This week, I was at SaaStock East Coast – the first SaaStock conference to take place in NYC!
It was pretty epic: a crazy compelling mix of size and intimacy, with some all-star speakers. The caliber of attendee was impressive too. I connected with a lot of exceptional sales leaders facing down big early-stage startup challenges. And I learned a ton about how people are applying sales fundamentals in new ways in SaaS.
When I could, I dragged a few speakers away from (most of) the noise and asked them to share some insights with you: the Sales Hacker community.
I’ll share those exclusive video interviews with you after I share…
The 5 Biggest Highlights From The Sales Leaders Bootcamp
Winning By Design’s Julie Weill-Persofsky (and a few of her colleagues) led a super interactive, fast-paced, all-day workshop with me and about twenty Sales leaders and founders.
The entire day was packed with actionable insights, but here were the biggest things I and the other attendees took away:
1) The ACE framework for starting any Sales call
This one came courtesy of Jeremiah Lee Lancaster, a Sales Consultant at Winning by Design.
Ever find yourself talking to a decision-maker who leaves partway through your call? Or maybe you find yourself with two minutes left in the call, rushing to set up any next steps. This one is for you.
It’s too easy to forget the simple things that make sales calls effective, so put this checklist on your desk. Use it to start your calls on the right foot.
A = Appreciate. To start the meeting, tell your prospect you appreciate their time.
C = Check Time. Make sure you won’t be surprised or cut short part way through the call by confirming with your client that they’re still available for the time you originally set aside for the meeting. If they’re not, you can adjust your agenda, or simply find another time to meet when you’ll have the time you both need to dedicate to a productive conversation.
E = End Goal. Tell your client the end-goal of the call, and the agenda you’ll use to get there. The key here is to frame the goal in a customer-centric way. So, your end goal shouldn’t be to make sure they’re qualified for a full product demo. Instead, your end goal could be to determine if it might be worth their time to hear about how you can help them solve [enter the biggest pain point you solve].
2) The SPICED Framework for Diagnosing and Discovery
After you’ve opened the meeting right, this framework helps uncover major emotional motivators for your prospect, the biggest rational reasons they might purchase, and other key information that can inform your demo.
S = Establish Situation. Do your research, and confirm by asking a few context-setting questions. These just set the stage, and get your prospect warmed up for the conversation. For example, if you sell a solution that matters most when a sales team is scaling, you could say, “I saw you have 63 account executives on LinkedIn. Does that sound about right?”
P = Identify Pain. Now, ask follow-on questions about how they currently solve the problem you can help them with. To start, focus on how that problem affects the individual you are speaking to. Only then should you expand to ask how it affects the organization.
I = Identify Impact. Now’s your time to share specifically how you can help. Use what they shared with you and tell a story about how you’ve helped other customers.
CE = Uncover Critical Event. A critical event is a hard deadline by which the pain needs to be solved, or there will be some consequence. You can likely list out a few qualifying critical events for your buyers right now. Common ones are budgeting season, end of quarter, board presentations, a big problem with an existing vendor, etc.
Now, you’ve gathered information about how you should approach your product demo without forcing the client to answer questions about their budget, authority, or timeline (all things that help you but not them)
3) Using “Popsicle Moments” to Make Your Sales Process Buyer-Centric
Julie told us about one of the top-three rated hotels in Los Angeles, with a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor. It’s got normal rooms, normal beds, a small pool, and is painted a garish yellow.
So why does it do so well? They’ve identified one key pain point and solved it without asking for anything from their guests.
They have a big red phone by the pool. When you pick it up, somebody answers and offers you your choice of popsicle flavors. You choose, and they hand-deliver you a popsicle on a silver platter.
Imagine how surprisingly rewarding and lovely that is for anybody traveling with kids!
Think about opportunities in your buying process you have to be better and more enjoyable than your competitors. Those are popsicle moments.
4) Analyzing a Sales Funnel to 2x Revenue With Only Incremental Improvements.
There are lots of conversion points in any sales funnel:
- MQL to SQL
- SQL to SAL
- SAL to Closed-Won
- Closed-Won to successfully onboarded
- Onboarded to renewal
- Renewal to expansion
Grab your conversion rates for each of those stages, and multiply through your number of MQLs and your ACV.
Then, increase each conversion rate by just 10%. So if you have a 20% close rate, increase it to 22%. Run that math again, and you’ll find you have increased your outcome revenue by about 2x.
One-to-One With Speakers:
The speaker line-up at SaaStock East Coast was pretty dynamite. They grabbed my attention and did NOT let go. Props to Alexa Theuma and his team for creating such an engaging mix of tactical and strategic, soft-skill and hard-skill, theoretical and practical.
(I wanted more, so I just subscribed to SaaStock’s podcast, and definitely recommend it if you live in a SaaS world.)
But I learned just as much away from the main stage as I did sitting in front of it.
I managed to catch up with 6 of the speakers, and asked them to expand on a few things.
Here’s what I learned:
1) Julie Persofsky, Partner at Winning By Design shared the big (but simple) things most Sales Leaders miss, and the first things you should do when it looks like you’re going to miss quota:
2) David Thompson, CMO at Freshworks, told me the key to selling a customer that won’t churn after just one year. Bonus for his single biggest piece of advice for all sales and marketing people.
3) Patrick Campbell, Founder & CEO of Profitwell, told me how he found his first sales hire, and how to overcome the hiccups in transitioning from Founder-led sales.
4) Sujan Patel, Managing Director of Ramp Ventures taught me how to think about retention vs acquisition in a quickly growing business:
5) Alison Elworthy shared her view of how Customer Success has changed, and what SaaS companies need to be doing in 2019 to grow their customer base.
6) Michael Litt, the Founder and CEO of Vidyard, shared his biggest tip for selling with video, plus the story of the best prospecting video he ever received:
Thanks for putting on such an incredible conference, SaaStock! I’ll see you next year.