights from our conversation. Can you do me a favor? Once you receive it, email me back and let me know if it’s accurate and if I missed anything.”  

The next time you meet, ask them if all of the information is still accurate from the follow up email. Then follow up with, “What’s changed since we last spoke?” 

3. Leverage a shared agenda: Use agendas to confirm and control the conversations, and keep your prospects engaged. For example, if you have a call coming up tomorrow, send an email around noon with the agenda for the conversation. Don’t say, “Are we still on for tomorrow?” instead say, “I’m looking forward to our call tomorrow at (insert time), and in order to make the most of our time together, I put together a brief agenda here. Can you do me a favor and take a look at it and tell me what else you’d like to add?” 

John’s strategy is to fill in three bullet points and then lead three bullet points blank for the prospect to fill in. He generally receives a 20 to 25% response rate and those meetings end up being some of the best ones. “If you’re not using an agenda, especially if there are multiple people on the call, they’re in control, you’re not.” 

Rapid fire: John’s fast sales insights

In a rapid-fire Q&A session, John shares his insights with us on a wide range of topics: 

What’s the main reason most teams miss their ARR goals? Lack of consistency. 

What’s your favorite resource for revenue leaders? Crystal Knows.

What’s the number one challenge for revenue leaders in 2023? Figuring out how to integrate AI into their processes — not to replace reps, but augment them. 

SMB, Mid-market, or enterprise? Mid-market.  

What’s the most important org: Sales, CS, or Marketing? They’re all important. 

How do you unplug? I smoke a lot of weed. CBD gummies. It’s legal here in Massachusetts. 

The road to successful revenue leadership is paved with  . . . Failure. 99 no’s and one yes. 

About John Barrows 

John is a seasoned sales professional with more than 25 years of experience. He’s held every position in sales and now runs his own sales training company, JB Sales, which serves organizations such as Salesforce, Linkedin, Amazon, Google, and many more of the fastest growing companies in the world.

If you have questions for John, or want to learn more about him, follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, or visit his website