This is a shameless plug to get people to read my story, come to my website, and interact with me...all with the goal of landing my next sales leadership role. If you are looking for your next job, maybe some of what i write here can help you. If you like what you read here, feel free to reach out to me. If not, reach out to me as well.
Losing your job is not fun, especially when it isn't expected.
I was the Head of Sales (VP) at a technology company...not to go into details about my job loss, suffice it to say that I wasn't the right fit for the last company that I was at. I hired 12 stellar salespeople, who according to the company, were not the right fit either. These were "President's Club" caliber people, who are honest, hardworking and otherwise successful. Most have found a landing spot, but if you are looking for a superstar individual contributor, please email me at email@example.com and I will introduce.
So being faced with the prospect of not collecting a paycheck, I embarked on a process to not only brand myself, but to market myself as if I were a product I am trying to sell. Marketing yourself as a product is incredibly hard to do. Being able to brand yourself from within your own skin is actually a lot harder.
I can sell anything...but can I sell myself?
So what steps did I take? Some were normal...and some were a little overboard.
Step 1: Draft a new Resume
My resume was not a good representation of who I am. Not to say that I didn't try...I did. But my writing skills are meant for blogs and the occasional book (I wrote a book, here it is)
I enlisted the help of an expert. You can find experts by asking friends for recommendations. I went to Deb James. She last did my resume over 10 years ago. It cost me some money, but it was worth it. The result is an excellent resume. (Click here to connect to her on Linkedin)
Deb went through the process with me, re-wrote my resume and also discussed some of her other services such as an email blast. I ASSURE YOU, that your resume will be substantially improved if you have it written by a professional.
It became clear to me that I needed to be much more proactive in my search, and I needed to get the attention of software companies. I had Deb send out my resume to her list of active recruiters and VC firms. We got some great responses. CLICK HERE for her website.
ALSO, I have made a habit of modifying my resume to match the job description. I do not lie, but I make sure that I include everything in the job description that is applicable to me.
Money Well Spent? Absolutely.
Step 2: Create My Own Branding Page
Every company that I have worked for has a great website that perfectly explains their product/service. Why shouldn't I have one?
Someone had already taken www.weinstein.com, so i searched for a url that would be easy to recognize. So I went over to domain.com and acquired www.weinstein.tech for $148 (3 year term, along with 1 email address). The Email address goes through gmail, and the process is pretty easy.
I then used weebly.com to create website (This is the website). The cost of Weebly hosting and DIY design was $145.32 for the year. I initially used my last professional headshot as the main page photo. I realized that I look old in this photo...more on how I changed it later.
On the website (as you can see) I put a number of things that you cannot put on a resume, but seem to be really important.
Money Well Spent? Most Certainly!
Step 3: If you Build It, They Will NOT Come
Just because you have a website, you aren't assured that anyone will find it or be interested. Unfortunately, I don't have the wherewithal or the time to organically grow my audience. I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. Some have worked, some...not so much.
1. LinkedIn Advertisements: I have tried three different advertisements on Linkedin to attract people to my website. My audience that I was able to select was anyone that worked for a software company that had the title that included talent, recruit, HR, and others. The 2nd audience i chose was anyone with the title Principal or Partner at a VC firm.
2. Mass Email: I decided to create an email campaign through Outlook, geared towards a list of recruiters in technology as well as certain PE firms that invest in Real Estate Tech. It's a good idea to lean on your contacts who you are close with to get these lists. Go through websites, and identify the Companies/Opportunities/Investors. A lot of legwork is needed on your part. The good news is that you can do a lot of this during Monday Night Football.
Money Well Spent? This didn't cost me a penny...It occupied a lot of my time, but it was worth it. I have gotten some great interviews (also got some "Remove Me From Your List" responses).
3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator: For $122 per month, LI Nav is a great tool.
Money Well Spent? For $122 per month, it was a wise investment. You just have to use the inmail as well as the advanced search often. Credits are replenished at the beginning of each month.
4. Zoho SalesIQ (Salesiq.zoho.com). O. K. This one is a little out there.
This app helps you identify your visitors , and even communicate with them in a little chatbox at the bottom of the page. The script is easy to install on Weebly, and it allows me to track who is coming to the website, how long they are staying, and what city they are visiting from. I also have a method of tracking which emails are garnering the biggest response rate.
Best thing about it? Aside from some more advanced features, It's free.
Money Well Spent? FREE!!!!! So yessir!
5. Direct Mail:
OK. This was an idea I had while in the shower. It sounded really good when I was thinking it, really good when executing it, and once I got to the post office, I had doubts. But I still did it.
I went on Moo.com, and ordered 1000 Postcards.
Moo Charged me $179.39 for the postcards,
The postal service charged me $.40 per postcard or $240 (I sent out 600)
So I spent $419.39. Not sure if I got any interviews out of it. nobody let me know that they got it.
Money Well Spent? Meh. It was worth a shot, right?
6. Hire a Career Coach:
I recently hired a wonderful person to be my career coach. She gets it. Her name is Wendy Taylor.
I just hired her yesterday, but she is putting my brain at ease.
She asked the right questions, had the perfect amount of empathy, and she has eased my mind a bit.
Money Well Spent? Not sure yet, as I am less than 24 hours into this...but so far, she is excellent.
Step 4: Make Myself Look Younger. There, I said it.
I know that most companies would never discriminate on age, but I didn't want to take any chances. MIND YOU, I understand technology and computers more than anyone in their 20s or 30s, i never want my lack of youth to get in the way of a job.
So on top of the vanity play of dying the grey out of my beard, I also had a photographer friend of mine take some more youthful photos of me (to replace the standard corporate headshot). You can see some of these photos on my website. Here is her facebook page
My father always told me that when interviewing or being photographed for business, always wear a red tie. The world has changed a bit, as I have been told by a number of recruiters that tie are not popular in interviews anymore. While I may not be as young as I once was, I have as much energy and creativity as I always did. And I have many years of Sales and Sales Leadership behind me.
Carly Simon was correct.
TO SUM IT UP:
Searching for a job is an exhausting process.
A couple of things I have learned while doing this.
1. There are a lot of so called experts. There is no correct formula in landing your next job. I think the key is to keep plugging away, and keep being myself.
2. Be creative. Some of my ideas were great. Some were not so great. I just decided to own all of them.
3. Keep my chin up. Not every opportunity is meant for me. The next great one is around the corner.
Matt Solomon, Mainsail
For the full article, please Click Here
In a previous post, we discussed how you can evaluate internal functions and processes to better understand how to achieve your ideal customer journey. The next step is ensuring you have the appropriate technology in place to effectively run these processes.
RevOps is a relatively new role within SaaS businesses and even without a full-time revenue operations leader, you can begin to run these processes.
Evaluating if you have the right tools for the job
We believe there are two types of business technologies that every organization should invest in: the “need-to-haves” and the “nice-to-haves”.
Need-to-Haves (Customer/Prospect Tracking Solutions)
Whew—a long list!
While each of these technologies can contribute to your business success in the long run, we believe it is critical to start with a strong foundation of need-to-have technologies. Then, you can layer on the nice-to-haves over time. As you evaluate each tool, look across its features and capabilities to see if there are features that could replace the need for future software purchases. Further, look at how each of these systems communicate with one another. Do they have native integration or would it require building customizations with their API?
Follow the trail of the customer accountFor tech implementation to be successful, you should be able to look at your customer journey map next to a flow diagram of your tech stack and see clear alignment between the two.
To achieve this alignment, have your RevOps team meet with stakeholders as well as any team members who interface with customers. The goal of these meetings should be to glean an understanding of how each group interacts with the customer and what information is needed for them to determine the customers’ health or the prospects’ chance of closing.
These insights will help your RevOps function further solidify what needs to be incorporated into the internal process to effectively manage a customer through your systems.
Mapping out how your information is connectedA great exercise to determine what you need from a technical perspective is to look at your customer journey and list out the features you need in your tools to achieve the desired flow.
Walking through these customer journey triggers and considering the related tech features will help your RevOps team prioritize which new tools should be layered on or, potentially, when you need to switch to a more robust solution to meet the needs of the customer journey.
The ideal output in this exercise is to create a visual diagram of how data moves through your system and how it aligns with the customer journey.
Create rails in your system—not roadblocksOnce you’ve begun implementing your technology and updating your process, it’s a good idea to create tools that help keep everyone working within the process to ensure data quality and completeness. It’s tempting to create validation rules, errors, and required fields for instances in which the process isn’t being followed, but rather than disrupting workflows, offer recommendations to get the team back on track.
For example, Salesforce offers the ability to block someone from saving updates to a customer account if they don’t complete certain fields. But, rather than creating a disruptive error, you could also create a pop-up that indicates what information is missing, so they don’t have to scroll through the customer profile to find the error.
Creating rails helps your team achieve its desired process without disrupting or frustrating the end-users.
*Chef’s Kiss* It all comes together!At this point, you have started to create the infrastructure to manage and track your customers. A unified tech stack helps bridge ties across the go-to-market functions, so you can best serve your customers and bring transparency to the organization across your KPIs.
In our next post (#4 of 5 in this series), we will discuss how you can operationalize this data to review potential revenue of both new and existing business. Stay tuned.
About Matt Solomon
Matt is Senior Revenue Operations Manager at Mainsail. He supports the firms sales operations and sourcing strategies.
If you are as old as I am, you remember that commercial below.
Being patient as a child wasn't easy...
Now that I am an adult, it didn’t get any easier. As a salesman, it gets quite impossible EVEN THOUGH IT IS CRUCIAL TO OUR SUCCESS.
Waiting on that big deal at the end of a crucial month/quarter is exactly why a career in sales is not for everyone. The anticipation of that big deal is the reason why some of us don’t sleep at night, and quite honesty, it is what gives us the dreaded “Commission Breath”
Commission breath is the affliction that makes us do the things that a normally sane person wouldn't. It turns us into stalkers at the end of the month. It makes us send unproductive emails that seem desperate. It tells our prospects that we really need the deal, and it gives away the very bargaining chip that we may need in order to keep price integrity.
So what are the best strategies for avoiding this, or more likely, minimizing this?
Having an upfront discussion with a prospect about the timeline for the process you are about to engage in is the very best way to start. It helps you set the expectations where they need to be.
At the beginning of the relationship, and throughout the whole sales process, you should state and get confirmation on the next steps. You should also reiterate where you hope these conversations are leading.
Be be sure to be specific about timeframes and outcomes. Also be sure to get agreement on these items, as well as providing an “escape hatch” where he client can email you saying they wish to get off the ride. Below is an example of a typical conversation.
”David, I think his meeting was productive. The next step is a meeting with your executive council next week. You mentioned that you would be able to make a decision by the 25th of the month. Is this still accurate?”
”Yes it is, Mike”
”David, just so you know, I will be calling you in the 26th for final approval. If at any time, you think this isn’t going to happen, please let me know. Ultimately, I am a salesman, and I am not good at hints. All I ask is that you be honest and let me know if this isn’t working. Again, I’m a salesman, and I don’t get hurt feelings. Deal?”
I always like to fall back on the “I’m a salesman, and I don’t take this personal” line. That’s why I’m here. If the prospect doesn’t say no to me, then I will still keep calling. Let them know this.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU GET “GHOSTED”?
Even after coming to an agreement on the timeline and the process, you may get derailed. Typically, you are going to get "Ghosted" by someone.
Ghosting: When a prospect disappears on you...stops returning you calls or emails.
Ghosting is the most infuriating thing that happens to a salesperson, and it often comes after you think you are in the best position to make a sale.
After being ghosted, some salespeople resort to obviously pathetic emails or desperate phone messages. We have all done this. An extreme example of this type of voicemail is played out in this VERY UNCOMFORTABLE famous scene from the movie Swingers. I still twitch when watching this.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD?
Instead of acting like a crazed lunatic, try writing a funny, pointed email. This email has worked close to 90% of the time...in part because of it's self deprecation, honesty, and it takes the desperation out of the contact. (feel free to use this, modify it, or throw it away). IF YOU GET NO RESPONSE from this message, you should follow up in 3-6 months...this deal is gone.
I have called you a couple of times, and I honestly don't want to be one of "those salespeople". Typically, when someone doesn't call me back, it is due to one of three reasons.
1. You haven't mad a decision yet, and therefore have no news to provide me. IF THIS IS THE CASE, please let me know. I will take your lead on this, and maybe I can provide you with a way to help you decide...or at least I can give you breathing room.
2. You made a decision to work with another company or solution. IF THIS IS THE CASE, I get it. We aren't the perfect product for everyone...and while we are good, nobody bats a thousand, not even Miguel Cabrera.
3. A large desk has fallen on top of you, trapping you in your office, and you have no way to call for help. IF THIS IS THE CASE, Please shoot back an email to me with the subject header "3". I will rush to your office, and help you escape...then we can get to business.
All joking aside, we really would like to do business with you, so please let me know what we can do.
In the end, the anticipation of a large deal is a killer. Sometimes it occupies way too much of your time and effort.
The best advice is to make sure you have a deep enough pipeline, so you can backfill some deals at the end of the month. This way, you don't have to rely on one deal
Don't be a crazy loon like Mike, Nikki will never EVER call him back.