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
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.
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.