THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
Whitney's expertise lies in helping companies build their sales pipelines and account management plans to position themselves for success. In our conversation, she shared invaluable insights every business owner should know.
Whitney's work involves identifying leaks in the sales pipeline and addressing why leads may not convert into demo meetings or potential proposals.
She emphasizes the importance of vetting opportunities and understanding the customer's needs and preferences, especially in larger enterprise-level deals.
Whitney also mentioned the importance of professional associations as a valuable source of warm leads and partnership opportunities. These associations provide a platform for networking and building relationships that can lead to potential business opportunities.
In terms of sales cadences, Whitney suggests considering whether there is a compelling event or reason for the customer to move forward with the opportunity. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the customer's motivations and needs to avoid spinning wheels on unproductive engagements.
Whitney advises against being pushy or solely focused on selling. Instead, she suggests leaning into the role of a trusted advisor and treating customers like friends. By genuinely advocating for their best interests, you can create the best possible outcomes for them.
Key Points from the Episode:
- Introduction of Whitney Stoll, CEO and Founder of Carriageworks
- Focus on building sales pipelines and account management plans
- Identifying leaks in the sales pipeline and addressing conversion issues
- Importance of vetting opportunities and understanding customer needs
- Role of emotions and relationships in sales, particularly in government contracting
- Importance of differentiation and addressing customer needs
- Importance of asking great questions and active listening
- Consideration of compelling events and customer motivations in sales cadences
- Importance of staying engaged with customers and providing relevant content
About Whitney Stowell:
Whitney Stowell is the CEO and Founder of Cribworks, a Washington, DC-based sales and business development consulting firm specializing in data-driven sales growth services.
With over 15 years of industry experience spanning commercial, startup, and government contracting, Whitney has held diverse roles in marketing, business development, corporate strategy, and government affairs.
Whitney's impressive career includes contributions to notable organizations such as Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Major League Rugby's Old Glory DC franchise, Royal Philips, Elbit Systems of America, Chenega Corporation, and the United States Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Whitney actively engages in community service. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) DC Post, addressing national security infrastructure challenges.
In the local rugby community, Whitney has been President of the Washington Irish Rugby Football Club and supports youth rugby clubs.
Additionally, he participates in various organizations in Washington DC, including the Smart Cities Group, Association for United States Army (AUSA), and USA Rugby.
Whitney holds a B.A. from Bates College in Maine and certifications in business development and capture management from Shipley University.
Cribworks is a dynamic startup consulting firm that guides businesses through the entire business cycle. As a client-centric and results-oriented business development consulting firm, Cribworks offers affordable, comprehensive services to meet the diverse needs of its clients.
Specializing in sales and business development consulting, the firm collaborates exclusively with clients to enhance their potential for success.
From tactical short-term engagements to strategic long-term positioning, Cribworks delivers tangible, actionable results that propel businesses in the right direction.
The firm provides a full spectrum of business development consulting services to local, state, national, and multinational clients, prioritizing delivering tailored solutions.
Cribworks emphasizes direct collaboration with clients on initiatives such as developing new and existing business opportunities, competitive intelligence, marketing strategies, and sound financial decision-making.
The firm is committed to fostering enduring partnerships, ensuring client businesses thrive and achieve their long-term goals.
With a personalized approach that recognizes each business's unique challenges and advantages, Cribworks stands steadfastly alongside clients today, tomorrow, and into the future.
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Check out Whitney Stowell on LinkedIn at
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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us. Right now it's Whitney Stowell. Whitney, you are the CEO and founder at Carriageworks. You're found on the web at Crib Worker. Whitney, thank you so much for joining us.
Whitney (00:01:10) - Hey, Josh, thanks for having me. I'm glad to be here.
Josh (00:01:12) - You're based in DC and tell us about the work that you do, who you work with and the impact you have in the world.
Whitney (00:01:18) - Yes, I'm based here in DC and works as a sales and business development growth agency. So I go in and I help companies build their sales pipelines, account management plans so they can position themselves to win more business. So we really focus on their sales operations, but also companies that have opportunities. They really want to position themselves to win. So whether it's looking at their sales pipelines, we know where their problems within their pipeline. Why are they not winning or actually going after large enterprise level opportunities? How can I actually help them position themselves for success? So that's what I primarily focus on now.
Josh (00:01:57) - Do you see for most people that you have conversations with, what would you say the breakdown is between? They just need more opportunities in the pipeline versus they got enough opportunities in the pipeline. They're just screwing it up. Like, what would you guess is the breakdown between those two? And again, probably most people a little bit of each.
Whitney (00:02:17) - Oh boy. That's a great question. I mean, we could go on for days and break it down.
Whitney (00:02:21) - I mean, there's multiple rabbit holes that we could go into. I would say the way that people structure their sales journey as it relates to their customer journey, I think is one thing to really look at. But if they look at their sales pipeline is where there are leaks in the pipeline, from where they bring in leads to where the proposals actually get submitted to, where, you know, they actually sign a contract. I think there's they don't really look at the leaks in the pipeline. Why are leads not actually converting into demo meetings, where ultimately the demo meetings actually get submitted into, you know, potential proposals? And are they actually vetting those opportunities enough? Because does the customer actually want to receive a proposal from them? Are they actually vetting them? Like, does the customer even know who they are? Are you submitting them blindly? How well do you know the customer and how well does the customer know you? Especially the larger the opportunity there is, it can be a lot more people are involved.
Whitney (00:03:18) - There's a lot more tech from technical to engineering, even political aspect to it as well. Especially you get over say, 100 million, $500 million deals. You're looking at factories, you're looking at a lot more aspects of a deal. So but you got to make sure they're looking at those aspects. Does a customer know really who we are and do they actually want us for this opportunity?
Josh (00:03:42) - You know, someone that might be struggling with a little bit of the top of the pipeline kind of situation? You obviously keep eyes and ears on what's going on in sales right now. What do you see working well today that maybe didn't, you know, or maybe, you know, asked a different way what used to work. That's just a little bit more challenging. And what are you advising teams to do to increase the number or volume of opportunities?
Whitney (00:04:08) - I'm going to answer in two part approach. I'd say if you can always flood your inbox with lots of leads, but are they actually going to be quality leads? And that can have an adverse effect on what your sales pipeline looks like for when a sales leader or a CEO reviews it on a say it's a weekly basis, bi weekly or monthly basis, they might say, oh, there's a very large pipeline.
Whitney (00:04:30) - But actually, if you look at it, we're only closing a very small percentage of it on a monthly basis. So you want to put quality into your pipeline. You just don't want to put anything into your pipeline. You know, not every deal is going to close but put quality into your pipeline. Now the second part of it is what is working. I think professional associations are, I think, an underutilized aspect of where to really be able to find strong leads, warm leads and partnership opportunities where you can actually really be able to grow effective pipeline and top of the pipeline. So I think that's I think underutilized. I think people don't like to go out and socialize at some point, but I find that really to be a great aspect to grow.
Josh (00:05:14) - Yeah, I agree, even for your clients that are dealing with a very what you would think would be very black and white RFP kind of proposal. I mean, it's just, you know, just feels like it's just very transactional. What is your opinion of those those things that might not be as black and white, right.
Josh (00:05:35) - Relationship, perceived authority, the emotional side of buying, does that exist particularly for your clients that are doing a lot of business and government contracting?
Whitney (00:05:45) - So I have I have clients in government contracting. I also have ones that are in the commercial side as well. So it's not just as well as black and white because they go to market multiple different ways. There's direct contracting. There's also they do it through partnerships. So they're doing it through subcontracting as well. So there's different avenues on how they actually a customer can actually buy. So there's multiple different ways that you can ultimately win business and grow. So on that aspect there is definitely an emotional side to it. But are you there to actually look at what the end customer really needs? What do they actually value? And the one thing I always look back on is the why you like what makes you different than a competitor? Like what do you actually bring to the table that is different than somebody else? And I think they people get wrapped up in the product, you know, their features and the benefits, but are you actually answering what the customer actually really needs? You know, it's, you know, a lot of people that have very similar or same product, but do you actually differentiate yourself from somebody else? And that could be the difference on where the emotion is and the value is.
Josh (00:06:53) - Yeah, I would imagine. Whitney, you're a fan of asking great questions. Can you talk about the role of questions and sales?
Whitney (00:07:01) - Yes, you do a lot of listening. I'll tell you what you do. You do a lot, a lot, a lot of listening on that. And it's I always like to ask a question of like, walk me through this. So if someone's talking about an opportunity or a project, I would always like to say, well, can you walk me through, you know, why this project is is at the top of the table? Where is there a breakdown within your project that you need help with us? And so really having them kind of break down the why and just having them just explain to me, you know, why this is something that they need. It's like, all right, that's a big gap within their overall project. It gives me an opportunity to understand, like if my services are the ones that that can actually help them meet their needs right now, for example, is if there's a project right now that needs 24 over seven customer support that could be a big goal.
Whitney (00:07:53) - You know, they might not always say it up front, but after talking with them like you need someone to be on call 24 seven, is that something you need? Like okay. Yes. I can help achieve that. And the other part is, is I have to build up trust with my client. I think that's not everyone's there to sell, sell, sell. You need to do a little bit more give, give, give than get the build yourself up. As a trusted advisor. I think that's something you really need to work on. It's like build yourself up as a trusted advisor, like, hey, I'm not the right one, but I do know someone that is. So you're not always thinking about yourself, you're thinking about other people. You're building your network. And I think that can be a very powerful aspect. So your customer will start to trust you more and be a lot more open with you.
Josh (00:08:37) - Yeah. What about maybe kind of touches that we can add to our sales cadences that might help move the needle forward? Maybe these are assets.
Josh (00:08:49) - What are you seeing being pretty important today?
Whitney (00:08:52) - Can I ask you just to get more clarity on that? Are you looking at it from a leadership perspective, a marketing perspective, a sales perspective?
Josh (00:08:59) - Just yeah, I think, you know, once someone is in the sales pipeline and you're engaged in a conversation, rather than just keeping the relationship to the scheduled calls and just the paperwork that's going back and forth. Sure. Are there assets? Are there other things that you can be doing, so maybe that might differentiate you from other vendors that this potential customer is looking at, for example? Sure.
Whitney (00:09:31) - One of the ones I would want to know off the top of my head is, is there a compelling event with that customer that actually wants them to actually move forward on this opportunity? I think that's one of the big things. Or are they just engaging with you just to engage with you? So I think the compelling event is, is there a reason for them to want to buy something, or else you're just spinning your wheels and there's no opportunity that's going to want to come? So I think that's one thing to keep in mind, because there's going to be people that just want to talk to you, just to talk to you.
Whitney (00:10:03) - So I think that's one thing you need to do is to level set with yourself, because especially from government contracting, they might not buy for a year. So but you just touch base with them every couple of months. But if they want to buy now, they will tell you that they want to buy now. But to keep engaged with your customer, you can send them. Hey, here's a recent article that I wrote based on our preliminary conversation. Hey, just want to pass this on to you. Or here's an e-book that our marketing team just released that's in your. So you help them stay informed, but you're not pushing anything. Yeah. That is yeah. That's really, you know, hey, I'm trying to sell you. You're keeping them informed, but you're just giving them content to help them make informed decision. Hey, we're going to go all out to a happy hour or we're going to go to an event. It's not you're not being very upfront. You're not pushy. You know, are you going to be at this conference.
Whitney (00:10:56) - Yeah. Are you going to be at this conference. It's in your area. You know, why don't you come out and meet up with us? I can introduce you to our CEO. So you're just you're constantly keeping them in the loop, but you're not pushing on them too hard.
Josh (00:11:07) - I love that. Yeah. So just kind of really leaning into the relationship and also kind of that trusted advisor role and, you know, treating your customer like a grown up really and friend, you know, how would you if you truly were advocating and this truly were one of your friends, what would you do not just to help you win the deal, but how could you help create the best possible outcome for them?
Whitney (00:11:31) - Correct? Yeah. And you really level into the trusted advisors area. So you're building that relationship and they might ask you say, hey, I have another project that I'm working on. Do you have somebody that you could recommend? You might have someone in your network be like, yes, it's not me, but here's somebody that I've worked with in the past.
Whitney (00:11:48) - They do great jobs, and then you can leverage your network and that individual, that company that you recommend will thank you tremendously. And now you're in a very good position with them for a future job or a future opportunities. So you actually build your credibility with that potential client. So you actually you really start to build. So trust your advisor status is something you need to work on. And I know I work on that with a lot of my relationships. I continue to do it day in and day out. So it's something to continue to build on. And but I do see companies that all they want to do is think about themselves. And some companies, especially some clients, some of the larger ones, they want to know that you're just not in it for yourself.
Josh (00:12:31) - Now your website crib works. Tell me a bit more about how you engage with your clients. Like what does that look like?
Whitney (00:12:39) - Sure. So I have several different ways I engage with my clients. One is a direct approach, so if they want to be able to go into a new market, say they want to build a go into a say, whether it's government contracting, you want to go into a new commercial market.
Whitney (00:12:54) - I help them build, go to market strategies, help them build a business development blueprint on or build in strategic partnerships. They want to figure out how to build a strategic alliance with partners to be able to grow their sales pipeline. So I actually set up a blueprint on how they can actually move forward. Where are the opportunities, where can we go? What are we going to have to what are the next 6 to 12 months going to look like? So they're not shooting from the hip. They actually have a strategic approach on how they're moving forward. What association do we need apart of where the events? It might sound like marketing, but you actually need to have your sales involved and where they're actually going. What's the social selling aspect going to look like? Because a lot of our movement forward is on LinkedIn is engagement. How do we reach out to them? So we send them the proper messages as well. So that's kind of a brief overview of what we focus on.
Josh (00:13:43) - I see that you do sales strategy sessions.
Josh (00:13:46) - So let's say someone's listening to a conversation right now. And they really just want to bounce ideas off of you or, you know, kind of get to know you. What do you typically do in a sales strategy session?
Whitney (00:13:57) - So in the sales strategy session, I need to get a preliminary overview of who they are and what they do and where they want to go. And so say it's a company that has to have the product. And they want to know how to position that product in the market. And so usually in a brief 60 minute call we'll talk about it. And I'll usually give them three takeaways. If I give any more than three takeaways I believe that that's usually information overload. I usually just give a quick sales strategy call. And if they want to go into further detail, we can talk about that. But it's really just to give them because I've been in sales for the past 15 years, work everywhere from on government affairs to marketing to corporate strategy and business development. So I know what it takes to actually move this forward so I can give them very authentic conversation on where to go.
Josh (00:14:42) - Yeah. All right. Whitney Stowell, again, your website crib works. When somebody goes there. What would you recommend they do though.
Whitney (00:14:50) - Go check it out. I've got some articles, blog posts and I got some content there to really focus on different areas from sales strategy. So go in and check it out and then fill out any information on there if you'd like to reach out and connect with me. And I'm happy to set up a sales session and there's some ebooks on there as well.
Josh (00:15:07) - Awesome. Whitney stole again. Found her crib. Works found on the web at Crib Works. Whitney, thank you so much for joining us.
Whitney (00:15:15) - Hey, I appreciate it. Thanks again for the time.
Josh (00:15:22) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group.
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