Hack & Hustle

Lean Startup Conference 2014: "Will they buy?"

If you’re a B2B business idea and want to find out whether it's valid and worth pursuing, there is one question that you should ask above all others:

Will they buy?

Don't just ask prospective customers "Will you buy it if I build it?" 

That's not enough. You need to sell them your product. They shouldn't answer with words, but with dollars. 

If they give you money = "Yes, I will buy this."

If they don't give you money (even if they say they would) = "No, I won't buy this."

Money is the ultimate and absolute validation that your business is creating value in the world.

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Got kids? They can make you awesome at sales!

Want to witness true sales mastery in action? Just watch a kid that craves a snack. They'll relentlessly try a series of different approaches and tactics. Resolute rejection won't deter them, they'll unwaveringly keep their eyes on the target. 

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Managing sales team morale when your reps lost faith

Managing a sales team has its own set of challenges, one of them being sales reps who don’t believe in your sales strategy anymore.

This happens often when you develop a new sales approach or experiment with a new tactic. If it initially doesn’t work as well as you anticipated, if unexpected obstacles get in the way of closing deals… it can affect how your reps think and feel about this new idea in general.

Doubts creep in and spread.

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Lean sales: How to get people's attention to validate your idea?

I just spoke at Eric Ries’ Lean Startup Conference, and I can tell you it was a great event with lots of amazing people. If you’re familiar with the Lean Startup framework, or with Steve Blank’s customer development, you know that validated learnings are a crucial element of their method to building a successful startup.

One problem that many founders struggle with when trying to practice lean methodologies is to get first feedback from the market on their startup idea.

What’s the best way to get initial validation for a business idea?

Talk to prospective customers for the solution you want to offer them! (I've written about this lean sales approach before).

But how do you get them to actually talk with you? Especially if you reached out to potential prospects and didn’t get a response? What if they aren’t even telling you that your idea isn’t a good one, but they don’t even take the time to listen to your idea in the first place?

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The sales rep onboarding hack

A lot of companies selling complex, technical products spend weeks, or even months, training new sales reps before they let them interact with real prospects.

You don’t need to do that, because today you’ll learn how to train sales reps to make sales calls from day one. Turn new hires into product experts at the speed of startup, so they'll be able to answer any question right away.

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Feature: Manually log calls

One of the best parts of Close.io is letting you make calls with one-click through our built in VoIP system and those calls are logged automatically for your team to see. However, we know that sometimes you end up making calls outside of Close.io. Whether it's logging a webinar or a call you made from your cell phone or desk phone, Close.io now also lets you manually log calls.

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Startup sales: Upselling 101

Your current customers are the best prospects for future sales.

Yet, very few startups act that way. Whenever I talk with founders, I observe that their thoughts about existing customers are mostly focused on these 3 points:

  • How can we retain them?
  • How can we support them?
  • How can we get referrals from them? (this is a distant third)

If your company isn’t generating a steadily increasing percentage of revenue through upsells to your existing customer base, you owe it to yourself and your business to set 10 minutes aside for this post.

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Hustle Hard - Pioneers 2014 startup sales talk

Pioneers Festival is one of the most exciting and fun events on entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe, and it was great to speak there again the second year in a row.

When I left Europe in 2007 in pursuit of my dream to build a startup, it was also because I felt that there simply wasn't a good entrepreneurial ecosystem. Seeing all the awesome people at Pioneers, I'm thrilled to see how much has changed for the better in recent years.

In this talk, I'll share some never before shared tactics and stories, and if you want to get some insights into the inner game of hustling, grab a bag of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show ;-)

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16 movies for sales people

Happy holidays - kick back and enjoy a movie with your loved ones. Here's a bunch of movies for sales people where you could almost justify the movie tickets as a company expense ;-)

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Automatic historical email import

We're excited to announce an upcoming change to how email syncing works with Close.io. We're calling it "automatic historical email import". 

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