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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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Now displaying: October, 2015
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.

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