Doug Weaver and Scot McLernon, Upstream Group on Training Digital Sellers, the Retention Crisis and “The One Thing You Need to Know.”
Susan Bratton

Episode 25 - Doug Weaver and Scot McLernon, Upstream Group on Training Digital Sellers, the Retention Crisis and “The One Thing You Need to Know.”

Two stalwarts of the digital marketing industry just teamed up to launch Habitat, a new traveling sales training campus. This would be exciting news if just one of them announced this new sales program. But to get Scot McLernon, ad:tech's Industry Achievement award winner aligned with Doug Weaver, one of the finest minds in our industry together to move our industry forward is an amazing, newsworthy coup!

The business of digital marketing is suffering from a massive, critical talent training problem. We are sucking in dewey-faced youngsters as fast as we can hire them. Now who is going to train them? Voila! Doug and Scot want to teach our children to sell. Now we can send our fresh workforce to school and teach them about the digital marketing ecosystem. This is where Upstream steps in. With professional faculty, blogs, community and an immersive course structure, they can bring in fresh talent and teach them, not just about technology, measurement and media, but also about the all-important soft qualities of trust, integrity and honesty.

"Getting to Us" is their mantra - not getting to "yes"; but creating a sales environment that is collaborative. And tackling the big problem, the "retention crisis." Upstream's team will help companies with engagement by and investment in their teams. Scot believes a company with a culture of investment in talent will retain their people for less salary and withstand the flush start-ups waiving stock options and newly-minted VC cash at existing companies' personnel. If you are running a sales team or a company, this episode will give you ideas and hope and some great perspective.

Hear the dreams, plans and aspirations of this deeply-experienced duo with their new Habitat program and get some great tips on their "required reading" including "The One Thing You Need to Know" from Marcus Buckingham (Doug's choice) and "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie (the classic as recommended by Scot - have YOU read it recently???). This is a wise and uplifting show and it's great to know that we have such amazing talent training our future stars. This is also the first DishyMix to have two guests on at once. Let us know if you like the format!



Susan Bratton: Hello and welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host Susan Bratton and on today’s show we have Doug Weaver who is the founder and CEO of Upstream Group and his new president who’s just joined him Scott McLernon. Scott is the president of Upstream Group.

We’re going to learn about these two industry stalwarts and what new business they’re cooking up for us. A lot of the things we are going to talk about today has to do with sales. It’s always one of the most important things in our industry. We’re going to get some advice for sales reps. We’re going to talk about the advertising eco system and training, all of the new people we’re going to need to grow this industry to the potential that it has.

We’re going to talk about soft qualities like trust, integrity and honesty. We’ll talk a little bit about the numbers, as in salaries. What do sales people make these days? What do the guys seeing in the market place? We’ll even get to the end of advertising as we know it and some forester predictions in what our two guests Scott and Doug have to say about things that are coming out of the market place.

Scott McLernon: The years that you are talking about, those early formation years, ’99, 2000, 2001, the changes that we made, the things that we did, whether they are significant, not terribly significant, it’s so like we are making a difference in the industry.

So what I decided I would do is I would try to find the best of breed inside the social networking that was available. The best of breed inside of mobile, the best of breed inside of content and the best of breed in video.

So I think it’s really important that we do, that we come in from a soups-to-nuts scenario and that we have seven, eight, nine different courses that we will teach over the course of over two and a half, three days.

Susan Bratton: Let’s welcome Doug Weaver founder and CEO of Upstream Group.  Hi Doug!

Doug Weaver: Hello Susan.

Susan Bratton: How are you today?

Doug Weaver: Wonderful.

Susan Bratton: Good you’re calling in from Vermont.

Doug Weaver: I am.

Susan Bratton: Excellent, we’re glad to have you here and let’s get Scott on. Scott welcome.

Scott McLernon: Hi Susan.

Susan Bratton: That’s Scott McLernon and Scott is the new president of Upstream Group and I would imagine you’re calling in from Santa Cruz. Are you Uptak [sp], Sokel [sp], where are you exactly?

Scott McLernon: You know, I’m actually sitting out by Candlestick Park in a very drizzly, dreary San Francisco afternoon.

Susan Bratton: You are? What are you, hanging out in somebody’s office today?

Scott McLernon: Exactly, unlike the last few days when I was enjoying a wonderful weekend in Santa Cruz.

Susan Bratton: And who are you visiting up there today?

Scott McLernon: Well actually, we’re just finishing up our last rounds of investors so we are visiting with a couple of those folks today to put the finishing touches on the new business.

Susan Bratton: Well that’s really good because one of the first questions I wanted to talk to you two about is, first let’s get a description of the Upstream Group as it was from Doug and then let’s hear what Scott’s come on to do and then I want to talk about who’s funding the company, if you can share that with me. So Doug, give us a little quickie history of the Upstream Group.

Doug Weaver: Sure it’s actually a ten year long story. I jumped into this ten years ago and over the course of that time I was lucky enough to work with about 250 great companies and what I’ve done for them is to provide them with training and perspective and some strategy. A big part of the business has always been training. So I’ll work with sales teams individually to teach those people about the digital landscapes and then also work with them on some applied sales strategy. How can they take their business to the next level? And that’s been a phenomenal business for the last decade and I’ve got to work with great companies like ESPN and Yahoo and NBC.

Susan Bratton: So you’ve been training sales people for the last ten years. You’ve also done things through the Internet, advertising bureau and the iMedia Summit so you’ve touched what, I think I’ve read over 4000 individuals, teaching them more about how to sell in this space, is that right?

Doug Weaver: Yeah I’ve kind of lost count but I think the number is probably up around 7000 at this point.

Susan Bratton: Oh, time to update that bio.

Doug Weaver: You go across all the audiences and countries and teams that I’ve had the chance to work with. It’s been pretty great run.

Susan Bratton: I can remember when there weren’t even 7000 people in our whole industry ten years ago. So….

Doug Weaver: I think Susan, only you and I can remember what it was like when there were about seven of us.

Susan Bratton: It’s very true. So what’s interesting as well is this is a bit of an old home week because Doug and Scott and I were all individuals who were on the original advisory board for the IAB so we’ve all worked together in the past doing some great stuff.

So Scott tell us now, you’ve come to work with Doug, obviously we’ve all known each other forever. You’ve come into this organization, you didn’t go for a start up, you went for a ten year old company to take it to the next level with a good friend of yours. Tell us what’s up with this new Habitat program that you’re coming in for, what’s the big idea and big dream of Upstream Group now?

Scott McLernon: Well I think I took a couple of months off after leaving CBS and I called it my 60 meetings in 60 days, talked to a lot of venture capitalists, looked at a lot of terrific companies but I think anybody in their right mind would have loved to jump on board but what really struck me was that I continue to, it was the president of  media or head of sales of whatever it might be, and the years that you’re talking about, the early formation years, ’99, 2000, 2001, the changes that we made, the things that we did, whether they were significant or not terribly significant and so like we were making a difference in the industry and what struck me that any of the jobs that I took, I’d be another head of sales and that would be terrific but would I be making any kind of industry impact?

And what Doug presented, the offer to work with Doug is the ability to really help shape the way sales is going to look and is going to be for hundreds, perhaps thousands, you just heard him talking about the thousands of people that he’s already touched and hopefully I can help with him and we can take that from hundreds to thousands more and actually help shape the industry again.

Susan Bratton: There’s three questions that I want to ask you about just what you said. The first one was, I know that you have a history of changing the way we think about web advertising in our entire industry. First of all you introduced day part advertising I think probably back in about the year 2000 which geez it seems like that should still be in the future, seven years ago.

You introduced day part advertising, you also very controversially came out against tracking clicks and these were two of the things that earned you an ad tech industry achievement award for lifetime contribution to the industry. You like doing that. What do you think it is that you’re going to do when you train these next generation of sales people?

What I got was, you can go get another team and train them or you could go train the entire industry. What is it that you think you can do to teach them that will alter the way our businesses run?

Scott McLernon: Well let’s see now, a little secret in that even though this maybe the first time we will say this one but a great part of the way that I helped shape my sales team has a lot to do with the influence of Doug. I think he influenced some of the ways that he was shaping his training for us and I think he reciprocated and really help me build the team so I wanted to and I think this time, we can do much more grand scale and although it’s truly his curriculum I think that we will all certainly have a hand helping shape that curriculum.

So whether it will be via sales or whether it’ll be otherwise, I think we’ve got an awful lot of ways that we help touch these people in every element of selling.

Susan Bratton: So there must have been some contenders besides Doug for the 60 meetings in 60 days. Who didn’t you go to work for that you were sorely tempted to consider?

Scott McLernon: Well one of the things that I thought was fascinating is the difference between when I look back to working at CBS, say back in 2005. I mean those taken place  have just been incredible what’s happened to the market place and for instance within those, I’ve talked to some fairly big media companies and I talked to some smaller ones and what I’ve found was when I’m working in CBS, actually really for the last 12 to 13 years I kept my head down and the only meetings that I had were with people that really help my business which is selling media for CBS.

Now instead, I go and talk to a portfolio of companies say within [xx] and I found out that there were voice mail widgets that you could take and you could place it into your Facebook page, you could place it into your Myspace page and who knew that these kinds of little companies existed.

So what I decided  I would do is I want to do is try to find the best of breeds inside the social networking that was available, the best of breed inside of mobile, the best of breed inside of content, and the best of breed video and there was some very interesting offers from all four of those sectors and obviously I chose that none of those would make the impact that working with somebody like that would make.

Susan Bratton: Name them, name the companies you thought were most interesting.

Scott McLernon: Well, that clearly puts me on the spot. What I’m going to do is I’m going let your listeners and let you just ponder on what are the four companies that really fit in the category that are in need of a president of sales or head of sales and let the CEOs know I think very fondly upon their offers but the idea of going back and having the opportunity to work with somebody like that was to hard to turn down and build my own business.

Susan Bratton: I totally understand that. So let’s talk about funding, how much funding did you have to take to get these new concept which I believe you are calling Habitat. We’ll talk about what that is, did you have to get funding from a number of companies? Is this angel, is this BC, tell us about that Doug?

Doug Weaver: Yeah I can fill that Susan. The truth is we’re not talking about a huge round here and we think the money is going to come from a couple of smaller BC’s almost out of their angel funds and also we’re getting a lot of individual investments.

What’s really intriguing about this process was that as we talked to a lot of people in the business, people that you know and we know, about things like possibly being instructors or being individuals where you might want to send their teams to this, it’s almost like an adjunct to every conversation was, “well hey could I get into some? It sounds like a great idea and I’d love to have the opportunity to have some influence and benefit from what you guys are doing.”

So I think what this round is going to look like as we raise our initial capital is going to be a couple of people then for a couple of hundred thousands and some other folks in for smaller amounts but I think what’s going to be great is that we can pick and choose those individuals who’re going to make smaller investments with us based on who we want to have advising us and we are taking that advice seriously. To answer your other question, I’m not going to give you specific number on our fund raising because I think that won’t be fair to our investors.

Susan Bratton: Sure.

Doug Weaver: But I will tell you that it’s not a lot of money because this is a business that is going to be very profitably very quickly.

Susan Bratton: Yeah and a service business at that so you’re not manufacturing any new technologies so you wouldn’t want to particularly take large amounts, you want to take some operating capital and growth capital.

Doug Weaver: And as you know the more you take the less control you also may have over the out come.

Susan Bratton: And I’m all about control, I hear that.

Doug Weaver: Absolutely, absolutely.

Susan Bratton: I’ve taken no funding for personal life media. It’s been the Tim and Susan Bratton funding.

Doug Weaver: Good for you.

Susan Bratton: And it isn’t easy. You know it’s scary. It’s absolutely scary but boy the more you can do it the better off you are.

Scott McLernon: A couple of sleepless nights in there.

Susan Bratton: Oh yeah and there’ll be more.

Doug Weaver: I just say, just one more thing on that, our decision on how things will work out with we realizing we would ideally like to fund this ourselves. The reality was we knew that in order to really do a world class program, to get the kind of people involved and faculty that we wanted to get, to get the kind of location that we want to get for Habitat and to really build out the community engine, part of these whole thing, we didn’t want to boot strap that, we didn’t want to have to take any half measures so it’s really just giving us fast runway to the business.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely, I think you’re smart to do that. So I don’t know if you heard the show that Marc Canter was on from Broadband Mechanics but  he went into this, it’s like he morphed into this other human being for one minute during the interview where he just went into hyper pitch mode and it was so hyper pitch  mode that I joked that I would just edit that segment of the show and give it back to him so he had a commercial for Broadband Mechanics.

And so I was thinking that I would like to give that to you just before we go to the break, why don’t you just give our listeners the commercial for Upstream Group and Habitat just like you’d like to if we’re going to run your ad on Dishy Mix. You can do it however you want but let’s hear what Habitat is, just lay it all out for us.

Doug Weaver: Scott do you mind if I tackle this?

Scott McLernon: Go get them.

Susan Bratton: Go for it Doug.

Doug Weaver: Essentially I’ll give you the 30 second version of this. Despite the fact that sellers, media companies, publishers whatever you want to call them are often asked to pay the freight at a lot of conferences and they attend a lot of conferences. There’s never been a resource that’s just about digital seller. We want to be that resource and there’s a few different ways in which we serve them at Upstream Group.

One of those is by doing the kind of team training that we’ve done in the past. Another way is the seller forum which is a place where we gather the leaders of all the different sales organization together and give them a forum in which they can compare notes and build a future business and where we go with Habitat is, we create a traveling campus and a permanent community of digital sellers so Habitat is a place you go, you live your life for three days and you get the most immersive, end to end digital training available anywhere on the planet.

You’re learning not just from Scott and I but you’re learning from all the prominent faculty of great people who are part of this industry, who are practitioners, who have street smarts and who have real world knowledge and then you also become part of a larger community of people who are going to be communicating via blog. This is going to be an opportunity for seller to seller communication. This is going to be an opportunity for seller to instructor, seller to mentor and so this becomes a place where everybody takes their game to the next level and we just want to be in the middle of that conversation everywhere it happens.

Susan Bratton: Beautiful! You did a great job of that Doug. You are listening to Doug Weaver who just gave that very eloquent 30 second elevator pitch, good job and also Scott McLernon who is the new president of Upstream Group.

We are going to take a short break and when we come back we are going to talk more about some advise for sales peoples, the salaries around, the sales industry and all kinds of other things so stay tuned.


Susan Bratton: We’re back and I’m your host Susan Bratton. We have Doug Weaver and Scott McLernon the daring duos that are now taking the Upstream Group to a whole new level. When we left Doug has just done a really eloquent commercial for the Upstream Group and what it was about and I noticed that a lot of what you’re doing is bringing people in and training them but you’re also creating a community where they continue to support each other. You mentioned blogs and some groups. What kind of platforms are you going to be using to create these networks?

Doug Weaver: We actually  have a lot of that stuff in the works right now Susan and frankly that’s something that we’re going to be working on quite a bit over the next five months as we lead up to the first event. What we’re envisioning is not creating a lot of  technology but using some existing platforms, existing technology, just to create a very light weight architecture where these people can communicate with one another. It maybe as simple as a daily blog that goes out, that’s populated by us, by our instructors, by some of the people who have taken the Habitat program and it’s just going to be a place where we’re hoping to stimulate a lot of cross chat.

I mean, as you know with any kind of community engine, in order for it to be successful it’s got to be really created and owned by the people in the community.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely, well a little tip for you is the tech crunch has a list of 35 or even maybe more than 35 white label social networking community software companies listed. All you have to do is google tech crunch and social media white label and you’ll find it.

Doug Weaver: That’s a fantastic idea.

Scott McLernon: That’s great Doug.

Doug Weaver: We’ve looked at that, we’ve heard from a couple of companies that we’re in conversation now who do have do have sort of the white label to them.

Susan Bratton: Yup.

Doug Weaver: And then there’s also the possibility of even that extend out to a some more common platforms Linkedin, and  Facebook. One of the things Susan that I should throw in here is that Scott and I are not building this alone. We actually have a group of people we are calling regents who are going to be our north star if you will for delivering value and these are people who are some of the leaders in sales business who are in our ongoing advisory board and those people will keep us on to something like this and on pricing and on the value of the program, the kind of people we should be bringing into the [xx] and the kind of subject we should be talking about so this is one of the many places we are going to collaborate with them.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely. So question for you and Scott I’d like to hear your opinion on this. One of the things that I noticed you know you and I both were also on the founding board of the San Francisco Bay Area Interactive Group and I recently spoke there a couple of weeks ago on a panel with Dave Smith and I was struck by how large that organization has grown now and there were probably 300-350 people out in the audience to listen to this panel and I hardly knew any of them and you know me, that’s amazing that I wouldn’t know a lot of those people there.

There were just a massive number of people who were new in the industry. How are these individuals learning about the whole advertising digital marketing environment? Where are these people going to come in now after ten years of the business and know how email and social networking and website design and consumer generated media, how will these online advertising, and widgets and how it all fits together? Can you and are you going to teach people about the whole pie or just pieces of it?   

Scott McLernon: I think we are going to have to teach them just about from as we say from soup-to-nuts and it’s interesting because in the two or three short months that I’ve been with Doug, one of the things that I’m also going to be doing is I’m also going to be building my own individual workshops for various companies.

One of the companies that we’re doing this for right now, I was just building a deck out last week and what we forget, those of us who have been in the industry for say 10,12,14 years we forget just how much we know.

Susan Bratton: Yup.

Scott McLernon: You have no idea how much we know and we take it for granted because we’ve been learning it as we go along and I finally refer to this as drinking from a fire hose for people who are coming in over let’s say from the print side or any of the other traditional pieces or people that are even coming out of school. We think that they are very connected but to learn about third party ad serving when all you’ve known about is a four color bleed it gives people a headache.

So I think it’s really important that we do, that we come in from a soups-to-nuts scenario and that we have seven, eight, nine different courses that we will teach over the course over two and a half, three days and for a part of those will have to be, initially chosen curriculum and excuse me it will be required curriculum and then it can have a couple of electives along the line.

Susan Bratton: And what about things like soft qualities? The trust, integrity, honesty and other things that are more management capabilities such as territory management or conducting an appropriate meeting, consultative selling, are you going to be touching these aspects of sales as well in Habitat or in other ways.

Doug Weaver: Actually yes on both counts Susan. The main course that I do and with Scott will build up on top of this as well, the main course that I do for private groups, I call it getting to us and the inherent quality of  it is is that it’s about teaching the sales person to secure and execute a great collaborative meeting with customer. So it’s all about trust, it’s all about soft motive selling. It’s all about sort of creating that collaborative dynamic where good things can happen. Teaching them to have a business meeting and not doing other presentation because nobody needs another presentation.

Susan Bratton: So getting to us is like getting to yes, you took it off that?

Doug Weaver: Yeah it’s a play off of that because it’s  not about just sort of  changing someone’s mind but it’s about creating that collaborative environment where we can build something. My view of that is that I always  fall back in that the customer wants to build something bigger with you than they’re ever buy from you.

So I try to get them into that mind set because if you think about digital media, you talk about drinking from a fire hose, every single digital seller has so many different things that they could talk about but it’s like media without borders. In your tool kit you’ve got everything from videos, to roll over [xx] to emails, to mobile, to community, to this, to that, you can’t fit it all in, so you need the best way to about in this kind of a meeting is not to try and do a capabilities presentation for the client but rather to talk about their problems first and then begin to apply those things on a case by case basis to help them solve the problems that they have.

Susan Bratton: So this is where I’d love to hear your recommended reading. Obviously we’ll want to come to your events but in the meantime what can people who are either managing sales organizations now or people who are in sales organizations do and learn and what books would you recommend.

Doug Weaver: I’ve brought a couple here.

Susan Bratton: Okay, that’s Doug.

Doug Weaver: Yeah, this is Doug. Couple of things for leaders of organization, I would recommend that everybody reads The One Thing You Need to Know by Marcus Buckingham because what it does, it really boils down the essence of what is leadership, what is management and what is personal growth about or personal performance about in a sales or business environment and he just has some wisdom there that are great.

Susan Bratton: I’ve never read that. I’m going to get that.

Doug Weaver: Yeah really phenomenal, really phenomenal book. Another very interesting book and this is just one that’s just on my shelf that I always refer to is The Future of Advertising by Joe Cappo which comes from a point of view of a guy who spends his whole career in advertising and is now looking at this incredibly different future, as the old business breaks, what’s going to come into replace it and I think that leads us to the some of the interesting questions that we are going to deal with because we are at that inflection point where the old models for advertisings and marketing really just fall away.

Susan Bratton: And what about you Scott? Any good recommendations from your bookshelf?

Scott McLernon: Oh sure, I’ve got three that are just terrific. I’m a very big fan of the old school and that is I think we’ve all read it probably at least once or twice and I think if you read about three or four chapters each day I think it’s terrific and that’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Susan Bratton: A classic.

Scott McLernon: Without a doubt, I think it’s seventy years in print now and it’s still more relevant today than ever particularly on the lines of the teachings that we do. I’m also a big fan of the One Thing You Need to Know.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Scott McLernon: Don’t turn me on to that, I’d  just read it again. The other one that I think is for sales leaders that I think is important it’s called A Life Uncorked and I think anybody who knows me knows that I have a fondest of wine, and that I make wine and Paul Dolens [sp] is a guy that was the maker at Setser [sp]. He became the CEO and one of the things he really wanted to do, he wanted to become the ultimate, the largest maker of  merlot and what he wanted is for people to do was not to think about all the steps that he is going to take starting tomorrow or the next day to get to become that but to actually look around and look at the organization as if they were already there and work backwards to where they are today as opposed to just trying to. If you take that step by step, it will become completely overwhelming if you think about the whole thing, as an overall encompassing concept but you think about being there already and what it looks while you’re there then it’s entirely a different way of looking at things.

Susan Bratton: That’s a great piece of advise and I can’t resist giving a plug to one of my sponsors Audible have a kind of a book of the month club and if you’re in sales and you are on the road a lot, it’s really a great way to get books downloaded to your iPod or your MP3 player and if you join at you get a free download and if you cancel within 14 days of course you can just keep your free download so you could get any one of these books, I am absolutely sure for free from Audible from Dishy Mix if you’d like to so I encourage any of you to give it a try. I think I’m going to download The One Thing You Need to Know that’s  my take away for today.

So I want to move on, we just have a couple of minutes left and I wanted to get to some salary information. What are you seeing people make out in the market place? What are the salary ranges that you’re seeing? And I’m not sure which of you would prefer to answer this so I’d let you pick.  

Scott McLernon: Well Doug I think you did the survey at the last seller forum so I’ll let you speak to that if you like.

Susan Bratton: Great.

Doug Weaver: Well Scott’s referring to the gathering sales leader that we do twice a year and one thing that we absolutely had to do was to stay away from posting any specific numbers obviously you’d worry about collusion there if you were ad people there comparing salaries. I’m going to let Scott handle the question of trying to put some numerical stakes to the ground for the people.

I want to make a quick comment about what’s being valued at the market place in terms of salaries and I can tell you that almost to a company my clients are realizing that the single most over valued asset in hiring people at this space is direct digital sales experience.

That sounds counter intuitive, you think everybody wants that person  for seven or eight years of digital experience, who knows everybody and so forth but what they routinely find is that a lot of people who has been at this for awhile are as much a part of the problem as part of the solution. They know what all the problems are, they know why everything is hard, why everything can’t be done and so forth. And they tend to fall victim to an incapacity to rise beyond the traditional ways of doing things.

A lot of people just can’t do anything that sells to the click, they can’t do anything but follow direct response business. You don’t need one more person who is a mechanic on the lower my build account. That’s not going to change the outcome for your team so I think that what a lot of my folks are doing are, they are realizing that instead of over paying and spending a quarter of a million dollars on a  sales person who’s got 10 years of experience here they’d be better off hiring two or three sellers from  other media or some other channels or people who are fresh in the business and having them cover more ground and develop those relationships from scratch. 

Scott McLernon: Yeah I’ll elaborate on that for just a moment and I think from some term and that is [xx] is a very big fan of hiring loyalty meaning that it is you can tell if you’ve been in this business for awhile, you know the make up of a good seller. You know what the potential play is that you are going to meet so someone maybe coming in from [xx], someone maybe coming in from school and you want to give them their first chance. If you give them a proper training, if you give them the proper guidance and if you give them the proper education around that, you know in your heart they’re going to do well.

And I think nine times out of ten, eight times out of ten, you’re going to probably get better than you would have imagined. Rather than going out and hiring a high priced gun, going down as the New York Yankees free agency route and saving a lot of money. I’ve always found that if you hire loyalty, you are going to hang on to those people a little bit longer, you going to be able to craft them the way that you want them to sell and evidently there’s the right way, the wrong way or my way and that my way is whoever is the head of sales and the person that’s doing the selling and you are going to find more often than not that’s actually going to be the person who is going to be your ace.

Susan Bratton: And so you are saying, just hire for loyalty, hire for people who aren’t hopping around, hire who for people who have a fresh perspective and don’t necessarily pay the big salary for the people who have been in the business but try to bring in great talent.

Scott McLernon: That’s exactly right.

Susan Bratton: Okay. So do you want to give me any number ranges Scott? Is that something you’re comfortable with?

Scott McLernon: I’m not completely comfortable with the actual number, what I will say is this, that most organizations and now that I’ve had a much deeper look into a lot of other organizations because of my agnostic approach and that is that most organizations are actually they’re all within about in base salaries, they’re all pretty much in about 10 to 15 percent of each other. You get some of the really big players and perhaps you’re a little bit higher there but maybe there is no equity play.

So today it’s leveled out, people are pretty much on the same level field and what we’re finding instead is what it takes to actually go in and approach somebody’s organization, how aggressive people need to get. We are starting to see where that level is changing a little bit because let’s face it, there’s a talent war going on and maybe Upstream, Habitat and all the people that are coming in are going to help booster that sales organization and how many people they have to get it from.

Doug Weaver: Susan, let me just build on that for one second.  
Susan Bratton: Yeah Doug.

Doug Weaver: One of the things that I picked up. We had a terrific speaker at one of our seller forum events, Barry Conchie from Gallop and he is such a phenomenal guy and one of the things he talked about was retaining people. One of the big problems we have, we have hiring problems and we have retention crisis because you’ve got start up with sort of a promising equity, you have the big players coming into the market with Fox and others, doubling salaries in some cases but effectively, how do you keep people in place? And the decision to stay or leave, they seem to be about money but in the end it’s really about engagement and it’s about investment.

Do people feel like they are part of something bigger or do they feel like, they are well paid breaker of rocks everyday at their jobs. I think too many people in our business have lost the joy, have lost the connection to what we are doing and they feel like they working long hours to little effect because there’s no permanent relationships with customers. They are filling out a lot of RPs, they’re pushing electronic paper back and forth and HP so I think that we need to reconnect people with a mission that’s where leadership comes in and that’s a big quality that Gallop talks about. Big qualities can be discussed in the book that we recommended.        
The other piece though is investment. And I’ll tell you one observation and I’ll pay a compliment to my friend Scott on this. There are a handful of companies in our business and I work with them many of times, many times over where they’ve developed a culture of investment, training is a piece of that but their constantly investing their people, they’re saying, “hey I’m betting on you. I want you to learn a new piece of information. I want you go to another conference, get to know some more people.” And so forth.

That investment does more to hold the core team together than expensive salaries would and the smart people of business get this. I work with Scott over the course of seven years with his team and I saw the same faces year in year out and he was able to keep the core team together and that’s a testament to leadership because Scott I don’t think you were doubling their salaries.

Scott McLernon: I absolutely did not and it’s not that I didn’t try but Kramer wouldn’t let me, no I’m just kidding. No absolutely, one of the smartest point in that regard and that is that I like to, with my sales team for years and years what I thought was that you need to get people the proper amount of timing, you need to give them a certain amount of empowerment and recognize that people are in sales for a couple of reasons.

They typically want to be able to make a lot of money, they don’t want caps and they want to have a certain amount of a symbol and that’s why they are carrying a book, that’s why they are in sales. Whether it’s individual sales or whether its traditional sales or selling widgets and I think that if you create the right environment for that and they like you said, everybody stands around the same salaries, and pretty much the same packages, it really comes down to the environment that you create for them.

Susan Bratton: Well I always ask for my guest or guests in this case, our first three way Dishy Mix to leave us with something inspirational and I think we’ve accomplished that. Just your focus on reconnecting people with the mission and all of the information about how you put into your people, that’s probably the most important thing that could come out of this discussion today. So I’m going to leave it at that. You’ve been listening to Doug Weaver the founder and CEO and Scott McLernon the president of Upstream Group.

I hope you’ll check out their new product Habitat which is training for digital sellers. For a transcript of this show you can go to For a blog post about this show or to make comments about this show you can blog at or send an email to me [email protected].

Doug and Scott thank you very much for coming to the show today. I know you’re brand new together and so you did me a favor by coming on to the show so early to talk about what you’re creating.

Doug Weaver: It’s been a great pleasure Susan. If  I can just toss this out there

Susan Bratton: Oh perfect! Thank you, of course you can. we are going to make sure that link and links to all the books you mentioned and everything is on the blog post and the website so there shouldn’t be any problem at all getting lots of people to contact you. Scott, thank you too for coming on the show today.

Scott McLernon: Susan I hope to see you soon.

Susan Bratton: I hope so too. We’re always so close and yet so far. Alright well this is your host Susan Bratton. Thank you again for listening to another episode of Dishy Mix and I will see you next week.