Hack & Hustle

Culture Summit 2015: How to make firing employees into an unscalable growth hack

How do you build a great startup culture? While everyone likes to talk about all of their great hiring and recruiting hacks, no one likes talking about having to fire employees—until now.

Watch Steli discuss how he turned firing half of his team at a previous startup from one of the worst things he had to do as an entrepreneur to a fun experience involving N 'Sync and cake. Firing people doesn't have to be horrific if you're transparent and invested in helping your former employees succeed.

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Early B2B SaaS growth: How to go from 10 to 100 customers

If you have your first 10 customers, congratulations! You’ve made it further than many startups. But now what?

The game changes when you move beyond your initial 10 customers. If you want to move from 10 to 100, you need to shift gears.

Here are three tactics to grow sustainably from 10 to 100 and beyond.

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2 common B2B SaaS sales objections (and how to handle them)

Imagine going to Starbucks. You order a latte, and as you reach for your wallet, the barista says, “That’s $3.00, and just $2.00 more to add a bagel. Would you like the bagel?” You say, “Yes,” take your food, and leave.

It’s a completely automatic, transactional sale. The barista didn’t have to sell you on the benefits of the latte or the bagel. He didn’t have to overcome any objections. All he did was present the information, give you the product, and take your money. Anyone can do that.

SaaS sales is different.

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How to get the first 10 customers for your B2B SaaS startup

If you don’t have buyers, you don’t have a business.

I see startups all the time that are so afraid of selling, they never get their first customer.

They spend all their time building their website or designing their logo, and no time actually seeking prospects.

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Integration Update: Close.io with Zapier greatly improved ... again

Last year we released some improvements to our Zapier integration. Since then we have been hearing your feedback and requests.

We are now proud to announce a new release of improvements and additions that greatly increase the ways you can integrate with Close.io via Zapier.

Perhaps the hottest news is that along with triggers and actions, Zapier now offers "searches". We are one of the first Zapier integrations to use the searches feature to let you search for leads. 

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How to deal with hostile and aggressive prospects

Your prospect has completely lost it. He's shouting at you over the phone, making ridiculous demands—you can hear the sound of shattering glass as he throws stuff at the walls. Your ears are ringing and you have a massive headache.

Maybe he’s just having a bad day. Maybe he thinks he has you in a corner, and can get whatever he wants. Maybe he’s just like this all the time. After a while, you can’t take it any more, and just hang up the phone. He was completely out of control—a saint would've done the same.

Except that's exactly the wrong approach:

Now, you may think it's OK to lose one client who's unhappy—but it's not. You see, when we have a good experience with a company, we tend to tell three other people about it. Positive word-of-mouth is great for business. However, someone who's displeased with a situation tells, on average, 11 people about it.—Tom Hopkins, author and sales speaker, "How to Handle an Angry Client"

Your approach to bullies is crippling your sales game. You can’t control why the bully is the way he is, but you can control how you handle it. By giving up and making excuses, you don’t only miss out on revenue—you miss out on an opportunity to separate yourself from the salespeople who give up at the first sign of trouble.
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6 ways to make the most of your blog throughout the sales cycle

Most companies have realized that a blog can be a powerful inbound lead generator. But it has the potential to be so much more.

Many of us are so focused on acquisition and growth, that we aren't taking advantage of our blogs throughout the entire sales process.

Here are the different ways your blog can help you sell, from prospecting all the way to making upsells.

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3 models of effective sales team organization

Your product’s taking off. You’ve got traction in your market, and you’re looking to go even further. Your self-service SaaS model has accomplished wonders for your business so far, but after weighing the various factors involved and taking a close look at the market, you’ve decided to start building your sales team.

Now what?

This is a critical juncture for many startup founders, and one that people often struggle with. We like to paint a picture of salespeople as cowboys, who walk in with guns blazing. The best salespeople are go-getters, who seize initiative and take charge. You might think that it’s best to just hire amazing sales talent, and let them hit the ground running.

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MicroConf 2015: How to build a solo SaaS sales machine

MicroConf is the conference for self-funded startups and single founder software companies. That's why Steli gave a talk at MicroConf on how to build your own SaaS sales machine if you don't have piles of money from venture capitalists lying around.

In this video, you're going to learn the core principles of selling, how to write emails that get opened, why 90% of sucess is in the follow-up, and a ton of other useful things!

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Sales team seasonality: How to maximize downtime

Sales isn’t always a high-octane race, where you close deals left and right at 200 mph. There’ll be times when the market slows and everything moves at a glacial pace, especially if you work in a seasonal space like tourism or retail.

It can be rough, and demoralizing to boot. You won’t score a bunch of new bookings, or see new cash hit the bank—but that’s exactly why you need to maximize downtime.

Think of yourself as a professional athlete. If you just go hard during the peak season, and relax during the off-season, you put yourself at the whims of your own business cycles.

When you work in a seasonal business, you have to stay disciplined at all times, and take charge of your own fate. Let yourself slide, and your muscles will atrophy and deteriorate.

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