Sales Pipeline Radio Episode 162: Q & A with Dan McDade @dandade


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By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Did you know back in 2015 we started producing a weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio?  It’s live every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific. It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We’ve featured an impressive list of guests and will continue to do so. We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities. Listen to full recordings of past shows at and subscribe on Spotify,  iTunes, Blubrry, Google Play, or Stitcher

This episode is called Lessons from 20 Years of Sales Development: A Conversation with Dan McDade.  Dan is the Managing Partner at Prospect-Experience.  You can follow him on Twitter @dandade. 

Some lessons from Dan McDade in this episode include:

“There’s a real focus on the technology stack and companies are spending more and more on that technology stack. And to some extent, they’re automating bad processes.”

“…the technology solutions make it easier to get more bad leads faster to sales than ever before. “

“The total obtainable market or the serviceable obtainable market…it doesn’t really matter what they call it. The total addressable market is the market that you want to sell to. And a caveat here is that most companies prospect too broadly. “

The unsung hero – lead nurturing. You’ll have to tune in to hear decades of success handed to you on a platter – making it simple to understand.

Listen in and/or read the whole story below:

Paul:  Welcome aboard, it’s time to grab your boards. Swim out into that sea of ideas and see if you can’t see that sales pipeline curling up over the horizon there.

With the man who’s been out to… I think he was out surfing this morning here, Matt Heinz.

Matt Heinz:  I was not, but that sounds kinda nice actually.

Paul:  Yeah, could be.

Well today, what’s nice to me is that you’re going to to talk about lessons from twenty years of sales development. I didn’t know you were around for twenty years.

Matt Heinz:  I have not, I’m not even twenty years old myself right now.

Paul:  That’s what I thought.

Matt Heinz:  Right, so, no, I’m kidding. So we are very excited to have our guest here today. I will admit I am a little distracted as we record this. I realize we have guests joining us live on the Funnel Radio Media Network. Thank you for joining us today, thank you for taking break from watching the Masters. I don’t know if anyone else is watching the Masters.

Paul:  I’m watching the Masters right now, I’m listening to the two masters. I’d forget about the Golf Masters.

Matt Heinz:  Paul, you’re a little over the top today, it’s pretty impressive. No, I think the Masters Golf Tournament down in Augusta, Georgia, is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. And honestly, they could show the tournament without the players, just show the grounds. It is one of the most beautiful – it is absolutely the most beautiful golf course I have ever seen. Rivals many botanical gardens I think that may exist around as well. It’s so much fun to watch, and it’s such an interesting tournament, and our guests today doesn’t live that far away so maybe we’ll talk a little Masters today with our guest Dan McDade.

But first thank you so much for joining us for another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. If you’re joining us on the podcast, thanks so much for subscribing. And you can get every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio past, present, and future always at

We are featuring some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing today is absolutely no different. Dan McDade I have known for a very long time, he has been a client he has been a partner, he’s been a friend, he’s been a mentor. Whether he knows it or not, he’s been a mentor to me, just the way that he goes about his business, his knowledge of B2B sales and just the way he does it the right way.

Dan McDade, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dan McDade:  Hey, great to be with you man, thank you.

Matt Heinz:  So let’s first talk about the Masters. Your business is outside of Atlanta and I know you’re living in South Carolina now, have you been to Augusta? Is that something you’ve done in your past?

Dan McDade:  I have never been to Augusta. I have been offered tickets before and it just didn’t work out. But I’m kind of with you in that it’s so fun watch it on the television, because it’s just a beautiful place. And the other thing to kind of point out is that this year they had the women’s college championships out there at Augusta National just this last week. So it’s been an exciting couple of weeks for a golf sporting events here in the Atlanta area as well as in South Carolina.

Matt Heinz:  I love that. I feel like the Masters Tournament comes around, it’s sort of the official beginning of spring. They’ve got the azaleas and all the flowers and all the blooms all around the golf course and just such a gorgeous, gorgeous place. So yes, I’m a little distracted by the Masters today.

But let’s talk sales development, I think 20 years I know is an understatement. Because you’ve been doing sales and marketing for longer than, I’m not calling you old Dan. I’m just saying you’ve got, you’ve amassed a healthy amount of experience and seeing a lot of change as well. I’m just curious to get your perspective on having seen sales and marketing develop. What are things that have changed, but what are some things that might be universal that, that worked well? When you first got started that that people would be well positioned to take advantage of today as well?

Dan McDade:  About, I think comparing and contrasting 20 years ago, there were a lot fewer solutions on the market. There were a lot less information available about those solutions and there was I think comparatively more opportunity. I say that because there were fewer solutions and there was enough companies that a sales rep could go in with a credible products, or even not credible products. And be pretty successful in sales, where today there’s a ton of solutions out there. There’s all kinds of information that’s available and maybe proportionally less opportunities when you have something in the neighborhood of 7,040 marketing enablement solutions out there. It’s a pretty crowded space and I think that my frank assessment and it’s based on the numbers that you see, is that the sales skills have not kept up with the need for those, for better skills.

Matt Heinz:  Are we too focused now on technology as a bridge to gap, as a bridge over those skills? I wonder just to be somewhat, you’re saying, do we see organizations put so much focus on automation and systems, that when it comes to having that personal conversation. And sort of leveraging the people part of that we’re under investing there. Does that sound fair?

Dan McDade:  I do think that’s fair. I think that there’s a real focus on, I’d place this more on marketing than on sales, but there’s a real focus on the technology stack and companies are spending more and more on that technology stack. And to some extent they’re automating bad processes. And I’m not the first person probably that said that to you and I’m sure you’ve said that’s to audiences too.

But a lot of times what I say is that the current solutions out there, the technology solutions make it easier to get more bad leads faster to sales than ever before. And unfortunately that’s true. And what happens is that fewer and fewer of those leads are actually followed up by sales. And sure a market agent checks the box and say, “I generated x number of leads for y budget”. But if they’re not converting and there’s no alignment, then it’s kind of a waste of time and money.

Matt Heinz:  You were The President and CEO of PointClear, for over 20 years, and so saw a lot of this development happen. Can you talk a little bit about sort of your approach to, I guess whether you would call an appaudointment setting or approach to sort of demand generation for sales organizations. And there’s a lot of people that are trying to do that internally and externally, and struggling today for a variety of reasons. What are some of the keys to doing that? What are some of the keys that made PointClear so successful and continue to be so successful in engaging with prospects and helping to build some pipeline?

Dan McDade:  I’ve always said that it’s not rocket science, but there’s a lot of moving parts. And there’s some IP that is difficult to replicate, especially on a smaller basis in many companies. And the recent podcasts with some serious decision focused on, and they talked about some of the same things. I would say that my mind there are really four things, one is what I refer to is an agreed upon lead definition. And as simple as that sounds and as long as we’ve been talking about it, the sales and marketing really don’t see eye to eye on what the definition of a lead is. As a matter of fact, on the “Serious Decisions” podcast, they talked about marketing feeling like leads are defined very loosely and they’re very top of the funnel and sales isn’t so happy about that. So I think the very first thing is to make sure that there’s an agreed upon lead definition.

The second thing, which was also the subject of a podcast of yours, is the total addressable market. And it’s interesting because that’s such an old concept, but it seems to have new life I think that’s one of those things the zeitgeist is going to bring back this year.

And there’s also a lot of the discussion about well is the total addressable market the right phrase or is it really the total obtainable market or the serviceable obtainable market? And the reality in my mind is it doesn’t really matter what they call it. The total addressable market is the market that you want to sell to. And a caveat there is that most companies prospect too broadly. So one of the things I talk to clients about is, and this a simplistic example, is if you had $10 and you had 10 prospects. Would you rather spend $1 on each of the 10 prospects? Or would you rather spend $2 and five of the prospects? And assuming you could identify the five best prospects, then you would really much rather spend more of your budget on those five prospects, then on spending less money on 10 prospects.

So that’s a oversimplified example, but I think it’s really important. And then it’s not enough to have a total addressable market. You have to segment that market. And I think companies are woefully behind in segmentation. And the easiest example in my mind is segmentation, as if you have a thousand companies and they’re your targets and you break them down into five different groups. Well, if you didn’t break them down into five different groups to make the math easy, let’s say there was a 5% lead rate on whatever you were doing, you’d generate 50 leads. But let’s say you’re broken down into five groups of 200 with the top group performing at 9% and the bottom group performing at 1%. Then you could draw the line and focus your efforts on the, what I call the less expensive barrels of oil as opposed to the more expensive barrels of oil that allows you to really spend your money.

And a lot of people say, well isn’t that what account based marketing is about? That’s partially what account based marketing is about. But this is really more basic, since how do you target and then segment and focus your efforts on the most valuable market. And then lastly, and I think this is really at the end, unsung hero, is that I really don’t think a lot of companies know what nurturing is. How do you take the output or an outcome of the telephone call or a voicemail or a cadence with multiple calls and multiple emails and multiple voicemails? How do you take that and take the information and then recycle it back in so that you can take advantage of what you’ve learned? Either from a qualifications standpoint or from a technology environment standpoint. So those are, to me, those are the, the five things that I look at that would make the most difference today in many companies.

Matt Heinz:  Getting a little bit of a master class here in sales pipeline development from Dan McDade. Who’s been doing it for a long time, president and CEO PointClear and now a managing partner of Prospect Experience. And I want to make sure we talk about that quite a bit as well. And they think you use a lot of math in your… in how you teach people to think about pipeline management. And I think, we see marketers do a lot of that, but on the sales side. Historically it seems to be more, you say this isn’t rocket science, but I think people treat it even more simply than that. Why is it so hard for organizations to really focus on the math that matters? Why do companies still focus so much on volume at the top, lead gen at the top? Getting appointments from prospects as opposed to thinking about the most efficient way of building pipeline.

Dan McDade:  I think it comes down to, and I’ve written a little bit about this. I think it comes down to that CEOs or senior executives kind of their eyes kind of gloss over when you start talking about databases and segmentation and market segments. And even for some of those to some extent. Part of it is that the executives don’t get bought in to doing the right things when it comes to prospecting. I think the other thing is from a customer, from a prospect experience standpoint, and it’s is the website. But what I look at is that there’s all kinds of articles and blogs and videos and everything written about the customer experience. But before you can have a customer you actually have to have prospects and convert them to customers. And I think the prospect experience and many cases it’s just abysmal.

The prospect experience includes, appointment setting, pushy appointment setters basically setting appointments at any cost. And not necessarily what the with regard to what the value of those appointments are to sales. And that becomes a very expensive process because the appointments themselves aren’t that cheap. And if three out of five of them aren’t really worth following up, then it becomes very expensive.

The second thing is you find is, you have junior telemarketers reading from scripts, following a cadence, it might be provided by some technology solution. Without really the kind of experience that they need, in the background they need to really have quality conversations, at the right level.

Finally, and you might see all three of these poor prospects experiences of her. Finally, you’ve got a barrage of email that’s coming across your desk and some of them are personalized. But I always use the example of somebody contacts me and says, “Hey, go wolf pack”. I say, “you went to NC state”. And that doesn’t really impress me that much. I know that’s on my Linkedin profile. What would impress me, especially with companies selling lead generations and be able to impress me if they actually knew what I was doing and what I was selling before they tried to sell me the services that I offer.

Matt Heinz:  Well, there’s something to be said for not asking your customers what keeps them up at night. But telling them what should keep them up at night and having a more interesting conversation, not just based on where he went to school or whether you’re raising chickens in your backyard, but really sort of introducing insights.

How much of that is key to sort of creating that prospect experience?

And I want to talk more about sort of the business and you’re focused on. But if you could think about having a conversation with someone that isn’t about your product or service yet, and engaging in a discussion with a prospect where when they hang up the phone, they think to themselves I would have been willing to pay for that insight? I would have been willing to pay for the value that I just got.

That is a higher bar than just saying, “thanks for downloading the white paper, would you like to see a demo?”. But I want to talk more about that prospect experience when we come back from the break. We got to take a quick break, pay some bills. We’ll be back more with Dan McDade. We’re going to be talking about the concept of the prospect experience, not just the customer experience, but the experience your prospect has to acquire them in the first place. Why that’s important to focus on and what components lead to a better prospect experience. We’ll be right back on sales pipeline radio.


Paul:  Back to Matt and Dade as the… McDade, Dan McDade as they play the back nine. I was trying to be clever here, and I stumbled over my words here.

Matt Heinz:  That’s right. I think you get so excited about the golf reference there and it fell down. That’s all right. Well it’s a day in one of the masters. The leaderboard looks weird. Cause a lot of guys that haven’t even started playing at. But man, what a beautiful chorus. And excited to continue our conversations today with Dan McDade. He is a longtime sales and marketing, a thought leader, currently the managing partner of Prospect Experience. So let’s talk about this concept prospect experience cause I’ve never heard someone describe it this way. And as soon as you start thinking about the idea of creating an experience for your prospect, it makes so much sense. How did this come to be for you? What kind of led you to kind of put a focus here, after 21 plus years of running PointClear? This is a bit of a different or similar in vein but different direction. What led to this?

Dan McDade:  I guess it was frustration and also looking for what I considered a market niche that was underserved. So again, you read every day you read something about CX or customer experience and the prospect is being totally ignored. And I feel like prospects are just really dumped on. And how do you use it? It’s just a couple of minutes ago about how do you basically take starting the relationship wrong and then converting that to a client that that becomes an advocate for your services or your solution. So really it was looking at the market and saying, gosh these marketing departments, even though they’re trying to personalize, they’re trying to create insights. I mean, everybody’s talking about that, they’re trying to use artificial intelligence, which I do know is that we could spend the whole 30 minutes on that, but they’re failing I think to impress the market.

And I know that you probably suffer from the same thing. I get, probably 150 emails a day and out of the 150 emails there, most of them are just totally miss sense. I mean, I’m not a prospect for what they’re offering, not even close. So, just as a matter of treating the prospect market with respect. And the other thing is it makes good financial sense. If you are prospecting too broadly, then you’re wasting a lot of the money that could be spent on the core prospects and you’re spending it on those who will never convert. I mean we have one client in particular who was a bit two big IT services firms. And in one case he identified 1200 total prospects, that that’s all he wanted to sell to us, those 1200 prospects. And he met with a larger company and now his target market is five thousand prospects. But he is just relentless in marketing to those key prospects. Well there’s probably 10 or 15,000 companies out there. If theoretically consults, but he recognizes that he needs to sell to the 5,000 best ones and spend all of his budget there.

Matt Heinz:  As you put a greater focus on era where audience, it allows your message to get better. It allows you to get to know their needs better and have more relevant conversations. I encourage people to check out what Dan is doing now. And you talk about the 12 point prospect experience transformation to understand what’s working, what’s not and what people need to do better. What can people see in that 12 point processes? What are couple points that are particularly important?

Dan McDade:  Well, I think there’s a few things. One is, under each of these 12 points there’s a description of exactly what we’re looking forward, looking at. And some people have told us we have too much copy on the homepage. But we’re trying to present almost a placemat of 12 things, that we think that if you looked at these 12 things deeper that you can do much better with your prospecting. So things like defensible or descendible differentiators. I don’t think companies been near enough time on that. They have an opening statement, they have a transition statement, they’ve got some questions that they ask. One of the questions that you see all the time is, “well tell me the two or three per initiatives or priorities that are important to you this next year”.

Companies don’t want to hear that anymore. They don’t want to have to talk about what keeps them awake at night. And as you said just a few minutes ago, they want that conversation to be valuable. But how do have some defendable differentiators in companies? I don’t really think spend enough time on that. The multi-cycle, nurture process, we talk about there being; we used to refer to it as multi-touch multimedia, multi-cycle processes to multiply results. And then a company came along that we actually worked closely with for years, and they came up with the term cadence. And so we’ve adopted cadence as our description of it, multi-touch, multimedia, multi-cycle. But if you take a look at the cadence that’s created by most companies, they’re not persistence and frequently not professional in the way that they go about that cadence.

So I say every call matters, every voice matters. And every email matters, which by the way, totally different subject. But we get a very, very high number of leads, sort of about 50% of our leads come from voicemails and emails. And voicemails and emails are incredibly important to us. But looking at that multi-cycle nurture process, I have in one of the blogs on the site talks about nurturing. And there’s a table in there about how with the effect of nurturing you can actually triple the results of most marketing campaigns. Most companies are leaving about two thirds of the opportunity basically on the cutting room floor because they don’t effectively nurture.

Matt Heinz:  Just a couple of more minutes here with Dan McDade. We appreciate his time and insights today is the managing partner of check it out. Learn a little more about what he’s doing and his prospect experience transformation process. Dan, we kind of wrap up a little bit here. I want to ask you about, to share some of the people that may have had an impact on your business that other people should check out as well. They can be authors, they can be speakers that can be alive or dead. They can be professors or former managers, even clients. Who are some people that you, the stand out to you and it had been really influential in your learning that you might recommend other people check out as well?

Dan McDade:  Well one of them he’s gone and he didn’t do an awful lot of writing, but he was a very influential boss. And he had an expression, but I always though was great when it came to people and he said, “you can’t put in what God left out”, which I’ve always thought it was a great expression. I didn’t really know that much about Jon Miller when he was at Marketo. As a matter of fact I was seen in the market place as kind of railing against marketing automation. So probably wasn’t viewed as a fan. But I think that what I’ve read about him and what I’ve seen with Engagio since, I think he did a great job of outlining what ABM should look like. And there’s so much out there that’s IP based marketing. 10 it’s not IP IBM at all.

And then the other shout out that I’ll make it, this is the guy who I think is just a wonderful writer and a fantastic speaker. That’s Mike Weinberg. He has two books out. One is new “Sales Simplified”. Then the second one is “Sales Management Simplified”. I think they’re probably two of the best books on sales, including inside sales or SDR. Two of the best that are on the market right now.

Matt Heinz:  I love that. Love Mike Weinberg’s stuff, I think they’ve got their outbound conference coming up here the next week or two I believe. And definitely a good guy to watch. What I like about guys like Mike Weinberg and Jeb Blount and others is not what they’re doing, what they’re saying is not trendy. And one of my questions early on was, the things that are different now that are opportunities for sales people versus the things that are really kind of universal. The things that sort of transcend tools and apps and social, this and AI that. How important is it for sales people, but also marketers to really kind of go back to the classics. I mean you’ve got the modern people like Mike Weinberg. Then you’ve got the Jeffrey Gitomer, you’ve got Zig Ziglars of the world. How important is it to continue to gain that knowledge and who are some of the other people that maybe, from a sales fundamental standpoint, you recommend people check out?

Dan McDade:  Great, great question. And then, I can kind of summarize that by saying that if you look back over the last 10 years or 12 years, you went from, there was a very outbound focused environment to a very inbound focused environment. Where outbound is dead, cold calling is dead, that kind of thing. To what I now refer to, and you and I’ve talked about as an all bound environments. And I read just recently something that was, I thought was really good. Trish for Tuesday at the Bridge Group, I know you’re a fan of too, was writing about, it’s been about three years ago now that that tide turn from the inside focus to be outside focused. I think that the warning to marketers is that the market has changed again. And there’s more emphasis on outbound, then there is an inbound and that’s because you can’t drive the revenue that you need if you just simply focus on them coming to you.

So, my suggestion is that, take a look at outbound, don’t be so focused on the technologies, don’t be so focused on the stack, don’t be focused on lead scoring. Because not every senior executive wants to be treated like the human equivalent of a pin ball only getting your attention when they kicked the right bumpers and scored enough points. And that’s basically the definition of marketing automation. If you have a senior executive, they’re not going to score high, which means they’re not going to get your attention, which means a competitor is going to win some of the best prospects and best opportunities out there. So that’s, I hope that answers the question, but those are my senses of things.

Matt Heinz:  I think that helps a lot. I think that a lot of what you’re describing in terms inside versus outside sales. And you’re talking about the way we think about leads and inbound and outbound and those are all important considerations. But those are all internal constructs, those are all things that we decide are the ways that we want to manage the journey. And I think It’s really easy to ignore and, or forget that the prospect is really in charge. That the buying journey is more important than the sales process. And if you can align those in a way that respects the prospect, respects the buyer, respects where their position is. You can be a guide, challenge a sale model, teach, tailor, take control. You can be pushy once you understand and are advocating for the customer’s objectives. But I think it’s really important to make sure that you, that you’re taking the buyer centric way of building out your sales process and your internal constructs, even as those changes a little bit.

Dan McDade:    Yep. I can’t agree more.

Awesome. Well we are unfortunately out of time. I want to thank our guests, Dan McDade for joining us today. If you want to learn more about the prospect experience, checkout We will be back next week and every week Thursdays at 11:30 Pacific, two-thirty eastern. We are here live on the Funnel Media Radio Network. Thank you so much for joining us. Until next week for my great producer Paul down there in the Southern California, playing some golf, watching some golf. I hope you enjoy the masters. Thanks for joining us today on Sales Pipeline

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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