5 Tips for Mastering the Art of Sales Knowledge Management

The world of sales is full of dangerous villains – time-consuming administrative tasks, inefficient internal processes, lack of proper tools and resources, etc. – that are weighing your company down. And to top it all off, there is an even greater foe – the leaking of your valuable sales knowledge. Sales Knowledge Management to the rescue!

Knowledge Management vs. Content Management

According to Oracle, “The function of [Enterprise Content Management] ECM is central management of content – the ability to create, share, and control content through structured business processes. [Enterprise Knowledge Management] EKM serves quite a different function: it focuses on the process of finding specific information that is directly relevant to a user’s inquiry.” Traditional Knowledge and Content Management systems have one major difference. Content Management is document or file-based, so you’re looking for information within documents or content. Knowledge Management focuses on creating and allowing direct
sales-rep-time-allocation
Sales Training
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For enterprise and mid-market SaaS, is there a recognizable turning point or do you just slowly realize that your sales and marketing are working?

For me, the turning point for knowing enterprise sales is working is when you get the third one of a category.
  • It took us 18 months to close Google, then 6 months to close Facebook … then 90 days to close Twitter.
  • The same with Aetna, then Cigna, then UnitedHealthcare, etc.
  • British Telecom, Comcast, TimeWarner Cable, etc.
Sales cycles are long or at least longer in the enterprise. But once you get the third big or bigger customer in a segment or category or vertical, you start to know the cadence. By then, you know the objections, the issues, and the needs. And critically, you can start to plan around that longer sales cycle. And more effectively create a target list and get outbound, ABM and marketing going on closing the rest of ‘em! View original question on quora The post For enterprise and mid-market SaaS, is there a recognizable Continue reading "For enterprise and mid-market SaaS, is there a recognizable turning point or do you just slowly realize that your sales and marketing are working?"

What is life like as an entrepreneur and how does one overcome stage fright?

Don’t worry about stage fright. You’ll get over it. I remember the very first time I had to present to a Fancy Board Meeting. I wasn’t a founder yet, but I was told I had to get up in front of a half dozen very famous, very prominent Venture Capitalists. 10 minutes in, I frozen. And walked out. It was terrible. Fast forward to the first time I had to get on stage in front of 2,000+ in a Vegas kick off. I’d done it so many times, I refused to even show up to the prep session. You’ll get better with practice. It’s OK. The secret is repetition. You’ll start to get very good at your pitch, the vision, the value proposition, once you’ve done it a few times. So a few suggestions:

Scale-up Lessons: HubSpot’s Journey from MQL to PQL

One of the best things about working for a scale-up company is you get an opportunity to work on many different challenges. Scale-ups become scale-ups because they’re able to find new growth engines to continue scaling the business. At HubSpot, I’ve been lucky enough to work on two of those growth engines. I initially joined HubSpot as the marketing leader for international. My role was to grow both a team and a marketing funnel of traffic, leads, and MQLs for our target regions. I next joined a small team within HubSpot who had a mission to turn a free chrome extension into a freemium business. Instead of building a marketing funnel, we created a product funnel of traffic, free users, and product qualified leads (PQLs). Freemium is now an integral part of HubSpot’s go-to-market. You can start using our CRM for free, along with features of both our marketing
1. HubSpot Freemium Platform
2. Wats broken out by channel
3. PQL Categories
4. PQL Dashboard
5. PQL HandRaise
5. PQL HandRaise
7. User Success Coach Live Chat
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What is a SaaS company cancelation policy on yearly contracts?

The simple answer “of course” in that yearly contracts can’t be cancelled — per se. That’s the whole point of whatever explicit or implicit discount you give for doing a yearly contract (vs. monthly or quarterly). And the language likely will plainly say the contract cannot be cancelled. But … it’s just one contract. So a few qualifiers:
  • If you haven’t received pre-paid cash, it doesn’t matter. Do NOT threaten to send the customer into collections – period. There is no effective way to enforce a customer contract if the customer doesn’t want to pay and doesn’t need the service any longer. Do not create drama. This won’t work, and it will turn someone who just might be a customer again into someone that won’t be a customer again. Any “annual” contract in fact at a practical level is only as long as the pre-paid cash attached to it.
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Does a CEO have the right to fire an employee down the chain?

Of course. As you scale, you’ll have more formal processes here and in particular, around who and how to terminate an employee. Get a great HR professional on board as early as you can, maybe even by employee #50. But one suggestion when you are small — have whomever is “best” at firing, fire an employee. What I mean is that firing an employee is very hard. Legally, sometimes it’s not hard, especially in places like California with at will employment. But it’s very hard on most people to fire someone. It wrecks them. So if the CEO is the most experienced in terminations, often she or he should consider handling terminations even for non direct reports in the early days. And folks that have never terminated anyone are often unintentionally very hard on the employee being fired. They ramble, they blame themselves, they dredge up mistakes … and they Continue reading "Does a CEO have the right to fire an employee down the chain?"

How much easier is hiring when you are venture backed?

It’s always easier to hire when you have a brand. Once your company itself has and is itself a brand, it won’t matter. It doesn’t matter for hiring who invested in Slack, Intercom, Zoom, etc. But until you have a brand, leveraging an investor’s brand can help in recruiting. Especially in the early days. Like brands in general, a strong brand in your investor is a signal to “customers” (including prospective hires) of quality. There are so, so, so many startups. How does a potential hire know which one to pick? They look for a product and CEO they believe in. And they look for whatever early signals of quality they can find. Look at how powerful YCombinator is at attracting capital and talent to startups at an extremely early stage … that’s brand as a signal for potential quality. View original question on quora The post How much easier Continue reading "How much easier is hiring when you are venture backed?"

When Will the Next Wave of UI Advances Happen?

Technology innovations swing to a pendulum’s cadence. Sometimes innovations begin with infrastructure changes and reverberate up the stack. Other times, front-end engineers innovate at the application layer, which demand downstream changes in the infrastructure to scale. The last major epoch of front end evolution has celebrated its ten year anniversary. We’re in a period of punctuated equilibrium. When will we see rapid speciation? Web 2.0 and mobile applications built on iPhone and Android transformed the way users interacted with technology. One could argue there have been innovations at the platform tier. React changed front end deployment, for example. But aside from touch interfaces and the elimination of the page refresh with each click, not much has changed in human computer interaction in a decade. In contrast, in the last five or ten years, infrastructure has been reinvented, revolutionized, reborn. Infrastructure-as-a-service provided by Amazon, Google and Microsoft among others empowers Continue reading "When Will the Next Wave of UI Advances Happen?"

Squeezing Out That Last 10%-20% Growth

Once you have something in SaaS, somewhere on the path from $1m to $10m where you’re either on your way to Initial Scale or getting past it, you’ll often end up with a subtle choice: Should you go for the extra 10%-20% of growth a year? After a few years, a few management team mistakes, and a few cycles, finally it will be repeatable.  Net negative churn and renewals will kick in.  Your mini-brand will start drive in a regular stream of leads (more on that here).  You’ll be a known vendor, have a decent sales team, a proven product, a steady stream of leads.  You’ll more or less know how you’ll do next quarter and maybe even this year, within a wide variance at least. You’ll finally, sort of, have some of it dialed in and figured out.  Folks will start to get Continue reading "Squeezing Out That Last 10%-20% Growth"