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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: 2016
Nov 8, 2016
About this episode: 
 
Mia Paulus is the Founder & CEO of The Admin Center. I’ve worked with Mia over the years and The Admin Center is a critical part of my company’s success and ability to scale. Mia and her teams work with their companies large and small by providing virtual receptionist, bookkeeping, customer support, marketing, social media and almost any else you can think of… 
 
This podcast is just a little bit different… While it’s the typical interview style, this interview was part of my Tuesday Training Series offered exclusively to my Startup Selling Coaching Program clients. Let me explain… Each month, I choose a topic on which to do a deep dive in content and training for my clients. This interview was part of several trainings related to “Recruiting, Hiring and Managing Your Sales Team” - a six-part Tuesday Training block.
 
Because I believe outsourcing and scaling your business is so important, I decided to share this training module with you on the podcast.
 
Enjoy!
 
Websites & Resources mentioned in the podcast:
 
The Admin Center: www.theadmincenter.net/
 
Find Mia Paulus across the interwebs here:
 
Definitely take Mia up on her offer to talk about what projects you might be able to outsource to help your company grow.
 
Mia and her team are based in Boise, ID. If you’ve tried to outsource or hire VAs aboard, you know what a huge pain it can be to manage overseas teams because of language, cultural and time zone differences.  
Nov 1, 2016
About this episode: 
Websites & Resources mentioned in the podcast:
 
Christien Louviere is a Brand Coach and the Managing Partner of SellPersonal where he helps CEOs fix their marketing problems.  Christien hosts the “SellPersonal Podcast” where his guests have included Tucker Max, David Williams, David Hornik and Kyle Porter.
 
In this episode, Christien and I talk about marketing strategies for startups, and frequent mistakes that startups make on the marketing front. Topics include:
 
  • How to run Facebook & LinkedIn ads campaign more effectively
  • How to find and hire marketing consultants
  • Content Selling vs Content Marketing
  • The Amway Hack to running marketing webinars
  • and much more!
 
Podcast Topics & Notes:
 
  • 3:30 - Christien’s fundraising work with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • 7:15 - Christien’s work at SellPersonal
  • 9:45 - Why a chasm often exists between marketing and selling in startups
  • 14:00 - Building a Buyer Persona for early customers
  • 16:00 - Challenges of using cold leads vs early customers that were acquired via relationships and network
  • 20:00 - Finding your 10x ROI for your product or service for your customer
  • 24:30 - What tasks & activities a startup founder should be doing, and what mistakes are often made; Creating ONE lead generation content piece for your target Buyer Persona
  • 26:30 - Hiring marketing consultants, the complexity of Facebook & LinkedIn ads
  • 30:00 - Facebook & LinkedIn ad targeting
  • 32:30 - The $50 Public Relations Hack to target editors and bloggers in your market
  • 35:30 - Value of marketing webinars vs white papers
  • 39:30 - Content Selling vs Content Marketing
  • 42:00 - Running & recording webinars, reusing content as blog posts & white papers
  • 50:30 - "The Amway Hack" in running webinars
  • 52:30 - Atlanta as a technology & startup hub
 
Websites & Resources mentioned in the podcast:
 
Christien Louviere:
 
Sell Personal Podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sell-personal-podcast/id1040499178?mt=2&ls=1
 
David Cummings’s blog: www.davidcummings.com 
 
Atlanta Tech Village: http://atlantatechvillage.com/
 
SalesLoft: www.salesloft.com
 
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS): www.lls.org
Oct 18, 2016
About this episode: Gina Danford is a business coach and owner of Red Zebra Coaching. We talked about the operational and tactical facets of running your business - working with vendors and customers, knowing your numbers and cash flows needs, joining trade associations, books worth reading, hiring slowly and firing quickly, and reading contracts and partnership agreements. We also talked about Gina’s startup experience at Aircraft Shopper Online from 2000-2007. 
 
Lastly, we talked about Gina’s cancer diagnosis at the age of 19 and how she beats the odds to be talking with me on this podcast.
 
Podcast Topics & Notes:
 
  • 3:45 - Mid-growth business growth challenges such as hiring, cash flow & preparing the business to scale
  • 6:00 - Can a good startup founder be a good mid-growth CEO?
  • 7:45 - Incremental growth mindset & skill set
  • 12:45 - Lessons learned from incremental growth companies for hyper-growth startups in hiring & managing teams
  • 18:00 - Biggest mistakes of hyper-growth startups
  • 21:00 - Negotiating payment terms & legal implications of contracts with vendors & partners
  • 22:00 - Importance of partnership agreements among founders
  • 27:00 - Vendor, expense and cash flow analysis
  • 32:00 - Using your startup status to you advantage as a buyer of products and services
  • 35:00 - Pulling the ripcord on a non-paying customer
  • 38:00 - Finding non-cash currency for payment with customers
  • 42:00 - Gina’s startup experience at ASO in a Web 1.0 world
  • 43:30 - Fighting inertia in an industry to prove your product
  • 50:00 - Engaging with your market via Trade shows and competitors
  • 54:00 - Gina fight with ovarian cancer
 
Websites & Resources mentioned in the podcast:
 
Gina Danford & Red Zebra Coaching
 
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
 
[Book] “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown: https://www.amazon.com/Essentialism-Disciplined-Pursuit-Greg-McKeown/dp/0804137382
 
[Book] "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Hardcover" by Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace: https://www.amazon.com/Creativity-Inc-Overcoming-Unseen-Inspiration/dp/0812993012/
 
[Book] "Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation"
by Steven Johnson: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Good-Ideas-Come-Innovation/dp/1594485380/
 
 
 
Aircraft Shopper Online: www.aso.com 
Oct 11, 2016
Chris Combs is the Co-founder & CEO at LinkSquares. In this episode, Chris talks about his experience raising capital for his various startups, how to avoid “Legal Debt” and specific strategies Chris used to go from idea to salable product at LinkSquares.
 
Podcast Topics & Notes:
 
  • 3:00 - How Chris & I met via Quora
  • 6:30 - Chris’s personal need around Datto’s acquisition of Backupify led to founding LinkSquares
  • 15:30 - About SalesQualia & Startup Selling | Give me a call @ (415) 596-0804 or email: scott@salesqualia.com
  • 17:00 - Importance of a Legal document tracking system
  • 19:00 - Avoiding Legal Debt
  • 20:30 - Using e-signtuare tools like DocuSign
  • 22:30 - Angel capital raising strategies & lessons learned
  • 26:00 - Putting sales & customer development first before capital-raising
  • 30:00 - New funding round definitions around angel round vs seed stage vs venture funding. Building a referral network.
  • 37:30 - Building an MVP at LinkSquares from idea to product 1.0 to salable MVP
  • 45:30 - Completing 50 customer development conversations
  • 51:00 - Selling your MVP & pilot programs. "Getting in the direction of sales."
 
Websites & Resources mentioned in the podcast:
 
Chris Combs & LinkSquares:
 
Scott Sambucci on Quora: www.quora.com/profile/Scott-Sambucci
Datto Backupify: www.datto.com/backupify
CoreLogic: www.corelogic.com
Blend: www.blendlabs.com
Trello: www.trello.com
Atlassian: www.atlassian.com
DocuSign: www.docusign.com
Jun 3, 2016

This SalesCast is brought to you by 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 Lincoln discuss the concept of time to first value, customer success and customer acquisition. How to have a successful pull through rate for potential customers and the cost of free. Key areas we cover are:

  • Customer success, customer acquisition and inappropriate experience.
  • Account expansion, the penny gap, time to value and the cost of free and What the desired outcome for customers is.
  • The concept of time to first value and how to be customer centric.
  • What is a successful pull through rate for potential customers and the biggest mistakes concerning free trial and freemium?

Detailed Notes:

02:00 - Introduction to today's guest - Lincoln Murphy 
 
03:45 - Why the name "Sixteen Ventures" and how it's helped him with his business and accessing customers.
 
5:30 - SaaS Key metrics: CAC, LTV, ACV. DRR. What are the first 1-2 key metrics to measure? 
 
07:45 - Finding the "Appropriate Experience" for your customers and measuring from there.
 
10:00 - Frameworks for sales and customer success, and structuring your sales process. Stelli Efti, Jason Lemkin, Aaron Ross.
 
11:45 - "Time to first value" and customer on boarding. Case study from Lincoln going from 5-6 months to 3-4 days with new customers.
 
20:00 - MVPing your product for early customers.
 
22:00 - What to do when your product is missing the one key feature your market requires to buy your product, and you're six months from having it available.
 
24:00 - Signing "good fit" customers vs incentive programs for sales and customer success teams. How overselling customers early in your startup hurts you in the long run.
 
26:00 - Selling six months ahead of your product launch.
 
30:00 - How to reengage with lost prospects or dark deals.
 
37:00 - Early adopters educating you as the startup about what you product can do for them and the market.
 
39:45 - Mistakes around the Freemium and Free Trial models in enterprise software startups. What is the "cost of free?"
 
45:00 - Aligning free trials to how customers buy, and considering the "appropriate experience." 
 
54:00 - Book: "The Robert Collier Letter Book" by Robert Collier. Cutting through the noise with your sales conversations. "Enter the conversation already going on in your customer's mind."
 
55:45 - Book: "Persuasive Copywriting" by Andy Maslen. 
 
56:30 - Discovering the customer's desired outcome from them, rather than you telling them what it should be.
 
57:00 - Why "negative churn" is a bad word, call it net revenue retention.
 
Resources:
 
Books:
"Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue" by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman & Lincoln Murphy. Forward by Maria Martinez
 
"Customer Success: The Definitive Guide" by Lincoln Murphy (free ebook) 
 
"Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini
 
"The Robert Collier Letter Book" by Robert Collier.  
 
"Persuasive Copywriting" by Andy Maslen
 
Blogs & Posts:
Apr 4, 2016

This episode is brought to you by SalesQualia. If you’re a startup looking to Find Customers, Grow Revenue and Build Your Sales Process, check out the Startup Selling Program.

In this episode, I interview Peter Cohan, most known for his “GREAT DEMO!” system and training – teaching software companies the RIGHT way to demo their products.

Key areas we cover are:

  • The importance of “teaching demos.”
  • Why you only have once chance at a product demo, and how to do it right the first time.
  • That’s there no such thing as standard demos, and how to discover the “Critical Business Issue” of your target accounts in preparing for your product demos.
  • “The the curse of knowledge” and how answering your prospect’s questions before they ask can KILL your demo.
  • How to demo your software product in three slides or less.

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

01:55 – How did Peter get into teaching demos.

04:30 – How to assemble data on a when a sale happens.

07:35 – Doing it right the first time your demo’s going to be much shorter and you might only have to do one of those and get you to the finish line.

09:00 – No such thing as a standard customer/demo.

15:00 – Doing discovery, ask sufficient questions to be able to design a demo that fits the customer’s need.

23:18 – The curse of knowledge, when you have seen it all before and you forget that every customer is unique. Put the knowledge you think you have behind your back and ask the right questions.

26:05 – Pre answering questions before they are asked takes away the role of the audience. Takes away the ability to interact.

28:47 – How to address having new people in the meeting that you haven’t had a chance to do needs assessment with.

33:46 – Always start a demo that has people you haven’t interacted with before with three questions; what’s your name, job title and what would they like to take away from the demo.

41:18 – Turning the demo from being all about the vendor, to being all about the customer.

46:33 – Have the fewest number of steps to complete any particular task.

50:27 – Manage your infrastructure. Expect your hard disk will crash! Be ready for anything.

57:17 – Do the last thing first, don’t teach people how things work but show them what good things you’re offering to help them solve their problems.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

Key words: startup selling, sales, product demos, scott sambucci, salesqualia, startups, enterprise sales

Mar 15, 2016

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, our special guest Patrick Campbell, Co-Founder and CEO at Price Intelligently, discusses the hardest parts of pricing products for startup CEOS, the fears associated with not making a sales because of price, his survey method for identifying the price prospects are willing to pay for your product, and how to deal with raising a product’s price and the associated retention drop off. Key areas covered:

  • Understanding that pricing is a process that needs to be revisited regularly and how to avoid common mistakes startups make when pricing their products.
  • Establishing value metrics for your product to help make clear to current clients and future prospects the worth of your product and potential price increases as you continue to develop your product.
  • How to survey clients and prospects with four simple questions to discover what your product is actually worth to your market.
  • Methods of retaining customers and avoiding harmful churn when raising your product price points as you build out your product.

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

03:26 – The hardest thing for companies to learn about pricing their products.

08:50 - How does an entrepreneur deal with the fear of not wanting to blow a deal?

11:56 – Always make sure that your price increase is worth it.

14:50 – Guidepost suggestions to try.

16:10 – Four main questions recommended to ask.

24:00 – Finding the value metric and making sure reinforce value with your price.

25:10 – How to handle customers who are used to pay per user and how to overcome that bureaucratic barrier.

31:20 – How would you recommend handling that price question when it’s too early to actually give a price?

39:30 – Recognizing the problem children.

42:00 – Handling a price range that’s large.

43:20 – When you’re better off charging more than trying to charge less.

48:30 – Should your price be exactly 100 or can it be 99?

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • Aytm.com Ask Your Target Market, Online market research.
  • Profitwell, Financial metrics for your subscription business.
  • Wildbit – We create web products to help business
Mar 2, 2016

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, our special guest Trish Bertuzzi, President and Chief Strategist for The Bridge Group, Inc., gives advice on hiring Sales Development Reps for startup CEOS, discusses the importance of hiring veterans and how beneficial they are to young companies, as well as a plethora of other great tactics and tips. Key areas covered are:

  • Defining what sales development really means and how the process of forming this definition was a trigger event for Trish to write her new book, The Sales Development Playbook, a purely tactical look at sales development.
  • Advice for startup CEOs when hiring SDRs on practices that hurt their company and alternatives to help make the most of these early hires.
  • Reasons to outsource your company’s sales development functions and how to properly filter good outsource partners from the bad ones.
  • How to properly use numbers to strengthen your value proposition and understanding the different variables of said proposition (#VariablesMatter).

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

02:15 – The Trigger event for Trish to write the book “The Sales Development Playbook.”

04:13 – How do you define Sales Development for people?

05:20 – The Five Whys. Why listen? Why Care? Why change? Why you? Why now?

06:45 – What advice would you give a team to stop doing now and start doing right away relating to sales development.

07:55 – What is the one thing startup CEOs should do that they’re not already doing?

10:00 – What’s the first thing startup CEOs should do where they misstep early in the process of setting up the sales development process?

12:56 – Why a 50/50 breakdown making a good hire.

13:30 – If you can’t afford to hire more than one, should you hire one?

14:15 – Reasons why outsourcing Sales Development Rep functions to a vendor fails.

16:05 – Why don’t startup CEOs spend more effort on the time piece of the investment?

18:15 – Why military to civilian transitions and job shifters are good targets for potential SDRs? 

20:00 – The one question to immediately ask to vet out if a candidate is worth pursuing in a formal interview process.

25:03 – After passing the 40 second interview, what’s the next part of that call that makes for a good SDR call. 

26:45 – How do you use numbers if you don’t know those could actually apply?

32:00 – How do you vet out whether or not somebody has budget early on?

34:28 – Why to choose a scale of 1 to 4.

36:05 – A skeleton key question to make a person not guarded or have their armor on to open up.

40:00 – Shutouts to make sure people hear the message.

41:02 – How to reach Trish.

 

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

Feb 16, 2016

SalesCast 18 – Revenue Acquisition Portfolio

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 special, On the Road with Scott Sambucci episode of the Startup Selling podcast, Scott discusses the idea of Revenue Acquisition Portfolios; a way of looking at the amount of time (investment) you place into different lead funnels versus the return on that investment (sales). Key areas covered:

  • The importance of analyzing how much time you are investing in different sales funnels (cold calling, inbound leads, webinars, referrals, conferences, etc.) and what type of return you are seeing from each.
  • Discovering the risk versus reward of your different investments (time spent on different lead gens) based on the returns you are actually seeing versus what you think you should be doing.
  • Why focusing your time on one lead gen is just as bad as focusing on too many.
  • Scott presents a case study for a former startup he worked at to illustrate the idea in the real world.

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!

Feb 2, 2016

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 speaks with special guest Melanie Wong from Box.com about her experience transitioning from being a lawyer into becoming a top prospector for big customers at Box.com. Key areas covered are:

  • Examples of cold calls that turned into big clients by knowing how to find project managers and project engineers.
  • The pitch to start off on a cold call, some patterns to use when cold calling, and some early signals that a deal is going south.
  • What constitutes a hard question to know if prospect is serious about your product and strategies to find additional product champions when yours isn’t pulling the deal through.

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

02:15 – What Melanie is working on.

04:53 – Law is cool and fun.

06:00 – What was most frustrating making a conversion to get into sales.

09:05 – An example where a cold call, has turned a client into a mega client.

11:30 – How to find these project engineers.

15:00 – The pitch to start off on a cold call.

16:50 – What is the pattern to use.

24:10 – How to start the email, “I’d love to introduce you to our executive team.”

27:17 – The job of an SDR, Sales Development Rep.

28:24 – In that cadence of call, call, email, email, how to craft that out in a way that is effective.

31:21 – What are the early signals that a deal is going south?

34:41 – What constitutes a hard question to know they want to get into this now.

36:44 – The strategy to navigate through trying to find multiple people.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • DiscoverOrg: Sales and Marketing Intelligence Solutions.
  • Data.com Instant access to millions of top quality company profiles and business contacts and emails all in one place.
  • LinkedIn: World's Largest Professional Network.
  • Yesware: Prescriptive tools that help sales teams sell smarter.
  • The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help Hardcover - by Amanda Palmer.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are Paperback - by Brené Brown
Feb 2, 2016

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 10-Day Sales Call Challenge, a short, focused project to help build familiarity towards the sales process and understanding how to develop metrics for success. Key areas we cover are:

  • What is a 10 Day Sales Call Challenge, and how to be ready to do the challenge. 
  • The things to do to keep up with 10 calls a day, and creating familiarity towards a sales opportunity.
  • How to make that first contact with a prospect and suggestions to find worthwhile channels.
  • How to create metrics of success, the biggest piece of learning Scott has made and things to really stress on.

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

02:00 – What is the 10 Day Sales Call Challenge?

03:30 – How to be ready and able to do the 10-day challenge.

08:10 – What are you doing to keep that pipeline filled or to keep up with 10 calls a day.

11:55 – How to make that first contact with a prospect to go into the whole 10 calls.

17:05 – Try and create familiarity towards a sales opportunity 

21:00 – How much better of a response you have in an InMail message versus just doing straight cold calling.

24:05 – What are some other you know avenues, some other portals you would use to try and yourself out there, try and find some more of these prospects for your 10 days sales calls challenge.

28:40 – Suggestions to finding good and worthwhile channels, and how to create metrics of success.

33:05 – What is the biggest piece of learning that you have made so far? 

36:10 – Things to really stress on.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast

  • LinkedIn, World's Largest Professional Network
  • Quora, The best answer to any question.
  • Twitter, An online social networking service.
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