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Sales Management

Known-Quantities Are GOLD in sales hires

Hiring salespeople and sales leaders is one of the toughest challenges for any start-up – actually – for ANY company.  It is very easy for a sales person to look good on paper – and especially for a salesperson to do a great job in an interview.  After all, we are people trained to manipulate conversations and to make things sound great!  Recently, I was working with a company who had the opportunity to hire an amazing sales leader that they knew could perform, and against my urging decided to roll the dice and find someone over the internet.

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Long Sales Cycle? That is NOT OK.

I recently sent a note to an entrepreneur friend of mine whose company is doing well, but I heard thru the grapevine that he needed some help in the sales department – that things just weren’t moving along as fast as he would like them to.  So I reached out and let him know that I had some cycles available if he wanted some help putting together a sales plan, and figuring out how to accelerate his growth.

He very quickly, and politely replied that the type of sales planning and assistance that I do at QuotaCrush really wasn’t applicable because, “his product has long sales cycles and long lasting relationships.”

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Mommas, let your babies grow up to be salespeople

Remember the old campy country song that warned Mommas to not grow up to be cowboys?  While I’m completely aware that the song was not intended to be taken seriously, but it of course promotes the professions of “doctors and lawyers and such”

While those are truly admiral professions, I have to say that I am not sure why salesmanship is not promoted more.  “Let ’em be doctors or salesmen or such” fits just fine.  (My apologies to all the VERY talented saleswomen that I work with – but salespeople was too many syllables, but don’t think that doesn’t mean that I don’t think mommas should push women into sales too.)

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Sometimes, its OK to be the grasshopper

I’ve been doing sales for startups for 20 years now.  In this time, I’ve learned quite a bit about how to make sales happen.  In particular, I’ve learned a lot about how NOT to do something, and also how to read situations well so that I can come to win-win solutions.

Sometimes, I’ve learned these lessons through failing and picking myself up again.

Other times, I’ve learned from talking to people more experienced than me.  My sales mentor has been an incredible resource to me.

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Your Sales Manager is a TOOL

There is a big difference between being a salesperson and being a person in sales. What actually makes you a salesperson instead of just a person in sales? You CLOSE deals.

A true salesperson does what needs to be done to get the deal done. Sometimes that means sweetening the offer. Sometimes it means dropping the price. Sometimes it means explaining the benefits better, or comparing yourself against the alternatives. But a good salesperson always figures out whats holding up a deal and then looks for ways to overcome that obstacle/objection and get the deal done.

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Don’t Declare Sales Victory Too Early

Sales is hard.

Anyone who has done sales in a start-up can attest to that fact.  Great salespeople make it look easy – or at least hide the struggle well from non-salespeople.   Once a great salesperson builds their pipeline, gets down their pitch and starts rolling with it, they can easily bring companies on the pipeline, and move them through, and can often do it with, what looks like, ease and finesse – and often with amazing predictability.

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The Murder Board

The essential but horrible sounding named murder board.  Every time I bring it up with a new person, I get confused stares – yet I think its an essential tool for both salespeople and entrepreneurs.

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Your start-up sales strategy must include an up-sell

Up-selling, despite what some people believe, is not a sneaky or dishonest sales strategy.  In fact is is an essential strategy for start-ups.  I do, however, understand, how many people can see it this way.

At the bagel store near my house, a bagel costs $0.49.  Yet, order that bagel with $0.03 worth of butter, and the bagel is suddenly $1.69.  Why does the store do this?  Because its great to advertise bagels that cost only $0.49, but who comes into the store and only orders 1 bagel with nothing on it?  The upsell is the critical method of driving profit into the store.

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