A Review of Membrain Sales with George Brontén: One Last Tool 2.8
George T.: Hey, ladies and gentlemen, George B. Thomas, and hopefully, it’s gentlemen, not gentleman. If there’s only one viewer, then, hey, we’re not doing the right job. Today, I am super excited, because we’re gonna get insane in the Membrain. Now, I’m sure they’ve probably heard that joke before, but we’re going to be talking to a super cool company, and if you’re a sales professional, again, this might be the right fit for you.
Without further ado, and, might I say, this is going to be the awesomest episode of One Last Tool, because there are two Georges on the mic today. George, why don’t you explain who you are, what you do, and who you do it for.
George B.: Yeah, thank you, George. Nice to be on the show with another George. My name is George Brontén. I’m the founder and the CEO of Membrain. We help sales teams execute a sales strategy, and we’ve been doing that for a couple of years now. It’s a SaaS product specifically tailored for everyone working with more complex B2B sales environments.
George T.: Awesome. George, let’s do this. I always like to start at about a 50,000 foot view of things. Really, if somebody has not heard of Membrain, that’s probably where we should start. You can go as granular as you want on this, but let’s just start with the question: what is Membrain?
What is Membrain?
George B.: Yes, so, I would say it’s a sales CRM, tailored for B2B selling. We call it the sales effectiveness platform. Basically, it’s got all of the tools for you to make sure that your salespeople are doing the right things, all the time, with all of the right people. It’s to execute your sales strategy effectively. A bit different than, a traditional CRM, which is mostly used to log what you’ve done. We focus on what you should be doing.
George T.: I like that, I like that a lot. Focusing on what you should be doing is super important. George, maybe, what are some of the tools that you’re actually going to find? This is kind of off the beaten path, I understand that, but what are some of the tools that you might find inside of Membrain, if I’m a sales professional, and I’m trying to do what’s important?
George B.: Yes. I think one of the assumptions that we see a lot of people having in the sales space is that, you’re assuming that if you hire a salesperson, he or she will know exactly what to do, when to do it, with whom to do it. That’s an assumption that we are challenging. The main tool in Membrain is really the sales process. When I say that, I don’t mean that you pick a stage, in a drop down, in the CRM, but actually, you have a milestone-based process. It’s informative and actionable. First, we do this, then we do this, and this is how you actually do it. It’s sort of a map for your salespeople to follow, from A to zed.
George T.: Love that, love, love, love it. It’s funny, one of the things that I found over time is that sales folks, marketing folks, anybody, really, it’s about a process. It’s about a road map, it’s being able to get from point A to, as you said, point zed, or Z. Let’s go a little level deeper on this, and let’s talk about how in the world does Membrain work?
How does Membrain work?
George B.: Yeah, so it’s a web-based platform. You start off by defining your sales process. What do we actually have to do to take a customer, let’s say, from an inbound lead, to signing on with us, and buying our services or our product? You define all of those ingredients of that sales process, so, who do you need to talk to? What insights should we bring to them to gain the trust we need? Et cetera, et cetera. Then, you lay all of those milestones down on paper, or an Excel spreadsheet, and you transform those into Membrain so that they can actually be followed in day-to-day operations.
That’s how you would get started with it. Usually, you do that, together with a sales expert, like a consultant, who helps you draw that map, or draw that sales process. I also recommend that you put some kind of methodology on top of that process. If you like challenger sales, or solution selling, whatever methodology you dig, you put that into the product, as well.
George T.: Yeah, that’s awesome. You have to have something, the religion, if you will, that you’re following inside of this tool. One of the things we just, a couple of weeks back, we interviewed Mark Kilens from HubSpot, and they’ve got the inbound sales methodology that you can completely lay on something like Membrain.
George, I know this might be an easy question, I’m hoping we can dig a little bit deeper, because you’ve already mentioned B2B. You’ve already mentioned sales professionals, but, really, who is a best fit for Membrain?
Who is the best fit for Membrain?
George B.: Any company that understands, or buys into the idea that how they sell is super important, and they need to structure that. They need to stop relying on the people that they hire to have that all inside their heads, and they want to structure that. Normally, we have a qualification criteria of five people, and a dedicated sales manager, as our baseline for a customer. I would put emphasis on a dedicated sales manager. If you don’t have a sales manager, you can put any tool in, you can do any kind of training, but it usually doesn’t stick. You really need to have a dedicated person who helps the team, coaches the team, and really makes sure that things happen, day out, and day in.
George T.: Yeah, George, it’s funny because a little bit ago, you mentioned road map, or a process. What I just heard you describe is the second thing that I found that most people in life need, and that’s accountability. You have to have a person that you report to and understand, “If I don’t do XYZ, then we’re going to have a problem.”
Speaking of problems, George, if I’m a sales professional, I work for a company, there’s five of us, there is a dedicated manager, what problems might I be facing that Membrain is going to solve for me?
What major problems does Membrain solve?
George B.: I think you touched on one of them, accountability. Another way of putting that is discipline. How do I make sure I do what’s needed, every day, and I don’t let anything fall between the cracks? That’s number one. I talk a lot about that, I reference a book called The Checklist Manifesto. I don’t know if you’ve read it, it’s written by a surgeon who talks about how they reduced the number of deaths after surgery, with 47%, by introducing checklists.
Which, to me, hit home. It’s like, wow, surgeons are pretty skilled at what they do, right? Yet, they do simple mistakes, them, and their teams, that lead to deaths, which is really bad. I think in selling, we do all of these mistakes that lead us to kill deals. If we have a better discipline, and make sure we always do the right things, and we don’t let things slip, then we have such a higher success rate, just by making sure we have that discipline. Day in, day out, do the right things. I think that’s the number one.
George T.: George, I love that analogy, and I’ll tell you, there’s been times where I’ve been in the middle of a sales process, as somebody selling to me, and it’s felt like it was death. You can either kill a deal, or you can think the person is going to die through your sales process, but you can do it a better way.
Just so we know, this is a hard question. It’s usually the one that people wiggle around, a little bit, and they’re worried about answering, but it’s really the number one question on consumers’ minds. With that said, George, what’s the cost for Membrain?
How much does Membrain cost?
George B.: It depends. If you want to go all in with doing everything yourself, then, it’s from $65 a month, per user. If you need hand-holding, to help us set up your process, put your methodology in there, and everything, it’s from $15000 a year, approximately.
George T.: Nice, but if it’s something that is going to help your team be accountable to each other, it’s going to help streamline a process, it’s going to close more deals, then, obviously, the ROI is there, and it may be a bargain, at twice the price.
We’re about to play, George, this thing I like to call interview volleyball. What I’m going to do is I’m going to set up a first question, and then the second question is where you actually get to spike the ball. With that said, the first question is, when you look at the space of CRMs, who do you consider to be Membrain’s competitors?
Who are Membrain’s competitors?
George B.: For those in the know, I would say we have competitors like the Task Group, or they’re now called Altify. You’ve got Qvidian and Revegy, those who focus on the B2B sale. In the daily work of our salespeople, it’s the status quo, and the traditional CRMs, Salesforce, Microsoft, and all of those.
George T.: George, here’s the spike for you. What makes Membrain better than the competitors?
What makes Membrain better than the competitors?
George B.: It drives the right behaviors in your teams. It takes away the assumption that you should know what you should be doing, you should just log what you’ve done, and you should be bashed by all of the activity reports. It turns that around to give you the guidance, and the coaching you need, to succeed. It’s a different mindset.
George T.: I want, and, again, beaten path, a couple of times here. This is going to be a good interview. You talk about the behaviors. Talk to me a little bit about what Membrain envisions as this behavioral type thing that you mention on your website and that you’re trying to do.
George B.: Yeah, it’s a big question, of course. I think if you break your behaviors down, if you ask someone how he or she does something, you’re going to get a process. You’re going to get a series of steps and actions that they take. Sometimes, they don’t even know these steps. If you ask someone who’s really good at golf to explain how do you do a good swing, you really get a very good description, but if you analyze it, you can break it down into pieces. I think that’s what we’re trying to do.
I usually talk about an informative and actionable sales process, and what that means is, you take these best behaviors, and you break that down. “How did you get to that next milestone?” “Well, I did this, this, and that.” “Okay, do you always do this and that?” “No, I did this, this time around, because we’re up against competitor X.” “Okay, so you did it differently, now. How would you do it if you were up against competitor Y?”
There are so many moving parts in selling. If you’re good at breaking that down, you could put it into a process that’s dynamic. It changes from one deal to another, and it’s very informative in the way that, “Okay, first I do this, and then I do that.” Without becoming a nightmare to use. It’s sort of that balancing act of, how do we model someone’s behavior, and make it easy to follow, without becoming a technical nightmare, and an admin hassle. It’s really a balancing act.
George T.: Love that. You One Last Tool listeners, you may want to rewind that part and just kind of soak that in, a little bit. George, one of the things that I have realized, as I’ve been surfing the interwebs, is, there’s those people who are super techy, they just get it, they understand it. Then there’s those people who, well, not so much. My question to you is, I’m a first time user of Membrain, I get in there, what are some of the potential problems that I might get into, and what are the solutions? What has Membrain put into place to ease that pain point?
What are some problems that a Membrain user might run into?
George B.: Wow, that’s a smart question. I think what our customers can bump into, if their managers, and their consultants, have made the process too complex, is that they might be overwhelmed with the process. That’s a mistake we see some doing. They’re trying to make the perfect process, and it should be the ultimate thing, from the get-go. I think that’s a problem.
More generically, I think people that are not tech savvy, they are usually afraid that they might click on something that breaks things. We see that a lot with more senior salespeople. They can be quite scared about doing things in the system that they haven’t done before. I think the way we try to work with that is to make everything very obvious. You can’t go wrong. It’s a check box, check it. It’s very simple.
Try to make it super, super simple, but yet, have the sophistication that really makes it powerful. We’re back to that balancing act, because I think one of my motivations is to make something complex be simple. That’s a great challenge that I love to be working on, and that’s something that we tried to get into the product. The product should feel simple, but yet, be powerful.
George T.: Yeah, that is an incredible mindset to have. For everybody, if you’re listening to this, if you can make the complex simple, and people can just do it, and use it, that is going to make your tool, your business process, your sales process, whatever it is. It is going to make it infinitely better. It’ll just be better. I love that part of that.
George, if people want to, first of all, thank you for taking time to do this interview, but if people want to learn more about Membrain, if they want to connect with you, where do you want to send them?
Where can someone learn more about Membrain?
George B.: Yeah, so the best way would be to go to Membrain.com, and check out the website, and download some resources. We have some tools there that could be helpful. How to create a sales process, why to have a sales process, the different methodologies compared. That’s usually helpful.
Of course, reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m very active there, and I share information daily. I’m happy to connect with anyone who wants to learn more about what we’re doing, and why.
George T.: Very cool. Folks, that’s how we roll here at One Last Tool. Great tools, no fluff, no mess. Go into the world, find that tool that you need, and, until next time, we’ll see you on the flip side.