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Showing posts from January, 2017

Sales and Customer Success Hinge On WOW

I’ve been reading a lot about customer success and onboarding recently. It’s top of mind for me these days as we continue to onboard more and more customers at SalesWise. Two articles that have stood out: “The beginner’s guide to customer onboarding” by WP Curve“From 0 to $1B - Slack's Founder Shares Their Epic Launch Strategy
The Slack article was more about go-to-market strategy. In it were important tenets that were also echoed by WP Curve. This includes the importance of getting to the “wow” factor.
I wrote a post before titled “U in UX Stands for You: The Evolution of Consumer Engagement”. I highlighted the importance of early user experience like Spotify which enables users to get up and running quickly. Then, I highlighted the importance of empty-state design in “Starting With Nothing: Solving Early Churn With Empty State Design”.
After reading the WP Curve and Slack articles about the “wow” factor, it’s important today more than ever to present value immediately. For Sla…

Interviewing 102: Aligning on a Mission

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton wrote a job posting for his ship’s crew members for his voyage to Antarctica. It read something like this – Ernest received over 5,000 applicants, and eventually hired 26 men (+1 stowaway) for his voyage to the icy continent.
The incredible part of this story isn’t how many applicants would wantingly apply. Instead, it’s that the ship never made it to Antarctica. 10 months after setting out, the waters around the ship turned to ice, trapping the ship and its crew. The crew split to seek help, and extraordinarily, all 27 crew members survived and made it back two years after they launched! That’s incredible.
I bring this up as the follow-up to my last post -- Interviewing 101 – No Hypotheticals and Go Deeper. Having read the Shackleton story (“Endurance”) in Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, I’m integrating a similar idea in my hiring process.
Sales is hard. It takes 6-8 touches to reach a prospect these days. That number has potential to grow given the number …

Interviewing 101 – No Hypotheticals and Go Deeper

When hiring, I’m trying an approach from 100 Strangers, 100 Days – to go deeper with proceeding questions. I start out with one question, and I ask follow-on questions that probe deeper. I do this to, hopefully, mitigate the candidate telling me what I “want” to hear.
I sat down with one of my sales coaches recently about his hiring strategy. He told me to never ask “hypotheticals.” He and I realize how easy it is for candidates to serve up an answer that we want to hear. An example of a hypothetical: “Tell me how you would handle a rejection.”
Similarly, simply asking the candidate to share a real experience without probing deeper can be misleading – “tell me how you have handled a lost deal – one that you had been working for months.” It’s too easy for candidates to serve up a similarly “wanted” answer. It’s important to dive at least 3 layers deeper with follow-on questions. You can even use the 5 Whys strategy.
In 100 Strangers, 100 Days, I started out asking the similar questio…

For the Love of the [Entrepreneurial] Game

For me, entrepreneurship is a game. It’s a game where the odds are heavily stacked against my team and me. As I sit down here on a Saturday afternoon at Starbucks typing out my blog post for Thursday (published today), I realize that I’m doing something unconventional for most. It’s all for the love of the game.
This morning, I played a good, healthy game of pick-up soccer with friends. This afternoon, I challenged my mind in a more mindful way with meditation. Tomorrow morning, I will go to the gym and grimace and fight against some iron. Other than that, I’ll likely get a good bit of “work” in. I put work in quotes because to me, it’s actually a game, a sport for my mind.
I’ve chosen this life to work at a startup, to be entrepreneurial, to read and to write because I love the challenge of it all. These challenges are like sports, but for my mind.
As it pertains to Entrepreneurial Ninja (this blog), it’s my way of learning and teaching myself. The competitive aspect is to be a bet…

Perspective Changes Everything

Lesson #20 from last week’s post 24 Lessons I Learned from Meeting 100 Strangers Over 100 Days had a subtle “opportunity” moving forward, not necessarily a lesson – the role of perspectives.
I debated making this the 25th lesson. I believe there are other ways to slice outcomes from journeys such as #100Strangers100Days by looking at what the journey enables moving forward. Like reading a book and sharing take-aways, one can gain perspective from a journey.  
Perspectives enable… Understanding and empathy. Instead of asking how could someone vote for XYZ candidate, and asking in a negative, shocking way, consider the same question with intrigue. Ask to find out why – did you miss some valid point? Instead of jumping to a judgement, ask to learn why.Expertise. You can gain a deeper perspective in your field. You can read a host of books that support your research. You can go on a journey to meet 10 Strangers to help you cope with social anxiety. You can deepen your knowledge, and becom…

How to Talk About a Part-Time Entrepreneurial Venture with Recruiters

I received a question recently from an entrepreneur about working part-time/ contract work as her startup continues to build momentum. She wasn’t sure how to talk about her company with potential head hunters. Head hunters advised her that employers could view her startup as a “conflict of interest”.
In the employers’ minds, the entrepreneur would be “taking advantage” of the company. The entrepreneur (read: "worker") would be taking a higher rate, and leaving soon to work on her company.
My response is that there's no "advantage" here. Instead, there's mutually beneficial relationship. 
Some quick thoughts on this: The employer is hiring a part-time/ contractor for flexibility and expertise. The employer does not have to pay for benefits, taxes (in most cases), and any severance packages. Meanwhile, the employer gets a skilled resource to address an exact business problem. It’s an beneficial arrangement for both parties.A clear scope of work and deliverabl…

24 Lessons I Learned from Meeting 100 Strangers Over 100 Days

There are so many ways to cut my lessons learned from 100 Strangers, 100 Days. Today, I’m going to give you a slice of the grander, big-picture lessons. I’ve written 24. Yes, that’s a lot. However, I probably could’ve written a hundred, and indeed, I thought about it. However, that’d be overkill, and you likely wouldn’t read it anyways.
So, here are 24. 24 because… that’s just where I decided to draw the line. Enjoy them, but please… learn some lessons on your own, too. J It doesn’t take much to start something important to you.I came up with theidea for 100 Strangers, 100 Days while hiking one Saturday morning in September. Within two hours, I interviewed my first Stranger. Within six hours, I had 100Strangers100Days.com up and running. It doesn’t take much to start, and get something off the ground. Just takes focus and commitment.It takes a lot to be consistent. The hardest part of the journey was not meeting Strangers. It was meeting one and writing about the interaction each day …

You Make Time for What (and Who) Matters

I’ve always been a big proponent that you make time for the things and people that matter. Sounds simple, right? Then, why do so many not implement this better in their lives? Let me take a moment to recognize this more explicitly.
I touched on Laura Vanderkam’s TED Talk “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time” in last week’s post. In it, she shares a story of a woman who had a leak in her home. Coordinating with plumbers, and getting everything resolved, the woman estimated that it probably took seven hours of attention. That’s seven hours of “stuff” the woman hadn’t planned on doing. If you were to ask her (or most anyone) to find seven hours in the week before, she’d have told you, “heck, no, I don’t have seven hours. I’m busy!”
I was thinking of Laura’s talk in conjunction with Jacob Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life. Specifically, I’m aligning “making time” with Christensen’s Resources-Processes-Priorities framework. We make (process) time (resources) for the things th…

Start Your Own Lessons Learned

It’s been a little over a week since I wrapped up #100Strangers100Days, and I’ve given this a little reflection. As you can imagine, I get a lot of questions on what’s next and what my lessons have been. I find the question for lessons learned interesting.
When I think about lessons we learn, we learn them because they somehow resonate with us. They resonate with us so we can remember them. When I create my list of lessons learned, they will be my own.
I’m wondering how many people will try to learn their own lessons, or are they looking to me for the Cliff’s Notes. Meeting the 100 Strangers required no patented process. Required no money. Demanded little time. (What took a lot of time was everything after the meet.) Anyone can do this.
Again, the lessons will be my own, and though, I might paint them in a light that is best seen and understood by others, they will be mine.
Meeting a handful of Strangers today, tomorrow, over the next two weeks, and learning from the experience (an…