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Showing posts from February, 2017

Conscious Decisions – Realizing the Opportunity Costs of What You Address Now

I’ve been thinking of these two concepts intersecting today about what we choose to do – Be conscious of what is not getting done“If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden Both of these touch on the economic principal of opportunity cost.

Especially in a startup with limited resources, opportunity cost is a big deal. On one hand, you can deliver an MVP or hack something together to test knowing full well that if it works, you’ll have to do it over.
The question comes to the question of value. What can you do now that perhaps is not scalable, but becomes a great problem to have later? What “best practices” can you stiff arm so you can focus driving max value areas? Should you focus on retention more than new sales now?
Realize the resources you have. Realize how you can deploy these resources in the most value-driving ways now. Be cognizant of what you’re consciously not delivering now. Realize what’s in store to (re-)address lat…

5 Common Excuses that Fail to Realize the Real Problem

Common excuses and expressions that fail to realize and address the real problem: “I’m waiting for the right opportunity.” Except, upon digging further, they’re really looking for the “perfect” opportunity. Problem is that there’s rarely any perfect opportunity. We strive for improving and crave being better. That’s incongruent with seeking perfection because by definition, perfection cannot be improved. Instead, realize how imperfect makes perfect.“I’m not flexible enough!” most people tell me when I recommend yoga as a supplemental exercise. That’s silly. You can develop that flexibility through yoga. Too often I hear excuses like this for things like starting a company and starting a blog because “I’m not a writer!” If you start writing a blog, you’re a blogger. You’re a writer. You have to start somewhere.“I don’t have time.” No, no, you’re not making time. You always make time for the things and people who matter like that big interview coming up, or the pipe that burst in the wa…

Sales Relationship Continuity

From Common Roles in a Startup, I mention an excerpt from Predictable Revenue, specifically the batons (“processes”) that crosses functions. To keep our teams aligned and to ensure the best service and delivery for our customers, our teams overlap during the sales process.
Here’s how this might look: Business Development Rep (BDR) à Account Exec (AE) – the BDR ensures the prospect is sales qualified and ensures the demo with the AE is performed.AE à Onboarding – the AE works hand-in-hand with the onboarding team on who and what is needed to launch a pilot. This starts when the AE has received verbal confirmation of a pilot.AE à Customer Success (CS) – the AE involves the CS upon verbal agreement of a buy decision. CS now has the who, the pain points, the pricing needs, and other educational aspects of the deal. Each prospect and customer is hard-earned, and so it’s crucial each transition point is seamless for the customer while enabling better engagement from the internal teams. Some…

Marketing vs. Sales Qualification

Want to continue from the revenue-theme from Tuesday – Common Revenue Roles – and quickly look at the differences and the importance of two types of leads – marketing qualified and sales qualified leads. Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – these are prospects have been vetted to be the right type of person to engage with. Commonly, these leads could have taken some action like filled out a gated content form that has effectively identified this lead as someone to engage with.Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – these are prospects that are typically engaged by the BDR or SDR, and who are viable opportunities.
It’s important to understand the differences between these two to effectively engage and sell. If leads are not vetted from an MQL perspective, SDRs can be wasting a lot of effort speaking with leads who either will not buy for many months down the line, or worse, never buy.
Market-qualifying leads includes verifying the lead fits the target market for the product or service. For SalesWise…

Common Revenue Roles at a Startup

“Pay special attention to “batons” that cross functions. Whenever a process crosses teams (Marketing handing leads to Sales, or Sales passing new clients to professional services, etc.), a “baton” is passed. These handoffs are the cause of 80% of the problems and defects in your processes. Redesign how the batons are passed to ensure they are passed smoothly and aren’t dropped.” Aaron Ross, Author, Predictable Revenue As we continue to scale at SalesWise, it’s important to pay very special attention to our sales process, and the many different hands involved in sales. Especially as I’m hiring in both sales and marketing, it’s important for candidates and existing team members to understand the flow.
Here are the roles for us throughout the revenue-side of the business: Marketing – Can go into many facets here. Specifically, the different ops sides of marketing, but from the beginning, it’s likely marketing is involved to serve up leads for sales to then engage on. (More on these later…

Losing a Sale Due to A Non-Competitive Comparison

Losing a deal sucks. I won’t paint a prettier picture or use more eloquent words. It just sucks. You’ll lose deals as a sales guy. You may lose a lot of deals over the years. However, there are some opportunities that sting more than others.
This happened to me recently when a prospect decided not to move forward with a pilot. The prospect cited an infrastructure and a missing feature issue. The infrastructure was actually the nail in the coffin, and was an internal issue. Not much can be done. However, I was also thinking about the feature issue. Though this wasn’t the real concern, it made me think because we’re selling a new product and building a nascent category. In this way, we can get compared to existing solutions that are similar-ish, but actually very different.
When it comes to buying, prospects want comparisons. Comparisons help understand solutions and offerings. Think about how often people say, “it’s the Uber of X” or “it’s the Facebook for Y”. They can be completely d…

Finance of Startups: For Dummies (Part 13 – Snap Inc. S-1)

Last week, Snap Inc. (company behind the Snapchat app) filed their S-1 for an initial public offering (IPO). I haven’t done a Finance for Dummies post in a while, and Snapchat’s an interesting company to look at.
I remember a couple years ago when there was a rumor of a $4B acquisition offer from Google ($3B from Facebook). Was wondering if the company would try to be acquired, or go for an IPO. Looks like I have my answer.
Let’s take a look at what’s in the registration statement… The company defines itself from the get-go as a camera company. They cite the camera as the greatest opportunity to improve how people live and communicate.Snapchat started life as Picabook around mid-2011, and later renamed as Snapchat. Months later, they hit 1K daily active users (DAU). (Still before 2012.) They hit 1M DAUs before 2013. 100M DAUs 2015.Snapchat’s first ad was for the film Ouija in 2014.Snapchat averages 158M DAUs today generating over 2.5B Snaps a day. (Snap = short videos and images sent…

Lessons from My First Year Working at Startup

One year ago, I announced I jumped full-time with a startup called SalesWise. It had been several years since I had worked for a company (April 2012, I left Chainalytics and the corporate/ consulting world). They say one year in consulting is like working seven years in “corporate” job. I’d say that’s more fitting to say from my one year at SalesWise, and hungry for more.
SalesWise is still an early-stage company. When I joined, I was the first business hire. It enabled me to get in on the ground, and start building out… well, everything – sales, marketing, customer success, and more.
A few lessons learned: It’s been a lot harder. When I joined, I was thinking, “wow, the product is great! The two founders are experienced. The CEO has even started four with all four successful exits. This will be a rocket ship!” Not so much. Modern B2B sales is harder than most people think. Every new startup is a new company with, likely, a new idea. There are tools to make things easier, better equi…