Bowery Capital is an early stage venture capital fund that focuses solely on helping portfolio companies with sales related challenges. This podcast is a discussion between the Bowery Capital team and experienced industry friends in an effort to help a younger generation of startups better understand the issues and pain points they will face when thinking about early revenue generation.
Richard Harris, Founder of The Harris Consulting Group and Director of Sales Training & Consulting Services at Sales Hacker, joins the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast to discuss "Ups and Downs of Building Sales Teams in Smaller Markets."
In today’s episode, we host Conner Burt, COO of Lessonly, to discuss "Beyond Individual Contribution: Learning As A Sales Team," how sales teams can go beyond working day to day as individuals, and learn together as teams. Lessonly is modern team learning software used by over 650,000 learners at more than 350 companies to translate important work knowledge into Lessons that accelerate productivity. Sales teams across the world use Lessonly to reinforce best practices, accelerate rep performance, and close more deals. Support teams across the world use Lessonly to serve customers faster, drive consistent support, and elevate the customer experience. Lessonly empowers teams like those at Stripe, Birchbox, Modcloth, FiscalNote, Thumbtack and more to learn better day in and day out through their lesson building software, which makes Conner an expert on today’s topic. As we all know, sales is fiercely competitive and not just between competing companies. Often times the best reps will hoard their knowledge or simply keep it to themselves unless the culture around them supports and prompts learning together. As both a student and teacher of sales and learning cultures, Conner shares with us some ideas on how teams can break this conundrum and proactively and constructively learn together to sell better. This podcast is packed with tactical ideas and step by step suggestions here. Remember, the whole (of a sales team) is always greater than the sum of its individual (seller) parts.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted David Aronica, Business Development Manager at Splash to discuss “Hiring Your First BDR." Splash is an event marketing platform that enables users to create event experiences. The end-to-end Splash platform empowers users to create memorable event experiences through beautiful design, powerful planning and analysis tools, and meaningful integration of email marketing and social media. Splash enables brands like Facebook, Spotify, Salesforce and Anheuser-Busch to attract more of the right people, easily scale out their process and workflow, and capture the 1000's of data points every live event throws off, to inform future events and rest of your marketing mix. In today’s episode, David joins us to discuss hiring your first BDR. He initiated the conversation by providing his opinion on whether managers should spend more time training or hiring new BDR's. In the past, he's spent time hiring too many new BDR's, which led to layoffs due to the fact he didn’t have the time to train them and invest in his team. David discusses hiring veteran versus younger, millennial BDR's and what he sees as the ideal business development representative candidate. Initially, he hired veteran BDR's that he thought could fall in love with the product and wanted to move up quickly in the organization. He allows these more senior BDR's to see the metrics and parameters upon which they are ranked on per month. David goes on to discuss hiring millennial BDR's and the keys to managing them. David looks for solution-oriented, tenacious personalities that are coachable in these younger hires and he makes it his goal to embrace all individual learning styles as a manager. When it comes to both veteran and millennial BDR's, David believes that being completely transparent about expectations leads to relationships where new hires trust him and understand why he does what he does. He touches on the mistakes he's made in scaling out his teams in the past, among them: not training ramped up reps, not providing clarity around what it takes to get promoted, and only looking at numbers instead of investigating the deeper issue. David’s final thoughts on hiring your first BDR are to invest in them, since they are the future of your organization.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Evan Bartlett, Head of Inside Sales at ZocDoc to discuss “Hiring Your First Sales Representative." ZocDoc is an online medical care scheduling service, for end users integrating information about medical practices and doctors' individual schedules in a central location. Each month, millions of patients use ZocDoc to find in-network neighborhood doctors, instantly book appointments online, see what other real patients have to say, get reminders for upcoming appointments and preventive checkups, fill out their paperwork online, and more. With a mission to give power to the patient, ZocDoc’s online marketplace delivers the accessible and simple experience patients expect and deserve. ZocDoc is free for patients and available across the United States via ZocDoc.com In today’s episode, Evan joins us to discuss hiring your first sales representative. The conversation started by discussing when to hire the first sales representative. This included the process of building a sales process and its link to the go-to-market strategy. Next Evan discussed when to identify the market and key factors in this process. Evan then summarized the details around the background and skillsets of a sales representative. Evan discussed his thoughts around the structure of the hiring process and the onboarding and ramp up process for new sales representatives. Next Evan discussed setting benchmarks for the first hire and tying those metrics to compensation. In this hiring process, Evan discussed how he made several mistakes and how he pushed ahead. We then transitioned to expanding the sales team from 1 to 100. Evan discussed how to maintain culture despite high growth. Next Evan described how the hiring process shifts with a larger team and how these sales representatives differ from the original team. Evan then discussed the importance of repeatable sales to the business and how he thinks about that skill in hiring new sales representatives. Evan closed out the session by providing his go-to tactics and tricks in the hiring process.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Jason Dorfman, Inside Sales Manager at Rubrik, to discuss "Sales Recruiting 101 for Founders." Founded in 2014, Rubrik offers live data access for recovery and application development by fusing enterprise data management with web-scale IT, and eliminating backup software. This marks the end of a decade-long innovation drought in backup and recovery, the backbone of IT. Within minutes, businesses can manage the explosion of data across private and public clouds. Rubrik is trusted by some of the world's leading companies, including Driscoll's, JLL, the Tampa Bay Rays and Berkeley College. In today's episode, Jason joins us to discuss sales recruiting 101 for founders. He starts by touching on the importance of building your product and getting market validation before hiring your sales team. He discusses how to think about hiring your first salesperson and whether it should be a lead generating SDR or an inside sales rep with closing experience.He talks about how what he pitches candidates on has shifted as the company has grown from startup to 400+ employees and how his interview style has changed with that growth. Jason tells us his favorite question to ask during the interview process and recommends using recruiters as a resource to fill pipeline. He says he allocates about 30% of his time to recruiting and finds it to be seasonal - spending a lot of his time in interviews and on phone screens. For Jason, when it comes to hiring, the most important thing is finding the right people. He even urges managers to be willing to fall short of hiring goals if you haven't found the right people during an interview process. He says every time you hire a salesperson, you should believe there is a chance they can be the number 1 salesperson at your company. Finally, Jason advises anyone who is hiring to be patient, keep a cool head and think long term - even if you are under intense pressure to fill roles - and he leaves us with a great quote: "good people fix bad process, good process and bad people is not a good situation."
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Bobby Long, VP of Sales at Dedrone, to discuss "Insight Selling In The Modern Market." Dedrone is the first automated drone security platform; an extension of physical and cyber security into the airspace that protects a vulnerability gap exploited by the advances in consumer and commercial drone technology. Their most notable references include the Clinton-Trump presidential debates, the Suffolk County prison in New York, the Royal Family of Qatar, Citi Field (the New York Mets' stadium), and the World Economic Forum in Davos. In today's episode, Bobby joins us in the studio to discuss insight selling in the modern market and why he takes this approach. First, he talks about the differences between solution selling and insight selling. He defines solution selling as "Sales 101" where you get a deal by finding customer pain points and fitting your solution to those pain points within your prospect's budget. Bobby sees most companies using solution selling and sees an opportunity to differentiate by using insight selling, which he says allows you to position yourself as a subject matter expert and establish credibility and legitimacy. Bobby says that if you employ insight selling the right way, you form more of a partnership with your prospect or customer, leading to a higher rate of renewals. He discusses the challenges of insight selling and why it's not for every rep, along with some of the difficulties he's faced teaching reps how to insight sell and some solutions for getting around them. Finally, Bobby says not to be afraid of making visionary statements during the sales cycle versus just talking about what your product does, and he recommends reading this Harvard Business Review article.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Jen Grant, Chief Marketing Officer at Looker, to discuss “Marketing Stack Essentials.” Founded in 2011, Looker is a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform that helps you explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics easily. Approaching the Business Intelligence industry in a new way, Looker believes that businesses can only thrive when information is easily accessible and consistently defined across the entire organization. Looker’s customers include industry leaders like Kohler, Nordstrom, Lyft, Athena Health, and Spotify, amongst others. In today’s episode, Jen joins us in the studio to discuss everything from her early brief career as an actress with voiceover skills (no pressure on us!) to building marketing tool stacks that work well now, and scale smoothly later. Jen challenges us to think about where we put our precious marketing budget, and who owns those tools within your organization so that you’re actually getting your money’s worth. A critical part of the discussion was digging in on the variety of places you can go to learn about your tools – from Facebook Groups to G2 Crowd, and the order in which you should be implementing your stack. Finally, we finished up by asking Jen if she had only one marketing tool to use for the rest of time what would it be and she gave us sound advice here without hesitation. Tune in to find out which one tool she would use and hear more from Jen Grant!
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Grant Halloran, CMO at Anaplan, to discuss "Analyst Relation Strategies That Work." Anaplan is driving a new age of connected planning. Large and fast-growing organizations use Anaplan’s cloud platform in every business function to make better-informed plans and decisions and drive faster, more effective planning processes. Anaplan also provides support, training, and planning transformation advisory services. In our episode today, Grant joins the podcast to discuss analyst relation strategies that work. First, he talks about how the landscape over the last 10 years has shifted from working strictly with Gartner and Forrester to working with newer, independent analysts that produce their own research and blogs, as these smaller guys can be very important to companies serving niche type markets, while continuing to work with the two giants. He says to nail analyst relations, you must start by engaging analysts very early on. He stresses the importance of a CEO or founder working with analysts, as they want to hear why you've decided to enter the market you have, and not to think of analyst relations as a marketing function for a CMO or Head of Sales to figure out. He's helped companies become Gartner Magic Quadrant leaders and touches on ways to help your company get there, including the need to become a paying customer. He gives pointers if you get to a point where you feel you've invested in analyst relations and aren't seeing any traction in write-ups or reports. Grant says that your pitch to an analyst is a level above a normal sales pitch, and that running your sales pitch by an analyst for feedback and to see how you differentiate from competition is a good idea. He talks about quantifying and measuring success with the analyst community and explains how Anaplan does this. Grant wrapped up by urging CEO's to make analyst relations one of their top 3 or 4 priorities and saying that having a good attitude towards the community will resonate with analysts and help you in the long run.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Brian Kelly, CEO at Kissmetrics, to discuss "Optimizing New Product Launches." Kissmetrics is a behavior analytics and engagement platform that was built to help marketers and product teams increase conversions, drive engagement and grow retention. Over 900 companies, like Unbounce, SendGrid, Outbrain, Lucid Software, and more use Kissmetrics to quickly identify and take action on roadblocks across their growth cycles. In our episode today, Brian joins the podcast to discuss ways for companies to optimize new product launches, something Kissmetrics recently did with their release of “Kissmetrics Campaign” and the rollout of their Customer Engagement Automation platform. He discusses how Kissmetrics goes from ideation stage to the actual release of a new feature or product, and explains that in this process he relies heavily on feedback from customers. Kissmetrics’ latest product launch was a big paradigm shift, from the analytics side to the engagement side, so he explains how first important it was to get internal buy in from team members. After getting buy in, The Company prioritized teaching team members as much as possible about the product, and held internal lunch and learns which included getting and giving demos and going through non formal certifications. Next, Brian focused on how to roll out the product externally. An early adoption beta program allowed Kissmetrics to have a constant feedback loop at the earliest possible stage and helped them optimize features, functionality and design of the product for users. When it was time to figure out pricing, Brian stressed the importance of making pricing models easy to understand as prospective clients can get fed up if pricing is too complex. Brian wrapped up by explaining that getting feedback from prospective users outside of your company on features and products is crucial.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Consultant at Sixteen Ventures, to discuss "Customer Success Driven Sales." Sixteen Ventures is a consulting agency focused on helping SaaS and Cloud vendors identify, acquire and keep more customers to bring about growth and profitability. In today’s episode, Lincoln joins us in the studio to discuss why it’s essential for all companies to be using customer success driven sales. He explains that the idea of customer success driven sales came from seeing that churn was a byproduct of companies selling to customers who didn’t fit their customer profile and wouldn’t achieve success as a client. Murphy says that bringing on “bad fit” customers and sacrificing long term growth to hit short term numbers by signing customers who won't achieve success in working with you will ultimately negatively impact your business. To start doing customer success driven sales, he says first a team must figure out what a bad fit customer looks like through five different inputs: technical fit, functional fit, competence fit, experience fit and cultural fit. He’s seen companies go from struggling with sales to a 40x increase in account size by being deliberate in who to work with, and discusses how using “success milestones” can help your company do the same. Lincoln wrapped up by explaining that customer success driven sales, and customer success in general, are really the reasons companies exist in the marketplace and those who understand this and focus on it are the ones that will reach their desired outcomes.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Jonathon Ende, Founder & CEO at SeamlessDocs, to discuss “Public Sector SaaS: Selling Into Government.” SeamlessDocs' public sector SaaS platform helps government clients not only digitize their existing forms, but also process and track them. The company aims to be “the future of government forms,” bringing modern, intuitive user experience to the government-citizen interface. Though perhaps not the sexiest market, the opportunity is massive: US federal & state budgets alone exceed $10 Trillion. Unlike many software companies that sell into government today, SeamlessDocs is 100% focused on the public sector vertical. Jonathon, therefore, has embraced the idiosyncracies of selling into government, seeing them as potential moats rather than challenges to be avoided. Think how often you personally face agony over DMV appointments or jury summons. Attaching a service cost to all of those incidents, then multiplying by a 9-figure factor (applicable citizen-users) makes clear the scale & ubiquity of the problem SeamlessDocs is solving. And the buyers are there: efficient, paperless, user-friendly citizen interaction would mean billions in cost savings for under-resourced governments. Jonathon founded SeamlessDocs in 2011 alongside CTO Chaci Camejo. Today, SeamlessDocs employs over 40 FTEs, operating largely out of its New York City headquarters. Customers range from the State of New Jersey to the City of Los Angeles. Since founding, the business has raised ~$17MM in venture financing from Seed through a Series B approximately a year ago, from Motorola Solutions, Govtech Fund, and others. In today's episode, Jonathon will walk us through his framework for successful sales in public sector SaaS. Selling into government isn’t a simple prospect. As many horizontal players who have dipped their toes into government prospects know, budgets can be opaque, sales cycles can be long, and existing systems are often a nightmare. Jonathon and I discuss the realities of public sector SaaS sales today. In short, it may not be as bad as you think. That said, it takes a deep understanding of your customer universe, and Ideal Customer Profile within it, to build credibility early in these sales processes. As Jonathan details, there are absolutely buyer champions out there in government. Ensure your public sector SaaS solution (and sales team) is truly understands prospects’ issues, concerns and limitations, and you can activate them. We cover topics such as: sales strategies, lead qualification, sales team organization, sales team education, and other topics uniquely germane to public sector SaaS. Jonathon Ende is the Founder & CEO at SeamlessDocs, a role he has held since founding the business in 2011. Prior to SeamlessDocs, Jonathon was the co-founder of The Alley, a technology share space here in NYC. Jonathon served as CEO to two companies even earlier in his career, including LegalLogix, the first business he founded, back in 2010. Few modern, sales-oriented SaaS CEOs client (and prospect) bases are 100% government / public sector; Jonathon, however, is that rare find, making him a perfect guide to today's podcast topic. Happy listening!
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Mark Birch, an Enterprise Sales Executive at Stack Overflow, to discuss "Leveraging Internal Champions." Stack Overflow is the world's largest and most trusted community for software developers. A question and answer website for professional and enthusiast programmers, Stack Overflow caters to developers and provides a forum for learning, knowledge sharing, and career advancement. The Company also provides enterprise customers with a powerful database to reach out to a targeted talent pool as well as package reports for corporate customers. Mark joined us in the studio to discuss ways of leveraging internal champions during the enterprise sales cycle. He reflects upon his experiences at Stack Overflow, as well as his background as the Founder of the Enterprise Sales Forum, a 10,000 person global B2B sales community of enterprise sales professions. As a part of our discussion of leveraging internal champions, Mark discusses the process of identifying, coaching, and providing digestible information to internal champions. He also provides insights into the ways that champions can assist with mapping a purchasing path within organization and providing insight into the segments within the business where gaps may emerge. We conclude the discussion identifying best practices and identifying scenarios in which you build credibility and avoid the painful "stall, evade, quiet" cycle of losing a champion.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Michael Katz, CEO and co-founder of mParticle, to discuss "Creating Engineering Urgency During Your Sales Cycle." mParticle provides a single API to connect a company's entire marketing stack, giving customers the freedom and flexibility to build a modern data infrastructure to reduce the complexity of multiple API connections. The Company's technology offers customers access to up to 150 (and growing) different APIs, creating turnkey data connections and providing enterprise-grade security while improving market outcomes and maximizing IT productivity. Trusted by many of the world's leading brands, including Airbnb, Spotify, Jet, EA, and Gilt, mParticle offers a single customer view and the ability to quickly test and coordinate marketing engagements across vendors.
We're happy to announce that our guest Sean Ellis released his new book today, covering customer activation amongst many other growth hacking tips and stories. If you like what you hear in today's podcast, we encourage you to check out “Hacking Growth,” now available for purchase on Amazon! This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Sean Ellis, CEO and founder of GrowthHackers, to discuss “Optimizing Your Team for Customer Activation.” GrowthHackers helps companies achieve sustainable customer and revenue growth. The business has multiple dimensions, spanning content, community, training and software. GrowthHackers.com, since its launch in 2013, has grown into the foremost online community for the “growth hacking” movement. Now a well-known destination, the site offers an impressive trove of growth hacking resources both proprietary and user-submitted. All content is surfaced, commented on, and filtered by the community of GrowthHackers members, now hundreds of thousands strong. Last year, Sean and his team dramatically expanded the scope of GrowthHackers’ offerings by releasing “Projects,” a purpose-driven software to help teams achieve and manage their growth objectives. This year, the team launched formal consulting and training offerings for companies seeking to adopt key growth hacking techniques and concepts. In our episode today, Sean discusses a concept he sees as fundamental to the future of growth hacking: customer activation. Customer activation is best described as that “a-ha!” moment when a customer experiences a product’s true value for the first time. Customer activation, in other words, is a proxy for that “first taste” of product-market fit. Importantly, achieving customer activation is a cross-functional effort: sales, marketing, customer success, and even product must all be aligned and communicating in order to understand what that “a-ha” moment is and how to optimize for it. If your teams and objectives are too siloed, you run the risk of missing this critical org-wide goal. In today’s episode, Sean explains how startup leaders should think about structuring their teams to ensure that customer activation is front and center. He shares several examples of how he helped companies like Dropbox and LogMeIn find and maximize product-market fit by testing for customer activation. Make sure to subscribe to the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast for a new episode every week! Sean Ellis is the CEO of GrowthHackers. He founded the business in 2010, the same year in which he coined the term “growth hacker” (in this blog post). Sean was also the founder and CEO of Qualaroo, a SaaS voice-of-customer solution serving large companies like Uber, Starbucks, Spotify, Burger King and Intuit. Qualaroo was acquired 2016. Prior to founding Qualaroo in 2012, Sean served as a key early growth / marketing executive at a range of technology businesses including Dropbox, Eventbrite, Lookout, LogMeIn, and Uproar. Sean is also a longtime angel investor, has formally advised many startups (including, most recently, Mavenlink), and has served as a Guest Lecturer at Harvard Business School. Sean holds a BA from the University of California, Davis, and lives in Newport Beach, CA. I also wanted to share a few resources for anyone that would like to learn more about Sean, GrowthHackers, or the growth hacking strategies they have developed. As mentioned above, we encourage you to check out Sean's new book, released just today: “
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Bobbi Jo Price, Head of Sales at ClearCare, to discuss “Organizational Restructuring As You Move Upstream.” ClearCare is a front-to-back office software solution for private duty home care agencies. ClearCare’s web and mobile platform offers scheduling, integrated telephony, two-way caregiver messaging, and marketing tools that help streamline care planning and automate back office tasks. Bobbi joins us to discuss the difficult task of organizational restructuring as you move upstream and how to restructure your sales team for high ACV sales, a process many startups find themselves undergoing as their product moves upstream. She walks us through everything from the differences between low and high ACV selling, the sales team retraining that this transition requires, coordinating sales and on-boarding efforts, and managing expectations across departments. We also talk about when a startup should be looking to hire outside sales talent versus promoting existing members during this transition to enterprise clients. Lastly, we touch upon effective strategies for maintaining employee morale during the ups and downs of this restructuring process. This topic of organizational restructuring as you move upstream comes up a lot and we hope you enjoy it.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Eileen Wiens, VP of Emerging & SMB Sales at Intacct, to discuss "Hiring Sales Generalists Versus Sales Specialists." Intacct is the largest private ERP vendor that provides cloud-based financial management and accounting applications for businesses and CPA firms. The company's applications are used by more than 8,500 organizations from startups to public companies and are designed to improve business performance and make finance more productive. In this podcast episode, Eileen joins us to discuss whether early stage startups should hire sales generalists - individuals with great sales acumen but less experience selling in the specific space - or sales specialists - individuals with very specific knowledge and domain expertise in a particular space - when building out their sales teams. Having led multiple sales teams throughout her career and toying with this question of hiring sales generalists versus sales specialists, Eileen has an in-depth understanding of how a successful sales team operates and shares with us what she looks for in the ideal sales representative. In addition, Eileen shares her insights on the optimal sales interview format, sales team training and motivation, and best practices for new hire on-boarding.
Building out an SDR team is is no easy task in the world of business software. Many founders are curious about the allure of these programs as you never seem to have enough pipeline. Founders have probably heard about amazing resources called Sales Development Reps (SDR) that should generate a ton of inbound for your company. Today, we were joined on the podcast by Shelley McNary, the VP of Sales at Bill.com to discuss "Building Out An SDR Team" as well as the specifics behind how and when do this at your software company. Shelley knows a thing or two about the topic having led inside sales efforts for companies like Taleo, MapR, and SignalFX.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Stephanie Jennings, SVP of Sales at MINDBODY, to discuss “Go-To-Market Considerations In Vertical Software.” MINDBODY provides cloud-based business management software for the wellness services industry, helping studios of all types--yoga, pilates, personal training, dance, martial arts, spas, salons--to better service their end customers. The company serves about 35MM consumers located in over 130 countries and territories. MINDBODY raised over $100MM in venture and growth capital before its IPO in mid-2015. In today's episode, Stephanie will walk us through the considerations that are unique to vertical software companies as they enter the market and seek to build & retain a strong customer base. We cover topics such as: differences between sales & marketing for vertical plays, target market penetration, expansion of vertical focus, achieving ACV growth, building a referral base, moving up & down market whilst avoiding cannibalizaton, and pricing in vertical markets. Stephanie Jennings is the SVP of Sales at MINDBODY, a role she has held for the last year and a half. Stephanie has been with the company in a sales capacity for 9 years, having started as a Sales Manager in 2008. Prior to that, she worked as an Account Executive at various companies in the telecoms sector. In addition to her vertical software sales expertise, Stephanie is an educator: both in related professional disciplines like technology (Salesforce, Eloqua) and marketing (Google AdWords, social media), but also in health, fitness and beauty. Like many MINDBODY customers, she is a group fitness instructor and massage therapist. Stephanie has seen the evolution of MINDBODY from its earliest days--when many questioned how big a tech company selling into yoga studios could get--to one of the most high-profile success stories in vertical software. Her deep experience selling the product as an AE, an SVP of Sales, and everything in between make her a perfect guide to for today's podcast topic.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Daniel Barber, SVP of Sales & Customer Success at Datanyze, to discuss “the Software Pricing Quadrant.” Datanyze is a sales intelligence platform that arms customers with deep "technographic" data: information regarding companies' technology stacks and changes in its composition over time. Datanyze's insights are leveraged by any type of role in a variety of ways, but they are valued particularly highly by B2B marketers & salespeople seeking the right timing to approach new leads or an edge to help close their best accounts. In this podcast episode, Daniel joins us to discuss the Software Pricing Quadrant, a logical framework he has developed that one can use to weigh various pricing models, and the key factors at play when considering each. Having held a variety of sales leadership roles, he has dedicated an impressive amount of time thinking about the costs and benefits of different software pricing methodologies, and shares with us today his thoughts on how best to understand and apply the Quadrant in the real world. Daniel Barber is the SVP of Sales & Customer Success at Datanyze, a role he took on after serving as VP of Sales at the company for 7 months. Prior to Datanyze, he was VP of Revenue at Node.io (an account-based sales intelligence platform) and served in various sales leadership roles at ToutApp, including Senior Director of Pipeline Development. Daniel began his career in software customer acquisition at Responsys, which was acquired by Oracle in 2013, about a year into his joining the company. He has also served as an advisor to many startups, including Chorus.ai, a sales call analytics & intelligence tool that has raised over $20MM to "open up the black box of sales calls" using AI and NLP. Daniel's deep experience across a range of SaaS companies and his particular specialization in sales data & intelligence, make him a perfect guide to software pricing considerations, the topic of today's podcast.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Allison Metcalfe, VP of Customer Success at LiveRamp, to discuss “Cohort Analysis for Customer Success.” LiveRamp is a marketing data company that unifies customer data across disparate sources. Large brands use LiveRamp’s identify resolution capabilities to drive true omnichannel marketing at new levels of accuracy and efficacy. At LiveRamp, as well as in previous roles, Allison has explored the full spectrum of analyses a customer success leader can use to track the health of a customer base to increase retention, upsells, referrals, and healthy customer-product engagement overall. Today, she joins us to discuss the importance of cohort analysis as it applies to the customer success function. Cohort analysis is a quantitative exercise that companies can use to understand how metrics trends differ between various comparable groupings. It can be used across various functions within an organization, such as sales and finance. Sales analysts, for example, commonly use a form of cohort analysis to measure close rates (or other conversion rates through the sales funnel) and sales cycles (time-to-close). By breaking up deals into groups or “cohorts” consisting of the opportunities created in a particular month, we can see how the effectiveness of our sales team is changing over time. Cohort analysis is equally critical for customer success: not only for proper measurement of churn, but also for other customer health metrics. We’ll learn how Allison has used cohort analysis and similar exercise to optimize CS performance at LiveRamp, and how any startup stakeholder can do the same. Allison Metcalfe is the VP of Customer Success at LiveRamp, where she has worked over over 3 years. LiveRamp is based in San Francisco and employs over 300 FTEs. The company is a subsidiary of Acxiom, which acquired the business in 2014 for a reported $310MM. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Director of Customer Success at Demandbase, where she spent two years. She also brings experience from earlier customer success roles at Jigsaw (now Data.com, acquired by SalesForce) and Equilar. She also serves as a customer success advisor to Entelo. Allison holds a BA from the University of St. Thomas.
This week we welcomed PJ Bouten, the co-founder and CEO at Showpad, onto the show to discuss the importance of Aligning Sales and Marketing teams. We begin the discussion by covering exactly why aligning sales and marketing is essential to business performance. We then move the conversation into how a B2B business can go about aligning sales and marketing, what systems are needed, checks in place, and meetings should be scheduled to ensure and encourage sales and marketing work together. PJ shares exactly how Showpad's sales and marketing teams are aligned, the Service Level Agreement (SLA) they have in place, what's included in the SLA, and how Showpad initially wrote up the SLA. PJ and I discuss the important of compensation when it comes to sales and marketing alignment and he shares how Showpad compensates their teams to encourage teamwork across the entire company. We also dig in on the typical friction that existing between sales and marketing and how to break this down for the benefit of the organization. This episode touches on nearly all aspects of aligning sales and marketing and is worth a listen if you are interested in understanding how your B2B business could be better aligned too.
This week we welcomed Scott Buxton, VP of Finance at Datadog, onto the show to discuss Customer Lifetime Value: how to calculate it and how to most effectively use it to manage a SaaS business. In today's episode, Scott touches on his experience using CLTV in his current and past roles, sharing his thoughts on how to best put the metric to work operationally. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV or CLV) is a critically important concept for subscription businesses of all stripes. It seeks to capture the full value (usually some variant of revenue) that an account will deliver over its lifetime as a customer. In addition to price point (usually included as ARPA, or average revenue per account), the key variable in calculating Customer Lifetime Value is churn. Accurate measurement of the likely time period you will be able to retain an account, in addition to the likelihood / pace of any upsells in the meantime, is the cornerstone of an effective CLTV. Armed with a thoughtfully calibrated Customer Lifetime Value, you can gauge acceptable levels of upfront investment in acquiring customers (CAC), including spend on sales, marketing and customer success. This episode will cover other nuances of CLTV calculation and Scott's own tips on how to turn this conceptual measure into a powerful strategic tool. Scott currently serves as VP of Finance at Datadog, where he makes active use of CLTV and a range of other SaaS metrics. Datadog is a platform for cloud infrastructure monitoring. Before that, Scott spent nearly 3 years in finance at Github, where he gained exposure to the metric from a different angle. He began his career at Deloitte, where he spent 10 years working with a wide range of businesses. As an experienced leader in startup finance, Scott has seen the benefits and pitfalls of working with Customer Lifetime Value. He opined on CLTV and other SaaS finance metrics at Bowery Capital's recent CFO Summit, joining a panel on "Leading Indicators & Customer-Level Finance" alongside InsightSquared CEO Fred Shilmover and Rishi Khanna, the former President of Novus. We hope you'll tune into this episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast to hear him expand on those insights, and learn his tactics for leveraging CLTV to better strategically plan growth and spend in a SaaS startup environment. Please also keep an eye out for a follow-up article next week digging into Customer Lifetime Value and the various ways one can calculate the metric.
This week on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, we had Darren Shimkus, the General Manager of Udemy for Business, in the studio to discuss Building a B2B Business Within a B2C Company. Udemy is an online marketplace for education. It is aimed at professional adults who want to add new skills to their resumes and is also sold to businesses for corporate wide education. On our podcast, we dig in with Darren specifically on the B2B side of the business, which Udemy started about 3 years ago. During the podcast, Darren walks us through everything from the decision making process to ultimately launch a B2B business within a B2C company, to how they executed on it, and he even shares a few blind alleys they ran into along the way. We also dug in on how to think about when the right time is to launch an entirely new business model, particularly when the B2C business is doing quite well, with over 13 million users in the case of Udemy. Finally, we talk a bit about the sales strategy on the B2B side, and specifically discuss selling strategies when the key decision maker is not necessarily the end user.
Coming back from the Thanksgiving holiday we were back in the studio this week with Liz Young, the VP of Sales at Reonomy, to discuss SaaS pricing strategies that work. We've talked a bunch on the podcast about pricing and in particular have covered discounting and choosing scaling units. However, we have never had someone like Liz on to talk about the broader thinking around product pricing and what strategies work and don't work. Founders go through a lot of pain in thinking about SaaS pricing strategies and for the most part get this wrong out of the gate. Liz came on to the show to talk through the various approaches of pricing that she has seen work. In particular we cover pricing strategies around research to do, pricing strategies around the frameworks to create, pricing strategies around communicating value, and various stories and lessons from Liz and her current and prior companies. Give a listen to learn more below, and make sure to subscribe for a new episode every week!
This week the Bowery Capital team hosts Sangram Vajre, the Co-Founder and CMO of Terminus, to talk about winning strategies in account based marketing. Terminus enables B2B marketers to target accounts, engage decision-makers, and accelerate marketing and sales pipeline velocity at scale. In our podcast, Sangram and I discuss what account based marketing encompasses, what types of companies it works best for, and how to structure a strategy successfully. He speaks about using the proper metrics to track an account based marketing effort, and the different talent backgrounds necessary to lead the process. We also dig in on what infrastructure and software you need to have in place to measure your success on a per account basis. Finally, Sangram takes us through some account based marketing strategies that have pleasantly surprised him, as well as some examples of what he's seen flop. Listen here, learn more below, and make sure to subscribe for a new episode every Friday! Sangram Vajre, co-founder and CMO of Terminus, is a passionate Marketing geek at heart and loves to solve problems, both analytically and creatively. In today’s marketing world, when companies need to rapidly adapt to changing buyer-centric communication, Sangram finds comfort in all things technology to keep pace with this challenge. Over the years, Sangram has amassed invaluable experience from his exposure to startups, consulting, and global companies. Most recently, Sangram headed up Marketing at Pardot, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2013. Sangram is putting all that knowledge to good use as he is currently authoring the first-ever “Account-Based Marketing for Dummies,” to be released in 2016. Sangram also has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Alabama. You can follow him on Twitter at @sangramvajre. We hope you enjoyed this week's post! Check out all of the latest episodes from the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast here.
This week, we welcome Naeem Ishaq, CFO of Boxed Wholesale, onto the show to discuss "SaaS Churn Management In Early-Stage Sales Orgs." Boxed Wholesale is an eCommerce company focused on delivering the "big box club" experience (bulk grocery a la Sam's Club or Costco) direct-to-consumer online. We recorded the session live at the Bowery Capital CFO Summit 2016, where Naeem joined us as a panelist on the topic of "Maximizing Customer Retention & Managing Churn" alongside Antonia Pitney (CFO of Handshake) and Bart Hacking (CFO of Bettercloud). In this podcast, Naeem discusses how he has tackled SaaS churn at his various roles, from Salesforce to Square. We also explore the churn issues any early stage founder or CXO should expect to face, and the various quantitative approaches one should use to best measure and manage retention. Naeem Ishaq has 15 years of experience as a finance and strategy professional in the tech industry, from Fortune 50 companies to early-stage startups. Prior to assuming his current role as CFO of Boxed Wholesale, he spent 4 years at Square, where he most recently served as the company's Head of Finance, Strategy & Risk. Before that position, Naeem spent nearly 5 years at Salesforce, ascending to Senior Director of Finance & Strategy. Naeem cut his teeth in finance at Intel where he spent 6 years, following a brief role at Chevron where he began his career. In addition, Naeem has also advised several startups along the way, including eero, a consumer electronics startup aiming to reinvent the home WiFi system. Having worked across many software business models at 5+ top-tier technology organizations, Naeem brings an excellent perspective on how to think about, measure and manage SaaS churn. Tune in now to hear his thoughts on how to stay ahead of churn and ensure the right people on your team become retention pros.
This week the Bowery Capital team hosts Georgiana Laudi, the VP of Marketing at Unbounce, to talk about how to build a customer focused content strategy. Unbounce allows users to build, publish, and A/B test high-converting mobile-responsive landing pages for their campaigns without relying on technical teams. In our podcast, Georgiana and I discuss what a customer focused content strategy encompasses, what types of content a company should consider, and how to think about distribution channels early on. She speaks about knowing what will resonate with the audiences you are trying to reach, and whether it makes sense to source content internally or externally. We also dig in on determining the value of your content, and some methods for tracking overall results. Finally, Georgiana takes us through what has worked for her at Unbounce, and some content she has been pleasantly surprised by. Listen here, learn more below, and make sure to subscribe for a new episode every Friday! Georgiana is the VP of Marketing at Unbounce, one of Canada’s fastest growing startups. Her team more than doubled acquisition, contributing to the doubling of revenue for the company in it’s third year. Prior to joining Unbounce in February 2012, she helped startups and companies like Yellow Pages, AskMen, PartyMart and Sierra Eco launch products and marketing campaigns as a consultant. She also led a fiercely growing community and monthly educational events devoted to inspiring and empowering women in tech. She began her marketing career in 2003 with Search and Internet Advertising, quickly developed copywriting skills, mastered Social and Content Marketing, and most recently A/B Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization. She has worked with Ecommerce, SaaS, brick & mortar, tech startups, retail and wholesale businesses, for both B2B and B2C markets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Concordia University. For more podcast episodes from the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, go here.
This week the Bowery Capital team hosted Gabe Larsen, Director of Sales Strategy at InsideSales, to talk about sales cadence strategies that work. InsideSales.com offers the sales industry a comprehensive sales acceleration platform that creates high-performance sales teams with breakthrough technology. In our podcast, Gabe and I discuss a systematic approach to cadence, best practices to manage your efforts, and how to grow and customize an optimal cadence to match your business needs. He speaks about the definition of sales cadence, and how different aspects of the sales process (such a calls, emails, and social touches) can be tweaked to better serve varying sales situations. We further dug into some unique models that Gabe has seen, and what people are using outside of a core cadence to better connect with often busy and distracted decision makers. Finally, Gabe takes us through what has worked for his team at InsideSales, and what a successful sales cadence looks like. Listen here, learn more below, and make sure to subscribe for a new episode every Friday! Gabe joined InsideSales.com with over 15 years of experience in revenue generation, from helping financial clients price and trade complex derivatives to helping multi-national organizations penetrate new markets. As Director of InsideSales.com’s Labs, Gabe’s expertise has helped over 200 clients solve the biggest problems in the Sales Acceleration space. After co-founding his own company in partnership with Dave Elkington, current CEO of InsideSales.com, Gabe worked at Accenture and then joined Goldman Sachs as an Equity Derivatives Specialist. He joined Nobel Prize winner and world-famous behavioral economist, Daniel Kahneman, at Gallup and spent four years as an international strategic consultant working with clients like Toyota, Honda, Heinz, IKEA and TD Ameritrade. Gabe helped establish Gallup’s Middle East presence and doubled the region’s revenue in his first year by helping close a ten-million-dollar deal. Gabe has also established himself as an international expert, speaker and thought leader by writing and speaking about inside selling and its ability to drive predictable revenue. For more podcast episodes from the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, go here.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Steve Bachert, VP of Sales at Uptake, to discuss "Taking a SaaS Account Enterprise-Wide." Uptake is a predictive analytics software company that captures new value for Fortune 1000 companies by connecting and analyzing massive amounts of untapped data. Experienced SaaS salespeople will be familiar with a common scenario: you've landed into a SaaS account somehow, whether through a division, line-of-business employees, or perhaps even just through a beta program. Now you're faced with the challenge of expanding that SaaS account to cover the entire organization (e.g. an enterprise-wide deal). In this episode, we'll discuss the what to expect and how to prep your org to guide those whale SaaS accounts to close. Things get complicated and burdensome fast when pursuing a company-wide enterprise deal. Especially when that SaaS account is a 500+ person organization, publicly traded and / or in a regulated vertical, you've got a whole new slew of potential considerations: security audits, F500-grade contract review, administrative requirements, regulatory & PCI compliance, DLP concerns, a new SLA / MSA scope, a new set of stakeholders getting involved from finance to IT, and much more. In our podcast, Steve and I started by defining the problem at hand, drawing on his deep enterprise sales experience at Uptake, Cloudera, HP and elsewhere: what does it mean to take a SaaS account enterprise-wide? We then broke down the how Steve has addressed this problem in the past, including amongst other things the common "tipping points" at which a SaaS account might be ready for that enterprise-wide pitch. In this week's episode, you'll have the opportunity to learn from Steve what to expect when selling big, what worked for him and what didn't, and how to best ready your sales organization for the onslaught of organizational overhead courting a F500-level contract can often bring. We finished the session with Steve's key takeaways for startup founders and early-stage sales leaders when first facing the challenge of bringing SaaS accounts enterprise-wide. Steve Bachert is the VP of Sales at Uptake, and the perfect guest to enlighten us on the subject at hand. Steve has over 12 years of executive sales experience, and over the course of his career has been directly responsible for over $130MM in revenue. Some of his previous roles include: Senior Director of Sales at Cloudera, VP of Sales at Hewlett-Packard, EVP of Sales & Field Operations at Digital Fuel Technologies, and VP of Sales at Parametric. Steve earned his BS from Northern Illinois University and received his MBA from Loyola University.
This week the Bowery Capital team hosted Allen Gannett, Founder and CEO at TrackMaven, to talk about content marketing for SaaS startups. TrackMaven monitors activities across 15 digital channels to help marketers understand which content drives engagement and conversion. In our podcast, Allen and I discuss how startups should think about content marketing, how mature they should be before implementing a content marketing strategy, and the general guidelines for a successful campaign. He speaks about the issues with content marketing early on, and how a lengthy pay-back period can be off-putting to companies seeking more immediate ROI. Allen dives into what worked at TrackMaven, and how they grew their content catalog and viewer base. With a platform that serves marketing leaders from 100's of the worlds best brands, we are thrilled to have the chance to get Allen's insight!
This week the Bowery Capital team was joined by Tim Bryan, Chief Revenue Officer at Custora and Brett Robbins, Head of Business Development at Custora, to discuss choosing your scaling units in SaaS Pricing. Custora is one of the leaders in the advanced customer analytics space for the retail industry, providing marketing leaders with insightful guidance they need to deliver results while maximizing profitable growth over the long term. In our podcast, we discussed what exactly scaling units/ "currencies" are and, the difficulty of choosing the proper SaaS pricing model for your company. Every company decides to use different units or currency to determine pricing and breakpoints (i.e users, traffic tiers, number of employees, etc...) we got to hear their take on these and which ones have worked for them, and how they've thought about and addressed this problem. Tim and Brett broke down the process of choosing the proper scaling units in SaaS pricing into five steps: 1) Aligning with Value 2) Aligning with the Product 3) Aligning with the Sector 4) Testing your model 5) Evolving based on experiences. Find out what they had to say on these five steps, and hear how they applied them during their previous and current roles at Custora. What do you think the trends will be in SaaS pricing in 5 years? Hear what Tim and Brett think SaaS pricing trends will be in 5 years.
This week the Bowery Capital team was joined by Tami McQueen, Director of Marketing at SalesLoft, to discuss unique marketing strategies at Dreamforce, on a budget. SalesLoft is one of the leading platforms used for sales development and one of the simplest ways to conduct outreach to prospects in order to ensure quality leads and set up qualified appointments. In our podcast, Tami and I discuss her experience attending and running a successful booth at Dreamforce while operating within a budget. Everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies attend Dreamforce, so having an impactful and memorable booth takes time, strategizing and real creativity. We spoke with Tami about many unique marketing strategies at Dreamforce that SalesLoft has used and ultimately enabled them to make their time at Dreamforce a success. Tami and I finished off with addressing her take on the importance of executing proper marketing strategies prior to and post the event. So we ask, which companies should be attending Dreamforce? How do you know if your company is a fit? Find out what Tami's take is on all of these points, and hear about how she was able to achieve the success that she did at Dreamforce.
This week the Bowery Capital team hosted Matthew Bellows, Founder and CEO at Yesware, to talk about turning sales failure into sales success. Yesware’s suite of sales tools improves prospecting and tracking abilities, leading to more closed deals with less time spent. In our podcast, Matthew and I discuss identifying failures, crafting solutions to turn them around, and then effectively implementing those solutions. He speaks about the definition of sales success, and how long a startup early in their cycle might need to observe before they can accurately judge their situation. One of the greatest challenges at Yesware was how to tackle sales in a freemium model. More precisely, they struggled with the question of how to convert free users into paying customers. This also raised the issue of how to appropriately evaluate customer acquisition alongside paid conversion. Should every new customer brought in be considered a sales success, or merely those who generate revenue? Matthew takes us through what ended up working for him at Yesware, and how he tested each strategy.
This week we were back in the studio after the holiday weekend with our good friend Pete Kazanjy of TalentBin to discuss the concept of "Founder Led Selling." Pete was formerly the Founder of TalentBin, a category-defining talent search engine and recruiting CRM that sold to Monster in 2014. In our podcast, Pete discusses the high level concept of founder led selling and how to really understand the gap between having your MVP ready to go and hiring a salesperson to then sell it. This gap is obviously filled by founder led selling but Pete dives in on a specific structure that he created that any founder can use to their advantage. We walk through this structure and each component of it in detail in our chat.
On this episode of the Bowery Startup Sales Podcast the Bowery Capital team hosted Nick Romito, the Founder and CEO of VTS, to discuss "Perfecting the Sales Script". VTS is an asset management and leasing platform built to provide real-time portfolio analytics to the top landlords and brokerage firms in the world. VTS allows brokers and owners to manage deal activity, identify trends and quantify portfolio performance from their desktop or mobile device. In this episode, we dig in with Nick on developing the sales script, training your sales team on the script, and modifying it over time to ensure you're staying ahead of the competition. We cover some of the necessary components of the sales script and also some topics to avoid (competition!).
The Bowery Capital team hosted Jed Alpert, SVP of Marketing at 1010Data, for a discussion on "Effective Case Studies and White Papers." 1010Data's data insights and analytics cloud platform helps 750+ blue-chip clients make sense of trillions of data points on the regular. In this episode, Jed details 1010Data's systematized content marketing playbook and his approach to driving organic traffic and mentions with strong content marketing. Content marketing, especially in regard to writing effective case studies and white papers, has changed for the modern content marketer. From getting customer permission to outlining effective channels for distribution, Jed explains everything his team does that goes into effective case studies and white papers in his chat with us.
Lawrence Coburn, CEO of DoubleDutch, joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to discuss "Data-Driven Event Management: The MQL Motherlode." DoubleDutch is a SaaS platform for live engagement marketing, empowering users to manage events of all types and collect / analyze critical data from them that teams can use to drive marketing and sales. In today's episode, we discuss the history and current state of event management, and how technology is finally enabling its evolution into a true marketing channel. You'll learn more about Lawrence and his experience building DoubleDutch, as well as gather key tips on how to build an event management strategy for your company that has a measurable impact on your marketing and sales efforts. What events are effective at driving leads vs. nurturing them vs. bringing active opportunities across the finish line? How much should you spend on each and how to do you maximize your Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI) when it comes to event management? What other data signals can you gather from your events and how can organizers, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors all benefit? We'll cover all this and more. Organizing events is a centuries-old marketing strategy. As Lawrence describes, however, event management has barely evolved: just get all your stakeholders in one room and talk to them. Event management is logistically challenging, usually requires even C-level executives to invest significant chunks of time, and can be expensive. It's probably the only marketing line item where a large amount of spend without a deep understanding of return is tolerated. Even today, plenty of highly sophisticated companies probably don't have good answer for why they spent $X vs. 20% more or less on a particular summit or conference. In large part, these shortcomings exist because it's difficult to collect the requisite data. With the help of modern SaaS tools, or even just a dedication to collecting key data signals onsite, however, you can take the first steps toward building a data-driven event strategy that can serve as a rich source of MQLs and effective medium for nurturing leads or customers. In today's episode, Lawrence walks us through his framework for data-driven event management, highlighting the benefits not only for the organizers, but also the attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. Even if you're a pre-Seed startup with few resources to spend on management tools, however, you should build your event strategy from the ground up with a focus on data collection. As we'll learn from Lawrence, that will enable you to better measure the true impact of live engagement on your funnel. Give our episode a listen to learn more. Until next week!
Darren Kaplan, CEO of hiQ Labs, joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to share his best practices on "How To Incent & Retain Sales Talent." hiQ is a people analytics SaaS platform that pinpoints who is at risk and where to invest across an entire workforce, including sales and other customer acquisition roles. In this episode, Darren discusses trends and tips around the issue of retaining quality sales people in a fast-growing team and competitive market. We're all familiar with the typical levers--base salary, commission structure, equity--but if you fail to pay attention to the market and adjust these accordingly, you could risk losing critical salespeople early on, costing you valuable ramp time and sales knowledge. Listen here, learn more below, and make sure to subscribe for a new episode every Friday! People analytics is quickly becoming a category of its own within HCM software. Google is often credited with developing many of the people-oriented analyses that might help inform their HR operations in a data-driven way. Analysts there built a model to predict churn and guide compensation changes, taking as inputs various factors related to a worker's employment: not only pay, title and last promotion, but also secondary data points like commute time, number of kids at which stage in school, and available work performance figures. For a salesperson, there are even more numbers to consider, as commission structures can be complex and rationale for performance can vary widely, from lead sources, to sales scripts, to regions / customer types covered. According to Darren, today's comp & retention environment has changed due to an influx of late-stage capital over the last 2-3 years. If large growth-stage / pre-IPO startups that have previously incentivized employees (salespeople included) with equity are staying private longer, that is eventually going to factor into how a worker values his or her options. Vesting aside, if an employee feels there's no light at the end of the tunnel (liquidity event), you're going to face a retention problem. The natural reaction would be for employees to begin valuing the cash portion of their compensation more highly, and those expectations have a trickle-down affect to even the youngest of startups. In today's episode, Darren shares his thoughts on best practices in retaining sales talents, and the various trends that are impacting that retention consideration in today's market. You'll learn how hiQ is aiming to bring people analytics to the forefront of the CEO's toolbox and hopefully glean a few tips on how to keep your best performers around as long as possible. Until next week, happy listening!
The Bowery Capital team invited Jimmy Forbes, SendGrid's Manager of Sales Development, to come in this week to talk about "Sales Personalization vs. Automation." In this episode, Jimmy lays out SendGrid's strategy that determines where they sit on the pendulum between sales automation and sales personalization. Jimmy, an outdoors climbing enthusiast, has built SendGrid's sales development team from the ground up, scaling and optimizing outbound global sales for the company. The relationship between automation and personalization continues to be a topic that gets brought up a lot. Jimmy's experience with resisting that automatic urge has led to unexpected insights validated by data in higher conversion rates and quality of interactions with leads.
Annette Promes, CMO and Head of Customer Success at Moz, came on to the podcast this week to talk about managing customer churn, both proactively and reactively. Annette started at Moz – a Marketing Analytics Software company – in 2013, and has over 20 years of marketing experience. Moz helps companies everywhere with online marketing, offering various products that help companies with everything from content and search marketing to Twitter analytics. During the podcast, we start by defining customer churn, how it occurs, and how it can impact a company. We discussed many different tactics that can be employed to keep churn and its negative effects as low as possible, and some tips for trying to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, if your company is experiencing significant churn, investigating what drove your customers to churn should be your first step. Next, we covered how to identify the catalyst causing customer to churn and how your company should figure out internally how to minimize the negative effect of the existing issue. If the churn was caused by a specific feature or lack of feature in the product, you must determine whether this needs to be changed. If the issue is product based, then churn could be managed by simply communicating with the product development team exactly what needs to be changed or added. Churn could be caused by a variety of other things specific to your business, but it is always something that needs to be managed to maximize customer retention and overall happiness. Finally, we cover proactively preventing churn, by discussing how to identify high risk customers and alleviate their issues before they churn. We hope this podcast helps you with managing customer churn! For more podcast episodes from the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, go here.
Heather Morgan, CEO of SalesFolk, joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to share her "5 Steps To Sales Emails That Convert." SalesFolk helps B2B companies refine their sales messaging, enabling clients to increase response rates to cold emails by as much as 10x, netting them faster sales cycles and more customers. In this episode, Heather lays out a five-step framework for crafting better performing sales messaging for your startup and institutionalizing its use in a fast-growing sales team. Heather founded SalesFolk 3 years ago and has since helped a who's who of SaaS startups optimize their sales messaging, including Lyft, KissMetrics, Bluenose and Box. She previously led business development at Tamatem, a mobile gaming company backed by 500 Startups. She is also an economist by training, having worked with various organizations including the World Bank. Her writing portfolio is impressive: Heather has been freelance writing for over 7 years and is a published author with Oxford University Press amongst others. She's written at least one cold email a day for the last 10 years, and over her career has helped 200+ companies refine 10,000+ cold sales emails. If you're interested in benefitting from Heather's expertise, check out SalesFolk's Email Mastery Course which lays out it all out with hours of video, takeaway PDFs, and monthly private webinars. According to Heather, the gap between the best and worst sales teams is growing in part because people mistake the plethora of new sales automation tools and practices as a substitute for doing the necessary homework, list building, and thoughtful copywriting. Many sales teams are working off the same ineffective, legacy templates that have proliferated for decades. Most, more importantly, don't emphasize the conscientiousness that's critical in getting leads to respond. As a result, most sales emails go straight in the trash bin, or worse yet, a spam filter or blacklist. In today's episode, Heather shares her five-step framework for crafting compelling sales email copy and her secrets to effective buyer profiling, multi-touch campaigning, and email process best practices. Until next week, happy listening!
Building your initial Customer Success team can be challenging and time consuming without understanding how to properly manage the process. This week on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, we are joined by Allison Pickens, the VP of Customer Success and Business Operations at Gainsight, who sheds some light on exactly how she setup and manages the Customer Success team at Gainsight. For those of you that don't know, Gainsight provides a Customer Success software solution and also manages a community of Customer Success leaders. Today, Allison spoke with us about all the do’s and don’ts of establishing a customer success team. In the episode, we cover how to define CS, when to create a customer success team, how to manage your first hire, and even some common pitfalls to look out for. We also discuss the goals of CS and how it should fit into a company to maximize its positive impact. We hope you enjoy learning about “Building your Initial Customer Success Team”. For even more information on Customer Success, visit Allison's blog where she posts weekly on the topic!
In the SaaS world, a proof of concept can be a Honey Pot—a quick preamble to a great customer win—or a Bear Trap—a drain on resources without clear end in sight. Ken Pouliot of Gigya joined us in the studio this week to share his framework for a repeatably effective proof of concept. If your customers try before they buy to any extent, we know you'll enjoy this latest episode: "The Proof of Concept Deal: Bear Trap or Honey Pot?" Ken is VP of sales at Gigya, a customer identity management firm that helps customers turn anonymous visitors into known customers, enabling the collection of rich first-party data. With years of enterprise sales experience, Ken has seen the proof of concept play out both ways at companies like Box, Symantec, Veracode and Verisign. In his experience, a few key structural choices can turn a proof of concept into a startup sales team's secret weapon, giving reps valuable experience and paving the way for lower-friction reference sales. Without the right structure, however, you risk a POC becoming a time-consuming experiment in frustration. In today's episode we'll discuss a framework for structuring proof of concept deals that will ensure all parties are on the same page, with clear milestones, timelines and expectations, helping your sales team turn POCs into Honey Pots that close big deals reliably, rather than risking valuable time, focus and potentially even IP. In this episode, Ken leads us through the best ways to make the most out of running a proof of concept, with specific pointers around key considerations like length, milestones, and the involvement of sales vs. engineering. Happy listening and make sure to subscribe on iTunes for a new episode every week!
Prospecting is something that every sales executive thinks about constantly. The goal of prospecting is always the same: Convert prospective customers into current customers. However, successful prospecting methods may differ by industry and today we had Max Spitalnick on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast to discuss some of the unique prospecting methods for commercial real estate SaaS. Max is a Sales Executive at Hightower. For those that do not know, Hightower is a leading commercial leasing management platform that enables brokers and owners to better conduct their end-to-end leasing workflow. The platform allows CRE professionals to collaborate with their teams, manage important files, and update deals all in real-time from the web and mobile devices. Today, Max spoke with the Bowery Capital team about some of the unique prospecting methods he has found to be successful for selling into the commercial real estate industry. We cover everything from identifying the target customer, nurturing that customer and even how to navigate through some of the common sales blockers to ultimately close a deal. We also touch on some of the specific industry challenges in prospecting and how Max has been able to overcome these. Lastly, we closed out the discussion with some of the negotiation tactics that Max and his team use when they get stuck in the prospecting phase for too long. We hope you enjoy listening to these unique prospecting methods for commercial real estate!
This week, Bill Hobbs joined us in the Bowery Capital studio to discuss "Growth Hacking With User Behavior." Bill is the VP of Sales at Totango, a leading customer success management platform and a company deeply steeped in the importance of user behavior. Growth hacking, no doubt, is an overused term, but we take it here to mean tips and tricks you can use as an early-stage founder or employee to win more customers faster and keep them longer. What we'll talk about today is how to use your existing or past users' behavior in product to drive or improve growth hacking techniques. You might be familiar with the fact that you can use product engagement data to reduce churn, improve trial conversion and drive upsell / cross-sell (if you aren't, I'm sure Bill and his colleagues at Totango would be happy to tell you). But we'll discuss how you can take growth hacking a level deeper through the micro-segmentation of your users or customers by behavior, and also by other potentially relevant factors such as role or industry. These strategies don't apply just to freemium solutions focused on conversion or post-sales efforts (churn / up-sell & cross-sell) either. If collected properly, user behavior during beta and trial periods can be used to increase close rates. That data is equally valuable in crafting your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), sales scripts, ad / content marketing copy, and much more. As Bill will tell us, successful growth hacking requires a deep understanding of your target user and there's no better way to develop that knowledge than product engagement data. Bill's growth hacking expertise goes back to his first career working with Fortune 500 companies to turn around struggling business lines by restoring rapid revenue expansion. Since then, he's served on the Board of Advisors to several tech companies, founded two businesses, led sales at Chartbeat, had a cameo in film The Wolf of Wall Street, and became a bestselling author with The Work Book: How To Build Your Personal Brand and Get Hired (check it out here). Today, he advises business leaders to help them master the art of growth hacking: expanding into new markets, growing revenues and building sustainable business models. And of course, as VP of Sales at Totango, he heads up business in the Eastern US and EMEA markets. In today's episode, we'll explore 10+ growth hacking techniques leveraging user behavior that every SaaS salesperson, marketer, customer success rep and early-stage founder should consider. We hope you'll give the full podcast a listen here. Until next week!
This week, we welcomed Don Otvos into the Bowery Capital studio to discuss "Shortening SaaS Sales Cycles." Whether it's your average cycle across all opportunities or that one yet-to-close whale eating up resources, time-to-close is a universal concern. Don has deep experience in and an excellent background for dealing with this problem. Currently, he is the VP of Sales Ops at DataHug, a sales optimization platform that helps reduce the blind spot for sales managers so they can forecast more accurately and better coach their reps. Prior to that, Don series as a Senior Manager of Global Sales Ops at Yammer, and beforehand spent time an Account Management roles at Mulesoft. In our episode, Don describes a great framework for how to go about solving the sales cycle problem in your own environment. The framework covers three main steps, each of which we explore in depth: (1) focus getting a foot in the door; (2) discover the "compelling events" that occur in your SaaS sales cycles; and (3) institutionalize learnings into your sales process to affect change. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy another edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast!
This week we were in the studio with Mateo Askaripour to discuss "The Monday Sales Meeting: Purpose, Power, Possibilities." Mateo currently leads Sales Development at Grovo and is responsible for the growth and development of both outbound and inbound lead generation efforts, reps, and success. Mateo definitely knows a thing or two about The Monday Sales Meeting and walks listeners through a structured chat about why to do it, when to do it, and how to do it. We cover a lot of ground in this edition with Mateo giving any SaaS founder an easy to understand playbook for how to execute solid Monday sales meetings. He gives listeners some great tricks around how to encourage participation, individual rep development, and overall ways to make The Monday Sales Meeting fun. We also cover many serious topics like the metrics that need to be tracked, how to think about the development and growth of your own Monday sales meeting, and finally how to empower your salespeople to better understand their own verbal and non-verbal tonality through this meeting. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy another edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast!
John Affourtit came on to the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast today to chat specifically about "Getting Unstuck In SaaS Sales." John is currently the Director of Enterprise Sales at Sparkcentral where he sold and manages many of the larger relationships including T-Mobile, Delta Airlines, Netflix, Uber, Nordstrom and Discover Financial. John is one of the most tactical helpers we know and spoke with the Bowery Capital team about everything and anything related to getting unstuck in sales. He first covers the specific categorizations of stuck deals. Then he moves on to a concept called a MAP (mutual action plan) that John and his team use to get unstuck. Next he talks about some of the tips and tricks he has learned along the way to help get unstuck and finally John talks about some of the major deals that he has closed and how he has gotten unstuck from the various issues and situations that have come up.
Ryan Burke from InVision joined us in the studio today to talk about “Building Winning Remote Sales Teams.” Ryan is currently the VP of Sales at InVision and is the man credited with setting up and growing their fully remote sales organization. Today the company counts over 1.5MM designers and companies like Evernote, Adobe, Twitter, Salesforce, and Viacom as customers. The InVision sales and support team today is north of 30 people with AEs, SDRs, CS staff, and more stretching from Hawaii to Boston. Ryan walked listeners through a number of elements including hiring, learning management, remote sales stacks, rewards and incentives, and sales operations. In addition, he covers when and when not to take this approach. Ryan has learned a ton along the way and shares all his tips and tricks on this edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast.
Kristen Habacht joined us in the studio this week to talk about the impact of freemium SaaS on b2b businesses. Launched in 2011, Trello remains one of the best examples of freemium done right with now over 10 million users and a ton of happy business customers such as The New York Times, Google, Pixar, and Adobe. Kristen is currently the VP of Sales for the business and joined after their initial launch of the business class product in 2013. We dig into a number of discussions in the podcast including how to think about setting up freemium at launch, the various types of freemium SaaS and what might work or not work for your business, how marketing and sales work together at Trello, what indicators sales should look out for to know when to upsell someone, and finally some big tips and tricks that Kristen has seen work well at Trello.
This week, Kevin Karner joined us on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast to discuss "SaaS Upsell & Add-On Sales Strategy." Kevin is currently the Head of Customer Growth at Drift, joining on as one of the first sales employees. Prior to Drift, he led up the Add-On Sales team at HubSpot, from the team's first incarnation as an experiment all the way through to its growth to a ~15-member team. Kevin shares with us his experience putting an upsell / add-on sales strategy to work, how it varies from the traditional sales or account management roles, and why a SaaS company should consider building such a team in-house.
This week we were thankful to have our good friend Will Freiberg join us on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast to discuss "Building The Open Source Sales Machine." Will is currently the Chief Business Officer at Mesosphere and was the first business hire into the company almost 2 years ago. He was highly influential in setting up the the sales, partnerships, and operations infrastructure teams and today heads up all of those efforts for the company. He came on to chat about how to build an open source sales machine and what has worked and not worked for his company.
Most early stage folks who listen to our podcast understand very well the positives and negatives of inside versus outside sales. What is less known tends to be the third model of selling, the partner driven sales model. This model is inherently different than either inside or outside sales and requires a very different approach to hiring, onboarding, training, and sales operations to be successful. To touch on the subject of "Partnership Driven Sales Success" we brought on Bill Tyndall from inDinero. inDinero is one our favorite businesses in the SaaS space and has grown to 200+ people and tons of happy customers. They have a very distinct and unique approach to deploying the partnership driven sales model and Bill's view on the topic was absolutely fascinating. He's been with the company for over 4 years now and plays a crucial role in all elements of the selling model as head of the NY office in sales and success. We started the discussion on Partnership Driven Sales Success talking definitions and helping the younger SaaS founders think about when to deploy this model and when to not focus on it. We noted and discussed how the model is very different than general partner programs which is more a business development traction channel rather than the core selling model of your company. We then dove in on how inDinero set up their partner driven sales organization and how they have seen partnership driven sales success. We then talk about what has worked and what has not worked and from there move on to some very tactical components of the sales process aligning to this type of selling model. In particular Bill gives the audience some great points on locating and interviewing the right people to be able to sell within this model, how to correctly onboard these people to succeed in your company, and how to train effectively around the same things. All in, it was another great podcast and we hope you enjoy it.
Customer success leverage can sometimes be the difference between a winning and losing SaaS business when operating in low ACV environments. The theory is basically that if you are selling software at low prices you must be focused on extracting the highest degree of leverage out of your sales, marketing, and customer success teams to build a highly efficient business that wins. To discuss this topic we brought on our good friend and ultra-marathoner Jason Mills from Expensify to talk through how his business gets leverage through the customer success team. Expensify is a great example of how to build a wonderful engine here with millions of happy customers already served. Jason has learned a ton about this over his almost 4 years with the company. He was one of the early sales hires and really drove home the notion of gaining a lot of leverage out of the customer success team. We start the discussion on what specifically we mean by customer success leverage and how Jason and his team think about this topic. We really focus the podcast on how Expensify gains leverage without a substantial amount of money to spend. Jason talks about what makes a great customer success person that can give you leverage and lays out how the team works at Expensify (it is quite unique). We then move into how the founding team thought about this from the beginning of the company and how it has evolved over time. Next, we cover some of the thinking around the CAC / LTV specifics of their business and how Jason thinks about spend within his team here. From there we move into the specific tech stack that Expensify uses on this front and some of the tips and tricks that Jason has learned along the way when thinking about how IT can give his team leverage. You will be surprised to find that the company really only uses two pieces of software to handle all of the needs on this front (talk about focus and leverage!). We move on to some thinking about cadence of customer communication as well as how to train customer success team members to think outside the box and give any SaaS founder leverage. Finally, we close on Jason's thinking about how product and customer success are aligned at the hip in his organization and Jason closes with some tips and tricks on gaining customer success leverage in any low priced SaaS business. We hope you enjoy and thank you for listening.
SiriusDecisions introduced The Demand Waterfall concept in 2006 to create a shared view between marketing and sales to ultimately reveal the health of an organization’s new-business-related activities. We love this concept and recommend it to pretty much any portfolio company that cares about marketing and sales alignment. As demand generation efforts are becoming more and more important to the health of any SaaS company we thought it would be great to bring on our friend Ryan Mettee to this edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast to discuss The Demand Waterfall. While we've discussed marketing and sales alignment and how marketing can drive growth in early stage SaaS, we have not covered this topic with such a level of structure. Ryan has been with SiriusDecisions for over three years and leads the sales effort on the west coast teaching this concept to many early stage SaaS companies. We start out with a high level discussion of some of the engagements that SiriusDecisions works on around sales and marketing and how they invented The Demand Waterfall concept some time ago. We then cover how it has changed through the years and what any early stage company needs to think about when setting up The Demand Waterfall. We next give a detailed overview of the actual waterfall and each stage within it. For a visual check out this link. Ryan then discusses how to think about the alignment of sales and marketing and some of the critical things to watch out for as an early stage organization trying to build a culture of alignment. We close on some critical things plaguing companies abilities convert leads to revenue and Ryan also gives the listeners some successes that he has seen (100%-700% increase in closed / won business) when companies implement this process. Finally, he gives some wise advice around his three key criteria to early SaaS success in sales and marketing infrastructure. "Adopt" then "Operationalize" then "Optimize." We will let you listen to the podcast to hear specifically about what he is talking about!
Client Churn is a topic of conversation we have not really covered yet on the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast and so today we bring on our friend Kaveh Rostampor from Meltwater to help the younger generation of SaaS founders understand how to think about client churn. Kaveh is the Executive Director of the Americas at Meltwater where he runs a 200+ person team focused on operations, client acquisition and success, enterprise sales, and marketing for 14 offices in North America and South America. He joined the company 4 years after the business was founded as one of the early hires and was instrumental in setting up their sales and customer success efforts. 10+ years later and with help from Kaveh, Meltwater does over $200MM in ARR, has over 1,000 employees, 23,000 clients, and offices in 50 countries around the world. Most inspiring, the founding team did not take any outside capital for the first 12 years of operations. We start with some high level thinking on client churn and how to understand the three metrics that matter most to Kaveh around client churn. He lays out how Meltwater thought about this from the beginning and how they have grown and changed around these three important metrics through the years. We then move on to some very interesting discussion around the various surveys that the company sends existing clients and what they tend to show the customer success team at Meltwater. Meltwater has some interesting approaches to this and we found the discussion incredibly insightful for any early stage company. We then cover the systems, process, and tools that Meltwater and any SaaS company should be using to understand client churn. Kaveh also gives the listeners some thinking about the reports both at the board level as well as internally to your marketing, sales, and product teams to keep everyone on the same page. Finally, we cover some tips and tricks that Kaveh has learned through the years. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy this week's edition of the podcast.
Unique value selling, a tactic that’s been employed in the software world for years, guides practitioners to figure out why a product is a particularly good fit for a prospect, and then sell them on that message. That unique value proposition is something all startups mull over from Day One. Too few, however, break that high-level message down into dollars and cents for their potential customers, tying it directly to the bottom line. This week’s podcast invitee, Nanigans’ SVP of Global Sales Aaron Mittman, argues that a unique value selling proposition must be underpinned by a thorough, quantitatively sound ROI. By deconstructing ROI into an actual spreadsheet calculation, you can not only arm your target with a defensible method to evangelize the sale internally, but you are also forced to uncover potential gaps in your sales strategy. Perhaps your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), for example, should prioritize those leads with higher ROI, whether that be a result of their business model, products they currently use, or how quickly they are growing. Without an ROI calculation to back it up, unique value selling can often devolve into the sales team echoing what management believes its strongest product features to be; sometimes, it’s better to let the numbers do the talking. Aaron’s quantitative ROI model seeks to calculate positive impact in 4 areas: (1) increased revenue, (2) decrease costs, (3) decreased risk, and (4) increased speed-to-market. An informed salesperson will be able to walk a potential client through top- and bottom-line math, highlight protection against threats (e.g. increase uptime, reduce liability), and underscore how a product can help clients execute more quickly than ever before. So tune in to hear Aaron’s advice on how to best structure your ROI calculation and bring your unique value selling efforts to the next level! Currently the SVP of Global Sales at Nanigans, Aaron draws from years of experience investing and advising SaaS startups, including CoinTent, CoVis, and Mortar Data. And he’s put this ROI quantification strategy to work many times over. I’d recommend the exercise to even the earliest-stage founders; at the very least it’s a healthy stress-test of your product’s value prop, and at best, you may find it helps your reps drive more deals over the line. Happy listening!
Nearly five years ago, Aaron Ross changed the world of software sales with his bestseller Predictable Revenue. He articulated a sales model that his team used to add $100M+ in revenue at Salesforce. As I’m sure most of our readers and listeners know, that model is centered around a “Cold Calling 2.0 outbound process” that has been widely adopted in the SaaS community since. The Predictable Revenue-based framework we’ll focus on here relies on two key roles: Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Account Executives (AEs). As we’ll discuss, this SDR-AE paradigm is nearly ubiquitous, but brings with it several serious shortcomings that are rarely discussed. These shortcomings can often increase overall costs of customer acquisition and put key deals at risk, the very things it aims to mitigate. Our guest today, Loren Padelford, is the Chief Sales Scientist at Shopify. In less than two years, he’s built Shopify Plus (of which he’s also the General Manager) into an 8-figure business, scaling its sales team from zero to 70+ heads. Loren has been a software sales leader for 10+ years, and prior to Shopify held roles with Skura, Active Risk Group and Dyadem. In our podcast today, he’ll share views on why many companies blindly adopt the Predictable Revenue-inspired strategy described above, and explain the alternative sales model that he’s used to great effect. This podcast was one of the most insightful I’ve had the chance to host to date. Over the next five years, however, I think the framework Loren outlines will become increasingly prevalent as customers are desensitized to inside sales approaches that are over a decade old. I highly suggest every salesperson take a listen. Enjoy and happy holidays from team Bowery!
Growing a developer community is something that many SaaS founders think about in the new age of selling low priced software to line-of-business (LOB) employees at the Fortune 500 all the way down to the hacker in her garage building the next Twitter. There have been great successes already accessing and growing a developer community with companies such as Heroku, Wordpress, Twilio, and Shopify now being household names in this ecosystem. One of the earliest and most noticeable companies to grow this trend was MongoDB. In this week's podcast, we bring on our friend Meghan Gill to discuss exactly how to think about growing a developer community. Meghan is well known in the circles that care the most about building developer communities and was employee #8 and the first non-technical marketing hire at the company. She's spent 6+ years perfecting the art of creating a developer community and now runs an organization that includes MongoDB User Groups, MongoDB conferences, social media, online engagement and education, email marketing, and more. We started the discussion talking about the foundation that any founder needs to put in place before they even think about embarking on growing a developer community. Most folks wing this and just start selling to get some traction without understanding how they are going to grow their community. Meghan gives us the toolkit and playbook for how to correctly think about this. From there, we dive into the first steps and what can be an effective and low cost way of creating an initial developer community. We then dive into actually growing a developer community and touch on some of the specific areas like events, user groups, and marketing efforts that tend to work or not work. Meghan and I close the discussion with some thoughts on what she's learned throughout her lengthy time at MongoDB and how to set yourself up
Kevin Chiu from Greenhouse Software joined us on the podcast this week to discuss "Outbound Sales Methods and Tools." Kevin currently leads the outbound sales team at Greenhouse consisting over 20 sales development representatives to generate pipeline for the account executive team. He's one to know about outbound sales methods and tools and we spoke a ton about products and services that Kevin sees as working in the market today. We start the discussion on the specific outbound methodologies that companies can use to actually go after customers. Kevin talks a bunch about what worked and what did not work for Greenhouse and how their prospecting methods have changed as the company has grown. We then move on to an informed discussion around the tools and sales stack that Kevin has seen deployed in the market by a number of different companies. He gives some key points to think about when you are a young company and deciding on their first pieces of IT. In particular Kevin remains a big fan of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, SalesLoft (a former podcast guest!), and Outreach to power the Greenhouse core sales stack and we discuss each in detail. We mix in a bunch of interesting discussion questions around outbound sales methods and tools such as when to buy lead lists, when to hire revenue generation consulting groups, what an appropriate SDR weekly cadence should be, when to get rid of software that isn't working for you, and the best resources to inform your thinking on outbound sales methods and tools. Kevin brings up some really interesting points about Salesforce administrators and a core concept at Greenhouse called "Always Be Prospecting."
Zack Rosen joined us on to the podcast this week to discuss "Building Successful Partner Programs." Zach is one to know about the topic having run a Drupal agency for 6 years before founding Pantheon. Pantheon today is one of the largest web development platforms for open-source Drupal and WordPress based websites with over 100,000 sites under management serving billions of page-views per month. Having come from an agency background, Zack focused early efforts on shaping the success of their partner network and partner program. The Pantheon Partner Program today powers more than half of new revenue of the business and remains a very large concern for Zack and his executive team. Building successful partner programs is something that we have discussed a bit on our podcast but never with this level of detail.
Jon Ferrara from Nimble, joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to discuss “using social selling to drive revenue”. Jon defines social selling as utilizing all social channels to engage the community around the business. The current problem is that sales are becoming more and more driven by social communities and most founders don’t have an efficient way of managing/connecting via social channels. Only a small fraction of the businesses are practicing correct social selling methods. Most companies are focused solely on talking about themselves; by doing this, they fail to create a strong community brand and miss out on opportunities to establish themselves as a strong thought leader. This podcast discusses methods to efficiently build your startup’s identity on social media, how to engage communities by providing inspirational content, what tools to use to best engage your audience, and how to turn social engagements into long-time relationships/referrals to drive revenue.
Taylor Gould, the VP of Marketing at BetterCloud, joined us in the studio this week to discuss his strategies for optimizing email response rates in another episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. BetterCloud is a provider of insights, management, and security for cloud office platforms including Google Apps and Office 365. Based in New York, the Company serves over 30MM users across over 50 organizations, and with ~$50MM in venture financing behind it, is on a growth tear. No doubt, Taylor's work to align BetterCloud's marketing and sales efforts has been a critical part of that success. So we're excited to have Taylor join us on the podcast to discuss how he, by putting a few critical tactics to work, has managed to increase his email response rates by more than 400%.
Overcoming SMB inertia is a major problem for many folks that listen to the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. While a new generation of IT buyer is emerging in several categories like restaurants, health & wellness facilities, and other brick-and-mortar locations it still is extremely difficult to get a small business to change their mindset and shift off of existing IT tools or buy something new. This week, we had Kevin Petry fromBookeron to discuss the problem of "Overcoming SMB Inertia." We've covered the SMB category before focused generally on thehigh-velocitynature of the sale but never discussed overcoming SMB inertia. Of all the experts we could have had on the show to discuss overcoming SMB inertia Kevin knows this problem first hand from a 30+ year career selling into small businesses. Before joining Booker, Kevin held sales leadership roles at FrontFlip, Groupon, Rubicon Interactive, and Entertainment Publications. He is an industry expert in SMB customer acquisition and retention having been involved in organizations that have acquired over a combined one million SMBs. We started the discussion on some of the specific high level thoughts around the mindset of a small business and what overcoming SMB inertia actually means. Then we dive in to the 4 key reasons that these SMBs tend to say no and Kevin responds with specific tactical lessons that he has learned throughout his career. We cover each of the 4 in the same manner and for anyone selling into the small business category Kevin gives the listener a fair amount of ways to overcome the specific challenges around each of these. We close with a high level of what to do if none of your strategies are working and also touch on knowing when to kill a deal versus keeping the conversation going. Give a listen below and we hope you enjoy another edition of the Startup Sales Podcast!
Bob Lempke from Chartio joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to discuss "Using SaaS Discounts To Drive Sales." Every founder or startup salesperson in software has faced it at some point: the need to give a little on pricing to win a deal. Discounts have become such a fundamental concept in SaaS sales that some founders advocate a built-in buffer to account for inevitable wiggle room on price point. That said, while SaaS discounts can help you win deals (or retain / upsell them) in the moment, the practice can also be a slippery slope. Too much rate pliancy can not only hurt your P&L, but also cause obstacles in the long run by devaluing your product in the market or providing a crutch for otherwise ineffective salespeople. In our session today, Bob and I will discuss how sales leaders should always consider SaaS discounting a weapon in their arsenal, but use it only for the right reasons (and nearly always as a quid pro quo).
Laura Menicucci from Cloudera joined us this week on the podcast to chat specifically about hiring effective sales engineers. We've talked a bit before aboutsales hiringin general but never specifically about the sales engineer role and hiring effective sales engineers. Laura brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion around hiring effective sales engineers having formerly built out the worldwide sales engineering organization at ArcSight and Rapt before joining Cloudera as their first VP of Sales Engineering. She's made that critical first sales engineer hire, built a team of 100+ sales engineers on several occasions, and has seen the ins and outs of hiring effective sales engineers from all angles. We start the discussion on when to consider the sales engineer hiring question. Specifically there are a number of key items to think about and things to avoid when thinking about hiring that first sales engineer. In addition we talk about the profile of the company needed to ponder this question. We then move on to actually embarking on the hire and exactly how as a young SaaS founder you should be outbound trying to find this person. We walk through the ideal profile of the sales engineer and then move on to closing that person and how to effectively put forth the correct compensation package. Beyond this we walk through how to specifically incentivize sales engineers and what metrics you should put in place from day one. We close with a walk through of how to grow the organization from one to many and Laura gives some tips and tricks from her experiences over the years. All in it was a great topic on hiring effective sales engineers that we hope the listeners enjoy.
Tien Tzuo ofZuorajoined us on to our podcast this week to discuss "The Three Rooms Concept." Tien has been a good friend of Bowery Capital for some time and introduced this topic to us at our 2013 CMO Summit. He is one of the best SaaS marketers in the business having served as Salesforce's first CMO and CSO before founding Zuora in 2007. Today the business is a growing powerhouse in thesubscription experiencespace with over 400 employees, 1000 customers, and $200MM+ in VC funding. Most SaaS founders think long and hard about what their website is going to look like from the outset of the company's life. But before diving in and then testing and iterating like crazy how do you know what to do? Tien's Three Rooms concept really gives a great starting point for any emerging SaaS founder.
Ryan Denehy from Groupon joined us in the studio this week to discuss strategies around "Perfecting Your Sales Script." A company's sales pitch is going to evolve as its product and company grows, but it is one of the first things you should put in place before you start to scale your sales team. Without a defined sales pitch it will be incredibly hard to debug where your losing opportunities or coach underperforming members of your sales team.In our podcast this week, we get into the weeds on how to take your initial pitch and turn it into a defined sales script. If you think you have a script but you don't have it written down anywhere then nows the time to put the pen to paper. Perfecting the pitch is a science and each word should be carefully selected for maximum effect.Ryan, currently at Groupon, perfected the art of the sales script while founding Swarm Mobile, a retail analytics startup that helps small businesses better understand their customers and their actions. He's refined his approach while working on operations and strategy at Groupon. If you're an early sales hire figuring out the most effective way to sell your product, this podcast is for you. Give it a listen below.
Daniel Barber from ToutApp joined us in the studio this week to discuss strategies around "Finding Your Ideal Customer Profile." An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), on a high level, is the set of attributes that defines those prospects that your business or product line sells into most effectively. Without it, your lead generation and qualification efforts are flying blind. It's a fairly straightforward concept, and if you're a salesperson or founder you likely think about your ICP or some form of it every day.
Emmanuelle Skala from Influitive joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to walk us through her take on the "First Steps To Sales Ops Success" that every early-stage founder should know. Especially for SaaS companies with a driven-driven sales model, Sales Ops has become a discipline in its own right. We're all familiar with traditional SaaS metrics like MRR, churn, CLTV, etc. But for the most part, these are lagging indicators. While important, they don't provide the sort of foresight that modern Sales Ops leaders need in order to optimize sales performance 6 months or more in advance. In our podcast today, we'll not only cover the basics, but dive into other types of metrics that can be the difference between a missed and blowout quarter. In particular, we tackle 3 new categories of Sales Ops benchmarks: sales capacity, funnel metrics and pipeline metrics.
Sean Kester from SalesLoft joined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to walk us through his strategy for “Aligning Sales Teams Through SLAs.” The modern startup sales team includes a variety of roles, each of which has a different but critical part to play in the sales process. And this doesn’t just include core members of the sales team like Account Executives and SDRs. It’s also critical that Marketing and even Customer Success are aligned with sales and understand their responsibilities. Without extremely clear delineation of exactly who owned which parts of the process when, a sales team can become confused, lose deals from a pure lack of communication, and in the worst of cases, turn into a blame-game where different roles become adversarial. The failure to align sales and supporting teams with a clear process, left long enough, can destroy a startup’s culture. This is where the Service-Level Agreement (SLA) can work wonders. Though it doesn’t have to be long or even over-complicated, a well-structured SLA is a core document that makes clear exactly who owns what in a process. A good SLA determines how a team works together and, as we talk about in today’s podcast, can ensure a healthy and collaborative startup sales culture.
Stu Wall from Signpost joined us in the studio this week to chat about the topic of "Sales Floor Incentives" and how to keep your sales team motivated. Check out the stream above or better yet head on over toiTunesand make sure yousubscribeto the podcast to get all our new content each week. If you have the luxury of building a 100 person sales team then you're going to have to spend a decent amount of time thinking about how to keep your sales team excited, motivated, and crushing sales. Most sales teams use competitions to keep things interesting but there are a number of other considerations you should make when figuring out how to pump up your team. Keeping your team motivated isn't easy, and Stu came on to really dig in and share his secrets for incentivizing sales teams. Stu founded Signpost over 5 years ago and along with being CEO he was the first sales person and sales manager and now has over 100 sales people across 3 cities in the US. I personally love this topic because I'm a competitor myself and I get asked by our portfolio all the time about the best ways to keep their sales team performing at the highest level. If you find yourself thinking about how to keep your sales team energized throughout the entire month then this podcast is for you. Give a listen now and check out some of our other podcasts below!
Zack Kass from Mixpanel joined us in the studio this week to chat about the topic of “Beating Legacy Incumbents” and how to build yourself up to sell into large enterprises. Check out the stream above or better yet head on over toiTunesand make sure yousubscribeto the podcast to get all our new content each week. It is no surprise that there is a war going on out there between old school software vendors and the new breed of SaaS startups. It is only a matter of time before you gowhale hunting. But how do you look bigger than you really are in the early days? Beating legacy incumbents is no easy game, and Zack came on to really dig in to how to package an enterprise solution before your business offers true enterprise features or services. Zack has a wealth of experience on the topic of beating legacy incumbents from CrowdFlower (BPO incumbents) to Shyp (Logistics incumbents) and now Mixpanel (Analytics incumbents). Beating legacy incumbents is his game and he weaves a great narrative in the podcast focused around how to really win in the market against big competitors. We personally love this topic as it comes up a ton with our own portfolio companies and it also was one of the most requested topics this past week from friends who are starting to sell into the F500. If you find yourself thinking about questions like “how do I close my first big deal” or “how do I beatOracleor IBM” or “when can we start selling into the F500” then this podcast is for you. Give a listen now and check out some of our other podcasts below!
Alex Hesterberg from Pure Storage joined us back in the studio this week to chat about "Prepping Your Customer Renewal Strategy" and how your SaaS business should think about getting ready for renewals. Alex has a wealth of knowledge on the topic starting first at CSC and Symantec where he was actually on the line handling accounts and dealing with up-selling existing customers. He then moved on to Riverbed where he took on a leadership role managing and building out the professional service and customer success organizations and from there went to Sailthru to manage client services. He's now at Pure Storage as the VP of Worldwide Field Operations focused on ensuring client success through his professional service team. Pure Storage has a great customer renewal strategy and Alex and the VP of Customer Success spend a fair amount of time strategizing to win repeat business. This topic of customer renewal strategy comes up a ton with our own portfolio founders as well as the broader SaaS community and so we thought we would bring Alex on to discuss. We've coveredcustomer successbroadly speaking but in this podcast dive into more specific topics around a customer renewal strategy like the monetary approach and calculations to renewals and upsells, the tradeoff of asking for the same size contract versus for more money, how to create a playbook and framework for your customer renewal strategy, the specific KPIs that matter most to get a renewal, and finally when to say no and potentially churn an account on purpose. Alex was a great guest and any SaaS founder should value his advice. Give a listen below and we hope you enjoy!
Oliver "OJ" Jay joined us in the studio this week to chat about the difficult topic of selling SaaS overseas. We've talked a bit here about selling SaaS not from HQ in ourCrittercismpodcast but never touched on selling SaaS overseas. As a result we thought it would be great to bring OJ on to chat about the topic! OJ started atDropbox3 years ago first to build out the SMBhigh velocity saleseffort before leading the charge on setting up much of the international sales efforts for the company. He now runs the APAC and LATAM sales efforts and has been through his fair share of ups and downs as it relates to selling SaaS overseas. Many founders think about selling SaaS overseas as they grow and usually start with a European expansion. OJ came onto the podcast to weave a narrative around first building out the framework for launching any international region, second starting small and growing in a specific region, and third figuring out how to "rinse and repeat" using that example to launch into other regions. We had a number of listeners contribute questions to this podcast and got some great ones into the mix. Things like when it is appropriate to launch an international sales effort and what to base that on, who to send overseas, who not to send overseas, and who to hire overseas, how to think about executive buy in versus going at it with a small team and not telling the broader company before you have success points, and finally how to report back and ensure success selling SaaS overseas all were topics that came up. OJ also gives the listeners a bit of a scorecard and thought process around how to manage through the cultural differences and specific local customs. All in, the podcast was a great playbook for any SaaS founder that starts to get some overseas business and begins to think about selling SaaS overseas in a more repeatable and structured manner. Give a listen below and we hope you enjoy it!
Joe CaprioofInsightSquaredjoined us in the studio this week to record another episode of theBowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast: “Must-Have CRM Fields For Data-Driven Sales Teams.” There are certain data points every sales team knows to track from day one, whether you useSalesforce,Zoho,Sugar,Insightlyor even if youdon’t have a CRM yet: accounts, deal sizes, owner, etc. But there are a range of other less well-known data points that data-driven sales teams have found to be useful in optimizing their sales funnels. Whether your goal is measuring the quality of your leads on likelihood to convert, understanding what your ideal customer profile looks like, or streamlining your inside sales outreach process, it’s important to track the right data early on; you can’t fix something properly if you don’t know why it’s broken.In our podcast today, Joe walks us through the top 6 CRM fields that he feels have really allowed his org to streamline its sales funnel, highlighting a few that are less commonplace.
Jake Dunlap, Founder and CEO of Skaled (formerly Chartbeat & Glassdoor), joined me in the studio for this weeks Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast! This week we discuss what could be considered the most fundamental skill of a quality enterprise sales person, finding the right person to speak to and actually getting that person on the phone. Jake is an expert in the cold-call/email and has worked with dozens of enterprise startups helping them hone their prospecting into a replicable sales process. We talk about keywords to look for that one can use to determine if someone is more or less reluctant to adopting new technology as well what you can learn from taking a step back and looking at the structure of the entire team. Once you've located the right person within an organization it's critical to be able to get them on the phone and we discuss a bunch of useful tips and tricks to create interest from your target. How do you get an executive's assistant to work for you and what you should do if you can't. If you and your team are selling into the C-level at large enterprises then this is a must listen. Give it a listen below and let us know what you think on iTunes.
Chris FloresofNamelyjoined us in the studio this week to record another episode of theBowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast: “Building Your Sales Automation Stack.” Every startup sales team faces this question early on: what tools or infrastructure do I need to empower my salespeople and make sure we’re ready to scale quickly? Our team here atBowery Capitalstays close to the world of startup sales tools both on the investment side and from the perspective of our portfolio companies, and we know well that there is a diverse range of options out there for the modern seller. From CRMs to power dialers to sales analytics platforms, it can be hard to keep track of and there are few true real-world guides out there. That’s exactly what we were able to do in today’s podcast: Chris walks us through the startup “Sales Stack” he built overseeing the growth of Namely’s inside sales team from the ground up, and highlighting the top 10 solutions that have really made a difference.Crafting a stack of startup sales tools may seem easy at the outset: just let your salespeople use what works for them to help hit quota and have them hit the ground running. But when you’re aiming to build a lasting business, it’s important to have a consistent set of tools that your entire team can use. Building a data-driven culture of sales tool compliance is near impossible without this sort of top-down guidance. As a sales manager, however, your work is still cut out for you. Last year, the team here at Bowery Capital pulled together aGuide to Startup Sales Toolsto try to put some structured thoughts around the massive ecosystem of solutions in the space. There are certainly no shortage of options. In our podcast today, Chris takes the analysis one step deeper by walking through his top 10 and why they work for Namely. In no particular order, here’s the list:Rivalry,LinkedIn Sales Navigato,Salesloft,ZoomInfo,Rapportive,Salesforce,InsideSales PowerDiealer,ToutApp,DocSend, andJoinme.We’ll discuss the pain point each of the above solves, how each is used effectively, and the impact that each has had at Namely. Hopefully you’ll find Chris’ insights as useful as we did. If you haven’t checked out the full podcast yet, we hope you’ll do so by heading over to theBowery Capital blog. Until next time!EndFragment
Adam Liebman, SVP of Sales at SinglePlatform (acquired by Constant Contact), joins us in the studio for this weeks Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast! We've also decided to mix up the hosting duties as well, and I was glad to join Adam in the studio this week. Most guests that we have on the show are selling products in the five to six figure range, but there are a bunch of successful startups out there selling lower prices products to SMBs and we wanted to share some advice to them as well. Adam is an expert in high velocity inside sales having started his career as one of the first few sales hires at Yext and then as the person responsible for building SinglePlatforms sales organization from the ground up. Adam talked to us about the many differences between high velocity sales people and their enterprise counterparts, tips for getting SMBs on the phone, and different metrics for measuring the success of your team. We also discuss creation of that first sales script from nothing and how to fine tune it along the way. Adam has worked with many successful high velocity sales people and whether they took the shotgun approach or the sniper approach they got the job done. He shares his advice for personal success as well as building a successful inside sales team. If you and your team are selling an inexpensive product over the phones this is a must listen. Give it a listen below and let us know what you think on iTunes!
Whitney Hillyerfrom Bitly joined us in the studio to talk about customer success in a podcast we called “Unique Angles On Customer Success.” We care a lot aboutlistenerfeedback here on the podcast and receive a fair amount of emails and tweets asking to follow up with guests around specific topics. One of the common grouping of questions that has come up recently revolves around post-sales efforts and customer success. Who handles upsells and renewals? How do you build a credible account management and customer success organization? As a result, we brought Whitney on to discuss this very topic!In our podcast we first cover the broad brush-strokes of how to think about customer success in the context of your organization and why it matters a lot from the beginning. This is obviously a super important component of your business so Whitney lays out some unique ideas on how to think about this very early on. We then dive into Whitney's background and experience setting up and growing customer success teams and some tips and tricks to really focus your efforts and win. We move on to some of the really tactical pieces around hiring, firing, metrics, and the various listener questions like who handles upsells and renewals. We cover the technology and tools thatBitlyuses for this effort throughout the podcast and Whitney closes with some big thoughts for all the SaaS founders out there on really how to drive success with this part of your organization. For anyone that cares about growing accounts and really honing in on how to keep business in a competitive environment Whitney really gives listeners the toolkit.
Mark Roberge joined us this week for a very special podcast to talk about the launch of his new book titledThe Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling To Go From $0 to $100 Million. We cover a specific component of his book called "The Sales Hiring Formula." Mark has long been a supporter and advisor to the Bowery Capital portfolio and he is currently the Chief Revenue Officer of the Sales Division atHubspot. He is one of the only sales leaders we know who has "gone the distance" starting as employee #4 and growing the sales organization to over 450 people, $100MM in ARR, and 10,000+ customers. His book is the distillation of all he's learned over the past 7 years in the seat and is chock full of sales and marketing insights for any SaaS founder. Go on over to Amazon andgrab a copy now!We start the discussion on how Mark thought initially about sales hiring at Hubspot and how his quantitative background informed his thinking of developing a specific sales hiring formula. We then dive into the actual formula that Mark invented and Hubspot uses to this day and cover the specific traits that they care about when hiring sales people when anchored against his sales hiring formula. Once a SaaS founder has the sales hiring formula, Mark then runs through how to continually test and tweak it over time. Following, we cover some of Mark's lessons on where to find sales people and how to optimize for getting the best candidates coming through your door. Things like forced referrals, passive emails, and building your own recruiting agency will all be new to most founders out there thinking about sales hiring. We close the discussion on what the best profile is for a first sales hire and what specific triggers need to be in place to first make that first sales hire. Give a listen below to the great discussion we had!
David Levy joined us this week for another episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. David is an enterprise Account Executive at Crittercism, to discuss "Selling SaaS At The Outpost." We constantly talk a fair amount on the podcast about tactics of selling SaaS from your company's headquarters but what about those of us that may not be in HQ and are Selling SaaS At The Outpost? David was the 4th sales hire into Crittercism, a first mobile application performance management (mAPM) solution, and the first hire not based in the company's headquarters in San Francisco. He was the quintessential person selling SaaS at the outpost beginning in New York and building some serious scale for the company early on. Today his coverage is all the way up to Boston and down to Atlanta. David talked with us specifically about several components that matter most as a SaaS Account Executive not in your headquarters. Thinking about things like consistency of communication with HQ, working and discussing on the ground learnings constantly with other AEs that are in your HQ or other regions, learning from other AEs at other companies in your region,executing eventsand going to other smart events in your territory, and finally getting back to your HQ to meet with product, marketing, executive, and sales teams to discuss what is happening on the ground are all key to selling SaaS at the outpost. We talk about the initial days of setting up the Crittercism outpost, how David balanced selling andgetting some quickwins with starting to build out some repeatability and foundation, and finally the model David believes is the best way to really maintain a great working relationship with your HQ. All in it was an excellent discussion about a generally overlooked topic that many SaaS founders don't think a lot about when hiring that first sales person to a territory. Give a listen below and if you canreview uson iTunes it would mean a lot!
Matt Bachmanjoined us in the studio this week to talk about "Building Your Channel Program." Matt was one of the earliest employees at Acquia and came onto the podcast to discuss a common area of thinking for many SaaS founders. As you start to grow in the market with your sales efforts how do you compliment this and add a channel program to start to build beyond your own selling capacity?In our podcast Matt and I dig in to what it means to create a channel program and why any SaaS startup should think hard about building this element of their business out early on. We dive into the specific components necessary to make a program like this successful, how you should think about growing it to become a huge part of your sales and marketing efforts, and finally how to maintain it and keep the best channel partners and eliminate those that don't ultimately perform. Matt has a ton of experience in this space having been one of the first sales employees at Acquia and on the founding team of the BD/Channel Partnerships effort so he knows his stuff and shares it with us. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy!
Dave Govanjoined us in the Bowery Capital studio this week to record another episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast: “Creating An Effective ‘Total Universe Of Accounts.’” This topic is one that every early-stage startup has spent plenty of time working through: compiling that list of potential customers that your startup plans to target when it first goes out to market. While different founders take different tacks, Dave walked us through the importance of formalizing the process and building a strategy piece that he aptly calls a “Total Universe Of Accounts.” As we’ll learn, there’s a right way and a wrong way.Dave has a stellar background as a long time CRO in the SaaS and marketing technology spaces. Over the last decade or so, Dave has served as an SVP leading North American Enterprise sales at VeriSign, and as an EVP at Sailthru, where he led global sales and oversaw a period of rapid expansion into the company’s growth phase. Currently, Dave is the CRO of DynamicYield, a fast-growing provider of SaaS website revenue yield optimization solutions. Finally, Dave is a prolific speaker on sales best practices in marketing SaaS and has authored a book on the topic calledCrisis In The Enterprise.Creating a “Total Universe Of Accounts” seems—on first glance—like a relatively straightforward exercise. But there are clear pitfalls and common mistakes that can lead to a confused and unfocused sales team early on in the life of a startup. As the CRO of DynamicYield, and a longtime SaaS, head of sales, Dave draws out a number of points that we hope you can use as a guide to improve your sales org. While no Total Universe Of Account is—or can be determined—the same, we lay out a clear process to built a focused, data-driven strategy that can help ensure that your early-stage sales team hits the ground running.EndFragment
Raphael Cartyjoins us to talk about a topic that’s likely near and dear to the hearts of many salespeople, but doesn’t often get much coverage: webinars. Raphael is currently the founder and CEO ofCallida Energy, a software solution that powers building optimization—from energy usage and sustainability to facilities management and automation. Raphael also brings with him a long history of thought leadership in the marketing space, having previously served as Head of Marketing forDealertrack, the market leader in vertical software solutions for the automotive industry and a company with one of the fastest times-to-IPO in recent history. He’s also taught marketing at Harvard Business School and worked in various other CMO and leadership roles in the past. One challenge that he repeatedly faced over the course of his career was driving high-quality leads in a cost-effective way—no doubt a topic top-of-mind for most startup sales leaders out there. In this episode, Raphael joined us to talk about one tactic in particular that he found both dramatically raised the quality of his leads, but also ended up reducing his org’s total spend to acquire them.While we’re all familiar with the traditional screen-shared product demo that an SDR or inside salesperson may walk a potential client through, the concept of a webinar—at least as we’ll define it today—is quite different. While a pointed approach and no doubt a cornerstone of startup sales, the standard demos aren’t effective lead-generation methods. They focus on driving one opportunity home, but because they are usually one-on-one, they are a bit hard to scale and aren’t always optimal tools for lead nurturing or market education since they are more transactional (i.e. “salesy”).Webinars done correctly—as Raphael will describe—are just the opposite: they are focused on educating the lead by discussing best practices more so than individual products (though there’s a time for that too). They give the lead a chance to ask questions and learn about their own industry. They feel like a webinar sign-up is less of a commitment upfront and more of an opportunity to absorb knowledge. Should you be selling into a vertical market, this educational aspect has even greater appeal, which you can emphasize by leveraging industry experts and even product managers to lead sessions.At the same time, webinars draw very high-intent leads and—structured correctly—are perfect venues for leads qualification and scoring (e.g. do they use a competitor but aren’t satisfied, do they have no current solution, did they even know there was even a product available, or are they actually just there to learn?). Even sign-ups who don’t end up attending are often better leads than your standard MQL. Raphael shares with us a few particular anecdotes in which he was able to use webinars to achieve an average conversion rate 3-4x higher than other channels. We hope today’s podcast will clue you in as to how you might execute a similarly successful strategy at your startup.EndFragment
We're back this week with another great edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast with Jon Parisi joining us in the studio to talk about "SDR Training Programs." The topic of SDR Training has been a major passion and interest of Jon's through the years and he has written extensively on this with some great presentations out there for any SaaS founder to follow. He's currently the Director of Revenue Development at GuideSpark and we thought it would be great to have him on to follow up from our prior podcast around scaling sales with SDRs. If you don't know how to train them and grow them, how can you scale them? That's the theory we were playing off of and Jon joined us in the studio to share his knowledge and practical advice.In our podcast Jon and I discuss why developing an SDR training program is absolutely necessary to any SaaS company that is in growth mode and what it takes to build a simple framework for training SDRs (or as GuideSpark calls them RDRs or Revenue Development Reps). We talk about GuideSpark specifically and their SDR training program. Things like how long they do classroom training versus practical or more real world training (spoiler: get them on the phones ASAP!) are really important to this and we go into detail on it. We walk through the materials that Jon's marketing and sales teams provide to the newly minted SDRs, how their ramp times look over the course of the first day, week, month, and then finally what the top level benchmarks need to be to know whether or not an SDR is being effective or not. For GuideSpark, the company doesn't really believe that an SDR is going to be fully ramped until about 3,000 calls which we found to be pretty interesting relative to some other SaaS companies we know. We then touch on identifying your best performing reps and what to do with them as well as what to do with those that aren't making the cut. Jon walks listeners through the concept of a performance improvement plan and how GuideSpark uses it as well as instilling the concept of teamwork and collaboration to help everyone in the organization achieve their goals. We close on some tools and software that Jon's team uses to both create the SDR training program as well as what his SDRs use on a daily basis. This was a fun one and another informative podcast for any SaaS founder who is working heavily with SDRs and developing an SDR training program.
Garrett Stanton of Okta joined us this week with a great podcast focused on "Using Events To Accelerate Sales." Garrett was employee number 20 at Okta and runs the middle market sales team for the company. He came on before the holidays to talk to us about a great sales strategy to move prospects down the funnel and to potential close: Events. Most young SaaS organizations wouldn't think a ton about this strategy of sales events as an effective way to close business and drive leads on the sales side but Garrett presents a pretty compelling case to anyone here as to why this matters and is one of the most effective strategies early on.In our podcast Garrett and I walk through the early days of events at Okta and how they started with the approach of "crawl, walk, run" in doing sales events. He talks a lot about being scrappy and making sure that you don't overspend on these types of sales events given the limited budget that most startups will have early on. We move on to talk a bit about the psychology of the IT buyer and why an solid event can really be a game changer in a great way. We then walk into the mechanics of pulling a sales oriented event off. From the venues to the themes and speaker topics as well as how to bring partners into the event, we cover a lot of ground. Garrett also talks about the early customer evangelists that drove them to create these events as well as how cold leads can sometimes be best placed into this setting to accelerate them through the sales funnel. Finally, Garrett walks listeners through the key metrics to be tracking and talks about some non obvious ones to the Okta team that they continue to track to this day. Overall listeners will leave the podcast thinking a lot more about how events can really help you continue to keep leads warm as well as accelerate people towards a close quicker. Give a listen!
Doug Landis of Box came in this week to talk about "Rep Attainment" as it relates to your growing SaaS company. Many already know Doug as a well known speaker in the sales community and he's also been a frequent guest and speaker at our own CRO Summits. For the uninformed, Doug is currently the VP of Sales Productivity at Box and has been a sales trainer and leader at many companies including Google, Oracle, and Monster.In our podcast Doug talks about the concept of rep attainment and how this really helps your organization build a macro point of view on how the entire sales team is performing. As many SaaS founders know, once you hire in several sellers you really need to start thinking about performance of the team and how well everyone is doing against each other as well as the overall market. With over 200 people in the Box sales organization and the leader of the training and performance silo, Doug knows a thing or two about this topic. He first dives into the backbone of rep attainment models and the sales formula (Pipeline x Deal Size x Win Rate / Sales Cycle) and how this data is used in rep attainment models. Doug then walks listeners through the process by which Box gets this sales formula data out of existing systems like their CRM and ERP (for compensation data) and the basics of how they go about building their own rep attainment models. We then cover some of the benchmarks you should be thinking about and getting out of your rep attainment model and talk at a high level about how to benchmark yourself against market comparables using products like Xactly to see how well your reps are performing. Once you've got a good handle on performance with your rep attainment model you'll need to know what to do if people are over-achieving or under-performing and so Doug closes with a breakdown of how to think about the sales formula in the context of your rep attainment model. He covers some of the lessons learned from his time at Box and where they've seen success and failure. Ultimately the rep attainment model should help any SaaS founder better understand their data and be more efficient on the sales productivity and sales training side.Doug was gracious enough to sanitize a version of the Box rep attainment model and shares it here with us. Give a listen now and don't forget to sign up for our podcast to be notified each week when we have a new one ready.
Kayvan Salmanpour of NewsCred came into the studio this week to talk about "The First 30 Days" and what he did as a sales leader coming into NewsCred. Kayvan was employee #3 and brought a rare blend of being both a seller as well as a sales manager and formerly was an entrepreneur who founded his own company called Media Planet. Our friend Mark Roberge at Hubspot talks a lot about what qualities you want in your first sales hire and Kayvan is probably the best example of the perfect person to have given his entrepreneurial background and founder of his own company. He did a lot in the first 30 days, selling the first 50 deals, hiring in the initial sales team, and then running that team to ultimately build the initial trajectory of the business to where it is today. He is now the VP of International and focused on growing the business around the globe.In our podcast we talk a lot about the very beginnings of NewsCred on the sales side and what Kayvan brought to the table when he was hired into NewsCred. We then cover how he handled the psyche and dream of the founders and really managed them appropriately so that the relationship and expectations were grounded and successful. Next we move on to literally the first 5 things that Kayvan did when coming into the role in the first 30 days. Things like recording the founders pitch, transcribing, and distilling it down into a sales playbook as well as running vertical market audits to showcase what sectors and segments NewsCred might have been missing. Kayvan's always up for sharing and this podcast is rich with real world tips and tricks that he's learned through the years. He was also kind enough to sanitize the vertical market audits he ran and so we are including here. Give a listen and don't forget to write a review on iTunes for us as we continue to grow!
Dustin Markowski from Chartbeat joined us this week for the seventh edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. Dustin is currently the VP of Sales & Customer Success at Chartbeat and formerly was the Head of the Enterprise Sales at Hightail and prior to that held the same role at ShareVault. He's been twice hired into organizations as the first sales leader over the top of several SDRs and AMs and came to the studio this week to speak with us about "Building Disciplined Sales Organizations."In our podcast Dustin and I cover the scenario that he faced when joining Chartbeat and how he built the individual sales contributors and the customer success team into a well oiled machine. We speak a fair amount about the nuances involved in building discipline and how he has dealt with issues like building discipline with individual sellers, forcing new or "the right" elements of pipeline contribution and lead generation, what to do when people start getting angry at the disciplined approach you are taking (!), and finally what impact this sort of discipline can ultimately have on your organization. Most SaaS companies go through these issues at some point between $1M and $5M in ARR and it is helpful to hear Dustin distill his experiences.
Russell Sachs from Work Market joined us this week for the sixth edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. Russell has long been a sales leader in the NY community and is currently the EVP of Sales at Work Market. We sat down with him to walk through "The MEDDICC Sales Qualification Process." Back during his MessageOne and Dell days he learned the process from an old boss and it has stuck with him as a teaching tool in every company he’s been with since.For those that do not know, the principles of the MEDDIC (as it was originally known) acronym are generally know as the holy grail of sales forecasting and widely used today by many of the best SaaS companies. The MEDDICC acronym was originally developed at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) by the sales development team of Richard Dunkel and Jack Napoli. Why should you care? After the sales team adopted the MEDDICC qualification process, sales grew from $300MM to $1B and PTC met or exceeded every quarters revenue targets for 20 quarters in a row. Richard and Jack continue to teach the MEDDICC framework today and while there are a lot of sales methodologies out there, MEDDICC has survived the test of time and continues to be widely used.In our podcast Russell talks about where he learned the MEDDICC process and how he implements it at Work Market, how emerging SaaS companies should think about this framework to force analytical rigor, and what to do when MEDDICC is working and what to do when it is not working. Following the high level discussion, we dive into each component of the MEDDICC framework and Russell gives real world stories and thoughts on each component as well as tips and tricks that he’s learned over his 10+ years using the framework. To follow along with the podcast Russell was gracious enough to share an accompanying presentation which puts pen to paper on the full process. Given we cover a lot of information I’d encourage everyone to read the slides following listening to the podcast. Give it a listen!
Cezary Pietrzak joined us in the Bowery Capital offices this week for the fifth edition of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. We chose a fascinating topic that Cezary has had a ton of experience around that we loosely called "Humanizing Data". Cezary has been a consultant to companies like Google and Y&R on the larger side and Appboy and DigitalOcean on the start-up side, and has also started his own company, Wanderfly (acquired by TripAdvisor). Time and time again he found sales and marketing teams knee deep in data without an understanding of the macro picture. As a result he started to develop a high level thesis and framework to help SaaS companies think more about the human side of the data as it related to customers, partners, stakeholders, and anyone that interacts with a company.In our podcast Cezary takes the listener through the high level framework and how he came upon the thinking and then we dive into specific examples of how companies use this thinking today. We cover specific SaaS examples and showcase how complimenting heavy analysis with some higher level understanding helps really target root issues and develop both practical and quantitative solutions. Cezary also talks about specific examples where the data can sometimes get you stuck and how humanizing it can pull you out of the weeds and help solve problems. Overall a really fascinating topic and one that I think many companies don't think enough about. The full transcript can be found here if you want to read. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy!
Sam Jacobs from Axial and Bryan Rutcofsky from Yext joined us this week for the fourth edition the Startup Sales Podcast. The topic of our discussion focused around "Scaling Sales with SDRs" and how to build a large sales team by utilizing sales development reps and their lifecycle from SDR to Account Executive and Beyond. Sam and Bryan have both been with their respective companies from the very early days and have learned from failures and successes what makes a good SDR and how to get the best results from these hires. They've trained hundreds of early sales employees in the art of selling and individually closed much of the early business at Axial and Yext.In our podcast Sam and Bryan talk to listeners about a number of high level elements associated with hiring SDRs. In today's startup environment it's extremely difficult to find quality sales talent and just as difficult to retain it. Sam and Bryan discuss their perfect SDR profile, how they go about training young sales teams, and how they encourage their teams to perform well at their job day in and day out. Following a high level discussion Sam and Bryan each reveal their most valuable tip on how to succeed as a startup sales person who's just getting into the game. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy!
JT Levin and Geoff Winchell from Sailthru joined us this week for the third edition the Startup Sales Podcast. The topic of our discussion focused around "Whale Hunting" and how to really build large accounts early on in your SaaS business. JT and Geoff were the first two sales hires to Sailthru and today manage the team that generally is focused on six and seven figure deals. They've seen 400+ customers and tens of millions of dollars of revenue through the life of the business and individually closed most of the big accounts that today make up a large portion of the revenue for the business.In our podcast JT and Geoff talk to listeners about a number of high level elements associated with winning whale customers and dispel the old adage that "nobody gets fired for buying IBM." Today's marketers and technologists are much more well-versed and knowledgeable and even a small SaaS company like Sailthru was able to land some very large business by operating more effectively early on. Following a high level discussion JT and Geoff each cover one of their larger whales and walk the listener through the scenario of how they got the lead, worked the account, and ultimately closed the business. They talk a fair amount about where the snags were and ultimately the lessons learned and tricks they used to win the business. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy!
Mitch Wainer from DigitalOcean joined us today for the second edition of something new we're trying here called the Startup Sales Podcast. The topic of our discussion focused around "How Marketing Drives Success In Your Early Days" and Mitch is one of the best minds on the topic having co-founded Digital Ocea. He's been the CMO of the company from the beginning and tested, implemented, and succeeded with more new ideas and tooling than we could mention in the podcast. Mitch is also a well known voice in the growth-hacking community.In our podcast Mitch walks listeners through what DigitalOcean did from a marketing standpoint with customers 0 through 50, then 50 through 2,000 and finally 2,000 and beyond. Mitch talks about the various tools and services the company uses to grow, the unique organization he has built around marketing, and how customers "bear hugging" customers and constant feedback loops have helped them better understand their own brand and positioning in the market.
Will BatsonfromClearSlidejoined us today for the inaugural edition of something new we are trying here called the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. The topic of our discussion primarily focused around making the most of SaaS trials and Will knows a thing or two about the topic having joined ClearSlide back in 2010 as their first sales hire when the busines had 2-3 customers. With thousands of customers today, $90MM+ in capital raised, and a ton of lessons learned Will was kind enough to share his expertise with an eye towards helping emerging companies think about SaaS trials.In our podcast Will talks about a number of topics including how to build "brand trust" early on to get a lead to trial your product, trial length versus value exchanged, how to deal with "trial fatigue" and force conversion to sign-up, when should your company not engage in trials, and finally how to get a trial customer to be your biggest evangelist. The full transcript can be foundhereif you want to read. Give a listen and we hope you enjoy!