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This is a response to a http://www.softwareceo.com/ forum thread:

“Hello, We are a small ASP. Most of our marketing budget is spent on SEO and PPC ads. Our experience is the people who request a demo, quote or trial are ready to buy in the near future. To keep the pace of growth going we’re now considering alternative tactics such as direct mail postcards, tradeshows and whitepaper promotion. All of these we hope will generate leads, however I expect they will require more work to get them to a close.

A friend suggested to focus more on hiring great sales people and worry about lead generation later. His point is to go get a great salesperson who can generate their own leads. In fact he said when he was VP of Sales the quota was set at 300K per quarter, per person. This was about 7 sales per quarter based on their average price. He said 8 or 10 failed and were fired and 2 of 10 made or exceeded the quota.

My gut says we need to do both, but I was intrigued by the idea of hiring a very aggressive, proven salesperson that’s not afraid to use their roladex or cold call. Just wondering if anyone has encountered such spectacular salespeople?


Thanks,
Joe”

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Hi there,

SAAS Project Management Software Sales

We operate an SAAS model business with highly automated sales funnel systems that take people from ‘interested companies’ through to ‘Trial account users’ through to ‘hot leads’, then manages autoresponders through the sales cycle.

We sell a project, task and time management tool that ‘runs the show’ of small/med service companies. As such, signing up for the solution requires a lot of thought at the client end, but also (and more importantly) a lot of confidence in our service, company, infrastructure and support. Simply put, despite having a great automated selling system, “It ain’t over until the client signs”.

The problem is, from experience we’ve found out that average sales support, or even more experienced sales staff just struggle in the ‘Deal Closing’ part. We’ve yet to find good confident ‘Deal Closers’. We tend to use the sales support staff to facilitate trial accounts, run demos, Webex’s, send info etc, but when it comes to the closing, either myself or the other founder get on the phone and close the deal.

The CEO’s we deal with don’t like to be ‘Sold To’, they prefer to ‘Start a relationship’ with us, and that’s a whole different skill altogether!

The point is… The best people to ‘close a deal’ are the founders, ceo’s etc, and we just use sales support staff to ‘hold their hand through trial periods.

It works for us. Also saves on high sales overhead!

Julian Stone, www.proworkflow.com

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About the author:
Julian Stone, CEO – Project, Task & Time Management specialist for: ProActiveSoftware.com, ProWorkflow.com & Julian101.com

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About The Author:
Julian Stone begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting is the CEO of ProActive Software, developers and creators of the leading web based project management software http://www.proworkflow.com.