June 19, 2024

Mastering GTM Strategies and Personal Branding with Hannah Ajikawo

In this Sales Therapy episode, Hannah Ajikawo and Alper Yurder discuss the challenges faced by sales teams, the importance of personal branding, and the need for continuous learning and improvement.

Meet our guest

Hannah Ajikawo, CEO & Founder at Revenue Funnel

Hannah is the founder of Revenue Funnel, dedicated to pushing the boundaries in B2B organizations and transforming how they deliver value to customers. With extensive experience as a Go-to-market Strategy Consultant and Sales Leader, she recently excelled at Skaled by leading their EMEA operations, where she developed impactful global onboarding and training programs.

Key takeaways

  • Sales teams often struggle with incoherent focus, incompatible sales processes, and inconsistent methodologies.
  • Personal branding and building trust are crucial in grabbing the attention of prospects and buyers.
  • Delegation and empowering teams can lead to better results and growth.
  • Continuous learning and improvement are essential for success in sales.

Prefer audio format? Listen on Spotify!

Early life and career lessons

In the Sales Therapy podcast, Hannah Ajikawo, renowned on LinkedIn for her insights into biocentricity in sales, shares her journey. Raised in northeast London amidst multicultural influences and with both parents at home, Hannah describes herself as a natural helper and problem solver: 

"I've just always been a helper... I solve things, I fix things. I've been that way my entire life."

Discussing pivotal moments in her career, Hannah highlights the impact of trust and recognition. This experience propelled her into roles where she excelled, pushing boundaries and challenging norms. Reflecting on her professional growth, she emphasizes her accelerated learning curve in sales and strategy: 

"I've learned so much in my time in sales and strategy that a lot of people that have double my experience, like I don't get how you know that already."

Throughout her career, Hannah has embraced a proactive approach, questioning established practices. Her curiosity and willingness to innovate have been instrumental in her success, driving her to constantly seek new insights and strategies in the business world.

Navigating go-to-market challenges

In the next section of the episode, Alper shifts the conversation towards Hannah's current focus in helping revenue leaders navigate challenges within go-to-market strategies. Reflecting on her personal experiences of being managed out and seeing peers face similar fates, Hannah emphasizes the critical need for systemic improvements in business operations: 

"A lot of times leaders don't know that they don't know what they don't know... Everything that I do is about helping leaders realize there are probably things inside your go-to-market engine that are broken."

Hannah outlines her approach with the "three I's" framework: incoherent focus, incompatible sales processes, and inconsistent methodologies. She stresses the importance of aligning these areas to enhance market adaptability and customer engagement: 

"You haven't stayed close enough to what's happening in the market... You haven't codified what does it mean to onboard a new customer."

Differentiating between founder-led and established sales structures, Hannah notes common pitfalls: 

"Founder-led sales... It's the process and the methodology... You leave money on the table because you're not structured in a way to drive a value conversation." 

Conversely, scaling companies face challenges in evolving their market positioning and maintaining cohesive sales strategies amid growth

Alper concludes the discussion by commending Hannah’s insights into the psychological aspects of entrepreneurship and persistence. Reflecting on the challenges of maintaining visibility amidst algorithmic frustrations, Hannah emphasizes her commitment to sharing valuable, unconventional strategies.

Rapid-fire questions

Transitioning to a rapid-fire round, Alper queries Hannah on what makes her proud and what frustrates her. She expresses pride in her dedication to personal growth and learning: 

"I'm so proud that I've unwrapped something in me that allows me to tap into that energy every day." 

Conversely, she vents frustration at mundane annoyances like drivers who don't use turn signals and myths about cold calling being dead.

Discussing current challenges in sales teams, Hannah highlights the shift towards personal branding and authenticity: 

"It's hard... Now we're telling reps, 'We don't know what to do, you figure it out.'" 

She underscores the need for collaborative problem-solving within teams, irrespective of seniority.

Closing with a glimpse into her offerings—a four-week coaching program and a comprehensive go-to-market strategy blueprint—Hannah encourages leaders to embrace humility and seek support: 

"Everyone should drop their ego... Be brave enough to try new things."

Full episode transcript

Alper Yurder: Here we go. So today in the Therapy Chair, we have a very special guest. Hannah Ajikavu is one of the LinkedIn top voices when it comes to biocentricity in sales. And she shares her wisdom with the world through her work with a revenue funnel. We'll talk about the success, the joy, the pain and the journey as usual. Welcome to Sales Therapy Hannah. How are you feeling today?

Hannah Ajikawo: I'm feeling good. I've been setting myself a few workout challenges. So I've been doing two workouts a day for three days a week.

Alper Yurder: Physical workout. okay. And that improves everything for you? That solves the problems?

Hannah Ajikawo: Physical workouts, yeah. So when you see me and I'm like just bursting through the door, you'll be like, wow, she's got a lot of, she's very fit now. Pardon?

Alper Yurder: And that improves everything for you that solves the problems.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, yeah, it does. I love that. It just puts my head in a great space. So I'm feeling fantastic. Thank you for asking.

Alper Yurder: I love that. Okay, great. So we'll want more of that energy. I've been feeling a little sick lately. So I think this is the fourth episode where I'm recording semi -sick. And some of our listeners are already like, okay, when are you gonna get better? This is getting long. But apologies for that. I'm doing my best. I think I'm getting old now. So these things started lasting longer.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

That's cool. It's okay. You've got a baby face. That's fine.

Alper Yurder: Okay, good. So do you. Any good therapy starts with childhood, my dear Hannah, and growing up, because it shapes the person we are today as a person and is how we show up at work, what we do, the decisions we make. My question to you is, where did you grow up? How was your childhood? And then I'll follow up on that.

Hannah Ajikawo: Okay, so, so I am fantastic childhood. I have been I have been very fortunate to have both my parents live with me in my household, which is very uncommon from my area. If you do the statistics, it's very rare to have two parents in the household. So I grew up in the northeast London. So it's like in a city where it's just like very multicultural, you know, my I had a Turkish godmother, Greek godmother, English godmother, Indian godmother, Caribbean godparents, like.

I grew up in so many different cultures. All of my friends were different colors and races and creeds. And it was just, I had youth centers and had my older brother and we just had so much fun as a kid. And my parents were very, my mom's Jamaican and my dad is Nigeria. They're still married and which is hilarious after 42 years, but they kind of just.

Supported us in pursuing whatever we wanted to pursue. So when I wanted to go to theatre school, I went to theatre school and I wanted to be a singer. They let me go to sing and I wanted to be a dancer to be dancing. So I had a very great upbringing There's a lot of love in my household like lots and lots of love very open lots of parties and all that thing. And yeah, but the one thing that used to be kind of like an undercurrent though was we always had like highs and lows from a financial perspective which set me up to make the same mistakes as I entered into like late teens and adulthood. I didn't know money. I didn't have to handle it. I was very financially insecure and I didn't know. I was very ignorant. So yeah, that taught me some lessons very early on.

Alper Yurder: I'm very interested in that there was an abundance of love and joy in the house. So love wasn't something conditional for you because a lot of times when I ask this question, I think the conversation goes maybe two or three ways. One is like love is sometimes conditional for people like you have to be good. You have to be successful. You have to be this that I actually shared a chat with Patrick Trimpe today, which was it resonated a lot with me. Like you had to be a certain type of child to get that love and affection. Wasn't that the case for you?

Hannah Ajikawo: Yes.

Absolutely not. And it's funny because my dad on paper should be the very strict Nigerian born father. And he wasn't, he was very silly. He didn't adhere to a lot of Nigerian customs where it comes to like just respect everybody, all elders, you know, the certain ways that you give yourself to your husband and you clean. He's just like, when my family would come around and see him like cleaning up, they'd be like, what are you doing?

Alper Yurder: Mmm.

Hannah Ajikawo: Why aren't the kids cleaning up? You should be, why is your daughter talking back to you? He's like, it was all of that sort of stuff. I was never rude. I never got in trouble really as a kid, but it wasn't conditional. It was very much a, I am proud of you, but I want you guys to like go after everything. I understand that sometimes you're going to have, it's going to be a little bit hard for you. So you might have to work harder. You know, we get told that a lot in particularly Afro -Caribbean households and just be a good person. And that's...

Alper Yurder: Ooh, okay.

Yeah.

Hannah Ajikawo: I've just always been that person in my group where it's just like, I'm not really the troublemaker. I'm just the chill and I make you laugh. I'm always ambitious. Yeah, I've been like that my whole life.

Alper Yurder: Okay, well, since I've met you about maybe now over a year ago, you come across as a very self -confident person. And I guess part of that is explained in that upbringing. I'm sure there's other things we can go deeper, but for now, at least on the surface, you come across as a very self-confident person. But did you notice any kind of early connections to your current job during your formative years, you mentioned singer-dancer. I think that's quite different from what you're doing today.

Hannah Ajikawo: I know, I may be downperforming, this is a performance and I'm joking. It was, you know what? Yeah, I see a lot of parallels. So when I was younger, I was very bossy. I mean, it got to a point, I think I got to 13 years old and all my friends had got together in a group to be like, we have to tell Hannah that she's too bossy. And they had like this big like moment where they put, brought me aside and was like, stop being so bossy. But.

Alper Yurder: It is, it is.

Hannah Ajikawo: I used to make my cousins do homework. That's what we used to do, we used to play schools and I used to make them sit down. And I was the first one with a computer and a printer. So I used to make worksheets at like 11 years old, 12 years old and print them out. And when we get to my grandparents' house, I'd make them do homework. So I always wanted to train and teach. And when I learned things, I wanted to tell everyone else like, my God, I just discovered this thing. At school, I would be the person. Once I learned how to read and write very fast.

So I'd help my peers, I'd help my teacher to do things. I'd help my teacher to help, like help the teachers to settle the classroom and say like, stop being jokers, let's focus. You know, we've got our exams coming up. So I've always been that the teacher's pair, the teacher, the helping others, that was, and that's what I do now. So when people, you know, cutting through the noise now and we'll get into it and how people are trying to be fake and you don't know who's real. I'm like, my God.

Honestly, this is me. I've always been a helper. My mum called me peace of mind. I solve things, I fix things. I've been that way my entire life. Yeah.

Alper Yurder: Okay. So now you are in a place where you feel probably confident and happy about what you're doing and we'll get to that, like what you're doing and why you're doing and all that. But I'm wondering like achieving success is not always easy. There are highs and lows along the journey. Like how, maybe can you walk us through your career a little briefly? And I like to keep this under a minute and then maybe share a bit of highs and lows, like the moments where you felt like, especially the lows I really love hearing and how you bounce back from them.

Hannah Ajikawo: That's easy. My career was a, I can give you the trajectory. So started off was very stiff. I was like, I'm not gonna talk to no one. I'm just gonna shut up and do the sales thing. Cause I'm the only black person, only woman, all that kind of stuff. So I had a lot of identity things that I was challenging. I was also figuring out my sexuality. I didn't know what was going on there. So I was like, I think I'm gay. I don't know. So I was dealing with that. Once I became comfortable in my own skin, I performed very well.

Alper Yurder: Hahaha!

Yes. Yes.

Hannah Ajikawo: That was once I also had was coupled with a very good manager who looked at me and the first person he walked over when he started on his first day came over to me and said, what's going on here? What you look like someone that knows what they're doing, what's going on here? And once he gave me that trust, it was crazy. I performed so well. I won all the awards, went on to my next role, won all the awards, did really well, closed deals. I had no, you know, no business closing. And then I remember going to my next role and

Alper Yurder: Hmm.

Hannah Ajikawo: Everything went really wrong. And then I went to another role and everything went really wrong. I was like, no one's performing here. I'm not performing. I don't, I used to call myself, I'm not a salesperson right now. Haven't closed a deal yet. I'm not a salesperson. I was always the close my first deal in 8 to 12 weeks. Like that I'd set myself a challenge. I'm going to close a deal as fast as I can. I don't care if it's one pound or a 100 K. So, but what that did to me, is it got me curious about why aren't people performing? What's happening with marketing? What's happening with finance? What's happening with our product? And that.

Alper Yurder: Okay.

Mmm.

Hannah Ajikawo: triggered this curiosity around go to market. I didn't know it was go to market. I was just very interested in all of the other support systems around the business and why sales weren't doing well. I was never the lone, alone underperformer. It was everyone. It was like everyone was underperforming. The whole business was doing badly. And I was very curious as to why the hell was that happening? Why are people not being fired? Why are people like, I just like what is happening here? So, so yeah. And then that of course triggered me into responding to a LinkedIn message for consulting services. And I never turned back.

That was eight years ago. Yeah.

Alper Yurder: wow, okay. And how has the past eight years been then?

Hannah Ajikawo: funky. I've done roles that I'm like, I don't even know if this is a proper job description. I've just done stuff. It's like revenue things, training and being a rep, being a leader of the team. Yeah, you are head of rep. Yeah. I've been an AE that got pulled into board meetings because now I'm in charge of the pricing strategy and now I'm onboarding the reps, but I also have a target and I'm also evangelizing the brand. Like I started to, as I got more confident,

Alper Yurder: Yeah. Yeah. Revenue things, I love that. That is me right now. Revenue things, I'm revenue things.

Hannah Ajikawo: I started to find spaces and leaders who would take advantage of my different skill sets that wasn't just like go out and take some meetings, right? They saw, wow, if I just do this with Hannah, she's going to help us so much. Like put her here, like to pick her up and put her there, right? So, yeah, there was a lot of that. So it's just been a really interesting job. I've learned so much, so much. I've learned so much in my time in sales and strategy that a lot of people that have double my experience, like I don't get how you know that already.

Alper Yurder: What have you learned? That others...

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, so I think the big thing here is, it's just a lot around where things go wrong and why things are going wrong and where leaders make mistakes and how you get reps to improve their performance and how you get businesses, business units to become more aligned and how you simplify things for buyers. Those interactions were never things or responsibilities and not really the responsibilities of reps typically, right? They're very strategic, they're big thinking, but...

I was always curious. I wanted to know like, why are people not doing what I'm doing? I'm closing more. Why is my conversion rate higher than yours? What are you doing? you're going to too many meetings. You're wasting your time. I ain't going to that kind of meeting. You know, I challenge the status quo more because I just didn't understand. I didn't, if I didn't understand the logic of why we were interacting in that way with a prospect or a buyer or a customer or partners, I challenge it. I just asked why do we do it this way? And no one asked those questions. I remember the CEO came, a new CEO came, he said,

Alper Yurder: Mm-hmm.

Hannah Ajikawo: I saw your name on the sales board. What are you doing that no one else is doing? I was like, I don't know. And when I stormed into his office on the last day of the month to ask him to sign a contract and he turned around to me and said, has this been checked by finance illegal? I said, not yet. They're taking too long, but trust me, it's all fine. He said, okay, I'm trusting you. And he signed it, but he said, what you do is you ask questions. I was like, that's it. So yeah, that's why.

Alper Yurder: Masking question.

The asking question can come from a lot of places, but I think obviously smarts, analytical, all that, curious, but I think confidence, presence, being comfortable in your own shoes, I think a lot of that comes from there. Once the right people with the right kind of attitude in a psychologically safe environment are given the chance to ask the questions and there's no fear of retaliation, then everyone starts asking questions, I think.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

Yeah, but there are spaces where that's not welcomed, right? You know, there's spaces where there's a lot, there's political layers that you just can't, that's not a fight, I'm willing to fight.

Alper Yurder: Of course. So coming to today, let's talk about some of the current issues you tackle, enough about your journey. Let's talk about... let's put you in the therapy chair and let's talk about how you're helping others when they're telling you. Maybe like let's start with an open question. Like what are those things that you're talking about on a daily basis lately with revenue leaders?

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

Sure. So I'll just tell you why I care so much about the topic of go -to -market strategy and making it easy for people. I've been fired once and managed out twice. I've been managed very poorly, and I've seen so many of my colleagues get managed out or fired and all these things. And it's often for things that can be solved. But I was often not in positions that allowed me to make the right changes.

Alper Yurder: Mmm.

Hannah Ajikawo: So that's kind of the caveat. And I said to myself, I don't get why people, why does it keep happening? That was an easy solve. So it got me thinking about like last year, I spent a lot of time talking about buyer journey and we have to get close to the buyers. But really what it is is a lot of revenue need is particularly today, step into a new role full of anxiety. my gosh, I've got 13 to 15 months in this role before they fire me. That's it. That's the CEO steps in and he starts a business and says, I have to make all of these pennies count before the VC like this is it's not working and we've got no more funds for you. 

We can't raise enough around. So a lot of times leaders don't know that they don't know what they don't know. They don't know where to look. I know something's not right or we need to grow. What do I do? Like we need to there's an issue here and there's an issue there and they're very symptomatic. So there it's like I'm just going to react to this and quite plug that hole and then another hole starts leaking. I'm just going to plug that hole.

So everything that I do is surrounded helping, first helping leaders to realize that there's probably things inside your go-to-market engine that are broken and you don't know they're broken. You just think that's okay because maybe you're making some, you're closing some deals and there's some money coming in and not losing that many customers, but over time it's a bit like when your car finally breaks down and you realize, my gosh, the gear stick was doing this or there's some kind of thing in the engine that was broken or leaking. So I help.

Alper Yurder: So what are those things that once you start digging, once you start asking the questions, what are those things that come up generally, like those problems?

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, so I break it into three areas. I call it the free eyes. And then there's like layers underneath that. So the first layer is let's identify where there's issues in the free eyes. So the first eye is there's an incoherent focus. A lot of companies think, we haven't closed the deal or we're losing more than often on this economy. And it's like, actually, you have not stayed close enough to what's happening in the market to enable you to keep refocusing and adapting your business, your messaging, your positioning to make sure that people are still in a position to buy from you. 

The next eye is an incompatible sales process, right? So you've got this process that you're running and your buyers are that way, which is you're trying to pull them into this space. Your team are doing everything in their own way. It's a lot of actions are down to the discretion of the rep and it's not collaborative, meaning your sales process and customer journey is a hand off from marketing, hand off to sales, hand off to the CS and it's not orchestrated properly. 

The last I is an inconsistent methodology, meaning you don't consistently do the right things through your go-to-market team with prospects and buyers. So you're like, why does that rep, that reps a lone wolf and how comes they're doing it? It's because you haven't codified. What does it mean to onboard a new customer?

Alper Yurder: Mm-mm.

Hannah Ajikawo: What does it mean in that first call? What is the thing that the buyer needs in that first call? And how are we supporting them in that first call? How do we handle pricing conversations consistently and repeatedly where you can control it and own it? So those are the three eyes and then below that surface, there's lots of different go to market building blocks that we start to look at. And I've got like, I can't count them. I think there's seven go to market building blocks that I've talked through. It's on the website, but it just helps people to have a lens as to what block do we need to look at? And then that's how I start to work if companies to work for it.

Alper Yurder: Mm.

And if you were to differentiate between, you know, those companies you work with, which are still a bit founder led versus, you know, they have their first hires or maybe the next hires, et cetera, like they handed off the leadership, sales leadership. What, what do you see as things that are working really well for both categories? And what do you see as things that end up not so well? So, you know, let's, let's start with founder led sales. Where do you feel like things go well and where do you feel like things go?

Bad.

Hannah Ajikawo: Founder-led sales, same, it's been the same for the, I've been working with founders for a long time, but for about five solid years, I've worked with founders around founder-led sales. And it's always this, it's funny. So you get two types, right? You've got the sales leader founder and you've got the tech founder. To be fair, neither are very different. They think, salesperson, I can do it. I've been in sales for ages. It's not the truth because you're so close to it, right? And it's also a different way. I actually find sometimes technical founders do a better job, but that's a different story.

What works, what works and doesn't work. So with the founder net sales, typically there's, it's the, it's the process and the methodology. You get lots of inbound on VCs and your funding and your network. You get all of these kinds of like bridge Brown or whatever they want to call it and this ecosystem meeting. So you don't follow a proper process. It's just like, well, you know, ask us if this person introduced us and you don't take, you don't add that, the mechanics and the, the thoroughness that you would to a normal engagement. So the process is floppy.

You leave money on a table, because you're not structured in a way to drive a value conversation. You're driving a, here's what I'm working on conversation. Do you want to check it out? Here's my idea. Whereas you've probably got something even at an MVP level that still could drive an incremental value for a company. So sell like you can give them something that's worth it, right? Something that I see when it comes to focus at that early stage.

It's a bit like, let's just see what sticks first, right? Then you start to tune in on the focus area because you might pivot quite a few times. So you don't want to get too robust there. With the larger companies, it changes, right? So first you grow to a certain level through creating this kind of sales process. The product is so good that it sells itself to some kind of some degree and you've got some methodology. And then you say, Hmm, that took us to here. Now we are growing and we are compounding the value through additional service offerings, additional products, additional modules. 

And now we have to sell, we have to change our positioning. Everybody knows us for doing this one thing, right? Like we're known for creating a digital sales room. Now we're creating a CRM. No one knows that. So now we have to change our story and our positioning. And I think a lot of companies, they assume that's just a, now I'm going to mention it. Let sales just mention it on their calls. 

It starts from the types of companies that you're thinking about, how are you gonna play, how are you gonna win, marketing, awareness, all these things come into it. And most companies don't do that. They live with sales.

Alper Yurder: Yeah. Okay. Those are so, I mean, being the founder of an earlier stage startup, I'm thinking that's an amazing problem to have. But even us, I think to a certain degree, we have that. So for example, you mentioned digital sales rooms. Obviously we're at DSR. We started with mutual action plans for the sales team, blah, blah. And then customer success teams and onboarding, they have started really discovering us, hacking us. And now, for example, some of our quickest sales comes from...

you know, complex onboarding challenges, helping people to move from step to step. But two months ago, we decided suddenly, okay, you know what, this is selling really well, so we should start talking about this as well on LinkedIn, on our platforms, but it's a new persona. It's sort of a, it's not a new product, but it is a new product in a way, so we call it Flow Law Onboard. Even we, at our very early stage, we have that challenge too.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

Alper Yurder: I don't know if this makes sense to you and what advice you would give me actually to make the two work really well.

Hannah Ajikawo: You know what, you're doing some of the right things. I'll give you another scenario. Think about, like, if you... I'm really bad with actors' names, right? But if I mention, like, Nicolas Cage or a particular actor, you codify them to... I know them for that one thing, face -off or whatever film it is, right? And what you find is when you ask an actress or an actor, why don't you like to do... Why don't you want to be in, like, a TV series or something? Because that defines my character.

It makes it really hard for people to associate me with this new vulnerable role if I've always been the bad guy. And it makes it hard. And it's the same with that situation. So what you do is to break out of that is you have to become more visible and talk about it. Right. So people get to know the broader picture, the broader you, the different like that your company's multifaceted and you're looking at trying to solve a bigger problem. So I always say if you set the vision that not that we want to create a digital sales room or a particular tool to solve for like asynchronous sales, this and that. But we are on a mission and a vision is to make buying easy. 

Then everything that you make that falls in line with that. People are like, well, I expected that a bit like Apple, right? I expect someone said if Apple opens a hotel, you know what it's going to look like. But if but if that come over the other example is like, but if Hyatt tried to make a CD player or if they tried to make a computer, you'd be like, what the hell was that going to feel like? Like that branding thing.

Alper Yurder: I love the, I expected that. I would expect that, you know, it's very natural. It's, it's in brand. It's kind of like wrapped up in the same kind of mission and vision, as you say. so I like that. It's still very difficult because I think maybe this is a nice segue into the world of attention grabbing and you, you mentioned go to market. A lot of times it is about grabbing the attention of the prospect or the buyer. A lot of people are talking about now like content. I was on a call with like a…

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

It is.

Alper Yurder: …Few founders about how they want to start doing some influencer marketing and this and that. How are you seeing all that world of trying to grab the attention of the next person? Like, how has it evolved in the time that you have been involved in this world?

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, no, yeah, it's, it's interesting. So I, I didn't know anything about personal branding. I didn't know that was a thing. I started making content because I had a very small network. I never used to speak to people, believe it or not. and I had no money. So I was like, if I need to, I had savings and that's what I was living on. So I said, okay, if I'm going to do this consulting thing full time, I need to let people know what I think. So they know like, I need to be my own website. Right. So I just started making really…

Alper Yurder: Hehehe.

Hannah Ajikawo: …Very, very formal videos in a shirt. And I'd be like, you need, if you want to be in sales, sales leaders focus on your team. I started doing that and I was like, this is awful. But it got, it developed that muscle. So you, yeah, you do need to develop content. Like there's all the stats and all the stuff, but here's the thing. People need to first know that you exist. From here, they need to...

Alper Yurder: Mm -hmm.

Hannah Ajikawo: Trust that the things that are coming out your mouth that you're not an AI. You're actually real. That's the first thing like are you real? Okay, then they need to know then they need to trust that the things that you're saying makes sense There needs to be this belief system that marries to theirs where they're like, okay, I get the concept of asynchronous Communication to bias that makes sense. All right building up trust The next thing is I need to trust that your process and your system and your approach makes sense

Okay, so, okay, you're talking about that conceptually, but your approach and how I should solve that thing or address it makes sense. So you need to be able to provide those spaces for people to do those things. Right. So that's how we grab attention and it's over the longterm. So we want to disrupt that thinking. We need to, I said it earlier in our, I had a LinkedIn live and it was called a, you know, how to talk. So people listen. And I said how to talk until people listen, because at a point you have to keep going.

I need you to continually share these things with me. So I'm like, I know you, my God, Alpa, yeah. yeah, I trust you now. You talk about that a lot. And, okay, that approach makes sense to me. And I'm like, I trust that you can deliver on that promise. And you've shown me proof that you can do it. I'm ready. I'm listening. You got me. And that is a combination of content from across the go -to -market team.

Alper Yurder: Yeah, sounds good.

I love how you explained the psychology of it. And I think it's like the usual funnel awareness, trust, all of these things, but it takes time. It builds in time. Some people give up early. I think one of the things that I learned, I thought as a salesperson that I was very persistent and resistant and blah, blah, blah. Being a founder is a whole different game. I think now I am the next level on all these things.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

It is like, you know, make content, it's like, okay, like, and sometimes, you know, we were talking about our frustrations around these algorithms, right? And, and that's why I'm like, I don't even care if I've got a small newsletter, but I'm really sharing, I'm being very intentional about sharing stuff that are going to make people rethink how they're doing stuff. So when they do execute on some of those ideas, it's not something that they can just find on a random block. It's like, no one's doing this. Let's try it.

And I've shared examples of companies that I know are experimenting with different tactics and shared screenshots and like, hey, they did it this way because we have to be different. And it does it so much effort. I'm like, my gosh, sometimes I don't want to post anything. Everyone leave me alone. But then that's what we feel sometimes. I'm over it.

Alper Yurder: Yeah, as we're coming towards the end of the conversation, I have a few quick, like rapid fire questions for you. Some of them are relevant and some of them are personal. I'm just going to fire them and you know, you do your best in giving me all short answers because I'm curious personally. I've known you for a while and we've started discussing these things and I have an idea, but what really makes you proud about your life and your career or you as a person?

Hannah Ajikawo: Okay, let's go.

Alper Yurder: And what drives you mad? Those two things I'm curious.

Hannah Ajikawo: What makes me proud is I am I am What's the word? I'm so dedicated to be The best version of myself I get so I wake up and I literally roll out of bed I jump up do my two workouts and I'm so excited something I've got so much to learn. I've got so much value to give I'm so excited. I've just learned something I'm gonna help people so I'm so proud that I've Unwrapped something in me that allows me to tap into that energy every day. What drives me crazy is, oof, people that don't indicate in their cars, like, what are you doing? Why don't you, how am I supposed to know where you're going? That drives me crazy. As well as people saying cold calling is dead, like, whatever.

Alper Yurder: Sometimes you need to say things like that just to be the other day I was talking to a PB consultant and they were like, yeah, you have to be controversial. And I've been there, done that. I don't feel like being too controversial anymore, but you know, anyway, that's another topic. Next question is we already talked about these different primary challenges of sales teams, but if you were to summarize today in this difficult economy, like what are the most…

What are most challenging to sales teams? What are those one or two things and what's the remedy for them?

Hannah Ajikawo: So I so sales teams will say the hardest thing right now it is hard to get in contact with people There's no it's not it's hard to get in contact with people it is You have to get in contact with yourself Publicly so people can find you so it's hard and it means that sales people have to now tap into being themselves and being brave even though for the last Seven years we've told reps don't do anything. Here's our predictable model Just focus on that we're telling you to do and now we're like, we don't know what to do reps you figure it out

It's hard. It's really hard. Yeah.

Alper Yurder: Help us figure it out. It's so funny, the Predictor Revenue Model and all that. Great, wonderful. But now we bring people in and it's especially like founding AE and this that anybody I bring into the team, if they're junior, senior, I don't care. I'm like, we have to solve this problem. I need your brain. It can't be just my brain.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah.

Yeah, exactly. I would have just done what I say. My thing is delegation. I hired someone who had never done the job before to help me with marketing. Zach is incredible. I tell Zach, I work for him. You need to set me deadlines. I've set you a target. If I'm going to be the person to help you with that target, you got to tell me what I've got to do and hold me accountable. Delegate, give people trust, give people responsibilities. He can't believe what I let him do. He's like, are you sure? I'm like, go for it. And he gets it right because I trust him. So yeah.

Alper Yurder: I love that. I love that. Is that Gen Z?

Hannah Ajikawo: Pardon? There you go. Yeah. Yeah. You got to see.

Alper Yurder: Is that Gen Z? Okay, good. Because I have my own thoughts about some of the Gen Z and what they like and what they don't. Because sometimes when I give the ownership, they're like, you know what? No, thank you. I don't want the ownership.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, he's like, holy crap, I have to get it done. I've been up all night. I'm like, go for it.

Alper Yurder: Wonderful. Final question is, this was a great chat, but is there anything that I should have asked you that I haven't, that I forgot to ask?

Hannah Ajikawo: What can I sell people and what do I have to offer other people? Yeah, that's what you could ask. There you go, brilliant. So right now I've got two things. I've got a very kind of accelerated coaching program over four weeks to help tech leaders figure out like where are some of the issues in their go to market, remove those blockers and give them more light so they can go and get more revenue. That's just an accelerated version for people that don't have a ton of money. It's like two and a half grand, go for it.

Alper Yurder: Go for it. What can you offer?

Hannah Ajikawo: and then we have the more let's develop how your sales process methodology, go to market strategy and give you the blueprint for 15 K. So if you need to get everything done and you're like, I can't afford 20 K a month to all of these consultants, we found a way to do it at a lower cost that helps us to derive quicker value inside 10 weeks. So hit me up. Can help you with that.

Alper Yurder: I love all of that. Excellent. Well, thank you very much for joining me on the show today, Hannah. That was a great chat. And before we say our closing words, do you have any closing remarks that you want to share?

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, right now everyone should be kind of dropped their ego and really think about how do I make everybody that I'm responsible for successful. And that means that I need to step outside to ask for help in new places. And if I need to try and kind of like drop my ideas and thoughts, then just be brave enough to try that. It's okay.

Hannah Ajikawo: It will really help you move the needle. I've had to do that myself, stepping outside of stuff to get help with things that I kind of know, but it's helped me tremendously in the last six months. So I encourage you to do that.

Alper Yurder: Yeah, I was going to say it's coming from experience and obviously when it comes to experience, it's real. Well, now our time is over and I'm going to cut us on the clock just like any good therapist. Thank you for joining me on Sales Therapy today. I hope everybody enjoy the show and we're looking to have you on the show again.

Hannah Ajikawo: Yeah, exactly. What hell? It's okay. It's okay.

Amazing. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Alper Yurder: My pleasure. OK, I'm going to stop now, but don't go because it needs to upload as.

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