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Hack & Hustle

Even good advice can be bad advice

The most common mistake new entrepreneurs make is looking for “right” answers.

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How to manage a sales team with Close.io

This is a guest post from Nick Persico. He was one of the first people to use Close.io, and has been helping teams get the most out of it ever since. He’s now running sales at Smart Host. This post is intended for sales managers that are using Close.io. If you are an SDR or AE at a company that uses Close.io, here’s an earlier post with some tips for you.

As a sales manager, your success is most often measured in revenue or customer growth. It’s on you to put together a team, get them to perform consistently, and generate predictable results. Generating predictable results is difficult in sales because the entire process relies on various human beings doing their jobs.

The sellers need to sell and the buyers need to buy.

For someone that’s supposed to be in charge of these transactions, there’s an awful lot that you don’t really control. The members of your sales team have to show up each day and hustle, and it’s on you to create an environment where it’s easy for them to do that.

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Sales team hiring: How to handle underdogs

Ten years ago, I hired a salesperson with incredible drive. He had recently lost everything—his job, his house, all his money. But he was hungry to get back in the game and work his ass off. He was under-qualified, but what he lacked in experience, he made up for in energy. So I took a chance on him.

I spent an excessive amount of time trying to train him, because I desperately wanted to be right about him. I worked nights and weekends with him. I coached him to nail down his sales pitch and aggressively pursue leads. But a year later, we weren’t seeing any improvement. He just didn’t have hustle—that killer instinct you need in sales.

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Hey product, your salespeople know something you don't

On any given day, the sales and product team play by different rules. Little attention is really paid to the separation of the two. It seems only natural.

There go the tech people. New features, roadmaps, and so on.

On the other side of the room, perhaps even on a different floor, there sit the smooth talkers.

Despite their inherent differences and business functions, these two teams have one major thing in common: they both live and die by numbers,  whether it’s leads versus lag or dollars versus downloads.

Sales, meet product. Product, meet sales.

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Sales team management: How to protect your reps from burning out

A couple months ago, you hired an ace sales rep named Mike. When he started out, he was out in the field crushing it every day, making 150–160 cold calls a day, setting up demos, and closing new customers.

But just a few months later, Mike's shuffling his feet and has dark circles under his eyes. The once enthusiastic newbie is now avoiding phone calls and looks like he’s been hit by a bus. Before you know it, your whole team is walking around like a bunch of mindless zombies—they’re burned-out.

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B2B startup traction: Happy vs successful customers

Great news: Your startup landed its tenth customer today. You haven’t seen a cancellation yet, and all your clients are amped whenever you talk to them. You're ecstatic about your startup's traction. The possibilities feel endless and you’re already thinking about your 50th, 100th, and even 100,000th customer.

Slow down. This is where too many startups jump the gun trying to aggressively expand, when they’ve only just gotten up off the ground.

Just because customers are satisfied, and aren’t filling your inbox with complaints, doesn’t mean you’re ready for lift-off. There’s one fundamental question you need to answer in order to truly grow: How many of your customers are happy, and how many are actually successful?

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3 mission-critical sales lessons from heist movies

To many, the archetypal salesperson is a deceptive scoundrel who manipulates people into buying something they don’t need. Think used car salesman meets con artist.

Ironically though, the best salespeople are the most ethical, trustworthy people in SaaS. Their primary goal is to connect customers with products that will make them more successful. As a salesperson, that’s a more sustainable strategy. Screwing someone over might win you a quick commission, but it’ll destroy your reputation long-term.

But the truth is, the salesperson-con men comparison isn’t crazy. In a lot of ways, con men would make great salespeople. They have to get intimately close with their targets, build trust, and close the deal. If they lose, they go to jail. They practically have to sell for their lives.

Nowhere is this more evident than heist movies. You know, the ones where some smooth-talking, impossibly dapper criminal puts together a crack team to steal a big sum of money? While their plots are overblown, these movies have essential kernels of wisdom any salesperson can tap into. Let’s dive into three of them.

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Want to kill it in sales? Take our 30-day self-study challenge

Sales reps from all industries and walks of life often ask me: “How do I become really great at sales?” I believe that sales is simply results-driven communication, so my answer is always: become a better communicator.

Learning from others, books, articles, workshops—you name it, they're all important. There’s a reason some of the world’s most successful people are avid readers. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett are all frequent page turners.

But the real road to mastery is self-study. Studying yourself is where you’re going to learn the most. It’s also the scariest place to go and study. But if you really want to kill it in sales—start here.


Ready to dig deep?

Here’s my 30-day self-study challenge.

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Product improvements: Undo Send, Caller ID , and more

We're happy to announce some new product improvements. (In case you missed it, we published a batch of improvements a couple weeks ago too.)

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How to hack your public speaking fears

I learned public speaking from the worst person ever—my 5th-grade teacher, Mr. Gramarchek. He was the kind of dude who terrorized little kids, and made them cry almost daily. One day in class, our assignment was to memorize a poem and recite it in front of the class. I was terrified—mostly of Mr. Gramarchek—and about to pee my pants.

But it was because he was so scary that the most important lesson he taught me actually stuck. At the start of the class he said one thing: “Remember, kids, if you feel nervous inside, just let that nervousness out. Just speak a little louder, be a little bit more animated. Just take that energy and just let it out.”

Something in me clicked.

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