For Entrepreneurs Blog

Why Sales People shouldn’t Prospect – An interview with Aaron Ross

hi res aaron headshot 300dpi for sales bookIn this article I interview Aaron Ross, co-author of a new book, Predictable Revenue. Aaron discusses his experience at Salesforce.com starting a new group that used an innovative outbound prospecting approach (involving no cold calls) to create new leads. Aaron’s group came up with several important breakthroughs which enabled them add over $100m in incremental recurring revenues over a few short years. This article reviews some of those best practices which provide a recipe for others to make outbound prospecting a repeatable and predictable revenue generator.

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Understanding the Customer Buying Cycle & Triggers

This article looks at why customers expect different interactions with you depending on where they are in the buying cycle. It also examines how specific events trigger them into a buying mode. It then explains how you can use this information to make your marketing more effective. Continued…

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The Application Development Landscape – 2012 and beyond

Today’s application developers are faced with a broad set of architectural decisions that can make or break their company going forward. This presentation, which was given as a keynote for the MassTLC application development conference, highlights the major changes that are taking place in the world of application development. Continued…

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HubSpot’s Best Practices for Managing SaaS Inside Sales

Mark Roberge photoBest practices for inside sales managers. An interview with Mark Roberge, VP of Sales at HubSpot, discussing how he blends science and process with the art of selling.

HubSpot is a SaaS company selling Inbound Marketing software. HubSpot has grown revenue over 6,000% in the last four years, placing them #33 on the Inc 500 fastest growing companies list. They now employ about 300 people. I have always been very impressed with how Mark has run their inside sales organization, which has now grown to 110 people. In this interview, I talk to Mark about his strategy and tactics for running a successful SaaS sales organization. I believe Mark is at the forefront of using data and science to drive how he hires and manages his organization, and this article should bring out some interesting best practices.

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When Selling is the Worst Way to Win Customers

imageCustomers hate being sold to. They don’t mind getting expert help when they want to buy something. But much of the time they are not ready to buy, and one of the most irritating things is to have a salesperson try to get them to buy when they aren’t ready. Unfortunately too many people in marketing and sales positions don’t seem to understand this, and proceed to irritate their potential customers. They don’t realize that there is a far better way to sell. That is what this blog post is all about. Continued…

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Multi-axis Pricing: a key tool for increasing SaaS revenue

Scalable pricing is a powerful tool to grow revenue in a SaaS or software business. It allows you to capture more of the revenue that your customers are willing to pay, without putting off smaller customers that are not able to pay high prices. It also provides a great way to continue to grow revenue from your existing customers. This post looks at how to create scalable pricing using multiple pricing axes, and discusses the different types of axes that can be used. Continued…

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SaaS CEOs: Measure Customer Engagement – Increase Conversions & Lower Churn

The goal of a SaaS CEO should be to increase the profit they make from each customer (LTV), and lower the costs in sales and marketing that it takes to acquire each customer (CAC). Measuring Customer Engagement is a key tool that will help you achieve that goal, as it will allow you to increase your trial conversion rates, which directly reduces CAC. And it will help you lower your churn rates, which directly increases LTV. (There are also other significant benefits that are described below.) Continued…

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The Science behind Viral Marketing

The Science behind Viral Marketing is a look at the key factors that drive growth in viral marketing. (Hint, the most important factor is not the one everyone expects.) It also looks at what is needed to get virality to work, and how to create and optimize viral marketing campaigns or viral products.

This was a slide deck presented at the Inbound Marketing Summit, Boston, Sept 2011. Continued…

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Brainstorming for New Startup Ideas: A Framework to Spur Creative Thinking

If you are a serial entrepreneur starting to look for an idea for your next startup, you are likely to want a way to stimulate your brain to come up with as many good ideas as possible. This blog post outlines a framework that is designed to fire up your best creative thinking modes, triggering the creation of new ideas.

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Cash is King: 8 tips for Optimizing your Startup Financing Strategy

Introduction

This post aims to help startup CEOs optimize their funding strategy by examining how investors value startups, and explaining how to avoid the common cash management pitfalls. Continued…

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Slides on Building a Sales & Marketing Machine

Here is the slide deck that I presented last night at the Boston Lean Startup Circle.

The slide deck describes how to build a Sales & Marketing Machine that is predictable, scalable, automated, well instrumented, and cost efficient.

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Finding Product/Market Fit: Using Consulting to Understand Customer Needs

Many entrepreneurs have a strong suspicion that there is an opportunity in a particular market, but lack the detailed understanding of customer pain needed to design an appropriate solution. The  following guest post by John Raguin, ex-CEO, and co-founder of Guidewire Software, describes how he and his co-founders tackled this problem. Continued…

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Will your 2011 Plan stand up to investor scrutiny?

We have just gone through the time of year when startups present their 2011 plans to their boards for approval. In many ways, these meetings are very similar to the meetings we have with new startups that have projections for how they believe their revenue will grow.

What I always find interesting in this process is looking at how the management team came up with the bookings forecast, and what steps they took to validate the number. In a lot of cases, the bookings target is determined using some rough top down logic like “We should be able to easily double the business this year” or “We’re similar to successful startup XYZ, and they hit $8m revenue in their third year, so we should be able to do the same.” What is surprising is how few companies do the work to validate their top down forecasts. Not surprisingly these are usually the companies that miss their forecast.

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How MySQL solved their Sales & Marketing challenges

An interview with Lesley Young, who was the VP of worldwide Sales for MySQL, and then head of sales for the MySQL division within Oracle. Few products are as well known as the ubiquitous MySQL database. The company behind the database was also one of the great success stories in the Open Source world, and ended being acquired by Sun (now Oracle) for approx. $1 billion. Making money in Open Source businesses is a lot harder than it may appear on the outside. Lesley tells the story of how she and Zack Urlocker, running marketing partnered to solve the sales and marketing challenges that the company faced when trying to monetize MySQL. Continued…

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Building a Sales and Marketing Machine Webinar

Slides and video on “Building a Sales and Marketing Machine”, with a discussion on how to optimize your sales & marketing funnel. Presented as a HubSpot Webinar last week together with Mike Volpe, the VP of Marketing at HubSpot. Continued…

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