Worth the Read: Sales Solutions from Venture Capitalists

Originally Posted on May 2, 2013 on the Force Management blog.

Money Windfall

There are many organizations backed by venture capitalists that are clamoring to be leaders in their respective industry. We’ve worked with many in the high-tech space. Whether it’s articulating value and differentiation, hiring top sales talent or implementing an effective sales process, start-ups have unique challenges.

As the driving force behind these new businesses, venture capitalist firms are looking to create consistency, build on best-practices and drive results for their investments.

I like the way they think.

That’s why I often find myself reading some of their great insight in the blogosphere. Here are some of the most interesting posts I’ve come across recently. They’re too good not to share.

Use their tips. Read my thoughts. Share your own.

They’re worth the read.
1.  7 Tips to Ditch Bad Business Processes

As Mike Myatt points out, “One of the ways successful companies gain a competitive advantage is through creating process advantage.” I completely agree with his focus on mindset as a tip. Mindset is important and can be fully leveraged with a parallel focus on tools, process and content.

I partially disagree with is his “no Band-Aids” tip. While I agree that bubble gum and bailing wire are best used elsewhere, the reality of most fast-paced environments is that occasionally a Band-Aid on a minor boo-boo (comp plans) is a smart plan. The Band-Aid can allow you to focus your efforts on the double-bypass heart surgery (value-based sales methodology).
2.  The VC World Returns to Its Operating Roots

Ben Horowitz comments on the background of VCs today resonated both because we work with so many VC-backed technology firms, and because our clients also feel like they can get great advice from Force Management because we have been down the same paths they have.

My only ‘tweak’ to the comment is that uniformity can be a crutch. If everyone on the team has the exact same background, you can easily miss out on the great insights that come from seeing a problem/solution in one environment and utilizing that same solution for a problem in a whole new area. Our 100-pound brain, Dave Davies, talks about “pattern recognition” as one of the critical skills for great consultants. It can be just as effective for those who are dealing with the growing pains of a new venture.

3.  Through the Looking Glass: Hiring Sales People

Here’s another one from Ben Horowitz. The story about Mark Cranney is priceless … even more so since I have met him in person and can believe it is all true. To take Ben’s conclusion one step further, focus on a whole sales talent management system, like RSA did with us. You might also take a look at Force Management’s Cost of a Bad Hire Calculator to see how big your problem might be.
4.  Is Customer Segmentation the Key to Your B2B Website’s Success?

This post reminded me of how a few Force Management customers have literally recreated their website based on the sales messaging created during their Command of the Message® implementation. MarketSource is one of the more recent.

 

Tom Martin, Executive Director of Operations

Tom Martin is a 20+ year veteran of the sales methodology and training industry. He has a diverse set of global experience with sales (direct, indirect and inside), channel management, marketing, SFA/CRM, consulting, finance, legal, training, systems and operations. He serves as Force Management’s Executive Director of Operations

Improve Sales Performance with Google Alerts

Originally Posted on Feb 5, 2013 on the Force Management blog

Google Logo

Google Alerts is a fantastic, and free, resource to help you keep extra eyes on your prospects, clients, competitors…and even on how your own firm is being written about on the web. I was initially hesitant to start using this tool because I am overloaded with far too many blogs and email newsletters. However, I gave this a ten-day test period and came away a big fan.

Even if you are already overloaded by emails, here are a few reasons why you might want to use Google Alerts (though as with most things, use this in moderation!):

Salespeople

Problem: Having a hard time finding a valid business reason that is compelling enough for a prospect to take your call or respond to your email? Having an even tougher time finding information on business drivers because your prospect is not a public company?

Google Alerts Solution:  Set up an alert for the company and use a keyword that you think would help, for example “XYZ Inc.” “sales.” You might also set up an alert with the VP Sales’ name.

Marketing

Problem: Wondering how your marketing and sales messaging translates into the ‘real world’ and what your prospects might see when they search for solutions like yours?

Google Alerts Solution: Set up alerts referencing the Positive Business Outcomes your solutions deliver, or even the Value Drivers that are the most important to your buying audience. For example, “articulate value and differentiation” and “management operating rhythm” are on my list.

Executives

Problem 1: Wish you knew what your competitors were up to even though you don’t have a formal competitive intelligence initiative? Wondering if any of your alliance partners are starting to cozy up to one of your competitors?

Google Alerts Solution 1:  Set up an alert for the company names.

Problem 2: Wondering if anyone in the industry is being bought or sold?

Google Alerts Solution 2: Set up an alert for “your industry name” “acquisition”…be the first kid on the block to hear the news

Using the tool is simple. Just go to Google Alerts and enter each Alert you want, along with a few pieces of information – what type of Alert do you want (I use “Everything”), how often do you want it (I get some “Once a day” and most “Once a week”), and how many results do you want “Only the best” or “All results.”

That’s it! Try them out for ten days and play around with a few keywords. Delete the Alerts that aren’t worth the ten seconds of reading time. Let me know if you find other good uses for the Alerts.

Tom Martin, Executive Director of Operations

Tom Martin is a 20+ year veteran of the sales methodology and training industry. He    has a diverse set of global experience with sales (direct, indirect and inside), channel management, marketing, SFA/CRM, consulting, finance, legal, training, systems and operations. He serves as Force Management’s Executive Director of Operations