Gavin’s Story: Understanding the Problem
August 9th, 2021
Gavin Tye’s passion is improving the buying experience for people who want to positively impact their business. Gavin joined MyPass in 2021 to ensure people get maximum value from engaging with us, regardless of whether they are implementing MyPass in their organisation. His message is clear, clearly defining the problem is critical to achieving the best outcome, rather than taking a “one size fits all” approach.
Where did your journey in sales start?
My journey in sales started at Blockbuster Video many years ago. I was a really shy and introverted kid and knew that if I wanted to get into sales that my personality was going to make it a challenge. Blockbuster was really focused on customer service but something as simple as saying “Hey, how are you?” when a customer walked in was debilitating for me. I knew that I needed to get out of my shell and this was the first step.
The next real cutting of my teeth in sales came when I moved to Brisbane in 2000 and started working for a company called Myer Carpet Cleaning. Our job was to go out and clean carpets but my role was selling Scotchgard to people to protect their carpet and appliances. The goal was to turn a $70 cleaning order into a $400 Scotchgard order. For me, great customer service and being really friendly was the key to building trust. As sales people there’s no university, you really have to learn and take a considered approach.
I worked in Operations for a few years but decided I wanted to change direction and that’s when I started in B2B sales. I got a job at Workpac as a Business Development Manager, not really knowing what I was getting into. On the first day of the job, I was given a folder and a car and told “go and find business.”
I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do. I remember once sitting outside a construction site trying to psych myself up to go in, because it all starts with making contact. I sat there for an hour and then chickened out and drove off. As soon as I drove away, that voice in my head said, “turn around and go back”, so I went back and sat there for another hour. Finally I went in, there’s typically an office when you walk in the gate but it was on the other side at this place. There were about twenty guys pouring concrete at this entrance, they all stopped, all looked at me and said nothing. I knocked on the door of the office, walked in, and the site Manager said “piss off.”
I figured it couldn’t get any worse than that, I’d ripped the bandaid off and from there turned into a really good salesperson at WorkPac. You learn some great lessons working in a saturated industry, one being that for every door I was knocking on, there were fifty other people trying to do the same thing. You have to differentiate yourself.
I knew if all I did was sell, that was everybody else’s goal too and so no one was going to take my call again. I made a deliberate approach to go make contact three times before I even mentioned labour so my goal was to build rapport, differentiate myself and not be sales focused. It took me a little bit of time but my sales accelerated pretty quickly and the business grew as a result of that.
Why do you think there’s a negative stigma attached to sales people?
People are often motivated by their own agenda. A salesperson can make a lot of money if they’re motivated in that way, so their agenda is to sell more, regardless of the quality of the interaction. The stigma exists because those people tend to go in and pressure others, trying to force a sale. You see it in movies like the Wolf of Wall Street, high pressure sales tactics. That’s because their focus is making money. There’s no real consequence for those people but when your goal is building a relationship, if you set the wrong expectation, it’s very difficult for those who come after in the customer journey. That’s setting up the relationship in a bad way. What people don’t understand is you cannot sell until someone decides to buy, which is a lag indicator or a consequence of something else happening.
If you realise that, it’s not about actually selling, it’s about delivering information to someone so that they can make a decision if they want to buy from you.
When did you make the jump into software and technology?
I met the Founder of RedEye Apps on a sales course and at the time I thought it’d be a really interesting business to get into one day. Later on, I reached out to him and learnt more about the story and the value proposition of the company. For me I thought it would be like shooting fish in a barrel, there was nothing in the market like it…but I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I didn’t understand is that selling software is completely different to selling a product, particularly when the cost is far greater. I really had to learn it from the ground up and re-define how to sell SaaS products, which is what we do now at MyPass.
What were some of those high-level lessons that you figured out?
I realised people were showing huge interest in the software but weren’t taking action. It forced me to ask myself, “how do people make decisions?” I’d made the mistake of asking people if they wanted to buy before I knew what problem it solved for them. Instead of trying harder to sell, I tried harder to define the problem. I would send surveys to key buyers in the businesses and to users, using the data to show them how big the problem was. I’d look at how current business processes were impacting their business and this all helped them quantify their problem.
Once you’re aware of the problem, it’s really hard to sit on that and not take action to solve it if it’s affecting the business in a substantially negative way. That creates motivation or urgency for them to solve the problem and can lead to them making a decision to buy.
It’s my job as a professional and an industry expert to help show people what they don’t see. It’s their data, their business, if you see it and can help them learn something new, that’s significant and so my job is feeding information at the right time for them to make an informed decision.
We’re spending a lot of time at MyPass supporting people to understand their problem space and the risks to their business more clearly.
Earlier you said “There’s no University for sales people”, tell me about the work you’re doing to pass on what you’ve learnt over time.
My passion and my skill set is helping B2B, SaaS businesses differentiate themselves over the competition by going earlier into the buying process and helping clients see the value. When you know something internally and intrinsically, it’s very hard to communicate that out to the world but I knew I wanted to share what I’ve learnt in my career with others. Every industry needs to change, we’re in a transition period where salespeople will still go to site and do face-to-face meetings but that’s the salespeople from yesteryear. We need to think of things differently and that led me to creating a Youtube Channel to help SaaS businesses evolve their sales approach. I’m continually learning about online sales and we’re testing the newest approaches with MyPass, transitioning into more automated ways of working.
What are the lessons you’ve learned at MyPass since starting?
The importance of plotting out the path for each organisation we engage with. Businesses are all different, you can’t put them in a category and assume they’ll fit our solution. We need to know where they are on their journey as a business by gathering requirements, engaging with the market and getting to know their processes. It will be different for each one of them, but we know there are typical stages that we can support them through before they even consider buying.
One of the exciting things we’re working on is a Costs Calculator which helps those businesses see the quantitative cost to their business of existing compliance processes.
The good thing is we have product market fit, we’re a differentiator in the market. We’ve got all those ingredients. We just need to help people see our value and actually measure it for them and show return on investment. Our aim is to arm people with the evidence they need to go into a meeting and show the impact they’re having on their business.