Ep. #1213 - How to Dominate B2B Sales
In today’s Startup Hustle episode, Matt DeCoursey and Adam Springer, owner of Startup Sales, discuss how to dominate B2B sales. Gain insights from two accomplished sales professionals on why founders must excel in sales for their businesses to thrive. Tune in to discover strategies for consistently filling your sales funnel, asking the right questions, and avoiding common pitfalls during prospecting.
Covered In This Episode
B2B sales will likely reach $20.9 trillion by 2027. Many businesses will strive to get a large piece of the pie with the right strategies. Adam Springer of Startup Sales helps B2B companies generate leads.
Listen to Matt and Adam discuss Adam’s backstory and the mistakes that founders make. They agree that sales is not about the company but a partnership with clients who buy the benefits. These two experienced B2B salespeople agree on the role of trust and understanding and filling your sales funnel.
Matt and Adam also discuss firing a client and why objections can be beneficial during the sales process. The conversation segues to the most common prospecting mistakes, sales automation, and more. They agree that founders should get help but get the right help.
Asking the right questions can help you dominate B2B sales, among other things. Find out more in this Startup Hustle episode now.
- Adam’s backstory (1:15)
- Mistakes that founders make (3:09)
- Sales are not about you. It’s a partnership (4:42)
- People buy the benefits (8:04)
- The role of trust and understanding in B2B sales (12:51)
- Filling your sales funnel with more people (15:06)
- Firing a client (18:17)
- The opportunity cost (19:51)
- Why objections are good during a sales process (23:47)
- The most common prospecting mistakes (28:20)
- Sales automation (33:17)
- Make deposits before you can make withdrawals (36:47)
- Asking the right questions (38:14)
- Startup Sales Podcast (42:04)
- Don’t be afraid of sales (43:29)
- Shorten and qualify your sales pitch (46:24)
The founder really needs to learn what that process looks like themselves, but not just for the sales process. Also, you could have your finger on the pulse and understand who your prospects are, what problems they have, what pains they are having, and how your product helps them, rather than looking at it as feature-based. This is the problem we’re solving for you.– Adam Springer
Too many people, especially when you haven’t built a sales organization, spend too much time finding a way to make the sales process about them. It needs to be about your customer, client, buyer, user, or whatever it is that you call them at your business. Those are the people that are going to pay the bills. Nothing really happens until something is sold.– Matt DeCoursey
Don’t be afraid of sales. Get help, but get the right help. Too many founders or even salespeople or other people go and listen to somebody with a large audience or a large voice online. But sometimes, those people are not the right people to listen to. So, you need to look at that person’s history and experience to see if it’s relevant for you before listening to that person.– Adam Springer
As a founder, even if you don’t feel like you’re a salesperson, you need to get in there and experience it. It’ll help you understand what you’re looking for when you do go to expand your team. Find people who are hungry to make deals, people who are active and outward like that outbound nature of things.– Matt DeCoursey
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Our Startup Hustle partners have suitable options if you need additional services for business growth. Check them out today!
Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back, back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. So how do you dominate business-to-business sales? This is not a question that we are probably going to completely answer in one episode because it’s broad and deep. There’s a whole lot of input we can give you, and I got an expert to have the discussion with today. Before I introduce him, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. There’s a link for that in the show notes. With me today, I’ve got Adam Springer. And Adam is the founder of Startup Sales. You can go to StartupSales.io. There’s a link for that in the show notes, show notes as well, and learn more about what Adams is up to, straight out of Tel Aviv, Israel. Adam, welcome to Startup Hustle.
Adam Springer 0:58
Thanks for having me.
Matt DeCoursey 0:59
Yeah, this may be my first guest that was in Israel when we recorded, so that’s, that’s interesting. You know what, let’s just let’s get things started with a little more about your backstory. And then we’ll drop the knowledge we think we have on b2b sales.
Adam Springer 1:14
So I won’t give you my whole life story because I don’t think that’d be too, too interesting for most people. But I’ll tell you where it begins with B2B sales. So I actually, had two companies in America when I was living there, and went on vacation in Israel just to go do some scuba diving. I was having a lot of fun. They offered me a job as a diver instructor, I said, screw it, let’s let’s stay. I shut down my businesses and stayed for three years as a dive instructor. And then after, you know, three years, your mind kind of goes numb. Being a professional beach bum. So I I joined the startup scene here in Tel Aviv and have been growing my career ever since then.
Matt DeCoursey 2:00
I like that I like the approach pattern to scuba diving instruction. I’ve been an amateur farmer for part of this year. And yeah, there’s some similarities to it. Yeah, obviously, a lot of people listening are going to be entrepreneurs, or founders, they want to be or maybe work around them. And you know, obviously, b2b sales is a big part of a lot of our businesses, you know, as the CEO and founder of Full Scale, that’s all I do. You know, it really is a big topic to unwrap and, you know, a 40-minute podcast, where do you want to start?
Adam Springer 2:36
That’s tough. I’ll give you a little bit more background for the people that are listening. I’ve been the first salesperson of for startups going from zero to a million in under a year and then scaling up to 10 to 20 million, depending on the company. Three successes, unicorns, IPOs, and one failure. But I think that background is important to know where I’m coming from. I think we should talk about the mistakes. We could start with the mistakes that founders make. Is that good for you?
Matt DeCoursey 3:06
Yeah, walk it like, yeah.
Adam Springer 3:08
So I think the some of the biggest mistakes that founders make is, is not starting. And that to me is, you know, I’ve got to build the right website, or I need to have this up and running before I need to have a better product before. And they don’t understand that a sales is not just going to come as soon as you have the greatest product in the world. Even if you do have the greatest product in the world sales doesn’t just show up at your door knocking. So that’s one another mistake that’s kind of tied to that. They’ll be like, Okay, well, I’ll start right away, or now’s the right time to start. But I don’t want to do it, I’m just gonna hire somebody to do it. I’ve, except for in my own personal experience, I’ve never met a first hire, or a company that hired hired, their first sales hire that was successful, they’ve always failed miserably. And the reason for that is because the founder really needs to learn what that process looks like themselves, but not just for the sales process, which has benefits that we could get into. But also so that you could have your finger on the pulse and understand who your prospects are, what problems they have, what pains are they having, and how does your product help them. Rather than looking at it feature based, hey, I’ve got this feature, I’ve got this feature. It needs to be more, hey, this is the problem that we’re solving for you. And that’s you only learn that when you’re having the conversation to yourself.
Matt DeCoursey 4:36
Have you listened to the show before? Because I use that phrase, keep your finger on the pulse of your business a lot.
Adam Springer 4:41
Matt DeCoursey 4:42
Yeah, yeah. I’ve never heard anybody else say it just like that. I mean, and I agree with you. I think that you know, like, you know, just because you build it doesn’t mean that they’re going to come I think it’s good for a founder to do every job at the business. Sales is obviously an important one and I think that, you know, in congress with what you were mentioning, I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make is, like you said, waiting too long to start it. And whether you have the product out or not, you should be selling, I think the the being involved in the sales process, which so many tech founders don’t want to do because they’re because selling things isn’t always what they’re passionate about. Creating the product and the benefits that it creates for people is what you’re a little more passionate about. But if you want to see, I don’t know, I think that all parts of life are sales. And, you know, whether you’re trying to sell your wife on what you want for dinner, or me trying to sell my daughter about why she needed to put her shoes on faster for school today, you’re still selling, you know, you’re still solving a problem. And, you know, trying to get out there. And I think the best part about it from a product standpoint is a founder or their team do want to be obsessed with product, you’re going to uncover all of all the objections that people have pretty early. And I think that that’s a big part of like understanding the buyers journey. I think more the more you can do to empathize with that, the better off you’re going to under understand it. I think and then since we’re on the mistake train, I think too many people that especially when you haven’t built a sales organization, they spend too much time, they find a way to make the sales process about them. And it needs to be about your customer, your client, your buyer, user, whatever it is that you call them at your business. Those are the people that are going to pay the bills and not in any business, nothing really happens until something is sold. There’s nothing to ship, there’s nothing to account for, there’s nothing to rebuild, repair service, any of that. So, you know, sales needs to be the biggest thing, but so many people just don’t void just altogether.
Adam Springer 6:47
Yeah, I think, as you said, it’s not about you. You shouldn’t have your slide deck ready to, hey, here’s my history, here’s what our founding teams history is. They don’t care. Nobody cares about your story. They don’t care about the, you know your history. They care about the problem they have and like yourself. And I think as to kind of expand on what you were saying it’s also you should be looking at not what features you have not about you. You need to sales is not scary, you shouldn’t look at sales, as I need to convince you have to do something. I need to convince you to buy something. It should be, I’m here to help you, you have a problem. Let’s hear what your problem is. Let’s see if there’s a partnership, not one, somebody on another level. Let’s see there’s a partnership here where we can help each other. You help me by giving me money, I help you by solving your problem. And that’s when you really get down to changing your mindset about what sales is and looking at more at a partnership, then it becomes easy. And I mean, there’s I mean, not easy, easy, like you’re gonna walk down the street tomorrow and sell a million dollars worth but much easier and less scary than what you.
Matt DeCoursey 8:04
I think people get scared of sales because there’s a lot there’s a whole personality style that doesn’t want to feel salesy. They don’t want to be viewed as trying to sell you something. Here’s a wake up call people, everyone has to try to sell something just like I said at the beginning of the show, it’s whether it’s an idea to your husband or wife or whomever, to all of it, it is all selling now you use the word feature. Now, with that, I don’t like the word feature existing and a solo capacity, it always has to have the advantages and benefits that it provides along with it. And this is back to that understanding that the client journey or the customer journey, you know. If you have a better understanding of what problem you’re solving, what value that creates, and, and the advantages that you have over competitive products or situations and then the benefits because the benefits is what people buy. That’s what makes people buy anything. And a benefit of buying can be everything from my favorite one, which is peace of mind. How do you put a price tag on that if you can give someone peace of mind and in a buying situation, you’re not going to have the problem of not selling you’re going to have the problem of keeping up with having enough stuff to sell. And then you know, I mean, obviously making in the b2b capacity, anything you can do that makes money or saves money I have learned with you know, now almost 30 years of experience as a salesperson that when you sell something that generate that creates a revenue boost. People seem to look at that a lot different than something that saves money, but don’t look past the cost savings because Saving money is making money. So find a way to explain that and break it down. And I think the last part, I’m not trying to sound long winded here, but you know, if you can don’t assume that your buyers or your customers or your prospects To understand any of what I just mentioned, like the features, advantages or benefits, don’t just assume that they inherently understand that find a way to quickly and easily breeze past it. And just mention it. And then you don’t you’ll you’ll see it on the faces of people that are like, Oh, wow, hadn’t even thought about that. And that’s kind of a big deal.
Adam Springer 10:20
I think what’s really important for the audience is everything you said is 100% true. However, don’t use that same kind of language when speaking to your prospect. Because if you speak in that, like, here’s, here’s the benefit to you, here’s, you know, you need to speak in their language. They’re not, don’t make it seem like a sales process. Don’t speak to them human to human talk to them. You know about their problems, and ask them open-ended questions that are directed enough that they could talk more, rather than you talking about just benefits and saving cost savings and time savings, things like that. Because that won’t get them. It might get a small portion, but it won’t get the full amount of people that you could really get if you get them to talk about their problems and say, Hey, let us help show you how we could solve that for you.
Matt DeCoursey 11:15
Here’s an example. Adam, what’s the biggest problem that you need to solve it your business right now?
Adam Springer 11:22
Where do I start?
Matt DeCoursey 11:25
That’s a great, that’s a great question to start the conversation with, say, like, hey, look, we do a lot of things. And there’s a lot of features, advantages and benefits, I don’t want to waste your time, tell me what problem you’re trying to solve. Now in some cases, like it my business at Full Scale, if they fill out the online form, and kind of define what their needs are, and stuff like that. They’ve answered some of that. I still ask the question anyway. Because you hear Adam chuckle and go, Oh, man, where do we start? Well, at that point, become a listener. And what do you would you mind sharing? What is the problem that your business that you want to solve? And we’ll see if we can we can roleplay this for two minutes?
Adam Springer 12:02
Sure. I think the biggest thing is, I’m at a point where I need to expand my team further. You know, I’m bootstrapped. I’m not VC-backed company. So it’s time to expand the team further, which is always a good problem. But it’s also a difficult problem. So this is this is my problem is I’m being pulled in all different directions.
Matt DeCoursey 12:28
Yeah, most founders are. When you talk about expanding your team, which roles are have more priority for failing than others.
Adam Springer 12:38
Have more priority for filling?
Matt DeCoursey 12:40
No, for filling the filling? Sorry. Yeah. Okay.
Adam Springer 12:45
The ones that take the most time away from me. That’s an hour,
Matt DeCoursey 12:51
We’re very quickly moving into selling peace of mind. Yeah, right. Because there’s a founder, and this is, and so many people listening to this are like, Oh, I feel that way. You just like, you wake up wanting to do certain things every day. And then the business dictates what you’re gonna get to do that day. And that doesn’t generate a lot of peace of mind. And so Alright, so an example would be it’s alright. So you know, at Full Scale, we, we help businesses like yours, fill roles that are related to software developers, testers, leaders. And if you were in that particular space, you said that you because you’re a technical founder out and we’re playing roleplay here, I bet you find yourself doing a lot of the work yourself. And that gets in the way of possibly looking for other people to help you. And then you know, oh, yeah, if I have that bad habit, you know, what are you worried about? Well, I’m worried I’m gonna hire the wrong people. Okay, well, that’s what we help you with. We’re sorting out the 40 people you didn’t want to hire because it takes us over 40 applicants to get a job offer. You know, we’ve got people processes and platform to help you manage that, too. So it’s not a headache for you to get something started. And so that’s, that’s in what I just did, there was take what he was concerned about, I did make a few assumptions. But I mean, anybody that goes to in that particular case, hire someone is where they’re gonna get the wrong people. They’re gonna, you know, I don’t know if you see how that goes. But how does that benefit him? Well, I just told him, it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be easy. If for some reason, anyone that’s added to your team doesn’t work out right away, we’ll take them back. We’re not going to charge you for that couple of weeks, we’re going to put someone else to work with you to put someone else in that seat and boom, quick and easy. And then sometimes I’ll throw things in, I say, oh, man, I don’t know if you remember the last time you posted a job ad that you remember all those interviews and you go through nine of them and you’re like, why am I even on an interview with this person? And so sometimes I’ll throw some things out that’ll that’ll be relatable, but I think that that’s a big part of like with b2b. I think having a strong relationship is an important thing. And that’s built around trust and understanding.
Yeah, I think we you just said there’s like, I like to call it rubbing salt in the wound.
Yeah, yeah, a little bit with it without without being a jerk about it. Hey, I bet your business sucks because, like you want it, you want to be a helper, though. And I mean, I think one of the things with b2b sales, it’s been good for me at Full Scale is I identify and relate to the problems that our clients have because I had those problems and started the business to fix them for myself. You know, and it wasn’t the business the way it is. Now I have enough of my peers say, man, I’ve got the same problem. So I’m like, you know what, we might be able to fix it. Yeah, and next thing, you know, we’ve got a business with over 300 people that work at it. You know, now, with, you know, one of the things that I think if you’re new to b2b sales is you need to understand that in most situations, they take a lot longer than the normal sale, the sales cycle for b2b can be excruciatingly long. In first certain things you might be selling. So how do you how do you recommend people understand that and know when it’s going way too slow, or when Hey, we’re really on the right track here.
Adam Springer 16:17
The easiest way is that I found is to fill your funnel with more people, that that just solves all these problems, it will help you learn quicker through being able to have more conversations with which will help you as as everything processes down the funnel, it helps you give get data, so you start can start measuring, okay, how long does it take from when they are first conversation to a demo from a demo to POC from a POC to a contract. And so once you start getting people into your funnel, then you could actually see where the holes are, where where things are going slower, where things are going quicker. And then you’ll see oh, this this one that took three months that I feel really positive about? Well, I just closed three other ones that were in three weeks. So obviously, there’s something wrong there. So that’s why I think getting more in your sales funnel will help solve most of these problems.
Matt DeCoursey 17:16
And I want to talk more about how to get more people in your sales funnel, but with these conversations that occurred to. So when it comes to sales, I have two four letter words that are our king and queen in my process. The first one is sold everyone’s favorite four letter word as the salesperson should be sold. Your second favorite should be next. Like, and next goes a lot of different ways. If you sometimes, I don’t know, everyone that’s been in sales, you know, you’re sitting there and you know, without a doubt, you’re talking to someone that is not a good fit to buy your product for whatever reason. Why keep the conversation going forever. So when you say next, it’s about moving, knowing when to move on down the line, not all sales are created equally, not all buyers are created equal. And not all situations are equal. So like you imagine,
Adam Springer 18:09
and that’s really difficult. And that’s, that’s why I said like, if you get more in your pipeline, it makes it more comfortable for you to be able to say no to somebody. Right?
Matt DeCoursey 18:17
Right? Well, and you can as a business like so we say no to people all the time. Because when we do say no to someone, it’s because we don’t feel it’s the right fit for what we’re doing. Which means you’re going to end up with a bunch of pain in the ass stuff. And for us if people are a real pain in the butt on the way in, why are they going to be any different when they’re a client? And in our case, we have to have our employees working with clients and their teams every day. If we’re sending our folks and to situations that they’re not excited about or comfortable with, and they don’t want to do the job eventually, or they won’t, you know, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody shows up to work at a place that they don’t want to be at and does great.
Adam Springer 19:02
So fire your client, it feels really
Matt DeCoursey 19:05
I’ve done it. I’ve done it a few more than once. And it’s a weird feeling. And you know, sometimes it even occurs at, it’s easy to say, well, I should hang on to this. I don’t want to lose the best since I don’t want to lose the revenue. But if that business and revenue is costing you opportunities, because all you’re doing is focusing on this one client out of like 100. You know that we have these things like the 80-20 rule. How about a 97 and three rule like there’s a lot of times three clients that are going to get more attention and needs and they’re usually not your, I don’t know at our business, the biggest clients they and the ones that spend the most are usually the ones that we need to have the least amount of interface with because they have a they have a fine tuned process for doing stuff. And I haven’t read
Adam Springer 19:51
Have you read the book, I’m just looking it up now, 10x is easier than 2x by Benjamin Hardy.
Matt DeCoursey 19:57
Well, I think I have a copy. I’m looking at I’d like to, maybe I’ve listened to so many audible books on the way over to the Philippines and back that I think I have listened to that one.
Adam Springer 20:08
Yeah, I’m reading it now. And it’s kind of very much aligned with what you were just saying right now,
Matt DeCoursey 20:13
What’s the biggest takeaway from that?
Adam Springer 20:17
Don’t grow your business, just buy 2x think much bigger because it’s actually easier to grow your business by 10x and 2x.
Matt DeCoursey 20:28
Because the clients are the buyers become bigger, if you’re aiming for like, if you go out fishing, you should be ready to catch a whale, not just minnows
Adam Springer 20:36
Well cause a, an it’s also about your focus and your attention. You know, you have to change drastically change focus, if you want to drastically change where you are, you can’t keep doing the same thing. Like, okay, I could, I could keep doing what I’m doing and double my revenue tomorrow and that’s great. But then it’s not really changing much. But if I say, Okay, I need to take 80% of my workload off my plate, and give that the 80% that’s not really bringing much value and pass that off to somebody else on my team. And I work focus on, take that 20% And do that 100% My time, boom, there’s there’s a huge drastic increase in the business that I have.
Matt DeCoursey 21:17
Yeah, and you know, the opportunity cost is what you just described there. And, you know, if you’re not aware of the term opportunity cost is the value of what you chose to not do. And so that’s where I have an issue, I’m gonna talk a little bit about finding like expert salespeople. Before we do that, I’m gonna remind everyone that finding experts, software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you go to FullScale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably useful scales platform to define your technical needs, and see what available developers, testers and leaders are ready to join your team, you can visit FullScale.io to learn more. There’s a link for that in the show notes as well as a link to StartupSales.io, which I clicked right before we hit this recording. You can find more information about Adam including how to book him or get more information and services from him. So go ahead and check that out. Now, at the beginning of the show, we mentioned wanting founders to get in and be active with sales. That, you know, for me, I I’m I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m an excellent salesperson, I feel very comfortable saying that. With that I do have a problem sometimes hiring salespeople, and I have had to, as I’ve gotten older, teach myself to be more patient because they’re not going to be you right away. Like you own the company, you’re the one that’s most passionate about the problem you’re solving, at least in theory. And it’s gonna be a little easier for it’s gonna be a little easier for a buyer to answer your emails as a founder, especially the bigger company too. You know, like, and so I remember that when our company was growing, and it was growing quickly, you talked about that, like 10x kind of sales, we got there pretty quickly. And I remember asking one of our first salespeople, I was like, well reach out and call, reach out and email and then the dude was like, Matt, I’m a sales guy, no one’s trying to take my calls, if you reach out, they’re going to answer a little more or a little more often, and or they might take it a little more seriously. And I was like, okay, he goes, What do you spend most of your day doing? I was like, trying to avoid salespeople. You know, and so some of that is like, I think you have to have your expectations in a good place. So how do you teach or coach people to make that transition from you being the primary salesperson to other people doing?
Adam Springer 23:42
It’s a loaded question.
Matt DeCoursey 23:45
And I’m sorry about that.
Adam Springer 23:46
No, I think, first of all, just jump, jump right into the deep end and just start doing it. You’ll learn along the way. There’s no role playing, it has a purpose in this whole thing, but it’s nothing like the real world. So just jump in and start doing it. But how is it different? I mean, I always like to teach my my team and my companies I come in and help. Don’t treat it like sales. Talk to people like you already know and talk to them like you already are in a relationship with them. And then it doesn’t become salesy and it doesn’t become pushy. So you don’t hit that objection as much. You’re still always get it but even if you’re the CEO people will reject you. So get over it.
Matt DeCoursey 24:35
Objections are good, though. Yeah, that’s where your people are interested. I think that’s a big mistake that rookie salespeople make. They’re like, this guy’s asking so many questions. I’m like, that’s good. People that don’t have objections and people that don’t ask questions are usually just nodding their head until they can get off the call. Yeah, yeah. Or I should have sold them are one of those.
Adam Springer 24:58
I put out a cold outreach campaign last three weeks ago, four weeks ago for one of my clients, and we probably spent sent four or 5000 emails and not getting any responses. Now this is really, really bad. And trying to figure out what’s really going on because I want the negative responses. I’m looking for negative responses. Yes, positive are great. And that’s at the end of the day what we’re getting. But negative responses as well are really helpful for learning. Hey, people are reading my emails, people are responding to my emails, it helps just as much as positive emails, positive responses.
Matt DeCoursey 25:42
Yeah, and we need and I’m glad you mentioned that, because we need to circle back around to filling up the funnel. Because if we don’t talk about that, like, I mean, hey, give me a full funnel, and we’ll make magic happen. I think the harder part is getting people into that thing. Now you mentioned like sending 5000 emails and nobody replies, that’s not uncommon. And you know, I do bold stuff, I’ll title my email, my email will come with a subject line with something like blatant sales pitch. Like, I’m not going to try to mislead you, if you ever send me an email that that on the first send looks like it’s a response like “re:,” you’re done. I’m not going to open it, like trying to deceive me or trick me into reading your message is not going to turn in to me making an appointment with you or clicking anything else like, and that’s what I said sometimes that that. So by the way, blatant sales pitch is easily the most opened email we sent, like immediate got huge open rates, like I mean, it’s like three times more and it gets more results. And there’s some people that probably just delete it but they open it, and then that’s the thing. It’s like, Hey, I’m not going to try to mislead you, I’m not going to try to trick you into thinking that’s your response here. This is we sell stuff. You appear to be a buyer. It’s not written quite like that. But here’s some ways we can help you. You know, and I think with that, I mean, I don’t know, it’s tricky. It’s a noisy world out there. So advertising and outreach and calls and a lot of that they don’t really land as well as they used to.
Adam Springer 27:20
Agree to disagree. Yeah, well. think most people are having a harder time or failing. Because they are sticking with older approaches. Maybe it worked a year ago, but it doesn’t work today, you always have to be adapting, you always have to be changing. And some people are just not giving it a proper try. It’s like, oh, I sent 500 emails, that’s good. No, but that. Now remember the story I told you where we didn’t get any responses 1000s of emails, that was a try. And and that was only the beginning. Until we get into the later stage. Once we figure out the right messaging, then we could actually scale up by the way, we made some, some major changes. And then we found out what what was working, what wasn’t working, and then boom, all of a sudden now we’re getting huge responses for them and 456 meetings a week. For them from an email campaign.
Matt DeCoursey 28:20
What do you what what were some of the mistakes with the outreach that the when you look back or the what do you see regularly?
Adam Springer 28:28
So what I see regularly and I mean, I’m getting better at when I onboard a new client is is kind of taking this airway, but most founders when they start and you’re trying to define who your ICP is your ideal client profile, they start going off of either way too vague, or they go off of who they think it is, or the who they want to go after. So where this failed was they wanted to go after this new target market. And so they were told I asked who Okay, who are your clients? They started telling me this persona, but it wasn’t actually who their clients were. Their clients were somebody else as soon as we figured that out and and we changed it the next week I got eight eight the bookings for them because we just went over to who they’re actually getting business from. We know now deeper who what problem they’re solving. So that goes back to that message in writing good messaging, strong messaging, boom, that really is what is key there.
Matt DeCoursey 29:28
Yeah, right messaging wrong audience doesn’t doesn’t equal anything. Yeah, yeah. I’ve run into that. I’ve found that you know, within our own organization, and you know, I think some of it is, I don’t know go right after decision makers. I think too many people spend any time they’re out there knocking at the front door and it’s already wide open, you know, in many cases. And you know, shoot your shot in that regard. It is pretty unbelievable how how So many businesses don’t understand their ideal client profile, and who is going to actually make decisions. And now it’s a lot easier in our case, because like, obviously, if your company has a Chief Technology Officer, then you probably are. I don’t know if you’re an ideal client, but you are you are adjacent to it. So some of that is like, you know, let’s start with within your own industry, or, I don’t know, so many b2b platforms, solve specific niches within certain industries. Things like LinkedIn, make it very easy to narrow down that ad profile, in many cases, or at least find leads. You know, I think one of the things that we should probably get into is like, Have you ever been around a b2b sales organization that was elite that wasn’t also elite at prospecting?
Adam Springer 30:55
One company, out of all, all of the memory, right, yeah. Right. But they had. I mean, they had a an amazing, amazing marketing team with a lot of content. And they, they were able to niche down super quickly right from the beginning and learn from that. But that’s rare and very expensive.
Matt DeCoursey 31:15
That’s still prospected. In some ways, that’s that’s marketing. Its outbound. But yes, yeah. Yeah. And prospecting. I mean, the the best salespeople, and the best sales organizations have ever been around, are good at going and finding whatever it is, you know, and like, I’ll just use Full Scale again, as an example. Like, there’s so many people that have a job add up. For stuff that I mean, we help people fill employment seats. So if you’re advertising for a PHP, software developer, that means your company has a lead. And there are for us, there are hundreds of 1000s of these leads out there all the time. So you know that I mean, there shouldn’t be a shortage of looking at that. Now I’ve got this, I have a formula 10 8421, you got to find 10 people, eight people actually acknowledged that you’re an alive human and pay attention to you there’s only 20% of people are just gone. Right out of that 10, four people might be interested in what you’re selling, two of them might be qualified, and you’re hoping one actually buys. So in your particular case, like with the 5000 emails, immediately, 4000 of them are who were hoping pays attention. 800 of them might actually be qualified, 200 of them might be able to buy and you would be hoping that one 100 dead and that’d be outstanding. You’d be out yeah, like I said, might buy knock does buy might so and how are that 10 8421 works out for you. But But here’s the thing, that formula never triggers if you don’t start with the 10, or the 100, or the 1000 or the million and work your way down. Unless you sell your coke or something like that, you know, that appeals to everyone, you’re gonna have to start narrowing that down.
Adam Springer 33:09
Because what that cheesy line, how do you walk up a million miles, one step at a time?
Matt DeCoursey 33:15
Or even an elephant one bite at a time and start with the tail? So all right, so when you look at like, I mean, what about the evolution of like software tools and things like that. There’s a lot of automation and things out there that I think people get wrong because, you know, I get these automated robo messages and emails and they don’t really land well that with me because they’re just very impersonal. And a lot of times, they’re from my competitors, like, people that sell my same product are reaching out to me trying to sell to me talking about the wrong client profile. But
Adam Springer 33:56
Well, first of all, unless you’re selling seven plus figure type product, you’re gonna want to do some level of automation. And I love automation. Now, as you were saying, most automation has been terrific. However, most people look at it and they don’t put in the energy and the effort needed to make it work properly. So it’s just like, oh, okay, LinkedIn automation. I’m just gonna blast 100 people a day. And oops, I got my LinkedIn account blocked or I failed miserably. It doesn’t work. Now it works. I’m getting 8, 6 to 8 conversations a week for Mike on each profile I’m doing automation for. So it works amazingly well when you have the right messaging. When you’ve targeted the right audience. When you’ve put the work and effort into it. So the automation is amazing. I think everybody should use it, but you need to learn how to use it or get help from the right person?
Matt DeCoursey 35:02
Well, and examine your timing of the delivery of the slide, you talked about LinkedIn, one thing that drives me nuts is when I get a connection. So I got about 30, just under 30,000 connections on LinkedIn. And when I accept a new one, and I’m immediately getting solicited, it’s a big turnoff for me, you know, that happens every single day more than once, you know, and, and, and, you know, so
Adam Springer 35:24
I don’t know if it would be a turn off for you have it right messaging came? I mean, I do. It’s never the right messaging 99% of the time, it’s not the right messaging.
Matt DeCoursey 35:34
It sounds like shutting dating app conversations and be like, Hi, Adam, I noticed that we have a lot of stuff in common. I thought we might network together and see if we can find some common ground.
Adam Springer 35:45
It needs to be more than barn avenue you take with your emails, like this is a blatant sales pitch. But it needs not obviously, that like, it needs to be conversational and needs in with LinkedIn, you need to look at it, like, pretend like you’re just met this person at some lunch event. What would you say to him? How would you like you’re not going to go and sell right away, you don’t pitch right away. But you’d never do that in person. So why do it on LinkedIn, start having a conversation, that’s the only goal is to start a conversation with your your prospects on LinkedIn. Once you have a conversation going now, I’d like to get it under three steps into a into a meeting. One or two is great because LinkedIn sucks for actual communication. But you start that conversation, that’s the first step. Same with email, first get the permission to send more information, or just get them to say, yes, they’re interested, you know, don’t ask for the meeting right away. Don’t go for the sale right away. It’s too strong. It’s too It turns people off like you.
Matt DeCoursey 36:47
Well, I think some of that too, is it? Well, in some cases, and you’re right, than bright messaging, which I rarely ever see. You know, I’m gonna get to the point kind of person to be honest, like, I mean, you can do that with me. I actually don’t want to do the small talk, I don’t want to, I don’t want to do a call with you to figure out if if to learn who you are, you know. Like some of that, like, it’s just not gonna happen. I mean, I get that a lot, a whole lot. You know, and, and it’s, and some of that, it just they I guess that it feels it feels robotic and spammy, I think the key is, is you need to figure out where and how you can provide value. And you need to operate under the principle of you need to make deposits before you can make withdrawals. I think that’s how relationships work. I think that’s how b2b relationships work. And if I don’t have like, if I don’t have asking for a sale, before you establish any value, or see if it, it just, you just feel like the guy that’s on the sidewalk, somewhere busy that literally asked everybody to walk that walks by to buy something, you know, now, by the way, that guide probably sells a lot more than the person who doesn’t ask, but and that’s honestly, what probably what we should talk about before we run out of time is how often are you asking when the time is right? Because people will build that relationship up. And then they kind of fail to be like, Hey, did you want to go ahead and get started? Or, you know, when can we deliver this?
Adam Springer 38:13
Well, every, every time it’s a conversation because I don’t do cold calls, although I’m not opposed to them. I just my business, I go emails and LinkedIn. But every step every back and forth, you need to be driving the momentum forward. So it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t just be a conversation just to say great or to get you nowhere, get you know, progress. It has to have progress. But you need to look at what is the next step for the conversation. Not what is the next step to get them sold or to get them on the meat?
Matt DeCoursey 38:51
Well, that’s and that’s where asking the right questions. What are the problems you need to solve? What are some issues that you’ve had in the past that you’re hoping to avoid in the future? How soon did you want to get started? Notice that none of this is like how much money do you want to spend in and how fast and you know, I will ask that they’ll say you know, how soon are you thinking about getting started? But questions on invasive question.
Adam Springer 39:14
Yeah, one of my favorite questions is invasive is when I’m actually on like a discovery call is you know, if they’re using a competitor. Okay, why are you looking at why are we talking? Do you do them? Do you what are you not happy with with them? What’s working
Matt DeCoursey 39:30
That sounds a red flag for me too, though, because like if I talk to someone and they’re on like their fifth software development company and looking for another one, I’m kind of starting to wonder to him like Is it them and not everyone else? So yeah.
Adam Springer 39:42
But you only find out why is it everybody else by asking what happened in those other ones? How and another good one is, how much do they charge? I always like that because then if you find out like they’re, they’re paying more than there’s going to be no negotiation with the price. Yeah, and that’s always fun.
Matt DeCoursey 40:03
Well, some of that, like with our business, we don’t do that our price is our price. If you want it to go down, spend more, and we’ve got some built in discount structures and, and stuff like that because you know some of that the tone, and the tambor that you set with a new prospect is what you’re going to get to live with throughout the rest of that relationship. So like, in our case, if I’m negotiating the contract price on every single person, I can expect that to always be the case with that client. And some of it, we have a fair way of a fair price for an excellent delivery. And that is what it is, I just find that it’s I don’t know, we could probably do a whole nother episode about the importance of saying no when selling like I have sold more stuff for a lot more because I know the word no. You know, can you do this now? Like, because keep in mind that most buyers, especially ones that just like well, I also asked that as a buyer. So I actually bought a dog for my for my wife and my kids recently, and I got 30% off on the price. By just asking, is this the best price that you can give me? Well, what did you have in mind, sir, I don’t know. Why didn’t you go look into that and surprise me?
Adam Springer 41:23
You know, I wasn’t
Matt DeCoursey 41:25
30% off and honestly, I was gonna buy the dog anyway. So you know,
Adam Springer 41:31
But I asked for a discount if I’m buying clothes, or if I’m at the supermarket. Hey, can you give me 10%? Can you give me a discount? Like, they’ll be surprised how often they say yes, and they just bring put up a discount?
Matt DeCoursey 41:42
Yeah, I mean, I’ve, the amount of money I’ve saved in life without approach has been tremendous. It’s a little harder to do at Walmart, than it is to do at you know, like, you know, a bunch of different places. So, hey, let’s not get out of here both out and plug in your podcast, man. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that.
Adam Springer 42:05
Startup Sales Podcast, we talk about startup sales, anything to help, we like to have very actionable episodes. So kind of more of like a to do list kind of conversation so that when people are listening, they could sit there with a notepad write down what they need to do what they need to work on. If if that’s a topic that is important for them.
Matt DeCoursey 42:25
Thank you for having a sales anything that isn’t just about six tips to sell more than me but I think that’s where we can probably kind of round things out here and and is like the the way you need to set up to dominate b2b sales that your business is going to be different than mine. Unless you have the exact kind of businesses me and it’s still not going to be identical. You’re going to your businesses have strengths and weaknesses and different things that they need to work with. And I think that getting that figured out. And that’s part of like understanding that journey, and all of it. And then when you look back and you know that man, these sales episodes always go so fast to me, we’re here at the 43rd minute. And you know, like, when you look back at our conversation, what did we leave out that was crucial here?
Adam Springer 43:10
Matt DeCoursey 43:12
Yeah. That’s why I said at the beginning of the show, like trying to squeeze this into one, one episode is almost impossible like this, like, well, you have a whole you have a whole podcast about it. Yeah. So what what are, what would you want to say to everyone on the way out here?
Adam Springer 43:29
Don’t be afraid of sales, get help, but get the right help. Too many, too many founders or even salespeople or other people go and listen to somebody that has a really large audience or a large voice online. And I say this, we both you and I have an audience. But sometimes those people are not the right people to be listening to for you. Just because somebody is the best salesperson at Salesforce does not mean that they will succeed or come even close to succeeding at an early stage startup. So you need to look at that person’s history and experience to see if it’s relevant for you before listening to that person. So I think, I think that’s that get started, get help. Don’t be afraid of that. And just keep pushing forward and learning.
Matt DeCoursey 44:17
I think if you’re, you know, where I want to leave out is I mean, there’s obviously some I think that thing for if you want to start up sales, like you said, are really different. I do think as a founder, even if you don’t feel like you’re a salesperson, you need to get in there and experience it. It’ll help you understand what you’re looking for when you do go to expand your team find people that are hungry to make deals, people that are active and outward like that outbound nature of things. If you are talking to people that I don’t really like sales, I don’t see myself as a salesperson. I don’t want to sound like a salesperson. If you hear any of those comments coming from your sales team, you need to find a different frickin sales team. Because those are not either yesterday. Yeah, those are not things that successful salespeople say. And you know, like, I want hunters, I want people that are gonna go out and look for business, but at the same time aren’t going to kill everything that they see before they get an opportunity to actually learn more about it. You know some of that there’s a fine balance there. But yeah, and here’s the thing is finding great salespeople is tough because there’s a small number of them. All salespeople will tell you they’re great salespeople very few actually are, and they are usually as good listeners as they are at verbal if not even better, you know, so don’t make the classic mistake of being Oh, this guy or gal is a natural salesperson will tell me why? Well, they’re a great talker.
Adam Springer 45:52
A lot of the best salespeople are actually introverted. So
Matt DeCoursey 45:55
Yes, yeah. Well, it was some things we something like if you’re like a Barker, and at a kiosk, it’s probably not the best thing for an introvert, but
Adam Springer 46:04
I’m super introverted, but I love going to expos and things like that. Like, that’s the best way I the reason why I love it is because I get to perfect my pitch. And I get to learn because you get to see people live and get their feedback right away. But I prefer to sit at home and not see anybody. I’m super introverted.
Matt DeCoursey 46:24
You know, for an extrovert, for someone that people think is an extrovert. I’m the same way. People like, yeah, let’s get out and do stuff out now. No, I struggle with that. That’s about. Yeah, I can. I can do a lot of that. On the flip side, you know, one thing you just mentioned about practicing that pitch. And I think one thing we shouldn’t leave always be working on making it shorter for people. Like that, I sent them. Yes. Quick, what do you do? We build software teams. How do you do that? We do it quickly and affordably. Okay, and right there. If you’re not responding, then you’re probably not interested. You mentioned an expo. Hey, what do you guys do? And you tell someone that if it’s just a blank stare, and they don’t care, that’s when you say next. And then you’re going to do it again. You’re going to do it again? Then you’re going to hear someone finally say, Oh, wow, we’ve got a lot of openings for that. Maybe we should talk about it. That’s the one you want to keep moving with. You know, the people that are walking by that don’t care. We don’t even do you guys have any software products or technology. No. Okay, that’s not the right lead for me to chase. So try to chase the right leads, but the more of them that you see, the better off you’re gonna be. Make sure. Yeah, go ahead.
Adam Springer 47:36
I was just gonna say if you’re at an expo before jumping into your pitch, my recommendation is always to qualify them. Say, Oh, I’d be happy to tell you what we do before that. Put in context for you. What do you do?
Matt DeCoursey 47:47
What do you do, right? Yeah. And if they’re telling you that they run an aquarium repair business, trying to sell them software services is not a very good approach.
Adam Springer 47:57
I tell them then, here’s what we do. We give you free pens. Here you go. Thank you. Goodbye. Yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 48:02
You have a free pen on that one. I might because they’re just gonna spare the aquarium with it. But you know, last time I had an aquarium it did not look like what you saw as a dive instructor. I will tell you that much. You wouldn’t have wanted to jump into the aquarium, which is also why I don’t have an aquarium anymore. Hey, everyone, make sure to check out Adam’s podcast. Go to StartupSales.io and remember that today’s episode, Startup Hustle, is brought to you by FullScale.io. There’s a link for that in the show notes. Adam. I’m all fired up. I’m gonna go try to sell something. So, I’m going to catch up with you down the road.
Adam Springer 48:36