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Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

Over the past twenty years, I’ve led three Silicon Valley startups to their first customers and revenue, and sold everything from financial data, enterprise software, and vaporware to cabinet doors, amusement park daily programs, and “would you like fries with that…?” My customers have included the largest financial institutions in the world, top US Universities, cabinet door makers and people that eat at Applebees and go to amusement parks... I’ve learned a lot, and made a few, ahem, well… a lot, of mistakes. Here in The Sales Podcast with Scott Sambucci, I share the lessons learned from my past two decades of selling. In each episode, I discuss a specific topic in selling and sales strategy like how to find new prospective customers, how to manage leads, how to run an effective sales meeting, uncovering customer needs, and developing pricing strategies. Episodes are a mix of guest interviews, observations from the field, and sales techniques that I’m using every single day. And people that care about such things, I’ve written two books, been a TEDx Speaker, been featured on CNBC, The Financial Times and NPR. Oh… I’m also a husband, a dad, and a three-time Ironman triathlete. Build your sales process so that you can have the company you imagine. The Sales Podcast with Scott Sambucci will help you get there.
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Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci
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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 28, 2015

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Check out the Startup Selling Program, a 90-day program focused on finding customers, growing revenue and building your sales process.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss the importance of talking to prospects about their 2017 budgets at the beginning of 2016, and how to start prepping your product delivery to be best prepared for getting a prospect’s 2017 budget. Key areas we cover are:

  • Why you should be thinking about 2017 budgets now and using the next few months to work your product into the a prospect’s used-up 2016 budget.
  • How to start selling to people when their budget has been eaten up, some actions to take and answering questions. 
  • How to go about prospecting at the beginning of the year when a product has a pretty high price, and adverse effects making you feel you haven't done enough.
  • Questions to ask during quarterly reviews, what mature companies do and some January advice on working to get into that 2017 budget.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

00:41 – What does it mean to have that big B in the budget too for 2017?

03:20 – Recommended strategies.

05:06 – What are the first actions to take?

08:53 – How do you start selling to people when a lot of their budget is already eaten up?

11:26 – Who you look to and how to go about prospecting at the beginning of the year when a product has a pretty high price.

15:43 – Adverse effects making you feel you haven't done enough, even though you have done a lot, to actually be able to make that bigger sale to the overall company.

20:22 – Experiencing, “Why are we spending this $10,000 for the pilot? Shut it down."

23:10 - The next moves on getting into that 2017 budget after running the pilot?

27:30 – Explaining and answering questions.

32:56 – Business review lead into dealing with the budget process.

37:30 – What mature companies do.

38:00 – Organic growth within a company versus take it all right now or right here.

40:20 – Questions to ask during quarterly reviews.

43:15 – January advice, working on getting into that 2017 budget.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

Dec 23, 2015

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.comand self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss what to do around the holiday season in preparation for the coming year. Key areas we cover are:

  • Going into your industry that you’re selling to and see what are these kind of mini-publications.
  • Using the holidays to map out a blog post series for yourself.
  • Looking at conference planning for the coming year, getting in touch with conference organizers and getting everything ready for the conference.
  • Strategies you can use to make money, and going back and doing some analysis of your pipeline. 
  • Having everyone on board on where the company needs to be, and using a weekly email template.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

01:16 – Look for media contacts.

08:43 – Use this time of the year to map out a 5 or 10 blog post series for yourself.

15:04 – Looking at the conference planning for 2016.

17:33 – How to go about strategically getting everything ready for the conferences.

21:14 – Get in touch with the conference organizers.

23:16 – Going back to your current customers.

25:43 – Three strategies you can use to make money.

26:45 – Going back and doing some analysis of your pipeline.

28:08 – Who are you selling to?

29:26 – The “WHY?”

29:50 – The “HOW?”

32:00 – Using an email template and having everyone on board on where the company needs to go.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • The Reverse Review, a monthly publication for reverse mortgage professionals that covers issues affecting the industry.
  • Wall Street Journal, online coverage of breaking news and current headlines from the US and around the world.
  • Forbes, Business news and financial news.
  • DSNews, Service Industry News website.
  • HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.
  • UpWork, the world's largest online workplace where savvy businesses and professional freelancers go to work.
  • Price Intelligently, provides SaaS pricing strategy expertise through our unique combination of data and industry experience.
Dec 22, 2015

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.comand self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss what to do around the holiday season in preparation for the coming year. Key areas we cover are:

  • How going old school and writing a hand written note that isn’t electronically sent can help bring a fizzling prospect back to the table.
  • Taking the time to clear out your CRM and email contacts from the past year and a method for clearing out that brings old prospects back into your conversion funnel.
  • How to “Go Social” at the end of the year by preforming some social media research that will help you stay strong through the holidays and hit 2016 running while everyone is crawling.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

04:26 – Things you could be doing that would motivate sales in the holidays or the next year.

04:46 – Write handwritten notes to people.

06:50 – Going through your top 20 contact.

10:04 – Email your contacts to see who’s interested or not.

12:10 – Clear your virtual desk, and archive all emails. Send an email to contacts you’ve been in touch with over a 6-month period.

17:30 – Go social, use it for research.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking service. 
  • MineMyMail, sifts through all of the messages stored in your email account looking for the information you care about.
  • MailChimp, an online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results.
  • Quora, a question-and-answer website.
Dec 21, 2015

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Check out the Startup Selling Program, a 90-day program focused on finding customers, growing revenue and building your sales process.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss the process to qualify and pursue potential sales leads, as well as tips to help you position yourself at a conference. Key areas we cover are:

  • Quickly identifying and pursuing a potential sales lead, and what lessons you might learn when you’re contacting leads.
  • You need to be willing to be patient because will speed up your process and you’ll earn the trust from a prospective lead.
  • How to really quickly convey the unique value proposition that a prospect’s company offers versus other companies who might do the same thing.
  • What to do with the people that you weren’t able to touch base with at a conference, and the one thing you fail to do at a conference.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

02:56 – How to quickly identify whether you want to pursue a person as potential sales lead.

05:55 - Lessons when you’re out calling people on the phone or email.

06:25 – Taking leadership in the conversations.

07:16 – The types of selling approaches to use.

09:18 – The number one tip of the day.

10:38 – Qualify your lead or your conversation first.

12:35 – Learning how to position yourself.

15:25 – What you should be doing for value proposition.

20:00 – How long to generally wait before trying to create more contact with potential leads.

23:45 – What to do with the people that you weren’t able to touch base with at a conference.

27:15 – One thing you notice you’re not doing at a conference.

 

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • Blend, a cloud based lending software.
  • LinkedIn, World’s Largest Professional Network.
  • Drip, Email Marketing Automation Software.
  • Upwork, Hire Freelancers and Get Freelance Jobs Online.
Dec 21, 2015

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.comand self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, our special guest Sean Murphy, of SKMurphy, sits down with Scott to discuss the concept of diagnosing new ideas in a startup, discovering early adopters, and much more. Key areas we cover are:

  • Why it’s important to diagnose ideas of discovery for entrepreneurs and startups, as well as having models of the kind of impact your enterprise software has on a prospect’s business operations.
  • Tips for CEOs in preparing questioning strategies, including powerful responses to use when not able to answer some questions.
  • Understanding how a prospect’s worries about the risk of working with your startup and methods for reducing said risk to overcome this objection.
  • How to find early adopters at organizations that have a pain and are willing to accept partial solutions, and getting customer feedback in a positive way.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

03:42 – How to describe the idea of diagnosing a discovery for startups and entrepreneurs, why it’s important when it comes to sales.

07:40 – Having a model of what the impact of your enterprise software is going to be on a person’s operations.

10:00 – Tips for a Startup CEO in preparing for a questioning strategy.

15:00 – “I don’t know,” is a powerful response.

17:00 – Creating more communication nodes between you as a startup and the target company.

20:58 – The purchase decision and what the customer is really worried about.

22:43 – How to reduce risk as salesperson or as a startup CEO for people to work with you as a startup.

25:44 – Challenges working with startups.

28:18 – The right way to get customer feedback and use it in a positive way.

31:37 – The early market problems.        

35:15 – Zone of proximal development.

40:14 – Ways you can tell you’re working with a successful change agent, early adopter.

44:11 – As a startup, how to find early adopters, innovators at organizations that have the pain and are willing to accept partial solutions.

46:00 – Where to find early adopters.

48:37 – The number where you finally say “All right, I need to switch my hypothesis.”

Nov 25, 2015

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.comand self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott hosts Greg Jacobson and Mark Graban from KaiNexus, a software company that serves hospitals and health systems. Greg and Mark speak about how they built a successful startup utilizing the LEAN methodology and understanding the importance of LISTENING to customers. Key areas covered are:

  • How Greg founded KaiNexus as an ER doctor who thought there could be a better way and the lessons he learned when building out a product and taking it to market.
  • How Mark came on board to help build the go-to-market strategies for KaiNexus and bring on board the first customers while establishing KaiNexus in the “lean healthcare” community.
  • How a company can implement the method of Identify, Act, Resolve, and Recognize to their day-to-day process to improve the team and company in all aspects of the company.
  • Recognizing the difference between a know-it-all salesperson versus a learn-it-all, and realizing the valuable information to be learned during the sales process.
  • Identifying and understanding a customer’s needs and how to position your products different features to meet those needs.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

02:45 – How KaiNexus was started.

05:35 – The potential of what could be done in Healthcare.

06:45 – What underpins the feeling of Mark and Greg are on a crusade for continuous improvement.

09:40 – How a company can apply the four steps, Identify, Act, Resolve, Recognize to their process.

13:10 – How someone can take 5% or 10% out of a day to make sure they’re improving.

16:50 – How to build habits.

18:45 – The continuous improvement principle, the idea of a small test of change.

20:30 – The know-it-all versus the learn-it-all. What is the learn-it-all and what it means.

22:50 – What could be learnt in the sales process and how you could apply it.

25:45 – Understanding a customer’s need and knowing what part of the product is the right fit.

28:15 – Time is the most precious thing for an entrepreneur, how to choose to use that time.

30:05 – Identifying customers that believe in your “why” statements.

35:25 – The more narrow you set your focus, the greater chance that a small company is able to solve that problem better.

37:30 – Early versions of KaiNexus, did it feel like consulting when Mark and Greg were starting up?

38:40 – Focusing on your customers and their success.

39:40 – The organizational behavior and psychology aspect is critically important to the implementation.

41:20 – Churn rate is important to think about when you’re developing a SaaS enterprise.

42:55 – Recommendation to a small team to go about their own Seven-Day, 30-Day or 100-Day challenge to permanently improve their company.

45:06 – How to implement the 100-Day challenge in your company.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • The KaiNexus WorkOut, is an adaptation of a proven three month improvement model that originated at GE.
  • KaiNexus, a continuous improvement software platform empowers and engages your employees to make a meaningful impact on your organization in a culture of continuous improvement.
Oct 23, 2015

The Sales Podcast - #9 – “Hiring Sales People.”

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.comand self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss when and how to hire your sales person. Where to find them, and how to evaluate them in an interview process. Key areas we cover are:

  • Knowing when to hire your first sales person and what metrics to use to define the success of your new hire.
  • How to create a support structure for your new salespeople to help them be successful by removing outside factors you may not be considering.
  • The importance of being the best salesperson at your startup as the CEO and how this success is important in finding and training the future salespeople at your company.
  • How to structure compensation packages for your salespeople and understanding that the comp plan you create will decide the behavior of your salespeople.
  • Why startup founders need to be salespeople and the opportunities lost when you try to outsource your sales.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

02:40 – Metrics to use when looking for a sales person.

03:20 – Importance of hiring lower level, or to go for a person who’ll build a sales department underneath them.

04:05 – You shouldn’t be a startup CEO if you’re afraid of selling, or don’t want to sell, also if you think it’s not important to do it yourself.

04:47 – Giving the sales person a framework of how it worked for you for them to be more effective.

07:25 – When to make your first hiring decision.

08:26 – The first sales related hire.

09:40 – Sales conversations a startup founder will have.

10:14 – Setting up general conversations around market/customer discovery.

10:36 – Intermediate steps companies can take before hiring a true VP of sales.

12:23 – When to go out and hire a sales person.

14:05 – Having a repeatable sales process.

14:35 – Diversify your sales person portfolio.

15:50 – The initial time period to judge and hire on, and how long to measure success.

16:18 – Reasons to get rid of a sales person.

20:00 – Finding ways to shorten the sales cycle.

21:48 – Where to source original candidates.

24:35 – The one most revealing question for a candidate and why?

27:25 – The types of people to look for.

28:22 – Behavioral assessments to do.

32:10 – How to structure compensation packages for sales people.

37:15 – How to know if the sales compensation program is the right one for you, or if you should make changes.

40:40 – How to make sure you structure compensation packages for team members to reach their goals.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • ZeroRisk, a behavior assessment testing software
Oct 22, 2015

The Sales Podcast - #8 – “Implementation Planning.”

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.comand self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss the importance of discussing the implementation plan for your product with your prospective new client both early and often. Key areas we cover are:

  • How implementation plans factor into the four major stages of an enterprise level sales (spoiler – they’re a big factor).
  • When you should start to bring up your implementation plan with a prospect and how you can use this process to evaluate where you are in the sales cycle and push the sale forward.
  • Some of the pros and cons of the world of implementation plans and how effectively using an implementation plan can help you deal with detractors at the prospect company.
  • How to alleviate the prospect’s fear of implementation of your product by having great checklists to help reduce risk.
  • How talking about implementation plans with a prospect let you know if they are actually going to become a client.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback! Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great! Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

01:50 – What are implementation plans and how are they used.

02:15 – The four major stages of an enterprise sale.

03:13 – When to start thinking about implementation planning and start talking about it with a prospective client.

04:45 – What happens after a client says, “Yes.”

06:32 – How to use Implementation planning to help in the sales process in general.

11:00 – The pros and cons of implementation planning using different approaches.

16:08 – How a good implementation plan helps a purchaser deal with detractors within a company that may not want to implement your product.

18:30 – How to handle using third party implementation planning consultants, when you and your prospect have your own preferred processes.

20:58- How to avoid being blamed when a process doesn’t happen, by documenting your interactions.

21:43 – As a startup, you need to own the implementation process and avoid Outsourcing.

23:20 – Defining the success of your implementation plan.

27:00 – How to alleviate that fear of implementation planning.

32:38 – Having a checklist to help reduce risk.

34:27 – Software that helps with collaboration.

36:50 – The biggest piece of advice when it comes to implementations plans.

39:00 – How to think and qualify if a prospect is actually going to become a sale.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • Blend, a cloud based lending software.
  • com, Online Project Management and Task Management Software.
Oct 4, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #7: Burning Sales Questions Pt. 2

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott hosts a webinar where participants ask their most burning sales question for both business to customer (B2C) and business to business (B2B or enterprise) markets.  This episode is the second half of a Burning Sales Question webinar that SalesQualia hosts regularly. Key areas covered:

  • The main differences between selling a product versus a service and the benefits and disadvantages of each model.
  • Techniques for handling a prospective customer who is losing interest in the sale.  How to approach other people at the company to revitalize the sale and knowing when a sale isn’t going to happen.
  • How a sales manager or executive handles their team in a world where marketing funnels are becoming more targeted and specific everyday.
  • As a sales executive or manager, knowing when to hold your sales team accountable for their performance and how to dissect their target markets to identify outside factors contributing to their lack of success.
  • How to best compensate your sales team and understanding that your incentive programs direct the behavior of your sales team.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

1:50 – The main differences between selling a product versus a service and the benefits and disadvantages of each.

5:15 – The difficulty of selling a service based on money for time versus selling your service on a value for money model.

6:30 – The importance of finding ways to switch from selling a service a service to selling a product and how that change can help you scale your company.

7:30 – Methods for reinvigorating interest in your product when a prospective client starts to lose interest in the sale.

8:40 – How targeting the wrong buyer at a prospective company can cause a sale to stall because your “Company Hero” has been trying to sell your product internally to their own company.

10:50 – The method of triangulating information to help bring a stalled sale from crashing.  How identifying the different people at a prospective client that will be involved in the purchasing decision of your product can help you keep interest in the sale and quickly identify stall points.

14:00 – How to use new information about your product to bring disinterested buyers back to the table.

16:55 - How a sales manager or executive handles their team in a world where marketing funnels are becoming more targeted and specific everyday.

18:30 – How to measure success of your sales people by identifying optimal close rates by the end of your sales cycle.

19:00 – How to hold sales people accountable when your sales cycle utilizes well developed marketing funnels that provide them with very developed leads.

20:30 – How to dissect a sales person’s target market to identify outside factors that could be contributing to their lack of success.

21:50 – Using closing techniques versus implementation planning to close a sale with a prospective client and how an implementation plan can help a salesperson identify overlooked factors and people (i.e. technical review, contract phase, payment issues, etc.).

24:00 – How to best compensate a sales person by using different tactics to focus your sales person on the sales model your company employs (i.e. service plans, back end selling, customer retention, etc.).

24:50 – Whatever incentive program you setup is the behavior you will instill in your sales people.

Resources Mentioned or Related to this Podcast

Oct 3, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #6: Burning Sales Questions Answered Pt. 1

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott hosts a webinar where participants ask their most burning sales question for both business to customer (B2C) and business to business (B2B or enterprise) markets.  This episode is the first half of a Burning Sales Question webinar that SalesQualia hosts regularly. Key areas covered:

  • How to uncover existing pain points from a prospective client who is reluctant to speak about their problems.
  • Using the Challenger Sales Model to approach your target market with researched pain points for their companies versus asking what problems they are experiencing.
  • Best sales tactics for competing with super powerful competitors like Facebook, Google, and other industry giants.
  • How to generate leads for a new niche market that you believe your product is well suited to help.
  • How to generate leads to scale from a few customers to a hundred within your target market

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

2:00 – How do you uncover existing pain points with a prospective client?

3:00 – The Who, Why, How method of identifying buyers, markets, and how your product fits their needs.

5:10 – How to use the Challenger Sales Model to approach prospective clients using your own research to identify the pain points of their target market.

8:10 – What are the best sales tactics to compete with super powerful competitors like Facebook, Google, and other large established companies in your industry.

9:40 – How to work alongside established competitors by filling the gaps that their services provide to your prospective clients.

11:38 – How to generate leads for a new niche market that you believe your product would be a good fit for.

13:15 – How running a small experiment on prospective new customers in your target market can help you test value, gain powerful testimonials from a new customer base, and help your company better define your value proposition for new clients.

16:20 – How running small experiments in the enterprise sales world can help you scale from early adopters to the market at large.

17:30 – How to generate sales leads finding all the target companies and their relevant contacts within your target market.

18:10 – How to use industry conferences to generate leads and what to do with all those new leads.

21:00 – Ways to use LinkedIn and Virtual Assistants to make the most out of a conference and, most importantly, your time.

Resources Mentioned or Related to this Podcast 

Oct 2, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #5: Setting Up Pilot Programs

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia!  Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online course.

  2. Workshops and Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.

  3. 1:1 Coaching and Consulting for company founders and sales professionsals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss how to use pilot projects to sell to big companies as a startup by getting your foot in the door and setting yourself up to understand the logistics of selling to the big boys.  Key areas we cover are:

  1. Using Pilot Projects to control the success metrics that define your product.

  2. How to use pilot programs as a customer evaluation tool.

  3. Selling the "whole pie" versus pushing for smaller pilot program.

  4. Using pilot programs to help you understand the different back office processes necessary for a large company to purchase your product.

  5. How to design pilo projects to avoid letting your product become turned into something that it's not.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

2:00 – Controlling the success of pilot projects by defining the metrics.

4:20 – Using pilot projects on smaller companies.

5:20 – How pilot projects establish you as a vendor at a large company.

6:20 – Pilot projects as a customer evaluation tool.

9:40 – Pilot projects versus selling the whole suite of features your product offers.

11:40 – Phased rollout of product from the pilot stage to aid with a smoother implementation.

13:00 – Avoiding the pitfalls of selling the entirety of an early stage product.

14:00 – Things to beware when piloting a project within a single department at a company.

15:45 – The benefits of a pilot project putting your company through the Master Services Agreement (MSA) process at a large company.

19:20 – How pilot projects help you understand all the necessary back office processes your company must go through to sell to a large company.

22:20 – The positives and negatives of running a pilot program.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

Oct 1, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #4: Leading the Big Meeting

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online courses.

  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.

  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss the different strategies and tactics to use in a meeting and demo with executives at a prospective client.  Key areas covered:

  • Casting Call: knowing the right people to bring to the meeting with you and the importance of everyone knowing their roles.
  • How to successfully demo your product while maintaining the interest of your audience (*tip: don’t bring handouts).
  • How to handle side conversations during a meeting and avoiding a trip down the rabbit hole from impertinent questions.
  • Dealing with objections and obstacles: knowing when to head them off ahead of time versus letting them come up naturally.
  • Making sure you push the sale forward by establishing action items in two key areas.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

1:00 – Bringing the wrong people to a meeting: how to properly cast the participants you bring with you.

2:45 – How to start a meeting by utilizing good research ahead of time.

5:20 – Getting background information and vetting out ideas during your informal start.

6:00 – Procedure for taking the start of the meeting from the informal stage to the formal.

7:15 – Don’t give handouts!  How to guarantee focus stays on yourself.

8:45 – Successfully demoing a product while maintaining interest from your audience.

9:45 – Establishing that it’s not a demo, it’s a conversation.

10:45 – Using a round robin to find out the ideas and questions your audience want covered.

12:45 – Allocating and prioritizing time on the right people during a meeting.

15:30 – Handling side conversations and avoiding the rabbit hole of impertinent questions.

19:45 – How to make the transition from demoing your product to moving your sale forward.

22:20 – Dealing with objections and obstacles: knowing when broach them yourself versus letting them occur naturally.

25:30 – What to do when the end of your demo is greeted by silence.

27:45 – How to close out the meeting by maintaining control.

30:45 – Making sure you push the sale forward by establishing action items.

33:40 – Approaching the procurement process and finding out how much interest you’ve actually generated.

37:20 – Number one piece of advice for meetings and demos.

 

38:40 – Wrap up.

Sep 30, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #3: Preparing for Your First Meeting with a New Prospect

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss different methods to prepare for your first call/meeting with a prospective client and the ways in which you can help keep the momentum moving forward before the meeting takes place.  Some key areas discussed are:

  • The hazards of getting a meeting on the books and not engaging with the prospect before hand.
  • A checklist of actions to complete before the big meeting and how to utilize the prospect’s assistant.
  • What to do when you aren’t able to get the prospect on the phone ahead of time and how to leave voice mails and emails that are more likely to get a response.
  • How to script out how you would like the meeting to go and creating opportunities for conversation and questions.
  • The importance of doing proper research on all attendees for the meeting and how contacting them ahead of time can create more champions for your product.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

1:30 – Setting up a meeting and the hazards of not engaging during the time leading up to it.

5:30 – Spending weeks of preparation for a meeting with the top exec, only to find out that they don’t know why they are in the meeting (and how to avoid this!).

7:50 – What to do when you don’t have access to a top-level exec before the meeting.

9:00 – Creating a pre-meeting checklist.

10:00 – The importance of short calls before the meeting to help set expectations.

12:00 – How to use your pre-meeting preparation to bring additional buyers into the meeting.

13:45 – What to do when you can’t get the prospect on the phone ahead of the meeting.

15:00 – Techniques for leaving voice mails and emails that improve your response rate.

19:00 – Final preparation going into the big meeting.

20:00 – How to use LinkedIn for pre-meeting research to help you build better relationships faster.

22:00 – How to script out the meeting ahead of time and building in opportunities for questions and conversation.

23:30 – Making sure you allow yourself to find out every meeting participant’s needs so they can be including in the meeting.

25:00 – How to make you meeting not a demo, but a conversation with your product as the backdrop.

26:30 – How to use your meeting preparation to get other people at the prospect company involved and to prevent participants from walking in blind to the meeting.

31:00 – Number one piece of advice for preparing for the big meeting.

33:20 – How pre-calls with different meeting attendees can help you make them look better and the advantages this brings to the sale.

Sep 29, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #2 – “Being a Connector”

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia. Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online courses.
  2. Workshops & Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.
  3. 1:1 Coaching & Consulting for company founders and sales professionals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott (sitting in the lobby of a Marriot at a conference and probably looking slightly crazy for talking to himself) discusses the importance of making yourself a good connection for other people and how building this image of a “Good Connector” can benefit your company.  Key areas covered:

  • Discussing with a prospect their customer problems, market issues, and connections versus focusing on selling your own product.
  • Build connections with new and interesting people/companies in your market by simply picking up the phone.
  • A bad prospect for your company can still be a good connection for better prospects.
  • Finding a balance between selling and learning.
  • Creating the image of being a good connection.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

0:30 – The benefits of hearing about a prospects company problems, market issues, and their connections versus only talking about your own product.

1:45 – Hear about an interesting company or team?  Pick up the phone and call them!

4:00 – Even when someone is not a good prospect, they can still be helpful for finding the right prospect.

6:30 – Balance between meetings to sell your product and learning more about your market and industry.

8:00 – Creating the image of being a good connection for others.

Sep 21, 2015

Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci

SalesCast #2: Being a Connector

This SalesCast is brought to you by, well, SalesQualia!  Improve Sales Performance with:

  1. Self-learning resources, including books on Amazon.com and self-paced online course.

  2. Workshops and Training, hosted at venues across Silicon Valley and the US.

  3. 1:1 Coaching and Consulting for company founders and sales professionsals that want a personalized plan.

In this episode, Scott and Robert discuss the world of business conferences and how to make better use of your time than sitting at your booth scanning the badges of attendees who care more about your free giveaways than your product.  Some key topics and practical strategies we discuss are:

  • The concept of a “conference escort” and what this person does for startup founders and entrepreneurs at live events.
  • Techniques for using LinkedIn and how the right research can help you send more effective InMails and appointment requests.
  • Using “customer development” to your advantage to landing meetings with executives.
  • Breaking down the stages of conference meeting development – pre-conference, at the conference, and after the conference.
  • Defining a quality meeting with four (4) success metrics.
  • Roles & casting for meetings. How to position each person on your side in a meeting based on person you’re meeting.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and would greatly appreciate feedback!  Any suggestions on future topics you would like to hear covered and/or podcast guests you’d like to hear would be great!  Enjoy!

Podcast Notes

2:30 – Introducing “conference escorts” and what this person does for startup founders & entrepreneurs at conferences and live events.

5:32 – Using multiple people in a meeting to facilitate conversation at a conference meet-and-greet conversation.

7:08 – Roles & casting for meetings. How to position each person on your side in a meeting based on person you’re meeting.

9:00 – Using ambiguity to your advantage. Having the second person on your side as a “wild card” in a meeting to allow for flexibility in the casting for a meeting.

11:18 – Positioning yourself as a business conference escort and setting up meetings for startups.

12:20 – Using “customer development” to your advantage to landing meetings with executives

13:30 – LinkedIn & InMails to set conference appointments

16:00 – Results using LinkedIn & InMails to get 25-40% response rates for conference meeting requests instead of emails.

18:30 – Why using conference escorts might be a good idea for a startup founder/entrepreneur

20:20 – How much time should you plan to spend setting up appointments prior to a conference?

21:30 – Approaches and research for sending effective InMails and appointment requests

24:00 – Helping an outside sales consultant to get up to speed with your product and value proposition

25:30 – Managing responses to meeting requests for conference meetings

26:00 – General time and budget allocation pre and post-conference: Pricing out a conference project with a sales consultant. Setting up incentives and setting baseline expectations.

30:30 – Building a conference escort team: Who do you hire? How do you build a team? What to do if the startup wants to hire a conference escort on a full-time basis?

33:30 – Finding talent to help with customer development at conferences including part-timers and established business veterans.

36:15 – Breaking down the stages of conference meeting development – pre-conference, at the conference, and after the conference.

38:20 – Tips for sending meeting invites for conference meetings. Confirming appointments.

39:30 – Ideas for finding conference [business] escorts

42:00 – Using people only for the conference itself, not pre- and post-conference follow-ups.

44:18 – Post-conference follow-ups: What to do after the meeting? How to pull these meetings through to be real sales leads? Avoiding the dead space after conferences.

47:30 – What to do if you met with someone that isn’t a decision-maker?

50:00 – Revisiting success metrics for conference meetings. Defining a quality meeting with four (4) success metrics.

54:00 – Identifying gatekeepers & heroes versus a true partner at your prospect.

 

56:00 – Wrap up and summary

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