A Shout-out to You from ToutApp!

It’s that time of year again and we’re kicking off the holiday season a bit early this year, and wanted to give a huge shout-out to you. Yes, you—our amazing customer community.

Next week is Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday season. Across the country, friends and family will gather around a table to share memorable moments from the year, have a good ‘ole time and say thanks to the people that mean the most to us. We here at ToutApp are no exception.

It’s no secret that that entire team at ToutApp loves our customers. We’ve even made a page on our shiny new website dedicated to you–that cutting edge sales team. As a Tout customer, you become a card carrying member of the Tout nation and a true voice in our company mission, product features and every day #toutlife. We’ve hosted customer dinners, happy hours, workshops and networking events all for you. Because you’re simply the best.

Welcome to The Closers Club, it’s for those who close deals.

One of those inaugural members of The Closers Club is the entire sales team at Kareo, an electronic health records company that streamlines everything from billing to collections for thousands of doctors’ practices nationwide. Headquartered out of Irvine, California–this team of closers are truly exceptional.

When Rick Palmer, the Sales Operations Manager at Kareo was continually faced with productivity and messaging roadblocks for his sales team — he found ToutApp to be his solution. Read more about the Kareo sales team and their story on how they supercharge productivity here or click the image below.

casestudy_kareo

So, in short, here’s to you. We hope you have a great start to your holiday season and bring on home those deals well into the new year, because we’re all closers here.

The Best Sales Training I Never Knew I Needed

In preparation for this year’s Dreamforce conference, Sales Happiness Officer, Jess Green shares her reflections and lessons learned at last year’s Dreamforce. It also happened to be her very first day at ToutApp.

There are so many different sales training methods and strategies on how to ramp a new rep. I now believe I’ve experienced the best training a sales person can have Week One on the job — manning a booth at Dreamforce, or better yet, TWO booths!

Talk about jumping out of your comfort zone to allow yourself to truly grow. I experienced this first hand! I left a fantastic company that I had been very comfortable with over the past 5 ½ years. As I’m sure every person does when they start to consider a career move, I weighed my options of being “comfortable” and successful at my current company against taking a risk that could lead to even greater financial and personal success. I made the leap. And when I did, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy not only getting my feet wet the first week but diving in headfirst and not looking back.

My first day at ToutApp was on Friday, November 15, 2013. I figured with the presence and buzz ToutApp had for the upcoming Dreamforce conference, I knew I couldn’t pass up the experience to be a part of the team as they launched into the week.

Here are the 3 best training tips I have for your 1st week, whether it’s in an office or at this year’s Dreamforce.

1. Listen, Do, Reflect, Iterate

Take in as much as you can when listening to the team around you. This really applies to everyone, everyday. You never know when you are going to hear in an interaction that changes your perspective or is an “Ah-Ha!” moment of understanding. It could become the secret sauce of your sales process!

2. You don’t have to know everything

You JUST started, put your best foot forward, be confident, and when you don’t know an answer give yourself a break. Take note of the question, promise a follow up and here’s the big one…actually follow up!

3. Build relationships

In the end isn’t that what sales is all about? If you don’t know everything about the product get to know the people you chat with and what their challenges, goals, and focus is day to day. Once you finish ramping up you can apply your new knowledge to the conversation you had previously and I’m going to bet that relationship goes a lot farther than it would have if you just spewed feature after feature at them.

All I can say is, what a week! Remember these are not only key tips for week one but remind yourself throughout your career. Good luck to all of those who are currently in transition mode, I hope this helped :)

How did team ToutApp achieve a 72.2 SSI score in Social Selling?

Recently at the LinkedIn Sales Connect conference, we were rated as the #1 Social Seller in the SMB space with an SSI score of 72.2.

Naturally, ToutApp’s name was buzzing, and we kept getting asked “How do you do it?” Well… to be honest, our first natural answer was — well — we don’t know. So we took some time to reflect.

Isn’t selling, by nature, social? Well, yes. All selling is social. That’s just how things are and how they’ll always be.

Before Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the dawn of the Internet age–people were selling socially. Believe it or not, people talked to one another, often face-to-face and sold things to one another.

Goodbye to the days of selling magazines door-to-door and hello to a world where if you’re game isn’t social selling–you’ll be left behind. We, as a society, cannot buy or sell without being social. It’s just not possible. Customers, either happy ones or disgruntled ones, seem to be much more vocal over the Internet. In our super-connected world, it’s easier than ever to start social selling. Do it now.

#0 – Embrace Social

As we reflect on things, the first thing we realized was that the majority of the company was on social media. Social is part of our culture. At ToutApp, we believe in the power of social selling and it’s one of our key selling strategies. Meet Taylor Miller (@taylortsm), Nicolette Mullenix (@NicoletteToutIt), and Meghan O’Donnell (@oopsiclosedeals)–three stars of ToutApp’s social selling strategy as they give us pointers on how to socially sell.

#1 – Post Real Content, Not Fluff

Early on, decide who’s your target audience and zero-in on their needs and pain points. People are smarter than they’ve ever been. That also means that they’re more aware of their time and the only way to reach them is to provide clear, resonating value and content for them via social channels.

#2 – The Huge Power of 160 Characters

We all know that Twitter has 140 characters, but did you know that your Twitter bio is limited to 160 characters? You only get 160 characters to tell people how awesome you are–that’s not a lot of room. So, be economical yet authentic with your micro-bio.

Your Twitter bio should be compelling and outlines your goals, values, and transparently showcase what you’re selling–whether it’s a service, product or coffee. Like your Tweets and blog posts, your bio should target a specific audience that you’d like to converse with via Twitter.

#3 – Showcase the Professional-Personal You

Twitter is a superb platform for social selling. It’s also a great place to rant about your city’s public transportation system. It’s your job to know where to draw the line. Instead, create a Twitter account that carefully balances professional content (company blog posts, industry practices, etc) with a healthy dose of personal content.

Got a fun office vibe? Tweet about it. Did you go to a meetup for tech salespeople? Tweet about that too. But, don’t just tweet willy-nilly. Remember to use proper netiquette and always contribute value.

#4 – Highlight uncommon commonalities

If you’re sending a cold @mention Tweet or email, it’s hard to get the conversation going. Make a stronger connection with prospects and emphasize something uncommon that you two have common.

Do less “we’re both in sales” and more of “we’re both avid swing dancers.” Whoever you’re reaching out to is more likely to respond to that quirky, personal connection rather than the general shared profession connection. I know I would.

#5 – Team Collaboration for More Thoughtful Leaders

At Tout, we use HipChat to talk, share ideas, and work together. By virtually sitting in one chat room together–we get a lot done. HipChat makes it easier for us to share and gather information on customers and share news about prospects.

Beyond a chat room, we also social sell across our entire team. Everyone has the responsibility to be a voice in our social selling strategy. We work as a whole team to share company blog posts and Tweets across our own professional networks; which leaves impressions on a wider reach. Every person at ToutApp is a thought leader and together we’ll make a larger impact.

#6 – Tools for Social Selling

Ok, now you’ve got the how-to, here’s the know-how. Keep TweetDeck open on your desktop to track @mentions, #hashtags, and your Twitter Feed.

Create Google Alerts to monitor the entire Internet for interesting and sales relevant content.

Buffer is a great application that’ll queue your tweets and posts. Just line them up in advanced and you won’t have to worry about them later.

There are so many sales opportunities through social media. Be sure to use them all to your advantage.

Want More?

Social selling is huge. Some of it is a fad, and some of it is here to stay. We’ll be digging in more into the topic and sharing more tactical advice in the coming weeks. So, stay tuned!

If in case you want to learn more and just can’t wait, be sure to check out our post about the time Koka Sexton came to ToutApp and dropped a knowledge bomb on social selling.

What’s better than a cup of coffee to start the day?

Three months ago, I started a new sales job at a disruptive software company. As with most young startups, the workday typically extends beyond the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In my current role, I usually get into the office by 7:00 AM and sometimes find myself there until later in the evening. With my past employers, I was usually able to dedicate my evenings to exercise. However, in my new position I found that I was making countless excuses to skip the gym after a long day at the office.

A lot of us struggle with a work/life balance, especially in the startup world where every ounce of output is valuable. Exercise had always comprised a central tenant of my life, but it seemed as though there was no way I would be able to incorporate it into my daily routine. However, there was a solution out there that I was originally hesitant to consider: exercising before work. I was committed to maximizing my health, happiness and productivity – so I took the plunge with a 30-day challenge.

The Challenge #earlydaysfor30days

My challenge is “Early Days for 30 Days” committing to a 4:30am rise Monday-Friday and hitting the gym.

The Preparation

Although it took me two weeks to lay off the 4:30am alarm, I finally started my challenge last Sunday by preparing everything for the next day; such as laying out my exercise clothes and having my clothes and toiletries already packed. When my alarm went off at 4:30am on Monday, I put my workout clothes on, laced up my shoes, and hit the gym!

The Results

Turns out Isaac Newton was right! Objects in motion really do stay in motion. A week into my challenge this is what I’ve found:

 

Fitness Endurance and Agility
As long as I prepare the night before, I have minimal excuses to skip the gym in the morning. My endurance is increasing and I’m pushing myself to my limits. After one week, I’m already seeing physical results by adding 2-3 extra days at the gym per week.
Boost in Productivity
When I get into the office at 6:30am-7:00am, I’m already stimulated from my workout and am ready to start work as soon as I sit down. Rather than waiting for that first cup of coffee to kick in, I have at least 30 minutes back in my day when I arrive at the office.
Encourages a healthier diet
Typically, after exercise you reach for the banana and yogurt rather than a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato and breakfast sandwich with cheese and bacon. Morning exercise sets the tone for the day and encourages healthy eating throughout the day. Skip the Snickers bar and go for a handful of almonds!
Better Organization
Personally, I’m more alert and sharp in the mornings. Getting my endorphins going in the morning allows me to create and complete more to-do lists. I start planning my day out in my head while I’m running so my day feels organized by the time I arrive in the office. I’m a big proponent for checklists, and exercising in the morning has lead to faster completion of those lists. Always a rewarding feeling!
It’s contagious!
When I started the challenge, I mentioned my early morning challenge to some coworkers. Within a few days, there were at least three others who had started exercising before coming to the office. Just yesterday, eight of us completed the J.P. Morgan 5k Corporate Challenge and we’re ready to enter another race. I encourage you to challenge yourself whether it be a fitness challenge or another types of challenge and see if it helps your work/life balance.

Follow me along my #earlydaysfor30days @NicoletteToutIt

How to Build a Team of Sales Superheroes

Dear Brittany ToutApp

Dear Brittany,

Our start-up is really getting some traction – yee ha! Now we need to bring a sales superhero on board, and I’m not sure how to separate the wheat from the chafe? I’ve made bad sales hires in the past where they show and tell me how amazing they are, and then they don’t close a single deal…sigh!

What should I be looking for? Is there a way to “test” them to see what real skills they’ve got? Any other tips hiring for this kind of role?

Many thanks,
From Start-up taking off!

Dear Start-up taking off,

I sat down with our VP of Sales, Eileen Wiens, and our Director of Sales Operations, Daniel Barber. Both have years of Sales interviewing experience; and have managed multiple teams.  In fact, both interview candidates on a daily basis at ToutApp– they’re perfect for helping answer your question.

First and foremost, they both agree you should know how to sell to your uber driver. In other words, before you bring on a salesperson, make sure you can sell the product yourself. You’ll know what type of language you’re looking for in the interview, and will be able to define your product. So here’s your answer for how to hire an amazing salesperson…

Where do you start?

Know exactly what you’re hiring for. Eileen says, “Are you looking for hunters or farmers?” In other words, do you need someone qualifying or finding leads, or do you need “closers” or reps that can work on Enterprise accounts. It’s important to first understand each role and your sales cycle (transactional one-call close vs. complex 6-9 month cycle), and only then, will you know what your perfect candidate looks like. “You need to find the type of person that fits the type of sale that you have, it may evolve from SMB to Enterprise, but know what you need.”

Types of questions to ask.

You’ll want to be able to separate the great interviewers from the people that can actually execute. Eileen likes using layering questions, and pulling away the layers for each answer. An example might be:
Q: Describe to me your sales process.
A: After a lead, I do a demo.
Q: How do you get demos? Are they inbound leads?
A: No, I have to prospect
Q: Tell me how you prospect? How do you pick who to call or email…

By asking open ended questions, you’ll get to see a candidate’s strategy, clock-speed, and thought process. How deep can they go? They should have learned a lot about their product and know how to explain it to you in layman’s terms.

With beginning roles, you’ll want to focus on personality characteristics like grit and persistence. For experienced reps (5+years), it’s really about knowing how complicated of a sales process they’re capable of managing. Eileen tells me, “If there are Stakeholders across 3+ departments before we even get a trial off the ground; it’s about knowing how to navigate and piece together org structures and understanding all of the groups with keeping the sale in mind.”

More Sample Questions, and what you’ll learn.

-Aptitude: Sell me your last companies product.
-Passion: Lately, What are you doing to develop your sales profession…books, blogs?
-Ownership: Tell me about an early time where you had to demonstrate responsibility.
-Experience (for seasoned sellers): How did you manage your sales cycle?
-Consistent Persistence: How many times do you think it’s worth following-up with someone? Hint: Most people drop after 5, be that sixth! :)
-Critical Thinking: How is selling door-to-door similar to this role? Have them tell you how they would get someone to open the door for you (over the 200 other people ringing the doorbell). Hint: the inbox is the modern day doorstep.

Interview Style.

You’re going to be shocked to hear this. You’re doing it all wrong. Daniel, our Director of Sales Ops is going old-school…he doesn’t do phone screens! He asks me, “How much time does a phone screen take?” I answer 15-30 minutes. He asks, “How much time would that take in real life?” I answer 30 minutes. Because your allotted time is relatively the same (for first-round sales interviews), why wouldn’t you want to meet them in person? He goes on to say, “What you get from an in-person is attention to detail. It saves a whole round of interviewing.”  Instead of having a phone screen, and then asking similar questions on the first round in-person, you get the same information in one. “It’s a win-win because you save time on your calendar, and they get a shot at presenting themselves in their best possible light.”

What else does this do? It creates a stronger networking bond. By meeting with someone in person, you can create mini advocates for your brand; even if you don’t end up hiring them. You’ll never know if you will in the future, or if they’ll be needing your product. An in-person handshake and 30 minute meeting goes a lot farther than a 30 minute blind phone call. And, If you’re still hesitant, follow Eileen and at least do video screens via skype.

Also, have them do a writing exercise. Daniel asks our candidates to write a sample email to a person at a very large company; a real person with a title they would be actually contacting. “It’s an example of their first day-to-day task that they’ll be doing.” Look for what kind of information they include like 10k reports, details, connections, etc.

Lastly, it’s the old adage: hire slow fire fast. You should spend far more time on the interview research process and have a pipeline of candidates. Daniel uses the 100 Rule from Greylock Partners (a VC firm that instructs hiring at Facebook and LinkedIn). The rule is: With 100 resumes or Linked profiles, from those you meet 15 in-person, and from those 15, you’ll find your candidate.”

*Shoutout to Andrew Riesenfeld, Daniel attributes a lot of his recruiting knowledge to him.

3 Musts.

For Daniel, there are three attributes in salespeople that are good indicators for success:

1. Attention to detail. If you’re a SDR sending a message to 50 salespeople, and you get a name wrong or have a grammatical error on the first line; there isn’t a conversation anymore. This is a big must-have.
2. Work ethic. Sales teams are in the office very early; usually the first. Closing deals essentially means running your own business. If you don’t grasp that concept, how are you going to be successful? Your territory is your own business, so make sure they have this!
3. Critical thinking. Have them walk you through contacting the VP of Sales at Adobe. Find out their play by play and their drive to succeed. How a salesperson thinks through selling is vital to the deals they’ll get.

Lastly, you have to just plain like ‘em.

Culture can mean more than their experience as a salesperson. Making sure a person meshes well and embodies your company’s values will directly impact the happiness of the team. In a lot of cases, sales skills can be taught, but values can not. Know what’s important to you in terms of culture.

That’s everything I’ve got. Good luck hiring a kick-ass salesperson!
-Brittany

What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask me here or tweet at me!


ToutApp’s New VP of Sales: C’mon Eileen, tell us everything!

Eileen Wiens defining career moment is happening as I type. Our new VP of Sales started last week, and she has already gotten our team off and running. I’m not joking, our sales reps are having ‘A-ha!’ moments on a daily basis. With a cheery demeanor and a lot of excitement, she tells me, “I think the biggest career move I’ll look back on is now. We’re in such a hot space, have high visibility, and I get the chance to sell to and meet the most influential people.” Right now, she says, “Is a new journey.”

I asked her to expand a little more on why she wanted to join ToutApp.

“C’mon Eileen (obviously a reference to the famous 80’s song), Why ToutApp, and why at this moment?

She gave me three main reasons:

  1. A great career opportunity
  2. The team
  3. The chance to be a part of something at the exciting and early stage.

“The Sales acceleration market is an emerging space, and we’re certainly an early player…and quickly becoming a leader. I’ve also been a customer for the last year (as the Director of Sales at Hoopla), and had such a great selling experience with ToutApp. It had major stickiness with my own sales team, so I knew it was powerful.”

What does she mean by ‘stickiness’? She was sold on our product when her sales team revolted when their trial was coming to an end. “They loved it and many said ‘I’ll just pay for it myself’ if it doesn’t happen. Very few sales reps would take money out of their own pocket. I knew right then; ToutApp was a powerful and game changing tool.”

Eileen’s background

In her exact words, “I got into sales when the earth’s crust cooled.

She’s spent the last 20 years in both inside and outside sales, and most recently, worked for Hoopla as the Director of Sales. Her first ‘sales’ role was working from the ground up– working in Lead Gen and making cold calls. She admits, “I waited till everyone went to lunch to make my first cold call.” Quickly getting over nerves (that lasted a millisecond), she moved up to Lead Gen Manager, and on to strategic alliances and Biz Dev during the .com days. She worked for a few startups, a Fortune 500 company, and emerged early into the SaaS space in 2004.

What drives her?

“For me it’s always been a combination of culture, product, and challenge.” A common theme in her background is building stuff. “For me, building a team, and building a company, is what ultimately drives me.”

What does she want to build? Something simply stated, but extremely powerful:

“A repeatable sales model that exponentially grows the revenue and the value of the company.”

How will you innovate and BUILD ToutApp?

She brings a tremendous amount of passion and ability to motivate salespeople.

She explains, “It’s Two-Fold: One, being able to design the sales strategy, and two, you have to be a good leader to craft a sales mission. She says being a leader means having the ability to get in the trenches with your team. “It’s important to get respect from your team by getting on the phone with them.” I asked what kind of leader she would describe herself as…“ People say that I’m a nurturing coach.”

Building a Sales Team: Her 3 C’s

  • Capacity: I’m always looking for a person’s aptitude and the ability to learn
  • Clock-speed: We’re a fast-growth company, and we want our sales people to reflect that.
  • Captivating: I want my salespeople to be captivating. They are the entire image of the company, and I want the customer experience with ToutApp salespeople to be memorable.

How Sales has changed, from her perspective.

In 20 years, she’s seen sales change tremendously.  “I think the biggest difference is that Sales is now an integral part of companies; companies run their entire business purely on inside salespeople.” This profession is now very much looked at as a respected role, with companies using inside sales as their go-to market sales model.”

Best Sales Win. Shoot!

As a leader, she gave the best answer, “It was actually a team effort for one of the largest social networking sites.” She went on to tell me an amazing story of building champions, hard work, with many hands involved. “It was a Global initiative with very specific engagement rules, and we were late to enter the competition.” Being a competitive bake-off, Eileen and another company were in head-to-head competition for the spot. “My Sales rep spent a significant amount of time of building relationships around the world. With a 90 day sales-cycle, and many stakeholders involved, our team had to continuously build champions, and we did it!” What does this teach us?

Sales is a collaborative effort.

The last important question.

And of-course, I had to circle back with TK, who tirelessly spent the last quarter meeting with over a dozen sales leaders to figure out who would be the right fit for our VP of Sales role. I asked him, “Why Eileen?”

“When it comes to hiring, I look for two crucial elements. I first look for a person that understands our mission and is willing to join up. We already had that in Eilleen because not only was she a loyal customer, she had already sent us a ton of referrals our way. The second thing I look for are people that are not just looking to be great at their jobs, but are looking deeply to advance the very craft they are in — and I saw that in Eileen the very first time I saw her speak at an AA-ISP panel.”

“We’re super excited and super lucky to have Eileen on-board as our VP of Sales. I consider myself to have one job, and that is to build a crack team of bad-asses. And with all the hires we’ve made this year, we’re well on our way to dominate in this space. I couldn’t be more excited.”


Meet Our New VP of Customer Success: Cliff Cate

Our new VP of Customer Happiness and Success, Cliff Cate, sat down with me this week to chat about his new role, his vision for ToutApp this year, and why his passion is helping customers get the most out of technology.

Well actually, I sat down with him. He’s the type of guy that on his second day in, made an effort to plan 1:1’s with each member of the company. If you were to ask me my first impression of him, I’d say he was immediately friendly, happy, and smart; someone that we’re all going to use as a resource. Funny enough, my instincts were right. When I asked him to name three words to describe himself, he said, “Driven, Humble, and Analytical. The same words, but said in a different way.

Tout Lovin’

We started by getting real from the get go. I asked him, “Cliff, give me your honest answer, why ToutApp? And, why now?”

Cliff has a seasoned background of being an Executive in the Customer Success field for the past 19 years. He helped his last company, GoodData, grow 12x in terms of customer growth to 130,000 users. Before that he worked at CaseCentral, Oracle, Stellent, Viant and Accenture.

So Cliff, why now?

There are two reasons: “Historically sales tools have mainly been designed for sales management with little focus on the individual salesperson. There’s a huge opportunity to help salespeople be more effective and productive; sales is changing to have a more systematic element to it. The second reason is ToutApp’s Culture. Companies thrive or die based on their company culture. ToutApp’s strong culture is apparent immediately when you meet the team, and reinforced the more time you spend with them.”

He told a story about his first coffee meeting with our CEO TK. TK got him when he started talking about the team and how much our customers loved the product.

“I did research and looked at all of the great customers ToutApp already has and it was clear that ToutApp has a huge opportunity.”

In no more than two words, I asked him to describe what we do. “Kick-Ass Salespeople.”

I thought that was the perfect answer.

His Story.

I asked him to describe to me his journey into customer success in more detail:
“I’ve always loved technology, but more so, I’ve always loved helping people use technology. I started my early career working for technology consulting firms. That evolved into providing a broader focus on everything that it takes to support customers in a Saas company: onboard, training, support, proactive advice, usage analytics and renewals.”

He worked his way up through software companies.

“To me Saas is a game changer for customers because, as a subscription business, the customer’s success needs to be aligned with the software company’s success. We have to be providing value every day or customers can vote with their feet and leave.”

His Focus at ToutApp

I asked him what his main focus will be at ToutApp, and if he could tell me the three goals he has upon entering this role.

“I will be making sure that customers get the most out of ToutApp and it’s improving their job. That’s our number one priority.”

My other top priorities include:
Continue to grow our great team of Happiness Officers
Develop easier to consume training and best practices for our customers
Make sure we are always responsive to our customer needs and we are funneling their feedback into our product roadmap

The Last and Important Question.

So my last honest question for him (and probably one that is on all of our minds),  “Why do you love Customer Success and where do you think that it is going?”

Without a beat, and with a genuine answer, he said:

“On occasion, you’ll run into unhappy customers, but I wouldn’t say that’s the majority of the issues. The positive aspects greatly outweigh everything else. It’s about helping the customer discover the product and using it to it’s capacity. Every time they reach out is an opportunity to help customers be better at their job. The moments when a customer gets it, or can do something they weren’t able to do before, is what gets people motivated.”

We’re All Excited

After chatting with Cliff, I decided to shoot over a quick question to TK. After all, he spent all of Q1 leading the search for this position. I asked him, “What got you excited about Cliff?”

TK wrote back:
“In case our customers haven’t figured it out by now, we’re the visionaries in the business. Our mantra has always been to question everything, think in terms of first principles, and come to the best solution. When it comes to leading an organization that is obsessed about Customer Happiness in terms of Service, Support and Lifetime Revenue, there are only a small handful of people that have the vision, foresight and knowledge/experience to do the job. Cliff has all three and we are super excited and lucky to have him joining Team ToutApp.”

——————————————————————————————————

Fun Facts about Cliff:

1. Favorite Song: Wilco, California Stars

2. Recent Books he’s read:

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
  • 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

     

The Best Quotes from the Sales Hacker Conference NYC

The ToutApp team attended the Sales Hacker Conference in NYC last week. It was an event that brought together the top sales leaders, experienced CEO’s, and VP of Sales in the country (including our very own CEO, TK) to speak about their best sales hacks and give advice about B2B sales.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the conference. Learn from them, tweet them (#socialselling), and get excited about the new direction Sales is moving in!

Best Quotes:

1. John Barrows
CEO, Sales Trainer
Twitter: JohnMBarrows

“65% of emails are being read via mobile–send yourself an email, open it on your phone, and you should never have to scroll more than twice.”

2. Tim Bertrand
SVP WW Sales, Acquia
Twitter: timbertrand

“Invest your time, invest your energy, and it will all pay off.”
“Find the prospects that feel real, and put leads in front of your best reps.”

3. Tawheed Kader “TK”
CEO, ToutApp
Twitter: tawheed

 

“As a salesperson you have to become a mini marketer. Start with 5X5 Campaigns”  **Join our webinar next week on this**

“Use engagement data to drive next steps and constantly iterate around your content– be a mini marketer within your sales process.”

“A company’s blog is the gateway into their soul–keep on top of what they believe.”

“The 5×5 method will help train new people. Touch points with data showing them what works and what doesn’t. It will also drive consistency across the sales process.”

“Don’t get lazy, you’re in sales.”

4. Jaspar Weir
Co-Founder of TaskUs
Twitter: jasparweir

“Cold calling is dying.”

Quick Facts:
-It takes ~8 calls to reach a prospect
-2% result in an appointment
-2.5 hours to set one appointment
-Cold Calling is dead.

“Build a culture of on going learning, cadence, and community.”

5. Kyle Porter
CEO, SalesLoft
Twitter: kyleporter

“Culture first.”

“For sales people today, it’s not enough to be human, you have to partner with machines.”


6. Aaron Ross
Author, Predictable Revenue
Twitter: motoceo

“Sell ideas, not stuff.”

More Pictures from our team (happy as clams):

       


Confessions of a Content Marketer


I have something to confess. I’ve never been in sales.

I don’t make cold calls, I don’t have a prospect list, and don’t even have a quota.

So why on earth would it be okay for me to write content about Sales?

Plain and simple: knowing how to sell and discovering how to sell are actually two different things.

I’m on a mission. A mission to deliver fantastic, empowering, and educational content to salespeople everywhere. And I’ve just had an ‘Aha!’ moment that there’s an amazing way to do this, so I'm writing to you. 

I Almost Messed Up.

As the voice of ToutApp’s blog and social media, my gut instinct upon entering this role was to sound exactly like a top-notched seasoned professional. I wanted to research as much as I possibly could, and learn every piece of up-to-date sales “jargon” there was. The problem was, and still is with any new role, it takes months to understand the company’s voice and space. And when you’re in charge of writing blog posts and posting on Twitter from day one, the challenge sets in. I had a huge fear of sounding fake.

So, I’ve decided that rather than writing a best practice post on “The Best Cold Call Ever Dialed” from my perspective, I’m going to change the way we’re doing things. I’ll interview and learn from my sales team and other reps, and find out that answer for you. Because, in reality, I don’t even have a headset or use my desk phone.

Down in the Trenches.

I'm getting in the trenches with our Sales Team. Fighting for that closed deal with them on their sales calls is the best way I’ll understand what they are going through, and ultimately, what you are going through. Every sales team has similar fundamentals that help them win deals:  perseverance, motivation, clock-speed, PLUS one big common denominator. As TK our CEO puts it simply, sales is on the rise because people still just want to talk to other human beings. “When a human being talks to another, that, my friends, is when selling happens.”

And that’s what I’ll be doing, talking to you from an honest and real point of view. I’ll be writing posts from my perspective of “discovering” sales. Discovering what our VP of Sales thinks about strategy, “discovering” how our sales reps deal with obstacles of selling like fear and resilience, and then “researching”  our SDR’s messaging and finding out which templates work best.

I’ve decided the best and fastest way to master content marketing, as well as Sales in general, is working right along with my badass team to learn as much as possible.

My Three Goals Around This Blog:

1. Have fun and interesting content that you’ll actually want to tweet to your friends (not just click-bate headlines).
2. Interview the best salespeople in the country. From thought leaders, to VP’s, to top selling reps; I’ll pick their brains for you and get their best practices and sales techniques.
3. Be a weekly go-to for “all things sales.” And by all things, I mean all of the things YOU want me to write about.

My Final Confession.

SO, I have access to some of the BEST salespeople on the planet. I dare you to write in the comments section, email me, tweet at me, and tell me what you’d like me to ask them. What would you like to learn more about? This blog is not for us– it’s for you!

In return, I promise you this blog won’t have drab and boring content that “the other guys” constantly deliver. I want you to stop skimming sales articles, and start enjoying them.  My focus will be on delivering authentic and real content that’s going to be interesting to read, and helpful in your sales process.  And I’ll do this by following my three goals above.

So, I confess to you, I’m not a professional salesperson. And I don’t track leads in Salesforce.

But I’ll bug the heck out of my sales team and other people that know a thing or two more than us, and give you the scoop. #iclosedealstoo.


*Brittany is the Marketing Happiness Officer/ Content Marketing Manager for ToutApp.

Reflecting on Two Years as a Startup Engineer

Looking Back.

Its hard to believe its already been two years. It still feels like only a short while ago I had my first interview to join a company that has proven to be one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Since the day I joined, my professional life has been a haze of coding projects, white-boarding sessions, and a constant burning desire to push my abilities and the speed of turnaround as far as I can possibly go.

I joined ToutApp on April 18th of 2012. 2 years ago today to be exact. I remember my interview fairly vividly. It was not altogether any unique day, but I could tell after meeting with TK that there was something, unique, about this. Even as early stage as it was. I was surprised and honestly really worried about the fact that the company at that time, was only 3 people strong. Of these 3, only one was another engineer, who was also the founder. Coming from a separate team consisting of several engineers that still managed to fall flat on it’s face, I was very timid about the job at first. I was very concerned about joining a team that could lead me to looking for another role 6 months later. I spoke with TK for a long time about the pipeline and his plans for the company. Today we still occasionally joke about those days and how I “ran him through the ringer” with all my questions. However, when I was offered the position and deciding whether or not to accept I thought, ‘Hey, I’m still young, I don’t have a family yet. Now’s as good a time as any to take a leap of faith and risk it’. So less than a week later I walked through the door as a new engineer.

Challenges, Celebrations, and What I’ve Learned.

Since I joined its been a whirlwind of challenges, celebrations, and more than one fairly sappy moment. From the first day I set foot in the door I was deploying new features to the platform. Since then its become in my mind a haze of coding in brand new territory. Developing the Outlook plugin was only my second full project here. TK just walked in the room one day and said “Hey, we need to make the Outlook plugin, want to learn C#?”, to which I responded “I’m down.” A few weeks later we were rolling out to a few customers to see if we were on the right track, not long after we had rolled it out. Since then, its seen several iterations and huge improvements as I’ve learned more fun little C# tricks. Other projects I’ve “owned” have come and gone, and over this past 2 years, I was a large influence in developing our entire Next front-end. Since we have a policy on experimentation, we tend to throw away a great deal of code. This gives me multiple opportunities to take a several hundred line code file I wrote early on and go “NOPE!” and delete the whole thing. Then rewriting it in a mere fraction of the time it took the first time and managing to reduce it down to a few hundred lines instead. It’s almost a therapeutic experience.

Feel the Love.

The professional experience and growth is nice, but what really makes this worth it to me, more than anything else, is the team itself. The people I get the pleasure of working with on a daily basis really makes the company great. It’s how we know we’re on to something, it makes late nights worth it, it makes time away worth it, it makes everything I do worth it. When we interview prospective hires I always find it fun to see how they play out. The way we light up when the candidate asks us what it’s like working here, and how excited they get in response. The one thing that is always constant about us is that everyone that works with us, loves to work with us. After a short time, it really starts to feel like family. Some of our newest hires have only worked here a few weeks, but most of us already feel like its been several months. We can’t remember what it was like without them, yet we still manage to maintain our core values. It’s a really great dynamic that makes each day a new piece of the journey. A long journey with people you forge a fellowship bound by a common goal, and a common passion.

So to my team, I say thanks for a great two years! I look forward to many more, and a lifetime of friendships from it.

To everyone else, seriously, its a great group of people. I’m not making this up or even exaggerating. They’re really just that wonderful.

Oh, and we’re hiring a badass Engineering team. Want to join me?