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Essential Sales Content for Technology Professionals: Learn from the Experts and Start Selling
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Essential Sales Content for Technology Professionals: Learn from the Experts and Start Selling

Essential Sales Content for Technology Professionals: Learn from the Experts and Start Selling

Sales
August 2, 2021
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20 Jogs
Why it matters?

As a sales professional, you are always looking for new ways to improve your skills and need to constantly be at the top of your game. This is a field that requires constant learning and growth to be successful. The best way to do this, however, is not by reading blogs from sales experts - it's by actually listening in on the conversations they're having with clients. Competition is fierce, and there are many different ways to out-sell your competition.

In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of the best content available online for technology professionals looking for advice on how to improve their skills or looking for a job in sales. It includes advice on strategies to hit a quotas, setting up teams, and examples of the best sales pitches available. Once you've hit your stride, learn about more advanced sales techniques to scale your business to the next level.

The Content

Each link contains a summary produced by one of Joggo's geniuses so you can decide where to spend your time learning more

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Packy McCormick
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Not Boring

Is That a Family Office in Your Pocket?

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The Summary

Equi

  • Makes it easier to access financial markets
  • A hedge fund in the back with tech interface in the front
  • Equi identifies and invests in the world’s best fund managers
  • Ultra-high net worth individuals often have 50% of their portfolios in alternative investments
  • Diversifying portfolio with alternative investments has shown higher returns
  • Equi takes the family office model and combines it with tech to make investment decisions
    • The value of a portfolio they can offer you is well above $90 million but the way they invest pools of people’s money is lower

Rebuilding a modern portfolio

  • The 60/40 approach of investing has failed to show returns significant enough
    • If you invest in treasuries you will have your returns outpaced by inflation
  • Until very recently it was very difficult to access alternative investments
  • University endowments have moved to a portfolio of 50% alternative investments
    • Alternatives offer higher returns than traditional investments
    • Provides diversification for a portfolio

Meet Equi

  • Equi was born out of its founders champagne problem
    • The founders found that funds would not accept their offer of investment between 1-5 million dollars 
  • Equi looks to solve the hollowing of the middle class in America
    • Retiring Americans are losing buying power when they retire

How Equi invests

  • Identify managers in funds that are returning well and are involved in industries like private credit rather than equities
  • The goal is to identify the managers with the highest performance and lowest risk on investment through tracking data over 100 month periods
  • Three strategies:
    • Balanced
    • Growth
    • Income-oriented

Democratizing access to financial markets

  • Instead of paying for marketing, they are using a YouTube channel
    • Have received over $136 million in AUM
  • Allow individual investors, in a few years, to have access to the alternative investments that ultra-high net worth individuals do
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First Round Review

Better meetings make for better days - 20 tactics to try out with your team

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The Summary

Are you or your company looking to run more effective team meetings that don't sap energy or waste time? Here are some of the best practices from some of the smartest leaders interviewed by First Round Review. Here's 20 tactical ideas to try:

Rethink How You Check-In With Others and Yourself

  1. Evade the spillover effect between meetings by revisiting your wins
  2. Don't jump straight into solution mode
  3. Zoom out by reflecting in threes

Try Something New

  1. Arrange gratitude time
  2. Highlight what good looks like and how it was completed
  3. Book cameos to give people a window into other parts of the company

Avoid These Speed Bumps

  1. Switch sides when you're stuck in a stalemate
  2. Tackle derailments by pinning down the details
  3. Challenge the when to go faster

Improve on Generating Ideas and Capturing Learnings

  1. Assess as a group, ideate individually
  2. Break down big hairy goals by putting on your black hat
  3. Emphasize long-term impact and learning rather than status reports and milestones
  4. Organize a post-mortem after a big success

Rally Team Spirit By Boosting Recognition and Inclusion

  1. Participate in share in-the moment praise and send kudos up the flagpole
  2. Regulate airwaves to run more inclusive team meetings

Go the Extra Mile to Make Your Meetings Even More Effective

  1. Scale your questions to surface feedback on how your meetings are really going
  2. Outline all your agendas to bring objective to the following week
  3. Write a letter to craft pre-reads with a more personal touch

Dump the Meetings You Don't Need to Be In

  1. Say no to the meeting invite in your inbox by starting with a single sentence
  2. Cancel your favorite meeting
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First Round Review

3 Rules for Building a More Caring Culture - This Chief People Officer Shares Lessons from Lambda School & InVision

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The Summary

How to train more empathetic leaders, great listeners, and create a safe environment where employees develop

Build an Employee Experience that Matches the Company

  • Help your employees identify with the company through a people team that creates a healthy workplace that fosters talent.
  • Design your onboarding process in such a way that it allows new employees to walk in the customers' shoes.

Build your Management around Empathy

  • Allow your employees to be genuinely themselves – make them feel seen and heard.
  • During the interview process, create a natural conversation rather than a typical interview.
  • Assess whether your employees can be self-reflective about their struggles.
  • Inspire curiosity in employees, and teach them to listen before coming up with an action plan.
  • Apply empathy and care to the firing process as well – let them be in power and decide when the conversation is had.

Create an Environment where People can Grow

  • Handle interpersonal conflicts through skip-level meetings; give your employees a chance to have control over the conversation.
  • Cultivate an open culture by talking with them about their careers and plans openly.
  • Make decency the pivotal part of the development programs.
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Stratechery

Snap Earnings, Twitter Earnings, Additional Notes (Stratechery Daily Update 7-27-2021)

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The Summary

Snapchat earnings grow even as pandemic wanes

  • The company experienced huge growth in both users and revenue in the first and second quarter this year.
    • While the pandemic may have benefitted Snapchat, its growth in the past two years is part of a larger pattern of growth since the end of 2018.
  • Though Snapchat "stories" from users' friends have declined, with the pandemic restricting daily activities, users are instead viewing more content from Discover and Spotlight.

Social Networks taking up the TikTok strategy

  • Snapchat's Spotlight is a new, TikTok-like feature which gathers the best content from across its network.
  • Similarly, Instagram is reworking its timeline to surface the best content from everywhere, not just from the people you follow.
  • Twitter's new Topics feature offers a more direct way for users to choose what's shown on their Timeline.
    • No longer relying on following users as a way of personalizing the Timeline.
    • Twitter largely credits Topics for driving the company's growth in the second quarter.

iOS 14 and direct response

  • Both Snapchat and Twitter were less affected by iOS 14 changes than expected.
    • The rollout was later and slower than expected.
    • Twitter has always had a relatively weak direct response business, making it less vulnerable.
    • Snapchat has a stronger direct response business, making it more vulnerable.
  • Facebook is the more reliant on direct response than both Snapchat and Facebook, but still hasn't felt significant impacts from iOS 14.
  • The companies will likely experience reductions in magnitude of growth, not a complete reversal in growth.
October 1, 2019
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Elad Gil
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Elad Gil

Fear of Sales

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The Summary

Why do product-center founders fear sales? 1) Familiarity Even though founders like to have familiarity with their own sales, they have to learn how to hire a sales leader just like how they also have a finance and PR team. 2) Perception of viewing sale applicants as liberal art degrees who were athletes in college Sales productivity is really easy to track, so founders shouldn’t fear the stereotypical profile of sales managers and they should just hire them and check on them. 3) Cultural concerns It’s certain that sales will change the culture, so instead of fighting it, founders should learn how they can productively incorporate sales people. 4) The fear of overspend and crash & burn If a company hires a lot of sales people before it has a successful sales model, the company may lose a lot of money. Thus, it is often better to start sales teams small and experimental before enlarging the team.

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Jeff Serlin
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Intercom

The 3 core skills to master real-time selling

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The Summary

Three critical skills frontline sales reps need to maximize output

  1. When qualifying, treat chats like phone calls/ in-person meetings. Use a warm introduction, be personal, and answer the customer’s questions just like you would face to face. Be mindful of your response time and monitor it as a KPI.
  2. Be prepared to tackle a wider range of tough questions in real-time. Have reps go through chat-specific training and certification programs to verify these skills.
  3. Accelerate the sales cycle and close the deal. After talking to the customer, schedule a meeting, follow up via email, and close that deal.

Other best practices

  • Loop in teammates for real-time discovery.  Avoid emailing back and forth.
  • Close deals in real-time. Following these principles will help you capture more return on investment for your marketing spend and build a stronger pipeline.
October 4, 2017
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Jeff Gardner
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Intercom

Understanding the customer success pyramid

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The Summary

The pyramid base: precise and accurate customer service

Well-trained support representatives using the right software is key

Fast

  • Implement properly resourced teams
  • Apply real-time chat so that people can get all the answers they need at exactly the time they most need it

Personal

Allow customer support agents to be themselves and relate on a personal level to customers

Personalized

  • Have centralized access to information about your customers
  • Use the information you have learned about your customers and apply that information to improve the relationship

Preemptive

Intervene before the customer knows they have a problem

The top: prescient

  • At this stage, technology will start taking over the preemptive work and automatically guide customers to solutions
  • Eventually, you could automatically offer a totally customized experience for a customer based on the usage patterns of other customers
July 9, 2018
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Tom Foley
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Intercom

Launch to sell – leverage sales enablement to maximize product launches

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The Summary

The Bottom Line

  • Shipping product fast and often means more opportunities for the sales team to delight customers and engage with prospects.
  • Your sales team needs a lot more than an email on launch day to maximize the opportunities that product launches present.
  • Sales Enablement takes inputs from marketing and product to prepare the sales team on launch day

Process for Successful Sales Enablement

  • Assess the complexity of the new feature by asking questions to the sales and product team and watching the sales team use the product and see which questions they ask
  • Determine any risks that might come out of the change (i.e., price increase and reduction in features leading to churn)
  • Determine which sales enablement activities to use for training the sales team for the launch
  • Create the plan and align all stakeholders for successful execution
  • Make sure the team is prepared to react quickly on launch day especially with issues / concerns
  • Measure the impact of the launch on two fronts: preparedness of the sales team and customer / prospect reactions
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Camilla Pielech
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Intercom

How to master your sales handover

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The Summary

Similar to passing a baton in a relay race, handing over the relationship with your customers from one part of the sales team to the next is vulnerable to mistakes. How should you handle it?

Build Trust

Account Executives have to build significant trust with a customer to unveil any factors that the Relationship Manager needs to be aware of about the customer.

Ensure Perfect Alignment

The Relationship Manager should perfectly align with the Account Executive's foundations so they know what type of customer they must take care of.

How to Ensure Perfect Alignment:

1) Understand Customer Behavioral Style

Identify a customer's preferred behavior style using the DISC framework. 1. Dominant 1. Extroverted and Task-Oriented 2. Influencer 1. Extroverted and People-Oriented 3. Steady Relator 1. Introverted and People-Oriented 4. Cautious Compliant 1. Introverted and Task-Oriented

2) Understanding What a Customer’s Job-to-Be-Done (JTBD) Is

  • Why are they looking to buy a new tool?
  • What is the problem they are facing?

3) Keep Internal Notes About the Customer's JTBD

Internal notes allow the Relationship Manager to understand customers and their goals.

July 30, 2018
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Charles Dennis
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Intercom

License to sell: 5 strategies to hit your sales quota

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The Summary

Set the right pace

Make a weekly sales goal that is achievable and that you can consistently meet each month

Qualify leads for quality

Spend less time chasing leads who were never going to buy and more time on promising leads

Don’t let good leads go dark

  • Follow up with leads who haven’t responded to your last message
  • Send them relevant content that will incentivize them to respond and engage

Re-engage your cold leads

  • If a lead has ghosted you, reach out and try to gain context on the situation
  • Tip: Stay on top of their industry's news and use it as a conversation starter
    • E.g. Their company got a new round of funding? Congratulate them, show them how updates to your product could help them grow even faster

Communicate to sell

When passing sales opportunities, share all details with AEs and follow up when needed

November 6, 2018
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Patrick O'Neill
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Intercom

Sales velocity: the simple equation that will help you hit your number

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The Summary

Sales velocity is the measurement of how long it takes a business to generate revenue. The higher the sales velocity, the faster a business is making money. How do you boost it?

Increase the Number of Sales Opportunities

  1. Prioritize viable sales opportunities by having well-defined qualification criteria.
  2. Focus on customers who are currently getting value from your product and approach similar ones.

Drive Up Your Average Deal Size

  1. Strive to understand your prospect’s pain points and pitch the value of the upsell accordingly.
  2. Sell quickly to smaller opportunities and thoroughly to bigger accounts.

Optimize Your Personal Win Rate

  1. When you lose a prospect, understand why your prospect is looking for a new solution.
  2. Figure out why your prospect is interested in your competitor’s solution

Shorten the length of your sales cycle

  1. Wait no more than one hour to contact qualified sales opportunities.
  2. Use content banks to make it easier for you to get prospects the information they need and fast.
    1. E.g., Guides, blog posts, and product overviews
  3. When a prospect is trialing your product, don’t weigh them down by checking in every two days.
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Nicole Rashied
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Intercom

Why efficiency, not just effectiveness, is key to scaling customer success

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The Summary

It is more important than ever for customer success managers to increase their efficiency. How?

Streamline the Pre-sale to Post-Sale Handoff

  • Info. about customers falls through the cracks.
  • Having an internal handoff ensures:
    • You are up to speed on new customers.
    • Deepening customer trust by proving you understand their business.

Don't Assume You and Your Customers Are on the Same Page

Don't: 1. Assume the customer knows how your product works. 2. Assume you and your customer share the same level of technical knowledge. 3. Assume customers have the resources to complete tasks outside their area of expertise.

Focus on Providing Solutions, Not Explaining Features

Stay focused on why your customers purchased your product and what your product can do for them right now.

Empower Your Customers to Help Themselves

Point customers to resources they can access on their own time.

Track the Amount of Time You’re Spending With Each Customer

  • More activities don't guarantee more value.
  • Focus on doing the right work.
December 1, 2020
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David Sacks
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Bottom Up

Simple Math to Set Up a Sales Team

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The Summary

It is important to effectively structure incentives to manage sales reps.

Key incentives for a sales rep

  • Base Salary, Quota, Commission Rate, Variable Pay, On-Target Earnings
  • Incentivize sales reps to continue doing better after hitting expectations.

Managers

  • Because average team attains 70% of total team quota, managers need to have a quota set at 80% of team quota.
    • This enables sales managers to work harder.

Territories

To prevent conflict, specialize sales reps to particular territories. Ways to divide up the world: 1. Geographical territories 2. Industry verticals 3. Round-robin (useful for small teams)

Dealing with Expansion and Renewals

  1. Original Owner
    1. Let account renewals stay with original owner
  2. Territories
    1. Give reps ownership to particular geographic territories
  3. Specialists
  4. Customer Success Manager Full cost of sales team can be close to 50% of sales. Thus, it is important to be aware of various variables to ensure everyone in sales is given proper incentives to succeed.
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Sebastian McKenna Long
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Intercom

Tune up your sales pitch with a focus on clarity

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The Summary

Great sales pitches are catchy, infectious, and immediately resonant with the audience, similar to a catchy pop song.

Why Optimize a Sales Pitch for Clarity?

Complex sales pitches showing too many features of your product can lead to confusion for your prospects.

How to Craft Your Winning Sales Pitch

1) Identify Your Prospect's Goal

  1. Do a deep discovery process to discover your prospect's pain.
  2. Narrow down features they find most useful.
  3. Get your customer to define the full steps to implementation.
  4. Make use of customer references.
  5. Get a full picture of relevant players.
  6. Include ROI estimates.
  7. Align expectations at the start of every discovery call.

2) Customize Your Pitch Every Time

Do not pitch the same thing to every customer. Pitch the solutions that best match a customer's problems.

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Pete Prowitt
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Intercom

Drop the poker face: Why salespeople need to embrace authenticity

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The Summary

For salespeople, being transparent and authentic is more important than ever

  • Historically, salespeople controlled the flow of information.
  • This information disparity gave them increased control and leverage in deals.

Today the buyer-seller dynamic has changed drastically

  1. Software buyers are more educated
  2. Software is easier to replace
  3. With the subscription model, buyers are not locked into long term purchases 
  4. There is more competition and more choice for software buyers 
  5. Products like AWS have reduced barriers to entry  

Salespeople add value through authenticity

  • Crucial element to building trust with the buyer 
  • Best way to sell authentically is by acknowledging your own limitations  
  • Be able to admit when you don’t have all the answers 

How to bring authenticity to the sales floor

  • Embrace a culture of transparency from the top down 
  • Deliver value to buyers first, then sell the product 
  • Articulate the business impact that your product will drive 
  • Acknowledge your product’s strengths and gaps 
  • Educate your buyers about the broader market in their terms 
  • Show your hand early and often 
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Peter Kazanjy
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First Round Review

10 Ways You Need to Change How You Think and Talk to Succeed at Sales  

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The Summary

  • Embrace Plenty, Not Scarcity
  • Put Activity Above All Else
  • Be Direct to Get Down to Business
  • Build Many Shallow Relationships
  • Assume the Sale is Inevitable
  • Be Unfazed by Rejection
  • Record Everything – But Efficiently
  • Be a Fearless Expert
  • Get Comfortable Being Transparent
  • Sales Is About Math
  • The Right Mindset Is Made of Building Blocks
September 21, 2009
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Seth Godin
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Seth Godin

Understanding business development

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The Summary

Drivers for Business Development

  • Make a profit
  • Support / become part of the core mission
  • Support the brand

Tips for BD

  • Build a process for conducting BD / partnerships first
  • Determine decision rights for BD activity
  • Key stage is courtship. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • Think of BD as building partnerships not just buying and selling
  • Capture the energy in the room and capture it to show enthusiasm
  • Capture partners and organizations that are growing with momentum
  • Be wary of NDA and legal involvement too early in the process
  • Cast a wider net and get yourself out in the market with blogs and conferences
  • Make sure your company is enabled to support BD and direct queries to the right people
  • Structure deals with the expectation of success and keep a positive mindset
  • No matter how the deal ends make sure to follow up and stay involved
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Pete Prowitt
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Intercom

Making the leap: Insider advice on how to ace your first closing role in Sales

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The Summary

Advice for Sales Development Reps

  • Ask if the approach generates more qualified leads that increase revenue and decrease deal cycles
  • Quota isn't the end goal; consistent top-performing is
  • Being ready for a closing role required 15 months experience
  • Identify key skills and shadow those who do it well

Transition from SDR to Closing Role

  • Reach out to peers if you start to panic about your revenue target
  • Know your business - competitors, products, opportunity stages, and how many will close
  • Make sure you understand what buying stage your customer is in
  • Build strong relationships with your customer to garner trust and understand their needs
  • Continuously ask for feedback
  • Stay curious with your customers problems
  • Stay organized
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Stan Massueras
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Intercom

Proven sales plays for skyrocketing growth

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The Summary

3 sales plays that you can use right away

  • Nail your sales demo
    • Explain the use case, problems the product will solve, and why people should care
  • Keep your sales reps motivated with development plans
    • Don't lose your top reps
    • Each rep should have an individual development plan (IDP) to focus them towards their career goal
  • Ensure discounts are a win-win
    • Don't use discounts just to close deals or justify purchases
    • Design your pricing to be fair and transparent
    • Match cost to value and commitment from your customers
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Geoffrey Keating
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Intercom

How to build, manage and scale a sales team – 12 strategies from the experts

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The Summary

  1. Decide on top- down vs bottom-up
  2. Discover your ideal structure
  3. Structure sales organization for maximum efficiency
  4. Use the sales acceleration formula (Mark Roberge) to build sales team
  5. Create a sales culture that’s about more than quota
  6. Seek passionate sales people
  7. Hire sales people who can blend art and science
  8. Choose a mode of compensation
  9. Align compensation to buyer behavior
  10. Determine the base salary/variable split
  11. Design an onboarding process that will make sales reps stay
  12. Train reps for effectiveness, not just efficiency