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Sales Acceleration via Stage-Based Content

What’s the best sales email prospecting strategy to convert your ideal clients? Take a cue from your marketing team and use stage-based content to determine your prospect’s interests, preferences and readiness for a conversation. We can lean into the method by Matthew Sweezy, author of Marketing Automation for Dummies, and apply it to your outbound sales email prospecting efforts.

Yes, today’s buyer is in control of the sales process because they can easily self-educate; however, sales professionals like you are much better off due to the depth of data and insights captured as the buyer’s journey is chronicled online and further facilitated by your sales email platform (e.g. ToutApp).

Your ideal prospects are typically in one of four broad modes – awareness, research, consider or commit – and you need to quickly determine which one.

In the second touch of your sales email prospecting campaign, include two content assets (via ‘link to file’ in ToutApp). The first content asset — an article or informative blog-post– is clearly geared to those in awareness mode. The second content asset – a pricing guide or implementation plan – is clearly geared to those in commit mode.

The content asset that drives engagement can be used to structure highly relevant communications with the prospect – basically zeroing in on the solution of interest and how fast/slow you advance the conversation. The Live Feed is your best signaling mechanism for insight into prospect preferences.

Here is a sample script:

Dear Ideal Prospect,
Attached is an article summarizing the regulatory issues discussed at Trade Show X last week. Also attached is an implementation plan for organizations allocating Q4 budget to this area. I will contact you Friday morning to discuss.
Best regards,

10x Sales Leader

If the prospect clicks on and reads the implementation plan (commit mode), then jump on the phone and support their evaluation with your own insights.  If they click on the article, then keep dripping and focus on higher priority targets.

Leveraging stage-based content in your sales email prospecting tool keeps everyone happy.

• The prospect is happy because you are providing very relevant support
• You are happy because you’re not shooting in the dark
• Your marketing team is happy because they know which content is converting
• Your sales manager is happy because you’re being highly productive

About Jeff L. Herrmann
A champion of B2B sales and marketing alignment and brand audience development, Jeff is passionate about leveraging content, sales automation technology and data to enable enterprise organizations to accelerate sales and realize extraordinary growth. A commitment to leadership development, learning, and teaching, Jeff has a live laboratory to experiment in every day as the Founder of SalesQuants and the Chief Revenue Officer ofFathom: Digital Marketing & Analytics. Jeff is a resource to both Sales Executives and CMOs because he understands the dynamics of their relationship.

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7 Ways to Train the Modern Salesperson

Dear ToutApp,

          How do I tackle a growing sales team? I’m trying to plan for the scope of training starting with onboarding and moving through formal group trainings to individual coaching/development. Specifically, I’d love to know:
1. Content/learning goals for sales people
2. Best Practices
3. What ongoing development looks like

          -Sales Manager from a Hustling Startup

Dear SM from a Hustling Startup,

Great Question. In fact, we get asked this a lot as we coach our customers on how to implement our software across their Sales Process. To help get your answer, I pulled together our CEO, VP of Customer Success, Director of Sales Operations, and lastly, one of our top performing Sales Reps. Basically, the Sales powerhouse.

As a growing company, almost doubling in size in the last two months, I figured they would know a thing or two about training new team members.  I pulled them into a room for a whiteboard session.

We’ve come up with 7 things that will help you when training your team and becoming a better salesperson yourself:

1. Follow the Leaders.

This answers your first question around content. Teach your team to tap into the infinite amount of sales resources online. Social selling is very important. Make sure your team is constantly learning new sales tips and knowledge, and then sharing that information with potential customers. It gives them more “sales cred.” Here are five blogs we like to follow:

2. Keep trainings short and precise.

In a study based solely on lectures, it was determined that students (salespeople in this case)  have a 10-18 minute window of prime focus in an hour.  “Then, no matter how good the teacher or how compelling the subject matter — there would come a lapse. In the vernacular, the students would lose it.” Sometimes their attention would come back, “But in ever briefer packets, falling “to three- or four-minute spurts.”

Thus, no matter how compelling your sales hacks are, key points to your training can get lost in translation; even if you segment topics. Our VP of Customer Success, Cliff Cate says, “Think about the demographic of salespeople these days; they can have short attention spans. You need to have training very easy to consume, that’s bite sized, quick, and engaging. Show them a two minute video that shows them how to make a cool template in two minutes or less.”

3. Onboard at separate times.

Daniel Barber, our Director of Sales Operations makes sure new hires always start on a different day. By starting salespeople on different days, they gain more one-on-one attention. It helps with culture by having a personal introduction to the team, and a personal experience with their manager. Even one day or week apart can make a big difference. Also, Daniel says, “Give them the what, why, and how of your company the first hour of the first day. It will set up the training for the entire week.”

4. Create a buddy system.

This creates an open environment to have new salespeople ask as many questions as they need. By working with a “peer,” there’s less intimidation. Meghan “Oops I close Deals” O’Donnell says, “Having a buddy system gave me a go-to person from day one. Create an environment where it’s normal and encouraged to ask for help.”

Also, onboarding at different times creates an automatic buddy system where your newbies get taught by people that started right before them. Odds are, the two-week salesperson has already asked the question that Day 1 Salesperson wants asked. It’ll save time and be a more engaging environment for both salespeople. They’ll learn twice!

5. Sell to your Uber Driver.

No, we’re not joking. Our CEO TK says, “Before you can train a whole bunch of salespeople, you need to sell yourself and know the ins and outs of your business.” He thinks talking to your cab drivers, or any new person you meet, and telling them about your product is the best way you can figure out if you’re doing a good job at selling. Make sure you’re very clear on the right language you want to use, and find out what resonates with people. “Salespeople need to understand the value, why people should care, and what the benefits of your company are. You need to figure this out for yourself first.”

6. Reflect, reflect, reflect.

These days, Salespeople are trained to follow what is on their calendar. Teach your team to book 15 minutes to reflect and find key takeaways from each meeting they have. Whether it’s a group training, or a call they just hopped on. Get in the habit of booking 15 minutes on your calendar after each meeting that will have an important takeaway. They’ll retain the information better!

7. Use your data for ongoing development.

Lastly, ongoing development takes your whole team. Find the things that your top reps are doing and figure out ways to share it with the rest of the team. For example, ToutApp will measure the best performing email templates across your sales team. Once you identify it, you can share it with the whole team and up everyone’s game.

Using data to identify best performing pieces of content, messaging and approaches and sharing it with the rest of your team is a powerful way to drive on-going training.

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


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Sales Acceleration Dashboard Recap

What:

The Sales Acceleration Dashboard is one report that lets Sales Teams know what content is working!

Why:

Did you know that 83% of the data in your CRM systems are unmanageable? It can be hard to visually see individual rep performance, template/content performance, and your trending accounts. With the Sales Acceleration Dashboard, it’s the first time you’ll have a report that gives you visibility into what emails are actually working, and more specifically, what content. Such as:

  • # of Emails with Events
    Tracking performance of reps email activity to drive performance
  • Click Through Rate
    Measuring the reps ability to source top content
  • Open Rate
    Measuring the number of opens and contrasting against the click through rate (CTR)
  • # of Events by Template
    Serves Marketing and Sales leadership, as top templates can be tracked
  • Opportunities with Events
    Exposes the real pipeline expected to close this month
  • Trending Accounts – Events
    The hot accounts for this week by engagement data

For Who:

For Sales Managers, Sales Directors, Sales Operations, Director of Marketing, or VP of Sales that want visibility into their teams, or anyone interested in measuring content performance.

Live Tweets from the Webinar (that you should tweet yourself):

 

“1% of calls today yield a real conversion. The concept of a cold call needs to change. @toutapp helps you do that.” (Click to Tweet)
“We’re solving that question that every chief sales officer is asking, What content is working and how do we get more of it?” (Click to Tweet)
“ToutApp gives you one platform, one service, not just a plug in. With the Sales Acceleration Dashboard we make sure you get the data you need.” (Click to Tweet)
“You can compare and contrast who’s killing it in terms of content, and then use that data to spread to the rest of the team. ” @toutapp (Click to Tweet)
“You can go back to #marketing and say, ‘Look, we’re using your content but this is how it’s actually performing’ and start a conversation.” (Click to Tweet)
“The # of emails sent means nothing. Connect rates and engagement data is what matters.” (Click to Tweet)

 

“For every 100 emails you send, you’ll get 2.5 meetings. For #Salesleaders this is exactly why you need to use engagement data.” @toutapp (Click to Tweet)

 

“Most of the CRM platforms are just places to log activity. That’s great but that’s not enough” #salesaccelerationdashboard (Click to Tweet)

Sign up to get the Sales Acceleration Dashboard here!


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Feature of the Week: Calendar Function

Whether you use Gmail or Outlook, we have an amazing Calendar function that allows you to set up a meeting time in just 3 clicks!

You’ve experienced it all too well. You get a meeting request, visit your calendar for open times, email a few options, only to hear back that none of them work. Back to the drawing board in your calendar, and a handful of emails later…

We know setting up just one meeting can be time-consuming and annoying! There’s usually many back-and-forth emails exchanged to pick a final date and time. Here’s a refresher on how to use our Calendar Function to take that pain away:

1. Outlook

Step 1: Hit the “Calendar” button in the upper right corner
Step 2: Click and select open times in your schedule
Step 3: Hit “Insert Times into Email” in upper right corner
Step 4: Available meeting times are automatically inserted into your email!

2. Gmail

Step 1: Click the Calendar Tab

Setting up a meeting

Step 2: Select your open times and hit the “Insert Times into Email” located in the upper right corner

Setting up a meeting

Step 3: Ta-da! Your available meeting times are automatically inserted into your email

Setting up a meeting

 

Last step? TOUT it! :) 


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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.”

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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

     

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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):

       


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User of the Week: How our tool Niko helps with Prospecting

Name: Zarah Trinh

Company: UserTesting

Position: Biz Dev

1. What’s your company/role?

I do Enterprise Business Development at UserTesting.com. We provide an automated recruited and on-demand testing platform for companies in need of rapid, data oriented research.

Through our Customer Experience Analytics and benchmarking metrics, enterprise teams can FINALLY synthesize both qualitative and quantitative data into a digestible findings report, aligning multiple team initiatives (product, marketing, UX/ design, engineering, etc.) with overall business objectives and revenue goals.

2. Why do you love ToutApp? How do you use it for your job?

  • Sales productivity – Salesforce integration and the “Niko” bubble that makes it easy to input data into Salesforce (from any site) when I’m prospecting
  • Sales Effectiveness – I love the ability to schedule follow up reminders w/prospects, add notes as to how I should follow up in the reminder.. and not just for emails, I can setup reminders for phone calls as well
  • Sales Visibility – The ability to track and see when and if the email is opened and if they’re clicking on certain links in the email

More info on Niko:

Niko is one of our newest feature that bridges the gap between browsing the web and Salesforce. Have you ever scouted LinkedIn for a potential prospect and found a winner? Instead of manually copying information, opening a new tab to SFDC, and creating a lead….CLICK NIKO!

As you browse the web, Toutapp will pull in these respective email addresses and allow you to easily add this contact into Salesforce.

Niko’s a great tool to utilize from either Gmail or Linkedin, without ever having to page back and forth from Salesforce.

3. Why Tout vs. other sales tools in the market?

It’s so easy, integrates with our email and Salesforce, and “Niko” makes it easy for me to access analytics on a prospect and set up reminders on ANY site.

4. What was your journey into sales?

I moved to San Francisco from Alabama for the opportunity to work with talented, ambitious and hungry young professionals like myself. In my first job position after college, I built out a pre-sales position, which we called the “sales consultant” to assist a team of 24 reps on key accounts. I was a part of the first strategically closed enterprise account at that company (Comcast) and brought in a portfolio of other logos, including Yelp, Spotify and Web.com.

…. and I haven’t looked back since :)

5. What’s one of your favorite sales tricks?

My favorite trick is to ask questions I already know the answer to….For example, I sent out a proposal using ToutApp, and even though I knew the email wasn’t opened, I called the prospect to “make sure she got the email.”

.. Or when they say they’re not interested & 10 views later you reach out to call their bluff.

It works every time!

6. Favorite email you’ve ever received?

I reached out to a prospect who declined my Linkedin InMail. Two days later, she sent me an email and wanted a demo, then proceeded to tell me she had no budget and couldn’t commit to any sort of subscription. Three weeks and probably 20 tout emails later, the deal closed, AND she committed to an annual plan!

My favorite emails are the salty ones…. because they always end up sweet (if you use the analytics to your advantage)! ;-D

**Congrats to Zarah + UserTesting for winning this week! We couldn’t be happier to have you on board with ToutApp. If you’re interested in being the next featured superstar, please apply here. **


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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.
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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?


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Why Biking Helps Me Close More Deals

“I wake up every morning looking forward to my commute to work…”
-Said no one ever.

…Well, aside from me. I love commuting to work!

Whether you’re in sales, engineering, or are a C-class Executive, this post will hopefully get your wheels turning (literally) about making a change to your work commute.

It all began when I was getting ready one day for work, and realized my favorite pair of jeans made me feel like I was squeezing into a sardine can. I also was getting to work sleepy almost every day, and in desperate need of my Starbucks fix.  Not a fun state of mind to be in for sales calls. At the end of the day, I would come home too tired to work out and would choose to eat prepared food from Whole Foods and watch House of Cards instead.  And don’t even get me started on working out before work. Yes, we are all super ambitious the night before and set those early alarms! But when 5:30am rolls around, do you get out of bed and put your sneakers on? No, you hit snooze for the next hour.

Clearly something needed to be done. I decided to buy a bike.

I’ll admit, the first day of my commute was exhilarating yet terrifying. Dodging taxi cabs, muni busses, and cable cars while trying to listen to my Google Maps app give me directions to work proved extremely stressful.  Little did I know Toyota Prius’ are the most dangerous?! Those sneaky automobiles don’t make a sound when they’re approaching you! I finally made it to my office, goofy bike helmet and all.

I sat down at my desk and jumped straight into my inbox. After powering through a few hours of work, I realized that I hadn’t even taken a coffee break yet (and just saved myself $5). As the week continued, I felt more energized, happier, and focused at work. I was getting my exercise, without having to take any extra time out of my day. I’m never turning back.

Fact: In SF, it can take the same amount of time to bike to work rather than driving or taking the bus. Instead of having my face stuck in a stranger’s armpit for 27 minutes on the bus, I’m burning calories and releasing endorphins.

If you are able to walk or ride your bike to work, I would highly recommend it. You’ll get great exercise and help the environment. Heck, if you do, I’ll even send you some free ToutApp swag!

Tips:

  1. Hills: Google Maps on the iPhone doesn’t take hills into consideration. Make sure to look up your route on GM on your desktop (which does). I made that mistake and pretty much had to climb Mt. Everest on the way to yoga. Subsequently, I was too tired to even go to yoga.
  2. Read resources first: Make sure you read about the basics such as: rules of the road, how to lock your bike, etc. You’ll have more confidence when riding, and won’t make a traffic mistake or get your bike stolen. Also, don’t feel embarrassed to even sign up for a class (it’s not silly). City Biking is different from your neighborhood route back in the good ol’ days.
  3. Smelling fresh: For people who are worried about getting sweaty you can use baby or citrus wipes and then bring your work clothes in a backpack.
  4. Bike Gear: Wear a helmet and sunglasses. The wind can make your eyes water and it’s a nice trick to keep your makeup on and have less distractions when riding. Also, it helps to roll up your pant leg so it doesn’t get caught in the chain. For the ladies, be careful of tights or leggings because they can easily snag on the bike pedal!

*If you don’t own a bike, here’s the cheapest place I found for bike rentals. Try it out for a few days then make a commitment!

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