A Look at a Successful Rep/ISR Relationship that Gets Real Results
At BAO, our Appointment Setting programs are all about results – how many meetings we secure, how much pipeline we help generate and how much ROI our Clients see. But the heart of every engagement – what really drives those results and our mutual success – is a strong working relationship between our Inside Sales Representatives (ISRs) and the Client reps they support.
In this case study, Todd Cernetic, Regional Sales Manager, Southwest U.S & Hawaii at Fidelis, and Leibe Suomala, Senior ISR at BAO, tell us how they’ve established a partnership – one built on communication, chemistry and mutual respect – that gets serious bottom-line results.
"It's a winning strategy all around. The ROI for this partnership is huge. As a guy in the field who is carrying the bag, there are a lot of expectations on me, but not a lot of time. Having Leibe there to back me up is great for my productivity."
-Todd Cernetic, Regional Sales Manager, Southwest U.S & Hawaii, Fidelis
"Knowing that Todd trusts me us a huge motivator. He’s going to fly to a meeting somewhere based on my work... We both give it 110% because when one of us succeeds, we both succeed.
-Leibe Suomala, Executive ISR, BAO
What Are the Secrets to Your Success?
BUILDING EXPERTISE, SETTING EXPECTATIONS AND ESTABLISHING COMMON GOALS:
Todd: “Fidelis products and services address the full lifecycle of cyberattacks – we consolidate probably seven or eight security point products into a single solution – so our message is complex. You need to have a complete understanding of it in order to get prospects on the hook. Leibe really quickly got a grasp on who we are and what we do.
“To kick off, we had a call to set expectations. We got off to a good start – we talked through target accounts, prospect personas and specific contacts I knew I wanted to get in front of. She knew what my goals were. And then she jumped right in to help me achieve them.”
Leibe: “When I’m new to a campaign, I go in very confident and I’m definitely not shy. I know I’ll be successful – and the faster I can get there, the better. I ask a lot of questions because that’s key to becoming productive. I’d check in with Todd after challenging calls: ‘How would you have responded to that?’ or ‘How would you counter that objection?’ He was awesome about working through those details with me so that the next time I encountered a similar situation, I could easily navigate around it.”
Todd: “In the early stages, it was all about feedback and working together to sharpen the pitch and narrow down the target list. Setting that foundation is what made this such a strong partnership from the start.”
COMMUNICATING OFTEN AND CAPITALIZING ON CHEMISTRY:
Todd: “At first, we were talking once a week. But now it’s at least every other day. And we email each other daily. Over time, it’s become more conversational. There’s a professional chemistry between us – Leibe works the way I work. We take the same approach. Our product is complicated, so Leibe simplifies things as much as possible on her initial calls. She hands the meeting off to me and I provide a bit more info, but I also keep it short and sweet so I can get the prospect into a technical demo. We have it down to a science.”
Leibe: “Conversation is very easy with Todd – he instantly made me feel like a part of his team. Knowing that he trusts me is a huge motivator because that’s something that builds and is earned over time. He’s going to fly to a meeting somewhere based on my work – so I have to be sure he’s prepped with solid background and connecting with exactly the right contact. And it goes both ways – I trust him, too. I know he’s going to get there and do a good job. We both give it 110% because when one of us succeeds, we both succeed.”
Todd: “Leibe is very special – she’s very good at what she does and I really enjoy working with her. She’s always upbeat, always has a really good attitude. That’s why she’s so successful – people like talking to her.”
Leibe: “And I love working for someone who appreciates me – that’s what inspires me.”
What are the Perks of Working Together?
THE PRODUCTIVITY BOOST:
Todd: “The ROI for this partnership is huge – how many calls/trips would it take for me to get in with these decision-makers on my own? Leibe is determined to get them for me – I love that. As a guy in the field carrying the bag there are a lot of expectations on me, but not a lot of time. Having Leibe there to back me up is great for my productivity.
“Leibe focuses specifically on my named accounts. Those are the most valuable to me.
She’s a professional ISR and has a good sense for the clientele – and she has access to BAO’s amazing database, so I benefit from her expertise and access there. And it allows me to work smarter, not harder – she gets me in front of the right people faster.
I’m not wasting time on people who don’t have the juice to get the deal done or can’t push the agenda forward. And along the way, she gets insight that helps me focus and prioritize – a “no” is a “no.” I can move on. And a “maybe” from someone who asks that we call back in six months is a win, too – we’ve got the right contact and we know when they’ll be ready."
“I like to have people work where they’re strongest. Leibe’s strength is in prospecting and making those first calls. Mine is in presenting the value prop to the prospect and moving them into the sales process.”
THE THRILL OF THE CHASE:
Todd: “This is my favorite recent story – there’s a particular CISO with whom I have a pretty good relationship. But he just wouldn’t respond to me – he kept saying he didn’t have time. So I put Leibe on it. She got a meeting almost immediately – and now we have a half-million-dollar deal in process. She has a way of getting people to take the call. I’ve had a prospect say, ‘I normally don’t do these calls, but…’ People just really like talking to her. “
Leibe: “My favorites are the ‘white whales.’ The ones where I know it’s the right guy. I know I have to reach him. I’ve tried him every day for six months straight – and then I finally get him on the phone and he’s super-receptive to the pitch.”
Todd: “I got five meetings this week! Leibe’s done a great job – I’ve had 33 calls in my territory in the last six months. And measuring quality with the BAO ROI Tracker™ is really easy because almost everything is a 4 or 5. She’s so spot-on. Our sales cycle is really long, but I have more than $698,990 in pipeline based on Leibe’s calls. That’s a very good thing for me.”
What Advice Would You Give to Other Teams Who Want to Make the Most of a BAO Relationship
BE STRATEGIC - AND REALIZE THE VALUE OF THIS RESOURCE:
Todd: “My VP tells me that I’m the CEO of my territory, and I take that very seriously. Leibe is a key part of that. She is so good at opening the door that I funnel all of that to her. Then I disseminate it internally as appropriate. Maximize your investment – build BAO into your team, develop a strong relationship with your ISR and keep the lines of communication open. Create that chemistry.
“I love BAO. The more resources you have when you’re a regional sales manager or territory manager, the better your chances are for success. As I move up the ladder in my career, I intend to have BAO as part of the package for my reps because I’ve seen how well it works.”
WORK TOGETHER TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP THAT GETS RESULTS:
Leibe: “We hold ourselves accountable to each other and that goes a long way in building a trusting, respectful relationship on both sides. We’re in this together, we’re a team – and we like each other a lot. We succeed together and that’s a really good feeling."
Every Appointment Setting engagement is designed to be a true, productive partnership between our team of ISRs and their reps. How can our team become a part of yours? Learn more about BAO’s Appointment Setting service here.