It’s the lifeblood of any organization and yet most startups don’t have any sales DNA on their teams. It’s important enough that I dedicate a tab on my blog to startup sales & marketing
This week I had the chance to have an hour-long discussion with Vince Thompson (ran West Coast sales for AOL for 7 years – back in the day when AOL was what Facebook is today) and Mo Ali, who has the awesome Twitter handle @BornToCall – runs sales at This Week In.
We covered much ground. The video link is here and quick time-coded show notes at the end of the post in case you want to jump ahead to just one section. But the ground we covered was awesome for anybody wanting to know more about sales.
1. When & Whom should you hire?
- when is the right time to hire your first sales employee?
- junior vs. senior?
- brains vs. relationship?
- how can you evaluate a good sales person? how do you know one when you see them?
2. How much to compensate them?
- how to structure the comp plan
3. How do you get access to customers?
- getting past the assistant
- when to call
- is it OK to call an exec on his mobile phone
- how to handle intros
4. What is your sales process?
- call high or call low?
- how do you forecast?
- how do you do pipeline reviews?
- agile sales process?
- how should a VC do due diligence on sales operations?
- how much research should you do before a sales visit?
5. Telesales versus field sales?
- how do you know when it’s OK to have telesales versus people in the field
- should you have calls scripted for telesales?
- should you email before you call?
6. What tools do you use?
- LinkedIn (we talked about some tricks we use in LinkedIn)
07:00 What is Thompson’s Middleshift?
10:00 Selling eyeballs & selling audience
12:30 Making the money that you sell
14:18 Your first hire should be someone who’s hungry and willing to work. No VP’s
15:00 Hire somebody who will punch above their weight class
16:00 Determining a sales guy from a bad one
19:00 Never wanting to join a club that doesn’t want them as a member
20:15 Mark’s secret sales interview trick
23:00 Make sure to listen more than you talk
24:00 Selling a startup today.
27:30 Identifying your strengths and finding the path to ROI
29:30 What is a CPM buy?
36:00 Sales people only care about money
38:00 Cashflow isn’t high…what’s the answer?
41:00 Suster: Paying a little upfront and then withholding until they get paid
42:00 The simpler the comp plan, the easier it is to see the shenanigans
44:00 The problem with the “waterfall method”
45:00 Sales people don’t want to be locked in an office
47:00 Group pipeline calls and how effective they are
51:00 One more tip from Suster on the sales world
53:00 Moneytip: Call early or call late to skip the secretary
58:00 Vince Thompson’s book, “Ignited”
64:04 Using LinkedIn to get ahead
66:00 Suster tells Jason Calacanis that Mo should get a lunch expense account
73:00 Staying on top of who is in the sales pipeline
76:00 Mark: “Don’t hire sales people too quickly, don’t hire senior people. Be smart, think quickly.”