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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: May, 2017
May 30, 2017
About Allbound: Problem & solution
 
Definitions: Channel Partners vs Referral Partners vs Co-Marketing Partner vs Reseller vs Affiliates
 
When should I start thinking about External Partners? 
  • Affiliates & Co-Marketing - Never too soon for these. Make sure you and your partner are speaking the same profiles/customers. Co-marketing tend to be “nice-to-have"
  • Referral Partners - Once you’ve identified the right Product-Market fit. Have an ideal Customer Profile & Buyer Personas built
  • Reseller Partners - Most resellers want to own implementation. Make sure your product can support a reseller. Every Reseller is assigned a Customer Success Manager. One reseller could equal 10, 50, 100 customers
 
“Partners” - The best partners provide you a predictable revenue stream.
 
Structuring Programs:
  • Look at other firms and partners. Learning from Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce
  • i.e. 10% of first year revenue
  • Evolve the program
 
Implementation:
  • Things fizzle. Partnership is a relationship.
  • "Partners are people too.” 
  • Train, educate. Treat your Partners just like a brand new sales rep.
  • Channel people are massively under-resourced
  • Outline and structure - online meetings, vs in-person, self-serve. Be transparent and map out in a Agreement.
 
4 Pipelines:
  1. New Customers
  2. Renewals
  3. Professional Services
  4. Partner Pipeline
 
4 Pillars:
  1. Content - The way that knowledge transfer happens. Access to content (ie. training, internal price sheets, playbooks, data, research); PLUS end-user
  2. Collaboration - Include your Partners in your product communication, pricing, services
  3. Customer Success - How does my customer want to buy? How do they want to be serviced & supported?
  4. Culture - Touches every part of your business & approach
 
The Honest Conversation - Sometimes the timing isn’t right. Be honest. Let’s come back to this in 6 months, 1 quarter.
 
Exclusives: Think really 
 
MyChannelScore.com
 
Unusual: 
  • Completely different vertical or space
  • Expand
 
Show Links:
May 23, 2017
This episode of the Startup Selling Podcast focuses focuses on cold email strategies and best practices when hiring and developing an early sales team. 
 
My guest is Damian Thompson, the Cofounder and Chief Customer Officer at LeadFuze, a company that provides automated lead generation software that helps B2B companies find leads and have more sales conversations automatically. Damian has led sales teams in a dozen countries, coaching 200+ professionals to more than $100 million in sales.
 
In this episode, Damian and I went DEEP into specific cold email outreach strategies. 
 
First, Damian talked about the mistakes of cold emailing that most startups make, most notably, taking a specific strategy they’re read in a book and applying it directly to their company. That just never works. Damian talked about why you need to customize and build YOUR process for YOUR market and YOUR company.
 
 
Then Damian walked us through his "Cardinal Rules of Cold Emailing.” 
 
Here are a few we discussed:
 
 
1 - Passive-Aggressive SUCKS (my words…): Sending a second or third or fourth email to someone that read – "I haven’t heard back from you…” is really bad. It’s not the prospects fault they haven’t replied – it’s yours. Would you want to receive this email? Would you respond? How do you feel when you get these emails?
 
2 - Brevity: Assume email is read on mobile.  Don’t use wasted words. 
 
Bad: "I found you on Angel List…” or “I know you’re busy so I won’t take much time…”
 
3 - Don’t be apologetic: As Damian said – "if you target your market right, you’re offering something of value… They [your prospects] WANT to work with you.”
 
4 - Start your email with questions, then offer a quick value proposition then close with a call-to-action. 
 
Ask yourself: What are the 1-2 biggest problems/pains of customers? 
 
Reverse engineer biggest objections.
 
4 - Think low friction. The goal of your cold email should be to start a conversation. Don’t ask your prospects to call you or try to book a meeting right away. That’s too much to ask.
 
Be happy with ANY reply. There’s no such thing as a negative reply. If you’re getting NOTHING, that’s the worst outcome. 
 
5 - Subject Lines Matter: Shorter is better. Five (5) words or less is ideal. Using the person’s first name or company name works really well. 
 
It’s okay to be aggressive. Damian’s best-performing email subject line was “You’re doing it wrong,” but be sure to link subject lines to email’s content and ultimately, write emails that match your personality. If you’re just not comfortable being aggressive, do something else.
 
6 - Provide value in every interaction and outreach. Give prospects something quick that’s useful, and offer a few more ideas.
 
Once you nail your message and market, the find a way to do it a scale because, as Damian said “using Lead Generation to validate a market is a disaster."
 
Remember that NO ONE buys for your TECHNICAL SOLUTION. Customers buy to increase revenue, reduce costs, o to get a promotion. There’s some other motivation, so find it and write to it.
 
Finally we talked about building your sales team. 
 
A few key ideas:
 
  • "If you’re gonna hire one, you’ve gotta hire two.”
  • You cannot hire someone to build your sales process. YOU have to define your sales process, THEN you can bring on your sales team.
  • Once you hire, you’re going to spend more time, not less, doing sales.
  • You cannot hire a commission-only salespeople. It sends bad signals to the company.
  • Align metrics and incentives directly to the outcomes you want of that role. For example, paying an SDR based on long-term customer retention is really bad.
  • Before you ask an employee to do something, ask yourself: “Have I done this successfully?”
  • When hiring, it’s not about money for most SDR hires - your middle career salespeople care about money, but arly hires want company and personal growth. 
 
People & Mentions from this episode:
 
 
May 3, 2017
Dan Waldschmidt is a best-selling author, motivational speaker and business strategist. He’s been an successful entrepreneur, a failure and a successful entrepreneur again. Dan also came within a whisker of committing suicide – he had a gun to his mouth, about to pull the trigger. But he didn’t. He decided that his life’s story wasn’t meant to end that way – that there had to be one more chance, one more opportunity, one more way forward. 
 
His book – Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success” – is a 9-time best seller. The Wall Street Journal calls his blog, Edgy Conversations, one of the Top 7 sales blogs anywhere on the internet. 
 
Dan is also a champion ultra-runner. He’s training to get down to a 2:20 marathon and has a personal goal of setting the world record for the most running miles covered in a 24-hour period, currently set at 180 miles.
 
Fasten your seatbelt. He’s intense with a purpose.
 
In this episode, Dan and I apply his EDGY Framework to life as an entrepreneur and startup CEO.
 
EXTREME: What is the AWESOME that you want to achieve with your business? What are you tolerating in your work and business that’s holding you back? 
 
3 Steps to Start:
  1. Take the time to sit and be quiet. Figure out what your mission is for your life and your business. 
  2. Identify the resources available to you – people, money, time
  3. Take action and ask for help.
 
DISCIPLINE: Are you putting in the right time and the right effort to achieve your awesomeness?
 
GIVING VALUE: Give until it hurts. Give until it makes no sense that you are giving so much.
 
Y(H)UMAN FACTOR: How can I make my startup more human? What’s the danger of not being human? What are the things that you’re doing that are SLOPPY or DON’T CONNECT with customers?
 
Links & Resources:
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