#97: The Science Of Sales With Shopify’s Loren Padelford

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This is a podcast episode titled, #97: The Science Of Sales With Shopify’s Loren Padelford. The summary for this episode is: If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. ----- “If you don’t add value, you’re not going to survive today.” This is a special episode live from Shopify Plus in Waterloo during a recent trip to Canada. DG sat down with Shopify Plus VP & GM Loren Padelford to talk about growing the Shopify Plus business, why sales is really a science, what’s different about selling today, the sales pitches that actually get him to respond as an exec, hiring, and everything in between. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts if you haven’t already and say hey on Twitter I’m @davegerhardt and David is @dcancel.

Dave Gerhardt: Hey everybody, this is a special episode of Seeking Wisdom. Why is it a special episode? Because, well, we were at Shopify in Canada about a week ago and while we were there, we had an awesome opportunity to sit down with Shopify Plus's VP and General Manager, Loren Padelford And I had heard of him before because he had wrote a couple articles about why he hates BDRs and their traditional sales process, which was really interesting to hear a sales leader say that. And so, we were up in Canada for a bunch of meetings, we happened to be at Shopify Plus for the day. And while DC was in the other room talking about, I don't know, some big important CEO stuff probably, I was able to grab Loren and do a quick interview. So, this is one of my favorite episodes that we've done because he tells it like it is, we talked about sales, interviewing, how he hires, what to look for today and what's broken about the traditional sales process. So, if you're in sales and marketing, I think this episode will be right up your alley and something new that we want to try. We're really passionate about bringing our role models and amazing people to Seeking Wisdom this year and expanding the podcast by bringing on a lot more guests. So, I'd love to get your feedback about what you thought about Loren and how this interview went. So, tweet at me @ davegerhardt, hit up DC as well @ dcancel. Do all the things that DC would tell you to do if he was here right now, leave a five- star review, six- star review, all that. So, hope you enjoy this interview with Loren and we'll talk to you soon. All right. Let me just make sure that we're good here. You want to just say hi, introduce yourself?

Loren Padelford: Hey, I'm Loren Padelford from Shopify.

Dave Gerhardt: Beautiful, beautiful. All right, cool. So, wow this is fun. We're here, this is a special episode of Seeking Wisdom, we're going to do more of these now. We want to talk to more in sales and marketing people so actually, we're here at Shopify Plus, DC is in the other room talking to some people about some other stuff. But I'm here with Loren, I thought it would be fun to just talk about sales hiring, things that are interesting to you, you have a really interesting story. So, maybe start with some background. So, Shopify Plus is now 200 plus- ish people and a big part of the Shopify business, but it wasn't always that way you started this in 2015, right?

Loren Padelford: Right. So, I think I started Plus in January or even say January 2015 as an experiment and it started with salespeople. There were, call it five salespeople at the start.

Dave Gerhardt: What were you doing before in the business?

Loren Padelford: I wasn't in the business-

Dave Gerhardt: You weren't? So, you came here to start it.

Loren Padelford: Yeah. I mean, that's its own story is I took a job without any real idea of what I was actually doing and it was very kind of," Hey, we have this thing that might be another thing and you should try that." So I mean, partially it's Shopify and so the old adage when someone offers you a seat on the rocket ship, you don't ask which one, you just get on, right?

Dave Gerhardt: Yep.

Loren Padelford: So, we started with five sales reps and no idea what we were doing and that's literally how we started it. We hired straight out of university, no sales experience. I scared them as much as I could about the job and I was like," This will suck, we don't know what we're doing, you shouldn't take this job, you're probably going to get fired in eight months and we're all going to get buried-"

Dave Gerhardt: That was the actual interview process?

Loren Padelford: Oh yeah, this was literally-

Dave Gerhardt: And did you do that on purpose because you're trying to find people who are like," Shit, I don't care what we do, I just want to be here."

Loren Padelford: Yeah. I mean, what was fascinating is some people, the more you try to scare them, the more excited they got. And so, the people who were left at the end were the ones who were like," This is amazing, thanks to everyone." And you're like," Okay, great." And so, we started this and the first day I was like," Okay, I really don't know anything, I have no sales training for you. So, what I'd like you to do is pick up the phone and call people and then you come back and tell me how it worked."

Dave Gerhardt: Sorry, but Shopify has been around, were they calling, were they logging into Salesforce, grabbing some good leads and calling them are did you not even get them-

Loren Padelford: So, you're right, Chop I have been around a long time and so we had current customers who profiled out a certain way and so we called them and we were like," Hey, do you want to upgrade to Plus?" And so, that was the first calls. But we also at the same time I had to... I called the inbound team but we also, a couple of sales reps were outbound. And so, they were just like total greenfield. It's like there's a market, enjoy. And so, they were just calling people cold and learning and we were developing the scripts on the fly and trying to figure out what worked and what didn't. And I mean, it was a ton of fun. We were in a crappy little office in Kitchener, intentionally it's like Shopify had this glorious office in Ottawa and a nice office in Toronto. And I was like," We're not doing that. Until we've proven something, we don't get a nice office."

Dave Gerhardt: I love it. I want to talk about that for a second. So, we talk about that on Seeking Wisdom. We talk about the personal side of work but why was that important? because obviously now, you walk in this office you're like," This is amazing," I'm a visitor. I had lunch, I had a protein shake, I had a massage, it's unbelievable. But why was that an important part of your philosophy to be like,"This is going to be shitty for a while."

Loren Padelford: You know what? I grew up playing sports and you didn't get to claim ownership of the awesome stuff until you went through the ditch.

Dave Gerhardt: It's like the guy who comes in and he gives himself a nickname. You're like," You don't get to pick-"

Loren Padelford: Yeah. You don't make up your own nickname. Go do something then come back and tell me how awesome you are. And so, what I was saying is we haven't done anything yet. Shopify, they deserve their big office, they've been around, they've locked the hundreds of thousands of customers. What do we have? Nothing. And it was also a goal. I wanted the team to own it. I wanted them to feel like if we did this thing, they could look back and be," I did that," which creates a different emotional state for people so that was important. So, we started with the experiment. It has gone very, very well.

Dave Gerhardt: Apparently.

Loren Padelford: So now, yeah Plus is 300 plus people. We announced last week we're adding another three to 500 over the next couple of years right here in Waterloo. So yeah, it has scaled extremely fast.

Dave Gerhardt: How long have you been doing sales?

Loren Padelford: My whole career. So, I graduated university, so we're 20 plus years at this point.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. All right. So 20 years, what is different about sales between when you'd started the Shopify Plus thing? Cause there's a huge shift obviously now in the way people buy and behave online. How do you boil that down? What's the biggest difference between January 2015 to January 2018 and the other 17 years of selling?

Loren Padelford: I think there's a couple of things. I think there are some things that are always the same. So, the only successful salespeople are the ones that add value, that has always been that way. So, if you just have awesome products in your walk- in brochure, nobody cares. So, if you don't learn to add value, you're not going to survive. And so, that has been true since I got out of college.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. It's funny because for a while we were like," Helping is the new selling, helping is the new selling." Then I did an interview with somebody who's like," No, helping is the old selling, that's always been the case."

Loren Padelford: Yeah, helping is the only selling.

Dave Gerhardt: It's the only selling. We've just gone in this, everything is sales tools and marketing automation and funnels and nurturing and conversion and all this stuff. And we've just made everything a machine.

Loren Padelford: Yeah. So, I think that's probably the biggest change is technology is if I think back to my first sales job it's like, I didn't have LinkedIn, I didn't have all these amazing tools like got lists for me. I had the yellow pages and I had a territory that I would knock on doors and all that kind of stuff. And so, I think technology has made some things better but it's also very dangerous in that technology can make bad processes a lot faster. And so, it's like if your process is crap, guess what tech's going to do with it? Make it more obvious-

Dave Gerhardt: A couple of weeks ago, I got a personal message on LinkedIn from the CEO of a billion dollar company. You think that guy actually sent me that email?

Loren Padelford: No.

Dave Gerhardt: Do people still fall for that? That's the whole technology thing that drives me nuts.

Loren Padelford: Yeah. And so again, to me, you misunderstand sales if you think just because you have the platform and it sends out a million emails, that's what you should do. So, I think technology has changed. I also think which I'm happy about because it's always been the way that I've looked at it is technology has moved from this black magic, this unknowable, your magician sales rep, who magically deals appear to the science of it. And I'm a big believer in sales as science it's like, this is process engineering. You either are good at process engineering and you understand the component pieces or you don't. There's no magic here. I've never met that magic salesman, actually I've met two of them. I've been in sales for 20 years, I've met two people like people just bought things from them, I don't understand why.

Dave Gerhardt: You didn't know why.

Loren Padelford: I didn't know why, it's like they'd walk in rooms and people would hand them money and you'd be like,"I don't know what that is. I could never replicate it."

Dave Gerhardt: You're like,"That wasn't even a good demo."

Loren Padelford: No, it's terrible, people just were like," Here's my children, here's the money, you can have whatever you want." And so, it's 20 years, two of those people, I think the odds are in the favor of crosstalk.

Dave Gerhardt: But for most, what is that science like? What are the steps?

Loren Padelford: So, here's the way I describe it is every single major league hall of fame athlete in the world can tell you every statistic about everything they've done ever and about everybody else.

Dave Gerhardt: I always think about that. I'm a big podcast guy, I listen to Bill Simmons podcasts a lot and he'll have random people on. He'll be like," You remember in 2007 that game against the Lakers?" And somebody would be like," Yeah, that was the game my ankle..."

Loren Padelford: Exactly.

Dave Gerhardt: Crazy.

Loren Padelford: And so, there's no different, to me, that's the same in sales. You have to start with your own behavior. As a sales rep, how many calls do I make? What's my own conversion ratio between initial call and second call, initial call and demo, initial call I'm like," What's all the math that governs my reality? As a sales rep, I don't control revenue, I don't wake up every day and do quota. That is not a thing. That is an output of activity. What I do every day is activity. Michael Jordan didn't wake up everyday and win championships. He woke up every day and shot free throws right. And so, that's sales calls to a salesperson. And so, it's knowing that, tracking that, optimizing that. I like to joke, I used to work... I sold things to the automotive industry and they have this concept of Six Sigma. And so, Six Sigma is reducing the variance down to a negligible or unacceptable amount. And I've always loved that concept to my mind about sales is if you actually lined up sales as a manufacturing process, it's like in the frontend is leads and out the other end is revenue. All the steps in the manufacturing process, make a call, send an email, do a demo, do a follow- up, go onsite and all these kinds... If you just worked everyday to tweak them and make them incrementally better, the net aggregate impact isn't enormous but most sales reps I've ever met, most sales managers I've ever met could not explain to you how anything happened in their org. What they tell you is like the Dr. Seuss' version of everything, which is like," Once upon a time in a land far, far away, I had a customer who I really felt like they would buy." I'm like," That you felt like they would buy? Oh wow, this is amazing. I feel like I should have a Ferrari. I don't have one but I feel like I should." It's like," What are we doing now? We're talking about how we feel about stuff?"

Dave Gerhardt: Or even if that stuff does happen, maybe there are some times where you might have a one call close or whatever, that's basically like house money if you do all the other things right.

Loren Padelford: Correct. And so, I like to remind salespeople that sales is a long- term game. Now, it feels like it's a short- term game because we tend to optimize it for quarters or month or year or whatever, but it's actually a long- term game. And in order to win the long- term game, you have to understand what you're doing. And that's to me the science of it, you have to really break down the pieces and just get very clear on what you're good at and what you're not good at.

Dave Gerhardt: So, do you interview for that? Do you drill into those funnels per rep or like-

Loren Padelford: Yeah. I mean, I interview for how people evaluate their own performance. So, I'll ask questions around like," Tell me why you're good at this, not just that you're good at it. It's great that you're good at it but what-"

Dave Gerhardt: So, you would say to me," Why are you good at selling?"

Loren Padelford: Yeah. And so people are like," I don't know, I'm just good at it. Okay. Right. So, you think it's magic." Other people, we did an interview one of the first reps that we had into the organization, I was giving them information and he's like," I don't understand this. Can you get up on the whiteboard and explain it to me?" And I was like," Oh, I love you already," because like his brain was working in this way that was like," Explain this to me with math. I want to see a process." I'm like," Yes, process is more like it." So yeah, I think when I interview people, I'm looking for people who will break down performance into its piece parts and say," Performance is not random, performance is built."

Dave Gerhardt: So, you push them to control the things that they can control.

Loren Padelford: Yeah or at least understand it. If you can't tell me your free throw percentage, how do you know you're good or not?

Dave Gerhardt: I love it. Yeah, ask anybody and," Oh, you shoot 65%? You better shoot some demo free throws."

Loren Padelford: What did you do yesterday? I shot more of them. Yeah, okay great. I mean, this was my thing. As a sales rep, I was terrible at cold calling, I just was. And so, when I broke down my numbers, if you looked at my numbers, I made an enormous amount of cold calls comparatively to my peers and counterparts but I was really good at the rest of it. And so, it balanced itself out. Well, if I was really bad at cold calls and really bad at demos, you're just bad, now you're going to see that this is going to be-

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah I mean, it's basically it's both marketing and the piece of sales. You could either grow traffic, grow a ton of leads or fund the other pieces of the funnel, are we going to spend a ton more of the top of the funnel?

Loren Padelford: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: All right.

Loren Padelford: So, I also think, to go back to your question of what's changed. I also think buyer's tolerance is lower now. So, it used to be that there was a little bit of the buyers were willing to have conversations and they were like," Yeah, let's talk about this." But now, with the internet and with information, it's not necessarily like, there's a lot of talk around buyers come into the sales process, 70% already baked I'm like,"Well, it doesn't make any sense," that sales process.

Dave Gerhardt: You don't like that one.

Loren Padelford: I just think it's inaccurate. It's like, well, they might come into a conversation with what they believe is 70% of the information.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, that's interesting because I've never thought of myself like," I am currently in the buying process."

Loren Padelford: Exactly.

Dave Gerhardt: Hello.

Loren Padelford: It's like, what does that mean? Are you at step four of my five- step process?

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. So, it's not that the 70% is wrong, it's more just like, I might be ready to buy a new phone and I'm researching a bunch of different types.

Loren Padelford: Yes. So, buyers show up now with what they believe is a lot more quality information.

Dave Gerhardt: Gotcha.

Loren Padelford: Now the challenge is, if you go google the term cellphone, you're actually not going to be helped with information, you're going to be overwhelmed with information. And so, what you'll do is you'll show up with a bunch of erroneous information. If you want any example of this, ask doctors how they feel when patients come into their office. And they're like," So, I was on WebMD yesterday and apparently I have everything." And it's like," Oh, will you stop googling things."

Dave Gerhardt: We have a four- month old and the first thing that the pediatrician told us when we took her in she's like," All right, before I let you guys go, do me a favor, do not google anything, just call me and I will answer your question." And I was like," I love it, okay."

Loren Padelford: And so, much doctors are like tour guides of what you really have versus what you think you have. I feel like sales reps are also tour guides. It's like," Oh..." So, I wrote this blog post one day that equated sales reps to tour guides and I said," Imagine the customer. The customer is going to go on a trip to another city. And so, let's say this city is E- commerce Software, that's the name of the city."

Dave Gerhardt: It's a great city.

Loren Padelford: That customer doesn't live there, the customer lives in fashion manufacturing. And so, what you do when you're going to go travel is you get online and you're like," Ooh, I wonder what E- commerce City is like." Okay. So, you google E- commerce City and a ton of information shows up. So, I like to relate this to Toronto. So, imagine if you googled Toronto.

Dave Gerhardt: Which I did on my way here.

Loren Padelford: Okay. So, if you live in Toronto, there's this big stadium downtown and the roof were tracks on the stadium. Are you aware of this stadium?

Dave Gerhardt: I'm very aware.

Loren Padelford: What's the name of the stadium?

Dave Gerhardt: The Rogers Center, is that what it is?

Loren Padelford: What's the actual name of the stadium?

Dave Gerhardt: I have no idea.

Loren Padelford: SkyDome.

Dave Gerhardt: The SkyDome?

Loren Padelford: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: That's pretty good.

Loren Padelford: So, if you lived in Toronto, no one refers to that thing as the Rogers Center.

Dave Gerhardt: They don't?

Loren Padelford: No, it's SkyDome. And so, if you were traveling to Toronto you'd be like," I'd like to go to the Rogers Center," and people would be like,"You mean the SkyDome? You mean that thing?" And so again, the internet failed you, told you it was the Rogers Center instead of what everyone really knows it to be the SkyDome. And so, a customer shows up and is like," I know everything about your city, I googled it." And you're like," Oh, do you though? Really? Interesting." So, the best thing a sales rep can do at that point is say," What do you want to experience while you're in my city because I'm sure you know a lot but let me help you understand what you should know. That thing isn't the Rogers Center, it's the SkyDome."

Dave Gerhardt: It's just like," Hey," if I said to you like," Hey, we're staying in Toronto tonight, where should we go to eat?" You wouldn't just say a restaurant, you'd be like," Well, what do you like?"

Loren Padelford: What do you want? Tour guides.

Dave Gerhardt: "Doyou have any allergies? What'd you have last night?" Yeah, that's a good analogy.

Loren Padelford: So, I think right now what happens is people go online, they google, they got lots of information and they show up and they sound like they know what they're talking about. And so, I think it freaks sales reps out because sales reps are like," Oh my God, that person knew everything." It's like," Wait a minute, did they know everything or did they know the first two pages of Google?"

Dave Gerhardt: I love it because this is something that you're making me rethink this a little bit, that's so obvious. But I know that we, when people come to our website and ask us questions we're like," Oh shit, this guy knows." When if you just took a step back and said for a second," Well, let me-"

Loren Padelford: How did this guy know? They google. They don't live here, they live in my city, they're at best tourists to the city. And so, the best thing I can do is show them the real city, not the city they googled.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. And do you think that that fits in that because we started talking about buyers, people are more skeptical and that helps there.

Loren Padelford: Yeah, that helps because largely when I google things, I just get overwhelmed. And so I'm like," Oh my, what am I looking at here?" And then, if I call someone or if I engage with a salesperson at that moment, my hope is that they demystify this for me, that they explain the city. Because I'm like," All I wanted was a steak dinner. There's 500 steak restaurants and they're all different but they all say they have the best steak in the world. Which one is it?" And it's like," It's all right. I'm with you."

Dave Gerhardt: I'm here because I'm looking for you to help me make this decision.

Loren Padelford: Help me. And so, if anything, information has caused more need for the sales reps to be helpful, to add value, it hasn't caused less, it's created more need for it.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. What else? I was going to ask you some other stuff. What else is on your mind about sales? The people...

Loren Padelford: Okay. So, here's one of the things I think I always find interesting about hiring salespeople is, here's the inaudible here, you can't find qualified salespeople.

Dave Gerhardt: Why do they say that?

Loren Padelford: It's a good question. It's like people are like,"Well, I can't find salespeople that are exactly like the people that work at my company now, have this much experience in my industry, have sold the exact same thing."

Dave Gerhardt: Wouldn't that'd be awesome, you just drag the spreadsheet and you're like," Boom, there's next quarter."

Loren Padelford: Right and you're like," What? You want people that are exactly... what? And so, I get frustrated because I've never hired salespeople like that, I've always looked at salespeople and said," All right, I'm going to hire the things I can't teach you and then I'm going to teach you everything else." And so, in this world I now look for attributes. So, intelligent, creative, curious, hardworking and a history of success. Okay, great. That's all I look for. I don't really care what your degree is in, I don't even care if you have a degree. I don't care where you worked before. Oh, you were the greatest sales person in the history of your former company? I don't care. It actually has no... there is zero correlation between past performance and future performance statistically. It sounds like there should be but it's like the stock market. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. It's the same thing because there's so many variables at play.

Dave Gerhardt: That's what I was going to ask you.

Loren Padelford: That it's like," Oh, when you started the other company, were they in the hottest industry and the hottest company at that moment in time? Did you take over someone else's territory that was amazing?"

Dave Gerhardt: With the exact same sales motion?

Loren Padelford: Exact same sales motion. It's like, there's so many variables. Now, it's not to say you should totally ignore it but it's not by itself a reason to hire anybody.

Dave Gerhardt: But you could maybe dig in and this may be what you do, you may dig in to find out why. They were the top performer because they did their homework, they did have the discipline of the inaudible.

Loren Padelford: So, I go back and I say," I think we are overall we're overemphasizing experience in most sales. Now I say most sales in some things," Okay, you're going to sell robot surgery platforms. You should probably know what surgery is." You'd probably needed some expertise in that area.

Dave Gerhardt: Gotcha.

Loren Padelford: Nuclear reactors, yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: I'm not your guy.

Loren Padelford: Probably should be an engineer, I'm going to go out on a limb.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. But I mean, if somebody comes to you guys and is interviewing for Shopify Plus you're like,"You can understand the business."

Loren Padelford: The vast majority of Shopify Plus sales reps have never sold anything before in their lives.

Dave Gerhardt: But they probably bought something online.

Loren Padelford: They bought something but they work hard, they're curious, they're intelligent, we can teach them. I can't teach you any of those things.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. So, what is your interview, walk me through the interview process a little bit.

Loren Padelford: The interview process for the first five sales reps was more unique than I guess the interview processes now. But the interview process is heavy on culture so we look for cultural things.

Dave Gerhardt: The reason I'm interested in it, I'm just thinking of like, okay, scaling a team from five to however many-

Loren Padelford: I think it's 60 or something-

Dave Gerhardt: 60 or something, there has to be some type of machinery at some point, right?

Loren Padelford: Yeah. Well, this is-

Dave Gerhardt: So, I'm interested in that.

Loren Padelford: This is what I was suggesting is my pool of potential applicants is way greater than most because I'm not stuck on where you went to school, on what your previous job was on, on whether you have experience, I don't care. What I'm interested in is smart, creative, curious, intelligent and a history of success. That I mean, huge swaths of people. And so, I just have a much bigger funnel.

Dave Gerhardt: So, do you think that's an advantage because they're willing to look at it from their lens?

Loren Padelford: It's a huge advantage. And if you look at the performance of our sales organization and how fast we've scaled up, I would put my sales org from a metric perspective against any sales org in the world and say," I don't have experience but my people sell way more, way faster than yours."

Dave Gerhardt: Love it.

Loren Padelford: Partially, it's I believe they just... We hire people right out of school who don't know the rules. So, there are rules in selling that after a while you start to figure out," They don't know them?"

Dave Gerhardt: Well yeah, and that can be hard. If you hire somebody really who's done this before-

Loren Padelford: Untrain all the crap they learned from crosstalk.

Dave Gerhardt: Totally. Are they strolling and expect to have this process, this meeting set up for you? Wait, we don't have BDRs here? What the hell? I have to set my own meetings?

Loren Padelford: Right, that's crazy time. It's like," Well, our team is largely, just don't know any better."

Dave Gerhardt: So, do you have a big recruiting team that you work with? Because the funnel is so wide that somebody has to help filter.

Loren Padelford: Yeah. So, absolutely we have an internal recruiting team that are dedicated to this and they're great. We take a lot of referrals from the current reps that are here and they're great. And we go through a lot of interviews with people, where we're just, we're trying to determine," Are you curious? Are you intelligent and will you learn?"

Dave Gerhardt: Do they do any selling? Do you have any of that?

Loren Padelford: We do role play, where we throw them into interesting scenarios. I mean, my belief is sales is completely unpredictable. So, the first five... now that the org is so big and I'm cross- functional, I don't do a lot of direct sales hiring myself anymore but that first five, we did things like, we'd be in the middle of an interview and I would get up and I'd be like,"I just have to go to the washroom," and someone else would come back and continue to interview.

Dave Gerhardt: I love it.

Loren Padelford: Or we'd be like," You're going to come back tomorrow and we need a really unique way to pitch us." So, we had one person that we totally hired he came back with a puzzle, he created a puzzle.

Dave Gerhardt: You said," Pitch us why we should hire you."

Loren Padelford: Yeah. And he came back with a puzzle on how Shopify works and he put it together while explaining Shopify, it was mind- blowing. And we were like,"Yeah, you're hired. I don't even know for what but you get to work here."

Dave Gerhardt: You got to do something, yeah. And that's why there's a puzzle out there.

Loren Padelford: Yeah. And so, it's like I'm a big believer in you've got to create hiring processes and experiences that mimic reality. Reality is not going to be linear in sales. Weird things are going to happen this moment you get into sales. And so, if the interview process for salespeople is all nice and flowers and easy to do, it's not actually helping them or you determine if this is the right person.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. It's like if you drove a car at two miles an hour with training wheels on then all of a sudden, that's not the-

Loren Padelford: And I'm not sure who lied to everybody and told everyone there was a way to hire like," This is how you hire people." It's like, Why? Why would we hire them like that? We're trying to hire someone who's going to do a job, let's create a process that best reflects that and ensures we get what we're looking for.

Dave Gerhardt: Cool. Do you read any books?

Loren Padelford: I read all the books.

Dave Gerhardt: You do?

Loren Padelford: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: Give me some... if I chopped out this audio from this podcast and said," These are the X books that you say every person in business must read or sales, do you have a couple?

Loren Padelford: Yeah, I have a couple. So, I think I liked Zero to One. I just like how anti- everything Peter is. I know Mark and so the Sales Acceleration Formula was a good book.

Dave Gerhardt: We love Mark, what's up Mark? I know you're listening.

Loren Padelford: I thought it was a really good math- based way to-

Dave Gerhardt: To go back to your whole point about metrics-

Loren Padelford: Yeah, I kind of stole it off inaudible.

Dave Gerhardt: Read that book and then you're like," Okay, I get what that piece is."

Loren Padelford: Yeah. I think people would be well- suited to read like Elon Musk's biography.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, the Ashlee Vance one is crosstalk.

Loren Padelford: And only because you want to know how to innovate, think totally tangentially to the box. There's a guy out there named Mike Weinberg and Mike, he's old school but he's so hardcore. He just, I don't know if you can swear on this podcast-

Dave Gerhardt: You can, please.

Loren Padelford: He gives zero fucks. He just calls people on their BS constantly.

Dave Gerhardt: Is he a sales trainer?

Loren Padelford: He's a sales trainer, he wrote a book called Sales Management Simplified and it was basically a quit cry. It was like all of your cry, this is a waste of our time. You can either you'll get back to what selling always was, which was adding value and doing the work, there's no magic here. And I was like," Yes, there's no magic, there's no silver bullets around. You don't want to wake up in the morning to make calls. I got bad news for you, you're going to suck in sales."

Dave Gerhardt: I love it. That's why we talk about books so much in this podcast because for that reason, so many times you read a book and you're not learning something new, but it's reinforcing something that you already knew, you already believed in.

Loren Padelford: Yeah. Well, this is the... very rarely do I read a sales book where I'm like," Holy crap, that's new information." Now, every sales book has at least one piece that I'm like," Yeah, that's interesting. That's new, I've never heard it like that." Most are retelling the same stories. And I think people need to read between the lines, it hasn't really changed. Humans need to learn by repetition. And so, they keep reading the same thing over and over. Eventually it's like," Yes, wake up every day, go work your butt off, add value, go to bed."

Dave Gerhardt: It's like Bezos has this thing, he talks about focus on the timeless, focus on the things that never change.

Loren Padelford: And the things that never change are customers need help, sales reps help them.

Dave Gerhardt: I love it. All right, let's finish with this. What's one thing that drives you nuts about sales today? You got to have a pet peeve or something like...

Loren Padelford: I think people are over- reliant on technology and I say that working for a technology company. I just think it's making people lazy.

Dave Gerhardt: I like that, we could do a whole episode on this piece, but yeah.

Loren Padelford: I mean, I think that if I hear one more rep say," Well, I posted it to LinkedIn, I don't know why people haven't called me yet." I'm like," I'm sorry, what? Sorry, what what did you post to LinkedIn?"

Dave Gerhardt: Or just the fact that going to somebody's website, doing some research, finding some things that are a little bit below the surface level has now become again, groundbreaking. We were having a conversation with it and we just hired a new sales rep and he's amazing. And somebody's talking about he went to this website and he looked up this competitor thing and he did it and everybody was like," Woo." And for a second I was mad, I was like," Why is that the..." and I don't mean that as a knock to him, he's awesome. It's more of just like, that's the stuff that we celebrate shows you that that's the biggest problem in sales.

Loren Padelford: Exactly right, we're getting lazy and like you said, that kind of stuff is, this is basic sales behavior and we're hoping tech solves... I think sales reps incorrectly hope tech solves for hard work and it doesn't.

Dave Gerhardt: I love it. It's made us lazy. Okay. Well, I got one more because I thought of another one. What is the last sales outreach to you that got your attention? Can you think of something or just ignore everything?

Loren Padelford: I don't ignore everything. I actually look at a huge number of inbounds to me.

Dave Gerhardt: You do?

Loren Padelford: I do. First of all, I think it's also sales reps need to learn. Executives will absolutely take calls from sales reps if they think there's value there. No question.

Dave Gerhardt: It goes back to add value.

Loren Padelford: I can't possibly know everything in the world. And so, I need people to help me understand things that may be valuable to me.

Dave Gerhardt: For sure.

Loren Padelford: So, I looked-

Dave Gerhardt: So boom, unlock misconception number one is that you can reach out to crosstalk.

Loren Padelford: Totally. I think what I see more now unfortunately is just horrible behavior, lazy behavior. And it gets my attention because I want to reply and be like," Are you serious? This is what you came up with?" It's like, I got one the other day. So, Shopify is publicly traded on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Dave Gerhardt: I'm nervous.

Loren Padelford: We have a$ 10 billion market cap and I got a LinkedIn request from a local accounting firm asking if we needed accounting job. I read this thing five times I was like," I must be misunderstanding what they're asking for."

Dave Gerhardt: You should show up with five truckloads of paper and say," Yep."

Loren Padelford: They do. I was just like," You didn't even bother to do the Google work. This would have been answered via Google." And so, that kind of stuff, so I see that a lot.

Dave Gerhardt: But that to me is that's back to your point about technology has made us lazy, that was an automated email.

Loren Padelford: Correct, giant list send it to list. I think if I think back to ones that I've really liked, I've seen a few that clearly had done their homework. They knew who I was, they had read some of the blog posts, they knew who Shopify was, they knew how fast we were growing and they angled their whole thing to that. That was still a pitch, it was still like," Hey, I think we can help you in these areas based on the information I have." But at least I was like," Okay, so at least you've gone out and tried to figure out what my trigger would be." And unfortunately for most sales reps, the other thing you have to realize is sales is timing. And so in that moment in time, I didn't need the thing they were doing. However, I remember the pitch. And so it's like there's a part of me that's like," Yeah, you weren't a total idiot and so at some point in the future, when I do need the thing that you're talking about, I'll come back to you."

Dave Gerhardt: Imagine that adding value. All right man, thank you for doing this.

Loren Padelford: Oh no, thank you.

Dave Gerhardt: I appreciate it.

Loren Padelford: Welcome to Shopify Plus.

Dave Gerhardt: Thanks for having us. The food and snacks here are just delightful so thank you.

Loren Padelford: We try.

Dave Gerhardt: Cool man. Thanks.

Loren Padelford: All right, thanks.


If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. ----- “If you don’t add value, you’re not going to survive today.” This is a special episode live from Shopify Plus in Waterloo during a recent trip to Canada. DG sat down with Shopify Plus VP & GM Loren Padelford to talk about growing the Shopify Plus business, why sales is really a science, what’s different about selling today, the sales pitches that actually get him to respond as an exec, hiring, and everything in between. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts if you haven’t already and say hey on Twitter I’m @davegerhardt and David is @dcancel.