Becoming A Leader with Laleh Hancock and Designing Sales Strategies Through CRM Systems with George Brontén

Leaders that lead differently inspire others to be themselves in their leadership abilities. Life and communication coach Laleh Hancock shares some insights about leadership, giving up control over your staff, the importance of handling your finances, and how curiosity is a critical and direct link to improving motivation and communication-based issues that challenge organizations. She also explains why having long-term vision is a must for every company. Laleh is a management and professional services consultant and facilitator of Wealth Creators Anonymous, a special program by Access Consciousness.


George Brontén, a life-long entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy, dives into the assumption most people have about sales. In an insightful talk, he discusses the right and wrong ways commissions are being implemented by companies. He explains why caring for the buyers and putting them at the center of everything is the key to a successful business. George also explores how CRM can help any sales personnel become more efficient and successful in their field.

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We have Laleh Hancock and George Brontén here. Laleh is a life and communication coach. She’s a management and professional services consultant and has been featured in some amazing books with some amazing people. George Brontén is the Founder and CEO of Membrain. He’s got a customer relationship management software service that is unlike anything else and it’s going to teach your salespeople to be more productive and more efficient. It’s an interesting prospect. I’m interested in talking to him about that.

Listen to the podcast here

Becoming A Leader with Laleh Hancock

I am here with Laleh Hancock who is a life and communication coach, management and professional services consultant and facilitator of Wealth Creators Anonymous, a special program by Access Consciousness. It’s nice to have you here, Laleh.

Thank you much, Diane. I’m grateful to be here.

You have a management consulting firm for cultural issues. You have a global wellness company which includes not global wellness but financial wellness. Can you give a little background? To be featured in some of the books you’re featured in, you’ve got to have done some amazing things.

I did this and then when you start to talk about it, people are like, “Did you recognize the things you’ve done over the years?” That’s where the books came from. I have many years in different parts of businesses, corporate, partnerships with governments around different areas as well as not for profit organizations. The one thing I would say has been the constant theme along the way is what contribution can I be to empowering others whether it was the business to empower others or whether it was a not for profit world. Working with individuals with special needs or disabilities and getting to work with our wounded warriors coming back from war and even technology. How can we make sure the technology is meeting the needs of its consumers whoever those clients are whether it was corporate world, finances, not for profit? We’re looking to expand their reach to empower others.

It all started because I wanted to be a doctor. My background is a little more diverse than most people. I grew up with the blood of leadership and growing businesses. My dad was an amazing CEO and entrepreneur. My first aim was I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a pediatrician because I wanted to help children and their parents become healthier and happier. As things happen, life brings some little fastballs at you. I was living in California at the time and I had gotten married. We ended up having one of the worst earthquakes so far. It got me looking at my life different and definitely looking to move. When I moved, I decided to put med school away. I decided, “Let me take a break. I’m going to go to med school next year.” As you do when you’re starting a new career, next thing you know you’re pregnant and you have twins.

Were they identical?

[bctt tweet=”Leadership includes the development of others to have the skills to plan for today and tomorrow. ” via=”no”]

They’re identical twins and they’re 22, amazing young ladies who are creating a magical world for themselves.

What was your undergrad in?

It was cellular and molecular biology.

My husband is a physician. I always have been fascinated by their undergrad. He was in chemistry.

Our children and society now are different. Back then if you wanted to be a doctor, you were a chemistry major, a physics major or biology major. Every once in a while, you had an English major who was doing the requirements. In the last many years, it’s the diversifying backgrounds that make some of the greatest doctors. It’s not those science majors. It’s the people that truly have all these different areas of their background that they can bring to being an amazing physician.

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Leaders & Legends: American Success Stories to Inspire YOU to Live Your Dream

I wish they would help physicians a lot more in the area of business. These guys are all entrepreneurs and they don’t make them take any business. You’ve got quite a strong business background. Did you have any of that when thinking of being a doctor? Did you get that later?

I had it born into it. It’s one of those natural abilities I have. I’ve always been curious about business. It’s not with my sister. They all have their own magic with business. There was a gift I had and I didn’t recognize it until a few years ago. I would have conversations when I was seven with my dad about how he can grow his business and different ways of diversifying his revenue stream that was coming in. I thought all seven-year-olds did that.

I wrote in my book about as a child, I had my own little diner I did at home. Some of us do take business at a young age. You don’t even realize that’s what you’re doing. I definitely didn’t come from a family as you did with the CEO father or anything like that. No one worked in my family at all which was a weird thing. You get this sense that you like a particular direction and I could see you being a natural in the business world. You were featured in the book, Leaders & Legends, which also featured Steve Jobs, Suze Orman and many others. How did you get found to be in a book like that? What did they feature about you?

I had to ask the publisher later because I was like, “How did you guys find me?” They have a great research team that’s constantly looking at what different people are doing in their communities. At the time, I had left the not for profit world to start my own consulting company. I had created a program with some of our board members to assist the wounded warriors that were coming in. We did a round table bringing in Veterans Affairs, the DOD, as well as not for profit and corporates who wanted to make a difference for the veterans coming back whether they were injured or not. We did not allow what happened in the past to happen to our veterans again. It got me some attention and they got me from there looking at some of the things I’ve done. When they interviewed me, they were like, “You have such a broad background.” Most people have one specialty or one background. Mine was diverse in many areas they decided to put me in that book. You named a few amazing ones. It was leaders that were leading differently, and they were there to inspire others to be themselves in their leadership abilities and not try to mirror that of someone else.

Did you get to meet any of the other people that were featured in the book like Steve or Suze?

I got to meet some. I didn’t get to meet them all. I wish I would have met Steve before he passed away. When I worked for Dell computers, I used to manage Microsoft, Apple and a bunch of others around strategic partnerships. I did meet Steve, I just never met him under this particular environment.

You’re also going to be featured in a book that will come out called America’s Leading Ladies, which Oprah is featured in. That’s a similar book that features amazing things. What are they showcasing for that? How did you get involved in that?

[bctt tweet=”Assumptions will kill you.” via=”no”]

The first book spearheaded this book. We had a lot of leaders in that book in a diverse background. The editor was looking at, “What are ways that we can highlight some of the female leaders in America?” Whether they’re known or not known, everyone around the world knows about Oprah. This book brings a mix of celebrity and non-celebrity but truly influential leaders. Mine is called Being a Leader of Today and for the Future. When we’re thinking about leadership, we have all these definitions of what it is, but you can be a leader and be five years old. You don’t even have to have a VP role or manager role. What are ways you’re willing to be a leader in every aspect of your life? You are planting the seeds for the future and how it also applies to empower others and being the mentors for others.

There are many companies that hire people like you for cultural change and different things you’re talking about. A lot of them miss the mark on when to do it sometimes. You’re talking about the future and a lot of them realize that innovation is coming and change needs to happen. Do you think we’re going to see a lot of them playing catch up fast at the end when these jobs are being replaced and they haven’t been proactive enough?

I’ve seen so much. I was doing some round tables for not for profits too. They’re not prepared for the future. They’re short-term in their vision. They might be thinking now and maybe a few years, but their CEO may die tomorrow in a car accident. Many of them don’t have a plan B. They haven’t groomed or broadened individuals. When you’re a leader, one of the skills you have to have the ability to is being able to see how the choices of now are going to impact later. Be aware later is going to look different than now. How are we going to prepare for that? It includes the development of others also to have the skills to be able to plan for now and later. That’s the mark most organizations don’t do well because they’re thinking later is 30 days, 60 days, 12 months. They’re not looking five years, ten years, twenty years down the road. Where is this business going to be? Who we’re going to serve is going to look different with this new generation coming in than say the Baby Boomers. It’s a different future and we have to plan for it and get the systems in place. The systems include having the staff that could be there and be empowered to be able to make choices.

I’ve had some great experts on the show talking about crisis prevention. Melissa Agnes was on and talked about that and there are many things that we’re seeing different preparedness, ways of dealing with things that we saw in the past. Having the foresight and being proactive and I’ve taught more than 1,000 business courses and a lot of them dealt with foresight. You have to think about what’s coming down the road. That’s what made me interested in studying about curiosity because many people are going to have to move. What they’re doing now is not going to be here and you have to think about what comes next. Are companies allowing more creativity and curiosity? I haven’t seen a lot of change in that respect. What do you think organizations can do to help companies be more curious so that they can allow people to align better?

The first thing is the leaders have to give up the control they have on their staff. When I’m talking about the future, I don’t mean make it be solid and everything’s already predetermined. You cannot know what the future will bring. You have to be willing to stay in that curious mode and explore the possibilities. You have to engage your staff. Much occurs at the senior VP level, at the executive leadership level, assuming every level is going to jump on board and be engaged and ready to rock and roll. They’re not there. They’re not even energetically at the same place you are. You have to start to include all levels of the organization in the creation of that curiosity, in that creativity, and listen to their ideas.

When I was talking about getting your next levels ready for supervisor or management leader roles, it cannot happen until you start to allow them to know they can come up with creative ideas. Many of them are sitting there waiting for someone to choose it so they can jump on board and follow. A lot of times they don’t even follow, they resist because they don’t have the information. It then turns this return on investment backward. If you start to engage the people at all levels. I’ve worked with one not for profit about a few years on and off projects and it was. We had to create a whole committee that brought different individuals. They have 32 programs that serve different things where they had a transition program with the GEL system into the communities.

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CRM Systems: Most people have no real awareness of their finances.
When your mindset is “I don’t have,” you eliminate money that wants to come into your life.


They had a homeless shelter program. They had a program for people with different special needs and disabilities. They were in three states and no one program equaled the next one. They all have their uniqueness based on their location, based on who they serve and how they did business. If they had brought only one person to represent their whole division, we would have missed out on so much amazing information. Things that you need to have an awareness of, “How do we create this?” We would rotate. Every month they would bring a different person within that division and many of them were the ones who are touching the customers. They’re the ones taking care of them and no one ever asked them any questions. How do you know what’s working in your business if the people who touch your clients aren’t the ones involved in any of this information gathering?

I train a lot of leadership consultants to become certified to give the CCI. It’s one of the training tools we teach them is to come up with a report to bring back to leadership on all of the things the employees want to see to help them become more curious. To help leaders develop all these areas of critical thinking, engagement, innovation and because you’re getting it from the employees directly. It’s not second-guessing what they would want. It’s them telling, “This is how you can help me.” I don’t think a lot of people do that in the business world. We assume, which is funny because of the four things that I say hold back curiosity are fear, assumptions, technology and environment. These assumptions will kill you and we see it all the time. It sounds like you’re doing some amazing things in many different industries that put that all together. I love that you don’t rely on one person’s insight because we need to look to everybody for everything. I see a little more of that than we did in the past. I am curious about your global wellness for all. It is global wellness but it concludes finances. I’m curious what you do with that.

I was an executive for many years. I am looking at my own personal stress, looking at how stress affects our leaders not at work but at home, their finances and many other parts. A few years back, I decided to create this organization called Global Wellness For All and it’s meant to represent wellness in all parts of your life. When you leave out the revenue, the finances and all of that, it affects everything else. There are so much stress and so much health problems happening because people are always worried about their money. “How am I going to send my kids to college? How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that?” With Wealth Creators Anonymous, one of the things I do is I travel around the world and I share these pragmatic tools to get you to start looking at your finances differently. No matter who I talk to, it could be one of the CEOs of a multibillion-dollar organization to someone who is a twelve-year-old at school, most people have no real awareness of their finances.

They have a generic overview which doesn’t help you. When you have no idea what you have and what you are spending and looking at it beyond, I want to come back to that future conversation. You can’t look at what are my expenses of now. You have to look at in 12 months, in 36 months because you have to start planning for your future. It includes money but it’s not just the money, getting your life ready for what’s going to happen in the next few years. I work with financial advisors who come to our events, our seminars. I have parents who are stay-at-home who come. We have kids. Kids love these classes because they love looking at how they can improve their lives and add more to it. It’s not about the money for them but they want to be creative in the different ways that can add more revenue to their lives. It’s amazing watching their little light bulbs go off.

It’s such an untapped area too.

It totally is. We called it Wealth Creators because when you just say finances or money, people go there. For example, for me, wealth includes all the things that can add richness to your life. Money is one of it but your house is another, your car, your jewelry, and there are ways to invest in items that can bring you also more money. In the past all the banks and whatever they had all these financial advisers, they’re not called financial advisers anymore. They’re called wealth advisors because they realized they could not have a portfolio of one thing. Stocks alone are not going to cut it anymore, bonds, mutual funds and all of that. It is that diversification of, “Have you looked at gold? Have you looked at jewelry? Have you looked at different investments that can bring you more money now and for the future?”

[bctt tweet=”Start planning for your future.” via=”no”]

The first books I was going to write were about personal finance for young adults. My agent wanted me to write this book, but she wanted me to go into the footsteps of Suze Orman. I didn’t think that was my goal to be strictly finance-related. Who could compete with her anyway? She’s got that down and this is different what you’re doing. That’s more what I was doing is incorporating the childhood part and looking at what we can do to prepare people. My work in lending and real estate, in lending especially, you see how little people know about what they’re signing up for. That’s why we had such a problem with the lending crisis. Many people don’t know.

There are many easy steps for this. Most of us our whole life always thinks everyone else is a priority but we’re not. Even some of us who think we’re selfish out there, we still think of others before we think of ourselves. With your finances, even if you’re married and have all your finances with your spouse, there is an honoring of you that also needs to occur. I have kids who come to my classes that are two years old. The oldest I’ve ever had was 90 years old. It’s never too early and never too late to educate yourself on this stuff. The first thing is for every dollar you make, put 10% aside for the honoring of you account. At first, some people are listening and they’re like, “10% of my paycheck is not something I could do.” Don’t worry. Even if you put away a dollar, when you immediately get your cash and you put that away for you, there is this energy that gets created in the world that you make you priority in your life.

Any others you want to share?

Have money in your wallet. We’ve become a credit card society. Most of us do not carry cash. If we see something immediately, we’re like, “I can have this. I can buy this or I cannot.” If you start to carry cash, the value of how much you need in your wallet depends on you and what you think someone who has money will carry. This is not about you spending it. It’s the willingness to have money and not become a spending machine. To know when you go see something, you have the choice you can buy it, but you don’t have to. You come out of the lack world and you become in the prosperity energy.

I’m an American Express or debit card/credit person. If I can’t pay it, don’t do it.

I was like you too but there’s something about carrying cash. It’s about your mindset. When your mindset is “I don’t have,” you eliminate money that wants to come into your life. It’s a different thing that truly can contribute to you and you’re having more in your life, more richness in your life, more wealth in your life in these things. I bought an amazing car that my husband thought I was crazy because I’m only home every few days in a month. The minute I sit in this car or even look at it I’m like, “You are gorgeous.” I feel great. My body feels good and it increases my frequency. My energy is much more excited, enthusiastic and ready not to let anything stop me. What are those things you can add to your life? It might be your coffee in the morning. It might be your walk in the park. It’s not all about a physical item in your life, but what are things you can add to your life that adds more richness, more ease and joy for you?

It is exercise outdoors in a beautiful location, whatever it is. I totally get it. These are all great tips. I am anxious to see the book, America’s Leading Ladies. I hope everybody checks into that. Is there a website or something else you’d like to share?, I invite everyone to come there. We also are launching an app that will be there for you. It’s called the Honoring Me Account and it’s a little over $3. It’s €2.99. It’s a gorgeous app but it’s also there to assist you and honoring you but also looking at the things in your life and realizing you have a greater value in things in your life than you ever imagined.

This has been interesting, Laleh. I enjoyed having you on the show. Thank you for being my guest.

Thank you for inviting me. Thank you to your audience.

You’re welcome. I’m sure they got a lot out of this. I hope they check out your site.

Designing Sales Strategies Through CRM Systems with George Brontén

I am here with George Bronn who is the Founder and CEO of Membrain, the sales-enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. He’s a life-long entrepreneur with many years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. He has a life motto of, “Don’t settle for the mainstream.” I’m anxious to talk to you. Welcome, George.

Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

I love when we get to talk about sales because I’ve been in sales many years and things have changed so much especially in the software space since I was in. I know you’re in Sweden. That’s where you hang out. I wanted to know what led to your interest in creating Membrain. What’s your background? Can you give some people that?

I’ve had one employment in my life and after that, I went into entrepreneurship and started companies. It was my last company called Upstream. I don’t like mainstream. The first company was called Upstream which is a good name. I find because it resonates with me. We always have to do things differently and question the status quo. It was in that company where I made all the mistakes in the book when it comes to sales, especially sales management. I could sell. I had learned that I have to sell or I can’t bring food home to the family. When I was scaling up the company and I was hiring salespeople, I was also firing a lot of salespeople. I did a lot of hiring and firing.

We were on that journey and I had to sit down and have a serious talk with myself asking, “George, who’s the problem areas? Is it all these people that you’ve hired and fired or is the problem elsewhere?” The problem was elsewhere and the problem was me. It was primarily my assumptions about selling. I was assuming that salespeople are born and it’s something you have in you. If a salesperson had sold something for someone else in the past, they would be successful selling for me. That turned out to be completely wrong. I also thought or assumed that salespeople had the discipline to do anything that it would take to reach the targets I had set up for them. They somehow had a superhuman will to achieve and were disciplined, which also was an incorrect assumption to make. My third assumption that was faulty was that the CRM systems used by salespeople were designed to help salespeople become better salespeople. That brought me to the conclusion that I have to first educate myself more about the sales profession, what makes a good sales leader and what makes a good salesperson.

I’m a software guy. I wanted to create a system that would help me scale the business and get salespeople on-boarded, ramped up and get them successful. I went to my CRM vendor at the time and I said, “I have this idea that I have been making these assumptions that were wrong. I would like to create a system that instead of asking salespeople to log what they’ve done, I would want the system to guide them to do the right things. To guide them, to prevent them from making mistakes that I know will kill deals.” I had this vision of what I wanted to create and they came back saying, “That’s a good idea but call one of our consultants and system integrators and they’ll build that for you. They’ll customize our software.” If you’ve been in software for a while, that means it will be time-consuming. It costs a lot. It will break the first time they update the software.

That was the starting point. That’s where I came to the conclusion that this will become a much larger need in the market because I also met with a lot of other sales leaders and entrepreneurs. We all seem to be struggling with that same problem. How do we scale? How do we make salespeople successful? That’s how Membrain came to be. The system is not out there. All of these CRM systems are basically like journaling systems where if you go to a doctor, they write in their journal. That’s what we’ve asked salespeople to do. We assume you know what to do. Write what you’ve done. Put that into your pipeline and we’ll see how it goes.

The system would make a better doctor or salesperson that maybe goes and do the right thing later. This is fascinating to me because of all my years of sales. It brings to mind some of the training I’ve had to or hadn’t gone based on the job. In pharmaceutical sales, they put you through a couple of years of grueling training. They taught you everything to memorize in terms of knowledge and in terms of sales technique. Other jobs we were given the Yellow Pages and said, “Have fun dialing dollars.” What I found interesting in one of my jobs is they gave us alternate personality assessments so that we all knew our personality type in the organization. All the salespeople knew what we were.

Most of the salespeople created the type of personality tests we took were either greens or reds which mean we’re extroverts and direct Ds from the DISC personality type. Every once in a while, we get a yellow and we should be more of the S personality or probably a C personality in DISC. They want to read the manuals and aren’t super sales personalities. We’d all make bets on how long that person would stay. They wouldn’t stay long because they couldn’t fit in, but we weren’t trained in any other way other than understanding if we were a good fit for sales. The fit for sales has changed a lot since that job. I see a lot more introverts and there are more teams now. There’s a lot more knowledge to be shared. Do you see that sales have changed quite a bit?

TTL 433 | CRM Systems
CRM Systems: Companies need to realize what selling environment they’re in. This has changed because of the internet and globalization.


One of my realizations was also that selling is not selling. Selling lies on a complexity scale. If you’re selling something transactional, that requires a specific type of selling. If you’re selling something quite complex and the buyer perceives a big risk in buying that type of solution, product or service, then that’s a whole other set of selling, other requirements needed and other personality traits needed. Companies need to realize what selling environment they’re in. This has changed because of the internet and globalization. We polarized this. It’s transactional and then we can automate it. We can automate marketing. We can drive people to a website and they can buy there. They don’t need to engage with a salesperson. We can automate the sales role in that selling environment, but also in the complex sale where it’s not as easy for the buyer to make a decision because there’s so much involved in that decision when it comes to risks, money, politics and all these things. In that type of environment, how you sell is becoming maybe your last differentiator. Salespeople in the complex B2B space need to up their game. That’s the selling environment we’re focused on that I find most interesting.

47% of salespeople fail to meet their quota. I saw a lot of companies adjusting quotas. Fit people didn’t do well in pharmaceuticals, for example. We wanted us at 105%. If we got 110%, they would make our forecasts harder. If we got 108%, there was no incentive. Things have changed quite a bit in that field but many people don’t know how to sell. In my pharmaceutical days after a couple of years of intense training, you’d be out of the program. You were in the field after the first few weeks or something. I remember going through so much training on how to sell. You get in the field and your boss would say, “Everything I told you is not really good.” Be yourself because they tell you what to say in these scripts. Are you helping people with what to say or what the next step is? I’m curious what you’re helping them do because you say the reality is most people don’t know what to do with whom, when and why.

The company I’m heading up now, Membrain, is a software company. We create a system where you can design the way you want to sell and put that into a system, help guide and enable your salespeople. When it comes to the competency side of things, we work closely with the sales consultant, sales training companies. They would be the ones who educate on a specific sales methodology or a sales process and design a sales strategy. They put that into our system so it becomes real.

Do you have a template and they put in the content?

We have the system and they put in the template and the content. I can say that some people don’t know what to do. That’s one aspect of it. There’s definitely a competency gap. I also think it’s discipline. There are many things you have to know and keep track of in a sales cycle that’s six to twelve months. You can’t have everything in your head. It’s about discipline and having those supporting wheels always to do the right things and not make simple mistakes. I’ve written a lot about that. Pilots, for instance, use checklists before the plane takes off to make sure they have gas in the plane, and they have not missed any important things so we don’t crash and die. In sales somehow, we assume and expect salespeople to know all these things, know what to do and how to do things and all that. That’s a dangerous assumption to make. It’s about knowing but it’s also about having the discipline always to do the right things.

What are the biggest mistakes that salespeople make? Is it not being able to keep track of deadlines? Is it for getting knowledge? Are you not asking the right questions? I’m curious about what you found.

It’s the eagerness to sell. That’s the biggest problem and not aligning with the buyer, not having the buyer at the center of everything they do. They’re pushed where they have a quota to reach, they want to sell, and sometimes in that stress you might drop, don’t focus on the ball, or you lose focus on what you should be doing which is helping the client. You should help the client make a decision which hopefully, will be beneficial to you as a seller. I would say that there are several mistakes. An obvious one is not identifying and talking to all the people that will need to be involved in the decision, which is a classic one. You build up a relationship with one person and that person is friendly and they’re answering all the questions. They will not be able to make a decision on their own but they tell you they will. You don’t expand. You don’t talk to all the other important people in the account and then you will end up losing it. The statistics in these surveys that are being done by CSO insights and the likes say that over 60% of all the opportunities end up with no decisions. You don’t lose to a competitor, you lose to them continuing doing whatever they were doing, which is a result of you not understanding.

They can’t come up with the money and no decision or is it that nobody follows up?

The buyer has prioritized other projects, other things to put their time, energy and money on.

[bctt tweet=”It’s never too early or never too late to educate yourself with handling finances.” via=”no”]

You talked a lot about assumptions regarding selling maybe because in my book on curiosity, I found four factors that hold people back from being curious. It’s fear, assumptions, technology and environment. You’re dealing with a lot of that. We talk about assumptions. People tell themselves certain things in their mind. I’m not going to do well. I’m not going to be interested in this. I shouldn’t do this or I should do that. They make their own assumptions, especially in sales. A lot of people are fearful of sales if they’re new to the game and it’s a whole different way of living. If you’ve never lived on 100% commission as I have, and I’m sure you have, there’s a pressure. You do have this sense of, “I’ve got to do it.” You get focused that you don’t remember to slow down. We need to slow down to speed up. Is that how you put it?

Yes, and you touched upon an interesting topic, the one about compensation. If you compensate salespeople in a way that make them make short-sighted decisions and do things that are not for the benefit of the client, which will not be good in the long run. It’s a management problem in a big way that we have to consider all these things and the compensation is a biggie because if you compensate 100% on commission, everyone will be trying to find the quick fixes. We’re seeing a movement towards more team selling and that’s a good thing, but a lot of companies also make the mistake that they don’t change the compensation models. They still have individual commissions, for instance, and that will be a conflict when you’re trying to build a team effort. I do think that’s a big problem in many sales organizations, the compensation plans.

I still hear a lot of sales stories of people like, “That was my account. This guy got into this account.” A lot of these pharmaceuticals, we had territory, zip codes and nobody was in my zip code. I didn’t have to worry about anybody in it. Now it seems like, “I have that account now. Whose account is it now?” Is there a lot of that situation? Do you deal with any of that with your software?

We can. We don’t see that as being the primary problem people have but it’s definitely something that comes up on the radar. What we see as a bigger shift though is with everything moving to subscriptions and especially in our world of Software as a Service and all this. It has become super important that the customers stay. You have to make sure they succeed with whatever you promised that they would succeed with buying from you. Customer success has become a big thing and then the handover from sales to customer success and how that whole journey works out for the buyers is becoming important. That’s where compensation also can make things complicated. That’s something we need to look at as well as sales leaders or company leaders is how we get away from this focus on the individual salesperson to make sure the customer gets what they wanted and what we promised them.

This is going to support them later. Is it not the sales process?

When we are selling, we’re trying to build the case early on. In that case, move through the sales process and then that goes over to customer success. They then need to make sure to live up to those promises. If there is a gap there, if the salesperson is overpromising, then customer success will not be able to live up to it. There will be friction. We need to align that to make sure that customer success is also selling. When they get in, you want to upsell or cross-sell. Align is a word I like. We need to align with a buyer and make sure what benefits them should benefit us. If we lie, it should hurt us and it will hurt us. We need to think about compensation plans.

How do we know if it’s aligned in the process? People are writing their notes to sound a perfect way. Salespeople and the playthings, you know how that works. If you put incorrect information in, what happens then?

I’m talking about our reality but I think from our perspective, it is becoming more and more important to redefine the benefits we’re trying to help the customer achieve. We’re talking about sales effectiveness. What does that mean? Are we trying to increase win rates or deal sizes? What are we trying to accomplish? We talk about that with the client and we define that, and we create documents that outline that so they also can make a decision. “We’re going to make $20 million more in profits by making an investment of $1 million.” “That’s a good decision. Let’s do that.” Once it goes to customer success, they know exactly. We’ve promised the customer a $20 million improvement by doing this and this. It’s measurable.

Can your software show that? The improvements you can show the client or is that something that they do outside of your software?

TTL 433 | CRM Systems
CRM Systems: Make sure the customer gets what they wanted and what we promised them.


That’s something they do outside of our software but there are software packages that can do that, that we’ve partnered with them.

What made you pick Membrain as that the name of your company?

It’s a combination of memory and brain basically. The classic CRM is a great database. It has a good memory, that’s what it was designed to do, memory perfect but it’s not intelligent. It lacks brains. I tried to combine those two words. My blog is called The Art and Science of Sales and it’s about that.

Did you do an article on Mike Adams?


He’s the one who was telling me about your company. He’s a great salesperson. He was on time at Seven Stories and the brain and understanding the brain is important in sales. Many people think that sales are such a simple one way of doing it thing and it’s complicated, especially in our teams and generational issues. You get young people telling older people, older people telling younger people, everybody is on a different plain. I’ve never seen it more complicated. I’m interested in anything that makes it simpler and keeps track of things. I used to keep our notes in handwritten notebooks. That was horrible. When they first came out with software, everybody freaked out because they thought it was going to be hard to learn it all, but it was so much easier. Now everybody keeps track of things. It’s so much more important than to keep track of things to improve things. That’s what you’re trying to do at Membrain.

Guide, coach and improve.

A lot of people could use that in the sales arena. I want to know where is this offered? Is this something that’s internationally available? Where are your clients mostly?

We’re international. We have customers in about 80 countries. It’s Software as a Service. It’s online. You access the service through the browser. We work closely with partners who deliver the training and the strategies and we deliver the actual software that makes it happen in the daily operations.

[bctt tweet=”We always have to do things differently and question the status quo.” via=”no”]

It sounds like you’ve got an interesting thing because many salespeople need help with a lot of the aspects that you don’t think about behind the scenes. Commissions in certain things will influence how people sell and if you could put in some guidance, it’s helpful for people. A lot of people probably like to know how they can find out more about Membrain or anything you’re working on. Do you want to share any websites? is the website address and the easiest way to find me I would say is on LinkedIn. Search for my name and I’ll be happy to connect. I share my blog every week. I share a lot of my thoughts there.

George, this has been great. Thank you so much for being on the show. I enjoyed this.

Thanks for having me on the show.

You’re welcome. I’d like to thank Laleh and George for being my guests. If you’re interested in finding out more about Cracking the Curiosity Code or the Curiosity Code Index, you can go to I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Laleh Hancock

TTL 433 | CRM SystemsLaleh Hancock is a life and communication coach, management and professional services consultant, and facilitator of Wealth Creators Anonymous, a special program by Access Consciousness®. Laleh has inspired and empowered hundreds of thousands of individuals and families including Fortune 500 executives, government agencies, non-profit organizations, athletes and veterans. A lifelong entrepreneur and passionate change-agent, Laleh strives to seek out possibility in every problem and aims to facilitate strategic change and optimal growth for all her clients. She is an advocate for people of ages with special needs or disabilities and their caregivers, and served on the Governor of Maryland’s Caregivers Support Coordinating Council for four years. Through her organization, Global Wellness for All, Laleh inspires individuals – including individuals with perceived disabilities – to create wellness in all areas of their life and seek greater success. Her management consulting company can be reached at:

About George Brontén

TTL 433 | CRM SystemsGeorge Brontén is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto “Don’t settle for mainstream”, he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.


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